Friday, July 29, 2011

Hot Bikes, Hot Women, and Hot Times At The BMW MOA Rally In Bloomsburg, Pa

“You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re going to ride up to the Bloomsburg rally in this heat, and not have it come to a bad end.”

This was the verdict of my trusted cardiologist, doctor, and friend.

“You weigh more than a neutron star and pinball around on that poor cane under the best of circumstances,” the doctor said. “So now you’re going to put on a black mesh jacket, black perforated leather gloves, and a black helmet, prior to flopping onto a water-cooled K75 — which cranks out the heat of a gas grill — under what amounts to a week-long solar flare?”

His assessment of “Plan A” was uncanny.

“Does the expression ‘really stupid’ strike a chord?” he asked. “Try this... Suit up in the body armor, roll the bike out into the driveway, and sit on it with the engine running. Then call me back if you don’t die.”

I donned full gear while standing over an air conditioning vent in the kitchen. I was wearing a crisp pair of Defender (Kevlar®-line jeans from Diamond Gusset), a full mesh jacket by Joe Rocket, and skin-tight summer riding gloves from Icon. I took three steps into the garage and felt myself expand in 99º (F) heat. My shape was being defined by the retentive strength of my protective gear... And then I banged my head on humidity that would dent a shovel.

I rolled “Fire Balls,” my 1995 K75, out into the driveway and thumbed the starter button. The engine detonated into life and I immediately switched off the “bogus” choke (idle advance for the fuel injection) as the motor was already as warm as a stove lid.

This performance was being witnessed by Chris Wolfe and Mike Cantwell, two friends who had ridden down from Lake Placid, New York, (7 hours distant) to attend the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, in Bloomsburg, Pa.

“Are you leaking coolant?” asked Chris.

“The bike’s hoses look tight,” I replied, glancing over the machine.

“Not the bike... You!”

A fine spray of liquid was squirting through the mesh on my jacket, and puddling on the ground. Within two minutes, geese were paddling around in it. It was hotter than friggin’ blazes. I felt like the attendant in a steel mill who samples the slag with a huge tube. I switched off the bike and staggered into the garage, where the heat was a degree less than the broiling tarmac outside.

The gloves came off like they were tattoos. My jacket was a sodden mess, and the crisp creases in my riding pants were as faint as my recollection of wedding vows. “You win,“ I said in a return call to the doctor.

Fifteen minutes later, David Hardgrove showed up in a bright red Ford pick-up, with a cab temperature of 68º (F), and Fire Balls was ignominiously loaded onto my Kendon trailer. I threw my riding gear behind the truck’s front seat, still determined to make a moto presence at the rally. After all, I’d ridden up to the Vermont MOA Rally in 2006, and to the MOA Rally in Tennessee in 2007. Those rallies were held in the dead of summer. (Then I remembered wearing a long-sleeve shirt as temperatures dropped to a chilly 66º one afternoon during the Vermont rally. That was not likely to happen here in Pennsylvania.)

Above) "Fire Balls" arrived at the rally towed by "Big Balls," David Hardgrove's red Ford 150.

We opted for the fast track and took the Pennsylvania Turnpike to I-80. My mood was subdued as David, a chemical engineer, made small talk about what rally events we should check out first. I anticipated a highway choked with BMW’s, but saw very few. Chris Wolfe (on a piss-yellow Honda VFR) and Mike Cantwell (on a pristine blue BMW K75) disappeared into the haze on the horizon, doimg about 200 miles per hour. (Mike has the directional instincts of the late Ray Charles, so he led.)

MOA rallies draw participants from all points of the compass, and before long a red Triumph pulled alongside. The rider wagged his finger in shame at the K75 in bondage. (I was touched by his sympathy, and showed him a finger of my own.) The Triumph’s wingman was astride a Kawasaki Concors, and he was peering into the cab with more than casual interest. He'd recognized my vanity plate — “RIEPE” — from my blog. This was none other than George Ferreira, the publisher of the biker blog: Riding In the USA. George raised his face shield and shot me a huge smile, which, with a glance at my restrained German bike, acquired the characteristics of a Kawasaki-rider's sneer. The Triumph rider was his pal, Wayne Fields. Both are from New Jersey.

We followed these guys into the rest area at Allentown, and were reunited with our advance guard, Mike and Chris, who came in 25 minutes later, after having missed the exit for the Northeast Extension of the Pa. Turnpike. (It’s an easy turn to miss as the sign is the size of cruise ship.) Chris assumed that offended British look of his and observed, “Fucking Pennsylvania is the only fucking state with three fucking turnpikes.”

Within minutes, we were joined by a bunch of riders from New Jersey, all on “R” bikes. There is a highly lovable trait common to all bikers from New Jersey. Whenever you say something like: “How are you? It’s great to see you guys,” they look at you like you’re trying to steal something. “I’m Jack Riepe,” I said to one guy, who replied, “I know who you are. Don’t sweat on my motorcycle.”

Two hours later, we arrived at a rally site that was like the epicenter of universe for German motorcycle perfection.

Every conceivable variety of “K, R, F.” and “S” bike lined the pathways through the tent sites. Tricked out K1600GTL’s (once thought to be mythical) were parked shoulder-to-shoulder with pristine “Toasters” and surviving WWII bikes. For me, there was nothing as exciting as riding around the rally grounds and picking out stunning K75’s with unusual fairings or custom paint jobs. My personal favorite was a K75 decked out with a Krauser fairing and bags, with blue flames trailing back from the front. (It gave me big ideas for Fire Balls, including red LED lighting buried in the frame.) There were a number of bright yellow K75’s — with black trim — which made me think of giant “Yellow Jacket” wasps. These machines exuded a raw sexuality that is beyond the “practical shoes look” given off by “R” bikes of a similar vintage. I was looking at one when a woman half my age came up to me and said, “This bike makes me want to do something bad...” I glanced at her and she quickly added, “But not with you.”

One machine that brought my eyes out on stalks was a BMW C1 scooter, carefully painted to look like a map.

One thing I love about BMW MOA rallies is that you can ride your bike as close to the action as you like — and park it just about anywhere. This leads to a mad chaos of traffic control and a great mix of extraordinary German Iron. Yet because of the level and paved nature of the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds, I didn’t see one dropped bike.

Above) Roddy Irwin (behind the wheel) made sure I arrived at my speaking engagements without that "freshly hosed" look that was so popular during the rally. In the background is the madness of the Mac-Pac camping compound. Ron Yee is standing dead center, watching two other Mac-Pac members grease the seat on his "R" bike. Photo by Gary Christman.

My first destination was the camping compound of my local club — the Mac-Pac Eating and Wrenching Society — the premier chartered BMW riding organization serving southeast Pennsylvania and the world. Next to the Great Wall of China and the printed version of the US budget, the Mac-Pac campsite was the third man-made structure on earth capable of being viewed from space with the naked eye. The main structure was a tent-like awning, shaped like the Taj Mahal, equipped with four beer taps (which gushed the purest and best home-brewed nectar, the temperature of an Alpine spring). The main feature was a custom-built picnic table, built by Ken Bruce, that was the size of an aircraft carrier's flight deck. It could easily accommodate 18 people on a side. This remarkable camping complex was surrounded by 50 or 60 tents, in which happy campers changed their tee shirts every 20 minutes, as the temperature hit an impressive 103º (F).

Above) Left: Peter Frechie, my friend, doctor, and trusted cardiologist prepares to wrap a radial tire around my arm so he can take my blood pressure. Can you think of a greater testimony for a Kermit Chair? Photo by Gary Christman.

Above): This is all that remains of the Mac-Pac Pig Roast, the culinary highlight of the rally for our club. Conducted by Rick and Linda Sorensen, this evdent unfolded like a major WWII troop movement. If Linda Sorensen had been entrusted with the organization of the earth's creation, it would have been completed in five days, regardless of the heat. The pig's head was sent to Congress, where it brokered the current debt ceiling compromise. Photo by Gary Christman.

Above) Hundreds of rally attendees (myself included) opted to stay in air conditioned dormatory suites at Bloomsburg University, as opposed to camping on the scorched ground like convicts. This led to scenes like the one above, with college community streets lined with German iron. Photo by Gary Christman.

It was so hot during rally week in Central Pennsylvania, that Amish farmers ate their straw hats and took wagon-loads of their kith and kin to bowling alleys, movie theaters, and tattoo parlors — any place that was air conditioned. In the course of three days, more than 50 riders would be rushed to the hospital for heat stroke. (This included three members of our group.) Water sprinkers, tons of ice, and thousands of bottles of cold water (freely distributed to the masses) prevented that number from being much higher. Although the BMW crowd is known for its ATGATT philosophy (All The Gear All The Time), this was the first rally during which I saw legions of Beemer pilots riding in bicycle shorts, bikinis, speedos, shirtless — and without helmets.

Above) One of a dozen beautiful swimming holes on the Susquehanna River in Bloomsburg, Pa, where hundreds of riders fled to beat the heat. Photo by Gary Christman.

Hundreds of rally participants roared out onto PA Route 11, and Pa Route 42 in search of swimming holes along the picturesque Susquehanna River. This bucolic ribbon of water spills into isolated pools and quiet coves less than a mile from town. It was a common sight to see dozens of gleaming Beemers, parked off the shoulder, while their riders cooled off in the water. (And just as pleasant was the absence of police cruisers with cops yelling at people to stop having a good time. In fact, Bloomsburg, Pa. was about as hospitable a place as you’d find anywhere.)

Above): GS riders were offered a technical riding course that was filled with "Adventure." Here a rider has pulled into a stream that has flooded an abandoned railroad tunnel. Photo by Gary Christman.

Above) GS riders charged through the unknown, kicking up rooster-tails as they navigated this flooded railroad tunnel. Photo by Gary Christman.

Above: "Pit Crew Member" Kimi Bush and the author... Pit Crew Members Kimi Bush and Linda Sorensen wore these shirts and got the audience warmed up for the author's presentation.

There were two midways on this fairgrounds. The first was dedicated to the moto vendors, where trading was heavy for gear, gadgets, tires, and customizing. (I watched in amazement as an artist applied pin-striping to a number of machines. This simple but elegant touch made these bikes stand out a bit from the crowd. "Tattoos for motorcycles," I thought.) The other midway was a broad boulevard set aside for the food vendors. (And I would have visited each one if it hadn’t been so damned hot.)

There was one or two slightly disappointing aspects of this rally for me. The heat succeeded in subduing some of the more outrageous, spontaneous festivities that usully erupt at these things. For example, at the Johnson City, Tennessee rally, we dragged furniture from our hotel rooms and had parking lot parties that ran the length of football fields. Here, it was still 92º at 10:30pm, and no one wanted to carry on outside, let alone serve cocktails.

The second disappointment concerned a most grevious and vicious attack on myself.

It had appeared that I had made it through this rally without suffering any of the personal indignities usually inflicted on me by my riding buddies Pete Buchheit, Dick Bregstein, Gerry Cavanaugh , and Clyde Jacobs. This largely because I had a busy schedule and didn't really get to see these guys a lot. On the day of my presentation, however, a person or persons unknown attempted to hold me hostage under the worst of conditions. Perhaps it was the excitement of the morning. Or perhaps it was the prune juice and Vodka I'd had for breakfast. (This cocktail is called a "Squatting Russian." ) I arrived on the rally site an hour prior to my presentation and was compelled to park my bike — pronto — before seeking solace in one of the porta -potties dotting the rally scene.

It was like sitting in the microwave from hell.

I had no sooner composed myself for the business at hand, when I heard something of a thump at the door. "This unit is occupied," I said, cheerfully. "There are 38 more just like it to the left."

Instead of a reply, I heard something like a sinister whisper and a giggle: the sound "R" bike riders make when involved in puerile conspiracy. A faint sheen of sweat appeared on my brow to match the sinking suspicion I felt in my heart. And when I tried to exit, the door wouldn't budge...

This was because my motorcycle was leaning against it.

With less than an hour to go before my presentation, some fish-faced enemy of the people trapped me in a porta-pottie, that was approximately 98 percent full. The fragrant atmosphere of the interior recharged itself every 30 seconds as the temperature continued to climb. Worse, my own K75 was playing a major role in my inevitable asphyxiation.

My screams caught the attention of a passing Amish pie vendor. He rolled the bike to one side, opened the door, and said, "Rough night for you, eh buddy? Just spend the money on a hotel room next time." Rally security interviewed several hundred witnesses, the majority of who not only took credit for this escapade, but who wanted a write-up in the MOA's magazine as well.

I never went about the rally alone from that moment on. Tricia and Carol, two highly trained security experts and MOA volunteers, piloted my ass around the rally grounds in an armored golf cart. Carol constantly scanned the crowd for latent editorial critics, while Tricia posted pictures of Clyde, Pete, Dick and Gerry on the cart's dashboard. (She vowed to open the nitrous oxide valve, boosting our top speed to 28mph, before running down my alleged assailants.)

BMW Rallies are famous for their tech courses and seminars on everything from mechanical know-how to advanced riding. There was no lack of these at Bloomsburg, including a rip-roaring, off-road GS track and more than 20 classes scheduled over three days.

Above) Tricia and her beautiful, yellow "R" bike, vowed to hunt down my attackers...

Above) Carol used this heavily armored golf cart to keep me from being abducted and also to keep me from drowning in my own sweat. Note the number on the cart is #1.

It was at 9:30am, on July 22, that I launched my career as a moto speaker. My topic — How To Breathe Life Into Any Ride Report Or Motorcycle Magazine Story — drew nearly 300 people into a discussion on techniques guaranteed to supercharge the moto story-telling function. My presentation hinged on five simple points, supported by anecdotal data. The four points were:

1) Make sure you have an interesting story to tell.
2) Tell the story by seducing the reader.
3) Seduce the reader by putting him/her in your shoes.
4) Spring an ending like a woman jumping out of a cake. (Make sure it is an attractive woman.)

Above) The conclusion to any good story sneaks up on the reader. It should be a total surprise, like the girl popping out of the cake. Photo by Mary Baker.

I explained it is critical to capture the reader’s attention with a dynamic opening sentence. My three recommendations for good opening sentences were:

• Nothing smells as bad as the breath of a bear at 6am.

• I never thought an entire life could fit into two side bags and a top case.

• “I’m not really late, I said to the Mac-Pac guys, "I stopped to donate an organ. In fact, I donated it twice.”

The first example introduces an interesting crisis to the reader. The second example implies personal conflict like divorce. And the last is a pure, classic Riepe tactic, in which I use the truth to hide a more obvious truth.

I also gave two examples of really bad opening sentences...

• After mowing the lawn, painting the porch, and waxing her car, I had enough courage to ask my lovely wife of 22 wonderful years if I could go to the BMW MOA rally in Bloomsburg.

• The highly reliable BMW has always been regarded as the “Volvo” of motorcycles.

In the first of these, the speaker does not fit the Teutonic mold of the decisive, bold, BMW rider, and there is considerable evidence he is a gelding to boot. If the gentle reader cannot immediately see the flaws in the second example, he should report to a re-education center immediately.

My presentation closed with the introduction of a new product and a contest. The “Twisted Roads Enforcer” is a new concept in motorcycle helmet design. While most helmets serve as a passive insurance policy to protect your head against contact with the ground, they do little to alert the surrounding traffic of a biker’s presence.

Above) From left: Linda Sorensen, Rick Sorensen, Kimi Bush, and the author at the introduction of the "Twisted Roads Enforcer" helmet. Photo by Mary Baker.

Equipped with a rotating police beacon, and a siren which doubles as a public address system, the “Twisted Roads Enforcer” helmet actively announces a rider’s presence and punches a hole in surrounding traffic. The prototype — built by Mike Cantwell — created a sensation when Rick Sorensen (another Mac-Pac member)strapped it on and charged the crowd.

I then challenged those in attendance to write (5 paragraphs or less) about the helmet, or my session — using the techniques I demonstrated during my presentation — and to submit these to, no later than August 31st, 2011. Mark the subject line “Helmet-Session Contest.” The winner will become my guest columnist in the BMW MOA’s magazine — The Owner’s News. The runner up will be featured here as a guest columnist for this blog. Each will also receive a fabulous prize (to be announced).

One of this rally's high-water marks for me was meeting 5 moto-bloggers, with whom I have developed enduring professional relationships. Richard Machida, of Richard's Page, blew in from Alaska. Machida's blog covers riding in Alaska, with a strong emphasis on cultural events, the weather, social developments, and nature. He rides an "R" bike. Steve Williams, publisher of Scooter In The Sticks, rolled in on his classic Vespa. I initially tried to pattern "Twisted Roads" after Williams's blog, as he writes about things moto (plus life, nature, and introspective thoughts) — in the most soothing manner. It has been pointed out to me that Williams's brand of sincerity differs from mine in that his is genuine. Rick Slark, of Keep The Rubber Side Down, rode in from Ohio. Rick is a cigar aficionado and a fan of my book. His blog is pure moto with diverse observations, comments, and photos, covering a broad area. (One of my pit crew ladies — Kimi — told Rick she was a former Mrs. Riepe) George Ferreira, publisher of Riding The USA, writes about touring, interestimg destinations, and people he meets along the way. He is based in New Jersey.

I had the privilege of sharing a couple of hours of deep conversation with these guys over lunch. (Rick Slark disappeared, much to my regret.) Lunch was pulled pork sandwiches and fresh, hot apple dumplings. Just the thing for a perfect day with temperatures in triple digits. The proprietor, an attractive woman in her early 30's, explained that the apple dumplings would be much better in a month or two, when the new crop of Macintosh apples came in. I demanded a retro-actve discount for all of us, considering an inferior product had been foisted on unsuspecting consumers, who's traveled great distances to be swindled.

The poor lady caught her breath for a second, before realizing the game was on. She then offered to meet us all at the same place in October for dumplings on the house. (Had she been from New Jersey, she just would have told us to shove them.)

A day later, Nikos Laskaris, the publisher of Nikos' World arrived from Europe with Mrs. Nikos — the charming Electra. I found them wandering around the rally site asking people, "Have you seen this ponderously fat person, who purports to be a writer?" They were sent to the same (now vacant) porta-potty 57 times. Nikos is about 6'7", and as Greek as they come with a soft British accent. Mrs. Nikos — Electra — is about 5'4" and is as German as any of the motorcycles on display at the rally. I had the pleasure of introducing these folks to a select number of the Mac-Pac, and the delight of their company over dinner that night.

Nikos brought me up to date on the state of motorcycling in Britain, while Electa was simply abuzz about all sorts of things. It had been my intent to take them out to a local joint in Bloomsburg, but long lines of bikes outside every gin mill and steak joint on Main Street changed my plans, and we ended up at Ruby Tuesday's instead. ("Why didn't you just take them to the local jail" asked Leslie/Stiffie, when I told her we'd ended up at a US chain restaurant.) My deepest regret is that I had to be on the road at the crack of dawn the next day, and didn't have the opportunity to take Electra and Nikos through Amish country, or at least join them for a souless breakfast in the lobby of their hotel. Better yet, I'd have loved to have ridden with any or all these guys.

Above) Four blog publishers meet to set parameters for all future blog posts... From left: Jack Riepe (Twisted Roads), Steve Williams (Scooter In The Sticks), Richard Machida (Richard's Pages), and George Ferreira (Riding In the USA). Not present for this shot was Rick Slark (Keep The Rubber Side Down) and Nikos Laskaris (Nikos World) and Mrs. Nikos, who showed up the next day. Photo by the waitress, who pawned off apple dumplings made with secondary fruit, at the insistence of Steve Williams.

And so ended the BMW MOA Rally of 2011. Rumor has it that I have suggested that the slogan for next year's rally — to be held in Sedalia, Missouri — shlould be: "MOA in Missouri — Because It wasn't fucking hot enough last year!" I am rather looking forward to Sedalia... I love their onions.

To receive a free electronic version of the handout presented during my session, please send your request, including your name and the bike you ride to, marking the subject line: “Handout Request.”

My presentation at the Bloomsburg Rally was made possible through the generosity and vision of Hermy’s BMW & Triumph, in Port Clinton, Pa. Hermy’s has a full riding season of events with three planned for August. Please see the schedule posted to the right.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011 — All rights reserved.


Sounds like it was, Ihor said...

, great fun! Like the raucus party scene from 'Papillion'. Glad that all survived and little Fred C. Dobbs behaviour was observed.Don't forget to check the weather and see if phoning it in might not be more prudent for Missouri next year.
Summerrr!!! - when you just can't wait for Hell.

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
I cannot believe you've described the same rally I attended. We rode up early in the day, before the sun was high; the temperature had only reached a measly 101 degrees. We made it through Registration and then hustled ourselves back to the air conditioned splendor of the College dorms, where we poured cold drinks fortified with ice cubes over our heads. The heat at the Rally reminded me of Augusts during my childhood in NYC, except there were no fire hydrants to turn on. The MOA staff did a superb job planning and executing. If the temperature had been twenty degrees lower, nobody would have had anything to bitch about. Truthful, there was lots for which to be grateful like riding buddies looking out for their buddies, and someone trying to stop you from speaking by locking you a porta-shitter. It was good time.

Cantwell said...

Why do you really love Sedalia onions?

John said...

I was a bit sad about missing the rally this year, but the heat was oppressive. I chose to stay home in Air Conditioned splendor and take a trip later when the weather is less brutal. Besides when the rally is so close what is the fun?

Riding to VT. was awesome, but a short day ride. TN was better, but I still made it home in 1 day. I need to go to one that is further away. Where is the next one?

ian said...

excellent report, jack.

i like your slogan, given that we can't say "It's not flat" about next years rally.

RichardM said...

I would second the comment about being 20 degrees cooler and the superb job the staff and volunteers did. We did miss the first 10 minutes of your talk since we weren't sure what "under the grandstands" meant for a location. One of these days, I may actually ride my bike to one of these rallys. (Assuming I can find a ready supply of coal for the trip).

It was great to finally met you and I should have hunted down the Mac-Pac Pig Roast.


Anonymous said...

Rode 800+ miles to listen to pearls of wisdom fall from your mouth. Rode through temps ranging up to 101. Got monkey butt from the sweat and very hard seat on my F800ST. Was it worth it? Don't know. Had to choose between you and the demo ride on K1600GT. Yes, you lost. Were you good? The demo ride was great!

If I go to MO, I ain't riding the F800. The 800+ miles home weren't any cooler or more comfortable. MOA did a good job under extreme conditions but I may never camp again!


irondad said...

It's really not funny at all when it's that hot, is it?

I keep trying to rid myself of the habit of reading your blog. You, Sir, are a terrible influence on me. Now I've developed a fondness for pulled pork and a fear of outhouses. Which really sucks becaue that's all we have available when we teach. I tried pissing on a BMW tire but the big blonde woman kicked me in the groin when my pants were still down.

Through it all I keep coming back. You have an absolutely great way with words. There is a cynical disdain that I'm trying hard to copy. I must be getting it down because I'm close to being both fired and divorced.

Do you talk in everyday life like you write?

Cantwell said...

Dear Irondad,

If Jack spoke like he wrote, he'd be considered for sainthood.


Chuck and the Pheebs said...

As a recovering BMW motorcyclist, I approach riding in oppressive heat pragmatically. The route is charted and a Monte Carlo risk variance analysis is performed - heat stroke in gear (a certainty) vs skin grafts if the bike is lowsided (remote - but it has happened).

The outcome is invariably the same and may be summed up with two words:

Ride naked.

A word of caution prior to saddling up: sun-baked vinyl and testicles can lend a whole new meaning to the term Fireballs...a little water goes a long way.

i said, hey Joe
take a walk on the wild side
-Lou Reed

Ara & Spirit said...

You are a very funny Man Jack... With some hope we will meet you next year at the next Rally...
Be well, always... be sincere... :-), you can...
Ara & Spirit

BeemerGirl said...

Dear Jack,

I am grateful that you held on in melting heat and wall o' smell. But celebrate that you were only locked in and the outhouse wasn't tipped over on the door.

Hmm...kinda like cow-tipping.

Stephen King recently wrote about someone in that position. He had to crawl out through the storage container. See? Be glad your attacking posse didn't think of that for entertainment.

So sad I missed the presentation. I will be writing for a copy. But it will not be as good without you presenting it. How much would you charge for a custom speaking gig?

-Steel Cupcake

ADK said...

It was actually 9hrs of unrelenting, incendiary, ball boiling, eye popping, Dante like hell both there and back.

Thanks to Leslie for being an impeccable hostess in the face of mine and Mike's heat crazed thousand yard stares.

And Thanks to:

Dave for all the help and good will and good nature, as well as the ferrying back and forth.

Mike Cantwell for being the perfect navigator and riding partner - I don't know what we ate on the way back dude, but I paid for it until Wednesday!

Buzz for the room - saved my hot and skinny ass.

Woody for the very well timed emergency beer.

To Paul and Pete and Ron for that very spirited early morning ride to God knows where. Maybe we get to see the falls on another trip. And Pete, bring that bloody tambourine of yours next time so that I can keep up w/ y'all.

Duc Dude for getting heat stroke (or drunk or stoned or whatever), because that allowed for an evening of Old Brit Bike stories that I rarely have the pleasure to indulge in. And Mate, I'm getting a ride on that rusted, overpriced piece of Stevenage church railing the next time I'm down there.

Karin of the BMWMOA for the T shirt I didn't deserve and the conversation.

Mary Baker for treating my friend like the hanger on he really is.

Everyone from MAC-PAC for the pig, the beer, the incredibly gracious good humour, The Water, AND The Shade!

And to Jack for inviting me in the first place, and for what was undoubtedly the best attended and funniest morning talk, under very trying circumstances, of the entire rally. Condolences to anyone that missed it - Jack, perhaps you could arrange for your next public address to be staged in a blast furnace - for comforts sake. And to Hermies for making that hour possible.

To the girl in the kiddie pool - You know who you are - I haven't enjoyed being that wet in years.

And to anyone I've forgotten to mention due to poor manners or poorer memory.

You're all going to fry like chitlins in Sedalia!

Ken Bruce said...

Dear Jack,
This rally redefined what it means to "rally" and your presentation on Saturday was a terrific success. I'm glad I was there for it. As for the table...before construction I checked with the Bureau (for) Unusually Large Load Seating Held In Tents (B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.) Your picture came up so I knew their load recommendations would be sufficient. I'm proud that you approve.

Unknown said...


I have a bad case of Jack rIEPE envy as I couldn't make it to the rally. And next year it is still too far away, unless of course, I trailer my bike there, just like you did

Riding the Wet Coast

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

Generally, the evenings at these Rally are a lot like the frat party in Animal House, or at least it is that way until 11am when most of these guys nod off. But the heat killed that. And for three of these rally evenings, the difference between night and day was about four degrees.

Contrary to the manual, I always let my K75 warm upo for three minutes before pulling off. It makes the engine run better. As Chris Wolfe pointed out, I was starting it warm. I am alrady making plans for Missouri. There is a lot I will do differently.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick Bregstein:

Hopefully, this will be the last rally I have to trailer to... But I think Peter Frechie was right. The heat was high enough where heat stroke was somthing to consider, especially for a person my size. There was little cooling in the 80 mph breeze along the Pa Turnpike, and the three guys who collapsed were all a lot thinner than me.

As Peter so aptly put it, my job was to get up there and speak... Not to arrive a total wreck and stagger around moaning. Still, the number of folks who trailered was embarrassingly few. So, all I can do is plan to try it differently next year.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mike Cantwell:

Sedalia onions have that distinctive oval shape and a sweet taste tha maked them perfect for salads, or a fast saute for hot dogs and burgers. They are only available at certain times of the year. Hopefully, that will be the rally time.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John:

The 2012 MOA Rally will be in Sedalia, Missouri. That is about 1100 miles from here and a good morning's ride. Hopefully, Congress will have passed the "Ideal Temperature Act," guaranteing a high of 86º (F) during the day, and a low of 56º (F) at night. Those are ideal temperatures for topless riding iun the afternoon, and humping at night. Too bad neither is an activirty associated with BMW motorcycles.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ian:

I am delighted that you liked this rider report regarding the recent BMW MOA rally in Bloomsburg. There was a lot going on a this rally and I'd hate to think that the oppressive heat would steal the spotlight.

Worse would be to let the issue of the heat negatively impact any plans anyone would have for the rally in Missouri next year. I got a copy of the "Missouri Bastard's Almanac" which states that scalding hot summers are cyclic there and next year could easily be the coldest summer on record, with temperatures as low as 79º on some afternoons.

I hate like hell to bet against the odds and miss perfect riding weather in Missouri just because of an average temperature issue based on previous years.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M:

You'd have been welcome at the Mac-Pac pig roast as I paid for additional tickets, thinking one or two bloggers might have hung around for the succulent pork action. But the heat was a distraction and I myself could barely feign enthusiam for any outdoor actvity. I partked my ass in that Kermit chair and didn't move for an hour.

I'm sorry you missed the first ten minutes of my talk, as that was when I praised you as the driving inspiration in my life. A friend of mine looked at a picture of me speaking, and mention that appeared to be wearing a two-tone shirt. I was embarrassed to explain that it wa a light gray shirt that appeared darkened by sweat.

I had a blast meeting you, and regret I didn't have more control over the circumstances. I would have likked to have had all of your guys come back to my suite for cold drinks and pizza... But it wasn't in the cards. The 2014 Rally will be on the west coast, and I am thinking it will be cooler there.

Thank you for making the trip to Pennsylvania, and taking the time to meet with me. It was a total pisser.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Pathfinder:

Had I learned tht you were forced to decide between me and a test ride on the K1600GT, I would have provided you with a private presentation of your own. Or, I would have gone for the K1600GT test ride myself.

I think the last really pretty BMW motorcycle rolled off the assembly line in 2004 (the K1200GT), in Orient Blue. BMW motorcycles are not easy on the eye. And the F800 is not easy on your ass either, apparently.

But I will say this, BMW is way out in front when it comes to introducing mechanical innovation. No one holds a candle to their pioneering spirit — especially in these tough times.

What was the problem with the F800? Not enough bsalls for the trip or was the seat too primitive? If iot was a question of the seat, may I direct you to the folks at Russel Day-Long. Those guys built a seat on my K75 seat tray that sings hymns to my ass. You couldn't ask for a better deal.

Thanks for reading Twiated Roads and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad (Dan):

Flattery will get you everywhere as far as I'm concerned. Language is the currency of the soul, and I pride myself of being the "loose change" of civilization. I find it hard to believe that anything I could say or do would influence you in any way. On the other hand, doesn't taking a walk on the wild side beat adhering to the straight and narrow?

I mean, would you raher have a discussion with a rider you'd just met in a parking lot on high visibility gear, or have a beautiful woman come up to you and lift up her shirt? The correct answer to that question has been my guiding principle for 57 years.

The "cynical disdain" you mention is part of life's skepticism that comes from being discarded by women, spit on by short-sighted employers, and ignored by those who purport to know better. It is the view that comes from staring up from the gutter.

Trust me on trhis one... Get fired before you get divorced. It feels much better in court to give a future former spouse half of no income.

Pissing on a BMW tire will eventually get you struck by lightning. Thor has no sense of humor.

Thanks for reading Twiated Roads, Dan, and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Michael (Cantwell):

Would I be considered for sainthood because I'd been burned at the stake? That was a very nice thing to say.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chuck and the Pheebs:

The heat had gotten to the point where I was seeing double... And then I was passed by a stunning woman in a bikini, riding a pink F650. And if I thought she was going to crash, I'd have thrown myself between her and the pavement.

And yet, heat stroke can be reversed by intravenous fluids, air conditioning, and ice cream... Getting tossed on the pavement in your bathing suit can mean $500,000 in skin grafts, just to look like a bad burn victim.

When it is so hot that heat stroke is a likely consideration, I'll stay at the bar... Watching the bikinis come in from the beach.

I still hope to get to Key West early next spring.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ara & Amp, Spirit:

I tried sincerity once, and only succeeded in confusing the hell out of everyone. Now I just save it for the days when I need to get laid. I am delighted if I can make you laugh every now and again. Each person has a purpose, and mine is obvious.

I'll be wearing a red poinsettia on my lapel in Missouri next year, so you can easily recognize me. I'll be looking for your hack rig.

Fondest regards,

Steve Williams said...

HOT is the watch word for your post, the rally, and the things you experienced. It echoes my brief visit to Bloomsburg but my own post on the event, still in the thin ether between my ears, seems to diverge on a few points. Or I saw something different.

It was good to finally meet the man, the legend, the writer who has launched a thousand K bikes.

For anyone who missed your talk, too bad for them. It was great. Of course I've been stuck now for a couple weeks trying to come up with a good lead sentence...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steel Cupcake:

My enemies collect like flies on legislation. They conspire and misfire. I am impervious to their schemes. While trapped in that porto-pottie, however, I had an out of body experience; and imagined myself in the nation's capitol, sitting on a mountain of lobbyists.

I sent you my handout, which is a but a mild taste of the overall presentation. I am thinking of taking my talk on world tour. And I have ben known to give command presentations for a tank of case and warm donuts.

Is Missouri any closer than Pennsylvania? I will be maing a presentation there too — in 2012.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris Wolfe):

I cannot thank you enough for all the help, assistance, and consideration that you extended to me. If I am this gimpy next year, the only thing I'll want you to do is shoot me.

And I am especially grateful that whenever I got a pretty woman talking to me, you showed up and took her off my hands. Thanks a lot, you prick. (There was that really cute cookie, who later said to me, "I could listen to your friend's accent all night." You should have seen the look on her face when I told her you came back from Singapore with syphilis.

You and I have been friends for a long time, and I can't believe we are pissing away the best years of middle age by crashing bike rallies.

This was a very touching and considerate note you posted... So much so I was convinced Missy wrote it. I took the liberty of posting it to the Mac-Pac list.

I'm sure I will have another Suburban by next summer... I'll also be thinner and easilly confused with Brad Pitt. So I suggest we trailer out to Missouri year, set up an air conditioned outfitter's tent, and run our own wet tee shirt contest for three days. We'll need Cantwell as a front man. No one ever suspects him of anything.

Thanks for a great time... One more time.
Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ken Bruce:

I understand that picnic table was converted into a toll plaza for Amish buggies up in Strasburg. That table was a work of art, and did justice to eight years of shop class you had in high school.

I sincerely hope you are planning something equally elaborate for the rally in Missouri. I was hoping for a picnic table with reclining seats, and beer taps every three feet.

Thank you for all your work, Ken. When is the August dinner, by the way?

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

I was so touched by your kind remark, right up until I came to the barbed wire at the end. Oh, how the poison stings. The BMW MOA folks have divided the country up into four districts, and will move the rally from one disrict to another, from year to year. It was 113º (F) in Missouri today. If it is anything lie that next year, you can bet I'll be trailering westward too.

By the way, there is a red hot K75 for sale in Montreal. Zap me if you want the details. This could be your big chance to buy your way into the Roundel club.

It was great to hear from you tonight. How is your foot feeling after weeks in the saddle?

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Scooter In The Sticks (Steve Williams):

Thank you for your kind note regarding this blog episode and our meeting in Bloomsburg. Meeting you and the other blog publishers added a rich dimension to my rally experience. But it was our additional 2-hour chat that may have changed my life. I am now compelled, nay, driven tro master this sincerity thing.

Leslie tells me I am missing the chip... But I have been practicing by staring in the mirror while thinking kind thoughts. (I bet there's more to it, though.) I deeply regret that you are so far away, otherwise I would show up at some of the places where you have breakfast on Sundays to show you my progress.

August 21st is the third Sunday breakfast of the month. I'd be delighted to introduce you to the Mac-Pac, and to post you for membership, if you were in the vicinity.

Fondest regards,

Your Pal,

ADK said...

You can thank me with some decent Scotch.

Don't know what happened, but you drink like a fucking nun these days.

I'd shoot you in a minute for no reason at all.

That cute cookie called me last night!

You know how I've been pissing away the best years of my middle age - Don't delete September '09.

Cantwell is suggeting that a posse of Mac Pac'rs roll this way in September. Let me know if that's going to happen and I'll call Jan for you.

Wouldn't have missed the trip to Bloomsburgh for anything.......

Well, maybe $10.

Doc Rogers said...

Nicely written Jack. Work kept me from the rally and the 55 deg F temps underground required a fleece jacket even though outside temps pushed a hundred. It was hell (not). Wish I could have heard you speak and met you. Hope next time you head down the BRPW you drop me a line. Your pals actually let you off easy with the portalet. The normal "southern" protocal is two complete wraps of duct tape and tipping the head over forward so the door is on the ground. Uh oh ... where did you say the next rally was? ;-)
Take care and thanks for the stories!
Doc Rogers

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chris Wolfe (ADK):

You made quite an impression on the Mac-Pac. I asked if they would accept you for membership and the reply was, "Who's Chris Wolfe?"

Mosy of them remember you as they guy who came with Michael Cantwell.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Doc Rogers:

I was under the impression that most BMW riders from the south are still amazed that modern commodes are indoors in the first place.

You missed a hot time in Bloomsburg, I can tell you. But unlike most great things in life, there will be another one in Sedalia, Missouri about the same time next year. On page 113 of tyhe Missouri Bastard's Alamanac, the prediction is that July 2012 will be the coldest on record, with temperatures in Sedalia hitting a high of 76º the week before the rally.

Fondest regards,

ADK said...

Who's Mike Cantwell?

Conchscooter said...

Good work Jack. You're looking good. I'd do something bad with you.

Classic Velocity said...


Not sure if you saw the "blueman" K75 at the rally. I saw him on the road near route 46. Blue K75, same blue helmet, blue windshield, blue aerostich suit. I figured you would know any strange K75 owners. BTW, Great presentation at the rally. I am looking forward to Sedalia.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Adk (Chris Wolfe):

Mike Cantwell is the guy on the K75 you couldn't catch on your Honda VFR (Visual Flight Rules).

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

Welcome back. Your adventures in ITaly are the talk of the town. The temperature outside tonight is 70º and the rain is coming down in buckets. I would have given my eye teeth for one night like this during the BMW MOA Rally.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Wayne (Classic Velocity Blog):

I heard about the blue guy on the matching K75, but our paths did not cross. You've given me an idea for assembling K75 owners in Sedalia for a"beer tent" rally.

Glad you liked my presentation.

Fondest regards,

Bluekat said...

Awesome post and photos of the event, Jack.
It's great to hear about meeting everyone. The porta-potty episode - priceless! And deserving of a nice, painful payback.

The heat sounds terrible. I'm not sure I could handle it. But would loved to have been there to hear your presentation, and meet everyone.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear BlueKat:

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for leaving a comment. My adventures pale in comparison to your own, however. Your recent trek up to Montana was resplendant with great pictures, and an account that sounded just terrific. And I think you may have been spared this heat.

By the way, it is supposed t be in the low to mid-80's here this week... Why couldn't this have been rally week?

Fondest regards,

Joe Dille said...

Yo Jack,

Well done. Sorry I did not make your presentation at the rally. It was fun riding to the rally and seeing everyone.

Nikos said...


Where do I order the helmet from? Do I get Kimi Bush to come and fit it for me?

Bob is onto something for next year - -maybe I'll trailer my GS to Missouri too.

Gary France said...

The heat must have been ready to claim many victims as anywhere near the 100 degree mark makes you feel akin to a turkey at Thanksgiving. It was quite a coincidence that George recognised your plate on the road and I seem to remember that big smile of his. Riding through that flooded railway tunnel looks like a lot of fun, but probably not on one of my bikes. The tale of you being trapped in the toilet by your own bike had my laughing out loud. It was terrific to read that so many moto-bloggers were able to get together. Maybe one year we should organise a gathering of as many as can make it, but I vote for somewhere warm, not hot.

Unknown said...

Mr Jack r:

I wouldn't have survived in that furnace either. Glad you made it there and back in one piece. I would have liked to have heard your presentation too.

Riding the Wet Coast

Anonymous said...

You must start having your speaking engagements video recorded. Your words of wisdom and sarcasm are like a welcome cold front on a hot summers day.