It’s been flying all over the Interweb. Kioti started it. “Hey, what say we all head to Martinsburg for a burger on Sunday?” he wrote to the local group of motorcycle enthusiasts to which I happen to belong (the Okoboji chapter of VROC, “Vulcan Riders and Owners Club”). Within days the e-mails were flying about with startling speed. “Sounds good!” and “Hell yeah!” and “I’ll be there!”
The odd thing is that these e-mails were all signed by people named Rock, Kioti, Mag, Bartman and such.
By last night I had figured out about what time the Okoboji contingent would be cruising through town, and when the Sioux Falls group should be there, and when the Omaha gang was gonna hit the bypass. “Vhat time are you gonna leaf?” asked my beloved Austrian Snowflake this morning. “When are dey all gonna be there?”
“Well,” I replied, “Looks like they’re all planning to hit Martinsburg between noon and one. I’ll need to leave at about quarter after eleven, I imagine.”
My wife looked at me with that special, endearing, “are you an idiot” look. “You know,” she said, “if they say noon, it’ll be two before they show up. It alvays happens that way. They’ll see something shiny on the way and they’ll have to stop and gawk at it.”
“Yeah,” I replied, “but food’s involved this time. They’ll be there by one at the latest.”
By ten-thirty this morning, the yard had been watered, and I was happily readying myself for the trip. It’s a vast forty miles, but one must prepare. First one must dress appropriately. I chose blue jeans and a T-shirt, just to be different. And boots. Now for the fun part…
“Honey,” I yelled. “Where are my leather chaps?”
“They’re with your helmet,” she hollered back from the other room.
A pause. Then, “Honey, where’s my helmet?”
After a brief but frantic search, both helmet and chaps were found. Now, to get them on… Hmmm… Er… Well, they fit last year, dammit. “Honey, I can’t get my chaps on,” I wailed. “My legs are too fat!”
To her credit, my beloved didn’t giggle. She dutifully helped me zip the silly things up (for the uninitiated, chaps belt around the waist, and have two chunks of leather – one for each leg – that zip from hip to ankle). “There you go, Tubby,” she said, smiling. “All better.” (I have to admit, she didn’t really say that. I make a lot of stuff up. It’s more interesting that way.)
Coat, helmet, cell phone, camera, keys and dark glasses in hand, I hobbled out the door.
Ah, the adventure! The open road! The freedom! The cold, biting wind! The hippie is an idiot! By the time I’d cleared South Sioux City and was heading west on Highway 20, my fingers were starting to ache. It was just a chad bit tilly out there! I surely wished I had my gloves. Me, an Eagle Scout, forgetting my gloves. What a silly thing to do.
In any case, I continued on my way, confident that it would be warmer on the way home again. About that time I came to the top of the first hill and met the wind that would be my nemesis the rest of the trip. I’m going west. The wind is from the south at 25 to 35 miles per hour. Not fun… Ah, well, such are the vagaries of life. From a thirty-degree angle, I clenched a frozen fist and shook it at the wind. “Blow,” I yelled to the wind. “Blow all you want, vile wind! I’m going to enjoy myself anyway!”
And I did, actually. About half an hour later, I pulled into Martinsburg, Nebraska – population 103, according to the sign. Personally, I think the sign was a bit optimistic. I was the first one there. Time for some nice color photographs now. I took many.
As soon as I got off the bike, I had a thought. I opened my saddlebags. Sure enough, there were my gloves. Doh!
Soon after my arrival, the rest of the group started dribbling in. (Most of them do dribble, actually. Some have advanced to outright drooling at times. Especially when they’re leering.) The first group to make it was Rock, Bartman and Magdag from the Okoboji area. By the time I got done gawking at Bartman’s new fairing on his Nomad, the Omaha group pulled in.
It wasn’t too long afterwards that Kioti and company showed up from Sioux Falls. We all wandered around for a bit, drooling on each other’s bikes, then headed in for food.
It needs to be said at this point that the burgers at Bob’s are, yes indeed, well worth the trip. It should also be pointed out that I’ve never, ever seen anyone order a burger and fries and finish both. Most people can plow their way through the burger, but no one can really dent the six pounds of fries they throw at you. (About a third of the way through the meal, I heard someone – I think it was Glen – say, “By the time you eat your way to the bun you’ve already had a meal.”) As you can see in the picture below, your average Bob Burger takes up a pretty hefty majority of the plate…
After stuffing ourselves to the gills and paying our bills (mine was $3.95) we all wandered back outside, and soon were splitting off in our various groups to head homewards. I hitched up with the Okoboji crew and headed back up Highway 20 towards Sioux City. It was still windy.
It was a GOOD day. I’m happy. I had a good time meeting the “new” people, too! (Why is it that everyone I’ve ever met who drives a Kawasaki cruiser is nice? What do the mean people drive?)