Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Prez Sez

Well, by now we are very much into the new riding season. What a great spring we have had so far. I hope you are getting your MOA mileage forms signed and sent in. It looks like some great Wed. night supper rides are coming up and some great regional rallies to look forward to. I often think about how lucky we are to be alive now, in the entire history of the earth we are alive now to enjoy hundreds of technological advances. If we'd been born, say 500 years ago, our days would have been spent just trying to stay alive. That is if we weren't born into nobility. We would have probably never ventured more than a mile or so from our birthplace. Work was drudgery, food often scarce, weather was a major problem, no hope for a better life. And if that wasn't bad enough, NO motorcycles!!
Count your blessings, ride safe and ride often.

Gary 'Das Prez' Johnson

A GOOD START by Doug Schaeffer

About seven years ago the Mad Norwegian and I moved out into the country. Great view, lousy roads. Many things have conspired to keep me off the bike. Whether its Mother Nature with snow or rain, kidney stones or a couple of knee replacements, the bike just hasn’t seen the miles that I have historically put on and that I would like to put on. And I missed that a lot. A good ride has always been my poison control center. Twenty miles and life is just better, brighter. Our house is up on a small hill. A moraine ridge. Around us is a lot of low county. Having water around us like a moat is interesting but has its drawbacks. Water over the road is common for weeks at a time, both on the gravel/dirt road to the North or South. Not a problem for the Subaru's but can be a problem for the bike. If you keep driving in a track you can keep the road firm, even underwater. But the local maintainer guy has an unquenchable need to blade our road just after a firm track has been established. 2 wheels gets kinda squirrelly in freshly bladed gravel/dirt. Then in their infinite wisdom they trucked in 2 loads of LARGE crushed Sioux Quartzite. The only time I tried to go over it on the bike I had 80 yards if shear panic and was constantly on the edge of imminent crashing. Guess I won’t go over that for a while. To the North is 2 1⁄2 miles of soft, frost heaved gravel/dirt, but if you go fast enough you can kinda skim over the top. Until you crash that is.
I have been managing to get out the North route with only minimal chest pain and gonadal migration. Then I have a paved road with 9 of the 10 curves in Hutchinson County between home and work. I know there is a 10th curve out there someplace, just haven’t found it. So if you can get to the blacktop you’re in pretty good shape. I met Marge at her work and we rode together to the Tea Steakhouse. Not a big deal for you but a good deal for me as it had been a long time since we had been riding two up. There “the Prez” signed my MOA mileage form and I actually got it mailed in.
Marge informed me before the ride that I needed a new motorcycle, helmet and riding suit. Now you know why I have been with her for 45 years. Why she stayed with me that many really is the question.
Thursday I had a plan. Twisty roads and good food. At noon I headed East towards Newton Hills and Canton. I texted my love from the café about the curves at Newton Hills and a “combo on Grainery Bread” at the Garden of Eat’n. She texted me back “poop head”. Ah, married life. Lesson learned: get some road time in before you tackle some tight curves and yes, the sandwich is as good as it was 27 years ago. On into Sioux Falls then back home. The odometer read just short of 500 miles for the week. An accomplishment for you, maybe no, but a good start for me!


Autobahn has a birthday in May – 33 years old. Four of the 19 charter members are celebrating 33 years of membership also – Dennis Erickson, Margaret Galland, Paige Herrig, & Jim Pentico. That’s dedication! An article printed in the Autobahn newsletter when the club was 10 years old is reprinted below to give you a bit of Autobahn history.
(Originally printed in 1987.) Ten years ago this May a handful of BMW riding Sioux Falls people gathered together for a very informal meeting. This meeting was THE BEGINNING OF AUTOBAHN SOCIETY!!!
The story begins with Bob Galland, on a BSA, and his friend Jim Pentico, on a Honda, accompanying Jeff Ecker, a BMW rider, to the MOA National at Branson, MO., in July, 1975. The rally left a deep impression on Bob & Jim. BMWs ridden to the rally from all over the US convinced the two that if they were to get serious about bike touring they had better have a dependable bike - a BMW. (Even then Bob was having vehicle trouble on his trips.) Jim remembers that the people at the rally were so friendly . . . and honest. A very expensive camera had been left on the seat of one of the bikes. Jim felt sure that it would not be there long. To his astonishment the camera remained there, untouched, throughout the day. If this was the way people who ride BMWs acted and BMWs were so dependable then the only thing to do was to trade off the BSA and Honda for BMWs. And that is what Bob and Jim did!!
During the next two years Bob and Jim came across other area people who also rode BMWs. They discussed how much fun it would be to get a group together for weekend rides, picnics, etc. A club organizational kit was ordered from MOA, and an organizational meeting was set for April, 1977. BMW riding acquaintances from rallies and Sunday afternoon rides were notified as were all people from SD who had registered a BMW that year. (Pentico had a friend in Pierre.)
A lot was accomplished at the April meeting although only seven people attended. The group decided to go ahead with an application to be chartered by MOA.. They named themselves “BMW of South Dakota”. They discussed articles to be included in the by-laws; and they scheduled the first meeting for May, 1977.
The May meeting produced a president, Bob Galland, and a secretary-treasurer, Linda Williams, and the by-laws which had been completed by Jim Pentico. The June meeting produced a committee to design a club logo and Jim Pentico began printing “The Newsletter” about this time.
By August the club had received their MOA charter - they were #79. August had been set as the deadline for membership applications to be eligible for the club’s “original charter”. Nineteen members made this list. (Complete list included at end of story.) The August meeting brought discussion on changing the club name to something more
outstanding - something to get away from a geographic name.
The first annual Weigand Campout was held near Yankton in September. The beginning of “the country store” (to be managed by Bob Galland) was made by a motion at the meeting to purchase oil filters by the case for sale to club members.
By March, ‘78, the list of new club names had been narrowed down to Bahnstormers and Autobahn Society. The outcome of the vote we already know and then the race was on to have a logo designed and club patches made. Wednesday night dinner rides and Saturday morning breakfast rides began in April, ‘78. Autobahn Society also became associated with BMW Rider’s Association. February, ‘79, became a reality for the club patches. The MOA National at Brainard in July produced the first club banner. A very striking white banner with “Autobahn Society” encircling a large BMW logo (designed by Audry Slater) congregated the Autobahners as they arrived. The banner was retired in 1981 for a new light-weight banner displaying our club logo.
As the years passed the club grew and so did the outings. The annual campout became two with the addition of the Oakgrove Campout at Hawarden in October. The election of officers in January has become an overnight event with the addition of the awards banquet. The club took on a big challenge in 1985 when they decided to host their first Iron Butt Rally.
The memories from these events and others are filed for posterity in the club “picture book” or at the “Hall of Fame” where the “high club attendance” and “high club miles” trophies from the Hiawatha Rally and the authentic wooden shoes from a Dutch visitor are housed. The “Hall of Fame” is located in the Krien’s Construction offices. Autobahn Society has grown to approximately 100 people and covers a large area of South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa as well as several other states. The members continue to fulfill the purpose of Autobahn Society as stated in the by-laws by “further developing motorcycle touring and camping as a recreational sport, social ideal and way of life superior to all others”. The club members “firmly resolve to ride as much as possible recognizing that work is the curse of the touring biker”. And as one club member has so adeptly put it, “Where else can you have this much fun for $6 a year?”