The view of one corner of the massive tent city we’re living in.

2019 BMW MOA Rally – Day 2

We had a nice sunny (and lucky) day for our ride to Lebanon, TN for the MOA Rally.

The Ride

It took all of ten seconds after waking up to realize that we had much better weather than the day before. The sun was out, clouds were nowhere to be seen, and the morning temperature was in the low 60ºsF.

After a quick bite at the hotel breakfast area, a not-quite-as-quick post of a trip report, and a fill-up for the Nightowl, and we were on the road a bit before 10am.

The previous evening, I was a little leery of stopping before Cincinnati since we would have to traverse it shortly after the morning rush hour. These concerns were, thankfully, unfounded. We did have about five minutes of slowdowns around a construction zone, but made it through downtown Cincinnati unimpeded.

Side Note: In all my years of riding, I’ve never ridden through Cincinnati without there being major road construction going on. What’s up with that?

After crossing the Ohio River and ascending the hill out of the Kentucky side of the river valley, the ride settled into a pleasant and comfortable state. The hills and fields rolled by and the traffic didn’t put up much of a fight. The temperatures stayed out low enough that the Leathers and the extra long-sleeved layer underneath remained necessary.

In a seemingly short amount of time, we entered the outskirts of Louisville, KY and congestion levels got a bit heavier. Once we turned south on I65, it took some creative lane use to get around some of the snarls of traffic; nothing too debilitating, but some spirited riding techniques were used.

Side Note: This may have been the first time I’ve ridden this stretch of I65. I didn’t realize that it:

  • Was so busy.
  • Was at least three lanes wide from Louisville nearly all the way south across the state.

As we neared our turn off of I65, I started mentally planning our next gas stop. The upcoming turn off I65 was about 11 miles closer than our distance-to-empty reading on the Nightowl. Nearly every exit that we’d passed along I65 had services, so I figured that we could get gas when we exited. What I didn’t realize was that the upcoming turn was not an exit, but an interchange onto the Cumberland Parkway.

Now I had a problem.

The distance-to-empty readout on the Nightowl was one (1) mile lower than the distance to Glasgow, KY, which was the next exit on the Parkway. The last time I did this low-gas dance, the Nightowl’s engine died about half a mile after the distance-to-empty read zero (0) miles. (Those damn Germans would never build in a safety margin; the gauge needs to be accurate, right?)

I wasn’t keeping this a secret from Karen. I apprised her of the situation and she seemed unconcerned… as long as we made it to gas. After all, she had been with me when I ran the Cruiser dry and glided down an off-ramp and into a gas station.

Luckily, this time we required no such miracles of good luck.

We made it to Glasgow and even made it up the slight hill to the Shell station south of the exit. I ended up filling the seven (7) gallon tank with 6.6 gallons. Plenty of gas to spare (grin).

Now that the prospect of pushing the Nightowl down the shoulder had been averted, our attention shifted to lunch. At the Glasgow exit, all the food services were to the north; we had turned south since the closest gas station was in that direction (and it was the direction for our route). Instead of turning around, I took a quick look at the Maps app for local eateries. It showed a BBQ establishment just a few hundred yards down the road. I looked up and saw the following off in the distance.

The front signage and patio for Rib Lickers Smoke Shack. Fine dining, indeed.


We rode over and wandered inside. A helpful waiter directed us through the maze of walkways to the place where you place orders. We both secured pulled pork sandwiches, sides, beverages, and parked under an umbrella on the patio to consume our luscious dead animal parts.

Ghost at the table at Rib Lickers Smoke Shack. Karen on camera.
The interior at Rib Lickers Smoke Shack.

If you’re anywhere near Glasgow, KY and are feeling pangs of hunger for BBQ, give Rib Lickers Smoke Shack a try. They get the Ghost’s Road Food seal of approval.

The remaining 70 miles to the Rally in Lebanon, TN was along two-lane roads. I expected this to put a dent in our progress, but it wasn’t a problem. The traffic level didn’t impede ventures into the passing lane and the miles rolled by as the estimated time of arrival in our Waze app ticked down every few miles. We were doing well.

About 20 miles out of Lebanon, we encountered another BMW motorcycle with a solo rider, also southbound, and also fully loaded. He was keeping up a pretty good pace so I elected to pull in behind him instead of passing him. At a stop light in a down, I pulled up and asked if he was going to the Rally; duh, of course he was.

We rode the rest of the way to the fair grounds and pulled into the registration area together. We never saw him after that. (Shrug) Such are the casual encounters between motorcyclists on the road.

The Rally

After registration, we were supposed to visit the MOA building to collect some swag and dump our door prize tickets into the appropriate barrels. Then we were supposed to find ourselves a campsite.

Riding on the designated loop around the camping areas scoped out on the fairgrounds, it was obvious that we were not the first ones here. Thousands of tents were already set up, each one next to or near one or more bikes. We also noted a dearth of trees; translation: not much shade.

We found the MOA building and did the required rounds to the different tables to collect some things and leave others. Then it was time to find that campsite.

Way (waaaay) in the back of the camping areas was the fence making the end of the camping and the beginning of private property. Just across the fence was a line of trees to the east that would provide some shade in the morning. That was the most important goal, so I pulled aside and set up camp there. As a bonus, there was a power box about five (5) feet from our tent that had a live 110 AC outlet on it. Bonus!

Our campsite at the rally, looking towards the source of our morning shade. That’s Karen in her comfy camp chair modeling a Rally mug.
Our campsite at the rally, looking towards the source of our morning shade. That’s Karen in her comfy camp chair modeling a Rally mug.
The view of one corner of the massive tent city we’re living in.
The view of one corner of the massive tent city we’re living in.

The tent city was pretty impressive with nearly size of tent represented. Some tents were tiny body-condom contraptions. Some where fold out trailers with beds and changing rooms. Two of our neighbors pretty much covered the gamut: one only had a tarp and a bedroll with some mosquito netting, another had a tent with a vestibule big enough to double as a Bike garage.

A tent with a garage big enough for a touring bike.

We changed into shorts and sandals and wandered back into the main Rally area to scope out the food trucks and vendor displays. It was towards the end of the day for the vendors, so I just mentally noted who I would visit on Saturday for more involved conversations.

Towards sunset, Karen and I got some food and found some shade to eat. After listening to one of the bands, Mingo Fishtrap, we wandered back to the tent to add a layer of clothing. I also grabbed the iPad, my keyboard, and my electronics Kit so I could recharge phones and headsets in the beer tent while writing up this trip report.

As I finish, the last band, Paul Thorn Band, has played his last song and the fireworks are still going off.

Not a bad day at all.


Here’s a route map for the day.

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