The '97 Top Of The Rockies Rally
Paonia, Colrado
July 18-20, 1997


Note: Will the real Rob Lentini please stand up? :)

From: Butch Hays
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997

Mick & I got fm Paonia last nite. He dropped off in Ramona about 10:30 and I got home about 30 minutes later. I planned to do the ride back in a couple of days, butt Mick had a flight to catch .... so it turned out to be a bit over a thousand miles when we split for home. My final tally was 1041 door_to_door.

Funny thing ... I r e m e m b e r it all! Very entertaining return ... almost no interstate ... and lots of old highway desert roads in the afternoon. I almost flunked fluid management thinking I had a larger fuel tank (23 liters NOT 27.5 like Mick's RT) ... Butt a short round trip over to Ludlow fm Amboy settled the question of getting to 29 Palms.

Zion National Park was amazing. I'd never been through it, but I'll certainly go back.

Paonia was better than ever ...

Butch

BTW, I read a couple of the * Dangerous Riding * posts. For the record ... I think Mick & I may have exceeded the speed limit a couple of times :-) BUtt I wouldn't call THAT dangerous ...

*spirited* maybe ...

From: Ira Agins
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997

Got in yesterday afternoon about 4 PM after a wonderful 370-mile ride. A good time had by all, in spite of a little rain and a Nazi waitress at The Casa restaurant. Another successful Presidential Meeting. Spiritual attendee(s) Rob Lentini, who handed out lots o' technical advice at the rally, actually took an award for most conspicuous attendee. :-) Story and pictures when Steve Aikens gets back and posts them.

Man, I love that rally. For those who missed it, put it on your calendar now!

Cheers!

From: Eric VanDenHoek
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997

Ok, as some of you know this was my first rally-WHAT A RALLY! For those who skipped it, next year. The following report is my view of my first rally experience, people I met, roads I hit and general experience.

I left Rapid City SD after work on Thurs night. No one from my club came so I was one up riding by myself.

My road choice for Thurs- "flat land it" to Ft Collins and spend the night somewhere before the canyon. I rode tank to tank all the way, finally topping off at the juct of 1, 287, and 14. Rode in on 14 and camped at a NF(national forest) campground. I was up with the sun(yeah right). I was packed and out of the campground at 9:30am, enjoying the scenic campground and Pourde? river running through it. Taking 14 west up to Walden is a great road and not traveled much. I only had to pass a couple of pylons"vehicles", and the construction only delayed me a bit. At Waldon I went south on 125, hit 40 west then ate in Hot Sulfur Springs at a small grease bomb cafe-it was good and fair priced-with a cute "BBD" waitress. B rown eyes, B rown hair, D ark skin, ohhhhhh. On to Kremming , south via 9 to I70.

Jumped west over on I70/hwy 9 to 91 south. I finally met another BMW! Kept up with these guys till I had to fill up in Leadville. They were exceeding the speed limit by 15-20 so I made up some time. I have several(4) high speed tickets that will come off when I turn 25 in 11 months so I need to be careful! 24 south to 82, then 82 over through independence pass, finally 133 south. I pulled over for a drink of h2o after Mcclure pass when I was passed by a K and a R-moving! I wanted some speed so dropped it into 1 and let it go. It took me some flats to catch up, but once I did I was still in for a ride. A few glances at the speedo showed 85-93 average. I was pushing my envelope and couldn't keep up in the curves but we pulled into Paonia at 6:32pm.

I pulled in, dismounted, then introduced myself to Scott Hayes standing right there. I quickly registered and set up my tent under a tree. Not knowing anybody, I just picked a spot and set up. The IBMWR meeting at the beer tent was at 7pm so I changed, I grabbed my hat w/IBMWR name badge and bought a beer. Turned to see if I could find any others when Chris(last name skipped my name ignorant mind). Within a beer I forgot more names and put some faces with some others. I'm not going to name them, I wasn't organized enough to bring my name book so....sorry-some one kept a list. The night continued with more beer-n-chat till about 1:30a for me when I called it a day. Next day.........

I got out of bed at 7am and woke up at about 8:30 after a couple cups of coffee. Stood around talking with Rob Lentini #? until Howard Schultz(Rob L #?)'s son-Bill and a couple of others asked if I wanted to go for a ride. We headed up to Marble. When I say "up to Marble" -I mean all the way up 1 GS, 2 K's, and "the drip" R, went all the way up the mine. After stopping for some more coffee at the bottom and hearing thunder we headed back to Paonia for the day. I headed out to search for food and get a bike wash around three. When I got back, I hooked up with some of riding group from earlier and "made the rounds" to check out bikes. Highlights-four k1200's-all yellow checkers-one with very nice lowered pegs/remanufactured shifter. My first impression wasn't very good, but as I looked them over and finally when I sat on it..wow. More highlights- the first time I've seen a k1, a couple /2's, some nice r90s's, that lady with long legs on that.......

Saturday wound down with the awards ceremony-congrats Rob Lentini's #1,2,3,4,and 5, Bill and I in the cop car-with our beer(had to be there:), a live band, lot's o beer, cigars, and some pretty cool air guitar-thanks Dan. This went on till 2...3...4am I finally got to sleep.

Sunday, up with the sun...really! 6am I was up, drank coffee like a fish, and grabbed some food. After packing up, I said my good-byes and headed out. Road plan....get home! North to 70, east to Denver then north on 25. I Choose a different return trip after a recommendation from someone. I turned off of 25 just north of Wheatland on 26 east to Gurnsey, north on 270 to 18/20, east to lusk, Edgemont, Hot Springs, to Rapid. The road from Gurnsey is sweepers at high speed:) with no traffic. A MUST on your trip up here to Black Hills BMW's -n- Brats during Sturgis.

For those that lurk, you must get out!!! I've been asking tech questions for two years and never went to any rallies. These guys are a blast! Just go, introduce yourself, be yourself, don't act your age, and have fun!

Next...sleep!!!!!!!

I hearby notify everyone I had a blast, will return next year, and plan to see ya all at Sippapo?sp,NM if someone will get me some info!!!

PS....I was good,did nothing.(had to be there) Forgot-I had a close call on I70 returning from Paonia. Eastbound just before Veil pass I was approaching a full size Ford w/ horse trailer going downhill at speed+5 when I got just past the rear of the trailer I noticed the truck swerve, then smoke. I moved over thinking it blew a hose when the whole rig swerved toward me. I dove right into the little bit of road I had left, then I felt it. The fender of the trailer caught my left side case, took a 1x2" chunk out and broke the aluminum clasps. I thought I was going to eat some bunker pavement, when he move over enough and the bunker disappeared so I dropped it down one and throttled out of there. I pulled over on the side as soon as I could. The truck ended up in the center, just past the bunker, in the median. I centered my bike, pulled my helmet off, then ran back to grab my clothes and try to get the lid of my case. As I was running back, I noticed a skid mark going all the way back. I grabbed my clothes (slightly tumbled but still in the military bag) and saved my lid from destruction by darting across the lane. Ran back down to the truck, somehow, the stabilizing sway arm fell onto the runaway cable for trailer brakes and locked one up. The other malfunctioned.

Questions, can I get just the cover(it's OK-just cosmetic) and can I get new latches?

This kept me awake on my trip home...Wide awake!!!!!

From: Bob Smith
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997

Hi all,

Mark Rooney, Tara Ribas and Myself arrived back from the Rally this morning about 7 am. We made a run straight through with a stop for food, gas and a 2 hour nap along the way. The weather was cool when we left but turned hot quickly. Over in the south east corner of Colo. we ran through a little bad weather, didn't last long but what was there was bad enough. Try 40 mph wind, rain so hard you couldn't even see the road, much less where you were going, and hail.

After that just hot again. Had fun, great roads, lots of them, lots of other riders and a good rally. The highlight of the whole thing was the bike parade, especially through the nursing home parking lot This was a rally that the entire town seemed to join in on. Even the police chief was there to down a few brews with the masses.

All in all I think it was a great Rally, and plan on returning. Just didn't have as much time to ride the country side as much as I would have liked.

So if you weren't there then you missed a good one. If you were then you already know.

Bob Smith ***Armadillo Rider***

From: Dick Taylor (Classy Guy :)
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997

Back from Pay-own-ya. Great two-day ride home to Missoula. Spent all morning in NW Colorado watching a Rhode Island sized thunderstorm form and then got to ride through it over a high mountain pass. Great fun!

Scariest thing: Falling in with a bunch of Colorado coal miners in their pickups, who were heading for the nearest bar at the end of their workday. Those guys REALLY wanted a beer. Nobody in a cage passes me on two-lane roads; they did.

Best day's riding: Sunday morning, heading NW from Paonia. Most pathetic sight along the way: Mom and Pop from Walla Walla picking up their fallen-over, way overloaded Gold Wing at the top of Lost Trail Pass. I got there just in time to applaud as they got it back on its feet. No damage, excepting the two new hernias of course. Biggest disappointment: The crappy American beer Biggest surprises: John Arnold, Eric VanDenHoek Best sign seen: "No Muff Too Tough" on a Utah muffler shop Biggest bummer: Having my newly-met riding partner, non-president Dan Krivitzky, downshift, stall, lock up the rear wheel, and tip over, on his R100RT, all at 20 mph, and break his clavicle, on the first day of the rally. The only casualty of the whole rally as far as I know. Worst think that happened to me personally: I was infected by an alien viral life-form that forced me to purchase a national parks Passport and then visit:

	Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument
	Dinosaur National Monument
	Fossil Butte National Monument
	Golden Spike National Monument
	Craters of the Moon National Monument

to collect stamps. I may never be the same. (As what?)

Presidents in attendance, (I think) in no particular order, were:

David Rivers
	Tom Buttars
	Rob Lentini
	Mark Austin
	Chris Wenzel
	Mick & Lani Collins
	Eric VanDenHoek
	Dick Taylor
	Dan Dunphy
	Rob Lentini
	John Arnold
	Ira Agins
	Howard Schutz
	Bob Straubinger
	Randal Caruthers
	Rob Lentini
	Dick Elmendorf
	Dan Walker
	Terry Turnbeaugh & Linda
	Tim Stone
	Steve Aikens & Becky
	Rob Lentini
	Russ Locke
	Paul & Voni Glaves
	Joseph Tornick (sp?)
	Jim Van Riper
	Mark Crowder
	Rob Lentini
	Geoff Adams
	Tara Ribas
	Bob Smith
	Butch Hays
	Mark Rooney
	Chuck Henderson
	Rob Lentini
	Pete Lavengood & Nat
	Jan Hainbach
	Ron Milleman
	Karen Thomson
	Pat Collins & Lari
	John Arnold
	Rob Lentini

If your name is not on this list, then the surfer's lament applies to you: "You Really Missed It!"

Lots of thanks to BMWMC of Colorado. They've been doin' this one for 25 years now.

From: Howard Schultz
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 1997

Took the long way home from Top of the Rockies. Was the best one I have been too yet. It is always fun being Rob Lentini! Rob, Ira and I graciously accepted many thank yous for your help.Honest. Elsa and I returned to Colorado Springs by way of Lizard Head Pass to Durango. The next day put us over Wolf Creek Pass to South Fork and then over Slumgullion Pass to Lake City and then Gunnison.

Next came Monarch Pass to Poncha Springs. On the pass I saw two bikes approaching in my rear view mirror and I knew they were going to overtake me and my PD, but I had to push the bike just to see if I could make it interesting. I had the PD to my riding limit and a little beyond. Both bikes held back and didn't pass me until I slowed down before Poncha Springs. They stopped and waited for me and I pulled over. One r11gs and on k1200rs, red. To my surprise, and Elsa is my witness, Tom from Mora, NM. offers to let me ride his K1200rs. I hesitated for a millisecond and was off after some pre ride instructions. I left Elsa as collateral.......

I rode to the top of Poncha Pass and turned around to go back. As I approached Tom's pal Russ, from Baltimore, waved my on so I continued up to the top of Monarch Pass. Riding impressions. I love this bike. It will run circles around my r1100rs. Smoothness, power, braking and handling were beyond anything I have ever ridden. Fit my 5' 6" body perfectly. I took the bike to 140 mph and it sits rock solid. Passing is done before you know it.

One problem. A nice respectable cruising speed is 110 or more. You are going to loose your license sooner or later on this machine. 0-( Yes, officer I was only going 135...... By the way, Tom will be at Sipapu this September. Maybe he will be giving out demo rides? I'm first in line.... =)

Howard Schultz

From: Geoff Adams
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 1997

I almost didn't go. We just finished the family vacation two weeks earlier and it wasn't in the budget. But I hadn't been to a BMW event since the Georgia Mountain Rally of 5/3-5/4 (missed the national here in Texas). I'm also trying to ration out my few remaining vacation days.

Map-n-go told me it's just over 900 miles from DFW to Paonia, CO. That's via Amarillo, Raton, NM, Walsenburg, CO, CO hwy 69 to County 1-A to Cotopaxi (about half of 1-A is dirt, but it saved about 20 miles), Monarch Pass, Gunnison, Hwy 92 above the Black Canyon of the Gunnison into Paonia.

The non-Texas part of the journey lured me to a decision. A bare minimum trip. No frills. I took a half day off and left Friday afternoon at 1:30. The thermometer tucked behind my fairing read 102F as I maneuvered through Dallas traffic.

After about 80 miles I wheeled into a rest area and removed and stowed the Aerostich jacket and donned a long sleeved white t-shirt. 107F. Also time for the Camelback. The entire section from Dallas to Raton is more or less heading northwest. There was a crosswind from my left blowing at least 35 mph. So I further tested the theory that riding faster adds stability in such a crosswind.

It's no longer a theory. The bike was pushed and buffeted a lot at 70-75, but was rock steady at 90. Speed is now a safety measure. In the Texas panhandle you can see rainstorms for an hour or more before you reach them. The one I was watching looked to be just about over Amarillo. The rain looked very inviting, but I knew it would slow me down and I needed to get out of Texas before stopping for the night.

The rain turned out to be just south of Amarillo, but the clouds gave welcome relief from the heat. 97F. Lunch in Big D had been McDonalds, so dinner in Amarillo was a Whopper. It's a lot higher (4000') and drier in Amarillo and cools quickly in the evening, so the long sleeved T traded places with the jacket. I was treated with a glorious salmon pink and orange sunset that made it hard to stay focused on riding fast.

US 64/87 leaves Clayton, NM via an overpass above several railroad tracks. As I descended from this bridge I realized that the air was clouded. It was now dark and the problem wasn't immediately apparant. My first thought was "Fog!", but it was brown. Had I found a sudden dust storm? Maybe, but now that I was well into it there was little doubt.

The numerous rail lines were adjecent to Clayton's feed lots. For those not from cattle country, feed lots are very nasty, smelly places. I don't know what caused the cloud, but it was a huge cloud of dry cow shit. It was so dense I could barely see the road. It was one of those times I really wished I could just roll up the windows. After about a tenth of a mile I was back into the clear western evening air.

Although I was getting tired (and dirty), the high speed night run across northeastern NM was great. Not a peep from the radar detector since Dallas, light traffic, easing winds, dropping temperature, an eighteen wheeler 1/4 mile ahead running 90.

I had called ahead to Sugarite State Park and talked to Betty. "Sure Hon, If we're full we can always find another tent site." Well, Betty wasn't there and the Ranger didn't call me "Hon". but he said I could set up in a gravel parking area next to some RV's. At that point (11:30) it was fine by me. I just wanted to stop rolling. They didn't ask for the seven dollar camping fee, so that fit in with the spirit of the venture as well.

Saturday morning was beautiful and the air full of mountain aromas so different from home. Heading north over Raton Pass took me to Trinidad, CO where I had decided to opt for the no-surprise-McDonalds-breakfast, but took the wrong exit and got a tour of scenic old downtown Trinidad. I finally found McD's, but it was going to be a long wait, so I pressed on to Walsenbug where I stopped for gas. The old man at the equally old downtown Texaco recommended breakfast at George's Drive-In north of town where I would pick up CO Hwy 69.

Well, George's wasn't really a drive-in, but I got a ham and cheese omelet with toast and potatos for $3.50 and twelve ounces of juice for 90 cents. And the waitress called me "Hon" three times.

CO 69 is a lightly traveled, narrow two-lane that winds through a broad valley between two mountain ranges. It's really empty, sparsely populated country, so I was amazed to see hundreds, maybe thousands, of people standing and sitting along the streets of tiny Westcliffe as I rode into town. They were about to have their Rodeo Days parade and the town was so decorated that I missed the sign showing where 69 jogged left and then right and I had to stop and ask for directions. It must have been a great parade.

US50 follows a lovely stretch of the Arkansas River for several miles before veering away toward Monarch Pass. There was just enough rain to force me to put on some rain gear as I started up Monarch. I was glad to have on the extra layers as I crossed the 11,300 ft pass.

I ran into some BMW riders in Gunnison who recommended the lunch special at the local Mexican eatery. It was now clear and cool so I enjoyed their outside tables as I ate alone. Continuing west, US50 follows the Gunnison River which becomes Blue Mesa Reservoir and Morrow Point Reservoir. Farther downstream is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NM which is named for the unusally dark walls of the vary deep and narrow gorge. It is beautifull rugged and arid country.

CO92 crossed one of the dams and winds along the north rim of the Black Canyon. This is a great rider's road and it's hard to sightsee and have fun riding as well, so it's best to take advantage of the several places to stop for the views. I finally got to Paonia at about 2:30 Saturday afternoon and quickly found other Prez's, a tent sight, a shower, and a cold brew.

It was great to meet some more Prez's in person. I met fellow Texan Sissy Myrick (who had missed the Tx Prez's Breakfast), Terry and Linda Turnbeau?, Dick Taylor (a classy guy), Butch Hays, Mick Collins, and finally, The Woman. Rob Lintini was everywhere, but didn't look much like his pictures. Missing were the duo of Chuck Desantis and Mike Cornett. I now know they were out playing boy-racers and Mike had an, uh, incident.

I ran into fellow Texans Mark Crowder, Mark Rooney, Bob Smith and Tara Ribas (of Pizza Party fame). We decided to leave together Sunday AM. Actually, now that I was in Paonia I was a little concerned about getting home (900+ miles) on Sunday. Iv'e done thousand mile days before, but this was virtually all on non-interstates with plenty of twisties and a major mountain pass and then back into the Texas heat.

Steve Aikens whipped out a laptop and fired up his mapping program and we agreed that there just wasn't any way around the slower stuff. I would just retrace my route to the rally.

Mark Crowder had two days to return to Dallas, but Mark Rooney, Bob Smith, and Tara Ribas all hoped to get to Tyler, TX (about 100 miles past DFW) in one day, so we decide to at least start out together. After filling up on rally pancakes, we rolled out at 6am Mtn time. Riding back past the Gunnison Canyon at sunrise was a treat. I was glad I had added a sweater and warm gloves because the temperature had dropped into the 40's as we climbed the mesa around the canyon. I kept the warm stuff on until completely out of the mountains back in Walsenburg.

The wind and the heat were even worse on the way home. Including 5 gas stops and a leisurely lunch at McDonalds in Dalhart, the 920 miles took 14.5 hours, an overall average of 65mph. Ahh, the wide open spaces.

From: Mark A Crowder
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 1997

Top of the Rockies -- YATR

Wednesday, 16-July-1997:

Sometimes things work out. Not usually, though. Just sometimes. One of my pet peeves is people who say Things usually work out for the best. I usually reply by asking for some ID and saying Oh, I see. You ARE from a different planet. That explains everything. Murphy and I alternate between active combat and cold stares. As far as I can tell, this situation hasn't changed since I drew my first breath. Oh, I keep getting better at tripping him up and mitigating the consequences when I can't, but he never really goes away. Or looks away. Or sleeps. But I'm not complaining -- it does tend to add opportunities for adventure.

But the bike is whole and well, I am whole and well, and I ask for and get time off. Sometimes things work out. After work, I get some laundry going, tidy up the yard a bit and decide on an extensive pre-flight inspection. I rarely find anything, but it always lowers my tension level a bit. Two loose fairing screws are the whole of it.

About this time I catch a whiff of ozone. I'd plugged in the razor to top up the charge. Somewhere along the line, though, the charger decides it's had enough of this one-sided relationship in which it gives all of it's energy to the battery and starts keeping a little extra for itself. I figure Murphy's been whispering in it's ear, because intentional self-immolation is usually preceded by grandiose statements supporting some cause or other and I hadn't seen any such. Murph, you're getting senile son. You KNOW I have another razor. Strike one.

The packing goes quickly -- I staged everything last night. A look in the fridge reveals some fruit and bagels. That should keep my going late. When I was in Boy Scouts, before you were allowed to carry a knife, you had to show, under scrutiny, that you could operate one safely. The reward was a Tote-N-Chip card -- sort of a Concealed Carry License for a knife. If you were seen to do something un-safe, a corner was torn off the card -- and when the fourth corner was removed, you had to re-qualify. As the knife slid through the bagel and into my finger I thought that this was one of those special occasions when the scoutmaster would have called me up in front of the group and simply torn the card in half. Better this time, Murphy, but no bones, arteries or veins -- and you haven't managed to separate me from my first aid kit in twenty years. Strike two.

As the sun goes down, the heat starts to break -- it's now a nice, cool 91F. The traffic is light, but it still takes over 100 miles for the Dallas Glow to disappear in the mirrors. I've got plenty of time, so the only hurry is to escape the Texas heat before noon the next day - -- a pretty easy proposition when starting from Dallas. So, when the yawn thing starts with just over 200 miles behind me, I pull into a motel and get a few hours sleep.

Thursday, 17-July-1997:

It's been a long time since they were common, but I can still recognize the outline of a Plymouth Grand Fury over mile away -- and is still screams COP! Nonsense I think, they haven't used em in years. Only they do. It's a sheriff's car. Intellectually, I know you have to set your watch back a couple of decades when entering small-town Texas, but it still surprises me sometimes. This bike still amazes me. She and I have been together for just over a year, but I'm still surprised at how well she eats miles. Come on baby, eat this road. Gomp comes a little echo in the back of my brain -- a sound not unlike Homer Simpson eating doughnuts. She does other things well, too. But I'm NOT surprised at that.

An early lunch in Clayton makes up for no breakfast. This is my first trip with a Camel-back, and it's quite a revelation. How did I ever get along without it? Drinking while underway makes traveling in the heat a piece of cake. One thing, though, how do you non-chalantly fill it up? I have just the bladder and tube (I carry it in the tankbag), and while filling it from a pitcher of ice-water, I got some very odd looks from the other diners. Upon re-examination, with just the bladder and tube, it DOES look a bit like .... errr ... well, something else ...

Gomp. Raton. Gomp. Walsenburg.

It's been raining off-and-on since Raton, and starts to pick up a little as I head north on hwy 69. It's cool, and there are hints of pine and cedar in the moist air. Nope this is definitely not Texas. As the valley opens up, I'm treated to a spectacle -- lightning begins hitting the mountain tops on both sides. I slow down and take it all in. It's a magic carpet ride through a tremendous natural floor show. Sometimes things work out.

Gomp. Texas Creek/hwy 50. Gomp. Salida.

It's early, but I don't want to ride Monarch Pass or Black Canyon/hwy 92 in tired/dark mode so I stop in Salida and get a room. As I head out for the obligatory bug-removal, I fall in behind another R11RT with a really slick-looking trailer rig. As luck would have it, it pulls into the bug-removal establishment as well. Sometimes things work out. It's rider is Rod Dawsey. He and his wife (Chris) have been touring for about a month and are slowly working their way back to their home in Ocala Florida. The trailer rig is a very clean installation rather than the highly invasive-looking Reynolds I'd seen before. Rod says the whole thing can be installed or removed in about fifteen minutes. While I have no interest in touring with a trailer, I think pulling a one-rail trailer and a dirt bike would have massive pose value. :-)

Friday 18-July-1997:

After breakfast with Rod and Chris, we exchange information and part ways, as they are headed east and I west. The new shocks have done wonders for the handling. Monarch and hwy 92 go by with nary a hint of bobble, wobble, or scraping undercarriage. One thing, though. If anyone knows the highway crew that cares for 92, tell them I'll gladly pay for their enrollment in TSA (Tar-Strippers Anonymous). Their work made for some exciting moments. I figured I would have to ask directions to the rally site when I got to Paonia. I needn't have worried -- there are a steady stream of bikes coming into town, and I follow them to the site. Even if not for that, Paonia isn't big enough to hide very many bikes -- and there are a lot of bikes. The site is a well-shaded city park and fairgrounds, and is an excellent layout for a rally.

After registration and setting up camp, I go Trolling for Presidents -- and nearly trip over Ed Guzman. Not that Gooz is particularly small or unobtrusive, but he was sitting in a kermit chair and was well camouflaged by cigar smoke. I'm draining a beer with Ed when a slim, good-looking woman approaches. Red hair, red leathers, red boots, red helmet, red T-shirt, red motorcycle. Though I've never met Voni Glaves in person before, her identity is not in doubt. She begins setting up next to us until Ed mentions he snores. Nice going Gooz. ;-)

[begin snippet/bandwidth reduction mode]

Howard Schultz works a story nearly as well as ...er...well, I'm sure there's someone he's nearly good as. ;) With beer added, the stories are even good the second time around. With Tennessee, Kentucky and Irish whisky, and both blended and single-malt scotch still in reserve, itll probably be some time before I O-D. Steve Aikens and The Woman have an endless supply of invectives, truisms, one-liners, blow-guns and peanuts. Ira Agins spins a good yarn -- some of which are apparently true. And Eric VanDenHoek. Eric, that story about which parts of your body you can poke needles in because the lighting strike killed the nerves has to go. Not that it's not fascinating and all, but it reminds me of this substitute teacher with the dead arm that used to ... NO! I'm not going to start that! AAAAkkkk! And then there was Rob Lentini. Rob, I'm really glad to finally meet you. That thing about the booster for the R1100RS with the nuclear, plutonium driven reactor using deuterium as reactions mass sounded good, but I think you'll get a lot of heat on your legs. Now I'm sure that'd be fine with K-bike riders, but R11 folks aren't used to that. And do you really think you can get it all started with just an autolight spark plug? Well I suppose we'll know soon enough with all the people you talked into trying it. I think I'll hold out for the production version, though.

[end snippet/bandwidth reduction mode]

Sunday 20-July-1997:

(I didn't really skip Saturday, but it all kinda blurred together)

I have pancakes with Texas Prez's Mark Rooney, Geoff Adams, Bob Smith and Tara Ribas. They are all intent on getting home today, so start the blitz right away. I'm harboring other intentions, but get packed up and on the road pretty quickly as well. I meet Paul and Voni Glaves and [memory parity error] at a gas stop, and we hook up for awhile. It was kinda fun folowing and taking in the sights for a change. Paul, sorry if I was crowding you, but you're a smooth rider and easy to follow. We split at the hwy50/69 junction and I pretty much back-tracked the route up. At least until I got to Dumas, where I stopped to don rain gear and call Dad. I'd noticed that the route wasn't far from western Oklahoma, and decided to drop by if possible. Sure enough, it was, so I rode out and we had a good visit. Sometimes things work out.

Monday:

Rode to Dallas.

Parting thoughts:

I seem to have left out everyone everything from this report -- but you know who you are. ;-)

most common bike question -- Is that a factory color? most amusing bike question -- Why does your charcoal canister have a little gold knob and say Penske.

I thought I'd ride more and BS less. I didn't. I don't care.

Geoff Adams and I live about 25 miles apart, but we've never met less than a hundred miles from home

The road up Capulin is a 400 degree decreasing-radius left hander

This Internet BMW thing is really cool. Thanks again Joe

This rally is already on next year's calendar

I'm still waiting for Strike Three

From: Steve Aikens
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997

Ridin' The Rockies.

Just got in from Paonia's Top O The Rockies Rally. Couldn't have been better, IMO. But that's not why I jot this down.

After the rally Sunday the 20th, I blasted off to the West to go East, to meet up with Don Cameron, to go West, To go South.

Went to Salt Lake City (why Salt Lake? Why not? Good fun roads and I had time to kill) via 139, 40, 189 and then over I-80 to Rock Springs. Headed North for the Bighorn Mountains and over into Buffalo. I-25 South to 387, 450, 16 to the local road that runs through Wounded Knee and the Badlands and up to Wall, I-90 to Murdo - Where I was treated to a not-so-nice *VERY* severe storm that offered me some pretty unpleasant hail and the suggestion that I "SEEK SHELTER", which I did. This really seemed like the place to stay - quiet, very clean, cheap motel. So quiet you could hardly hear the damage being done by the storm outside - well into 9:30 the next day.

Got outta there while I could and did the last 89 miles to Chamberlain, SD, where I was to meet Don Cameron the 23rd. Well, here I was a day early! Why? Well, seems that while I had planned to ride North on 287 from Lander, WY and over to 16 to do the up the mountain - down the mountain thing through the Tetons and Bighorns - my super-spectacular Valentine One went on vacation at Lander. I got on the phone to Valentine Research and they offered to UPS Red Label me a loaner until I could get home and send it in for repair (excellent service - they even apologized for the failure). The only place I knew I'd be was the motel in Chamberlain and without the help of a good radar detector, I had no plans to ride anywhere further than I had to or slow down (nope - no chance of that happening). So Instead of 287, I did 26, 20, 16, in the interest of time.

I rolled into Chamberlain and went to register at the motel and get on the phone to my good friend Paige Ortiz of Aeroflow. Seems on the way to Chamberlain I got into a construction zone (no one working but two lane traffic.) at about 120 mph along a pretty deserted stretch, I was passed by a semi doing an easy 90 mph the other way and my windshield folded in the wind blast, leaving me with two nice cracks in the middle of the shield, about 2 inches from the mount. Worked out just fine. Being a day early - time was my friend <G>. Paige Red Labeled me a new shield the next morning (wanted to send me two - so I'd have a spare, just in case but I had no way to really carry a spare shield the way I was traveling). Two minor problems resolved with no bullshit - just "tell me where to send the replacement for tomorrow morning". This is what it's like dealing with reputable companies.

Deciding my rear tire looked a bit worn at that point, I called BMW of Sturgis and ordered a tire for installation in the morning, note: if you ever think you'll need a tire while on the road, always call ahead to be sure they'll have one there for you. I was going to blast up to Mandan BMW (near Bismark, ND) for a tire but he **does not stock tires for the R11RS**!! A call to Sturgis and the only tire in stock for the R11RS was the Michlen 90X - no chance in Hell - Lyle overnighted in a Bridgestone so he'd be ready for me in the morning.

Got the windshield on and just rode around the Chamberlain area till about 4 and headed back to the motel. Right on cue, Don shows up about 5, ready for a beer and dinner. Don's lovely (redheaded) bride, Marylou, is the current President of the NEA (talk about a glutton for punishment!!) and she had a meeting in Lake Geneva, WI. She flew in and Don, ever the gentleman that he is, offered to ride his motorcycle over from Deming, NM, to have dinner with her. Deciding he could be gone a little longer and needing a vacation to regain some form of sanity - remember, he is in the motorcycle business, sanity is a rare commodity - he called and asked if I'd like to meet him somewhere in South Dakota on the 23rd and we'd shag over to Missoula and check it out. I got a hold of our own "Classy Guy" Dick Taylor and got an invite for coffee when we got there.

We split for Sturgis BMW and got there about 10:00. Lyle had my tire, they popped it on and we were gone. Well, sort of. I caught up with Don after about five miles on the Interstate and reminded him that Missoula - actually, the entire State of Montana - was **West** of Sturgis, not East - East would be Rapid City and the direction we just came from... Heh, Heh!! The run to Missoula, from South Dakota was a blitzer down the Interstate and just fast. We decided not to go on into Missoula until morning to give us some time to piddle around in the morning, check out the rally site, and go to the Chamber of Commerce for motel inf., etc. I gave Dick a call the night before to arrange a meeting time with him for breakfast. He buzzed on over to the restaurant and had some orange juice with us before taking us on "the nickel tour". After the Chamber and the rally site, he took me over to the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial there in Missoula. It's a beautiful life size bronze sculpture depicting an angel taking a fallen soldier to the heavens with plaques naming the fallen Montanans. When you get into the area, this is a Memorial worthy of a visit to pay your respects to and remember the valiant men and women that paid the ultimate price to support our country by following the orders of our government. At any rate, Missoula is a first rate community with excellent facilities. If you go up there for the rally, you're in for some fine riding country. If you go up another time, drop the "Classy Guy" a note and have him visit with you over an OJ and show you around. He truly is a "Classy Guy" (Thanks Dick).

Out of Missoula we hit 93 through the Bitterroot Forest (Great road but under construction for about 30 miles on the South side of the peak) then 28 to I-15 and then 30 to Soda Springs, where we found a terrific restaurant in an old remodeled house. It's a Mexican food place owned by a young woman that has a hell-of-a good recipe for salsa. Place is called Panchos and has really good steaks. Stayed on 30 to 189 and I-80 over to 414, 43, 191, and 40 at Vernal, to Dinosaur. From there, 139, 50, 141 note: 141 is the most beautiful canyon road you can find. However, be prepared if you can't run 190 miles on a tank. There's only one gas pump from Whitewater to Dove Creek (at Naturita) - and it was closed when we went by.

After stopping for the night in Cortez, Don and I parted. I took 666 to 550, then 44 to Bernalillo some I-25 and I-40 to Tijeras, 337 down to 60 and blasted back in to Clovis by 2:00.

Total trip smileage for me was right at 4,700 miles. Where'd it get me? Right back home, so I can start planning my next move. With few exceptions, every road I took had something different, and exceptional, to offer. I'll have to see how I can do this again soon. I did a lot of roads I've already been on because I could and they are special in some way. But with no real timetable, it's easy to just wander off to parts unknown and see where you wind up. This is a spectacular country we live in. Get out and see it when you can.

Temperatures? Ranged from 99 down to 36 in Soda Springs, Id. Rain? Lots when it did - normally with hail. That's hard hail - not that wimpy soft centered stuff %^{ Wind: plenty. If you head up that way, expect it all. I did two to five bottles of water a day - bring a big enough water bottle to get you and a friend through the heat safely and you'll have enough for yourself. Bring good quality cold weather gear - I prefer Gerbings, any time of year. Remember, I went at the end of July and wore both the pants and the jacket under my Aerostitch, with the thermostat set at >. It was cold on an RS. Don, on his RT, was well suited up but had good protection from the electric billboard in front of him.

When you wanna go again, Don???

Steve Aikens, Clovis, New Mexico


If you would like to find out how you can get something listed on a "IBMWR Happenings" page email Ted Verrill, the editor at esquireted@admin.ibmwr.org.....and if you don't already belong, jump over to the offical home pages of the Internet BMW Riders and learn how you can join the fastest growing BMW motorcycle organization in the world.

Copyright 1997 - ©IBMWR - All rights reserved
ibmwr/tv -07/29/97