Friday, October 7, 2011

Motorcycles on the Ferry from Tasmania

My parents and I had been traveling around Tazmania while the national motorcycle rally was taking place there in 2009. Thousands of bikers had poured onto the island and were traveling up and down the highways. We met some really nice people along the way in the parking lots of various holiday parks and I learned a lot about the culture and precautions that go into large bike trips.

We head back to the mainland on the ferry with something like 300 - 500 bikes, which made for a very cramped cargo hold and limited space for actual cars with those numbers of bikes. It was so cool to see all the bikes lined up, down, and around the loading yard. There were some really impressive machines coming on board. I talked with some people later and found out there were a couple of bikes worth more than our house! Unfortunately one of those bikes amid the hundreds did not have its alarm turned off. Even with all the signs posted to remind people to make sure it was off before leaving the parking level.

So for a long time the PA system was just a repeat of:

"Would the owner of the motorcycle with license number something something please return to your vehicle. Your alarm is going off."

Every few minutes there would be another variation of the announcement: a little louder, a bit more insistent, and a bit less formal.

"Would the owner of something something please come down and shut it off."

"License something something come down here and turn it off."

Eventually after an hour the announcement was nothing more than:


Lots of people laughing each time a new message came on the PA. Mostly it was everyone muttering in agreement at the frustration at how no one had gone down there and shut it off yet. I was listening to peoples reactions as I sat in one of the bars reading because I felt like being around people but wanted some time away from my parents. One of the bikers came over to my table and asked if I could watch his 6 beers for him. I was too stunned to say anything but nod. So he set down his six bottles and went off to the bar to buy more.

Some bikers next to me saw and said,
"You don't have to take that darlin'! You come sit with us and let him watch his own beer." So I moved over one chair... but still ended up watching the beers as it was all too strange.
The guy came back with another four beers or so and immediately started drinking.
One of my new friends asked what was with all the beers.

The man paused his drinking only long enough to say
"It was mine."

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