Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'm Home

Very long hot ride back. Rebellious kid stayed in Eugene OR. Teenagers *&%#$@

She eventually came home, but kids can drive you totally crazy!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Grand Trip 2007 Part 2

The Grand Trip 2007

Wow, so much to tell. The Canadian Rockies are awesome. All the way across we kept getting advice NOT to take the #1 through Banf but take the #3. All those Canadian bikers were right. One said, if you go through Banf, you get the same mountains, but bus loads of Japanese tourists and $360.00 per night motels, and #3 is way prettier.

The pictures I took can not really describe the beauty. They are just a few little windows of the total beauty. I will have to do this again.

When we got to Hope BC, the Rockies end, and we met a number of sport bike riders going and a ride of the #3 to Princeton. This is a favorite with the BCSPORTBIKES group. Nice folks.

Speaking of Princeton, we were at a restaurant and a guy that road a 50cc Tomos MOPED from Ottawa to Victoria Island taking the Yellowhead route, and was on his way home.

He said he spent $176.00 in gas so far. Concidering gas in Canada is $1.24 per litre that is not bad. Wow what a trip that must be.

On to Vancouver. The city is dichotomy of the homeless of Canada and rich Asians. It is a beautiful city, but somehow strange. I can't quite describe my feelings for it.

The kid and I then decided that we had enough of Canada, with it's nice polite people, and courteous drivers and decided to go back to the USA.

I-5 from Seattle to past Tacoma is beyond belief. I have been on the Dan Ryan at rush hour, tackled the LA freeways, rode on the DC beltway, but never have experienced worse traffic or more aggressive drivers than this stretch of I-5. We had to stop on 45 St NE at the Apple store, because the laptops charger was sacrificed to the motel Gods at Medicine Hat AB. Then we just stayed in the HOV lanes to get out of town. Note: the drivers here swoop in and out of the HOV lanes across the solid line like it is just another lane of traffic.

I have heard that Seattle has the highest suicide rate in the country. I have also heard that it is blamed on the continuously dismal weather. I disagree. I think it is really driving on I-5. It must be cumulative, like lead poisoning. You go to work on I-5 every day playing bumper cars, then one morning you just think to yourself, no, I am not going to drive that road to work, I think I'll just shoot myself. They do, and it is blamed on the weather.

The Oregon ( pronounced ORYGUN ) Coast:

Just look at the pictures, I am not skilled enough with words to justify the beauty.

The kid and I had been getting on each others nerves, so at Florence OR, she left for my friends in Eugene. I will go there Thursday night.

I kept going down the coast to Crescent City CA, where I turned around and today am headed back north.

Oh, the kid has a blog too, if you want her perspective on this.

The Kids Blog

More to come:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Grand 2007 Bike Trip

Sunday July 1, the kid and I start out with our bikes on a truly scenic ride. Across the Trans Canadian Highway to Vancouver, then down to Eugene Or.

I will be taking pictures, and update my blog as I go along and have internet access.

Click here to see the photo map

We plan to be gone for 3 weeks, so this gives us a lazy 350 mile per day average ride, along with 3 days in Eugene OR so the kid can go to the Oregon Country Fair.

Sunday July 1:

Off we go, out I-80 to I-39 and North. Beautiful weather, and good riding till we hit the Wisconsin border where I-90 gets clogged with the Epsilon Minus's of the world headed to the Dells in SUV's packed with more junk than I would take on a "round the world" trip.

After the Dells it was fine and we rode to Hudson Wi where we stayed.

Monday July 2:

Another day of super slab to get to "The Great White North" as fast as possible. I-94 to Fargo, the I-29 up to Winnipeg.

Just past 'The Cities' it started raining, and by the time we got near Fargo, it had cleared, but was horribly hot and humid. The usually perfunctory Canadian customs was having some kind of a fit and giving everyone the 3rd degree, and both the kid and I were at the point of heat exhaustion by the time we got through.

We rode up to Winnipeg and got the 1st motel we came to. Oh, the Dollar is PAR. UGH.

Just in from of the motel the heat, exhaustion, stress of the day caused the kid to run into the back of my bike. No one hurt, but my top box, left side box got knocked off and she dumped her bike breaking the usual left turn signal and front fender.

Has any other biker out there ever find that Citi Bank Master Card equates a motorcycle trip with fraud? I have before, but on this trip mistakenly decided to use my Citi card for my main method of payment. Just as I got to the motel I found 4 calls to this 866 number, I called it back and it was Citibank saying there were 'suspicious' charges on my card, like gas and motel charges. I had this happen with Citibank before and basically quit using that card, but after giving the usual card number and secret question, I was not just asked if it was really me using my credit card but questioned about every charge, AND they wanted to know my route, and what dates I would be in different Provences and States. They kept asking about all kinds of things far beyond what "fraud detection" should. Then after all that they said I was still on fraud watch and if my charges were denied, I should call the number on the back. American Express doesn't treat me this way, but this is personal not business so I sould not be using my biz card. As soon as I get home, there will be no more Citi card.

Tuesday July 3:

The good news about the little accident is, no one hurt, and there is a BMW dealer right up the street. The bad news.... It is July 3, Canada Day so they are closed, and it is overcast and raining. So it's off to Canadian Tire for duct tape, and on with the trip.

A side note, change of route. While waiting for Canadian customs to be ever so thorough we were talking to a Canadian couple on a new R1200GS that suggested we take Canada 1 instead of the Yellow Head route. They said it was much prettier after Calgary.

So it is off across the Trans Canadian Highway.

Well, we made it to Regina, and the view from the East on Hwy 1 at about 10:00 PM ( sunset ) with Regina in the background was like looking at the 'Emerald City' from afar in the Wizard of Oz. You could see the outline of the City buildings for 30 Km.

I have started taking a few pictures, there will be more, and Google now lets you geocode them. This link will take you to a photo map. Just click on the picture thumb nails to see the pics.

Wednesday, July 4:

Regina SK to Medicine Hat AB.

Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. Canada is big. We met 2 couples from Robinson Illinois riding BMW's going the other direction, and had dinner. An interesting side note, Alberta has a rule that no minors are allowed in establishments that serve alcohol. The kid as it turns out is legal drinking age in Alberta, 18. So , what does she do? Have a glass of wine, after being carded and OK'd? .... she has Ice Tea. Go figure.

Thursday July 5:

Medicine Hat to Cranbrook BC.

The prairie ends at Crowsnest Pass AB and becomes the full fledged Canadian Rockies. After so many miles of prairie, it is had to believe. We thought that we would escape the heat as we gained elevation. Wrong, the temperature kept climbing as the day wore on, and by 3:00 PM it was 37C ( 98.6 F ). Both of us were just done in and starting to make riding mistakes. We quit and got a motel.

More to come.......

Saturday, May 19, 2007

What a Sweetheart

I took the kid's new F800ST for a 300 mile ride today. Wow!

Have you ever ridden a bike where everything, I mean EVERYTHING is just right. Where the feel and sound and experince is an order of magnitude greater than the specifications. The F800ST is just that.

I have friends with K75's that just love them. I never had one, but the people that do never want to retire them and keep finding ways to ride them 20 years after they were made.

I think the F800ST is like this. No amount of looking at brochures, or pictures can explain the feeling of riding one.

I got this for my Kid, but WOW! I love the agility, the feel, the sound. I would not hesitate to jump on and ride across the country, or burn twisties with the local Squids.

It really is amazing. If I did'nt already have an 06 K1200GT , I think I would get one of these, and even more I could have this as my only bike.

So I am in love with a bike that technically does'nt belong to me. Oh well, such is life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Roto Tiller is gone, long live the F800ST

After the mothers day ride it was clear that I made a mistake when I let the kid pick out the Suzuki S40 for a real motorcycle. It was crude, low tech, and if used for anything other than short around town slow speed hops was as useless as a kick stand on a bass boat.

I have loved riding motorcycles ever since my mom got me a garage sale 50cc Sears Puch moped when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I have raced motocross, ridden every kind of left over junk bike imaginable, had several bad spills, and lots of not so bad ones in probably 300,000+ miles of riding over 40 years.

I want to introduce the Kid to this and see if it becomes a life long passion as it has with me, but I also know the dangers of riding motorcycles, and as a Dad want to teach safety, and I worry about the Kid getting splattered.

I think I have done a pretty good job, she wears ful gear, rides well, looks at all traffic as the enemy, never trusts turn signals, really rides safely. The one thing that was missing was a good modern bike with ABS and real brakes, and handling to get you out of bad situations that will eventually happen.

The kid and I have a long trip planned for the 1st 3 weeks of July, and this being her summer after her 1st year of college, she may not have this kind of time in her life as easily in the future. Also, if she really is going to ride a lot, I want to do everything I can to keep her safe.

So, I decided to ditch the roto tiller Suzuki S40 and get her a new 07 BMW F800ST.

What a wonderful bike, safe, ABS, handling, smooth even power curve, I love it, and I know she can handle it.

The dealer will install the hard side bags and the low seat at the 600 mile service, and for those BMW folks that get near Chicago, TAG Sport in Geneva Il is a great place to do business.

Well, I feel much better about the trip, and the Kid riding in general now. As far as the cost, I say it costs nothing as of the 1st time the ABS kicks in while stopping at a busy intersection with the front wheel sliding on a grease spot.

This was the right thing to do.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sunday Family Day Ride

Not being burdened by the usual Mothers Day rituals, the teenage kid was nice enough to participate in a "Family Day" ride with Dad.

We actually started quite late 1:00 PM but the morning was cloudy and a little cold.

We rode NW on US 52 from joliet to Savanna Illinois and the Mississippi Palisades State Park.

It really is sad that so many families never find the wonders of nature, but just drive to and from 'corporate' activities in their SUV's with the kids strapped into car seats like little Mercury Astronauts watching some mindless Disney brain washing thing on the in-SUV DVD player. I really feel sorry for these kids and their future.

This was the Kid's first long ride of the year. By the time we got back, we put on about 375 miles.

From Savanna, we took IL rt 84 ( The Great River Road ) down to US 30, and back to US 52.

By then it was dark, and I dont like riding 2 lane roads at night so we switched to the 'Slab' ( I - 80 ) back home.

We did stop at a rest area because by this time, the Suzuki S40 ( 650 Savage ) of the Kid's had exhibited enough single cylinder roto-tiller type vibration to wipe out the almost 19 year old, supposedly indestructible teenager.

It was a great day.

A few more pictures are in the album:


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Beautiful Spring Day

The weather was perfect, the bike was running great, until the late afternoon it was in the middle 70's, and I had the opportunity to ride some of West Virginia's most scenic back roads.

I started in Winchester, VA , and took old US 50 to Capon Bridge WV where I turned off on WV 15 to Springfield VW, where 15 joins WV 28 up to Cumberland MD. WV 15 is a very old narrow 2 lane , so instead of burning the tires off, I spent the morning in 2nd and 3rd gear, but what a view. The road wound up and down mountains, within feet of old barns, this was real rural West Virginia like in "the coal miners daughter".
I rode up WV 28 to Cumberland MD where I got on I-68 until US 40 (National Road) split off tword Uniontown PA. US 40 has history around every bend, old toll houses, the original markers showing the distance to Wheeling, and from Cumberland. The view going west approaching Uniontown PA was simply breathtaking.

Past U-town, I stopped to take a pic crossing a lake:

What a ride.

Then past Washinton PA I got on I-70 to Wheeling WV. I should have gotten a pic of the Wheeling Suspension Bridge, that was built in the middle 1800's but, while having an iced coffee I looked up and saw a perfect X in the sky from jet contrails:

Anyway, back on I-70 to the East Side of Columbus OH, where I am tonight. Wow, what a day.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Back to the Job From Hell

I thought everything was fine. It all worked. But some times one particular thing, person, job can cause more grief than it was ever possibly worth.

In this high tech world, one byte, statement, instruction out of order can make one ride 900 miles ( one way ) to spend 4 minutes fixing something.

Oh well. It will be a nice ride in any case.

I am off to Waldorf, MD to fix a PLC program where 1 byte of code is out of order.

Yesterday, knowing I was leaving on this trip I was looking at the tires on the K12GT.

The front was cupped, and the rear, well, it would have been to the cords by the time i got back. I guess getting older makes one take fewer chances, so off to the local Honda shop to see if they had something that would fit.

I now have Dunlop Sportmax tires on a K12GT. I know it is a waste, they will be gone in 6000 miles or less, but I really didn't want to be on the side of the road in East Armpit West Virginia with marginal cell service trying to find tires that fit the K12GT in the middle of a thunder storm. I prolly ( probably ) could have made the trip with the rear cords showing just as i returned, but, like I said, I am getting older.

Oh well, I am sure the West Virginia, and Maryland mountains will be fun with these sticky tires on the K12.

Friday Evening:

I am on the east side of Indy, in a dumpy Days Inn. Light rain most of the way down here, but it wasn't cold.

One of the pleasures of riding is discovering things when you least expect it. My gas light came on while on I-465, so I got off on Pendleton Pike. There is a great little restaurant there, The Heidelberg Haus, but that is another story. I drive for what seems forever before i run into a gas station, but about a mile up , the road is covered in hickory cooking ribs smoke. I get gas, then come back and had just superb rib tips with rice and candied yams.

Saturday May 5

Indy to Columbus OH:

The day could'nt make up it's mind. Hot and sunny, cool and threatening to rain. I would stop, take the rain pants off, then it would get cooler and look like showers, so I stop and put them on. Pants off, pants on, pants off again. I have empathy with strippers doing this all day.

Columbus to Washington PA:

Cold rain, the soaking all day steady cold kind of rain. Oh well, I lived, but it was cold and wet. A high point was stopping at Schlepps Family Restaurant at exit 208 on I-70. This is one of my usual places I hit when traveling this way. Notice that they are bike friendly, bike parking has priority, right in front of the windows where it should be.

Washington to Breezewood PA:

Uneventful but drying out was cold. at 8:00 PM eastern time , I just decided that I was done for the day.

Sunday, May 6

Beautiful clear day, a little windy, but the ride from Breezewood to Hagerstown was as usual very scenic. Going around the Beltway in DC was no fun, but it's Sunday, during the week it is insane.

Well I am herein Waldorf MD, and of course there is no easy fix so I will be up late chained to the computer. At least I have established that the problem isn't 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 .

Monday May 7:

Well I am still in Waldorf, MD. The easy way to explain this Job From Hell is to first show you what it is.

See the gray box? In it is a PLC ( Programmable Logic Controller ) and a touch screen. Why has this been so difficult, well the short answer is that I did not write the software, some one else did. The person that wrote it has a very different style than I do, and it really wasn't finished, or at least not debugged.

So, 3/4 of the battle is to just understand how it all fits together. Like one of those puzzles you try to assemble on a coffee table, except this one has about 4700 pieces and it has to match the touch screen puzzle on the adjoining end table.

And, there are no directions other than the pieces themselves. See why I have been whining?

Oh, and some of the pieces don't work because the table is broken, and the table parts will be here by FedEx tomorrow. After the table is fixed, and I put all the pieces that slid off the table back on, then we will see if I get to go home.

Tuesday, May 8:

It's done, finished, over. I stayed up last night and did major software surgery. Not the little stitches and patches, but gutted the thing and sewed it back up.

Today, I replaced the dead card, loaded it up, and with just one little change, it worked.

I am in Winchester Va tonight, and tomorrow I will start back on old US 50 through the West Va mountains. We will see how I can even off those flat spots on the center of my tires from the trip down, by reducing rubber content on the sidewalls.

I feel so good, that Tomorrow I will start a new chapter. The Job From Hell is over.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April Trip South

I have to go to Randleman NC. on business, so , since I took the bike, I planned a more scenic route than just taking the expressway.

So far I rode down to Mobile, had a wonderful shrimp dinner at the Original Oyster House and Steamer in Mobile, on the Hwy 90 causeway, then over to Panama City, up to Rt 84, which is where I am at now in Valdosta Ga.

I have been riding not taking many pictures, but here are a few. ( I will be uploading to this folder as I go along ), so check back.

Tomorrow, I will be taking Rt 84 through the Okefenokee Swamp on the way to Savannah GA. I have never been this way before , so as with all new adventure , it is great.

Sunday, 5/22/07

The trip from Valdosta Ga to Myrtle Beach along US 84 was interrupted by a forest fire just SW of Waycross GA. Detour was probably 50 miles around it.

Myrtle Beach SC is rather an interesting place. The Dells, Branson, MO are on the same order of tackiness , but MB seems to be a little more blatant in the locals wish to relive you of your hard earned cash.

From MB I headed up to Randleman NC along NC 211. Wonderful journey through time in the North Carolina back country. The weather was as perfect as it could be, high 70's sunny and still air.

When I was finished with my job there, I headed to Fancy Gap VA where I-77 crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway. Today, I think I will head North on the Parkway, as I don't have to be to my next appointment in Ashland OH till Tuesday morning.

A note on traffic. It seems that people driving while using cell phones has gotten totally out of hand. I usually try to make eye contact with the drivers around me to get them to notice me and my bike. This is becoming impossible because everyone seems to be engrossed in some world changing cell conversion and not paying attention to the road. It doesn't matter if they have the phone up to their head or if they have a Spock ear thing. ( Those do NOT make driving and talking safer ).

It really makes you wonder, and for motorcycle riders, it is far more dangerous.

I have no answer, other than treating them as if they were the enemy in a video game that will at any moment try to kill you. To bad the bike doesnt have blasters.

Sunday night ...

Well , the job I have to do in Ashland is more complicated than I thought, so I did not do the Blue Ridge Parkway , I'll save that for another day , I just rode up here.

Well , 1st ride of the year, to here anyway , not home yet, so far has been 3478 miles in 6 days.

I should be done here Wednesday morning

More to come...

Friday, April 6, 2007

IBMWR Blitz To Branson

Well, I am going.

The Internet BMW Riders have put on the Blitz To Branson for 11 years. I have been to 2 of these, and this year am going again.

Here is the link to the IBMWR info:


I 1st went in 1998 on my old 97 R1100RT, then again in 2001 on my 2000 R1150GS.

These folks are a great bunch and this has grown to be the unofficial kick off to the yearly riding season.

I was thinking of not going again, thinking of business, and the like.

But , nope, this is what life is about.

I am going.


UPDATE! It was Great.

From Blitz to Bran...

Here are some Branson pics


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Corporate Parody

Did you ever see that commercial, " We don't make anything you buy, we make things you buy better, so buy our stock"?

I just remembered a movie from the 70's called "The Groove Tube" that although a comedy then, is so ........ real now.

Here is a clip from The Groove tube, think of this next time you are watching seemingly mindless corporate babble commercials on TV.


UPDATE I found another clip from "The Groove Tube" Click for Groove Tube clip - Heritage Loaf

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring is Coming

It was such a beautiful today, the kid and I moved the bikes from the shop to home.

Our neighbors think we are a little off, considering the number of motorcycles / scooters we have for just two people.

I however do not. I don't think we have enough.

The Kid's main bike is the white Suzuki S40 (650 Savage), and the little orange Honda Metropolitan, is her around town scooter. The 2006 BMW K1200GT is my main bike, and the Camouflage Honda Ruckus is my around town scooter. The orange Honda Big Ruckus ( 250cc ) is a spare / medium range ride for either of us, and is handy when one of the main bikes is in for service.

I really can't see how we could get along with any less.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

BMW K1200GT Movie

I found this short film clip about the BMW K1200GT, and thought I would share.

I have been riding motorcycles since I was a kid, and have never ridden anything close to the K12GT.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thinking of Riding

This time of year I really start longing for riding the bike. I have some trips planned for 2007, and besides these , I am sure to come up with more, but so far:

1) US RT 83 from the Canadian border to Brownsville TX. US 83 is an interesting road because it is one of the longest US routes, 1885 miles. It also is unique that it does not pass through any major cities. One of the few roads that still gives you a feeling that rural America still exists.

2) Gaspe Peninsula Quebec, and the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia. I did start the Gaspe Peninsula coast road last summer on my old 04 R1150RT, but had to cut it short because of a bad tire. This time, Ill do it all , and the Fabulous Cabot Trail as well.

3) Ride around the pond. I have done this every year ( at least once ) since, well for a long time.

4) Blitz to Branson. This is always a great time.

5) Annual shrimp ride. Another ride I have been doing forever, from Joliet, down to Mobile Al. The Original Oyster House and Steamer on US 90 causway.

I was thinking of the 4 Corners Ride. The only states in the continental US that I have not been to are, WA, ME, and RI. Doing the 4 Corners ride will let me hit all of those. The long way. I don't think I will do this one in 2007 though. 21 days in addition to the other rides may just be too much.

I am sure I will come up with others, and would love some suggestions. Click the 'Comment' link directly beneath this post if you have some suggestions.

In any case, I plan to use up as many sets of tires on the new BMW K1200GT as I can.