Saturday was an early to rise day so we could go spend a couple of hours at the North American Motorcycle Show over on the other side of Atlanta at the North Atlanta Trade Center in Gwinnett.
We typically take in this show every year, just because it’s always interesting to see what’s on display. This year would obviously be a bit different given that we expanding our motorcycling interests from strictly sport bikes to include cruisers / Harley’s. Case in point, the photo at right now has some context that it did not have before given we attended bike week in Panama City Beach where Miss Full Throttle won her title. We didn’t have a hot clue what that was all about until this past September.
Getting back to the show, I like to get there when it opens at 9:00 AM on Saturdays so we can make our rounds and be gone before the masses arrive. So, after making breakfast for Debbie and me, we got ourselves ready and were out the door by 8:20 and made it to the show by around 9:15 AM after making a pit top and filling the Tundra’s gas tank at Costco. The temps were in the upper 20’s / lower 30’s so there weren’t a whole lot of motorcycles in the parking lot when we arrived. Given that it was going to be a pretty nice day, I figured that lot would be filled with bikes when we headed out around noon. Frankly, that parking lot is where the ‘real’ bike show is at this event. Just some amazing bikes sitting out there to look at and get ideas on what might suit your tastes if you were looking to make some changes or perhaps move to a new machine.
Our arrival timing was actually about perfect. When we walked up to the ticket booth we walked right up to the ticket booth! No line and then right into a nearly empty hall. That’s the way we like it!
Right after walking into the main hall we ran into Bob S. from Earl Small’s Harley Davidson at the BMW of Atlanta booth, noting Bob was incognito and checking out the competition. Bob S. was the Sales Manager I closed the deal with on our Harley back in June. Just a great person, as are all the folks who we’ve met at Earl Small’s. Anyway, we had a nice chat with Bob before he continued with his rounds and we then moseyed on over to the BMW S1000RR display so I could show Debbie what I’d like for Valentines Day! Yeah, right. Add that to my Dream Garage list of bikes.
Anyway, the cool part about our visit to the BMW booth was running into Nate Kern, BMW North America’s “Factory Pilot” and just one of the nicest, informative motorcycle enthusiasts you’d ever want to meet.
Because we had gotten there before there were a lot of folks standing around we had the pleasure of spending a good 15-20 minutes chatting with Nate about everything from the S1000RR to his old R1100S bike up for sale on Ebay to his thoughts about the different BMW sport bikes he’s ridden and what he’s been doing for BMA N.A.. I’m thinking I / we might just have to go and participate in one of his track days at Roebling down near Savannah this year.
Anyway, after that we made the rest of our rounds, visited with some other friends at the Earl Small’s booth — Brian, Sam, Hannah, etc. — and got a great 50% off deal for Debbie on a really nice leather H-D jacket with a cute little orange sleeveless hoody.
Earl Small Gang… Amanda, Sam, Hannah & Brian S.
Debbie styling in her new H-D leather jacket w/little orange hoody.
What we didn’t see and that we were looking forward to checking out were some enclosed motorcycle trailer dealers. Not a one was on hand, where in past years there have typically been at least two, Country Boy and another company with the big “toy box” trailers. I’m really Jonesing to get a nice trailer so we can haul our big bikes along when we go to tandem events where there’s also some nice motorcycle riding nearby. Something like a 7′ x 12′ v-nose low-hauler would be perfect. As an example, we make at least 3 or 4 trips to Tennessee each year and are within mere moments of some of the best M/C riding in the Southeast. Of course, from a practical standpoint — and as part of our more frugal approach to 2012’s discretionary spending — renting a single bike hauler for those occasional events might be a bit more prudent.
As we worked our way around the exhibition hall we saw some pretty cool stuff. Casey over at Rat Rods from Macon had a really nice-looking customized Fat Bob on display and they also had some cute apparel that caught Debbie’s attention. So, she picked up a couple more tops before we moved on down to a leather crafter to check out their halter top & chap ensembles for Debbie: nice stuff!! Lovingly made by hand by the gals working the display. We plan to visit them at bike week in Panama City Beach this May.
Met a very entertaining gent from the Myrtle Beach area who had some pretty neat bean bag toss sets and some tales to tell about how the city of Myrtle Beach pretty much ruined what was a great east cost rally back in 2008. Made a point of picking up a few Guardian Bells from one vendor who had some of the nicer ones I’ve seen so that we’d have those to share with any new friends who lose theirs or acquire new bikes that need a bell.
Anyway, by 11:30 A.M. we’d made two complete circuits of the show — which looked to be a bit smaller in size and the number of vendors from previous years — and decided to head for home. Sadly, we found out later than another friend — Eric C. — and the Bickler posse had apparently arrived about the same time we were headed out. Sorry that we didn’t run into them while we were there, as they’re always a lot of fun to be around.
Well, that’s about it. It was a fun day visiting with some very neat folks and we’ve whet our appetite a bit for the Spring rally in Panama City Beach. Debbie’s now styling with her new leather jacket and as soon as the temps rise a few more degrees we’ll let her give it a test ride.