An oceanside diversion
Ocean City, Md., May 3–6—This past winter as well as the spring has been unusually crazy, but the weather forecast was no rain for the four days of the Ocean City Bikes to the Beach Spring Rally. Heading down the Garden State Parkway, traffic was light, and I arrived in plenty of time to catch the 2:30 p.m. ferry from Cape May, New Jersey, to Lewes, Delaware. With other bikers on board, some rally newbies and the others veterans, the 80-minute ferry crossing passed quickly; we disembarked at Lewes and continued our journey to Ocean City, Maryland.
The sunny weather made the ride from Lewes to Ocean City pleasant, and before I know it, I was pulling into the Flamingo Motel in Ocean City. The motel has up-to-date and well-maintained rooms with ocean views, professional and friendly staff, and an indoor pool to relax in after a long day of riding. After unpacking I headed over to Fish Tales for their famous Big Tale Sandwich and a cold Fin City draught. I was in heaven and the day really could not have been better. Dinner complete, I rode over to Hooper’s Crab House in Ocean City, one of the main rally venues, where vendors were still coming in to set up , then enjoyed a little more riding before heading back to the hotel to call it a night.
Thursday morning, the first day of the rally, was an awesome start. The weather was picture perfect; as we all know, weather can make or break a rally, even the larger and older rallies. This year Bikes to the Beach was blessed with ideal riding weather for an area that is ideal to ride, and ride I did. Heading south I passed Wallops Island, Virginia, and then Chincoteague Island, Virginia, where I stopped for lunch, then over to Crisfield, Maryland, and finally back to Hooper’s Crab House. The vendor area was bustling, and DJ Jonboi was rocking the big tent while many were enjoying cold beverages. It was a great close to an outstanding day
After breakfast on Friday I went to visit my friends from American Legion Post #166 where the registration for the poker run was being held. The route map illustrated five stops: Pit & Pub in Ocean City, the Crabcake Factory in Selbyville, Delaware, Lions Club in Berlin, Maryland, Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin, Maryland, and Sunset Cycle in Ocean City. There was a nice turnout for the poker run—over 50 registrations. Before setting out to follow the Poker Run route, I needed to stop by to say hello to Mike from Fastlights LED, who bailed me out last fall when I had some electrical issues, and John from Heated 4 U, who made the last Spring Rally comfortable and dry for riding. Friday and Saturday were almost identical to Thursday, with riders continuously coming and going, enjoying the near-perfect riding weather. Saturday under the big tent at Hooper’s, Rebel Soul, a Kid Rock Tribute Band and No Tell Motel keep the crowd rocking; everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Sunday morning, I woke up to Mother Nature’s tears. The news said it would be a passing shower, and for once they were right. It stopped raining around 9:30 a.m. so I was able to pack the bike without getting wet. I had two stops to make today before heading home—Hooper’s to see who had the best hand in the poker run, and Fish Tales for the grand prize giveaway, an all-expense-paid trip for two to Mardi Gras. Upon arriving at Hooper’s, the staff from American Legion Post #166 was just completing the poker run results and there was a tie for Best Hand between Dorothy Fitzgerald and Peggy Parkinson, each taking home $125 cash and a trophy. Third place went to Matt Kuca who received a $50 gift card.
While the festivities continued at Hooper’s, I rode over to Fish Tales for the grand prize giveaway. The winner had to be present to claim the prize, so I had a very good reason to hang out a little longer while enjoying one more cold one. Shawn Harman, owner of Fish Tales, and Ryan Intrieri, general manager of Hooper’s, had everything prepped and ready for the drawing to start, and after a few formalities the drawing was underway. Third-place winner Samantha Sndyer of Germansville, Pennsylvania, won $500 cash, second-place winner Jay Tice of Harwood, Maryland, won an all-expense-paid trip to OC Bikefest plus $150 in gift certificates, and the grand prize of the all-expense-paid trip to Mardi Gras went to Deanna Tice. It was the second year in a row that first and second place went to a husband and wife!
I had enough excitement for one weekend so I steered the bike north for the trip home. I want to send out a very special “thank you” to Ryan and the entire staff at Hooper’s for enhancing my time at OC Bikes to the Beach Spring Rally, and to Shawn for having a fantastic place to eat, drink, relax, and enjoy the company of others. Thank you, safe riding, and see you in the fall.