Posts Tagged With: K1200LT

Near Disaster At Biketoberfest

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.

Categories: Maintenance & Repair, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Cool Picture From This Week’s Ride

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.

Would you like to see the underbelly of my motorcycle?

Would you like to see the underbelly of my motorcycle?

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

2 Men, 2 Motorcycles and 360 Miles

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.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

She’s Definitley “A Keeper”

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!

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Finally, A Nice Long Ride Together

It seems like forever since Donna and I rode together.  Between her job, a stretch of either hot weather or rain and just life in general it seemed like ages since we rode.  In fact the last time we rode was when we went to Maggie Valley, NC back in July.  The other day Donna asked “What’s the weather like for Sunday?  I need a ride and I want to go to Turner’s Corner for lunch.”  We decided that there would be no errands, no chores and if anyone wanted us for anything that wasn’t a bona-fide emergency they’d just have to wait.  With an approaching cold front the forecast kept going back and forth with the forecast for rain.  It’s no fun riding in the rain and this ride was supposed to be fun. On Friday the forecast was improving and then on Saturday it was improving more (although we had already made our decision to ride).  I knew we would ride, no matter what the weather brought when Donna told me to pack her rain pants.

When we left in the morning I did just as requested and headed up to Turner’s Corner Café that sits on the corner of US HWY 19 and US HWY 129.  The Cafe’s true address is even 10 Turner’s Corner RD!  On the way up one of the first things we noticed was that there weren’t many motorcycles on the road with us as we got closer to the north Georgia mountains.  It must have been the gray clouds and temperatures in the upper 60’s in the morning!  Granted the clouds did look like they could rain on us and in fact they did, quite a few times, but never more than enough to just wet the windshield.  Some of the hill and mountain tops were shrouded in fog and clouds.  We took a pretty standard route for us to get to lunch, heading up I-575 until it became GA HWY 515 (to make up time) then GA HWY 53 to Dawsonville, GA HWY 9 on up to Dahlonega and then US HWY 19 to the restaurant.  Along the way near Marble Hill, Donna saw a baptism going on in a creek.  It is a nice curvy ride up there.  Now when I say a US Highway don’t think a multi-lane highway.  These are 2 lane roads in the mountains (Appalachian version of mountains) that are US Highways.  We had a great lunch out on the deck overlooking the river.  We nearly had the deck to ourselves!  Again, it must’ve been those gray skies that looked like rain.  There weren’t even many motorcycles heading up and down Blood Mountain.  I had planned us two rides for after lunch and both started and ended at Turner’s Corner.  I was in luck because Donna picked the long ride!

We headed south for a short distance towards Cleveland, GA but made the turn onto GA HWY 75 ALT (NOT interstate 75) and took it to its other end at GA HWY 17 just north of Helen.  We headed north on GA HWY 17 towards Hiawassee taking the nice twisting and curving part along the way.  We like to use more than just the center portion of the tires!  Once HWY 17 dead ended at GA HWY 76 in Hiawassee we made the right turn towards Clayton.  Before getting to Clayton though we turned right on GA HWY 197 for its twists and curves along Lake Burton before making our next right turn in Batesville onto GA HWY 356 passing through Unicoi State Park.  We ended back at GA HWY 17 just outside of Helen again before heading back past Turner’s Corner and heading back for home.  This whole ride today was all in Georgia but there’s a stretch along GA HWY 76 where you look into North Carolina.

We filled up with gas when we started in the morning and we put 248 miles on that tank of gas today with gas to spare!  Just before we got home the Magic Carpet’s odometer passed 84,000 miles.  But those aren’t the best things about today.  The best part was doing them with Donna sitting behind me on the motorcycle.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

How Our Motorcycle Got Named “The Magic Carpet”

Boats get names.  Fighter pilots name their airplanes.  Babies get names.  Pets get names.  But I never really thought about naming a motorcycle.  But once we bought our BMW K1200LT I noticed on some of the BMW message boards that the motorcycles had names.  When we had out Suzuki C50T Boulevard we merely just referred to it as the “The motorcycle” or “The Boulevard”.  That seemed simple enough.  But BMW riders were naming their motorcycles and I’m sure they’re not the only ones who do it.  We were trying to come up with names.  “The Big Green Machine” was out, but “The Big German Lady” was a possibility.  It was harder than you think to come up with a name.  Did we want to come up with a name and then translate it into German?

Then one early one brisk morning we were headed up the road to meet some friends to go riding.  We had the stereo, yes a radio station, playing in that nice BMW intercom.  It was a classic rock station that we were listening to.  Then Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” began playing.  My head was moving with the music (luck for Donna I wasn’t singing) and we decided right then that we’d name our BMW K1200LT “The Magic Carpet”.  For some reason it just fit and has been that way ever since.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

So How Did I End Up Riding A BMW?

It’s a question I get asked all the time.  Why did you get a BMW?  Sometimes the question is “How come you didn’t buy a Harley?”  Well first off there has yet to be a manufacturer that is able to make a motorcycle that suits every rider.  And news flash, while Harley Davidson makes a very good motorcycle they are not the only company building motorcycles.

So here’s how I ended up with a BMW K1200LTE.  In 2006 I wanted to get back into motorcycling.  Like many motorcyclists there had been a break in riding in my life.  Did I set out to buy a BMW?  No I didn’t.  Donna was on board with it.  Donna had never ridden for any length of time on a motorcycle.  She wanted to try but wasn’t sure how she’d like it.  So between the 2 of us some guidelines were set.  We wouldn’t spend a ton of money, it would have some luggage capacity, have a windshield and Donna wanted a passenger back rest.  We decided on a 2006 Suzuki Boulevard C50T in phantom gray.  It was a water-cooled, shaft drive V-Twin motorcycle.  The “50” designated a 50 cubic inch engine which roughly converts to an 820cc engine.  Because it was the “T” model it came with a windshield, hard leather saddlebags and nice big back rest.  In the Suzuki lineup T meant touring.  This motorcycle was basically a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic with a smaller engine and made in Japan.  It was a good, durable and surprisingly strong motorcycle.  Well, Donna literally took to riding like a duck takes to water.  If I backed the motorcycle out of the garage for anything, she was there with her helmet.  We would go on day rides and even weekend overnight trips on the motorcycle.  Then in 2007 we rode that C50T from home in north Georgia to Bike Week in Daytona  Beach!  We intentionally made the trip down in 2 days even though it is an 8 hour trip for us.  But on that trip we also avoided the interstate as much as possible.  It wasn’t long before we were both longing for a real touring motorcycle because no matter what Suzuki said, the C50T and its big brother the C90T were not really touring motorcycles.  The search began for a true touring motorcycle.

Donna with the C50T in Flagler Beach, FL on our way to Bike Week in 2007.

Donna with the C50T in Flagler Beach, FL on our way to Bike Week in 2007.

In early 2008 we had narrowed our search to the Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Honda Goldwing, Yamaha Royal Star Venture, Victory Vision, BMW K1200LT and a used BMW R1200CL.  I had no specific brand in mind.  An interesting note about BMW was that I didn’t consider them the first time around because I remembered black motorcycles with ugly bags being “old man” motorcycles.  But riding again exposed me to newer BMW motorcycles.  If I had looked at them in 2006 we probably would’ve ended up with an R1200R instead of the Suzuki.  But let’s get back to the search.  A later entrant into the search was the BMW R1200RT.  In the late summer and early fall of 2008 we began searching in earnest and things were lining up.  The Honda and the Yamaha were taken off the list pretty quick because we couldn’t find a dealer anywhere near us that would allow a test ride.  We weren’t spending that kind of money on a motorcycle and not being able to test ride it.  We even had a Honda dealer tell us that we wouldn’t need one and that under the law we had 3 business days after the sale to change our mind anyway and that could be our test ride.  That left Harley Davidson, Victory and BMW; all 3 of which by the way not only allowed test rides but encouraged them.  The next motorcycle to drop off the list was the Victory Vision.  The reason the Victory was dropped was a simple statement from Donna: “It looks cool now.  But will we think that in 2 years?”  The R1200RT was the next to drop off the list because Donna thought that the way the seat looked, it looked like it would make her slide forward.  I had to agree with her and after all she would not be an occasional passenger but a nearly all the time passenger.  No I don’t want to hear that we could buy another seat, we already did that with the Suzuki.  We test rode an Ultra Classic.  It was about 1:oo PM and I asked how long a test ride we could take.  I was told “We close at 6.”  The Ultra was one nice motorcycle and could be very comfortable and eat up the miles.  The next ride was a used BMW R1200CL at BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta.  Donna really wasn’t pleased with the look of the motorcycle and it’s “bat wing” fairing like the Ultra Classic and even said from the side it looked like an ant the way it was segmented.  I then went on a test ride on a BMW K1200LT by myself.  One word: WOW!  Since I was a police officer, I qualified to purchase a Peace Officer Special Edition Ultra Classic at a very significant discount from Harley Davidson.  No, it’s not a police motorcycle but an Ultra Classic with Peace Officer “badging”, blue pin-striping and limited colors.  We priced one out in preparation to order because you had to order them from the factory.  Then one day we saw a used 2002 BMW K1200LTE on the BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta website.  It was green!  But we went to look anyway.  Donna asked if they could take it outside in the bright sunshine.

Donna with the Magic Carpet at the Florida Welcome Center on the way to Bike Week in 2010.

Donna with the Magic Carpet at the Florida Welcome Center on the way to Bike Week in 2010.

The doors were opened and out she went.  Donna made the comment, “It sure looks fast and sexy.”  Her next comment was that even though it was green it look very good and very different.  Then came the offer for the test ride.  We took them up on the offer and went for over an hour test ride.  By the end of the week we owned that green K1200LTE that later became know as The Magic Carpet.  I called the Harley Davidson dealer to tell the salesman I would not be coming in to order the Ultra Classic because I had bought another motorcycle.  He said he understood (the peace officer editions don’t count towards their allotment or sales) but asked what I had bought.  When I told him a BMW K1200LTE he said “That’s a really great bike.  You’re going to enjoy it.  At least you didn’t call to tell me you bought a Goldwing!”  When we bought the K1200LTE I kept the C50T for a while.  But there was now no comparison.  The BMW had servo assisted brakes (power brakes like a car) while the Suzuki had a drum rear brake and a single disc front brake.  When I rode the C50T I felt like I wasn’t going to stop.  We sold her to a good home.  We owned the C50T just over 2 years and put 14,000 miles on her.  When we bought the K1200LTE it had 39,000 miles on it and it now has just under 84,000 miles as I write this (our next day ride will probably reach 84,000).  Very soon after buying the K1200LTE we took it on its first real trip.  We went to Florida to visit my parents in the Daytona Beach area for Thanksgiving.  We did it in one day this time with stops only for food and gas.  We were going across I-10 in north Florida when I told Donna on the intercom that it was about lunch time.  She said “We can keep going for a while, I’m fine.”  I had to tell her it was me who was ready for a break.

Basically the BMW fell into our laps at just right time.  Plain and simple.  I didn’t set out for a BMW or any other brand in the beginning and they all started out equal.

Since I’ve owned the BMW I’ve learned 3 major things about motorcylists and the make they ride:

  • Harley Davidson riders dress like pirates.
  • BMW riders dress like armadillos
  • Sport bike riders of any make dress like Power Rangers.

It doesn’t matter what brand you ride.  Just find something you like and ride it!

 

Categories: General | Tags: , | 9 Comments

Florida And Back

Last Sunday I headed down on a solo trip to Florida to visit my Dad in the Daytona Beach area.  It’s a trip that’s made a couple of times a year.  The route isn’t anything spectacular as the whole idea is to get there.  As you can imagine it’s all interstate highways to get there (although we have an alternate or two) going down I-75 to I-10, around Jacksonville on I-295 (believe me, you want to go around Jacksonville and not through) and then I-95 to my destination.  See, I told you it was an interesting route.  Departure is usually early in the morning letting me (or us) arrive in the afternoon.  This trip was a little different and I left late in the morning so I’d get there in the very early evening (when I’m solo I can travel much quicker and take shorter stops).

I forget how hot south-central Georgia can be once you get south of Macon!  In southern Georgia I was motoring along in the center lane with the cruise control set just above 70 mph.  In the right lane there was an SUV pulling an open trailer and I was slowly gaining on them.  As I got closer I could see some children’s bicycles on the trailer along with what looked like some waterproof boxes.  And then I saw it.  There was a BMW R1200GSA travelling on down the road on the trailer!  I slowly pulled alongside and adjusted the cruise control to match his speed.  The driver saw me and energetically waved at me.  I waved back.  Then, I pointed to the motorcycle shaking my head and waving my finger in “no no” fashion like a parent would to a child.  He burst out laughing!  Then he shrugged his shoulders and pointed to his wife (I’m assuming) in the passenger seat, as if to say “It was her idea!”  I motioned again and she started laughing too.  It was kind of fun.  I had hoped I’d run into them at a gas stop or rest area so I could tell him something like “I was going to call 911 when I saw a BMW on a trailer because I thought it was stolen.” or “I knew Harley Davidson was coming out with 2 new models but I didn’t know they looked like an R1200GSA.”  In all fairness to this family they had Canadian license plates so it would’ve been a long family ride.  But, his wife does get major points for letting him bring the motorcycle along.

The rest of the trip went pretty much according to plan until I got to the Jacksonville area.  The skies ahead were darkening and I knew rain was coming.  I went ahead and stopped for my last gas stop on the way.  After gassing up I checked the weather radar and saw storms on a map that was only 2 minutes old.  But knowing the area and seeing the map I felt confident that by getting on I-295 very shortly and then heading south that I’d miss the storms.  Well Murphy’s Law took over.  It wasn’t long down the road when the bottom fell out with one of those good old-fashioned Florida summer thunderstorms. I was wearing a mesh jacket and my Tourmaster mesh pants.  Did you know that rain goes right through mesh gear just like wind does?  In no time I was soaked and there was no overpass around to duck under which to put rain gear on so I motored on.  The thunderstorm lasted only about 10 minutes and then I was riding on dry road again.  But I also found out that mesh riding gear also dries off really quick too.  I had 2 more bouts with the rain once I got on I-95.  After the second thundershower I just left the rain pants on and left the rain liner in the mesh jacket.  I did get pretty warm.  That last hour and half or so was the worst part of the trip and got me to my Dad’s much later than expected.

Once there it was the typical visiting my Dad.  I always knew that my Dad had originally enlisted in the Marine Corps at 15 years old during WWII and was sent home when it was discovered.  One rainy day over lunch on the water, and a beer in my Dad, I got the full story.  It was the summer of 1945 and he was 15 years old and falsified his age to join the Marines.  The Drill Instructors had been coming in since the beginning and telling them that if they were not old enough to be there to step forward.  The Boots (recruits) would even be pushed onto to bunks or onto the floor.  They were several weeks into Boot Camp and he figured they were on to him.  So when they said to step forward if you weren’t old enough, he did, along with a guy across the aisle too.  They were both ushered off and interviewed separately by the Drill Instructor.  My Dad said the Drill Instructor asked him what he wanted to do and what he thought should be done to him.  He said the demeanor was now different, apparently since he now knew he was speaking with a 15-year-old boy.  My Dad said they were halfway through with Boot Camp and he felt he had a duty to complete it.  He was sent out to rejoin his platoon and complete Boot Camp and wasn’t treated any different from anyone else.  He said that Parris Island was packed with Marines who had already completed Boot Camp and were continuing their training right there while they were living in “tent cities” while the Boots were in barracks.  One day the platoon was gathered and they were told that a “secret bomb” had been dropped on Japan, that the one bomb had leveled an entire city and it was hoped it would end the war.  It was years later when he learned that after Boot Camp that their training was for the invasion of the home island of Japan.  There were told only it would be the fiercest fighting ever faced by the Marines or the Army.  They continued to train.  Japan surrendered and they continued to train.  My Dad graduated Boot Camp and turned 16 years old at Parris Island.  It was October when he was summoned to the Company Commander.  He was told that a relative had written a letter, presumably to a Congressman or Senator that he was too young to enlist.  The war was now over and he was being given a General Discharge under “Honorable Circumstances” with the reason for the discharge being a Falsified Enlistment.  The Honorable Circumstances meant that he could re-enlist when he was old enough, which he later did.  That lunchtime conversation made the entire trip worth while.

"The Loop" in the Daytona Beach area.

“The Loop” in the Daytona Beach area.

A few days later I rode “The Loop”, a short ride that begins in Ormond Beach and goes along the Halifax River and then through two state parks.  Once in the parks you ride though some beautiful marsh land.  A portion of the ride is on the thin strip of land between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean.  You’ll ride with very large and expensive homes on one side of the street and cinder block bungalows on the other.  As you right between those houses the road is covered by the branches of trees.  I suppose you could ride along the stretch of Highway A1A along the beach that parallels the river side, but you’ve already ridden along the beach to get there.  No beach riding on this ride.  Portions of the ride make you feel like you’re in a remote wilderness.  The ride gets its name from beginning and ending at the same intersection, hence “The Loop”.  Oh, and the trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona!

I had planned on leaving late in the morning on Friday as I had done to get there.  My hope was to come through Atlanta after rush hour.  My Dad then figured that it was Friday and if it rained in Atlanta I may not miss rush hour.  So it was decided that I should be on the road by 6:30 am.  I was on the road at 6:20 am.  And as luck would have it, I got stuck behind a large crash on I-75 approaching Atlanta.  I took me well over 30 minutes to travel 2 miles.  That extra time put me going right though Atlanta at the beginning of a Friday afternoon rush hour.  My Dad’s idea would have had me at home before rush hour even began.  Oh well.

I made it back home to Donna and the dogs.  Now we’ll be getting ready for trip that Donna and I will be taking next weekend to Maggie Valley, NC.  We don’t know yet if we’ll ride some on the Blue Ridge Parkway or if we’ll go to the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum.

Categories: Daytona, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just A 228 Mile Sunday Ride

That’s right we went on a 228 mile ride today.  No it wasn’t a trip, it was a Sunday ride.  It all started the other day when I asked Donna if she wanted to go have lunch at Turner’s Corner Café at the corner of US 129 and Georgia Highway 9 today.  So we got a late morning start and headed up.  Here it is July in Georgia and the forecast was for a high temperature of 85°F, low humidity (rare) and mostly sunny skies.  I played with the GPS software, Basecamp and created a route that would take us up using some local roads we hadn’t been on before and then transferred it to the GPS.  We headed up through Canton, Ballground and Dawsonville before using Georgia Highway 400 for a short time until it ended.  After we made our turn onto Georgia Highway 115 we were only supposed to be on it for a short time before making a left turn and cutting back diagonally on some nice crooked local roads.  But the GPS showed it was 12 miles until our next turn.  I saw what I thought was our turn go past.  For some reason the GPS decided that it wanted to route us up Highway 115 to US 129 which would take us straight to Turner’s Corner Café.  No big deal, we just wanted to have lunch on the river and watch the motorcycles.  Once we got to lunch I brought the GPS in with us and reloaded the route and previewed it.  Sure enough it showed the original route.  I don’t know why the GPS didn’t use the route as planned but this is the second time this has happened.  Both Basecamp and the GPS have the same maps installed.

This was also my first day riding with a new pair of Do-It-Yourself custom molded earplugs.  I got mine from Ear Plug Superstore.  I’ve tried them before but didn’t quite get them right.  This time however I took my time and didn’t second guess the instructions and they worked.  They are harder to get in your ear but have quite a good seal.  This may sound weird but they’re both quieter and noisier.  They’re quieter in that they “muffle” sound well and I needed to turn my intercom up a bit to hear the GPS and Donna.  But they’re noisier in that I think there’s more wind noise than my ETY plugs.  But then that may be a good thing.  I suffer from tinnitus (a ringing in your ears) and if it’s too quiet, the ringing can seem louder, will be irritating and could just make you uncomfortable.  But the new self moldable plugs gave me the “white noise” effect that my hearing aids also supply and my night-time sound machine.

I figured that after lunch we’d head back home as it was just over an hour and a half ride.  But while eating Donna asked “Where are we riding after this?”  So after lunch we backtracked down US 129 a few miles to Georgia Highway 75 Alt until we made our left (northerly) turn onto Georgia Highway 348, the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.  This curvy stretch of mountain road only runs between Highway 75 Alt and Georgia Highway 180 and isn’t very long.  There are numerous pull-offs to view the Appalachian Mountains.  It’s a very fun and curvy road but there weren’t many motorcycles on it today.  At the RBR’s end we made the turn on to Highway 180 for a very short distance before heading up and over Blood Mountain on US 129 and then headed for Dahlonega and home.

So we had a great Sunday ride of 228 miles.  Oh, and along the way today the Magic Carpet’s odometer reached and passed 82,000 miles.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Brake Repair From Hell

Back on the twenty-fifth of May the Magic Carpet developed a leaking rear brake line that was later tracked down to being the hose from the rear master cylinder to the metal brake line going to the ABS unit.  On the twelfth of June we went to the dealer fully expecting to have to order the offending part.  Well we got lucky and they actually had the part.  I got the repair under way on the thirteenth of June.  Yes on Friday the thirteenth!  I removed the body work that hadn’t already been removed to locate the leak, removed the old brake line and then managed to get the new line in.  The hard part was getting the new line in!  There was absolutely NO pressure on the rear brake pedal.  But by opening the system, I knew I had introduced air into it and it needed to be bled.  I was beat and done for the day.  On the fifteenth I tried bleeding the system no avail (I later found I wasn’t patient enough).  I was flustered and asked for help on bmwlt.com for what to do.  An experienced “wrencher” on the K1200LT suggesting back flushing the line using the #3 bleeder with a syringe and a piece of tubing to fill it.  I already had those from my last brake repair!  It still wouldn’t bleed.  I took a few days off from the project because it was frustrating me.  Then another “wrencher” suggested that at this point since all I wanted to do was get the air out, was to connect the tubing to each of the 3 rear bleeders from the ABS unit back into the brake reservoir so that the air would come out and I would just recycle the brake fluid.  I would worry about a more thorough bleed and flush after this.  I now had pressure on the brake pedal!  It took a lot of time to get that air out too.  That was on Saturday the 21st.  We had decided that if I didn’t get this done by Monday we were sending the bike to the dealer to let them figure it out.

Now it’s time to explain a BMW servo assisted (power brakes like a car) integral ABS (adding “braking system” to ABS would be redundant, like VIN number) unit in layman’s terms as easily as possible.  The integral part means that pressing the rear brake pedal will not only give you rear brake but will add front braking with pushing harder.  When pulling the front brake lever you will also get rear braking as you pull harder.

  • There are a total of 4 circuits.
  • The front wheel circuit goes from the ABS unit to the two front calipers.
  • The front brake lever is for the front control circuit from the lever to the ABS unit.
  • The foot pedal is the rear control circuit going from pedal to the ABS unit.
  • The rear wheel circuit goes from the ABS unit to the rear caliper.
  • There are 6 bleed valves on the ABS unit (3 for the front and three for the back), one bleed valve on each of the front calipers and two bleed valves on the rear caliper.
  • The reservoir for the rear brakes feeds both the ABS unit and the rear caliper
  • The reservoir for the front brakes feeds only the front calipers while the master cylinder on the handle bar supplies only the ABS unit.
  • All lines meet at the ABS unit in the middle.

Confused yet?  A diagram really helps though.  For the home mechanic to do this it really is a two person job.

Yesterday, on Sunday, we bled and then flushed not only the rear system but the front system as well.  I figured since I was in there I’d do them all.  It’s also much easier to do the control circuits on the ABS module with the battery removed from the motorcycle.  To do the wheel circuits you need the battery installed because the ignition has to be on (but bike not running) because you need the servos the flush from the bleeders on the calipers.  As expected it took some time to do the rear control circuit.  Donna was my “beautiful assistant” manipulating the brake pedal and brake lever for me.  The front control circuit went quick and the fluid didn’t even look that dark but now the whole system has new DOT4 brake fluid.  While the Magic Carpet was still naked, I took her for a short test ride and got no brake warning lights or leaks.  I put the brakes through a workout, even intentionally activating the ABS a few times.  I got her home and then put all her clothes (body work) back on.  I did lose 3 torx screws for the body work in all this though, but that’s no big deal.

Now it’s time to start riding again!

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Categories: Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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