Flagler’s proximity to fun appeals to visitors
Julie Forvour sat at a picnic table, morning light trickling through the trees, applying her makeup while her “better half,” Larry Kuhn, reclined inside their camper at the Thunder Gulch campground in Bunnell.
“I love it here,” said Forvour, who hails from Mount Holly, N.J. “Flagler has everything. It’s centrally located, and I think the riding is better here than by the beach.”
Kuhn made his first trip to Daytona Beach for Bike Week in 1980. He used to ride his motorcycle rather than trailer it and slept in a tent.
“I liked riding on the beach when the beach was free and you could ride there (on the sand) day and night,” he said. “It’s nice out here. Peaceful.”
While the full-service slots were only 75 percent full Tuesday, owner John Seibel said they’ll all be filled by the weekend.
“We’ll have all our vendors here then,” he said. “We have plenty of primitive (no water or electricity) sites. Those won’t fill up.”
A big draw at Thunder Gulch is the Miss Florida Biker competition and the $2,000 purse that attracts plenty of young, bikini-clad motorcyclists.
“I’m not going to enter the contest,” said Ellen King, a retiree who is visiting from New Port, Maine. “I wouldn’t want to put those young girls to shame.”
King and her husband, Darrell, will soon spend half the year in Palm Coast.
“We bought a house at the Daytona Flea Market,” said Darrell King.
Ellen King came up with her own Jeff Foxworthy joke: “You might be a redneck … if you buy your house at a flea market.”
The Kings regularly spend Bike Week in Flagler County with Darrell King’s boyhood friend Levy Hutchings and his wife, Shirley, the manager of the Bimini Bar. Hutchings has seen a steady rise in attendance at the Flagler events.
“I think a lot of bikers are moving to Flagler (to camp) because of how friendly everyone is here,” he said.
Jim Campbell, Camano Island, Wash., has been traveling the country since August, enjoying the serenity of the scenic drive between Volusia and Flagler counties.
“I ride the Loop every morning,” he said. “It’s a nice way to start out. Really, I just like to be moving.”
He made the short trip south on U.S. 1 from Thunder Gulch to the White Eagle just before noon and bellied up to the bar there.
While there were a couple dozen bikes parked out front, there wasn’t much action at the vendors’ tents selling T-shirts, sunglasses, saddlebags and barbecue.
“It was packed Saturday,” said Joe Vece, a volunteer helping cyclists find parking spots. “Mostly, it’s been crazy all week. The weather’s been nice.”
A couple of bikes pulled out of the parking lot and onto Old Dixie Highway to ride a portion of the Loop into Flagler Beach — Old Dixie to Walter Boardman to Highbridge Road to State Road A1A, for those who don’t know.
Vendors even pervaded the scenic highway — well, two photographers snapping shots of visitors riding through. It seems a lot for the narrow, winding, tree-canopied road.
“We’ve been coming here for 12 years and that’s the first time I’ve seen that,” said Rosie Treon of St. Mary’s, Ohio, who stopped for a beachside lunch. “I’ve seen it at Deal’s Gap, N.C. (a favorite ride for motorcyclists, who call it The Dragon), but I’ve never seen it here.”
Motorcycles stream up and down A1A to the front of Snack Jack’s while waves lap up behind.
“We love it here,” said Rosie Treon’s husband, Dave. “You get a crowd, but it’s not crazy. And the view is awesome.”
They aren’t the only ones who feel that way about Flagler Beach during Bike Week.
“We got married here (Feb. 27, 1988),” said Pamela Fischer, visiting from Dearborn Heights, Mich., with her husband, George, and dog, Joey.
“We come straight here. The atmosphere is great. And we can come here with a dog.”
by Julie Murphy, Staff Writer, Daytona Beach News-Journal