Early Saturday morning as I was motoring southbound on the Dan Ryan Expressway, I saw the familiar lights of motorcycles in my mirrors. Three of them, to be exact, and they were moving fast. My speedometer showed me at 6 miles above the speed limit. They rode in the staggered, multiple rider motorcycle formation. They were blasting down the left lane. When the first one zipped by me, I saw the familiar circular blue and white BMW rondel. The rider looked back as he passed me and nodded his head. I dipped my head in his direction. The second rider, looked back and gave his head an upward lift. I was thrilled to see them. Then the third one rode by and we exchanged the same the familiar motorcycle greeting.
Then it hit me! They had to be heading for the BMW MOA International Rally in Johnson City, TN. It made sense. Each bike towered with luggage. Each rider was totally ATGATT (all the gear, all the time). Each looked smooth, sharp and serious. My heart leaped. I felt such pride and elation. I wanted to fall in step with my people and be on my way too! I watched them fade into the distance and felt that leap in my heart dropped with a palpable thud. Eventually, they disappeared without a trace. I started humming some old "Freedom Songs."
The rally starts on July 16th.
Clearly, these guys were heading out early probably planning to take in some of the riding in the area, where there is no lack of magnificent roads. To name just a few, one can ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Cherohala Skyway, the roads around the Great Smokey Mountains, Fort Knox, The Dragon, and many scenic byways and squiggly roads off the beaten path. Like nothing else before, spotting these riders got me pumped!
It will be days before I leave. I will need to make a straight shot ride there given that I’m leaving at the last minute (work issues). I’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy the workshops and meet up with friends from the BMW F800 forum and some fellow bloggers. Just about everyone I know is leaving this weekend.
Dave is planning to attend. He’s probably leaving Monday or Tuesday. For good reasons, we will make separate journeys. First, we have different riding styles. I prefer long days and distance with a good ride day being around 500 miles and if necessary, 700 miles, and not feel drained. A good day for him is around 250 miles max. Different strokes for different folks. No one should ride beyond what they are comfortable doing. He will take his time getting there; I will get there in the time I have. We will meet up in TN probably on the same day.
Jesse’s oil has been changed, loose things all tightened up. I’m poking around with maps and drooling over scenic roads I’ll not have time to take in route to Johnson City. I will, however, make some stops in hopes of accumulating a few stamps along the way.
I’m also hoping for a detour in route home. I have friends in Knoxville, TN and in Durham, NC and I want to stop by even if it’s only to say, “Hey.”
The countdown begins…