Saturday morning I geared up and headed to the meeting point to join up with the boys in the club. Baller showed up on his King, but the old girl started to make an awful noise. Sounded to me like a lifter, but he thought it was probably a bearing. He called a Brother and headed out to swap bikes for the day (the problem did turn out to be a lifter, but it really doesn’t matter). About ten other guys from the club showed and we all headed down to road to meet up with Rubio and Baller on his borrowed ride.
By this time we had picked up a few stragglers and were about 18 bikes strong. We rolled onto the island and I quickly noticed the steep prices for parking. Folks in a cage were paying up to $40 for a parking space! Now, the island is still a mess from the hurricane and the businesses there desperately need the influx of monies to get back on their feet, but $40 is a bit unconscionable.
We found our way into a private party where the gumbo, beer, and margaritas were free. We sipped the frozen drinks in quiet homage to the first margarita ever made. The drink was invented a mile or so from where we stood at the Balinese Room which was destroyed during hurricane Ike. The quiet didn’t last too long, however, you see the drinks were free. Next thing you know our crew is friggin legless and crawling around the island looking at all the vendors and checking out the bikes. The place was pretty packed and, from what I was told, Saturday’s showing was larger than Friday’s. That seems par for the course for me.
I did see a few cool rides and a few folks I hadn’t seen in a while. For example, this badass quad with a v-twin power plant, I have been hitting rallies since the late 80’s and have never seen a set up like this one before. There was also a really sweet trike cruising the strand.
Sunday I returned to the rally with my youngest daughter. Her older sister has been going to rallies with me since she was about two months old, and this was her second time to this rally in her short one and a half year life. We always have a good time together and I try to take the girls to locations during times when the rally is calm. Not because I am worried about her at all, but I understand that a lot of us are out to have a good time and don’t necessarily want to have to dodge a stroller on our vacation. Sunday was perfect as the place was really dead. I think the Saturday festivities went on far longer than I stayed. I imagine everyone was still in a campsite, hotel room, or on the beach nursing a serious hangover.
Xaiden and I strolled down the empty strand, checking out the bikes and just hanging out together. You will never guess who we ran into… Michael Lichter. For those of you who don’t know him, he is the man most likely responsible for all those custom bike photos you drool over in the garage. Lichter has been photographing for Easyriders Magazine since the magazine was fairly new and he has been putting on some amazing exhibitions of photos and bikes during the Sturgis Rally since 2000 or so. You need to check out his website at: www.lichterphoto.com. Anyway, He was shooting a model on a bike for the Easyriders Catalog. We stopped by and said hello. He was using a sweet new Nikon camera that has not even been released yet, and his poor model had a broken leg. I am willing to bet you won’t see that in the catalog shots.
We left Michael to do his work and made another pass down the strand. Then we sat for a while and watched the people slowly trickle into the streets as the vendors awoke and the engines came to life. Before we knew it, we were heading back to Houston to have lunch and call it a day.
The Lone Star Rally is always a good time, it is a free event (if you don’t park in a lot), a ton of people show up, drinks are cheap for a rally (about $3 for a 16oz beer), and the weather is always good. No, you don’t have the beautiful waters of Daytona, you don’t have the amazing riding of Sturgis, you don’t have the gorgeous landscape of Laconia, and you don’t even have the tourist attractions of Myrtle Beach; but, the rally is always worth it, good friends, good food, good drink, and a good excuse to get out and be together. Come out next year and say hello… You can find me in a gutter on Saturday, or pushing a stroller down the strand at some ungodly hour on Sunday.
Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,
Father, daughter enjoy Lone Star Rally
Xaiden Linton does a wheelie in her stroller as her father, Matt Linton, pushes her down The Strand to see the motorcycles Sunday on the final day of the Lone Star Rally.