Friday, October 21, 2011

Beemers and Biplanes Rally

October 7-9, 2011
by Jill and Tony Barcia

The Beemers and Biplanes is held in Virginia Beach and sponsored by BMW of Hampton Roads. It is about 300 miles to Virginia Beach and we were able to do a loop there and back which included visiting two Historic Sites on the Coastal Carolina BMW challenge. They were Historic Edenton and Historic Bath. Also very close to the route would be Roanoke Island Festival Park and Tryon Palace. We took Route 40 up to the Mad Boar and headed toward Kinston, Greensville, Elizabeth City and the horseshoe route to Virginia (avoiding the Currituck ferry). The way back was basically Route 17.

The rally included two dinners, coffee all weekend and camping for 3 nights. Both dinners were filling and delicious, the one on Saturday night was catered with crab cakes, chicken, shrimp, baked potatoes and lots more. The poker run on Saturday was to benefit Wounded Warriors and included admission to the air show at the Virginia Beach Aviation Museum.

The campground is located right across the North Carolina Border near Currituck. In addition to the tent camping there are economy cabins, luxury cabins and RV sites. Both cabins had air conditioning and the luxury had bathrooms. On the grounds are hot and cold showers and indoor bathrooms as well as a camp store with ice, drinks and food. The 110 attendees had no problem finding tent spaces within walking distance of the beautiful beach where there were spectacular sunsets. The permanent structure pavilion was ideal for watching the Friday night movie (Fly Boys) before going to the Air Museum the following day. It also was the central location for registration, dinners and closing ceremonies. Breakfast was provided by a church group on Saturday morning next to the pavilion and coffee and donuts for Sunday morning.

The two hour poker run crisscrossed the North Carolina/Virginia border and took us through many of the low lying coastal roads, many quaint villages and seaside estates. The ride ended at the Aviation Museum where a WWI airshow was happening. This airshow included reenactments with soldiers from Germany, Italy and America camping in tents. During the show they rode out on a 1918 Harley Davidson with a side car, set up anti-aircraft weapons and proceeded to shoot down the biplanes and triplanes flying over the field.

The museum is privately owned by one man and contains 40 to 50 restored aircraft all in flying condition. This included WWII planes which are flown at other events. Aside from the show there is a large museum with several unique historical pieces from the wars (motorcycle in a can). There was also a fully restored WWII military BMW motorcycle with sidecar and utility trailer. Upstairs there is a history of the lives of these aviators. The museum is open daily with airshows scheduled on various weekends.

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