Thursday, August 12, 2010
I am a member of the Yankee Beemers Motorcycle Club (http://www.yankeebeemers.org/) and last weekend was the 25th anniversary of the Damn Yankees Rally in Heath MA. Heath is a tiny little town in the northwest corner of MA and it has some of the best riding in New England. It is an easy launch point to the great roads in western Mass, southern VT, southern NH, and NY. This is one of those gather, ride, and hang out kind of rallies. Camping is very popular in the BMW motorcycle culture. The rally was held at the Heath fairgrounds so it was easy for everyone to pitch their tents and camp out for the weekend. There was a record attendance of over 300 people there. I spent last Saturday there, but did not spend the night. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning on Saturday and left the house at 4:00 to get there by 6:30 for the morning cup of coffee and BS session about the hijinks from the night before. I spent a few hours chatting with everyone then I set out on a nice 300 mile solo ride around the area. I did 8a in Mass before jumping on 112 and 100 in VT for a little while. Dipped back into Mass and then into NY for an hour or so before riding back into Mass and returning to the Rally site. I rode to the top of Mt. Greylock and Mt. Sugarloaf. That was the first time for me and getting up there was some fun riding. I was back at the Rally by 4:00 in the afternoon. Just in time for the start of the Scottish Trials and Free Trials. The Scottish Trials is a course with a set of obstacles to overcome. It is a challenge of your maneuverability skills and usually includes a jump of some kind. Mostly dirt bike types will do this stuff, but I saw one Suzuki SV650 sport bike do a decent job, but did not crack the top three riders. One guy hit the jump too hard and smashed into the port-o-potty. He was fine and finished the course. The Free Trials are open to pretty much anyone. They have a slow race (last place wins), a two-up challenge to throw cans into a garbage can, a kick the doll challenge where you ride by this doll and kick it as far as you can, and a few other odd challenges. It was fun to watch, but I didn't try any of them. The RT is just too heavy for me to do any of that stuff. They had a charity group provide the catering for the Rally and they made an awesome barbeque chicken and corn on the cob. I ate and made the trek back. All in all a great day of riding.