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Thread: Blessing of the Bikes, Baldwin, MI

  1. #1
    SilverSurfer
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    Blessing of the Bikes, Baldwin, MI

    Well, I didn't make it up to the Blessing today. Bad weather and a bad back from a golf outing yesterday kept me grounded. If not for the backache I would have gone, though. The weather wasn't the best up here, with temps only in the upper 40's/lower50's, spitting some rain, and winds about 20-25 mph, so it wasn't all that tough of a decision.

    I do like going up there to see all the different types of bikes that show up. They usually draw about 15,000-25,000 bikes, so it's no small event. I was supposed to meet up with some other BMW riders to ride up there, and a couple of others were expecting to see me there, but I guess another time for that.

    Just wondering if anyone else from the area made it up there today.

  2. #2
    bunkyone
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    Siver surfer: Rode there from Pentwater. Could have been warmer, but the sky was clear and the roads dry. Good turnout, but didn't see all that many BMW's there. The venders seemed to be fewer this year then in the past as well. (No great loss, as very few of them carry BMW goodies!!)Hope your back get's better. Via con Dios, Dutch

  3. #3
    SilverSurfer
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunkyone View Post
    Siver surfer: Rode there from Pentwater. Could have been warmer, but the sky was clear and the roads dry. Good turnout, but didn't see all that many BMW's there. The venders seemed to be fewer this year then in the past as well. (No great loss, as very few of them carry BMW goodies!!)Hope your back get's better. Via con Dios, Dutch
    There was supposed to be a group going up from Grand Rapids, and I was going to get with them either on the way or ride down to their jump-off point and ride from there. I also was contacted by a couple from the Fremont area to let me know they were riding their Beemers up too, and to look for them there. It's possible the weather being cold and windy kept some from making the trip. The radar was showing some rain around the area, and we had some here near Fremont, but nothing bad or severe.

    For me, it was more about the sore back than the weather. I took Friday off to let it rest so I could play in the company golf outing on Saturday (still stunk), then hoped it would still be OK for the Blessing. Wrong! It really stiffened up on me. I should have known it would.

    Maybe next time.

  4. #4
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    Out of extreme ignorance: what goes on at a "blessing of the bikes"? Is it a priest lays hands on bikes thing or what? Trying to keep it out of the doghouse too.

  5. #5
    SilverSurfer
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    Out of extreme ignorance: what goes on at a "blessing of the bikes"? Is it a priest lays hands on bikes thing or what? Trying to keep it out of the doghouse too.
    The Blessing is a yearly event, where 15,000-25,000 bikes and up to nearly 40 thousand folks show up at the airport in Baldwin, MI, to have their bikes blessed for the riding season. This is done by a preacher to the entire group at once, not individually. Some folks just line the route there and back to watch the bikes go by instead of riding into the airport. I have done it that way myself before, but I prefer to go in so I can walk around and check out all the bikes. You can see bikes up there that you never get to see anywhere else.

    The morning usually goes with the bikes rolling in starting around 9-10 AM. There is live music from local bands, and vendors are everywhere along the route in and at the airport, selling mostly leather goods, patches, ect. There are also food vendors there, as this lasts until about 2 in the afternoon. The actual blessing usually happens around 1 PM, after which all the bikes are started up at the same time and revved up. Of course, this is probably the Harley guys favorite part, as they like the noise. It is kind of cool though, with that many bikes firing all at the same time. Some guys will rev them up, then shut them down to wait until traffic clears out, which can take some time. The cops are all over the place to keep things moving smoothly, and are quick to get after 'hotdogs' who want to ride one wheel down the road. Usually by 4 PM everyone is on their way home.

    I only live about 35 miles south of Baldwin, so it's a short ride for me.

  6. #6
    bunkyone
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    Silver surfer left out the best part... People start showing up on Wedsday to get a camping spot. The evenings can get a bit crazy, with parties going on everywhere you turn. Great people watching!! Other wise it goes down pretty much like the man says.

  7. #7
    SilverSurfer
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunkyone View Post
    Silver surfer left out the best part... People start showing up on Wedsday to get a camping spot. The evenings can get a bit crazy, with parties going on everywhere you turn. Great people watching!! Other wise it goes down pretty much like the man says.
    Well, I did know about the camping and the partying and stuff, but I haven't been up there to witness it myself. Living this close to the event means I can 'camp out' at home and be comfortable. I have been up there the night before in Baldwin when all the bikes line main street, and it got a bit wild then, but not like it does at the campsites.

    But I've never seen any problems with the folks that show up at the actual Blessing. You can leave your gear sitiing out next to your bike and just wander around, and nobody bothers anything. And everyone is well behaved.

  8. #8
    MichiganMike MICHIGANMIKE's Avatar
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    Baldwin Blessing

    This event was even more fun back in the 80's, when there were a lot of trees at the end of the airport for the mens "restroom", and a lot looser organization to it. Back then the vendors were inside the airport with only a few along 37. Now they are along there for a couple miles. Now every area has several "Blessings". The West Michigan BMW Riders club had 27 or 28 at breakfast that morning but it was pouring at the time so I don't think anybody headed up that way. Normally we always have a club ride that goes up as a group.

  9. #9
    SilverSurfer
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichiganMike View Post
    This event was even more fun back in the 80's, when there were a lot of trees at the end of the airport for the mens "restroom", and a lot looser organization to it. Back then the vendors were inside the airport with only a few along 37. Now they are along there for a couple miles. Now every area has several "Blessings". The West Michigan BMW Riders club had 27 or 28 at breakfast that morning but it was pouring at the time so I don't think anybody headed up that way. Normally we always have a club ride that goes up as a group.
    I was wondering if the group was going up or not, considering the weather was pretty iffy, just as it has been all the Spring. And I agree with you about how the changes haven't been for the better up there, as it has gotten too spread out.

    I contacted the club via email a week or two before the Blessing, asking if they still get together at the New Beginnings Restaurant in Standale, and if they planned to do the Blessing ride. I got a reply from Bill Dirtmaat that they do still get together, and that they did plan on taking in the Blessing. I was going to ride down to the restaurant to meet everyone, then ride up with the group for the event. Then I would just peel off on the ride back and head home. I only live 2 miles off of M-37, halfway between White Cloud and Newaygo, so it's an easy ride for me if I were to go straight up to Baldwin.

    But the bad weather and my aching back changed my mind. I still hope to get with the club at some point this Summer for breakfast and a ride, and maybe I'll join up if I think I fit in. My riding time is somewhat limited this year do to other responsibilities, which is why I was disappointed about the Blessing ride. But I will try to open up some time.

  10. #10
    MichiganMike MICHIGANMIKE's Avatar
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    Hudsonville MI
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    Club Update

    Just a little update. The West MI BMW Riders Secretary and Treasurer Bill Dirkmatt suffered a serious accident this past Wednesday here in Grand Rapids. If anyone needs or wants to contact the club please use one of the other officers listed on the website.

  11. #11

    AZ is too hot

    I am not there yet...Down here in AZ - a hot ride day. Will be in Fremont Mem Day weekend. See you then.
    Ride safe

    Tom





    Quote Originally Posted by SilverSurfer View Post
    Well, I didn't make it up to the Blessing today. Bad weather and a bad back from a golf outing yesterday kept me grounded. If not for the backache I would have gone, though. The weather wasn't the best up here, with temps only in the upper 40's/lower50's, spitting some rain, and winds about 20-25 mph, so it wasn't all that tough of a decision.

    I do like going up there to see all the different types of bikes that show up. They usually draw about 15,000-25,000 bikes, so it's no small event. I was supposed to meet up with some other BMW riders to ride up there, and a couple of others were expecting to see me there, but I guess another time for that.

    Just wondering if anyone else from the area made it up there today.
    TRedd

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