(Click for larger photo)
Dave Keuch - Tom Bowman - Pat Roddy - Jim Colburn - Walt Dabell - Rick Povich - Ira Agins
From: Dave Keuch
Carol and I were to leave for the National Rally Wednesday afternoon I got home at6pm. Carol at 9pm. So we slept late Thursday morning and took off at 9am slabing it down to Morganton. A couple back roads, crossed White's ferry, down route 7 to I-81 and we were on our way. Traffic was moving in the 75-80 mph range, I did an indicated 85-90 mph. We passed one BMW loaded down with camping gear an R90, and waved as we streaked by.
At Stauton, Va. we stopped for gas and a bite to eat since we had missed dinner and skipped breakfast. We ate at the Rowe Family Restaurant. It's a restaurant and bakery with the food being both very good and reasonably priced. If your a desert kinda person you have to stop here for the home made pies...
After stuffing ourselves we jumped back on I-81 and streaked down to I-77 where we started to see small packs of BMW's traveling together. We hit US-40 and ran down to Hickory where we registered at the Holiday Inn. We made a quick stop at the room to drop off our stuff and then jumped back on the bike for the 20 mile ride to the rally site. The directions to the site were pretty slim to say the least.
At exit 105 we got off the interstate and sorta followed bikes up route 181. With BMW's going in every direction it was hard to determine if we were going the right way or not. We came to an intersection and by chance looked to the right and saw the tents on the side of the hill so we took a quick right. We rode up to the registration tent and parked. Once in the registration tent we signed the form, got our packets and ran into Jon Diaz, Dave Soine, Joe Senner and Dave Blair who had just arrived as well. After talking a few minutes we headed off to put in our tickets for the drawings.
After running into a host of Internet folks too numerous to name at the vendors tents about twenty of us went out for dinner. The place supplied small buckets of peanuts at each table to snack on and in our case to launch at other IBMWR tables. Roger Traversa and Ted Verrill being the main culprits. I had a great time talking with Mike Cornett and Klaus Kreye. With dinner over and everyone heading out Carol and I went back to the motel for some needed rest.
Friday morning we were up early as we were part of the IBMWR contingent to volunteer for registration that morning. With a quick word of advise from Josh Ascher on what to do, a few cups of coffee and too many donuts and we were set to work. With Ira Agins, Joe Senner, Dave Blair, Carol and I handling the pre-registrations it was a ball. Timing is everything in life and we sure had it this day. There was a light rain most of the 8-12 shift with some occasional downpours.
After our shift we did a quick run once again through the vendors then Greg Pink, Ted Verrill, Carol and I headed off in search of waterfalls. We went to Chimney Rock where there's a 432' waterfall that was in the movie "Last of the Mohicans" It overlooks Lake Lure. We hiked up to the top and and wadded in the water at the top of the falls. Greg "Bounce" Pink can now be called Greg "Splash" Pink as he managed to slip and fall into a pool of water laughing the whole time.
After an hour of frolicking in the water we made our way down the path that the Indians had came up in the movie. The views from this place were inspiring, we highly recommend going there if you have the time. (the $9.50 at the gate was well worth it.) We finished the day with a quiet dinner overlooking Lake Lure and a fast ride home to the rally site where we met up with the rest of the presidents in the beer hall.
Saturday Carol and I ran some errands (work related) :-( then went over to the Biltmore Estate. Unfortunately we got there late and decided the 2 hours we had to visit it wasn't worth the $28.00 entrance fee. (Now I know why the guy's a millionaire!!!) But we plan to go back when we have more time and can make a day of it. We took some back roads to the rally site and met up with the rest of the IBMWR Prez's for the picture and IBMWR drawing. I won T-shirt which jinxed me from winning the R1100GS.
IBMWR did come in 3rd, for the Club attendance award and Klaus Kreye came in 2nd to a gentleman from Thailand for greatest distance covered. After the various Thank You's and drawings the Prez's headed out to dinner with what seemed like everyone else at the rally. Took us nearly 45 minutes to get out of the site. We spent the evening eating, talking and generally havin a great time. Then slowly folks started to filter out saying their good byes and heading back to the site or their motels to get ready for the ride home.
Sunday morning we took a number of back roads to I-77. On one of these roads Rt. 268 a scenic road we ran into a group of Gold Wings and Harleys taking a leisurely ride. With close to twenty of them, the line was quite long and didn't give us much chance for passing. After 15 minutes of this we finally came to a place and I made our move, much to the dislike of of the group. We got a lot of nasty looks as we blew by them and waved!!
The rest of the trip was slabing it up I-81 into Winchester then Rt. 7 towards Leesburg. We then hit Whites Ferry again and had an amusing encounter with a couple guys riding Yamaha crotch rockets. Depending on the traffic the attendant usually lets the motorcycles off first so he directed our two riders to the right and had us fall in behind them. As I pulled behind them they took a look at Carol and I and decided we weren't worth talking to so turned their backs on us and proceeded to joke around with each other.
Once we landed we were directed off the ferry first. Our two Rocketeers took off with me in pursuit. It was easy to see they didn't have very good skills as they would try to lose me on the straightaways only to slow up in the curves. They kept looking in their mirrors expecting me to fall way behind riding the RT and being two up. But I was right on their tails and actually had to back off near the curves as they'd slow down too much and would cause me to have to use my brakes hard to keep from crowding them.
Finally on a short stretch going into a sharp curve I passed them to their surprise and took the curve at speed dragging my right boot. Two more curves and they were out of sight... I chuckled to myself the rest of the way home...
Morganton was a great time! I got to meet many more Prez's and added the many new faces to those I already knew. This group of folks are some of the best people around...
Hope to see a bunch of you when we do Don's 4 Corner run in 3 weeks!!
From: Tom Bowman (BuickCampr@aol.com)
I'm sure there must be BMW riders who weren't in Morganton, but it sure seemed like *everybody* was there. This was my first National, and only my third BMW rally, so while I'm not exactly a 'virgin', I'm not an old campaigner, either. How about some observations from a newbie?
"Cosmo" and I left Montgomeryville Cycle Center in Pennsylvania at about 4:30 pm on Tuesday, July 10th, bound for North Caroliina. My head was full of hopes for the ride, the rally experience, and the anticipation of putting together a lot of names and faces from the IBMWR list. Not to get ahead of myself, but I can pretty well say 'up 'front' that all my fears were unrealized and all my hopes exceeded.
Well, we weren't 15 miles down the road before we were in the first rain of the trip, a typical summer afternoon thunderstorm. Naturally, for someone fairly new to touring, I had made the wrong choice of gear, opting for the coolth of jeans, sneaks, and a light gore-tex jacket. I hit the PA `Pike west-bound, and quickly started getting light drizzle, which turned to heavier, and then drenching rain. I missed a large bridge by being too slow to decide, and checked through the toll booth at Norristown getting soaked. Naturally, the karma of such things dictates that the next shelter that would allow one to change into rain gear will be fifteen minutes farther down the road. I found an overhang at a convenient Ford dealership (thanks, Ford; I would happily have taken the same overhang at a GM or Chysler store, or for that matter, a convenience store or whatever). True to form, in ten more minutes, the rain stopped, the temp dropped, and the `Stich felt pretty good as I rolled back out to the `Pike again.
The signs proclaim that "America's Oldest Superslab is Rising to the Surface" again, or something to that effect. It can surely use the new pavement. Alert to the possibility of uneven lanes, truly a death-defying experience on a bike when unexpected, we spooled on up through 60, then 65, then a moment or two at 70 before coming to a dead stop less than five miles down the road, where we proceeded to idle forward to gaze upon a relatively minor shunt involving a yupmobile (Ford Explorer, I think) and a tractor-trailer. The semi driver looked like he was thinking hard on how to phrase that phone call to his dispatcher ("Uh, boss, I got bad news and good news....."), the lady in the yupmobile looked like she had just seen the face of God in her rear view mirror (maybe it was that Peterbilt emblem close encounter !). Brothers, this was not a good beginning to the trip. First, the delay at the dealership, then the rain, then the traffic jam. Momma said that things that start badly end better. I was hoping she was right as we cleared the troopers and idling rescue equipment, their drivers and attendants looking for something at which to be useful. Thankfully, nothing got crunched that a good body shop couldn't fix.
Cosmo begins to stretch his legs about 75, but past experience on the `Pike made me a believer that it would be asking for a rude surprise to be outrunning the flow of traffic out there, so I set the stop screw to 70 to take advantage of the new 65 mph speed limit (Thanks, Bill!) and the State Police's 5 mph "grace" ("No, really, Sir, you're absolutely right, my speedo must be off. Gosh, thanks, I really will curb my death impulse and back her down to the legal limit. Yes, and YOU have a nice day, too, Officer. By the way, LOVE your Smokey Bear hat.") Out through the hills and farms, one can sense the roll of the land and the age of the farm houses and barns. There are dairies all along between Lancaster and Harrisburg, and when the wind is right, one wonders how long it takes to get accustomed to that smell. Of course, to a dairyman, it probably is perfume, oh, my.
For some reason, perhaps because I travelled this road so many times on business, I am always delighted to get the hell off of the PA `Pike, and when I-81 appeared, I happily turned south toward Maryland and Virginia and the delightful Shenandoah. Cosmo told me he liked it, too; cooler and smoother, and less tension from the prospect of Bears. Where the road turns really nice is once the Virginia sign appears. From there, and no disrespect intended to those other states, which I also find very nice <G>, the hills turn to actual mountains, the fields seem to get greener, and there is a 'feel' to the land that makes me think of the Old South and all that went with it. The Interstate here doesn't feel like the Interstates I normally travel, with their convoys of eighteen wheelers and crazed cage drivers intent on making East Jibip before supper. Here, in contrast, the company is more likely to be motor homes with bumper stickers that say "Retired: no job, no phone, no clocks, no money," or "We're out spending our children's inheritance," or the now-common "My child is an honor student at Fill In The Blank Elementary School." Being the contrarian that I am, the one I like says "My kid beat up your honor student." Nyuk, nyuk.
I had hoped to roost in Hagerstown, but a combination of no motel signs and a general desolate look to the exits made me press on southward. I finally found an exit I liked the look of on the third try, and checked in to a "Shoney's Inn" somewhere in northern Virginia. Two hundred and twenty-six miles from Montgomeryville, 8:30 p.m. A cheap buffet salad and soup bar was tastier than I expected, and after a few adjustments and settling in, it was Lights Out For Bonzo.
Wednesday morning dawned clear and pleasantly cool. We were on the road by about 7:30. Normally, I tend to soak up a lot of java in the a.m., but a combination of leaving my CamelBak at home and a hearty dislike for the dishwater taste of the brew most places put out pushed me into a healthier posture. Where's Starbucks (a really good chain that offers some stout brews, for those of you who may not have had the privelege) when you really need one? I filled Cosmo up at the Chevron station next the motel. The youthful attendant looked at me in disbelief when I said "Pump Six," and he checked the gallons and price: 8.5 gals, $11.00. Cosmo's a PeeDee, and has a *big* tank. "You musta been really empty," he said. "Yeah, I ran out of gas thirty miles back," I replied. He didn't bat an eye. Duh.
The Civil War sites in that area are frequent, and I was tempted to stop at New Market and others, but I didn't know for sure how far time-wise it was to Morganton, and I didn't want to be late into the camp site, for fear that an early rush might make good sites dear. Turned out that the rush didn't really hit until Thursday afternoon and Friday, so I was erring on the side of caution. The signs for the Blue Ridge Parkway also beckoned, but I resisted. I had hoped to hook up with the Blue Ridge Blitz guys, but my timing didn't work out to be in Roanoke when they were. I just pressed on, admiring the scenery. I can certainly see why so many of the battles of the Civil War were fought over this ground. What a beautiful, fertile area. The Confederacy couldn't give it up, and the Union couldn't let it stay Rebel. There are ghosts here, of Lee and Jackson, and others, and I imagine I can feel them.
Through Harrisonburg and Staunton, Lexington, Roanoke, and Christiansburg, we motored. I think it was around Fairfield that I stopped at a rest area and met Jim, from Albany, and Miles, from Saylorsburg, PA. "Say, your last name isn't Togo, is it?" (Yeah, I know, very sophomoronic, but I got this Three Stooges gene, see?) Miles was on his dad's R65LS, which had been in the family since new, Jim was on a Yamaha Virago 535, being inseam challenged a bit. We decided to press on together. How many times have you ever met another cage driver at a rest stop and decided to convoy? That's the beauty of Beemerdom, and motorcycling, but hey, I don't want to wax philosophic, I'll just enjoy the company and see what comes of it.
I'd say it was a very leisurely cruise on down towards the Tarheel State. Big left on I-77 (it's really a big right, for those of you who have to nail down every ambiguity), and a stop in Statesville for lunch. Miles had a Philly Cheese Steak (I'm sure it was just like Jim's Steaks on South Street!) and pink lemonade. I told him he was going to explode in under an hour, and not to ride too close to me. Nutritionally-challenged? Another thing that I'm always amazed at is the looks people give you when you're wearing an Aerostich suit: one would think they had seen Dick Clark without makeup! "Whoa! You can from WHERE on that `sickle?" Uh, Mars. "Say, isn't that thing awful hot?" Uh, not really. "How much does one of them cost? Two hundred dollars?" Uh, no. More. And I didn't get it from Home Shopping Club. "Jeezus, that's a lot of money!" Uh, not compared to skin grafts. Never mind.
Jim is a nutritionist from NY. His Yamaha is a nice little bike, but he rides with some friends on Beemers, and one of his purposes in going to Morganton is to scope for a bike. The little twin cruises at 70 okay, but wants gas every 120 miles, so his "buddies" are slabbing it separately so as to avoid the gas-stop blues. I pointed out that Miles' R65LS (Low Seat) would be the ideal ride, but Miles' dad ain't lettin' it go. C'est la vie. Maybe a K75? Jim and I would separate Friday as the IBMWR group began to come together, so I don't know what he came up with as far as an option. He was amazed when I told him that Cosmo will drink up over nine gallons, but he'd need a step ladder, and God help him when the first stop light came up. Gaston Rahier rode R80GS bikes to a couple Paris-Dakar wins in the eighties, and he's only 5'2" like Jim. Go figure.
I don't know how I figured the ride time to Morganton, but after lunch it seemed that it was nothin', and we were putting down the stands at Registration about 3:00. The last 90 miles or so were starting to get hot as the afternoon sun and humidity came up, so I was glad to get out of the `Stich and get set up. I felt kinda odd at first wearing the obligatory arm band. Later in the week, I would go into a store, and the clerk was looking at it with a puzzled expression, but was too polite to ask about it. I could tell he was dying to say something, so as I paid up and was ready to leave, I leaned across the counter and said in a low voice, "The arm band is my day pass from the Institution. If anybody asks if I was here, tell `em you haven't seen me. I don't have to be back until tonight, okay?" As I walked out, he had a glazed expression.
The rest of Wednesday's afternoon was a pleasant blur. As we were finishing our camp set up, the public address system announced, "Attention BMW Riders: the Beer Garden is now open. The Beer Garden is now open." God, is this a great country, or what?? Don't throw *ME* into that briar patch, massa........ The band for the evening was the Cascade Street Blues Band, and comparisons to Albert "Icepick" Collins or Jimmy Reed aside, they were a good, straight-ahead, journeyman band, with Sheila Carlisle's strong vocals well worth the time to listen. I was introduced to Red Oak Amber, a local microbrew handily on-hand at the Bier Halle, along with the other canned swill, and I can say that Red Oak has a future, particularly if they can get the concession for BMWMOA rallies. =8^O
Thursday dawned warm and humid, standard issue for North Carolina in July. I found the IBMWR breakfast meeting note on the bulletin board exactly one half-hour after the departure time. Bummer. The vendors attracted me, and I managed to spend most all day wandering around and ogling the various goodies. Okay, so call me an accessoryholic. "Hi, my name is Tom, and I'm a Beemer accessoryholic.....oops, sorry, wrong meeting." We are BMW; we must accessorize!! The door prize tickets went in their boxes, and I put them out of my mind, as I never win anything. Okay, so there were too many things I wanted. Lights. Racks. Tires (I don't even need a tire, and I wanted one). Insulated six-pack holders. Clothing. Rain gear. Bike covers. Pipes. (Something in about a Placido Domingo baritone, if you please. Make it sound like a 454 Chevy on steroids.) Godamighty! Kermit Easterling is here, actually HERE, selling his trick camping chairs! I bought one, had him autograph it. (Hey, who knows, maybe it'll be worth something years from now, like a 1964 Hemi Dodge. Or maybe I'll wear it out rallying.) I shouldn't admit it, but I actually hung around the rally site all day, and partied again with Thursday's band, another good one.
Friday. Rain. I wanted to do the Parkway, so I started up route 181 about 8:30. By the summit at Pineola, the rain was really coming down, and it was downright chilly. I did a bit of the Parkway and headed back down in search of dryness and hot coffee. The day turned nicer in the afternoon, and by three o'clock, there was blue sky and warm air again. I set out to check out some of the GS roads in the area with the idea of getting back in time for the IBMWR meeting for dinner around seven. The Carolina MOA booth was handing out little route sheets with directions, and armed with one and map, I set off up Bost Road in search of Wilson Creek.
Have you ever done a road that was an absolute, stone, blast? Buddy, I had more fun than I can describe. The road past Brown Mountain Beach campground starts out as an uneventful gravel road recommended by the neat views of the creek, with its deep holes, large boulders, and rippling small rapids, down in a deep 'ravine', but after the 'T' at route 90, the road becomes a hoot. There are wide and sharp corners, short straights between them, and hills up and down, and enough room to let Cosmo rip out of the corners and still not push the edge, and all that with the creek alongside. There are shady, cool areas, and cabins under the trees, narrow wooden bridges, and places where it looks like there'd be trout. Out of nowhere, a small country store appears, back off the road to the left, deep in a grove of pine and hemlock, a red neon sign in the window proclaiming "Open". There are corners that require first gear, and sweepers you 'back' into sideways, like a half-miler, on closed throttle, to accelerate to fifty before doing it again. And again. And again. Harder. Faster. Harder. Faster. You know you want it. (Sorry, that was on a t-shirt I saw, but it seemed to fit). Hey, I admit it: I'm a dirt-road junkie. Stop me before I turn around and do it backwards. How long does it take for the sheriff to get out here, anyway?
Woof. The road turns into pavement after a long while, and THAT continues to be great fun, with sweeper after sweeper for prolly fifteen miles, into Collettsville. There, I stopped at a BP station for fuel and something of sustenance. GS'ing is such hard work. The store turned out to be a combination of hardware store, convenience store, video rentals, and gun shop. There is a rattlesnake skin on the wall that is at least five feet long. I paid for the gas and asked the girl "Say. Where in the hell am I?" She replied that I was in, like I said, Collettsville. I said, "What's that near?" Lenoir. I gave her a blank stare. Morganton. Ah; a clue. "How does one get to Morganton from here?" See that road beside the store? Take that to the 'tee' and turn right, and go to 181 and turn left. Thanks, I know I can get back if I can find 181.
Well, you guessed it: I got lost. Not deeply, wanderingly lost, just momentarily disoriented. I kept on for a while and came to a road whose number I recognized, and then another, until I was nearing home. Three guys were over on the other side of the road pondering over a K1 that looked like it had spit all its removable parts out on the ground. I stopped and offered help, and it was clear that they were well on their way to disassembling the thing right there, looking for some obviously wrong item, which, of course, was masquerading as perfectly normal K1 guts. "Sidestand switch?" I queried. No idea. I helped them check it, to no avail. After that, sans a multimeter and a wiring diagram, I was out of suggestions. Where are Jon Diaz and Brian Curry and Paul Glaves when you really need them? We did identify that the fuel pump wasn't. I bid them adieu and suggested "Tow rope." The next day, I heard the P.A. announcer pleading for a K-bike starter relay, but I don't know how they ever came out. Hopefully, they're back in Wisconsin with everything running awright.
I made it to the campground in time to hook up with the group for the impromptu dinner. I had the pleasure of meeting a number of people whose names I recognized: Rick Povich, Don Graling, Jim Colburn, Klaus Kreye, from South Africa, Jeff Dunkle, and many others. The instant fellowship and common denominator is the IBMWR list. At dinner, I sat with Brian Curry, and Connie and "Dude", whose name I didn't quite catch. I ordered a hamburger, medium rare, but had to change the order when the serving person officiously declared that it would have to be served 'well-done,' to comply with *State Regulations*. Bull shit. What's the problem, Mad Cow Disease? I know how to fix THAT: send `em up in the Space Shuttle, put `em in orbit. It'll be the first Herd Shot Round the World. Gimme mine medium rare.
Dinner proved to be a hoot, and we left for the rally site to make our nightly contribution to the Bier Halle's revenues (and a considerable contribution it is, too, I might add). On the way back, Jim Colburn had his R850R Roadster cranked over so far, he scraped his elbow on the pavement! =8^O Liquid courage??
It seemed everyone was there. Ira Agins, from New Mexico, Butch Hays, all the way from San Diego, Greg Pink, Mike Cornett (sorry about telling you it was "Cornettsville", Mike. I hope you didn't go looking for relatives.), Larry Fears, Pat and Linda Roddy, and others who I can't recall. The Beer Garden was dense with people, and you almost couldn't hear the band for the din of conversation. The Red Oak concession sold out of beer, and looked amazed, but Bud and Miller kept `em coming. I think the hardest-working volunteers at the Rally were the Bier Halle workers, bless their hearts.
Humorous t-shirts: a new form of non-verbal communication. One of my favorites was the take-off on the Airheads logo, that proclaimed "We're here. We're drunk. Get used to it," worn by numerous people who were on a mission to live up to their motto. An older fellow's shirt said "My grandson is an 'F' student, but I still love the little Fucker." Rally shirts from all over. At least a dozen different shirts explaining the advantages of BMW's/disadvantages of Harley-Davidsons. One honest shirt said, "Help! I'm talking Beemers, and I can't shut up." I bought one that I hoped would be a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' Card: it said, "It wasn't me; I wasn't there; I wasn't drinking; that's my story, and I'm sticking to it." And a thousand others.
Saturday morning, Don Ivey and I went out on another GS ride. Did the same loop I did solo on Friday, then up to Blowing Rock for lunch. Afterwards, we took U.S. 221 across Granfather Mountain, which proved to be something of a mistake, as the Scottish Highlands Games were taking place up there, and there was about a three mile traffic jam. Tartan plaids and tams, high stockings and garters. Everything but the Loch Ness monster. We cleared the madness of Scots, near-Scots, and People Hoping to Be Scots Someday, and rode on down to Linville Falls, where we picked up Old NC 105 for thirteen miles of more intense gravel and dirt with a few white-knuckle sections alongside Linville Gorge. Got back in time for the IBMWR photo session, marshalled by Jim Colburn, after which somebody let the cat out of the bag about how he *really* got that scraped elbow (not ME, Jim.). I had bought some valve cover gaskets for Cosmo, and not having a convenient place to carry them, and not wanting to go back to the tent, I attached them to the strap on the rear of my cap, which lead some wag to comment in the Beer Hall, "Hey, what do you use those for?" To keep the oil from leaking out of my brain, man; I'm an Oil Head.
Well, to get to the point, the evening ended effectively with the door prize drawings. After the seemingly interminable speeches, comments, and goofy remarks ("Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking....."), the BMW dudes made two guys' days by calling their numbers. I couldn't see real well, but I think the guy that won the K1100 was turning flips on the way up to the stand. Don't blame him, either, although the GS or the Bob's BMW Toaster R-75 would have been well-received, too. People started drifting away to pack or prepare for the trek home, and I decided on a night of moderation in Das Bier Halle in preparation for mine.
Sunday, I was out of there by 6:15, and I wasn't even near the first. The Gypsy Camp would disappear in a few hours, leaving the amazed citizens of Morganton wondering how so many motorcyclists could be in town for four days without bar fights, loud pipes, or racing in the streets. Even the cops are probably happy. My ride home was on some of the finest roads yet, down the neat U.S. 23/64 through Maggie Valley, into GA through Hiawassee, site of the bitchin' Georgia Mountain Rally back in May, and across 180 to T.W.O., and then down 60 past Suches and home. Road 60 has the highest body count of any road around, I guess, and Sunday was no exception, as I passed Frank Cheek (T.W.O. proprietor) ministering to a squidly-type who, thankfully, had only wadded his ride and left some skin behind. Momma said God protects fools and children.....
Toby Fulwiler did a seminar on Riders Who Write, and the consensus was that to ever write anything GOOD, one has to write *something*. So There. I wrote a trip report. It was good for ME; was it good for you? I hope your rally was as good as mine.
From: Pat Roddy
This may be long, but I am not sure yet as I am writing it at this moment and am unsure of the length :-)
Floridian John Outlan arrived in Buford Tuesday night, surviving Atlanta's pre-Olympic traffic just fine, arriving around 6PM. Linda had cooked up a storm and we three sated our appetites. If you walk away from one of Linda's meals, it's your own fault.
Our ride to Morganton was uneventful, trading in around 150 miles of the BRP for brevity of butt burn. Hell, the BRP will be there in a day or so, no problem. We were both excited, this was our first Nat'l and we wanted to GET THERE.
John and I were both thankful for the overcast skies, keeping it cool enough through North Georgia that I had wished several times I had more clothing on under the 'Stich. 50 miles from Morganton, though, it got downright hot.
A friendly Harley driver dressed in button down shirt, tie, penny loafers and an honest -to goodness real helmet came alongside us at a light and realized we were quite lost and smilingly offered to lead us to the campground. We smiled back and hollered "Thanks"! 5 minutes later, we saw the campground, a huge, grassy, treeless area that was on the side of a substantial hillside. We rolled past the registration tent when the Pinkman's unmistakable voice boomed through our helmets/earplugs. He was only the first of thousands of presidents that we would run across this 4 days in North Carolina.
Being a shade-seeker due to too many years of deep tans in the Nebraska fields as a lad, I pulled out my Suunto compass to get my bearings. No shadows were being cast (even from the Pinkman :-) due to hazy skies and trees that were on the horizon. After a minute or two, we decided to take to the high ground on the far north of the hillside, and since at this time Bertha's track to the coast had yet to be accurately determined, high ground in heavy rains is always preferable. The dirt road leading to the top of the hill would have been barely manageable though if it had rained heavily. Thankfully, Bertha was the biggest no-show this side of T-MIA :-)
We set up quickly butting up against the trees (we would have the first shade of the day as the sun plummetted) and then headed to registration.
I was anxious as we headed down the hill. My first BMW MOA Nat'l! This was going to be fun. Little did I know I didn't have a clue how much of a blast was in store for the next 4 days.
Needless to say, the list of presidents that I have read along with, laughed with, suffered great anxiety and even a few flame wars with is so substantial that there is going to be a Who's Who published just for this event. Also, I hesitate to start naming all of them for fear of forgetting just one and also I wouldn't want any of the presidents who were unfortunate enough not to be able to make this rally start looking for a long knife and a straw mat to kneel on. :-)
In another note to T-MIA I listed the few items I couldn't leave 'home' without, but I must say the list of vendors was quite impressive, whose ads I've read for years and could finally see their products 'in the flesh'. (Kari--where were you? I thought we'd finally get to meet). It took a lot of inner strength to leave the VISA in the tent my first run through. There were lots of places to vend still empty, but I was reminded that this was Wednesday and the rest would roll in over the next 2 days. Uh-oh, there were MORE coming? :-)
I made my way to the First Aid station, introduced myself, and siged up for a couple of 'shifts'. Jim Haggerty, the chairman, had already treated more patients that day than in any other previous rally. More about the M*A*S*H* unit later.
My thermometer was registering 97 degrees at 3:00PM, I wasn't planning on going anywhere that night so what else to do but hit the Bier Hall? A buck a can, or $2 for 16 oz draft microbrew made that choice easy and the Red Oak beer just slammed past the lips to the gut. Ahhhhhh! Whew! We're here, at last.
About a thousand folks (a rough estimate, maybe more) came to Morganton on this night. Experienced MOA rallygoers were somewhat in awe, stating that they had never seen quite an early turnout like this.
As I headed to my tent several hours later, wishing I had the hill climbing endurance of a bighorn sheep, I passed by two local policemen. There was quite a heavy presence up and down the main drag leading to the campground, I am sure they were unsure of what was about to descend upon their town nestled in the North Carolina Mountains. One cop said to the other "Man, it's only 11:30 and most of these guys are asleep". "No fights. No drag racing, no nuttin".
I smiled. Maybe they had been at Bulow in previous years. :-)
Linda arrived via cage on Thursday, so I rode over to meet her. The hotel, a nice Sleep Inn, had Welcome BMW Riders! on their marquee and handmade welcomes taped to the doors. The hospitality extended to anyone with a helmet in their hand was really overwhelming. I have never been treated so nicely, in motels, gas stations, restaurants, whatever. It was refreshing.
We arrived at the campground late Thursday afternoon, and I told her she wasn't going to believe the number of tents. Hell, when we turned onto the campground 'main drag", I couldn't believe MY eyes. The majority of green space had disappeared. Where were ALL these folks coming from? Then I remembered, this is the Nat'l. Before weeks' end, nearly 6,000 (5,896 is what I think they said at the drawing) would find their way here; many more local riders would ride by or pull in just to stare and the locals would gather down at the K-mart down the street just to watch the bikes roll by; point, and gander at the hillside that was turning to a sea of multi-colored nylon. I couldn't imagine how many hot air balloons could be built from all that fabric. It was HOT enough to launch a few, though.
I should say at this point that Linda was having a great time herself. She usually retires early when the boys are talking motorcycles, but when Brian Curry 'cornered' us (I am saying that FONDLY, Brian :-), the 3 of us talked to 3:30 AM. She has now been to enough rallies that she now recognizes folks and they her, so she isn't a 'stranger'. Hell, with this crowd, no one's a stranger.
My main highlight of the week was finally meeting Voni Glaves. I had met Paul at the Rubber City Rally and was glad to finally shake the hand of a man that helped me along at several junctures. I had met Voni electronically on Prodigy several years ago on the biker boards there, but it took over 6 years for us to meet in person. I was almost speechless, something that those of you who know me know that that is nearly impossible. Anyway, I now know why she is always smiling. An absolutely delightful twosome. I am better for knowing them both. :-)
My two shifts in the First Aid trailer were made better by John Outlan working one shift with me and Michael McDaniel working the other. John's shift went pretty smoothly, while Michael's stint got pretty hairy. I do not have the statistics available, and they wouldn't be for 'consumption' here on the list anyway, but just think of a small town of 6,000 + people, a majority of them over 40 years of age, and you can figure out the rest. It was busy. Real busy. The local Fire Department's EMT's and Public Safety Officers, who are policeman and EMT's, were extremely helpful. My thanks and appreciation, in a letter, will reach them by this weeks' end.
I did learn about volunteerism here. I guess I've always been the type, when asked for a "volunteer", would raise his hand. Either in gym class in school to a guinea pig to have student nurses attempt their very first intramuscular injection to shaky first year interns' first IV attempt, it's never been hard to volunteer. This Nat'l needed help, and I am glad I jumped in. Volunteers made this rally happen, whether they were working the gates, slinging beers in the Beer Hall, tallying scores of numbers for mileage, oldest, youngest, etc. to communications to registration to you name it. Several presidents were working registration throughout the rally and I think that not enough was said at the awards ceremony to thank the folks that worked in the front lines or behind the scenes to make this rally as good as it was.
You may see some negative stuff about this rally, either here or in print or by mouth, but since it was my first, I can only see it as a positive experience. Sure, not everything ws perfect but hell, what do you expect for 25 bucks?? :-)
Thanks to all the presidents who came up to me and introdced themselves. I would list ya'll but fear I would forgo one or two. You know who you are. More importantly, I know who you are.
Man, what a rally! What an absolute blast.
From: James Colburn
Wellll.... I figured that I could leave the D.C. area early on Tuesday morning and have a slow ride to Roanoke to meet up with the BRP party.... But no.... The President decides to meet with the new Israeli Prime Minister and I'm told that I HAVE to take the picture... Go into the Oval Office, Shoot It, Ship It, Get The Fuck Out....
Ride down to Roanoke to the Colony Inn Motel... The girl at the desk offered me a room on the upper tier and said "You can ride the motorcycle around the back and park it on the balcony in front of your room if you'd like." But I take a ground floor room and really thank her for her offer. I saw a couple other BMWs but I decided to walk across the road and pig out at the Red Lobster....Give Me Seafood!
Morning... wake up, grab a cup of free coffee and a doughnut (Colony Inn, Roanoke.... GOOD) and head for the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke Mountain and the GANG! Get there and find a Canadian or two mixed in with the real people. Ted's just about finished with his coffee and we're ready to fly. The BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY! Wow..... What did the Republicans give us? A stock market crash and and a depression..... What did we get from the Franklin D Rossevelt, the Democrats and the New Deal? (Oh... the New Deal.... the closest to Socialism that we've ever gotten) The BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY! A WPA project to keep the folks working at minimum wage for a few years.... WAY TO GO FRANK! Twisty, Beautiful and Smooth. they must go out and clean off the sand and gravel every night because I didn't see any. We start..... and I'm a Wuss so I take it really easy.... but every time I try and crank it over just a LITTLE bit more the bike says FINE. Bliss in the extreme. We've agreeded to meet someplace for breakfast but when we get there there's a two-hour line.... So we say "Screw That" and head for another place a mile away. Real down home, carb loading, funny people at the table telling great tales.
Pictures are taken out front.... MILLIONS of them.... the start of a photographic orgy......back to the BRP and more road, more curves, more fun. Ride, ride, ride, mile after delicious mile. Get to Rt 181 and turn off towards Morganton. spend an hour finding the Red Carpet Inn, check in and go to the Rally Site. HELLO! Where's the rally site? How about a big, effing sign saying BMW RALLY! THIS WAY! But no, one has to drive up and down Rt 181 the asking the locals "Where's The Fairgrounds?" untill you find the right turn-off ("Just go past the Bojangles and take a Right at the Wendy's..... There'll be a K-Mart in the shopping center") and arrive at the bucolic splendor that is the MOA Rally... and think HUH?
Subject: BMW: Rally Report (long)/Part 2
My mental picture of a BMWMOA National Rally (and this was my first) was a serene, farm-like one. Acres of rolling hills, neatly cut grass, a spring-fed lake. Trees to camp under, a few neat and descrete buildings that would house 50 showers (per sex) and a hundred-or-so clean, well-ventilated toilets with LOTS of soft paper. Was I mislead? YOU BET! It's a fairground fer chissakes.... you can smell the residual cow shit that's soaked into the earth and you can just HEAR the last ten Monster Tractor Pulls if you listen closely enough. The key word at the food mall? RURITAN! If they're a cult then they're a pretty big one because there's the Morganton Ruritans, the Mount Pilot Ruritans, the Greater Ashville Ruritans and the Ruritan City Ruritans..... You want food? Talk to a Ruritan! Just what the hell is a Ruritan anyway? A rural Puritan? A square Rotarian? Beats me. Oh yes, register.... We're volunteers, we get to register early...... We are COOL! And there'a a party on Wednesday night with a band and everything! But it's getting late, there's Thursday, time for bed at the Red Carpet Inn. Thursday. Up early and head for the Blue Ridge again! Another hundred miles of clean, clear twisty roads. Stop for breakfast and decide to set up.... the camera mount.... It's a little something that I've put together that'll let me mount a camera either for or aft and take some pictures while I'm riding. Now I'm a slug but it seems that when I have the camera mounted in front there are a lot of people that will ride slow enough to stay in the picture..... and when I have it mounted in the rear there are a LOT of folk that will ride behind me, following moi doing just the limit at the best of times instead of their normal twice-the-posted-limit..... Limits? Well..... Someone was caught by a Park Ranger doing 71 MPH on the BRP (45MPH limit).... She sighed and said "I can't stop all 6000 of you guys so can you just spread the word to slow down?" NO ticket, NO written warning...... a FEW stained pants...... Kept going and going until we reached the highest point on the BRP. Took a few pix and decided that we were fed up with passing those RVs on a double yellow line (did I say that?) and took a normal road to Morganton via Ashville.... and the R850R will do at least 105MPH.... But there's this stretch of I40 east of Ashville that goes downhill for about 20 miles..... Lots of warnings about "Trucks Get Into Low Gear" and a Wild Truck run-off point every 30 feet or so.... BIG piles of sand for Mr. Peterbuilt to stuff himself into when the brakes fail.... This would be a great place for some permanent camera placements by America's Funniest Home Videos.... call it "Trucks Go Boom!" and every six year old boy will force his parents to buy the tape for $19.95.
Subject: BMW: Rally Report (long)/Part 3
Friday morning, dawn breaks over Morganton (I know, I was there.) People get up, get out of their tents.... and scratch. Everyone scratches, in all sorts of different ways and in all sorts of places, high and low. Look at the tent... tent opens... person gets out.... scratches....looks around... scratches some more. Women scratch too but they try to make it look like they're applying make-up or fixing their hair... but they're scratching... Time to head down to the main tent for the volunteer work. IBMWR is taking control of registration this moring and some of us are working T&A (Tallies & Awards)..... Amazingly enough, more people belonging to IBMWR arrived during this 4 hour period than at ANY other time during the whole rally and every club on every registration form seemed to have the number 244.....
While working the T&A table We started talking about our ideal mates (okay, so I did) and I said that I thought that ms. Right should be in her 30's, ride a BMW and live close to my home..... Jim Fletcher hands me a registration form and says "How about Pepper?" it seems that there is an ideal woman out there just for me and no, I'm not saying any more.....except that she lives on Colburn Drive so the Karmic thing just HAS to be strong.... as soon as I can actually find her. Friday afternoon, time to take some pictures if I'm going to deduct this rally (and I am too.) So I wander off into the orgy of consumption that is the vendor area. It's a bazzar with tents and everything and I start getting caught up in the madness. I start off slow with a trinket here and there, a t-shirt and a custom-made badge from The Sign Man III (what happened to 1 and 2?)....
Oh yes.... during the morning I've had a set of Moto-Lights installed and some Runnin Lights were put on the previous evening. LIGHTS! I can finally see where I'm going. I'm going to crash a Gold Winmg rally and enter of those stupid light shows before this is over. How about a neon green light around my license plate? Heck, I've got 700 amps to waste, let's do it! You want a BMW part? It's here.... You want a motorcycle? They're here and ripe for the picking.... You want a BMW sign that's 5 by 5 feet for that living room wall? Only $500. Tanks? You're welcome! Fairings? By the pound. Tires? Do you want to know where all those Metzlers have been hiding? They're HERE! Michelins? HERE! Jackets, Bags, Radios, Custom Aluninum Panniers? HERE, HERE, HERE! The Visa cards flash and for a statistical moment the Morganton area has the highest GDP of any county in the USA. You could walk though the gate stark naked and ride home with a fully outfitted motorcycle with all of the trimmings, and camp out all the way home with your new tent and sleeping bag. And your little dog too!
Subject: BMW: Rally report (long)/part 4
Man it sucks when work gets in the way of a little fun.....
Saturday dawned and I get on the bike and nod to the Harley rider staying at the same motel (and yes he DID trailer the bike...) Back to the rally site to see more people waking and scratching (what ever happen to that Woodstock ethic.... You know, naked girls?) It's really fun wandering around LOOKING for pictures. The shear number of bikes/tents/people is amazing! Every machine is different and the only chrome in the place is turning blue.... No $2000 paint jobs here..... A few disgusting paint jobs maybe but they're by Kraylon so they don't count.
Aside from the obvious comeraderie of a national rally the biggest draw is the vendor area. It's a chance to see, touch and even feel all of those things that you've read about and lusted after when reading the ON (and OTL.) IMHO any serious motorcycle retailer that doesn't go to the MOA rally is an effing idiot. They might not sell something today or this week but you KNOW that when the tax refund check comes in their stuff will be the first things ordered via the 800 number.
It's not like we're all Don Douglass and have accessories handede to us on a silver platter..... BTW... Did anyone SEE DD and his ever-so-embarassing "seminar" on accessories? The only pearl of wisdom for his lips that made any sense was "If you want to feel like you're going faster, get a smaller windshield'" Otherwise it was an embassesment to watch. Now Clyde Romero's seminar on radar.... THAT was useful. K bands, X bands, Big Bands (with Artie Shaw) and just how to out-run slug cops in cheezy Camaros.... (Easier with Clyde's K-1, of course.) But man what a trip to hear this guy (US Air pilot, former Fighter jock, a dude with ATTITUDE as his middle name) go on about taking curevs at 190MPH.... So WHAT if it isn't true, it sounds GREAT! Missed the Internet seminar (sorry Joe) but I figured that A) I'm already on the damn list and B) Clyde's thing might saved me more money in the long run.... We'll see...
I wandered around.... Caught a snipet of a talk about "Traveling in Central America" that boiled down to "Don't Piss In The Churches" and watched Frank Whathisname from BMW trying to explain that EVERY K75 backfires.... "It ain't a bug, it's a feature!" Wound up in the beer tent to meet Herb Stark and Butch Hayes et al. Wow! Does Herb belong on a stage a Branson singing "Yer Cheatin' Heart" or what? Get that boy a back-up band and make a TV ad for "The Best Of Herb"! If they can make Boxcar Willie a million seller then we can do the same for Mr. Stark.
The photo.... ahh the photo.... It started out as a 6PM thing but that would conflict with the give-aways.... then it became a 5:45PM thing but there's no WAY a bunch of Net anarchists would be THERE, IN PLACE at a specified time so over the days it turned into a 5PM thing and many appologies to Joe but the time was posted on the message board on Friday morning. Don't worry though, in photo version 1.1 we'll be able to see the face of Joe Senner in the clouds looking over the group.
I'd spoken to Frank at BMW and asked if I could get on top of his demo truck, he offered to have me lifted up 30 feet on the truck's hydraulic thingy...... Seemed to be impressed with my badge that said I was the "President" of IBMWR.... they liked it at the Communications trailer when I asked them to read out a reminder. :-)
Subject: BMW: Rally Report (long)/part 5
Yes... I do weddings... That's how I've learned to shout at crowds of people and make them move into groups that don't look too much like Refugees-Caught-By-The-INS......... But this is an advanced group, right? They've got computers and know how to use them, right? They'll understand a simple request to get "the short people down front and the tall people in the second row," right? The hell thay will.
Shoot it, ship it, get the fuck out of there....... (I have the film and I've done an edit but this thing called work has gotten in the way of my scanning/uploading plans so you'll just have to wait.)
I took a half a roll of slide film and a roll of negative film.... Then I took a picture with every sure-shot on the planet.... then I told the guy to take me down..... Then Joe Senner showed up. Don't worry, he'll be in V1.1. Then we all went to the give-away ceremony. The ONLY cool thing was the knarled old guy who'd clocked 1,000,000 on BMW motorcycles... I wish that I have HIS retirement plan when I get up there.... Does he ever stop to piss? As to the rest..... blah, blah, blah (nice to see you TOO Deb)..... blah, blah, blah (Beeman REALLY sucking up to Texans with his stupid flag-stuck-in-the-hat trick)... blah, blah, blah (A few nice guys from Germany holding up things by saying how happy they are to be there)........blah, blah, blah (Oh hell, let's give EVERYBODY a plaque and a certificate)..... We (IBMWR) came in third which is a damn shame because I had this fantasy of the bigest club being "Internet BMW Riders".... and some poor sucker saying "Will the President of the club please come forward to accept the award"...... where upon 150 people get up and head for the stage to accept the plaque! A shame really, maybe next year. The prizes? I didn't win so screw everyone that took home one of my prizes. I wanted the R100GS, the Aerostich gift certificate AND the Beach New Zealand tour.
Then there was the final IBMWR dinner at a resturant about 1/4 mile up the road from my motel. This was going to be great, because I don't drink alchohol if I'm going to ride. I rode to the motel, parked the bike, changed and walked up Rt 181 to Quincy's. You see, I was going to make up for a dry week by downing a six-pack of anything. I was planning to loose my dinner on the grass outside. Larry Fears woiuld have to carry my back to my room (a frightening though in itself.... but somehow intriguing...) Huh? Quincy's is a FAMILY resturant. they don't serve beer, wine or spirits! Would I like a slice of prime rib the size of my buttocks? That's no problem..... How about a salad that would supply roughage to a city of 15,000? Not a biggie..... Dessert? Belly up to the trough, sir..... But a beer? NO WAY! Had a fine dinner. Went to bed. Woke up at 6AM and left for DC. made it in a leasurely 9 hours. Showered, slept. Great Time.
From: Walt Dabell
First off, I'd like to thank Ted Verril for all of his hard work in helping me put the Blue Ridge Blitz together. Without his efforts, the Blitz would not have been. I would also like to thank Ted for helping recruit and coordinating the volunteer efforts for the rally. Thanks also to all of those who helped.
I was dragging my feet getting started out the door on Tuesday morning, at least until I read my e-mail. I thought I was going to meet Ted at 10:am at the rest-stop on Rt66. E-mail from Ted proved otherwise. He was wanting to meet at 7:pm. I wanted to have my tent set up by then... I went alone. Pretty uneventful trip across 66 to I-81. I kept looking for beemers along the way, and never saw any until late afternoon. An older gent from Canada on a new R850R with trailer. Just after that I ran upon a massive traffic backup on I-81. I headed for the shoulder and kept up my speed for a while. Some crafty truckers thought they could stop me by riding side-by-side. I passed them on the shoulder as well. Another car was sitting half in the right lane, half on the shoulder. I passed him too. I even passed a group of beemers sitting in the jam (who later turned out to be part of the Blitz :-)). It was just after them that I saw the mass of cop-cars and rescue vehicles. I have no idea what kind of vehicle had gone off of the road. The only piece of I slightly recognized was either a fuel tank, or propane bottle, or something. It was one twisted up piece of wreckage. I ducked in a hole in the traffic and continued past.
I made Roanoke Mt. campground and looked for other beemers. I found a few. Charles had set up camp on one side of the campground, and Fred Anderson and wife were on the other side and had set up camp on a peninsula of camping sites with their own private toilet house. I set up camp there and tied the IBMWR banner to some trees. Other Blitzers rolled in slowly as evening approached. We decided to head down the mountain to the Outback steak house for din-din. 12 of us were there initially with 4 more showing up a little later. Bloomin' Onions were the appetizer of choice. Along for the ride were Rene' from Boston and her male passenger Todd. They weren't part of the Blitz, but they were traveling on an R60, so they were welcome company. They won the prize at the rally for longest distance with female driver/male passenger. Back to the campsite and beers were drank and stories were told and everyone was sacked out by 10:30 or so. I was awakened late by somebody on a K bike who stopped near our camp and then went screaming through the campground. I found out the next day it was Ted putting a note on my bike telling me they finally made it there. I fell asleep again rather quickly. That hard ground felt good after a long days ride.
Der Blitz! Day 1, Wednesday:
I was up with the sun, as usual for me when I camp, and started getting ready for the day. By 7:am Ted and several others showed up. Ted carrying a full pot of fresh-brewed coffee in his left saddlebag. Hazelnut coffee, mmmmmmm. Right on the dot at 7:30 the motel crowd (Jim Colburn and Rick Barry) showed up to make the group for the day. We left in small groups for the hour ride to breakfast.
Maybry Mill was the scheduled stop for some buckwheat pancakes. By the time we got there, there was a line of the geritol set out the door into the parking lot waiting to eat my pancakes! I found a place at the bar and made my order. Some others that had gotten there long before me been waiting in line for a half hour or so. When they finally got a table and had been seated and ignored for almost 10 minutes they got up to go find another place to eat. They went with the rest of the group to another restaurant just off the parkway about a mile down the road. A few other folks had joined us between the two breakfast stops and we all gathered for a group shot. The waitress from the restaurant, followed by the manager made quite a fuss about passing out cards and inviting us back. You guys must have actually left a tip or something :-) The group mounted up for the ride. I must have drew the virtual short straw, or was just too impatient. I ended up leading the pack, some dozen or so strong, down the BRP. Several rest stops made for good photo ops as we made our way through the day. All day long I led the pack and had been riding at a comfortable pace for me. Not too fast, but just fast enough to keep things interesting. Some sunbathers made for some interesting variety to the curves, uhm, well, at least curves of a different nature. A group of renegade cattle made another interesting panic stop. The last damn thing I expected to see on the parkway. Somewhere in the trip Roger nailed a bird with some part of his anatomy. Good thing it wasn't the wild turkey that I almost hit.
Somehow Ted got in the lead when we got off of the parkway and headed down 181 to Morganton. 181 is a nice twisty road that has a lot of well banked sharp high-speed curves. Ted went ballistic trying to scrape pegs around every corner. For some reason, I have placed a higher value on my well being in my old age. Maybe it's because I'd like to see my 3-year old daughter grow up with a father in one piece, maybe it's because I have learned from years of riding not to trust 1) the road, 2) my tires, 3) other drivers, 4)my abilities. I ended up at the back of the pack, but was never far behind.
We arrived in Morganton in tact and everyone went about the various tasks of finding a place to camp/sleep. I registered and found a motel :-). There was a gathering for dinner at a Sizzler steak house. They made the mistake of having an all-you-can-eat buffet with sirloin steak. Between Roger Traversa and myself, we put a hurting on at least one cow :-) Back to the fairgrounds and the beer tent to sip a few and meet a few other presidents. Then off to sleep. We were supposed to meet at 7:30am for part 2 of the Blitz...
Day 2 - Thursday - BR-Blitz/Part 2
I was running a little late and thought I'd missed the pack, so I decided to ride on past the fair-grounds and do 181 by myself. After Ted's spirited ride the day before, I felt much more comfortable riding at my own pace. I made it to the parkway and thinking I was late, let the stops out. I was doing 80 or better on some of the straight sections. I topped one hill and saw a white car in a pull-off. Blue lights started flashing as I jammed on the binders for all they were worth. I pulled off to meet the officer. "Good morning" I said, trying to be cheerful. She told me to go ahead and shut the bike off, she wanted to see my license and reg "I got you doing 64 over that hill" she said. "Yeah, I guess I just got a little carried away, it's such a beautiful road". After much fidgeting, hemming, hawing, etc. She finally said "I'm not going to ruin your day, I'm not going to give you a ticket (I could have dropped down and kissed her feet at that point :-)), but you gotta help me spread the word, keep the speed down." "Yes ma'am! I'm late meeting a group up at Crabtree Meadows for breakfast, and I'll tell them all to keep it down." Little did I know, I was the first.
I stopped at Crabtree and found the place closed. It opened at 10:am, it was now 8:am... Another great choice for breakfast! A few other Blitzers rolled in, then Rick and Roger. Seems they had been stopped for doing 70-something by the same officer. Rogers groveling techniques must have worked. They said she told them she had just stopped me and since she didn't give me a ticket, that she couldn't give them one either. Rick said he liked her logic :-) We ended up with 20 bikes gathered before one of the park workers found a restaurant open a few miles down the road. He said he told them there were 18 of us on the way. When we pulled in, there was one lady with wide eyes inside and she immediately started throwing bacon on the grill. We made ourselves at home and proceeded to raise the noise level in the place with stories and jokes. The coffee tasted like cleaning fluid, but the food wasn't too bad. Again, we had the waitress come out and snap group photo's with half-a-dozen cameras. Then it was off to the BRP again.
The group got somewhat splintered as the day wore on. Between Jim taking pictures from his bike and the large 'bago population, the group remained splintered until Ashville. Between the construction letting cars and bagos through in groups and their unwillingness to get the hell out of the way, four of us became frustrated and split off to head back at Pisgah Mt. The rest of the group pressed on. We found a road (151) that would take us back to I-40. What a great road!!! Brand new blacktop with tight little switchbacks and hairpin turns for about the first 5 miles and NO traffic! I was in heaven! I love this kind of road! At least if you go down on a road like this you can get up, brush yourself off, and start over again. I-40 was kind of fun too with a long downhill grade with three lanes and lots of high-speed curves.
Back to Morganton, the fair-grounds, and the country-store to pick up a fat-sized t-shirt before they sold out on me like they did in Durango. Dinner that evening was at a place called Sagebrush. One of those places where they give you buckets of peanuts and expect you to throw the shells on the floor. Hell, if they want us to make a mess...:-) Peanut Wars!!! :-) The locals got a little worried when Roger told them to keep their heads down :-) What a hoot! Back to the beer tent to meet the ever growing crowd of presidents. Funny how the IBMWR T-shirts always seemed to congregate in front of the beer service...
The National - Friday
Friday morning I slept late and rolled out of the Holiday Inn at 7:30. It had just started to rain so I donned my rain gear and headed out again. I had scheduled to get a tire put on at the Metzler tent the day before when someone pointed out the baldness of my rear tire on day two of the Blitz. I was told to get there at 8:am. I showed up at 8:30 only to find a dozen or so folks already there waiting for the head-guy with the keys to show up. He finally showed up at 9:45!!! After standing in line for a good long time I left my bike with them and went in search of coffee and doughnuts promised to the volunteers in the registration tent. There was a good crowd of presidents there, as would be expected. Much to my delight the Listmeister was there also. We sat around and talked bikes etc until it was close to my turn for registration duty. I ran out to grab a sandwich and ran in to Don Douglass. We had a quick conversation and I told him he was getting grey. He said I was to. There was a steady stream of folks coming in to register. Folks of all types. Biker types with harley tattoos, wealthy types with gold chains hanging everywhere, good-ole-boys, elderly gents. One asked me where to register for the eldest driver. He was only 77. I told him it was hopeless, but directed him to the awards registration area. He should have registered as the youngest rider and he would have won a spot. They give away 10 awards for youngest rider, and only had 9 entries. The Friday night plan was to find some good southern BBQ. We gathered a 7:pm again and headed out for a place called "Judge's". It was a nice little place on the river. They were a bit overwhelmed when Roger's girlfriend (who was on my bike... just a loaner :-)) Elese(?) went in to tell them there were about 30 of us outside wanting to be fed. We all ended up going into the bar and raising the noise level. We were seated surprisingly fast and treated to some GREAT BBQ!. No peanut fights this time... Back to the beer tent and seas of IBMWR T- shirts and newly arrived presidents.
The National - Saturday
I managed to finally wake Ted up at 9:30 and drag him down to the breakfast bar at the Holiday Inn. Mr exuberant and full-of-energy a couple of days ago was now Mr. I-just-wanna-get-some-sleep. I went to the rally site just as Joe et. al. had finished the IBMWR campfire. It didn't appear as though they needed any help with questions or anything so I made an exit and did some serious looking for temptations in the vendor area. I found one booth in the tent area that was selling T-shirts. I wanted to hang around and watch for a while but felt a little guilty. The girls that were doing the selling had some obvious silicon implants and had on some of the tiniest bikini tops I'd seen. I still don't know what the t-shirts had on them :-) More hanging around in the beer tent until the group photo. We all lined up and Jim "Clutz" Colburn was raised up on the back of the BMW truck to snap pictures. About 30 of them with everybody handing him their individual cameras. He took it in good stride. IBMWR door prizes followed with Joe getting a VI t-shirt, Diaz getting an "I'm not Joe Senner" badge, and me getting the club's yearly medallion from MOA on a plaque for my work on the IBMWR web pages, etc. Truly the highlight of my trip! Then the MOA awards ceremony. We could even hear some of what was going on sitting behind the bleachers looking at peoples butts and tennis shoes :-) Quite a crowd of comedians I was hanging out with. Dave and Carol K, Ted V, Fears, Roger T, Don G, and a couple of other who (no offense) slip my mind. We had comments for most of the stuff we heard from the MC :-) Then the big traffic jam to leave. Imagine 3000 or so folks trying to leave via a small two lane road. It took at least 45 minutes to get out of the fairgrounds. On to dinner. Tonight we had a room reserved at Quincys steak house, another one of those all-you-can-eat places. A couple of parting shots, with cameras too, and back to the motel to pack. Interesting how I had more room leaving than I did coming...
The ride home - Sunday
Ted wimped out on me and wanted to sleep in. I hit the road by 9:am. I was surprised how quickly the beemer traffic thinned out. Nothing really exciting on the way home except almost getting run over by a Toyota 4x4, and passing an obvious radar trap in MD doing 25+ over and not getting chased. I had to stop and wipe after that one. :-) It was 510 miles home and I did it in 10:29 minutes. I was one sore puppy. I don't know how you K/Day people do it. Must be in the seat or something.
I'm looking forward to Texas next year. I asked Joe to find us a motel and reserve the whole thing for the IBMWR. I might have to think about trailering the bike out next year, or maybe the train...
From: Rick Povich
I probably would have gotten this report out sooner, but when I got back home I had a bunch of Honey-Do's to take care of in preparation for a family cage trip to the beach this weekend. So if you're already bored to death by these National reports, hit the delete key now, 'cause this one is obscenely long. If you don't like it, don't blame me, blame that loquacious Senner guy for offering this forum for my blathering. Or better yet, blame the MOA BOD. They get blamed for everything anyway. (Note: some artistic license was taken throughout this article. In other words, bald-faced lyin'. I'm gonna blame it on Larry Fears--only because he'd want it that way ;^) )
I met Jeff Dunkle at the Somerset exit of the PA Turnpike at 4:15 a.m. Thursday morning. It was still way too early and dark for me, but we were set to take off right after filling up our tanks. I was ready to get to my very first "NATIONAL"! Oh boy, yay, yippeee, and all that other exclamatory excrement.
We would have gotten on the road sooner but the guy at the gas station asked me if that was Jeff Dunkle I was with. Kinda puzzled, I said yeah, it was, and with that the guy trotted off to talk to Dunkle for the next fifteen minutes.
I wasn't sure what was going on because Jeff initially didn't seem to know the guy. Then after a couple of minutes of smiling and talking Jeff got off his bike, reached into one of his bags and pulled out a small cardboard box and produced an ID badge for the guy. This was to set the tone for the rest of my visit to warmer and slightly more Southern Climes.
The trip down was pretty uneventful with the exception of my speedo cable crapping out. The only way I would be able to keep track of my speed thereafter would be to match the tach needle with the corresponding red area of the gauge. I used this as my idiot light for the rest of the trip and it worked just fine. We got to Nawth C'lina and I breathed a sigh of relief. Almost there, I thought. We eventually made our way into Boone but it took about four hours to get through the Appalatchun State College crowd's check-in day and the town's six-hundred seventy three stop lights.
Finally we manage to get into Morganton, stumble around a few stop lights and roll into a mall parking lot to ask directions. We just weren't perceptive enough to be able to read the Braille instructions that had been so conspicuously placed everywhere to aid the 6,000 bikers in getting to the rally site.
A couple women pulled up beside us in their 75 Chebby BelAir and asked if we (on BMW moto-sickles) was lookin' for the rally. Natch, we said, and the women happily told us exactly how to get to the site-just a half mile away. Cool, I thought. I wondered if the Bierre Halle was open yet. Bike stuff can wait. I have my priorities.
We were still earlier than the forthcoming hoardes of Beemer folk so we didn't have to wait in any line very long. The guy at the entrance gate told us to go find a camping spot then check in. This is gonna be a breeze I figgered. Bierre Halle here I come.
Jeff and I pulled down to the field and he unloaded his stuff, but didn't set up anything--just in case he found a better site. I wouldn't be camping. I was supposed to stay at Casa Barnum Supremo (you know, the big split-level Coleman tent with the veranda, hot tub and two-bike garage) but was forced to stay in a motel in Lenoir because my mentor and roommate, Dr. Barnum, had cheesily opted out of the rally in favor a weekend bacchanal of closed-circuit wrestling championships. I dunno--something about big, fat sweaty guys with glittery face makeup and sparkles bouncing and slimin' around on the floor that makes me click to the Cooking Channel. Anyway, I digress...
After Jeff took his gear off the bike we started up to the registration tent and checked in. Next we obediently, and wishfully, went to the vendor area, heretofore know as the Cattle Corral, to deposit our tickets for the drawings we wouldn't win. Optimistic I'm not.
I called it the Cattle Corral because that's what the cinder block facility was. It was an airless, superheated, rain-forest-humidified and dark, crowded area designed to hold cattle in as uncomfortable an environment as possible without bringing the ASPCA or Hollywood actresses to their defense. To get them ready to meet their maker or something, I guess. Make it look as hopeless as possible. Make 'em want to spend every last bit of their resources before they check out. I think it worked for the most part. At least for me, anyway. The routine went something like this: drink a beer, go up to the Cattle Corral and sweat out said beer. Go back to the Bierre Halle, get a beer, drink and repeat. After a couple hours of this your done for. You have no money or strength to return home. You just hope for Divine intervention before you give up the ghost.
On our way out of the Cattle Corral someone walks up to Jeff, kinda tilts and turns his head in bewilderment and asks Jeff if he's Jeff Dunkle. Jeff, confident in the knowledge of who he is, answered the guy to the affirmative. The guy then tells Jeff he'd ordeerd an ID badge from him. So Jeff, great guy that he is, tells the guy to follow us down to the bikes and he'll get his badge. Hmmmm. I wondered how many badges Jeff had left.
As we're walking to the bikes, the guy (who's name I don't remember because I have the short-term memory of a bottomless sieve) tells us where all the IBMWR guys are camping. On the hill, by the cemetery. Oh great, I thought, this is too funny to be true. By the end of the rally I figgered the locals could just bring in a backhoe and just push the bodies into a mass grave right there. No muss, no fuss. Sell the leftover bikes to pay for the equipment rental then have enough left over for a good Rotarian Weenie Roast. Fortunately, it was a BMW rally, and we're all sophisticated enough to be able to drink ourselves just to the brink of delirium--but recover quickly and skillfully without any detrimental effects. To the dismay of the Rotarians, that is.
So Jeff packs up his stuff again and we head up to the boneyard to camp. We looked around, found the IBMWR banner and proclaimed this Rally Home. So Jeff began to unload his stuff. At that point, a Prez from Michigan (again, I apologize for being devoid of any memory capacity. If I think of his name before I finish this report, I'll let you know...) came up to Jeff and, you got it, was wondering about his name badge. It was then Jeff wondered if he should put up a booth somewhere to divvy up the tags. I told him to forget it. The mountains will come to Mohammed. They did. At every turn. For the rest of Thursday and the next two days.
After dispensing about six more badges, I somehow to convince Jeff to wander through the Cattle Corral to find was ways to spend our money. That of course wasn't difficult. I found the Touring Specialties (or something like that) booth that was selling Saeng Stealth edging (newer and improved since the edging I'd put on my R90 two years ago) . I wanted this for my RT fairing and I knew it was gonna cost me. And it did. But the guy from the booth was really nice. He left his booth and walked up to the boneyard with me, measured, cut and installed the edging and even gave me a three dollar break on the cost. I'm very satisfied with the stuff.
So of course the next vist would have to be to the Bierre Halle. The timing was right because another Prez walked up to Jeff ans asked if he was Jeff Dunkle. I rolled my eyes and told Jeff I'd see him in a bit. That was the last I saw of Jeff until the next morning. I had my beer, wandered around a bit longer then took off for Lenoir, my motel and a shower.
The room was nice, the shower was excellent and I had a data port on the phone so I could use my Wizard/modem setup to check my email. Worked like a champ. I give credit to Bob Higdon for typing his reports on that HP he's got. I think my Wizard keyboard is a bit wider but it can be, shall we say, less than comfortable for typing. Utilitarian is probably an appropriate description. As opposed to RO-tarian.
Someone else wondered _who_ or _what_ they were. I'm wondering the same thing, even though we have 'em all around the surrounding hamlets (or is it village...) near my home. Probably one of those subversive farm groups that buys ammonium chloride and kerosene in bulk at the Agway stores.
After I got cleaned up and ate some dinner, I rolled back to the Rally site to look for Jeff. He was nowhere to be found, nor were any other Presidents, so I headed to the Bierre Halle for some libation, then saunterd off through the vendor tent area. K'ching, k'ching, k'ching went the cash register in my head as I scoped out and drooled over the toys I saw. Somehow I was able to keep the plastic locked up and vowed to only browse this evening. It worked.
I had a couple beers and soon it was close to ten o'clock so I decided to head back to my motel and get a good night's sleep in preparation for the next day's activities.
Friday morning I rode into the bone yard looking again for Jeff, or for anyone else for that matter. No one at the tents, so I left the bike and wandered down to the rally site. After a few minutes of looking around I found Jeff. He was dispensing name tags to Presidents. No surprise there.
The sun was out and the day was begining to get hot. I suggested to Jeff that we go for a ride, since I was positive just about any road in the area would be a good one. Jeff agreed and after about an hour's worth of additional badge dispensing, we were on the road west toward the BPR and Mount Mitchell. We took a twisty road (121, I think--it was the north/south route adjacent to the Little Switzerland route) up to the Parkway and rolled through the twisties enjoying every turn. I found a great radio station that was playing perfect sountrack music for a cruise throuth the twisties.
So after climbing up to the observations tower at Mt. Mitchell, and a great lunch at the nearby restaurant with about a thirty mile panorama, we headed back up the Parkway and down the road to Little Switzerland.
What a superb little road. We had no traffic and I was scraping the pegs on my RT too frequently. I even found the non-stiction point of my Dunlop Elites as I slid through one of the hairy little decreasing radiuses that proliferate the winding road. It was adrenaline city the entire way as we tooled down the mountain. If you took that route you know what I mean. I though the road might be even more fun going up, but we didn't have any more time. Jeff felt he should get back a try to dispense a few more badges, so off we went back to the rally after putting on nearly two hundred miles.
When we got to the site, we met up with a bunch of Presidents who said there was a Presidents dinner at Judges restaurant in town. We hurriedly talked to Jon Diaz who gave us directions, then went up to the boneyard to get our bikes.
As we were leaving the rally site, we saw an IBMWR T shirt ahead of us and figgered it was someone going to the restaurant. A President named Richard (I of course can't rember his last name) asked if we were going to the restaurant, so I told him to tag along.
Supposedly there were three turns to get to the restaurant. After doing three U-turns in town and heading all around the city, we pulled up to a stop light. Richard asked me if the guy leading knoew where he was going. I initially thought he did, but now wasn't sure. So Richard wheeled up to the leader and asked if he knew where we were going. The leader told Richard he did and we were off again.
A few more turns, a couple stop lights and a turnoff into a parking lot filled woth cars and we were at Judges Restaurant. Turns out it was Jon "Not Joe" Diaz leading the circuituous tour of the city. Figgers.
There were at least about twenty other bikes in the already crowded parking lot, so I thought we'd have some difficulty getting a seat. We walked in to an slightly crowded ante-room and asked the Aussie-speaking young lady for a reservation for two more "Internet Guys." Jeff and I walked up a set of steps to the bar and grabbed a couple beers and proceeded to watch the Aussie lass come and go shouting, "Internet table for two" and "Internet table for four" every five minutes. In between visits, another young and totally flustered hostess would come through looking totally confused.
Then Larry "don't tolerate, medicate" Fears and the ooh, so G-Q Tim "Bondo" Bond strolled in like they owned the place. About that time the Aussie lass came up shouting, "Internet table for four!" Larry, Tim, Jeff and I lookd at each other and agreed we were the table of four. We were led outside to the veranda and a nice view of the river and a couple tables full of Internet Guys. Ira Agins, Mike Cornett, Rick Barry from New York, and a bunch of other guys were chatting up a storm. Occasionally Rick would sneak around with his little video camera looking for potential blackmail material.
There were more guys inside, but we just made faces at them through the windows. Larry Fears proceeded to harass our waitress and the bewildered hostes who periodically had the misfortune of stumbling past our table.
Bondo initially worried that his accoutrement might be a tad inappropriate for a high-brow placs such as this, but I told him not to worry about it. I knew his battered, tattered overalls, no shirt, and peek-a-boo baby blue boxer shorts were a fashoin statement the locals would immediately emulate, so he shouldn't feel too conspicuous. Besides, his Kentucky Colonel goatee lent him a dignified kind of look. I think the hostess thought so, too. Come to think of it, so did Larry.
After about two hours of mirth, merriment, boisterous behavior and way too much to eat, we all headed back to the rally. Gary Smith asked Jeff and I if we'd like to go to Hickory for a Four Winds club party. I told Jeff thought I'd like to go back to the rally site and hang with some of the guys, so I bid him farewell and followed Larry and Bondo in Half Cage back to the rally. Ten minutes after I got to the Bierre Halle, Gary Smith walked in. I asked why he wasn't at the Four Winds party and he said something about confusing directions, getting a little bit lost, and just deciding to blow off the party. Jeff got a lot lost, got there later and hardly anyone else was there. So it goes. He did manage to make it back to the rally to dispense more badges the next day.
Within a half hour a bunch of Presidents congregated beneath the corrugated tin roof of the Bierre Halle for some more suds and a lot of BS-ing. The din from the crowd talking in the hall was about twice as loud as the music coming from the band playing just a few yards away. My ears were ringing for hours afterward. It was so cool seeing so many of these guys at one time. Contrary to the amount of digital blather I can spew, I'm really not an exceptionally chatty kind of guy. Not quite as bad as Joe senner, but I think I used up about three years worth of yakking that night.
I got back to my motel well after midnight. It was tough getting to sleep with all the conversations and faces running through my head. It was a good reason to suffer sleep deprivation.
The next day I got back to the site. This day was to be spent getting my speedo cable replaced, spending more money on toys and shirts, having the group picture taken, and enduring the awards ceremony. I now know what Chancellorsville was like for the poor Yankee soldiers during the Civil War (or as they say down South, The War Between the States). Just stick 'em in the sun and let 'em turn to raisins. We kinda did that, but we had a few brews to enhance the process and exacerbate the antsiness of the crowd. Not to mention I was sitting near Larry Fears, Dave and Carol Keuch, Steve Andersen and Don Graling.
I said I'm not usually a very chatty guy. Unless I get around someone like Larry or Jim Colburn. Or Dave. Then all bets are off and I'm not to be held responsible for my behavior. It's the American way. Deny responsibility and shift the blame. Involve lawyers if you sniff money on the horizon.
When the time for the Prez Pic came, it was apparent this was going to be logistically somwewhat of a chalenge, just because of a lack of space near the lift gate of the BMW trailer that Jim Colburn was able to commandeer because they looked at his badge and thought he was the "President" of the Internet BMW Riders. See what a little clout can do for you?
I didn't get a count, but I'm sure there were over a hundred guys there for the picture. While were waiting en masse for the event to happen I was trying to talk to as many Prezzes as possible. There were a few guys I'd made a conscious effort to meet and was able to. I saw Pat Roddy not far from me and kept trying to get his attention, but he was Mr. Popularity at that point so it was tough to get some quality time with the guy unless I started jumping up and down and waving my arms. As a President, though, I was way too dignified to stoop to something that low.
So Jim hops up on the lift gate and starts to raise it and begins shouting at everyone. It was truly amazing to see how compliant this gang was. Everyone immediately shuffled into place, put their big, friendly smiles on their faces and said cheeeezzzzzeee for the camera guy. Then Jim took pictures with about 70 snap-o-matic cameras that various Presidents had handed him. It went smoothly, since Jim is a Professional(tm) and we were done. And then the Prez of Prezzes, Joe Senner showed up.
Apparently someone gave poor Joe the wrong time for the picture, and Jim was ready to start barking at everyone to get them to gather again. By this time the folks had been standing in 125 degree heat and weren't about to submit to a retake. Crowd mentality takes over after a certin point and you just can't interfere. By the time the picture taking was over, I lost track of Pat and many of the guys I wanted to talk to. I'll just have to wait 'till next time to meet you other guys. Everyone dispersed and eagerly waited for the awards ceremony to begin. Joe smiled quietly and just said, "Photoshop!"
During the ceremony Larry, Dave, Carol, Steve and I carried on somewhat of a Mystery Science 3000 peanut gallery behavior. I know, we were probably an embarrassment to the IBMWR, or to the BMW crowd or to our mothers, but we had fun. It was necessary to keep from taking this stuff too seriously and it was a chance to spend still more time having fun with friends.
We sat through the myriad "thank you to the little people" thank you's, sat through all the bikes I being awarded to other people, sat through the thousand dollar AeroStich gift certificate being given away to someone else and sat through the IBMWR takinig third place in the largest club category (BMWBMW got second!). The ceremony seemed eternal, but it was soon over.
And with that the exodus slowly began
It was about 7:15 or so when the award ceremony ended and Jeff, Brian Curry, Bondo, Alden Hingle and I stood around, had a beer talked some more and decided what we were going to do that evening. About fifty Presidents went to another dinner at a local restaurant but I went back to the motel to check the bike, shower and pack for an early a.m. departure back north.
Jeff met me at my motel at 6:15 the next morning and we were rolling within minutes up the twisty Rt 121 north. The road was practically devoid of but a handful of cars over the next 100 or so miles until we reached Rt 81. The road and scenery were beatiful, my bike was running well and I was still having fun. I didn't want it to end. But I greatly enjoyed the little time I was able to spend this weekend with 5000 or so BMW folks.
And that's what I came to Morganton for. To have fun. I talked a bunch, I laughed a lot, rode a lot and had a great time meeting so many old friends. This BMW stuff is pretty cool. I think I'll do it again. I hope to see more of you folks in the days to come. Just make sure you talk to Jeff Dunkle first to get your badges so I know who you are.
There. That's my report. If you made it this far, thanks for hangin' in there. See me at the Four Winds rally and I'll buy you a Rolling Rock. But you better hope I don't go to too many more rallies this year.
From: Ira Agins
Subject: BMW: How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Snapshots at Morganton
Some impressions of mine from the Morganton MOA National:
After checking in to the Holiday Inn, I pull around to the room. As I'm unloading the bike, an old R90 with Texas plates and a Lone Star BMW license plate frame pulls in next to me. We introduce ourselves. It turns out to be Wild Bill Carson, the parts manager at Lone Star BMW. "So you're the sombitch who made Leah Larkin work while you took off the Morganton," sez I. "Rank has its privileges," sez he. This might have been the first time someone said this to him. I'm positive it wasn't the last. Don't mess with Presidents! :-)
I watched in awe as the Blue Ridge Blitzers pulled into the camping area. Reminded me of Marlon Brando's gang pulling into town in the 'Wild One.' Up the hill they go, those already encamped obviously concerned for their safety as the Blitzers scout out the perfect spot to set up. A party is sent to check the outlying areas. Gee, I never saw anyone go GS riding on a K bike before. :-) Some eventually set up camp behind the registration tent. Others decided to set up in a better neighborhood - next to the cemetery. =:0
Friday morning, the IBMWR took over registration. Impressive. At about 10 AM, the skies opened up. After about 15 minutes, Jon Diaz walks in, already claiming it's not his fault. Nevertheless, he's wearing a little Traveler's Insurance pin - you know, the open red umbrella.
Some folks are stuck wearing an albatross around their necks. Jeff Dunkle was stuck carrying a box of name tags. Over and over, I heard folks introducing themselves to him: "Hi, Jeff. It's nice to finally meet you. Where the hell's my name tag?" :-) Jeff took it in good humor, and ended up getting rid of about a third of them by the end of the rally. Thanks, Jeff!
A few weeks before the rally, Howie Oakes (a President from Athens, GA) and three of his comrades had stayed a night at my place in Santa Fe, on their way farther west. As I walked toward the rally entrance one day, I hear my name called out. Turning, I find it's Howie and his girlfriend, just arriving to register. Small world. Glad to see he made it back in one piece.
It seemed every time I went for a beer, there was Tom "Bullit" Buttars, bobbing for cans. He had agreed to work a shift or two in the beer garden and ended up spending a good part of the rally working there. Santa owes you big-time, Tom!
I was standing with Vech next to his beautiful R51/3 sidecar rig when two guys came up and introduced themselves. They told Vech that one of them had recently acquired a similar bike (sans side hack) at a garage sale. It has been garaged for years, came with both the standard small tank, a spare large tank, a bunch of NOS parts, and original shop manuals. "I hope you didn't end up stealing it from the guy," sez Vech. "Oh, no. We paid him a fair price for it all," sez one of the guys, "$750." =:0 Of course, Vech was going to make a play to steal the big tank from the guy (Vech's tank only gives him a 90-mile range pulling the hack). I blew it for him by blurting out that the tank alone was worth more than $750. Sorry about that, Craig. I suck (see earlier posts).
The IBMWR raffle was a real highlight. As has been reported, Joe won a Village Idiots tee shirt and wore it in good humor. The other perfect prize winner was Don Graling. He won what was described as a manual laptop with AutoMap installed. It was a junior-sized Etch-a-Sketch. He promised to Velcro [tm] it to his bike for the Four Corners Ride. Now he can go with confidence. :-)
I was sitting next to Walt Dabell when the largest club awards were announced. When we heard the Airheads had won first place, Walt turns to me and quietly says "Next year in Texas, this means war." Enough said for now.
Greg Pink and I had arranged to go on a laundry run. Greg (who was in the room next door) would knock on my door at 5:30 PM and off we would go. I got back to the room late, owing to a late swim in the Holiday Inn pool. I was just about to jump in the shower when Pink-Man knocked. I fling the door open, and there I am, standing buck nekkid. =:0 A strange look comes over Greg's face, unequal parts surprise, horror, envy, and shock. I won't even guess what the percentages of each were. :-) I tell him to come back in thirty minutes. When I answer the door the next time, Greg is standing there, hands over eyes. Sorry about that, Greg. I really suck (see earlier posts).
At the IBMWR raffle, I got a chance to meet Corky and Joe Katz. Although both of them qualify as Old Farts, the bright-eyed, smiling looks on their faces were those of kids new to the neighborhood but instantly accepted. The IBMWR as the Fountain of Youth. May you always remain young.
I had been hanging with many of the Left Coast Presidents over the last year. It was a great pleasure to meet our Right Coast and No Coast brethren. I won't even try to name you all for fear of forgetting some of you.
Someone mentioned to me that meeting some of the more list-active members was meeting the IBMWR All-Stars. IMHO, there are no All-Stars; we are *all* stars - all of us contribute to make us all better. Better riders, better mechanics, better people. Thank you.
I also sensed an evolutionary change from the Durango Presidents' Meeting last year. Then, almost everyone was meeting each other in person for the first time. It was obvious that the meeting then, and subsequent Presidential events, has brought us all closer. Folks have begun to get together for weekend rides, and maybe even things not related to motorcycling. Friendships were started and strengthened. Real, in-the-flesh friendships. Some will probably last a lifetime. In Morganton, I could see that we are no longer disembodied and ethereal. We are real. Weird Science happening before my eyes.
Many told me that the list has become a central, if not *the* central thing in their lives. Kid all you want, but the fact remains that the list has brought much pleasure and joy to folks around the world. It has become bigger than Joe Senner, or any of us, could have ever imagined. And it keeps getting better every day.
See ya on the road.
Presidential Attendence List:
Name Arrived Departed Stayed-At Agins, Ira 7/10 7/14 Holiday Inn, Morganton Aikens, Steve 7/10 7/14 EconoLodge, Marion Altic, Robert 7/11 7/14 Camping Anderson, Fred 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Anderson, Steve 7/11 7/14 EconoLodge, Marion Ascher, Josh 7/08 7/14 Rally Site Austin, Mark 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Balding, Matthew N/A N/A Japan (Spititual Attendee) Baron, Dan ? ? Red Roof Inn, Hickory Baron, Kay ? ? Red Roof Inn, Hickory Barry, Rick 7/10 7/14 Econolodge, Marion Bennett, Graham 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Bergman, Mark 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Blair, David 7/12 7/17 Holiday Inn, Hickory Bond, Tim (Bondo) 7/12 7/14 Rally Site? Bowman, Tom 7/11 7/13 Rally Site Buerkle, Steve 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Burnett, Steve 7/12 7/14 ? Buttars, Tom 'Bullit' 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Campbell, Art 7/9 7/16 Comfort Inn, Morgantown Campbell, Cailin 7/9 7/16 Comfort Inn, Morgantown Colburn, Jim 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Cornett, Mike 7/12 7/14 Rally Site? Culmone, Richard ? ? ? Curry, Brian ? ? Camping Dabell, Walt 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Davis, Ron 7/11 7/14 Camping in Pineola DeLetto, Gordon 7/11 7/14 Holiday Inn, Hickory Denny, Don 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Diaz, Jon 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Duke, Jerry 7/12 7/14 Nearest M/C Campground Dulany, Mike 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Dunkle, Jeff 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Durrstein, Cynthia 7/10 7/13 Days Inn, Lenoir Durrstein, Robert 7/10 7/13 Days Inn, Lenoir Eilenberger, Don 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Eischeid, Greg 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Evans, Nick 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Fears, Larry 7/11 7/14 EconoLodge, Marion Fetz, Charles W. 7/11 7/13 Rally Site Flato, Mark 7/11 7/14 Camping Fletcher, J.K. 7/11 7/14 Rally Site & Hickory Foreman, Mark 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Fryzel, Tom 7/11 7/14 Days Inn, Blowing Rock Furr, John 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Gantz, Harold 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Gay, Dave 7/11 7/14 High Country Cycle Campground Glaves, Paul 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Glaves, Voni 7/13 7/14 Rally Site Graling, Don 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Graver, Richard 7/11 7/14 ? Greenfield, Richard 7/11 7/13 Holiday Inn, Morganton Hair, Jim 7/11 7/14 Days Inn, Blowing Rock Hamilton, Bill 7/08 7/14 Rainbow Motel, Morganton Hamilton, Sharon 7/08 7/14 Rainbow Motel, Morganton Haughn, Donna 7/11 7/14 Inn at Old Fort Haughn, Jack 7/11 7/14 Inn at Old Fort Haynes, Tom 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Haynes, Tom 7/11 7/12 Rally Site Hays, Butch 'BB' 7/11 7/14 Rally Site? Hern, Mike 7/10 7/14 Holiday Inn, Hickory Hingle, Alden Jr. 7/10 7/14 Daniel Boone Campground, Morganton Hoffman, Gerry 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Horais, Brian 7/12 7/14 ? Horne, Greg 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Huber, Steve 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Huelsdonk, Bill 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Ivey, Don 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Jarrell, Roger 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Jenkins, Robert 7/11 7/14 Camping, Linville Johnson, Bob 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Jomarron, Alex 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Kalichman, Paul ? 7/14 Rally Site Kannapareddy, Mohan 7/11 7/11 Rally Site Katz, Joe 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Keating, John 7/13 7/14 In Van Keen, Tom 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Keuch, Carol 7/11 7/14 Hotel (Hickory, NC) Keuch, Dave 7/11 7/14 Hotel (Hickory, NC) Klepeis , Richard 7/10 7/13 Days Inn, Lenoir Kohlmeier, Juergen K. 7/14 7/15 Rally Site Kreye, Klaus 7/11 7/14 Camping Kristan, Steve 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Kulow, Carl 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Lewis, Miles 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Lowery, Dan 7/13 7/14 Rally Site Lunde, Andrew 7/11 7/14 Camping Marx, Phil 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Masden, George 7/11 7/14 Rally Site McCormick, Laura 7/12 7/14 Rally Site McDaniel, Dennis 7/11 7/14 Holiday Inn, Hickory McDaniel, Michael 7/11 7/14 Holiday Inn, Hickory McDonald, Bob 7/10 7/14 Home (Fairview, NC) McDonald, Jeffery 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Mendel, Ray 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Miller, Joseph M.S. 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Morrison, John F. Daily Daily Home Murtagh, Frank 7/11 7/14 Camping Novitz, Mark 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Oliva, E 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Omen, Scott 7/11 7/13 Rally Site Ormont , Michael 7/12 7/14 ? Outlan, John 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Pink, Greg 7/10 7/14 Holiday Inn, Morganton Portnoy, Alan 7/10 7/12 ? Povich, Rick 7/12 7/14 w/ Terry Evans @ Casa Barnum Supremo Powell, Walker 7/11 7/14 Holiday Inn, Morganton Proue, Paul 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Ranck, Bill 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Ranck, Jan 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Rauschkolb, LLoyd 7/11 7/14 Rally Site (RV Area) Reed, Corky 7/12 7/14 Red Carpet Inn, Morganton Reilly, Allyn 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Richie, Scott 7/11 7/14 Wakefield's Campground Robertson, Carney 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Roddy, Pat 7/10 7/14 Hotel (Morganton) Ronstrom, Kevin 7/11 7/14 Holiday Inn, Lenoir Rooney, Mark 7/12 7/14 Days Inn, Lenoir Ryan, Bob 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Ryan, Nancy 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Schen, DCMike 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Schmeisser, Ian 7/10 7/14 High Country Cycle Campground Schmidt, Kurt 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Senner, Joe 7/12 7/14 Holiday Inn, Hickory Shaw, Bill 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Simon, Eric ? ? Camping w/ Cleveland BMW Club Sine, David M. ? ? Rally Site Sjostrom, Jerry 7/11 7/14 Days Inn, Morganton Sjostrom, Nancy 7/11 7/14 Days Inn, Morganton Smith, Elsie 7/13 7/14 Camping Smith, Gary 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Smith, Terry 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Sotrop, Paul 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Stark, Herb 7/10 7/14 Rally Site? Stevens, Frank 7/11 7/14 TBA Stoddard, Chris 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Sturgeon, Scott 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Swider, Dave 7/12 7/14 Hotel (Morganton) Tennant, Lester 7/12 7/14 Rally Site Traversa, Roger 7/11 7/14 ? Turner, Tony 7/11 7/14 Rally Site Vechorik, Craig 7/08 7/14 Rally Site Verrill, Ted 7/11 7/14 Days Inn, Morganton Villa, Jody 7/11 7/14 Holiday Inn, Morganton Weis, Alan 7/11 7/13 Hampton Inn, Hickory Whittle, Bob 7/11 7/14 Travel-Eze Motel, Black Mountain, NC Wieser, Wild Bill 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Williams, Joe 7/12 7/14 B&B, Hickory Williams, Lynn 7/12 7/14 B&B, Hickory Yoshida, Junji N/A N/A Japan (Spititual Attendee) Young, Percy (Cy) 7/10 7/14 Rally Site Young, Robert L. 7/12 7/14 Hickory Zimmerman, Bill 7/11 7/13 Cabins, Laurel Zupan, Mark ? ? Lenoir -------------------------------------------------------------------- That was -over 154- Presidents!
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