The first rally of my riding season is history now. It is our own AZBeemers rally, put on by our club, and I made it up there Saturday after having to work on Friday. I took my F800ST because the F650GS is still in the shop. I enjoyed the ST as it flew through the curves on the Beeline Hwy. on the way up, and Hal and I were there by 8:20 a.m.
We worked the registration booth for about three hours, from 9:30 to 12:30. Then we rode a couple of bikes provided by our local BMW dealer, Victory BMW, on demo rides (that’s “demonstration,” not “demolition”.) We rode the new water-cooled R1200GS (super smooth, nice), and the G650GS, which is the newer version of my 2006 F650GS (I don’t think there is a reason for me to give up my older bike!). I have to ride demo bikes two-up with Hal because my feet are so far from the ground on most stock motorcycles.
When we were finished with the demo rides, we walked around the rally and looked at bikes, always an interesting thing to do at any rally:
The big GS, an adventurer’s bike:
Later, we had our club meeting, elected new/returning officers, and later we had a fajita dinner, the most popular thing to do at a rally (eat):
We camped that night, and it was very cold. I keep forgetting how cold it is at this rally because where I live, near Phoenix, AZ, USA, the temperatures are already in the 100° F. range. It’s hard to imagine what cold is like when it is so hot at home. Overnight at the rally, it was in the 40° F. range. I had to put on nearly every bit of clothing that I’d brought, including a knit hat. My head was the only thing sticking out of the sleeping bag, so it needed covering, too. Every time I do this, I say I am never camping again! I guess I keep doing it because I want to like camping, but I never do. It seems like a lot of stuff to pack to be cold and uncomfortable. I suppose I am just not doing it right, but for once a year, which is how often I camp, it doesn’t seem like a good investment.
Camping at rallies, it’s what people do:
Early Sunday morning, I was awakened by the birds shrieking to each other over the top of my tent (or so it seemed). It was right before dawn, and the temperature dropped to its lowest point. Then it grew quiet in that magic time when dawn pauses for a moment. The light was the cold silvery color that precedes the gold of the sun, the sky a lighter version of gun metal blue. Within the sleeping bag, I tried to wrap myself tighter in the blanket, but I had already spun myself into a jacket-like cocoon of semi-warmth. My nose was cold, so I dove under the blanket, risking suffocation, but at the time it seemed preferable to freezing to death.
Eventually, the sun came up, and I could feel the temperature edging higher to a somewhat tolerable range. I dared to breach the airlock of warmth surrounding me and got dressed. The clothes were cold when I put them on, but quickly warmed. Hal crawled out of his tent about the same time (we’re always on the same page), and we stumbled over to brush our teeth and get some coffee, not necessarily in that order.
Found this little guy almost under my feet as I packed my tent!
Then we did the clean up/pack up of club items as other rally-goers cleared out. People had come from Colorado, California, Utah, New Mexico, and some had several hundred miles to ride. It didn’t take us too long to pack up our own gear, then with our bikes fully loaded, we took a leisurely ride down the 260 toward Payson, AZ. I love that stretch of road, and I enjoyed it thoroughly today, the bike felt good beneath me as we swooped down off the Mogollon Rim, and soon we reached Payson. We had breakfast at our favorite spot, Crosswinds Grill at the airport, and then finally, there was no more putting it off, we had to go back to the heat. So, from the freezing cold of the morning to the mid-day heat of Phoenix, it was quite a contrast, a temperature range of 60° F. Thank goodness for mesh protective riding gear with removable liners. We live in it all summer.
Home again to unpack, do laundry, and relax. It’s amazing how much dirty laundry is generated by a single night of camping in the cold. As I organized my gear for next time, I started settling down. Sometimes I think I do these things just so I can revel in the contentment of coming home. I know I am going to be out like a light tonight in my warm, soft bed.
Let the summer riding season begin!