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
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 |
|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.
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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!!