Mama said, 'knock you out, I'm gonna knock you out." A partygoer gives it her all at the Limpnickie Lot's bar, The Pit. then shares a hug with her girlfirend.
With eyes closed and hips swaying, the woman danced hypnotically slow to a rousing rendition of the Eagles “Hotel California” as the music swept her away to a place where memories hide. The lean colored woman in black leather pants and vest smiled as she danced alone, caught up in the music of the band, the neon lights of the bar, and the noise of the crowd around her at the Southwest Cantina on The Strand. It was only the first night of the 2010 Lone Star Rally, but revelers were already in good spirits as one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in Texas officially got underway.
The Strand, the main road through the historic downtown district of Galveston, has been barricaded to only allow motorcycle traffic through and bikes already line both sides of the street. The smells of meats roasting from nearby vendors fills the air as the fare varies from jumbo-sized turkey legs to gator-on-a-stick. Store fronts have been converted into makeshift beer bars, many selling bottles for as low as two bucks. Friends and vest-wearing bro’s sit smoking stogies at tables in front of sidewalk restaurants and bars, conversations rising up over the roar of pipes from motorcycles parking nearby. Laughter and smiles are plentiful as the downtown streets of Galveston thrive with life.
Granted, it’s only Thursday night and many bikers are still making their way to this stretch of beach along the Gulf of Mexico and many vendors are still setting up, but if last night is any indication of what’s in store, it’s going to be a helluva good time at the ninth annual Lone Star Rally. Making our way down the avenue, a biker rolling in gives us a big "Thumbs Up." We pass by the Can Am tent where a fully-dressed, black Spyder RT sits out front ready-to-ride. Behind the sporty three-wheeler is a small demo fleet as Can Am is the only manufacturer we’ve spied with demo rides available at the rally thus far.
We follow our noses to the smell of roasting corn. Progressive Insurance is giving away free corn on the cob to hungry partygoers, just as I’ve seen them do at Laconia and Sturgis. Progressive travels to approximately 12-15 rallies around the country, according to Carrie Peters, the friendly Progressive rep I spoke with. Though the corn is free, most people contribute a buck or two to the cause as Progressive Insurance donates all the money it makes from the corn booth to local food banks. The Dare to Care food bank in Galveston will be the lucky recipient from the proceeds raised at the Lone Star Rally, and free corn to hungry bikers helps Progressive Insurance’s rapport as the “Number 1 Motorcycle Insurer in America.”
With warm bellies we hit up The Pit, the bar run by the crew of the Limpnickie Lot, where we ran into our friend Athena “Chickie” Ransom of Vagabond Choppers. “Chickie’s” been crazy-busy between her stints with both the Limpnickie Lot and the Easyriders Bike Show tour. Somehow, somewhere in between all the madness she still finds time to turn a wrench or two while creating cool customs. Her Texas bike with a big Lone Star painted on its red, white and blue tank sat on a dais behind the bar. The rest of the Limpnickie Lot were kickin’ it behind big tables full of handlebars, point covers and other gear as they displayed their handcrafted products along with hats and tees. A band called Downfall from Houston was tearin’ it up onstage, snappy percussion and driving bass filling the room. Bartenders danced on bar tops, big guys with good buzzes took turns walloping the game-room style punching bag and the energy level was high. It will only reach new heights as crowds swell this weekend.
The hard-driving riffs of The Hectic also drew us in as they tore it up at the outdoor Budweiser stage. Heads were banging and hair was flying as the band played viciously fast. We could have hung out much later, but wanted to save up some energy for the big weekend, so we called it a night already plotting out a plan of attack for Friday.