Join us for the second annual Morton's BMW Spring Fling Rally!
For years, we've been throwing the best BMW open houses in the mid-Atlantic region, and last year we decided it was time for us to put on a rally! The result was Spring Fling 2011, which brought about 170 BMW enthusiasts and guests to the historic and scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for a weekend of fun. Now we're planning the second Spring Fling Rally, scheduled for May 18-20, 2012, and you're invited!
Starting at noon on Friday, May 18, we'll be hosting you at the historic Natural Bridge Hotel for a weekend of great riding, interesting destinations, and the fellowship of other BMW riders. We searched throughout Virginia and West Virginia, looking for just the right place to hold our first rally. We wanted ample scenic, historic, and entertaining attractions, as well as great roads, off-pavement riding opportunities, good food, and a comfortable place to lay your head at night. We found it all at the Natural Bridge!
Originally surveyed by George Washington and once owned by Thomas Jefferson, the Natural Bridge has long been a scenic landmark in the Shenandoah Valley. The adjacent Natural Bridge Hotel is elegant, affordable and -- best of all -- they're motorcycle-friendly and thrilled to have us. Not only that, but the hotel is easily accessible from either I-81 or the Blue Ridge Parkway!
We've blocked out twice as many rooms as last year, divided between hotel rooms (including the entire patio room wing) and cottage rooms across the road from the hotel. For the campers among you, we've also made arrangements with the Natural Bridge KOA to provide meadow group camping for $10 per person per night. Rallygoers will soon be signing up for the cottages and the rooms in the hotel itself, so you should make your reservations at the hotel or the KOA campground as soon as possible.
The rally fee remains at just $45 and includes a catered BBQ buffet dinner, self-guided routes (via route sheet and/or GPS data uploads), three different group rides on Saturday (two on pavement, one off-pavement), seminars, access to vendors, and lots of other goodies. Accommodations are separate, and you need to make those arrangements yourself. See important info below.
T-shirts are now available for pre-order! We're taking pre-orders for t-shirts to make sure we have the right sizes for all of you, so click on the link to place your order now. You'll be able to pick up the shirts at the rally or at Morton's BMW afterwards; if you want them sent to you, they'll ship out after the rally and you'll be charged a shipping fee.
The logo design, seen at upper left, will be printed on black, 50/50 blend shirts in either short or long sleeves. Short sleeve shirts are $18, long sleeve are $25, all taxes included.
Apex Cycle Education will be holding two on-road training sessions on Saturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon! If you'd like to brush up on your skills while enjoying the weekend, check out all the course info HERE.
So, make your rally plans now -- you won't want to miss this!
Tentative Rally Schedule
Friday, May 18 The informal start of the rally is a group ride from Morton's BMW, led by owner Jeff Massey and his wife, Hannah. Follow Jeff from Fredericksburg on a scenic ride through the Virginia countryside, stopping for lunch along the way, before arriving at Natural Bridge in mid-afternoon. If you want to join them, plan to be at Morton's with a full tank of gas by 10:00 am on Friday morning.
Starting at noon, check-in begins at the Natural Bridge Hotel. Rally check-in and vendors will be located in Washington Hall, a separate building connected to the rear of the hotel. Be sure to pick up your wristband (required for dinner and door prizes) and swag bag. You'll have the rest of the day to settle in, scope out the area, see some attractions, and visit with vendors.
Friday evening, we'll host an optional Brats 'n' Brews dinner get-together at the Natural Bridge KOA campground, just a few miles down the road from the HQ hotel. For your $10 fee, you'll receive a commemorative mug, tickets good for your choice of two draft local beers or canned sodas (or a combination), your choice of a fresh grilled brat, gourmet hot dog, or vegetarian sausage on a bun, sauerkraut, chips, and assorted condiments. Please pre-pay your Brats 'n' Brews charge with your registration, as it will help us plan for the crowd.
Saturday, May 19 You'll want to get up early to get a start on the weekend! Grab some breakfast (if you don't eat at the hotel, try the funky Pink Cadillac diner just a few miles away), pick up a self-guided trip sheet or GPS route, and head out for a day of great scenery and even better roads.
If you registered with Apex for their on-road rider class, you'll want to grab your gear and go get trained up! You can never have too much education, and the folks at Apex will treat you right!
If you're a GS kinda person, try one of the pavement-optional excursions we've mapped out for you or hook up with Eddy Alvarez, who will lead a group ride on- and off-pavement. Go in almost any direction and you'll have fun!
If you'd prefer a group ride that sticks to the asphalt, Kurt Nordstrom will be leading an excursion up the Blue Ridge Parkway and down some smaller roads, ending up at Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant in Nellysford for lunch. The group will leave the hotel at 10:00 am. Kurt knows the area well, so the roads should be first rate!
Charles Peebles, a resident of the area and a K 1600 GTL pilot, will lead another ride on paved roads west of I-81. Expect some of the best roads and views in the area, before and after you break for lunch!
If you don't want to head out right away, hang around (or come back) for a seminar in the hotel meeting rooms, just across the driveway from the Washington Hall. So far, the list includes: Introduction to Long Distance Riding by Iron Butt Rally veteran and Iron Butt Magazine editor Bill Shaw; Riding All Over the World, by MotoDiscovery tour leader Bruce Anker, who will share his personal reflections on international motorcycle travel; Can You See Me Now?:Techniques for Enhancing Your Visibility On the Road, by Jerry Skene, inventor of the P3 and Photo Blaster lighting systems; and a Women Riders Meeting, an opportunity for the female bikers among us to get together and talk about their participation in what has long been a male-dominated activity (women only, please). We'll be lining up more sessions as we get closer to the rally date, so stay tuned for additional details.
After you return from your ride, relax and clean up for dinner. We'll meet in the Jefferson Ballroom of the hotel for a cocktail hour at 5:00 pm, then at 6:00 pm, we'll sit down for our catered dinner buffet -- a variety of barbecued foods for the carnivores, veggie lasagna for the grazers, plus side dishes, desserts, coffee, tea, etc. -- and evening activities.
After dinner, we'll feature a presentation by Bill Conger, Lead Motorcycle Instructor and Driving Instructor at the BMW Performance Center in Greer, SC. Bill is an incredible rider and driver, and he and his colleagues hand-built the motorcycle off-road course at the Performance Center. Morton's BMW sales manager Steve Anderson and a number of our customers have taken training courses at the facility, and have been very impressed by both the course and the staff.
But Bill has done much more than just training riders and drivers. He competed in the 2012 Dakar Rally on a Husqvarna TE 499, but was forced to withdraw due to mechanical problems after a fall. He'll share some of his experiences with us, and answer your questions at the end of his presentation.
We'll be giving away some really nice door prizes, too; make sure to keep your wristband on, as it gets you into the dinner and is also your door prize ticket number. You need to be present to win a door prize.
After the evening's entertainment, we reckon there will be a few of you who might gather in the cottage area or on the hotel patios for drinks and cigars while you share stories of your rides in the Virginia hill country. Or soft drinks and fresh air while we lie about how fast we used to be. It doesn't really matter, we're just there to have fun!
Sunday, May 20 It's time to pack up, check out, and be on our way. The rally's over and we have to return to the real world. But, given our wonderful location, at least it'll be a nice, scenic ride home.
Natural Bridge Hotel
The Natural Bridge Hotel is a landmark structure built in 1964. It replaced a previous building constructed of wood, which burned to the ground in 1963. With that in mind, smoking is not permitted inside the hotel or cottages.
It is your responsibility to book your accommodations.
We have reserved 100 rooms -- cottage rooms and hotel rooms -- at the Natural Bridge Hotel. Rates run from around $54 for the cottage rooms to around $70 for the patio rooms at the hotel to around $80 for the standard rooms at the hotel, all plus tax.
You must book your accommodations yourself, so call the hotel directly at 800-533-1410 to make your reservation. Make sure you mention the Morton's BMW Spring Fling to get a cottage room or one of the hotel rooms that are blocked out for us.
If you'd prefer staying elsewhere, here are some additional hotels in the area:
Wattstull Inn 130 Arcadia Road (I-81 exit 168), Buchanan, VA 24066 540-254-1551
Days Inn / Lexington 325 West Midland Trail, Lexington, VA 24450 540-463-2143
Days Inn / Lexington 2809 N Lee Hwy, Lexington, VA 24450 540-463-9131
Peaks of Otter Lodge 85554 Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, VA 24523 800-542-5927
Howard Johnson / Lexington 2836 N Lee Hwy, Lexington, VA 24450 540-463-9181
There are also two motels near the I-81 exits for Natural Bridge, but we've heard mixed reviews of them:
Budget Inn-Natural Bridge 4331 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA 24578 540-291-2896
Inn 4852 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA 24578
We've arranged a special rate at Natural Bridge KOA, the nearest camping venue to the rally site. While their normal campsite rates start at $26, we've set it up so you can camp in the group camping area, a large meadow without electrical or water hookups, for just $10 per person per night.
Be sure to mention the Morton's BMW Spring Fling when you make your reservation.
The deadline for rally pre-registration is May 5, 2012. We have to fix the number of dinners with the hotel on that date, so we ask you to please register by then.
We will accept registrations online after that date at a rate of $55, so please try to register by the May 5 deadline.
|Refunds & cancellations||
You can cancel your Spring Fling reservation and Brats 'n' Brews registration up to May 5, 2012, and get a full refund. If you cancel after that date, we cannot guarantee a refund, as we will have committed to expenses on your behalf, including dinner. Refunds will be made the same way payment was made. If you paid through PayPal, the refund will go into your PayPal account (unless it's been more than 30 days). If you used a credit card, it will be refunded to your card; If you paid by check, we will send you a check.
We will have route sheets for both on-road and off-pavement rides in the area. Depending on the ride and how many times you stop to admire the scenery, the rides could last from a morning or afternoon jaunt to an all-day journey. We will have Garmin GPS routing available as well; if you want the GPS data, be sure to visit our GPS upload desk in the vendor building (Washington Hall), and we can help upload the data for you.
We will also offer group rides on Saturday. There will be two separate on-pavement rides plus one off-pavement ride you can join. We'll have more information on the routes available at check-in on Friday.
In addition to the Natural Bridge itself, the area around the rally site also includes Natural Bridge Caverns (over 34 stories deep); a Monster Museum; and even Foamhenge, an exact replica of the ancient site in the UK.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, sacred pavement to motorcyclists, is just minutes away, and numerous other attractions in Virginia and West Virginia are within easy reach by bike. You'll probably have a hard time deciding which places to visit while you're here. That's OK, though; you can always come back for another visit!
Are vendors welcome?
YES! We want as many vendors as we can get! We expect 200+ people for the 2012 rally, and this is a great audience for your products and services. Since it's just the beginning of the rally season, it's your opportunity to market to BMW riders before they've been to a bunch of other rallies.
Vendors already signed up for 2012 are: Skene Design, creators of the P3 and Photon Blaster lights; Schuberth helmets; Sidi boots; Scala Rider intercoms; Shorai batteries; Airhawk seat cushions; Leatt braces; Powerlet; Apex Cycle Education; and Micatech luggage, along with a booth from Morton's. Come check them out, and encourage anyone you know to join them!
There is no charge for vendors, other than the $45/person rally fee, and they'll be set up inside Washington Hall, a lockable, indoor location, perfect for displaying and selling products. Contact Steve Anderson with any questions you might have.
|What about day passes?||
We will not be offering day passes. If you just want to hang out, we won't charge you anything, but if you want the swag bag, door prize tickets, route sheets, GPS data, or the catered dinner buffet, we'll have to charge you the $55 rally late fee. The Friday Brats 'n' Brews dinner is not avaiable without rally registration.
The Colonial Dining Room in the hotel serves breakfast and dinner, and lunch is available in restaurants in the Natural Bridge Gift Shop and along the trail to the Natural Bridge attraction. If you like funky eateries, you'll want to check out the Pink Cadillac Diner, at exit 180A off I-81. Nearby towns offer a variety of cafes and fine dining, and a particular favorite is the Rhine River Inn, an authentic German restaurant in nearby Buchanan.
At check-in, you will be required to sign a release of liability form containing language similar to the following:
"In consideration for being permitted to participate in the Morton's BMW Spring Fling, I (the undersigned) agree to indemnify and hold harmless Morton's BMW Motorcycles, BMW Motorrad USA, The Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center, GERBNA Campgrounds, LLC (dba/Natural Bridge/Lexington KOA Campground), their parents, subsidiaries, officers, directors, representatives, agents, employees, volunteers, and assigns from and against any and all damages, losses, claims, actions, demands, and liabilities whatsoever, and from all expenses and costs, including but not limited to attorneys' fees, arising from or related to my participation in any form in this event. This agreement extends to my heirs, assigns, and representatives."
For additional info, please contact Steve Anderson at 540-891-9844 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.