So hopefully this tidbit is useful -
I didn't mention this because it didn't seem relevant to the trip report, but in the larger context perhaps it is.
My riding buddy and I were able to go because Edelweiss is a [B]big supporter of BMW MOA. [/B] My riding buddy won the trip as part of the raffle a couple of years ago, so the trip cost was essentially cut in half.
Edelweiss is a quality outfit, if do you choose to go on a guided tour, they are worthy of your consideration.
Anyone can feel free to ride guided or unguided anywhere they wish in the free world. Guided worked for us quite well and we enjoyed the experience - it was a first for me and I appreciated their expertise, equipment, accomodations and guides.