Sorry this is so long.
Wow, you guys put on one heck of a party! I’m not a rally type person, never have been interested, never wanted to go and I did not plan on going to this one. It was a friend named Steve (some of you will know him) who made me feel guilty for not going. So I managed to get reservations at a local hotel about 18 miles west of Sedalia, got the time off, bought what I needed and off I went.
I live in Clovis, NM, so my route took me across the Texas Pan handle, to Oklahoma City then up to Tulsa, Joplin, MO and Sedalia, 759 miles. I expected I might be able to make it all the way in one day, but I am not an Iron Butt guy either, so I figured “I ride as far as I could ride and stop for the night and continue the next day.” I left at 4:30am on Tuesday morning and rode, what a great ride I made it to Tulsa, OK with no problems at all. I stopped at the Tulsa BMW dealer to cool down and buy a T-Shirt. I left Tulsa headed for Joplin, and the ride stopped being fun. When riding a motorcycle isn’t fun any more, you need to get off the bike. I made it to Joplin and could only find one room in town; they had a softball tournament in town, who knew? I took the room at an inflated price I’m sure and spent the next couple of hours rehydrating and cooling off, then a quick dip in the pool and I felt human again.
Wednesday morning I rode to Sedalia arriving about noon time, just in time to register. I stood in that registration line forever. It was probably only 20 minutes, but it was already over 100 degrees and I was tired from the ride, so it seemed longer. After I finished getting registered I left the fair grounds and rode to my hotel. I took some time and cooled off rested took a nap and got something to eat, took a very refreshing dip in the pool and went to bed.
I got up Thursday morning got dressed and headed to the rally; I have to admit I was a little excited and a little anxious. I was going to my first rally, and I was going alone. I rode the 18 miles to the fair grounds, showed my little blue friend on my left arm to the nice folks at the gate, and followed the two bikes in front of me, figuring they’ve done this before. I followed them and parked right next to them. Got off the bike introduced myself, they introduced themselves and I told them I was a noob and asked if I could hang out with them for a while. I hope that Matt and Vick from Ontario will be friends for a long time. We headed over to The Shriners Corn Dog place for breakfast. If you did not try their biscuits and gravy, you missed out.
I spent most of the first day just looking around figuring out where everything was and went to a couple of sessions. The first session was about my Nav. IV system, and it really was very informative, I learned quite a bit and am very glad I attended; the second session I went to was making the long ride easier or something like that with the Coach, I have to admit I employed some of what he taught on the long ride home. I monitored Steve’s progress (Remember Steve? He’s the one who talked me in to going to the rally.) on his Spot Walla page. It looked like his Spot quit working outside of Joplin, MO. I kept on watching, and he kept on not moving so I figured if there was a problem he’d call. I checked to make sure my cell phone was on and there was a missed call from Steve. I called him back and he let me know he was broken down north of Joplin and needed to talk to Paul (I bet everyone knows who that is). I took off looking for Paul. I never did find Paul, but left messages all over for Voni and or Paul to call me. They never did get my message. I called Steve back and he let me know that Bob (you don’t know him yet) was leaving the rally driving to KC getting his trailer and then off to get Steve. I left the rally about 5pm pretty much worn out. I rode back to the hotel, met David from Maryland as I pulled in, and ended up having diner with him.
Friday morning Steve took his bike to Engle BMW in Kansas City, who were able to get the problem fixed (something about the fuel pump) and get Steve on his way pretty quick (Yeah Engle BMW in Kansas City). I on the other hand went to eat biscuits and gravy from the Shriners again. Friday morning I met a very interesting man wearing a hillbilly hat with a corn cob pipe in it, I can not remember his name or where he was from, but we had a really nice visit, his bike was on display with the vintage bikes I think. I spent all morning Friday with Paul Glaves learning basic tech and not so basic tech, I have some pretty valuable information in my notes, thank you Paul, I also got to meet FaceBook friend Voni Glaves (hi Voni, so nice to actually meet you, hope to see you on the road sMiling sometime). Shortly after lunch Steve showed up (I know you remember him now). I got to meet his friend Bob, and through the course of the day I met so many other people that I must apologies your faces and your names are a blur in my mind. It seems like Steve knows a lot of people. I don’t know how he keeps them all strait. Friday afternoon was spent eating drinking and shopping. The day ended at the Iron Butt awards dinner around 8 for me, as Steve and Bob headed back to KC, and I went back to my hotel.
Saturday morning I got up and was hurting pretty bad, but having had so much fun Thursday and Friday at the rally, I wasn’t going to miss anything. I was eating biscuits and gravy with the Shriners by 9 and met another really nice person whose name escapes me; maybe he’ll read this and fill in the blank. Then I was off to visit with a couple of vendors whom I had bought things from the day before. Then to see the vintage bikes, visit with Steve and Bob for a bit. Steve and Bob left for a ride, wish I could have gone, but back and hip pain prevented me from going. I did go back to the hotel, took some Motrin and took a nap. Steve called about diner and I told him to call me before they went and I went back to sleep. I got up about 4:30 feeling a bit better, and rode back to the fairgrounds for dinner and the closing. Diner was at the Pork Place then we went to the closing. I didn’t win anything, darn. But the closing was very nice.
The ride home was uneventful, other then we rode 779.2 miles in less then 13 hours in temperatures that exceeded 100 and had some really good ice cream outside of OKC.
All in all, I had a great time; the MO State Fairgrounds is an amazing place with very impressive facilities, what a great choice, the people I came in contact with in Sedalia, and the surrounding areas we very friendly and interested in our rally. I know I will be in Salem in 2013. There was so much to see and so much to do, I couldn’t see everything or do everything that I wanted to. But I had a great time despite the heat. Thank you for a really great first rally, I look forward to the next 40 or more.