I'm filthy. I stink. I am soaked through after two hours riding in the rain.
My head is pounding from three days of partying and the roar of the exhaust, coupled with the hard-tail of this old Harley, seems to be shaking the
fillings loose in my teeth and crumbling each of my vertebra to dust.
I yawn. Or at least, I try to. My tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth and my lips, cracked and chapped, seem to be sealed together. God I want a
drink, a shower, some painkillers and a warm bed. I have been awake since Friday when my alarm went off at five a.m. for work. I showered, grabbed my
bags, bungeed everything down on the bike and went off to work my shift, Carrying heavy, awkward stuff from one place to another, then back again,
then back again, then loading it onto trucks until I could barely lift my arm high enough to clock off...Then I gulped down a mug of tea and hit the
road, four hours in holiday traffic, zipping along the white lines between angry, frustrated people in their cars. That was a good feeling and the
wind in my face reinvigorated me enough to make the long trip with just a couple of stops for a bacon roll, a couple of mugs of tea, some fuel and a
bit of half arsed flirting with waitresses in greasy spoon cafes.
Arriving on site was like a shot of pure adrenalin. Bikes as far as the eye could see. Black leather on every back, 70's rock booming out across the
field as I parked up, popped a warm beer and gulped it down in one hit, dropping the can to the soft ground and stamping it flat before flicking out
the stand and lining it up with the can to make sure my bike stayed upright and didn't topple over from the kick stand sinking into the mud. Then I
got off, unpacked my gear and set up the tent, throwing everything inside and heading quickly down the hill to the party. You don't have to be so
worried about thieves at places like this. It's no Glastonbury, this is purely about one tribe, and no one here will shy away from sorting out anyone
who looks a little shifty around someone else's tent.
Friday passed in a blur. The music loud, the laughter raucous, infectious as we swapped tall tales about our rides here, to this field. Backs were
slapped, rounds were bought, fast food was eaten...fast and as the night wore on, things didn't slow down. We all have our ways of staying lively, I
had mine and that was that.
Saturday dawned to the chilled out sounds of the old school reggae and ska the current occupant of the DJ booth seemed to be into and as the day wore
on, stupid games gave way to jealous appreciation of the sort of bikes that you usually only see in the centre pages of magazines. Squeals from the
fairground mixing with the thump of the bass from the music tents, the zip of tattoo guns and crackle of the shooting booths. One hand always full, be
it a drink, something to eat or smoke.
The night wore on and the wet t shirt comp got won, the girl who came third squealing and laughing at me as I tripped over one of the millions of guy
ropes while we walked between the rows of tents...
Sunday dawned before I really seemed to do more than blink and breakfast was greasy egg and bacon rolls, tea from plastic cups and smiles across
one of those rough wooden picnic tables you see in pub beer gardens.
The day was more of the same, bikes to see and vote for, bands to dance to or just watch, laid back on the grass beer in one hand, Miss wet T in the
other..The night a crazy, kaleidoscopic rush of bright lights and techno..sweat and wood smoke always with the undertones of burnt oil and the rumble
of bikes up on the hill being raced between the tents...
Monday morning, packing up, swapping numbers, a smile and a wink that says we are both too polite to mention we probably won't meet again...at least
until the next rally...Tying it all down tight and keeping the throttle low as the back end snakes from side to side across the grass heading for the
safety of the gravel roadway.
I pull in, not quite thinking about it, but I have done a hundred and twenty miles since I last filled up and this tank usually hits reserve around
now, so it's a good time, especially as this garage has a little chef tacked on like some sort of architectural afterthought.
Forty five minutes later, I am steaming back down the A38... A plume of spray behind me like a misty cloak trailing in the wind as my iron horse gets
given her head and she roars down the twin lanes, bank holiday traffic not so bad yet and the acid that was eating at my stomach lining now swamped by
the greasy delight of the infamous Olympic breakfast from the little chef. Vision clear thanks to the two pots of tea (The second gratis, naturally)
and there's even a grin on my face as I see the sign for the M5...40 minutes of hard riding and I will be home. A shower, a warm spot by the tiny, two
bar, electric fire, then bed until 5 a.m. Tuesday when I get back to pretending I enjoy busting my back for barely enough cash to pay the rent.
I'm going home..or maybe, I just left it, for another year?
edit on 18pSat, 05 Jan 2019 16:51:18
-060020192019-01-05T16:51:18-06:00kAmerica/Chicago31000000k by SprocketUK because: filthy, not dirty