Sunday, March 8, 2009

Orange Blossom Special: T+4

One of the best things about attending the IBA party is the leisurely breakfasts in the hotel restaurant. I never know who I'll find there when I wander in and get a chance to meet new folks or get caught up with old friends. This morning was no exception. I joined a group who were already eating and, when they left, I brought my cup of coffee with me to join another group for a bit, before heading outside to the parking lot to see who was hanging around out there.

But before heading to the restaurant, I'd brought my SS2000 paperwork to the validation room, where I stood in line with the other early birds and chatted with them. I took a few minutes the night before after getting into my room, to complete my paperwork, check my receipts, and fill out my log. Submitting the paperwork for validation was a very straightforward process and within minutes of reaching the head of the line, I was done and ready for breakfast.

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The first thing I spied as I walked out the door was Tom pushing Porter's bike across the parking lot. My curiosity led me to walk over to where they were to learn the whole story. Apparently Porter had forgotten to shut the valve on his gravity-fed auxillary fuel tank, and had flooded the engine. When he tried to start the bike up this morning, it spewed gas out the tailpipes like a rooster tail. Scary stuff!

I was quite content to just hang around the hotel and apparently so were a number of others. I had no problem finding people to talk to and by lunchtime had a couple of others who were willing to walk over to the Steak & Shake with me to grab some lunch.

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The lobby was starting to get busy with arriving riders and the later into the afternoon it got, the better the people-watching became. Many MTF shirts were in evidence - bright green shirts, bold gold shirts, and MTF Founders Feast shirts were in abundance.

It was exciting to see such a great MTF turnout!

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The doors opened to the banquet room and none too soon, as I was getting hungry, trying to avoid the lobby popcorn as much as possible to save my appetite. Jim and Francine from Canada were among the first to get in the room and they grabbed an excellent table for some of us. We had a fabulous buffet dinner and then settled in for some great entertainment, first by Bob Higdon, a great storyteller, and then by Mike Kneebone. Then he began giving out the certificates for those who did a certifiable IBA ride in to Jacksonville, starting with the easiest rides - the BB1500 and SS1000 - and working his way up to the more difficult rides - BBG, 50CC, 100CCC - and finally announcing the two biggest ride-ins of the week, Greg's BBG Trifecta and Steve's 100CCCx2. Here I am receiving my certificate from Mike for my SS2000:

It was ovewhelming to look around and realize that this was a room full of people who share the same interests and passion for long distance motorcycle riding. As Mike Kneebone said, when he started the annual tradition of having the riders stand up as the rides they've accomplished are listed: "If you've done a SS1000, stand up. Well, that should be everyone in this room."

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