Washington Motorcyle Club: Washington State BMW Riders Club (WSBMWR)

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by Doug and Meg Barritt

The Washington State BMW Riders Club was formed in 1972, and has grown from its original four charter members to today's roster listing approximately 240 households, many including two or more riders. WSBMWR is also a charter member of the two national organizations, the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (MOA Chapter 104), and the BMW Riders Association (RA Chapter 101). WSBMWR is not restricted to BMW owners only; we have many "multi-brand" families. Club Bylaws state that "any BMW owner, former owner, owner of any other motorcycle brand, or any person with an interest in motorcycles" may become a member. A membership cost of $20 per year covers the whole household of interested and eligible members of riding age, and includes a subscription to our monthly newsletter called "The Shaft". The Shaft includes meeting announcements, minutes of the prior meeting, articles on motorcycling, a calendar of upcoming club events, want-ads, and flyers for future events sponsored by other clubs in the region (WA, OR, ID, Northern CA, and BC).

Though WSBMWR is a statewide organization, meetings of the club are held primarily in Puget Sound region, with monthly breakfast meetings held alternately at locations either north or south of Seattle. During the good riding summer months, meetings are also scheduled outside Puget Sound region, in locations such as Yakima and Winthrop in Eastern Washington. The winter breakfast meetings are usually accompanied by a formal program such as a slide show about a member's motorcycling adventure, or cover a training and safety topic. In the spring, we always schedule a special MSF Experienced Rider Course (ERC) for club members, which makes a great "tune up" before the riding season begins in earnest.

The main purpose of the Club is to encourage the enjoyment of motorcycling, and to that end, we schedule day rides following each breakfast meeting. We also plan several overnight riding trips throughout the year. The riding season kicks off each spring with an April weekend ride to the Oregon coast. We call it the Rain Run, which means we go regardless of the weather. We often get through this 500-mile event without any rain at all! (And there's never enough to dampen the spirits raised by an early spring ride!) On the first weekend in June, we trek to Yakima for the famous Thomas Orchard Campout, sponsored by member James Thomas. This year (2000) will be the 10th anniversary of this popular event, usually attended by 80-90 riders.

Our biggest event for the year is always our rally, The Cascade Country Rendezvous, a four-day campout usually timed to include the first weekend of August. Past rally sites have included Shelton, Port Angeles, and Cashmere, WA. The site is changed every 4 or 5 years to explore new riding areas. For the year 2000, our rally is moving to the fairgrounds in Republic, WA, starting on Thursday, August 3rd through Sunday the 6th. Republic lies along Route 20 near Sherman Pass in north central Washington, among some of the finest motorcycling roads in the state. The Rally typically draws 250-400 participants who enjoy camping, good food, poker runs, mystery rides, field events, vendor booths, bike judging, an awards ceremony, and always great camaraderie. The Rally highlight is often a baron of beef dinner with all the trimmings on Saturday night.

Later in August usually finds the club at Quilcene for the Randall Cabin Campout hosted by Ty and Michelle Randall; then in September, we journey to the Annie Knight Campout near Bremerton. By the month of October, we revert to our regular monthly breakfast meetings north and south of Seattle for the remainder of the winter months. The November meeting includes the annual Turkey Run, a great ride usually routed through rural Snohomish County. And for the REAL hardy, there is the Annual Snow Camp held near Longmire at Mt. Rainier on the Martin Luther King weekend in January. This chilly event (warmed by tons of hot chili) is sponsored by Tacoma BMW and the BMW Riders Association in the northwest.

WSBMWR participates in the annual Toys for Tots collection at our December meeting, and makes various charitable donations throughout the year as recommended by members, and depending on the state of the club finances. Many members participate individually in charitable rides and "runs" sponsored by other groups. Ideas are always welcome on how to help the community and/or enhance the image of motorcycling!

Point of Contact for WSBMWR is our membership chairman, Doug Soderland, parcaedoug@juno.com . Complimentary copies of The Shaft with membership information can be picked up at any of the three Seattle-area BMW dealers (Ride West BMW in Seattle; Cascade BMW in Kirkland, or Tacoma BMW in Tacoma). The Club also has a new website at .

D&M Barrit/ Winter 2000

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