Barber Vintage Fest 2015

Once again, October is the time for a yearly pilgrimage down to Alabama for Barber’s 11th Vintage Festival. It’s a few days of motorcycle overload and a little bit of mental vacation for me. So, I packed up the GS for a few nights of tent camping and headed out towards Birmingham.

I’d originally planned to ride with my buddy Josh but he totaled his bike the day before we left. Luckily, he wasn’t really hurt, but decided to catch a ride down in a car anyway. So, I rode solo. That was probably for the best as I had a little electrical break down on the side of the 31, south of Columbia. BMW bikes have torx, reverse torx and standard metric hex bolts…so you can bring a small amount tools and work on the whole bike. Except I’d forgotten about my fancy new aftermarket lithium-ion battery, which had a Phillips head screw on the terminal bolt.  Turns out, it’d vibrated loose and melted. And a Phillips was the one tool I didn’t pack. D-oh! My old leatherman had one but it was too small…so I used it’s non-locking flat blade to make it turn. And after 1.5 hours of frustrating as hell screwing with that terrible excuse of a ‘tool’, I finally scraped it clean, got the screw to bite, and put it all back together again. Killed ~2 hours of my trip…but I repaired it myself. Which was pretty fucking epic because I think I’d have cried if I had to call my wife to come get me.

As I passed into northern Alabama, I detoured off the routes I’d taken before and ended up riding thru some very small towns and taking long gravel roads. Much prettier and relaxing. Got down late but not too late to get in on the Thursday night crowd’s chili. Thanks Ray!

Probably a bit easier for the pictures to do some of the talking:

Our campsite under the stars. Check the high res.


Great little ‘retired’ service station I found in County Line, AL. Some Dr. Pepper would have been great tho.


Long exposure of the tail end of the slow race. What? Oh, a slow race is where you try to see who can go the slowest without putting a foot down. After dropping my bike on my cyborg leg just before it started, my nerves were shot and I didn’t do well in the races (despite winning not-putting-my-foot-down awards in my head, at every stop light) …so I played with cameras.  And the pic turned out nice, despite my nearly getting run over. Think I’ll keep it.


The Britten. Valued at ~$1M. Amazing and ahead of it’s time.


The Globe of Death. Standard procedure. Note: female rider and announcer.

A few more from the trip. Check out the trials guy who’s wheel I almost had for breakfast.

Highlights from this year’s trip include

  • I got to see a Britten up close and on the race track
  • pit stop for lunch at Reeves Drugs in Pulaski, TN
  • TN-166/AL-127 was wonderful and deserted
  • weather was amazing aside from one night (of great tent sleep) in the pouring rain
  • turning my bike into a camel for water runs into the paddock
  • egregious amounts of long exposure photography
  • dropping my bike in the thick ‘shag’ grass of campground B
  • my cyborg leg taking a beating from various parts of my motorcycle
  • kids attending with the Pseudo crowd (paving the way for mine in the future)
  • nobody rode off into the night, running on one cylinder, with a pool queue strapped to their back, “looking for women”
  • nobody got into it with an ex-cop and wrestled in the grass over a “roofing hatchet” that had been in the fire an hour and was almost glowing

Oh! I also got a new seat for my bike! It’s a Saddlemen Adventure Track – wow! What a difference! I wish I’d bought one of these *years* ago!

Rest of the pics are up on Flickr.

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