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.
Earlier in the week I wrote a post about the curvy road feature in Garmin’s Basecamp software for planning routes and transferring them to your GPS. I said I’d play with it a bit and see how it went. Well, I haven’t ridden a route planned with it yet but I have let the software work its magic. I gave it a Point A to Point B route from Jasper, GA to Blairsville, GA. I let it use the shortest route and then the curvy roads option. The shortest route came in at 58.4 miles and an estimated trip time of 59 minutes. The route is all on Georgia Highway 515/US 76 and it’s on a 4 lane highway with a grass median between the opposing lanes. But, it is a nice ride if you’re in a hurry. The curvy route was 75.8 miles and had an estimated time of 1 hour and 59 minutes to complete. The curvy route takes twice as long to complete but sure does look a lot more fun. I can attest that some parts of the curvy route are even curvier than the map lets on.
The shortest route selected by BaseCamp.
The curvy route selected by BaseCamp.
Our Garmin Zumo 220 GPS shipped with MapSource as the routing software to accompany it. Garmin has since abandoned MapSource and began using its own software, BaseCamp, which is available for free as a download. The idea with BaseCamp (and was with MapSource) was that you could create a trip or a route on your computer, transfer it to your GPS and then load the route on your GPS and follow it. It is nice to do. By default BaseCamp checks for updates every time you load it. In BaseCamp you set options for profiles such as motorcycling, driving, hiking, etc.. With the options for each setting you can set the profile to not route you on things such as toll roads, dirt roads, avoid u-turns, highways and many more things. I noticed a feature in the motorcycle profile that I don’t know if it’s new or I’ve been missing it all this time. It’s a “curvy roads” routing feature. That’s right, curvy roads for a motorcycle! Who would’ve thought that motorcycles would like curvy roads? Well it’s an option I’m going to start playing with and see what results I get.
The curvy roads options in the motorcycling profile.
I rode back home from Florida today. Not long after I got on Interstate 95 I was presented with two examples of “biker or motorcyclist”. A biker can ride any kind of motorcycle and so can a motorcyclist so this has nothing to do with what kind of motorcycles they ride. In fact, today both the biker and the motorcyclist were on the same make of motorcycle.
Biker: I was in the center lane and could see a motorcycle slowly coming up in the left lane. As he pulled alongside I noticed right away it was one of the Harley Davidson Hard Candy Customs and had the bobbed rear end, forward controls and mini ape bars. It was actually a gorgeous motorcycle. The rider had on a “pudding bowl” helmet and his feet splayed out. He just had a look that made me think I’d smell his cologne as he passed by. I gave him a wave and he looked over, didn’t wave or acknowledge in any other way than looking. Then he opened up his throttle and pulled away, apparently wanting to let me know that he was a member of the Volusia County Loud Pipes Riding Club. Oh the bars or poker runs that bike has been too!
Motorcyclist: It was less than 10 minutes later another motorcycle slowly came up in the left lane. The rider of this motorcycle had on one of those “Captain America” helmets and a worn leather jacket. The bike was an older Harley Davidson Electra Glide. This motorcycle had been ridden hard and put up wet many times. You could tell this motorcycle had some miles on it. It looked worn but not abused. It had what looked like a sleeping bag and other luggage lashed to the back seat between its rider and a king tour pack that looked like it was on crooked. Then it happened. As we rode along side by side for just a few seconds, we both waved at each other at the same time and he nodded his head at me. He slowly kept pulling away, maintaining his speed. Oh the stories from the road and travels that Electra Glide could likely tell.
Today was oil change day for the Magic Carpet. It’s a little early but I’ll be headed out on the road to my Dad’s and it’ll come up due on the trip so I got it out-of-the-way before the trip. Today was the “easy” oil change in that it was just the motor oil. I still have to lay on the floor to do it though!
We also decided to get the Lifetime Map Updates for the Garmin Zumo 220 GPS. We got the GPS in September of 2011 and haven’t updated the maps since using the one free update from Garmin within 30 days of the purchase. We figured roads don’t really change all that much but it was time. Garmin offers a one time update for $49.99 or the lifetime updates for $89.00 so it really does make sense to get the lifetime updates. I had heard that Amazon has the lifetime update for less than Garmin. I found the lifetime update sold by Amazon for $58.03! You can guess where we got it from. The map is updating now as I type this.
The Magic Carpet should also reach 75,000 miles on the odometer this weekend while I’m headed to my Dad’s in Florida.
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.
BMW Motorcycle dealer POI listing.
I’m back home from the earlier solo ride down to Florida this week. We’ll both be going back down again next week, this time for Mom’s memorial service. But, we’ll probably take the car as “nice” clothes travel better in a car.
In the post earlier this week I said that I took a different route this time. I used I-75 from metro Atlanta to I-475 (to go around Macon, GA) and then I-75 again all the way down to Ocala, Florida. Once in Ocala, I took Florida HWY 40 across to Ormond Beach and then took I-95 for a few miles to my destination. The GPS said that this route was 477 miles, took 7 hours and 35 minutes of time in motion and a total of 8 hours and 13 minutes that the GPS was on. The GPS comes on with the motorcycle and turns off 30 seconds after the motorcycle is turned off. This route took me through the Ocala National Forest. I saw bear crossing signs and in a whole section of the forest, the trees all leaned to west from the prevailing winds blowing in from the east coast of Florida. It was definitely more leisurely than the normal interstate highway route. I didn’t hear any banjo music while cutting across Florida. I’ll be adding this ride to the GPS Files page this weekend.
Normally when we go down to Florida, we’ll take I-75 from metro Atlanta to I-475 (to go around Macon, GA) and then back on I-75 until we get to I-10 East where we head for I-295 (to go around Jacksonville, FL) and then take I-95 South to our destination. The trip home merely reverses the route. Yes, this route is all interstate highway but gets us there in a day. According to the GPS the return trip home was 478 miles, took 7 hours and 38 minutes of time in motion and 7 hours and 59 minutes that the GPS was on.
What did I learn about the routes? The route cutting across on FL HWY 40 was actually a mile shorter but sure didn’t look that way on a map. The normal, all interstate highway route took a total of 3 minutes longer as I had run into slow traffic when I got to Atlanta. The route using Ocala FL HWY 40 was 1 hour and 14 minutes longer, probably because of the traffic lights and a few stops in traffic on the morning I left.
I also noticed a few things on this trip or had a few things happen:
- I got hit on the left knee by a chunk of tire when someone in front of me ran over a piece of tire retread in the road. The chunk that hit me was about the size of a golf ball and hit me while I travelling just over 70 mph. While it hit the knee armor , I surely felt it. I cringe at how it would’ve felt if I was wearing riding pants with armor, or even worse, shorts.
- At gas stop at a “Travel Plaza” (they attract all motorists by not using the term Truck Stop) 2 tour busses pulled up one behind the other to unload the high school kids from Iowa on them. But they wanted to be right at the door and blocked about 15 cars of customers from leaving until they were finished. Someone from the Travel Plaza came out and told them they needed to move to the area posted for “Truck, RV and Bus Parking”. So much for professional drivers.
- At 2 gas stops and the Florida Welcome Center I had strangers walk up and start talking about motorcycling and asking questions about The Magic Carpet. You don’t have that happen when travelling by car in your Ford Taurus or Chevy Impala.
- While in southern Georgia near the state line I passed a car that had a laptop propped up on the dashboard and angled so the driver could see it! I had hoped she wasn’t watching a movie. She pulled into the Florida Welcome Center shortly after I did and parked just one space away. Guess what? She was watching a movie while driving at 70 mph.
- On the way home today I was passed by a Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra in Florida whose rider was wearing a full face helmet, armored riding pants and an hi-vis orange Harley Davidson mesh jacket. He was definitely dressed more like an armadillo than a pirate!
Until next time, Ride Safe.
As I’ve posted before, I don’t like solo trips, I really like having Donna sitting behind me. Last week I thought I was going to make a solo trip to come to Florida to see my Mom in hospice for leukemia. But things took a turn and we both ended up coming down a day early at night. Mom lost her battle with leukemia last Thursday night.
Yesterday I did ride down solo to come help my Dad out with a few things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this trip by car or motorcycle. This time though a friend suggested a different route. I came all the way to just about Ocala, FL to take FL Highway 40 east across to Ormond Beach. This route took me past Silver Springs and through the Ocala National Forest. According to MapSource the route was two miles shorter and 12 minutes longer than the regular all interstate way (but I think it was much more than 12 minutes longer). According to the GPS, the trip was 477 miles and took 7 hours and 35 minutes of time moving. The trip was longer with stops. I’ll write a more normal entry when I get back home. I figured I’d try making this entry with the WordPress for Windows Phone app. Continue reading
We’ve added a new page to the blog! It’s a page that contains some of the rides we’ve taken and they’re in GPS format so that you can download them if you like. You can download them even if you just want a closer look at the route! The files are in GPX (GPS exchange) format to make them compatible with as many GPS units as possible. You find the page by clicking on the tab for “GPS File” in the menu above and to the right or you can just follow this link.
When we bought our GPS, a Garmin Zumo 220, it included Garmin’s mapping software MapSource on a DVD-ROM. Using MapSource you could create routes on your computer and then transfer them to the GPS or the MicroSD card in the GPS. It’s really a handy thing to do and I was used to it because our old GPS, a BMW NAV I (actually a Garmin Street Pilot III) used it also and I was already used to it. Like any software there was a learning curve. When we got the GPS we updated the maps as suggested and both MapSource and the GPS then had the same maps. Garmin has started using software that’s a free download called BaseCamp to replace MapSource which they were phasing out. You see, MapSource was included free only with certain GPS units but you could always buy if from Garmin for a price that they were very proud of. But BaseCamp is a free download and is said to work with any Garmin GPS that you can attach to your computer via a USB cable. I decided to download it and try it out. Again there was a learning curve but using the tutorials on the Garmin web site I learned to use it and like it. Your routes were now in collections or lists (lists were in a collection) and I could never find where they were kept on my computer, unlike the GDB or GPX files that MapSource would create. In fact I was using BaseCamp as my sole mapping software after our installation of the Windows 8 Beta and final release. BaseCamp would use the maps installed on the GPS create routes if the GPS was connected to the computer. If the GPS was not connected to the computer, you’d get a very basic map. A while back, BaseCamp decided that it didn’t want to transfer routes to the MicroSD in the GPS anymore or to the GPS. Garmin’s first attempt at trouble shooting was to blame it on Windows 8. So I re-installed MapSource and the map in the GPS to my computer. They each have their advantages and disadvantages but I sure did miss MapSource!
Advantages of BaseCamp
- It’s free and you can install it on as many computers as you like.
- Because it will use the maps installed on the GPS you can use it on any computer you wish, without having to install the maps to the computer.
- You can see all your “Collections” and “Lists” in one place.
- Easy to transfer routes to GPS (although mine stopped doing that).
- You can set it for different activities such as hiking, motorcycling, driving.
Disadvantages of BaseCamp
- It can be cumbersome to use.
- It tends to show all your lists (routes) unless you delete them or hide them
- It tended to use a business on a corner as a waypoint instead of the intersection.
- To use the same maps as the GPS, the GPS needed to be connected to the computer (although after an installation of the maps for MapSource use that’s no longer required)
Advantages of MapSource
- It’s definitely more polished.
- Will easily save routes as a GPX (GPS exchange for other GPS units) or GDB (Garmin Data Base) to your hard drive or any folder of your choosing.
- Easy to transfer routes & more to your GPS when connected to computer.
- GPS does not need to be connected to computer to create routes using the same maps as in the GPS.
- GPS need only be connected to computer to transfer data back and forth.
Disadvantages of MapSource
- Only included with certain GPS units.
- Is not free if it did not come with your GPS.
- Software and maps take up quite a bit of room on your hard drive.
- Since it’s commercial software you’re only to install it on a single computer.
Below are pictures of both MapSource and BaseCamp showing the same location at the same zoom factor (0.5 mile) and same detail level using the default setting without the GPS attached to the computer.
MapSource without GPS connected to computer.
BaseCamp without GPS connected to computer.