Guest Post: Chris’ Day 1 NALM 2019 Experience at Daytona Beach, Florida

Greetings, blog readers.  I arrived a day late to this year’s NALM so I invited a colleague, Chris Miller, to write about his experience that first day leading up to my arrival.  See below for his words and photos.

My complete write-up on my 5,600-mile trip, and a series of 4 videos, are pending in the coming days & weeks.

Thanks for reading!

_______

NALM 2019, departure from Maryland to Florida and Day 1 Activities

It’s hard to believe 2019 marks the 15th annual gathering known as the National Acura Legend Meet.

This year was no different, 20-plus Legend enthusiasts and a few spouses came from all over the country, and even Canada to gather in Ormond Beach FL, just a few miles north of Daytona Beach.  The drive for me this year was relatively easy:  Get on I-95 South a mile from my house and take it to the Ormond Beach exit, 872 miles away.  I had to work on Monday so I drove to DC, worked till 3:00pm and drive to Fayetteville NC for the night.  Tuesday I drove from Fayetteville NC to Floral City FL to visit the famous Legend Land to visit the famous Legend Savior himself, Alan Jackson.  Wednesday morning Alan, his wife Nancy, and I convoyed the 2 hours from Floral City to Ormond Beach via back roads through Ocala National Forest.

This year’s hotel was the Coral Sands Inn off Route A1A which is their main coastal road and was right on the beach with views of the ocean from every level. Wednesday night dinner was at Lagerheads about 4 miles north of the hotel.  The special that evening was Mahi Mahi tacos which I found to be very tasty with a little kick.  The veranda outside Thomas’ room was the place to hang out afterwards and catch up with old friends and our little Legend family.

One newcomer this year was Avery Tulak who lives in British Columbia.  I spent some time talking with him about his travels to Florida.  It started with a 7 hour drive from B.C to Seattle and then a 5.5 hour flight to Florida.  Avery doesn’t own a legend…yet.  He does have an RL, a Vigor and an Integra in his stable and knowing he was on the hunt I informed him of a famous NALM quip: For the right price, every Legend in the lot is for sale.  We welcomed him to our event and ensured he got to ride different Legends throughout the events.

Thursday morning we went down the street to Alfies for breakfast at 7:45.  We were the first and largest group in the restaurant and my breakfast choice, along with a couple others, was the French toast with Bacon.  It must’ve been 6 slices cause I could barely eat it all.

At 9:30 we gathered across the street from the hotel to stage the cars and we promptly departed for Daytona International Speedway just a few short miles down Interstate 95.

Once we arrived we were greeted by our tour guide for the morning. We loaded into tram-like cars behind his pickup truck and we proceeded around the perimeter of the track on a road just above the jersey walls.  Our tour guide gave us a brief history of the track since it first opened in 1959.  The speedway is known for the most prestigious race in all of Nascar, the Daytona 500 which is held in February.  The complex is not only home to 2.5 miles of nearly 200mph races, it also houses road races, motocross and superbike competitions on smaller tracks within the complex.

Our tour guide shared an impressive amount of knowledge with us during our tour.  He told us how many light poles were erected, the number and wattage of the bulbs used during night racing and other interesting facts.  He told us that when it comes to re-paving the speedway it takes over 6 months from start to finish.  When they repave the speedway all the asphalt is ground up and hauled off, right down to the dirt.  You wouldn’t think paving would take 6 months but a great deal of the effort is the preparation.  The protective fencing above the jersey walls and safer barriers has to come down.

The banking around the curves is 31 degrees and to keep the paving equipment from sliding or tumbling down the bank they have equipment that runs along the perimeter roads alongside the paving machines with safety lines tethered to them.  We weren’t allowed on the banked curves but we were allowed to get out and walk the start/finish line which is banked at a mere 18 degrees but proved to be a little difficult to climb.  We also got to tour a few buildings in the infield which houses the press corps and we got a group photo taken inside Winner’s Circle.  After a short elevator ride we went up to the grandstands to get a view of the entire speedway.

Our last stop was the Daytona Speedway Hall of Fame and Museum.  Inside the entrance is Denny Hamlin’s Toyota which won the Daytona 500 this past February. It’s tradition for the 500s winning racecar to be put on display in the museum for one year until the next 500 winner is crowned.  The car is displayed in the same condition as shown on t.v., soda, champaigne, confetti, and all kinds of asphalt and debris still clinging to the paint.  The only thing done to the car is it’s drained of any remaining fuel.  Inside the museum is the famous Hudson Hornet, cars from Dale Sr., Jeff Gordon, as well as a few funny cars, dragsters, and even a couple boats.

The next event was a short scenic drive and photoshoot in the local area but I decided I’d head an hour south and take a tour of the Kennedy Space Center.  While watching the various multimedia exhibits and IMAX presentations I was keeping an eye on Tyson’s location.  I knew he was heading north from Key West and I wanted to convoy north to Ormond Beach with him as our dinner that night was at Jimmy Hula’s.  There’s something neat about following the coupe version of your car going up the highway; especially when we share the same car color.

Yes, I’m almost as nerdy as Tyson is in some respects.  We fueled up at the Exxon station and headed north on I-95 through a nasty rain storm that lasted a few miles.  The first day or two of NALM was very windy with scattered heavy rain showers reducing visibility to ¼ mile or less.  We made it to dinner a little late but I enjoyed a Rice Bowl with Chicken similar to what you’d get at a Chipotle.  Tyson feasted on a couple Tacos after making his rounds and saying Hello to the gang.

With Kevin

With Tyson at Daytona Beach

One of many NALM meals

View from the hotel

With Tyson

11 Responses to “Guest Post: Chris’ Day 1 NALM 2019 Experience at Daytona Beach, Florida”

  1. Awww man! I missed the ice cream stop!

  2. Nice write-up, Chris! Even though I’m not a Legend owner, I really enjoy reading about the strong community that exists for owners of these cars that were last produced when the X-Files were only in the third season, Montell Jordan and Blues Traveler were topping the charts, and Woody from Toy Story taught us that “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”!

    I especially enjoyed the virtual tour of Daytona – those facts about the repaving were really cool! My only request? More info about your Legend! Maybe you can do another write-up sometime and talk more about your ride?

    • I know, I’ve been meaning to do a full write-up on the story about Chris’ car – including its comprehensive restoration! More to come on that. By the way, my first of the 4-part series on the FL trip is already live on YouTube if you want to get a preview before I link it here from the blog. My channel is just under my name on YouTube and it’s the most recent upload.

    • Chris Miller Says:

      I thought we did a blog segment on it in the past but I may be wrong. There is a short write up on AcuraConnected you can read in the meantime.

  3. autoscribe1974 Says:

    Great job with the story and photos, Chris!

  4. Looks like it was a very cool location for the event this year. Nice post, Chris!

  5. Whoa! I’m soooo far behind on reading here. Great writeup from Chris. Blogging style is very similar to yours. This is getting me primed for your next post which I’m headed to pronto…

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