This photo really captures the "Rally in the high OR desert" ambience that surrounded the rally grounds!
The usual time zone lag had me awake at 5:30 AM and despite my best efforts at trying to fall asleep again, I was up and at 'em by 7:00 AM. So I jumped on the bike and started her up. I was immediately stymied by the road situation departing the hotel. I didn't notice this before, but there was no break in the median to get across to the northbound lane. Hmmm...what to do. I turned right and continued a couple hundred yards to a red light and, thinking I'd make a u-turn, got into the left lane. Then I noticed the "no U-turn" sign, so I eased over to the right lane and turned into the Lowe's parking lot where I could exit out onto the side street, get the light and legitimately get onto U.S. 97 northbound.
The start of a new year's rally is always exciting. What vendors will be there? What new things will I not be able to live without? What new friends will I make? What old friends will I run into?
The first thing I did was head over to the first aid room to change into sandals and stow my riding pants/boots. But it was locked so the next thing to do was head over to the free coffee, grab a cup and find the Louisville group and visit with them for a while. Louisville?? Well, my friend Mike has made friends with a group that attends the MOA rally every year. They come from various locations in the Louisville area and are always easy to find at the rally site by their giant yellow parabola-style sun shade that they erect over their campsite. So with coffee cup in hand, I picked my way through all the tents to make my way for their landmark parabola and had a very pleasant visit with Phil and Kent until First Aid opened at 9:00 AM.
Stuff safely tucked away in a corner of the First Aid room, I struck out, first to the Country Store to deposit my drawing tickets in their respective bins, and then to shop the vendors. Before I did that, though, I poked my head into the room where Mike Kneebone and volunteers were signing in the Redmond 1000 riders. I chatted with Voni and Paul for a while, asked Mike if they needed any more volunteers, and then spoke with Rob Nye for a bit before hitting the vendor hall.
So many of them!! They filled two large halls and surrounded all of the halls on the outside perimeters. I certainly don't need anything but that didn't stop me from shopping anyway! I bought a long-sleeve Silver Eagle technical fabric shirt for much less than I'd pay for similar shirts sold as running shirts. I bought a replacement crown liner for my Arai helmet. The new LDComfort shelf-bra tank top was tempting, but I don't suffer from the problems that led to its design and manufacture, so I passed on it.
Walking around the outside vendors, I came up to the Bill Mayer Saddles booth and successfully convinced a shopper to bring his bike back over for a custom measure and to place an order. Bill remembered me and chimed in on the "pitch," mentioning that I was an "Iron Butt" rider who rides all over the country and that he'd done several saddles for me...actually he's done four of them for me so far and in a few more months I may send my current BMW saddle back in for a re-do. As Bill said, "Even shoes wear out." Glad I could help, Bill!
I realized it was getting close to the start of my shift in First Aid, so I cut the shopping short, brought my purchases out to my bike to stow in a side case, and hitched another ride on a cart to the Hooker Creek Building where First Aid was located. We had a good shift; one of the long-timer volunteers and I took the cart out and roved the rally grounds, grabbing a lunch along the way. We were kept steadily busy, not overwhelmed, but busy enough that the time flew by. Soon it was 5:00 PM and our relief workers were arriving. With big plans to ride to Crater Lake tomorrow, I decided to return to the hotel and walk down to Olive Garden - about a mile away - for dinner. Mussels in wine sauce, a bowl of pasta y fagioli with bread sticks, all washed down with a mug of Blue Moon draft.
Tomorrow: Mike and I ride down to Crater Lake then return to the rally grounds for a club photo.