Now for the ride report and some pics.
The ride down started cool as I left Birmingham around 6, much like I do on work mornings but this morning was of my own schedule. I met with a friend at cracker barrel for breakfast and a meeting point to share the ride down. We head south on I-65 into Montgomery where I meet up with another friend who is accompanied by his father and one of his buddies. The count is now 5 bikes headed south. I follow back and let the friend of a friend take the lead, and it isnt long I realize this is a mistake. This guy has one mission, and thats to pass everything in front of him, which just isnt my riding style. The only flip side to this was there were some good roads that I hadnt ridden heading that way before. After reaching the FL state line, I pull off, and remove my helmet, throwin it in my pull behind trailer. To me this is some of the best riding, during this time of year. The temp is normally pleasant, and the wind in my hair reassures me Im alive.
Around 3:30 we pull into PC and from there I part ways with three of the other bikes. From there we head to St. Andrews State Park to check in, and set up camp. This is a great park by the way. Its nice and clean with good views of the water. Seems they had dug up a water main running center of the road on one end of the park. I could see by the tire tracks that the sand filling this was loose, and deep, nothing of what I wanted to tackle with my bike. My buddy thinks the road just up is packed tighter in that it looks smooth and inviting, so he decides to negotiate it. The front tire makes it over, and as the back tire goes in, it goes down. Throttle only digs the bike deeper. Its now sitting on the exhaust. Good thing these bikes have reverse and mud tires for such things. A park ranger comes over and radios another to help get Roberts bike unstuck. With one ranger on one side of the bike, Robert holding the other, and with me pulling from the rear, we are able to back the bike out.
We set up camp, and decide to find some dinner. Once on the strip the traffic is mainly all bikes, cruising and parading, but still moves good in spite of how packed it is. Since the state line Ive noticed my bike is popping on decelaration, and being that Im in tuned with this bike I know something is up. It isnt long before I realize my rear head pipe from my true duals has split, with the header wrap being the only thing thats holding it together. I know this isnt going to get me home, so my cheap trip turns quickly into me spending money on an exhaust. I hit the main fairground where the vendors are and come across a Supertrapp dealer - Racepro, Inc - out of Ohio. I strike a deal with the owner Rob and after explaining my situation he knocks the price down a bit, and offers the use of his tool box, so there I am tearing down my bike next to his setup to install the new exhaust. These guys were very helpful and friendly, and I highly recommend them. Two hours later the new pipes are installed giving me peace of mind for the return ride home. Im still ready for dinner so we continue with that plan.
Dinner is seafood at a local favorite place, and uneventful. I let the Pabst Blue Ribbon run its course to settle me down a bit. After dinner its off to see more of the festivities. We take in the vendors, bikes, and people. A tiki bar on the west end of the strip has a booth for body painting, as well as good live music. We hang out there watching titties getting painted till we decide we are tired enough to call it a day, and head back to the park to grab a shower and some shut eye.
Saturday morning is a late start, with breakfast at a Waffle House holding the same time frame as lunch. Once again its off to look at vendors, bikes, and people. Club La Vela has a wet teeshirt contest we decide to take in. The first girl on the stage decided she is allergic to cotton and flips what little cover is there, exposing the best of what a wet tee shirt contest should be. The rest of the day is spent as before, just taking in the festivities. We end up at Coyote Ugly to take in the AL game, and some spirits. Theres a electric bull for some drunk entertainment, as well as women dancing on the bar with the occasional displaying of their racks which begs the question, 'Are those real?' We wind down the night there and once again head back to our tents.
Sunday morning we are off to an early start compared to Sat, and its north bound or bust. The temp is great on up into bama, but the further north we get the more intense the wind is drenching me in cool air. Its still a pleasant ride home, with occasional interaction with bikers, either on the road, or at gas stations. I arrive around 5pm, unpack the bike and ride my recliner, waiting for routine life to take over once again.