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Author Topic: Trip to REOCNA/Triumph National Rally in Oley, PA--June 2018  (Read 618 times)

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Bilgemaster

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This saddle-weary cowpoke just rolled back home yesterday evening from the 2018 Triumph and Royal Enfield Owners Clubs Rally held at the Fairgrounds in Oley, Pennsylvania. This was my first longish tour on my still fairly new-to-me 2005 Bullet 500ES "Military". A few tips follow about some of the cheapo gear I found particularly useful this first time really out in the wild on her, chiefly for the possible benefit of others who might also want to get a bit off those familiar beaten paths.

I had a superb time with fellow Enfield lovers from several countries, and my rides there and back (maybe 500 miles all told) were utterly trouble-free and blessed with glorious weather for both legs of the trip. My toolkit never so much as saw the light of day. If that popularly held rap about Enfield's supposed "poor reliability" is at all deserved, you sure as hell couldn't prove it by me, 'cause it turns out my Enfield at least is pretty much the ideal touring bike--if you do touring right. For me, that meant firing up that Google Maps on my phone, giving it the destination, and then, MOST importantly, under "Route Options" clicking that little "Avoid Highways" checkbox. You'll then be presented with two or three route options. You would then typically do well to choose the slightly longer greyed 2nd or 3rd option--whichever seems "squigglier" and keeps you away from more larger towns. Thereafter a nice lady will tell you precisely what to do and where to turn. Being a long and happily married man, I am perfectly accustomed to some lady telling me what to do and where to go. She'll do this right over your wireless Bluetooth headphones (these little guys for just about 8 bucks will do you just fine, and fit very nicely in one's helmet, particularly once you've pulled off the useless little rubberized handles) to take in those breathtakingly scenic vistas on country two-laners that are your Enfield's happy places and where you want to be anyhow. You won't really need to see the mapping much, if at all, but one of these little 12 buck magnetic tank bags, which I've already mentioned on these Forums, will give you a handy place to put the phone where you can see it, with a swell little pouch above just right for cables and chargers, and lots of room below for other goodies you'll want handy. Since GPS is a bit of a power hog on one's phone, for trips of more than a few hours you'd also do well to have one of these 12V Lighter/USB Charging Sockets hooked up on board, which'll run you the princely sum of about 6 bucks. With that tank bag, you can even charge en route. I've got my socket tucked under my big sprung saddle on the frame bar, but she'll ride on the handlebars just as well. Get a little lighter for a buck and a half, and you can even fire up your stogie underway, though I'm personally more likely to use that port to plug in one of those little Harbor Freight 1½ Watt Solar Panels to keep the battery tip-top off-season when those icy winds are a-blowing.

So much for the needful field tested gear. As for the Rally, to say that one saw more than a few utterly bodacious and drool-worthy rides is severely understating matters. Amongst the Enfield contingent, centered in our own cozy little ghetto in a very long covered "manger-like" shelter (next year I might bring along an inflatable Nativity scene), it was just an embarrassment of Enfieldy ritches--mostly the vintage British stuff of all types: all sorts of singles, parallel twins, even a rarer-than-rare unrestored '39 V-Twin beast that made a glorious thunk-thunk like God's own scoot rumbling down the road. Clearly that bike was designed by some longtime geezer and star-designer at Royal Enfield just before the War who was just given Carte Blanche to get together absolutely the very finest V-twin possible and damn the expense. Look closely and it almost makes an HRD/Vincent look festooned with shabby compromises. It and a huge trailerful of other stunning vintage Enfield iron was hauled down by one of the several contingents that came down from Canada. Another Canuck-owned jewel was a '67 Interceptor resto that was cleaner than a nun's fuzzy bits and actually walked off with the 1st Prize People's Choice Trophy (which was only slightly smaller than the Chrysler Building in Manhattan). That's kinda saying something folks, given that we're talking about what was overwhelmingly the Triumph National Rally, my little droogies. Now when I say she was "clean", I mean she was surgical instruments grade tidy. A fantastically exemplary bike screwed lovingly together from the humblest basis of what had been some rather ratty-ass-looking rusted bits by an Indian fellow and his Dad living in Canada. An amazing bit of work with no compromises.

Oddly, there were very few "modern" Indian-made Enfields in attendance. As far as I know, mine was the only Indian "iron belly" Bullet there. I'm also fairly certain mine may hold the distinction of being the one that came furthest under its own steam, thumping up there and back from Virginia, most everyone else having trailered in. There was a very cherry UCE Continental GT and a lovely AVL Bullet owned by some English fellows, but that was about it for Indian iron. Frankly, I was a bit astonished by that. Although I was led to understand from the guys who'd been regularly hitting this shindig since the '90s that the Enfield turnout was really good this year, all agreed that the dire weather forecasts for the weekend probably held many back who might otherwise have come. I was very nearly one of them. As it turned out, those forecasts of torrential rain, flooding, possible cyclones and the utter devastation of all life as we know it by the Mighteous Farts of Zeus, were utter nonsense. I'd say the commonest topic of conversation by that lovely Saturday evening was the consensus that meteorologists and their prophetic pronouncements are only slightly more reliable than crystal healing stones or maybe those Indian-made OEM clutch cables.

So that's my story for now.  Suffice it to say that I'll likely be at the next Rally in Oley.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 11:58:28 am by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.


Arizoni

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Great to hear you had a fun ride and a good time at the show.

Do you have any pictures to share???
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary


Bilgemaster

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Great to hear you had a fun ride and a good time at the show.

Do you have any pictures to share???

Thanks, but sadly no visual reportage to share...for which I'm now sort of kicking myself, seeing as I dragged my still essentially new-in-box Ion AirPro with all the fixins all the way up there, then promptly forgot it was in the pannier. Maybe by next year's rally I'll have figured it out.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 09:30:05 am by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.


mattsz

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Most phones have a camera these days - just sayin'... ( ;) )

Sounds like a nice weekend.  So, no pics - ok, but how was the ride?  One overnight, I assume?  Where did you sleep?


Bilgemaster

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Most phones have a camera these days - just sayin'... ( ;) )

Sounds like a nice weekend.  So, no pics - ok, but how was the ride?  One overnight, I assume?  Where did you sleep?

Yeah, now I'm really regretting not getting any footage. Next year I'll likely overcompensate with interviews, muffler rectal exams and grommet exposés.

As for accommodation, I went up a day early, on Thursday, and took a nice Airbnb for the very first time in nearby Reading, figuring that the last thing I'd want to do is arrive wiped out from the journey and then have to figure out how to pitch my brand new Walmart tent in the gathering darkness. This turned out to be a fine idea. Arriving bright and early and well rested at the Oley Fairgrounds on Friday morning, the first day of the Rally, the rest of the weekend was spent in the tent under that "manger". Tip for future attendees: Bring earplugs. Industrial ones. We've got some alarmingly heavy snorers in our ranks. It was like trying to catch some shuteye in an amplified bullfrog pond with one of those Harbor Freight cement mixers tossing gravel nearby when they all got on the same page. I was genuinely surprised one of the apnea chorus in particular could even speak the next day, and hadn't found his larynx in the sleeping bag come sunup. Still, at some point I eventually managed to pass out from exhaustion both nights and snoozed well enough.

As for the other facilities at the Fairgrounds, you had a couple of decent enough showers and toilets, though obviously a bit of a line for the showers first thing in the morning. Just swing by later about midday, and you'll have 'em all to yourself.

The food was the good part, as it often is up in this corner of rural Amish-country Pennsylvania. If you're looking for good wholesome inexpensive tasty farmstyle fare and plenty of it, then this is your go-to place. The Fairground has a snack bar serving up really nice chunky homemade style breakfast sandwiches first thing, and burgers and dogs later. But just adjacent to the Fairgrounds is a place called the Firehouse, which is, you know, an actual firehouse, with a big upstairs dining hall and bar. Ring the bell to get buzzed in, and for just $8.95 you can get a fat hot turkey sandwich and side made with REAL turkey (not that synthocrap preformed cold cut spew) that would probably serve two elsewhere. It's just the kind of easy-on-the-gut road food you'll want in your tummy while bumping down the pike later. The brisket, ribs and steak didn't look bad either, though the veal parmesan seemed like it had had a rather hard reentry into the atmosphere, and is probably best avoided.

For other provisioning, there's a nearby Weis supermarket with all you'll need. I picked up a nice enough folding camp chair there for just 7 bucks for the duration, which I then gave to one of the other Enfield guys when I headed homeward. Got one of those little disposable aluminum foil charcoal grills for two bucks, some cut chuck, shishkebab sticks and beans for Saturday lunch. Also got a couple of those old school Jiffy Pop deals (remember those?), which were just the ticket on my little cigarette-pack-sized camp stove doodad for "entertaining".

As for the trips there and back, with that Google Maps "Avoid Highways--Choose 2nd or 3rd option" technique, tear-assing past Amish buggies a good bit of the way on otherwise near empty byways, it's hard not to feel you're King of the Road, even astride your otherwise velocity-challenged Bullet. I highly recommend it.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 09:33:00 am by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.


mattsz

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As for the trips there and back, with that Google Maps "Avoid Highways--Choose 2nd or 3rd option" technique, tear-assing past Amish buggies a good bit of the way on otherwise near empty byways, it's hard not to feel you're King of the Road, even astride your otherwise velocity-challenged Bullet. I highly recommend it.

I know just what you mean!  Last year, I took a three-day ride around Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.  I took an entire day to ride most of Route 100 (with a few side-road detours) north to south, a beautiful 200 mile ride through the western hills and mountains of Vermont.  In the autumn, when the leaves are changing color, the traffic on this very scenic road can be horrible, but I planned my trip for after the start of school, but before the real foliage peak, and I couldn’t have timed it better.  Mid-September, nice and cool – and there was very little traffic!  I rode along these beautiful curvy mountain and forest roads, sometimes for 10 minutes at a stretch without laying eyes on a single other vehicle, going in either direction!  Phenomenal!

Attached: Rt. 108 near Stowe, Vermont...