I must say, I’m starting to get a bit of a complex when it comes to motorcycle rallies: We’re about to go 5 for 5 on getting rained on headed to, from or while at Thunder Beach in Panama City Beach (Spring & Fall) as well as this year’s 1st run down to Bike Week in Daytona.
The current outlook is at right and the best day looks to be the day we’ll be riding home! Adding in insult to injury, Monday looks to be an amazingly nice day.
But, be that as it may, we’ll be heading down on Thursday regardless of the weather outlook, short severe weather sneaking into the picture.
As you can see from the photo at left where Debbie’s modeling the latest in full coverage rain protection, last May we had to suit-up for the ride down to Thunder Beach on the Wide Glide. And, more recently, our ride home from Daytona Beach back in March was accentuated by a little bit… well, OK… a lot of rain for a good hour and half coming up to Macon from Tifton, GA. On the bright side, this suggests that we’re not put off by the prospect of getting a little wet so we’re just checking the weather to help manage our expectations vs. making a go/no-go decision. After all, the room’s pretty much paid for and at this late date (inside 14 days when those long-range forecasts become available) cancellation with a refund is not an option.
But, more to the point, we just need to get out for a nice long ride together on the bike and so long as we gear up — full face helmets, rain suits, water proof gloves, boot covers and warm base layers as required — it’s really not all that bad so long as visibility doesn’t degrade and motorists don’t get too stupid, i.e., tailgating or cutting us off by not looking before changing lanes.
Speaking of that ride back in the rain from Daytona, there as yet another little pre-trip work on the Road King that I needed to attend to. You see, one of the things that I neglected to do before hitting the rain was to pull the USB adapter out of the power adapter / DC plug behind the headlight cowl. So, there it sat collecting water on the ride home and there it was left after we got home, as I’d stashed my cell phone, the quick-release bar holder and the power cord before the rain started and didn’t have all that stuff on the bike to remind me that there was something else I needed to attend to after the wet ride home.
Yup, I discovered it on Saturday when my buddy David and I headed up to the North Georgia mountains for a quick trip to Dahlonega and back. I had my phone plugged in to charge since it always eats the battery when pressed into service as a GPS device and son of a gun if it didn’t start to die about 2.5 hours into our ride. Once I got home and did some troubleshooting the problem became obvious when I pulled the USB adapter out of the DC plug. It was a total loss for both parts.
So, in addition to doing the 5,000 mile service checks and changing out the $13/quart Harley-Davidon Syn3 20W-50 motor oil for some $8/quart Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W-50 that scores higher on oil quality lab tests on our Road King, I had to splice in a new DC plug to the lead wires. Not a big deal, just another 30 minute unplanned activity.
Anyway, as we learned during last year’s rainy Spring and Fall Thunder Beach Rallies, a little rain ain’t a big deal when you have places like Pineapple Willy’s to hang out and have a good time dancing and meeting like-minded folks who brave bad weather to get some down time away from home and the rat race. We took in the movie Iron Man 3 last May, so perhaps we’ll check out the new Spiderman flick this week! Hey, every night is date night in Panama City Beach!
Friday should be good enough for a trip up through Seaside to the Red Bar and then to the Outpost, following the plan that our new friends introduced us to at last year’s Fall rally. And, well, Saturday’s looking really good for a ride down to St. George’s Island, and lunch at Toucan’s in Mexico Beach on the way back. Sunday will be the best day so perhaps we’ll just hang around so Debbie can lay out in the sun until we have to check-out around 11am. It’s not like there’s going to be a huge traffic jam headed back towards Atlanta with the weather forecast the way it is!
Well, last night to sit and chill on the couch. Tomorrow it’s time to start laying out the gear, stuff bags and getting ready to load, hook up the GoPro’s and turn that big bike around and point it out the garage door for a 6am departure on Thursday. It’s not like we’ve got a better than 50/50 chance of getting to Florida without getting rained-on!