Jamie and I headed out on Saturday morning for the 6 hour drive to Cape Girardeau, MO for this years STAR rally. We really enjoyed last years event and we were excited to see what this years event had to offer. It was an uneventful, but hot drive to our camp site. We love camping at these events and this year would be no different. We stayed at the Trail of Tears – Mississippi campground. We rolled up and were very impressed with the site. The campground was clean, had nice showers and the site we had chosen was full of shade!
The only bad part of the campsite was the Train that would pass by at 3:30 am every morning. We had set up our tent within 20 yards of the train track, so when the train went by it felt like it was running through the tent. There were some nights that the train would come by 2-3 additional times. After a while Jamie and I could only laugh. It will be something we always remember from this years STAR.
We got set up and headed into town to check in for the rally and to see who was already around. There were many folks hanging out in the lobby. It looked like old home week as riders were smiling, laughing and hugging it out! It resembled a family reunion. This is just one reason we love this rally so much. Registration was easy and we got to catch up with some friends that we had met at last years event.
We decided to head downtown and eat with a few of the STAR faithful. I am not going to mention names as there were too many folks to remember. We ate at the Minglewood Brewery on the patio, while a slight breeze kept everyone very comfortable. We enjoyed our pizza and conversation.
After dinner Jamie and I played tourist and walked around downtown taking in some of the sites. The murals painted on the walls by the banks of the Mississippi were beautiful. We hung out for an hour or so before heading back to camp. We were beat from the day of travel and all of the excitement from the afternoon. Tomorrow we ride! So we wanted to be rested. Click on the video below to listen to Jamie as she walks you by the Mural.
Jamie and I slept very well. The temperature actually got down in the lower 60’s so it was chilly waking up. We were not going to complain as it was forecasted to be much hotter later in the week. We were supposed to lead a ride this morning, but since no one signed up we decided to join Norm and his group ride. We were not disappointed. The ride was spirited and we got to experience some of the great Missouri landscape.
We decided to break off from the group after 150 miles. Jamie needed a bathroom break and we both needed some coffee and breakfast. After a nice little breakfast at the Double A, we took our time and rode another 175 miles to get back to the hotel. We wanted to get in as much riding as possible before the forecasted heatwave hit. Nothing beats a nice STAR ride to kick off an event.
We got back to the camp site, took a quick shower and then headed back over to the hotel. It was so cool seeing the parking lot fill up. We just hung out and enjoyed everyone’s company. The hotel offered some food and a bar with drink tickets if you attended the rally. Now that is a nice touch!
We stayed for the welcoming ceremonies and reception. It is always fun meeting new folks that are attending STAR for the first time. Jamie and I are fairly new to MSTA, so we are always meeting folks we have not met in the past. So many warm and caring hearts ride motorcycles. Who would have thunk it? 🙂
Monday greeted us with a fantastic sunrise. Our morning alarm train ensured we were up and ready to take on the day. We love camping for this reason. Beautiful sunrise, fresh coffee and a fantastic view of the river. Then we realized that we got to ride this morning as well. Let’s just say it was going to be hard to beat this Monday morning.
Today we joined up with Ron Myers to ride. We were doing the Elephant Rocks loop, just one of the great routes provided by the Rally. If you would like to download the routes form this years STAR click here. Another great reason to attend this event. There are pre planned routes and many folks to ride with. This group is always willing to let folks join the rides. We are a sport-touring group and these rides are the highlight of these events. The weather was again in our favor and the ride was fantastic. We seemed to leap frog groups all day, as many were out enjoying the countryside.
We got in a good 290 miles on this day and made it back before it was to hot. The route was a good one and we only had to do a few U-Turns. Yes that was my fault, not the routes. Check out the video below, that Jamie captured on her phone while we were zipping around.
We stopped by the hotel, before heading back to camp to shower and hang out. We caught Kelly coming in from her ride and I think she was a little hot and tired. Jamie and I showered and then hit the local watering hole for a few drinks before getting an early dinner downtown. The nice thing about trailering to the event, is we had a nice vehicle to run around in. The afternoons were very hot and the thought of putting gear back on to ride the bike, was not on our to do list.
We wanted to be done so we could get Jamie to the hotel for the Ladies of MSTA meeting. I did not get any pictures from that meeting since I was not invited. I did get some of the Members meeting that was held right after the Ladies gig.
We woke up Tuesday morning and it was HOT and STICKY! The sunrise was still very pretty, but it was not nearly as comfortable as it had been the two prior evenings. Today Jamie and I ere heading out on our own to go have breakfast in the home of Superman. That’s right we got to visit Metropolis IL, the home of Superman. What a cool place and I would recommend that you stop by if you are in the area. Lots of cool stores and the big statue of Superman is very cool.
We got to chat with the locals at breakfast. Everyone was so friendly and just wanted to talk about the motorcycle. They thought it was pretty cool that Jamie rides a lot with me. I think it is pretty cool as well. Yesterdays Home Cookin did not disappoint! The food and the service was excellent! After we ate, we headed to the square to check things out. I have to admit, this was a great little place and someplace I probably would have never visited had it not been for STAR.
We got back to camp fairly early, as the heat was getting over bearing. The forecast today was for excessive heat and they were not lying. Guess what? We made it back to camp in time for another train. Yippee!
We cleaned up and headed out to find a nice cold beer. There was a local hole in the wall down the road from the campsite. It was just what the Doctor ordered. Good conversation and cold brew.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the hotel, catching up with friends, kicking tires in the parking lot and general story telling! The gang was all here and it was awesome. We spent the next 3 hours just taking in the reason we attend these rallies. The people. If you have not attended a STAR or a regional or Just for fun MSTA event, you are missing out!
After we attended the Director / Events coordinator meeting we headed back to camp. We were not going to ride on Wednesday as we had volunteered for most of the day and to be honest, it was too darn hot.
We loaded up the bike on the trailer early Wednesday morning and it was miserable, those hot and sticky Ozark days are not a joke. Before we made it to the hotel, we found the best breakfast place. My Daddy’s Cheesecake and bakery was AMAZING! I am glad they do not have a location back in Arkansas. I would not eat anywhere else. It was tasty and the best coffee ever! We had a wonderful breakfast and then headed over to the hotel.
The rest of the day was a blur. We took pictures, helped folks whenever we could and kicked tires when ever we got the chance. The group got together for the group photo and I have to say that everyone was very fast to get in place. It was so HOT, no one wanted to be outside longer then they had to.
Everyone made it back inside to get a drink and hang out some more before the doors to the banquet rooms opened. The room was full of energy and laughter erupted from all corners of the room. This was a place for friendships, stories and good times and it was living up to all of that and more. Fun times were had by all.
The highlight of every STAR is the closing Wednesday night banquet. The food was top notch and everyone truly enjoyed spending time together. There are awards given and more stories shared. A big thanks to all of the vendors that attended and donated gifts to the banquet.
One of the highlights of the evening was hearing Moose tell stories of past events and friends who are no longer with us. We even got to hear from his wife as she called during his speech. A moment none of us will ever forget.
There were many awards and prizes given away during the evening.
The president’s award went to Jim Park, FL and the Volunteer of the year was awarded to Chris Shoop, WV.
One of the best moments of the evening was having all of the winners of the Jean Monticelli Award invited up to the stage. What a great group of female riders, who exemplify what the MSTA is all about. Ellen Kocher, FL was awarded this year’s award and was welcomed to the stage by all of the former winners.
A special thanks goes out to all of the award winners. Your hard work and dedication are appreciated.
There are many Vendors that donate prizes to be given away during the closing banquet. This year the grand prize was a $4500 gift certificate from MotoQuest. The winner of this year’s grand prize is Andray Hubble, AL.
The next award was a $2000 gift certificate from MotoQuest, Tracy Hathaway, TX took home that prize.
Moto Quest followed that up by donating two more great prizes. The next prize was awarded to Stephen Slisz, TX as he won a 7-day bike rental.
That was followed up with a 3-day bike rental, that was won by last year’s Motorcycle grand prize winner Peter Spock from NJ.
A huge Thank you goes out to the fine folks at Moto Quest for making this year’s STAR one to remember. Congratulations to all of the award winners.
What a fun evening! I can’t believe that I actually won something. Thank you to KLIM for the $1200 gift certificate!
It is always a little sad when everyone leaves after the banquet. Tomorrow everyone will be loaded up and head back home, with lifelong memories from this years event. Thanks everyone for a great experience. Jamie and I love this group and we look forward to seeing you all soon.
The good news is we will get to do it all over again next year. The new STAR location has been announced and we will all be in Knoxville TN June 10-15, so mark your calendars now! Right in the middle of some of the best riding in the country, the 2023 STAR will be one for the ages. You won’t want to miss out. Let’s Ride!