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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:39 am
by jim wilson
I submitted this to the newsletter way back in july but guessed by now nobody wanted to publish it in the newsletter.


I was fortunate enough to have the inclination and now retired from work, time to go to the, as far as I know, only 40th R90S BMW Rally in the US, models of the R90 group 1974-1976. This has been in the planning stages for a year +, based on a wish, a whim if I may say to gather some folks to an unknown place, somewhere back east. Intended only to be a small gathering, maybe 20-30 and may include oh they thought a 3 states area. But, once the cat got out of the bag all hell broke and she grew and grew and became ‘’the event’’ BMW Rally of the year. Held at a private 30 acre residence, that most of us didn’t get the info about until two-three weeks prior to the event start. Just north of Philadelphia was all we knew. Limited to and based on a first come, first serve ticket and only talked about on the r90sworldnet site. Little did I know what was to grow from the small seed planted over a couple brews.

My adventure with this rally was just trying to get in, I just wanted a ticket. I had email rally master /in charge Todd Trumborn on Jan 30th and was refused. Sorry mate as down-under rallists Frank would say, Hop Sing our western railroad/ranch cook who worked for Ben Cartwright and Utah Philips a local storyteller, railroad-bum, philosopher & songwriter would say, ‘’no tickie, no laundry’’.

So it looked like I wasn’t going. I’ve been to several ‘special’ rallies before, that’s why I knew this was another I just had to be a part of. It was 1982 when a Vincent rally was held 200 miles north of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada at Shadow Lake that I knew I wanted to be there, designer, author and engineer Phil [MBE, C.Eng., F.I.Mech.E., M.S.A.E., (1903–1992) ] and wife Edith Irving were to attend.

I had just gotten my R90SRS running two weeks before and away the four of us were off, 2 Vincents, 1 Ducati and me. We never had to deal with ‘tickets’ to rally’s because the rallies in the Vincent club are about the riders who share a common interest in a particular bike. It’s a gathering of people who make the rally a rally, not the bikes. If you wanted to attend then simply show up. Oh sure the bikes are there in all their glory. They WILL outlive us, as we are just their present caretakers. In this regard many of those owners are older and we cherished them first. That trip was similar to this in that the distance was great, 24 states, 3 provinces and a great lakes ferry crossing in a little over three weeks. I didn’t have much vacation time back then. I was young and the stock R90 seat was piss ass poor and made me sore. That seat hangs in the rafters now. That trip got me interested in long distance riding. When Todd sent me an email late April or early May saying there are 2 tickets available, I had to snatch them up. My wife would fly out to Philadelphia’s airport, {that didn’t happen, she bowed out].

John Edwards, Washington rider, contacted me early on about March and said his friend was not attending and I could have his ticket. He wanted some one to ride out with because he had never done such a trip before. First time rides can be daunting to some who only venture short distances around their state on bike rides. That ticket then went back to Todd for the next person in the long wanting to go to this event /rally list.

John and I met at Billings, Mt. I rode east and north quit a ways to catch up to John on Hwy 90, Nevada to Idaho and Montana. I wanted to ride Lolo pass but never made it there. Maybe when I head to the MOA next year in Missoula. We headed out towards the east coast the next days ride. One of my requests was to see some national parks while riding and there are 4 states that I have never been to in any of my travels, North Dakota was one of them. Before I reached John I routed my self to Yellowstone N.P. the lady at the gate requested $20.00 / motorcycle entrance fee. I gladly took off my helmet and reached into my wallet for my California driver’s license and handed her with a big smile that license, asking ’ I’d like my senior pass please’. She smiled and said yeap, you do qualify. For those who do not know it’s the next best idea, America did after creating the National Parks system as Ken Burns has called the National Parks Series on PBS TV.

If you have never seen this series I highly recommend it’s purchase, Kirk and John and Frank, plus the other foreigners whom I didn’t get a chance to speak with while at the rally site. It will wet your whistle and you’ll be back to America just to see as many N.P.’s as possible in one summer. The senior pass allows you and a friend to enter any N.P. anytime, as many times as you wish for the rest of your life. It’s $10.00.

The IBA, Iron Butt Association and, Utah based, MERA, Motorcycle Endurance Riders Association have many rides to entice you to ride your bike. One of them is to visit 50 N.P.’s in 25 states in a year. A simple way to have an excuse to just go ride and see America. So off to Montana and find John. We rode to Teddy Roosevelt N.P. and I was a little disappointed to not see more at ‘HIS’ park because it was Teddy who was the father of the N.P. system in 1872, per se

. ... rk_Service

We rode next to Little Bighorn Battlefield N.P. and rode through.

I was kind of shocked while there because nothing was said nor grave monuments marked for Native Americans who fought in those same fields, too bad America can’t get past this issues. I like to get things for the grand kids but realizing there is only so much room on the bike decided that was for their parents to do, not me. So I bought stickers for the panniers. John had some family so we then were off to visit them in between the rain showers and thunderstorm/ hail fronts. At an off road farm town gas stop along our way, we talked with a farmer who brought his 1926-27 mixed bag, model T pickup to the gas station where we stopped, it reminded me of the model A I used to tinker on when I was 16 years old, a red roadster cabriolet with a rumble seat and quail radiator cap. He had 3 others back at his garage, lord only knows what else was stashed in his barn.

A quick visit to John’s family members in eastern Montana, then to both North and South Dakotas, a place you really should avoid. The amount of trucks hauling fracking equipment and water trucks was tremendous. 300 fracking rigs and 3000 water trucks, 30 welding trucks, and every conceivable fake name about energy and solutions you could think up; Cypress, Acme, Firm Solutions, Energy Alliance, First Alliance Co., True Energy, Quick Drilling and Energy Group, Clear Energy, New roads going in faster than the center yellow paint stripping could dry. Farmers leveling land and piping in temporary water and electricity lines so 20-40 small trailers could be based close to the entrance gate on the farmers land for workers temp residences. Each small trailer costing $1800-2500.00/ month rent. Workers running 7 days a week and probably 2 8 to 12 hr. shifts. Quite a big deal and all very ugly to me, it filled the spaces of the TV documentaries my wife and I have seen. It stunk !

Fearing a time crunch and the fact the thunderstorms were coming in waves, we headed east to Minnesota and south Wisconsin where 3-6 inches of rain hit in about a 3-4-hour period. It came down so fast that while riding down the freeway and not finding a hotel because Ms. Garmin trailed us wrong, then we found one. Luckily it had a dryer available for us to use. I was fine but John was soaked. The folks running a non-chain hotel were super and friendly mid westerners, who lived there all their lives. This takes me to another thought about the talks we had and visiting people along the way as well as those at the rally. It’s hard for me to imagine just how going through life and never ever leaving the state one grew up in. To me that is sad but that’s life.

Pretty much we stayed on the secondary roads and smaller byways of the federal highway system. For those who don’t know about it and believe me many ‘really’’ do not know all there is to know about the numbering system circa 1957,

An interesting read about minor roads. Now we needed to focus on getting to the rally. One last detour was for me to ride down the road I was born and lived on for my first 3 yrs. Just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. I’m sorry to say I never did recognize my house, I did though the golf and country club very close by. Gosh, ‘’I always though the house and yard were larger, I remember seeing my old family photos’’ I thought as I remember, it was 59yrs ago when I saw it last, ahh age has it’s faults.

The rally was the rally, the icing on the cake adventure ride. You were there and you KNOW. It was at the rally that I learned about Jim and Terry, two other Washington and Oregon riders. Funny how no riders from So-Cal, NM, AZ,TX, OK, IOWA, UT, CO, etc. were there. Come on guys, get the bikes out and see your fellow rider /owners. Also there has never been mention of a west coast 40yr rally? Humm. When I got there it was raining all across Pennsylvania, but within a couple hours the sun came out and stayed that way all weekend long. A large tent was set up so we had cover from all elements. We had our talks under it as well as dinners, conversations and late night movies.

So you ask what went on at this ‘event’ the players are ::

Tony Karas and his wife who own the beautiful parcel rally site/farm.

Hans A. Muth chief designer of the R90S, The RS was his work also, who had joined BMW in 1971 to work on the design of car interiors. ... .-a-legend ... sp?id=2502

Robert A. Lutz, Executive Vice President of global sales and marketing at BMW in Munich, Germany from 1971-74 ... z378N8vOyj ,

Gary Fisher, Rider/racer, ... 109-7.html

Reg Pridmore, Three time AMA Superbike Champion Rider/racer,

Most of us know of Reggie. Reg brought some 22"x18" posters (see below) showing his winning form at Laguna Seca in 1976 for a signing session.

Other R90S posters were there and everyone signed them. Hans Muth forwarded 2 sketches of what the R90S /R9TS would look like today if he were to designing a 2014 model.

Udo Gietl eng’r chief racing division Superbike builder and tuner & lead Butler & Smith Team member. ... udo_gietl/

Tom Cutter, team wrench, ... s-the-MAN-! ... /86655558/

Todd Schuster. Master machinist, fabricator and welder for the Butler and Smith race team. ... r90s-rally

Ted Cymbaly – An R90S enthusiast and author, Ted is president of the Classic Katana Owners of North America.

Plus Max BMW's R90S built from 99% BMW Catalog parts, an R-Nine-T (currently as scarce as hens teeth), etc

I say these are as close as I can remember, the unofficial titles of those listed here. These gentlemen used all these titles very loosely because it seemed BMW really didn’t have a budget for racing in those days and it also seemed they didn’t care too awful much about the motorcycle division and according to them, BMW was a loosly run motorcycle division back then.

Robert’s talk was a video-cast pre-taped DVD. Everyone else was live, in person and full of fun. We talked about life at BMW, life in general, racing stories, swapping lies and swatting flies, pit and track stories, other racer stories, wanting BMW to do and give more funds. Tech sessions and tune-ups, the real name behind the story of Daytona orange is ‘egg yolk’, how the smoke colors were born & cockpit design. How the camshafts flexed too much and fairing design. The conversations went into the night with fire works and fireflies a-buzzin’ .

A video will be available to watch of the whole interview and discussion groups and panel racers and I hope to get and show this to our club members, so stay in touch.

Tentative Schedule of Events: (this is a sneak - per-published copy)

Thursdays......Out of Town arrivals, Meet and Greet, Chili and Brats around the Campfire


7:00a.... Coffee and Donuts/Danish


8:15.......Robert A. Lutz's DVD film presentations

8:30.......Hans A. Muth, presentation and autographs

10:30.....Udo Gietl, presentation/ autographs

12:30.....Lunch Available

1:00p.....Gary Fisher, presentation/autographs

3:00.......Reg Pridmore, presentation/autographs

6:00.......Dinner by Master Chef Alphons Schuhbeck or equivalent

8:00.......Slide Presentation by Ted Cymbaly, Movies, etc.

10:00.....Camping by the Campfire


7:00a......Coffee and Donuts/Danish


9:15........Robert A. Lutz, DVD film presentation

9:30........Panel Discussion with:

............................................. Hans A. Muth

............................................. Udo Gietl

............................................. Reg Pridmore

............................................. Gary Fisher

............................................. Todd Schuster

Moderated by Moto Journalist & Editor of Motorcyclist Magazine, Mitch Boehm. Followed by Autograph Session

12:00......Lunch Available

12:30p...."Covered Bridges of Bucks County Ride", marked, self guided tour of historic & scenic Bucks County

3:00........Tech Session by Karl Myers, soup to nuts tune-up procedure, bring your notepads

6:00........Bavarian Dinner

7:30........Door Prizes, Awards, 50/50 Raffle & Thank-yous

8:00........Live Band

10:00......Tall Tales Around the Campfire

Some other attractions:

..F750 Butler & Smith race bike built by Udo and raced by Reg Pridmore

..Max Stratton's R90S built by parts bike

..R-Nine-T bike provided by Hermy's BMW, local dealer

..Udo's back-up R90S Superbike, snatched from the scrap heap, struck by several disasters, but saved and resurrected to live another day and preserved for all vintage enthusiasts to enjoy

..Tony Karas' wonderful Barn Museum filled with rare vintage motorbikes and motorcars including the first R90S designated for the USA....yes, Vin 4950001


7:00a......Coffee, Donuts & Danish, Packing Up the Tents, Handshakes & Farewells

The return home was through smaller secondary roads, Amish back roads out thru Penna. and Ohio thru Indiana on Hwy 224. Farmland, silos, windmills, horse, cows and buggies. After pulling off the road in Ohio at one point a highway patrolman stopped us and said we’d better find cover and quick because of the front coming. They roll in quick. We did and it dumped water.

Heading west and getting out of the heart of farmland thru Illinois took us through Chicago. It’s been a while since I crossed the mighty Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The creeks in Wyoming and Montana and the Dakotas were larger than any of our present streams, American, Feather or Yuba rivers here in California. Just inside the Illinois border we got hit again with a heavy dose of rain, about 1 mile past the tollgate. This time it came down so hard that I couldn’t see at times the big rig I was following. The truck then headed off to the right split and I knew I wanted to go left. My new angel was a car with the super bright LED type taillights, so I followed it. I couldn’t see much but 20-30 feet in front of me riding through 1-3’’ of standing water in the lowest road spots because it couldn’t drain fast enough. We did notice at the last gas stop as some of the intrastate fuel facilities have a TV viewing weather channel. This front was heavy, moving fast west to east but thin. In other words we could ‘punch thru’ it if we stayed the course. It was a really heavy downpour and once thru, the sun shone. We stopped at a very old friend’s home for a quick Guinness while getting through Chicago. Glenn owns many old Vincents and Indian motocycles, sounds like me?? A quick stop and off again. One thing I did start to notice was a shinny fork tube, meant a leaking fork seal as time and miles went by, it got wetter, this caused some concern on my part.

Outside of Illinois we found highway 30 and 20, 20 being the longest highway in America, all 2 lane roads, we followed 20 through several states.. More farmland, typical backbone of America, a great crossing. The "0" in its route number indicates that US 20 is a coast-to-coast route. Spanning 3,365 miles (5,415 km), it IS the longest road in the United States,[2] while riding through Iowa I could not help but sing Greg Brown songs because he lives here , , , somewhere. Heading out of the mid-west storm zones we thought and the muggy heat, DQ was my favorite gas & stop all along the ride. Our next stop was to visit John’s sister who was in Pine Bluff, Wyoming. A pleasant visit to his sister daughter’s boyfriends wheat farm. Wow! what a place they have. John and I split up at that point but not before we hit the last big storm in Cheyenne where nickel sized hail was coming down thanks to the trucker’s info. We held up at another big rig gas center before our separate ways. I headed towards Utah, the salt flats raceway, Wendover where I have been a half dozen times before in past years. Finally Salida, Utah & Highway 50 through Nevada, the loneliest road in America and home to the Sierra in California.

Much more later, as there is a story to be told. I and others will be 
telling the story as soon as we recover. Four or five magazines involved 
from Cycle World, Motorcyclist, RoadRunner, BMWMOA Owners News, BMW 
Magazine, a video documentary is in the works from Chad Strohmayer and 
Artist/Illustrator John Ritter provided the artwork for the commemorative 

Todd Trumbore RM

It was about 3688 west to east. Total was 6853 +/-. 18-19 states.

434 photos in my shutterfly folder of the rally. ... 5093390146

Jim Wilson ABC #1559

Founding Member of River City Beemers Club 1982

info sent july 11 :roll: :?: