Day Six in CUBA
Outing with the Ural Club
The Ural Club of Cuba had a planned birthday party for two of its members at a relative's home in the country. After they met Alan and me, the group decided we were okay,
so they invited us to join in the festivities.
Osmany, the Club President, met us at midday on Monday,
to lead the procession out of the city.
Several other members provided a three-wheel escort.
It is now a military parade grounds.
Of course, we had to stop and take a group photo. This was the first wave of the Ural group,
as more members joined in throughout the day. Last count was 30 some persons at the party.
In the background is the monument El Cacahual, commemorating a major battle fought to gain independence from Spain in the 1890's.
From another angle...
We left the main road, following the rigs down country lanes. Each driver was dodging potholes and washouts, seeking their own line.
Keep in mind, these are all former Russian Military 650cc, kick-start Ural machines.
Some of the modifications made to keep them running are innovative. Rebuilding the complete front end to include a timing chain with tensioner and a deeper cover was one that amazed me.
When cars or other vehicles saw us, they yielded to allow us to stay together as a group.
Arriving in the small country village of Bejucal,
we snaked our way through the narrow streets.
Note the power lines going everywhere.
Finally reaching the home where the festivities were to be held.
Again note the power lines, no transformer.
Our electrical engineer friends will have to explain the advantages of this system.
Immediately, everyone retired to the back porch, looking for a shady spot to sit down.
The crowd grows larger as others arrive. Conversations or should say male banter,
among the members grew louder. All are having a great time.
The lady, who they say is the First Lady of the Ural Club,
served fried cheese appetizers
From the states we brought LED headlamp bulbs that fit the older Urals,
something hard for them to find locally.
The original founders of this Ural Club were recognized.
Three years ago these five men decided to organize to help each other maintain
and ride their rigs.
More recently under Osmany's leadership, they have organized several civic activities to help the community. After the hurricane that battered Cuba last fall, they carried supplies and necessities to a devastated village. Next month they are hosting a party for children without families.
After the presentation of LED bulbs and a few USCA rally shirts,
attention turned to a most serious sport in Cuba... Dominos.
Friendly banter arose as teams competed against other teams.
Is the first I had heard of Team Dominos.
Osmany and our doctor friend Rafael (with the straw hat) get in on the action.
As losing teams were replaced with new players, the volume of voices and laughter rose.
Chris here has an infectious smile and easy laugh.
When a misplay happened, a major discussion ensued, explaining
why one could not do that in Cuba Team Play.
As the men enjoyed the cold beer, a more serious, sober group of players
took control of the table... the ladies.
The intensity and focus on what was happening in the game changed,
the vocal volume dropped. Their concentration was evident.
Am positive this was not their first time to play dominoes.
The ladies quickly took control, dominating the table, no loud voices, no drinking, no misplays, just straight up tile slamming and smiling as they scored points.
I would not play against those ladies for money.
Late that afternoon we said our farewells to the club, knowing they might be here till the late hours. We had to return to the city to prepare for a long drive the next day to a tobacco farm.
The Ural Club of Cuba members send their greetings to sidecar riders everywhere, saying when you come to Cuba, let us know, so we can show you around.
By profession, the members range from mechanics to doctors, from tour guides to business managers. They are a great group of guys who love their sidecar rigs, work hard to keep them running, enjoy riding together and giving back to the community.
They set an example for all sidecar clubs worldwide to follow.