Author Topic: Annual Rally  (Read 265 times)

Offline mr72

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Annual Rally
« on: October 15, 2019, 05:01:23 PM »
Many of you know this, but I bought my GS as my first adult road motorcycle at the tender age of 43 because my dad had taken up motorcycling again in retirement and was constantly asking me to go ride with him. That was summer of 2016.

My dad had gone with my brother the prior year to a charity "Vintage and European" motorcycle rally and show held in Luckenback TX, which you might know is really kind of an event venue made famous by Willie Nelson, about 15 miles from Fredricksburg TX. This is about a two hour ride along super scenic roads and through quaint hill country towns from my place in Cedar Park.

The first year we planned to ride to the show but my bike couldn't be made to run and actually was in the shop getting the world's slowest top end rebuild done at the time of the show. Whole reason I hired someone to do this work was to have the bike ready for the late October trip but anyway that's water (and a thousand dollars) under the bridge. So we drove to it that year and enjoyed the show a lot, just Saturday. They have events all day on Friday as well, plus a movie outdoors and a camping area and other activities into the night that we never took part in. The next year my GS was reasonably reliable and we rode out there only for me to have the starter fail while in Luckenbach so we had to push start it to get it home but still it was a very nice motorcycle day trip, we left early Saturday and came home in the late afternoon the same day. Last year we planned to go up on Friday and take a tent, set up camp (and actually stay in a nearby hotel), but have a home base and be able to hang around for the evening festivities, but as Central TX is wont to do, there was a giant rain storm that hit so we canceled Friday and again I drove the Jeep up there Saturday to ford the mud and we still enjoyed what was an abbreviated show.

Well it's that time again this year. About a week or two after last year's Harvest Classic, I bought my Triumph. Since then I basically quit riding my GS500 for better or for worse. Again this year we have planned to go to the show early on Friday and we booked a campsite and registered for the whole weekend. We packed my little easy-up beach tent which will serve just as a place for us to stash our stuff during the day there and to go just to rest or if we get tired of milling about the show, in a pinch if there's rain it gives us some place to go. I booked a hotel in Fredricksburg for the night, primarily because the onsite camping has no running water facilities at all, and frankly I'm not sure just how much sleep we would get in the middle of a bunch of (more civilized, non-Harley ...) bikers camping in the woods.

Should be a fun outing. We're leaving early Friday AM and plan to be there when the gates open. We'll probably wind up riding home in the dark on Saturday unless we're just tired of being there. I test-rode with the tent (which is 40" long, packed) along with a folding chair strapped to the pillion on my Bonnie and it seems it'll work out ok. I'll also pack my clothes and other stuff in a dry bag and use a little soft-side cooler for drinks and food to keep at the event.

Offline cbrfxr67

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Re: Annual Rally
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2019, 05:30:36 PM »

awwzome,... cant wait to see some pics!  I'm sure you're going to get pics right (nudge nudge) haha

Sounds like good times.  Last weekend's weather would have been GREAT for that.  I dunno about this weekend :dunno_black: mosquitos back out in legion here in Houston, muggy, hot, sweaty,... :dunno_white:
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Offline mr72

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Re: Annual Rally
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2019, 05:47:06 PM »
I'll try to remember to take pictures. Might even mount the action cam up on the bike and get some on the road video.

It's muggy and off and on rainy here in the NW Austin suburbs now too, but the forecast for Fredricksburg this weekend actually looks pretty solid. Highs mid 80s (maybe upper 80s Sat) and lows in the low 60s, 10% chance of rain Sat and none on Friday. Should be near perfect for such an event. There's abundant shade in spots in Luckenbach and of course we'll have our tent. I just REALLY don't want to have to ride on those roads in the rain, so I'll take a little heat instead.

Offline mr72

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Re: Annual Rally
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 12:51:23 PM »
We had a nice trip overall but it was saved by an unexpected event that was happening.

First off we left my dad's house in Leander before sunrise and intended to ride US 29 to Burnet, left on US 281 through Marble Falls to Johnson City and then onto US 290 towards Fredricksburg. Not really my preferred route but my dad was concerned about deer on FM 1431 which is a much more scenic and enjoyable route to Marble Falls than 29+281.

First we ran into a traffic jam on 29 in Liberty Hill that was due to a wreck in front of the high school. We sat parked in traffic about 15 minutes then I talked my dad into pulling over into a parking lot so we could repack part of his gear which was hanging over his tail light. We got underway and rode about 15 minutes until we were just inside the Burnet city limit and I noticed one of the straps holding my dad's gear on was loose so I motioned for us to pull over. When we stopped we discovered a problem much worse than his flapping strap: his Shadow 750 was leaking a LOT of fuel. Like a faucet. I turned off the petcock real fast and then we investigated and found the fuel pump had broken its mount some years ago and allowed the inlet fuel hose to rub on the frame, and it had finally worn through and there was a hole about 2mm in diameter in the fuel hose about 1.5" from the end in the elbow. We chopped the end of the hose off and made a temporary repair by fitting the cut hose back to the fuel pump but in the process discovered that the hose itself was old and cracked and it would not seal, but at least the leak went from faucet to drip. We put everything back and rode into town a few miles to the nearest auto parts store, bought a couple of feet of new fuel line and then went into the parking lot and made a good repair. Couple of precisely-placed zip ties kept everything in place and then we were off only about an hour or so behind schedule. At least by that time it had warmed up a bit; it was about 51F when we left before sunrise and by the time we got rolling in Burnet it was about 55 and the sun was up.

The rest of the trip to Luckenbach was uneventful. Once it warmed up to near 60 it was far more pleasant. But I'm still no big fan of that route. If I had it to do over again, I'd do a lot differently (and I will, next year!), among which would be to plan a longer route on 2-lane twisty roads rather than 29/281/290 which are all big 4+1 lane US highways through mostly wide open ranch land with boring views most of the way and 65-70mph just straight line drudgery.

Once we got there, we turned into the "parking lot" looking for the moto camping area. Unfortunately we had turned into the wrong place. This lot had recently been "resurfaced" with what we commonly call "road base" around here, which is a loose limestone gravel with stones about the size of golf balls up to baseball size. It's a horrible surface to ride a 460lb road motorcycle on, let me tell you. I felt the rocks rolling out from under my tires and both tires skipping off of them the entire time, right up until at sub walking pace the rear tire slipped out from under me and the bike went down in a millisecond. Broke my left side bar end mirror, broke a turn signal lens, put a heinous gouge in the left side engine case (!!!, I mean, $$$!) and bent the snot out of the gear lever. One of the trials pit crews was nearby and they lent me tools enough to straighten the handlebar and bend the shift lever back close enough to ride it without breaking it (it's cast aluminum...).

We made camp, then later found the proper camping area, and then just moved camp on foot since it was only a few hundred yards away. Then we gingerly rode on that horrid surface over to the moto camping area, and my dad very nearly dumped his bike because any brake would lock the tires. Lovely.

Anyway, once that frustration was over with we noticed something interesting happening. There were a lot more marked trials areas than in previous years. I heard the sound of two strokes in the distance and we hustled over to where the crowd was. Turns out this year in addition to the normal range of local and geriatric trials riders, they had attracted the "Trial Pro" circuit for a stop and preliminaries began at 11 am on Friday, which is right when we arrived. Pro trials riders from all over were there for the competition. We watched the Trial 2 (under 18) group, followed by the women's pros and then the men's pros, including the amazing Pat Smage. If you haven't seen this guy, you are missing out. We watched all of the trials until they finished around 3:30 pm, then we hit the swap meet and fooled around until about 5, zipped over to the hotel and checked in, then came back by 6 for the Splatter Wall contest.

Splatter Wall is a trials exhibition where all of the riders come out to show off and do this obstacle that basically is a wall that is lifted in 6" increments starting at 4' by a forklift, the riders have to make it up the wall on the rear wheel (no skidpad, no dabs). They each get two tries on the wall to make it up cleanly and if they don't, they get knocked out. Record for women was 6' and for men was Pat Smage at 8.5'. Mostly the 4' to 6' range was a bunch of tricks and showing off because it was a cinch for the riders. For example, Pat Smage would typically just ride right up to the wall, stop and track-stand, then in one stroke go straight up, landing in a standing wheelie, and then ride a nose wheelie down the exit ramp after doing a series of kick turns on the top platform. But once it was over 6' it turned into more of a contest and less of a show. Amazing women's pro Louise Forsley made 7.5' and most of the Trial 2 guys were knocked out by that time as well. Then it took four tries but Pat Smage eventually made an incredible 9 feet.

Anyway, after this it was late, we got out by about 9:30 and ran over to Fredricksburg in search of dinner and our hotel. We left our little tent and campsite unattended overnight.

Next morning we had do to something like observed trials on 500 lb road bikes just to get to our campsite because these incredibly inconsiderate knuckleheads decided to build their camps and park their bikes right smack in the middle of the gravel road that led though the camping area. I really thought for a minute I wasn't going to be able to fit my Bonneville between the tents and bikes just to get to our campsite. But we got there, got parked, then hung around a little while doing a lot of nothing until the trials started up again. Friday was prelims and Saturday was the knockout rounds. They had one or two sections before noon, then we went into the bike show at around noon. By this time it was getting very hot and unpleasant out there. There were a lot fewer bikes than in previous years, and most of them were the same ones as were there for the past couple of years, so it wasn't super great. We'd seen it all before many times. Then we went back to watch more trials. Of course Louise Forsley won for the women and Pat Smage won for men.

Since we bought the weekend pass we were entitled to the BBQ dinner which we were told was to be at "6ish", after the awards and raffle giveaway which we knew from years past to run very late. And all of this was to start after the trials ended, which also ran late. Considering our options, we decided to not ride home in the dark and took off at about 4 and it was about 95F and miserable by then.

Next year? No way we're going for two days. We'll probably do the trip but like in years past I think we'll just pack a couple of camp chairs and a cooler and ride up on Saturday morning, ride home in the afternoon, and avoid the nutty crowd in the camping area. Also this year there were about 10x as many Harleys as in years past and I don't know why, but I noticed that the number of inconsiderate jerks were proportionate to the number of Harleys so I wonder if it's a coincidence. This is a "vintage and European" rally ... usually has more Vespas than Harleys. Not so this year.

That's it. Sorry it's so long. Carry on.

Offline cbrfxr67

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Re: Annual Rally
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2019, 02:48:02 PM »
Good read!  Thanks for sharing!  Never heard of any of the trials stuff so that's kind of cool.
Really szzzzucks! about dumping the bike though :cry:

THat on road repair part reminds me of roadkill :icon_razz: Freiburger and Finnegan
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Offline ShowBizWolf

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Re: Annual Rally
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 09:12:44 PM »
I enjoyed reading it too!! I know exactly the kinds of rocks you were talking about and I couldn't agree more... totally sucks on a bike.

Now I'm hungry for bbq !!! :icon_mrgreen:
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Offline mr72

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Re: Annual Rally
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 01:22:02 AM »
Haha! we skipped the BBQ and headed back homeward and ate at Longhorn Steakhouse. We both had the flatiron. Good stuff.