Race Traffic – Safe Drive

“Ready, set, go”, or “drivers, start your engines.”

For those traveling Interstate 95 in the U.S, particularly in northeast Florida, you will encounter an extra amount of traffic.  Daytona 500’s speed weeks are this week and the big race – Daytona 500 in Daytona, Florida  – is Sunday. 

Front view of Daytona National Speedway stadium

You’ll notice not only extra traffic but people driving like they are in the race itself, going excessively over the speed limit and darting between other vehicles with drivers trying to drive safely. 

I appreciate our law enforcement doing what they can, but they can’t be everywhere.  SO!  Please drive with extra caution and please don’t let the less responsible ruin your travel plans, nor prevent you from “arriving alive.”  https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/arrivealive/.

Florida Highway Patrol website image to highlight “Arrive Alive.”

Most people don’t realize they can call *FHP or *347 while in Florida to help with an emergency on the Interstate, or to report a hazardous condition.

Also, for those traveling in the Daytona area please be aware of an increase in pedestrians and bicyclists as thousands of people walk, bike and drive the area.  Florida Department of Transportation’s “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” emphasis overall and specific traffic safety at https://www.alerttodayflorida.com/

For more information on the Daytona 500 races, the website is https://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/Responsive-Event-Calendar.aspx.  (“Drivers, start your engines” is a common phrase used at NASCAR races by a special guest to tell drivers they may start their engines for the race.)

A good source for free traffic information is https//FL511.com

Drive, walk and bike responsibly.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

“Cars” origination on 66

Cars plaque

America’s highway, Route 66 warrants getting off the Interstate system and taking the back roads.

There are many websites that discuss some of the history of Route 66 and its significance to modern road travels beginning in the U.S.

Historic66.com provides good insight and respective photos along and near the route.  https://www.historic66.com/faq/cars.php

As we “happened” to travel through Holbrook, Arizona we were surprised to see Route 66 influence there as well.

Since it was time to eat we stopped at a restaurant that looked like a typical Route 66-themed place.

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Wow!  We had no clue about the connection of the restaurant and the town of Holbrook and the entire area toward creation of the movie “Cars.”

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If you haven’t seen the movie “Cars” it is funny, entertaining and highlights a little of the historic changes along Route 66.  Check out the Historic66.com webiste for a movie trailer and additional information.  “Route 66 inspired the movie Cars, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The working title for the movie was in fact “Route 66″. The crew traveled the old Mother Road quite a few times for their research. Route 66 experts acting as consultants guided some of these trips. Evidence of the research trips is found both in the movie itself and in several Route 66 businesses that were visited by the crewmembers.”

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“Cars” research team contributed to their creation of the movie while at Joe and Aggies Cafe as evidenced in this photo in the restaurant’s scrapbook.

Radiator Springs?

The town Radiator Springs is fictional.  According to Historic66.com “There is no town anywhere along Route 66 called Radiator Springs. And yet, many a small town resembles it a lot.” One can readily see that then the Interstate  opened towns and businesses were significantly impacted.

“If you want to see Radiator Springs, you can either head to Disneyland and visit the fictional recreation Cars Land, or you can go for the real life version on Route 66.”

As we left Joe and Aggies, we were elated to see the influence in Holbrook alone.  Since it was later in the evening we didn’t get to travel around the other towns but I enjoyed seeing some of the “flavor” before heading back to the Interstate.

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I-40 heading west in Arizona

Before wrapping up the “Cars” impact and Route 66 I wanted to add a little modern day twist to racing.  Lightning McQueen was heading to a big race in California (Route 66 ends in California) when he rolled out of the back of the tractor/trailer and was lost as he rode to Radiator Springs.

Lightning McQueen eventually made it to the race which makes me think of Daytona in Florida, closer to home.  Daytona has one of its major races as part of the 4th of July celebration.  The race in 2018 is July 7 and is Coke Zero Sugar 400.   http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/ ,

I’m not there but here are a few photos of the raceway.  Are you a race fan? I enjoy attending when I can or at least watching on TV.

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Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida.IMG_4830

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I wonder if Lightning McQueen will show at the race today if he was able to divert from Route 66?

All the best,

Ron

(All photos except as otherwise noted are by RonLin Photography for Tittle Thoughts.)

Aunt Catfish’s is right for you!

Aunt Catfish’s is right for you!

Do you like catfish?  How about salmon, or talapia or just a great salad bar with a separate “fixins” bar?

Well, I have the place for you if you’re visiting in the Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S. area.

Aunt Catfish's on the River in Port Orange, Fla
Aunt Catfish’s on the River in Port Orange, Fla

Aunt Catfish’s on the River has mouth-watering, fresh- tasting seafood with  practically all the the sides and “fixins” you could want, or at least in my situation, could eat.  This is one place you need to try when you visit Daytona Beach Area on Florida’s east, central coast.

 

 

Upon entering you'll see a nice seating area with a balcony overhead that is used for special occasions.
Upon entering you’ll see a nice seating area with a balcony overhead that is used for special occasions.

 

If you are the one who doesn’t want to wait to be seated it is best to arrive before 4 p.m. as the crowds start rolling in about that time.  The parking lot across the street fills up quickly but there is a nice overflow area just down the street beside the bay and through a little driveway.  There is a nice waiting area outside by the river or you can stroll the dock and check out the gigantic catfish.

River, or bay, view of Aunt Catfish's restaurant.

River, or bay, view of Aunt Catfish’s restaurant.

 

 

The menu has many options, including the early bird specials.  You can choose to add the salad bar that has a fantastic three-potato salad, or you can choose the fixins bar too that has some of the best baked beans and cole slaw I’ve ever had.

Side view of the salad bar entrance.
Side view of the salad bar entrance.

I personally like the talapia, salmon or blackend or fried catfish and shrimp. I need to eat there more often to sample the rest of the menu, although it is about an hour-and-a-half drive for me.

Guess what, you don’t even need to order dessert, as if you had room for it.  You automatically receive a mouth-watering cinnamon bun on your plate that you just stare at while eating the main course.  If you have eaten Krispy Kreme “hot now” glazed donuts then you can relate to the taste of these buns.

The "fixins" bar has very tastful sides such as baked beans, cheese grits, cole slaw , stewed apples and the like.
The “fixins” bar has very tastful sides such as baked beans, cheese grits, cole slaw , stewed apples and other side items.

The atmosphere if family oriented and the servers introduce themselves as “cousin.”

Get it?  Aunt Catfish and the servers are cousins?

The restaurant is family owned and operated.  They treat you like family too.

Cousin Cody was our server for this day’s adventure.  He was cordial, friendly and helpful.

 

 

Nicely arrayed remembrances of Aunt Catfish's experience.
Nicely arrayed remembrances of Aunt Catfish’s experience.

 

 

 

Aunt Catfish’s on the River took over the site from a local Dave’s Dock at the Port Orange Bridge, around 1938.

For many years this was a favorite spot for fishermen.  A boat could be rented and the best live bait could be purchased.  Fishing tackle and river information was always readily available.

In 1940 the first road and beach automobile race course was established not far from this location.  Of course I’m sure you know about the current day NASCAR race events in Daytona.

 

While there, you can also take a nice ride through the Daytona Beach Shores coastal community.  Driving north you’ll encounter the infamous Daytona Beach which is know for beach, surf, surf shops, hotels and condominiums, NASCAR racing and so much more.

And … you’re less than two hours from Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

More information about Aunt Catfish’s, including more of the history and a menu, link to http://auntcatfishontheriver.com.  I would like to know if you get a chance to eat there and hear of YOUR experience.

 

Daytona What?

Daytona What?

Ever been to the Daytona 500 stock car race in Florida?  DAYTONA-B-ROLL

It’s really exciting watching the speeding pieces of metal at 190-200 mph; with a human strapped inside.

If you get the chance it is always an exciting event that begins NASCAR’s season.  It’s the “super bowl” of auto racing.

https://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/Events/2016/Speedweeks-At-DAYTONA/Speedweeks-At-DAYTONA.aspx

Well, along with the exciting event comes the traffic too if you are traveling in Florida this week and next week.  Even Disney’s theme parks experience a surge in guests.

Here are some traffic tips to go along with your travels; thanks to Florida Department of Transportation.

The Florida Department of Transportation encourages motorists to use the 511 Traveler Information System for information on current roadway impediments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=j29WOKnz7ww#t=0

Daytona Raceway 3 by Caleb Gressman
Daytona Raceway prepares for Speedweeks and the Daytona 500 (photo by Caleb Gressman)

In addition to Sunday’s DAYTONA 500, the Speedway will host major events featuring the Can-Am Duel, NextEra Energy Resources 250 and PowerShares QQQ 300 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday—all are expected to draw large crowds to the area. Travelers should be prepared for increased congestion on I-4 from Orlando to Daytona Beach and I-95 from Jacksonville to Titusville.

Real-Time Traffic Updates

FDOT encourages race fans and travelers in the area to check the Florida 511 Traveler Information System prior to hitting the road to stay up-to-date on crashes, congestion, construction and more. The 511 system provides information on all of Florida’s interstates, toll roads and other major metropolitan roadways, including those near the Speedway, such as I-4 and I-95.

There are five convenient ways for all motorists to receive traffic updates:

  • Call 511 toll free for updates in English and Spanish.
  • Visit FL511.com for interactive roadway maps showing traffic congestion and crashes, travel times and traffic camera views.
  • Sign up for a “My Florida 511” account at FL511.com to create custom routes and register for email, text or phone alerts.
  • Download the free Florida 511 mobile app available on Google Play or Apple App Store.
  • Follow one of the 13 statewide, regional or roadway-specific Twitter feeds (#FL511), including @FL511_I75,@FL511_Central, @FL511_I95 and @FL511_I4.

Alternate Routes

During peak Speedweeks traffic, FDOT suggests travelers who are traveling through the area to consider using alternate routes such as SR 44, if traveling north on I-95 or east on I-4.

Parking

Daytona International Speedway offers fans free parking and park-and-ride service to and from the Speedway before and after the events. To access the free parking lots, fans are encouraged to take the following exits:

  • Traveling south on I-95 exit at US 1 (exit 273)
  • Traveling north on I-95 exit at LPGA Blvd. (exit 265) or SR 44 (exit 249)
  • Traveling east on I-4 exit at SR 44 (exit 118) or SR 400/Beville Road

Detailed directions to parking are available at DAYTONA500.com.

Safety Tips

  • Call 511 before driving or have a passenger call to avoid using a phone while driving.
  • Allow ample time to reach your destination if traveling to or near the Daytona Beach area during on the days when traffic is expected to be the heaviest.
  • Always wear a safety belt.
  • Don’t drink and drive.

 Florida 511 Features

  • Traffic information on all interstate highways, toll roads and many other metropolitan roadways.
  • Commuter travel times and reports on crashes, congestion and construction.
  • Public transit, airport and seaport information.
  • AMBER, Silver and law enforcement alerts. America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alerts notify the public of the most serious child-abduction cases. Silver Alerts notify the public when law enforcement agencies are searching for missing adults or citizens with cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Alerts notify the public when law enforcement officers are searching for an offender(s) who has seriously injured or killed a law enforcement officer.
  • Travel information, traffic camera views and free personalized services, including customized travel routes and email, text and phone call alerts, available on FL511.com.
  • Voice-activated and touch-tone navigation available when calling 511.
  • The 511 phone call and  FL511.com website are available in English and Spanish.

(Daytona Raceway prepares for Speedweeks and the Daytona 500.  FDOT is there to remind drivers to be Safe Today, or Tonight, and be Alive Tomorrow.  Photo by Caleb Gressman)

Here is my personal note:

ENJOY FLORIDA!  Drive safely and responsibly.  When you’re walking or biking please know and follow the rules and watch for motorists who don’t see you!

Be alert today so you’ll be alive tomorrow.  IMG_4603

While this is not the Daytona 500, it is representative of racing and the emphasis on being alert – no matter what you use to get around – whether your feet, wheelchair, bike or motorized vehicle.  Thanks Sweet Motorsports for helping get the message out.