Greetings campers and virtual swappers
Went nuts this year, threw caution to the wind and ran away from home to join the Cirque a couple days early. Hid out with my pal and fellow 73 Raleigh RRA sub-culter Mike Self, and whoever else showed up early. Apologies if this is even less coherent and more subdued than usual. Definitely working without a net by Sunday night, but sacrifices had to be made in the name of fun. After a few days of regular sleeping and eating patterns and things will be back to what passes for normal. Wow, where does one begin?
Unfortunately, my intended bike started disassembling itself on a test ride near home the previous weekend so I brought along something a little more reliable to ride. Mike's RRA started disassembling itself during the unofficial group ride on Friday. We took the short cut and still got lapped by the peloton at the unofficial rest stop. Every ride is a new adventure with these old heaps. Hey, we've only had a year to get those bikes ready for this event. Maybe they'll be ready by next year. Oh no, different theme next year. Maybe I'll finally finish that other project that's been "almost finished" for the last four years. Yeaaaaaaaaah, plenty of time. T minus 362 and counting.
Thought I'd found paradise at Dale's new shop. Vintage bikes hiding upstairs. Used books/cds in the store right next door. Three of my major vices catered to in one convenient location. Had to laugh though. Big crowd hanging around the shop Friday morning, waiting to hassle Dale, playing with his toys, picking up their CR jerseys, and generally annoying his long suffering but patient staff. I bet next year they'll remember how they were able to finally clear out the whole gang in a flash, with something as simple and cheap as a ride route map. And whoosh, we were gone. I seen people leave a burning building slower than that.
Learned last year that there is not enough time for me to ride on Saturday morning, ice the knees, ankles and other mutinous appendages, hose myself down, forage for food, and still get to the seminars on time. Was not about to repeat that mistake. Sorry I missed the ride, even in the rain, but the seminars were terrific. So much to learn, so little time. Maybe the official ride will start an hour earlier next year? Our British guests were great company despite the language barrier. Ray took considerable flak for his use of a particular British slang expression for "cigarette". But hey, you didn't hear ME use the American term "fanny bag" around those guys.
Didn't have the Gargoyle Suite this year so had to actually leave the room to watch the show downstairs. Great conversations and pre-ride gatherings in the hotel lobby almost every time through. The Battleground definitely needs a larger lobby and breakfast nook. Maybe even a bike rack. Hotel manager was overheard asking the desk clerk how the bikers were behaving, and the desk clerk responded, "Oh, the bikers are so much nicer than the drunks from the wedding party. The bikers act like adults". I would normally take offence at being accused of acting like an adult, but it was meant as a compliment, and I'm much happier being associated with people (adult or otherwise) who know how to really have fun than to spend a minute with a group of overdressed drunks.
Did a little swapping and bike petting, but was really there for the company this year. So much easier connecting names and faces without the added distraction of the swap frenzy. There are some delightful kooks in this group, and the extra days were well spent getting to know them a little better, and meet some new ones. Missed the smiling faces of a few who were unable to attend.
Many unfilled vacancies at work these days, so I've been on the road waaaaaay too much this year. Only May and I've already had to dig into the drawer of "music of last resort". Music that I can usually avoid for years at a time. That old 60s/70s hippie stuff that has been exiled even from the pile of old hippie stuff that still gets listened to occaisionally. Just grabbed a couple handfuls of tapes, didn't read the labels, just kept stuffing them in the tape deck in random order. Try it sometime. Every tape was a new surprise/horror. Great fun on a long summer drive. Laugh it up. You probably still remember the words too. Seemed to fit the mood especially well during the 10 minutes spent trapped in the feather blizzard behind two poultry trucks. Whoa, deja vu man. Might be time to thin out that tape stash though. Some of it has not aged well. Red Clay Ramblers were still fun, but not likely that I'll ever want to hear Ersal Hickey and the Squirrels From Hell, EVER again. Good thing I didn't spend money on that one.
Attended the first Cirque. Small, but fun, and made a couple new friends at a time when I didn't know anybody out here on the dark side. Questioned whether it was worth the 16 hour round trip and other consequences, but figured it was worth supporting if Dale was silly enough to try it again. Now I can't imagine NOT attending. The question each year is, how long can I possibly stay? Too much fun to miss. In addition to my sincerest thanks to Dale, it's probably time to include a warning to you pal. This is exactly how the Oshkosh Fly-in/airshow/swap meet got started. And now it goes on for a full WEEK each year. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Back in semi-submerged WV.