"Over the edge"
May bank holiday - 2007
Well the weather seems to have broken all records over the last few days. The warmest April since records began, and the first week in May seems to be going the same way. Now the one thing guaranteed to change the weather is a bike rally, and the "Over the edge" rally just happened to fall on the May day holiday. Hmm - a bike rally and a bank holiday, now that's just asking for trouble. Still, it's Friday morning and the sun is making a valiant attempt to fight off the thin grey clouds. I stopped around Stow on the Wold to fill up with petrol and put my gloves on - it always seems colder once you get over Fish Hill. At least the rain kept off which is one good thing. By the time I hit the New Forest at around half past eleven, the sun broke through, and the last few miles to the ferry terminal were covered with the sun blazing down. Things took on a slightly gloomy aspect when I found out that trailers were being charged for this year - ah well, at least it was good whilst it lasted. I now have to ask is the rally worth the extra expense of taking the trailer over ? A few years ago I would have said yes, without a doubt, but after the way things went this year I'll be thinking twice about crossing the Solent next time.
Once again 'DOT and the Dog Kennel' venture overseas
It didn't take long to get from the ferry to the rally site, and I was offered the choice of "noisy field" or "quiet field". Now I camped in the quiet field last time, and found it to be a bit dodgy if you were near the entrance, what with all the cars and vans that were using the field as a car park for the evening's entertainment. I decided to set up somewhere in the middle, so that's just what I did.
A somewhat windswept rally site
Now there happened to be a strong breeze blowing ( what's new on the Isle of Wight ? ) so I set up with my back end into the wind. No problem there - a pity the wind changed both direction and strength in the night. Over the next two days quite a few tents were destroyed - same as last year. Just for good measure a bit of rain was thrown in as well. At least the local pub was warm and dry, and they didn't throw me out even after severe provocation by means of a banjo. Once again I didn't bother with the marquee on site - and considering some of our club members had things stolen whilst in there last year, I don't think I was missing out on much. Those who did venture into the tent enjoyed themselves thoroughly - or so they told me. . . it just ain't my cup of tea. Even more Moonshiners and friends of Moonshiners turned up, and by Saturday afternoon there was quite a group of us - even if we were split between "noisy" and "quiet" fields. By Saturday evening I think it was fair to say that there were more cars than bikes parked on the one field. Now that field is quite large enough to split into a camping area and a car parking area - - just a thought, but it would be easier to look after from a security point of view as well as making sure no one got a car through the tent.
Sunday morning and time to head for Ventnor and the classic bike show. I know the same bikes will be on display, and the car park will be full of weird and wonderful creations, but it's a good enough reason for a ride around on the island. I didn't feel too good, so I cut short the show and went back to the site for a lie down. My lie down lasted a good six or seven hours, and it wasn't until early evening that I ventured out and headed for the pub. The wind was even stronger during Sunday night / Monday morning. It eventually drove me out of bed and I took down the extension on the 'dog kennel' - the noise of it flapping and banging about was too much even for me. It was whilst trying to pack things away that I noticed, or didn't notice to be more precise, my video camera. Strange, I thought, it's normally sat by the door of my 'kennel'. Thinking I may have packed it elsewhere during the rather hectic early morning extension dismantling, I wasn't really all that concerned. It was only when I started unloading and setting up camp later the same day that I realised it had gone. Now I don't like the thought of a bike rally being a place where things get stolen, but when all's said and done, that's what happened. I've always left my keys in the bike - I've never locked anything up - and I always thought that bikers would never steal from bikers. Maybe this is another good reason to keep non-bikers off the field - - it also goes a good way to making me think twice about doing this rally again. That's two years running now that persons from our club have had stuff taken. I only hope it's pure bad luck on our part, because I'd hate to see a good rally get a bad reputation.
Rather a few more waves than I like out there
Monday morning and the sea looked rather choppy, to say the least. I managed to pack things away one handed - the other hand keeping hold of the door so that it didn't get snapped off. Luckily the ferry sails on the sheltered side of the Island, so the crossing was most pleasant. Even the rain held off for most of the day, although the head wind made for some heavy going along parts of the A303. By three in the afternoon I pulled onto the campsite at Porlock and met up with a few more club members who had been there since the weekend - with hindsight I wish I had joined 'em. It made a most welcome chance to set up camp without any wind trying to throw a spanner in the works. A few more hours later and I was well fed, and enjoying a sorely needed pint of "Tribute" in the local pub. Now what I needed next was a replacement video camera - I shall spare you the horror story of Canon's finest and a three hundred mile round trip to get things sorted out. Despite the trials and tribulations of the last few days, we managed to take in a few decent little rides, despite the many showers that the weather threw at us. The sun even shone for a few hours down at Porlock Weir.
A quick portrait of Kev, down at Porlock Weir
Speaking of weather, the chappie on the radio said, and I quote "Sunday will be a wash out". It seemed that Friday would be sunshine in the morning, rain in the afternoon, and Saturday would be mainly cloud and rain. I took the coward's way out and went home in the dry on Friday morning. I did venture back down that neck of the woods on Saturday and the weather wasn't that bad - but I did seem to have just missed some very heavy showers by the look of things.
So ends another Isle of Wight epic tale. From a purely personal point of view I didn't really enjoy the rally. It seems to be getting more of a fetish party weekend, than a genuine bike rally. The number of non bikers, and car drivers dressed as bikers had grown since last year. The other club members all said they had a great time, but as I said, from a personal point of view, I didn't. The extra cost for getting the trailer over there, plus having to buy a new camera made this a rather expensive weekend, then, just to put the icing on the cake, it rained for most of the next few days. Ah well, there's always next year.......