Posted by: Jessie | May 2, 2011

BMW Mini Rally

Eric and I went to Sturgis, MI this weekend with the Greater Cincinnati BMW Club.  We attended the Battle Creek BMW club’s Mini-Rally.  Tom used to be a member of the Battle Creek BMW Club, so he always tries to get as many of us to go as possible.  He says “It’s Sunny and 70 at the Michigan Rally!”  He wants us to believe that this describes the weather, but really 70 is the average age of the rally attendees, and if you are not 70 then they call you “Sonny.”  (Ok, not REALLY.  I’m just kidding.)

Eight of us rode up to the rally.  We left Tom’s at around 9am.  The weather was gloomy, but it did not rain on us.  It was a little chilly, I was happy I had my heated gear.  On the ride up we saw some flooding, in one place the water came up into the road.  We also drove past some tornado damage.  Someone’s barn had gotten torn up and strewn across the field next door.  Wow. 

We arrived at the rally around 4:00.  We set up camp, ate hot dogs for dinner, and then sat back to socialize and drink beer until it got too cold to sit outside.  I met some very friendly people from Detroit and Ann Arbor.

It was sunny, for a few minutes.

It got really cold that night.  Really really really cold.  Like 37 degrees kind of cold.  I slept in my socks, “expedition weight” long johns, Henley, and hoodie, and I was still cold.  My sleeping bag claims to be able to keep me warm down to 25 degrees.  It lies.  I was COLD.  I pulled the drawstring tight and closed the sleeping bag over my head.  Still cold.

The next day was nice.  After breakfast 10 of us rode out to Fennville to have lunch at Tom’s favorite Mexican Restaurant.  Tom took us on some scenic back roads near the lake and through the woods.  It was about a two-hour ride.  Lunch was authentic Mexican. 

I don't remember what this was called, but it was yummy.

After lunch we went to the cider mill across the street and picked up some pastries.  We took the highway back because we wanted to get back in time for the events.  Wow, was it gusty!  The wind was blowing me all over the road.  We got back to the rally just in time to watch the last event.  In this event the driver rides very slow as close to the small cones as possible while the passenger throws the ring over the large cone.  This is harder than it looks!  The first round nobody got a ring over a cone, so they had to move the small cones closer so the passenger did not have to throw so far. 

Dude! You're not supposed to run over the cone!

After the events I visited with the vendors.  There were a couple of bike dealerships showing their bikes.  I got to sit on a couple of Triumphs and a Ducati.  I met some more really friendly people from Battle Creek.

Does this bike make my butt look fast?

 I also got to test ride a BMW F650 GS, with a low seat and a low chassis.  Wow.  What a fine motorbike.  It’s light, nimble, and quick.  I had no trouble putting my feet down.  It had heated grips and a computer that does some cool stuff that I don’t remember.  Monitors tire pressure or something… I was more interested in how it handles.  I like the fact that it weighs about 250 pounds less than my K75 RT.  It had very little windshield, so there was nothing to catch the wind.  I took it out on that gusty road and the wind could not shake me!

After the vendors packed up it was dinner time.  The guys at their pastries and drank beer.  I got out my Jet Boil and Backpackers Pantry and made some instant lasagna.  It didn’t look like lasagna, but it tasted like it.  Pretty good.  I was impressed.

Mr Happy also indulged in Bourbon, Beer, and Donuts for Dinner!

After diner was the awards ceremony.  They gave out awards for longest distance male rider, longest distance female rider, oldest rider, oldest motorcycle ridden to the rally, winner of most points in the events, and club with the most members in attendance.  They also gave out about 50 door prizes.  It was my lucky day, I won both longest distance female rider and a door prize!  And I met even more really friendly people.

Two more members of our club showed up just in time for the awards ceremony.  They brought Bacardi and some great stories.  The drinking and storytelling went late into the night.  It was not so cold that night.  We all slept comfortably.

The next morning the sky was truly ugly.  The last official rally event was pancake breakfast.  We packed up as quickly as we could, gobbled our rally pancakes, and got on the road.  We got rained on a little, but it was not too bad.  We got blown around a little, but not too much.   We made it home safely.



  1. Looks SOOOO fun! I’m glad you were able to go. I love the comment about “Sonny.”

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