Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rally Ride Prelude

What a crappy title "Rally Ride Prelude".  Pitiful, but it's the best I could do tonight.  It's Saturday, July 14, as I write this ride introduction, and I'm drawing a blank on what to say about the upcoming adventure.

Guess I'll start with a 6,000 foot overview of what I'm doing this time.  I plan to leave home early on Tuesday, July 17 and ride west to meet up with Tony, a fellow environmental health friend.  I'm not sure if Gary, my usual riding partner is going on this trip.  He has a new grandson, and he may stick close to home until the little one gets a little older and more stable.

I'll meet Tony just west of Morganton, NC, and head towards Sedalia, MO, the location of the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association this year, for the International BMW MOA International Rally (now, that's a mouthful!).  Otherwise, it's called the BMW Rally, but officially, the BIG one.  They're expecting over 6,000 attendees for the rally this year.

We plan to arrive on Thursday, July 19, and will stay to the end, on Sunday, July22 in the morning.  He and I  will see and do as much as we can, and I plan to bring home a new BMW motorcycle when I finish my complete ride.  They sold raffle tickets to win a bunch of really neat things, including 12 new BMW motorcycles, tours all over the world, and world-class riding gear.  I'm going to win something this year!

And, of course, there are many, many vendors of motorcycle-related stuff there.  I hope to find a bikini cover for the bike (don't get excited; it just covers the top and a little of the sides, unlike a full cover that covers the whole bike.  A bikini cover will be handy to keep the sun off the bike during days on the road and  dew off the bike overnight where I stop.  There are a few more items I may buy, if I find them.  But for sure, the rally is the best collection of vendors (especially for BMWs) anywhere.

On Sunday morning, Tony heads east, back home, and I head south with a Motorcycle Travel Network (MTN) host to stay at his home in extreme southwest MO.  The MTN is a motorcyclist Bed and Breakfast arrangement where members stay at other members' homes for $15 a night.  The fee includes a clean bed, a bathroom, and breakfast the next morning.  A great deal, and most of the time it's a very enjoyable evening talking bikes and trips with the host.  This guy will be funny, based on our emails back and forth.  I'm looking forward to meeting him!

Monday morning, I'll hit the road, heading west towards Salida, CO, for the BMW Sports Touring Association's Unrally being held there.  This is a group of guys (and girls) who have joined the BMWST Forum.  They get together once a year for a rally.  But because there are so many motorcycle rallys, they call it the "Unrally" to make it different.  I've been a member and contributor to the forum since 2007, and have gotten to "know" several of the guys through posts and purchases (the classified ads have added to my bunch of junk considerably).  One of the members, Whip, hosted Gary and me last year on our ride to California.  He and his wife live just outside San Antonio, and we stayed with him two nights while we were going through the area.  He also took us on a ride through the famed "Texas Hill Country" so we could see what people were raving about.  They were right to rave; the hill country has some great riding, and thanks to Whip, we saw the best of it.

I've digressed from the overview....

Since it's about 700 miles from my MTN host's home to Salida, I'll stop at a motel somewhere along the way   on Monday night.  I should arrive at Salida on Tuesday.  I haven't been to an Unrally yet, so I don't know exactly what to expect there.  I don't believe they have vendors, but I do know that they do planned rides in the area.  I know Whip is coordinating an all-day ride on Wednesday that I plan to join, and I think there's an all-day ride on Thursday.  If so, I hope to do it too.

In Salida, I'll meet up with Kevin, my friend from Denver.  Kevin and I have ridden together twice, once on the Lighthouse Tour that I sponsored three years ago.  It covered all of the lighthouses in NC.  And I spent about a week with him and others last September on a ride of the Skyline Parkway and Blue Ridge Parkway.  He and I will share a room for 3 nights in Salida.

The Unrally ends on Friday morning, so he and I will leave the event and do some riding in CO.  I want to ride Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in North America.  Since he lives in the area, I'll ask him to lead and take me to good roads in the area.

I'll stay at Kevin's home on Friday night.

Saturday morning, I'll leave Kevin's and probably do some sightseeing in Colorado.  I've seen parts of it on other rides, but being alone will let me wander wherever I want.  I'd like to see Durango while in CO; people say it's a neat place to visit.

I don't know how long I'll stay in that area, or what I'll do.  But it will give me a chance to explore to my heart's content.

At some point in time, I'll head home.  I may swing south to visit some friends in the southeast, but I'm not sure if that will work out.  Or I may go through the mountains of GA to ride some of the good roads on the way home.

On the way out west, as well as riding back home, I hope to stay off Interstates as much as possible.  I've planned an interesting route to Sedalia that includes about 50% Interstate and 50% two-lane.  Should be fun!

Changing gears from the overview now.

The bike is ready to go.  New rear tire and fair front tire.  New oil and oil filter. Full of premium fuel.  New primary spark plugs (secondary ones require taking the fairings off the bike and I'm pretty lazy, so they'll be changed the next time I have the fairings off).  The only significant remaining "to do" is to pack my clothes.  I've done a packing list, so packing should be pretty straight forward.  Oh, and I've gotta get cash--lots of it for the trip!

So, this is the first post of my next adventure.  I'm beginning to get excited, a bit, but I'm not as excited as I have been in the past.  I think the fact that I've now done so many significant rides over the past 7 years, that it's just a lot easier to get prepared.  I've bought everything you can think of for the bike, so there's not much to do to get ready now.  I'll have a great time, but it's a little "old hat" now.

Oh yeah, I've posted a few pics on this blog just to have something to look at.  None of these pics have anything to do with the ride ;-)....  But each has it's own story..

Next post will likely be on the road to Sedalia.  Stay tuned....

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