By Bob Addis
Chuck, where did we hear about this rally? Never mind, it was a scooter rally fairly close at a reasonable time of the year – do you need more reasons to go?
I have attended lots of vintage BMW motorcycle rallies in the Midwest and some scooter rallies in the Catskills, notably the infamous Checkered Demons Rallies from New York City ten plus years ago. These were a gang of drunken young people doing some outrageous things on and off their scooters, but they did have a group ride and that was fun. The last CD Rally that I attended in Narrowsburg, NY was noticeably quieter and the average age higher that before. Something about marriages, kids, motel rooms instead of camping, etc. So I was both curious and ready when we heard about a rally hosted by the Middle of Nowhere Scooter Club inviting the Royal Bastards from Philly, the Three Mile Island SC from Harrisburg (Slogan; Eat my Fallout!), and assorted others.
Let me state up front that the Whiskey Dick Rally #2 was organized and delivered everything that it promised even if that delivery might have been on “scooter time”, i.e. a certain laxness to rigid time schedules. This was a rally held at a motel and spring was in the air. Chuck Price and I took off at noon on Friday and had a very leisurely ride down. With my girl friend’s urging about reliability and safety, I chose the Burgman 650 over the Vespa P200E and Chuck followed with his pickup carrying his Honda Ruckus 50. We pulled into the motel to find Chuck Sr. had just arrived and was unloading his Honda Rebel. There were 63 pre-registered and perhaps 10-12 more who showed up by Saturday – a nice sized crowd. With all bikes on the ground, including a very nice Honda Helix with sidecar from Ithaca, we roared into town for dinner at an Irish Pub. Back at the motel later, we had some cheap beers and a DJ for the evening.
Saturday morning had everyone in to parking lot inspecting the variety of scoots that were there, asking questions, watching others wrench on last minute details, and in general ready to ride. This was well before the scheduled 12 am (?) departure. (See what I mean about scooter time?) Some groups split off to take short rides. I was drawn to a barn fresh P200E dressed out in rattle can olive drab primer that Jeff, one of the rally organizers, had recently acquired and was trying to get running better before the noon main ride. Four of us took off with Jeff on a little shakedown cruise around town only to have the P2 go dead in the water about 5 miles from the motel. Chuck Sr. motored back and got his car and trailer for the rescue and several mechanics clustered for advice and repair. Finally a Lambretta man laid his healing hands on it after the Vespa boys couldn’t bring it to life (me included) and presto, it sprang up and ran for the 40-50 mile group ride!
Out of the 60 some scooters, there was a nice mix of old and new, and the same could be said for the owners! There were plenty of 2-stokes for my amusement, a good mix of the old Italian rivals, Vespa and Lambretta, and even 6 Helix scooters –I didn’t know there were that many running today! As we took off through town on the group ride to no surprise the group got divided in half at a light. There was a scooterist familiar with the area in our group and he led us on a very pleasant 40 mile loop with plenty of ups and downs, twists and turns. Chuck’s Rucus 50 could carry him about 42 mph, tops, and he kept up with our group, especially downhill. At one point I paraphrased a military saying, “We never leave behind a man riding a 50!” Our mid-afternoon stop was at a place called the Pie Factory (?) – check the photo. Filled with the aroma of freshly baked pies, it had as a daily special a hot dog and slice of pie for $2.49! Now how can you go wrong with that?
Back at the motel the pool party with pizza and beer was underway for the afternoon. For dinner Chucks Jr. and Sr. chose to go across the street while I joined a group of five riding about 10 miles to a restaurant which was also a microbrewery. They were an interesting bunch from the Three Mile Island Scooter Club, two riding tricked out Honda Rucus and one was Air Force retired with all the perquisite war and stateside stories. One guy had semi-professionally raced motorcycles until “his number of crashes equaled his age – 31”! Generally I don’t like to ride after dark, but this was a pleasant experience riding back to the motel in a group, the pair of Ruckus making most of the noise!
As promised, two bands played Saturday night and there was once again, you guessed it, more beer. A raffle was called and we didn’t win anything.
Up early and a free breakfast at the motel, we headed home under beautiful skies after saying goodbye to Chuck Sr. who was homeward bound to Syracuse.
It was a great rally and well worth doing again. Or start looking for more this year. Call me Old School or simply Old, I really enjoyed hearing, seeing and yes, smelling the old 2-stroke scooters. They are not around the Capital District so it takes a trip like this to bring memories flooding back to me. This got me reminiscing about the Checkered Demons Rallies and drifting off to sleep to the music of 2-strokes that were all over the campground, sometimes riding the plank over the bonfire or even once plunging into the lake! Now that’s a sound you don’t often hear!
Finally, it appeared that the Whiskey Dick #2 Rally was well received in town. Several locals asked about the infestation of scooters and some stopped by the motel parking lot to see the gathering.