We (hubby, I and several friends) were there once again this year for the Fall Ride. We have been regulars since the late 90's. Having said that, I must say, we thought that the crowd was less then in previous years, at least downtown and at Sara Park. We did the Thunder Parade and did seem to think that the crowd downtown to view the parade, was larger then in recent years, however the "overall" crowd in the downtown area throughout the weekend seemed to be down. We did venture out to Bubba's one time during the weekend and found that crowd was very large compared to even last year. There were more food vendors at Bubba's as well. The weather was cold, but not overly so and riding was fine as long as you were layered up. Sunday was crappy for all of those venturing back home.....we were not in that crowd, we headed back on Monday. As we ventured out and about during riding time, we did notice an awful lot of State Patrol bikes on roads we hadn't ever previously saw them on, following bikes. Usually we have seen them on the major highway, but never on back roads in the middle of nowhere following a crowd of bikers. I found that odd. But of course, they need to do there job I guess. Thursday night we did hear and see Flight for Life come in after a bunch of sirens etc.... out past Cockatiels from what we could tell - we were sitting near the campfire by then and I am guessing at the general direction those sirens were going. Never heard if it was an accident with a bike involved or not. I certainly hope not as that was way too early in the weekend for something of that nature to happen. We also felt that there was a monopoly of sorts when it came to the clothing vendors downtown. It appeared to us that one "family" had almost every corner taken and from my past shopping with these particular "family", every single item I have ever bought has falling apart within 6 months or less, so I didn't buy anything from them this year. We did buy official fall ride shirts at Sara Park, as we always do and those seem to hold up well. I know vendors pay for there sites etc... but I don't think it's fair that one "family" is allowed to have so many sites. I say "family", because they were running from tent to tent to exchange drills, tent items etc.... so I assume they were all together. Maybe not a smart thing to assume, I try not to be judgmental, although I am having a hard time with this particular issue. I don't want to anger anyone so I will end with that on the vendor stuff.
All in all, we had another great time. Relaxing when it needed to be, fun when we wanted it to be and everyone in our group made it home safely after the long weekend. We are in talks about next year and we are kind of up in the air about it. I think it's a combination of doing it for so many years, and many of us getting older. Although some in our group had there views about it becoming "Bubba's" Fall Ride rather then Tomahawk - and I think they were judging that on the crowds etc.... Either way, this year was a good time and since my hubby and I have a place up there and his family runs a resort, we will be back regardless.