Well, we did it last nite, went on the tour. And what a beautiful nite to ride it was. Kind of cool in the burbs, but all in all a picture perfect nite to ride and enjoy what we love, our bikes. My wife and I got there about 7:00 ish. We werent sure what to expect, since it was our first time doing this ride. We have been to the Honda Hoot in Knoxville, so we figured it was going to be similar, and it was. The air was filled with people who love their bikes, people with a smile on theirs faces knowing that they are here just for the love of the ride. The bad vendors ( knowing they are selling junk
) were there, they smile at you hoping that you will purchase the trinkets that they display, but as usual I decline, smile back at them and enjoy the experience of it. Ok, ok, some of their stuff is actually purchase-able, if you look for it. There was a "Bike Show" too ! Yeah, if you wanted to put your bike on display you could, ( for $5 bucks entry fee ) for everyone to judge. The winner got a few bucks I believe. Sad to say I didnt put mine in...
but there were some pretty bikes, mainly chopper types, the ones where your hands go numb after about 5 minutes of riding it because your hands are so far over your head the you loose the blood in them. I am not sure who won but im sure they were proud. There was also food , yes Food! and drink! Well pop, iced tea and coffee. No Brew, which I was actually real glad to see. You didnt need a few thousand bikers drunk on the road all at the SAME TIME.
The food was the typical, hot dogs, beef sandwiches, brats, and chips. They even had a Combo sandwich! WoooHooo! So we ate. There was also. music. A DJ was set up who would play music, interrupt with a few thoughts and play the tunes. Good tunes, tunes that make you want to ride your bike. He also had a Karokokee ( I know that I didnt spell it right, but who can ? ) the contestants actually were pretty good, both male and female. So that kept you tapping your feet all evening, wondering " could I sing that good ? " Most of the time we just sat, sat and watched the bikes come in. We got ourselves set-up at the entrance, so we could scope out each and every bike that came through. Thousands!!!! of bikes. Well, ok there were alot! Im not sure of the count, but they kept on comming in. $10 bucks a rider, $5 bucks a passanger. So do the math. If I would guess, I would say, 70% cruisers, 30% sport ???
Everyone was on there best behavior from what we could tell, no attitudes, or tough guy looks. Everyone was there for the ride, and to enjoy the experience of it. So we sat, and slept, and enjoyed the nite air and the smell of hotdogs and brats and music. If you like people watching, that was good to. Bikers come in all shapes and sizes, enough said on that subject. :laughing
The RIDE : about 11:20 we were called to go to our bikes, so we did, and just in the nick of time. We were told over the DJ speaker that we were leaving in 5 minutes. Well, it was more like 30 seconds!, by the time we got to our bike, they were rolling... fast.... 3 rows at a time, and since we were there early, we were in the front. So we barely jumped on our bike, and I prayed it started! I couldnt even get my helmet on in time, or my jacket zipped, bikes were screaming by us, I yelled to my wife
" ready ? " she replied " yes! " and we were off! We left the Maryville Academy in a heart beat, bikes roaring, nervously riding, saying to myself " dont dump it ! " If I did we were dead...
We rode 2 to a row, sometimes staggered, somtimes not. I just followed, we had a route, which I cant remember the details right now, but we headed to downtown Chicago, 294 to 90 to 290 to 294 back to Des Plaines. Total the trip took maybe and hour ? That is pretty quick, considering the distance we went. The great part about the trip was that we didnt have to stop, ever, no stop lights, stop signs, toll booths, ( we rode the far right toll booth, and were flagged through) Along the way every main turn was tagged, with flares, people yelling, waving, and having a great time. The only problem I saw were the cages, you see, at every point where the " flares" were set up, the cars would slow down, thinking that it was a hazard, causing a traffic jamb., not realizing that they were there for us as our guides. We did get disconnected a few times from the group, due to traffic, but we caught up with each other pretty quick. And as i mentioned before the weather was beautiful, and the riders smiled the whole time, sport bikes and cruisers riding together, without a hitch. Kinda Cool . At the end of the tour was a local lodge. Food, drink ( yeah beer and otherwise ) was being served. The same food as at the Academy, just add in liquor. Well, we really didnt stay, we used the facilities, had a brat, and we were off. So I dont know how the evening went for them, but we were in bed back home by 2am. Not bad I thought. If I had to give it a number, I would say 7 on a scale of 1-10. Some would say more some would say less. I was there for the experience, the ride, the side shows going on, the time with my wife, the exilaration of cracking the throttle and feeling the rocket below me take off. The smiles of the other riders as we all in one long, long, long line would wave at people, beep our horns, and have them wave back, the common feeling that we all get when ride. You know what feeling I am talking about. The common bond that we all share. Either in a smile or a nod.... ride safe. Yes, the Midnight tour is 23 years and going strong.