The new R1200RT headed down to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta this morning for its 600 mile break-in service. It’s mainly an oil changed and final drive oil change along with a list of other things they check and then reset the service reminder light (which came on promptly at 600 miles). The fact that the motorcycle had about 840 miles at the time made no difference. I scheduled and appointment so that I could get it done while I waited. I had been told that the book said it was a 3 hour job but that I’d likely be out after 2½ hours. It took them just under an hour and half. No problems were found along with the service. The price was exactly what I was quoted over the phone. Now it’s time to really start riding it!
We took the new R1200RT out for a ride today. We wanted to go look at a toy hauler RV that was at an RV dealer over near Gainesville, GA. It was a gorgeous fall day so we decided we were going to ride our new motorcycle. Our friends, Sean and Christine were going to go with us and ride their Victory Cross Country Tour. Time-wise the interstate was the fastest but riding motorcycles on tow lane roads is more fun! The dealer is right off of Georgia HWY 53 in Oakwood, GA. So we left Woodstock and headed up I-575 until it changed to GA HWY 515 just north of Ballground, GA where we picked up GA HWY53 which we would take all the way to the RV dealer.
The stretch of GA HWY 53 from Jasper to Dawsonville is a road that we have taken many, many times before. It is a fun, curvy road as many roads are in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. We also took this route so we could compare travelling it on our K1200LT and on our new R1200RT. The best part of today’s route was after we crossed from Pickens County into Dawson County. We’re in the nice curvy section of road when I hear Donna giggling over the intercom. Yes she was giggling! She said it more fun on the R1200RT than it was on the K1200LT. Believe me, I already knew it was much more fun! Now you have to understand that Donna has never ridden on the back of a motorcycle without a back rest or trunk behind her (or in BMW terms, a top case) until we bought this R1200RT. We have the top case on order but it isn’t here yet. So there was Donna perched on the back of the BMW R1200RT, with nothing behind her, giggling away on a twisty and curvy road because it was fun. We think we made the right decision for a new motorcycle. Oh and know what was even better? We got to ride the same stretch of road on the way home! To be honest, the image below from Garmin Basecamp doesn’t do the road justice. We ended up riding 163 miles today. The R1200RT is now overdue for its 600 mile service and that task has been scheduled. I wanted it out of the way before our trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground this weekend.
Okay, I can’t keep the lid on it any longer. Let us introduce you to our new 2014 BMW R1200RT!
When we arrived in Daytona Beach last week, our K1200LT suffered a failed outer bearing on the final drive of the motorcycle. BMW Motorcycles of Daytona was going to get us back on the road pretty quickly though. You can read the entry about the final drive here instead of me going into it again.
We were at the dealer when we started to “What if…” ourselves. Many of you know what I mean. What if this happens or what if that happens? The K1200LT had 85, 391 miles on her when we retired her. Yes there were some maintenance items coming up due but that’s why it’s maintenance and hopefully not repair. I had just changed the oil before our trip to Florida.
We were looking at an ebony black 2015 K1600GTL and what is now our quartz metallic blue 2014 R1200RT. To be honest, the more we looked, I couldn’t justify the extra money of the K1600. Besides the R1200RT is the boxer style engine. I really didn’t like the R1200RT in the black or the matte gray they had. But that’s just my choice. The R1200RT was pretty much outfitted with everything the K1600GTL had too! It has the Bluetooth audio and communications system, the heated seats and grips, cruise control, satellite radio, the ESA suspension system and so much more. Did I say it’s got a boxer style motor? As an incentive from BMW the purchase of the 2014 R1200RT came with the BMW Nav V GPS system. BMW of Daytona was out of the GPS so they needed to get it from their sister dealer in Orlando. It hadn’t arrived by the time we headed for home so they need to ship it this week. We went ahead and ordered the 49 liter top case, which they also didn’t have and will be shipped. It was a tougher decision to do this than we thought but we’re thinking it was a good one.
We spent about half a day riding it around Daytona Beach during Biketoberfest while visiting my Dad. And then on Sunday we rode it home. The top case wasn’t in yet and this was the first time Donna would really be riding without a back rest or top case behind her for support. Luckily, we had done like we had in the past and made the trip home in 2 days after a stop overnight in Tifton, GA. It was really a good idea this time. Donna really wasn’t fond of not having the top case yet. And for me, after having the custom seat on the K1200LT the BMW seat on the R1200RT felt like sitting on a cinder block after a few hours. I’m sure I’ll adjust to the seat. The R1200RT gets tossed around by trucks more being that it’s more than 250 pounds lighter than the K1200LT was. We will miss the Magic Carpet, she served us well.
In the coming weeks as we ride the R1200RT I’ll be posting more articles about it. She hasn’t been named yet but that will come soon.
Greetings from Daytona Beach at Biketoberfest!
But there was near disaster when we got here Wednesday. We got off the highway and immediately heard a sound coming from the motorcycle as it moved. It was sort of a “wuuu wuuu” as we rolled along. We got to my Dad’s house and parked the Magic Carpet in the garage for the night. The next morning I looked at the motorcycle and checked it more thoroughly. I found the sound was coming from the rear and the right side, the same side as the final drive. This could be real trouble. I called my local dealer back home, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta for technical help. The technician said it sounded like a final drive or drive shaft problem. He also said to not drive it home because if that were the issue the rear end could fail or even lock up. He even recommended taking the Magic Carpet to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona and that they had a good service department.
On Thursday morning we were at the dealer. The service manager, Huel, said it could be the final drive. When he found out we were from out of town he dropped what he was doing to look at it. He determined it was the final drive and likely the outer bearing. He wanted to know when we were heading home. When I told him we had hoped to leave on Sunday he said he may have it fixed that same day! The motorcycle was in the shop, on the lift and being worked on before the service paperwork was even done. They even found an outstanding recall for the fuel line quick disconnects. We were killing time at the dealer when in less than 30 minutes Huel came to me with some parts. The outer roller bearing had failed but he said everything else looked good. And as a result, the repair estimate had also dropped considerably. The only problem was that they did not have the bearing in stock but he had ordered it for delivery the next day, on Friday. He said “I’ll have you back on the road tomorrow morning or early afternoon.”
We got great customer service from Huel and BMW of Daytona. But, I’m typing this on a tablet and will finish it up later with a trip report when we get home as scheduled.
Never pass up a great day to ride!
Today was forecast to be in the mid 60’s° F for temperatures with clear skies today. Late in the morning we decided to go for a ride. Then we were getting a later start than planned but I came up with an alternate plan. We were going to head up to Talking Rock, GA using the quick route and then have lunch at Biguns BBQ. After lunch was going to be a short ride and then head for home. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we headed for Talking Rock. But the weather wasn’t warming like we expected. Sure we wore jackets but even after getting to Talking Rock just after 12:00 pm it was still 54° F not having warmed much since the overnight low of 48°. Now here’s the rub. We didn’t put the insulated liners in our jackets, counting on the sunshine to warm things up a bit better than it did. That didn’t happen. We really weren’t cold, it’s just that the liners would’ve made it quite comfortable. After lunch though we headed across Burnt Mountain and towards Amicolola Falls State Park. When we got to the turn though we didn’t head for the park because there’s also a big pumpkin patch that way and we figured it with this being the first brisk fall day the traffic near there would be horrible. We made the right turn onto GA HWY 183 heading towards Dawsonville, towards it though and not to it. We made the turn onto GA HWY 53 and it’s nice curves heading towards places like Marble Hill, Tate and Nelson, all in the general direction of Jasper, GA. The road never even really warmed up enough to make the “tar snakes” and issue today where they almost feel like ice sometimes. Today they were just small bumps in the road. It was a great ride! Even this far south the leaves are really starting change color and the windy day was blowing them out of the trees and onto the road. This is what fall riding is all about in north Georgia. The home weather station showed we got all the way up to 65° F today. It wasn’t a long day in the saddle but at least we didn’t waste a real good riding day!
A few days ago I had posted that my friend Sean and I had ridden up on the Cherohala Skyway, had lunch in Robbinsville, NC and then rode The Tail Of The Dragon after lunch. While we didn’t ride up to ride The Tail Of The Dragon, it was a spur of the moment decision; we literally decided to do it just because we were in the area. The Tail Of The Dragon now has roadside photographers from at least FOUR different businesses out there and it was a weekday! The one that is probably the most well known and has been there the longest is Killboy. A few days after the ride I looked on the websites and found a photo I wanted to download from Killboy’s site. So I was wondering if anyone wanted to see the underbelly of the Magic Carpet. I mean everyone posts pictures of the side of their motorcycle but no one posts pictures of the bottom, especially as it’s going down the road.
Yes, that big German lady may be 12 years old now but she still likes to go out and dance.
Yesterday was my friend Sean’s birthday. His wife and my wife, Donna had dropped a hint this past weekend about him taking a birthday ride and me going along with him. Well as Sean joked, on Monday night, “I got my hall pass.” Since it was his birthday I told him it was up to him where to ride to and that I was just following along. So we met Tuesday morning and headed out, me on the BMW K1200LT and Sean on his Victory Cross Country Tour. First off this was unusual as the both of us nearly always ride with our wives. It turns out that our main destination was to be the Cherohala Skyway that stretches from Tennessee into North Carolina. We headed up from Holly Springs, GA until we got to Blue Ridge, GA where we then took GA Highway 5 into McCaysville, GA and Copper Hill, TN. We enjoyed the twisting and winding roads through places like Ducktown and Turtletown before we took a short rest in Tellico Plains, TN at the Tennessee end of the Skyway. The Cherohala Skyway is just an amazing road. It’s a stretch of road over 40 miles long going from Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC. The road twists through the mountains and has altitudes ranging from 900 feet to 5,400 feet above see level. On a clear day like it was yesterday it seems you can see forever through the openings in the trees and from the scenic overlooks. Here it was the last day of September and there was already plenty of fall color in the trees and leaves blowing through the air. We had already planned on having lunch at El Pacifico, a Mexican restaurant and quite possibly the only Mexican restaurant in Robbinsville.
Over lunch we discussed where to ride next. One idea was to take U.S. Highway 129 back down to Murphy and Andrews, NC and then head back into Georgia through Brasstown before heading home. Then Sean decided that since we were so close, literally minutes away, that we’d head up to Deal’s Gap and ride The Tail Of The Dragon. Yes, the infamous Tail Of The Dragon and its 318 curves in 11 miles. It’s a stretch of road that we’ve both ridden a number of times. It can be a fun stretch of road to ride too. We’re lucky enough that we live in an area where a trip to The Tail Of The Dragon and back home can easily be accomplished in a day. But to be honest, the only reason we rode it on Tuesday was because we were right there. Before we mounted back up in the parking lot of El Pacifico we experienced the only sad moment of the day. Sean and Christine are selling their home and have a contract on it and will be moving at the end of October before settling for a while in Florida. Sean looked up the road and said, “I guess it’ll be a while before I get to ride roads like these again.” Now granted that we’ll both be up in the area the first weekend in November while leading a group trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground but being in a group, while can be fun, is not as fun as just two men and two motorcycles. We rode onto Deal’s Gap, passing up the store and its nearly empty parking lot and rode The Tail Of The Dragon. We rode it only once through and headed for US HWY 411 which would take us back south and home to Georgia. Along the way we commented at a traffic light that it would’ve been more fun to head back on The Dragon and head home on a more scenic route that would take just a little longer.
I’ve ridden both the Cherohala Skyway and The Tail Of The Dragon a few times. But this is the first time that I have ridden the two of them back to back in the same day. While The Tail Of The Dragon gets all the hype I can tell you that the Cherohala Skyway is definitely the better of the two rides.
When I got home that afternoon I had 360 more miles on my odometer from the location I had met Sean in the morning. So, hence the title of “2 Men, 2 Motorcycles and 360 Miles” You can’t have much more fun on a tank and half of gas!
Along the ride we had our picture taken by a roadside photographer on the Cherohala Skyway and by a number of them on The Tail Of The Dragon. Once they all finish uploading their pictures I’ll write a post with some proofs and links to their sites and maybe even purchase a picture or two. So look out for that post.
And no, I don’t mean the motorcycle. I mean my lovely wife and riding companion, Donna. But then I’ve known that for a long time. When we stepped up from a cruiser to a touring motorcycle and bought the K1200LT one of the things she wanted to do (yes you read that right, she wanted) was to ride from Georgia to Washington state to visit her sister. Well back in 2008 she suffered a layoff from her job and then a few weeks later they began furloughs for me at the police department of 10% in hours and pay per week for over 6 months. Those combined with life and other things had put that trip on an indefinite hold.
Then last week we got one of those “save the date” cards for a wedding in California for next June. Donna asked me “Can the Magic Carpet still make a cross-country trip?” I told her it sure could. She had already made preliminary plans for her bucket list trip, already figuring we could ship “wedding clothes” and other things out to California and then just pack the motorcycle with trip clothes like we did for our Blue Ridge Parkway trip back in 2011. I think she just wants to be able tell relatives that she rode on a motorcycle across the country!
She’s definitely a keeper!
Dewayne is a Marketing Manager at Motorcycle House and a reader of this blog. Admittedly he’s also the one who contacted me about reviewing products for them. Dewayne wanted to share an article with us. Normally I’d simply just “Re-Blog” the link but Dewayne doesn’t have a blog. I’ve copied his Northwest California Rides here. At the bottom of the article is a link to the full article along with all the links and the pictures. There’s also a link to his motorcycle racing article.
Northwest California Motorcycle Routes for a Scenic Road Trip
Riding your motorcycle is a great way to experience the scenic beauty of just about anywhere. Your bike not only takes you from point A to point B, it lets you enjoy a nice breeze while doing so. Some of the most picturesque routes are found in the American Northwest, particularly in California. This means that whenever you are ready to pack your bags and head on a California adventure, you will have many routes to choose from. This is just as true if you plan to focus your trip along Northwest California as it is for routes that take you to other areas of the state.
Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, runs along the Pacific Coast of the state, letting you either begin or end your journey in Northwest California. The route covers about 127 miles, so you will need to have enough luggage with you for a few nights. It is an incredibly easy route to follow, where you either start in Monterey or Morro Bay or then end in the other. The simplicity of the route allows you to sit back and enjoy the beautiful sights, including rock outcroppings, rolling hills, majestic mountains, and coastal views. You will find lighthouses, 18th century buildings, and plenty of animals, including monarch butterflies, sharks, gray whales, sea otters, and sea lions.
California Highway 58
Although not completely in Northwest California, State Highway 58 still makes for an excellent motorcycle route when you are in the area. This is sometimes considered to be “The Lost Highway,” because so few are aware of its natural beauty. The route covers 90 miles and starts around 12miles to the west of Bakersfield, California. From there, you just follow Highway 58 west until you reach the coastline. Along the way, you can enjoy farmland, canyons, and more mixed along both relaxing roads and tight turns to keep you on your toes and guarantee your trip is filled with adventure.
Angeles Crest Highway
Another great, easy-to-follow route for motorcyclists looking for a road trip adventure near Northwest California is the Angeles Crest Highway. This highway includes a portion of State Route 2 and will take you on an adventure covering 66 miles, including spectacular views and excellent riding. Along the way through the San Gabriel Mountains, stop to see the Mount Wilson Observatory, which is perfect for those who enjoy astronomy or simply want an excellent view of the nearby mountains and valleys. As you continue, you find sweeping curves and generous lanes. Consider stopping at Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant & Bar along the way.
If you happen to be in Los Angeles instead of Northwest California, you will still have plenty of routes to choose from. You can ride along Mulholland Highway until you reach The Rock Store, which is a restaurant and shop. Taking the Pacific Coast Highway can lead you to Neptune’s Net, a popular seafood restaurant. Other options for afternoon rides that don’t require a large saddlebag include taking Little Tujunga Road all the way to Route 66 Classic Grill or the Malibu Highlands until you reach the Rustic Canyon General Store & Grill.
No matter your preference, packing your motorcycle bags and heading to California can give you an adventure-filled but relaxing road trip you won’t forget.
About the author:
Link to Dewayne’s Northwest California Routes with links and pictures in MS Word format.
Link to Dewayne’s Racing Documentaries with links and pictures in MS Word format.
The couple we’ll ride with, Sean & Christine were out-of-town and came back yesterday. What’s the first thing Donna wanted to get together and do? Well it was to go riding of course! Sean & Christine are now in the home stretch of being full-time RV’ers with a contract on their house and had already planned to look at campers and motorhomes today. We’re leaning in that direction ourselves so Donna came up with the idea for a short ride to lunch for some BBQ and then back towards home to look at campers. We met later in the morning than normal since it was a lunch ride and we headed for Dawsonville and over Burnt Mountain for lunch in Talking Rock, GA at Biguns BBQ. This is the same short lunch ride I had led some members of my Blue Knights Chapter on earlier in the week. But it does amaze me of how much cooler it is on the top of that mountain and it’s not very high. Today it was sunny and it was 8 degrees (F) cooler on the top of the mountain. We headed on to Biguns before it got too crowded and it sure did get crowded today. After lunch it was time to head down to Camping World to do some window shopping. Donna and I even found a real nice Class C motorhome that we really liked. It was to the point that we were looking at each other and scheming. We were at the point that we decided that if we could right now, we’d buy it then buy a trailer for the Magic Carpet and just hit the road. Maybe in another year or so though.
Today was also the first day that I finally got Donna to wear earplugs while riding too. She finally gave in! She had tried foam earplugs in the past but didn’t like them and admittedly they did loosen up and fall look like they were going to fall out. It was time for me to replace my ETY plugs so I just ordered 2 pair this time. She really liked them when she tried them on when they got here and then she wore them all day today and found them comfortable.