Jul 31, 2011

Ride Log 4: Texas Bound: August 2011

I'm ready to roll!

I've been reading Neal Peart's Ghost Rider (thanks, Ash!) for the last few nights to get into the groove.  He's amazing and the book is really neat.  It's crazy to think he's not even from Oregon yet he's seen more of it than I have!  Not cool, Neal, not cool.

I've packed what seems important.  I always overpack, which is DEATH on a moto, since that means I'm underpacking what I really need.  But, I'm going to be hanging with friends for a few days so I wanted to make sure and bring at least something that was presentable.  (Good thing I'm low maintenance because "presentable" to me means something totally different than to everyone else.)

I dropped Trout off this morning.  She's in good hands with Marti, Kyle and the kidlets.  I bet she doesn't even notice I'm not around.  I've been going room to room looking for her and picking up her toys, smelling them as I put them in her toy area and she's probably playing and running around with a big smile on her face.  (Ok, the smelling them part was a joke, I'm not crazy yet!)

My first stop is Bend, OR to stay the night with Kelli and Jerry, my surrogate parents.  So far, that's the only place I know I'll be.  The rest of the trip is still an unknown, other than the fact that I'll eventually end up in Lubbock, TX, which is about 1726 miles and 27 hours from me now.  Yesterday I rode around while doing errands and started asking myself what the heck I was thinking.  Texas alone?  People do it all the time without fail but for some reason it seems daunting to me.  Most of the people I meet say they wish they could do a trip like that...I supposed motorcycling across country is much like skydiving...there are those who do and those who wish they could.  Thanks to my friend Kristie I've already done the skydiving (which was a crazy "what was I thinking" moment for sure).  So I guess this is the next logical step.

So, I'll post more about my gear and update ya'll along the way.  Before I go, a big shout out to Giant Loop (http://www.giantloopmoto.com/) for the sweet white Diablo tank bag and the Great Basin Dry Bag.  Both products are awesome!  More to come on those!

Be safe ya'll.   I'm off....to unpack some of the extra clothes...forgot to leave space for my laptop!  Doh!

Jul 30, 2011

Ride Log 3: Texas Bound

Tomorrow I hit the pavement towards Bend, OR to stay overnight in comfort before pointing Runkle southwest to Texas.  I should be running around putting the finishing touches on my packing and planning but instead I'm resting while Trout sleeps.  I listen to her as she dreams and watch her legs twitch, only imagining what could be going through her mind.  She has no clue as of yet that I'm off for two weeks and I'll leave her behind.  Once I start packing there will be no denying it and she'll get all frazzled and confused.  I like to think my procrastination is just helping her stress levels stay down.
View from my back porch

In truth, I want to ride but I am being lazy enough to think it will be easy to just throw some stuff in a bag and head off.  I'm sure in an hour I'll be running around like a crazy fool.  Right now, I am enjoying the morning, the sun warming my legs, the wind rustling the trees and the sounds of birds fluttering.  This moment is what I've been searching for in life.  Just this single moment with a devoted friend (who happens to be a dog) and the peace that surrounds the stillness.  

 Trout: Best Friend, Alarm Clock, Sympathizer, Enabler, Garbage Disposal and Bird Chaser.
Soon enough, I will be off on the moto toward the BMW shop yet again, to exchange and obtain the correct part to enable my camera to work on the bar mount of Runkle.  Then I'm sure to have hours of rushing around, attending to details that should have long been attended.

Enough, huh?  One more look at the view.

I'm off to plan what should be planned.

Jul 20, 2011

BMW FORK FAILURE: Has this happened to you or someone you know?

IMG_20101005_131318.jpg (1195×1600)

If you know of anyone who has had this occur on their BMW 650 GS, can you contact me?  I can be reached  at bmwgsgirl@gmail.com


Jul 17, 2011

Ride Log 2: Texas Bound: August 2011

Prepping for the directionally challenged.

I'm calling what I'm doing prepping since "planning" seems like it would require a spreadsheet and some maps.  I am more of a "throw what you can into a bag the night before" kind of gal.  But, I do realize there are some things I need to ensure are done before my trip.  One, that the bike is up to date on maintenance.  Since I just got my 600 mile service done about 400 miles ago, I figure the bike is golden.  I still have to grab some grease for the chain and a good tire pressure gage, but other than that I'm calling it good on the bike prep aside from the bags I'll be carrying.

Two, I need to avoid getting lost.  Since I practically get lost just walking to my mailbox I figure one of the most important things I can have on my moto trip is a GPS.  I hate to admit it to ya'll (just practicing the lingo), but I am too cheap to buy a nice and expensive GPS specifically for my moto.  I mean, I have one for my personal car, one for the work car and one for the phone.  Do I really need to shell out big bucks for one specifically for my moto?  I think not.

I contacted BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon http://www.bmwor.com/ and spoke to Scott (owner) on the tele about what I would need to use my Garmin Nuvi GPS.   He was quite nice and I was impressed with his willingness to help.  (This store has some great people working, but there are times when I feel like they don't have the time to help me, so trust me, this was refreshing.)  I told him I'd stop by the next day and see what he had to offer.

When I arrived Scott actually had about six different things all tucked safely in a box with my name on it.  Basically, he said I'd need some RAM Mounts http://www.ram-mount.com/ in order to make the GPS fit appropriately.  I'm glad Scott was there to help.  Frankly, I would have been lost (see how directionally challenged I am?).  Apparently the RAM mounts come in pieces, a double socket arm, a base, a round base, a connector to the bike's handlebars.  Really?  They can't just put all the stuff you need in one nice package and call it good?  Scott actually walked me over to a BMW GS and had me sit on it.  He showed me how everything was going to hook up and how to position the mounts. We talked about the GPS and also how I'd be carrying my cell phone and possibly an Ipod.  Scott suggested I use an SAE cable that would fit right into the SAE cable that BMW Motorcycles installed before I bought my bike (thanks for that, by the way, it's a great addition!).  This would help me avoid using the socket that came with the BMW and eliminate a cord hanging down the side of the bike.  Scott was also nice enough to bring up the fact that I could purchase a SAE connector that had two sockets, so I could charge my GPS while also charging my phone or other items.  (Seriously, I probably wouldn't have thought of that until I was on the road.)  He even suggested I get longer screws for one of the mount pieces, just in case.

Scott also brought up the fact that if I didn't like the mount set up I could always use a tank bag and put the GPS in the map pocket.  He even took the time to show me a few different tank bags.  This was definitely not the service I was used to so when everything was rang up (mounts, not a tank bag), despite the price of $96.00 I felt like I came out ahead.

And,  $96.00 won't bother me at all when I'm on a road surrounded by nothing and hear banjos playing and pigs squealing.  Knowing which way to turn to get out of there will be priceless.  

Thanks to Scott from BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon for taking the time to help!

Ride Log 1: Texas Bound: August 2011

It was around 10:30 PM and I was riding to my house, the full moon guiding me on a dark country road.  I was wearing my riding pants and jacket but because of the distance I had to go (a mere 11 miles) and the weather, I chose to slip on a pair of converse instead of my heavy boots.  It's always a mistake when I do that, since I spend most of the ride imagining what would become of my ankles if I were to crash.  And, well, to be honest, once I start imagining that, my mind leads me to other areas as I replay my imaginary crash bit by bit in slow motion.  First, I weave to avoid the deer and then the rear tire hits gravel and I quickly over compensate with a fast turn and a slamming of the breaks.  In my mind, I'm razzled and accidentally hit the front brakes instead of the rear (and trust me, this is something I would totally do) and am thrown over the handlebars and onto the ground.  I land on my shoulder and as I tear all the muscles and dislocate the shoulder, my head contacts the ditch and causes a concussion and a bit of whiplash.  Not to be forgotten, my hip slaps the ground and the hip padding that has always seemed too bulky suddenly is wholly inadequate.   I begin my slide into the far side of the ditch as the bike follows me and almost tumbles over me.  In my mind I lay there until a car sees what's left of the bike and stops to find me, battered and bruised but only managing to mumble, "My bike, how's my bike?"

This is not the first time my imagination has led me down a path of destruction compliments of my riding.  However, this was the first time that I stopped to imagine what would hurt the worst.  Would it be my shoulder, which took the brunt of the fall, or my ankles, raw from being dragged on the asphalt and then pushed into the dirt, bloody and bony?  After much consideration I suddenly realized the damage to my body would be painful but eventually I'd get over it.  It would be my pride that would be tortured.  My pride that would have me looking down in shame as anyone asked what happened.

My pride?  Would that really matter?  Not just yes, but HELL yes.   That put some things into perspective for me.

I thought of all the times I'd dreamed of a destination but didn't even begin the journey because there were too many unknown variables.  One, I didn't make the time.  Two, I didn't really want to go alone.  Not that I was afraid, but more that I'm pretty clueless when it comes to the bike.  I don't know how to do things that I should know how to do.  Tire problem?  Oil light on?  Bike running rough?  Not running at all?  Stopped on the side of the road with no cell coverage and no one to call anyway?  What would I do?  And would some dude pull up and in two seconds fix the issue, walking away, shaking his head at how silly I was for being out there alone with no idea?

I realized those issues wouldn't be the end of the world.  I would get past them.  I would find help, get back on the road and carry on.  That's what I've always done.  Pick myself up and carry on.  There is no reason I wouldn't do the same thing as far as the bike is concerned.  Suddenly, riding to Texas didn't sound so difficult.  I'd always wanted to do it, had in fact been threatening to make the ride for about three years.  What was stopping me this year?  Just myself.

So I did what anyone who has just faced an imaginary wreck would do.  I put two weeks of vacation on the work calendar and cancelled my summer class.  I contacted my friend in Texas and told her to expect me in early August.  I rounded up a dog sitter, house sitter and someone to water my garden.  And guess what?  None of that was difficult.

Now, if only I was actually a planner.  What I've accomplished thus far has little to do with the trip itself and everything to do with trying to get my work done in order to go.  The hardest part was that first step, actually admitting that if I didn't go now, I probably never would.  I finally faced the fact that I had more to lose by NOT going than by going.  When you realize that there is no question about your next step.   The only question left is where the journey will take you.

And that's what life is about.  The Journey.  

Milner: Someday. That's a dangerous word. It's really just a code for 'never'. (Knight and Day, 2010)

Jul 6, 2011

Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride, June 2011

Last month I had the pleasure of tagging along with 250 fellow motorcycle enthusiasts on the Chris Kilcullen Memorial Ride (http://www.chriskilcullenmemorialride.webs.com/)  which was organized by Brian Antone (Springfield Police Department).  The event raised money for Kilcullen's wife and two girls and covered 248 miles from Eugene, OR to Sisters, OR.  The number of miles, 248, was a tribute to Kilcullen's badge number.  I've gone more than 248 miles in one day but never had the privilege of doing so with 250 other riders.

My first thoughts of the day?  Simply, "gosh I hope I don't make an arse of myself."  Which, of course, I promptly did by forgetting to put up my kick stand while attempting to pull out behind the minivan which was our pace vehicle.  Hey! Guess what?  I killed the bike and thought I heard one of the Harley rider's yell, "Kickstand!"  If that's not making an arse of oneself, I don't know what is.   Things improved from there until I ended up following about five riders who appeared to have gone a different way from the pace van (later I found out the van actually took a wrong turn).  It was at that moment, only about a half an hour from my house, where I thought, "I can just go home, no one will notice."  But I kept on and eventually we ended up in Sweet Home, OR.  I was amazed at how many bikes filled the parking area (Thanks, Sweet Home PD).  Upon leaving Sweet Home I tried to stay with the van and ended up cutting some Harley riders off.  Oops.  My bad.  That left me with some choice words for myself, and I actually thought, "Thank gosh there are police officers present just in case I have to kick some butt."  Okay, really, I thought, "I hope those Harley riders forget the color of my bike before we stop in Sisters."  Turns out those Harley riders are awesome dudes and dudettes and I had nothing to worry about.  But, I would by lying if I told you that cutting off a bunch of leather clad Harley riders didn't give me pause.  I had ample time to consider my actions and actually thought about throwing myself at their black leather boots and offering to lick them clean.  Thank goodness that wasn't necessary.

I have never been around that many riders before and I can't see myself doing it again unless I have the privilege to do this ride again.  I'm more of a "lets take our time and check out the scenery" rider who likes to go fast or slow, depending on how the spirit is moving me at any given moment.  Trying to keep up with others is torture for me.  When I do that, I feel like a 90 year old who is going to have a heart attack at every corner.  I worry about the people behind me and the people in front of me.  Heck, I even worry about the people a mile away.  I ended up at one point trapped behind a Honda scooter riding dude (seriously) who for some reason waved others past but didn't wave me by.  I wondered if he could tell that I was a girl or if he just thought I'd eventually get tired of following him and go home.

When we arrived at Sisters (Thanks Sisters School District for the parking area) there were many many bikes already there.  There were Hondas (more than just the scooter dude) and Suzuki's, Yamaha's and Harleys.  There were even a few bigger BMW's, not many, and we were all outnumbered by the Harleys. One guy even had a dog on the back of his bike.  If that's not cool, I don't know what is.  I can picture Trout on my bike and think she'd probably want to be in control of the throttle.  Needy, greedy lab.  A leisurely lunch at the local pub with some great gals who actually tolerated me was followed by a  relaxing time lounging in the grass, hanging out and chatting with our new found friends.

Harley Riders & Van Chicks, (photo: Lori Bumgardner)
On the ride home I cut away from the pack and headed to Salem while the rest went on to Eugene.  I waved goodbye and smiled for the next fifty miles, thinking of how great it was to  be a part of something for such a good cause and counted my blessings. I had met some wonderful people who made me laugh and consider possibilities I'd never pondered.  One thing I learned was that waving constantly to other bikes makes your arm hurt, but more importantly I learned that it's not important to keep up with the crowd but to forge ahead at your own pace.  I also learned not to be so judgmental of others.  I mean, just because they aren't riding BMW's doesn't make them bad people.  In fact, the Harley riders who stayed with the van were great people.  Ones I'd be proud to call my friends.

So here's a shout out to everyone who joined the Memorial Ride.  Kudos for taking the time out of your day to share stories and laughter.  A big THANK YOU to those who helped raise around $10,000 for the Kilcullen family, a HUGE tip of the hat to Brian Antone for putting the ride together and for the volunteers who checked everyone in at the start of the ride, and a heartfelt hug to those special Harley riders who showed me it's not the color or brand of your bike that matters, but that you ride.

Moto Gear: SCORE! AD-1's from Aerostich

Hey All!  I've been needing new gear for the longest time but have been having difficulties trying to decide what to get.  It seems like there are so many options...and yet even at lunch I have a hard time ordering.  Can you imagine me surfing the internet looking for the perfect jacket and pants?  Whew.  In the end, I've decided to stay with what I know and ordered a pair of Aerostich pants.

I've had a pair of Aerostich Darien pants for about the last five years.  I've loved these pants.  They are the perfect outer layer when it rains, or when it's hot, or when I want to wear shorts and still be protected.  Aerostich has improved the pants and now have a pair called AD-1's.  I have to tell you, I was a little hesitant to do anything other than the Dariens since they have served me well.  But, on first glance, these AD-1's are another WIN for Aerostich.  I'll let you know how I feel about them in a few months when they are more flexible and have been worn a bit.  As of now, I can tell you, if you are looking for a pair of pants that fit in the WIN column, check these out.  These pants have pockets of plenty, improvements to ensure they zippers are more waterproof (though I never had a problem with the Dariens) and have closures on the pockets (which the Darien's lacked) so you can ride assured your valuables won't be slip sliding out.

Now, about that jacket....I'm kind of wondering if I shouldn't go for the Darien jacket as well...I mean, after all, why mess with a good thing?  Aerostich has my vote thus far.  Check out Aerostich here:  http://www.aerostich.com/    

Thumbs up from bmwgsgirl!

I found a house! A sale and a purchase...

Hey Readers!  (Mom and Dad) My Salem house, after MANY repairs and a new porch I haven't written in a spell because my plans took a ride...