BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
NATURAL BRIDGE HOTEL
PINK CADILLAC RESTAURANT
SPRING FLING 2014 T-SHIRT DESIGN
Join us for the fourth annual Morton's BMW Spring Fling Rally!
For years, we've been throwing the best BMW open houses in the mid-Atlantic region and, in 2011, we decided it was time to put on a rally. The result was the Spring Fling, which brought about 170 BMW enthusiasts and guests to the historic and scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for a weekend of fun. The following year, we did it again, made some improvements and additions, and attracted about 250 BMW riders and friends. In 2013, we held the third Spring Fling Rally, which again drew about 250 riders and guests to the Shenandoah Valley. Now it's time to get ready for Spring Fling 2014!
Starting at noon on Friday, May 16, we'll welcome you to 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 and affordable 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 reserved every room at the hotel, divided between hotel rooms and cottage rooms across the road from the hotel, but you must make your room reservation by May 2. After that date, the avaiable rooms will be open to anyone who calls, so make your reservation NOW!
For the campers among you, we've also made arrangements with the Natural Bridge KOA a few miles away to provide meadow group camping for $10 per person per night or, if you prefer, 10% off their standard tent or RV sites or Kamping Kabins. Rallygoers are already 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.
Through May 5, the rally fee is $45 and includes a catered buffet dinner on Saturday evening, self-guided routes (via route sheet and/or GPS data uploads), group off-pavement rides on Saturday, seminars, vendors, a special scavenger hunt ride with a separate door prize, and lots of other goodies. For those registering after May 5, the rally fee is $55.
There is also an optional Friday evening Brats & Brews dinner, featuring grilled food, sides, and local microbrewery beer for an additional $20 per person.
As they've done the last few years, the good folks at Apex Cycle Education will be offering on-road rider training during the rally. They're working on the course to present and, if you'd like to give them some input as to what you might want to see -- beginner on-street, advanced on-street, etc. -- please drop them an e-mail.
T-shirts are available for pre-order! We're taking pre-orders for t-shirts to make sure we have the right sizes for all of you. It will be printed in grey, white, and black on a top quality short- or long-sleeve blue Haynes Beefy T shirt. Short sleeve shirts are $20 and long sleeve are $25 and both are tagless. You can pick up your 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.
Expected vendors include: Jeff Nash of KLIM, among the very best riding gear, who will sponsor an off-pavement adventure ride; Mike Kilpatrick of Horizons Unlimited, to tell you about a meeting of world traveling motorcyclists to be held September 4-7, 2014 in North Carolina; and others we'll add soon.
Door prizes will include a Long Distance Award for the person riding the farthest to get to the rally. Mileage will be calculated from the rider's home address on the registration form to the hotel using Google Maps. We'll also have a separate prize for the winner of our Search for Stonewall scavenger hunt, as well as a Grand Prize and other items.
Start making rally plans now -- you won't want to miss this!
Tentative Rally Schedule
Friday, May 16
The informal start of the rally is a group ride from Morton's BMW, led by owner Jeff Massey. 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 and ready to ride by 10:00 am Friday.
Check-in starts at noon 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 until 6 pm to settle in, scope out the area, see some attractions, and visit with vendors.
At 6 pm Friday, we'll host an optional Brats 'n' Brews dinner get-together outside Washington Hall. For your $20 fee, you'll enjoy a dinner of brats, burgers (including black bean burgers for the vegetarians among us), pasta salad, black bean & corn salad, iced tea, and water served by the hotel staff. We'll also have a couple of local microbrews from Starr Hill, a Lexington-based brewery. Please pre-pay your Brats 'n' Brews fee along with your registration, as it helps us make sure we have enough for everyone.
Saturday, May 17
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 north on Rt. 11), pick up a self-guided trip sheet or GPS route, and head out for a day of great scenery and even better roads.
We'll be offering some off-pavement excursions for the GS-riders among us, so stay tuned for details on those. We'll also have route sheets and GPS data available for road rides in the region.
This year, we're offering a scavenger hunt centered on the life of famed Confederate Civil War General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, who lived in nearby Lexington, taught at the Virginia Military Institute there, and fought several battles throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Look for information at the check-in area when you arrive, and spend Friday or Saturday finding answers to the list of questions. Those with all the correct answers will be entered into a drawing for a separate door prize (you'll still be eligible for the general door prizes). You must return your completed scavenger hunt form by 4:00 pm Saturday to enter the drawing.
If you don't want to head out right away, hang around for a seminar in the hotel meeting rooms, just across the driveway from the Washington Hall. We'll post a list of the seminars we're planning here soon.
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; at 6:00 pm, we'll sit down for our catered dinner buffet and evening activities.
Our guest speakers this year will be Brian Rathjen and Shira Kamil, the husband and wife team who put together the terrific Backroads magazine every month. We are thrilled to have them with us! They've literally ridden all over the world on bikes from almost every manufacturer, and we look forward to a wonderful presentation. If you want to extend your motorcycle vacation into the following weekend, Backroads is holding their own Spring Break weekend May 23-26, 2014 in Marion, Virginia. Look on thir website for the details.
We'll be giving away some really nice door prizes, so make sure to keep your wristband on. It gets you into the dinner and is also your door prize ticket number. You must 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 hills. Or maybe you prefer 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 18
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 own accommodations.
We have reserved every room -- cottage rooms and hotel rooms alike-- at the Natural Bridge Hotel. Their normal nightly rates run from $80 for the cottage rooms to $95-$140 for rooms in the hotel; we have negotiated a nightly rate of just $59 plus tax for the cottage rooms and just $75 plus tax for any of the rooms in the hotel. The rooms in the hotel vary by size and accommodation, so be sure to check to see what you might prefer when you talk to them.
You must book your accommodations yourself.
NOTE: The hotel is undergoing a complete renovation, but they are now open again and answering their phones. Give them a call at 800-533-1410 to make your reservations.
Make sure you mention the Morton's BMW Spring Fling when you make your reservation; if you don't, you might be told there are no rooms available. If the person at the hotel does not know about the event or the discounted rates -- this has happened a couple of times in the past -- ask to talk to a manager.
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
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. If you prefer a standard tent campsite, RV hookup, or KOA Kamping Kabin, the campground owner is offering us a 10% discount on any of those accommodations.
Be sure to mention the Morton's BMW Spring Fling when you make your reservation to get the discounted rate.
The deadline for rally pre-registration is May 5, 2014. 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 between that date and May 14 at a rate of $55, but please try to register by the May 5 deadline to save yourself $10.
|Refunds & Cancellations||
You can cancel your Spring Fling reservation and Brats 'n' Brews registration up to May 5, 2013, and get a full refund. If you cancel after that date, we cannot provide a refund, as we will have committed to expenses on your behalf.
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. If you prefer, we'll be happy to issue you a store credit.
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 off-pavement rides on Saturday, including one sponsored by KLIM adventure gear. We'll have more information on the routes available at check-in on Friday.
Rally attendees will be able to purchase discounted combo tickets for the Natural Bridge and Caverns attractions for just $14 per adult or child 5-12 at the hotel's front desk; that's a savings of $18 per adult and $8 per child!
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! This is a great audience for products and services and, 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 lot of other events. We'll be posting a list of expected vendors and product reps soon in this space.
There is no charge for vendors other than the 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 available 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 (especially Lexington) offer a variety of cafes and fine dining, as well as chain and fast food restaurants.
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, 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.
Enjoy the sights (Mabry Mill pictured) on the Blue Ridge Parkway during your time with us!