…musings of one easily amused

Archive for May, 2010

Sunday – The rodent gets a talking to.

9:00 a.m. I left the ATM in Colchester.  It was an uneventful ride to PA.  Traffic was light, speed traps were abundant.  The GPS decided it had a better route than the one I had loaded and by the time I realized what had happened I had missed route 99 and was on my way to Youngstown.  I ended up heading south on a secondary road that turned out to be a nice change from the interstate.  This “detour” just happened to route me through the hometown of a character named Phil.  This beady-eyed little bastard has managed to screw me every February 2nd for years.  This time I had the element of surprise on my side.

While checking the route south to get me back onto I-70 I made a few calls to see how my luck was going to be finding a campsite in the middle of Memorial Day weekend.  I found a KOA just south of Pittsburgh that had one site left.

When I arrived to snag it I found out it was basically a gravel driveway crammed between two thirty-foot motorhomes.  Having spent a few sleepless nights in campgrounds listening to generators and air conditioners run all night I decided to pass.

Three miles away I found a “Quality Inn” (term used loosely, of course) and for less money than the gravel pit would have cost me I had a soft bed and a bug free bathroom to myself.

Tomorrow is all I70, all day.  It would be nice to make the western side of Kansas but I’m not sure that GS seat is going to allow for that to happen.

Next Installment


This stuff will be put to the test.

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Ideal for butt busting activities. Do not injest.

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Getting Going Already

So, the Strom had been running a bit rough lately.  I had covered all the basics to the tune of $450 for fuel and air filters.  This seemed solve the surging for about two weeks.  Slowly the symptoms began to return.  Steady throttle at any rpm would produce noticible surges, the gap between roll off and roll on was becoming extremely wide and cornering was no longer any fun with the unpredictable throttle response.

I was running out of time.  My two week vacation was fast approaching and I was beginning to question whether old bad shape was going to be able to make the trip (that’s the bike, not me).  One more season, that’s all I wanted get out of the Strom.  Another 15,000 miles and I would retire it and buy the new bike.  As I’m explaining all this to Jo, she asks, “Why are you prolonging the inevitable?”  Married men will understand immediately the moments that followed as I attempted to absorb what had just been said.  I had just received a window of opportunity, one that I was not going to let slip by.

That was a Tuesday.  By Wednesday I had tracked down a suitable replacement for the ailing Suzuki in the form of a BMW R1200GS.  A 2007 model that someone had apparently forgot about purchasing.  It had only been ridden 2,700 miles and, as if the original owner knew I was going to be in need of a cross country machine, had a full compliment of hard cases.  A deal was struck and I picked up the “new to me” bike yesterday.

I had originally planned to leave for points West early this morning.  Instead, I finished up a couple of loose ends at work, then began the transition from one bike to the other.  Packing a bike is a bit of an art, something that is learned and perfected over many trips of trial and error.  The Strom and I had been through 70,000 miles of test runs so packing for a weeekend or even a two week excursion was a process that could be completed on autopilot.  Everything that was needed had a pre-determined location and if something was missing it was instantly noticed.  Today was spent trying to collapse years of packing expertise into an afternoon.  There is definitely more room on the GS for “stuff” but the specific locations of particular items will take some trial and error.  The next two weeks will be a Baptism by fire.  Taking a two week trip covering thousands of miles on a motorcycle you have only had for 48 hours is not something I would suggest to anyone.  Yet here I am about to do exactly that.  Other than working out the packing system there are a couple of nagging problems.

The first issue is the stock seat on the GS.  Motorcycle manufacturers have never been able to produce a seat capable of holding the typical motorcyclist’s ass comfortably for more than 200 miles.  Some, as in the case of the KLR, for only 85 miles.  I had purchased a custom seat for the Strom before my trip out west 2 years ago.  The Russell Day-Long saddle kept me comfy for the entire trip, including the 1,100 mile stretch from Ohio to Nebraska.  The one hour ride from the dealership to my office on Friday provided a hint that I had indeed aquired another bike with a 200 mile seat.  As most custom seat manufacturers have a three plus week turn around there is not much I can do about it right now.

Second issue, tank bag.  Tank bags provide a place to store stuff you want to have instant access to, even while riding.  It provides a place to slip the camera into after taking a picture or a convenient place to store the Jolly Ranchers.  The sunglasses get stored there when day turns to dusk and the wet weather gloves are there when you see the storm approaching.  The GS – no tankbag.  The dealership had the “official” BMW GS tankbag, but at $350 I decided the Jolly Ranchers would have to be relocated.

So, I leave in the morning.  I’ll pack the last bits and pieces, all while wondering what I’m forgetting.  The waypoints have been loaded into the Nuvi and the first route stored.  It’s 2,100 miles between the house and Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado.  My ass should be good and numb by then.

Next Installment


Patriot Guard Riders Run

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The rain has ended!


I’ve figured out how to shorten my commute