Still more slabbing for a while. It was another hot day but the skies were clear and traffic wasn't awful. I made a quick stop at an Ohio Interstate rest stop and took a few pictures.
They were kind enough to give me an ice cold bottle of water so I hung out there at the gate while I had a smoke and drank the water. I guess I looked hot (not hawt), lol. Anyway, after drinking up that lovely ice cold water, I motored down the lane. Part gravel, part paved. Jeez, there were already a ton of people there. I don't know how, but I managed to find Paul and Voni Glave's campsite. I recognized their bikes and saw a person bent over into a tent. All I could see was butt and legs and I called out "Voni!" and yes! it was her! By the way, it wasn't a BIG butt at all, hahahaha. She was as surprised as I that I recognized her from behind.
Lucky for me, there was camping space just across the lane from the Glaves. Hey, I did good, there was shade from a tree and the port-a-potties were only a few yards away. Previously, I had checked in with Lynda and Terry Lahman and Lynda told me if I got there before them to grab a spot that had shade and close to facilities. I scored :-) I also was able to save space for the Lahman's, Kate Johnston and Nancy Lefcourt. It was so cool to camp with peeps I know.
I was the first of our group to arrive (other than Paul and Voni who had been there for a few days already doing their Camp Gears thing). I heeded my honey, Eric's advice, and immediately set up my tent and campsite. Thank you Eric, that was really good advice!
Can you believe it? Me? Camping in a tent? Really? Yeah, it really happened! Here is a photo of my campsite.
I don't know what happened, but unfortunately, I lost a bunch of pictures :-( But, I will share the ones that stayed on the camera.
I have zero pictures of the food vendors however, there were probably 8 or 9 vendors. The food was pricey but you actually got a lot of food for your dollar and it was really GOOD! Kate and I ended up sharing quite a few meals because there was so much food. We would order one meal and then split it and even then sometimes we couldn't finish it all. Just so you know, I ate well ;-) I also walked a LOT. I mean, A LOT!!!!! There were shuttles you could take and sometimes that worked out and sometimes the timing was off. I walked a lot. Hey, I'm not complaining because, frankly, I need more physical exercise, I'm just telling you, a lot of walking was involved :-)
Wednesday night, I think I had a bit too much vodka as Paul kindly escorted me to the outside facility and to my tent where I crawled into a mummy bag on a flat pad and promptly fell sound asleep. Apparently, I was quite vocal in the middle of the night. I was told that at some point I was meowing like a kitty! The only thing I remember is waking up in the middle of the night shouting "Holy FUCK" because the wind was about to take me to OZ.
The wind Wednesday night was ferocious! We had gusts up to 60 mph. Quite a few people had their tents and stuff blown hither and yon. Unfortunately, some of the outdoor vendors also had some issues and the Wunderlich display (which was a lot of glass) was completely destroyed. Tents and awnings were twisted and mutilated. One poor fellow in a tent had a tree branch break off and fall on him. Serious enough that he was taken away in an ambulance! It was a pretty impressive storm and I managed to get through it with nothing lost and not even a hangover in the morning!
On Thursday morning, I went over to registration and took care of business, got my blue entry bracelet and felt official. I also got a bunch of door prize tickets which I had to take over to the Hospitality building. So, I took care of that, got a "First Timer" button and swag and then met up with Kate.
Along with outdoor vendors, they had one and 1/2 buildings full of indoor vendors. Kate and I hung out and walked by everything! Mario Winkleman was in the absolute best vendor spot, front and center of the entrance doors! It was such fun to just stand there until Mario was done serving a customer and he turned and there I was, hehehehe. Big hugs and smiles. Boo, that is one of the photos I lost :-( The good thing is they were doing box office business. Always fun to run into Mario!
The Michelin tire folks were there so of course, Kate and I had to take pictures. He was big and fluffy and vibrated! Yes, he vibrated, hahahaha, I suspect it was some compressor to keep him big and fluffy.
I spent a bit of time at the GS Giants area where I watched a tutorial on how to pick up your monster bike and some skills drills. I probably should have geared up and participated. The seminar was put on by the BMW Performance Center and it was excellent. The people who did participate had immediate results and improvement. Wow!
Along with vendors, there were many, many seminars. It was difficult to pick which ones to attend and unfortunately, some overlapped. However, first on my agenda was Lynda Lahman's seminar on The Women's Guide to Motorcycling.
I kept running into folks I knew and/or folks I'm Facebook friends with. That was sooooooo fun. Here is a picture of Paul Glaves in the middle and Damun Gracenin on the right. I met Damun quite a few years ago at the Last Gathering in Demming, NM. That was so cool. He is such a fun guy :-)
I was so tired and worn out from the BMW MOA National Rally that I soon began looking for a place to stop. I found one in Ashland, OH. A rather nasty Super 8, but there is a Denny's next door. Hey, almost first class, hahahahaha (NOT!). Doesn't matter, it's a bed and the shower was so wonderful. I had taken a few showers at the Rally but they were in mobile semi trailers. Hey, not bad for what it was but not really my cup of tea. Neither are port-a-potties! Oh well, just part of the price I paid for four days of insane go, go, go, fun!
I'm missing a lot of detail here because I didn't really have good access to the internet and computer. I did manage to use my phone a bit and then..... I LOST IT! Yes, I lost my phone. Fortunately, it turned up at lost and found with some very funny pictures on it. I'll share those another time :-) Man, I was glad to get that phone back. I can't imagine how I lost it. I actually thought I might have lost it down the port-a-potty because I had it in my back pocket and suspected it might have slipped out of my pocket and into the nasty stuff below. If that had been the case, I would not have attempted a retrieval but would have purchased a new phone! Anyway, I got lucky, someone found it and turned it in. Lucky me!
This trip had a number of firsts for me. My first BMW MOA rally and my first time camping in a tent off the motorcycle. I learned some things I would do different if I ever do that kind of camping again. My poor old body is a bit sore from sleeping on the hard ground. The pad I had didn't have all the much padding! All in all, I think I was quite successful at the camping thing. Fortunately, food and coffee were only a bit of a walk away.
It was also a first long trip on a brand new bike without my Eric whom I missed very much. On one hand, it was awesome to be on my own with the Beastie Bike and an adventure. On the other hand, I truly missed him (and his valet service :-) ). I still have another week of adventure planned so please stay tuned.
Everything is going great (knock on wood) and I'm looking forward to what the next few days might bring. I forgot to mention the torrential rain storm in Indiana or maybe I did in my last post. It was pretty epic. The big windstorm in Hamburg was quite the experience. Lots of heat and sweat. Lots of walking and talking and eating and having a fun time.
I was fortunate to hang with great peeps who know how to have fun! Not a single spoil sport or pouty person in the bunch. I'd probably do something like this again, now that I have a bit of experience and a lot more knowledge. I know what I'd do different and what I wouldn't change.
Life is good, I'm happy. I'll be more than ready to see my honey in a week! So there you have it folks, my Hamburg BMW MOA National Rally camping experience! Whew! It was intense and I know I'll sleep well tonight.
Thanks so much for following me and pinging me to make sure I'm okay. I truly appreciate it. More adventure posts forthcoming!