Friday 13 at Port Dover

After a hard week doing…well, lots…it’s time to recharge the batteries. The edible Nikki and I are enjoying a long weekend away. As this weekend is the only Friday 13th this year, it’s going to be the mother of all parties.
Every Friday 13, upwards of a couple of hundred thousand bikers from across Ontario and northern US swarm the sleepy little Lake Erie waterfront town of Port Dover for a 48 hour music fest, with barbecues, camping, bars, booze and bikes. The best airbrush artwork is to be found here, and I love photographing it. Imagination and creativity run rampant. It is beautiful.
We shop, eat, make new friends and enjoy the many bar bands. The whole town is transformed. And we always keep an eye out for one of the true icons of this event: Thong Guy. Representing the ‘this is me, deal with it’ mentality and individuality of the weekend, all I can say is that I have never before seen a guy in his seventies make open toe sandals look good with a gold sequinned thong. I don’t think he ever buys a drink, which is good, because I don’t want to think where he would keep his money. A regular for many years, like the Lone Ranger, he rides in to town alone. Nobody knows where he comes from or where he goes afterward. I think they’re scared to ask.
We enjoy the atmosphere. Rarely a fight, the bikers respect the community and pretty much police themselves. The bikers are accepted into the community, and they take that responsibility very seriously. Police involvement is usually a quick chirp of the horn and a flash of the lights, before unruly revellers are brought to the ground under the weight of a dozen friends. It’s quite fun to watch, actually. Horseplay, usually.
Anyway, this is how two car-bound innocents like ourselves can drive without fear into a camp ground full of motorbikes, set up a tent surrounded by some of the most ethical and trustworthy strangers we never met, and sleep like babies. Well, apart from the constant ‘pipe wars’ which break out every thirty minutes of the night, accompanied by the good-natured chorus of  ‘shut those beepers off, you bopping beep holes’! Or something pretty close to that. Note: if you can sleep through a four- bike chorus of full throttle battle only fifty feet from your tent, this may be the party for you. Otherwise, stay home.
Well, I write this while charging equipment before heading in to town for some atmosphere. All charged now, it’s time to go and see what new excitement lies in store for us this year. Burger and a T-shirt, perhaps. That’s a good place to start. Here we go…
P.S. The cell network was swamped all weekend. No service, no signal, no call, no Internet. That’s why I’m posting this on Sunday instead of on the day I wrote it. Hey, I’m not wasting a good article just because it’s a day or so late… Photos to follow later. Ciao!

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