My riding buddy was concerned as his volt meter seemed to be dropping on the way to Watkins Glen, NY. About 200 miles into the trip his 95 R100RT backfired and rolled to a stop. We were about 50 miles from Watkins Glen. A couple on separate Harleys stopped and offered help. We decided to call AMA roadside assistance for a tow to the campgrounds and thanked the couple for stopping anyway. They gave us a bottle of water and a granola bar in case we were stuck there for too long. STRANGER #1 & #2
AMA tells us that the local towing guy was 60 miles away and said that was too far for him. AMA continued to search for another tow and told us to wait for their return phone call. A person named Jim Forbes (and his significant other) saw us pulled over and stopped his truck. He was going to the rally also and offered us a spot in his trailer. After about an hour of unpacking and rearranging, we rolled the bike into the trailer. We called AMA to cancel the tow. This is a good thing because they still could not find someone after an hour of searching.
Jim refused to take money for gas and even gave us a spot to park the bike under his awning. He offered us a beer as well. STRANGER #3 & #4
Being complete mechanical clods, we asked if anyone could help us. Two Canadians Tom O'Leary and Mike (I never got a last name) spent well over an hour replacing the diode board which we bought on the flea market table. STRANGER #5 & #6 OH, I forgot to mention ... 33 beechnuts were packed into the engine front cover. I think my buddy may have a squirrel problem. Funny thing is he rode that bike over 2200 miles to the national and RA rallies a few weeks before with no issues.
The diode board was not the problem but we got the bike to the main building and hooked up a battery charger purchased from the flea market table.
The next morning, 6 other strangers stopped by the bike to offer assistance. Two brought tools, two brought multimeters, one a voltage regulator, one a brand new rotor. Two ANGELS spent 5 hours disassembling, testing, and ultimately fixing the problem which turned out to be the regulator.
My buddy (Bill Mara) bought tee shirts for all who helped. The next day another bike had a charging problem (93 R100R). He pulled his bike to where the RT was parked and started recharging his battery. He made an announcement that he needed a rotor for a late model airhead. Bill walked over and gave him his good but used rotor. The rotor worked and everyone was happy.
I have been going to BMW rallies for three years now. My impression of BMW people has always been that they are a friendly and knowledgeable group. They drink beer and wine at the campgrounds but never "act" like drunk people. In general, they are the people I want to be associated with. But this is different. I witnessed so many strangers giving their time and efforts to help another without complaint or hesitation. I'm sure they would rather be out riding (it was a perfect 75 degree day) or relaxing at the campgrounds or attending a seminar. They chose to help instead. All refused any kind of compensation.
It has been a week since the rally and I still think about it every day. I am proud to be associated with people such as these. The world would be a better place if everyone were more like these good samaritans. Bill has submitted this story to the Owners News magazine with the names of most of those who helped.