2012 Indiana HOG Rally

August 24th through the 26th was the Indiana HOG Rally, held around McCormick’s Creek State Park in southwestern Indiana.  This is an event that many HOG members look forward to, of re-meeting old friends and finding a few new ones in a fun weekend setting.  Plans were made for my wife and I to take off of work Friday, meet up with a couple of friends, and ride down to the Park’s campground to start enjoying the weekend.

Friday rolled around, and we packed up the bike trailer (no, not that kind…the kind you actually pull with your motorcycle!), re-arranged it a dozen times to fit in all the gear the wife wanted to bring, and we headed out about 2PM to try to beat the early Friday afternoon traffic in Indianapolis that would be bringing interstate traffic to a near standstill in spots.  We traversed around part of I-465 to reach our designated exit on the west side of Indy, located not too far away from our friend’s home.  Upon arrival, we found that Shiz was too sick to leave the house, so we sat and chatted with her for an hour or so until her husband John came home from work.  A quick kiss to his wife, and John gave the order to “let’s go!”.

By this time, it was a little after 5PM, and knew that no matter what path we took out of Indianapolis, the streets and interstates would be packed with Friday traffic.  Begrudgingly, we jumped back onto I-465, where we found traffic rolling slow, but steadily.  None of us would complain, as we’ve seen gridlock so bad in that area, you might as well as pull out a propane grill and cook up some hamburgers when you are stuck in traffic.  We made our way to I-70 West, and quickly absconded the confining arms of the city as we rolled towards a weekend of bliss.

The three of us quickly made it to US-231 to turn south towards Spencer, Indiana.  Knowing it would be too late to get the camp set up and then cook, we decided to enjoy a burger at the famous golden arches restaurant, and we set back upon our way once we were full of grease and calories.  The heat of the day had started to wear off, and the ride into Spencer was delightful and enjoyable as John led the way on his fairly new HD Street Glide, while we followed  behind pulling our Piggybacker XL trailer.

The trailer had given me fits on some test runs the past few months, with it creating a weird vibration in the motorcycle between 70-72 MPH.  On this trip, I’m happy to say that other than one quick vibration that had to be steadied by quickly letting off the throttle and resuming, the black cube pulled gently behind us the entire journey.

Our arrival to McCormick’s Creek found us easily reaching our campground within a few minutes.  John’s son had brought his trailer to the campground the day before so that we could enjoy it, and at the invite of John and Shiz to take their spare beds, we quickly agreed not to bring a tent with us.  After 45 minutes of messing with the trailer to get both the fridge and air conditioner to work, my wife finally slammed some switches around and both powered up to our delight.  Cold beer would be had!  Of course, I had brought along a cooler full, with ice, that we’d use for emergency backup (and to keep available next to the chairs near the fire pit outside.

The rest of Friday evening was spent visiting our numerous other friends that had arranged to camp around us (thanks to Cindy for reserving all the sites months in advance to guarantee we could easily walk to one another’s sites!), and cold beer and hot conversation occurred for a few hours until slowly people started drifting back to their own sleeping arrangements.

Saturday morning started with an early breakfast at the Lodge at the state park, and getting registered for attending the rally.  We were surprised to find that the offered breakfast buffet was only passable in taste; and others also commented at the low quality of the offerings.  With so many attendees there, food was emptied out of pans quickly…and for some reason, refills of the pan’s contents were found to be nearly cold as well.  Not passing up food, I made two trips…which would haunt me in just hours.

One of our local HOG members, Greg, had offered to lead a group onto some nice riding roads, and over to  a nice lunch south of the park.  Another group from our chapter was due to arrive by the time we left; for those that weren’t spending the night.  It just so happened that this second group came into the park as we were leaving!  Not sure if Greg noticed or not…as he pulled out of the park and we were on our way.

Our group going out, our other group coming in!

Greg took us towards Bedford, where we took a break to re-hydrate, and set out on 450 West.  If you haven’t ridden that road, it’s a very curvy ride and all of us had the time of our lives on it.

Catching US-50, we worked our way over to Loogootee, Indiana, and then turned north on US-231 to arrive at a great restaurant, on Boggs Lake.  Stoll’s Lakeview Restaurant is an Amish buffet, and most arrived with huge appetites.  I didn’t…the morning breakfast was by now killing my stomach, and I simply watched as those around me ate mounds of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and many more delights from the buffet.  I was assured by all that the food was very good, and that I had missed out.

Definitely a recommended stop!

After all had their fill, we found our way back to Spencer on US-231, and proceeded back to our campsites, where we ran across a number of those from the second group that had arrived earlier in the day. Most went to their fridges or coolers to grab a few cold ones, and we spent a few hours just sitting, relaxing, and talking.

Saturday night was the event we were all looking forward to.  That is when each of the chapters at the Rally sets up a area of food, beverages, and games for all to partake in.  Our local chapter provided jello shoots, BBQ wings, and a great game of oversized rubberbanded slingshots filled with water balloons…which everybody used to try to nail one of our chapter officers.  A few splashes he received, but all had a blast partaking in both our events as well as those offered by other chapters.

Only pic of Saturday evening.  What happens when camping, stays at camping!

After a couple of hours at the Rally, my wife and I returned to our campsite, and proceeded to try to burn through the three large bundles of firewood we had purchased the evening before.  An hour or so later, a large group of our HOG friends arrived back in the area, and most found a way to party in the safety of their new residence areas.  A few of the campsites go loud of course, from the volume of visitors.  We aimed at keeping the fire going, and awarding those that came by with a refreshment of their own to enjoy.

Sunday morning found many of the people packing up their trailers (or bikes), preparing for a quick exit once the morning’s activities were concluded.  Many of those riding met at the Lodge parking lot, where we would “parade” down to Spencer, and take over the town square area.  Our police escort arrived to block traffic along the route, and we proceeded on a very long parade of five minutes into Spencer.  The downtown area was blocked off for us, where we would engage in a biker rodeo.

The traditional biker rodeo is more of a skills contest, along with some non-relevant games to play.  Nobody is pressured to participate, and many are very comfortable sitting on the sidelines and enjoy watching others. Some events included a slow-ride race, having your passenger take tennis balls off a cone and then put them back on (without the rider putting a foot down), and some interesting other games involving jumping through a fake window while dressed as a firefighter.
The winners of the tennis balls contest (no, not me).

As my wife took pictures of the event, I headed back to McCormick’s Creek to get my trailer.  Many had already evacuated the park, and I found just one friend there who was tying his tent onto the back of his motorcycle.  After chatting for a minute, we each headed in our own directions.

Picking up the wife, John decided to amble back towards Indy with us, and we set out for home.  The ride was beautiful again, the weather perfect; albeit for some darkening skies that looked to provide some rain to the park area soon enough.

It was an enjoyable weekend.  Next year, the state rally will be held in June from what we hear, in Terre Haute, Indiana.  No camping in the area, as the events will be held downtown.  Guess we’ll be leaving the trailer and tents behind, and settling for a motel room.