Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Interphone Bluetooth Review

BMW MOA - View Single Post - Motorcycle communication equipment

Here is an update for Interphone after a long weekend's use. Packed in with the Interphone is a little paper that indicates that phones are set to low volume mode by default. Needing more volume to hear the speaker while wearing earplugs, I reset my device to the high volume mode. This solved my problem. I was able to speak and hear my riding partner, even at highway speeds! ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What's Up?

Last night I dropped the K75 off with my trusted mechanic Jim. I was struck by how nervous I was looking at the bike in his drive. Primarily, I was dropping it off to have new tires put on it. Secondarily, it was there for a “once over”. For the 8 years I’ve owned this bike I’ve put about 5K a year on it. I’ll be putting 8-9K on it in 5 weeks. I’m not mechanically inclined. If I have my Clymer’s manual out I can do routine maintenance but I don’t know what I don’t know! So, I hand my bike off to Jim and hope for the best. Then I’m off to re-read MOA posts about K bikes with 200-300k trouble free miles on them and I not so jokingly talk about buying a new bike along the way if this one gives up the ghost. If it were just me out there, I don’t think I’d be nervous. But I have an important responsibility riding with me…and mechanical failure could be more than just an inconvenience. No sense dwelling on it.

With route planning done, I’ve begun making reservations in areas that may be booked solid during the summer. I was happy to land a hotel, tour and dinner at Yellowstone on 4th of July. The Glacier motel is booked. Online riding friends have generously extended offers of lodging; we’ll be taking them up in Ontario, Oregon & the DC area.

Last weekend I tested out our packing. Both Lisa and I layed out all that we’d take be taking with us. And guess what? It all fit in the luggage! Yeah! The riding boots I bought Lisa don’t fit her well. I decided to substitute them with new hiking boots. She’ll need them for our National Park stops.

Due to bad weather, we’ve still not had a chance to test ride our gear. I’ll run a mock test (gear but no kiddo) on my ride this weekend to NY. Wednesday I’m doing track day in Loudon. Stay tuned for report!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Rainy Day Planning

Thank goodness for rainy days. It has taken me most of the weekend plan 32 Waypoints and create 24 Routes using MapSource. I then uploaded these to Garmin. The beauty of such planning is that – I have a plan! Everyday we just get up, select the day's route and off we go. If we deviate from the route, Garmin just recalculates.

This exercise was not just plugging in towns along the way, but also looking at where I want to go, what we want to see and look for interesting routes to get there. I don’t feel over planned. I feel prepared. The last thing I want to do is have 5 weeks in front of me and no plan. I find this type of work comforting.

Lisa came over to thank me for doing all the planning. She was grateful that she was not responsible for this! Enjoy the free ride for now honey!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Awards & Tallys - BMW MOA

Awards & Tallys - BMW MOA

I see two awards that we have a chance at this year! The long distance award is based on the distance between home and the rally site - usually not a lot of competition in our category. We won second prize in Burlington, but that didn't seem like much of an accomplishment being so close to the site. Nashua to West Bend = 1,130 on Mapquest; seems odd to compete for this when we are not traveling between those two points. I wonder if there is a distance award at Spearfish Black Hills Stampede? Nashua to Spearfish, SD = 1,960 mi. Although it will take us about 5,000 miles to get there.
The Grand Tour award is miles from when you leave home and get to the rally, if they have a second place for that, I think we may be in the running. First place is usually over 10K miles, we'll be slightly under that.
We don't ride for the prize, but it would be so satisfying to hear our names called!

Individual Awards:
Long Distance, Male Rider
Long Distance, Female Rider
Long Distance, Two-up, Male
Long Distance, Two-up, Female
Long Distance, Two-up, Mixed
Long Distance, Sidecar, Male
Long Distance, Sidecar, Female
Long Distance, Sidecar, Mixed
Long Distance Vintage Thumper
Long Distance International Rider
Long Distance European Rider
BMW MOA Grand Tour
BMW MOA North American Tour"

Something Old is Something New

Between 1985 and 1996 BMW produced 18,485 K75 motorcycles. My bike is a 1987 model; it’s 20 years old this year. Getting original accessories for such a bike is not an easy task. The tank bag on my bike is showing its age. The hooks that connect the base to the bike are down to few threads of elastic and the main compartment zipper comes undone more than it zips. I’ve had it in my mind that I’d try to get the bag fixed, as it fits my bike perfectly.

This past Sunday, Mother’s Day, my ex-husband stops by to drop off our daughter, he has a grocery bag in his hand. “A friend of mine gave me this, she wondered if you could use it” he says handing me the bundle. Puzzled, I look inside the grocery bag and find a tank bag, not any tank bag and genuine BMW K75/ K100 tank bag. I pull it out and examine it. Judging from the color scheme, it appears to be an older model of my bag, but it looks brand new. I unzip the main compartment and pull out the expansion section, which is as red as the day it was shipped, a red that has never seen the sun. The elastics on the attachment hooks are tight yet pliable.

It seems that for some time now my daughter and her father have been frequenting a restaurant near his home; they’ve made friends with a particular waitress. Recently Lisa has been telling this waitress about her upcoming trip and she inquired about my bike. “Oh, I have a K75 too” revealed the waitress “I don’t use it any more; it’s been out of service for several years”. A few weeks later, she presents the tank bag to Lisa and says maybe your mom can use it for the trip. Lisa doesn’t want to be impolite and say that I already have one, so she thanks her and brings it home. Without knowing the issues I have with mine, my daughter, the waitress (and ex-husband) presented me with a Mother’s Day gift of great value. I’m going to write her a thank you note, she may not appreciate just how valuable a good tank bag is on a long trip. It was generous of her to donate it to us!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spring Rides Rock! - Rounder's Ride Report

Spring Rides Rock! - Rounder's Forum: "Traffic was light and the temps were on the cool site, high 50’s, the spring colors are almost at their peek, if there is such a thing. It was a fine weekend to be a rider in New England. "

What I Didn't Know

Picture: Me and Mom on the first day of mileage season 2005
So I knew that my mom and I were going to do alot of stuff on our trip this summer, but it wasn't until I actually read this whole blog that I got the whole picture. I thought we were going from home to Hampton beach, to the west coast, stopping at Glacier of course, then go to the rally in Wisconsin, then heading home.
But when I read the blog I was shocked at how much my own mother doesn't tell me. I didn't know we were going to the Red Wood forest, or two rallies, D.C. or Mt St. Helens!

Friday, May 11, 2007

People You Meet on the Way

Picture: Reid sent this picture of me leaving the gas stop.

I could not let this languish in the comments section. I received this note out of the blue yesterday. Isn't motorcycling grand?

Hey Gail,

On July 12 2004 I arrived at the gates of Glacier National Park in Montana. I was waiting at the gas station for some friends that were headed down from the Lunatic Fringe Rally up in Canada.

Here comes this K bike that's identical to mine - even the same wonderful Blue. COOL. As she gassed up we chatted a bit. Then you headed on into the park!

What fun to run across you again! I recently started looking at the MOA forums again and 'thought' that was you. The Gilette Wyo thread led me to this blog.

One of my dearest friends, Griz, lives in Spearfish and helps Aaron (a little) put on the Black Hills Stampede. Griz was in the Lunatic bunch in '04. The plan has me getting there in time for the Stampede.

If I make it, we can say Hi again.

Anyway, have a great, safe trip - what fun for you to be able to share what we 'do' with your daughter.

all my best,

reid aka ptero(I still have my K, now at 168,000. Michigan plate>> PTERO)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My Review of Tour Master Cortech Sport Tail Bags

Originally submitted at RideGear

Use separately or with the Cortech Sport Saddlebag as a single unit. 1680 Denier Ballistic nylon construction for durability. Soft Tricot interior lining;Built-in bungee cord hooks hide away when not in use. Bottom Velcro flap and quick release buckles.

Put away your hard cases!

By SheRidesABeemer from New Hampshire on 5/9/2007

5out of 5

Pros: Lightweight, Good Looking, Durable, Good Capacity

Best Uses: Long Rides, Around town

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I bought this tail bag for my '03 BMW K1200GT. The GT's hard cases take away from its sporty look but I always have stuff to carry. The first weekend I used the tail bag, I could not stop raving about it. It's sleek looking, easy access and seems to fit as much stuff as a hard case - I packed it with sandals, xtra face shield, gloves and jacket liner. When I needed a little more room, I just unzipped the expansion section. I wish I'd bought this sooner. Most BMW oriented soft luggage costs 2 or 3 times more. But this is a quality piece. The bungies are easy to use, and there is a slip proof layer between the bag and your bike. Don't hesitate to add this bag to your bike!


Monday, May 7, 2007

Shopping Tips

Picture: Lisa's poses in her new gear!

I have a long list of things I need to purchase for this trip. I am trying to make due with what I have, but there are still many necessities and small luxuries on the list. I don’t like paying full price; it used to be that buying online was synonymous with saving money; I’m finding that this is less true that it used to be.

Hotels: I’ve been a Priceline fan for over 5 years. In the early days I could get a three star hotel in downtown Boston for $55. Those days are gone. In the past year, I have by passed Priceline in favor of booking online directly with the hotel chain. In return, I can pick my hotel, get loyalty program credit for my stay and am paying no more than Priceline’s lowest advertised price. Priceline’s fees are very steep, around $26 per night! This is wiping out any rate discount. In some cases, the Priceline price is already AT or OVER the online rate found on the chain’s site. Buyer beware, bargain sites are not always a bargain.

Electronics: No camera I’m going to bring is going to do justice to the sights we’ll see, but I may as well bring the best camera I can. I‘ve had a couple of Canon SD Powershot cameras; they are very portable and I am comfortable with the user interface. My current SD500 has been dropped and has a cracked case, and I’ve been unhappy with the dullness of my pictures lately, so I’ve decided to upgrade. Lisa still has my old SD100, and it’s a great camera for her to practice with.

I did a little comparison shopping and decided on the SD750. In the past I’ve purchased cameras on eBay or Amazon. Again, times they are a changing. eBay prices and Amazon’s best prices where over $300 + shipping. A quick comparison of prices on Google product search returned several vendors around $260. However, all of these low priced vendors rated poorly on

Friday, May 4, 2007

Travel Calendar Updates

Did I say I wasn’t going to plan? When the mood strikes it strikes big! Check out my calendar at the bottom of the page. I’d been working the middle of the schedule and finally had to I sketch out the front. It was a relief when the front end of the trip met the middle of the trip…on the right day!
I think the miles are reasonable; there is only one 500 mile day, Marquette, MI to Grand Forks, ND. We’ll have the change of time zones in our favor to get an early start on the day. Otherwise I targeted a conservative 350 miles per day.
We have 5 state capitals plus the Canadian capital of Ottawa. In addition to Glacier National Park, I’ve added Redwood National Park and the Grand Coulee Dam. There are several choices for Mountains in WA & OR. Mt. St Helens, Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier. However, Rainier has been closed since 11/2006 due to flood damage. Its possible many of the auto roads will remain closed through this summer.
Two rallies: MOA National and the BMW Black Hills Stampede.
I have nothing after the National’s are over. I’ll get to that later. I’m thinking about a trip to Virginia and DC. After all we’re starting at one National capital, why not finish at another?