Print this page

19th Annual Spring Thunder Beach Rally - Panama City Beach, Florida

Written by  May 31, 2017

Panama City Beach Florida rolled out the “sand” carpet for the bikers from May 3-7, 2017. This being the spring rally, most people expect this one to be a little on the HOT side; some even opting to wait until October for the fall rally when it cools down. Apparently, Mother Nature didn’t get the memo this year!

Wednesday, as those who were lucky enough to head on down, had decent weather; however, by Thursday it was raining, windy and kinda chilly. By Friday, holy crap! It was cold and so very windy! I wasn’t riding, and left that to Leigh. At least he didn’t have to deal with my fat ass on the back as well.

By Thursday night, there were at least three wrecks. One was on the way down on Monday; they didn’t even make it to the beach. The other two were at the beach, and both involved cars not seeing them. So, there were at least two fatalities by mid-week. Not something you want to hear, facing a weekend of thousands of bikers, cars, and weird weather. There were a lot of cars in the mix, and people need to start watching for the bikes. There are also a few bikers who ride like idiots!

Even with the crazy weather, we did manage to make it to several of the venues that were spread out up and down the beach. We first headed over to Back Beach Road to check out the Frank Brown Park venue, and the Indian store. They always have some interesting bikes and a little band outside to entertain folks while they shop.

Frank Brown Park had some interesting folks and bikes to see. We also met this chic with some spiked heal shoes from hell. They could be used as weapons! We also found out they were from our neck of the woods. We also met a gypsy biker vendor “Scorpio” and his gypsy biker dog “Titan Gypsy - Puppy Drake,” who is a dog by birth, a biker at heart, and has been on a motorcycle since he was six weeks old. He even has his own leathers, helmet, facebook page and everything, which is so cool. We really enjoyed visiting with them.

On this trip, we had taken a part for the “purple step-child” (the Arlen Ness King Pin Victory), with plans to to meet up with the “Guru” of Victorys, Kevin Cross with Southern Motorworks. Because everything else in the barn is a Harley, we needed to tap into the brain of someone who knows Victorys, and was told that Kevin was the best. He was a super nice dude, and before the trip he talked Leigh through how to find the problem and take it apart. Therefore, it was great that we now got to meet him in person so we could give him the part. Kevin will rebuild the part and mail it back to us once it’s fixed. If you have a Victory that needs some work, make sure to track this guy down. He’ll get you fixed right up!

In all of our running around, we found time to slip into Buddy’s Seafood Market and grab some of the best shrimp to take back to the house for lunch.

Saturday was a little less windy, and a little warmer, which was great, because nobody had packed for cold weather.

The fall rally was missing a few of the venues, such as the one at the Boardwalk, but were back for the spring rally. They also brought along some new stuff, like “Lucy 13,” which is where we were lucky enough to run into Michael Ballard from the Full Throttle Saloon. He comes off as somewhat of an ass on TV, but in person, he was the nicest man. We kind of interrupted a conversation he was having with a couple of guys, but he reached out to shake my hand and we started talking. I asked about his love life these days and he told us they had another addition to the family, which was a second little girl. I told him his house must be filled with estrogen, and he said “Yeah, with three females in the house he was way out numbered!” He also informed us that the Saloon was back up and running after the fire. I’m not sure what made him want to come “slumming” down here with all of us, but we’re very glad he did! While at the Lucky 13, we also ran into our friend and the best airbrush artist around, Michael Swann. As usual, he was hard at work adding a piece of artwork to someone’s ride.

We then hooked up with some close friends to eat at the Salty Hawg in Panama City, which is a little hole in the wall on the water behind the shrimp boat. They always have a half off appetizers happy Hour and $6 dozen raw oysters that are falling off the sides of your cracker. They have without a doubt, the best oysters on the beach!

So why do people flock to this rally? For the beach! You just can’t get this beautiful white sand beach anywhere else, and it makes for beautiful sunsets as well.