My first experience with a motorcycle rally was the Finger Lakes Rally held by the Finger Lakes BMW Club. I was told that if I only attend one rally, this is the one to attend over Labor Day weekend. And it was an awesome experience.
I met up with my friend John and six of his friends at Summerdale Diner in Enola at 7am on Friday. We had breakfast and introduced ourselves. We were on our bikes shortly after 8am. Five BMWs, and one Harley. We headed up route 15 towards New York as the weekend had officially begun.
After getting off route 15 and onto the side roads towards Watkins Glen, the thrill sunk in. I’m not sure how to explain it. Here I was on my BMW R1100S with touring cases packed full, tank bag packed, tent, and sleeping bag strapped over the passenger seat and just traveling. Looking ahead at s few more BMWs packed with similar gear as we glide the back roads and lean through the turns as the sun glimpses over the ridges and hills to light our way. It’s a sight I will not forget.
As we arrived at Watkins Glen State Park shortly after noon we checked in and found a camping spot to call home for the weekend. Just $55 at registration gave me 3 nights of camping, dinner Saturday and Sunday, a rally mug, and entries for door prizes. It was quite warm so I set up my tent under some trees and found some shade under the dining tent to hang out until it cooled off a bit. The bikes continued to roll in all day and night.
Saturday morning was cold, windy, and forecast for possible showers. But I wanted to go to Monica’s Pies in Naples, NY for a blueberry pie. I had come this far, so I figured, why not? I talked a few of my friends from the BMW Dutch Country Riders into going. Everyone questioned my fondness for this pie I was craving and thought I was crazy. But I was a man on a mission. That pie would be mine.
It was just drizzling so I opened up my side cases and grabbed my rain gear. Pulled my rain gear over my riding gear and slipped the key to my cases into my pocket. This would be the cause of much frustration but more on that later. We headed off to Naples which was about an hour ride.
After arriving at Monica’s Pies I reached into my pocket to grab my key for my side cases and noticed that what I thought was a pocket, was not a pocket. It was merely a hole with access to my pants pocket. So when I placed my key into my pocket, it dropped to the bottom of my pants and fell out somewhere between Watkins Glen and Naples. And it was my only key to these cases. Regardless, I got my blueberry pie. Goal accomplished, but frustrated that I lost my key.
All day Saturday I spent asking people to try their keys in my side cases to see if they would work. No such luck. But Sunday morning I guy overheard me talking about it and offered to come over to my bike and help pull the locks out. This sounded too easy. But after about 45 minutes he had both locks pulled from the cases and I was able to open them. I offered him my blueberry pie but he refused. It was suggested that I take these locks to a guy who was selling used parts and see if he could match the locks to my ignition key. So I stroll over to George and explain my situation. Within about 15 minutes he had my locks re-keyed to match my ignition key. I asked him what I owed him and he said he didn’t sell me anything and that he just gave me some of his time. Again, he would not take anything in exchange for saving my butt. He simply said to do something nice for someone else. That seemed to be the mentality of everyone at the rally. I couldn’t ask to be amongst any better people.
Now that I had access to my side cases once again, it was time to go visit a winery. Friends recommended Bully Hill Winery in Hammondsport, NY so I found the address, put it in my GPS and hit the road.
The parking area at Bully Hill Winery with Keuka Lake in the background.
They offered wine tasting every half hour. For $2 you could sample five wines of their choice. And they made it fun! White, red, rose, dry, or sweet, it was fun. Then in their shop you could pay $1 per sample to taste any wine you wanted. I tasted a red wine and bought a bottle to bring home. Wrapping it in my rain gear and placing it in my side case.
On my way back from Hammondsport I passed this area between two lakes where boats would travel between the two. This was between Waneta Lake and Lamoka Lake. The sky was beautiful and I just had to stop and soak in the scenery for a bit.
Watkins Glen was a beautiful town and Seneca Lake as well.
Monday came and it was soon time to hit the road to head back home.
I think I found an annual vacation! The Finger Lakes BMW Rally!
Check out my BMW Finger Lakes Rally photo set on Flickr for more photos from the weekend.