#134 F800 Rider Rally

Fleeter Log #134
F800 Rider Rally
2008 October 3-5
Since the new F650GS entered the garage, I started hanging out at the F800 Rider Forum. Shortly after I found the forum, I found where they were planning their first ever Rally where F800 owners gather to kick tires and share farkling secrets. I qualify for this gathering since my F650GS has a detuned F800 engine.
The rally is being held at the Wattstull Inn near Buchanan, Virginia. Since this is only about 150 miles away, I didn't leave the house until noon on Friday. What could easily have been ridden in 3 hours turned into a 5 1/2 hour ride. I stayed to the smaller back roads and routed myself through Lynchburg so I could visit Hammersly BMW on the way.
On the back roads you can find the small, out of the way post offices.
Kents Store, VA 23084
Buckingham, VA
Wattstull Inn near Buchanan, VA (I81,exit 168). That's the motel up on the hill with the restaurant down near the feeder road. Imagine the view from up there!
And here's the view from the motel parking lot looking down toward I81 and out over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Front door parking. It's always comforting having my ride just a few steps away, not to mention the convenience when unpacking and packing.
The morning fog rolls in thick and stays late. It was 10am before the fog lifted enough to see the freeway.
Notice the rocking chair on the porch. Sitting, rocking, enjoying the view, and talking shop--life is good.
Group photo of the attendees of the of the First Annual International F800 Rider Rally.
That's me on the right side in the red shirt with gray vest. I gave my camera to the guy that climbed up onto the roof of the motel to get the shot from the high angle. Thanks Dan!
(click to any photo to enlarge)
Interesting story time:
In October 2006, I was coming back to Virginia from Texas and met up with an early winter storm. It was cold and there was snow. Recall that I was NOT riding an RT on that trip. No heated grips, no heated seat, no full fairing, and no large alternator power output. After a long of day riding through the Smoky Mountains at a slow, sight-seeing speed, I found a motel in Newport, TN. I shut it down for the night, get checked in, and start the warming up process. The next morning it dawned just as cold as the previous day. I didn't rush to get packed up. I thought it better to let the day warm a bit before I jumped out there putting my knees to the breeze. It was still quite cool (mid 30s) when I got everything packed up and was ready to shove off. I didn't know that that was the only way I would get Fleeter to roll this cold morning. The battery just didn't have enough juice to kick Fleeter to life. It must have been because I had been running the Motolights at low speed for an extended time the day before and the overnight cold temps. The battery must not have been able to save up enough "cold cranking power" juice. All I get was a couple battery groans and then the dreaded clicking. That's when a very kind gentleman came walking up to offer his assistance. He was the rider of the BMW parked a few doors down. He knows the sounds of a bike that just isn't motivated to play and offered to help by trying to push start it. This nice fellow pushed and pushed, but Fleeter was just too tired and too cold. It didn't work. I had to go to Plan B in order to get Fleeter motivated to fire up and roll. Enter the battery tender. . .
Two years later:
Within just minutes after I pull into the parking lot at Wattsull Inn, a fellow walked up to me as I got unsaddled. He was a nice fellow . . . He asked if I used to ride a black cruiser. He asked if he had helped me push it a couple years ago when I wouldn't start. Well, I'll be . . . It was the same nice fellow from Newport, TN. Two years and two bikes later, I learn that his name is Walter. That's him in a white long sleeve T-shirt in the middle of the front row. You meet the nicest people on a BMW. After the photo session, we rode over to the Peaks of Otter Lodge for dinner together.

The Peaks of Otter Lodge is located at milepost 86 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The weekend was not without a bit of bad luck. Sharon, an F800ST rider from Chicago whom I met for the first time Friday night, experienced an unscheduled "get-off" on highway 43 between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Buchanan. The bike was a bit scuffed and bent, but Sharon got the worse of it. She was walking around okay, but there was a definite problem with her shoulder. While most of us were eating at the Lodge, Sharon was taken to the nearest hospital emergency room by the organizer's father for a set of x-rays and drug prescriptions. We anxiously awaited their return to the motel later that evening to get the report. It was confirmed. Sharon had a broken collarbone. She will not be riding her F800ST for awhile. I called Sylvia and discussed some possible options. Sylvia to the rescue. She showed up with the truck and trailer later that evening for a rescue mission. The next morning (Sunday) we loaded Sharon's bike up in the trailer and got Sharon situated in the truck for the ride back to Fredericksburg. A Morton's BMW employee, Steve Anderson, was at the rally and graciously agreed to meet Sylvia and Sharon at Morton's when they arrived in Fredericksburg Sunday afternoon. They got the bike unloaded and put away inside Morton's to await repair. Sylvia took Sharon to the house and got her moved into the extra bedroom where she would spend a lot of time the next few days.
I spent Sunday afternoon riding home on the Blue Ridge Parkway and other enjoyable back roads.

(click any photo to enlarge)
It was a great day to ride. Sorry, Sharon, that your plans were changed and you didn't get to enjoy the day on the back roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

After a few days of resting and drugs, Sharon was feeling up to an airplane ride home to Chicago. After she got home to Chicago and further follow ups by her doctor, it was found that besides a broken collarbone, she has five broken ribs! This calls for more and stronger drugs!
Her motorcycle will stay at Morton's in Fredericksburg for repair. When the stars align (bike repaired, healed collar bone, warmer weather), Sharon will fly back to Virginia to pick up her motorcycle and continue the ride she started in October. Heal well, Sharon!

F800 Rider Rally Summary
390 miles

Copyright 2008 Fleeter Logs

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