Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mini Rallies

Just for the record, here are some of the stops made in 2016 and the rides we took.
Besides plays, operas and visits from friends and family we kept busy.

Every Month we have a Breakfast meeting at the Niagara BMW Motorcycle Club and another meeting of the Ontario BMW Motorcycle Club. Naturally, when we are not around we miss those meetings.

May 2016: Wellsboro, PA
Wynken, Blynken and Nod
It is becoming an annual affair to meet the Ontario Club members in this small PA town for wine, cheese and a few days of just getting together. The club rides as a group, but I am not a group rider, so we just ride ourselves and meet them there. In town is a statue of Wynken, Blynken and Nod, make of bronze. I did not know this poem so I looked it up. The poem was written by a former Wellsboro Resident, Eugene Field in 1889. It seems I had a ‘hole’ in my knowledge, so here is the poem if you never heard of it.,_Blynken,_and_Nod    a very cute story I never heard of before.

June 2016: Bracebridge, ON
Horizons Unlimited had their annual Travel Adventurers Rally in this nice location. We spent a long weekend there with food included, slept in bunk beds like the old camping days from school. We enjoyed meeting new people that love riding motorcycles too. Seminars dealt with tricks and advice for travelers; what visa to get, what website or app to download, what farkle to add to the bike, etc.

July 2016: Hamburg, NY (MOA Rally)
About 6000 folks showed up for this annual event of the Motorcycle Owners of America which this year was held in Hamburg, NY, just a bit south of Buffalo, NY. This was so close to Toronto that many Canadians visited for this rally. In fact the chair people who organized the rally and had the most say was John (Dutch) Lammers and his wife and co-chair, Kate Lammers.  They did an outstanding job; this was one of the best rallies I have attended. We arrived early and left late and spent the whole week learning about new things that have been developed for motorcycle riders. The seminars dealt with how to: fix flat tires, fix modern bikes with Can-bus electrical systems, pack soft luggage, camp better, etc. etc.  There is almost too much offered, but we had fun. I bought a Moto Softback (a stuff sack for my camping gear), which I found too irresistible not to buy it. Smiles! Carol won the oldest female rider award.

August 2016: Heath, MA
The Damn Yankee Beemer Rally was a meeting I had heard and read about but never visited. The site was deep in the woods, no store was near, and the closest town was 30 minutes via moto. A wonderful location and the rally folks did their darnedest to keep everybody ‘busy’ and occupied, but for me, it was a bit of a downer. I was spoiled from the experience I had at the MOA, I guess. Still, I am glad I went because now I can say I attended at least once. We camped, of course and the weather held out wonderfully. The area is a fantastic area to ride one’s motorcycle. Heath is very close to the Southern Vermont border.

Trenton, ON
Loon Award
On the way back from Heath we just had to attend the ‘last’ Return to Trenton Motorcycle Rally. Unfortunately there are not enough attendees to keep this rally going. Trenton was the site of the only MOA rally that was not on U.S. soil but it was a wonderful rally 10 years ago. Ever since, the Canadians celebrated their success with the ‘Return to Trenton Rally’ which is now defunct. This year’s rally was the last. Carol won oldest female rider and received a loon statue, the last of its kind, a collector’s item now. Jean Copas auctioned off whatever she could at a flea market kind of setting, so I bought a soft helmet case for travelling. Could not resist the price of CAN $

September 2016:  Watkins Glen, NY
We also attended the annual Finger Lakes BMW Rally, a get together that at one time was talked about being ended but is still going. I like this rally because you can bring the ‘stuff’ you have accumulated during your lifetime and try to sell it at the flea market that they hold for this purpose. It is difficult to pack additional stuff on your bike that you ‘might’ sell, but I do try to bring something every year. And ….   I usually sell stuff.  I keep the prices ridiculously low, for fear of having to schlep all this stuff back home. It’s a smile on your face sale, and everybody has fun and finds a ‘bargain’. The Ontario BMW Club holds their monthly meeting at the Finger Lakes Rally and even installs a meeting tent. Most of the club members slept in a large bunk house with bunk beds galore. Carol and I camped. I am not a friend of large groups anything.

Goshen, VT
Another rally I have never attended was the Vermont Green Mountain Rally. Following the weekend of the Finger Lakes we hung around and made it eventually to Goshen the following weekend. We met Muriel Farrington, who camped too, and Ted and Irene Warren. We just sat and talked to folks. The food was plentiful, the location an old Summer Camp and it was apparent that the people of Vermont knew each other and that it was ‘their’ rally. We were visitors, but we were made welcome. It rained one night and I thought our tent would break but it did not. Others were not so lucky, there were blown away tents and ripped canvases. When we left the sun shone. Our way back home led us through really stunning riding locations. Vermont is a motorcycle riding paradise, they even have rough, gravel roads if you so choose.

October / November 2016:  San Antonio, TX
Carol’s family had a celebration in Texas. Sure we could have flown out or even driven, like most people did, but we are motorcycle riders, so we made plans to ride down. Taking our time, we decided to not take any super highways but use local roads instead. Terry Church told us about US road # 62 that was installed before the Interstate Highway system. It runs from Buffalo, NY to El Paso, TX. It’s a local road kind of like the famous Route 66. I did not know about this so we looked it up on maps and the internet and decided, yes, this is for us. The end of October was cold in Ontario already and we had to wear lots of clothing, especially since it also rained a little. It was not as cold as earlier this year when we rode to Florida but cold enough. This trip down Rt. 62 was like a treasure hunt. We had to find it south of Buffalo and then followed it wherever it leads. A GPS is helpful but one cannot plug in ‘follow # 62’, it does not work like that on a GPS. All of this searching and looking for road signs is part of the fun however, and we did have a wonderful time riding down Rt. 62. Once we were out of NY State and entered PA the roads were stunningly perfect for motorcycling. The way winds itself through the Algonquin National Park and PA has some hidden treasures along the way. We had to find hotels whenever we came near a larger town and we did great. We found a hotel each night. No problem, well almost none. Yes, sometimes the hotels were old and historic and expensive but that is part of the trip, right?

After PA the road heads through Ohio and I never saw OH like that before. Ohio was very business-like, very commercial, and very ‘not’ likable. There were just too many shopping malls, traffic lights, cars, people, and industry.  But once we entered KY, oh wow, just GREAT!  Twisty roads, horse country, different looking properties, it looked like tons of money lives in KY. We wound our way through towns, through several more states and eventually entered TX. What a big State. You can ride forever and still be in TX. We had hotel reservations and had a great time celebrating the reunion of the Taub Clan and then had to head back. Again we ‘tried’ to keep to local roads but after a while it became too cold to diddle around. The farther North we went, the colder it became. So we changed our tune, took the Interstate and headed for the barn as fast we could. We made it in time to be in Buffalo on Nov. 15 for my semiannual physical which turned out to be a good thing. I am still ‘healthy’ said the Doc.

December 2016:   Iceland         See separate report 

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