Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Maybe Someday I'll "Rally"

Regarding our DIS Rally just past, and scooter rallies in general...

My experiences with the great outdoors starting from a very young age were fairly limited, the most adventurous being leaving my backyard to play in the neighbor's backyard.  Each summer, the pastor of our parish would treat all of us altar boys to the annual "altar boy picnic" which was held in the grove across the road from the parish cemetery.  Even traipsing from the enclosed pavilion to the remote bathroom was high adventure for me as I made my way between the sparse scattering of pine trees along the way.  Although I had been a Cub Scout and enjoyed perusing the official Cub Scout manual in regards to camping and other fun supposedly to be had in the out-of-doors, at very best all of that sounded great on paper.  My true adventures were lived vicariously through the characters in the comic books that my beloved grandfather would get for me from a friend who worked at a printery.

Unfortunately, that's the mindset with which I approach the concept of a scooter rally.  In essence, I'm still that chicken little kid who believes that sleeping in a tent in the woods somewhere ought best be approached as would neurosurgery deep inside the skull - i.e., only to be done in the most extreme, emergency, it's this or die situation.  Add to that my fear of making a somewhat long trip on the scooter because I am apprehensive about breaking down where authorized repair shops are few and far between, and my absolute hatred of possibly becoming cold and wet while riding through weather that doesn't necessarily adjust itself for a planned scooter rally, and, like the camping section of the old Cub Scout manual, it all sounds much better on the printed page than I imagine it might turn out to be in reality.

To be certain, I know I am missing out on a lot of fun and camaraderie when I make an appearance at a local rally for only a few hours during daylight that features plenty of sunshine and no threat of rain.  All of the men and women I have met over the course of the past few years since our local group, Disorganized Individual Scooterists (DIS), was formed are great people and I have enjoyed every minute that I've spent with them.  When it comes to thinking about sliding into a tent knowing that the nearest bathroom is a football field's distance away, or scootering home in the dark along back roads and byways that I don't really know, that old chicken is alive and well and prudently limits himself to the brightest of daylight hours.

I was thrilled to see my BV 250s brother, Fran's Touring model, at the rally!

Admittedly, like Rudolph might have been when he approached the reindeer games for the first time, I also have a cautious respect for the scooter games that are often played at rallies.  I have dropped the Piaggio three times and each time I feared more for the sake of the bike than I did for myself.  Thus, the thought of trying to align my bike with a 2 x 4 sitting on some sort of fulcrum and riding across it without falling over is not something to which I would look forward with great relish.  I have a hard enough time getting up my nerve to leave a paved surface and drive across gravel or dirt while stone cold sober, never mind opening the throttle and rushing toward certain doom, especially with a few beers in me.

Robin's absence was deeply felt by all with whom she shared her gentle spirit.

I went to this year's rally of our group mainly to attend the wedding of Carl and Megan which was the highlight of the rally itself, and I went in the car because I was bringing a guest and our combined weight on the scooter would have exceeded the manufacturer's limit.  Even if I had gone alone, though, I'm not sure I would've taken the bike because after a few good hours of riding hard in the heat it's beginning to sputter, backfire, and stall, and I have no idea what to do about it.  As I said somewhere up above, authorized Piaggio repair shops aren't exactly as ubiquitous as Walmarts, and I dread the thought of possibly waiting hours for a tow truck to arrive to cart my scooter to the place where I usually have it serviced.

Unfortunately, a mishap on the evening before pushed the wedding back a few hours from its scheduled time, but that became fortuitous to me because I had the opportunity to meet up with some new folks not only from our own group, but from the Three Mile Island and Royal Bastards groups from Harrisburg and Philly, respectively, as we waited for the ceremony to begin.  The gentleman with me in the photo immediately above, from the TMI group, wrote this about the rally on Facebook:

I get to the scooter rally at 11 p.m. last night after a two and a half hours scooter ride in the pouring rain to find the party happening better yet my tent was already put up with my stuff inside. this is why I scooter, scooter people are the best you will ever find. Going to have a blast at dis wedding rally!

Guys like this, and his friends who tended to his needs, are the main reasons that I wish I was much less of a chicken.  He's absolutely right in writing here and in saying in my conversation with him that scooter people are truly a unique breed.  It seems at the rallies I've been to that whether you've known somebody there for a few minutes or half a lifetime, there's a bond there unlike any other.  Just about anybody would give you the shirt off his back if you expressed a desire to have it, and would do so gladly with a smile.

Can I imagine myself with these guys and ladies laughing and joking and just having a fantastic time well into the evening around perhaps a campfire?  Heck yeah!  But in the same way that I thought spending a night in the woods back when I was 10 sounded like it would be a blast - as long as it was just an entertained thought and not something I'd actually have to do.

So do any groups have scooter rallies at motels?  On weekends with guaranteed great weather?  A mile or two from where I live?  With games like Parcheesi?   Probably not.  Sigh!  But for those of you who are more adventurous than I, these groups have upcoming rallies that I'll miss with regret...


Deb said...

I just found your blog and plan to follow it! Great post!

I too am a "chicken" to the discomforts of camping, but still have the desire to try a camping scooter rally.

Around here the pickin's are slim for fellow scooterists of such an inclination, so I will live vicariously through my fellow bloggers!

Glad you guys had a blast!

Joe said...

Likewise, Deb! I followed your profile to discover RUCKUS SCOOTER LOVE and added a link over to you.