I've been hearing about the ROL Tour for years, but I have never been able to attend one. I always liked the idea of a "gypsy tour" and this year my schedule allowed me to make the ride. On Friday afternoon I arrived at Orland at about 5PM and gassed up so I would be ready for riding the next day. There was another BMW rider at the pumps, and he had already been to the Fairgrounds. He told me there was no food onsite, so I thought I'd go set up my tent and then go back out for dinner.
When I checked in and mentioned that it was my first ROL, Ed Perry asked me to write up my impressions. I've been to five or six National Rallies and the 49'er a couple of times, so I have some other events to compare to.
I rode around the site and found a nice grassy area behind one of the big buildings. I saw some folks that were already set up in the shade and were relaxing with adult beverages. Looks like a good place to camp! I introduced myself and asked if I could set up next to them. They were very nice folks and made me welcome. It turns out Tod (yes, with one "d") and his wife Avillia and their friend Ted were members of the River City Beemer club and had been riding together for many years. They had 100K mile awards from A&S BMW on their bikes, so I knew they had some experience. Since I was riding alone I rode with them on Saturday. Being with Avillia also got us a table at the "Women-Only" Happy Hour, and some nice snacks for dinner on Friday night.
Having the GPS info was a huge plus on the Poker Run. Jerry and the others folks at the GPS table were very helpful with the file transfer and installation. Because I don't have audio capability on my Nuvi 50, it would have been much more difficult to keep looking down at the tank bag. PS I know it's tough to print out the booklets, but I have one suggestion; use a bigger font for the route sheet.
Joyce was a great host, moving around taking pictures, helping people get set up, and find the beer donation truck. She helped me get a tee shirt because somehow the website had not made a record of my online purchase.
I didn't complete the ride to Susanville because I woke up about 2AM Sunday morning with a sore throat. I decided I didn't want to be two-hundred-plus miles from home if it got worse during the day. I also was thinking about all the Burning Man traffic coming back to the Bay Area on Monday afternoon. My thanks to all the volunteers that put in the time to create another ROL. Great camp sites at Orland and Yuba City, great roads Saturday day, good food Saturday night, nice people. I'll plan on attending again.