Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Annual Guinness Ride, the 7th, St Patricks Day 3 17 2011

My Annual Guinness Ride, the 7th, St Patricks Day 3 17 2011

Tom Anspach

The weather for the 1st ride of 2011 opened with a ‘bang’ this year. The predicted temperatures were in the low 60’s, they actually reached the low 70’s.

A couple years after we moved up to the north, in 2001, to Winamac, IN, from Florida, I realized one of the things I missed from living in the Tampa Bay area was celebrating St Patrick ’s Day at a good Irish Pub. No green beer, good Guinness, Irish food and Irish music. In 2004 I found the Fiddlers Hearth in South Bend, It turned out to be a great place. I called the trip my Annual Guinness ride. 3 years ago my brother John joined me. We would meet in Rochester, riding our motorcycles. It is about 60 miles.

This year the weather was predicted to be the warmest ever, low 60’s. The wx is usually in the high 30’s to high 40’s. On one of my trips it started snowing when I got there. Didn’t last though.

I dug out my Florida Gator gift St Patricks day sweater, and my old Hooks Drug Store green hat, and was ready to go. John and I met about 10:30 AM in Rochester. Took the usual US31 route up. We found a good parking spot in the city several story public lot across the street, taking up only 1 vehicle parking spot. In the ‘free for 2 hours’ area. Keep this in mind, as it is important later. As usual we arrived at the Hearth as the lunch crowd had the place filled up. Finally we worked our way to the bar area and finally found some seats at the bar. As you can expect everyone was celebrating and in good cheer. There were no ‘strangers’.

The Irish music was cheery

Food selection range was wide. . . what shall we have? Let's check the menu.  

The fish and chips were great. Not many dishes to wash, served per custom on a newspaper. John had corned beef and cabbage, which he said was delicious. And, of course, the Guinness was fresh and just the right temperature.

A few days before Brother John had picked up some St Pat’s hats at a dollar store. He selected worthy people and passed them out.

We lost track of time a little and left about 2:30. Uh oh, a little more than 2 hours. Sure enough, we got back to the garage and we had the time marks on our rear tires and a ticket on the handle bars. We had overstayed our 2 hour welcome. The ticket was $10 if paid within 10 days or so, then bumped up to $20, and then there was a $35 fine. We walked down to the office where John could use his ‘used car and furniture salesman’ negotiation strategy “we were out of town guests, spent a pile of money supporting the local economy, only used 1 parking space not 2, etc.” to see if we could get some latitude. Nothing worked. As you would expect, the office people just work there. Once the ticket is created they have to follow the rules. A vehicle is a vehicle, using 1 space, apparently no different. Wonder what would happen if a vehicle took up 2 spaces? We could call next week sometime to the ‘bosses’ and talk to them. We finally decided, we just as well abide, and paid up each of our $10. Enough for a couple more . . . . ‘s. Oh well.

We took the usual ‘back roads’ US23, IN10, IN17 coming back. The weather had predicted brisk winds from the SSW, 15 mph or so with gusts to 30 mph or so. It was at least that. We were usually heading southerly. Sometimes we headed east and west. When that happened the cross winds coming across open fields had the bikes leaning at a good angle. You could feel the blast when coming from a protected wooded area into these open areas. It was good to be alert. By this time according to my bike thermometer the temperature was 75 degrees. According to TV weather later the official temperature was just a couple degrees below the all time high record. I had my winter coat on and was sweating.

Of course we had to stop at Kibtzers in Kewanna as usual. We told the Hearth barkeep that we stopped at Kibitzers, which of course they had never heard of, and the barkeep there would probably be expecting us. So they have us a green Guinness bead necklace, and John had save a hat for her. Which made her day. All of the local patrons were envious.

We made it home to Logansport and Winamac, after another enjoyable St Patrick’s Day and the beginning of a new year of riding.


Blogger IN Tom said...

Posting on this Blog is extremely difficult... unless I just dont have the hang of it yet

Sun Mar 20, 07:57:00 PM PDT  

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