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.
What day is it? Why it’s Hump Day!
A pair of K1200LTs at lunch.
That’s right, the Magic Carpet got it’s new front tire today!
I had intended on using Ken’s Motorcycle Tires in Woodstock, GA but while they were closed on Monday, I checked some of the big online retailers and motorcycle shops. For a front Metzeler ME880 Marathon 120/70/B17 tire with a 58V rating for the BMW K1200LT I got prices ranging from $151.88 to $168.99 (prices in U.S. Dollars) and the low one added a $5 tire fee to that $151.88 price. I checked online to get an idea of what I’d be charged at Ken’s as his prices are usually just a few dollars above the online dealers but if I buy the tire somewhere else and bring it to him for mounting he charges more than if the tire were purchased there. So Wednesday I was shocked when I got a price of $144 from Ken’s for the tire! I ordered one up (he usually doesn’t stock the K1200LT tires).
This afternoon (Friday) Debby called from Ken’s to tell me my tire was in and to set up an appointment to have it mounted. Ken does installs on an appointment basis. “Can you come by at 3:30 this afternoon?” WOW! You bet I can! When I got there, I found the price of the tire was different. It was $143 instead of $144! Of course there was the mounting fee and the associated fees and taxes. My appointment was for 3:30 and by 3:55 I had my earplugs in and helmet on preparing to head for home!
It’s Ken’s 20th anniversary of being in business and he’s charging a flat $20 over cost on all tires to celebrate and thank customers. Thank you Ken!
And for the curious and Facebook oriented, Ken’s also has a Facebook page too.
The Magic Carpet’s front tire after yesterday’s ride. There’s no tread left on the right like there is on the left!
I knew we were getting close to needing a new front tire. But I didn’t think we were this close! Before we went on our ride yesterday I checked the tires like I always do. The front tire was getting close to the end of its life but the wear bars had yet to come to the surface and still had some tread above them. In fact, in a picture I took with the flash when I put the LED bulbs in the motolights, you could see the tread from a distance. That was only 8 days ago! Imagine my shock when I went to plug the battery tender in and noticed the front tire looking like it does in this picture. Not only had we made it to the wear bars on the one side but we went way past them on yesterday’s ride. I guess when you approach the end, it goes really quick. The tire in the picture has 17,157 miles on it and is a Metzeler ME880 Marathon that is rated for the BMW K1200LT. The Magic Carpet is grounded until it gets a new front tire.
Metzeler and Bridgestone are the only tires made that are rated for the K1200LT. I’ve heard Avon makes tires but since they’re softer (and stickier) they wear out quicker so I have no interest in them. I’ve used the Bridgestone BT020 Battleax on the front before but only got about 8,000 miles out of it. So it looks like I’ll be calling Ken’s Motorcycle Tires in Woodstock this week to check prices and order a tire. Ken usually comes pretty close to matching online tire prices but offers a significant savings when mounting tires purchased from him. In other words, if I buy the tire online and bring it to him he charges more to mount it. It seems fair enough to me. I’ll check prices on the Metzeler and the always lower in price Bridgestone and weigh the mileage differences against the balance in the checkbook. It can be a complicated mathematical formula.
I was supposed to go to a Blue Knights meeting today but I played hooky. It was too good a day to ride just a few exits on the interstate to go to lunch meeting and then go home. Since I’m not a Chapter Officer anymore it was easy to do.
Donna said she wanted to go for a “long ride” today. It was our first fall ride of 2013. The leaves are already changing and dropping (or is that FALLing) here in north Georgia and it’s only the last weekend in September! Maybe all the rain we had this summer has something to do with it. We had no plan, just a direction and a couple of lunch ideas in our heads. It was a beautiful, cloudless blue sky and the forecast was for a high temperature of 77F. Actually for most of the day’s ride it was in the upper 60′s for temperatures and was great. We were on Georgia HWY 53 headed for Dawsonville when Donna asked “What about that road past Big Canoe?” I told her it would take us straight out to GA HWY 136 and we could take that on up to GA HWY 52 and then take HWY 9 right on into Dahlonega. “Yeah. Do that.” came through the headset. So we took Steve Tate HWY passed Big Canoe and then with its tree covered hills and curves. When we made it over to HWY 52 we were passing some pumpkin fields. It was really feeling like fall now. We passed a “pumpkin patch and corn maze” where traffic slowed just a bit. It was odd that we didn’t see any other motorcycles along our route until we got to HWY 9 and headed for Dahlonega. Donna wanted to stop in at Rider’s Hill for a short break after I told her that our lunch stop would Turner’s Corner Café, to which I got an excited “Yippee!” through the intercom. We left Rider’s Hill behind us taking GA HWY 9/60 to the Rock Pile was it was US 19 though the hills and curves until Turner’s Corner Café where we had lunch out on the deck overlooking the intersection and the river. A couple of sport bikes made the left and headed up US 129 and up Blood Mountain. When one revved his engine out of site, Donna said “Let’s go that way! How long will it take to get home?” Even though home was to the south and that route would take us north, a little math from a sign for Blairsville told me we could there in 30 minutes. So I told Donna that Blairsville was about 30 minutes away and I knew home was an hour and a half from Blairsville so I’d get us home about 5:00 pm. “Let’s go.” Going up Blood Mountain wasn’t a special ride for us, we’ve ridden it numerous times. But it’s a nice fun, curvy road with a good surface and good visibility. We were passed by bikes going the other direction in the curves that looked like they were on a race track! Not just the leaning but the speed! Local resident’s have been “venting” in a the Atlanta paper’s column “The Vent” about the speeds of motorcycles this summer. They know motorcycles have always been on the road but they’re now complaining about the speeds and I see why. It’s only a matter time before the Georgia State Patrol begins a dedicated enforcement action. I don’t care how a good a rider you think you are, it’s a public roadway and not a personal raceway.
It was a good day and fall is in the air!
We stopped in at Rider’s Hill before heading for lunch.
We weren’t the only motorcycle at Turner’s Corner Café. There were actually quite a few.
Donna dining on the deck at Turner’s Corner Café.