Drew Hits the Dogwoods: RIDE REPORT

BMW Riders like to talk about miles ridden. It seems quite the normal order of things for a BMW owner to jump on his or her trusty steed and ride 400 miles for good bar-be-que...and then to ride 300 more miles to secure a lovely campsite, with or without the threat of mountain lions.

Our club is heavy with such intrepid souls. If either David and Jean Hanson, Dan Weber or Drew Newcomer don't pop out several hundred miles on most sunny spring weekends then things are likely not right with the world. The great thing for us is that all of them not only love to ride, they love to share their experiences. Let's start with Drew, who writes about the recently-attended Dogwood Trail Rally in Mississippi.
by Drew Newcomer

After having spent a considerable amount of money to get the R ready for the riding season, it was time to go somewhere. Less than 100 miles from the house, the BMW Riders of Mississippi offered an opportunity to sample some of their southern hospitality. Under clear skies on Friday, April 3, I headed east on I-20 to Mississippi exit 19. Finding Askew’s Ferry Road right next to the interstate, I easily found Askew’s Landing campground. What a nice location complete with pine trees, a couple of small lakes, and plenty of BMW motorcycle enthusiasts.

I stopped at the main pavilion and began the registration process. Motorcycle acquaintance Mike Hilton was there and I visited with Mike for a few minutes. I found a camping spot and set up my claustrophobic one-person tent for the evening. After a healthy serving of gumbo provided by the Mississippi Riders, the rest of the evening was spent visiting with folks from the southeast. While bad weather in the Midwest did cause some cancellations, 139 riders did show up from as far away as North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The youngest rally rider was 19, and the oldest was 88!

Friday night was a bit chilly and I was cold and almost wet from heavy dew. The next morning I discovered many of my fellow riders did not sleep well either (guess we should have brought the heavier sleeping bags!) Well, I decided right then and there that if I was going to be doing this “rally thing,” I needed to upgrade my equipment. As luck would have it, a vendor from Catoma Outdoor (http://www.catomaoutdoor.com/) was present and more than willing to sell me a new tent. I purchased one on the spot!!

I have been somewhat itching to buy a new motorcycle (not an uncommon occurrence for many of us) and I decided to ride to the Triumph dealership in Jackson. I have been gazing with an interested eye at a Tiger. Mike Hilton and I rode northeast on Mississippi highway 22 through Flora then turned south on 463 to I-55 and on into Jackson. What a great ride! The weather was nearly perfect and the roads were very much “motorcycle enjoyable.” We found the dealership and even though I had the opportunity to “try one out”, I did not take up the offer to ride a Tiger. Guess I was thinking, given the current economic situation, that frugality may be the best course of action for now. So, after having gotten some local information from Wayne, the Triumph salesman, Mike and I headed back to Flora via some roads not on our map but through some very pretty countryside. We stopped in Flora for a good old fashion “country lunch” then found highway 22 that took us back to the rally. A nap was now in order and I closed my eyes for a few minutes trying to catch up on some of the sleep I lost the night before. I woke up in time for the door prize drawings and actually won some Amsoil Bike Wash. Now all I have to do is get off my butt and find some elbow grease to use it!

Saturday night was warmer and very pleasant. Supper consisted of fried catfish, ribs, beans, cole slaw, potato salad, and rolls. A local band played while folks enjoyed their evening meal. I picked up and set up my new tent in less than five minutes! Not being a Boy Scout or handyman, this was one of the draws towards a new tent purchase. I also found out that double wall tents are much dryer than single wall tents and I slept better on Saturday night. Sunday morning the tent came down just as easily and the bike was packed. No sense leaving too early as pancakes were being served as they had been the morning before. So, after filling my stomach, goodbyes were said and it was time to head back home. There was some fog, but no rain and the trip home was uneventful, which is exactly the way I like it. This was a great way to start the '09 riding season – good company, good roads, good food, and weather that still couldn’t be complained about. If I am free next year, I will be back.

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