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2011 – BMW NATIONAL RALLY ON THE SIXTH CIRCLE OF HELL… was really, really, really, really, freaking hot!

August 14, 2011


My brother and I were chatting with each other about how hot it had been over the last week in Delaware.  It was hot.  It was so hot that all you wanted to do was go from one air conditioned area to another.  It was miserable.  Into this heat we planned to ride to the 2011 BMW National Rally in Bloomsburg, PA. 

So we packed, and hit the road.  It was so hot that as my brother got his gear together, I ran across the road and into some shade as I was seriously overheating – while still in the driveway!  My brother, Mark, had just bought a full Olympia summer outfit – mostly mesh and a sliver grey color.  I of course, had planned to wear my usual gear – the ride around the world, black leather Alpinestars pants and black leather SPIDI jacket.   Heck, they have about 45,000 miles already and have served me well in just about any weather.  Well, not today.

Today, I left the leather pants behind and rode with the protection of a pair of Mountain Khaki pants, and a long sleeve shirt – yup, full organ donor clothing.  In fact, it was SO hot and miserable, I did not even wear gloves.  The two or three hour ride to Bloomsburg was awful.  We stopped an hydrated a bunch but it was still nasty.

This is not that hot actually, somewhere I have a picture of the temp reading 112.   We arrived at the rally and took a wrong turn.  This turned out to be a fantastic mistake as we rode around the perimeter of the fair ground and past the Susquehanna river.  There were about two dozen bikes parked along the side of the road and people were swimming.  I’m going to be hitting that soon, I thought. 

Once we were turned around, we found the registration tent, paid our fees and were treated to a very solid presentation on the where things were, where was a good place to camp and what to see.  The BMW National Rally is BY FAR the single best rally I’ve ever attended.  If Laconia ever got this hot, there would be hundreds dropping like flies and I’m certain plenty of fatalities.  The BMW folks were as prepared as anyone could be in such terrific heat. 

As we were setting up our tents, golf carts staffed by volunteers constantly drove past offering, insisting actually, that we take as much free water as we could drink and pointing out places to spray yourself down or get more to drink.  EVERYWHERE along the grounds there were hoses, sprinklers, and even walk through areas where water mist was spraying from every direction.  They simply did a fantastic job at taking care of the people who came and doing their best to keep folks from keeling over in the heat.

Watching the GS Giant contest.  Anyone riding a GS could challenge the course.  Even in the heat, people were screaming and yelling, egging on the competitors.  It looked like an absolute blast! If you want to see an absolutely amazing picture of some one going through the water obstacle check out this picture –

Walking through the grounds.  I guess these guys all love the SAME tent.   Crazy. 


Checking out the A/C inside the vendor hall.  It was so hot inside that just about every vendor had fans going too.  Touratech was stocked with an assortment of fantastic gear.

Vintage bike display.

Numero UNO BMW.  Love the lines.  That is an instant classic.

Walking around the vendor grounds outside.  These folks deserve a medal to work so hard in such heat.


Checking out the BMW tent before the band played that night.  The band, by the way, was fantastic. Check them out here.

Warn winch installed on a bike.  This has to be the most macho piece of uselessness I’ve ever seen.  What’s next a snorkel?

Take me to the RIVER!  THANK GOD.  The look on peoples face when they hit the water was amazing.  A combination of relief and thankfulness and pure bliss.

Demo fleet of BMW 1600 GT and GTL.  I took an extended ride on the GTL and was impressed at how light is feels, but absolutely hated the ergonomics.  I also almost crashed it playing with the radio and gizmos instead of paying attention to the road.   I’m not sure how I feel about the bike. I’ll withhold judgment until I ride the GT

I guess someone just hates this bike enough to throw it away…………………..

Mark and my tents in the back corner of the fairground.  If it’s not obvious, we both have Aprilia Caponords.  Marks is an 06 with ABS. 

The score has been kept and just about all of those check boxes are crossed off.  Great summer so far!  I can’t wait to get back out riding again.

Watching the bands play.  Beers at the rally were $1.50!  Can you believe that?  The cups were small, but who cares.  In that heat anything larger would have boiled before you could enjoy it anyway.  The food vendors were all very good and the prices were reasonable. Trying to sleep that night was a struggle.  I kept a huge bottle of water in the tent with me and ended up pouring it all over myself and rubbing it into my chest, head and arms.  The evaporating water was cooling enough to allow me to sleep for a while.  When the water had all dried, I would wake up again and repeat the process.  Thankfully, with the tent fly completely removed, there was a bit of air flow through the tent.  That and repeated dousings with water made it a relatively painless night. 

What an amazing example of an early GS.

Uber macho  winch.  Get over it.

Wins my “Why even bother” Award.

I need a fuel cell like this for my Caponord!  200 miles to a tank is just not enough!

Packed and ready to go.  I went out on a demo ride while Mark waited for me in the vendor hall. 

We took a different ride back to Delaware.  Along the way we stopped at Hermy’s BMW in Port Clinton, PA.  I was so enamored by the BMW Rally suit I almost bought a pair of the Rally III pants.  Thankfully, the stock they had did not even come close to fitting.  I think buying a pair of those pants would have been a mistake.  The are almost completely oriented at ADV riding and not the 99% real-world on-road riding I’ve been doing over the last few summers. 

Well, we made it back to Delaware and had a very pleasant ride.  We managed to stay hydrated, have a good couple of meals, and see some very cool bikes, events and vendors.  It’s in Missouri next year and I plan to go with my brother.  I hope it’s cooler this time!.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 1:32 pm

    Hey Dude, great pics!!! was there and loved it, my first BMW rally, l remember pretty good met a guy who was selling luggage for my GS, got the hard case called Tailgunner, very sweet, looking forward to attending next rally in sept. 2011, have a great time and ride safe everyone!!!!!

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