Sunday, March 25th
With the Triplet all dialed-in, today started off a bit more relaxed than Saturday morning did. Perhaps relaxed isn’t the right word, as I find tinkering and tweaking tandems to be very therapeutic, i.e., instant gratification if you will. I think I like working on machines and doing other manual labor because my inability to be warm & fuzzy or engaging when stone-sober isn’t a limitation. But, I digress…
So, at the end of last evening’s dinner our host Tim let everyone know that the Sunday ride would be starting at 8:00 am, an hour-earlier than originally advertised. This was a work-around for the Jameson Inn’s 11:00 am check-out time, noting they indicated they would not be able to support late check-outs for the rally guests. Tim also posted this change in plans to the ATW Facebook page, which was ground zero for real-time information on the rally. While this shouldn’t have caused any problems, there were two exceptions: 1 – The Goertz’ missed dinner because they were off-scope all of Saturday supporting a gymnastics event, as noted in our Saturday report. 2 – For some reason, a few teams opted to do their own thing for dinner and weren’t at the banquet to hear the announcement.
The way this played-out in the morning, Tim & Bev did their best to reach the Goertz’ once they realized they weren’t at the hotel as folks gathered for the 8:00 am start and decided to delay the start until the Goertz’ arrived. Because the ride didn’t start promptly at 8:00 am, the other teams who skipped the banquet and who were also staying at a different hotel just happened to arrive in time to make the delayed ride start once Jack & Susan rolled into the parking lot. After a flurry of activity by Jack & Susan, all of the 30 or side riders were finally assembled and after a group photo we were off…
The ride itself was under 30-miles and basically a repeat of portions of the routes we rode on Friday (that is, the two Triplets given we opted out of the Friday ride) and on Saturday. It was a great route that took us back out past Big Daddy’s onto mostly rural roads that were a combination of fast-flats, some easy rollers, and perhaps 2 or 3 moderate but short climbs. We shared our ride with our fellow Triplet team — Eric, Linda & Lisa — and I believe it was Sharon & Ross from Florida (I’m SO bad with names) and also had Steve & Wendy B. along for a good part of the ride. We had a fun, brisk-paced ride and the Triplet was feeling very comfortable, well… other than my sore nether-regions courtesy of not swapping saddles.
Once we were back at the motel the task at hand was to get the our pedals, Debbie’s saddle and our taillight back off the Triplet and get the ones that were originally on the bike back in place. After that, it was just a matter of stuffing the Triplet back in Larry & Martha’s van and then getting ourselves cleaned-up, packed and out of our room by 11:00am.
Somehow in our haste to get packed up and on the road we didn’t get to say goodbye to a lot of the folks whom we shared the weekend with, and I always hate when that happens. I think a lot of them were still getting showed and packed so for anyone reading this who was at the rally, “We enjoyed seeing you and had a great time! We look forward to seeing y’all next year at Sylacauga, as I believe Tim has signed-on for a Sylacauga ATW Part Deux!”
The Drive Home
The first leg of our trip home included a caravan with Linda & Eric in their Chrysler Town & Country and Lisa in her Mini Cooper to “The Golden Rule BBQ” restaurant in Oxford, Alabama. It was a nice, new location and we had an enjoyable, post-rally lunch. In the past, we typically had these types of post-rally lunches with a much larger group closer to the host hotel. But, in some respects, while it’s always great to have one final big gathering with friends, sometimes it’s just good to get on down the road when you know reality is waiting for you at home, i.e., yard work, laundry, car washing and other honey-do’s as well as getting your head screwed back on for work. Oh, someday we’ll be retired and will be able to truly savor these weekends with a little extra down time before and after… and won’t that be nice, eh?
A really good time. Neat town. Nice routes. Excellent Saturday banquet at Giovanni’s. GREAT people at the rally. Our rally hosts, Tim & Bev, really did put a ton of effort into the event and delivered far more than a no-frills rally demands.
Nits? Just two, and they’re really just nits because they speak to MY preferences, not any default unofficial guidelines for rally planning. After all, we simply attend rallies, we don’t host them. Again, I just lack the people skills needed to deal properly with high-maintenance guests. God-love the folks who do and who host the rallies that we enjoy.
Hotel vs. Motel: The Jameson Inn was a great value, but I tend to think that hotels with larger common areas work better for tandem rallies since it gives folks a climate-controlled, comfortable area with seating for socializing throughout the rally. In fact, hotels with large common areas tend to eliminate the need for hospitality suites. However, on the flip side, I also like having parking area right outside of our rooms, as they can become an extension of the social activities. The Holiday Inn at the Tennessee Tandem Rally had the best of both worlds in this regard, where the rear, 1st floor rooms had both interior (hotel) access as well as rear, parking lot (motel) access. Darn shame that hotel became difficult to work with. There are always compromises.
Fridays: Almost too much structure on Friday for me, but I think I mentioned this already. Ride options in the AM and PM are great, so no issues there. But, beyond that all I require for a Friday beyond riding start times and a map is an afternoon or evening social so that folks will have an opportunity to meet some of the other folks and form new friendships for the weekend ahead. Friday meals are best left to guests who typically want to have some time to meet for a meal with old friends and/or have the opportunity to explore local restaurants and find a place that they find interesting or comfortable.
Would we do it again? Absolutely. We couldn’t have asked for better and humble hosts. Tim & Bev are a treasure. Thanks so much for hosting and sharing your wonderful part of the world with us!