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Thread: Brad's Blitz to Branson

  1. #1
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Brad's Blitz to Branson

    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  2. #2
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Day 1

    It was still dark with an air temperature of 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

    • What the heck am I doing?
    • Who am I going to meet?
    • What am I going to do when we get there?
    • Do I really want to spend the next few hours riding with people I donÔÇÖt know?

    Despite these questions of doubt, I decided to open the garage door anyway at 5:45AM on Thursday, April 8, 2004 and head out for the Blitz to Branson. First stop, Cracker Barrel in Joliet, IL to meet people I had been corresponding with on the BMWMOA forum, Tracy and Rebecca. I wonder what they must have been thinking. The maps and experience said it should take about 1:45 to get there. I didnÔÇÖt want to be late, so I left 30 minutes early.

    Well that didnÔÇÖt work out, a traffic jam on Interstate 80/94 ate up 60 minutes. Great, so first time I actually talk to them I will be calling someone I have never talked to before to tell them I will be late. Yup, this weekend seems to be off to a perfect stop. So I pull off the road at the Hazel Crest Toll Plaza take off the gear and make a call. First call, no answer on RebeccaÔÇÖs phone. Okay, call Tracy. Got her and told her where I was. No pressure it seemed like.

    So I kept riding and made it to Cracker Barrel at 8:30. 30 minutes late. I met Tracy in the parking lot as she was getting stuff out of her tank bag just as I was pulling in. Did a quick hello and stuff. Then inside where I met them both formally


    Always time for Art
    Courtesy of BoxerGrrlie (Rebecca)

    Brad, Rebecca, Tracy
    (left to right)

    So after some talking and food, it was time to get on the road. A quick stop for gas and we were off at 9:30. I am in the lead as I have the GPS and know the route. Hmm, how fast to go? How aggressive? Passing distances? All sorts of stuff. Figure best to just ride safe and see how we do. I am going to ride the way I feel comfortable and check to make sure that they are behind me.

    Cool they are in stagger formation behind me. Ahhh no big panic. Realize I should have asked more questions before we started. Well next rest stop, I know that Rebecca said before 200 miles we need to stop. Heading south on Interstate 55, only 500 miles to go. Miles and time are zooming by. A pretty good day to ride, but really windy. Rest stop ahead. I really need to go. I wonder if we should keep plugging or just stop. I knew I should have asked more questions. Ah push on.

    Tracy is coming up beside and taking the lead as we pull off at the next exit for a pit stop. We talk about the stops, speeds, and riding style and it seems like we are all in alignment. When we need to stop we stop. Goal is to get through St. Louis before the lunch stop.

    St. Louis is not as bad as I expected, but as the route was looking good a detour sign. So take the best guess and hope the GPS can figure it out.

    Hmm now time to eat. Ah a Subway. Good eats on the way is the key. I want McDonalds but I know fast food is not the way to go, need to eat healthy. So off to Subway we go. Not a bad choice at all.

    So far all seems good, the ride is good the company is good, the food is good. Rebecca is taking some cool shots of the bikes in the parking lot. The weather seems to have cleared up, might as well try out the RAM Mount for the camera.



    Pretty much just lots of riding, but as soon as we get off of Interstate 44 and onto US65, the riding just keeps getting better and better. There are hills and it is getting warmer. Ah here comes the promised land. About thirty minutes late, but still early enough for Thai Bunny.

    Thai Bunny was a comedy of errors. I thought we were leaving at 7:30 and then Tracy came to get me at 7:20 saying they were leaving. Quick put on the gear (All the Gear ALL the Time) and head out. All are gone. Ask at the desk and they give me directions. Hey even the little connector roads have more curves and hills than the entire state of Indiana.

    Ben "The Veg", Tracy, Rebecca and I get a table together and enjoy a dinner of various items. Tracy and I do not get what we ordered and Ben vegged out as his food took about an hour. Ah, no biggie we both liked our little surprises and we still had great conversations.



    There were about twenty of us from all over taking over the restaurant.

    After that we decide to head back to the hotel; it has been a long day for most of us. The best way to cap it off, why BradÔÇÖs Infamous AppletiniÔÇÖs of course. So out came the tools of the trade and the mixing began. We all had a few and put quite a dent in the supply.



    So then we called it a night and each went their own way to meet again at 8:00 AM for breakfast before we go riding.
    Last edited by BradfordBenn; 04-14-2004 at 02:52 AM.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  3. #3
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Day 2

    Where to go, where to go? The Veg said that the riding through Eureka Springs was worth the trip, okay one place to go. Rebecca indicates that she wants to go to Vaughan, Arkansas. Okay we can put the two together and probably have a decent ride. So after breakfast I head back to the room and put the route and way points into the GPS.

    Off we go. Tracy, Rebecca, and I are comfortable riding with each other since we did a few hundred miles the day before. Wonder how Ben will fit in?

    No problems. We make it to downtown Eureka Springs and stop for a few minutes. A beautiful day for a ride and some great turns and scenery. I ask if I was going too fast through the twisties or not fast enough. Seems to be that I can pick up the pace a little. I make sure everyone knows that they should ride at what they feel safe doing and I will slow down to keep them in the pack.



    The GPS seems to be leading us back into the middle of town again, but this time through the scenic route. A lot of little 15MPH streets with tight turns. It is quite fun and good scenery. After we officially pass by the waypoint of Eureka Springs, it is off to Vaughn.

    We arrive at our destination, and it is picture time all around.

    We donÔÇÖt want to stand around too much as we are right on the ÔÇ£mainÔÇØ street, in an active school parking lot, and it looks like rain is going to be coming our way. We decide we are hungry. So off we head to see where to eat. A few options appear, but none look to appetizing to the group, so I spot a Subway, and once again we eat.

    As we head out of Subway to get back to Branson before the rain hits, Tracy and I get a little up the road before we realize that Rebecca and Ben are not with us. We wait for a minute or two and then hang a U Turn to see what is up. BenÔÇÖs R has been hit by an electrical gremlin and stalled. Rebecca and Ben pushed it up the hill to give it a push start. All is good and we are on the way again, in search of a gas station on the way.

    We find a gas station. Ben being the highly trained professional he is, decides not to turn off the engine while fueling. Just in case it doesnÔÇÖt want to start. And away we go again.

    It is starting to rain a little bit more, but we are just on the outer edge of it and seem to be able to keep ahead of it.

    Whoops, took a wrong fork tine at the fork in the road. Time to turn around. So I lead us into a parking lot to turn around. Whoops the Bat Bike decides once again it wants to be nocturnal so Rebecca and I give Ben a little push. The Bat Bike is back to life. We continue back to the hotel and arrive with little incident.

    However Brad parking his bike is the embarrassing moment of the day. The hill was a little steeper than it looked and the side stand was on the wrong side of the hill. So in front of a few dozen of my ÔÇ£closestÔÇØ friends I dropped my RT on its side. Two injuries, my pride and the right ELF peg. Ben helps me repair the little dings and put the ELF peg back on for the ride home but it is not functional other then as a cover. The set of Allen keys I have is great, but they are too long to fit in the space, BenÔÇÖs has one that fits.

    We decide that we should pick up some fine adult beverages to have that evening in addition to the Appletinis. So we take a walk down to the Conoco station at the bottom of the hill. The key word is CON, as they have the prices up kind of high. We each pick up a six pack, except for Ben who picks up one.

    We get back to the hotel and chill the beers in the hotel cooler for the cheap, the trash can. A little mingling and meeting people, including various people we all wanted to meet. I finally got to meet my big sis, Tracy and Rebecca got to meet Ardys.

    Then back to the room to see if the beverages are cold. It appears that they are. Anyone got a bottle opener? I donÔÇÖt want to go out in the rain to get mine off the RT. Luckily I learned a thing or two during my time traveling for a living, a strike plate on most doors will work as a bottle opener. So I show everyone just how it works. There was some alcohol abuse when someone else tried and the bottle was tipped a little too much.

    More mingling and mixing and talking. Just a relaxing evening. We decide that with the weather the way it was, Saturday was going to be a day to sleep in.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  4. #4
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    You guys totally rock!
    Dave Swider
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    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  5. #5
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Day 3

    9:30AM the phone rings.

    ÔÇ£Hey Brad, itÔÇÖs Tracy and we are in the restaurant eating breakfast.ÔÇØ

    Head down to the restaurant and have a breakfast with the gang. We decide no riding today for us. We were debating it until we saw BobÔÇÖs bike:



    Luckily Bob walked away relatively unharmed and was released from the hospital that afternoon. His helmet was literally split in two pieces from what I have heard. All the gear ALL the time.

    We decided we were definitely staying put that day. Jon Diaz was nice enough to lend us his car, he brought Alicia so he is allowed to have a cage for this trip. We went down to Kmart to pick up swimming attire for those of us who did not have any. Then it was off to the pool and hot tub.

    After that, another trip down the hill before the banquet and dinner. The dinner was all you can eat seafood and it was pretty good. The best part though was the conversations.



    At 7:00PM it was show time, the awards. Rather than go into all of the awards, I will hit some of the highlights. Rebecca won the first award from my big sis for ÔÇ£largest instrumentÔÇØ referring to RebeccaÔÇÖs camera equipment. I am not sure which was redder, Rebecca or VoniÔÇÖs outfit. The women all introduced themselves and it was quite a diverse crowd. From pilots to passengers but it was great to see some many women involved.



    Tracy had a special gift for the Bunny.

    We head out for the group photo, and then a group photo of the Women Riders.



    The Gang of Four headed back to my place for a final Appletini toast to the end of the weekend before we decided to go back out and mix and mingle. We all called it an early night after getting our pictures took with the Man of the Weekend. We had decided that 8AM was the take off time.

    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  6. #6
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Day 4

    7:00 AM. I donÔÇÖt wanna go home. Load up the bikes. Rebecca had to help Ben out by jump starting his bike. I am glad that he picked up the jumper cables at the rally. A few last minutes conversations and photos, and we were on our way. Ben heading south to Dallas us going back North.

    1:00 PM Litchfield, IL We stopped for gas, drinks, and tire pressure checks. That was the interesting part of the day. RebeccaÔÇÖs rear tire was a little low, no biggie off to the pump. Unfortunately the pump was actually a releaser as it never got a good seal and ended up letting out more air than putting in. So after a few minutes we decide to go over to the gas station across the street. Phew that one works. We get the tire pumped up again and we are on our way again.

    6:00 PM Joliet, IL We stopped for our final group gas stop on this trip. I will be heading east in a few miles as the ladies continue north. Tracy will turn off as Rebecca continues to Milwaukee. Hugs all around.



    I have the honor of leading us out one last time. I make a right onto Interstate 80. I know that no one will be following me, but I still put out my left hand and signal big. The ladies wave as they go by. It seems odd going around the exit ramp with no one in my mirrors. I keep signaling as if I have followers for a while. Looking forward to the next ride of the Gang of Three or Four.

    Then Chicago traffic decides I need to be entertained, by forming a five mile traffic jam that takes me an hour to get through.

    9:00 PM Granger ( South Bend), IN Home. A quick posting that I have gotten home okay. Everyone else has as well.

    Total Mileage in 4 days: 1,510 for me.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  7. #7
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    go brad...go brad...go brad...


  8. #8
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    Atta boy

    Thanks - you get an "A" on your report.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
    www.yearroundriders.com

  9. #9
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
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    Dang Brad, that is a nice story, glad you shared it, and I'm jealous you got to meet everyone.
    Gale Smith
    2009 Versys
    1999 R1100RT

  10. #10
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kudos. Some of the Gang of Four will be at the Midwest Track Day.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  11. #11
    REBECCAV
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    Brad, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting, riding, and hoisting a few with you. So much so, in fact, that I hereby nominate you ÔÇ£The ULTIMATE motorcycle accessory:ÔÇØ Here are the top ten reasons why -

    10. Has GPS
    9. Knows how to use it.
    8. His 1150 RT has a speedometer that actually works
    7. Travels with laptop (several advantageous uses)
    6. Travels with Stainless Steel martini glasses and shaker
    5. Travels with Appletini fixinÔÇÖs (Beware of the Appletini. You have been warned.)
    4. Just as entertaining in person as on the Forum
    3. Handles being outnumbered by women very gracefully
    2. Handles whims and peccadilloes of women very gracefully

    And the #1 reason that BradfordBenn is ÔÇ£The ULTIMATE motorcycle accessory:ÔÇØ The Tigger ears on his helmet are just too dang cute for words.

  12. #12
    One For The Money BMWBEAUTY's Avatar
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    Wow Brad...You are the man.....You cutie you.....helmet and all...
    I enjoyed your ride report.....Thanks for sharing....

  13. #13
    Route 66 Missouri gstom's Avatar
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    Appletini?

    How about posting the recipe?

  14. #14
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Re: Appletini?

    Originally posted by GS Tom
    How about posting the recipe?
    The Appletini receipe can only be transfered verbally.

    So now you just have to track me down at the next rally.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  15. #15
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    Thumbs up DAMN GOOD READING!!!!

    Can't wait to ride with you guys again!
    Bikeless for now...but not for much longer!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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