OK. Here goes...
When was the last time you were with a group of over 250 scooter riders? Well, it was this past week, if you were at Scootercade. We had 258 participants. There were a small number of "spouse" machines there - a Goldwing, a couple of Goldwing trikes, one BMW motorcycle - but mostly scooters. It was a great crowd, no drinking, no problems - just great companionship and a whole lot of scooter riding and scooter talk. We had 6 folks from Canada, 2 from California - even a couple from Rhode Island. Some folks trailered their scoots to the rally, but the majority rode to it.
Scoot-Tours & their Scootercade rally have been around for 15 years - the last 13 annual rallys have been held in Eureka Springs. Three years ago, Honda Helixs accounted for 85% of the scooters at the rally. Two years ago, Helixs still accounted for 50% of the scooters there. Times have changed. This year, out of approximately 250 scooters, there were only 38 Helixs. There were lots of Silverwings - I figure a lot of the former Helix riders traded up at their familiar Honda dealer. There were also lots of Burgmans, both 650s and 400s. And scattered throughout, there were some other interesting scoots.
There was a 150cc Velux with it's folding hardtop and amazing standard equipment package. Stereo 4 speaker radio system, windshield wiper and washer, remote control keyfob that could start & stop the engine from up to 50 feet away, and alarm system - also activated via the remote. The same guy that had the Velux also brought a 200cc BMW scoot. It was also nicely optioned, but the options were extra cost on it - I'll bet it cost more than a Burgman 650... There was a Kymco 250cc People scooter - fit and finish was very nice. There were two Aprilia Atlantics, also very nice looking scooters, but one owner I talked to is planning to switch to a Burgman 650 soon due to the very limited Aprilia dealer support network.
There were several vendors there. One had a very nice variety of goodies - Clearview and Givi windscreens, Fehling rail trim, bike covers and half covers, Frogg Togg raingear, throttle rockers - and lots more. Jac Vinson was there selling and installing his turnsignal beeper kits and backrest conversions for the Burgmans. He sold out of beeper kits on the first day, and did pretty well with the backrest conversions too. Tow-Pac was there with their 3 wheel conversion kits. Another vendor was selling Scootercade caps and shirts.
Looking at the various modifications folks had made to their scoots was also interesting. Ever seen a Silverwing equipped for nitrous oxide boost? Yep - one was there. I saw one AN650 with a sidecar, and several others with the tow-pac 3 wheel rig installed. There were at least 2 Burgman 650s pulling trailers. Lonnie Stivers was there with his AN650 fitted with BMW sidecases, wind wings and more. A lot of folks were fascinated with my Caterpiller O-ring throttle lock - I demo'd it quite frequently. I should have brought a dozen extras with me to sell.... Many other unique and innovative modifications were there to be seen.
I met at least a dozen folks who have posted on BurgmanUSA - and others who have browsed the site without becoming active. Comments regarding the site were all very positive. It is recognised as a great resource for Burgman enthusiasts.
The opening banquet on Sunday night was packed - and the food was very good. The Awards banquet on Wednesday night was also well attended - the food was excellent. Both were buffet style, and there was a program following each banquet. There were other organized rides and activities - or you could go off and explore Eureka Springs and the surrounding areas with other scooterists. We had one rainy day - the first in the last four years of Scootercade I was told.
So what did I do? Well, I hung out a lot with one of our members, Doug, and his wife Margaret. They are from a Arkansas town about 45 miles from Eureka Springs, and know the area and roads quite well, so they led me on several nice rides. On Sunday, we spent most of the day on the rally site behind the Traveler's Inn motel looking at scooters, vendor wares, and talking to other scooter riders. Went for an evening ride. On Monday, we did a lot of riding. Tuesday, we took the trolley rides around Eureka Springs, shopping and exploring - you get a one day free pass for the trolleys as part of the rally package. We also attended the show at the Pine Mountain Jubilee that evening - it was excellent. Wednesday was hampered by rain, but the sun came out in time for the ride to the awards banquet. Thursday we rode again. Doug & Margaret led me to a great Steak House about 2 hours away for lunch - it was definitely worth the trip. Thursday night we attended the show at the Ozark Mountain Hoedown - also excellent. I purchased a nice half cover for my scoot ($40)and a original style large Clearview windscreen ($115) at the rally. Long story, but Doug is now riding around with my ex-Gustafsson on his 650. Bill and Mary at the big vendor tent were unbelievable. They don't take credit cards, but they will mail you a bill after the rally rather than cutting in to your rally cash. They did that for a lot of folks including me. You won't find that kind of trust at Sturgis or Daytona motorcycle events - and it speaks well for the caliber of the group that attends Scootercade.
Accomodations at the Traveler's Inn were good. Scootercade rate was $38 per night, bed was comfortable, shower was excellent, TV got a lot of channels - not that I watched TV much. There are lots of restaurants in the area - many of them are quite good and prices are reasonable. The local folks were all quite friendly, and quite a few gave discounts to Scootercade attendees. There is a leather shop downtown that has unbelievably low prices (Sonya's). I bought a great wallet for $4.55, and a nice belt for the same price. When I took them to the register they gave me an additional 10% discount for Scootercade! They have leather jackets starting at $29.95 (some really nice ones for about $50), chaps, gloves, purses,etc - all at great prices.
I've left out a lot - there is much to see and do both at Scootercade and in Eureka Springs. It was a great time, and before I knew it I had to pack up and head home. If you can make it there next year, by all means go. Make sure to pre-register. It is a "closed event" - you can't just drop in and participate. And bring comfortable walking shoes - there isn't much level terrain in Eureka Springs.