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Friday, September 02, 2005

Rally On The River, II . . . 

Since I promised, and since some have asked, I really should finish posting about last weekend's Rally on the River.     Due to some previous commitments late into the afternoon on Thursday, we didn't travel up for the "kick-off" party that was held at the local dealership on Thursday evening, but waited until early Friday morning to make the ride up.     The weather was perfect for an early-morning ride, and we (my s.o. and I and another couple we frequently ride with) stopped about thirty-plus miles north of home and ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel before heading the rest of the way on into Chattanooga (approx. an hour-plus ride from the Cracker Barrel).

We arrived at our hotel around 10:00 a.m. and the City, the streets, even the hotel parking lot and parking garage were already filled with bikes.     We had arranged for early check-in, so we finalized our transactions, unpacked the bags from the backs of the bikes, visited our rooms to unload and to change clothes, and headed down to the Tennessee River at Ross's Landing where the event was taking place.     We arrived at one of the designated parking areas and made our way to one of the gates -- flashing our mandatory wristbands at each checkpoint -- and entered into the Rally.     It was a sea-of-bikers, most wearing their Chapter colors, and all moving from display, vendor and musical stage like kids at an amusement park.

One of the vendors that caught my eye was Tribe American Leathers from Scottsdale, Arizona.     He had some amazing jackets, halters, vests, and such -- all hand-made and hand-decorated.     I really liked his fringed leather halters, and was having a difficult time deciding between three different colors.     Instead of narrowing it down to only one, I finally decided to buy two -- one is a deep forest green with a hint of blue undertones, and has a small silver and black medallion tooled into the center of the "V" neck, and the other one is a chocolate brown with silver studs (round beads) mounted completely around the neckline, following the "V" pattern of the neckline from shoulder strap to shoulder strap.     Both have plenty of fringe, too.     And, the prices were unbelieveable.     I purchased both for less than what one would have cost elsewhere.     And they come with a warranty; he will repair or replace most damages and lost metalwork.

Another vendor that I visited later in the event was the I-Beam tent.     These are custom glasses, especially for riding -- they guarantee no wind will get behind the frames, so that you don't have to wear goggles when riding.     I was skeptical, but the guy swore by his guarantee - he was telling everyone who purchased a pair to go out on the Interstate and try them out (they're tested up to 200 m/p/h, and guaranteed not to fly off your face at that speed, too) and, if you were dissatistfied with the glasses, bring them back, and he would immediately refund your money.     They weren't cheap, but they had a good feel and fit to them, along with good dark lenses for cutting the glare.     I bought a pair, knowing that if they didn't keep the wind out, I would bring them back before the end of the Rally for a refund.

WOW!, what an amazing pair of glasses!     No more bug-eyed goggles for me.      These glasses do exactly what they promise to do (and look good in the process).     I got small, silver-mirrored frames with slightly mirrored lenses.     The glasses I got are not shown on the website because they are the newest product line that I-Beams is carrying.     But, you can check out their site to see their other products by clicking on the link above.

Willie-G was also at the event.     He was signing autographs for an hour each day, and you could only get in to see him if you had been lucky enough to receive a ticket to stand in line to meet him (distributed by event staff on a "somewhat" random basis).     We had a chance to circle around to the back of where he was signing autographs and managed to get a couple of photos of him from the side of the tent.     They're not the greatest photos because of the lighting, but, hey!, . . . it was Willie-G!

We also traveled over to the local dealership on Saturday (which is approximately 20+ miles away from the rally event), and they had practically as many vendors in and around their parking lot as the H.O.G. Rally event had on the River.     My s.o. found a new helmet at one vendor that he came looking for me to tell me that I "had-to-buy" and, when he took me to see it, he was right.     It was a purple snakeskin helmet, trimmed out in black leather - and it was gorgeous.     I used to have a pair of purple snakeskin pumps that I wore all the times - that I absolutely loved - and these reminded him (and me) of those shoes.     Naturally, I had to have this helmet!     I asked the guy if he happened to have any boots to match, but he didn't.     So, now my mission is to search for a pair of purple snakeskin boots that I can wear while riding the bike that will match my helmet.     Won't that be a cool look?

I also bought a few new t-shirts, some new patches for my vests - including a great Betty Boop one where she's riding a Harley, and a classy small, round sticker for the back window of my car (black with orange flames and an eagle).

To top all of that, there was an artist at the dealership who was doing custom hand-painted detailing on bikes.     We had something added to the top of our gas tank.     On our bike, there is a strip of leather and braid that runs down the center of the gas tank.     On either side of the leather, we had the artist paint a single feather, with several streamers.     Each feather is painted on the inside with red, white and blue to resemble an American flag.     My s.o. has Cherokee Indian in his heritage, and the feathers pay tribute to both his family history, and to our country's history.     The guy did a fantastic job with the artwork, and he had never done anything like this before (he had painted feathers, but never with this type of design), so he took photos and will be using our bike on his website to showcase the new work that he created.     I'll try to post some photos of the artwork as soon as I can snap some pictures.

On Friday, we took the opportunity to take the cruise down the River on the Southern Belle Riverboat, which was offering free cruises for all Harley rally attendees.     I've been on the Riverboat many times for various dinner cruises, and dance cruises, and this one was a mini-sightseeing tour of the areas along the Tennessee River.     Even though I'm originally from the area, I'll take any excuse to spend time on the water.     On Saturday evening, they hosting a dance party on the stationary barge that is the dock for the Southern Belle Riverboat.     The barge has plenty of tables, a bar, and a decent sized area for dancing.     The D.J. was playing some great music, too.     We 'bumped-into' some other friends from our local Chapter at the rally, and we all headed down to the barge for a couple of hours of dancing and listening to music.

All-in-all, it was a great trip (despite the fact that I ended up with a bit of a sunburn).     And, I can say from experience, Harley bikers are some of the nicest people I have ever met!

Category::   This Thing Called "Life"


(c)     2005  &n Substitutibsp; A Southern Belle's Life

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