WE WON AGAIN! Bikes were rode, beers were drank, wheelies were done (not on the chopper of course), trophies were won. Just another year at the junk parade for Ol’ Rat Patrol. Afterwards everyone feasted on one of Maxmom’s legendary feasts and passed out before the short ride home. There was also a dumpster…
Maybe it was drastic parts per million change in diesel smoke content of the nearby region, or maybe it was the presence of a new Rat King, but the clouds and rain were scared off for another beautiful Junk parade. People picked out their dumb bikes and rode through the scenic, pot-hole-less, Wisconsin countryside. A pleasant change from the streets of Chicago. Fun was had. Skin was burned. Locals were proven wrong about being able to do wheelies on that chopper.
Rats scurried along the walls of I-94 in the dark of night past the cheddar curtain to make it to the annual junk parade. They were greeted with a new Rat King of the Slightly More North (brought to you by RPBC MKE). Bikes were built. Colors were re-made. Little sleep was had. In the morning everyone dragged themselves out of bed and piled bikes onto less cool vehicles for the trip to the hopefully rain free parade.
Rat Patrol met one sunny Saturday afternoon to go in search of Vom Mountain. The ride went without any snags and there were plenty of breaks to allot for dicking around.
The trusty ol’ water pump was missing a bolt so we had to improvise with a screwdriver.
As we entered the woods a disorienting feeling beset the group (not to mention swarms of malacious mosquitos). Indeed, we circled the trails around the mountain for some time before acension.
Once we lugged our bikes and post-apocolyptic gear up the hill we set about making camp, fire and merriment. We even found a spoon on a stick from the previous year.
For this night, the friends had all they needed on top of the mountain far, far away from civilization. Well you could still hear the freeway.
This year, hot dogs were the beginning of the end.
Levi came ashore for the Flotilla this year. Having never attended, and being a ship builder himself, he was excited to build the trashiest boat in the fleet. He and Max went dumpstering a few days in advance and picked up a couple hundred pounds of usable, and not so usable wood but when in came down to it, Levi only had 7 hours to build a frame, skin the boat, and figure out a way to haul it to the launch point. He got to work early using an old cedar chest to piece together the floor of his vessel and building the frame out of old chairs and futon slats. The waterproofing and skin came down to the line and with inadequate materials he put together a cardboard and sunfish sail skin that kept water out long enough for him to think about thinking about getting in the boat.
He christened it with no name and proceeded to get wet and mess with ballast. It floated even though it had filled entirely with water by the end of his trip. He got the award for first inadvertent swimmer, a little tiger towel, how cute. At the end of the night, like all rat patrol failures, we lit it on fire and threw it in the river. I mean… we disposed of it properly.
Max had a stupid plan for a real stupid boat and abandoned it for a stupider plan for a stupider boat when he found a cement mixer in the Alley the morning of the flotilla. The basic plan was to weld some brackets onto some pipe, bolt those brackets onto some sort of floaty thing (in this case, a cement mixer liner), and put floats and the end of those pipes and secure them with huge wads of bike innertube. The whole boat took about a half hour to build, or an hour if you account for time spent wailing on his dumpstered guitar paddle.
He christened it “Cement Shoes” and prepared to sink uncontrollably to the bottom of the river. Perhaps it was because there was no added weight from anyone’s confidence in the vessel, but when Max got in it somehow stayed afloat. It took on a little water, as did the paddle, but it worked. Everyone was so stunned by the lack of failure that they must have forgotten about all of the cooler and more successful boats and voted Cement Shoes for “best damn boat.” Max got a neat little trophy and spent the rest of the night pleasantly confused about this outcome. At the end of the night, the boat sunk when Duna leaned too far back and dunked the edge of the mixer underwater. It was retrieved from the water and disposed of properly…. no, really. It was.
Alex came down from Milwaukee for the Flotilla with only propulsion in mind. He and Jess and Max went out looking for materials early in the morning and, luckily, the windsurfing board Max had been watching tucked away in an alley was still sitting on top of the dumpster. It was a ready made boat! Just add an outrigger and you’ll have one of the most successful boats of the whole flotilla. Alex did just that and spent the rest of his day scavenging and hanging out. Oh, and of course building a sweet toilet seat paddle.
The boat was christened the HMS Half Ass and sailed like a real boat! Zipping through the water with all the ease and grace that a toilet seat paddle can offer (which is a lot). At the end of night the boat was disposed of properly.
The Flotilla had tons of awesome successful boats this year. Matt the rat brought back his little styrofoam speedboat with added propulsion this year. John Edel brought his awesome, tried and true, super rad John Edel boat that doubles as a kid trailer. The were a couple of backyard barges with fake grass, picnic areas, and mini golf. One of which had quite the scare when it took on water about 20 feet off the dock and had many unsuccessful casts of the line before, at the last second before sinking, getting the line to the dock and being pulled in. Boats boats boats boats boats bikes boats.
Marco’s 15 minute chopper only lasted 15 minutes before it was decided it needed to be chopped. Adding a children’s “tag-a-long” to extend the frame.
What do we need to take control..er…take away bikes from the shop we’re being evicted from…we could use the Rat Patrol!
The pups were loaded up and we head to the Logan Monument for a free outdoor Bong Ripper show we only had two hours to make it those 6 miles, 1/4 of that time was spent in the 7-11 parking lot asking ‘Where’s Joe?” and “Now what will we do with Alex?”
We made it to the beach! This was one of the oft mentioned “swim” portions of the event. There were chicken fights, hugs, and hair flips as we wiled away the daylight at the oak st. beach.
Bike Swim started with a cook out in a vacant lot and one pathetic deflating swimming pool. The patches were shoved into water balloons and sharp pieces of wood were hurled at them to retrieve them. Everyone out their cell phone in a plastic bag and we were off to the Lake to get started on the Swim part.