Audio Old Spectacle

BikeFest 2016


I spent last week­end with my fam­i­ly at the Lake of the Ozarks — Missouri’s pre­miere resort area. To get to where we’re stay­ing, we have to first cross Bag­nell Dam, past Lake Ozark Heli­copters, Inc, where one can char­ter a Robin­son R44 — a rick­ety, gaso­line-pow­ered craft that one can only hes­i­tant­ly call a “heli­copter” — to car­ry up to 500 pounds of flesh for “the most excit­ing 6 miles you will ever trav­el” for just $29!

The town of Lake Ozark is — as far as I can tell — is just a sweep­ing 2 mile-long hill; a strip of bars? tat­too shops? I don’t know. Most­ly busi­ness­es with some sort of neon let­ter­ing and/or out­door stools.

Supreme­ly more notable on this trip, though, are the motor­cy­cles. In the cen­ter buffer of U.S. Route 54, they are parked, vir­tu­al­ly han­dle­bar-to-han­dle­bar, and stretch­ing on and on. We are sur­round­ed by a mass of round, most­ly straw­ber­ry-col­ored forty some­things and their ban­danas, cobalt sun­glass­es lens­es, and some high­ly-dilut­ed form of fringed buck­skins.
Nobody had men­tioned any­thing about this event — blan­ket­ing the sin­gu­lar entry point to the area, and we’re crawl­ing through Harley David­son Wood­stock. At some point, all but the sheer vast­ness of the motor­cy­cles becomes incon­se­quen­tial. We con­tin­ue past the busi­ness­es and near­ly reach Horse­shoe Bend Park­way before the snake of parked “hogs” — I can use that term now because I both­ered to do this sto­ry — final­ly ceas­es.
It doesn’t cease, real­ly, though, for the rest of the week­end, as there is nev­er actu­al­ly a time when the area is qui­et.

We don’t make it back out to the strip until near­ly 2 in the morn­ing, but I bring my Zoom, and cap­ture a con­ver­sa­tion with a some­what-ine­bri­at­ed attendee whom I shall call Leonard because I can­not imag­ine his real name’s any­thing close.