Welcome To Beemerville!

Text: Chris Myers • Photography: Chris Myers

The Lima Allen County Fairgrounds became the landing point for Beemerville settlers in 2005. Many questioned the choice of Lima for the rally location. After all, the Midwest is not known to have the greatest riding in the country. The roads are flat and pretty straight - usually not the first or even the fifteenth choice for a bunch of curve carvers like the BMW MOA. Despite any reservations, when most of the participants saw the actual venue and experienced the welcoming attitudes of the local folks, they quickly warmed up to the place. If you add the fact that Lima is within a reasonable day's ride from nearly 40 percent of the entire BMW MOA membership, the venue choice makes even more sense.

The Fairgrounds proved to be almost ideal for a rally. There was plenty of indoor and outdoor space for vendors. Coming and going from the secure, fenced property was easy enough, and the large fields surrounding it, with big shade trees and a pond, provided an agreeable place to pitch a tent for the weekend. Believe me, Beemerville is the rally to attend if you need instructions on the proper way to "rough it." The sheer number of campsites, many sporting nearly all the comforts of home, was indescribable. There was fabric housing as far as the eye could see, populated by folks who know how to make a go of it outdoors, and all from two wheels. Depending on their moods, campers spread their tents within the quiet or loud neighborhoods of Beemerville; but oddly enough, the loud campers were eerily quiet the first thing in the morning. I wonder why.

The one beef most often heard about the site was there wasn't a place nearby with air conditioning to escape the heat. I can say firsthand that the afternoon temperatures inspired many a pilgrimage to the water vendors and, thanks to the high level of organization, the nearly 1,000 volunteers were able to keep that vital supply flowing while tending to their countless other civic duties. Two years of advance planning certainly helps keep the wheels turning even if mother nature gets a little moody.

And the fact that the area roads are less than inspiring probably contributed to the feeling of community that many said they felt was more pervasive than it's been in years past. There didn't seem to be much of the midday exodus that normally afflicts rallies when folks mount up to explore area roads. And for the many who did stick around, there were innumerable opportunities to bury themselves in all things riding, travel, and BMW.

Not relegated as usual to some far-off rally suburb, this year's participants also appreciated being able to set up residence right there in downtown Beemerville and having everything within easy walking distance. Throughout the weekend, a short stroll was all it took to delve into the goods and services of the 131 vendors, to take in some of the countless seminars covering almost every aspect of motorcycling, to test ride the new models that BMW Motorrad USA had on hand, or just to track down and catch up with old friends from previous rallies. Oh, and who could forget the rockin' private concert put on by the legendary George Thorogood? Surely the over 6,000 folks who made it out for that gig won't.

Each attendee, if smart, entered the drawing for a host of incredible door prizes. The donated grand prizes included three motorcycles, three tours, and four riding outfits. Companies providing the door prizes read like a who's who of the motorcycle business. From Aerostitch to Ztechnik, attendees had a chance at nearly 500 impressive prizes. For those of you who didn't enter your tickets, tough noogies. I never win anything, but after seeing the beautiful 1975 R90S donated by BMW MOA and restored by several of its members, I made sure my ticket was in the hopper.

According to just about everyone I spoke with, this year's International Rally in Lima was a huge success. Record attendance was only part of the success. Despite the soaring mercury, the throngs of volunteers did their part to ensure that the town of Beemerville maintained its down-home feel. The vendors and seminar presenters certainly gave the attendees a world of bike-related fodder to chew over until next year.

The city of Lima opened its arms to the rally goers and proved that, while they may not have the best roads, they are a motorcycle friendly town and worth a visit. BMW MOA members, among the best and most knowledgeable groups of riders out there, came together from across the country and around the world to unite as a family. They rode, shared stories, got reacquainted with old friends, and made new ones. In a nutshell, the BMW MOA International Rally is what motorcycling is all about.

We'll see you next year in Vermont.

Holiday Inn Lima
After spending the day rallying with our friends at the BMW MOA International Rally, I thought the Holiday Inn Lima was a great temporary home to... well, come home to. Working a steelworker's overtime in the melting heat at the nearby Allen County Fairgrounds made walking into the lobby's blast of cool, dry air truly inspirational. Just a few steps beyond the front desk, my choices really got tough. Should I dive into the large inviting pool, or dive into a cold adult beverage in the Metropole Lounge and order dinner at the Pavilion Cafe?

My room was expertly cleaned every day and the property as a whole was virtually spotless. The staff at the front desk seemed happy to take professionalism to new levels each time I spoke with them. With close proximity to several other nice restaurants and easy access to Interstate 75, the Holiday Inn Lima is a fine place to hang your hat or your helmet if you're traveling in western Ohio.

Holiday Inn Lima
Lima, OH 45804
(419) 222-0004