A week at the "Geezerfest" 2021 BMW MOA Rally Great Falls MT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by bigjohnsd, Jun 28, 2021.

  1. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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    I'd never been to a BMW Rally so I decided to try one on for size.

    The event was supposed to happen in 2020 but we all know how that worked out.

    The 2021 event was a "Same Time, Same Station" kind of thing.

    According to some in the know there were 4,000 signed up in advance, 500 showed up and paid full boat to get in and another 1,000 paid a reduced rate for "Saturday Only access.

    Some attendees were purportedly upset that there weren't more vendors, apparently, some vendors backed out due to the attendance forecast. Those that were there seemed to be doing good business.

    The event was held at the Great Falls Metropark, a fairgrounds alongside the Missouri River with a fair bit of shaded camping area. I'd say that a good 2/3rds of the attendees camped. Camping space was in short supply by Friday evening.

    A few Rally site pictures:

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    Day 1 - I left home on Tuesday and rode a circuitous route to Billings MT for an evening with friends.
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    I started out heading West on US 212 but once I got to Alzada MT, I decided to head South to ride US 14/16 to Sheridan WY then ride 14/14A over the Bighorns.

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    Lots of Bugs and a shorty windscreen, I had to clean my visor frequently.

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    to Lovell, WY, and then North to Billings. I had originally intended to include Chief Joseph and the Beartooth into a long day but there was a fire near Red Lodge that helped me decide not to attempt it.
    I left late and arrived in Billings right on time at 1800.

    Day 2 - Wednesday was an easy ride from Billings to Great Falls, I left Billings and headed North West up to US 12 which took me across Montana

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    to White Sulphur Springs where I fueled before heading North up US 89 to Great Falls.
    I arrived at my Campsite, Room 427 at the Great Falls Staybridge Suites just after noon.

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    Day Three - Thursday was a "Day at the Rally" in the morning I took it all in, looked at the vendors, ate Rally Food, met new people, and sold Ice for the BMW MOA in the afternoon. I hung with Pterodactyl, Annie, a friend of theirs, and my roommate Bob for the evening. We consumed a little Nectar of the Irish while sharing our lives deepest experiences.

    Day Four - Friday Bob and I took a nice 300-mile ride, South to White Sulphur Springs on US 89, West on US 12 to Townsend MT, North up the East side of the Missouri River to Helena, then over Flescher Pass and back to Great Falls on MT 200.

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    Day 5 - Saturday - I spent the morning again looking at bikes and perusing the vendors, I volunteered at the Do It Yourself Bike Wash and Oil Change venue in the afternoon.
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    They gave 20 brand new BMW m motorcycles away in a raffle, I didn't win one. I did score a brand new BMW GSA Takeoff Windscreen someone had set up aside a trash can. I needed a new windscreen as mine was cracked from tipping over in the dirt multiple times so the savings almost netted out the cost of my Campsite.

    Day 6 - Sunday - I slept in, then after helping Pterodactyl load his two Urals I rode to his "Outpost" for an evening of recovery. I took the Scenic Route down "Old US 91" which follows the Missouri River parallel to I-15 from Great Falls to Helena. It was a pretty ride.

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    After arriving at "The Outpost" Kevin and I performed a little Firmware upgrade on one of his bikes and then went for a test ride.
    Relive failed me on the test ride but here are a few pictures I took along the way.

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    Pterodactyl - "John, does this little GS700 make my Ass look Big?"

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    The clouds looked threatening as we headed over Flescher Pass to Lincoln for a Hamburger but we never got wet

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    In case you are still wondering Kevin, the answer is "Yes".

    Day 7 - Monday - The Long Ride Home - I left "The Outpost" about 0815 and rode down the East side of the Missouri River/lake to Townsend, East on US 12, and then South on US 89
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    to Livingston MT before jumping on I-90 to make time getting home.
    After a burger and a Blizzard in Hardin MT, I took US 212 (upon which the State of Montana has dropped the speed limit from 70 mph to 65 mph) the rest of the way home.

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    My route for the week -
    [​IMG] Just a shade over 2,000 miles door to door.
    #1
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  2. ssilliman

    ssilliman Been here awhile Supporter

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    Glad you had fun John
    Looks like the weather was decent and roads were great
    4500 is a pretty good turnout plus daily visitors
    Out of vacation this year but I might try next year in springfield. The roads of Southern MO and NW AR are amazing. lots of dirt as well
    #2
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  3. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    4AC04B27-71FD-40EB-964E-3E0E7DFD6CE1.jpeg Nice write up. Wish we could have bumped into each other.
    You have good taste in helmets and bikes. :-)
    #3
  4. Limbow

    Limbow Been here awhile

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    What do you guess was the average at Geezerfest?
    #4
  5. drneo

    drneo mmm... delicious

    Joined:
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    I was there too! Very enjoyable weather and great to see so many friends (even if they are twice my age)
    #5
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  6. 93mph

    93mph Adventurer

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    Thanks for the trip report! Wish I could have gone but rationing vacation days.

    nice bike btw, I have the same :)
    #6
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  7. skipn

    skipn Been here awhile

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    Bigjohn talking about geezers: kind of like a toad calling something ugly.
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  8. Captain Hobo

    Captain Hobo Complete Bastard Supporter

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    Geezerfest. Yep. The mermaid & tiki themed Sip & Dip Lounge was the high point. Great times with random geezers admiring the view.

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    #8
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  9. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Just curious: What's the tolerance level for non-BMW riders? (I'm kosher with BMW but I currently ride a stock Harley for specific reasons but I'm not part of the pirate parade.) I understand that Two Wheels Big Life was there with his Harley (his wife rides a new GS).

    That area is gorgeous and it looks like you had some great day rides.
    #9
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  10. Captain Hobo

    Captain Hobo Complete Bastard Supporter

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    Lots of other bikes, including Hoglies. Weird, grey hair, and plastic pants works for me.
    #10
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  11. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Great report BigJohn!

    Really liked the vids too. Been in your neck of the woods since Monday. We actually came here based on things I'd read on ADVRIDER. The things I'd read don't do this area justice.

    Headed to Montana Saturday so your thread was very interesting and timely.
    Thanks for sharing your adventures!

    JD
    #11
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  12. OnlyBlue

    OnlyBlue n00b

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    #12
  13. beemerphile

    beemerphile Unreconstructed Southerner Supporter

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    When I joined MOA in 1977 at age 24 I was one of the youngest members. I think I still am.
    #13
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  14. OnlyBlue

    OnlyBlue n00b

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    GREAT report, thank you! I was there, coming all the way from Cincinnati (by way of Louisville, which is a long boring story). Round trip for me was 4200 miles, much of it spent riding Montana's excellent 80mph roads that are mostly empty. Great scenery!

    Having been to the MOA National Rallys before, I can answer some of the questions posted here.

    1. Vendor turnout was down from the last rally in 2019. Supply change problems are real and influenced the turnout. I'm in the m/c business and there are a lot of things we either cannot get, or have to wait months to get back in stock. Twisted Throttle/Denali for one, wasn't doing any product installations because of this . . . and I'll be waiting a few (?) weeks for my order to show up. Another factor was one of time. The "It's a Go" announcement didn't come from MOA until April (and there were some crossed fingers even then) and that's not a lot of time for most businesses, especially small ones, to get everything reserved/scheduled/etc.

    2. Brand acceptance is high. I saw all the different brands in the parking lot. BMW riders are tolerant and serious riders, which is more than I can say for some other brands.

    3. The raffle was for 20 BMW bikes and yes, people win them. I have a friend who did and he's beyond thrilled. Raffling off TWENTY new Anniversary Editions of the GS is a helluva Big Deal! Tickets were $100 each.

    4. There were also multiple "50-50" pots benefiting charity. The winner of the one that I had bought tickets for collected over $2200 . . . a lot of moola.

    5. MOA has been doing these rallies for a long time, rely on a lot of membership volunteers and things run smoothly.

    6. Also not mentioned was that vendors and product manufacturers contributed hundreds of products for the daily drawing. No charge to be entered in these drawings as it came with the entry ticket. One entire wall of the air-conditioned Expo center was devoted to this, as it took that much space to show everything. The one I wanted to win was given by IMT, the bike tour group that focuses on Portugal, Spain and Morocco. A full tour package worth over $4500. Wish I had won that . . . next year for sure.

    Overall, a successful, well-attended rally, especially given the hassles of just emerging from pandemic restrictions. Hell, the Canadian border is still closed to tourism, and that kept a large group of riders from attending.

    For those who are curious about the MOA rallies, the next one is in Springfield Missouri June 16-18, 2022 and it's MOA's 50th Anniversary celebration and 49th National Rally. I'll be there!
    #14
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  15. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    All bikes were there and welcomed. Everyone wants to see everyone’s bike. Most of us have several brands in the stable. No snobbery detected there. Just mutual admiration.
    #15
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  16. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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    All are seemingly welcome, I saw many different brands and my first two Motus bikes ever.
    #16
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  17. Momster

    Momster Adventurer

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    Thank you for not posting a picture of Barrel Man….
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  18. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem Supporter

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  19. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem Supporter

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    plus i hate i missed samatha fish

    good report @bigjohnsd thx
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  20. Captain Hobo

    Captain Hobo Complete Bastard Supporter

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    What can I say? She like me the best.
    #20
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