I don't know much about motorcyles or rallies, only an image of a "motorcyle gang". When my mother called me Wednesday night to tell me that her husband (my step-father) was taken to the hospital for possible heat exhaustion after he arrived at the rally (which he was planning to attend for months with my mom, but she opted not to go due to the heat), I couldn't understand why she wasn't in the truck and on her way. She told me not to worry he has friends down there and that she would leave in the morning. When I asked which friends he was there with, she replied the "BMW" people. I said, "Mom, are you crazy, you don't know these people." She assured me that they were good people.
On Thursday, my mother called me in a panic, to ask me if I would go to Lima with her, as after several tests, they determined that my step-father had a minor heart attack. The worst scenarios creeped into all of our heads, though my step-father assured my mom that he was fine, and that he would be back at the rally. Of course we wanted him back home for the comfort of our own hospital and family, but the uncertainty of his condition prevented this option. Not only was the stress of his health hanging over us, but the issue of getting his beloved BMW and pull-behind camper home presented a challenge. Not thinking clearly, my mom and I decided that we would load the bike in her truck and the camper in mine (how, we did not know). My step-father, while sitting in the hospital wondering if he was going to live or die, said, don't worry, someone will help out and ride the bike back for us, and Doris (the trauma nurse that set her tent up near my stepfather and was the first to respond to him after his heat exhaustion) will help us out.
My mom arrived in Lima with a good friend of the family (a Harley rider, no less), and went with him to retrieve the bike to ride home. After explaining the situation to the wonderful crew in the registration tent, many people stepped up to the plate and the "Harley" rider was introduced to the world of the BMW, with a crash course and sent on his way on my step-father's bike (with my mom worrying about him as well). This woman, Doris, re-focused my mother and sent her on her way to the hospital (I could only wonder what a hospital in the middle of Lima, Ohio could be like).
After a three and a half hour drive to Lima, Ohio, I made a wrong turn and ended up at the fairgrounds entrance instead of the hospital. There were motorcylces everywhere. There were "welcome beemers" signs at many businesses, and all I could think of was, does this town know what they're getting into?
After suprising my mom and step-father with my arrival, and the request of my step-father for me to go and enjoy the rally since he could not, he was taken by great, caring, nurses to have a heart catheritization(sp?) performed. After a long, tense hour and a half, the doctor returned to inform us that he did have major blockage in one of his arteries and partial blockage in another, but that they were inserting a stent and he would be okay and would probably go home the following day, but not without some lifestyle changes. Relieved, as opposed the the other "what if's", my mom and I started scrambling to figure out what to do with the pull-behind camper, and as my step-father became aware of his surroundings he said, "Just call Doris, she'll help. When I realized that my mom was in no shape to handle the camper, I decided that I would trust my step-father's advice, in that he said that everyone would help put the camper in the back of the truck. I left the hospital with hopes that I could find my way around the mass of motorcycles and maybe find someone in charge who might know "Doris".
I returned to the fairgrounds after a pleasant experience in an unpleasant situation with the volunteers and staff at Lima Memorial Hospital. I walked into the registration tent that my mom directed me to and found the first friendly face available (they were all friendly). This woman, immediately directed me to someone who was in charge. Immediately, our names and situation were recognized and I was soon whisked away on golf cart to go find "Doris", the only person who knew where the my stepfather's camper was amongst thousands of tents and people. Along the way, we were stopped numerous times by friendly, courteous, and real people. I quickly realized that I was not out of my element, and these "BMW People" weren't so bad, and that the rally looked like fun (no wonder my step-dad wanted to be here).
I was introduced to "Doris", who was in the middle of first aid review with more willing volunteers (which were everywhere). After a sincere hug, she continued with her training, not leaving out any detail, so that "BMW People" would be safe and in good hands, and then she came with full force, after she found out how my step-father was of course!
Before I knew it, I was at my step-father's camper with approximately fifteen "BMW People" helping break down the camper, lifting it into the bed of the truck, tieing it down, helping me back out, giving me directions back to the hospital, etc. Again, out of my element, even though I am into the outdoors-just not motorcyles, I was amazed at the willingness at any one walking by to pitch in (and "Doris" was a great motivator).
With more hugs, and hand-shakes, I wasn't sure how to thank everyone. I pulled out and called my mom to tell her that I had the camper and how it transpired. She cried, and said "your'e wonderful". I said, "no mom, they're wonderful."
I met my mom back at the hospital, but I beat her there, only to find my step-father as fiesty as usual. He wanted to know if I got to walk around the rally and enjoy what he wasn't able to. I said, "Oh yeah, it's really cool - those people are great!" The man just had a heart attack and all he wants to know is if I got to see the cool stuff. He repeatedly recommended that my mom and I go to the rally and watch the concert, rather than hang out with him, and that he couldn't wait to go back to the rally when they let him out. I privately told my mom, "no thank you, I've had enough excitement for the day!" - no slight on the rally please.
I should also mention that my step-father relentlessly continued to entertain us and the nurses on the corornary care floor. I just hope none of them had to slap him! He also repeatedly brought up that he wanted to go to the vendor's tents to see what he could add to his bike (especially a side-car because he's getting older, I think), and that he wanted to get his patch and pin. All of this under the influence of morphine and a pretty stressful few days - wow, this is some brotherhood! I should also mention that he still thinks he will make it to the rally and that maybe he can check out everything that he wanted to see - my mom just rolls her eyes!
To allow my mom time to spend with him, I told her that I would go back to the rally and get his pin and patch and drop off the raffle tickets. When I arrived the man at the gate informed me that the tent for that part was closed. I started to leave, and remembered the registration tent, so I wandered in there and recognized a smiling face, and she recognized me. I remembered that she was in charge, and realized that she had a long day, but I asked her anyway. How could I get my step-dad his pin and patch and his raffle tickets in the drawing (I had all of his paperwork/tickets)? It was worked out, and I now have my step-father's pin and patch (my mom cried when I told her that I got them), an understanding of what the "BMW People" are all about, respect for some very special people - Doris, Woman in Charge in Registration Tent, Man from Tenessee, Man from Jefferson, all guys that helped with camper, volunteer, staff, nurses, and doctors at Lima Memorial and many more that I can't remember on a somewhat blurry day, and most of all I still have my step-father and my mom has her husband!

Thanks to the "BMW People".