Potosi, MO— For four days the little town of Potosi hangs out the welcome sign for motorcycle riders from all over the country (and a few Canadians).
But if the town council was expecting a miniature Sturgis, well they're probably disappointed. Or thrilled depending on how you look at it. The whole weekend I did not see one smoky burnout or wet T-shirt contest. In fact, the women at this rally are more likely to pass you on the inside than show you their hooters.
I had never been to one of these BMW rallies before and wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was expecting everyone would be "touring" and paying close attention to the posted speed limit. Turns out, like most things motorcycle, the people and their machines span a wide spectrum and defy stereotyping. Sure there was the Iron Butt guy on a miniature land yacht watching satellite TV, and there was the pseudo-motocrosser polishing the gravel dust off his GS, but mostly it was all about getting out and riding. And I'm happy to report there are BMW riders that ride fast!
First off, not every bike in attendance was a BMW. Though mostly Teutonic, the hardware present was quite a menagerie. Sidecar rigs were popular, especially the Russian Urals. I noticed Ural riders seem to love to pull their bike into a spot that will force them to use the reverse gear just to show off the fact they have one.
The most popular non-BMW marque appeared to be Suzukis. The popularity of V-Stroms with this demographic seems to make them honorary Bayerische. But Bandits were plentiful too and even a fully-faired GT750 water buffalo was "two stroking" around the campgrounds.
Oh yeah, the camping. It appeared that a lot of these guys have never considered packing light. There were more trailers moving around the campground than in an Oklahoma thunderstorm. The variety (and scale) of the tents being erected was quite a sight.
But the highlight wasn't the camping, or the bikes, or the camaraderie, or even the anvil blast... it was the roads. Head off most any direction from Potosi and you'll find a good road. And contrary to popular belief, as I mentioned before, not all Beemer riders are slow pokes. I met some great folks and had some fast-paced fun carving up the granite roadbeds of Eastern Missouri.
Hats off to the Gateway BMW club and their efforts to make this great event happen.