Two tandem rallies back to back! Cool! First there was the Eastern Tandem Rally (ETR) in Lancaster PA. There were somewhere around 175 tandem teams all staying at the Eden Center Resort (a pretty classy place). We decided to take 2 days to get there so we could get some riding in on Fri afternoon, but mother nature had a different idea. We left on Thurs in the rain and it poured all the way down there, both days! The tandem gets wet again en route. What was that they said about a van being the most expensive accessory you would buy for your tandem? We want one!
Luckily there was a covered entrance to the hotel so we could at least unload the bike and luggage out of the rain. Of course, everyone else was trying to do the same thing. Once inside and registered, we set out to find familiar faces. At registration we met Malcolm and Judy (friends and hosts of the Off road rally in NJ). Wandering around the lobby, we met Monica and Tim, followed by the Dye family, Jackie, Robin and Amy, the Rakestraws and our friends from Elmira (currently living in Japan) Rich and Lindy who would be hosting the rally next weekend at their house. Jet lag hadn't set in yet, but they had only been in the states less than 24 hours. A time was quickly set to meet for dinner later, all 16 of us!
Saturdays' ride took us to lunch via Cornwall Furnace, a really neat stone village, that once was a forge for processing coal. I wish we could have spent some time there, but we had already been lost twice and were just barely going to make it for lunch as it was, barring any other wrong directions or breakdowns. What was that about a breakdown? Just 5 miles from lunch, Monica and Tim heard a clunking sound coming from their bottom bracket. The game plan was to ride easy and have the Trek Wrench force check it out at lunch.
While eating lunch, Tim and Monica had not one, but BOTH bottom brackets replaced. It was here we met up with the rest of the Rochester contingent, Pat and Vince, Frank and Kay and Dave and Holly. Guenthers weren't the only ones with mechanical problems. The McGuires trashed a rear hub on their bike about 3 miles into the ride, and this is only the first day! It's a long way to travel only to ride 3 miles, but hopefully they had a good time anyway.
After returning to the hotel, some folks hit the pool, while others checked out the jacuzzi before dinner. Speaking of dinner, I traded the remainder of my chicken with Rich for the potatoes Lindy left, but somehow my chicken wound up on Monica's plate! The entertainment was some jugglers. They were really good! Our balcony provided a great spot for watching them.. kind of a bird's eye view.
We headed off to the nearest liquor store to find some wine, then spent to evening looking at wedding pictures and pictures from Japan. The party didn't last long, everyone was pretty beat. Oh yeah, the weather! Saturday and Sunday were terrific! Sunshine, light winds and great temperatures.
Sunday, we had to do a short ride so we could be back for lunch by 1pm. Most people had to check out then, but we had decided to stay another night. After lunch with Tim in the lead, we headed out of town turning down the first road that got us off a major highway. That lead to another and another and another........ We saw tons of buggies and lots of Amish. Great roads and scenery. Nice job Tim! Having no idea where we were, we found our way back using the Lancaster county map. A short nap and then off to the jaccuzi.....nice!
The group (which had now grown to 30) staying over on Sun night decided to go to a local Pennsylvania Dutch (all you can eat) restaurant nearby. This was by far the best meal of the weekend. As we kept handing the waitress empty bowls for refills, she asked "Haven't you guys eaten all day?" Little did she know! We put away a lot of food!
Monday morning, we woke to grey skies shich turned into drizzle, then a steady rain as we headed back home. At least the bike didn't get wet while we were on it! A quick? stop at the Eureka tent store outlet in Binghamton on the way home was a must! I mean we were practically going right by. (By the way Dave D., we found it without any problem this time! Piece of cake!)
Now for the next rally. On a wonderful warm, sunny Friday with a great weekend forecast, we set off for the Southern Tier Tandem Rally (STTR) in Elmira. This would be our third year at this rally which is very different from the one we just attended. First of all, there would only be 45 tandem teams. Secondly, the whole event is much more informal. Rich and LIndy have a big house, but you can still only put so many people in it at a time. Friday night , we had a wine and cheese social, and a chance to see who came back after last year, and a chance to see some of the same gang that you just saw last weekend! A week of rest (getting ready to host a rally?) took care of the jet lag problems anyway.
Saturday morning a bunch of us set out on the 60 some mile ride. After the biggest hill climbs were over, there was the obligatory ice cream stop. What happened to lunch? Guess I'd have to wait till we got back for Rich's ribs and our bring a dish to pass picnic. Two couples from Rochester came down Saturday afternoon to test ride tandems (Rich is a Santana dealer for those of you interested in buying a tandem). One couple PLANNED on staying to ride on Sunday, whereas the other was talked into staying, with only the clothes on their back and a toothbrush she had in her purse!
Sunday afternoon, while everyone was saying their goodbyes, Rich was busy trying to sell a bike. Bob and Linda ordered a bike before they went home. Sonia and Mike were still trying to decide what to do. They really wanted a bike, but how to get it home with a compact sedan sans rack, or....if they left it there, how to get back to get it before Rich and Lindy left for Japan on Thursday. Monica mentioned to them that we could carry 2 tandems on our rack and their faces lit up! Problem solved! Now to decide which bike!
They came over that night to pick up their bike (anxious were they?), and of course we gave them a RBC application. Yet another tandem team in the club? We're already looking at the calendar for upcoming events next year. We definitely have the STTR penciled in even without a date set yet! and we think we have Rich and Lindy talked into coming here for Susquehannock weekend and the Challenge ride.