Greetings campers and minimum security inmates
It's all coming back to me now. Writing a bit late due to my delayed return home, and even more delayed return to the CR list. Vagabonding for a couple weeks before VR, and several days after, so had to disconnect. No desire to return to 3+ weeks of CR traffic. THAT large a backup might attract Big Brother's attention. I know I've been gone a while when cobwebs have grown across the doors of the fridge/freezer and the microwave.
Usually attend the Trexlertown swap the same weekend as VR, it's closer, cheaper, and it's a long standing tradition. It's always a tuff decision to pass up VR, but this year I was passing thru LA anyway from farther west. Soooo, what to do? My life is too boring to get me on the Jerry Springer Show, so that option was out. And I didn't hear about the National Yo-yo Championships in Chino until after it was over, (just something to use as a frame of reference if we ever start to think the CR group is too weird, but THEY make the evening news.). So VR sounded like a good reason to hang around for a few days to begin re-assimilation before finishing the trip home. It was the right choice. Of course, I knew it would be.
As a serial Cirque attendee, I found VR to be interestingly different. Similar theme of course, and the same sense of fun. Not better or worse, just....... a little different. Even though some of the ringleaders and usual suspects are also regular Cirque attendees, VR has it's own pace and style. (Around here I could get beat up or shot for using California words like "ambiance", so they're not part of my active vocabulary). A little less manic perhaps. I suspect some of the playful antics that go on in the lobby and hallways of the Battleground Inn would be frowned upon in the Courtyard Marriot. Or maybe I just slept through them. As expected, an incredible pile of vintage steel littering the show grounds, but with a lot of stuff I would never see back east. Oh great. Wonderful. Just what I needed. New things to lust for. Also a great opportunity to observe the behaviour patterns of some of the west coasters I already know from the Cirque while in their native habitat, and to actually meet others in person that I've only met through the list. Friday and Saturday night dinners provided a very rare opportunity for the spousal unit to meet some of the kooks she has only heard stories about or accidentally intercepted phone calls from. Lucky her. She's still shaking her head in amazement and amusement, and repeatedly mumbling something like "Where do you find these people? WHY do you find these people?" I plead the 5th. Immediately obvious to her that some of you are farther over the edge than I am, so she is still pondering whether it's good that I'm not quite that bad, or if she should just add the word "yet" to the end of that observation. At least she also got to meet a few other long suffering spouses and spousal equivalents, so she knows she's not alone.
Curiosity is a curse, so I keep attending seminars. The speakers put a few new dents in my immense shield of ignorance. Humbling to keep discovering how many topics there are that I didn't even know I didn't know anything about. And I even lived in the Chicago area for 20+ of my formative years in the 60s and early 70s, and didn't know anything about the Ernst family. Probably because I wasn't hanging around with the racing crowd. Still so much to learn. So little time.
Special thanks to PD and MG who, knowing I would arrive bikeless, conspired without my knowledge to provide me with an appropriate steed. Great to have friends who will go beyond just finding a rideable bike, and who appear on my hotel doorstep with one that fit not only my carcass, but also my personal tastes and component quirks. A bright and shiny Raleigh Pro, complete with rear brake lever mounted on the left side. I could not have felt more at home.
Arrived too late for the Friday ride and frame building gathering. Matt G was running late for the Saturday ride, and I was running later, so we wandered off on our own for a while to test ride the Raleigh project. Supposed to be looking at the houses, but I frequently found it difficult to see the houses for the trees. Interesting variety of foliage. It's what I do, even on vacation. Difficult for me lately to look at any building without analyzing it for probable defects and water leaks. Easier to just enjoy the trees. Enjoyed the official Sunday ride, which was at a pace even I could keep up with. That's a first. A fluke perhaps, but a comfortable pace, some interesting conversations to eavesdrop on, and the group stayed together, at least until some veered off for a coffee stop. Have to admit that detour left me totally baffled. You can get coffee anywhere, anytime. There's a vintage bike show/swap to get to! What are you thinking?! Oh well, better them than me. I rode on. Even more baffled when after the ride a couple people asked me how I did on "the hill" without my usual triple cranks for my worse than usual knees. I honestly had to ask where "the hill" was. I knew then that I was in a different world. I remember "flat" from my previous life in the midwest, and this route was definitely flat. I invited them, and I extend the invitation to all of you, to come ride in WV, VA, and western PA sometime. I think that might help redefine "hill" for you. Or perhaps next time I'll be prepared for Fargo Street. THAT's a hill. Even I'm not silly enough to attempt that without mountain bike gears.
Spent the rest of Sunday alternating between drooling over people's bikes, and hanging out at Paulie's store so she too could keep doing the circuit. Too much to take in all at once. She had an interesting, though hardly profitable sales strategy for the leftovers from some ebay grab bag. "If you recognize something in the basket-o-stuff, and need it, it's YOURS". I whiled away the time between conversations and "sales" assembling most of an early 80s vintage SR rear der from stray bits and pieces, (no pulleys or inside cage plate in the debris) until somebody recognized it as such and away it went. Another satisfied customer. Kind of amusing to discover I can still recognize the parts I need out of a larger pile of random clutter. Wondering now if I could assemble one by braille, blindfolded. Installing the spring for the parallelogram might be a challenge. Hmmmm, sounds like a future late night event in the lobby of the Battleground Inn. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...... START YOUR T-WRENCHES !!
Oh well, back to real life, kicking and screaming. Thanks Chuck, and all your able assistants. It was a blast.
Larry "Johnny Jet-lag" Osborn Bruceton Mills, WV Where for a few months at least, my baboon butt ugly orange jerseys will be as fashionable as blaze orange hunting vests, AND prison orange jump suits. Will there be doilies in D-block at Camp Cupcake?