A dash to the middle of the country in the springtime, chasing
curvy roads and the camaraderie found only with fellow presidents
sounds like the ultimate in fun. And it would be - if not for
the weather gods who love to make promises they're not likely
to keep. Yet even knowing that, more and more presidents each
year find their way to the RED Route in Branson and the Branson
Towers or the Barrington Inn. And the stories of hazardous travails
only serve to sweeten the arrival of each wanderer. Did I mention
Jim Hair had a nice little idea five years ago, didn't he? Oh,
the sacrifices he makes to pre ride the roads. We do appreciate
191 riders (some in 4 wheeled conveyances) actually made it to
Branson, representing 31 states, Washington, DC and Ontario, Canada.
Oh, and there was one homeless person. Skipper Brown's RED IBMWR
shirt made it to it's 5th Branson, though he didn't.
Paul and I arrived Friday night to find lots of hugs and the
party in full swing. Karen Smith had a simple registration set
up - and name tags handy. Sherryl Hair's brownies were better
than ever. The evening passed in a blur of meeting and greeting
and happy reunions. Lots of presidents enjoyed the ice cream social
in the lobby. This is not a rally to go to if dieting is primary
in your plans ; ) Speaking of which, the Blueberry Jam Craig Cleasby
carried all the way from Connecticut makes my mouth water just
recalling it. Brent Jass who had fled Minnesota ahead of the predicted
4 to 8 inches of snow was basking in the southern warmth. And
though Rob Nye denies it, the story of him and the Vulgarians
is one I'm glad I didn't miss.
Bob Higdon won his first-ever rally award - the Higdon Award.
No one does it better than he : ) Too bad he had to rush off so
fast. The luxury of the Barrington was wearing on him, I think.
Walker Powell and his band of renown set up shop in the spacious
and grand front lobby. What the thoughts of the other guests of
the Towers were as we lined up for clothes to wear Saturday, I
wouldn't even hazard a guess. Paul's only complaint was that with
everyone wearing RED it was lots harder to find me.
The Towers gives us a large sunny meeting room and most times
of the day and night Presidents gathered there or in the lobby
or in the pool or in Lee's jacuzzi suite. Both Saturday and Sunday
morning a lavish continental breakfast was laid out for us, or
a heartier breakfast could be found in the Whippersnapper restaurant
just down the hall. And FREE coffee was brewed 24 hours a day.
And, thanks to George Mastovich, we had the IBMWR banner proudly
on display. Next to it, Gately's RAT banner hung, drawing lots
of questions and new converts.
Saturday morning we signed BMW MOA mileage contest forms as we
waited for the weather to warm enough we wouldn't see our breaths.
The traditional Saturday lunch ride to Rockbridge was cool and
crisp but sunny and clear. And curves! And hills! Up and down
and all around. My knees were weak by the time we stopped. Nirvana!
And what traffic there was seemed to realize they needed to be
somewhere off the route and went there. The food! The stories!
The sMiling presidents!
Dale Oliver had GS riders in 7th heaven with eye widening, muscle
tensing, dirty fun. Others selected their own favorite routes
and eateries and shared them with new and old friends so there
were lots more new adventures to share.
Back at the Towers, bikes gathered again and stories continued.
The whole entry way gave the tour buses pause as they drove up.
Pat and Dick presented Paul and me with a 4 foot purple alien
wearing a red bandana. The news of our soon becoming grandparents
was, to them, an Alien Concept, hence the mascot.
Supper call started at 5 with the all you can eat seafood buffet.
I heard Chuck Lanczkowski ate 20! lobsters! I just know I wasn't
much interested in salad or veggies or potatoes. I was soon stuffed
with lobster, crab legs, crawdads, and shrimp! Those who didn't
love seafood sent out for Pizza or found other fare nearby. Then
it was time for THE picture. Eric Seaberg, our official group
photographer, had his hands full trying to fit us all in. Can't
wait to see the pictures! Rick Davis of bmwriders.com was snapping
away all weekend. Can't wait to see those either.
Door Prizes abounded! Some presidents brought T-shirts from their
dealers or anywhere else that was willing. Helen TwoWheels donated
straps and a large gear bag! The Bunny brought Skyline Chili!
Lonny Scott and Kitisune found a bike to give away! Hindsight's
Andy Sager shared reflective sheeting kits! Mike from Engle's
in KC sent shirts, cups, and kickstand pucks! Usually I keep pretty
good track of all the people to thank. This time the sheer quantity
made that almost impossible. Wilma and Herb Stark organized the
chaos and soon lots of new owners were found.
And the Bunny! Oh, those slippers ; ) And the warm up bunny candy
Friday was just a hint of the delectable varieties of Cadbury
eggs Saturday night. And each and every President got his own
souvenir pin from the CHP man himself. Did you see his famous
Awards were decided by the gathered presidents based on testimony
presented to them. Fairness, reason and data were not compelling
reasons for most decisions but the stories had us roaring. No
one person could claim more than one award, so tough decisions
were called forth. The list of winners speaks for itself:
- Most Protected: Rider Helen TwoWheels - there was no contest
- Highest Tech Bike Richard Bernecker on the RED Rolling Bordello
- Highest Odometer Paul Glaves - 284,000
- Oldest BMW Duane Schreiver - '75 R90/6 (neither rain nor snow
nor . . .)
- Most Colorful Rider Robert Munday - The Incomparable Branson
- First Born Rider R. C. Sumner - age 71
- Lowest Odometer Chip Robie - 1816
- Youngest Rider Lonnie Scott - 25 (No, the RED streaks didn't
- Largest Instrument Chuck Lancskowski - repeat offender
- Most Musical Gary Harris - though I believe it was his nocturnal
display of conch shell talent rather than his harmonica that
won him the award
- BMW MOA Contest Leader Karol Patzer - 692 miles
- Long Distance Two Up Bruce and Joanne Wallace - California
- Long Distance Lady Rider Kathy "Newfoundland" - Maryland
- Long Distance Gentleman Rider - WEST Sam Lepore - California
- Long Distance Gentleman Rider - EAST Rob Nye - Rhode Island
- Long Distance Riders - NORTH Colin and Kim Parker - Ontario
- Long Distance Tour Marty Carah (2261)
- Hard Luck Steve Aikens - and he barely was able to say a word
We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. Then Chip Robie was
presented a beautiful Weight Watcher's Cookbook and a sMile by
fellow member of the Lugeless Pavement Racers, Jim - and while
our darling Robie had center stage, Sam Lepore took the opportunity
to bestow upon him a very special one of a kind IBMWR T-Shirt
- declaring him NOT an ADMIN for all to see.
Walker Powell caught me totally by surprise with a RED IBMWR
sweatshirt with my name and "500 K Achiever" embroidered on it.
Blew me away, in case you didn't notice. The standing O was frosting
on the cake of my most extraordinary year. Life is so very good
and IBMWR presidents are the ultimate.
This past week it's been fun to read of the adventures of the
presidents as they found their way home through winds, snow, cold,
and some lucky sunshine. Some attained Iron Butt status, some
weren't able to make it all the way to Branson in the first place.
But adventures for all are what we're all about. I appreciate
all of you who found time to make this little trek to Branson.
Whatever you do, don't tell anyone what fun you had. It's too
hard to get to talk to all the people I want to the way it is.
We want to keep this our little secret so it doesn't get any bigger,
sMiling and MILING