We took a short vacation on the motorcycle that took us through three states and through one of the states three times. We left Georgia for our first destination in South Carolina where we stayed for two days. Then we left South Carolina going through Georgia to head for our next destination in Florida for a few days. Then we finally left Florida to head back into Georgia. This time the Magic Carpet was our transportation to our destinations. Once we arrived there were no plans to ride anywhere. The bike got us from to each point on the leg. At least it’s more fun than a car!
On the first day we left home in Georgia for our first stop in Beaufort, SC in the Low Country. About half our ride was along Interstate 20 East heading from the Atlanta, GA area to the Augusta, GA area. The forecast called for a distinct chance of rain showers for that part of the route but we were very lucky to get just a few drops of rain on the windshield a couple of times. It did look ominous for a while when the sky ahead turned dark and cars approaching on the other side of the highway all had their headlights on but somehow we dodged the rain. The temperature stayed in the mid 50′s° (F) the entire day, forcing us to keep the liners in our jackets. After lunch in Augusta it was just a short hop over the border into South Carolina to get off the highway in North Augusta, South Carolina. We were now ready to head south-east on SC HWY 125 which is also known as Atomic RD. You see, SC125 goes through part of the Savannah River Plant. The Savannah River Plant is a nuclear plant but it’s purpose is not power generation but making things that go BOOM. The stretch of SC 125 that meanders through part of the plant is a two lane stretch of about 25-30 miles through forest and has no intersections. There are a few plant entrances but no intersections. While we didn’t see any 8 foot tall grasshoppers we did see a few streams with warning signs that said “Caution: Stream Temperature May Change Rapidly”. The fence lining the highway had the nice government “No Trespassing” signs. There were plenty of signs telling us not to stop except for an emergency. I found it amusing to see a sign about a historical marker a half mile ahead and sign under it commanding “No Stopping”. After the plant it was time to head for US HWY 278 and some of the small rural towns of South Carolina. It wasn’t long before Interstate 95 came into view but we were going to go under it and keep going. As we got deeper in the Low Country we could notice small fields of water and marshes along the road. Even while still a good distance inland, these marshes were controlled by the tides. It was also starting to get very windy while the sky was clearing. Live oaks with Spanish Moss began to form a canopy over the road. It wasn’t long before we were in Beaufort and checking in at the Best Western Sea Island Inn on Bay ST. Beaufort is a low country town very near the coast and is situated nearly equally from Charleston, SC as it is from Savannah, GA. It is also the county seat for Beaufort County. The town is loaded with ante-bellum homes built in the mid 1800′s. If you want to buy one, a small one could start at $750,000. We’ve learned that Beaufort was also an area were freed slaves were allowed to settle before the Civil War. The freed slaves could own businesses, buy property and had their own bank and churches. If you consider that this was South Carolina before the Civil War it was actually pretty amazing. The Magic Carpet stayed parked and resting during our two-day stay. Everything we wanted to do or see was right along Bay ST and a short walking distance. The hotel has 5 of its rooms overlooking Bay ST. Our door opened to a view through the trees of the Beaufort River and the downtown city marina.
After two days in Beaufort it was time to pack the motorcycle and head for our next destination in Port Orange, FL near Daytona Beach where we’d be visiting my Dad. I had planned a route that would take us in a south-west direction on state highways before we reached Interstate 95 which we would be using this time. Although we did get some nice scenery on the two lane highway in the low country and crossed the Broad River. It was still quite windy too. There were quite a few times that our heads got tossed around by wind and even began activating the VOX on the intercom. We stopped for gas just north of Brunswick, GA and were also able to take the liners out of our jackets. From there is was all interstate on I-95 into Florida, through Jacksonville and on into Daytona Beach and Port Orange. On both our ride to Beaufort and to Florida it was nice that we could get a late start in the morning and be at our destinations in the mid afternoon. It’s a good thing we didn’t plan on any sight-seeing or riding or riding while in Florida as one day was high winds and rain. But we spent time with my Dad and helped him out with a few things.
After a few days in Florida it was time to head back north and in the direction of home. Donna had once again decided that since we would be on the boring highway that she wanted to stop for the night somewhere in south Georgia and then finish the journey home the next day. It also gave me the chance to take her on different route home that she hadn’t ridden on before. I took us up to Ormond Beach where we then used FL HWY 40 to head west to the middle of the state and got on Interstate 75 near Ocala, FL. FL HWY 40 is nice mostly 2 lane highway going through the Osceola National Forest. Our normal trip home would be I-95 to I-295 to I-10 and then I-75 into Georgia and all the way home. The trip on FL HWY 40 takes us up I-95 a very short distance and FL 40 to Ocala and then I-75 all the way home. The mileage of the two routes are nearly identical and the route on FL 40 is about 15 minutes longer but worth every minute of it. Somewhere north of Ocala the odometer on the Magic Carpet rolled over to 80,000 miles too! Again we were dealing with wind strong enough to toss our heads and loud enough to activate the VOX on the intercom. We headed up to our stop in Tifton, Georgia for the night. Although we picked the hotel for its close proximity to being able to walk to any number of restaurants we decided to stay in the room and order pizza to be delivered!
Tifton is nearly the half way point for us. So we could once again get a late start in the morning. It also gave us a chance to let the sun warm the day up. Another advantage of Donna’s idea is that it guarantees that we should miss rush hour traffic while going through or around Atlanta. Her way also got us home at just after 1:30 in the afternoon.
The Magic Carpet now sits in the garage with more than 80,000 miles on her odometer and she’s ready to go out again!
Lady’s Island bridge seen from the residential end of Bay ST in Beaufort, SC.
Restaurant sign in Port Orange, FL. Unfortunately is was in the back corner near the dumpster.
Lady’s Island bridge seen from battery park.
Marsh view preserved by…….
View of the marsh from a dead end street in Beaufort, SC.
You can look right through to the Beaufort River.
Beaufort River bridge to Lady’s Island from the downtown battery park.
Downtown Beaufort, SC on Bay ST.
Sign at Boondock’s in Wilbur By The Sea, FL.
View from our hotel room door overlooking the downtown marina and river.
There are three separate oil changes that periodically need to be performed on a BMW K1200LT. There’s motor oil, transmission oil and final drive oil. The motor oil service recommendation is every 6,000 miles with 20W50 while the transmission and final drive recommendations are every 12,000 miles with 90 weight GL5 gear oil. So guess what? I figured out some time ago that every other oil change all three oils get changed and today was one of those days. The motor oil and the final drive oil are a snap to do. But I hate doing the transmission oil. It’s just that it’s a pain to do with parts to remove and hard to get to. You usually end up getting the old oil on the floor because you can put the pan under it and have to fashion some sort of funnel. Mind you, BMW probably sells a nice, expensive part just to do this. Today I was prepared and put a very large piece of cardboard under the motorcycle and then put it up on the center stand. I fashioned a funnel out of one my empty oil bottles lengthwise and about ½” tall so that it was flexible enough to bend and thin enough to be able to reach the recessed drain bolt. This time it worked like a charm and I even get very little oil on the cardboard!
The motor oil would’ve been due during our upcoming trip and looking back on the mileage, the final drive and transmission probably right after the trip. But I may as well get all of my laying on the garage floor done in one day and keep with the every other change philosophy. I found no metal flakes on the magnetic drain plug for the final drive and only the dark sludge that’s expected. The magnet on the transmission drain plug also had no metal flakes or shavings (even though the manual says a few are acceptable), again another thing good sign. The gear oils were both still a dark golden color this time, yet another good sign.
Another service date out of the way!
Two things always bring up debate between motorcyclists and they are tires and oil.
It was time for a new rear tire on the Magic Carpet. My tire of choice for it is the Bridgestone BT020 Battleax (with the proper load rating of 79V for the K1200LT). So once again it was time to call Ken’s Motorcycle Tires in Woodstock, Georgia. I don’t even shop around anymore. Ken usually comes pretty close to meeting any online prices and with the mounting discount on tires purchased from him along with the great personal service, you can’t beat it. Here’s a prime example:
- I called Tuesday and ordered the tire (he normally doesn’t have tires in his small shop for a BMW K1200LT) and was quoted a price of $151.14 for the tire. Because the rear wheel is so easy to remove on the K1200LT I was going to bring just the wheel in and was quoted a price of $10.00 to mount the tire. Yes, $10.00. Mounting when bringing in the motorcycle is approximately $40.00. The tax and fees pushed it to a whopping $14.81.
- On Wednesday they called that the tire was in and to set my appointment to have it mounted.
- On Thursday morning I went and had the tire installed. It took all of less than 15 minutes!
- Just out of curiosity when I got home, I checked 2 online retailers who normally have good tire prices and they did, $164.00 at one and $153.00 at the other. This was for the same tire. Ken charges significantly more to mount tires that are not purchased from him.
We put 14,674 miles on the Bridgestone that was just replaced. I knew there were some miles left on it but with an upcoming trip I figured it better to replace the tire now when I could instead of when I had to. Ken said there was maybe “1,000 to 1,500 miles left on it” but agreed riding local is one thing and on a long trip is another. Our trip looks to be about 1,100 miles at minimum and that’s just to the destinations with no extra riding. I think it was a wise choice to change it now. I mean what if I put another 4oo miles on it before the trip. Maybe we’ll see about breaking in the new tire this weekend.
When we replaced our cruiser style motorcycle and bought our BMW K1200LT we did it to travel and take trips. Sure it’s comfortable to ride on all day. We’ve taken numerous trip to Florida, a number of overnight or weekend trips to North Carolina and we’ve ridden the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s time to ride somewhere again.
We had already planned on riding down to Florida to visit my Dad after Bike Week in Daytona Beach had come and gone. Donna started looking for places to go, either on the way to my Dad’s or on the way home. Thoughts she came up with were Bush Gardens in Tampa, one of the Disney resorts or St. Augustine. Then she came up with a possible winner, Beaufort, South Carolina. We’d been to Beaufort a few times, our first right after we got married. Beaufort is a nice small southern town on the water. We’ve never ridden through the South Carolina Low Country. The last time we went to Beaufort we flew there in a Cessna 172XP Hawk. This time we’ll ride. Of course we could take the fastest way, using the interstate, taking I-75 to I-16 and then I-95. But that’s boring and believe me, that stretch of I-16 is extra boring! I’m already looking at a route out I-20 to Augusta then it’s all US and state highways the rest of the way in South Carolina going through towns such as Allendale, Fairfax, Hampton and Yemassee before getting to Beaufort. This more scenic route is only a half hour longer and well worth it. So it looks like a trip to the Low Country is in order before heading for Florida. We’ll have to have Frogmore Stew (also know as Low Country Boil) while we’re there.
The last time we went to Beaufort this is how we arrived.
We couldn’t order enough Christmas cards for everyone on the internet so some of you will have to settle for the electronic version of this year’s Christmas card. Donna and I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year. May your rides in the coming year take you to new and fun places and even familiar ones, safely. Enjoy the holiday season and the coming year!
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!
Our kickstand photo submission to BMW ON. Ours is picture number 13.
Tags: BMW, bmwmoa, K1200LT
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.
Yesterday I left for a solo trip to the Daytona Beach area of Florida to visit my Dad and help him out with a few house projects. It was a brisk 27 degrees (F) when I left home in Acworth, Georgia and headed for Florida. The heated seat and the heated grips got a real workout on this trip. It never warmed any higher than the mid 30′s until I stopped for breakfast in Forsyth, Georgia. After breakfast though it was a balmy 45 degrees as I continued south. When I stopped for gas in Tifton, Georgia I shed a layer of clothing and even switched to unlined leather gloves (but still enjoyed the heated hand grips). I pulled in at the Florida Welcome Center and even removed the insulated liner of my jacket then. It was Florida after all! It had also warmed into the mid 60′s. But I did leave my long johns on. Once I left the Welcome Center, the winds picked up and got gusty too. Between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach I found a rain shower or two. Not enough to wet the road, but enough to wet the windshield. By the time I had reached Daytona Beach it had warmed to 72 degrees! I’ll be here for a few days before heading back home to Donna.
It wasn’t so much the cold that was the problem because I had dressed for it. It was the traffic getting Atlanta! I thought I had left early enough to get ahead of most of the traffic, especially since to Atlanta I was taking a route I had commuted on for many years. Boy was I wrong. A few minor interstate highway “incidents” made it difficult. It took me an hour and half to get to the exit where I used to get off at to go to work. In rush hour, it used to take an hour or less to get all the way to the office. In fact if there is no traffic, my planned breakfast stop in Forsyth, Georgia is just over an hour and half from the house. I’m glad I no longer have to make that drive everyday!
It was a chilly ride to Florida!
Really, have you ever really heard your motorcycle? Usually there are too many other sounds like traffic or the wind rushing around your helmet to property hear your motorcycle. Here’s what a BMW K1200LT, like ours, sounds like. The YouTube video is courtesy of German rider on his K1200LT when he mounted a microphone under the seat and out of the wind while recording this video. I love the way the engine “growls” and sounds like a sports car, especially at about one minute and eleven seconds as he’s getting on the autobahn. Look at his tachometer on the right too. The engine doesn’t red line until 8,000 rpm! Enjoy it, we do!
Tags: BMW, K1200LT
A while back, I helped a friend do the 12,000 mile service on his BMW K1200LT. When I got home I found that I had his 14mm allen socket in with my tools. I needed to get it to him. What a great excuse to meet him and go for a ride! And since it was Wednesday why not call it a Hump Day ride?
Mike and I met this morning at the Dunkin Donuts in Woodstock, GA to have a ride to lunch. We rode under a cloudless, blue sky with temperatures in the mid sixties (F). It did cool to the upper fifties (F) as we rode over Burnt Mountain on GA HWY 136 but it’s always cooler up there. Here in northern Georgia we’re seeing the leaves beginning to change to brown and red and even yellow in some areas. At times leaves were falling like they were snowflakes. For lunch we stopped in at Bigun’s Barbeque in Talking Rock, GA before we headed for home.
The view we get every time we return home.
A pair of K1200LTs at lunch.
What day is it? Why it’s Hump Day!