Leesburg Bikefest 2013

I say it every year; the Leesburg Bikefest motorcycle rally is the best Florida rally there is.  It is better than Daytona, if less well-known.

I rode to the rally this morning solo.  The Binary Princess is in Phoenix, AZ visiting a close friend.  The kids stayed at home.  I was, for the first time ever, flying solo at a bike rally.  This was a first for me; I could do whatever I wanted and didn’t have to negotiate with anyone on what event, band, bike, etc to see first.  I kinda liked it, but it was lonely.  I really wish Big Bad John could have been there with me, but he has a newborn and was unable to join.

Added flames to the phoenix on my left arm.

Added flames to the phoenix on my left arm. (click for larger image)

So what did I do with my newfound freedom?  I got a new tattoo!  As most of you know, I am a cancer survivor.  A couple of years ago I got the phoenix tattoo as a symbol of rising from the ashes of my cancer reborn as a new man.  It was just a simple tribal tattoo, and I always wanted some flames added to it to complete the symbolism.

It seemed like a no-brainer.  I walked into the tattoo expo at the rally pretty early.  The booths were all empty and the artists were setting up.  I sized up every tattoo artist and settled on Chip Harris, from Fort Lauderdale.  I chose him because he was my age, he looked intelligent, and when I talked to him he didn’t try to give me exactly what I wanted.  He told me what he thought I should do, and it was different than what I approached him with,and then he said he could do it for about $75.00 more than I wanted to pay.

My kinda artist.  Confident, had a nice portfolio, and wasn’t going to compromise for the dollar; he would do quality work for a decent rate.  I chose well.  He added the flames to my phoenix brilliantly.  With smoky greys, reds, yellows, and whites; he made it pop and look great.  I am very happy.

After the tattoo was complete,  I had a few beers and wandered the rally for a while.  I listened to the bands, shopped the stalls, and looked at all the custom bikes.  Truth be told, I was alone and, while I was making conversation with strangers, everyone was already with a group and I was just the guy passing by.  So, after a while, I left.  A great time, but definitely would have been more fun and I would have stayed longer – into the evening – had I a friend with me.

Anyway, here are some of the shots I took today at the rally.  Click on any photo to open up the gallery (larger) view:

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