Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Cat Cruises to Chillicothe

I've heard a lot about the Easyriders' Rodeo in Chillicothe, OH over the last few years, especially after Sons of Anarchy came out, and many of the stars made appearances there.  It's a three day event held at the Ross County Fairgrounds.  You could almost call it a midwest Sturgis with fewer bikes.  

Many of the bikers who come to this event camp out on the fairgrounds.  Others, like me, will spend a few bucks for a hotel.  For me, the Chillicothe INN on N Bridge St was the ticket.  Well priced, clean room and biker friendly.  Lots of visitors and bikes were present.  The staff there got extra kudos from me in a review for providin' cloths for us to dry off our bikes Sunday mornin'!  

Well, as much as I wanted to go to Chillicothe, two things in previous years prevented it.  Cost and the cantankerous behavior of Tig, the bike (the 1981 Yamaha Seca).   This year, thanks to on Facebook, I won not only the opportunity to attend the Rodeo, but to participate in a sponsored ride with Tommy Flanagan (@TommyFlanagan on twitter, and if you're an SOA fan and not followin' him, hop to it!).  

Considerin' that work requirements and weather prevented me from takin' Tig, the Honda, to Peotone to ride with Kim Coates, this was a chance I wasn't goin' to pass up!  Even though it was a holiday weekend, my employer accommodated my need to get out of town before 11pm to make the 200 mile one way journey, as Sunday is my normal day off.   

The husband was understandably worried about a lone woman ridin' all the way in the dark, in changin' weather conditions.  Did I mention on her own?  But, I had ridden long distances in my wild and wanton youth on a much smaller bike and survived, and I wasn't goin' to have to camp out, so I felt OK about it. 

I'll tell y'all somethin', ridin' at night on your own can be an adventure!  Not only do you have traffic to worry about, but also construction zones.  I chose to take I-70 from Indy to Dayton, then a short jaunt on I75 in Dayton to US 35E from Dayton to Chillicothe.  There were several places with construction, and I literally hate those seams in the right hand lane where new asphalt is attached to old to make that travel lane!  Ugh!  

Then came the fog and the mist and the wet roads.  Wet boots, sox, pants.  Some spittles of rain on me and my helmet.  Ease off on the throttle due to wet asphalt, ignore the feelin' that THINGS were in the fog, and keep on pushin' forward.  Fog also contains cool spots that make one shiver, just in case all y'all were wonderin'.  It also makes it hard to see the mileage signs.  However, husband had the foresight of buyin' an LED flashlight for me that fit in the windshield saddle bag and easily accessed to SEE how many miles I had left. 

Gas stations were hard to find between Dayton and Chillicothe. At least, OPEN gas stations!  I filled the tank in Dayton, knowin' that in city I can get 60 miles to a tank.  I'd intended to fill up again in a place called Washington Court House, OH, about 25 miles or so from my intended destination.  No open gas stations there, or any of the next five exits.  

Oh, shit. 

Fortunately, Tig, the Honda, came through for me (along with a little help from Chibs the Guardian Bell) and got me to the first exit in Chillicothe with an open gas station.  

What was weird Saturday night was not seein' many riders on the road.  Neither comin' at me or headin' my way.  That's what also had me a little tense.  The idea of havin' to sit at the side of the road waitin' for roadside assistance to find me with a gallon of gas!  Naturally, my ride got rewarded with a tankful of the best gas, cause the tank was on fumes. 

So, Sunday mornin' comes sooner than ready, but I did get clean, warm, dry, and some sleep before checkin' out and headin' for the fairgrounds.  I found the Easyrider's trailer where the ride was goin' to leave just in time for the end of the rider meeting and blessing of the bikes.  If you look closely, you can see a wee bit o'Tommy between the two backs.  

One of the disadvantages of ridin' alone, is that it's hard to take pictures while ridin'.  My finger has a habit of gettin' in the way, but I managed a couple of durin' the ride shots while we were goin' through the campground.  Methinks we picked up a few more bikes in the process.  I only counted 20 at the blessin'/startin' point, but there was twice that many on the road!  

The ride itself went well.  No one spilled, though the one woman there in front of me with the yellowish fender nearly laid it down when takin' a curve just a little too fast in the wet conditions (wet, but no new rain was fallin' at the time!).  She wobbled a bit, then rode into the grassy area next to the road.  Those of us ridin' in her area throttled back and prepared for the worse, but she kept it upright and soon rejoined us!  That was some great ridin'.  Later, at the meet and greet, Tommy signed her back fender. 

Not only did we ride through the campground area, but we also saw a large number of smaller towns during the hour long ride.  What really surprised me was the way the oncoming traffic would pull to the side of the road as we went by.  I'm not sure if that's an Ohio state law, somethin' the cop escorts indicated the cagers should do, or what.  
Cars that were goin' in our direction also pulled to the side of the road.  That's not done much in Indiana, even on escorted rides!  

Ohio has some nice countryside, and I had to smile when we roared past a few churches along the way that were still holding services.  Forty odd bikes of all makes roarin' by has to make an impression!  Sorry not to have some scenic pics to share with y'all.  Other than the one near mishap and one place where we had to ride through a wee bit of standin' water, the wet road was merely an inconvenience.   (Also gave one wet shoes, sox, pants again). 

At the end of the ride, and our return to the startin' point, a lot of the riders took off for whatever.  Poor Tommy had had a harrowin' adventure on Saturday just tryin' to get to the event (see his Twitter feed for the story).  He had to a little tired, but he didn't show it.  Not knowin' that there was an official trailer and meet and greet set up in the fairgrounds / rodeo area, a lot of us converged on the poor man near the bike he'd ridden.  He graciously posed for photos and thanked us for bravin' the elements.   The white vehicle is the one he was conveyed in to the official meet and greet. 

if you look closely, all y'all will see a helmet with a 'Rippin' Kitten' emblem on it (a kitteh skull, naturally!)  That's me bike.  

We look very serious here; we were both damp from the ride, and I was explainin' to him the gift presented to him.  I purchased a Harley Davidson stuffed orange and white kitty, and colored the tag in gold plate. In that gold, I wrote 'The Cat's Meow Award' to Tommy Flanagan, in recognition of excellent work in Sons of Anarchy, 2008 - 2014."  Of course I signed it and added my twitter handle (@lowecat)!  He seemed to appreciate it.  

Since I had no idea where to go, Tig the Honda and I hung out near the vehicles, and I was talkin' with some other fans that were takin' pics of the bike he rode.  No one dared sit on it for pics.  We all knew the phrase from the first season, 'Never sit on another man's bike!'.    Tommy and his handlers then traveled to the official part of the meet and greet area, followed by good ole me and Tig.  Poor Tommy probably thought I was stalkin' him!  

Those of us who had been on the escorted ride got to go to the head of the line, such as it was.  This was the chance to get an autograph for my boss's son, who is a fan of the show.  And to get another couple of pics.  This was also an opportunity to tell Tommy about the reason for the patch I wear on the back of my 'kitteh cut'; which designates the Gerard Butler fan group I belong to here in Indiana.  He seemed impressed that I knew he'd been in Atilla with Gerry, and remembered him.  Oh yeah!  Epic battle scene between them.   Two great Scots in one movie.  Purrrrrrr.  

Now, where was I?  Oh, yeah.  Sorry about that.  

As always seems to happen at these things, I heard some grumblin' about havin' to buy an autograph.  I vocally pointed out to the grumblers that the on line advertisements had spelled out that people didn't HAVE to buy autographs durin' the general meet and greet.  Most were grumblin' about the prices for pics/posters they could buy there to have signed.  As they say on the show, "Jesus Christ!"  All people had to do was read in advance!    Those posters, pictures, etc., are not free for the promoters and the celebs to provide.  Printin' costs are still extravagant in this day and age of the internet, especially if you're gettin' multiple color prints!  Regardless of what the mundane believe, celebrities do not have money pourin' out their pie holes!

As one of those who had been in the ride, I got one free poster for Tommy to sign, and bought one for myself.  Hey, 15 bucks was not a bad price, and I didn't bring anything of my own, so it was worth it to me.  My boss's son gets a priceless fan possession, and I have great memories of a great day. 

OK, I'm off my soapbox now, but that grumblin' tends to hiss me off.   (Yeah, a few people told me to shut the fuck up, but a few others looked a little chagrined when they were challenged.  I will stand up for what I believe in!  And for people I consider my friends, and havin' had the opportunity to speak with Tommy two other times, yes, he's my friend!  So there!)  

From what I noticed of the general meet and greet, there wasn't a flurry of people linin' up to meet Tommy, which kinda made me sad.  I hung around until about 2, then checked my load to insure it was tight, said goodbye to the lady with the yellowish bike (she also had a banner with the Irish toast that hung in Maureen Ashby's kitchen that Tommy signed for her, too!), tooted my horn in farewell, and found my way back to the highway and the gas station for the ride home.  

Lemme tell ya, ridin' that 200 plus miles home in the daylight was much more pleasurable, and the construction zones didn't bother me half as much!   Tig, the Honda and I were happy to get home at last.  I figure that with the ride included, we did 468 miles in two days.  

Thank you to SonsofAnarchy.Net for pickin' me to go.  That was my first rainy group ride, and my first long distance ride on Tig, the Honda.   Hope y'all enjoyed takin' this little trip.