Saturday, November 22, 2008

The RA 2009 Rally will be in the Canaan Valley State park in West Virgina on July 23 to July 26 2009. I have 'fond' memories of the RA 2004 Rally in the same place. I decided to resurrect my story. I may add some pictures later.
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This is-
My Story about my MC trip to the
BMW RA (Riders of America) ‘Wild and Wonderful’ 2004
in the Canaan Valley Resort State Park in West Virginia.
16 - 19 September 2004

(I have since nicknamed it “Wild and Terrible Ivan”)
Tom Anspach 9/22/2004

First- this is a gorgeous place! Ski resort in the mountains . . . with a big Lodge, Lodge Rooms, Cabins (a misuse for the word cabin . . . more like ‘chalet’), RV campground . . . campground. (

I will write this story a little differently . . . . starting out with what I was looking forward to, what happened wx-wise while there. Then a little synopsis of the trip.

So you can readily find the place on your maps here are the directions-
From North: I- 79 South to Rt. 33 (West on). East on Rt. 33 to Harman. In Harman take Rt. 32 North to Canaan Valley. Except on the advice of the WV welcome station desk attendant I did I 79 south to I 86 east to US219 South to WV32 to Canaan Valley - great riding roads.

Here is the 10day forecast in preparation for leaving.
10-Day Forecast

High /Low (°F) Precip. %

Tonight Sep 13 Partly Cloudy 54° 0 %
Tue Sep 14 Mostly Cloudy 73°/53° 20 %
Wed Sep 15 Partly Cloudy 73°/56° 20 %
Thu Sep 16 Few Showers 75°/56° 30 %
Fri Sep 17 Heavy Rain 69°/58° 60 %
Sat Sep 18 Rain 71°/55° 60 %
Sun Sep 19 Showers 70°/56° 40 %
Mon Sep 20 Showers 71°/53° 30 %
Tue Sep 21 Partly Cloudy 72°/54° 0 %
Wed Sep 22 Few Showers 71°/49° 30 %
Last Updated September 13 09:3 PM EDT
As you can see it looked like a rainy weekend ahead. and Ivan was potentially on the way. . . although drifting further to the west at that time. But what the heck. . . it might not rain much . . . and if it did, there would be hundreds of other people (riders tenters) there so wouldn’t be alone.

Lets get right to the heart of the matter, and include a couple of real-time emails that I sent out while there. (They had 3 computers hooked to the INet, so I could readily access my email via webmail, without standing in line very long ‘sometimes’). So I sent a few email/reports to the Florida contingent (and others once in a while) who could not make it due to Ivan.

Sent Wed Sept 15th.
Beautiful day here in the Canaan Valley Resort SP in WV.... how long will it last . . . . .
Sent Thurs Sept 16th
what can i say except. what a beautiful day. of course it is after a Jane/Mitch dinner and some micro beer from the beer garden and a little vino. we miss you all from Florida. a few up here but not enough. we are trying to cover for you. . . . the best during all the rain you have been getting. . . down there. how long will the beauty last here. only time will tell. . after all it is only thursday . . . . .

from your poverty rider reporter . . . . . Canaan valley WV....cheers..
tom anspach .. .. . have conch horn will travel. . . .
Sent Friday Sept 17th noon
well the 'how long will it last is over' rain and wind are starting . . . . but what the heck. lots of nice people . . . . and socializing. . . . . neat place . . .


Tom Anspach
Sent Saturday morn about 9am
wowee, what a rock and role night. . . . . sitting at the campfire, light drizzle once in a while . . . calm . .looked like a nice night coming up . . then to bed . . . about midnight or so . . . . the wind shifted to the north . . . (right into the open face end of my tent where the door is zipped shut). VERY windy . . gusty . . heavy rain. . you could hear it coming roaring up the hill. MC covers, tarps, rain flys shaking and snapping like a leaves. . . LOUD leaves . . .

sometime during the night the airheads (Bones) high tech approx 10 x 20 foot 'cabin' with 2 inch steel posts blew completely away..... It was down the hill near a ditch about 1/4 mile away. Several of the 2 inch steel posts had snapped in two. How it missed hitting tents and MC's down wind we dont know (I heard later that a pole did hit a tent, punched a hole in it and broke a support . . did not injure the camper . . . don’t know any of the details). . . unless it lifted completely off the ground and flew over them . . . .WOW . . .

They are in the process of seeing if they can get something back together. . . . supposed to clear up today . . . with a crisp low tonight of 39 degrees . . . oh well free beer during happy hour . . even micro brew . . .

Marty headed home this AM

Your Rally Reporter

Tom Anspach

Now lets go back to the beginning.

I packed up my bike on Monday, left Tuesday morning about 8 EST. rode 388 miles US35 to Galveston IN local to US31 south of Kokomo to I465 to I70 to OH79 to Barkcamp State park. near Belmont OH.

Nice little park, nice night of camping. then up and left about 7 am EDT and 208 miles VIA I70, I79, I68 to US219 to WV32 to Rally site. total of 596 miles. Got there about noon.

Great riding wx and roads. Traffic OK, not heavy.

I was in a day early and the rules are to camp early you need to volunteer. So I found the first guy who looked like he was doing some rally stuff and introduced myself “Tom Reporting for duty”. It turned out to be ‘Bones’. He gave me a chair and assigned me a post at the top of a hill to help direct the vendors into the vendor area. So I moved my bike nearby and sat up on the hill for several hours, smoking my pipe, sipping my water, eating my snacks. Every once in a while when a vendor came in I would try to guide them into the vendor area. After it had dragged on long enough I gave Bones back his chair and found out where the Poverty rider camping compound was and the campground and headed there to set up camp.

It was a beautiful day, sunny with scattered clouds, mountains all around.

I set up my tent, helped the camping registration guy a little. By then some of the other Poverty riders, and neighbors (Airheads, and Chain Gang), and others on down the road started to show up. And the socializing started.
Did not start a campfire that night . . . it bothered me all night . . . the first one to a rally is always supposed to get the fire going. Made a camping dinner meal, then to bed.

Thursday was another gorgeous day. Did a short ride into a nearby town Davis to make some purchases. Some Free Beer, including microbrew . . . delicious, at the beer tent during happy hour. Got a nice campfire going this night. Then to bed. Light rain and winds started Thursday night.

Friday, it was rainy all day. Visited vendors and others . . . . kicked lies and told tires . . . . . . It was quite a hike from the camp area to the HQ at the Resort Lodge. They had a bus service running often, about every 15 to 20 minutes . . . worked very well. That evening I hiked up to the Lodge. Up a road, up a grassy hill to the tennis courts and ice skating rink, up a set of stairs and a up hill walkway into the beer tent then into the lodge.
When I came back down after dark, I took a short cut, to head for the campfire and add some more fuel. Even though I was careful and had my hiking stick (that I picked up out of WV woods) I slipped on the wet grass on a bank, bent my leg back at the knee, it was pretty sore for a couple days, and still a little. Fortunately it didn’t break.

Friday eve, at the fire, even though it would drizzle once in a while, it was calm . . . all appearances a good night. I went to bed well before midnight. Sometime after midnight the wind shifted from the SE to N right into the high profile end of my Kelty tent. And the WIND and RAIN started for GOOD. I still had my tarp up. I got up 3 or 4 times and tried to tie things down better. Blowing like hell in rolling gusts, raining hard once in a while. Finally gave up on the tarp and took it down. It was snapping a cracking like a gun. Some water was coming into the tent. It appeared to be blowing in past the zipper seal and in through the zipper. Sometime during the night the BIG walled canopy, which was about 10 feet away from my tent, lifted up, left the stakes in the ground, but broke the connectors on the guy lines, and flew and tumbled down the hill to near a ditch about a 1/4 mile away. Wow, what a rock and roll night.

Next morning, Sat, everyone one is getting up and going over and getting our stories together. Most everyone made out OK, amazing. A few people lost tent stuff. One I know of moved into the shower trailer. (There were 2 18 stall shower trailers in the campground .. . they were GREAT).

I should add that the camping area was a big grassy area, like an oval ridge. About a 1/8 mile wide and 1/2 mile long. There was a MC trail laid out in the grass along the top of the ridge with camping sites on each side. My guesstimate is that there were several hundred tents (200 or so) maybe. If the wx had been good there would have probably been a couple thousand tents.

A few of the Poverty Riders were involved in vending and had rented a cabin. At about 8 or 9 am, this Saturday morning, after the rock and roll night., some of the people who had came back from being up to the lodge, started talking about moving into the cabin. So that is what we did. Stan had his SUV there. We took down everything, dumped it into his SUV and with 2 trips moved up to Cabin 17. Overall there were about 16 people in the cabin. It was great, a great time and worked out great. This will forever be known as “Cabin 17 - Ivan”. We got our stuff dried out and packed up, slept on the floor and couches. This was a big cabin BTW. 4 bedrooms, 2 couches, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, fireplace, dishwasher, big TV, front and back porch. So that is where I stayed Saturday night. The temp got down into the high 30’s, but we were nice and cozy and comfy in ‘Ivan - Cabin 17’. Sunday Morn, I slowly got packed up and left about 1030 am.

Now the Ken C story. I had met Ken from Canfield OH near SW of Youngstown, at the MI Sturgis rally this spring. We were touching base when I was considering going to this Rally, and he was considering going. Although neither of us was sure until the last minute. ...I left on Tuesday, Ken left on Friday (working). So I was there, checking my cell phone once in a while. I did not realize Ken had to work till Friday and whether or not he was coming. So he took off Friday afternoon. Heading south into the rain. He arrived about 9PM (before the Rock and Roll), but still rain. The wed night before a guy had hit a deer and was in bad shape in a Morgantown Hosp. Ken managed to finagle a room at the lodge late Friday night. He spent all day Friday trying to find me. I had quit checking my phone after Thurs afternoon as I had given up on him, plus I was calling Patty on the hard phone. Turns out he was leaving messages on my cell phone and trying to call Patty on Friday (the few times he tried it was busy). Sat afternoon he saw my bike parked out in front of the lodge. The only time I rode my bike up there was Sat afternoon, when I decided to visit the whirlpool. . . it was great. . . just what I needed. While he was standing there waiting for me to show up a guy came up, spotted, my poverty rider sticker and stuck a dollar bill near my seat! Ken gave up. When I came back I wondered where the dollar bill came from!

Later in the beer hall during happy hour. Ken finally spots me and I him. He had been looking at all the gray beards without any luck. He had earlier, accidentally find out I was in a cabin from Carol one of the original cabin residents. They had, coincidentally sat at the same table when he was asking about me. And she knew I had moved up to Cabin 17. A monumental coincident with all those people milling around around. So we got together, he came up to Cabin 17 for a while, was inducted into the Poverty Riders. And we had to push his bike to get it started. . . low battery.

Saturday night, Ken had asked me to stop by their place in Canfield OH on Sunday night on my way home. I accepted. Sunday about 11 we met up at the lodge. Pushed his bike again to get it started and headed for Canfield Ohio, via WV32, US219, I68, I79, and US224 (MOL). We were going to ride some back roads, but with Kens battery giving problems decided to head straight back. After a good charging run. . . it seemed to be OK.

After 268 miles we got to his place. He and his wife Lisa, fixed a great meal, finished up the wine I had left over, had a lot of good conversation. I went to bed and slept like a rock. They had to get to work early Monday (left about 6 am EDT). I finally got up about 7:30 AM EDT, closed things up and headed out. Ken had given me directions to a neat old breakfast place a couple miles from their house. Unfortunately I did not spot it. I got on US224 and headed west.

Finally stopped for a breakfast at Travel America. They had Biscuits and Gravel and the coffee was good. What more could you ask for!

I experienced the importance of having headlights ON during daytime. While 224 was still in heavy shade from trees . . . I had a clear stretch (had been studying it for a while . . . .because of the shadows), so I pulled out to pass a semi. I just got out at his left rear corner and low and behold a dark car burst out of the shadows into a sunny spot. I got back in with a second or so to spare. . . . . the car got excited and moved half to the shoulder . . . so we would have been all right,. .had I not been able to get back behind the semi, I could have squeezed between the semi and oncoming car. . . . Had he had his lights on . . . I would seen him clearly.

A nice ride home. US224 overall was good. Few spots of trucks but traffic light enough to get around them. Brother John met me East of Peru. We rode into Peru and stopped for an ice cream cone. Then on home after 353 miles, via US24, US35. For a total trip of 1248 miles, 7 days 6 nights.

According to the closing ceremonies there were about 2100 MOL, registered. There were a little over 200 no shows. Thus there were about 1900 MOL (My memory is not good on the actual numbers) registered attendees.

Another great MC trip, with many memorable experiences.

Here is the story about the ‘pole throgh the tent’ from Jane.
From: JaneDate: Wed Sep 22, 2004 17:33:31 US/EasternTo: coonbottom@hcsmail.comSubject: Re: RA rallyOne of the poles went through a couple's tent at about 3 am -- ripped the tent, broke 3 of their 5 support poles and surely scared the sh*t out of them. It also scraped Stan's bike on the way over their tents. All in all, we survived, thanks to the PRI that shared the cabin.


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