Monday, June 13, 2011

The Prez Sez

Hi Beemer fans. Well June might be a better riding month than May was, wouldn't take much! By the time you read this Hiawatha is over and the Iowa Rally is next. Then comes Father's day weekend. After that it would have been the "Bohemian Alps Rally' in Verdigre, NE. I say would have been, because there is no rally this year, at least officially. Word has it that some riders are planning on camping out at the city park in Verdigre that weekend for a get-together. It is the weekend of June 24th-26th. So there's something to think about. There are some good Wed. night supper rides coming up this month, too. Think DRY and less WIND, much less wind! and get some riding in! Take care, stay safe, have fun.
I nearly forgot to mention some news about Jim Pentico. Jeanne was at supper last night and gave me a little note from the Mason's magazine (I think). Jim Pentico has received his 50 year pin from the Minnehaha Masonic Lodge #5. It was mailed to his home in Naples, FL, in January.

Submitted by Gary “Otto Bon” Johnson

…..Sad to Report

Death of Autobahn Friend Al Albers, Sioux Falls on April 6. Al was a Gold Wing rider and was instrumental in starting the Sooland Goldwing Club. Al and Bob Galland ran Autobahn Sales, a motorcycle accessory shop, during the early days of Autobahn Society. Go to for complete obituary.

Autobahn invited to Campout at Shonley's, Sturgis SD July 8 & 9

Autobahn invited to Campout at Shonley’s , Sturgis, SD, July 8 & 9
Doug has invited Big Sioux Riders and Autobahners to the campout at his home in “The Hills, Friday and Saturday, July 8-9. Doug e-mails. “We will probably do some motorcycle video during the evenings and I am thinking about a riding point seminar bringing up some of the points that I learned at the California Super Bike School.
Taken from 2010 invitation….. The location is exactly 5.1 miles West of Sturgis, SD, exit 30. We have good lights so you won't be completely in the dark when you setup your tent if you arrive late Friday night. You will be able to park your bike inside if you want to. We also have an indoor area for eating and conversation in case of inclement weather. Call Doug at (605)347-5006.
Click onto YouTube - Doug at Las Vegas Motor Speedway California Superbike School for a video of Doug at the school in March.
Click onto for info on an “invention” Doug has put together.

Scooter Story

(Ed.Note: This story took place Spring, 2010. The story was retold at a Saturday morning breakfast recently. Although a year old Gary still had an audience as he was telling it. I convinced him to put it into words for the newsletter for the rest of you to enjoy.)

I was working my Saturday, when Dale Nordlie calls and wants to go for a ride. I said, “Sure, where to?” Dale suggested New Ulm (code for the Schell's Brewery). I then told Dale I had ridden my scooter thinking I wouldn't being going any farther than Sioux Falls. He said that should work, so at 10:00 A.M. we left for New Ulm.
My ride is a Kymco Grand Vista 250 and I'm about to go "where no man has gone before" on a 250 cc scooter. (Not really, but it sounds good.) Naturally, this being spring and we are on 2 wheels, the wind is blowing strongly. (It wasn’t as bad as this past Memorial Day, but close.) We were cruising right along with the southerly tail winds. I hit the highest speed I've ever reached on a scooter going down a long hill. (I'll tell you how fast, off the record, of course).
We got to the brewery around noon and signed up for the next tour. The tour was fine and the samples where even better. We decide to head back and we gassed up our rides in New Ulm. My tank holds 2.4 gallons and we had head winds to deal with on the return trip. It was mostly a "wide-open throttle" trip back home for me. It had been a long time since I had seen a gas station and my fuel pump symbol had been flashing rapidly at me for several miles. By this time Dale and I were on MN Hwy 23. I knew we were getting close to Ruthton and we could fill up there.
Dale left me behind as I was having trouble keeping my speed up. As Dale moved out of sight, my scoot died. Yup, out of gas, and pushing my ride! A few minutes had passed and a Harley rider came by and stopped to see what was wrong. I had to confess that I had run out of gas. He said he just lived up the road at Ruthton and would get some gas to me.
In the meanwhile Dale called my cell and wondered what had happened. I told him and he came back with a cold Coke for me. Then my "good samaritan" came back with a gas can. I put enough in to get to the gas station, thanked him, tried to pay him (he wouldn't take any money for the gas) and Dale and I went on our way.
My best guess is that I only got about 39 mpg that tankful and I was only about 3 miles from the gas station. I guess that I learned optimism isn't as good as having enough gas, and Harley guys will even stop to help a "scooter rider". Actually, most people on 2 wheels will stop to help a fellow rider, and that's a good thing! I sure did miss that 7 gallon tank the RT has. P.S. Any ride that gets you home safe is a good ride.

Submitted by Gary Johnson

I’ll Ride a BMW for Free, but you ‘Gotta Pay Me to Ride a Harley

I finally passed motor officer school and now have a 2009 Harley Davidson Police Road King assigned to me. I came into motor school with much anticipation and much trepidation as well. You may or may not know that last year I broke my left ankle in motor school on the first day of the second week and wasn’t able to complete the class. Ten weeks later, I was finally healed up and able to ride my own bike at least. But most of the summer was gone and I would have to wait another year to ride while on duty.
This year there was only one other student in the school with me, an Aberdeen Police Officer. The school consists of cone courses, off-road driving, formation street riding, traffic stop procedures and firearms training using the cycle as cover. With only two students, we were riding constantly. I was determined not to be complacent, and I was not going to put my foot down during the tight cone courses. This is what bit me last year. If the bike was going down, I was going to ride it until it bucked me off. One of the instructors joked, calling me “White man who gets bucked from iron horse.” “Twelve moons ago iron horse bit white man.” One time I was bucked off, I landed on my feet right in front of my instructors. “Ta Da!” I said, and then “I meant to do that.”
The cone course, called the 360, or otherwise called the keyhole, was my downfall last year. It is an 18 ft wide circle with one gate to go in and to come out. This year I did it on the third try. It still isn’t my best exercise, and I could still use a lot of practice at it. It is more of a mental thing than a physical thing. But I was able to pass the course successfully. A lot of the other cone exercises are very similar in theory and practice to what I teach in Basic Riders Course for the MSF except they are at a higher speed. In the MSF courses your highest speed is 20 MPH. The cone courses are set up at the fairgrounds parking lot.
The off-road riding is extremely challenging and a lot of fun. You play follow the leader at slow speeds maneuvering through tight spaces. The key is looking where you want to go, wheel placement, clutch and throttle control, and counterweight steering. A lot of it is done in the fairgrounds by going around and through the barns. Other areas are city parks, parking ramps, and the federal courthouse plaza downtown.
Traffic stops with a motorcycle definitely have a lot more multitasking as compared to a patrol car. Your vulnerabilities are also much more evident. That was even more known after taking the bikes to the firearms range and using them as cover when you are shooting. Having been on duty on the Road King for two weeks now, I am very fond of it and I’m averaging about 100 miles in my 10 hour shift. The HD Road King is a very good and comfortable police work platform, especially for city police work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to run right out and trade off my R1150R. Black Betty is all pleasure and sport, and I would only give her up for another BMW. Hence, I’ll ride a BMW for free, but you gotta pay me to ride a Harley.

Submitted by Chad Gillen

The Six Drop Rally

Eye opens slowly, checks window, sees glimmer of light, and wonders, “What time is it?” Brain is disturbed by commotion and replies, “Shut yourself, Eye, you are waking everyone.” Eye responds, “Hey, all I did was see some light and wonder what time it is”. Brain again orders, “Shut yourself””. EYE: “Look at that, the clock says it 6:15.” BRAIN: “The alarm goes off at 7:15. Shut yourself.” EYE: “Give me a break. You were worried all night that we would wake up and it would be raining cats and dogs and we have to go to Gina’s BMW and get the headlight fixed on the RT.” BRAIN: “That’s why the alarm is set for 7:15. Plenty of time to get to Gina’s by our 10:00am appointment. Shut yourself and let’s get another hour of sleep.” (There’s a period of silence and then….) EYE: “HEY, IDIOT, it’s light outside – that means NO RAIN!” BRAIN: “WHOA! That’s right. I wonder if it’s raining anyplace? What if it starts raining at 7:15?” EYE: “How would eye know, I’m not the weather channel?” BRAIN: “That’s a great idea. Feet. Hey, Feet. Get up. Come on. Move yourself to the edge of the bed and hit the floor running.” FEET: “Would you hold it down up there, I’m trying to sleep. Just because you’re so smart it’s know reason I have to jump every time you speak. BRAIN: “That’s NO reason, not KNOW reason. Now get moving.” (In front of the tube the weather channel and Local on the Eights slowly comes into view.) EYE: “There is a lot of green on the left of the screen.” BRAIN: “Yes, but that green is about 20 miles west of Des Moines! Come on everyone, we have to get the bike packed and on the road right now! GO! GO! GO! “

It’s now 7:15 and the bike and I are just leaving Des Moines. Lightning is showing up in the mirrors and the west sky is black. We just get on I-80 and a drop hits the windshield, then another and another, and then finally a fourth. Then miraculously no more drops come down and the eastern sky just gets lighter and lighter. The rain is now all behind us and we’re not stopping until we get to Gina’s!!!!.
At Gina’s it is quickly found that a loose connection is the problem with the head light - all repaired under warranty and my billfold is saved again. Now, all I have to do is decide whether I will go to the Moto Guzzi Rally at Oquawka, IL, or the Great River Road Rally at Soldiers Grove, WI. The forecast for the entire weekend is a total washout from Friday to Sunday at both locations. So, where do I go to stay the driest? I put great thought into the problem. Gina tells me that the radar shows a rain cloud southeast of Iowa City. Soldiers Grove, here I come!
It was windy all the way - up Hwy 1, then Hwy 151, then a bunch of county roads until I get to Dyersburg and then Guttenberg on the Iowa side of the Great River Road. (What better route when you are going to the Great River Road Rally?) I crossed into Prairie du Chien, got a hamburger at McDonald’s, and saw radar with green about 50 miles straight west and more green about 100 miles north by La Crosse. I’m not going that far north so I can relax and hit the back roads into Soldiers Grove. (This just proves what can happen when a brain devotes itself to selfless research and endless debate and comes up with the perfect solution to the rally route with a flip of the coin…. and the fact that radar shows rain southeast of Iowa City.) Congratulating Brain on just how much of a genius he is, we proceed to enjoy some of the best riding in the Midwest with windy, but warm and dry weather. What more can you ask for in Iowa in the spring?
The first person I ran into in Soldiers Grove was Tom Buttars from Lincoln. (Did I say that everything had turned out perfect so far?) I quickly registered and then set up camp because I remembered the radar with that large green area just west of Prairie du Chien which was slowly moving east. I got everything set up and the weather just kept getting better and better. It soon became apparent any rain that was coming was going to be much later that evening. GR3 had 2 free kegs of beer so I had a free beer and walked up to a local bar/restaurant with a friend from Racine and had a great half pound hamburger. The place was packed and it took 2 1/2 hours to get served, but it was worth the wait. I walked back to camp and went up to get a second beer but the tap was dry. I decided to call it an evening and fell asleep almost immediately.
I woke up Saturday morn to cloudy skies but no rain. I was just getting ready for a ride when a 45 minute rain popped up. I waited an hour for it to dry and took off to explore the area. I got back in time to win a door prize. I talked to Dave Maly, who led the GR3 tour. They didn’t ride in rain, but when they stopped for lunch they had no sooner sat down then it rained. They got done with lunch and the rain stopped. How’s that for perfect weather?
The GR3 is at a really pretty location - good facility’s, flush toilets and 1 shower each for men and women. They also had extra showers off site. They have a nice meeting room that would have come in handy if the weather had turned ugly. They have the normal rally drinks plus the Friday night 2 keg extra. The roads around there are fantastic. Gay Mills is about 10 miles away and Hwy 171 is a beautiful ride from there to Boaz. Gay Mills is the Apple Capital of Wisconsin and is worth the ride to see in the fall when the apples are ripe.
Saturday night it rained from 2:10 to 2:30 but was sunny and warm Sunday morning. Had free coffee and rolls and packed up and “alphabeted” myself to Marquette, IA, where I had breakfast at the Marquette CafĂ© and Bar. (Used to be Marquette Hotel - same great food, new name.) After breakfast the skies turned black and the wind got stronger and the temperature got lower. I could only head West so into it I went on US 18. Came to the cutoff to Elkader and headed that way since it was lighter in that direction. Soon the temperature started to rise and so did the wind speed. In about 30 miles it turned black ahead of me but lighter west of me. I followed the old advice, “go west young man”. In another 30 miles it again turned black ahead of me and lighter south of me. So, I went south. After several changes of direction I ended up about 20 miles west of Cedar Rapids where a LOW, HUGE, BLACK, cloud that looked pregnant with rain was straight ahead of me. Nothing to do but duck down and fly the 4 miles to US30 where I could turn west toward blue skies. Just made the stop sign at Hwy 30 when a big drop hit my helmet shield. I gunned it west as fast as I could. Another big drop hit my windshield. I powered the RT shield full up and powered up the RT throttle. Seconds went by and then there I was under blue skies. Even though I was out of the rain cloud the wind really picked up and the temperature also went up to the 80’s. The flags were straining straight out from the flagpoles. (The last time I was in a wind that strong and that hot was the last time I was in front of Denny Erickson when he was telling one of his really good stories.)
The weekend had disaster forecasted all over it. Beside the wind and rain forecast and the tornado warnings for Iowa and southern Minnesota on the way home, a self proclaimed “know-it-all” had also forecasted “END OF THE WORLD - JUDGMENT DAY” for May 21. I had God running with me all weekend. I made it safely home - and I rode through only 6 drops of rain the entire trip. God probably spent so much time protecting me that he forgot about Judgement Day. All of you heathens out there that didn’t have to face judgment on May 21, you owe me. I will accept cash!!

Submitted by Dave McBride

Illinois Guzzi Rally 235, Weatherman 0

I looked up Burlington, Iowa’s, zip code several days prior to the rally to get as much local weather info as I could from my weather channel from DirecTV. It didn’t look good. Having missed a couple events already this year because of work I decided to go. Because of the rotten forecast the RT was the bike of choice and Thursday was the day of departure.
On Thursday morning I waited until the temp reached 55O and left at 10AM. It looked like rain to the south and south west most of the trip but I never hit a drop. The wind was a slight bother the whole day - gusting at 20-30 mph. (Don’t want to know my gas milege for the trip!!)
Arriving at Big River campground a little after 3:00 in the afternoon I was greeted by around twenty bikers already there and several hundred black knats with more arriving by the minute. Of course I had my bug repellant in a safe place at home. I set up camp in record time swearing the whole time at those little S.O.Bugs.
Early Thursday evening I rode into Keithsburg for repellant and supper. About eight bikes of various brands were parked at the local bar. I went in and sat with a Guzzi rider I knew. On Thursday night they have a fairly large taco for $1.75 so I had a fairly cheap supper. Returning to the campground I was surprised to find free beer and pizza. Does life get any better than this?? Yes, it does!!
Friday morning the sun was coming up and they had fresh coffee and leftover pizza on a flattop grill for breakfast. Friday at noon four of us rode back to the bar in Kiethsburg for dinner. We watched the weather forecast and radar map….was sure happy I didn’t cross Iowa on Friday. They were still forecasting rain for the area for the weekend. Friday nite, still no rain but I could see a large Guzzi supper was in the forecast. Brats, hot dogs, chili, and Italian vegetable soup with beer for desert.
Woke up early Saturday morning and left with a group of Guzzi riders to go to Kirkwood for the free fireman’s breakfast. On the return trip we finally ran into a light rain for about five miles and that was all it rained on Saturday. At noon you could buy brats or burgers at the campground at a very good price.
Saturday night we were all forced to eat yet another large meal. After smelling the cooked barbecued pork all day this was a very enjoyable task. If you go hungry at a Guzzi rally, you came with lips sewed shut. I don’t know how they do it for such a low rally fee. Friday & Saturday nights they also had a blue grass band. Early Sunday morning we finally received our forecasted rain. Could not have been more than a few tenths. Sunday morning found more sunshine and a continental breakfast for everyone. The ride home was about as enjoyable as attending a high school graduation – more side winds but again no rain. It sure looked like rain a half a dozen times but the rain gods were good to me. Came home with bug bites and wind burn but still a pretty good weekend.

Submitted by Tom Meister