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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Delmarva, Post-Mortem

Ok, so I wrapped things up a little earlier than expected at the office on Friday, shedding my corporate persona somewhere between the 3rd floor and the parking garage's lower level. Soon after, I rode out of the garage on the Harley, hauling ass outa town on New York Avenue. Kinda like one of those super-hero transformations, 'cept mine takes just a second or two, needing only a Harley, leather jacket, jeans, boots, and a t-shirt. No capes or spandex for me, thanks.

Traffic wasn't too bad after the DC city limits, and soon I was on Rt 50 eastbound, running about 80, enjoying the fresh air and the roar of the bike....The Harley sounded just awesome that day for some reason, which could either be because of sonic vibrations or the new hearing aid batteries! LOL. 

Soon I was running over the Severn River, past Annapolis, and across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Kent Island. And when I hit Kent Island, I get hungry for seafood. It's a uncontrollable urge, which I refuse to fight. 

My bike having a chat with a Ferrari

You just can't get near the Eastern Shore of Maryland without sampling the Maryland-style seafood, so I figured I'd get the weekend off to the right start. And for me, if I'm even close, a stop at the Harris Crab House in Piney Narrows is mandatory. I've been eating crabs and other Chesapeake Bay seafood there for over 30 years, and Friday wasn't going to be an exception.



So after a great lunch, I find myself just east of Kent Island, and getting serious....Burp.... about getting to Ocean City, Maryland, to attend the last days of the Delmarva Bike Week, which is really only 5 days, but who's counting......

I hadn't seen many cops yet, but that was about to change. From Kent Island on, I began noticing an unusually high number of police cars patrolling US Route 50...They weren't as thick as last year, but there were enough to keep me cruising under my usual 75-80........Hell, I was down to 74 at times!

And I reckon I need to add a word of gratitude to a couple girlies driving on RT 50 who took pity on this biker, making damn sure (it was no accident) there was a lot more leg showing than their boyfriends/husbands would have approved of. Amazing how short those skirts seemed to get....and that's all I'm saying on the subject.

Hell, now that I think about it, there was the other two gals in the Yukon who played leap-frog with me from Cambridge on down to OC, who I ended up having a "riding" date with, but we never were able to find each other again after we got into town. "Lisa, where the hell did you go!?!?!"

But I'm getting ahead of myself....

A couple hours, and about 15 more cops later, I rode over the InterCoastal Bridge connecting the mainland to Ocean City, Maryland, and there were motorcycles EVERYWHERE! All the hotels, bars, and restaurants had full parking lots, which hold far more motorcycles than cars, and I bet no business owners were bitching about "them Goddamn bikers". No Vacancy signs were the norm, and I was immediately glad I'd made my hotel reservations earlier in the week.

After checking in, I hit the grocery store for milk and coffee, and after getting the room situated, I rearranged the bike a little, making sure there was room on the back seat....ya never know!.....finally hitting Coastal Highway to see what was up. And yes, I had my eye out for Lisa and that Silver Yukon.

Unlike other biker events, Delmarva is spread out all over the fucking place, and no one venue has everything. Some locations were lame, with just a few overflow vendors, while others were packed solid with cool vendors, cool people, food, and lots of laughter. One location, bizarrely, was set up 26 miles east in Salisbury, MD, and I never made it there. Getting to Salisbury meant running the State Police gauntlet on 50, not just once, but going both ways!

Everywhere I went, there was a informal motorcycle show. Everyone was riding their latest creations, and I couldn't possibly have seen them all, but I did manage to see some awesome motorcycles.

Aside from the near-showroom-stock Harleys, like mine, there were a lot of crazy choppers, lots of cool bobbers, and an unusually large percentage of old Sportsters which are now, without question, in style. And it seemed the grittier and older those Sportsters were, the more folks liked them.

Actually, that gritty theme went across other bikes, and I saw a lot of older Harleys like this 46 Knucklehead that looked like they were found in a barn, gassed up, the battery charged, and then ridden to Delmarva, dust and all. I would have been one bit surprised to find a bird's nest tucked into a frame.

The absolute, undisputed Grand Prize in the "Cool" department, however, went to a very strange bike I spotted in Hooters parking lot. (Yeah, even at Hooters, I look at motorcycles. Keeps my eyes calibrated) After I parked, I looked to the side, seeing a half-size bobber. At first I thought it was some kind of junk toy out of China, but looking closer, I could see someone went to a lot of trouble hand-machining the springer front end, and almost all the other parts, assembling them around a Harley Sprint (might have been a Bennelli or ??) engine, even including a side shifter. Basically, this was a little chopper/bobber, just like someone shrunk a big one. The real question was whether it ran.

 So a few minutes later, this little midget biker-guy strolls out of Hooters with his crew, fires up the bike and away they ride. Fucking great...I loved it! The bike fit him perfectly and he looked good on it. He also looked like he didn't take any shit from big people..... Look at the guy on the right rear of this bunch in the pic below...there he is! My #1 pick for Coolest Bike/Rider of the Delmarva

I also got to hang with my daughter and grandson while there...yes, biking is in the Robinson blood.....which made the weekend even more fun. And I rode endlessly all weekend, in and out of town, buying stuff and enjoying the scenery. Lots of cute girls, but not a lot of skin showing down there, by the way. It's far more reserved (a relative term) than other biker events, but that's 'cause the normal people get mixed in, and they just wouldn't understand, but I'll bet Junior or Dad wouldn't complain...

Even in my hotel, there was an interesting mix of guests. I saw one East Coast 1%-er wearing colors, a load of other bikers, and a fair number of families, with all the kiddies, trying very hard not to stare at the bikers. Well, except the ladies. They always seem to sneak a peek when the old man isn't looking, and a sly little smile isn't uncommon......

On the bad side of things, some kid and his girlfriend (in a car) pulled out right in front of me Friday night. If that wasn't bad enough, they both had the nerve to laugh at me when I came up alongside. I erased that laugh in a hurry, getting a little support from some other bikers riding nearby. That car got surrounded by Harleys in about 10 seconds, and it stayed surrounded for about 2 blocks. Blondie stopped smiling, and her smart-ass little boyfriend looked like he was going to cry. After they got home, they had a boot print to buff out of the paint on the driver's door. That print might even match the right boot in my closet. Asshole drivers.....that's one of the problems down there. Bikers and cars mixed together.

And one more bad thing....I was at one of the vendors, buying a new leather vest to replace the one my daughter doesn't approve of (too many patches), and the lady suggested I try on a larger size....Hmmm. I did, and while I was checking it out in the mirror, she patted my belly saying that size was more "forgiving". Now, I gotta tell ya, that ain't what I needed to hear.....Damn! But I bought it anyway, getting two patches quickly sewed on before Marianne could complain. 

Forgiving.....Now that's one I hadn't heard before....

After such a traumatic event, I needed to get re-calibrated, requiring another stop at Hooters which works like a charm. If I only understood how that happens.......

And folks, that's about it. Traffic sucked on the way home, but a couple miles of riding on the shoulder cured the worst of it, much to the chagrin of other motorists sitting in trucks and cars. Fuck 'em...that Harley was about to melt down moving at a crawl. Also saw even more cops coming home, making me wonder if I'll do it again next year. It sucks when you're trying to have fun, not really running hard, and there's a cop just waiting in the weeds, literally, for you to run a little too hard.

Got home in time for NASCAR, and to watch my Dallas Cowboys lose. Again. But the weekend was good. Nice riding.