BMWMOA Rally in Missouri and Beyond

Jo Ann and I departed on a two week-long trip to the BMWMOA International rally on Tuesday, July 17. We got as far as Natchez MS before the bike began running badly. After contacting Cory at BMW Motorcycles of Baton Rouge, it was decided to return to the shop for diagnosis and repair. Cory wasn't able to complete the diagnosis and repair on Tueaday afternoon, so we returned home. The bike was ready Wednesday. The problem was a bad spark club wire on #3 cylinder that would intermittantly fail.

Thursday we again left for the rally. This time we made it past Natchez! The weather was hot, 108 while riding through Little Rock AR. Near Harrison AR, we finally hit some rain which cooled things off nicely. Thursday night was spent in Harrison.

We arrived at the rally site in Sedalia around noon on Friday. After registering we located Bob & Wanda who were doing volunteer work for the rally. We spent the remainder of the afternoon checking out the offerings of the various venders at the rally. The main event at the rally on Friday was the drawings for 12 motorcycles and other grand prizes that were to be awarded during the late afternoon and evening. As luck would have it, we did not win a single prize. Because of the bike trouble, I had cancelled our reservation at the motel within 20 miles of the rally. We ended up at a motel in Blue Springs, MO which was 70 miles away. on the ride to Blue Springs, we were heading west directly into the sun. The glare made it hard to see. We decided that we would leave the rally earlier on Saturday.

Saturday we returned to the rally site and visited with Bob & Wanda and members of the Alabama BMW club. There were two more door prize drawings. The last drawing was at 2 PM. After checking our numbers and not winning anything, we left the rally and headed west. Our Sunday destination was a cousin's home in Sidney NE, so we decided to ride part of the way there to shorten the Sunday ride. We stopped in Mound City, MO for the night.

Sunday's ride was hot with temperatures over 100 for most of the day. We arrived in Sidney late in the afternoon. The next two nights were to be spent in Sidney.

Monday we visited Cabella's main headquarters where my cousin worked. We also attended a rodeo Monday night. It was a good restful day and we were able to stay cool in spite of the heat.

We headed out early Tuesday morning for Cody, WY were we were to spend the next two nights. We passed by Chimney Rock but missed the turnoff for the visitor center. The ride through Wind River Canyon was breathtaking. We arrived in Cody in late afternoon. The day's ride was another hot one.

Wednesday we awoke to cool temperatures for a change. The ride to Yellowstone National Park was enjoyable. Our first stop was Yellowstone Falls. The view at Artist's Point is fantastic. Leaving the falls we headed to Old Faithful, arriving just a little late to see the geyser blow. We now had a 90 minute wait for the next eruption. We spent the time at the visitor center and by the geyser listening to the ranger talk. After Old Faithful put on it's show, we returned to Cody. Traffic was heavy in the park and there were quite a few sections of road repair.

We awoke to another cool morning Thursday. We headed for the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. The scenic highway had lots of "tar snakes", much more than there was when I had ridden the road a few years back. The scenery was still great. From Chief Joseph, we headed up the Bear Tooth pass. There was some snow at the higher elevations, but a lot less than I had seen in previous rides on the highway. We stopped at the Red Box Car Drive-In in Red Lodge, MT for their great hamburger and fries. From there we road to through the Big Horn mountains on our way to Buffalo, WY.

Friday started with a ride was to Devil's Tower in Wyoming. It was a windy morning while riding the interstate. After spending a little time at the visitor's center, we departed and headed to our destination for the night, Custer, SD. We ran across some road construction and had to ride a couple of miles on "dirt road". Luckily, it was dry and hard packed. After checking in to our motel in Custer, we rode to Mount Rushmore. On our return trip to Custer, we encountered our first rain since we were in Arkansas. Seeing the black clouds and rain falling a short way up the road, we stopped to don our rain gear. Naturally, by the time we had them on, the rain had passed. We rode to the motel with the gear on and encountered a light drizzle in a few spots.

Since we did not have time to visit the Crazy Horse monument on Friday, we headed there Saturday morning. We even took a short bus ride down below the monument. The driver was very informative and we got a different perspective of the amount of work involved in this undertaking. We then rode back to Custer to begin our journey south and homeward. Upon arriving in Custer, all the major routes were blocked due to a parade. The detour was not clearly marked, so we returned north and decided to ride through Custer State Park. Our aim was to ride the Needles Highway, but with slow traffic and a loaded bike, we veered off of the path and took another route through the park. Now, we were officially heading home.

We had only one more side trip on the way south, to see Carhenge near Alliance NE. Carhenge is a collection of cars that were arranged like the rocks at Stonehenge in England. According to the worker at the small visitor's center, the owner of the property collected cars. His son was a big fan of Stonehenge. When the owner died, his son decided to combine both his and his father's hobbies into what is now Carhenge. Very interesting set up. After our Carhenge experience we rode to North Platte NE for the night.

Sunday dawned cool and clear. We decided to stay off the interstate and head across Kansas, Oklahoma, and into Texas, hoping to make it to Childress. But the heat (temps reached 109 for a while) and frequent stops cut our day's ride short. We ended up staying in a motel on old US 66 in Shamrock TX.

Monday was another hot ride across Texas. We made quick work of passing through Dallas as we rode the HOV lanes. By the time we got to Natchitoches, LA we had had enough of the heat. Most of the day we rode through temps of 104 and up. The temperature in Natchitoches was 100 when we stopped for the night.

Tuesday we returned home. Despite the heat, we had a great trip.