Weather threat doesn’t deter intrepid bikers
Ocean City, Md., Sept. 13–18—The 12th of September, my destination was Ocean City, Maryland, for Ocean City BikeFest/Delmarva Bike Week. Mother Nature has not been very nice to the riding community recently. September 2018 has made a place for itself in the top 10 wettest Septembers, and with the threat of Hurricane Florence hitting the Wilmington, North Carolina, shoreline by the weekend, things did not look very promising. Remembering the forecast of last year, a threat of four hurricanes that were supposed to hit but turned out to be a miss, I packed my bags and headed south to Ocean City, Maryland.
The staff of the Bonita Beach Hotel, a sponsor of OC BikeFest, was extremely helpful and friendly to the biker community. This made for a smooth check-in, so with the bags in the room, I was off to see if any adjustments were being made for the threat of the upcoming hurricane. My first stop was the Ocean City Inlet area where I heard that there was some flooding and sand in the parking area from a Nor’easter the weekend before. The area was not that bad but looking out at the ocean, the waves and the surf were really rough and kicking. The organizers were put in a jam; with storm warnings, states of emergency, and cancellations by some of the vendors, they reacted quickly and dynamically. With help from the city, everything was consolidated and moved to the convention center in Ocean City, utilizing both the outside parking area and all of the rooms inside. It was a different setting than for past rallies, but with all of the uncertainty in the forecast it was the best solution. The uncertainty did cause the cancelation of the “Cruzin the Coast” rides, the bands that were scheduled to perform at Shorebirds Stadium, the motorcycle demo rides, and the Katancha Hooligan Races also scheduled at Shorebirds Stadium. Rommel Harley-Davidson brought its MotorClothes, service, and new and used sales departments to the inside of the convention center. Fish Tales and Seacrets also had some shortages of vendors but were open for business as usual. Overall, everyone was up and ready for a great time.
Thursday morning, opening day for OC Bikefest/Delmarva Bike Week, forecasters got it wrong again. Mother Nature must really like bikers or is scared of them, because you could hear the sound of thunder only from motorcycles rolling into town. After a quick breakfast I was on my to the convention center. Upon arrival around 10:30 a.m., the parking lot was rapidly filling up and the bikes were rolling in one after another. The only sign of a storm threat was at the Inlet, but no matter how menacing and angry the ocean looked, it was not a bother to any of the bikers coming in to Ocean City. Back at the convention center, Kashmir, Big Engine, and Jasmine Cain were scheduled to play in one of the smaller auditoriums and the headliner later that evening in the main hall was Vince Neil. After riding to the Pit & Pub, one of several places that offered food specials to event attendees, I had nice cold adult beverage and a great meal, and then it was time to call it an evening.
Friday was a repeat of Thursday but only better; more and more bikers were coming into Ocean City. Despite all the craziness of a couple of days ago, OC BikeFest/Delmarva Bike Week was really rocking. Making my rounds of the different venues, each one bustling with energy and excitement, I ended up at Fish Tales, my favorite place to eat, drink, just hang out with good people, and check out the different bikes that are in the parking area. It was a great way to end an even greater day.
Saturday morning I awoke full of enthusiasm, because in between .38 Special and Kip Moore’s performances, the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing would be performing our National Anthem. Being a veteran, just watching the pride that is instilled in the performance is awesome, as is the fact that the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing is deployed overseas. And one of the members of the 386th Air is the son of Peggy, staff member of OC Jams, producer of OC BikeFest. Due to time zone differences and distance, the show was not live, but recorded exclusively for OC BikeFest with a special message to all in attendance. Peggy had the proud opportunity to introduce the video and her son’s unit and got see her son, for the first time in several months, on the big screen. It was an extremely proud and emotional moment; Kip Moore had a tough act to follow. The show was flawless, very emotional and moving that the members of 386th Air thought enough of us back in the USA to send such an outstanding and touching recording. Kip Moore’s performance rocked the house and kept the emotions high. After the conclusion; I headed over to Seacrets for a late dinner and cold beverage.
Sadly, on Sunday, the last day of the rally, I had to pack up and check out. Stopping by several vendors to say my farewells to friends and acquaintances, I made my way home. What a great time I had at this year’s OC BIkeFest/Delmarva Bike Week, and I’m looking forward to next year’s adventures.