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Home from the 2011 BMW MOA Rally

I guess it’s high time I update this website, especially since more than a few people ended up with my card at the rally. First off, it was great meeting everyone and seeing old friends – made dealing with the heat all worthwhile. Second, I’m still enjoying showering in my bathroom and not in a shower trailer, drying with expensive and fluffy towels instead of microfiber, sitting in the air conditioning, and unpacking my bike… so no photos of the GS training have been pulled from the camera quite yet. I’ll get them posted as soon as I can and post an update when I do.

On the road, again…

Back on the road for a late-season ride through PA! Again I am heading towards points east hoping to find some great roads (some forest service roads) though the Sesquehannock State Forest, and if I make it out of the forest alive, on towards the Wilkes-Barre area. If you’re bored, you can follow my ride via my SPOT tracking page.

Dreaming of Stelvio…

I have returned from riding the Alps – successfully, I might add. I’ll miss the endlessly winding roads (ahhh, Stelvio pass), good food, good beer, great people, and riding one fantastic 2010 BMW R1200GS Adventure. I’ll especially be dreaming of the bike…

Now that I have returned I have photos to sort through and post, and I have a story to write. For those of you I met on the tour, I will make sure to get the photos up as quickly as I can, and I might even be motivated enough to email everyone a link when that is completed. In the meantime, stay tuned for the article, which will probably show up in October or November, due to lead times.

Leaving, on a jet plane…

My bags are packed, I have my new BMW Rally 3 suit (thanks BMW Motorcycles of Southeast Michigan!), and I’m ready to go. My flight leaves tomorrow bound for Munich (via Amsterdam) and I don’t return until the 5th. While I am not sure I’ll be able to activate tracking, I will at least be sending out periodic SPOT notifications, which can be seen here.

Alps bound!!

I have been looking over maps and thinking about a nice ride to take this summer, but recently fell into a great opportunity. At the end of June, I’m catching a plane to Munich to go on a ride with Edelweiss Bike Travel. It involves a number of days riding through the Alps – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Italy. Everything is arranged by the tour company – BMW bike rental (I’ll be on a R1200GS), hotels, routes (they offer two different routes per day), and breakfast and dinner. It all looks fantastic and I think I’ll have a great time riding mountain pass after mountain pass (and doing a bit of sightseeing along the way)! I’ll also have a day to visit the BMW Motorrad Days event in Garmisch. I think I’m going to pick up some new BMW riding gear (the Rallye 3 gear is calling my name) and then I just need to be patient for another month…

Back from PA

After many hours of riding in very heavy rain, I made it back from PA. Route 666 through the Allegheny Forest was nice, though at times it gets a bit rough. Just fine for my GS but maybe not so good for a bike with bad suspension. Route 6 and the Kinzua Bridge were also nice to check out, and then there is route 44… it would transition from perfect road to chip seal to no pavement at all (for several miles). A number of turns had some loose gravel in them, one had a 50-foot section of road missing at the exit (full of loose gravel), and a long section had half of the lane very poorly re-paved, leaving you with 1/2 of a lane that was usable. Still, it offered some great riding (if you kept your eyes open and dialed back the speed a bit) and really fantastic scenery. There were even a few curves marked for 10mph on a good piece of road, which made for quite a lot of fun. Aside from that, I did some great riding around PA and even NY around the Delaware Water Gap. Pictures will be added to my gallery in a few hours.

Finally riding again

It’s been a while, but I’m finally back on two wheels and away from home.  Today was pretty utilitarian – highway riding for a bit over three hours across scenic I-80 in Ohio into PA.  I grabbed a hotel in Cranberry, PA (a pretty small little town, but not a bad place from what I’ve seen, and a fantastic new Holiday Inn), and am preparing for tomorrow.  I expect great riding on Route 666 through the Allegheny Forest, up to Route 6, and then southeast on 44 before ending near Wilkes Barre.  I can be web tracked via my SPOT page here

Prime parking

It’s nice when a facility goes out of it’s way to accommodate motorcycle riders. I’ve worked at places that treated me as a second class citizen when I rode, so I know about “bad”. With that in mind, I have to give kudos to Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) for setting aside parking in their garage for motorcycles, and especially for making motorcycle parking FREE. There are plenty of spaces, the spaces are near the pay booths (great from a security standpoint) and they are right at the entrance which makes getting in easy. This saves me $20/day, and who doesn’t like an excuse to ride?

Melting roads

It turns out there is grass under all that snow in my yard.  After a week of sunny above-freezing days, the roads are ice and snow free, though still covered in a nice salty residue.  Not only is it a good time to bundle up and get some short rides in, but it’s also a good chance for me to check the bikes over and see what needs to be done.  My R80/7 needs a front brake (rotor is terribly warped), new carb floats, and front/rear wheel bearings.  Paint would be nice as well, but it’s not necessary.  As for the GSPD, it also needs a front brake, a new starter (the current one doesn’t like to disengage fast enough) a breather valve, and tires to make my riding far safer.  It all adds up, but I’m sure it will be worth it.  Now is also the time to install some additional lighting on the GS (lite-buddies, for example).  The warm weather will be here before we know it, and who wants to spend a day working on a bike when they could be riding?

Big Gig IV

January in Toledo is generally not a good time to go for a nice ride. The weather has been good enough to melt a lot of snow and ice out of the way in the past week, but that still doesn’t mean it’s quite prime-time for riding. In the meantime, I’m catching a plane and heading to New York City for a small, informal gathering called the “Big Gig” – this will be the 4th time (3rd for me). We gather for lunch, visit the International Motorcycle Show at the Javits center, then it’s off for dinner, a charity fundraiser, and some enjoyable alcoholic beverages. I’m hoping to get some of the best sushi in NYC at Sushi Yasuda the night before with a close friend, as well as finally get my hands on a glass of Leffe Brown. It’s been far too many years.  All of this should prove to be a good distraction while the snow flies, though soon it will be time to start preparing the bikes for another season…