The 2009 Virginia State Harley Owners Group rally in Roanoke this year succeeded in spite of glitches as schedules changed, staging areas moved without notice and those who were supposed to know what they were doing too often didn’t.
Group rides were apparently mapped out with MapQuest because the routes often showed little imagination or appreciation of the many scenic roads in the area. For example, the proposed route for the ride to Natural Bridge was up I-81 to the venue and then back on I-81.
I-81 is not only a boring ride, it can be dangerous one with trucks whizzing by at 85-miles-per-hour when rally rules call for not exceeding the 65-mph speed limit with bikes.
As one of the road captains for Natural Bridge, we scrapped the proposed route and took the more scenic route up U.S. 11.
I also served as one of the road captains on the parade from the Sheraton Roanoke to the Market in downtown Roanoke. FUBAR was the order of the day as bikes were told to stage on frontage road but then some were directed to the Holiday Inn parking lot by an event staffer who didn’t know where the bikes should stage.
Registration turned into a nightmare for some. Those not pre-registered had to look for the registration area because information for on-site registration was missing from the web site (even though one part of the web site said the registration information could be found on the schedule page).
Still, the parade went off pretty much without incident, those on group rides enjoyed themselves and most seemed to have a good time — proving that the desire to have fun can overcome most problems.