2014 Regional Rallies

There were four rallies in 2014. Combined rallies were the norm. The SouthEast Region was the only single region rally.

2014 South East Regional Rally

"Almost Heaven Rally"

 

When: June 10-12, 2014

Where: Elkins, West Virginia

Rally Headquarters: Super 8

 

Rally Leader: Ron "CoachA" Allan

Rally Leader: Tom "NomadTom" Green

 

Written by Mike "KawHead" Tripp

 

I'll tell you folks, it's always the last rally that seems like the best rally you've attended.

This one sets a standard that sure going to be a tough one to beat. I left home traveling Hwy 601 in NC to I-77 which turns NE into the Virginia mountains and gives me a "OMG" view of the northern North Carolina mountains and valleys, a magnificent day time view, but nothing less than emotionally heart stirring at night when the glowing lights of the cities dot the scene.

 

I met DkDixie, his sweet girl friend, Marge, and Cliff and his lovely wife Dianne for an over night stay in Wytheville, VA.

From there, the next morning, Dick led us on the twisting back roads of Virginia and West Virginia on into Elkins.

 

I have to mention Mike Meeks did a spectacular flawless job of assuming the unelected, but mutually awarded position of

Rally Coordinator. He was off the cuff with the exception of garnering general agreements from everybody.

The rides were mostly a spontaneous consensus, I guess you could say.

 

The highlight of the rally for me, was he managed to get us a private tour of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) site at Green Bank. Through a work relationship with a couple technicians that he knows, the techs gave us an in-depth tour of the large telescope while it was down for maintenance. By in-depth I mean ride the elevator to the top of the dish and see the inner workings, and were able to walk out onto the dish. Just an amazing structure! We were certainly privileged for that opportunity, because tours like that are not allowed anymore due to tightened security reasons.

 

The other ride included a stop in Cass, West Virginia. Cass is a quiet historic city that offers scenic railroad excursions by steam locomotive. They also have an interesting museum that houses antique railroad artifacts, town history and many photographs.


To me, the thrill of a Rally, aside from "remeeting" old friends and seeing attractions, is the trip there and back

home, meeting the locals and seeing the excitement in the little kids eyes, and answering their questions about why we

stopped in their "nothing here" little town.

 

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Sixty one people were there for the finale dinner at The Skillet restaurant.

Catfish, chicken and all the fixin's were served.
Jimmy Edwards from the park spoke for a few minutes, then Teri Conrad with ROK followed by our VP Jay Stephens.
Ray Slansky presented Crystal and I with a plaque that the NorthCentral group was kind enough to have had made.

2014 North & South Central Regional Rally

"Rally in the Ozarks"

 

When: June 24-26, 2014

Where: Mountain View, Arkansas

Rally Headquarters: Ozark Cabins at Dry Creek

 

Rally Leader: Ray "Rayski" Slansky

Rally Leader: Dave "BudMan" Jesse

Rally Co Leader: Amin "Rasta" Bakri

 

 

Written by Dave "BudMan" Jesse


By my count 68 people on 48 motorcycles from 15 states attended the rally.
I think Ray’s choice of Mountain View, AR. and his idea to have it at the Ozark Folk Center proved to be excellent.

Monday: Arrival day, we had a get together at the rec-room at the entrance to the cabins.
Jim and Bea Hardin along with Ray Slansky served everyone BBQ pork, bologna, baked beans and coleslaw.
They fixed enough food to feed a small army. If you left hungry it was your own fault.
We had plenty of cold beer and soft drinks to wash it down with.

Tuesday: About 35 of us headed out on the group ride. We rode northwest on AR 14 thru the Ozark National Forest
and stopped for a few minutes at Buffalo Point on the Buffalo National River. Then we continued on to Bull Shoals lake.
We crossed the lake on the Peel Ferry and rode north into Missouri.
After a lunch break at Cookies Restaurant we turned back south and headed to the cabins via Push Mountain road.
The partly cloudy skies kept the heat down and it was an enjoyable 225 mile ride.
Those that didn't go on the group ride took off in smaller groups and rode some of the best roads in the state.

Wednesday: There were no planned rides, but the weather was nice and most climbed on their bikes went for a ride.
Some of us went to the Folk Center where we saw many different types of Ozark crafts and trades.
About 6:00 we all gathered at the Bois d’ Arc Center for a raffle put on by Bea and Jim Hardin.

We had more food and drinks and Jim kept everyone entertained. In the SouthCentral group the raffles are always just for fun,

the money collected is put into envelopes and tickets are drawn to see who wins it.
It was mentioned that a fellow member had suffered a serious injury at work, and that envelope of money was headed his way to help out with expenses. As you know the VBA is full of great people, and that one envelope quickly turned into many.
Several didn’t win any money but that didn’t stop them from helping out. A cashiers check for $540 was sent to help.

Thursday: We had a group photo taken in the morning.
The plan was to have a 220 mile group ride to Jasper and lunch at the Cliff House which overlooks the Arkansas Grand Canyon.
But the weather forecast showed we would cross paths with some rough weather. It was decided to play it safe and not have thirty plus bikes caught out in the storm. So the group ride was cancelled.
Good roads are easy to find so most did go riding, but kept it a little closer to the cabins.
However, not to be denied the NorthCentral "rough riders" made up of Greg, Kendra, Gibby and Ray decided to make the ride.
They did find the rain, it lasted for an hour or so and came with 50 mph winds.
But they're rough and tough and all that stuff.

Friday: Everyone said their goodbyes and headed for home.

I want to thank those who helped get this done.

But the biggest thank you goes to those who attended.
Some rode for days, and everyone spent a small fortune to be there.
It wouldn't have been near as much fun without you.
So... THANK YOU.

 

For more pictures of the rally click here.

Northwest / Southwest U.S. - Canada West Regional Rally

"Bash In the Bitterroots"

 

When: July 22-24, 2014

Where: Orofino, Idaho

Rally Headquarters: Best Western

 

Rally Leader:  Joel "Waterman"Schneekloth

Rally Leader: Bud "Idaho" Smalley

 

 

Written by Bud "Idaho" Smalley

 

The 2014 VBA Northwest/Southwest rally, aka the "Bash in the Bitterroots", is in the books and we had a great time in Orofino, Idaho. Highway 21 through central Idaho is a biker’s dream. The Best Western Lodge at Rivers Edge is biker friendly and went out of their way to make us all very comfortable. The first afternoon we were there we discovered that their Happy Hour meant FREE BEER!

Right then we knew it was going to be a great rally.

 

Rides were planned along several routes; one north to the St Joseph National Forest, one south to Joseph, Oregon and another to Lolo Pass. All go through absolutely beautiful country and, best of all, we completed them without any mishaps. Well, except for one Canadian who collected a speeding ticket on Lolo Pass, (although he may have been warned, but that is another story)!

The entire area is rich in history as the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through here on their epic journey to the Pacific.

 

We had riders from all over Canada, California, North Carolina, Florida and every place in between. Almost all of them had such a great time that they want to meet in Orofino, at the Best Western at Rivers Edge, for another rally. It was a great venue in a perfect location.

The large patio right on the river served as a great gathering place in the evenings, where the real fun of a rally often happens.

 

We tried to keep it simple for our group dinner and decided to collect money for pizza and have a pizza party on the patio.

Mother Nature had other plans and a storm blew through with horrendous wind. We had visions of pizza boxes scattered up and down

the Clearwater River when the motel staff came to our rescue. They set up a conference room for us, no charge, PA system and all.

Pizza, salad, beer and soft drinks made the evening. We had multiple raffle items, many of them provided by Teri Conrad through

Kawasaki and R.O.K.

 

Joel Schneekloth and Kris Olsen did an excellent job of planning the rides and finding the motel. Teri Conrad came through with perfect advice at the right time to help with on the run planning at the rally.

 

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For more pictures of the rally click here.

The videos below are from Cliff's rides to and at the rally.

Ride to the Rally

Rattlesnake Ride

Lolo Pass

Glacier National Park

Beartooth Highway

 

U.S. North East & Canada East Regional Rally

"Nomad's through the Notches"

 

When: August 5-7, 2014

Where: Lincoln, New Hampshire

Rally Headquarters: Mt. Coolidge Motel

 

Rally Leader: Larry "Fish" Trimble

Rally Leader: Norm "CNC" Ward

Rally Leader: Tom "Tomm" Maziarz

Written by Tom "Tomm" Maziarz

It’s been quite a few years now since New Hampshire’s icon, the Old Man of the Mountain, fell from his lofty perch overlooking Franconia Notch. However, he still keeps a watchful eye on motorcyclists who come to enjoy his majestic peaks, rushing waterfalls, and crystal clear lakes.

So it was this past August, as the VBA’s Northeast US and Eastern Canada Regions gathered in Lincoln, NH for their

bi-annual rally.

Our home base for the rally was the Mt. Coolidge Motel owned by Kevin and Vicki Riley. Special thanks to them.

They were absolutely fabulous hosts in making our stay with them a great success.

Sue with Vicki and Kevin Riley (Photo by Larry Trimble)

Photo by Sue Maziarz

My wife Sue and I arrived a day early, along with good friends Dave and Mary, and as it turned out Tim, our Assistant Regional Leader, and his wife Cindy. We spent the afternoon just getting settled and cooling off in the pool.

 

On Monday, the arrival day for the rally, the six of us early arrivals headed out early for breakfast at Polly’s Pancake Parlor, voted New Hampshire’s best pancake house. Not wanting to waste a beautiful riding afternoon after breakfast, I decided to lead the others into Vermont for a little sight-seeing.

And well, no ride into Vermont would be complete without a stop at the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory, so that was our next destination. Finally back to the motel to meet up with all the other rally attendees who had been arriving throughout the day.

After some quick coordinating, several of us headed off to the local supermarket for hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks for our Meet and Greet. Kevin and Vicki provided us with a couple of grills, and soon the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers permeated the air, while Norm and Larry, our Regional Leaders, set up the raffle table.

There were many great gifts, but the highlight was a set of gifts provided by Brian Gibson from Kawasaki and ROK, ranging from a 3-in-1 jacket to riding luggage

Chris, Jim, Tim and Amin (Photo by Larry Trimble)

We ended the day looking forward to three days of riding and enjoying all that New Hampshire has to offer, and hoping that the weather forecasts predicting rain each day, were wrong.

 

Arrival Day (Photo by Larry Trimble)

Photo by Larry Trimble

In New Hampshire, passes through the mountains are called notches, some say named after the shape a woodsman’s axe makes in a piece of wood being chopped, so it just seemed appropriate that one of our rides be named "Nomads Through the Notches." And so on Tuesday morning we set out to ride through some of the less-traveled of the New Hampshire notches. Our route included Kinsman Notch, Grafton Notch, Pinkham Notch, Bear Notch, and the Kancamagus Pass, which except for the name, is also a notch. Along the way, we drove through Bethlehem (highest elevation town in New Hampshire), rode along the Androscoggin River, home to huge log drives in years past, and stopped at the Glen House, starting point for the 8-mile road to the summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire’s highest peak and home to the worst weather in the world and the highest wind gust ever recorded by humans (231 mph on April 12, 1934).

Leaving Bear Notch (Photo by Sue Maziarz)

Lunch at the Northern Exposure Restaurant (Photo by Tom Maziarz)

Wednesday was a "do your own thing" day, and rally attendees had a long list of activities and sights to choose from. Eight of us chose the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour, a sequence of nine zip lines, two sky bridges, and three rappels that take you from the top of the Bretton Woods ski area to the base over about 3 hours, entirely within the tree canopy. Others took the Auto Road or the Cog Railway to the summit of Mt. Washington, visited the Motorcycle Museum in Meredith, rode to Weirs Beach (home of the annual Laconia Motorcycle Rally), did a little shopping for motorcycle apparel at Whitehorse Gear in Conway, or just rode around. There was certainly something for every taste. And once again, the rock-table was our gathering place for another great evening with friends.

And certainly no ride into the Great North Woods would be complete without a stop in Errol, lunch at the Northern Exposure Restaurant, a visit to the LL Cotes General Store, and a moose sighting. Amazingly, with rain pretty much all around us during the afternoon, we stayed dry throughout the whole ride. In the evening, folks sampled the many restaurant choices in the area, and then gathered chairs together on the grass in front of the motel around a big rock that had been converted into a table, for socializing and to review the day’s activities.

Photo by Larry Trimble

Socializing (Photo by Larry Trimble)

Thursday dawned with a serious threat of thunderstorms during the day, especially after noon. But the morning was nice, so with some backup plans in place, we headed out for our Thursday Ride, named "New Hampshire’s Rivers, Lakes and Less-Traveled Roads". One secret to riding in New Hampshire is that most tourists to the state seem to forget that Interstate 93 divides the state in half from top to bottom, and they all tend to visit and stay on the eastern side as if the western half doesn’t exist. That leaves the whole western side open to some great riding. But no visit to New Hampshire would be complete without a few iconic stops, even if they are in the eastern half, so time to fit those in. We started off heading east across The Kanc, as the locals call the Kancamagus Highway, stopping near the summit for a photo op.

Rhys on the top of Mt. Washington (Photo by Joe Verhaeghe)

All Lined Up (Photo by Larry Trimble)

What a View (Photo by Sue Maziarz)

Next was a ride through one of New Hampshire’s covered bridges,and of course, a stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts. Then some riding along Lake Winnipesaukee, and lunch at one of New Hampshire’s more famous restaurants, Hart’s Turkey Farm. We couldn’t have been in the restaurant more than 15 minutes, and the skies opened up. Thunder, lightning, hail and pouring rain. But by the time we were ready to leave, the sun was out again. After a gas stop, and a re-evaluation of the weather maps, we decided to press on, continuing to head west along Newfound Lake towards the Connecticut River Valley.

Next stop . . . Fat Bob’s Ice Cream. With still several miles to go, a large bolt of lightning split the darkening sky just ahead of us, and I knew it was going to be close. We drove into the parking lot, and barely got the kickstands down when once again, the skies opened up. Half of us took shelter at the ice cream stand, and half underneath an overhang at the hardware store on the other side of the parking lot.

As the rain let up, we figured our good luck with the weather was about at the end, so on went the rain gear, and off we went for the last part of the ride along the Connecticut River Scenic Byway before heading back east to the motel. Maybe 15 minutes of rain. And that was it.

It was sad to think that this rally was coming to a close . . . it seemed like it had only just started . . . but the day was not over yet. We all went out for a wonderful group dinner at a local restaurant, then a little more socializing and finally, a slide show of many of the pictures taken throughout the rally.

 

Hart’s Turkey Farm (Photo by Larry Trimble)

Once more, we dodged the rain (Photo by Larry Trimble)

On Friday morning, everyone packed up and started heading home, except for Sue and I who decided to hang around one more day and just enjoy the memories.

I would like to offer my special thanks to all the rally attendees, whether they were there for just a day or for the whole week.

The opportunity to spend time with our fellow VBA’ers doing what we all love to do . . . priceless!

Rally Attendees (Photo by Vicki Riley)


Written by Norm "CNC" Ward

 

When we were looking for a location to hold our 2014 joint rally, we posted a thread asking our group where they might like to have it. We received several suggestions, but when Tom sent us a presentation that included maps, possible routes, things to see and do as well as a description of the various infrastructures in some of the small towns of New Hampshire, we knew we had the right spot and certainly the right guy to help plan it!


We soon zeroed in on the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire and the Mt. Coolidge Motel.
As it turned out the Mt Coolidge proved to be the most Motor Cycle friendly motel we have held a rally at, great owners, and lots of open grassy areas to gather a group in.


Monday August 4th was arrival and check in day although a few had shown up the night before and got an extra days riding in. Monday evening we held a meet and greet BBQ on the grounds with hotdogs, hamburgers, beer or soft drinks and the drawing of plenty of door prizes, cost was $6 per person and a small donation to the prize table. ROK also provided us with some wonderful gifts which we drew as a separate drawing. Our thanks to Brian Gibson of Kawasaki USA for making that possible.


Tuesday Morning it was a brief pre ride meeting and kick stands up at 9:00am.
This first day’s group ride took us through Kinsmen Notch, Grafton Notch, Pinkham Notch, Bear Notch, and the Kancamagus Pass With several breaks along the way and a lunch stop at the Northern Exposure restaurant in Errol. Back at the motel after a great ride where no one got lost and we dodged predicted storms, most folks went off in groups to sample some of the many different restaurants. There was always a group socializing in lawn chairs around a table made from a rock and the faces changed or the group grew as they drifted back.


Wednesday was a do your own thing day and while some of us went off to try our hand at Zip lining, others set out to climb

Mt Washington either by cog rail way or on bike. Still others made the trip to Conway for shopping, visiting Laconia, or riding around.
At the end of the day a number of our group hung out around the rock again and the talk turned to ordering Pizza, turns out you have to pick it up and Nomad bags were not designed to carry large pizzas, Kevin the owner of the motel always ready to help, volunteered to go get them in his car!


Thursday our group ride took us on a tour of lakes and rivers, we took the Kancamangus Highway, did some photo opportunities at the summit and again passing through a covered bridge, then riding along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee before stopping at Harts Turkey Farm for lunch. The timing was great, the skies opened up while we were inside eating and the sun was back out when we were ready to go. We went west along newfound lake towards the Connecticut River valley. Again our timing in dodging the weather was spot on, arriving at our scheduled stopping point at an ice scream stand for a break just as the thunder and lightning hit and the skies again opened up. Surprisingly though we all put on rain gear we rode on wet roads but no real rain the rest of the way back to the motel.

We finished up the day by all going out to a group dinner at a local restaurant then we all piled into the biggest room which turned out to be Tim and Cindy’s (Top Cat) room, to watch a slide show put together by Tomm of the threes days of activity.


All too soon it was over and Friday morning saw everyone packing up and saying their goodbyes.
In reflection I think this was one of our better rallies, the location and Motel choice was spot on. The 3 day mid week arrangement lends its self well to less traffic, more time to socialize, and a free day to relax or use as a group ride day should we be totally rained out on one of the planned days. It was great to see so many old friends from previous rallies as well as many new faces who in quick order became new friends. It is to all who made the effort to attend that Larry "Fish", Tim "TC", Tom "Tomm" and my self are indebted; you guys made the event a great success! Thanks also to those who helped transport the food for the BBQ and those who jumped right in and cooked it. Lastly I think Tom deserves a big thanks for all the work he put in on organizing, planning and leading the rides, you set the bar high for the next rally.

A few more rally pictures

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For more pictures of the rally click here.