Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trading Spaces

Have you ever experienced one of those perfect spring days when the weather will reach a soul warming 80F (27C), the sky will be the perfect shade of deep blue with high, billowy clouds that are pushed on their way with a breeze that just kisses your skin?  Yeah.  That was Saturday.

Is it blasphemous to the motorbike guardians to actually not hop on the bikes?  I hope not.  The day was perfect.  But is just didn't feel like the day to go anyplace.  We stayed home, did some yard work and lazed around in the sun.  I did try to appease the sun angels by using their handiwork and baking some apple pies for a party on Sunday.

My first time making apple pies.  What do ya think?  They were very, very good...

Sunday was an entirely different story with low clouds and temperatures hovering around 55F (13C).  The BMW Club meeting and monthly ride was scheduled.  Given that we haven't attended a meeting OR a ride with the club in the year and a half that we have been members we felt maybe we should go.

If that were the entire reason, we could easily have made some excuse to ourselves not to go.  However, the annual club rally is next month.  And the meeting location was the rally spot.  And we just wanted to remind the powers that be that we still have the club trailer in our back yard.  It isn't likely to turn into an "outta sight, outta mind" type of thing, but we wanted to be sure.

How did we wind up with the club trailer?  Well...the trailer was stolen a couple months ago.  It wasn't in a very secure facility, and even with a hitch lock the thieves pulled right up, hooked on and drove away.  There was good video of the theft.  But not good enough to identify the vehicle or the perpetrators.  So they purchased another and are restocking it.  We are centrally located to most of the members that would be involved in the restocking.  So we offered the storage space until the rally.  See?  We can be nice.  :)

Our decision to ride wasn't hindered by the fact that the ride was going through some of the mountain twisties too.  I was game, but Mr. Oilburner was chomping at the bit!

There was only going to be one new road for me on this trek: Hwy 348, better known as the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.  This is another one of those roads that I had been dreading avoiding.  It is twisty, tight, open overlooks and I generally hear stories of gravel on it.  Turns out today was no exception considering there had been ice recently and they had laid down the gravel.  Some people had scouted it out and said it wasn't too bad, just be aware of it.  That really doesn't do anything to allay my fears.

The initial meeting point is in Dahlonega, about 1.5 hours from our house.  Along the route we see many motorbikes, and an increasing percentage are BMW's.  We finally catch up with one that has been on the horizon for miles.  It is a great 1980 R65 with a fairing the size of a sail on those Olympic Yngling sailboats.  He falls into our formation bumping our twosome up to an official posse.  After a couple more miles one of those fast and sexy "S" bikes came tearing through our little group.  The little R65 floundered into the right lane, trying to clear a path.  Mr. Oilburner waivered a little.  I, being the leader, held my ground and refused to give way.  The little "S" bike feigned submission and moved right to pass.  He took a good look at me, marking my helmet and eyes for memory, so he could flag me down for future trouncing.  :)  He continued down the road while we took a left.  It was in the back of my mind to follow him, thinking he might know a good shortcut.  I should have followed.  He did.

Look at the sail fairing on that R65!

Here is the little "S" bike that caught us up.

We pulled into the parking lot of a place called Riders Hill and it looked like a BMW convention.  I guess it was.  :)


For the people, it was a meeting of old friends, and some new.  For the bikes, all I can say is that I am glad they are not like puppy dogs in their need to sniff derriere's for greetings.  There would have been lots of taillight wagging and oil puddles everywhere!  Might have looked like a parking lot frequented by Harley's!

Despite yesterday being in the 80's F (27C), today's was mid-50's with low, dark clouds and a chill wind.  The weather wizards were conjuring some possibility for isolated showers.  My winter jacket wouldn't be a problem.  But my mesh riding pants might.

Everything is A-OK on the road.  Boy it is great to be on the bike!!  The standard roads are in great shape.  The Richard B. Russell Parkway does indeed have quite a bit of gravel at the high points.  But my outright glee in riding this road will not occur on this trip.  My excitement of being on this road is squashed by my fanatical search for gravel in every curve.  All but the highest peak was older asphalt where the gravel blended in perfectly.  So my speeds were tempered by my fear of that rear tire slipping out.  (Thankfully the guy in front of me was actually a little more cautious than I was.  No one noticed my chickenshit-ness.)

The actual distance separating Dahlonega and Hiawassee is about 48 miles (77 km) by the most direct route.  But who wants to do that when you are on a wonderful steed and almost have the roads to yourself?  We went north to go east to go southeast to go north.  But they are all such fun roads!  :)  The sticking point was the car that insisted on a speed limit ride through the twisties on Hwy 17.  Most of the group managed to pass him at the first passing lane.  But he wasn't about to let us last four by.  No matter.  It's all good being on the bike.

View Larger Map

Lunch is at this little restaurant on the lake.  We see evidence of the high winds with flags flying at full length and white caps on this little inlet of the lake.  We are warm inside with some spirited discussions and good food.  And this is where I learned what an RTE is.


For anyone else as underprivileged as I am, an RTE is a "Ride to Eat".  This is an arena for people that LOVE long distance riding.  A site is selected for a lunch or dinner and everyone is invited. People will routinely ride 500 miles (800+ km) one-way to meet for lunch.  Then ride home again.  Just not sure if that is something I'm terribly interested in right now.  I have heard many people use this as the route for their Iron Butt rides.

We wrap things up and lunch has run long.  Mr. Oilburner and I opt to ditch the club meeting and head for home.  We have two and a half hours to accomplish the two hour ride home, make ourselves presentable, feed and scratch the pup and get to a party.  We don't believe in wasting a minute of a day by sitting and twiddling our thumbs. 

The day has never really warmed up.  And my single layer winter jacket and cotton short sleeve shirt is barely keeping the cold at bay.  In half hour stints it is not a problem. But we haven't stopped for an hour and a half.  All this while Mr. Oilburner still brings up his desire for me to ride his bike and it was here that I did the unthinkable...

I actually traded bikes with Mr. Oilburner... 

I figured it was only 40 more miles home, all interstate, few turns.  There couldn't be any harm.  After trading bikes we are back up to highway speeds when we realize that this is also the longest distance Mr. Oilburner will have ridden my "R" bike.  We settle into our new mounts and discuss the differences.  First?  My butt is flipping WARM!!  Wow!!  Heated seats are nice!!!  I just might spring to have a new seat made for my bike with the heating element included.  Second?  For being the same basic bike, these bikes are nothing alike!  We are already aware of the gearing difference allowing the RT to "cruise" better at higher speeds (better meaning fuel economy).  But the clutch is so much smoother, with shorter travel for engagement and the brakes are extremely touchy!  Third.  Seating is quite different. On the RT I feel like I am sitting "on" the bike.  The rider seems to sit lower on my R, hugging the tank a little more.  On the RT I seem planted and slightly disconnected from the feel of the bike.  It could just take some getting used to though.  Fourth.  The fairings that curve around behind the cylinder heads (in front of the pegs) are absolutely in the way when putting the legs down for stops.  Mr. Oilburner assures me that you become accustomed to it but I can't be so sure.  :)

As for Mr. Oilburner on my R? I make him ride in front so I can be sure that he isn't popping wheelies on my baby.  He rides it in a civilized manner but did open her up a little when passing me.  My bike is almost 100 lbs (45 kg) lighter than the RT and he definitely notices the "sportiness".  He said he finally understands what I love about the bike.

We are both able to appreciate each others bike, they have some great qualities.  But we both dismount with a better regard for our own bikes.  To each his own.  I am glad I rode the RT.  And will probably ride it again.  When I don't have to share my R with Mr. Oilburner.  :)

We arrive home, redress, collect the pies and are only 30 minutes late to the low country boil...  Eat your hearts out, because this was GOOD!!


  1. Dear Steel Cupcake:

    This was an engaging ride report tht covered a lot of bases. I'm glad you got to trade places with Mr. Oilburner and to compare bikes. (I too have a heated seat on my K75, and they do add to the fun of a ride on a cold day.)

    I am surprised you don't participate more with your local BMW group. I generally enjoy our club meetings and would put off an hour-long shower with Angelina Jolie to make one of the group breakfasts. I'm curious as to the club "trailer." Is it a SAG wagon or what?

    I do find gravel a serious consideration on southern highways, especiallythe scenic routes. I think your sense of gravel reticence is mere prudence.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  2. Great ride report Lori, and isntthat why we ride bikes, to seek out unknown rides, to travel roads less travelled, to go where no car wil starting to sound like a Star Trek commercial. Pies looked great made me hungry!

    It is always good to try other bikes, yet no bike feels just like your own.

    Gtreat read.

  3. Nice ride report. I definitely would have tried on a piece of that pie. Lookin' good.

    And, I wasn't at all surprised that you and Mr. Oilburner can be nice.


  4. Nice RR and thank you for the definition of RTE. I've heard that term before in some conversations. Kind of like the t-shirt "Ride. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. " that seems to be common among the touring bike crowd.

    And I'd agree with the others that those pies look great! But now you have me googling "low country boil".


  5. Interesting report Lori, I like the look of those apple pies and that last picture looks intriguing!? Is that stuff being deep fried? Do you fry the corn as well? I would love to try that.

  6. lori:

    We do a lot of RTE stuff around here. and your pies looked delicious.

    I'm not sure I would ride 500 miles for a meeting, but maybe for one of your pies !

    Riding the Wet Coast

  7. Sounds like a great couple of days.

    I envy the 80˚ weather. We won't see those until at least June, more than likely July. Sometimes it is hard to put on all that gear on those warm days. It is nice to hang out and putter around the yard in shorts and t-shirts and soak up the sun. Good choice.

    Kudos for trading bikes like that. And a heated seat? Someone is spoiled. Sounds like a great idea though. Wonder if they make those for the Gladius? I doubt it.

    Thanks for the gratuitous food pictures. Always good to see.

  8. I hate gravel in curves. I have it firmly planted in my head that a little sprinkle of gravel is gonna take me down.

    Coo that you guys traded bikes for a bit. I wouldn't dare try to ride Ron's bike. I can sit on it and barely muscle it up off it's stand, but then I'm bobbling with only one foot at a time reaching the ground. Actually I always tell him I could ride his bike, I just wouldn't dare stop!

    Great photos and ride report, and the pies looks great too - Yum!

  9. Hi Jack!

    You heated seat riders are spoiled!! :) I knew from the beginning that it was going to be something I would secretly hate about the R12RT. Not that it was there, but that HE had it and I didn't. :) I guess now that I will have a real job soon that I should look into having a seat made for the R12R that incorporates a heating element. Because it sure was NICE!!

    I wish our group was a little more active like yours. They generally only have the monthly ride coincide with the monthly meeting. So there isn't generally a great turn out to either event. And then there are widely varying riding styles that cause bickering and back hand talking within the group...

    I apologize for not mentioning that the "trailer" is the party trailer! It carries all of the supplies for the rally: coffee, cups, grills, club shirts, water, food stuffs, etc. I would be very afraid of putting my bike in this current trailer without a bit more floor reinforcement. :)

    Interestingly, while on that road and scouting for gravel all I could think of was that they actually attempt to clean your roads of winter grime. Must be nice. I can't say that I have ever heard of anyone (or any department) that comes along and sweeps our roads clear. Hope yours are clear soon and your knees are cooperating!

    -Steel Cupcake/Lori

  10. Hi Raftnn!

    Yes!! New roads and new eateries! (And personally loved the Star Trek adaptation.)

    The pie was great...wish we could have shared.

    Ya know...I'm looking forward to adding a Triumph to the list of bikes that I have tried... hmmm?? Whaddya say? ;) LOL


  11. Hi Circle Blue/Keith!

    Thank you! Wish we could have shared the apple pie. It was delicious if I do say so myself.

    Ack!!! 10 hour ride between us. But right through Paducah... hmmm :)


  12. Hi RichardM!

    Eating and bikes, they go together. :) Eating and kayaks, eating and camping. Hmm...theme here. LOL.

    Did you google "low country boil"? ;) Might be something to try on your long, warm summer nights!


  13. Hi Jonesy!

    Apple pie and shrimp/corn/potatoes. A good combination! :)


  14. Hi Rider!

    You are a southern at heart...deep fried... At carnivals here you can order deep fried pickles, twinkies, oreos and even snickers bars. RichardM has tried most of these and says they are actually quite good. I haven't gotten the nerve up.

    But no, this is not deep fried. This is all just boiled in a pot with some great spices. And the corn was so sweet and spicy! Delicious. There are many recipes on the web. Might be good for one of your rallies. When someone else has the car and can carry the equipment. ;)


  15. Hi Trobairitz!

    Did you send your rain and temps our way? Rain and thunderstorms all weekend. Rain on Monday and the rest of the week. Morning temps of 44F (7C). Not fun.

    It's easy to put the gear on at 80F. Not so much at high summer with 98F and 98% humidity. I'll take your summers. :)

    You are correct...someone is spoiled. Oilburner and I will disagree on exactly who that is though. ;) I always threatened to remove the fuse to it.

    They might make a heated seat cover for the Gladius. If not now, soon. I found one for the R12R, just never got around to purchasing it. (Or you can have your seat "made" by Rick Mayer or something and he can add it.) It was nice though... sigh. :)


  16. Hi Bobskoot!

    These guys don't even ride that distance for a meeting...only for the food! But they have those luxury touring bikes like the BMW LT's or Honda Wing's. You know, with the built in butt messagers.

    I'll gladly make you a pie, either here or there when we have the chance. :)


  17. Hi bluekat!

    I think exactly the same way. I'm always just waiting for the rear tire to skip out.

    Funny that I didn't fit it into the story that I actually did slid the rear tire on a build up of gravel across the center line when leaving the restaurant. I saw it too late, after I was already in the lean and on the throttle. At least it was only of limited distance. It wasn't too scary because I wasn't expecting it and it happened so fast. Afterwards, tho, I just kept imaging what I would have done if I had gone down. :(

    I wonder if you could fit those "stabilizers" to Ron's bike? Deploy when you are stopped to keep the bike upright, then retract when you start moving? But I think the big question is, do you want to try riding Ron's bike? If no, then no problem. :) Truthfully, really hadn't ever wanted to ride Oilburner's bike. But I "warmed" up to the idea! hahaha


  18. Dear Lori:

    Here's my advice to you. If you like riding with small, interesting groups, then change the nature of your club. Post a notice that you are putting together a group picnic, no more than 10 riders, for a run to "Stone Mountain," followed by a cookout at "Xxxx Xxxxx Park." The rule being that everyone must bring something frozen (that will thaw out in the sidebags on the ride) to share. One rider will carry the charcoal. Another will carry paper plates, napkins and cups (along with a food contribution.)

    Did you know that a 10 liter keg of Heiniken fits into one factory sidebag of a 2004 BMW K1200GS? Don't ask me how I know. Everyone is to be given directions to the destination, and no one rides in groups larger than three or four (at the most).

    You would be amazed at how many people start to come out for rides like this. And the riders find each other's level. The peg-dragging guys seek each other out, and the more sedate, bird-watchers get introduced to each other, and ride in their own grouos.

    I started doing this with the Mac-Pac. The last stupid ride I proposed, was a 90-mile ride to a White Castle hamburger joint. Forty-riders turned out for this! Espirit de corps needs only a catalyst.

    Of course, if you like riding alone...

    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads
    The Bermuda Triangle of Biker Bogs

  19. Lori

    I expect that BMW product planners read our blogs in search of unique customer focussed market research. Quite what they would make of Jack's blog I cannot fathom, but when they come here there will be much information gained about model designations and consumers (sic).

    RT will be redesginated "RTE" for the US market and each bike in this category will receive a built in oven and a fridge.

    I'm working on the GS but "Get Stuffed" would probably not be politic in marketing circles.