It is almost, but not quite, completely unlike tea.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bikes, Blues, and WHAT I CAN'T HEAR YOU

 So this little motorcycle rally came to town a few weeks ago... maybe you've heard of it.  Something like 75,000 motorcycles and 300,000 people converging on one two three small sections of our fair city.  Luckily, our intrepid local bureaucrats were quick to educate the visitors on appropriate rally behavior.  Signs were posted on most roads leading into down proudly proclaiming, "WELCOME TO FAYETTEVILLE, PLEASE RIDE QUIETLY."  Uh huh.  For most of the cruisers I see, this could only be accomplished by turning off the engine and coasting.  But exhaust systems are a whole 'nother story.

Happy/Rush HourThe focus of the rally revelry is Dickson Street, a 4-block entertainment district just east of the UA campus.  Dickson was known for a few good restaurants/bars and too many smelly hippies when I was in school, but it has been "made up" significantly since those olden days.  Most of the vacant buildings have been remodeled or torn down, and there are more restaurants than I could visit in a year.  For the duration of the rally, the smelly hippies were replaced with smelly bikers (the latter are distinguished from the former by their slightly cleaner clothes).

OK, so maybe I'm stretching the truth just a bit.  As this was my first time to attend "the event" I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I was semi-familiar with what bikers expect to see at a rally, but what I ended up seeing was considerably tamer than my fevered predictions.  The main activities of the crowd seemed to be walking, smoking, and attempting to enter any of the 5 bars on the street.  All of the bars were filled to capacity, so the bouncers would throw out a few patrons every couple of minutes and drag a few more in to keep things in balance.

If I had to sum up BB&BBQ in a word, it would be LOUD.  Just loud.  The internal-organ-vibrating thud of an endless string of bikes was a constant reminder that internal combustion engines are nothing more than a series of controlled explosions.  Even if you're not into bikes, the rally still offers plenty to see and ingest.  I'll be going again next year -- but I'll probably take along my earplugs.

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