Sunday, July 17, 2016

Adventures on the GS Adventure - July 13 - 17, 2016 (Hamburg, NY BMW National Rally)

I found my bike undisturbed when I got up on July 13 at the nasty Red Roof Inn in Springfield, OH.  After a quick bite to eat, I loaded up my stuff and got on the road.  I was rather happy to leave that place behind :-)

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.
 Pretty grounds and nice and clean.  Very few peeps at this stop which was just fine with me.
 Of course, the obligatory photo of the Beastie Bike!
 Around 3:00 pm or so I finally arrived in Hamburg, NY.  With two GPS units navigating, I was able to find the Fairgrounds without any problems.  I pulled up to the BMW Rally gate and parked the bike while I spoke to the people manning the gate.  Apparently registration had already closed for the day so they told me to go ahead and find a place to camp.  They pointed out where the RV's and trailers were to park and told me to just keep riding through and I'd find tent camping.

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 strategically parked the Beastie Bike to preserve a few other campsites.  Tents were simply wall to wall to wall to wall.
 Hahahaha, all unpacked, tent set up, shorts on and my hat.  Yes, my hat!  I've needed a compact, travel sunhat since we went to Egypt and I didn't have face shade.  So, I found a great hat that has an adjustable cord so I could pull it tight enough to fit on my little head.  No, it's not fashionable, but, dang it works.  I was happy the entire four days that I had that ugly hat!
 Lynda and Terry Lahman arrived not too long after I did and they camped just to the right of me.  Kate Johnston showed up later and camped a bit behind and to my left.  Nancy didn't arrive until Saturday and by then one of our neighbors had left so she had all kinds of space to pitch her tent!

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.

 Kate and the Michelin Man!
 So, after walking a thousand or so miles, we stepped out on the front at registration and who do I run into?  Yup, Jeff Augustine or Auggie.  Fun :-)  This picture is the best.
 But this picture totally cracks me up.  What do you think that expression is all about on my face?
 I'd love to give you every detail, but honestly, we did so much, saw so much, talked to so many people that I simply can't remember every tiny detail.  There were a TON of people there.  Actually, the official count was 6,000.  Everywhere I looked there were tents and motorcycles.

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!

 Peeps participating the in the GS Giants skills seminar.

 They had also set up a track for a competition of GS Giant riders.  However, prior to that, we spied this GS Giant with a sidecar taking a loop or two on the track.  What fun!

 Oh yes, there was a beer tent.  Not really a tent, but rather a covered pavillion and it got packed.  Here are some pics when it wasn't so busy.
 You had to purchase tickets to get the beer.  One ticket gave you domestic cheap beer like Bud or Coors.  However, two tickets would get you some micro brews!

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.
A well attended seminar, Lynda covered topics such as Competence, Confidence and Voice.  She did an outstanding presentation and you could feel the empowerment of the women in attendance.  A few men were there as well and I think they gained a new appreciation of women who ride.

 Back to the inside vendor area, who do I run into?  Greg Rice from Florida!  He stopped by on his way to a Motorcycle Tourers Forum Ride to Eat in Buffalo.  That was fun :-)
 A few pics of the outside vendor area.

 Hanging out at our campsite, who should find me?  Deb Gasque, the Iron Butt Fashionista!  We've been Facebook friends for a while but had never met.  It was so fun to finally meet her!  And, yes, she is indeed a Fashionista but absolutely not a Drama Diva.  She looked gorgeous and was camping!  I need to take lessons :-)
 Friday afternoon, Nancy Lefcourt finally shows up and pitched her tent.  She had competed and completed the Butt Lite VIII the previous weekend and took a long ride-a-bout before landing in Hamburg.  It was good to see her!
 Just a funny sidenote - Nancy had purchased a new tent, sleeping bag, air mattress and camp chair and had them all delivered to the fairgrounds in Hamburg.  She spent one night with all her new stuff and then packed up the tent because she really liked it and strapped it to her bike when she left the next day.  She left the sleeping bag, mattress and chair which I enjoyed that night and then in turn, gave them away to some folks from Ontario who had a trailer and enough room to take them home.  Hahahaha.  It was cheaper for Nancy to do that than to ship her stuff from home and ship it back!  Who knew?  Disposable camping gear :-)

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 :-)

 So, a few random photos.  This struck me as kind of funny.  Morning Devotions held in the Beer Garden.  Hmmmmmm.....nectar of the God's?
 Hey, that's Jim Owen, winner of the 2009 Iron Butt Rally!
 There's Lynda Lahman giving us a great smile.  Her Honda got quite a bit of attention, too!
 Nancy Lefcourt, tent all packed on the bike and everything else given away except that camp chair on which she insisted she keep and use until she was actually on her bike riding away!
 I attended the Closing Ceremonies with Kelly and Jay Van Allen (sorry, my pics of them disappeared!).  This is where the prize tickets were called out and some great prizes they were.  Many tours and the grand prize was a new BMW motorcycle.  Damn, no I didn't win anything, boooooooo!

 Finally, it was Sunday morning.  Vendors were packing up as were all the attendees.  After so much fun, it was time to go home or on to the next adventure.  I tried to sleep in but to no avail as peeps started packing and making noise around 5 am.  Ugh!
 It was starting to empty out around my campsite so I decided I would do the same thing.  I got my things tidied and packed on the bike.  Said farewell and headed off in the morning sun.
 I hadn't really made a plan for my trip back west so I headed out on I-90 for a while.  I stopped at this rest stop on I-90 and took a picture of Lake Erie.  It was so beautiful!  Sunny, nice temperature and vineyards with the lake as a background, stunning!
 Hahaha, just to document I was in Pennsylvania :-)
 Oh my heck, I need a selfie stick!
 A bit further on I made another stop.  There were several Rally folks also stopped here in Ohio.
 A nice monument to those who lost their life working on the streets of Ohio.
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!



  1. Great pics and story Cletha! It was a fun week for sure. Enjoy the rest of your adventure!!

    1. Thanks Kelly. We have to hang out more often. I had so much fun and laughed myself sillier ;-)

  2. If you're camping and over a certain age, nothing beats a LuxuryLite cot. It's a couple of pounds and packs in a bag about 18" long so super easy on the bike. I got mine from the original LuxuryLite folks before the were bought by Thermarest but they're the same torsion bar suspension system cot.

    I won't sleep on the ground any more. Even when backpacking I figure the 2lbs is worth it compared to a night of aches & pains on the ground. Add a Big Agnes Air Comfort pad if you want the next best thing to home (certainly better than the Red Roof😀).

    1. Wow, thanks for the tips, Jim. I saw several peeps with cots and was very jealous. If (and I say "IF") I camp again it will most certainly be with a cot.

  3. And here I was roasting my ass off in Clovis. I hated missing the rally but sometimes, well, there's not much choice. Glad you had fun and got to see some old friends.

    1. Old and new friends. It was a very fun time. Sorry you couldn't make it. Hope we get to see you sometime soon! Hey, come out west and visit! Yes, do that!

  4. What a great time Cletha! Thanks for keeping us up to date on your adventure! Dawn D

  5. You may want to consider stopping in Paonia, Colorado on your way home. There is another BMW rally going on there this weekend. Turn south at Glenwood for a fun ride up and over McClure Pass.

  6. Glad you had such a fun time at the rally (other than the wind storm) and I am impressed that you tent camped! I have either stayed in hotels, or last year, stayed in our RV. Actually, briefly met Kelly V last year too! Going to catch up on your most recent posts, cheers!