Our ride to the venue yesterday, (just like today), was uneventful and stress free, especially since we had pre-ridden the route the day before. However, our trip back to the motel yesterday was, hmmm.....spectacularly horrible! We left the venue just about 5:00 pm (dumb move) and the traffic was so intense. We left the venue and rode maybe three blocks before merging onto the 101 freeway. OMG, the 101 was packed. On ramps were all metered. Our turn came to merge onto the freeway and we immediately made a beeline to the HOV lane. Now, the HOV lane was moving along nicely, a bit faster than I would like (maybe 75 and the speed limit was 65) but moving. Great, I'm okay with that. But, the traffic was horrendous! All five lanes were packed with many peeps making stupid moves. You know, all of a sudden everyone hits their brakes. Why??? (sympathetic braking), No reason, no wrecks, no cops, no nothing but they all stomp on the brakes! Gack!!! I hated it!! And, it was HOT and the traffic was horrible, (so like, normal Phoenix traffic). I was so excited to see our exit coming up. We live at a place that really doesn't have traffic and I am not used to it and I really hate it! You have to be so constantly on guard. People do stupid things, (duh like always!!
!). (Note: I so admire you folks who tackle this daily - not me - not ever!)
We slept in a bit and made it to the hotel brekkie by 9:00am. A bit nicer than the brekkie in Flagstaff, we actually had some fresh scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits & gravy, yogurt, cherry Danish, cereal, fruit and waffles. No, I didn't eat all of that but that was the selection :-)
We didn't have to be at the venue until noon so we just hung out in the room for a few hours before gearing up to ride to the venue. Now this was going to be interesting. There really wasn't any place at the venue to change clothes but I refuse to ride without all the gear, all the time. So how to handle this? I didn't want to spend all day at the venue in riding gear - heck - it was hot out. The issue was how to wear comfortable clothes at the venue and still wear ATGATT for the ride there and back - about 30 miles each way.
I ended up wearing capris and a tee shirt and pulled my riding pants over the capris,(valet helped with socks, pulling capri pants down, boots, etc.), pulled on socks and my Sidi riding boots. Put on my jacket, helmet and gloves. Before leaving the motel, I emptied one side pannier and my top box and stuffed my flip flops in the top case along with my little butt bag that held my ID, credit cards, money, etc. Arrived at the venue and proceeded to remove the outer layer. This was very comical as I had to try and balance on one foot while pulling the pants down (after removing the boot) step out of the pants and try to not get my foot in the sand parking lot. I eventually, got the outer layer off and my flip flops on. Locked up all the bags and was ready to rock and roll.
Yippee! Comfortable clothes and a bit cooler weather, all was good. We arrived at the Maximal Tours booth around 12:30 and met up with Max and Barry. We were ready for the day!
It turned out to be a pretty slow day. (Que understatement machine), not a lot of peeps. However, the people watching was to the level of Walmart. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died and my spare batteries were back at the hotel :-(
Oh, speaking about peep watching, I only saw one, yes one, person who had on decent gear like boots, helmet, and armored jacket. He was wearing jeans but maybe they were riding jeans, I don't know.
My biggest surprise being here in Phoenix, is the total lack of riding gear. These peeps wear tank tops, shorts and flip flops when riding. I bet a bazillion bucks that Eric and I were the only peeps wearing ATGATT. People looked at us like we were from a different planet! And I looked at them the same way. I simply cannot imagine riding a bike without all the gear, period!!!!!
More about that later...
So, at the venue, very slow and few people and my camera batteries about dead doesn't make for a fun filled, exciting day or blog, hahahaha. On the other hand, Barry, Max, Eric and I had lots of time to get to know each other :-)
Eric and I took a bit of a stroll around our local booth area. Nothing exciting, just the usual patches, stickers, cheap leather goods, Tee-shirts, etc. Maybe tomorrow, (I now have fresh batteries) I can find something fun to photograph.
Regardless, from our booth perspective, here is what we have. Directly across from us is the Drive By Photos. There are several entrances to the venue where photographers are snapping away and you can go to this booth, find your picture based on the time you came in and buy your photo. What a gig! These folks are getting $24.00 for an 8x10 picture! And....people are buying...a lot of them! We found our pics but didn't buy, hahahaha.
We left the venue about 6:00 pm. Getting geared up was quite the spectacle, I'm sure. I managed to get my pants on over the capris but socks and boots--- no --- that wasn't going to happen. My honey,(Cletha's Valet), was such a sweetheart. He got my socks on my feet (hey, I was balancing on the gravel parking area) and helped me get the boots on and my pants zipped and snapped. Yay! I managed to get the jacket, helmet and gloves on by myself, no problem :-)
I was so delighted to find that the traffic on the way back to our motel was moderate and not too crazy, (so like normal Pho after 5pm traffic). The only craziness was the -motorcycles- in the HOV lane. I think they were folks leaving the venue and boy, were they crazy! Riding like fools - no gear = no fear. and I'm sure several of them were a bit boozed up, (Miller lite, eh!). Riding way to fast and weaving in and out with no signals. Gosh, I HATE that. No wonder bikers get a bad reputation. If the bike riders in AZ are a sample of bikers in general, then no surprise riders get a negative reputation.
However, we landed safely at our motel. Spent twenty minutes or so talking to some other riders from Missouri, (Cool Hoka Hey rider and his friend), and finally got into our room for a cocktail or two before dinner. (Day 2 for the QT dinner).
So that was pretty much the excitement for today. I suspect the next few days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be busier. I have fresh batteries for the camera and promise to take more pictures (for you Peeps of Walmart enthusiasts).
And, just to throw it out there, if any of you are interested in a fantastic tour of Ireland, Scotland, Alps or pretty much anywhere, (really!), Maximal Tours might be just right for you! Heck, if you decide to do one of the tours, I'll come along and blog for you!
Cheers and thanks for following my blog,