For May 2013, the member photo section of BMW Owners News (the monthly magazine of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America) was “Curvy”. Well it looks like we’re “Curvy” because we’re picture number eight. The photo was from a ride on The Tail Of The Dragon.
Last Wednesday I took my first long solo trip on the Magic Carpet. By solo I mean just me on the motorcycle and not just one motorcycle. I’ve grown very accustomed to having Donna sitting behind me and having her to talk with. I just enjoy having her back there and it’s not just for the neck and shoulder rubs on long trips (although those are a big plus). Our young beagle had very recently had spinal surgery and Donna needed to stay at home with her as she can’t be put in a kennel yet, even though she is healing ahead of schedule. I headed down from metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia to the Daytona Beach, Florida area. My Mom is a breast cancer survivor and has now acquired another malady that puts her in yet another fight. Mom & Dad needed some help with a few things. Mom’s just not up to getting out and doing things like cleaning gutters and patio furniture with Dad right now. This is a 480 mile door to door trip and would be all interstate this time.
I had planned to leave at about 6:00 am so that I could be well ahead of rush hour traffic on the interstate. Well plans don’t always work out and I wasn’t rolling until just before 7:00 am. Yes, I got up on time. I kissed Donna goodbye and was rolling. I wasn’t on Interstate 75 very long before I was greeted with brake lights in front of me. The traffic was brutal. It made me happy that I’m retired and no longer have to make that trip everyday at that time. The traffic added at least another hour to my trip. My travel time was over 10 hours to get to Florida! The weather wasn’t bad either, being cloudy or overcast most of the way.
Coming home the following Tuesday was just the opposite. It was the same route but I got on the road at 6:00 am this time after saying goodbye to Mom & Dad. The sun began to rise from the Atlantic Ocean over my right shoulder as I rode north. Temperatures were even the same as the trip down. Both times I started out with temperatures in the low 60′s (F) and they rose to the mid 70′s (F) for my destination. Only for the return trip I had blue, cloudless skies. This time I made the trip in 7 hours and 16 minutes of driving (moving time) according to the GPS. I arrived home 9 hours and 10 minutes after I left. That time included two meal stops and 3 gas stops. I was pretty impressed that I made it from Daytona Beach to Valdosta, GA on a tank of gas and still had just over 50 miles left according the K1200LT’s trip computer.
This was my first long trip using my earplugs which made a world of difference. The earplugs had a lot to do with the lack of fatigue from the sound. A quite noticeable difference. Wearing the ear plugs for that long (other than meal stops) caused me no physical discomfort. I also paired the Scala Rider Teamset Pro with my Windows Phone instead of the GPS this time. As I approached my parent’s home while I was traveling on I-95 I was able to call them with an updated ETA. They had no idea that I was actually calling from the motorcycle and said it just sounded like I was outside. I know the nemesis of motorcyclists is text messaging drivers. But on the way home, a friend and Donna both sent me a few, that the phone read to me and I replied by voice commands and speaking he message coincidentally while either pumping gas or preparing to leave from lunch (so I guess I wasn’t texting and riding after all). I really wasn’t too happy with the volume of the messages and the few phone calls until I remembered that I had to raise the volume on the phone and not on the intercom! Would I leave the phone paired to the Scala? No. I’d just assume leave it paired to the GPS. But this was a special trip and I didn’t need the GPS for directions and just used it for arrival time purposes. My new Windows Phone doesn’t have all the features my last Windows Phone did. In testing it, the old phone would voice announce the caller by name and use the phone’s ringer or the caller’s unique ring if they had one. It would also announce who the text message was from so you could “listen or ignore”. The new phone just uses a generic phone ringer with no voice announce and merely informs you of “new text message” and asks if you want to listen now or later. I liked the features on the old phone better. But since I don’t plan on using except for an interstate trip like this one, it doesn’t really bug me. I’d rather have the GPS directions sent to the Scala. The Scala Rider Teamset Pro allow only one additional Bluetooth connection to each headset in addition to the one already taken by the intercom.
When leaving Florida in the dark, a motorist pulled up next to me and told me “You know the back of your helmet is flashing?” I told him it was to make me more visible, especially in low light conditions. He laughed and said “Well I guess it works then!” Our helmets have a red LED light in the rear that can be set to off, steady on, slow flash or fast flash. He was right, I guess it works. My Dad had also run down the driveway calling at me to tell me my helmet was “blinking”.
Today was the spring open house at BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta. We decided to ride on down and look around and see some friends. It’s usually a grand affair and today was no exception. There’s lunch (fresh grilled hamburgers, hot dogs & bratwurst), discounts in the store, door prizes and group test rides. The demo R1200GSW water-cooled boxer, also known as the “Wasser Boxer”, was booked solid for the test rides. There were also 2 BMW scooters available for test rides and they were pretty well booked too! Sadly someone had wrecked one of the demo motorcycles on a group test ride but the owners said he was ok, not so much for the motorcycle though.
I found a nice gray R1200RT that I wanted to take home! Donna liked the new dark burgundy color on the K1600GTL, but I think she kind of liked the R1200RT too. She looked at the scooter outside and even said “I think I could ride this!” We lunched with friends and chatted. Of course we looked at motorcycle and gear. I even won a door prize! It’s a set of foam earplugs with a metal carrying case. I’ve already got some nice earplugs but I’ll give these free (free is always good) ones a try and then use the nice carrying case for my earplug. We didn’t get much riding in, but it was a gorgeous day to ride down there!
But you know that’s how they get you. They invite you down, feed you, give you door prizes and then you want to buy something! But they really are a great dealership. Thanks Bob & Lynda!
This past Sunday, my Blue Knights Chapter had its annual cookout for families staying at a local Ronald McDonald House. Families of children being treated at the three nearby hospitals; Scottish Right for Children, Northside, and Saint Joseph’s can stay at the house to be closer to the children. Sometimes the children can stay at the house to be with their families. We try to bring as much of our supplies to the house by motorcycle as we can. This year we had 14 motorcycles make the trip there. It’s a good time had by us and the families and especially any kids who may be staying at the house. The families like the idea of nice cooked meal that isn’t hospital or take out food. The kids like it because it hamburgers, hot dogs, cake and ice cream! After dinner, the kids and even the parents usually like to go out and look at the motorcycles. Of course the kids want to get on them (those that can) and even the moms and dads do too! It really is such a good time!
Well since Christmas I’ve been riding with earplugs. I guess I want to preserve the hearing I have left along with reducing the effects of my tinnitus. Actually, I’ve been using two different kinds of re-usable plugs, Etymotic ER20 and E.A.R. Do It Yourself Custom Molded Ear Plug. I’m now thinking that I like the Etymotic plugs better. They really muffle wind noise around the helmet and do just as they advertise and let “gas station” conversation be heard. They are comfortable (at least for me) to wear. I found no real need to raise the volume on my in-helmet intercom and the helmet doesn’t affect them. I do like the E.A.R. plugs too and my problem may simply be the way I made them. You need to knead two compounds together, then mold them into your ear and let it set up for about 10 minutes. I think I may have kneaded until it started to harden too much before placing it in my ear. The second ear went much smoother than the first one did. Because they are custom molded they are really comfortable. They also actually do supply more material than you’d need. The optional screw-in neck cord is a big plus too. Wind noise around the helmet seems louder with the E.A.R. plugs though and more bothersome. Off motorcycle conversation is muffled quite a bit and I did need to raise the volume of the intercom too.
I’m keeping both sets handy but will probably use the Etymotic ones the most. I did get the E.A.R. plugs at Earplug Superstore (I happened to use their links for both plugs as they sell both) and got the Etymotics from Aerostich.
Yesterday was Donna’s birthday. Guess what one of the things she wanted to on her birthday was? That’s right you guessed it, she wanted to go for a motorcycle ride!
There were already a few other things planned so I explained we were trying to put 10 hours of activity into 8 hours. But as luck would have it, some of my Blue Knights members were trying to put together an impromptu ride in northern Georgia for today! So, we met Sean & Christine (and their Victory Cross Country Tour) in Woodstock and headed for Dawsonville to meet the three other motorcycles that were riding today; B.C. & Carol on their Harley Davidson Ultra Classic, Steve on his Harley Davidson Road King and Bill on his Harley Davidson Road King. This was also the first time in quite a while that we had more two-up motorcycles than solo riders. We had a great day riding as the sun peaked in and of the clouds and the temperature rose to 70 degrees. We all lunched in north Georgia along a river and on the way home we stopped so I could buy Donna some ice cream. And the rain held off until we were home for about an hour!
Yep, you read that right we have “Date Rides” and today was one of them.
It had been a while since Donna was on the back of the Magic Carpet. In fact she may not have ridden yet this year. This past Wednesday we woke to a dusting of snow on deck and rooftop here in northern Georgia. Further north in the state they had snow on the ground again. Fast forward to today, Friday. The forecast was for temperatures just above 60 degrees and for a cloudless blue sky. Over morning coffee we decided it was time for a “Date Ride”.
We headed north from the house going through Canton and Jasper while headed for a different than normal route, going through Talking Rock, Georgia this time. In Talking Rock we took GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain were there was still some snow along the side of the road at the higher elevations. There was also a good bit of the gravel that GDOT had so generously spread on the road, especially in the curves on the mountain. There was enough that you could see it in the center of the lanes so we didn’t take the curves as “spirited” as we would’ve like to blow out some cobwebs. The plan was to head up through Dahlonega then up over Blood Mountain and have lunch in Blairsville before heading for home. Now here’s the advantage to a “Date Ride” with just the two of us. We changed our plans along the way while riding. We decided on lunch at Turner’s Corner Café in Cleveland and then heading for home.
During the ride, Donna said she was formulating an article in her head about the floorboards that she likes. I like the ear plugs so much that I recently got some E.A.R. Do It Yourself Custom Molded Ear Plugs. The jury is still out on the custom plugs. I had to raise the volume on the intercom to hear it and the GPS (and they were muffled) so they’re definitely quieter. But there seemed to be more wind noise. The other Etymotic plugs I had gotten are designed to block sound but let conversation be heard. I’ll have to try them both on a ride one day to compare them better.
It was a really great day for a “Date Ride”.
Until next time, Ride Safe.
Get your minds out of the gutter!
But on the BMWMOA flea market I bought Donna a pair of BMW floorboards for the K1200LT. Their was an owner who had sold his K1200LT and removed some accessories to sell separate from the motorcycle. Donna had floorboards on our Suzuki C50T Boulevard, one of those “Harley-A-Like” motorcycles. Since getting the K1200LT she has mentioned the idea of the floorboards a few times. You see, for some reason the BMW K1200LT was the only luxury touring motorcycle that came with footpegs instead of floorboards. BMW of course would sell them to you for a price they were very proud of. A company named Illium also makes passenger floorboards for the motorcycle but they’re smaller and if you want the adjustable ones (like the BMW ones are) instead of fixed, their price approaches the BMW boards. I got these used floorboards at a nice discount as they were used. The advantage of the BMW floorboards is that they are adjustable up and down (6 settings) without the use of tools, are larger and the entire foot surface is rubber.
I hope to be able to get Donna to write an article on the floorboards after she’s ridden with them.
When was the last time you saw a TV commercial here in the US for BMW Motorcycles? Think hard. Tonight on March 1, 2013 BMW Motorrad USA (motorcycles) kicks off a 4 month campaign of 4 different TV commercials. The campaign is named “Feed Your Restless” (hint: clicking that link will take you to the BMW Motorrad USA page with all 4 commercials). The commercials feature the three largest selling styles of BMW motorcycles, sport (featuring the S100RR), dual sport (GS series) and luxury sport touring (K1600GT & GTL). The fourth commercial combines all three but will be tagged to a BMW Motorcycles Dealer in each the TV market.
So go ahead, click that link and look. You know you want to.
When out on the road and even here on the blog we’ve been asked “Is that the “new” BMW?” We’d get asked this especially shortly before and after the release of BMW’s K1600 GT & GTL motorcycles. Our motorcycle is a 2002 BMW K1200LTE. That’s right, with the 2013 model year motorcycles being announced and even released that makes our motorcycle 11 model years old! The LT stands for “Luxury Touring” and the E is for the specific trim package of “Elite”. At the time BMW had different trim levels with options for the motorcycle, each adding a few more features. There was LT (Icon), LTC (Custom) and LTE (Elite).
I decided to offer a walk around of the things that were original on this motorcycle as it was delivered. Keep in mind that this is an eleven year old motorcycle. Some of the standard items are offered by other makes as an extra option, just as car makers do and some are just not available or are just now becoming available, like the power windshield. I did miss in the video that the trip computer is also controlled by a button on the on the right handlebar, the motorcycle originally had a 6 disc CD changer in the right side case (which I removed to get more room), I removed the CB radio in the “glove compartment” as it never really worked and wouldn’t anyway with our Bluetooth Scala Rider intercom and we have replaced the original GPS with a new one (how many cars came with GPS in 2002?). Oh, and not only did the intercom have the ability to use FM/FRS radio instead of CB, it also had an input for a cell phone cable and an external audio device (the manual specifically reads “such as a Sony DiscMan.”).
So here is our 2002 BMW K1200LTE, The Magic Carpet.