Wight Riders M.C.C.
May 2nd - 5th 2003.
Oh dear. One thing I don't like to
wake up to is the sound of rain hitting the window - looks like
today wasn't going to be very pleasant, weather wise. I
slowly started packing things, just in case the rain decided to
ease. After around half an hour, it looked grey and gloomy,
but the torrential rain had stopped, so I headed for the cafe to
meet up with the other idiots who were riding bikes this weather.
It seems the weather had put at least two members off, and a broken drive belt had delayed another two.
Having finished breakfast we climbed into our waterproofs and set off. The waterproofs were certainly tested, we had only gone about ten miles before the rain came down with a vengeance again. The M 42 is not the best place to be when it rains - trust me on this. By the time we reached Stow on the Wold the rain had stopped, and things started looking promising.
I had fitted a pair of speakers and an amplifier to the trike - this, along with my mp3 player made the journey more interesting ( well, it took my mind of the rain, and gave the equipment a good testing for being waterproof ).
By the time we left Salisbury the weather was turning for the worse again. Along with the rain came very strong wind. The last few miles approaching the ferry terminal at Lymington were damp to say the least.
After a short wait, we boarded the ferry. The Captain announced that due to the strong wind ( gale force eight ) all motorcyclists were advised to stay on the vehicle deck and hang on to their bikes. Us smug trike riders headed for the top deck and a welcome cup of coffee. The Captain's next announcement informed us that we "may begin to roll" - and roll we did. If this wasn't enough, ten minutes later the Captain once again announced "we will shortly be turning into the weather, the vessel may begin to pitch" - Oh what fun !
Shall we say that we were glad to leave the ferry ? The following thirteen miles over to the rally site were equally wet and windy - good job we had a "shopping stop" at Freshwater.
The sight that met us as we pulled onto the rally field was most depressing. Just about every tent along the one side was flat, and I mean flat. There were tents with the sides ripped out, tents with broken poles and tents that had just plain died. The one "good" thing was at least we could salvage a ruined tent and use it to effect a temporary repair on Kev's Kyham Igloo, which had ripped from one side to the other. When faced with such a situation we did what the Moonshiners do best - headed for the on site cafe and had a cuppa. As we walked back from the cafe I saw a complete dome tent flying past - why didn't I have my camera to hand ? This tent promptly landed about fifty feet away in someone's garden. I decided not to even try to assemble the "extension" on the Dog Kennel - wait until tomorrow. Eventually we managed to set up camp, and the wind seemed to be abating. Our plans for a quiet Friday night at the Wight Mouse were scuppered - the Mouse was closed for refurbishment. Bugger !
Today's award for "sheer determination" went to Pete. Despite his Harley snapping the drive belt just as they were setting off, Pete managed to get a replacement, fit the thing and still get to the rally, albeit late. I'd have wimped out and set off the next morning :-)
Ah - sunshine. Saturday morning
and the weather had returned to what passes for normal.
There were a fair few dead tents lying around, and a fair few
folks moving to a more sheltered pitch - just in case.
Quite a few people had given up the battle with their tents and
booked chalets at the holiday park back down by Brighstone - a
wise move, if you ask me. Still, the worst was over, the
sun was out, and we set off to various places on the island.
Today's award for "I wish I hadn't done that" goes to someone who we will call Brian, to avoid embarrassment. Now Brian turned up on Saturday afternoon, having had a pleasant journey down and a nice flat ferry crossing - what could be better ? Just unpack the tent off the back of the bike, get the sleeping bag and air bed out of the panniers, bung the kettle on, sit back and relax . . if only Brian hadn't left the keys to the panniers some 175 miles away back at home. Needless to say, we didn't take the piss - much ! Us Moonshiners, being an ever resourceful bunch, soon had Brian equipped with sleeping equipment, tent pegs and even a nice selection warm clothing.
Now no night in the marquee would be quite the same without the Moonshiners lowering the tone somewhat. It seems that a certain false beard had made an appearance. All quite innocent, you may say.
The rest of the rally went as it should
- touring the island during the day, and touring the beer tent /
food tent during the night.
As per normal, a few of us stayed over after the rally, and in typical Moonshiner fashion we just * had * to raid the rubbish skips. Kev managed to find a brand new tent, similar to the one that had been trashed by the gale earlier, all he needs is two new poles and a few tent pegs. Some bikers must have more money than sense, throwing a new tent away for the sake of two poles - still, re-cycling is all the rage these days.
So ends another Gurt Gallybagger rally -
the weather on Friday certainly made this a memorable rally, but
ain't that the way ? You always seem to have fond memories
of those rallies that were challenging, shall we say ?
Despite nature's attempts to deter us - we'll be back.