June 6th, 2011
This marks the second year that I will ride down to Austin and spend three days at the Republic of Texas bike rally. Last year was an enjoyable experience (at least what I remember from it), and I met many wonderful people. This year, I’m staying with the group I met last year, and I am sure there will be much drinking and chatting into the early morning hours. I wanted to chronicle this year’s event as a way of “kickstarting” (pardon the pun) this blog back up again
I learned a few things last year that help with my preparation for this year’s event:
1). Don’t drink liquor
It’s too damn hot, and it’s too damn easy to get drunk really quick. Now, I’m not one to “not” like a few cocktails that put me over the top, but I didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy as much of the music and the rally last year because I had either passed out or was hung-over. This year, I’m sticking with beer and water, and though I might imbibe on a toddy every now and then, it won’t be my primary choice of adult beverage.
2). Get OUT of the Expo Area
OK, so the Rally is supposed to be all inclusive. You’ve got friends, music, bikes, vendors, free coffee, food, and all the comforts of a campground. But, seriously, Austin is just 8 miles down the road. I will take an excursion or two down to some of my favorite music and drinking spots in East Austin and enjoy some Live Local Music.
3). Walk around the Parade Route
I learned last year that riding the bike around the Parade Route can be a bit “hazardous.” It really depends on the time, and the amount the other riders have been drinking. No doubt, it will be very hot during the day, but walking around the area gives you a chance to catch up with friends who are not staying in your camp area. This year, I plan on visiting the folks who are setting up their RV sites or tent sites along the parade route—Joker’s Icehouse, the local American Legion Post, and anyone else who I see that I know. I also need to find the OK Boys Bus so that we can all enjoy the midnight toast every night.
4). Enjoy the local musicians who are playing at the Expo
The “Headliners” for bike rallies tend to be the artists one might hear on a “classic vinyl” show. This year is no different—Eddie Money on Friday night, and the Doobie Brothers on Saturday. There’s nothing wrong with this, and the Rally managers know their market pretty well, but what I really enjoyed last year was hearing some of the local and regional bands playing in the smaller venues within the rally grounds. There are fewer people at these venues (which I am sure the bands do not enjoy), but the music is good and at times played with incredible passion. Seeing these local artists perform will satisfy my continuing need to hear good local music in the area. It’s not jazz, but it isn’t country either, and I’ll take most of what I can get given that we live here now.
I’ve started to pack for the ride down on Wednesday and I’ll be logging in daily once I settle in there to update my thoughts on the event. I’ll try to post some “PG” pics from the Rally too. It should be a good time! Yeah you right!