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Every trip should start off with something fun like this. As a kick-off party
for the AHDRA All-Harley Drag Racing Association's Rockingham race, Ray Price
Harley-Davidson threw a big party at their dealership in Raleigh.
Besides fifty-cent hotdogs, free drinks and a Band, Ray's staff had a couple of
models showing off some of the new clothing as well as some skin.
Over by the door were a couple of the Carolina Cobras (arena football)
cheerleaders. These girls DID give me their names, but by the time the
digital picture was taken, I had other things on my mind... so I forgot them.
They had a couple of the Drag Racing teams competing this weekend there with
their bikes and crews. Now that I was in the mood, I took off from the party
to find someplace with a cold beer! Kim and I stopped at Ye Olde Pub for a couple cold ones and some bar food and
Next day, Friday, Kim and I left for Rockingham early, (her in another couple's car 'cause she was coming home the next morning) stopped by the dealership to
pick up advance tickets, bought some oil and headed south.
The highway from Raleigh to Rockingham was punctuated by a stop at The Little Bar on Hwy 64 near Lake Jordan. Not much happening here at 1pm, except we were waiting for someone who wanted to ride down to the drags with me, but I got a cell call saying their scooter was down for the count, so I downed the Budweiser and got back-road directions to US Hwy 1. Took it down through some little town called Rock Hill, where the old guys still congregate on the old wooden bench in front of the corner general store...bib overalls and all. Conversation seemed to stop as I stopped for the stop sign, got a couple waves and a nod of the head, and putted off - hope I find a wooden bench someday when I turn 80 or so.
The rest of the ride, maybe 100 miles or so, was uneventful. I followed US Hwy 1 all the way to the drags, through Sanford, Southern Pines, Aberdeen and just shy of Rockingham, turned into the Carolina Motor Speedway, queued up in line with the rest of the bikes, motorhomes and trailers to get access to the pits and camping area in the pines.
Nothing official was planned this evening, other than some test runs and some stock car trials. No matter - still sat in the bleachers with my Beer talking trash with whoever the hell that was sitting next to me - obviously grew up in the backwoods of North Carolina and knew everything there was to know about 60's and 70's era muscle cars. There was one real nice Cobra that cleaned up against every one he ran against, and a couple of "Juniors" whose mini-racing bikes never got much more than 60 mph in the quarter mile, but I think these kids were only about 8 or 9..... good for 'em. The practice runs lasted 'til 10pm when they shut the place down - even asked the motor homes and trailers to shut off their generators, and told everyone they were gonna (this year) lock the gates at 11, so keep the noise down! Y'all know my camera ain't worth a damn in the dark, so I can only decribe what happened next.
Hoofing it back the 2-300 yards to the treeline where my tent and bike were, we ran across some thoroughly disgusting acts. One guy, and you know the type, tall, skinny, long-haired, confederate flag wearing country boy was hanging out of his pop-up trailer spillin' his guts, two doors down the travel trailer was rocking to beat all hell - unmistakeable sounds of two people being VERY friendly, and then the unavoidable tree being watered on the edges of a dudes' campsite...all pretty typical of these AHDRA Drag Racing Camping-types. (I counted 32 Confederate Flags even in the dark!
We stayed up to party a bit with the group of people next to us in their new pop-up and bonfire that was roaring 6 feet into the air, watered the tree behing THEIR campsite, and went to our tent and crashed for the night. It was clear that these people didn't care to abide by the "NO NOISE" rule as I heard well into the evening a chorus of rebel yell "YEE HAWS" that sometimes appeared to be a medly of who can hollar the loudest. Being in the middle of the campground, we could hear competing rebs at each end of the campground answering each other like it was a mating ritual of hyenas.
Then during the night an incredible wind storm blew up ripping tents and tarps from all over the campground....'course that just started the mating calls all over again. Ahhhh, don't ya wish YOU lived in the land of cotton?
Morning broke bright and clear, and not nearly as chilly as I had expected. We fixed our morning instant coffee, Kim and friends rode on home, leaving me to break camp (typical!), go find some real coffee from the concession stand that opened at 7am and pack up the bike. I took a little morning ride into Rockingham, 10 miles away, gassed up and got breakfast in town at a non-descript little coffee house, and rode back to the drags to see what was happening in the pits. One of my clients, Ray Price Harley Davidson Racing Team, was competing in the Top Fuel division and I stopped to chat a bit before their qualification runs.
Below you see Ronnie and Nick prepping the bike for the day - it was still a bit chilly obviously, and the side of the Racing Trailer...nice graphics!... This Top Fiel Harley isn't one of Rays but it had some good lighting on it, unlike the others so I took it anyway, sorry Ray!
Prior to the racing, the drivers and crew meet in the stands to go over safety stuff...in the background over the south stands you can see the sea of campers and tents where we camped last night.
There's also the inevitable Vendors tents selling "If You Can Read This...The Bitch Fell Off" T-shirts and every other kind of crap imaginable for bikers. Also saw some variations on that theme like, "I'm The Bitch, and I Don't Fall Off" - or - "Who You Calling a Bitch?"...the varieties were endless. Who the hell wears that shit? I ran into a good Internet buddy selling raffle tickets to a 2001 Road King Classic for $10 a shot (limited tickets being sold) as a fundraiser for her kid's High School Band. Interested? Go to http://www.trellis.net/fhhsband and get one online. Besides, she's cute as hell, too!
The next coupla hours was spent watching the other Racing categories, Street Eliminator, Pro Stock, Pro Gas, etc...waiting for the Top Fuel bikes to come out... Ray's team was running last out of about 9 bikes... and wouldn't ya know it, when they go to the line the Digital Camera batteries ran out, but I got some shots from Charlie, one of the regulars trackside taking pictures - Thanks Charlie!
On his first qualifying round, Ray pulled a 6.8-something ET at 204mph...the fastest qualifier in round one and the second-fasted ET in the quarter-mile. (Eventually, he was eliminated due to a broken chain in Elimination Rounds).
Getting back to my bike, and fresh batteries, before Ray returned to his pit, I at least got a shot of him being drug back in...Ray is the owner of Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh and even at 60-something is still not the oldest racer in todays field....boy these guys got some kahunas!
Then, there's always the obligatory shot of Huckleberry all loaded up for the 100 mile ride home, stopping only for some lunch on the way.
I called off Biketoberfest for a variety of reasons, not least is the fact that I just don't care much for the rally scene anymore...same shit-different city... so my next scheduled ride is in Mid November for the Great Dismal Swamp Campout/canoeing trip. That one ought to be a lot of fun... it involves a run to the northeast corner of NC to the Merchant's Millpond State Park, load all my crap in a canoe and paddle out to primitive campsites deep in the middle of a blackwater swamp, complete with spanish moss draped over cypress trees in the middle of the water...very spooky AND its on a full moon.... I hope to have a better camera for night shots by then....look for ya then!
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