Monday, September 30, 2013

Kingman AZ - Oatman on old Rt 66. 9 miles of tar strips

Our ride west from Kingman, AZ into Oatman.   Great twisties on old Rt 66 thru the mountain passes...   Hang on!

This is the prettiest section of Rt 66 that we found... and the most fun.  almost NO traffic.  Perfect weather, in the 70's with light breeze.  Recommend highly.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Arrived El Mirage Dry Lake OHV Area.

Bob Fallia and I had breakfast and then left Kingman about 8:30.  Lots to tell about the drive and old Rt 66 going into a little town Andy Devine seens to have created.  Oakman?   Burrows and horses wandering the main street on their own.  Twisties through the mountains that just wouldn't quit for 9 miles.  Was awesome... more on this later.

Ride Partner, Bob Fallia:

Arrived at El Mirage:

There is a 20 something computer/soils guy in a camper here and me.  That's it.   20,000 acres and NO employees, just us two volunteers.   The last 1/2 mile to my camper is loaded with sand, but I got in.   Will have to figure out where the road has some solid ground.  You won't believe the equipment we have available.  Bunch of quads, atv's fuel, tools.   and 20,000 acres.  No camp host so we can patrol the camp areas and check for odds and ends.  What a hoot!  I also have a picnik table and fire pit.  unlimited supply of wood.

Town is 20 miles away.  El Mirage has no town.   The other (James) guy ran me to the store in the SUV that we get to have.   I'm set for quite a while.  He's also an Eagle scout.   Nice to be in good company!

Now to start catching up on the photos from the week...   and get out and shoot more as the sun sets.   Thermometer says 75 deg but standing in the sun feels like 95.  

Camper is nice.  probably 40' FEMA unit.   looks like new.   Will update this and other posts as I get pics figured out.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday to Flagstaff and Sedona

Friday began with rain in Gallup, NM.    Went to TA truck stop for breakfast and tinkered with computer stuff until after 9 when the rain quit.

Once I got on the road the rain persisted for about 60 miles.   I was about to pack it in for the day to get a warm room and work on photos, but it was still before 10A and the sun was teasing me from the west horizon.   The closer I got to Flagstaff the sunner it became, but the temperature kept dropping. 

  Fueled up in Flag and headed south to Sedona in search of warm air.  Rt 89A south was a sweet little two-lane eventually dropping into Oak Creek Canyon. 

  Video cam didn't work as I expected so captured nothing significant.   Too much traffic to really enjoy the twisties down into the canyon, but was still a nice drive.    Getting to Sedona, what a retail metro that has become.   Everything in town looked really pricey.   Gone are the days of hippie chicks and home grown spirituality.   Very commercial.   

I drove south a few miles to see the end of the canyon and then headed back into Sedona.  

All the rooms were booked for an art program this weekend.  Headed back to Flag and M6 for afternoon of recovery.  This traveling all day for 7 days, straight from the GS Trophy Challenge is catching up with me.   Looking forward to wrapping this trip up on Sunday.

Grand Canyon and Kingman day

Bob from CA is meeting me this morning and we are headed 90 miles northwest to visit the GC.  It has probably changed a lot since I visited in 1979...   all this global warning and such...   :)

Then to Kingman, AZ and about 40 miles of old Rt 66.   I have been paralleling it much of the trip.  The theme song from the TV show still is fresh in my mind.

We'll overnight in that area, I expect, and take the 250 mile run into CA and my new digs on Sunday.   Will be 2,500 miles in 7 days, not counting the 500 from PA to NC.   Yesterday ended with some downtime to just catch my breath and relax...   I need more of that.  This has been non-stop since Thursday 10 days ago.  

Looking at the weather last night, I was two days ahead of bad storms in Albequerque.   Lucky that I only had the two wet sessions that I did.

Still trying to figure out the Contour helmet cam.   Yesterday was a complete photo loss...   It's easy enough to operate but I didn't have the system settings as I thought.   Better luck today.

Happy Weekend!


Updated Travel Map:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Saturday GS Challenge

What an  adventure!   8 hairy obstacle courses  back to back.   Here's the salute to us (the RED team) on our way from the fun zone to the competition field:

Thank you Conway Lee (NY) for the video!

More to follow.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crossing NM

Guess who is in M6 tonight?   Windier than blazes all day today...   drove between 70 and 80 and faced 30+ mph headwind.   What a struggle.

When the day started to warm I shed my sweatshirt, windbreaker and overalls...   first thing you know I a FREEZZZZZing...   Sign said: "Continental Divide - 7,888  ft elev."   No wonder.

Made it to mid state and took scenic route 53.   Beautiful buttes and gorges.   Nothing for attractions.  Most everything there is out of biz.   Def worth taking a break from I40.   Arrived Gallop about 4:30.  I may just turn the shower on HOT and sleep in the tub tonight.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

day 2 - Tuesday to OK

Reached OK today.   506 miles.   Lakeside campsite about 70 miles into the state.  TX tomorrow.  No Arkansas overnights...   Sorry, Slick Willie...

At this point I am moving at a rate that will bring me to Flagstaff one day early.   For now I am going to put the miles in the bank and plan a tourist day in NM on Friday.   Will meet friend Bob in Flag' on Saturday and then Barstow on Sunday.

Today was 15 miles of heavy rain in Memphis, but traffic was moving slow and sensible.  Arkansas was like a conveyor belt of tractor trailers.  OK was the first area that I saw brown grass and crops.  their season must be a month ahead of the east.   Traffic dwindled to near zero.

Saw ONE west-bound motorcycle today.   They can't ALL be driving the same speed as me...   Hundreds headed east, mostly two-up on Honda's/Harleys.

Met a guy in a gas station from Barstow headed to Atlanta...  exact opposite of my trip.   Will stay in touch.    

Revised travel pans in link below.


  Contour videos are fighting with my software.  gotta figure that out.

Travel safe!  Jeff

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I know that I am a week behind.   GS Challenge was super.  Am enroute to Barstow, CA.  Will add details asap.

Travel safe.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Not getting any easier...   today makes 14 days that the bike is in the shop... was to be finished today, only three days after coming to agreement that St Farm would shoulder the bill.   NOW we discover that Revzilla shipped the wrong Leo Vinci Exhaust.   ugh...

Vinci and Eurosport worked out over-nighting the correct unit ($70 cost) and Revzilla is picking up the erroneous unit.  I get to float the cash while all the payments and refunds get worked out.

Will head to the BMW GS Trophy Challenge tomorrow and get in 90 miles of road time and an abreviated afternoon of practice...  Will pray for flexible campground to offer logs and a stream crossing for last minute practice.

If your name is Dixie I'm sending a smile!   Jeff

Saturday, September 14, 2013

9/13 - 9/14 -  Back to Asheville to visit BMW.   Going the insurance route.   Bike should be finished Wednesday including new Leo Vinci exhaust new Continenntal knobbie, new rear brakes, again, and side case with mounting hardware.  Leaves one day to practice for the BMW Trophy Challenge... ugh.

Meanwhile I do one legged deep knee bends and visualize body english over logs, tires, mud...

Chillin this weekend.   Talk to you Monday.   Maybe I will get to more videos from the week.

Last of this week's videos!   Tallulah River water crossing and related mud puddles:

9/12  Slept well.  Woke to pretty bird sounds and barking dogs.   Welcome to NC.  Mrs. Cliff headed to office at 7:57 and Cliff and I headed to breakfast bar.   Swapped stories, checked the mail (hotspot) picked up his doggie-carrier for install on his Husky' and headed home to gear up.   He hosted 6 hours on dirt, mountain fire-roads and a bunch of river crossings.   Some of these rivers are only 15' wide, but they hid some challenges.   I expect to post videos into this blog within a day or so.   Was overcast with spits of rain.  Perfect for playing in the dirt.  The Suz' 350 was a great bike for this adventure.  Eats anything, loves dirt.

There are times when you need to pick a line and ride it, and other times that you just say to yourself, "I picked this bike and these tires and we are gonna devour the situation we got outself into."    Best moments were A) down'd tree that Cliff was skirting and I squared up to and jumped. B)  Grand-Canyon gully across the road that Cliff crossed and killed engine.  I goosed it and cleared it with a hoot.  and C) 1/4 mile Down-hill washed out section that was down to clay and memories of gravel.   He and I took completely different lines and both survived.   At one point I had the clutch pulled in and was riding the rear brake for about 100 yards.  Kept looking for a spot to bet back into first and let the engine do the work and somehow managed to make the switch back to engine braking before anything went wrong.

As much as it was raining, we never lost grip on the clay banks.

The nest-to-last challenge of the day was a 50-yard or so river crossing.  We walked the riverbed and picked our lines.   The video (to follow) should show that we both did fine.  Cliff looked a bit slow with quite a few submerged rocks.   I took a wider line thru smaller gravel and plowed right thru.   This bike reponded well to laying against my in-side-the-turn leg and doing the cornering for me.

Last segment of the day, (again opting out of Cliff's offer to 'just go back the same way' was 30+ miles on asphalt dodging sheriff's and getting tail-gated by white pick-up trucks...  What's THAT about?

End of day at Subway transferring hours of videos to hard drives and recalling the day.  Back to his place to help him load his toy hauler with two bikes, doggie tail case and find beer.

BMW has concluded that the resolution to the fire lies in returning the bike to Hermy's and arguing with them about the falsified warranty report and letting them work their way out of the warranty fire damage.   I announced thast I'll takee the cash option and requested detailed line-by-line quote for St Farm.   This puts me in the driver's seat and I can take some modification-options.  Only concern now is getting bike done in time for Trophy Challenge next weekend.

More to follow.

Heading up into the mountain trails:

The Video!   (note camera toss at 0:52)

9/11 2013

Missed the 2 million bikers to DC.   Hope to hear that is was a resounding and peaceful success.

BMW Eurosport is still discussing bink options.   They want to discuss options until they can find one that lets them off the hook.   Now they tell me that the gas tank started to melt.   This I gotta see.  Latest estimate is that the side case frame was installed wrong, allowing the left side cast to contact the exhaust.   I had reported this to Hermy's BMW, where I bought the bike, but they told me (after cloimbing under the bike) that it's just how the components are and they couldn't fix it.  Hermy;s replaced the side case and entered in the warranty log, "key/latch mechanism faulty."   That turns out to be the end of the story... detail tomorrow.

Drove down to Franklin (Otto) NC to visit BMW friend Cliff Loose and get in some off-road miles with one of his bikes.   
Suzuki 350 and I got to know each other while Cliff on his new Husky' 350 led the way up gravel twisties and switchbacks to the top of a local mountain and down the other side.   The 350 was tall and energetic and 2nd gear gave me more than enough leeway to bank the bike thru the tight corners and climb the rises and still catch up on the straights.   Somewhere there is a shift lever, but my boot struggled to find it.   All the way to the top of the run with only one dab.   Lucky I found the ground on that one...   I could throw the bike down against my knee to let it do the turns with a little throttle and then goose it back to vertical climbing away from the corner.

We reached the bottom at the west side of the mountain and Cliff said, "OK, Let's turn around and go back..."   NOT!   I know enough to enjoy the challenges and retire undefeated.   We hot-rodded back to his place on asphalt with me on a bike with no tail-lights and out of date tags...   Welcome to NC.

His honey arrived home from her day-job just after we arrived and headed to local mom-and-pop cafe for a hot meal.   Back ast his place, Cliff offered a place to pitch the tent, or floor space in his tow building.   We found a box spring and cushions and I headed to z-land beer-in-hand.   More tomorrow.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Great fun at the TN BMW MOA ROK Rally at Del Rio, TN, just south of Hot Springs, hosted bu the Knoxville BMW Club and sponsored by Eurosport BMW of Ashesville, NC.

My bike is in the shop after the fire until at least Friday so I borrowed a car and went sans 2-wheels.   Friend Andre and his wife did the same while he waits to make a chain adjustment.

Camping at the T.W.O. Creeks MC Camp was quiet and comfy.  Only about 50 riders were there and the roads and scenery were wonderful.   Will post pics and videos within a day or so...   Time for a good night sleep in a real bed.
Travel Save!   

Added Tuesday:  While kneeling in the dirt taking pics of an abandoned house across a rickety bridge, a lady pulled over and inquired.   Would I shoot her barn?  This was a nice session:

Click image to see the album.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Electrical fire.

Fire in the hole!

30 miles south of Rocky Knob Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway I stopped to video the valley to the east of the Air Bellows Overlook.  

When I stopped I could smell plastic burning but still had no idea what was going on.   I dismounted and found only a portion of the side case remaining and the brake caliper area cooked.

A couple in an SUV that I had passed at the prior overlook drove up quickly and said, "We could see that you were on fire and guessed that you didn't even realize it.   The rest of your luggage is about 1/4 mile back and still burning."

I bungied up the scraps of the case and drive back to witness the fire... details in the video.

Bike was fine, give or take no ABS.   I finished the 150 miles remaining to Asheville and visited EuroSports BMW.  They think the speed sensor wires somehow caught fire and started everything.  Will find out today if it's warranty work.   Swing arm, brake caliper assy, hoses, speed sensor system, left rear fender, tail light wiring.   I would love to swap the exhaust for the Leo Vincy, but they have to do everything factory original.   Will likely mean I need to rewire my after market lights next week.

As for the parkway...   Fancy Gap Breakfast with a bunch of scooter riding good ol' boys and two Harley drivers.

Will post videos of the day when they are processed.   This is the bike at Mt. Mitchel Overlook.

The Parkway south of Lexington was looking great yesterday.  Temps were cool but haze was light, as was the traffic.   Travel Safe!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Wednesday, another rally

Somehow I had the TN and KY rallies crossed in dates and TN ROK ON Rally had dropped off my list.

Andre texted this morning and asked if I was started out...   I have a few hours to finish an assignment here and then throw everything back on the bike...   Fortunately there is no necessary maintenance standing in the way!    Will be in Asheville tomorrow and TN on Friday.

Happy Trails!
Fri, September 6, 12am – Mon, September 9, 12am
T.W.O. Creeks Campground, Del Rio, TN
BMW Riders of Knoxville
Registration form is on the BMWROK.ORG 'Events' page, located here.
Mileage milestone!    Finally...   kept my wrist off the twist from here to Watkins Glen and back...

56+ MPG!!   90% of the trip was two-lane (Rts 42 and 220) at less than 55 mph.   Then 17 was just 20 miles at 65-70 mph.   

I HAVE to stay off the gas on the trip to CA...   2300miles/56mpg = $164  vs (2300/48)$4=$191

net $27 = one M6 night!!!   (two cases cheap beer)

That CA trip will have new rear street tire, so that should boost the numbers again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

see-saw training

Starting out with a small fulcrum and a 6' 2x6.   Let's see how things progress...

Tomorrow will work on taller pivot point and various boards...   Wish me luck.
Day II:   8" fulcrum point.  Special section on "Lifting your sleeping Beemer."

Remind me to remove windshield so I can turn lock-to-lock!   Notice that once I got the bike turned around so the wheels were on the downhill side, the left side white canister supported the bike up to about a 30% angle.   Those will be off during competition.   Orig equip windscreen will be on instead of larger GIVI.

Travel Planning - Spartansburg SC to Barstow, CA.  7 states, 7 days.  Scroll side to side to see the entire map.

View Larger Map

Day One:  508 miles   Meeman-Shelby State Park, TN
Day Two:  270 miles   Aux Arc BLM, AR
Day Tre:    319 miles   Foss Reservoir Park, OK
Day For:    191 miles   Palo Duro Canyon, TX
Day Fiv:    293 miles   Cedro Peak NM
Day Six:   343 miles    Flagstaff, AZ
Day Sev:  403 Miles   Barstow, CA, El Mirage Dry Lake

Only two days will be long ones.   Camping all the way, except maybe in Flagstaff.  Should have several days short enough to get in some photography.  Nothing needs to be set in stone, but this seems like a comfortable beginning.