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Monday, April 25, 2011

OBX, A Home Away From Home. Almost Like Hooters!

Outer Banks Bike week was the crew's first event of the year, substituted for the Blue Ridge BikeFest we did last year in Roanoke, VA. Personally, I thought Blue Ridge was fun, but overrated, and not something I wanted to do again, and I think I speak for everyone that went down with me last year.

So I'm guessing it was Fred.....yeah, THAT Fred......who suggested we join him this year for OBX Bike Week. When I first made plans to go, little did I know how much fun it was going to be, in spite of a little cold weather, rain, and a nagging cold I couldn't seem to shake. And I also didn't realize I'd have me a nifty new motorcycle to take along!

And the trip to OBX had a few interesting sub-plots. There were peeps who had become Facebook friends, but who had actually never met, and anything can happen when mixing peeps! It's like mixing up chemicals...sometimes the reaction is good, and sometimes it goes bang. Heck, sometimes it just stinks. And we had one rider who had actually never been to a biker rally, and that's always interesting too.

Heck, I can start with that line......the new rider.....

Now, as the saying goes, $15,000 and 15 miles doesn't make you a biker. True Dat. Maybe more important, the rules of conduct around bikers are far different that those in downtown Washington, DC, or at least Northwest DC. So I took it on myself to coach the new rider on things to do, and more important, things not to do.
  • Rule One: NEVER sit on someone else's motorcycle. And don't scratch it or smudge the paint or chrome. In short, don't do anything to someone's bike or you'll regret it.
  • Rule Two: If you see a hot girl appearing to be alone, the odds are 99-to-1 that she's actually not alone, didn't come alone, and the biggest, meanest motherfucker you ever saw is just out of eyesight. Masturbation is a far better option than an evening spent in the ER. Or put another way, be on the safe side and take your own. Fucking with someone's Old Lady is damn near as bad as sitting on their bike.
  • Rule Three: Don't fuck with people. Bikers tend to settle differences in far more physical ways than a quiet discussion over coffee in a downtown cafe.
  • Rule Four: Get the first three rules memorized and follow them.
The OBX trip wasn't a 100% success, with all rules followed, but at least no one's getting a bill from the OBX ER! LOL

Hey! I'd be interested to know if there are any "New Biker" Do's and Don'ts others might wanna share. Add em via a comment to this post!

Moving right along.....

My initial plans for OBX revolved around the decision to ride or trailer, but a last-second purchase of a second bike made that decision for me. I hauled the new (to me) '08 Nightster, along with my Softail Custom, to OBX on the Kendon trailer I got last year.

This was the first time I hauled two bikes on the Kendon, and if anything, it pulled even better. No problems whatever going or coming. It's also worth mentioning that I loaded the Nightster by pushing it up on the trailer. Didn't even have to start it, which was kinda neat. I definitely have to ride the Softail up onto the trailer. That son-of-a-bitch is heavy.

So off I went, getting down to Kitty Hawk a day early, taking Linda and Charlie up on an offer of a room for the night. We hung out, laughing and telling stories til the wee hours. The next morning, I made a run down to Nags Head to unload a bike at the hotel (it was still too early to check in) and begin riding, but not before showing off the new bike and offering a few test rides!

A rare shot of Charlie taking a leak on Cowboy's tie-down straps

Sol, checking out the height of Cowboy's new ride

  The plan for Day Two was to visit all the vendors strung up and down about 14 miles of beach road between Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head. The weather, however, had other plans, and after our first visit to Outer Banks Harley Davidson, it was apparent that we were going to get drowned so we decided to make a run for shelter. Dry is good. Dry and warm is better.

Here's a few shots from the Outer Banks HD parking lot.....

I got back to the hotel, but not before riding the last 5 miles or so in a torrential downpour. I was soaked through to the skin, and showed up in the hotel lobby to check in.....looking like I walked right out of the ocean!

To their credit, the staff at the Surf Side Hotel didn't bat an eye, politely checking me in and explaining the amenities as I dripped a large puddle of rainwater all over their floor! Cool people, and VERY biker-friendly. If you're heading for OBX, give them a shout. Awesome rooms and they even let us keep our bikes in a small private garage!

About the same time I was heading south in the rain, Fred, Mark and Beth were heading north, returning from a long ride through the National Seashore area where there was no shelter to be found. They did 25 miles in a downpour, and Beth, bless her heart, toughed it out in a t-shirt, staying glued to Fred's back for the entire ride. (There's a rumour that Beth was not any fun to be around when they first got back!)

Beth and Linda

Bike stuff:

One of my ideas for the Nightster, and a goal for this trip, was to get some kind of art work done on the Nightster. I figured on some kind of pinup girl on the tank, and maybe some pin striping here and there. I got a price from one guy at the Harley dealership that was SKY HIGH, even though he didn't seem to have any business, but he assured me the art work would be first class. I would hope so. Like Mona Lisa quality. So it was one of those, "Yeah, Dude, let me think about it." conversations.

No fucking way I was spending crazy money on art for a bar-hopper bike, so I figured I'd scale back my demands, maybe getting away from the pinup girl idea. Besides, Deb threatened to vandalize my bike if I got a skanky looking babe painted on the tank!

So later on Thursday, after the rain stopped, I stopped at Longboard's, finding Dan Kite's Pintriping tent set up in the parking lot. Front and center on the display was the coolest "Joker" I'd seen, and I realized that was what I really wanted to make the Nightster look cool. And the pinstriping samples were awesome too. Unfortunately Dan wasn't around so I made it a point to be there first thing Friday morning.

Friday morning, 10AM, I was first in line to talk to Dan, who gave me an excellent price on the "Joker" art work, and he had some cool ideas for striping. I decided to let him do his thing, and what a terrific job he did.

Dan Kite, eyeballing up the Nightster

Finished product, and yeah, the skull gas cap has gotta go!

A footnote to the pin-striping/artwork story. I never once, throughout the weekend, saw a single bike being striped or painted by that guy who wanted a small fortune to paint on my scoot. Dan Kite, however, had an endless line of bikes lined up, waiting for his special touch. I'm no expert, but not only is Dan an excellent artist, he's also a shrewd businessman. And yea, a heck of a nice guy too, as was his wife Gina. Nice meeting cool peeps, ain't it?!

Generally speaking, I was a little disappointed that there weren't more parts/accessories vendors at OBX. No problem getting t-shirts, patches, or chaps down there, but it you were looking for that special part for your bobber, you were out of of luck. Don't go to OBX for parts or bike shopping.

And so on.....

And finally, we just had damn good time. This was due, in no small part, to the warm welcome we received from the local OBX people and businesses. I had an experience there that I'll never forget. I was shopping for cold medicine in Food Lion, alongside a pretty lady who was also looking at cold meds. Big wedding ring, obviously local, and keeping her eyes straight ahead. So mostly to test her reaction, I said that with all the varieties of meds, it was hard to make a selection.

Now in my past experiences, this could have gone a couple ways. She might have run screaming to the store security guy, complaining about that obnoxious biker making comments to her. It happens, and it's happened to me.

More likely, she could have ignored me.

Instead, she replied with a big smile that it WAS a tough decision. And I was walking away, she stopped me and asked a question I'll never forget. She said, "Has anyone thanked you for coming down to Bike Week? If not, I'd like to." I was stunned.

Just a new minutes later, I found myself next to her in the checkout line, and told her that in 43 years of riding, going places to party, no one had EVER....EVEN ONCE....thanked me for visiting their town. I told her that I, and most of my friends, have had negative experiences, and that I'd even been "asked" to leave town a few times! (a few?) She laughed, and said the locals were glad to have us, even letting me use her discount card for my purchases. Now that, folks, is nice. Go to Bike Week at OBX, patronize the locals, and relax. Terrific place and the people there are even better!!!!

(Footnote to that little story: Some peeps speculated that Ms. OBX Housewife may have had another motive for striking up the conversation with me, but rather than get into details, I'll just follow the rules Mark set for the event: What Happens in OBX Stays in OBX!)

Here's a few more photos from the weekend! Enjoy!

Fred bought me this AWESOME t-shirt!!! Shown here, being pre-worn by Linda. Long story about pre-worn t-shirts...Stay tuned.


My bike! Really, it's right there. Look hard and you'll see it.

Look, Ma, no hands! With a Facebook update as a finale!

Cowboy, Fred, Charlie, and Mark

OBX? Do it.