Deja Vu is not exactly the experience I had but in a very generalized way the term fits the feelings I had. What the &@$¥ is this about Biker Billy you may ask? The Crossroads Rally of course. Recently, I had the pleasure of bringing my show to the Crossroads Rally in Waterbury Vermont, actually outside of town, in a great field surrounded by mountains.
From the moment I arrived I just got a great vibe; I was at home among friends. In short order I felt like I was “back in the day.” A time before, when things were free and the living was sweet. When we were the people and we didn’t even know it. A quarter century of bigger, badder, better, louder, faster and less real was stripped away. This was as close as I have felt to being in the good old days, since, well too long ago.
Before going further I want to set out two facts (or opinions), this rally is an example of a growing trend in regional events (one I am happy to see), you can’t manufacture this experience – it only comes from being real.
So, where do I start? Well I arrived the day before the event, kinda early in the day at that. Heck, let’s face it, the only way I could be sure of being there, bouncing from event to event in one long multi-state weekend was by flying on the first flights of the day. Wake up too early (1:30AM), drive a few hours, fly west to then fly east, sleep on the planes, hope the equipment baggage makes it, yada, yada, yada. Roll into the event site, in the usual anonymous rental car wishing I had my bike to ride on these sweet country roads. Then wham that feeling hit – “it’s déjà Vu all over again” (thank you Yogi Berra).
From the folks at the gate, to meeting my client Tonya, who booked me for the event, I just had that feeling like I was at a run back in NJ in the 1980’s hanging with my riding buddies. If you have been around this two-wheeled thing for some time, then you will know that what I mean by “back in NJ in the 1980’s” as it will equally apply to the late 1960’s or 1970’s in NJ, LA, or Ohio; when or where your MC roots where. Those times and places before our lifestyle was mainstreamed and we were popular fodder for Cable Network TV Shows. No actors or TV stars, just those who ride. Left to ourselves we were family. It was good to be home again.
Then there was Chef Ed, my assistant for the event. Ed is the owner and grill master of Ed’s Barr-B-Q in Graniteville, Vermont. Chef Ed handled all the shopping, set up and clean up chores that are involved in presenting the shows. We had a great time shooting the breeze and working together. Ed made my day easier and more fun, which freed me up to explore the event scene. Thank you Ed!
Did I say we were in a field? It was 50 acres of land, which they used only about half, leaving room to grow for future years. Camping was at one end and a big beer tent at the other end with venders and room for biker games in the middle. Trees that concealed a river lined one side of the field where there was a sandy beach and a swimming hole. This is a great location to spend the weekend rallying, within a short ride of the crossroads of the two best roads in Vermont. Hey why do you think they call it the Crossroads Rally?
The beer tent featured a stage for bands, and my show, with plenty of chairs and tables to relax and enjoy the cool shade. At night they had both music and various forms of biker entertainment, yes they had a wet t-shirt contest, sorry no pictures. The bands that played while I was there were quite good; there was a blues band that I particularly enjoyed on Saturday afternoon. I forgot their name, but maybe someone who was there can post it in the comments. The rally had everything including a kitchen sink (more on that in an earlier post.)
During the day on Saturday they held classic biker field games including, the slow ride, tire toss, water balloon toss, keg races, plank rides, weenie bite, etc.; they even had Jello wrestling. I was able to video the wrestling, purely G rated, four brave ladies contended, after the eliminations in the first round the two winners faced off. The overall winner won a hundred bucks and the runner up got fifty, plus they got fresh new rally shirts. Yes that swimming hole was handy for a quick rinse off. To the politically correct it must sound horrible, but it was all good fun. Face it, bikers can entertain themselves with good old all American fun, they call it freedom!
It was a great event and the weather was perfect. If you can make it next year I highly recommend it; ride, party, camp, ride, play, party, camp, ride home – now that is an agenda!
Recently I presented my cooking show at The Crossroads Rally in Waterbury, Vermont. The event is held in a large field in the middle of gorgeous mountains. Even though it is in the mountains, that field is actually a flood plain, so nothing can be built there. If this sounds confusing, let me explain, there is a river next to the field and this is all in a valley. Heavy rain or rapidly melting snow or both together overflows the river. While it guarantees the site won’t become condos or a shopping plaza next year, it also prevents installing event support buildings.
Part of the behind the scenes stuff that a cooking show requires is refrigeration and sanitary cleanup facilities. Often when working out in a field like this we have to use coolers and transport the equipment to a remote kitchen for clean up. Hand washing can be accomplished with something as simple as one of those 2.5-gallon water jugs from any supermarket, but equipment cleaning needs sinks. Three to be precise: wash, rinse and sanitizer; so what do you do?
Yankee ingenuity to the rescue; one of the rally volunteers Jim Bransfield had us covered. Like a magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat, out of his truck he pulled everything we needed. While I unpacked my gear I watched as he assembled a double stainless steel sink along with supporting countertop and cabinets.
He then proceeded to plumb it into a long run of hose to a not so nearby well. Following that up with a drain setup and catch bucket for the grey water that handled two shows of clean up. In true biker style problem solving the main run of black hose used the sun’s heat to make continuous warm water. That beats Solyndra for solar power and was hundreds of millions cheaper too!
To finish it all off he the used extra PVC pipe to adjust the low rental table up to a perfect height for me to stand and cook. This seemingly small thing makes a huge difference in the show and for my back. Thank you Jim for hooking me up with everything including the kitchen sink!