...and I'm back. I wish I had some great stories to tell about OBX Bike Week (it's actually still on as of this writing), but this time I don't have a lot of good stuff to share. One word about why: WEATHER!
Fearing the worst, I got a half-day head start and left Friday afternoon instead of Saturday morning which turned out to be a blessing. Saturday was like a warm summer day.....sunny and almost 80 all day. It was t-shirt only day for sure, but even that day got off to a rocky start.
After maligning the Ocean City Police Department about their war against bikers, and my comparison to OBX cops who (I thought) pretty much ignored bikes, I was proven wrong. As I was starting up the bike Saturday morning, a little boy and his parents passed me by, walking. He gave me the thumbs-up sign, and I returned the favor. So to give him a little thrill, I lit up Big Blue coming out of the parking lot. Pipes roaring, I hit second gear just as I was passing the family, and then looked right into the windshield of an oncoming police car. He did not ignore me.
Says on that ticket I had already hit 52 mph in a 35 speed zone. $212 bucks, in spite of an apology and admission of stupidity. The cop said he just couldn't let it slide since I was in primarily a residential area of Kill Devil Hills in broad daylight, with the whole world looking on. But after my explanation, he did say I did put on a good show for the little boy. Terrific. I can hear Mom and Dad now. "Look Billy. See what happens when you act stupid!"
But after that, I was on the way...and on the main road too! I started out at Outer Banks Harley which had the usual vendors and displays. Nothing special or new, but it was fun to see the crowd and all the bikes.
If you've never been to OBX Bike Week, you should know this: there's no single venue...no single location. It's stretched out in 4 or 5 locations for a stretch of about 10 miles. Each location has a collection of vendors, and all stops have some kind of food and drink nearby.
From OBX Harley, I started working my way down, finding Dan Kite Pinstriping back at the Longboards location. It was still early and his tent was empty, though he had several people milling around, looking at his artwork. I decided the vacant tent was a sign from above, and made the necessary inquiry about pin striping Big Blue.
We agreed on a price, I rolled it in, and with minimal direction on my part, I turned Dan loose to work his magic. I simply told him I wanted subtle colors, an Old School look, and the rest was up to him. He promised not to use pink or neon green and went to work!
Outstanding. When I first when back to see it, I actually thought he'd missed some spots since the stripes had breaks in them. And when I looked closer, I realized they actually weaved in and out of each other. Cool. And he added some black fill that really set it off. He has an amazing hand and does this stuff without a template! As you may remember, he also did the art work on the Joker. Dan will be at Sturgis this year, so if you're there, look him up.
From Longboards, I hit the Hot Leather location, on a mission to find a cargo net, bungie thing like Jeff had. They had them at Longboards, but the damn things were PINK! No way...not on my bike. Hot Leathers came through, so I got a couple of those, Jeff. Thanks for that great tip on an inexpensive way to tie down a jacket on a hot day. $6.95 for a 15"x15" stretchy net deal with a bunch of hooks. Takes up almost no space and good to carry along. I recommend black, but if you're into pink....they come that way. Just don't ride with me, boys......
Here's a couple shots from the Hot Leather location. This is also a church parking area and a Christian motorcycle club headquartered at that church offers great hospitality, food, and as much brotherhood as you're likely to get anywhere. Nice people.
From there, I rode down to Lucky 12, the must-do destination. It's a great hangout, and is what every bar should aspire to become. It's a perfect biker bar.
And from there, a little more riding and a little more eating and enjoying the hot day. Good thing too, because that heat wasn't gonna last long...
And after that, skies darkened, the wind picked up, and I called it a day. Not a bad one, at that. But this is what I woke up to and it poured down almost all day.
I got out once all day sunday for food, but didn't escape the rain. While I was munching away and watching the Caps game, the rain poured down again. I had no choice but to ride back in it and park.
Monday morning rolled around and I was due back in DC. It was 44 degrees and raining, which is no way to start a 275 mile ride. I put on the chaps and rain gear, also glad I'd tossed the long johns in at the last minute. Just in case. All the gear came in handy and was much appreciated. Otherwise, I'd have run up a big bill at the Harley dealer for new clothes to ride back in.
I literally ran the wheels off the bike coming home, rain or not. Two gas and bathroom stops, and 4 1/2 hours later, I pulled up at my condo in Alexandria, Virginia. It was no fun at all and I just wanted to get it over with. Big Blue handled like a dream in the wet weather, and kept a lot of the rain off me. I had those crash bar chaps on too, and that kept water off my legs. Big Blue gets two gold stars for the trip. Comfy and helps out when the going gets rough.
So I won't bad-mouth OBX Bike Week for weather related issues, except to say it rained on me last year too, but just not as bad. And I also remember Fred, Beth and Mark rolling into the hotel looking like they'd been swimming instead of riding. Hey, maybe I'll check the weather report more carefully before doing OBX Bike Week 2013.