It is finally here- Leesburg Bike Fest! I’ve been to several bike events, including Daytona, the Poker Run in Key West, even Sturgis in 2012, which I look forward to returning to this year, but, Leesburg Bike Fest holds a special place in my heart.
Since 2011, I have been going to Leesburg, but, last year was the first time we went as a group with M.S.A.R. and we had a great time. I had just created M.S.A.R. in February of 2014, and when my girlfriend Anny suggested Leesburg, my first concern was who would go with us? The night before the ride, nervous energy kept me up for most of the night. When we arrived at our meetup location, the anxiety of the last twenty-four hours disappeared. It was smiles for the rest of the weekend.
Seven bikes and eleven people strangers joined us. We had met at the safety rides I had organized over the last few months, but we really didn’t know each other. One couple came up to me and said “we do not know anyone here, I hope that is okay.” I replied, “don’t worry, I don’t know anyone here either.” But, if you want to meet good people and friendships that will last a life-time, buy a motorcycle.
We took one of my favorite routes to Orlando. We left Café 27, located on US-27, and rode north to U.S. Highway 441. The type of routes that I guarantee you will see more “cows than cars,” and that’s exactly the way we like it.
One of our stops was for burgers at the Desert Inn. I came across the Desert Inn years ago and in my opinion, the best burgers and the coldest beer can be found there. The burgers did not fail that day either. Desert Inn is just off the turnpike in Yeehaw Junction. Documentation places the Desert Inn, a former trading post, opening sometime in the 1880’s.
From Yeehaw Junction, it was a straight shot to Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway/U.S. Highway 192 through Kissimmee, until we arrived at our hotel in Orlando. By the way, I always rent in Orlando for Leesburg. Plenty of hotel choices and affordable rates that time of year, and an endless amount of restaurants within walking distance.
Whether it was dinner that Friday at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, or lunch at our favorite restaurant; Pisces Rising in Mount Dora, or downtown Leesburg, we had the time of our lives. Strangers just a day earlier, we were now acting as if we had known each other for years. I once read “jump, and the net will appear.” I believe that now.
So tomorrow, as we head out, and my mind is flooded with hundreds of memories, I will look forward to the new roads we will be discovering along with the new stops to visit. Top of our list this year is Ocala National Forest. We haven’t even logged the first mile yet, and I already know where we will be riding out to for Leesburg 2016.
In the meantime, ride safe, enjoy your life and hope to see you out there.
Guess who else is ready for Leesburg?