Greetings to the NORCAL group and thanks for a great weekend in the beautiful Sierras!
Long time riding buddy and colleague Joyce Sampson extended the invitation to come down and see how it is done in California. Since I am always grateful for an excuse for a road trip, and the 25th Annual Range of Light Gypsy Tour was a wonderful opportunity, I started this trip from my home base in Mount Vernon, WA on Friday, burning down the slab for about 13 hours to arrive at the Orland, CA kickoff location.
Upon arrival, it was quickly obvious that Joyce and the rest of the crew were a busy bunch making this event happen. I appreciate Scott Maas taking me under his wing and showing me around. In fact, before the weekend was over, Scott and I had put on a few hundred miles of great riding together. I'll shamelessly admit I hijacked a hard working volunteer and kept him from being the target for additional tasking from the boss.
I am an 'outsider' in a couple of ways. First, simply because I am not in the club and live some distance away. Second, and more acute, I am new to the BMW world and events like this. I have never been a camper and this is my first BMW. Being an East coast transplant, I also have had few opportunities to ride in California.
To put things in perspective, here is the sum total of my California riding experience.
I ordered the 2015 R1200GSA in January, when it was a pile of un-assembled parts in Germany. By March, it had still not found its way across the pond so I took my first ride down to visit Joyce on my Honda GL1800. That was my introduction to Yosemite and Joyce apparently had no qualms about leading me and my half ton of bike on a wild ride on gravel roads somewhere near Oroville. That was my first forest road ride.
By May my new GS had arrived in time for me to take it to the 49er Rally at Mariposa. This was a first for several things – first long-ish trip on the GS (and a chance to check out my new Rich's Custom Seat!), my first BMW oriented rally and my first experience sleeping in a tent since I was about 8 years old. I was also grateful to take advantage of the GS Clinic and get some idea of what I should do when the pavement stops. My next visit was for the Range of Light.
As for the summer in between these rallies, I did a little riding on my own – a 14,400 mile “Ultimate Coast to Coast” ride up to Deadhorse, AK then to Key West, FL and back to Washington State. With a little local riding thrown in, the GS now has 22,000 miles on the meter.
The Range of Light was a perfect bookend to the official summer season. I can honestly say that I doubled my camping experience over this weekend. I am happy to say that I felt quite comfortable on the GS loop and the weekend was great. The scenery speaks for itself. It was also a treat to see the R1200GS bead breaker in action. That is one expensive tool, but handy to have!
This was certainly a change from this Iron Butt rider's normal mode. I think the lengths were just about right. Much of the fun of a ride like that is the visiting done at the stops, lunch, etc. So, with twisties and towns, a 35MPH moving average is the most you can expect and an 8 hour ride with stops, makes around 200 easy but attainable (6 moving hours @ 35MPH is 210 miles, lunch is most of an hour and other stops always take at least 15 minutes, etc). For comparison, from my Iron Butt experience, in order to maintain a 60MPH average speed, you need to spend most of the time at 80 to make up for stops. What wasn't a change is I have maintained a perfect record of never having won a poker run or a raffle prize.
I would like to note that both the Range of Light Gypsy Tour and the 49er Rally shared common attributes. They were both superbly run events and certainly reflected an immense amount of effort and attention to detail. My hat is off to Joyce and Andy Anderson for the events they chaired, as well as the host of other volunteers that made both weekends a success in my book. Well done!
My ride home on Monday kept me off the freeways and on nice twisty roads through Northern California, Oregon and Washington because I just wasn't ready to stop the great riding. I put another 1800 miles on the GS this weekend and they were all fun. I look forward to coming back again to sample more of that great country!
Greetings Readers! It was my pleasure to co-chair, along with Bob Empasis, the 25th Range of Light Gypsy Tour. For me, it was a fun, exciting, exhausting, and very rewarding experience! The ROL is a moving logistics marvel that requires lots of planning, pre-riding and volunteers to ensure the event goes smoothly, and that the roads and GS routes are safe, fun, and well, just down right make sense.
Anyone who’s ever been involved in planning anything knows that no plan survives first contact with the event itself. But our planning did not even survive first contact with the planning stages. The original routing was to begin in Orland and travel over 317 miles to our second stop, the Trinity County Fairgrounds in Hayfork, CA, where we were to have dinner catered by a local restaurant. Along the way to Hayfork, riders would have experienced some beautiful streets, a 20+ mile GS loop with absolutely stunning scenery, and some fun poker run questions that included a Sasquatch sign, and a plaque commemorating the fact that a Japanese bomb balloon had landed near the Hayfork fairgrounds during World War II. Apparently no one was injured.
The fires that broke out in the Clear Lake and Trinity county area in late July and early August changed all of that. Ever tell yourself to listen to your intuition and don’t let someone else talk you out of something your intuition is telling you? And then you ignore yourself? I hate that when that happens.
I started watching news reports of the fire and called the fairgrounds to see if we should cancel. They said “let’s wait just a few days and see.” My intuition said, “cancel.” I didn’t listen. At the beginning of the following week, Trinity called to cancel because the closest fires had grown over the weekend, and Hayfork became the base of operations for the fires. And even if they put them out before Labor Day, they said, “the firefighters will probably still be occupying the fairgrounds.”
Thus began a whole new series of phone calls to various places that would make sense for our partially existing tour, and the third stop—Susanville, CA. When I first started planning the ROL, I called a lot of places. It was a good thing I kept all that contact information—phew! But since it was so close to the start date, and it occurs over Labor Day, very little was available. Thankfully, Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City could accommodate us and that became our second stop. So, we needed to generate new street and GS loops for Day 1, do new pre-rides for, do a new re-design of part of the old Day 2 loop, and get a new caterer. Thanks to club Treasurer John Vashon for stepping up to get the new caterer and getting the insurance for our fairgrounds. And indeed, this is where all the volunteers come in—well, that’s not exactly true—but this is the best place in the story to discuss this absolutely essential component of any major event.
I’m happy to say, the 2015 ROL included around 30 volunteers. Without them, this event simply could not have happened. So, because of their key role, and because volunteerism is part of what makes a club great, I would like to thank them here in print and in the accompanying photos, which were taken and kindly provided by Buddy Scauzzo.
First, thanks to co-chairman Bob Empasis, who designed all of the street routes and handled the catering for the Hayfork location, and to Buddy Scauzzo who did the GS Routes. The fires’ locations required us to steer clear of most everything west of I-5 in that area, so it was a real challenge for them to develop routes that were driving into the same general region north and east of I-5 that did not require riders to be on the same roads on two days. Bob did an excellent job of de-conflicting the two routes (only 10 miles of a road from Day 1 was repeated on Day 2). But hey, we’re traveling in the opposite direction so it was different right?. Buddy tried valiantly to find a GS route that worked for Saturday, but let’s just say his pre-ride experiences generated a “no go” on that and some very worthy campfire-sittin’/beer-drinkin’ stories to share.
Among the other “firsts,” to be thanked is Wynne Benti, who designed the 2015 ROL event and T shirt logo. Awesome job Wynne!
Given that we had to do more pre-rides than usual, we had a lot of pre-riders, who besides myself, included Bob, Buddy, Scott Maas, Peter Oxenbol, Russ Drake, and Richard Burton. A big thanks to Buddy and Richard for stepping in literally at the last minute to do the new Day 1 pre-ride. As a former ROL chairman, Richard also provided a suggestions, explanations, and advice for this “noob” chairman.
The last minute change also pushed back the printing of route sheets and putting together the registration packets, so the registration booth volunteers were vital to that process: Ed Perry, Heike Schmitz, Fred Montano, John Vashon, and Walt Farnlacher. Another key component to registration is transferring GPX files to people’s GPS’s, and that process takes time and occurs on each day of the ride. Buddy Scauzzo, Markus Fromherz, Scott Maas, Bill Lopez, Jacobo Galina, Ted Crum, and Bert Lankins, and all provided great support there.
John Clement, Roy Ulfsrud, Mario Bajandas, Mike Huntzinger, and Cheyenne Angela Johnson dealt the poker hands – sorry folks, no complainin’ if you didn’t win. The 2015-16 board members who attended the ROL (Dan Rowe, Bill Lopez, Ted Crum, John Vashon, Ed Perry) all stepped in to help with various jobs. And several of those already mentioned were troopers who wound up doing lots of little tasks here as the need arose! Mini McMahon and Wendy Shipler, both did a lot of running around to help convey messages, tasks, things, take pictures, etc. Thank you Ladies!
I would also like to thank the fairgrounds’ staffs, the caterers, and most importantly, our sponsors, who provided some great prizes for the closing ceremony dinner: Adventure Designs, Ben’s Motorcycle Works, BMW MOA, CalMoto, Wunderlich America, and the Zen House. Thanks also to Ozzie’s BWM of Chico, CA, for helping out a rider with a dead battery!
There were about 160 riders (about 30 of whom were “walk-in” registrants) and who rode a distance of 240 miles from Orland to Yuba City. Before leaving Orland, riders partook in some really fantastic fresh-baked goods and coffee catered by local breakfast eatery, the 4th St. Café – Mmmmmm, Mmmmmmm, good! Sticky Buns! Croissants! Cinnamon Rolls! The street-only ride from Yuba City to Susanville was 190 miles, but if you did the GS ride, which went around Butt Valley Lake Reservoir, it was 200 miles. Other sites on the routes included the beautiful Feather River Canyon, and the towns of Chester and Greenville.
I’m happy to say no one was injured on the ride, though we did have a few mechanical breakdowns, which were taken care of. This year, we had our luggage SAG Wagon as usual, driven by Andy Anderson (thank you Andy!). Bu we also owe a large debt to our Safety Wagon crew—a first during this year’s ROL—driven by Richard and Angela Johnson, assisted by their son, Tyler, and daughter, Cheyenne Angela. They were able to pick up a rider stranded by a mechanical problem.
Last, but definitely not least, anyone who’s ever ridden the ROL should say thank you to the ROL’s founder and first chairman, Doug Hubbard. Those of you who attended the 2015 ROL know the story I’m about to tell because I told it there, but its important to share the history for those who weren’t. Doug Hubbard, who originally thought of the idea in 1981, and along with some riding pals, pre-rode an area in the Sierras to have the very first one. But accidents happen, and it would be another 10 years before Doug regenerated the idea, presented it to the Board of Directors, and chaired the first event. It was a success, but not as successful as they had hoped and so they had to cancel the food. Note, he said food and not drinks! So, included with this article is a picture of Doug and the very first commemorative item of the very first ROL – a belt buckle. Doug sent me these pictures, but club member Greg Hutchinson and one other NORCAL rider actually brought along their own belt buckles from that occasion – nice! Viva La ROL!
Finally, if I missed thanking anyone, my apologies, but I appreciate everyone who did help! All in all, the 2015 was a very successful and rewarding adventure!
Joyce Sampson, Chairman, 2015 Range of Light Gypsy Tour
1. ROL volunteer photo. I don't know if you can get this in the article anywhere, but just in case, here are the people beginning with the front. Jacobo Galina (kneeling); Front Row, L-R: Bob Lankins, Dan Rowe, Fred Montano, Joyce Sampson, Buddy Scauzzo, Mini McMahon (kneeling); 2nd Row, L-R: Scott Maas, Heike Schmitz, John Clement, Peter Oxenbol, Ed Perry, Ted Crum, Mike Huntzinger, John Ellis. Back Row, L-R: Andy Anderson, Roy Ulfsrud, Markus Fromherz, John Vashon, Bill Lopez, Dan Harmon, and Walt Farnlacher.
2. Club President Dan Rowe, Co-Chairman Bob Empasis and volunteer Walt Farnlacher.
3. Safety Wagon Crew, Angela, Randall, and Tyler Johnson.
4. Cheyenne Angela Johnson, safety wagon crew and poker run dealer
5. GPX transfer table at Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds. Staffers shown are Bert Lankins, Bill Lopez, Buddy Scauzzo, and Jacobo Galina.
6. Poker Run table at Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds: Mario Bajandas, Mike Hunztinger, Roy Ulfsrud, and John Clement.
7. Wynne Benti - logo designer
8. ROL founder and Chairman of the First ROL, Doug Hubbard
9. Doug Hubbard's belt buckle from the 1991 ROL
10. Andy Anderson, Luggage Wagon driver
Wow, what a great 25th Anniversary Range of Light! Based on the actual revenues and projected expenses, we should be just about breakeven on the ROL. The final numbers will be reviewed at the October BOD meeting and reported to the members at the Oktoberfest in Rancho Seco. Work continues to build new capabilities into our website to make it easier to do business with the club including sign up and pay for events, check to see if you’ve paid dues, update your contact information and securely access our member directory. Shoot me an email if you have questions about the club finances. I’ll miss the September campout but hope to see you at the Oktoberfest. Wherever you ride, think safe!
We were a little early for fall color, but I’m afraid we didn’t miss much, most of the drought-stressed aspen had gone sickly gray. The weather was perfect once we got some altitude, which we never lost until the ride home. The lunch stop in Meyers was crackerjack when I previewed the route, but weekend traffic broke the weak link, the single plater in the staff of four, and it took an hour to get fed.
Around Tahoe to Truckee was a parking circus of tourists, but there was no weekend road construction. In Truckee we bought food for dinner and easy-traveling 12-packs of Sierra Nevada cans, two of which I strapped on top of the bag of charcoal I was already carrying. On to the Emigrant group camp at Stampede reservoir by the only route passable on road bikes: Up Hirschdale/Stampede Dam, past the power plant, and left on Dog Valley 1.6mi to the campground. Some solo riders got bad advice and wandered a while. We added 4 riders at the camp; Walt came in from Reno and Meetup followers, Michael Laviano and John Margozzi, made their Norcal debuts.
The site was beautiful, with a lake view, paved parking and public areas, and lots of level camping; a big fire pit, three grills and six tables on the pad. Yelp has made camp hosting competitive, and ours had game - his price for wood dropped from 3 bundles for $10 to 4 bundles for free, delivered. This was a cook-out, and Michael showed real Norcal form by cooking patties and gourmet sausage on the grill, then running two stoves at breakfast. Only Safety and Historian missed the meeting.
The Sept 26 meeting will be at Hornswoggle group camp at Bullards Bar reservoir, with the ride being led by Russ Drake and starting early (8:30 stands-up) from the Black Bear in Tracy. Cliff will help carry some food to the site, check Meetup and the web site for latest details. The catered Oktoberfest will be on 10/24 at Rancho Seco near Sacramento, and on Dec 5 Joyce Sampson will lead us to Plaskett Creek, south of Big Sur.
Congratulations and thanks to Joyce, Bob Empasis and the volunteers for creating a great Range of Light despite the disruption of several wildfires. We all had a great time!
Enjoy the ride.
Welcome to the new BMW NorCal board members, elected at the June meeting at Finnon Lake (read more in the July newsletter): President Dan Rowe, Vice President Bill Lopez, Treasurer John Vashon, Secretary Cristine Cearing, Safety Tech Steve Kesinger, Tour Captain Ted Crum, Historian Ed Perry.
The Club thanks outgoing President Z Ortiz, Secretary Joyce Sampson, Treasurer Russ Drake, and Safety Chair Buddy Scauzzo for their work and dedication.
The 43 annual BMW NorCAl ‘49er Rally was held at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds on Memorial Day weekend of 2015. With the exception of the threat of thunder showers one day, the weather was clear with temperatures in the 70’s. Turnout was good with over 400 in attendance, to include 57 who had not previously attended a ‘49er Rally.
Everyone ate quite well, with all the rally food being provided by Mariposa's local eateries, caterers and chefs. The Golden Grappler’s wrestling team supporters again sold bacon, eggs, and pancakes for breakfast; burgers for lunch and dinner. Sal’s Taco’s also provided lunch and dinner. New this year, provided by River Rock Inn, was a breakfast option for the vegetarians. Saturday evening was a catered BBQ dinner also provided by River Rock Inn. One participant of the BBQ dinner stated that it was a dinner that would never be forgotten.
ALAN HUNTZINGER SHOWS OFF HIS CLASSIC OZZIE BMW TEE, MAKING CAROL SMILE, AT THE 43RD 2015 '49ER
Again this year, the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce, provided a complimentary trolley that shuttled rally participants from the fairgrounds into town. Friday and Saturday evening live music was provided by Mariposa's own “The Soul Galaxy”, and was so good that non-drinkers were visiting the Bier Garten just to enjoy the music.
On Friday morning we offered a GS riding clinic that was so popular that we held a second clinic on Saturday. On Friday and Saturday evening, a retired CHP Motorcycle officer gave a well-attended presentation on motorcycle safety. Other seminars included GPS programing; photos, editing, and posting with smart phone; motorcycle luggage/packing; and a presentation on Yosemite celebrating the 125th anniversary of the park.
New this year was a segment for ladies only; on Saturday morning was a GS riding clinic which was very well received by the large number of ladies who attended. There was a guided GS ride for ladies only. And Saturday evening, a ladies happy hour at the Bier Garten, where the ladies got to meet each other while enjoying wine and hors-d'œuvre.
Many enjoyed our rides, and tours. The Poker Run was very popular—more than one participant stated it was the best in years. The intermediate GS tour was also very popular. We had more spectators for the challenges this year than we have in several years. The fairgrounds provided shaded bleachers for the Asphalt trials. The English trials were held in front of the grand stands (where spectators could sit in comfort), the fairgrounds personnel had dug-up the track, per our direction, to provide the challenges.
I was honored to have been selected as rally chairperson for this years ‘49er Rally. I wish to thank the Mariposa Fairgrounds, for providing a venue that suits our budget and the needs of the rally, and the staff that go above and beyond to provide the services. Thank you to the people of Mariposa, who gladly welcome us to their town and celebrate the ‘49er Rally with us. Thanks to Rex Hosea, for recording the event in pictures. And a big thanks to all those who volunteered to work at the rally, (you know who you are) you made it happen.
Andy Anderson, 2015 ‘49er Rally Chair
Elections are this month and will be held on June 27th at Finnon Lake Campground above Placerville. Mike Morlin is heading up the Elections Committee. All positions are up for election each year.
Send a message to Mike Morlin below if you would like to run or nominate someone. Candidates must be formally nominated at the meeting.
Were you at the Rally this year or thinking about going next year? Sample the 2015 '49er Rally with photographer REX, who was on-site in Mariposa with his traveling photo van and camera.
BMW NorCal Rally photos by REX: '49er 2015 Rally and of the women riders: '49er 2015 Ladies
It was great to see club regulars and new guests at Death Valley. A number of items came up during the Membership Meeting that I’d like to communicate to the club at large.
June is rapidly approaching, and that means it is time to elect Officers for the next fiscal year.
All Officers serve for one year. You can nominate someone or yourself for a position.
An Election coordinator is sought to assist with nominations before the meeting and the voting process at the meeting. Contact me if you would like to volunteer to be our coordinator.
Our election meeting returns to Finnon Lake on June 27th.
May is Warren’s last month as Newsletter Editor. If you have an eye for layout and design, contact Warren to learn more about what he does for the club. We need someone to step into the role of editor starting June.
If you have a project bike you’ve been working on, we’d love to feature it in the newsletter. Additionally, if you’ve bought a new gadget, write a few lines about it for our newsletter.
NorCal is the in the process of updating our bylaws. Verbiage updates were presented to the members during the Death Valley meeting. See the proposed updates here: Bylaws updates.
We need everyone’s help publicizing the ‘49er. I ask that everyone download the high resolution flyer, print three copies, and then post the flyers somewhere people ride. As a bonus, we’re having a contest for best flyer posting. Put up your flyer, take a picture with it, and post it to your favorite social media site with the hashtag #norcalbmw49er. The best post gets a prize at the ‘49er.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any event. Volunteer some of your time at the Rally this year. Fill out the Volunteer form on our webpage.
Ed Perry is putting together a special three peaks ride in June to hit Mt Hamilton, Tamilpias, and Diablo all in one day. Ed will have additional details as June approaches.
If you have photos or videos from Death Valley, sent them to Ed Perry.
The March meeting is the (often annual) Death Valley campout, on Saturday the 28th at the Furnace Creek campground. We have overlapping reservations at two sites, covering Friday through Sunday nights.
On Friday and Saturday we have group site “003”, and on Saturday and Sunday we have group site “K2”. To stay all three nights you will have to change locations. There is no official tour, as riders have different schedules and road preferences; our Facebook or Meetup pages would be a good place to find a riding group.
If you don't pay National Park entry fees at the gate you will have to pay them at the campground. Aged 62 or better, you can get a lifetime parks pass at the visitor center near the campground. The usual $10 member, $20 guest camping fee will be collected by NorCal. With a close by store, restaurant, and bar nearby, the event is not catered.
Please park only in designated areas, or along the side of the road near K2; do not park next to your tent.
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