Every month the magazine of the BMW Motorcycles of America, BMW ON (BMW Owner’s News) runs a section of member submitted photographs. The section is called “Picture This”. The magazine releases a subject on the web site, member’s submit photos, photos are then selected and published 2 – 3 months later. The December issue’s subject is “Kickstand”. I had a picture that could’ve fit the description so I sent it in. Yesterday, the magazine came and there was my picture on page 17, picture number 13. I’d say it qualified as a kickstand picture!
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The BMWMOA has a list on their website of all the BMW motorcycle dealers in the United States. An enterprising member of the organization created a Point Of Interest (POI) file for Garmin GPS units along with directions for installing the file with Garmin’s POI Uploader available as a free download on Garmin’s web site. Of course you could enter each one from the list into your GPS address book or as a POI individually but that could be time-consuming. And, since someone else has already done it for us, why not use their work like they want us to? Since they are points of interest you merely open the POI file on your GPS and it then lists the dealers beginning with the one closest to your location then 2nd, 3rd, etc.. It’s a handy feature to have while on the road and even works with our lowly Garmin Zumo 220. Our old, original BMW Navigator came with this file pre-loaded as I think the current BMW Navigators do also. But, dealers change, move or close so it’s nice to be able to update the file.
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.
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.
That’s right, I now have a photograph published in a monthly, international magazine! Every month BMW Owner’s News, the monthly magazine for members of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (BMWMOA) has a section of member submitted photographs called “Picture This!” BMWMOA announces on its website what the theme is and members can submit photos for possible publication in the magazine. Most pictures try to merge motorcycling and the theme if at all possible. About two or three months ago, the theme was announced as being “Campfire” and I submitted a picture taken at the BMW Motorcycle Owners of Georgia (BMWMOGA) campfire on the first night of the Georgia Mountain Rally from 2011. The picture was taken with a 2.0 megapixel camera on an old HTC Ozone Windows Mobile smartphone of all things! That’s right, a cell phone photo. I took a chance and sent them the photo. Today, the July 2012 issue of BMW ON arrived in the mail and there it was; my photograph! The picture is on page 16 and is photograph and caption 12. Not bad luck for a snapshot taken with a cell phone.
A few months ago a fellow BMW MOA member, Mike had asked for suggestions on roads and places to stay while he and his girlfriend Wendy were planning their motorcycle vacation to Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was one of the members who chimed in with suggestions. A while back he emailed me and said that on part of the trip they would be in north Georgia and wondered if we’d like to show him some nice roads to ride before they headed on up to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in Robbinsville, NC that day. I was honored and accepted so we made plans. Those plans morphed. Donna had me call the Iron Horse to see if we could get reservations for two nights and we’d ride on up with Mike & Wendy. Mike and Wendy had quite the trip getting here which was chaotic and can be read about in its own blog entry here.
On Monday we headed up in the rain to meet Mike & Wendy in Blairsville, Georgia. Luckily the rain had pretty much stopped by the time we got to Jasper, Ga. We lead them on a nice ride that included curvy Georgia Highway 17 going south, along the head waters of the Chattahoochee River towards Helen from Brasstown Bald. We shot on over to US 129 and took it back towards Blairsville by heading up Blood Mountain with all its curves. I guess I picked the right roads judging from Mike’s comments! I also did something I had never done before. It’s not uncommon for me to scrape the side stand at times in a left turn, but that day I even scraped the left foot peg! Wow! If you look at some of the pictures of our motorcycle here you’ll see how high the pegs are and get an idea of how we were leaned over. We lunched in Blairsville before taking US 129 all the way to Robbinsville, NC and then on to the Iron Horse where the evening was spent around campfire. While at the Iron Horse you can camp in tent, bring your camper or motor home (but you better bring your motorcycles too), stay in a semi-private cabin room (with a shared bathroom) or in a private cabin room (with your own bathroom) like we did. I liked the cabin, especially since it rained that night! The video below was shot the next morning and you can hear the creek.
On Tuesday, Mike & Wendy had planned to ride some of the local roads including the Cherohala Skyway and the Tail of the Dragon. As this was their vacation we didn’t want to get in their way and wanted them to go off and have all the fun the roads would give them. We took it easy and chatted with some of the other motorcyclists there at the lodge before heading off to ride too. We had planned on riding to Franklin, NC and coming back on Wyah RD but we got a late start and did the tourist thing and road NC28 over to Deal’s Gap and rode The Tail Of The Dragon. Mike & Wendy however were off enjoying themselves and came back just in time for dinner! That was the plan, to have a great time.
On Wednesday morning it was time to say our goodbyes. Mike & Wendy packed up and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway where they’d stop in Blowing Rock for the night. Depending on the route home, the Iron Horse is only about 2 1/2 hours from home for us, so we enjoyed the morning before departing. While Mike had problems in the beginning of his trip, we experienced ours on the way home. Not far from home I noticed something “wet” on my J-pegs or highway pegs and wiped it off with my foot. It later reappeared only then I noticed it was slippery. Then I noticed the front brakes weren’t the “grabby” servo assisted type was used to but still had plenty of braking power. Our front brake line had developed a leak. Oh well, it looks some work in my future before we ride again.
All in all it was great to ride up and spend a few days with some new friends. I got to show off some roads here in Georgia. We all got to know each other over meals and lounging around at the Iron Horse and sitting around the campfire at night with other motorcyclists. I’ll tell you this though, while we were there, Harley Davidson and BMW were the dominant motorcycles with few of any other brand. There was literally a 50/50 mixture of Harley Davidson and BMW motorcycles and depending on the day, one only had a few more present than the other.
Yesterday we met Mike & Wendy in Blairsville. Mike is a fellow BMW MOA member who is from Missouri. He and Wendy are on a motorcycle vacation to the Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We took them on a nice ride of some twisty roads in north Georgia before having lunch and heading to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in Stecoah, NC. While on the ride in north Georgia, I even scraped my left foot peg! I’ll scrape the side stand in sharp left turns but this is the first time I got a foot peg on the K1200LT as they’re much higher on the bike.
This morning the K1200LT has a new K1600GTL parked next to it. There’s been a lot of people standing around the two and comparing them.
Well that’s enough for now, as I’m writing this on a smartphone and it’s time to ride. We’ll write more when we get home.
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Other motorcyclists may say “I’d ride a BMW if they had a dealer network like (insert your brand choice here) did in case I ran into trouble on the road.” True, BMW doesn’t have the dealer network that other motorcycles do but read on about the network that exists between owners and dealers.
Mike & Wendy, who we’re meeting on Monday while they’re travelling, had a mechanical problem in Memphis, TN earlier today. His shock had failed and was leaking on his 1985 K100RT. He said it was like riding a pogo stick when they’d hit a bump. He called to ask me if I could post a message for him on the message forum of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (BMW MOA) asking members to contact him if they could help out with ideas or suggestions on a repair or locating a replacement shock. I posted the message. I then checked the BMW Motorcycles web site for dealers near where he was. I found one in Memphis and after that the closest ones were in Nashville and Chattanooga. I called Mike back with the information and he had already called the dealer in Memphis with no luck. I then called my local dealer, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta to see if maybe they had a shock in stock for a 27-year-old motorcycle. Our plan was I would pick up the shock, they would detour on their trip and take smooth interstates to us, getting here tonight. Mike and I would then spend tomorrow putting the shock on. Here is where the impressive part starts. BMW of Atlanta checked and did not have the shock. But they didn’t stop there and checked the dealer network for inventory for it. Again they could not find the BMW OEM part in stock at a dealer in the U.S.. They asked if he’d be interested in a used part and gave some suggestions and phone numbers of shops that may have them. Wait, it gets better. When you join the BMW MOA you get something called the “Anonymous Book” which is a book that members can have themselves placed in to offer assistance to members. The book is listed by state, city and phone number only and then codes of the assistance you can offer. The assistance can range from meeting for coffee and conversation to major repairs. I called Mike with the news I had about the part. He had used his Anonymous Book and gotten in touch with a BMW MOA member who then contacted another member. The first member was coming with a trailer to take the bike to another member who was going to take the shock off his own motorcycle and put it on Mike’s! Yes that’s right, taking the shock off his own motorcycle to put it on someone’s he’d never met so that they could get back on the road! I’m not saying that owning a BMW Motorcycle is better than owning any other motorcycle. I’m not saying that being a member of the BMW MOA is better than being a member of another motorcycle organization. In fact, I’d hope that other organizations would help in any way they could too.
Mike called later and said that in about 45 minutes they’d be back on the road. From the time of his first phone call to me to getting the shock and getting on the road was only about 2 1/2 hours!
I will never consider NOT renewing membership in the BMW MOA.
A few months ago, another member of the BMWMOA started asking on the BMWMOA forum about routes, roads and places to stay on a trip he was planning to take this spring in the southeast and on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I offered some lodging suggestions and some roads to try out. He liked some of the suggestions that others and myself gave to him.
One of their stops is going to be Blairsville, GA and he messaged me and asked if we’d like to come ride with them for while before they headed up to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in Robbinsville, NC. Well we of course said yes! It’s a great chance to show off some our fantastic motorcycling roads here in north Georgia. I’ve spent a few days looking at routes and planning a ride we could take before sending them on up to the Iron Horse. We’re really looking forward to it.
Donna is off the week they’ll be coming through. We had been thinking of taking a short one or two night trip somewhere later in the week already. Then last night Donna says “Since we were looking for a place to go anyway, why don’t you call the Iron Horse tomorrow and see if we can get a room reservation?” You see the Iron Horse is a motorcycle lodge and campground but we’re not campers so we get a cabin/room. Today I did just that and we’ll be showing Mike & Wendy the way up to the Iron Horse! I think this will be really fun! And then to add to it, other friends of ours from the BMWMOGA will already be up there at the Iron Horse but leaving the day we arrive. However because of some construction at their home they may extend their stay now!
The BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (BMWMOA) is celebrating its 40 anniversary in 2012. The BMWMOA was officially started by a few owners in Chicago, IL in 1972 when BMW Motorcycles were a rare sight on the roads. I count myself in the membership, being member #168990. Happy Birthday BMWMOA!