Roger and his family graciously offered to hold a BMW Tech-Day at their sprawling estate near Auburn, IN over the Mother's Day weekend. This was an absolutely fantastic event, my favorite Tech-Day so far.
My long weekend began Thursday afternoon with a ride from Annapolis, MD to DuBois, PA where I met Lew and RJ at the DuBois diner near the DuBois Manor Motel. I decided to ride the Triumph Explorer, still barely broken in with 479mi on the odometer. I need to test this bikes' "long-distance" touring capability and to see about its ergonomics and general handling characteristics while lightly loaded with camping gear and clothing for 3 days, the travelling bar, etc. The ride to DuBois was largely uneventful, hit the usual traffic snarls around Frederick, MD. I also rode in some light rain, which in my recollection did not warrant putting on my raingear. There was one small scare as I pulled in to get fuel, hit the throttle a bit too hard and spun the rear tire, luckily caught it in time before dumping the bike. I immediately put the bike into "Rain" mode, lesson learnt here. Throttle input is much more tame on this setting. I was chasing the rain for several more hours, mostly able to dodge it.
I pulled into the Motel around 8:30pm, met up with RJ and Lew for dinner. Establishment was closing but kindly opened their doors and allowed me to order, I splurged on a delicious cheeseburger, onion rings and a cold beer.
After we caught up and dinner was devoured we took the short ride back to the hotel and parked as obnoxious as the a-hole that double-parked their truck taking 2 spots in front of our room. (These photos were taken the following morning)
The room was the typical low-budget affair that we treat ourselves to, it was clean and mostly functional (toilet flapper - not so much!l), The decor was probably left over from the 60's or 70's.
While taking a break I noticed that RJ is able to turn his ankles about 90 degrees, he blames it on the many motel room nights with the sheets tucked in tightly at the foot of the bed (which I always kick mine so hard that my feet are not in any way constrained). Try it, can you bend your ankles like that while at rest?
I offered to break out the bar and made us a Malibu Rum/Orange Vodka, Water and Tang mixer (sadly there was no ice to be had here). We later coined this drink to be the "Dirty Moon Putin". It quite good - don't judge unless you tried it!
The following morning we awoke early at 6am, stuck our noses out of the door to do a weather check, were a bit surprised how brisk of a morning it was but at least there was a visible sunrise. We mushed on with RJ in the lead, until now on his third and final reserve I decided to get in front of him and for him to draft behind me, even is now only making 65mph or so. We took an exit and with RJ back in the lead, he passed two gas stations and kept going. Well, for about another 1/2mile or so, until he ran out of gas. Turns out he was aiming to make an Ethanol Free Fuel gas station literally .6mi away. After a few failed attempts to siphon fuel from the Triumph, Lew suggested that he head to the nearby Napa Auto Parts store to see what he could scrounge up. I got on my bike to see if the advertised gas station was indeed a short distance away and open (to gauge how much fuel would have to be siphoned). It was close and open for business, so i returned with that good news. Upon my return, Lew proudly displayed his loot (a 1 quart can of 4 Cycle Ethanol free fuel - the irony of this is funny, considering that quart cost $7, after Lew's Napa discounts). Back on the road we made it to the gas station, filled up and i re-filled the "fuel can" in case we needed it again. Lesson learnt: Don't fill up the can to the brim, as i did (a: it needs room to expand, b. without a funnel it is impossible to pour)
We skipped breakfast in order to hit the JibJab Hot Dog place in Girard, OH. Had a nice breakfast and coffee, Lew and I were shivering a bit, I guess the 52 degrees was slowly sapping our body heat. Time to layer up and put on the rain gear (I didn't bring much else to wear). Lesson learnt: When riding in the spring, always pack the heated vest.
We pounded out the remaining miles, only stopping for fuel and short breaks. We arrived at Roger's and pulled the bikes into his huge barn, where other attendees were already enjoying Rogers' hospitality. The "barn" is simply fantastic and would serve as our headquarters for until Sunday.
"Sledge" (Boxer/Mastiff mix) might just be the friendliest dog in Indiana, this was a fairly common scene throughout the weekend, Sledge looking and receiving attention from everybody in attendance.
After quick introductions and looking over the bikes already there, we cleared out 4 bikes (into the house garage nearby) so that a table and chairs could be setup for dinner, etc. Don Beverage soon arrived and the party was pretty much "on". Meet Don, the Indiana Airmarshal and an all-around great guy. Later, Don looked at Brian's R80/7 electrical issues. Cool bike which has an RS fairing mounted. Brian asked if I wanted to take the bike for a quick test ride, I gladly obliged (he had some concers about proper clutch engagement), etc. Nice to ride an airhead again after the 500+ miles on the Triumph.
Roger & Holly served up a nice dinner with Hot Dogs, Burgers, Chile, Macaroni salad, beans, etc. Fantastic spread. Roger's kids joined us in the barn with some of their friends, later we joined them around the roaring firepit.
A good time was had by all, some of us stayed up until early Saturday morning. Only Don & Brian pitched tents, the rest of us found floor space in the barn to inhabit - some of us in nicer style then others.
Holly served Eggs, potatoes, bacon, coffee and Bloody Mary's. And so the day started out for me ...
Kind of funny, Saturday during the day Sledge would find and make himself a little nest in sleeping gear abandoned for the day.
After breakfast Don herded us back into the barn so that the Tech Day could commence and wrenching could start in earnest. We addressed various things on a few bikes, fork springs on the R80/7, and final drive fluid leak fix on Joel's R65LS. There were some trailer repairs being made.
I took a few prom photos for the family.
Others ran out to acquire more malted beverages, ice and O-rings needed for the R65 repair. It began sprinkling a bit, I tended to a few more pitures on the farm before the rains came in earnest.
So far we had been quite lucky with the weather. Don decided to take his GS into a field for a bit of dirt riding, i joined in on the Triumph. After a bit of fun we headed back to the ranch, I got lucky not to have dumped the bike as we excited the field and headed onto the gravel road.
With all bike repairs having been completed, we ordered pizza and had another fun evening of telling stories, drinking - you know the usual airhead Tech-Day BS.
We spent hours around the fire and also ran out for a bit to assist with a flat tire.
Sunday morning came way too early (had some torrential downpours during the night. I left Roger's at 08:10am in light drizzle, rode 680mi in various states of humidty / wetness. Was home by 19:45, 1800mi on the odometer. What a great weekend!