Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weather be damned, I made it to the Falling Leaf Rally

Theresia Shearer, Jonathan Fishburn, Archey Shearer and I passed a pleasant hour or so Saturday night playing euchre in the Lion’s Den at the 39th annual Falling Leaf Rally.
We, plus Lina Rafai, represented the Indianapolis BMW Club at the rally – the most sparsely attended Falling Leaf of the seven I’ve attended since 1993.
14fallingleaf03I arrived about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and was stunned to see the campground mostly empty. I was the 260th person to register and the final attendance count was only 299. The host BMW club, the Gateway Riders, promised rally pins to the first 600 registrants, which means they had 301 pins left over.
I was told they needed 300 registrants, at $22 a head, to break even, so the cold rainy weather dealt their budget a severe blow.
I was in rain off and on from Poplar Bluff to Farmington with temperatures in the low 50s, forcing me to put the liners into my gloves and switch on the handgrip and seat heat.
The sun was out by the time I hit Potosi, but as luck would have it, I arrived during the parade for an invitational high school marching band competition, which forced a detour over back streets 14fallingleaf01before I could get to the rally on the west side of town.
I set up my tent and $5.99 folding chair and kept an eye out for Indy folks until I noticed Theresia and Archey.
The low turnout meant improved odds for winning door prizes, but the five of us came up empty-handed anyway.
Saturday night dinner was chicken and “dumblings” for $7.
Shortly after I arrived, I was dismayed to see my iPhone display a “No Service” notification where the cell signal strength indicator normally is. I managed to get a Facebook message to Maria, advising her that I had no cell signal, using the free Wifi at McDonald’s.
I supposed that the problem was with Sprint until Jonathan Fishburn showed me that his Android Sprint phone was working fine. I fiddled with the iPhone settings, shutting the phone off, and every other trick I could think of but never got a Sprint signal at the rally even though I had good cell reception there on previous years.
14fallingleaf04I left for home about 9:20 a.m. today – abandoning my cheap chair because it’s a hassle to pack - and stopped at the Frederickstown, Mo. McDonald’s for a parfait and coffee. Once again, I got a “No Service” indication, but was able to get a message out on Wifi on Facebook.
I figured my phone had developed some glitch that would require wiping it clean and reinstalling all of my stuff.
I was in light rain and drizzle most of the way from Frederickstown to the Arkansas line where it began to rain in earnest, making for an unpleasant final hour on the road.
When I got home, I was surprised to see my phone had regained a Sprint signal and seemed to be back to normal.
I felt almost guilty that I only had a three-hour ride to and from the rally, compared with more than five hours for my Indianapolis friends.

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