Up at 6:30, dressed, fed and on the road to the rally site by 8:30 AM. My First Aid Center shift begins at 12:00 noon today, so I wanted to get there early to do some vendor browsing beforehand.
I changed into shorts and sandals and stowed my gear temporarily in the first aid room while I attended the Woman Rider seminar. It wasn't what I expected or hoped for, but was too polite to leave. LOL! Onward, then, to the vendor hall and outside vendors, but first a stop to watch Skert do her bike pickup demonstration at the outside stage next to the demo bike area. I ran into another Houston club member, and saw Mike ride by, looking for us with the club sign-in roster for club attendance awards. That was lucky!
My next stop was Bill Mayer Saddles to fill out an order form for a custom saddle for my not-yet-owned R1200R. I can get a spare seat pan and get it sent in to be worked while waiting for the new bike to be built in Germany. BMS is offering a rally discount plus "head of the list" build date, and I wanted to take advantage of that. Next, it was inside to find the Bob's BMW booth. I spoke to Bob Henig about getting a seat pan and also ordering the side cases for my R1200R. He is offering free shipping for rally goers, so this will help alot, as these are bulky items. I ran into fellow MTF'er Don Wallace at the Bob's BMW booth. We'd been playing phone tag for the last three days.
My last stop was National Cycle to ask the manager which windscreen he had on the R1200R at the RA rally the previous month. From the website I saw that there were two heights and wanted to make sure I ordered the right one. So, now my business was complete!! I was hungry!
The rally food was not the greatest, consisting of typical vendor food: hot dogs, polish dogs, hamburgers, and the like, but I did find a pulled pork sandwich that wasn't too bad. But I sure was craving some good food!
The 4-hour First Aid Center shift was relatively quiet. We had four staff, so two of us took the radios and the golf cart and roved for awhile. It was good to get out and about the rally site on four wheels for a change. We packed things up at 4:00 and closed down. I walked over to the campsite of the Louisville group, but they were striking camp, as most of them were leaving that afternoon after closing ceremonies. One of the fellows was planning to leave the next morning, so he and I walked over to the beer hall and had cold drinks and went off in search of ice cream. That hour spent just sitting and talking was really pleasant and relaxing.
The hordes headed over to the outdoor arena bleachers for the closing ceremonies. No, I did not win the R1200GS!! In fact I didn't win any of the grand prizes, but I did win one of the daily door prizes! Mike from Houston called me on the cell phone to say that he was at the grocery store buying things to cook on the grill. One of the other club members camping at the rally site was having a cookout for all Houston members. I wandered over there after the closing ceremonies but didn't think this shindig looked very promising, so I bid goodbye, walked over to the day parking lot, changed into my riding gear and headed back to the hotel.
I parked, dumped my stuff in a chair in the lobby and walked next door to Subway. As I arrived, a fellow on a GS with Canada plates rode in to the Subway parking lot and got in line behind me. What the heck! I asked if he was staying to eat, 'cause if he was, I would. So we had a pleasant meal together. He won one of the grand prizes: the $1500 gift certificate for camping gear from Twisted Throttle. Turns out that a couple of years ago he retired, sold all his belongings and has been riding and camping all over the world on his GS! That particular grand prize couldn't have gone to a better recipient!
Tomorrow: Enchanted Highway, Teddy Roosevelt, and coloring another state on the map.