The Blitz To Branson
April 12th - 14th, 1996

From: Voni Glaves
Date: 28 Jun, 1996

The weather gods smiled so broadly even Jon Diaz whose new motto is "weather is what happens outside the fairing" didn't bring what the weather channel had direly been predicting for our No Coasters first annual Presidential Blitz to Branson (Missouri, USA). Between golf ball sized hail falling in central Kansas Saturday morning and with snow predicted for the Sunday night right here in River City Kansas we somehow found perfect riding weather for the scheduled ride to lunch Saturday. Mid 70's and blue skies were all we could see.

After work Friday I rode from my school in Topeka, Kansas in clear weather to 20 miles north of Branson when some of the threatening clouds started leaking. Before I could get too wet I decided to stop to put on my rainsuit at a side road. Paul (my husband and mechanic) who had been working in Kansas City drove by just as I started my bike. If we'd planned to meet we couldn't have timed it better. So we arrived together at the Fall Creek Inn to see BMW's everywhere. Jim and Sheryl Hair had packets with IBMWR Blitz to Branson pins (made exclusively for this event by Butch Hays), maps of the state, the town, and most importantly the RIDE for lunch the next day. They were hosting early arrivals in their suite - Skipper Brown (from Arizona), Jim Shaw (from Shaw's Towers in Hinkley, Ohio), Lee Freedman (from California and most recently Iowa) and Jim Bisette (from New Jersey) were already there. Soon enough, Sam and Inez Thornton (from Alabama) and Wilma and Herb Stark (from Texas) came back via Sheryl's car to tell about a show they'd seen. Marilyn Evans and Jonathan Hutchins (our rally virgins from Kansas City), arrived too late for the leaky clouds but had had a cool ride. After hugs all around we got down to serious story swapping. Boofs went uncensored and I wished someone was taking notes because I know I missed as many good stories as I heard.

Late to bed and early to rise, we found that coffee wasn't available until 8 so Jim Shaw agreed to take us to a coffee place he'd found the morning before where he'd slept with a waitress. Of course there's more to this story but I'll let him tell it.

Back at Fall Creek, 10 bikes and 14 riders set off to find the cream of the crop of twisty and smooth roads that Jim Hair has carefully selected for us. 165 carefully chosen miles with a trout farm and mill restaurant midway scheduled for lunch. Yes, Karol, we did sign our forms for the mileage contest. Did I mention the food? And the regularly scheduled highway revenuers found other roads and riders to protect. And the sun shone and the temperature stayed in the 70's. Someone up there likes us.

With huge sMiles we arrived back at Fall Creek to greet Jon Diaz (from Chicago) with his new RT. I do declare the Diaz curse a thing of the past. The new bike must be the catalyst to break the chain of misery he has had to endure. Dick Wildauer and Pat Burch drove down from Kansas City and took credit for the great weather by having done the supreme sacrifice of driving a four wheeled vehicle. Then Michael Cornett (from Chicago), David Sine and Rick Bush (from Austin and Wichita Falls, Texas respectively) arrived within minutes of each other to be greeted with the new secret handshake. By that time the banner was hung and the dinner meeting ensued. Between tossed rolls and a crooner with an attitude we didn't lack for entertainment. Did I mention the food? Ride to eat is definitely one of our mottos.

Then time for the official banner pictures and hotly contested awards. The youngest rider went to Jon Diaz, oldest bike belonged to Rick Bush or David Sine (oops, I forgot!), long distance two up went to Wilma and Herb Stark, long distance solo was awarded to Skipper Brown, and longest flashing rider was Lee Freedman. A special award and a round of grateful applause went to Jim Hair whose idea this No Coast rally was. We remembered our spiritual attendees. After that the night went on as most presidents' meetings seem to with people who until this meeting had only seen words on a screen from each other. But there was no standing back as it was a given we were friends together at last. The agenda was finished but no one made a motion to adjourn. It seemed too much to say goodbye and leave. Breakfast in the morning was scheduled and we all lingered longer than some should have with all the miles ahead. But how can you leave friends? Only with the certainty that we'd see each other again down the road - both literally and on this cyber connection we've found. I really thank all those who drove the miles to this gathering and those I know who would have been there if they could. It's definitely magic!

Some of the others will undoubtedly report their version of the above events. YMMV. We'll have to do this again sometime.



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ibmwr/tv -06/29/96