2016 West Virginia Rally Preview

The 650 Society West Virginia Rally

Event HQ will be on the Marlinton Motor Inn, Rt 219N, Marlinton, WV 24954. Call 800.354.0821 or 304.799.4711 to book your room.

The Marlinton Inn

Pocahontas County is motorcycle-friendly and is a destination for riders from all over. The mountains and scenery are beautiful and offer the best motorcycle roads in VA and WV. The weather is looking great too, with temps in the 70s. The town of Marlinton is small but has everything we need. Contact Dave Hoopengardner at caferacerdave at gmail dot com or jchaves at xs650society dot com.

Join the conversation on Facebook event page

Pocahontas County

Marlinton Map

2016 Ozark Rally – April 28th – 30th, Mountain View, AR

Ozark Poster 2016Daily rides around one of the best riding region in the USA. Rally headquarters at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Great food, bench racing and the best looking bikes around the Forest.

Book your rooms by calling (870) 269-3871 and mention the Yamaha 650 Society for a special rate ($70.00/night). There are 2 rooms per bungalow and the Park has reserved a set of bungalows for us. For more information call John Chaves (813) 391-five four zero seven or email jchaves@xs650society.com


  • Thursday (April 28th) – Noon. Meet & greet. Short ride (Loop 0, 98 miles) int he afternoon
  • Friday (April 29th)- Full riding day (Loop 2, 268 miles)
    • 7:00 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast at the OFC restaurant
    • Lunch  at the Low Gap Cafe in Low Gap, AR
    • 7:30 PM – Dinner at the OFC restaurant
  • Saturday (April 30th) Loop 1
    • 7:00 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast at the OFC restaurant
    • Lunch at the Neighborhood Diner –
    • 7:30 – Dinner drive/ride to Mi Pueblito 4 Mexican Restaurant in downtown Mountain View. Awards time!
  • Sunday (May 1st) – Drive home.

Ozark Rides

The 2016 Rally Season is here!

2016SocietyRallyMapThe Society rallies are all about guided rides, swapping stories, looking at 650s, (working on some?), good food, and trophies! Regardless of where you live, there’s a rally near you.

  • We’ll kick things off with the Smoky Mountain Dogwood Rally (April 15th – 17th. Suches, GA). Back on the Society calendar for 2016, the event always bring a large number of Yamaha 650s.
  • In April, we move to north Arkansas for the 2nd Annual Ozarks Rally (Apr 28th – 30th. Mountain View, AR). If you are a fan of nice and (almost) un-patrolled twisty roads, this is for you.
  • The 33rd edition of the always fabulous Land-Between-the-Lakes Rally (May 19th – 21st . Grand Rivers, KY) has an agenda packed with rides, bike shows, and a group banquet.
  • The 2016 West Virginia Mountain Rally (June 3rd – 5th. Marlinton, WV) promises to be a blast. Beautiful scenery adorns great motorcycling roads.
  • Always held in conjunction with the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days festival, the 2016 Mid-Ohio Rally
    (July 8th – 10th, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, OH) adds rides and cookouts during one of the oldest motorcycle vintage events in North America.
  • Finally, we wrap up 2016 in grand style with the 24th Smoky Mountain Rally (Sept 14th – 17th. Townsend, TN) with roads made for the 650.

This and That

The 2016 Calendar is fresh out of the shop. All the usual rallies are there including the Ozark Rally which will be held on a later date (April 28th) to avoid conflicts with other events. We had a great time last year so make plans to attend. The ride around the Forest is nothing short of amazing.

There’s also lots of good stuff under the “Other Events & Rides” including three great events here in Florida. The Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle show (January 30th) is one of the best shows in the country, reuniting bikes from Milwaukee to Munich, under the glorious Florida winter sun. If you are planning a winter escapade, keep this date in mind.

The Iron & Clematis event, held in downtown West Palm Beach (Feb 13th), is gaining popularity as THE vintage & café racer show in the southeast US. Over 300 motorcycles signed up for the show last year and the organizers have asked the City to use a 3rd block of Clematis Ave. to accommodate growth. As always, there are stunning XS-based café and tracker builds.

If you have never been to the Riding into History Concours d’Elegance (May 20th) you don’t know what you’re missing. Hosted every spring at the gorgeous World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL, the show features a dazzling array of exotic and one-of-a-kind classic motorcycles from all over the world. In 2015, the Barber Museum (Leeds, AL) brought a few racing Yamaha gems, including several 4 cylinder, 2-stroke TZ750s.

Finally, many members have told me that they would love to participate in many of the Society’s rallies but the distance to the event is often the reason they can’t go. Without a trailer, the round trip can be a challenge so I am summoning all members with trailers, vans & trucks to help a fellow Society member in hauling their rides to the rallies.

Starting in this issue, there will be a new section in the newsletter (and website) called Haul a Member, containing the contact information of those who wish to participate in the program in two ways: Offering a ride or needing a ride.

I will kick start this campaign by offering my transportation services from Central Florida. Contact me directly to check rally participation.

Now, it’s your turn.

How Would You Like It to Be?

While raising my two kids I asked them, on a few occasions, the very same question, especially during their teenage years. It was my way of guiding them through their choices in life, giving them perspective and a glimpse of the consequences for the options they made. It worked beautifully as they are both fantastic human beings and well set in their life and careers.

Now I ask the same question to our members: How would you like our Society to be? Just a club where a handful of guys hang out 3 times a year doing the same old thing, or a true club that promotes a unique motorcycle icon like Jim envisioned almost 40 years ago?

Rally participation is down and virtual interaction, aside from our Facebook page, is virtually nil despite our continuous requests for photos and riding stories to contribute to the newsletter. Is everybody really that busy? You don’t like the locations of the rallies? Tell us!

One of the Society’s main mission is to connect 650 owners all over the world and we can do this by serving as a medium for this international free flow of ideas, experiences, and thoughts. Think of us being a members-only, paper-based Internet. Have a technical problem? Email or snail mail it to us! Either our tech guru Dick Russell or somebody in…err… Finland will have an answer/suggestion for you. Got a crazy riding story from back in the day? We’d love to publish it!

We are, arguably, one of the oldest motorcycle model enthusiast club in the world and, if you want it to survive for more generations to come, we’ll need your help to promote it and – most importantly – recruit new members. That includes the younger riders who are excited about their 650-based choppers, bobbers, and trackers despite your opinions about their chop, cut & rebuild creations. I often park my restored 75 next to them at local bike shows and they all get excited to see an original one. I may not agree with their creations but I do appreciate the craftsmanship and effort they put in their build.

I don’t want to sound all negative here. Membership is up and we are sound financially. The only thing missing is YOU.

2015 Ozarks Rally Preview

Ozark Poster 2015The inaugural Ozark Rally is less than a month away and, judging by online buzz, it’s promising to be a blast.  According to Jennifer Ferrau (Ozark Folk Center Group Sales Manager), over 20 rooms have been booked so far and the Center is excited that we are coming.

From the “icing on the cake” department: the Music Director of the Ozark Folk Center, Daren Dortin, rides an XS650! He was ecstatic when he heard of the rally and volunteered to put together a few riding routes for us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpeaking of routes, we have many ride options, from short 80 mile loops to 250 miles day trips around the beautiful Ozark National Forest. There are many “must see” attractions along the route including the Blanchard Spring Caverns, the Ozark Café in Jasper, and the nightly Music Jam from the local musicians informally assembled at the corner of W Washington and King Streets.

After you check in your room, please come find me (just look for the Society yellow banner) at the Folk Center Wednesday evening to register for the event and run for door prizes including a giant engine parts poster, club badges, t-shirts and door prizes courtesy of Dime City Cycles!

Here are a few route options. Let me know (jchaves@xs650society.com) which one looks good to you.

Route 1 – 148 miles. Mountain View, Mountain Home – Viola


Route 2 – 244 miles. Mountain Home – Marshall – Jasper – Western Grove – Yellville

OzarkRte2Route 3 – Melbourne – Ash Flat – Cave City – Mountain View


Announcing the 2015 Ozarks Rally

The first edition of this annual event will take place at the heart of the Ozarks National Forest between April 9th and 11th and headquartered at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR which features cozy bungalows with two cabins each. The Society has blocked a set of cabins and I am currently working on riding routes. I can tell you with certainty that one of them will involve lunch at the Ozarks Café in Jasper but I am open for suggestions so please send me your recommendations and favorite places (jchaves@xs650society.com) and roads. Book your rooms, tell your friends, and follow Dick Russell’s excellent suspension setup tips. You will need it!

SONY DSCThe Ozarks Cafe – Jasper, AR

IMG00183-20101006-1410For more information about the Ozark Folk Center and the Cabins, visit the Cente’s website, call 870-269-3851 or by e-mail at ozarkfolkcenter@arkansas.com

The Great Smoky Mountain Rendezvous Preview

The GSMR is approaching fast and we’re getting ready for the amazing rides that  event coordinator Camden Price has prepared for us. As many members requested (including me), we’ll be bypassing the Tail of the Dragon and exploring the region’s other idyllic roads such as the Devil’s Triangle, the Cherohala Skyway and US 64. Lunch at Lynn’s Place in Robbinsville is mandatory! Have you booked your room yet?

On Thursday, the early birds will be treated to a quick jaunt to the Devil’s Triangle where the fun really begins. According to the website devilstriangletn.com, “The adventure ranges from the bucolic rural Tennessee scenery to a view of Brushy Mountain State Prison; from gentle country road sweepers to gnarly steep switchbacks; from serene straights to Dragon like twisties with guard rails of death; from gentle pull-offs to three foot deep rock strewn gullies just inches from the pavement; from peaceful farmsteads to sections of rutted roadway right out of a horror movie. Yes, the Triangle will get your attention in a hurry. This is no place for the beginning rider.” In summary, don’t do anything stupid.


We’ll start Friday by making a left turn out of the Talley Ho taking the Foothills Parkway to Hwy 72, looping around Fort Loudon State Park to reach Hwy 360 heading towards Tellico Plains. From there, we’ll jump on one of my favorite roads, the Cherohala Skyway, taking our time to stop and enjoy the panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. We stop at Lynn’s Place in Robbinsville for lunch (chicken cordon bleu!).

Route1-FridayIf you have the itch to ride the Dragon, you can take the Foothills Parkway and make a left on US 129 (we’ll be making a right) and meet us in Robbinsville for lunch.

After dessert, we hop on US129 going south until making a right on US 74 passing by Andrews, Murphy before arriving at Ducktown. From there, Hwy 68 (very cool!) takes us back to Tellico Plains while Hwy 360 will put us on our way back to the hotel.

Camden surely left the best for Saturday when we take Hwy 360 down to the fabulous US 68 passing through Brasstown on our way to Franklin, NC and the Nantahala National Forest. Lunch at Caffé Rel (did someone say Hot Pastrami on Rye?) before refueling and heading to Cherokee. Yes, there are casinos there but who needs to gamble? Isn’t riding a 30 year old motorcycle for 150 miles of mountain roads enough?


From Cherokee, we’ll take US441 crossing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park riding
towards Gatlinburg but before you twist your nose in disgust (yeah…traffic there sucks) we will bypass that entirely by taking the very nice Scenic Old Hwy 73 which follows the Little river for miles before dropping us right back at the Talley Ho.

I’m sure that if we’ll need to do a rescue trip, but if we do, I’m sure it will be to collect a broken Honda somewhere…

We have a very special event scheduled after our group dinner Saturday!  Don’t miss it!

Ride – The Brasstown Bald Loop – North Georgia. 77 miles

This is one of my favorite routes around the Smoky Mountains. Since I like to stay in Helen, GA the route is a loop that starts and ends there. Easy to do as all roads around this little German-style town are fantastic, most featuring long sweepers that agree with our long wheel bases and low hung engines. The ride starts by leaving Helen, going north on GA Hay 75/17, turning left on 75A. A few miles later, make a right on the Richard B Russell Scenic Highway (GA348) for 14 miles of riding nirvana. Continue reading