For the past three years, Luke and I have been holding an annual rally for the group of motorcycle folks that my dad hangs out with. They call themselves the Deadhorse Motorcycle Club and because we’ve extended our courtesy and the use of our grass to their tents, we’re honorary Deadhorses, too. Even Molly’s a Deadhorse since she’s ridden to two DHMC rallies now. She’s hardcore. So the Deadhorses rolled in to town this past weekend for what was once, unfortunately, JOKINGLY referred to as “Sweaty Boobs” (the summer counterpart to the late fall rally called “Frosty Nutz”) and which is now just called Luke and Lisa’s rally, or Leak and Lusa’s. We answer to both.
We spent the week mowing and trimming and battling rose bushes, spiders, and mice to make the area down by the river habitable and motorcycle-friendly. By Friday afternoon when the first camper arrived, we were already tired. Friday night was mellow and quiet. I had made a big pot of chili ahead of time so we ate chili and sat by the fire and crossed our fingers hoping that the rain would hold off.
I’m sort of a wuss at this campout in that, seeing how the house and my nice, comfy bed and hot shower are mere yards from the river, I don’t pitch a tent for the weekend. I sleep at the house. This is great for the obvious reasons, but tiring when you have to walk back and forth shuttling coffee to the early-rising campers who went to bed hours before me and therefore, are much chipper than me and my grumpy want-to-go-back-to-bed self. But the morning was bright, the clouds were clearing, and we were getting ready to take a breakfast ride out to a neat little chrome diner in Willimantic. My dad, with a GPS built into his cranium, found the way there without taking any main roads whatsoever. At one point on the ride, we passed what looked like a big heap of road kill but, when I rode past it and looked down, it turned out to be a giant, cranky snapping turtle in the road. We had a great breakfast at the diner, stopped for gas, and headed home. Luke and my dad switched bikes and halfway home, Luke pulled over and Luke and I switched bikes. I got to ride my dad’s BMW, which was a blast, but so strange. I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the signal lights and kept honking the horn and switching on the high beams instead. What a difference going from the rough, raw feeling of the Buell to the smooth riding-a-recliner feeling of dad’s Beemer. It was nice.
Back at the ranch we got our swim suits on and headed down to the river to look for crayfish. The first year we had this rally, I decided that I wanted to make crawfish jambalaya on Saturday night with the crayfish we catch in the river. There are a zillion of them and they’re fun to catch, so why not? The first year we caught a ton. It was impressive. Then last year, a sudden and strong thundershower on Friday night brought the water level up and stirred up the silt in the river making it impossible to see the little buggers. We managed to catch maybe six of them and then a freak accident by the side of the river dumped the bucket back into the water and we ended up with just jambalaya, no crawfish. This year we weren’t planning to try too hard to look for them. Between the mink in the river and the heron and all the other wildlife, we haven’t been seeing as many crayfish this year. But the Deadhorse Crayfishing Crew was determined so we waded in and tried our best. We ended up with a couple dozen – enough to call it crawfish jambalaya – I was happy. More relaxing, more floating in the river, and it was time to get the potatoes ready to bake and get ready to cook.
And then the sky opened up and dumped buckets of water on us. We were all under awnings and umbrellas. I was slicing onions and potatoes, some people were playing cards, some were reading, and something primal in me was saying maybe we shouldn’t be outside in this. Thunder and lightning were all around us, the rain was so heavy you could barely see through it. We should go inside. And then it was over. Blue sky, sunshine, birds chirping and CRACK! the most horrendous, loud lightning strike that sounded like it hit the house. The storm was over, the sun was out so the crack came as a huge surprise and we screamed and luckily I didn’t cut my finger off instead of slicing the onions.
More swimming and relaxing and it was time to make the jambalaya. Roland and Luke were working on a big pork loin that was cooking on the rotisserie and I whipped up the jambalaya and we all ate until we were stuffed. It was fantastic. The sun went down, the amazing full moon came out and Roland, Voyle, and Chris took out their guitars (and banjo) and we sang songs around the fire until the wee hours of the morning. One more midnight swim (more like a 1am swim) and it was time for bed.
6:30 came way too early the next morning, but coffee was needed down at the river so duty calls. Luke was amazingly kind and let me sleep in while he was on coffee duty. The campers made pancakes and ate bagels and I slept a little longer. Then everyone started to pack up and head home and it was time for cleanup again. It’s a nonstop weekend but it’s a good time. Thanks to all who came out, you helped make it a great weekend.
See all the pictures here: Rally 2007