By Christy Quiner
I’ve been attending the Hiawatha BMW Rally since I was three months old. And I’ve been driving a dirt bike since I was eight years old. My Dad, having taught MSF dirt bike safety classes, is the best teacher ever for my little sister Hannah and me, and the three of us like to trailer the dirt bikes and ride around the campgrounds of the different motorcycle rallies we attend.
Many bikers my family and I know tour the countryside near a motorcycle rally, then after the scenic ride, go to the rally itself. Touring all sorts of twisty roads, seeing deer on the ride (hopefully from a safe distance) … it all sounded like a bunch of fun! But I never got to say that I rode my own motorcycle to the rally. That is, never before this spring of 2015.
Planning A Trip
I earned my motorcycle permit after I earned my automobile driver’s license. Because I’m only 16, I needed to go through a classroom training session before I was allowed to take the motorcycle permit test. And after doing that, I was able to ride my new Honda 250 enduro legally on the road!!!
Now that I had my permit and road-legal dirt bike, we were almost ready for my first motorcycle trip as an operator. I was super excited for the big day, and a little nervous.
Because I only held a motorcycle permit, not a full license, I had a few restrictions. One was that I could not drive on any interstate. Not that I wanted to right away, but that made planning a route down to Houston, Minn. a bit of a challenge. Thankfully a motorcycle friend of ours, who has gone to the Hiawatha rally too (thanks Tim!), gave us a route that excluded any interstate travel. It was also very pretty.
Dad and mom each had an Aerostich waterproof motorcycle suit, and I would be able to wear mom’s. I’m a bit taller than she is, but it fit me just great. I also wore mom’s flip up full coverage helmet, and brought along some of dad’s water resistant gloves. Which unfortunately turned out to be a good thing. Add my elk skin biking gloves, sunglasses, and hiking boots, and I was ready to go!
Finally the day came.
Dad rode his motorcycle with my sister Hannah (whom I call “Banana”) on the back, I rode my 250 (that I named “Middle Red”) and mom drove the truck with all our gear and rally equipment.
Dad turned his motorcycle on. I did too. Middle Red sputtered, then burst into life. Squeezing the clutch in and pressing down on the gearshift lever, I put my dirt bike into first gear. I looked to dad.
“Are you ready?” He asked. I nodded. “I’m ready!” I was born ready! And just like that my adventure began!
We rode through some towns and some beautiful twisty roads. But not too long into our journey, little drip drops of water started appearing on my helmet shield. The three of us pulled over so we could get our rain gear on.
A few miles later, just as we got into a fast food restaurant for lunch, it poured. But, by the time we were done, the rain was less intense and we were on our motorcycles again. The rain’s intensity would vary. Some moments it was misting, some it was pretty hard. But thankfully it was never as hard as outside the restaurant.
We didn’t have much traffic, and the road was very pretty. It took us in and out of small towns, up small hills, and right next to farm fields.
At one point, I slid my left foot under the gearshift lever, preparing to up-shift. Slosh. My sock was suddenly wet and cold. I realized then that my hiking boots were not as waterproof as I thought them to be.
A Second Colorado
As we neared our destination, the landscape started to change. Instead of farm fields, we were riding on twisty roads with rocky walls bordering huge hillsides of grass and trees.
We rode into the little town Rushford. But just as we got there, it started to pour again. Super hard. So we stopped at a sandwich shop to wait out the rain. We ate a sandwich, had some hot chocolate, and dad and mom stepped outside to call the campground to see if it was raining there.
The weather cleared up, so we hopped on our bikes and took off. Just out of town, the road and landscape become like a second Colorado – the hills were huge with bits of rock scattered here and there, thick trees stood tall, and the road weaved up, down and around the bluffs. Middle Red and I leaned through the twisties.
I’m sure the view was pretty good in a car, but it was even more so on a motorcycle. It was spectacular. I didn’t just see the landscape; I was in it!
Before I knew it, dad and I were riding into the Money Creek Haven campground. With dad’s awesome training, and God’s protection, we had all made it to the Hiawatha rally. Sure we were a little wet, but we had covered 200 miles.
Then, riding down the road to get to the registration building, people started yelling and a cowbell clanged. A group of people were holding a sign and shouting by the road to our right. The sign said, “WAY TO GO CHRISTY! We are proud of you! BMWMOCM 39th Annual Rally 2015”
Dad pulled over by them, and I followed, surprised. Everyone whooped and clapped. A big grin swept across my face as I looked at my fellow smiling motorcyclists. Dad suggested I hop off and hug them, and I quickly did. I hadn’t even dreamed I’d have a welcoming committee! I was so happy!
I was later told that way before the rally, some people e-mailed dad and mom asking if they could welcome me to the first rally I rode to. My parents thought that was super nice, and so do I! Better than nice!
Sure, the ride wasn’t perfect. Maybe it was a little windy, I was momentarily blinded by rain splashing on us from semi-trucks and I got puddles in my boots, but I got to ride my motorcycle to a rally for the first time ever. And I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.