Friday, July 19, 2013

BMW MOA Rally - Salem, OR

I arrived in Portland, OR, at 4:45am on Thursday morning and took public transportation to Clackamas for a much cheaper car rental. Unfortunately, the rental company didn't open up 'til 8:00am so I ended up sitting in a fast food place for a couple of hours. Pretty boring sitting the Jack-in-a-box but it was a good opportunity to catch up on some of the other blogs.

The BMW MOA (Motorcycle Owners of America) rally is being held at the fairgrounds in Salem, OR. The location is wonderful compared to the previous two rallies that I've attended before. It's cool in the morning and hasn't been really getting hot until mid-afternoon. The seminar rooms, the vintage area and the indoor vendor booths are nicely air conditioned. My rent-a-tent is the fourth one from the right and saved my from having to carry camping gear as part of my baggage, They supply the tent, air mattress, sleeping bag, camping chair and towel plus provide coffee, ice water and electricity to recharge things.

I met CCjon this morning. He is a Ural rider from Texas who rode from Key West to Prudhoe Bay earlier this summer. I missed him when he came through Fairbanks as we were getting ready to fly to Japan and Singapore. It was a great to meet him and hopefully I'll see him again tomorrow. He is camping with friends from Texas and I saw him at a sidecar seminar put on by David Hough, Jay Giese and Coach Ramey Stroud. David Hough is the author of the Yellow Book as well as Proficient Motorcycling. Jay is the owner of Dauntless Sidecars, the company that made my subframe and sidecar mounting hardware. Coach Stroud teaches classes in off-road riding techniques.

Here is Jay showing off his newest creation. Their M72DX installed on the new 2013 water cooled R1200GS. He believes that it is the first one thats been hacked. It is a very clean installation and it was completed on Wednesday evening. one day before the rally started. As you would imagine, it has every option in the book including electric lean and automotive wheels and tires for the pusher and sidecar tire. He is working on a new wheel design that would be useable in all three positions so you would only need to carry a single spare.

After the street sidecar seminar, David Hough invited anyone with a rig to come out to the parking lot where he set up several drills that are in his book as well as in the S/TEP curriculum that was developed by the three individuals mentioned above. Here he is describing how to "fly the chair" while going in a straight line. Some didn't believe it was possible so what else was he to do but borrow someones rig and do a demonstration. The rig pictured is a R1150GS with a DMC sidecar mounted.

Here is David Hough "flying the chair". By the end of the training session almost all of the participants were able to do it for at least a short distance. I was surprised how easily the wheel comes up. I was thinking that my sidecar wheel has never came off the ground unintentionally but I think that maybe it has just I had never noticed it. He told me what I needed to do once I get home. Unlike many on the forums, he thought that the Cozy was a good match for an old Airhead especially if it was mounted with a wide track. If I had mounted it tight to the bike, then it would be too light and come up too easily.

When not wandering the grounds or attending seminars, I have been hanging out at Airhead Central. The local Airhead group has a nice tent and they collected a lot of couches and chairs for folks to relax. They have a donation jar and they pick up snacks and drinks. The Kansas group leader has been making breakfast for any in the group who wants hash browns, eggs and bacon. They also have a setup for people to work on their bikes. Many aren't comfortable working on the bike without help and here there is plenty of people to help with just about any task. Matt Parkhouse from Colorado Springs even pulled apart a 5 speed gear box to show the most common problem areas and he had the parts available to rebuild it there.

There are about 5000 people and bikes here spread out all over the fairgrounds. In addition to the indoor vendors, there are a number of outdoor vendors doing tire changes, suspension upgrades and farkle installations. I think in spite of BMW riders being the cheapest part of the bike, they do a pretty good business at this rally. BMW has a fleet of demo bikes here and the most popular bike is the new water cooled R1200GS followed by the K1600GT and the F800GS.



  1. Wow! Nice tent rental? What have you done to redecorate and "make it yous"? ;)

    I'm glad you were able to attend the rally, even sans rig, and have some fun!

    1. "Redecorate"? Why would I want to do that? I figured out which tent was mine, threw in my stuff, and started to wander around.

  2. Sounds like you're having a good time. Matt Parkhouse is "the man" when it comes to all things Airhead. He always attends the tech days here in Colorado and is a fount of knowledge and always willing to help out and teach.

    1. Matt Parkhouse is a great resource and he hung around "Airhead Central" which was like a continuous tech day.

      Yes, I'm having a good time. Lots of Airheads, sidecars and world travelers.

  3. Rent a tent, who woulda thunk. Great idea.

    I have been appreciating these cooler morning, not usual for us this time of year but appreciated.

    See you Tuesday.

    1. It's too bad that this is his last time offering the service. He's trying to sell the business.