There was a Jampot Rally in 2020…sort of. It was challenged first by the coronavirus pandemic, then the weather.
On April 30, as the virus derailed motorcycle rides, rallies, and races worldwide, John Les, the Kahuna, cancelled the rally. Then the world got used to living under restrictions intended to prevent spread of the disease and New York State began re-opening. On June 1st, John announced the rally would go ahead on a very casual, less organized level for the foolhardy few.
As the rally date approached, the unbroken run of dry weather that saw local governments imposing water use restrictions was predicted to end. But the Blackthorn said they had seven room reservations for the Weldon House, and this gave hope that there would be some turnout of bikes and riders. I had one of the reservations, although I knew it was unlikely I’d be able to stay over. John said he’d be there around noon Friday and hoped to lead the rally ride that afternoon as planned.
I arrived at the Weldon House just after noon Friday on my Moto-Guzzi V7III to find John relaxing by his motel room with his 2012 Triumph Thunderbird. News of other arrivals was unsure. So we took off on the Friday ride, John leading up the always amazing Platte Clove Road to Tannersville and then on to Phoenicia. There we sat out on the front patio at the Sportsman’s Alamo Cantina and enjoyed good beer and good food. The masked bartender took orders from masked customers through a take-out window, with hand sanitizer handy. Okay by us, and also the numerous other motorcyclists out for a ride and a bite.
We rode back to East Durham via Hunter, Hensonville, and that long swoop down NY 23 with the spectacular views to the north. You can see the Adirondacks and Vermont on a clear day - which it was, a beautiful day to ride.
At the rally site we found Doug and Julie set up with their camper and two BSA bicycles. We set up chairs six feet apart to enjoy various refreshments while we caught up with each other's lives and shared recollections of Jampot history and characters. And we watched the skies, as clearly some serious disturbance was rolling in from the west. This was great entertainment, the darkening clouds scudding and swirling above us, never quite gathering the intensity to actually rain on us. Eventually the sun came out and the air became crystalline.
Doug and Julie were staying in their camper; John and I had both booked rooms. I knew I couldn’t stay and was resigned to forfeit my room deposit, John had paid the full amount to pick up his room key and was debating whether to leave soon or stay over the night and make a dash for home in the expected narrow window of dry weather on Saturday morning.
In the end John turned over his key to Doug and Julie so they could use the room as needed and rode for home back in Massachusetts. I rolled out for home a little after 6 PM, and John shortly after that. It never rained on either of us on the road, although I encountered just a few miles of dampish roads on the way home to Albany.
From late morning Saturday on into the next week, the entire region had off and on rain, sometimes very heavy. Lousy conditions for a motorcycle rally, and that sealed the deal, no one else was crazy enough to venture out. But for those of us who were there it was well worth it to keep up the proud tradition with old friends. Jampot forever!