As I've mentioned, we arrived at JD Monday night to find that the party was already in swing in the parking lot of the America's Best Value Inn. For some reason this proved to be a hop'in location throughout the event. We cleaned up and unpacked, then stepped out to socialize. Sharon feels that I need a lot of socialization
First I had to snap a shot of the view from our balcony door. This one's for my dad, or maybe for Steves1150plus50:
After a bit, we all made our way to the Outpost. Well actually the group from the Best Western had gotten the Jump on us and were already there. I forgot my reading glasses and Sharon had to order for me. I got Alice Chicken, and it was great! After dinner, more partying at the Best Value, and then Bed! I think maybe it was Jamie who figured there were about 30 of us in town that night. Demenshea was there and had come the same way as us, except she added a "there and back" on some spiral road. Got to find out about this.
In the morning, after squeezing into the "Squeeze In" for breakfast Jamie and Leslie seemed to be heading out for a ride.
At this point I want to take a moment to talk about our board owner and her husband. The whole story will take us a little ahead in our tale, but it's worth it. doc47 arrived with an ailing tranny. So Leslie and Jamie rode two-up so that Doc could ride. This was notable enough in and of itself, but then we chanced to be in their room for a few minutes that night. Leslie was dealing with "Notify a moderator about this post" issues. The next day, Jamie didn't ride but held an impromptu tech day to help riders out that had encountered problems. On top of this, they find the energy to give everyone a warm welcome, seek out newbies and get to know them, and keep themselves surrounded with laughter. I really can't say enough about their dedication to service, their commitment to the board, or their sense of humor. Thanks guys!
Ok, back to the tale. So it seemed a ride was heading out. Sharon and I tagged along. We rode up to the JD Fossil Beds. I think this is the Sheep Mountain Overlook.
See Sharon trying to make sure Jamie and Leslie don't get in the picture. She's good, isn't she?
The bikes were waiting restlessly:
But we were enjoying the view:
Can you see the road disappear into that narrow canyon? We went that way to the JD Fossil Beds Visitor Center. I think MikeRC made a pic of us riding through there from the overlook. The visitor center is free. A very nice place. The movie explains the terrain and the fossils. Great exhibits. We hung out an hour or so. Here are few shots from outside:
Here's Dave (dhanson):
And Tom (3Putt)
Oh, and whenever Sharon (Bullett) gets a hold of my camera, you know what's coming. She thinks I look like Francois with the hat, but everyone that's met him says NO (emphatically):
After the visitor center we found a little store and had a snack. Then Jamie led us out on a fun road. Speeds will be kept confidential to protect the guilty.
The party was back on at the Best Value when we got back. Dinner was with Bob (hopz) and Suzie at the mexican place in the parking lot, Teulito was it? There was nother couple from our group there from Dallas. They were really nice. I think he was Bob too, and she was an Ann. Chime in with your screen names if you see this please.
Later Sharon and I walked over to say hi to the campers. Then we hung out in the parking lot with the crowd for a few hours.
All the while, Steve (Dances with), our UNOrganizer was working the tables. Steve was pretty much a one man show. He was registering folks, handing out stickers, t-shirts, and maps, and working with people on routes. Steve did this pretty much the whole event long, and certainly has earned all of our thanks. That evening we found him going over routes with some late arrivals. I heard the words, "must ride", and my ears perked up. Soon I was equipped with some plans for the next day. I started talking up a ride, and it sounded like I might have some takers.
In the morning we found Heck and Jessica (Mrs. Heck) were ready to give the GS a go two-up, Dave and Jean were there, Danny (Huzband, RoadPhil.... and....) and Jamie (2bmwfan), and so with Bullett, we were 8. We tried to find John (bmwdude), but could not. He called later, but my phone wasn't forwarding messages while on roaming, so we missed him. We set out for breakfast in Prairie City. It was at this breakfast that Danny achieved one of his several moments of infamy
We were seated around the table. There are pictures, but I will spare you most of those for now. Here's just this one. It is quite enough:
We were seated around the table, and coffee was flowing. We were seated around the table and the waitress asked for our orders. We were seated around the table (yes, I've said it thrice [or even four times], and so it is true) and the ordering began. Now this was a perfectly normal sort of eatery, and it offered a perfectly normal sort of breakfast. You know the kind, right: two eggs, hash browns and toast? It is in moments like these, just when everyone is thinking, "I hope the hash browns are nice and crispy", that thunder strikes. So here we are, yes, still seated around the table, almost having forgotten that there is a Floridian in our midst, ordering our perfectly normal breakfasts, when Danny's turn came. And what a turn it was. From Danny's mouth emerges the words I shall never forget, "May I have my hash browns just sort of lightly toasted, please". There was a moment of utter, shocked silence as the perfectly polite request was received. The waitress, being of fine stock, and most experienced, recovered her wits first. Almost, almost but not quite, without pause she calmly replies, "Oh, so you want Tender Browns then?" This was followed by another, most brief moment of silence, and then the laughter burst out. Now Danny had promised Phil he'd watch out for the Hot Hoon (Jamie), but I'm pretty sure we had to pick her up off the floor after that one! Well, if you were at the UN, you know that Danny was immediately dubbed "Tender Browns", and so I shall think of him forever more.
After breakfast we set out on our ride. It was everything you could ask for. A nice jaunt down OR 26 to OR 245. A ride through beautiful farmland along the sweeping edge of the valley, overlooking the pastures below. Then a twisty feast in low mountain country on deserted roads. Some rubber was shredded here. Soon I realized that Danny and Jamie, not Dave and Jean were behind me. I picked up the pace a bit, and we ran near to the ragged edge a bit. At least it was near for me. I had the sense that Danny and Jamie had it nailed, and could pass me whenever they wanted. It wasn't a race though, just a fun ride. At the intersection with OR 7 Danny and Jamie were right there to see me nearly go down in 6" of gravel as I pulled off into the margin to wait. We barely had time to get off our bikes to warn everyone about the gravel before everyone else started rolling in. I think maybe the only ones that totally missed it were Heck and Mrs. Heck on the GS, and I'm going, no, no, they want to go through it, it being a GS and all.
Shortly Micheal (Sagerider) pulled up and joined us for a bit. He was headed the other way, and in for a treat.
We visited for a while. Soon Danny wandered across the street where three horses and a mule were for sale. See the sign in the picture? There's already been some pictures posted of this. Make of them what you will. The conversation on our side of the street was running on something about Floridians and livestock. Images of Calvin and Fletcher were being bandied about. Cameras were clicking away. I'm pretty sure there will more about this
Behind us at the turnout was a bit of wetland. The cattails were catching the sunlight:
We ran hot down OR 7 to OR 26, a sweeper madness of sorts. Then at Austin we took the Middle Fork road, which I guess was County Road 20A. We ran another 30 miles of twisties hard until we hit some tar sheets oozing oil from the roadway. Then we stopped for a drink and a break. I got a few more flower shots:
Jean found this and held it for me. She must have steady hands:
There was chicory everywhere:
and other flowers:
After our break, we rolled back on in to JD, and a much needed afternoon off the bikes. Man, those really were two "must ride" roads (OR 245 and CO 20A)!
I did laundry and met FightingPiper (Jeff), and Banshee (Holley). Holley is an ADVRider on a fine R 1200 GS and was just rolling through on her way to an ADVRider meet on the coast. Those of you that got involved in Miss Kitty's 100cc ride this winter will like to know that Holley rides in Nancy's club in the DC area. I think she said Jim von Baden is a member too. Small world. Anyway, Holley was on a solo coast to coast ride, I think she said 9 weeks total. We invited her to festivities, introduced her around, arranged for her to get dinner too, and set her up with KenH and Ken to get her headlight fixed. She was a lot of fun, and I want to welcome her to BMWSportTouring, as she has now registered here as well.
The group dinner was at 7. I didn't take pics because Russell (ittech) was there and doing a fine job. Russell has posted a link to his gallery and I'd encourage anyone interested to take a look.
After dinner we walked through the campers at the fairground once more and said hello, but we didn't have bug repellent, and the insects were heavy down there by the stream. So we wandered back to the Best Value. The party was going strong there again. Folks were wandering up from the Best Western for wireless internet access because the BW was down.
Philly, John (hANNAbONE [did I do that right?]) and others were telling jokes. Mark (MBElectric) and KenH and I were relaxing down at the other end of the crowd. Jeez, I hope that was that night, they are all running together now.
The word was going around that Phil (1bmwfan) was bringing Jamie's (2bmwfan) bike up from Reno. Danny, who was to leave in the morning, was orchestrating a surprise. Jamie meanwhile was in a state because Phil wasn't answering the phone. There was a Richard and Jacqueline siting that evening I believe.
Eventually I went to bed. In the morning I got a hug from Phil, and went across the street for some coffee. By the time I got back a crowd was arrayed in front of the room Her Hotness was sharing with Leslie and Jamie. A spark was needed. In a moment of brilliance, no I'm not modest am I, I suggested that Danny call Ms. Hotness and tell her he was leaving now. There was some learned discussion, after which it was decided that this might work. Danny made the call and it had the desired result. Within ten minutes a bleary eyed, pajama clad goddess emerged. There was a moment of confusion as she saw all the onlookers. Then, "My husband"!!!!!!!! We witnessed the joyous, and still unquestioning reunion. Then, "My Bike"!!!!!!!!
I think Jamie was on cloud nine all day. Of course another ride was in order. But not right away. First we had to party all morning in the parking lot. Jamie (KMG_365)and others were wrenching away with the TechDaze. Danny had to be sent off on his way home. Whenever the ride started coming together I don't know. I saw Jamie had on her riding pants, so I went up to change and pack. In five minutes Sharon was telling me to hurry up. We rode out of the lot following some riders. They pulled in for gas. Then Jamie came along with Philly and Craig. Soon there were a group of us riding. I think it was Howard (Phillyflash) leading, CraigC, then Jamie, Dave (Onedae), and I think Peter (can't think of his screen name). If I've missed anyone, please chime in and say so.
We rode out the same route Jamie (KMG_365) took us on the first day, but did not stop in the visitor center. Later Philly said he'd been going nicely through the turns, but I was riding sweep and by the end of the line speeds were a bit moderate for my taste. I started dropping a back a mile and then catching up. It was fun. We stopped for a drink at little store. There was a covered patio so we sat out there for bit. Russell (ittech) dropped in. He was riding solo with camera gear in hand. Evidently I didn't make any pictures.
The last night we all set out for dinner. One group went to the Squeeze In. Another to the Grubsteak Mining Co. I guess word went around, because as we walked we kept picking up folks. Bullett says, "Kind of a pied piper walk". I think there were about 15 of us by the time we got there. Then more just kept coming. If you want to count Richard and Jacqueline who arrived as we were leaving, of course, we made 42. Somehow they handled it all with aplomb. Food, service and company were fine, but already you could sense that in a way this was the last the hurrah. One more party at the Best Value, and then the last breakfast, goodbyes were soon to come.
There was some great conversation, as everyone made the most of our time. People were moving around and greeting folks at other tables, and it was a good time. Every time a new group wandered in there was a welcome and seats were found. The very essence of UN.
In the morning we had the most wonderful pancakes from 100 year old starter with homemade syrups including elderberry and huckleberry. Then the goodbyes.
It was a superb time, a great event in a great place, a tribute to all those that make BMWSportTouring a great place on the road and on web. Steve, you did fine job working while we were all playing. Thanks again!
One final note before this part of the tale ends. As many people as we met, or saw again, I was astounded at the dinner when everyone got together, how many we still have not met. Hope to meet you all next time. In the meantime, I'll be looking for your UnRally tales.
Part 4 later.