Friday, July 1, 2011

BMW RA Rally Days!

We arrived at our delightful little hotel Wednesday and just chilled for the rest of the afternoon.  Thursday morning Mike was up early and on his way over to the rally grounds to meet up with Ron and get registered.  Good for them!  After three early morning wake-ups, I was pretty sure I wanted to sleep in a bit and take it easy. 

One thing about long trips taken by motorcycle...I am usually desperate for some exercise by the third or fourth day of being confined to a riding position.  My plan for the day, therefore, was to walk into the cute little downtown area of Chippewa Falls in search of a cappuccino and some breakfast and then maybe continue my walk to the rally grounds at the county fairgrounds.    A quick look at Google Maps showed the perfect walking route through tree-lined residential areas to the bridge that crosses the river into the town.  It was an easy mile walk and I was rewarded for my efforts when I found Lucy's Delicatessen right on the main street in town:   Lucy's Delicatessen.   It was bustling with local customers.  I bought a small pastry and a mocha caramel cappuccino to go then continued my stroll up the main street toward the fairgrounds on the north side of town, a total of 3.5 miles. 

I needed to walk to the ice rink where registration for the rally was being held.  I'd already pre-registered but still needed to pick up my wristband and get my rally program book.  I then called Mike on his cell phone and found him and Ron in the vendor area.  I also ran into a fellow MTF member, Ray Williams at the Schuberth booth.  We chatted a bit, getting caught up on his travels to the IBR checkpoint in Buffalo.  I met up with some other folks I know...Karol, Deb, others from my active volunteering at the MOA rallies.

We wandered around a bit and when it was nearing lunchtime I suggested we meet at Lucy's Deli for lunch.  They were convinced!  They gave me a head start walking, and they rode down and met me there.  None of us were disappointed!  Great authentic-style deli sandwiches!  

Mike has an old digital camera, one that I sold him a few years ago when I purchased a newer, smaller, and more capable Canon Elf.  Back at the hotel, he pulled the camera out and realized that the batteries, though recently charged, were not holding that charge.  The camera is old as are the batteries and I convinced him that it wasn't worth spending money to buy new batteries when for just a little more money he could have a new camera.  We walked over to the Walgreen's but he didn't like the selection, so I put on my riding gear and climbed onto the back of his Concours to ride down to Eau Claire to the Sams Club.  He found a very nice Sony digital camera, small and compact like my Canon.

It was close to dinner time so we rode on over to the rally site where we met up with Ron and had the baked chicken dinner and I tried one of the Leinenkugel beers:  The Summer Shandy, a great citrus-y light beer.

Then we found the ice cream stand, manned by the Kiwanis Club and we treated ourselves to a cool dessert!

Friday morning Mike and I hopped on our bikes and headed north up 124 to Route 78 into Cornell.  We overheard some others the evening before talking about taking this was supposed to be scenic and pleasant.  I checked the route on S&T and discovered it was very short, maybe 30 miles one way.    At first, Route 78 seemed to just run through some rural dairy land, but in a few miles it snugged up along the river and we started to see glimpses of the water through the trees and homes.  It was a pleasant road, just not spectacular.  Soon it turned over a bridge and into the town of Cornell.  We rode through the tiny little downtown area then headed back south along 78.  On the way up I spotted a turnout and so, on the way back to Chippewa Falls, I turned into that turnout and we took a photo break.  It gave us a pretty view of the river.

On the way back into town, Mike chose to head back to the hotel, and I rode on over to the rally grounds to meet up with friend Bronce, who'd arrived that morning.  I had purchased an inexpensive folding chair at Walgreen's the day before and had it strapped to the back of my bike.  I had shorts on under my riding pants and had my sandals in the sidecase.  I was prepared to spend the entire day off the bike with Bronce at the rally grounds, seated in the shade and just visiting. 

I spotted those giant bratwurst sandwiches being sold by the Lion's Club, so that was the first order of business!  Bratwurst with sauerkraut on a bun.  Yum!!   This would be a good day to catch some of the seminars so Bronce and I walked over to the red barn to hear Nate Kern's talk.  About a dozen of us sat in the hot barn for over 1/2 hour waiting for him but he was a no-show!  The next seminar was at 3:00 PM, about packing lightly, and Bronce wanted to attend.  It was well-attended.  When we walked into the barn prior to the start of this seminar, I spotted a fellow Houston BMW rider, Dave!  That was a nice surprise!

I was ready for Friday night Fish Fry!!  Mike, Ron, and Dave attended a 4:30 seminar, Bronce and I headed over to the beer tent.  On the way over from the camping area, we stopped to check out Dave's new-to-him trailer, which he pulls behind his BMW K1200LT.  At 5:00 PM we were first in line for the buffet.    The fried fish was great!  And of course I needed to finish it off with an ice cream and Bronce treated.  

The next day we will be riding up to Duluth to the Aerostich factory store so I said goodbye to Bronce, with plans for him to meet us at the AmericInn for an 8:00 AM departure Saturday morning.  I pulled my riding pants on over my shorts, put on my boots and jacket, then helmeted and gloved, I headed back to the motel.

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