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8th Belgium Pow Wow - August 2004


Friday morning, loaded trailer with the Chief and set off for Dover to catch the midday ferry.  300 yards down the road, first puncture!  No problem we have a spare, quick change, a few swear words and a quick dash off to Dover.  On time, but only just.

Crossing was fine.  Off the ferry and hit the local roads towards Diksmuide and the Indian Friends annual Belgium rally.  Four miles into the journey, you guessed it, second puncture!  Bugger it, spare is flat – no problem, plugged the whole in the flat with a self tapping screw and lucky I had filled the bull bars with air the day before (must have guessed something was going to happen) and put air in, problem sorted, we are mobile again.

Finally arrived on the rally site at 10pm, party was in full swing by this time.  Hit the bar for some serious drinking, everyone had a head start on me!  Sometime later, a bit blurry by this time, an important announcement was made “We have a Birthday boy in the house tonight.  Would Keith Bird please come up on stage?  Here is a small gift from the Belgium Friends to celebrate your 50th Birthday” After Keith was suitable embarrassed by everyone knowing his age, we got down to some more serious drinking accompanied by an even more drunk entertainer on stage (sorry, could not remember my name, let along the singers).  The last thing I remember is staggering back to the van at 5am, trying to get into my bed.

Saturday morning, I was rudely awakened by a persistent knocking on the window. It is Keith, looking like last night did not happen.  His only redeeming feature is he had a cup of coffee in one hand.  OK, I will open the window and relieve him of it.  Christ, it is only 10am, the ride out is set for Midday and the Chief is still loaded on the trailer.  Funny, I have a splitting headache and really do not want to be bothered but constant nagging by my conscience (Keith, my shadow) forces me to unload the bike and get ready for the ride out.

Ride out was the mixture of bikes of all ages and sizes, with a slow meander through various small villages via the back roads.  Managed to stay with the pack to arrive at the small tobacco museum, followed by a drink in the pub next door.  This is what I need, hair of the dog!  I was being offered to sample the local dark strong beer but Daddy Keith would not allow me to partake, so I had to make do with the weaker Blonde beer (or try and sneak one without Daddy seeing).  The ride back was fun, I was following a side car outfit who missed a turning, tried to take it too late, then thought better of it and went straight ahead but twitching on two wheels, very interesting.  More fun and games with Ray Chriss deciding to wake up Keith and Peter by overtaking one and undertaking the other (driving straight between the two of them).  Then it was Pauline’s turn on her Harley Topper – She needed a bit of a gee-up so with my leg out I came up behind her and gave her some extra horse power, although being fairly new to the club, I only found out later that the guy on the Brave that I overtook (Carl) was her partner and was watching. 

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Ride out time

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You just gotta tinker!!

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Drying out after the night before

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Nice... The entrance

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Wagons roll, dispatch on board

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Just hanging around

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Still hanging around

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Nice Henderson!

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Abandoned or ridden?

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Squaw along for the ride

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It was quite late when we got back, the hog roast was nearly ready and the bar area was filling up with anticipation of the evening entertainment.  For anyone who is a regular of this rally, I was informed that Saturday night is not the same without the Elvis tribute and not to disappoint we were treated to this rare and unusual representation of THE KING.  Having had a bit too much to drink on Friday, I decided to go easier on Saturday, especially as we had to drive back to the docks the next day.  I can remember Friday night’s singer arguing with Elvis about who was going to sing next (an added extra to the act).  Daddy Keith relaxed his parental duties and I managed to get to the dark beer, this was probably because he was preoccupied with convincing Celia why he should be allowed to drink and smoke on this occasion (even though he has given up .. ha ha)  I managed to find my bed at a more reasonable time this night, it was still in the am, but not quite as bad as Friday.

Sunday morning, was a slow breakfast and packing up.  I managed to acquire a very nice despatch tow, which accompanied the chief perfectly on the trailer on the trip home (seriously, it is only lodging at my place until the rightful owner comes to collect it – Eddie Bains).  11am, after saying goodbyes to every, saw me heading back towards the docks at Calais to catch the Midday ferry.  I was in convoy with Ray & Caryll and Keith & Celia with their respective vans.

We all arrived at the docks, me last in the convoy.  Ray & Keith went straight through customs, got to the ticket office and went straight through to boarding the ferry.  I go straight through customs, get to the ticket office and proceed to have an argument, they want me to go back through customs.  Well, after leaving the docks and coming back in to customs, the customs officials only wanted to look at the bikes again.  I get back to the ticket office again to find out I have missed my ferry, which sailed with Keith & Ray on board, and I had to wait another hour and a half for the next ferry.

Finally boarded the 2pm ferry, ON MY OWN. 

I am glad to say the rest of the trip home was uneventful.  It was the first time I had been to the Belgium rally and thoroughly enjoyed it, punctures and all.  Definitely one to go to again next year.  As I sit here writing this up (End of Oct) I mentally remind myself I must repair the tyre with the screw in it, it is still on the landcruiser and still holding air.

Until Next Year

Chris Rix           

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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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