Well, my first "rally" was actually the 2nd Annual Harley Rendezvous in Saratoga, NY. It was a party, with motocycles, friends and "stuff" to do. Back then, we did lots of "stuff". 'Nuff said on that count. I think that was around '78 or so.
My first "rally" on a Beemer was The Laconia Classic, in '80. Bought my first BMW on Wed, a silver 1974 R90/6. Registered it on Thursday, and was on my way to NH (from CT) on Friday. Talk about trust, eh? Well, most everyone else went to watch the races at Loudon- I took my gf and went for an all day ride on the beemer all around the area. I was falling in love with the bike, just enjoying its smooth power and easy riding nature. And finding out that I could get around 60 mpg was not an unpleasant discovery, either.
Later that summer I went to my first real BMW Rally- the Dutch Country Rally in PA. I had become friendly with Ralph DeLuca and others at Canton Cycle- mostly due to my R90 breaking its detent spring and requiring a new tranny. (back then Ralph was just a lowly tech, not yet the owner). But by then I'd upgraded from the R90 to a gorgeous R100S Motorsport, and had a great time going to the DCR with 9 other Beemer riders. That there were 4 mechanics in our group of seven bikes was very comforting. The local riding was fun stuff, the games were silly (that was the year of "dress ike a pirate"), and I was enthralled with checking out the bikes, spending money with the parts guys, and learning all I could about the different models. The bonds were forged for Rally going- we all had a fun time, and the long distance riding thing (only about 350 miles, but the farthest I'd been on any bike to that point) was beginning to make sense.
My first MOA National was two summers later, up in Lake Placid. I dragged a friend along- Andy Dossett, on her R90/6 (my old '74, now with a working tranny). Andy was bitten with the rally bug to a much greater degree than I ever was. That was her first National, and I'm pretty sure she has not missed one since! She won the women's division of the 5K Fun Run at Lake Placid (you want a good story? ask her sometime how she was feeling on that "run"), and sometime later took over the Chair responsibilities. Oh yeah, most of you know her as Andrea Borella.
Now, I attend the rallies to taste the local riding, to see friends I've made over the years, and for the pleasure of the trip to and from each site.