The Knuckledragger SC’s “Barrel of Monkeys” rally in the Quad Cities (Moline and Rock Island, IL; Davenport, IA; and some other city we managed to avoid) had a lot going for it: good location (a short drive or reasonable ride from Chicago), a big, organized club that has been around a while, and novelty: this was the KDSC’s first rally, and first rallies are always good.
Turnout was maybe about 60 scooters, which is a great size for a rally. Even better, the pack was pretty much entirely experienced riders on mostly-vintage bikes in the 125-250cc range. More than half were from the QC and other Iowan towns, with a dozen or so from Chicago, and a handful from Wisconsin and Minnesota (and surprise guests from D.C. and Cleveland). Unlike most Midwest rallies, there were a good number of folks who rode out. After toying with the idea, I trailer-ed it, luring Vina and Milena with the promise of a waterpark, and dragging along Alfredo, my very first scooter buddy who hadn’t been to a rally in ten years. We got in a bit late and had problems getting the Primavera started (“problems”=”no gas”) so we finally rode 2-up to the Friday night party in Rock Island just as everyone was packing up. We had a beer and managed to avoid the temptation of the “Jolly Roger” strip club across the street (“Roger” being a verb, we figured), and got back to the motel.
Ah, the Economy Inn. We found a broken piece of crackpipe in our room. A bruised, toothless girl borrowed my phone to call her friends, then asked me “Can you help me find room 222?” If you’re familiar with the Mountain Goats’ “Palmcorder Yajna,” you’ve got a perfect mental picture. Let’s just say it was not the most savory motel. Which was rad. Some of the KDSC folks seemed a little defensive when we were knocking the Econo, citing it’s former glory as the “Stardust,” but it really was the perfect rally motel, eclipsing even the mighty Alpine Inn in Rockford, and anything the Wisconsin Dells could throw at you. At 2:30am, as we drank and hollered in the parking lot, the night manager came out to offer us coffee.
Saturday started off with registration and breakfast, a quick stop at an antique shop, and then a ride to a state park. The ride, despite a little bit of rain, was fantastic, as was the BBQ. Alfredo was beaming all day just being back in the saddle, and I was ecstatic, too, having the rare chance to ride outside city traffic, on roads with actual curves and hills. We switched bikes back and forth, so we each could enjoy both the revvy, light, brakeless vintage Primavera and the sporty and responsive Blur. The ride was amazingly organized, despite not having blockers, everyone stayed in tight formation and kept together. After a quick dip in the pool, we headed back to the Bierstube for a fantastic dinner and four fantastic bands (my favorite being Thee Allmighty Handclaps). The bike judging eventually came up, and somehow the Primavera, which I’ve been taking to rallies for five years without ever getting a second glance, won “Best Vespa.” Upon reflection, the sea of beautiful bikes I rode with all day all belonged to ineligible club members, so I guess a good dusting and a new Ancillotti Seat from Scoot Richmond edged her to the top. Egan from Minneapolis won “Best Lambretta” with his Series II, Jimmy from St. Paul won the coveted “Ladies Choice” award for his Series III Lambretta. We reckon the ladies loved his ScootRS phallic seat. I made out pretty well in the raffle, too, with a few local music CDs and LPs, a couple bottles of Royal Purple oil, and a sweet pair of handmade Vespa pillowcases.
Back at the hotel, a rally-virgin siren who will remain nameless lured a few rallygoers to jump the fence into the motel pool, while others headed back to Rock Island for a Jolly Rogering. The swimmers were surprised to find themselves getting screamed at by the previously laissez faire night manager at 1:30, putting a quick end to that party.
We had a lot to do Sunday and bad weather was looming, so we packed quickly and skipped town before breakfast. Back in Chicago, I pulled my armored jacket out of the trunk, forgetting that my trophy was inside. It ended up as smashed as Lindsay Lohan, with just as little chance of ever being restored to normal. I guess I could maybe pry the plaque off the glass and mount it to another glass, but I might just put it in the china cabinet the way it is. Easy come, easy go.
Thanks to the KDSC, their sponsors, and all the great people we met this weekend, we hope to see you all at Slaughterhouse.