Tag Archives: Summer 2013 Ride

Day 17 – 6/15/13

I made it home Saturday night around 8:40 pm after one final 800+ mile day.  The weather was perfect for riding and traffic was never a problem.

As I reflect on this years ride, I have to say that the Electra Glide is more comfortable for me than the BMW for those long stretches of Interstate highway that need to be traversed in order to get out West.  However, once i got to the mountains, the BMW was fabulous.  The power, handling, and brakes are great especially for a bike this size.

My back and neck bothered me almost constantly making it uncomfortable for most of the ride.  I suspect that some changes to the seat and/or handlebars will be necessary to resolve these comfort issues.  I wasn’t prepared for this because I never experienced this with my local rides.  It could also be that the new helmet that I started wearing a week or two before this ride contributed to my neck pain.   It’s also possible that the additional hour or so between fuel stops is just too much time between stops.  The 7 gallon gas tank typically has me riding for 3-4 hours between fillups compared to 2-3 hours on the Harley.  Once I figure out the cause of this back/neck pain, the BMW will be perfect.

The BMW was surprisingly good in the windy conditions riding across the plains.  It handles the wind much better than the Harley.   The windy conditions still push the bike around, but it doesn’t seem to affect the BMW as much.   When there’s a string headwind, the BMW just pushes right through the wind,  The Harley often struggled to keep its speed when driving into a headwind.

When you get to the mountains, the BMW head and shoulders above the Harley.  This is where the BMW really shines.  The power of the 6 cylinder motor allow you to pass slow moving vehicles very quickly.  Passing slow vehicles with the Harley requires more planning and distance.   The BMW goes around corners so much better than the Harley and powering out of one corner toward the next one is a blast on the GTL  I still haven’t come anywhere near the limits of this machine.  I still haven’t scraped the footpegs and there’s still about 3/4″ of unused rubber on the sides of the tires so I know there’s more lean angle than I’ve been willing to use.

I rode must of the way from NY to CA with the throttle set to rain mode and the suspension set to normal or comfort.  When I got to Kaydee’s house, I took all of the bags off, and switched to Dynamic and Sport mode and the bike transforms into a machine that just begs to go for a spirited ride on the Ortega Highway.   Twisty mountain roads are where this bike really shines.

I’m probably an average rider and more cautious than I need to be because I really don’t want to crash and hurt myself.  I’ve ridden the Ortega Highway on the Harley and always felt that simply keeping up with traffic was a bit scary and pushed myself and the Electra Glide pretty near its limits.  However, the BMW is just so easy to ride in the twistys that the cars seemed slow and I was excited  to blow by them anytime I got a chance to do so safely.  Passing power is amazing and actually requires some restraint because the acceleration is amazing on this bike.

Another great road that I rode on was Angel’s Crest Highway.  I was fortunate to ride this road on a weekday when there was very little traffic and for the most part, I had the road to myself.  This highway is about 60 miles long and has very few straight roads.  It’s almost all winding mountain roads with everything from 10-20 mph hairpin turns to nice easy sweeping turns.  There were a few sections where there were rocks in the road but for the most part, it was a nice smooth road that is easy to have fun on.  I’ll definitely ride this road again.

One of my biggest worries about the BMW was tire life.  I’m pleased to say that the Michelin PR3’s did just fine.  With a bit over 7,000 miles on them, both the front and rear tires still look pretty darn good.  I should be able to use them for at least a couple more weeks commuting back and forth to work.  I’m pretty sure that they’re good for another 500-1,000 miles.

I also traveled with motorcycle pants, jacket, gloves, boots, and a full-face helmet this year.  In the past, it was basic jeans and t-shirt along with a half-helmet and gloves if my hands got cold.  I have to say that riding with all of the gear wasn’t all that bad.  It got hot when it was 95+ degrees but even in jeans and a t-shirt it’s hot so there really wasn’t much of a difference.  Another benefit is that since I was basically covered from head-to-toe, I didn’t need multiple applications of sunscreen to protect my bare skin.

This was my 6th trip to CA and I visited some familiar places although riding the BMW made this years ride different – more enjoyable in some ways, but less enjoyable in other ways.  For general Interstate travel, the Harley is more relaxed and comfortable.  However, if you happen to hit slow traffic, the Harley is just miserable due to the excessive engine heat.  The BMW never really gets uncomfortably hot even in stop-and-go traffic.  Once you get to the mountains, there’s simply no comparison – the BMW wins by a large margin.

Total miles for this year’s trip was 7,213.  For next year, I hope to have the comfort issues worked out.  If I can do that, the BMW will be the ultimate long distance bike.

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Day 16 – 6/14/13

It was just a long ride across I70 today.  Nothing much to write about as it was mostly straight Interstate highway riding.  I did a little over 800 miles today and should be home sometime tomorrow night.  The weather was good with temps in the high 80’s and low 90’s and I didn’t hit to much traffic.  The areas of road construction that I rode through moved along rather nicely.

I stopped for the night in Cloverdale Indiana, about 40 miles from Indianapolis.

Day 15 – 6/13/13

Leaving Cortez Coloroado, I rode on Rt 160 for a good part of the day through the mountains on my way North towards I70.  The weather was pretty good with temperatures on the low 90’s for the most part.

The oil level in the bike was a little low so I told the GPS to take me to a BMW dealer.  The BMW Nav IV GPS has all of the BMW dealers listed as points of interest.  The closest one was in Colorado Springs so that’s where I went.  I was a bit confused when I arrived to find that the GPS had taken me to a Harley Davidson dealer.  As it turns out, the BMW dealership had moved across town about a year ago so I got the updated address and off I went.  About 15 min later, I had found the BMW show and got a quart of oil.

From the BMW shop, I took Rt 24 East to I 70 and got on the Interstate.  It was very windy, the sky was dark, and I could see lightning in the distance.  I thought that the last couple of hours of riding would be through heavy rain storms so I stopped and put on my rain gear to prepare for the downpour.  However, I seem to have stayed about 5 miles behind the storm so I never really hit any rain.  There was heavy wind, but nothing more than a few light sprinkles.

I stopped for the night in Colby Kansas.

Day 14 – 6/12/13

Today’s ride was hot.  As I left the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, it was a little over 90 and the temperature quickly rose to 100+ degrees as I headed North on I15.  Just past St. George Utah, I turned East and rode through Utah and Arizona on Rt 89 and Rt 160.  The heat wasn’t quite as bad and dropped t to the mid-high 90’s for most of the day.

I always find the mesas and rock formations in Utah and Arizona interesting and enjoy the scenery in this part of the country.  The roads tend to be long and straight so the ride can be long and boring leaving plenty of time to look around and enjoy the landscape.

I had intended to get to Durango Colorado but about 40 miles from Durango, I decided to stop for the night in Cortez CO.  After riding it the heat all day, I was hot, tired, and hungry.

Miles today: 489
Total Miles: 4,979
States: NV, AZ, UT, CO

Day 13 – 6/11/13

I left Kaydees’ house this morning and headed north past LA and found the Angeles Crest Highway.  What a great road for motorcycles.  It’s about 60 miles of twisty roads through the San Bernadino national forest.  After the Angeles Crest, I rode on Rt 18 past Big Bear Lake and this was also a great ride. The next destination was Las Vegas.  It was over 100 degrees for a good part of the ride today with the highest temp at 109.  I reached Las Vegas at around 7:30 and stayed at the Golden Nugget right on Fremont St.