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Old 09-27-2010, 01:07 PM   #1
Recon_Buck
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Mines & Meadows Rally

There have been a few posts and comments about the BMW Xplor Mines and Meadows Rally sponsored by RawHyde in Wampum, PA this past weekend (23-26 Sept 10). So if you bear with me, I’d like to share my observations of this incredibly exciting and adventurous weekend.

First off, I heard one or two folks upfront complaining about the cost. The reality is that once the weekend was over, everyone knew that they received a real bargain for their money, and it was a phenomenal experience across the board. To be honest, when you breakdown everything that was provided - lectures/workshops, spectacular food, cold and hot beverages, entertainment, mine tour, guided tours, exclusive access to the park for a day, G 450 X demo rides (and yes, we rode them like we stole them), superb on-site vendor (AltRider), Rally freebies, etc - your return on investment was incredibly substantial. Over the next several posts I’ll share my experiences at what was clearly the best motorcycle rally I’ve ever attended. And to be really honest, it was more of a mini-Adventure than a motorcycle rally... Seriously!

Day 1 for me was supposed to be Wednesday (22 Sept), but that annoying little activity called “The Jay Oh Bee” forced me to work late into evening. So Day 1 began at oh-dark thirty on the 23rd as I embarked my new R1200 GS ADV (my ’07 ADV was recently traded in for this new super sexy model) and headed to Stephens City, VA to link up with the rest of my Virginian riding friends.

Oh yes indeed, the Ride was On!!!!
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Recon_Buck screwed with this post 09-27-2010 at 09:13 PM
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:18 PM   #2
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The Team from Virginia...

By 0900, all five of us were together and heading northwest... so we thought. The Rat (pictured here with his very cool R1100 GS) is from Bulter, PA and said, "hey, no need for maps or GPS, I know a great route."

Little did we know that his great route took us east and south... for many, many, many miles.... Rat later admitted (after a few beers) that he reluctantly became concerned about our route only after the sun began burning holes in his eyes... He stated he was a tad confused because he was confident that we were headed in the correct direction, and that someone should have posted something on the internet or perhaps even a national news report if the sun were to all of a sudden rise in the west....

Who cares... the Ride was On!!!

PS... take a good look at the bike... Not all those parts came home with him... I'm just saying!
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:23 PM   #3
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The Ladies...

Since four out of the five of us purchased our GS's from Adventure BMW in Chesapeake, VA, the owner hooked up Leanna (on the F800) with Coleen (aka Chocolate Cherry on the F650 Twin). Leanna was new to the GS lifestyle, and payed for the RawHyde lessons at the Rally which she strongly and repeatedly stated was well-worth it as her off-roading skills increased exponentially. She was thrilled with the quality and professionalism of the instructors.

We all enjoyed the camaraderie!
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:31 PM   #4
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The rest of the Virginia Team

Here a picture of Super Dave ('07 R1200 GS) and I.

Super Dave rode solo across America this Spring to participate in RawHyde's Adventure Challenge. He placed 14th in the initial competition and finished very well in the final round. That's where he first met the very nice and helpful team from AltRider. I was vary happy he introduced me to Jeremy and Brianna at the Rally as I purchased some extremely well made and high quality protective gear for my GS ADV once we were there. Anywho, I was supposed to ride with him to the Adventure Challenge, but I was deployed overseas during that time period. That damn Jay Oh Bee!!!!!

I met Dave only last year and so far we have shared about half a dozen Adventure trips together. We all agreed that this was hands down the absolute best one to date!
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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The Rat...

"Hey ya'll, we may be lost, but we're making great time!!! Now let's ride in this direction for a while and see in we can finally get out of North Carolina..."
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:43 PM   #6
Recon_Buck
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The Virginian Ladies

Both of the Ladies did a great job carving up the narrow twisties as we rode to the event.

And patiently waited as Rat sorted out the route...
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:44 PM   #7
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The Rest of Day 1

We finally finished our 6 hour ride 8 hours later... note to self, never let the Rat lead the way... Once registration was complete, RayHyde personnel (led by Jim Hyde) provided an overview and orientation for the weekend. It became very clear and apparent that this was less of a Rally and more of a mini-Adventure!

Then the Dakar Bar was open!!!!
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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And then a strange thing occurred....

These GS's were either very tired from the long trip riding to the Rally, or they had way too much at the Dakar Bar!!!
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:51 PM   #9
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I think it was Owen's idea...

Oh, they were our new friends from Michigan! Owen is the manager at BMW Motorcycles Southeast Michigan. What a great guy!
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:54 PM   #10
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The Roundel!

The mystery of the Roundel is solved!!! It's a beer mat!

And really, is there nothing that the GS just can't do...

Prost!!!
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:04 PM   #11
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The RawHyde Team and others

What was so awesome was that Jim brought his own chefs, instructors, and logistics personnel and support equipment all the way from California just for this event. It was their first venture east of the Mississippi.

Oh, and the AltRider team traveled even further - from Seattle, WA to provide essential protective equipment for all models of the GS. Plus, they ponied up a $200 gift certificate which was won in the raffle by one of the lucky participants.

And Mike from MOTOHIO European Motorbikes (in Columbus, OH) donated some sweet swag for the raffles, the top prize being a top of the line GPS unit. Plus, hats and tee-shirts for everyone at the event! Very cool!!!
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:12 PM   #12
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Day 2

While many folks were scrambling to pull off as much of their GS gear (turn signals, mirrors, windshields, etc) from their GS's prior to the Mine Tour, I only took off my side cases. I was confidently protected by AltRider gear!

And I did air down both tires to 20 psi.

Super Dave is moving fast to get his first cup of coffee!!!
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:15 PM   #13
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The Mine Tour

Okay, I'll admit it... I woosed out and did not go on Shawn's early morning Adventure Ride. I rode with the second group (still a very challenging and exciting ride) and enjoyed the hell out of myself! Here we are getting the brief before we rode into the cold, wet, super-cool mine!
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:31 PM   #14
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It was DARK!!!!

In the mine it was very dark, and slippery, and very, very cool!!!! Cool as in, Uber-badass!!!
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:18 PM   #15
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Once we left the mine...

We then found some single track. But, let's set the record straight. All the trails were all Quad-runner trails (double track), with many areas deeply rutted and VERY narrowly separated with a very round, slick crown. So the single tracks were just steeper and rockier... The "Bunny Trails" (aka, the Easy ones) were quite challenging for the big Boxer GS's!
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