The Outstanding Member of the Year Award was suggested by David Bloodworth in 2004. This title was to be given to that member who showed an exemplary level of dedication to the club. Since it’s inception, the club has chosen a new member to honor every year and that person’s name has been engraved on a commemorative plaque. If you haven’t see in it, next time you are at David’s shop , head on over to the steps down to the Ducati displays and you’ll see it hanging on the wall just to the right.
The first person to be awarded this honor was Carson Wright, in 2004. Carson was one of the original members of the club, and served as Treasurer for several years. He also served as a mentor to many members who wanted to learn minor maintenance or make some repairs to their bikes. Carson passed shortly after receiving this award and those who remember him say he was “one of a kind”.
Polly, Carson’s wife, was the next member listed in 2005, and from there many great folks followed. Outstanding members were: Mike Gillespie, Lee Waggoner, Ron Brant, Stewart Ennis (he almost never missed a meeting), Bette Stewart and Jack Jones. All these members had a profound influence in the club and it would not be where it is today without them.
Over the past two years the club has missed selecting a member, so this year two new names have made the plaque: Andy Valentine and Douglas Pittman. Andy, besides being President for two years, always went above and beyond the call of duty even so far as providing his house as the location for the annual club picnic. Douglas also went above and beyond his responsibilities and has done so much to keep the membership informed about club activities. Many times he contributed without anyone knowing by adding someone else’s name to the announcements sent out. Doug is currently the club Secretary and continues to dedicate a great deal of time and effort to make the club a fun and exciting community to belong to. You can find details on both these outstanding men by reading their Member Profile in the “Member Profile” section of our news site.
To become a member of the year it’s easy, simply volunteer. There is plenty to do and the more members contribute the better the club will be.
If you feel someone is worthy of this honor, please let one of the officers of the club know. You can simply use the Contact Us link at the top of the main club site to send your nomination. To quote Andy Valentine, “If everyone does something (helping out with registration, leading a ride, serving on the Board…), it makes for a better club experience.”
Special thanks to David and Virginia Bloodworth, Polly Wright, Kevin Harbour and Steve Stratz.
I grew up on the Gulf coast riding in the 60′s and not again until 2005 when a brother gave me an 88′ 1500 GoldWing and in 2009 I fell in love with my 2006 1200 GS. Since retirement, riding has gone from 2,000 to 20,000 miles a year with a riding style some describe as ‘taking it easy.’ In 2012 I made a 10 week, 15,000 mile back roads trip/adventure of a lifetime to the Arctic Circle/Alaska with fellow club-member Larry Marcum. A great way to start the morning is watching a sun rise from a bike on a mountain, a lonely desert road or in the Florida Keys while finding a route that includes a good breakfast, lunch and an interesting site to stop and visit – it’s about the journey.
A 2010 aborted trip to Alaska became a family bonding experience beyond compare when, on departure day, 4 of my brothers joined in for the leg to Redmond, Oregon. I postponed the Alaska ride so we 5 brothers could spend several weeks on the road – amazing lifetime experience. Future plans include riding the four corners of the US, short overnight jaunts and there are several US states and Canadian provinces that need to be seen to have covered them all.
Favorite gear for me is a light rain suit to go over everything, the Pin-lock visor to keep the face shield from fogging and a bike-mounted camera with GPS. ATGATT is the rule.
Fun includes a little grease under the fingernails adding farkles and learning about the GS by doing easy maintenance and repairs.
The BMW Club of Nashville (joined 2010) has been an opportunity to get involved and volunteer which has led to meeting others, expanding my interests, and making new friends, to learning more about riding and traveling.
My wife, Creel, and I live in Brentwood and have 4 grown children and 2 grandchildren. Our home life is controlled by Bailey, the 16 year-old pound puppy.
After seeing a recent post it seemed sharing my Alaska Journey experiences might help others to select a riding partner. Traveling with a person I did not know was a great concern to me, but it turned out not to be a difficult decision to make because of the way we went about it. In hindsight this might have been the most important part of our planning.
Douglas Pittman & Larry Marcum @ Homer, Alaska overlook July 2012
On June 7, 2012, I left with an acquaintance I met last November (seven months before the trip), and we had a wonderful, ten-week, 15,000 mile adventure-ride from Tennessee to Alaska. We camped six out of ten nights, traveled mostly two-lane roads, and there was never a time we could not quickly work through an important decision or misunderstanding. There was never a cross word between us. With some luck and planning, what we did to make it work for us might help you with your decision. The trip could have had bad experiences for both of us had we not taken the time, before we left, to answer some basic questions.
To make a long story short, we met at a motorcycle club meeting and talked about our separate plans and dreams for riding to Alaska. We are both solo riders and had told our wives we would make the trip by ourselves. However, our wives were adamant that traveling alone was not an option. At our planning meetings to explore the possibility of traveling together, we openly discussed many items, concerns, riding styles, weather, on/off road travel et-cetera. We talked several times before leaving, and in hindsight this worked for us. Below is some of what we discussed, although what would work for someone else could be completely different.
1. Travel arrangements. Should we travel together all the time?
We agreed that we would separate and go different routes if one of us wanted to see something different or travel a different leg of our route. We would meet later at a predetermined location. On the more challenging or isolated roads, we would stay together.
2. Speed. How do we ride, fast or slow?
We both agreed we wanted to go slower to better enjoy the scenery and surroundings.
3. Start and end times. What time of day should we ride, early or late?
We are both early starters and could be on the road between 7-8:00 am each day.
4. Length of riding day. How long should we ride each day?
We agreed both of us could put in a full day riding which ended up being 10 to 14 hours from first getting on the bike to finally calling it quits for the day. Generally, making a specific number of miles would be secondary to enjoying the scenery.
5. Route selection. Which routes would we take?
Where possible we would avoid interstates and four-lane roads as well as larger cities. A few places and specific roads were high on our visit list and efforts to see these destinations would be a priority. We shared our route plans and MapSource routes.
Denali Campground: camping & cooking- July 2012
6. Sleeping arrangements. Should we stay in hotels or camp?
We agreed to camp as often as possible and only stay in hotels when we stank, ran into bad weather or just wanted a real bed. As for camping, the goal was to stay in national, provincial or state parks that generally have primitive camp sites. Either of us could make the call to go to a motel at any time for any reason. Since we were without our wives we would stay in no-name motels.
7. Equipment sharing. Should we reduce our travel load by sharing tents, tools, cook stoves, et cetera?
We decided both of us should bring what we needed to be self sufficient should we have to separate for any reason. We shared our packing lists with each other well before the trip.
8. Equipment failures. What do we do if a bike breaks down?
We agreed to stay together until the other’s bike was working and/or other arrangements made.
9. Cost Sharing. How do we split common costs?
We agreed to split cost of hotels, camping fees and any other common expenses. There were times when meals and other purchases were put on one bill, but before the end of each day we tried to settle-up.
10. Compatibility. Should we travel together or not?
This is a tough one but after our first long discussion we both felt we could “get along” for the trip. We agreed that if either of us felt there would be compatibility problems, before we left, we could pull out of the agreement without any hard feelings.
11. Family concerns. What if a family/personal emergency came up before or during the trip?
We agreed that family matters come first. If it brought the trip to an end it was OK, family comes first.
12. Common goals. Were there personal goals for the trip?
We discussed what each of us wanted to accomplish on the trip. We agreed to try and meet the other’s objectives. We agreed to do this while en-route.
13. Weather. What to do in bad weather?
Both of us are OK riding in bad weather but neither of us likes to set up a tent in a pouring rain. If available, we would hotel it.
Larry & Douglas entering Denali
14. Attractions/tourist stops. Would we spend a lot of time at tourist stops?
We agreed to stop riding for anything important to the other person. Or, the other person might ride on to a pre-determined meeting point. Our trip was heavily weighted on the ride, enjoying the wildlife and scenery, traveling back roads and rural two-lane highways.
15. Photographs. Do we share the pictures we take?
We agreed to give each other a copy of our photographs and videos. It is sometimes more expedient for only one person to stop and take photographs, especially of the same thing.
16. Visiting relatives and friends. Do we both stay with relatives and friends we plan to visit?
If either of us felt uncomfortable staying with the other’s family or friends we would discuss it. If it would be better to split up and one of us stay in a hotel we would do that.
17. Health and snoring. Do either of us have health issues that could affect the trip?
We were both blessed to be in good health and sleeping in separate tents would help the snoring problem. When in a hotel we gave each other permission to wake the other person and have them turn over if they snored. We also carried ear plugs.
18. Eating out. When would we eat out and when would we fire up the camp stove?
The plan was to eat out when possible and to seek out local eateries (avoiding name-brand restaurants). Both of us would carry freeze-dried food and snacks for those times when a restaurant or café was not convenient.
19. Budget. How much do we spend?
We agreed to be frugal but not cheap. We would not stay in a bad hotel just because it was cheap.
In hindsight, my riding partner and I could have had differences of opinion during our ten weeks of travel. Fortunately, our open and honest pre-trip discussions about our riding styles, trip expectations and personality quirks gave us the opportunity to understand and learn a little about each other. It worked for us. What started out as finding a riding partner ended up as finding a new friend. Again, communication, a little planning and a lot of good luck made for the adventure of a lifetime.
We met many other riders on our journey and learned that different riding styles and expectations had broken up several people making the Alaskan journey. Some riders had started out together and parted ways; others met on the road and tried to travel together but could not. There were a few bikers frustrated with their travel partner(s) and conditions but were finishing the trip with them. It was rewarding to see many small and large groups who seemed to have a great riding experience. My trip, and having a wonderful travel companion to share the experience, was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling “great adventures” of my life.
We noticed that organized groups (both small and large) had fewer problems and effectively resolved individual issues as they arose. Planning, open discussion before and during the trip, and realistic expectations seemed to be some elements for traveling with others successfully. Doing the pre-ride work does not guarantee a good traveling partner or even a good trip, but it does enhance, if not greatly improve, the probability for success.
Good luck and best wishes for your trip.
Secretary, BMW Motorcycle Club of Nashville
Andy Valentine has lived in the Nashville area since 1978. Originally from Louisiana, which he calls culturally interesting, but lousy riding—“the only curves were the on-ramps to the interstate”—Andy moved here from West Virginia, which he says has some of the best riding in the world. His hobbies include playing upright bass, fly fishing, raising chickens, sheep, and bees, and, of course, riding motorcycles.
He’s been riding since 1966, when he started as a pillion rider behind a buddy who had a Honda 50. In 1970, he got his own Honda 125. Today, Andy owns a BMW 1200LT, two Yamaha 200’s, a Suzuki Vstrom 650, Valkyrie, and a “rat bike that looks doomed to remain a project.” He loves all kinds of riding, and is considering trips to southern Arizona and New Mexico and to the Rally at the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. Though he doesn’t consider himself a mechanic, he’s willing to do simple jobs with friends who have a more mechanical bent. In terms of gear, he says, “Like most riders I fantasize more gear on the bike will make me a better rider. The one piece of gear I have on all my bikes is a Crampbuster. I like it a lot better than a Cruise Control and at a cost of $15 find it almost indispensable.”
Andy likes being a member of the club because of the level of riding skill and knowledge that other riders bring to the group and the fact that members are willing to share with others. Andy writes, “I enjoy people who are passionate about any part of the motorcycle experience. Whether it is campfire cooking, watching someone else adjust the suspension, or exploring other countries with club members, I enjoy it all.”
As a past officer of the club (VP 2010, Pres. 2011), and Member of the Year (2012), Andy stresses the importance of being active and helping out. “While the old 80/20 rule still applies, it is also true that you get out of the club what you put in to it. If everyone does something (helping out with registration, leading a ride, serving on the Board…), it makes for a better club experience.”
One of the goals for this year’s Board of Directors is to come up with a few, more permanent locations to host our Monthly Meetings. Having permanent locations makes it easier to remember, but more importantly it allows the meetings to focus more on club business and content rather than logistics. Having predetermined locations allows for quicker setup of presentation equipment and better service from the venue, making the meetings more efficient.
Below are two images that show the location of the club membership. (Please click the image for larger view.) The one on the left is a wider view, showing that we have several members from out of state. The more focused image on the right shows that while the majority of club members live south of Nashville there is quite a large group to the north.
Based on these two images, the Board has decided to establish meeting locations close to the downtown Nashville area. The two locations are Bloodworth’s motorcycles and Blackstone Brewery.
Bloodworth’s has the motorcycles and shop, a good atmosphere, and is a great place for tech education sessions. Holding meetings there also gives members an opportunity to support the local dealer by purchasing parts and other equipment. Blackstone has a private room, great food, and great beverages. Both locations are central to the membership.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to have every meeting centralized, especially if we want to have special events like our annual club picnic at a local park or special interest meetings like our motorcycle camping meeting at REI. Special meetings such as these will start a little later to accommodate those having to drive a little further to make it on time.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please send in your feedback as we want to make the meeting locations as convenient and accessible for everyone. You may leave a comment below or use the Contact Us page on the main website.
Wide view of club member locations showing members in Kentucky and Alabama.
Close up of club member locations showing the majority of the members are central to Nashville.
Pizza, Drinks, Camaraderie, Motorcycles and Camping Gear, all under one roof! What else can you ask for…?
The BMW Club meeting for April was hosted at REI in Brentwood. The meeting started a little later than usual to accommodate those having to drive a little further. We had a great turnout! REI’s Justin Sowders presented a plethora of camping equipment and is himself a BMW rider. As a matter of fact, his motorcycle is his only method of transportation!
Justin’s background created a high level of credibility, he has a good sense of humor, his knowledge and first hand experience of the equipment was convincing and very helpful. He answered everyone’s questions and we stayed on time. Several people new to camping learned a tremendous amount and all the experienced people walked away with a few good tips about new items in the store.
Thank you Justin, Brenda and REI for hosting and for the discount coupons to our members!
Thank you Larry Marcum for packing and bringing your motorcycle! A special thanks to Douglas Pittman who made the arrangements for the meeting and also packed his bike and left it on display at the front entrance.
Here is Doug’s packing list for this trip to Alaska: Packing List b for Alaska 2012 (Click to download the PDF file)
Below are some images from the meeting:
- Packed Motorcycles and Lee
- Club president starting the meetings
- Camping items
- REI's Justin presenting
March Moto Madness!!! If you ride off road and haven’t heard of this, you need to check it out. MMM as it is called is a rally put on in Tellico Plains, TN around the third weekend of March.(Duh) The rally site is on private property with minimal facilities. There are portapotties, running water, and showers, although I don’t know of anyone that took one. It was pretty cold this year. Camping is the name of the game. A good percentage of attendees used campers and trailered their bikes. I rode over from Nashville, and camped in my tent.
There were meals provided at breakfast and dinner each day. Live music both Fri and Sat. Guided and self guided rides on Sat. I rode solo on pavement on Fri, then joined a guided ride on Sat. Rides were divided up by bike size and level of difficulty. Most lasted about 3 to 4 hours. At 3:30 on Sat afternoon were the trials games. All who wanted to could enter. First the small bikes (less than 650CC) gave it a try, then the large bikes. There were truly some awesome displays of ability. The course was extremely tight, and included mud, whoop-t-does, rocks, two stream crossing with loose dirt exits up steep banks, and finished with a very tight slalom course. Points were given for foot touches, dropping the bike, and going off course(lined by ribbon). Following the trials course was the slow race. LAST one over the line wins. Through numerous heats the participants were whittled down to the two best. Lastly, was a fire wood haul competition. Whoever brings back the most wood loaded on their bike wins.
This was a great rally. Whether you ride on road or off I highly recommend you try it next March.
Here is a website for more information on the rally: http://www.marchmotomadness.com/
Director & Activities Chairman
A few days ago our club was contacted by a fellow motorcyclist by the name of Alanna Gayko. Alanna is a nurse in Australia who after meeting a local family affected by Batten Disease decided to use her love of motorcycling to help raise funds and awareness for the little know disease. Alanna embarked on her Australian adventure on a classic 1977 R100 BMW and called it her “trusty and reliable steed.”
If you would like to know more about Alanna and to buy her book to support her cause, please visit the link below. She has offered to send the club a copy of the book, so we should have a copy soon.
Here is a PDF file that has some information about her trip as well as some photos:
The Burkesville Rally planning is well on it’s way with Steve Cook and Polly Wright at the helm. Everything is on schedule with Steve and Polly visiting with the Burkesville, Kentucky representatives and all is being coordinated with them. The city of Burkesville is looking forward to having us and have already placed banners all around town of our event! Advertising will be in both the MOA and RA magazines and web sites, emails will continue to be sent to Club members and former Rally attendees. Food options, steaks and side items, have been finalized and pre-registrations are coming in as they should. Rod and Eugenio have gone up to scout the area for some good rides and have reported finding some excellent roads. We will have self guided tours, a paved ride, and a beautiful, scenic back-country tour. Steve still needs several volunteers to help a few hours with registration, vendors and door prizes. Stay tuned for more updates!
Here are some photos from the scouting run…
- Banners for our rally
- Other side of the banner
- Back-country road, well maintained
- Old bridge
- Part of the road...Yes, they use the creek as the road!
- Paved pavilion, used to be gravel...much better!
My dad said if I saved enough for a down payment, he would take me to the bank and co-sign a loan for my first motorcycle….66 Yamaha Sport 80. I was 13 and no license since you had to be 14! I juggled two jobs, working as a carpenter with my home building dad and throwing papers off the little Yamaha. When you ride without a license you generally get caught. Heard the lady judge publicly scold my dad for allowing me to drive and own a motorcycle without a license. Spent the next 60 days riding little red in the back yard.
Born in 1952, in Ada, Oklahoma, I have spent all but those first 13 years, with a motorcycle or many times several of them. That Yamaha bike was quickly turned into a dirt bike, chopped fenders, and stripped to necessities. Most of my bikes early on were dual sport and generally a motocross machine for weekend woods riding.
My BMW experience began in 2001 with a purchase of a /6 with 100k. I worked on VW bugs while attending college and knew the engineering was very similar. Fell in love with the machine, sold the Harley and joined my first BMW club (RAMS of Memphis). Since then I have owned 5 more BMW’s. After a number of years touring around the states on highways, my riding has turned primarily back to dual sport and adventure riding. Have now completed 6 of the 9 states covered by the TAT trail.
Navy Aviation 70-74 (Anti-Sub Helicopters); B.S. Industrial Tech; M.A. Religious Education. Spent the last 30 years serving large churches and non-profits in executive management.
Grateful to have an understanding wife (Sharon) who loves to attend rallies along with our GoldenDoodle “Boomer”.
- Been in Nashville area since 86, except for 7 years in Millington/Memphis area.
- Other hobbies: little guitar, woodworking, house remodel jobs, love to read, fly-fish, bass fish.
- Riding motorcycles 47 years
- Bikes own today….09 F800GS, 78 R100/7 & WR250R Yamaha
- Bike would love to have… Ducati MultiStrada
- Enjoy all types of riding but presently like adventure or dual sport riding.
- Took a big Northwestern tour of US (Saddlesore Iron Butt Qualified) , most of TAT trail and would like to do the 4 corners when I semi retire
- Joined the club to network with other riders.
- Enjoy most of any kind of rides and tech sessions.
- Love the Zumo….you can ride without it…but sure makes it fun.
- I do enjoy working on my bikes. I did a 80% rebuild on the /7.