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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gettysburg Bike Week 2011

Interested in mixing a US history lesson with hot babes and Harleys? If so, you just can't beat the annual Gettysburg Bike Week which rolled out the red carpet for bikers from July 7th through the 10th! Gettysburg is a great place, and when you roll across the border, those who chose could shed their helmets. No helmet law! It felt damn good to get a little wind in my hair, and even better because of the 95+ temps. Summertime!

Every bar and restaurant welcomed bikers, which is a good thing since I heard that around 20,000 bikes showed up. And every hotel within a 30 mile radius was booked solid! No room at the inn, y'all, and late arrivals without reservations were getting turned away! Like everywhere else, Gettysburg hotel room rates doubled overnight, and if you were looking for a bargain in lodging, even booking early, there were no deals unless you were packing a tent.

Bros of mine headed up the first day of the event, sucking up the early fun, but work kept me away until Saturday morning when I rolled out of Alexandria, VA, just before 8AM. By 10 AM I was in 94 miles up the road, in Gettysburg, PA, and that included a stop for an awesome breakfast at Cozy Restaurant in Thurmont, MD. Home cookin! I got turned onto this place by the cutest blonde you ever saw, and it's worth a visit if you're ever in the area. No, not her...the restaurant!

First stop, just south of town..... 
PS Never tell anyone at Gettysburg you'll meet them at the cannon. There are more cannons than people. No kidding.

I rode into Gettysburg, deciding to head for the center of town, and then head off to find the campground where the rally was headquartered. Amazingly, in my very first lap of Lincoln Square, and not yet halfway around, I hear someone shouting "Cowboy, Cowboy", among all the racket! Now that's saying something. I'm partially deaf and didn't have my hearing aids in. And I was riding the Joker which is a LOUD motorcycle, plus I'm surrounded by more bikes. That, my friends, speaks volumes for the lung power of Linda and Beverly. Just sayin, LOL. But it was good to run into my peeps, purely by chance, literally within minutes of rolling into town. You can't plan stuff like that. It never works out.

Linda and Charlie (Magellan?...a possible nickname for Charlie due to his habit of getting peeps un-lost.) were there. Also John, Bev, Harley, Beth, and Steve, with Beth and Steve just in from the UK. They're mates of Linda and Charlie, also from the UK, and it's totally cool to have our Bros from the UK help us party. As a side note, Steve reckons the ratio of Harleys to non-Harleys is exactly opposite at the UK biker events.

We split up after a round or two of backslapping and telling new stories, so I headed for the Granite Hill Campground where the rally was located. Others were heading south, going back home, and some had other agendas. And there was one straggler, Sol, who we had not yet run into, so I wanted to find him.

And here's a hats-off to my crew. We do NOT have to be joined at the hip to have fun. We see each other now and then, but we also go our separate ways and do things individually. This may not suit everyone's taste, but it's the only way to go as far as I'm concerned. Trying to organize and plan just doesn't work out all the time, so why get frustrated trying!

Off to the venue!

Sol, snapping a photo, and John Duffy right behind, waiting his turn.....for a photo.

Ken Appel

Lots and lots of bikes

The rally venue was at Granite Hill Campground, about 5 miles outa town on Rt 116, where there was a stage, vendors, a show area, contest area, and even a high-wire act! I wasn't there last year, but I'm told this was a new location. I got there pretty early, so it was relatively easy to get in and out, but that was to change later in the day. Read on.....

The usual crop of sunglass vendors were there, which makes me wonder if there can possibly be a market for that many vendors selling the same thing. Or maybe the markup is just so unbelievably high that they only need to sell 2 or 3 pair to make the trip worthwhile.

I was glad to see a few parts vendors so I could do some hands-on shopping. Online shopping is OK, but when it comes to handlebars, risers, and more serious stuff, "touch and feel" shopping is a good thing. I hate seeing tinny junk wrapped in tons of plastic showing up on my doorstep. I was specifically looking for a set of handlebars for the Joker, and found some nice Roland Sands Vintage mini-apes. These bars are pricey, but seeing them in-person gave me an appreciation for the quality of the welds and construction, and I think I'm going to spring for a set.

And there were more vendors, babes, and bikes!

Dan Kite was there. He did the artwork on the Joker down in OBX

Find Charlie's Ironhead!

Other areas around Gettysburg.......

And that wrapped it up. Sorta. 

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I missed out on the music Saturday night at Granite Hill Campground. Me and about 3 miles of bikes crawled east along Rt 116, with bikes overheating and riders melting down along the way. Many folks, including me, gave up and turned around, unable to get back to the rally. I'm sure the traffic coming in from the west was just as bad, and I shudder to think what the locals thought just trying to get to/from their homes. It was pretty damned bad, and it ain't gonna work for next year. I hope the hell the organizers realize that!

But I had a good time. It is what you make of it, right? Hard to have a bad time when you're on your motorcycle, surrounded by cute ladies, with cold beverages and good food aplenty! Yeeehawwwww!