Rockster Blog...

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Lion_Lady
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Rockster Blog...

#1 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:32 am

March, 15, 2005

Okay. My f650CS is in the shop Bob's BMW for warranty work (fork seal leak) until Wednesday. I rode home Friday on the available service loaner: a lowered f650GS... fun, but TOO SHORT (i've got a 34" inseam).

So, Saturday, I stopped back by the dealership to see, first, when MY bike would be ready, and second, whether I could "finagle" a bigger loaner bike. Since I'm on BMWBMW club's Board of Directors, I needed to be at the Sunday meeting in Fredericksburg, VA at Morton’s BMW.

"Hmmm," says the service chief. "Ask the sales mgr if he's got a demo to loan."

So I ask.

"Hmmm," says the sales manager, after I tell him WHERE the meeting is, "We happen to have a Rockster demo with 1100 miles on it that you could take. We want to get some more miles on the odometer (I heard 1500 mentioned). You'll park it out front, right?"

“Of course." says I.

So they make a copy of my license, I give proof of insurance, sign a piece of paper, and off I ride on a sweet BMW Rockster (R1150R engine) for a long term loan.

Too COOL!!

First, being a smart rider, I spend 10 minutes putting around the industrial-plex across the road getting the feel of the ABS brakes, the weight, etc. then I'm off. Nice ride! I really like the fact that it handles much like the CS with a similarly low center of gravity, but it just feels 'meatier.' Its got pull in all gears at all RPMs, no 'grunting' at the low end like the poor thumper. Though this bike weighs about 140 pounds more than the CS it really didn't feel that much heavier. My one other complaint is that the Rockster has no windscreen. I tried to finagle one as a loan, but no dice. Ah well.

I get on I-95 north and find that passing 18 wheelers don’t buffet this bike around the lane. All around, it just feels more secure going down the road. I take 100 west to 29 then I-70 W to Marriottsville Rd. An easy ride, with less traffic and familiar path for this unfamiliar bike. Plus fun “baby” twisties to try! Man, she’s sweet in turns! And no diving front end when I brake.

When I pulled up front of the house, Chaz (hubby) was in the yard. He laughed out loud and immediately asked if he could ride it (Of course) His test ride was far longer than his go round on the GS was, and his comment when he got home was "I would get myself in serious trouble if I got one of those now... need another season on the SV."

I loved our son's comment when he got home from skateboarding, "WOW! Is that a Rockster in the garage?!"

For the meeting, Sunday, I put in 380 miles.

I left home at about 7 am (after some stupid confusion with the kickstand 'safety' feature). I made it to Fredericksburg for the club meeting by 9:30. After the meeting, some of my usual ride pals were "heading west" on a “100 mile loop” with plans to find something to eat in Sperryville, VA. At the time, I had no REAL idea how far away Sperryville was in relation to Fredericksburg OR more importantly, to Reisterstown.

Okay, I'll bite. I really didn’t want to just go back home. This bike is too much fun, and I didn’t have our GPS on board, so I was leery of venturing far on my own.

About 10 of us headed out. We rode through the valleys and hills of the lower Shenandoah. Through Civil War battlefields and past beautiful farms and fields. We cruised along two lanes. My 650CS is usually left behind when the others pass cars because the single cylinder just hasn’t got quite the Oomph. It’ll keep up, but the acceleration just can’t match the 1100s and 1150s that I usually end up riding with. The Rockster was right there every time I twisted my wrist.

We travelled up and over the mountains past Luray, VA on 211. The last section was along winding climbing steeps, reminiscent of my motorcycle crash in July '04. These were both a thrill and a terror to execute successfully. I initially thought to keep up with the others, but quickly realized that was a sure path to disaster.

So I eased off, took a breath to focus, and started concentrating on carving the turns. Ah, here was sheer power and elegance! Climbing: look-lean-rollonthrottle-carve, ease off, lookleancarve. Descending: lookleancarve, straighten and brake just a bit, then, lookleancarve. It was more like flying than being earthbound. The motorcyle’s engine growled purposefully and comfortingly through all of it.

With the farthest distance of any, to travel back home, I knew I was in trouble as we kept getting closer and closer to Charlottesville, VA - down to 22 miles before we cut away northwest. The thing was, I would no sooner catch up to the group at a stop, and gather my thoughts, when they'd head off again: I didn't want to just disappear and have everybody worry about me, so I stayed with them.

Image

At last, we stopped and had a light dinner in Sperryville, VA at about 4:30pm. I realized that I would be far later returning home than I ever planned. When I tried to phone home, I had no cell service. Ah well. Make the best of it. I pulled out my map and got guidance from the others back to 340N. I had to cross the mountain on 211 again. Yikes! At least it was still daylight. I’d take it slow, as I was somewhat concerned at how fatigue would effect my riding.

Once again, I made it over the mountain safely. And again I delighted at the secure power and easy handling of the Rockster. I turned north on 340 toward Front Royal, where I stopped at a minimart for gas and a bottle of water. I tried my cell phone once more. SERVICE at last! Checked in with Chaz and said I was on my way, taking my time. As I stood drinking my water, an unbelievable 3 wheel contraption motored up to the gas pumps. The guy driving(?) was wearing a beanie helmet and chaps. I commented on his rig and he commented that it was easier to get down the road when things were slick. It seemed to have a VW engine driving it.

From Front Royal, the Rockster continued to eat highway miles effortlessly. As it grew dark, I cruised at 70-75 mph. My lower back was growing tired and stiff from pushing my torso against the windblast.

I stopped again in Frederick, MD, for a snack and to warm up. Checked in with home again. Then the final leg home. I got home at almost 9pm. A long but rewarding day. The Rockster handled 70-80mph with no problems. Rock solid power and handling. It is hard to put precise words to what feels ‘better’ about the Rockster over the CS. The CS has done everything I ask smoothly. It’s a delight to ride. But it is just ‘littler.’ If I never planned on going beyond the Baltimore area, I’d be happy to keep the CS forever. But I have in mind to do some serious touring. And I just like the meatier feel of the R1150R.

Monday, I laid it down. Well actually, I SET her down. I was going out of the parking lot from work. The plan was to do a 'California roll-through,' but at the last minute I realized a car was coming. I grabbed a handful of brake with the bars not QUITE straight: "Ohno-OhCRAP!" over she went, ever so GENTLY (Okay, as gently as a person can lower a 550 pound bike to the ground) onto the right cylinder head. The ABS made a screeching sound and I turned the key off. Got her up on the second try, by myself.

Only damage is the 'sacrificial' plastic cyclinder guard. Whew!!

Hope to put on some more miles tomorrow.

_______________________

I was smitten. A couple weeks later, there was this magnificent WHITE and black bike parked in the showroom of Bob's BMW. I was talking to Ashton, the sales manager about loving the Rockster, but really hating the color options of copper or lime. Ashton pointed to the black and white bike.

"Its a Rockster" says he.

"No way!" says I.

"Yes, way! Its an 80th Anniversary Limited Edition Rockster" says he.

Oh oh oh. It has a windshield! I'm dooooomed. Its beautiful! I've got to have it. No, cannot buy it, must have it, cannot have it, MUST HAVE IT!!!! Well, BMW's .09% financing AND 5 free payments offer meant that it was only 2 more weeks before I did buy it.

Here's me on "Delivery Day" of my new Rockster.
Image

This week (4/2/06) the odometer will tickover 12,000 miles on my almost 1 year old Rockster. Its been a great time, with more on the horizon.

P
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Another Rocktser Adventure...

#2 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:47 am

Whirlwind West Virginia... ("Wild Maggie" Put to Rest)
June 15, 2005.

Well, I did a whirlwind trip down to Seneca Rocks, WV for The Chain Gang (f650 forum) West Virginia Jailbreak, at Yokum's campground. There was another agenda as well...

I departed Reisterstown at about 4:30 pm Saturday with a full tank of gas in the Rockster, my tent and sleeping bag on the back and a smile on my face. According to the GPS the trip was gonna be about 220 miles, nearly 4 hours.

Its funny how just last summer, 4 hours on the motorcycle was daunting and not to be considered for a single day's ride, and here I was gonna do it AFTER WORK Saturday, and coming home on Sunday.

I had a couple intentions with this ride... one was to meet some of the folks I'd been conversing with online, another was to log in some big items for the BMWBMW club scavenger hunt (one item is Seneca Rocks, WV). The bigger reason perhaps, was to 'conquer' Wild Maggie, the curve that I went down on on my f650CS, in July 2004 (see http://forum.motorcycle-usa.com/?f=17&m=84932 ).

The temperature was HOT setting out, but I had on my UnderArmor and summer riding gear. I rode I-70 westward to try to make the best time. Kept seeing riders coming at me with raingear on and headlights. Clouds were coming at me... At Hancock, I pulled into a bank drivethru to think about putting on my raingear.

While having a drink of water, I observed that the front seemed to be moving northward and I decided not to bother and continued. I took I-68 then onto two lanes somewhere outside of Cumberland, I believe.

The last leg of the ride was in the dusk - as the 'forest rats(deer)' are notoriously coming out !!Eeek!!! But the ride was uneventful. I arrived at Yokums at about 9:30 pm. I pulled in, said hello all around and set up my tent. When I tried to phone home on my cell - - - duh, NO SERVICE valley's too deep. So I had to ride up to the office and see if I could find a pay phone to let hubby know I'd made it. I knew he'd figure there wasn't service, but I still wanted to check in. He wanted to regale me with tales of Clifford's transmission-ectomy - removal of trashed transmission on his BMW R1100RS. I had to cut him off. We said our goodbyes.

I returned to at last relax and join the fun at "Planet Orange." Great bunch of folks! Live bluegrass music. Beer, BBQ and we were camping right next to the New River so there was natural white noise to drown out fellow camper's snoring, etc.

Having been awake since 6am, I turned in 'early' - about 1am. I zipped into my tent, put in the earplugs, wrapped a t-shirt sleeve around my eyes and slept until nearly 9am. Man that felt good.

In the morning, the sun was shining... I was one of the first few awake.
Here's a shot of my bike in front of Jailbreak HQ early Sunday. You can just see one part of Seneca Rocks in the haze to the right of the tree branches.

"Planet Orange" WV Jailbreak headquarters.
Image

I later learned that some of the others were awake until 3:30 am.

I greeted those awake and inquired about breakfast plans... then sucked down a Clif Mocha (caffiene laden power goo) packet and packed up my tent and gear. My intent was to get in another scavenger hunt item or two WITHOUT the weight of my side cases and gear, before I headed back home.

The host, Ken Hait and a couple of the other early risers were riding up rte 28 for breakfast. I was still packing up and said I'd meet them there. I finished packing and piled all my stuff together... by this time the air was STEAMY... Did I mention that nearly EVERY turn off and turn in in West Virginia has a coating of gravel on top of the asphalt? You canNOT just squeeze the brakes and turn. You gotta pay attention.

I head up 28, and manage to blow past the restaurant (the guys didn't know the name, just said look for the motorcycles out front).

I realize my error and think to myself, "The road is practically deserted, it is wide enough to turn around on..." I slow, look where I'm trying to go. But THEN I focus on the narrow GRAVEL shoulder, and the steep grassy drop off beyond...

You guessed it: Front wheel goes ONTO the gravel shoulder, and down the slope a bit, and OVER my baby went (toward the road, not the drop, fortunately). She tilted up onto the left cylinder head, and the handle bar bumped the pavement. I stand up, cuss in my helmet and hit the kill switch. I'm about 100 yards from the restaurant. Grrrr.

The front wheel is down the slope where the surface is damp and grassy, PLUS there is the gravel. Gryndl weighs over 500 pounds. Pretty well the max I can lift with my legs. I realize that to stand her up, I've got to get Gryndl vertical, WITHOUT dumping her down the hill onto the other side. Not worth the risk.

Ah, F@ck it! I pull off my helmet and walk to the restaurant. The guys are just digging into a really tasty looking country breakfast. I apologize for interrupting and ask for help. All three get up. These guys are great! With a bit of discussion, they had Gryndl upright in short order with much - "it happens to everyone, don't worry about it."

I ordered a magnificent cholesterol and carb laden breakfast and listened to the guys tell tales of their off road ride, on Saturday. At last we finished breakfast and the guys headed back to camp, while I planned to get a look (and pic) of Seneca Rocks before loading up.

Seneca Rocks are unbelievable... if you get a chance to see them, do. The ride down there is worth it as well. This photo doesn't do them justice, but you get the idea.

Image

After this pic, I made my way back to camp.

The camp access road is a sorta steep slope with, you guessed it, a gravel surface. Further into camp it becomes all gravel - that I can deal with. Coming from the south, I have to make a tight right turn. Probably not a problem by itself, BUT there was a pick up truck sitting there, waiting to come out.

I was doing well, not panicking. I dropped speed, was just gonna ease my bike around that curve, but I spotted the GRAVEL and thought I was still going too fast. I put BOTH feet out (which meant I couldn't use the rear brake) and squeezed the brakes just a LITTLE bit (or so I THOUGHT)....

OVER WE WENT!!! "dodo!!" I hollered into my helmet. Fortunately we landed on the grass. The guy driving the truck leaped out before I could even look up. He thought the bike landed on my leg - thank god for that boxer engine. He stood the bike up. I got back on and headed into camp. I had to tell the guys that I'd now dropped Gryndl on the other side too... the dirt ground into the back of the mirror proved that.

I helped knock down the big portable carport that had been headquarters. I loaded up my gear, thanked everyone and said my goodbyes, then headed out. Northbound again on 28. Destination: Parsons, WV and 219.

I asked the GPS to take me home by the fastest route, but looking at the route, that seemed to result in adding about 30 miles to the ride. I rerouted by 'shortest' route which looked reasonable... Along the way, on Rt 52, I found another scavenger hunt item:

Image

An added bonus is that this is also the Eastern Continental Divide. The sign in the background indicates this is the Randolph County line as well.

A bit further on, the GPS indicates a left turn... I make it, and the road is narrow, but paved. I continue a half mile or so and the pavement becomes a single lane gravel track. Too narrow to turn around in... I continue. After a mile or more, the 'me' arrow goes off the pictured road line... I don't give this much tought, it has happened before. THEN the road widens into what looks like a tiny gravel cul de sac, with a closed gate to one side. Grrrr. Well at least I have room to turn around. So, I retrace my path, back to 52 and continue north.

Next, the GPS indicates that I need to turn on rt 72. Ah, HA! This road I know. This is the 'short cut' from one side of the valley to the other... I travelled it several times in cages while being shuttled by the nice ladies of the WOW chapter when I was injured last summer. COOL!! IT is 20 miles long, narrow and twisty - there is a sign at the turn off that states "Not suitable for large trucks" 72 has some unbelievable switchbacks and goes through BEEYOUTIFUL and remote countryside (sorry, no pics- I was RIDING!).

I kept my speed down, ever watchful for gravel in turns, and allowed any cars that came up behind me to pass. I was in no rush and wanted to enjoy the scenery.

At last, 72 comes out on 219 just outside Parsons. I took a breath and headed up. 219 is a well travelled roadway. With truck lanes on the uphill grades. Nearly every curve has a posted speed limit sign, from 50mph down to 20 mph. Soon, I recognized the approach to Wild Maggie. I had my speed right and carved my way around it without any trouble at all. I kept expecting the curve to "tighten up," decrease in radius, but it was almost a disappointment. It was just a turn, followed by another turn, and another. A few miles on, there was a rest area. I pulled in and parked. I pulled off my helmet and assessed what I'd done.

Image

I stood there, drinking some water and listening to the whoosh of the generating windmills, and thought to myself, this curve was no more challenging than any other 20mph curve I'd encountered in my 2 days of riding West Virginia roads. I wanted very much to share my victory with someone... It was a magnificent sunny afternoon and I'd claimed victory over a demon of my past.

A few minutes later, a half dozen cruisers rolled into the rest area. Two women riding pillion and 4 men. All were in tshirts, jeans and beanie or 3/4 helmets. Me in my full gear and full face helmet, with a loaded for travelling BMW, were of little interest. They eyed me and I eyed them. We nodded at each other in acknowledgement, but didn't exchange words.

I went to find a refill for my water bottle and when I came back outside, the cruisers were getting back on board to continue their ride. We nodded again in parting, and they thundered off.

When it was quiet, I phoned home and spoke to Chaz in the midst of his Transmission Project. He was excited for me, but mentally involved in his task... I understood.

I pondered, and came to the conclusion that if only I'd seen the 20mph curve speed sign, I would have had my entry speed right and the wayward truck would not have been an issue - or the entire situation could as well have turned out much uglier also. I must have glanced at my instrument cluster at the instant I breezed past that sign.

I was about to put my helmet on when an older gentleman - 60 something I'd guess - walked up to me and admired my bike. He said he'd been wanting a BMW for some time but that the nearest dealer to him was over an hour away. I tried to explain that they don't require much dealer care... ah well.

I feel that I've written the final chapter of my Big Crash and can put that book on the shelf.

I asked the GPS to route me home, checked my WV map for confirmation and started homeward. The GPS and I had some disagreements - at one point I ended up heading back toward Seneca Rocks on 42 instead of NE as I needed to travel.

I wind my way northeast, finding my wheels on Rt 15 and then Rt340 . . .
For the most part the rest of the ride is uneventful.

At about 7:30pm, I pulled into the parking lot of the Frederick, MD Waffle House. I park in what looks like a 'decent' parking space - in view of the inside of the restaurant.

BUT the space is sloped...

Too much of a slant for the side stand to do its job. I shoulda reparked then, but I was tired. Instead, I used the center stand. As I was eating, it occured to me that I SHOULD repark. So, I attempt to do so. . .

With the side cases loaded and the pillion seat packed as well, I've got to drive off the stand. I do, and when I grab the brake to stop the rebound, the bars musta been turned a bit....

"Oh, no! oh, Sh!!!!!TTT!!!!" Down we go.

I try to save it, but I've got just barely enough strength left to keep her from slamming the asphalt...

TIPOVER. Again. I stand up, hit the kill switch and have a look. Poor Gryndl is leaning against the curb, on the right side.

With the bags and stuff on board, I don't have a prayer of righting her without unloading everything. So, I do the logical thing and go back inside and eat my dinner while I ponder my next move, cursing my stupidity for taking that space in the first place.

In a few minutes, I look outside, and a pickup truck with two 20-something guys inside comes into view. They drive slowly by my upended bike, and park in front of the Waffle House. WooHOO! I get up and stop them at the door, with a plea for assistance. They willingly oblige. In no time my baby is upright and reparked in a LEVEL space. I thank them profusely and offer to buy their dinners.

I finally arrived at home at about 8:30 pm. A loooong day. Frustrating in some ways and rewarding too.

It took some emory paper and a moment of time to get the worst of the roughness out of the right side case. (Since I bought them used, I can always say the previous owner did the damage ).

P
Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity - Alice Paul

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#3 Unread post by Loonette » Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:33 pm

Good to see you bloggin' away. Nice new bike! You've probably got all the drops out of your system now! Enjoy the new ride.

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Escape from New York...

#4 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Thu Apr 06, 2006 3:56 pm

Hubby and I were invited to a wedding in Queens, NY on Saturday. Good friends who ride, he is one of the founders of BeginnerBikes.org (now defunct) but is a founder of beginnerandbeyond.com.

We got underway later than I'd hoped, but I figured we'd be there in enough time. 210 miles by the most direct route. It was still quite an adventure.

We got to do toll booths for the first time on the MC. The "ziplock bag method" of carrying multiple toll cash worked like a charm. I stashed about $15 in singles, a $5 and some quarters, in a snack size ziplock and stuffed it into my left hand jacket pocket. I could pull into a toll booth, put the bike in neutral and dig out the bag without taking off my gloves. I got a smile every time the toll taker saw the ziplock (I think they were expecting to watch me deal with my wallet). The toll taker could see that it wasn't booby trapped, and we could both see what was being removed. All very careful to reseal the bag for me before handing it back. Pretty cool.

The New Jersey Turnpike was the usual annoyance... EVERY time we came upon a clot of slow moving traffic, we discovered that it was a car with MARYLAND tags riding along in the left lane, oblivious to the back up they were causing... Maryland Drivers are THE WORST.

We took the Verizano Bridge into NY (I don't care that Brooklyn and Queens, etc are different - its all "New York" to this Baltimoron). We saw a sign that said "Welcom to Staten Island" so I know we were there as well.

The BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expwy) was a nightmare, especially in dusk. It was bumper to bumper but moving, at least. They'd resurfaced the road in what seemed to be a VERY haphazard manner, it was AWFUL. With dips and ridges parallel to travel. I was very grateful for the added weight of the Rockster. It kept me from taking too many unintentional detours across my lane. If I went down, I was DONE, traffic was so close.

We arrived at the Wyndahm Garden LaQuardia hotel at 5:45 (the wedding was scheduled for 6pm) I really hated arriving so late. To our amazement, the groom was standing in the parking lot out front - he was directing the transport cars and smoking a cigarette)! Yikes! We told them NOT to wait for us, that we'd call a car and get ourselves to the restaurant. We checked in and got showered and dressed in less than 20 minutes. The car ride was an adventure. We still managed to arrive before the service started. That is all I was worried about.

The wedding was wonderful and the party was a blast. So cool to see everyone again - this was the crew that we rode up to NY to hang out with last winter for the NY Motorcycle show.

After the reception and all were kicked out of the restaurant, the party continued at the hotel... hubby came to bed at about 3am (I'd been awake since 4:30 am so I went to bed at about midnight).

Sunday, we slept in. Had a leisurely breakfast and headed out about 11:30. Mrs. Peal (the name we've given the voice of our GPS) got confused in the cement canyons (spotty satellite reception), and we ended up taking the Midtown Tunnel (it was soooo tempting to slalom those orange divider thingies on the white centerline), we travelled down Park Avenue and past Grand Central Station (where I gave a taxi the evil eye and he quit trying to muscle into my lane) before finally seeing signs for the Lincoln Tunnel...

Then I managed to turn the wrong way down a one way street (fortunately it was a WIDE, and nearly empty one way street, but it had a concrete median). Chaz followed me because there wasn't much else he could do. This street was at least 6 lanes wide and there were several trailers parked along the right side. I tucked in between two of these while I tried to decide the next course of action. While I was doing that, Chaz decided to take Clifford OVER the median onto the side of the road we needed to be on... What an adventure! I followed his lead and we were underway again.

We decided that next time, we need to just follow signs when in a skyscraper type city. By the time the GPS figured out where we were and what we needed to do next, we sometimes had already missed the lane change or turning point.

Finally we made it across the river, or whatever, and out of the city, onto the Jersey Turnpike. We heard from one of the NewYorkers that there is a Motorcycle specific EZPass. It will deduct the motorcycle fare when there is a difference (if you try to use the MC pass on your CAR, you get a $50 ticket in the mail). Definitely worth looking into THAT.

Gassed up somewhere on the NJT then, we got off at exit 3 and headed east, toward Cape May, to catch the ferry to Lewes. The ride down 47 was really nice. Two lanes each direction with a nice wide grassy median. There was little traffic and the easy ride through pretty country was what we needed after fighting the Jersey Turnpike traffic for over an hour. Just put the bike in 6th gear and lope along easily.

When we pulled into the Ferry toll/ticket booth area, the attendant asked if we had a reservation. What a concept! We didn't, but being on motorcycles, we were pretty much assured a place on the next boat. We got to the terminal at about 4:15 and the next ferry was due to depart at 4:30 what timing! They needed to see our driver's licenses for the ride, and the $17 fare was steep, but I knew it would be high. I haven't been on the ferry since I was about 7 or 8 years old.

The bikes loaded up and ferry underway:
Image

Me switching face shields... on the ferry. Chaz's "Clifford" the Big Red Motorcycle is in front.

Image

The Delaware Bay was choppy and the ferry rolled amazingly. It was some time before all the folks' with motion detector alarms got those sorted out.

We got to DE in the dark, and Jeff, the HD rider, led us to 2nd Street in Lewes, and recommended a couple restaurants... We ended up at the Buttery. Delicious!! It seemed obvious that during high season this is a place you need to make your reservation well in advance. The food was unbelievable. We had the "Prix Fix" dinners. Chaz had the mahi mahi and I had beef tenderloin stoganoff style. The fresh tomato asparagus soup and creme brulee dessert were divine. A glass of wine would have been perfect, but not a good idea given the ride we had ahead of us.

It was really tough to get suited up and back underway at about 8 pm. I SO wanted to just find a room for the night, but we both had to work the next day, so it wasn't really an option. The route home was easy, but it was getting late and we're not 20 anymore.

Made it as far as Dover before we had to gas up again, then at about 10pm, we needed to stop and stretch, in Churchville. Called the kiddies to let them know we were still alive.

We hit some light sprinkles of rain just before our exit off I-795. (What fun).

We rolled into the garage at 11pm. 345 miles. I've now got 10,130 miles on my Rockster.

Pam
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#5 Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:02 pm

Why do the ferry folks need to see your driver's license?
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#6 Unread post by zarakand » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:29 am

Wow, I love that ferry picture. What's the ground feel like riding to your parking spot there? Sounds like a lot of fun.
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#7 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:53 pm

blues2cruise wrote:Why do the ferry folks need to see your driver's license?
My guess is that it has something to do with "homeland security." I suppose it would be possible to ride a sabotaged vehicle on board and then get back off before the ferry left port.
zarakand wrote:Wow, I love that ferry picture. What's the ground feel like riding to your parking spot there? Sounds like a lot of fun.
The ferry is pulled into a slip that is off in a little inlet and away from rough water/waves. The ferry itself has a steel deck which was just a little challenging.

Here's the view of the ferry terminal as we pulled away.
Image
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Re: Escape from New York...

#8 Unread post by jstark47 » Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:31 pm

Lion_Lady wrote:we travelled down Park Avenue and past Grand Central Station (where I gave a taxi the evil eye and he quit trying to muscle into my lane) before finally seeing signs for the Lincoln Tunnel...
You actually rode a motorcycle in Manhattan!!! :shock: I won't even drive a car there. Your user name is aptly chosen!!
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#9 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:28 pm

Quick and Dirty Ride to Hershey, PA...

THANKS, for coming along, MARIA!!

So, after hubby finished up some minor electrical wizzardry on Maria's bike, I noted that there were still a couple hours of daylight left and I hadn't yet checked off the Hershey Chocolate Factory, or a wooden roller coaster, from my club Scavenger Hunt list. Neither has maria. She's got no particular plans or need to go directly home. A quick phone call home and we're on.

Unfortunately, chaz is too whomped from his weekend tromping around with our son's Boy Scout Troop in the infield of Timonium fairgrounds race track, to join us, so we headed out without him (me feeling a bit guilty).

Underway at about 3:40pm, taking the scenic route from Reisterstown, along Butler Rd, to Tufton, to Shawan Rd and I-83N. Once on 83, I worry that about going too quickly or slowly, as we take on the fast lane toward York, PA but then I realize that maria is staying right with me and I relax.

Having bike to bike com would have made this a breeze to do, but there aren't many decisions to be made on this trip, so it works. We zing through York and Harrisburg. > Some dippy woman decides to remain in her disappearing lane on the Susquehanna River bridge and merge into me. Fortunately I see this coming and get out of her way, but I lose maria in my rearview. Uh oh... then I see her, and know she'll catch up.

On to Hershey. But first, one side stop to check off "caverns." We take the exit for "Indian Echo Caverns" for one of the items and then head on the few miles to Hershey.

Image

First, a pic of the Lightening Racer - "wooden roller coaster." Then to the Hershey Chocolate Factory visitor's center... the parking lot is packed!

There's a Halloween celebration in HersheyPark. Woo freakin HOO! We circle around the parking lot, unable to find a place to stop and get a pic of the chocolate factory. Finally, maria recommends we just pull into the "bus drop off only" lane for a pic and quick getaway. People walk by eyeing the two of us like we're from another planet.

Next: gas, potty stop, and dinner, while we wait for the sun to go down and darkness to set in. From previous visits, I remember there's a RubyAppleFridaysLobster place, up on the hill across from the Sheetz where we get gas.

Hmmm, I note the parking lot not tooo crowded, as we approach.

After a minor miscue turning into the lot, maria finds a space in view of the front door and we de-gear and head in. Ah, it's nice to be warm.

We sit down to a yummy, though not memorable, meal, and light conversation. The folks at the next table are quite an interesting bunch... it takes a bit before we figure out that what sounds like some secret code is a NASCAR racing discussion. As we sit, they are served a large quantity of alcohol and appetizers, then they order a full meal, PLUS. Yikes.

We finish our meal, pay the check and head back out to gear up. I've got to change my helmet visor for the clear one, and maria digs out her electric jacket... good thing she had brought it along! It is a bit cool, probably low 50s or even the 40's as we set out for home. I'm grateful that I wore my Rev'It Motion. I'm nice and toasty.

The ride home is mostly uneventful. Less traffic, but the visibility isn't as good. I'm glad that I've navigated this route so often.

At Shawan Rd, I exit and Maria continues home. Not a bad evening's ride:
190+ miles, and Gryndl is now 125 miles short of 10K. Cool!!

P
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"Family Riding"

#10 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Sat Apr 22, 2006 8:13 am

Okay, got to share this...

Last night was one of my local BMW club's monthly RTE's (Ride to Eat). It was only about 10 miles from our house and the temperature was in the 70s. I figure, WHY NOT?? There's a near direct path to get there that is on two lane roads with very little traffic.

We've got helmets for both kids (son, 14 and daughter, 16) and we're working on getting full gear for both of them. Sorry folks, only have a jacket for the dd so far.

So I took my dd around a nice little loop just to see how she did - I'd taken her out on my CS, but I was a bit unnerved at how much she could influence the bike's travel with her weight shift.

Anyhow. On the Rockster, she was a MODEL pillion! Didn't pull on the bike to mount and kept herself balanced, moving with the motorcycle. Aside from the additional weight, I barely knew she was there.

DS rode on the back of hubby's R1100RS and looked almost like a big backpack. The ride was wonderful.

Only one 'incident': As we were riding along past some farm houses, a dalmation size DUMB DOG, just strolled out in front of hubby (his buddy stayed in the driveway) - Chaz braked hard and aimed for the space between dogs <YIKES!!> I braked as well, and felt dd's helmet smack mine once.

We pulled up to the restaurant and a couple folks were there. We made quite an entrance. The kids were all smiles.
On the ride home, ds nearly fell asleep.
>>>>>

Today, its in the mid 70's and dd has requested that I pick her up from her after school club on the motorcycle... hmmm. With gas now near $3 a gallon and both cars getting only 22-24 mpg. Taking the mc for the 40 mile round trip makes a LOT of sense.

Except the part where I decide to take the Beltway to GET there.... Grrrr. Stop and go traffic. <Sigh>

Arrive only 15 minutes late. DD bounds across the bus loop to meet me, and as we gear up, one of her school buds comes over to inspect the bike. He's very impressed.

I decide to opt out of the Beltway for the home trip and choose instead one of MD's noted scenic byways... Falls Rd/SR 25. Through Greenspring Valley and rolling farmland. Then we turn and go past the site of the Maryland Hunt Cup Steeplechase, Tufton Rd.

A lovely ride indeed. The only problem so far is that I can't talk to her and point out the stuff I see or ask how she's doing...

NOW I'm starting to consider a way to justify adding to my Autocom unit for Rider to Passenger communications.
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#11 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Mon Jun 19, 2006 12:40 pm

7 Days to departure.

Well, my 16 year old daughter and I have been talking about doing a car road trip, just the two of us for two summers now.

Since she has proven to be such an excellent pillion rider, we have now decided that we will make it a motorcycle trip. What an adventure!!

We are registered to attend the AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference, outside Atlanta, GA. The plan is to depart from Baltimore on Tuesday morning and take two days to ride down. My hope is to do Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway for the first half, while I'm fresh from home, and then slab the remainder. Since SD and the BRP roughly parallel I-81, we can always 'bail' to that if time becomes an issue.

I've already got tickets to see the GA Aquarium and may ride the Dragon while at the event... we'll see about that.

You can bet that I'll be posting up an account of our adventure!

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#12 Unread post by Z (fka Sweet Tooth) » Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:06 pm

I'll have to put that conference on the calender for next year. I hope you two have an awesome ride. Im looking forward to hearing all about it.

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#13 Unread post by LIONLADYr1150r » Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:42 pm

Just the barest beginnings of the tale of our ride from MD to Athens, GA.

Departed Reisterstown at about 4:30pm in light rain. Goal was to make it to Front Royal, VA before stopping. Rain continued and eased and started again and eased as we rode west toward Frederick, MD on I-70. Traffic was generally light.

Having the Autocom set up so I could check in with Eleanor and make sure she was okay helped keep me from focusing too much on myself and all the "what if's" that threatened. I know that kids are so good at picking up the adult's mood and fears.

We listened to the 70's on XM Satellite Radio, and then to Comedy USA... Phyllis Diller, Jeff Foxworthy and others.

Stopped at the Waffle House in Frederick. YUM! Something warm to eat and hot to drink. Funny but folks just seem to come out of the woodwork and want to talk motorcycles when you show up on a motorcycle.

Esecially when its two females on a loaded for the road bike. The cook owns an HD UltraGlide and knew of the AMA Women's Event... then one of the younger servers wanted to know about my bike. A good time all around.

We finished dinner and stopped for gas before continuing. . . turned south on I-15 thru Harpers Ferry and then 340. Travelled through Berryville, VA and on south. Two lane roads beyond that. Rain, and getting darker. About 15 miles north of our destination the rain picked up again. I had to stop at a Sheetz and take time to give my face shield a good cleaning, it had gotten darker, SCARY.

We noticed lightening bugs on the quiet stretches of road... dancing blinking lights in the fields.

The all day rain seemed to keep the deer in place. Didn't see ANY four legged creatures at all in fact.

Bunked at the Super8. No included breakfast, but clean and dry. First leg complete and that much closer to our destination. I taught Eleanor how to unlatch my side cases and how to tie the 'quick release' loop in the Helen2Wheels straps so she can help get us off the bike and into the room faster.

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#14 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:10 am

Safe at home! Total miles: 1565.4. Just shy of 27 hours riding. It was HOT in Athens, and the heat just sucked all desire to get geared up to explore for curvy roads right out of us.

My digital camera crapped out so I don't have all the pictures I might have. Got to get to Ritz Camera... bought a disposable camera and used that for part of the trip.

Seeing all the women riders from around the world was amazing.

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#15 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:45 am

What an amazing way to improve cornering...

Rode the length of Skyline Drive (with dd on back). The ENFORCED 35 mph speed limit and very low traffic, I could just focus on being smooth.
All those curves. The repetition. It just got easier. Adjust speed, look, lean, throttle on. I got to REALLY hanging out and laying the bike over.

First overlook:
Image

The occasional 'woo!' from my daughter was an affirmation that she was enjoying it too.

Stopping at little hogback overlook:
Image

Big Meadows:
Image

For my birthday, hubby signed me up for the Advanced Riding Clinic, by Lee Parks... the NEXT level!!!

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300 miles through Virginia...

#16 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:12 am

September 20, 2006.
Man, am I whomped! It was sunny when I got up yesterday and so I decided I'd do a circuit and pick up a few scavenger hunt items that I'm missing. Our BMW club does an annual scavenger hunt. You are assigned a number card and the pick up list. This year we're supposed to spell out the "tour's" full name: Bayerische Motoren Werke BikersOf Metropolitan Washington Great Tour. Each word is a different category.

I figured I'd capture a couple counties I'm missing (for BikersOf) and two rivers (for Bayerische). I planned to visit Orange County and Rappahannock Co., VA. Also intended to get the Rappahannock River and the Hazel River.

When I went out to check my tire pressure, I heard a disconcerting sound as I unscrewed the cap on the front valve... "sssssss." Hmm. Not good. Check pressure: 29 lbs. Also not good. And the ssss wouldn't stop. Grrrr. Okay, I fiddle with the little needle thingy to no avail. Grrrr. Plan B. Add some extra air and head down to Bob's. As I gear up, I notice that it has gotten overcast and rain looks kind of iminent. Well, this just sucks.

Okay, I still need to get the tire looked at. (Yes, I know I probably could have gone to a tire place nearby, but I have NEVER had to deal with this before, so I go where I know I'll get help and that there's back up if something big needs done.)

Head out. I enjoy using my newly learned turning skills. WHAT FUN!!! Until I end up behind a slow moving TRACTOR!! On the most fun, curvy road of the ride. SUCKY SUCKY SUCKY. I entertain myself by weaving back and forth in my lane behind. Then an A$$hat in a sportscar decides to pass me AND the tractor on a curve on a double yellow. YIKES!!!

Arrive at Bob's without further incident (except for having to put on my rain jacket to fend off a serious sprinkle). Darryl the service advisor walks out and has a look. "All you need is a valve stem tool." Hang on. (Did I mention how much I love the folks at Bob's?") He goes inside and in two minutes, comes out with a little silver doo-hickey that he uses to tighten things up. Voila!! No more "sssss." Check pressure, I'm good at 36 lbs.

Now. Its after 10 am. The sky seems to be brightening. Do I go or not? Darryl seems to think I'm stupid if I don't go. "The rain is coming later today." Says Ashton, the sales manager. Okay, it does seem idiotic to just go back home.

I fill up the tank. The weather is cool and overcast. Since I've got my sumer mesh jacket on, I decide it is propably smart to leave the raincoat on to block the wind. Head southwest, around the DC Beltway then onto I-95. At this hour a bit thick but moving well.

Just before Fredericksburg is the Rappahannock River bridge. I turn on flashers, and pull over, carefully watching my left mirror so I don't throw a leg into traffic. Shut off, sidestand down, and step around to the out of traffic side of my bike to position my number on my luggage rack. Focus, "CLICK."

Put everything away, check traffic, mount, start up and smoothly accelerate into traffic.

Take exit 130B west. This is a local road, traffic lights, etc. A woman in a van tries to merge into my lane and I scare her back into her place with my awesome air horn. W00t!

Zooom. Along Rt 3. I have the county seat of Orange, VA as my waypoint. But as I come up to the traffic light for the turn, I realize I just passed a county line sign. Check GPS: 20 miles to Orange. Ack! Recalculate: the Hazel River is west of here, and at some point I'm going to cross another county line. Retarget for Hazel River.

The GPS finds a wonderful windy two lane road, called Zoar Rd. The countryside is magnificently lush green. There is little traffic and I can just hum along and enjoy the scenery. Oh, and the curves are FUN! I start hanging off the inside and really leaning on the tight ones. WooHooo!

Hazel River. Do the picture drill: Signal, pull over, check mirror, shut off, dismount. Number out and attached, focus, "click." Virginia is wonderful in that there is a little green waterway identification sign on EVERY single bridge over every single rill, run or creek in the state, I swear.

Next I pass the expected Orange County line sign. I take the picture and realize I'm hungry. Culpepper is the next bigger town. I stop at the Wendys for a chicken sandwich. Hmmm, I'm not far from Sperryville, VA and 211 one of the 'gateways' to Skyline Drive.

I don't have to think long about riding THIS:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=....140591&iwloc=A

Sperryville is to the right. That tortured spaghetti line is 211.Through what is known as Thornton's Gap. I rode it on my first Rockster demo. I've ridden it since on my Rock, but not with a huge amount of confidence. It has always been just a bit of a white knuckle ride for me because of those very aggressive curves. Sportbikers from all around the DC metro area have turned that stretch of road into a raceway of late, but the LEOs have finally clamped down hard on the practice because there were so many wrecks.

Well. I did it, and it was an absolute BLAST!!! I hung off and LEANED! What fun!!!

At the park gate, it took a moment to dig out my wallet and my Park Pass. Then I was off on another curve ride. And being a weekday afternoon, I had the whole road to myself.

The early trees are just starting to turn colors. I spotted a splash of yellow here, a dab of red there. Nearly everything is still green but the changes are starting.

I stopped for pictures at two overlooks.

Image

The temperature could not have been more perfect. The weather steadily improved as the afternoon wore on. I could see heavy clouds off to the east, but I'd missed their visitations on the ridge.

Image

I left the park at a bit after 3:30. According to "Mrs. Peal" the GPS, I'd be getting home at a little after 5pm. Woo! A long day, but so fun. Dialed onto rt 340 heading northeast. Traffic was light. I've ridden this route regularly. It travels through farm country dotted with newer developements. Still lovely and mostly uncrowded.

When I finally pulled into the garage, my previously injured knee ached, my butt hurt and the sides of my head felt like mush from my sunglasses and the helmet. Total miles: 324. Not a bad day.

Pam
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The VOID II and a White Knuckle Ride...

#17 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:21 am

Okay, when both halves of a marriage ride, a HUGE amount of fun can be had, but there is also stress and obligation.

Our local BMW club (BMW Bikers of Metro-Washington) is known for a high percentage of Iron Butt Rally finishers and other long distance rally riders. Recently, the regulars on our internet forum have gotten my husband, Chaz's interest peaked... there is a 12 hour rally out of Lynchburg, VA, called "Rally: The VOID" This was the second year it has been run. http://www.rallythevoid.org/index.html

Personally, I know that there is NO WAY I'd ever care to put myself to the unltimate endurance test of 11,000 miles in 10 days. I figure that being able to ride 1000 miles in a day would be test enough.

At any rate, Chaz registered to ride, and I decided to ride down with him on Friday, and particpate in the after rally dinner on Saturday. I could see him off at O'Dark thirty then explore the hills and roads around Lynchburg.

Chaz had his route plan all figured out: As it happens the rally bonii included about a dozen points in NC from his childhood: His boyhood home, where his mom was born, where his folks met... so his route was set by fate. He had a cut off/turnaround point chosen and all was set.

The Pre-ride meeting was at 5 am with start time set for 5:30. We walked out to find "Clifford" the big red motorcycle (1994 BMW R1100RS) covered in frost, YIKES!!:

Image

Well, heated grips and lots of layers, plus installing the tall windscreen helped.

They set off at 5:30, and I wandered around worrying for a while, had some breakfast, then went back to the room to take a nap (we'd only gotten about 4 hours of sleep the night before).

I woke up and decided to take a leisurely ride over to the BRP. If the leaf peepers weren't too thick I'd see how far south I could get. Discovered that 501 is a fun road.

Now, on his way around NC, Clifford developed a problem with not wanting to start. Chaz thought he fixed the problem after spending an hour and a half in diagnosis, but it recurred and he realized that he was now uncertain whether the wiring system would go up in smoke and decided just bail out... fortunately he was 15 miles from his sister's house. . .

I spoke to chaz after the first 'incident' and he said he'd fixed the problem and was just heading back becuase he had no time to get any more points. He said he'd be back at 4. My cell phone battery died after that.

THEN, chaz left 4 messages on my cell phone with various updates. The last being that he was sitting in his sister's kitchen and could I please ride home and get his dad's pick up truck to come get him and the disabled Clifford.

I pulled in to the hotel at 3:45 and was met by one of the rally masters, who told me that Chaz's bike was broke. I interupted saying, "he fixed it, and he'll be here soon." (Chaz hadn't told the rally master that he'd broken a SECOND time.)

I'm in the room freshening up when the phone rings. Finally I learn that Chaz is dead in the water as it were. This is at 4:45pm.

NOTE: I've now got to check out of the hotel room, figure out how to stow chaz's side cases and back pack, and psyche myself up for a 4+ hour ride back to Reisterstown... best guess of the GPS is 250 miles. As I run around, I keep thinking what a godsend it was that I chose NOT to push my day's riding while chaz was 'rallying' - I never would have had the stamina to make it home if I had.

I say my good byes to my fellow rallyers and depart The Quality Inn at 6:30. I rolled into the garage at home at almost midnight. TiredtiredTIRED and cold.

I had been feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't offered my electric liner to chaz for the rally, but was sooo glad I didn't, because I'd have had to quit at about Orange, VA. My winter riding jacket is warm, but when you're riding at 60-70 mph in 45 degree temps, it gets COLD.

The stooopid GPS routed me "fastest route" by cutting around Charlottesville - VIA two lane DEER ROADS (did I mention that the sun went down about 5 minutes after I left Lynchburg proper?) - evidence of a deer hit at least every two miles. I hung on and prayed that no forest rodents would step out in front of me.

Somewhere northeast of Charlottesville, I spied a young bambi standing on the left shoulder, right across from a not yet occupied new housing developemt. By that time, I'd travelled over 10 miles on said two lane and had a stack up of cars behind me... DUH!... I quickly dodged into the turn out (ALMOST dropping the bike) to recheck the GPS directives, thinking that I was only going to be travelling a few more miles on this road. Nope! I was cutting off a huge chunk of miles by joining up with I-95 someplace far north of Fredericksburg. AAAAck! Too late, of course to turn around.

But I DID realize that joining up on the BACK of a pack of cars on this road, meant I could go faster, and had the cars to deflect deer.

Near Orange, I stopped and put on the electric liner, but managed to set off WITHOUT connecting it!!! Rode another hour before stopping and fixing THAT. (Thats when I spied the sign saying 30 some miles to Sperryville) I then re-routed to find the fastest route to I-95.

Most of the rest of the ride was uneventful, up I-95 from Fredericksburg. I stopped at one of the VA rest areas, and ate a Luna Bar and had some sports drink in the ladies bathroom (heck, it was WARM in there).

I took I-295 rather than go all the way around either side of the Beltway. Was not sure my stamina would last that distance. The turnoff from the Beltway after the Wilson Bridge was fun in the dark. NOT! A single lane track, amidst the construction, lined with solid concrete jersey barriers and barrels... oh, and there was a CAR riding my tail.

Made it safely home. Took a long, warming shower and crawled into bed.

After a SNAFU with FIL's pick up truck, "Clifford" is still resting comfortably in a warm garage in Reidsville, NC and Chaz is here in the kitchen pooring over his maintenance manual trying to trouble shoot what the problem is.

Pam
Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity - Alice Paul

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#18 Unread post by Shorts » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:19 pm

Great reads Lion_Lady :cheers:

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April 2008 - Cape Fear 1000 Rally

#19 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:09 pm

Long Distance "Mini" Rally. An oxymoron if there ever was one... 9 1/2 hours on the bike to collect as many points as possible and make it back.

After my crappy first stop while riding the VOID last year (broke a helmet side plate switching face shields, which colored the rest of my ride stressed and aggravated) I figured I'd give this rally thing another chance. I didn't really want to wait until next October to do it. Hubby went on and on about how much fun playing "Stump the Rally Master (Jim Bain)" was last year at the Cape Fear rider's meeting. So, I figured might as well make Cape Fear Rally my second try.

We rode from Baltimore to Wilmington, NC on Friday, arriving at the "lovely" and newly "renovated" Green Tree Hotel at around 5 pm. (The place was on the dumpy side, but it had fresh exterior paint. )

For the rally, I had a conservative 10,000 point route mapped out. I just wanted to finish without penalties and not suck. Chaz opted to take the penalty points and leave an hour early. I had no grand illusions of placing near the top, so I planned to leave at 6am with no penalty points.

Saturday morning, as I was getting some breakfast, the Rally Master's phone rings... I hear half the exchange, then I hear Jim ask the caller if they want to talk to me. (WTF?) ... Evidently my husband's bike, Clifford, the big red motorcycle, chose I 40 headed east, to spit out his oil sight glass, along with 3 of 4 qts of oil. By the time Chaz got the bike shut off it was making very expensive noises. But Chaz and Jim assured me that they would take care of things and I needed to ride. Unfortunately, I didn't get underway until almost 20 minutes later than anyone else.

Saturday's weather was beautiful. Sunny and not as hot as Friday. I decided en route to add a stop - since I knew that adding bonii wasn't gonna happen on the return. Half Moon Volunteer Fire Station. As I pull up, another rider is leaving, and a two-up pair is there as well. The garage doors are going up. Woot! A photo with equipment, instead of the bare front of the building! Cool!

Snap my photo, and decide its bright enough to switch face shields... Aw crap!! Broke a sideplate. But not as completely as on the VOID (I must have fractured the plastic during my last). . . I heave a sigh, and used some duck tape to hold things in place. Then I buttoned everything up and got back on board. I hit my first loonnng stretch of road, which gave me time to consider Sunday, and stress over it: Riding two up - with someone my size on the back. 80% chance of rain back home (I HATE riding in the rain), how bad is Clifford...

Did pretty well the next several stops. Made it to Cedar Island via a FUN stretch of road. Two lanes across marshy flats for 8 miles or so. You can see cars way in the distance. Got to open Gryndl up and ride! I stopped at the Cedar Island ferry terminal (we can earn progressively more points for each ferry ride), but two hours was too long to be off the road. I grabbed a ferry schedule for the area ferries and noted that one that I'd already considered was included. Noted the departure times...

My low fuel light came on on the return ride across the flat... no gas for MILES. Ooops. Nearest gas was too far off my route, so I gritted my teeth and hoped I didn't run dry before I found some on my path. Finally, Smyrna. Now I'm realizing that time is becoming more important. Theres a car pumping gas on one side of the dual pump and there's a pickup parked on the other side with a dog inside and no sign of the driver... the truck sits. And sits. At last the driver walks casually out and gets inside.

As I pump, I note that I'm starting to wear down physically. I realize I haven't eaten anything yet. 8 hours on the bike Friday, and now 6 hours on board Sat. I don't have a multi-day butt, even on the Sargent saddle. I finish pumping gas and go inside to pay (no pay at the pump here in Smyrna). There's a cherubic little girl inside with her mom buying a few snacks. Blond curls. I smile and say hi, and she ducks behind mom's legs. As I turn around after paying, a little bitty white haired lady walks in and says to me, "BMW. Phshh. I've got hog bites older than you." ?? I say to her that I don't like the way Harley's ride, and that my bike is the only thing that fits my long legs. She was slightly appeased by this, and I head out the door.

After a snack, I headed on to the Cherry Branch ferry terminus. Got there at 12:30. Just in time for the next departure. . . Wait. There's no boat at the dock, and only two other cars. Dig out schedule. Criminy!!! I misremembered the time. Not the 3/4 hour but the 1/4 hour. I missed it by 15 minutes and am 40 minutes early for the next. Dammit Dammit Dammit. Turn the bike around and move on. . . New Bern. As I ride, I realize that I've still got a long ride to get back to the hotel. Fatige and posterior discomfort are taking over my brain capacity. Coming into New Bern, it is a moment before it comes to me that the red traffic light I'm approaching requires me to do something. Oh, yeah. STOP!!! Gawd, I'm tired. I need to make this my last bonus.

Snap the picture and begin my return trip. Sitting at a traffic light outside the main gate of Camp Lejune(?) I'm first in line, waiting paitently, looking at the cars and people. This intersection is BUSY with traffic. I catch movement/sound to my right. I look and there's an asshat fellow rally-er in the lane with me. He lifts his shield to say hi. I ignore him.

The light turns green, he guns away from me and I watch him bobble into the upcoming left turn lanes for an instant. But the left turn light is red. He blows past the stopped cars, brakes hard, and makes an illegal U-turn to catch the green light from the other way. I can only shake my head. As I ride on, it dawns on me that Asshat lane split to join me at the front of the line. I'm thinking he recognized me as a fellow CF1000 rider and took advantage of the connection.

After watching his u-turn maneuver, I really get pissed. Confirms for me that there's no point trying to do well AND ride sanely when I'm competing against the likes of that. Yup. What a stupid way to waste a beautiful day's ride.

On 17, heading back to Wilmington, I've got 60 some more miles to go to get back. I relax and determine to enjoy the rest of the ride. Pretty country. Pass thru a small town or two. Here, there's a gaggle of old men sitting on a front porch on Main St. There, a church rummage sale. Kids riding bicycles in shorts and flip flops. The wind picks up and is gusting from both directions. it bounces me back and forth in my lane. I find it kind of fun to work the bike against it, since there's little traffic to worry about.

At Wilmington, I somehow misread a sign and end up heading WEST on 17 instead of thru town. I have to go 4 miles before a chance to exit. Grrr. I eyeball several "official vehicles only" cross-overs, but they're not paved. A sudden vision of mis-handling my bike on one of those in my state, forces me to just ride on to the exit. I'm tired and just want to get back quickly and without incident. Make the turnaround at last. Final venture in traffic and then I turn into the hotel parking lot.

Chaz is there waiting. I see Clifford on a trailer. Chaz cheers. I grind my teeth at his ridiculous exhuberance. I'm miserable. Tired. Sore. The last thing I want is a a maniac cheerleader. I ignore him and ride on to the finsh line/check in station. I can barely think. I answer questions. The official hands me a sticky note and tells me something I need to do with the information on it. I ride back to where Chaz is.

At last I can get off the bike. He is still cheering me. I tell him to shut up or I'm gonna hit him. He is crestfallen. In a fog of exhaustion, I dismount and pull my helmet and gloves off. All I want to do is get off my feet/butt. I unclick my tankbag and pick it up. Chaz offers to carry stuff inside for me. I hand him stuff and walk up to our room, where I peel off the rest of my gear and try to get my brain functioning.

The next hour or so is blurry in my mind. I remember sitting on the bed, going thru the rally pack and my pictures. I look at the sticky note which has my ending odometer mileage and know I need to write it down someplace. Where? Hmmm, there's a sheet here with a line for "ending odometer" I start to fill the page out, but Chaz points out that that is for the scorer to fill out. I'm confused. I put aside the sticky note and scoring sheet. I should have asked him where to put the mileage.

I fill in the information on all the bonii that I'm claiming. I can't figure out what mileage I'm supposed to put down for the Rally Sticker bonus and the Ride Log bonus, so I leave those blank... In my misfiring brain that is the right thing to do, so I didn't even ask. At the scoring table, that cost me 1500 points. (Others left more on the table for the same omission.) I'm annoyed. But I also know that I wanted to go and ask someone what I was supposed to do with the info on the sticky note, but decided not to.

In retrospect, riding down on Thursday and having a day off the bike probably would have made a difference in how well I did. But I also realize that I'm just not willing enough to endure discomfort and put in the long miles to be competitive. I do love hanging out with the folks and hearing the tales, so I'll no doubt continue to be rally 'groupie' and attend the post-ride dinner when Chaz rides.

P
Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity - Alice Paul

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Cape Fear 1000 - Impact!

#20 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:14 pm

ONE YEAR LATER - Cape Fear 1000 (April 2009)

Guitardad and were on our way to Wilmington, NC for the Cape Fear Rally on Friday. We were making decent time, I was feeling surprisingly "fresh" for the distance we'd covered (the exercise IS working!).

Anyhow... We were traveling south on I-95. Its 4 lanes, divided by a wide grassy median. Traffic was thick (about 2-3 car lengths spacing) and moving along at about 80 mph. Hubby usually leads, he's a ROTTEN follower . That way, I don't have to kill him when we get where we're going.

We ride staggered, with about a bike length or two between us. He'll take the "traffic" side where ever we are on the highway. Our lane change pattern is for him to move from the left side of the right lane, to the right side of the left lane, and I'll swing over from the right side of the right lane, to the left side of the left lane.

About 20 miles north of Rocky Mount, NC, we were (temporarily) traveling in the right lane, with chaz ahead by a bike length, in the left wheel track. We came up on a slower moving car, and there was space to switch to the left lane.

Chaz swung left and just dodged a small piece of wood... I was changing lanes behind him, and he obscured my line of sight (my fault). As I cleared him, I spotted the 2 foot piece of landscaping timber, 4-5 inches in diameter, rolling/tumbling in my path. I had just enough time to grip the bars firmly, push down on the foot pegs, and aim to hit it as straight as possible.

WHAM! The bars bobbled left/right, and then 700+ pounds of momentum and gyroscopic force took over. The bike straightened and continued. I was amazed. But there was something wrong. I'd squeezed the clutch, rather than braking, to reduce speed after hitting the lumber. Now I applied the brakes gingerly. They worked, but the front wheel felt "heavy." By this time, I'd slowed enough that traffic was zinging by me on my right and there was no way I was going to make it across to the shoulder. At least there was a bit of shoulder on the median side. I brought the bike to a stop, out of the travel lanes.

Chaz watched this unfold in his mirror, and stopped about 100 yards beyond me. He walked back to where I was sitting on the bike. I didn't have pavement to put my sidestand on, and had to wait for him to pick up a scrap to put under it.

The front tire seemed undamaged, but it had lost a significant amount of air. We both carry electric air compressors for tire repair. Pulled mine out and tried to inflate the tire. The pressure went up a bit, but no further.

By that time, a county sheriff had pulled up behind to see. They used their lights and car to get us over to the shoulder safely, then departed. At least the shoulder was very wide. Unfortunately, we were still more than 2 hours from our destination. We pulled out the air compressor again, but that's when I noticed the dent:

Image


No wonder it wouldn't hold air! (Or so I thought)

So, out come the cell phones. (I should mention at this point that trying to use a phone on the shoulder of an interstate highway at 4 in the afternoon, is kind of like trying to do so in the middle of a rock concert.) I knew that our 17 year old son would be home on the computer. I called him and got him to post a "help" thread on our BMW club forum with my cell phone number... then I called Progressive, while hubby called AMA to arrange a MoTow (more about THAT ) My phone rang within a few minutes. A club member (actually the club's secretary, Ron) offering to help. I told him where we were, what had happened, and what we needed.

AMA couldn't get us a tow for FOUR hours. We were still over a mile and a half from the next exit. And by the looks of things, there was anything useful there, except less danger from traffic. I got back on the bike and limped along the shoulder. I prayed the tire would stay on the rim. I got to the top of the exit ramp. The helpful highway sign said right .2 mile to a Mobile station, and left .8 mile to camping. It didn't look like there was an OPEN gas station to the right. Chaz scouted both directions. The Mobile station was closed, but it was close. We limped there.

Meanwhile, Ron had found a Kawasaki dealership in Rocky Mount that was willing to keep my bike overnight. And THEN he found a replacement wheel at the BMW dealer in Raleigh, NC. I got phone numbers and made calls directly.

When we told the gentleman at the Kaw dealer how long before we'd be there, he offered to come get us - with his personal vehicle/trailer - when he got off work. It was 5 pm by this time, and when we called the AMA tow guy that we wouldn't need a tow after all. He was relieved.

Lorenzo arrived shortly before 6. His trailer even had a front wheel cradle! We got my crippled bike loaded and I rode with Lorenzo.
Lorenzo and I talked on our short trip. He is retired miliatary, from MD. Been in NC for a year. He loves to ride and has been in the situation of stranded on the side of the road. Helping other riders is just what is right. (I failed to mention the 30+ "loud pipes save lives" crew that rumbled past as we stood on the side of the road.) He's given up riding with the folks from around Rocky Mount - all talk and flash, but few skills.

He's got a Concourse and puts serious miles on it. I recommended that he hook up with the guys/gas on sport-touring.net for some folks with a clue to ride with.

So, we arrive at Kawasaki of Rocky Mount and unload my sad motorcycle and wheel it inside the dealership. Then I've got to figure out what I need to have with me that will fit in Chaz's saddlebags. Yes, we're continuing to Wilmington. Chaz had a rally to ride!

I geared up and climbed on board "Clifford" - Chaz's '94 BMW R1100RS - behind him. Hmmm. Not a lot of legroom back here. But it beats walking!! I waved to Lorenzo as we headed off. The first 40 minutes weren't too bad. I noticed that Chaz's shocks were going kinda soft. Then, once the sun went down, I started to get chilly. My riding jacket wasn't very windproof and the windproof/warm layer I had on underneath wasn't quite up to the task. I tucked in my arms and hunkered down. . . two hours. By the time we got into Wilmington, my knees were screaming to be straightened!! (I've got a 34" inseam and the pillion seat/pegs are obviously designed for someone much shorter than me). Finally, I stuck my legs out and stretched to the ground at a stop light. Whew!

Checked into the hotel, then Chaz had to check in with the Rally Master. Its after 9pm by that time, and the "Rider's Meeting" was at 6pm. Chaz got a "private" meeting. About 12 folks from our local BMW club were riding in the rally. Eight, I think, were in the 10 hour, the rest are on the road running the 24 hour rally. http://www.capefear1000.com/

While stranded, I'd texted one of the other rally riders (BMWBMW club president, Tina) what had happened, and she'd texted me for an update shortly before we checked in. So, I went to visit her.

Once we had made it safely to Wilmington, I had to deal with making things happen so I could get my bike back to Baltimore on Sunday: I needed a car to drive to Raleigh to get the replacement wheel, and a co-rider to get the car back to Wilmington, while I rode my repaired motorcycle. While chatting with Tina about needing a car and someone to ride with me, she mentioned another club member was looking for a reason not to ride the rally. I texted him. He agreed. Next, to find a car. At the worst, there was an Enterprise Rental, half a mile away.

Chaz had his alarm set for O'dark thirty. He got himself ready and kissed me good-bye at around 5:15 (He was travelling with the SPOT tracker, so I didn't worry too badly about him.) I realized I couldn't get back to sleep, so I figured I'd wander up to rally headquarters and see about getting the use of a vehicle.

One of the rally staffers offered the use of his! So, I woke up Mike (my volunteer) and we got ready to hit the road. The BMW dealership opens at 9am. The ride out there was (according to the GPS) about 2 hours. Mike met me at the car, and after a stop at Starbucks, we headed out. Made it to Capitol BMW-Triumph in Raleigh at 9:05. The service manager had gotten stuck in traffic so we had to wait.

Now, I'll add that my bike is a limited edition model R1150R Rockster. Only 200 were sold in the US. It has white painted aluminum alloy wheels. The service manager still had the used front wheel from his own sister model bike (an R1150R "Roadster") that he no longer owns.

Jon arrived and we sat down to write up the service ticket. Since I've got power assited ABS brakes, and BMWs are a bit "different" than most other motorcycles, I wanted the BMW dealer to mount and balance a new tire. Then I told him that it was a Kawasaki service tech who was going to do the install, and asked if he could please add whatever BMW details would be needed to ensure the install went smoothly. Jon gave me his card, and added his cell phone number so the tech could call him before he started.

The used wheel had been mounted on two other bikes and had been machined to fit one of them. Jon stated up front that he'd give a full refund if the wheel didn't work on my bike.

45 minutes to Rocky Mount from Raleigh. We arrived at around 11:30. The tech wanted to show me the REAL reason the tire wouldn't hold air:

Image

That crack is THROUGH the wheel. I figure if the wheel hadn't cracked at the impact, allowed air to escape, the next weakest point would have been the bead of the tire on the rim. The tire might have blown off the rim completely and I surely would have lost control. The telelever transferred the impact from the front forks to the front shock, keeping the forks from "tucking."

Mike and I went off to find something to eat for lunch while the tech did his stuff. (The Barbecue we had for lunch was mediocre at best):

It took the Kawasaki tech an hour to do the switch. The wheel needed about 1/2 inch of "fill" added on one side of the fork and a bit more than that on the other side so it wouldn't fault the ABS sensor. It took some classic garage engineering to find the appropriate spacers to fill in. (There was more to it than that, but I can't even begin to explain it.) The BMW had guy recommended test fitting the wheel on the hub before switching the ABS hardware.

Got everything buttoned up and I took her for a test ride at around 2:00. WOOOieee!!! Felt good! No issues! Not a bobble, or anything. The brakes worked fine. Hoooray! I paid up, thanked Lorenzo and company profusely for their help.

Next, I called the Rally Master (I was SUPPOSED to be helping with the rally) to let him know that I was back on two wheels and would be in Wilmington in about 2 hours. His response, "get here when you can, we NEED you" - there was a note of pleading in his voice. I already had my destination in my GPS, so I started off, with Mike following in the car. . . Then, we got stuck behind a geezer in an old sedan, and I couldn't take it: I passed him, then we hit a section of twisties and I realized it would be some time before Mike could get by. Thinking of my "duties" I just rolled on and kept going, with the intent of texting Mike with my intent when I stopped for gas.

I rolled into The Greentree Inn (Wilmington) at 4:15 ish and hardly got a chance to pull off my helmet when I got texts for status updates. I'd missed the "Rally Rush" unfortunately. But I made myself as useful as possible trying to earn my meal and "staff" shirt.

The rest of the evening was low key. (Guitardad did quite well in the 10 hour rally.) Here's a pic of me and my bike with the used rim, and the wrecked one, after our return:

Image

I'm sooo glad the used rim is "ferro blue" it matches my cylinder heads!

P
Last edited by Lion_Lady on Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity - Alice Paul

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