Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 3 - Salisbury, MD to Toms River, NJ

The last two days were hard days to get us to this point. We had plans in Toms River...

Thankfully we only needed to roll 41 odd miles down the road and we could take a morning break on the Cape Mays-Lewes ferry. The ferry shuttles between Lewes, DE (the first city of the first state) and Cape May, NJ.

We had it on good authority to arrive about 45 minutes before boarding time. This gave us the first place in line for "other" vehicles, passing by people that were alread queued up in the vehicle lanes. They were definitely giving us the stink eye!

The early arrival gave us time to grab something to eat from the cafe, and capture the elusive smooshed penny. Hey, of all things to collect, these are inexpensive and easy to store or showcase, not requiring much room.

Before long we were called back to our vehicles for loading. What do you know...we were the only motorcycles on board.

The 18 mile crossing gives you about 45 minutes to wander the ship, sit and enjoy the breeze, or hang over the edge looking at the waves.

Apparently it is OK to drink on the deck, but nowhere else.

We had always been told that motorcycles where first on, first off. Whoever told us that was full of BUNK!! We were third off! :) But I do agree with the ordering. There wasn't any way we were getting off with that truck in front of us. I'll take third. It was still better than last.

We are now in New Jersey. This is where I have been concerned. We have all heard the stereotypes of Jersey drivers. Now is the time to find out if they are true. That could wait though, while we did a bit of sightseeing. We landed in Cape May. Cape May has been described to me as the jewel of the Jersey shore.


The architecture is mind blowing!! Victorian architecture abounds. You could spend days walking up and down each street and never see the same thing twice. These places are so intricate it is incredible.

We were also given directions to a second lighthouse on the bay side of the island, along with marshes that are home to nesting osprey. Unfortunately traffic was backed up a couple miles. We couldn't sit in the the sunshine and continue to sweat any longer. We turned north to catch the Garden State Parkway to Toms River and my first appointment... Since I couldn't go to Oregon for the IMBC...I was trying to recreate a portion of it. And it was my night to meet the legendary Jack Riepe.

You will have to wait. Hehe. Though you can see more images on Flickr.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 2 - Greensboro, NC to Salisbury, MD

Hmmm...the day started out promising. We were on time to depart at 10 am.

Breakfast of champions!
It rapidly went downhill. We were all prepared to schlep the baggage down to the bikes in anticipation of leaving on time when Oilburner discovered he couldn't find his bike key. We tore the room apart, the luggage assunder and even went to see if it was left on the bike. No dice.

So the theme for all you upcoming travelers out there...BRING YOUR SPARE SET OF KEYS!!

There wasn't anything else we could do. They couldn't be found and we couldn't continue to sit there. So hoping against all hope we hit the road and prayed the key would show up in the luggage somewhere.

With our, now, late start this was going to turn into a long day. So we took to the road. Not much else can be said. We played it safe. We followed the highways. We were amassing more time riding in rains. Even had the pleasure of negotiating metal grated bridges slick with rain. (Good thing I didn't have to turn.)

The highlights of the day?

Stopped for fuel and had a couple come up to us and start chatting. They are veteran road travelers and had noticed us on the highway. The husband at full belief that they would catch up with us. And they did. Great couple living in South Carolina, going to DC. We had a great time exchanging stories and laughing. Thank you Bruce!

Rode the Chesapeake Bridge-Tunnel. Oilburner didnot notice the gift shop and pier on the first island, so we didn't stop. I wasn't too disappointed since it was, yep, raining. :) But it was a fun riding on the bridges and submerging into the tunnels. Didn't care for the $12 per motorcycle price tag. But it might be awhile before we make it this way again.

Having fun noticing that due to all of the interstate riding, the stupid little feelers on my tires are still all there, except the area directly down the centerline.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 1 - Atlanta, GA to Greensboro, NC

We did it.  We actually did get out on the road.  Albeit we were nearing an hour behind schedule. Some times, some things, you are just last.  We had both been trying to accomplish real work things on that "last day of work before vacation".  And we did work.  Luckily we both were able to work from home, sparing us the time spent commuting at least.

2012 Trip Day 1

We had been aiming for 3, but our departure time neared the 4 o'clock hour.  Sometimes that is just the way we rolling.  Especially doing the last minute mad dash around the house when you suddenly remember something that you have to have...and then trying to find it.

Atlanta has been seeing some strange weather. For once the rain and thunderstorms are hitting fast and furious in the evenings and overnight.  (Previous years they either hit during daylight hours, wreaking havoc with traffic, or they would ruin a perfectly good weekend, leaving the week days perfect.  You know...when you can't get out to play.)

Another storm was coming in this afternoon and we were trying to get ahead of it.  Yeah.  Right.  16.8 miles (27 km) into the trip and the rain started.  This little spot wasn't too hard a rain. And it cleared up quickly.  It was the next encounter about 50 miles down the road.  This was the hard, drenching, soaking one.  It was too quick, with nowhere to stop and put gear on.  (Though the Harley riders had holed up under an overpass.

Our encounter was the kind that felt like thousands of little needles poking through the mesh jackets into your arms.  The big, fat drops that didn't splatter, but hit you with a vengeance and immediately stuck in that one spot making absolutely certain that it reached through clothing and to skin.  After just a couple of these you could feel the water running down your chest, soaking through the bra and heading to parts farther south.

The rain was so hard all of the vehicles slowed and turned their flashers on.  Visibility was closing in on 75 feet during the worst of it.  Add to that the spray from the road that tires kicked up.  Luckily the drivers were acting sanely and we didn't have any issues.  Though the first chance we had, we got off the road and into a gas station to put the rain gear on.  Yeah.  It was a bit late by now, but the clouds promised more pelting to come.

2012 Trip Day 1
2012 Trip Day 1

About a minute after taking this picture the street sign for the gas station was stuck my lightning.  The lightning/thunder was so intense I actually did scream it started me.  Trite of me.

Nothing eventful happened the remainder of the day.  We donned the gear and stayed [relatively] dry through subsequent showers.  We arrived at the hotel 5 minutes before 10.

Miles ridden 322.8 (According to the odometer.  The GPS said something entirely different.  :(  )
Time on the road: 6 hours

Tracking Number

Everything comes with tracking numbers these days.  Apparently some motorbike pilots are the same way.

We hit the road yesterday.  And hit it hard.  Unfortunately the weather hit back.  :)  I will try to post more tonight.  But you can see a few pictures on Flickr.

You can also keep dibs on our whereabouts by looking at the SPOT map.  Just below the blog header picture is clickable text "Track Me".  Click it.  :)

For those accessing through a is the link.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


How does the saying going? "If it weren't for the last minute nothing would get done?"

So okay, the concept of organizing and packing is taking place slightly early. In preparation, as it were. But some things have woefully been left to the last minute. It is amazing how many things you think of that you want or need only when the last minute comes along.

Granted, a major service isn't quite something that is forgotten about. We saw it coming on the horizon. Oilburner wanted to get them out of the way two weeks ago. I wanted to hold off a week to try and get a few more miles on the clock. Sure a service is needed. But if I can get it 500 miles early instead of 1200... Unfortunately with my illness and the 108F/43C temperatures the miles didn't quite rack up the way I would have liked. So the GS is 900 miles early and the RT is 1200.

Oilburner really wanted our regular mechanics to take on this service and not leave it to another dealer along the road. So our shop is being gracious and squeezing us in, even though the shop is full and some mechanics are sick. They originally said to drop them off today and they would have them for us by Friday. When we explained the timeframe they offered to get them back to us tomorrow.

Little did they know what they were getting into.

I don't know about the RT. The GS will require brake fluid change, valve check, final drive fluid change, gear box fluid change, and regular ol' oil change. Sshhhooottttt. A couple weeks ago the GS went through an astounding amount of oil on a very long, hot, pushed ride. Oilburner was concerned because his bike hasn't used any oil in 12,000 miles. How could the GS be such a lemon that it used half a quart in 356 miles (573 km)? So he was considering requesting a leak and compression check during this service. However, in the last 600 miles (965 km) she hasn't been using any. So we will keep our eyes on it.

I don't think the RT requires anything special. The only non-standard issue to assess is a stalling at take off from idle. (Guess my GS isn't quite the damn lemon someone thinks it is. Hehehe)

So there really wasnt anything too out of the ordinary here...




...someone started worrying about the rear tire on the GS. The bike is currently wearing the Metzler Tourance tires that came with it. With only 5,100 miles (8200 km) the rear tire has decidedly flat topped. I guess she has seen more highway than I would like. :(

Mind you, she could probably make it to Maine on the tire. There is decent tread left, but with at least 1000 miles (1609 km) of interstates ahead of us, history shows us it would probably be gone by Maine.

So what do you do? Do you replace on the road? Or just replace now so that you don't have to worry about finding a tire and fitting it into the schedule on the road? I understand if you are definitely putting enough miles on during a road trip that you have to change the shoes mid-trip no matter what. But this instance was squeezing another 1000 miles out, and then try to find an unusual tire.

Yesterday I started calling around just to see about availability of the tire locally. Hmmm...none to be had. I was leaning towards just making an appointment with the BMW dealer in Maine and have them get a tire in, in advance. But we also decided to see what our dealer might have. They have surprised us in the past.

Yep. They just made more work for themselves today. They had the stock Tourance available. They might even have had the Anakee. The problem was that they brought out the Heidenau... It was love at first sight for Oilburner.

We had to sit there and discuss economics versus practicality with everyone! Economically we should just put the rear Tourance on. Practically we should put the Tourance on since it is a street tire and will have less road noise.

Since when did economics OR practicality EVER mean a thing to us?!? At one time or another down the road those Heidenau's were going on that bike. It might as well be now. As one guy said, "They are sexy!". I know that I've been drooling over them since before I even had the GS. One gentlemen said that his experiences with them have been great, offering great traction in rain in the [paved] twisties, even being quieter than street tires. Who am I to argue with that experience? It wasn't like I was going to listen to the truth anyways. ;) Others chimed in that the longevity of the tire rivals the Tourance.

You can probably guess the outcome. :)

In addition to impulse tire purchases, we have also been fitted for ear plugs. I have tiny ears that don't tolerate foreign objects happily. I can't wear ear buds without severe pain within 30 minutes. The foam ear plugs are out. Literally. They won't even stay in my ears. Hoping that the ear plugs will reduce the wind noise and associated fatigue that it can cause, I pushed for an appointment last Friday.

It is a vicious cycle outfitting ourselves and motorbikes. Where's that winning lottery ticket??

Monday, July 9, 2012

What A Mess!!!'s a disaster.

Unlike RichardM, GeorgeF, or Bobskoot who have been compiling the lists and gathering the items and piling it all together, organizing, reorganizing, packing, and parring for the last three weeks, Oilburner and I only got down to brass tacks, as it were, this weekend.  One week prior to departure.  And we aren't nearly as organized or ready as the others.

 We have been talking, debating, and weighing.  I was only able to take two weeks from work.  As much as we desired to attend the IMBC in East Oregon to finally meet some great blog friends IRL (In Real Life), we couldn't swing the distance required and still enjoy seeing the country.  We weighed flying and renting, driving and towing the bikes, or just riding the bikes, but couldn't figure out an economical way.

So while many of my blogging friends are gearing up and hitting the road for the IMBC in two weeks (July 20-22), we are packing the bikes up for a trip north. We are taking our two weeks...and heading north.  We don't have any definite plans, but think we might end up tripping into Canada.  Possibly...probably.  :)

And I might have plans to meet a few special people along the way...  ;)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Rare Sightings

I've seen pictures from the group before. Once. I thought it was a little strange, but figured if that was what you were into I wasn't going to say a thing. After all, no two people are completely alike. And I am sure that my choice of bikes isn't for everyone else out there either.

However, I finally had the opportunity to see this up close, with my own eyes.

Ladies and often do you get to see a recumbent sport bike??

Yes people. This is a stock, factory manufactured motorbike. The Dan Gurney Alligator was Originally introduced in 2002, this is a single cylinder (modified Honda air-cooled 710cc engine) offering 70 hp, and weighing 320 pounds.

Such a unique design for those vertically challenged (as this owner was), offering an easy on/off and low center of gravity.

The second the brand new 2012 Night Rod Special...
We braved the 103 F temps (40C) to have lunch with our friend that just purchased this little beauty.

Note to bobskoot...aaahhhhh...the little "R" bike just purred down the roads. Took her out yesterday for a leisurely 200 miles to give her some luvin'. She replied in kind. :)

Addendum:  For Rogey, here is how one would sit in/on it:

Gurney's Alligator Motorcycle
Photography by James Brown, taken from the web