Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

2018- Ride to the Rattlesnake Saloon Written by: Karla & Mark Duncan-Alabama

Written by  August 28, 2018


On Valentine’s Day 2017, our family suffered a tragic event. We lost our home to a house fire. My husband Mark, 2 of our sons, 1 of our daughters, 2 of our grandchildren and myself were permanently displaced due to a total loss. It took 32 years to accumulate what possessions we owned, and in less than an hour, it was all gone. We spent the next week in a hotel until our insurance company could come up with a better place for us to stay. We were then moved into a 3 bedroom furnished apartment for the next 30 days, until our insurance payout eventually came through, and then we moved into a friend’s two bedroom trailer to rent to own.

                Once we moved to the trailer and things started getting back to normal, we ended up doing a surprising thing- we bought a used motorcycle! We felt that since we had lost so much as a couple, we really needed something fun that we could do together. We started riding and have been riding ever since! We had never ridden in a motorcycle benefit ride before, but we rode in our first one on August 6, 2017. The camaraderie we witnessed between all of the riders was magical.   They were like family and not only did they ride for a fellow brother, but they did whatever they could, to raise money for their brother in need that day. We started riding in more benefit rides, and now, we ride in as many as we can afford to do each month.   We also ride a lot with family & friends whenever we can.

Mark and I started talking one day after one of our rides to Rattlesnake Saloon and we came up with the idea to try to get a ride together to give back to the bikers we know.   They give so much of their time and money to benefit rides to help others. We wanted to plan a fun ride for them all, where they just needed to show up and enjoy, with little expense.   Now, we just needed to figure out where to ride and when. Since we had just visited the Rattlesnake Saloon, and it ended up being such a cool place, we decided this might make for a good destination to plan the ride to.

              We created an event page on Facebook: "Group Ride to the Rattlesnake Saloon". This would be a ride that would eventually end at Rattlesnake Saloon for dinner, but we decided to add a couple of stops along the way, to make the ride longer and more enjoyable. We chose Natchez Trace Harley-Davidson and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame for our two stops. We needed a place to start our ride and we thought about our friends, Scott and Jenie Thrasher at About Bikes in Hayden, Alabama.   We contacted them and asked if we could hold registration and start our ride from their shop on the day of the ride and they agreed.

                When we created the event page, Mark and I thought we would probably end up with less than 10 bikes. We started to notice that people kept sharing the event and clicking “interested” for the event. A lot of people also clicked “going”, but we really didn’t know what to expect for sure. I tried to keep up with the names of those confirmed and their plus ones the best I could, and we set up a deadline for July 23rd to get the final head count of who would be riding with us.

We ended up with 77 people confirming on the event page that they would be attending the ride- this did not include any plus ones that had been added. We also ended up with 264 people still “interested” and our page had been shared 78 times by the end of our deadline.

I calculated the totals and went ahead and called Rattlesnake Saloon and hesitantly made a reservation for 120 people, not really knowing how many would actually show up, but wanting to be sure I reserved enough spaces in case some showed up without confirming. Mark and I would banter back and forth many times about how many we thought would end up being present the day of the ride.
Truthfully, we were concerned that many would back out at the last minute, and that the ride would be a flop.

              On the day of the ride, August 4th, 2018, Jenie and Scott at About Bikes had donuts and coffee ready for us when we arrived for registration. There were bikes everywhere! We started registration around 9 am and when kickstands were up about an hour later, we had 30 bikes, 1 car and 54 people headed out on the road. We made a stop at Exxon off of 157 in Cullman Alabama, where we gassed up and also picked up 16 more bikes, 2 trucks ( 1 with trailer for emergencies) and 26 more people for the ride. We ended up with 46 bikes, 1 car, 2 trucks and 80 people! Wow!

Our first scheduled stop would be Natchez Trace Harley Davidson, in Tuscumbia Alabama, where the dealership had hotdogs and refreshments available to patrons. We stayed for about an hour, for everyone to cool off, have refreshments and shop; and then we rode next door to our second scheduled stop to tour the Alabama Music Hall of Fame museum.

The museum was small, but very nice and the staff was so helpful. There were lots of painted portraits in the “Red Room”, which is the first exhibit room of the museum. These portraits included stars like the group "Alabama", Tommy Shaw from Styx, Tammy Wynette, Lionel Richie & the Commodores, Bobby Goldsboro, Jim Nabors, Emmylou Harris and many others – all from our great state. The museum had an enormous juke box and guitar that formed an archway that led through to the next exhibits. There were many costumes displayed and lots of other interesting memorabilia collected and displayed that spanned a time frame of many years. They even had a gold 1960 Pontiac convertible that was decorated with 500 silver dollars and silver pistol replicas, as well as the group Alabama’s tour bus that you could walk through.

The highlight of the tour for me though, since I am a song writer, was that the museum had a recording studio on site. You could pick any song and if they had it, they would let you record it, for a small fee, and then give you a souvenir cd to take home. They had about 300,000 songs to choose from, so it was easy to find a song. A few of us, including myself, took advantage of the studio and recorded a song with the help of Ms. Haley who worked there. It was really cool to watch the reactions of everyone, and to have their support, as we all took our turn recording.  

The final stop made, was at the famous Rattlesnake Saloon, where we dined at tables under a gigantic rock cave ceiling while we fellowshipped. All of the food on the menu had interesting names like “snake eyes & tails” (fried jalapenos and green beans) or “cowboy buttons” (fried whole mushrooms). Other offerings included several types of appetizers, burgers, dogs and a chicken salad sandwich that was quite tasty coupled with fried broccoli cheese bites.

At the end of the day, we had experienced a beautiful day for a fantastic ride, with both old and new friends in our biker family! We also had an awesome blocker crew that kept us safe and got us to each destination stop without any problems. We are looking forward to our next destination ride- hopefully coming soon! Thanks everyone, for riding with us, and for giving us such positive feed –back on how we did on planning the ride. This ride would not have been possible without each of you. We’re so glad you enjoyed the day with us and we appreciate you all so much!                                                                                    

Karla & Mark Duncan

Side note: After everyone split off, Mark and I, along with 5 other people rode over to Coon Dog Cemetery to check it out. We had heard about it, but had never been. It’s another neat place to visit when you have time and is not very far from Rattlesnake Saloon.

Please check out these websites for more info on the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and Rattlesnake Saloon and please stop in to see Scott & Jenie at About Bikes whenever you get a chance!



***About Bikes provides both service and sales of motorcycle parts & accessories

9014 US-31, Hayden, AL 35079