Summer season motorcycle events by nature tend to be outdoors affairs. It only makes sense; why be indoors during the riding season? This is especially true in the northern climes where winters are long, dark, dreary periods punctuated by snowstorms and ice. Friends and clients of mine in Wisconsin tell me they get something like 62 good days each year in the warm season. So it makes perfect sense that they pack a lot of outdoors fun, riding and rallies into that opportunity. This compressed reality applies to the whole Great Lakes region.
Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to be part of one of the fastest growing regional rallies in America – Roar on the Shore – in Erie, Pennsylvania. I was engaged to do two shows on the opening day, Thursday, July 19, 2012. I was pretty pumped about it since I always have a great time doing shows in that region, lots of good folks in western PA, western NY and Ohio. They know how to play and have fun, besides there are a lot of fiery food fanatics in that oft frozen area.
About a week to ten days out I made the final review with the rally planners and checked the weather forecast. All looked good. Their team was very professional and organized. Once all the bases were covered I felt I could move on and focus on other work. When my travel day arrived I headed out looking forward to a Great Lakes rally adventure.
Did you know that Erie, Pennsylvania is the third largest city in that state? I didn’t. But when I called it a nice small town while checking into the hotel, I got corrected. Since I arrived early the day before my shows I had a chance to visit the venue in advance. While nothing was setup for my stage, I got a good feel for where I was performing. I must say that I also got to watch the crews setting up a multiple block event venue in what looked like the center city green space or park. No doubt that the city of Erie was doing it right.
Come show day, I arrived early and got to meet almost all the city inspectors, except the Fire Marshal. I have grown accustomed to meeting Fire Marshals since I “Cook with Fire“, I can only guess that since I was electrifying and UL rated. I was not a fire hazard; tell that to the folks who ate the hot peppers! All was good after some tweaking of the stage and PA. They even had a nice popup tent to cover the stage, always nice to keep the hot summer sun off of us hot heads that are cooking.
Just before the 12:30 show the fickle summer weather turned from comfortably cool and overcast into a solid drizzle. By the start of the show it was just plain rain. Fortunately a short distance in front of my stage was a tent setup for bikini girls, who as fate had it were off somewhere else being exposed to the weather. Before the show was finished everything under my tent from stage floor to tabletop, even under the table was soaked. Damn good electrical setup, as not a single electrical shock coursed through me. Ahhh how nice to not be electrocuted! What was really great was the packed crowd under that other tent. They made the show for me.
After the show the rain slacked off for a while, but by 3:00 PM when I started the second show is was drizzling again. However now I not only had a full house under the tent but there was also folks standing under the open sky. We had a blast! We even had a group of what I guess were a summer school class and their teachers join the growing crowd.
The weather could not dampen the enthusiasm of the bikers or even the little children. Remember splashing in rain puddles as a child? It is that spirit of playfulness that comes naturally to children that motorcycling restores in adults. That is why seasoned riders don’t see rain; they see “Liquid Sunshine!”