"The Three Amigo's rally"
VDOG - UK
25th - 27th April. 2008
A fully laden bike, all ready for the off. We seem to have been here before. Once again the B.R.U.B. was loaded up, this time with the added burden of a banjo, and pointed in a Northerly direction. Next stop, the Bull I'th' Thorn Inn, just this side of Buxton. Hmm, why does that name ring a bell ? Ah, the "Pissed as a parrot" rally, back in 1997. Was it really that long ago since I camped there ? Anyroad, the sun was shining, the roads were dry and I'd got a full tank of petrol - next stop, the Bull I'th' Thorn. As per normal for me, I got there only to find all the others were out on their bikes, no doubt enjoying the scenery of the Peak District. This gave me plenty of time to put the tent up and get the kettle on. To me, one of the pleasures of camping is getting to play with Primus stoves and the like. Before long the wonderful smell of methylated spirits and paraffin filled the air - closely followed by the even more wonderful smell of lamb balti. That was tea taken care of.
Before I had even finished my second cup of coffee, the sound of several Drifters could be heard, and the field suddenly became a lot fuller, Drifter-wise, than it was before. It didn't take long before folks started moving towards the pub, and the prospect of food. Now seeing as I had already eaten, I only sat on the side, so to speak. It would seem there was something strange in the food. Something that caused a rather alarming side effect. . . . . . . . . . it made you grow a set of antlers. Don't believe me ? Take a look at the picture below.
As if antlers weren't bad enough, I then proceeded to inflict more cruel and unusual punishment on these poor folks by means of a banjo - this time I was aided and abetted by certain folks playing guitar. In such a manner did the night proceed, as they say. Closing time came all too soon, and folks wandered out of the pub and back to the field. The last thing I recall was the sound of rain hitting the tent, which, strangely enough, was the last thing I remembered last week too.
Sunday morning, and the rain was falling steadily. I took a leisurely wander around the site, just chatting to folks, before packing the tent away and loading the bike up for the journey home. The rain continued for most of the way back, but at least it wasn't cold. Those wonderfully immense mudguards on the B.R.U.B are excellent for keeping the rain off. In fact, they do such a good job as the bike seldom seems dirty. Now part of my plan for the rest of today involved hanging the tent out to dry, then cleaning the bike, before heading for the classic bike show up at Stafford. Now I ain't one for cleaning bikes, but I reckon the B.R.U.B deserved a nice wash. Even with those voluminous mudguards, a fair bit of road dirt was visible, so, without further ado, the bucket and sponge was bought into play. I mean, the sun was now shining again, it was nice and warm, what better way to dry the bike out than to take it for a twenty odd mile run ? Why was it that I forgot that old curse ? "Whenever you clean your bike, it will rain later on." This is an unwritten rule - a variation of Sod's Law - something that must happen. Taking no notice of all this nonsense, I put on my best lightweight Summer jacket, left my waterproofs sitting in the kitchen, and set off for Stafford. My main reason for going to the show was to pick up some bits and pieces for my B.S.A. B33. In typical fashion, most of the bits I needed, I didn't find. What I did find however, was another Drifter parked only a few feet away from mine. I can't say that I've seen this one around before, but I was rather taken with the paintwork on the tank. I'm sure I would have remembered this one, had I have seen it before.
After I'd had my fill of the show, I headed back towards Stafford. It was just after I'd filled up with petrol that the curse of the cleaned bike started to take form. A rather black and ominous cloud was lurking up ahead. Just to let me know it meant business, a few bolts of lightning were zipping about. Next came the thunder. After the thunder came the rain. Now I don't mind the odd bit of rain, but this stuff was starting to get serious, or so I thought. By the time I had reached the motorway I was already wet, but I was on the way home, so I wasn't all that bothered. I mean, you can only get so wet can't you ? Wrong. In thirty odd years of riding I had only been in rain heavier than this once. This stuff came down so heavy and so fast that there was nothing you could do other than crawl along in first gear, sending a bow wave up from the front wheel, steering around cars which had just stopped, there and then, unable to even get to the hard shoulder before the water had got under the bonnet and killed the ignition. My Summer jacket still had a waterproof membrane, but this stuff came down so hard that the water ran down my neck and I got soaked from within. It even managed to get into my inside pocket and into my phone ( nothing that a few hours in the airing cupboard later on didn't fix ). This rain only lasted for around five miles or so, but it was long enough. Just as quickly as it had started, it stopped, and by the time I passed the services at Hilton Park, my trousers were almost dry and the sun was shining once again. The curse had one more little trick to end on. I got home with both shoes full of water, the rest of me was positively moist, but my tent was still hanging on the line, all nice and dry - just waiting for me to pack it away. It was at this precise moment that the rain came down - the same sort of rain that I had just left ten miles behind me. I didn't stand so much as a chance of getting the tent away in time. I left the bike outside, left the now sodden tent still hanging on the line, walked in the house and put the kettle on. The curse was complete.
On a much happier note. What a great weekend. Once again I was blessed with good roads, decent beer, and excellent company. Ok, so it rained. Big deal. I got wet, I dried out. The tent is now all dry and sitting back in its bag. I would say this first "Three Amigo's rally" was a resounding success - those responsible can give themselves a good pat on the back. I look forward to the next one.