Monday, September 20, 2010

Rally at Memfis, baby!

September 14, 2009

This weekend, I finally got back into the motorscooter rally mode, though not exactly as I had wanted, but rallying nonetheless.
I have been planning on and looking forward to the Dead Elvis scooter rally in Memphis for some time, my first rally in  over a year, after a number of medical atrocities. I was riding my Elite 250, and Sandy was tailgunning in her Explorer.  When we started to leave, I found, without warning, that I was just not ready to ride 5-6 hours to the rally. I was tired, my pacemaker was cycling, my hips and knees were hurting, and I just was not up to it. This is a very hard thing for me, as I have always been one to ride to events, and not one to trailer, and fairly proud of it. This time, however, it just did not work for me. I, of course, do not have a suitable trailer, and no way to carry the scooter.  My alternative here turned out to be to simply leave the Elite 250 here at home, and load up my mobility scooter on the Explorer’s carrier, and take an "alternative" form of scooter to the rally. This actually turned out better than anticipated, and I had a really good time. 
When we arrived Friday, Sandy and I were frustrated trying to find the hotel, and when we finally did, going anywhere else was a pain; to get anywhere, we had to know the shortcuts to get out of there, and we didn’t know them. The maps we had were more-or-less useless. We ended up on the I-55 bridge going into Arkansas trying to go downtown.  When we did make it back to the hotel, we did not dare try to go anywhere for dinner, and ended up ordering by phone from one of the places listed in the rally propaganda, and we had pasta delivered to the hotel, and it was very good.  We missed the registration at Calhoun’s Sports Bar, and we don’t do late-night partying, so we ended up staying at the hotel.
Saturday morning, there was late registration and a breakfast burrito bust in the park next to the hotel, and a great time had by all.  The day group ride was, of course, Elvis centered, and I have no interest in Elvis - I had no use for him when he was alive, and certainly don’t now, but the ride was interesting. The stops were the Sun Records studios, always interesting, Supercycle (Elvis’s bike builder), and Graceland. No, I did not take the tour, so Sandy and I had a couple of hours to go back to the hotel and rest.  A bit later, the whole rally group met up at the hotel, and rode en masse to Metro Moto, the Vespa purveyor in Memphis. For a bit of nostalgia, follow a huge group of scooters through town, many of them being vintage Vespas and Lambrettas, and smell that two-stroke exhaust smoke…  Metro Moto is a very nice store, and the folks there simply set up big round portable tables, iced kegs, and music in the parking lot in front of the store,  and Central Barbeque brought in killer food.  The weather cooperated, and good times were had. Later, a huge raffle went on, and awards were given for many catagories.  The Birmingham Scooter Syndicate made an impressive showing, taking the Best Club Turnout trophy,  and BSS members taking trophies for Furthest Ridden (done on a 125!), Best Modern Vespa, Best Modern Other (Dib’s Big Ruckus), Best Stella, Best Rat Bike, and Best of Show. 
Sunday morning, a mass breakfast was had at the Arcade Cafe, Memphis’ oldest restaurant (1919) and Elvis’s favorite breakfast place. Good food!
The Memphis Kings scooter club did a bang-up job, and must be shamelessly commended.
So, I am back into rally mode after all this time, but not exactly as I had wanted.  One thing that has become clear is that I am no longer up to long rides to faraway rallies.  This is a heartbreaker for me. I have always been the one to ride to stuff, and have never been afraid of long rides. In just the last few years, I have ridden the Silver Wing to Johnson City TN, to the Gulf Coast several times, to Louisiana, etc. I have flogged the Elite 250 to Knoxville TN, Madison GA, Chattanooga TN, the Gulf Coast, etc etc. I have done 1000 mile weekends onthe 250.  All this may be at an end, I dunno.  I will continue to ride the Silver Wing wherever I go, but traveling on the 250 is more difficult.
So I may actually be one to wuss out and trailer the 250 to far-off events, to become one of those I have made fun of all these years.
My S10 pickup is ready to take a small trailer, and the Explorer can be adapted very quickly; It has a Class III frame hitch already, which carries the lift for the mobility scooter. This can be rather easily slid out, and a ball reciever slid in, and the four-wire light connector is already there.  So it will now be my project to find a suitable small-to-medium trailer to use when I become a trailer wuss going to events.  A long way down for me, but apparently one of those things…

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