Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Beemers and Brats Story

My Beemers and Brats Story

Tom Anspach (9/29/2008)

Since this is probably my last camping trip of 2008 I thought I would write up a little story about it.

This year the Beemers and Brats rally, Rockport IN, down as far as you can go on US231 in Indiana before you hit the Ohio River, had been delayed such that it fell on the same weekend as the Hoosier Beemer rally in North Vernon IN. I had been to the Hoosier Beemer Rally several times and enjoyed it. It is at a neat County Park. The Muskatatuk, named after the river that flows through it. I had never been in the particular area of Rockport, East of Evansville a ways. So finally decided to give it a go.
The Bemmers and Brats was a little pricey $25 rally fee, plus $15 per night per tent directly to the Oakridge Campground, for a total of $55. Quite a bit higher than normal for a weekend ‘small, local’ rally. The Hoosier rally was $15 for the weekend, including camping, for example. However since the Beemers & Brats included all the food you could eat over the weekend, maybe not too bad.

I packed up my bike Thursday eve and was ready to go.
I, messed around with odd’s and ends and did not leave Winamac, home, till about 10 AM Friday. I followed IN14, west; US231, south; IN66, west; for 278 miles arriving about 5PM. Was a little warm at spots, temp on my bike thermometer even approached 95 degrees at times. I missed my US231 sign in Lafayette around Purdue and wandered around the Purdue campus/housing area for a while before I figured out how to get back to US231. College students seem to get younger as each year passes. And I discovered something new to me, Purdue has its own airport.

I managed to find fellow riders Dick, Doug, Glenn & Linda from the Michiana BMW club and set up my tent nearby, so I could share their picnic table. I had picked up a bottle of Merlot (1.5 L) in Rockport. $8, cheapest I have seen for a while. Didn’t investigate the vintage much, but it tasted OK. Turns out the Bovarak Club had a keg on tap, donations accepted. So we were all set for the weekend.

Friday night we dined on Brats with all the trimmings. They were good. Saturday morning it was Biscuits and Gravy with coffee and extras. There was continuous coffee, tea, cold drinks, water etc all day. Saturday lunch was left over brats, sausage and hot dogs. Saturday night was BBQ with all the sides. It was very good. Sunday morning as we prepared to leave it was B&G, sausage, pancakes, sweet rolls. Plenty to eat.

It was a pretty small rally, with about 100 people or so, including the local club. Met a few other people who I had met over the years and forgotten their names. Much talking around the campfire. Only wandering into politics once in a while and did not last long. I think, people wanted to take a break from politics.

The campground was OK. The big RV’s were in sight but pretty much out of the way. Lots of trees, grass and a small pond. The HQ building had plenty of room, tables, kitchen, rest rooms and showers. Augmented by the standard portelets.

Saturday was a nice day of ‘kicking lies and telling tires’ as the saying goes. While Doug was reviewing the status of my bike he noticed the bolts on my front axle pinch clamp had threads showing and were finger loose. WOW, how in the heck had that happened. I know I torqued them to spec when I changed my tire a couple thousand miles ago. Or did I? Got out my tool kit and tightened them up. Re-torqued them when I get home.

There was an organized ride which I did not go on. But I did take a short ride across the new US231 Ohio River Bridge into Kentucky then west to Owensboro and back across the old US231 Bridge to IN161. I stopped at the neat River Park in Owensboro. They had several story board signs that covered the interesting history of the city originally named Yellow Bluff because of the foliage and the high bluff. There were pictures of the 1937 flood where water was standing in the street. All of the lower lying surraounding areas were totally flooded. There was a neat story about the start of the school system by a young lady (Aunt Sukey’s School) who had washed ashore on a plank from a wrecked Steamboat, in the early 1800’s.

Saturday night I managed to walk away with the ‘mature’ rider award. No luck on door prizes though. My luck had been used up at the Beemers in Bluegrass rally a couple weeks before where I won 2 door prizes.
In Rockport there was still a LOT of cleanup going on, cutting up trees, piles of brush, hauling brush, as a result of the very high winds, no rain, that came through 2 weeks before. There were lots of corn fields where the standing corn been been blown flat. It turns out the rally delay, for other reasons, was good. Had it been at the scheduled time, all the tents would have been blown away. There is also a neat little park in Rockport right along the Ohio river with a sheer rock wall on the opposite side of the narrow road. It was 1st gear climbing back up to the streets.

Come Sunday morning it was packing up, eating breakfast- more biscuits and gravey, sausage, pancakes, etc.- saying goodbyes and heading home. The dew was heavy Saturday night so the outside of the tents were dripping wet.

Taking some different roads to home, I left about 9:55AM, followed- IN66,west; IN161, north; IN62, west, IN61, north; IN57, north; US231, north; IN25, north; IN421, north; IN39, north; IN119, north; US35, north; IN14, east; home at about 4:40PM. Being from the rolling flat land of Northern Indiana makes me feel like I am in another state when riding the roads in lower (Southern) Indiana. The traffic was very light starting out, a very nice ride.

Just north of Greencastle there was a lot of activity going on, digging a long, deep trench and installing huge pipes (42 inch diamter, I found out later). Turns out it is a natural gas pipe line from Missouri to Ohio. It will carry about 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas/day from the western wells to the east and Midwest markets. Natural gas prices should go down?? What do you think??

Going home I wanted to find a little roadside rest park so I could stop and eat my left over brat sandwich for ‘lunch’. But could not find one. Finally stopped at a Dairy Queen in Lafayette, that had outside tables. So had an ice cream cone, a cup of coffee, some of my snacks and my left over brat sandwich, and watched the traffic go by.

Why doesn’t Indiana have roadside rest parks along non I State highways, like many other states do? Like the rest park along US35 in Thornhope, which I have heard that INDOT wants to get rid of.

The weather was great all weekend.

Statistics- Miles down-285, average MPH- 41, Miles back- 281, average MPH- 42, overall average MPG- 39.5, Total miles- 606.


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