Archive for July, 2013

BMWMOA Rally-Salem OR…the final chapter

I nearly forgot that I also took a seminar on GPS routing and knew but was still disappointed to discover they my Garmin 276C is no longer being supported. They aren’t doing any more map upgrades for this unit, nor is it able to use the newest mapping system Basecamp. It’s looking more and more like Gary and I need to buy a new system.

Though I had my gps, I ended up on a road my friend John recommended, but somehow got lost and took a road that soon turned to gravel with a horrid circle at the end that either came back to my gravel path or went down a very steep road to pavement at the bottom. I opted for the steep road down. It was a bit challenging since it was on gravel, but I gritted my teeth and made it but then couldn’t find where I was heading so instead headed to Canby to ride the little Canby Ferry across the Willamette River. I had only taken the ferry once before and my effort to find the ferry went unrewarded. It was hot and I finally caved and just looked for Hwy 99 to take me back into Tigard. I arrived at my mom’s house hot and tired and ready for a Mint Julep.

The following day, I helped my mom around her place and we went to Broadway Rose’s production of Cats. It was very enjoyable. We had a nice dinner out and went home where I proceeded to do laundry and pack up the bike to leave for home the following day. I had chosen a fun route running to Philomath, OR via the Kings Valley Highway or 223. Then from Philomath to Waldport on the Alsea Highway or Hwy 34. WOW….I highly recommend that route! Once on the coast, the traffic swelled but the salty air was as welcomed as the sound of the seabirds.

The Kings Valley Highway

Made it to the coast.

I road behind a horrid line of traffic, several of which were motorhomes pulling 4wheel drive pickups, good lord, why not just stay home since all of home is traveling with you? There are few places to pass and when you finally reach one, there is always the lone vehicle that stays left and goes 55. AWKKKK, frustrated I gassed Hugo just a wee bit and was able easily to get around but sadly on the right…grrrrrr people. I finally got around the masses and then for several miles had to road to myself!

Elk…hmmmm never fun to see up close on a motorcycle.

Flowers were everywhere, but I should have stopped to actually get a shot in focus, but then i’d have to pass again…nope, I’m gonna keep going.

I love this bridge, but once again should have stopped for a better shot, but you get the idea.

I had intended to stay in Coos Bay, but the looks of most of the lodging was pretty seedy, so I choose to keep on moving. With every town, I found mostly “no vacancy” signs, but then it was nearing 7pm. I decided to call my concierge Gary and see if he could find a place in Gold Beach via the web. He did and I was thrilled to pull into the Wild Chinook Inn.

I got up early to the usual coastal fog and decided to work on some photos and cruise the internet to awail some lifting. By nine am I could see the beach and packed up to go. I should have waited longer! It was quite cold heading south and I went into and out of the fog all the way to Eureka, but it was absolutely gorgeous! The OR/CA coastline is well worth a yearly excursion!

Stopping in Crescent City at a Starbucks was my last stop for anything but gas. I planned on riding Hwy 299 and had no idea how much construction I would encounter, but for now coffee and a donut were required. When I pulled into the chain, there were three beautiful Ducatis already parked. It seemed appropriate for me to park in the middle. And I looked right at home with the Italians. 😉

When we began talking, I discovered they were heading home after attending MotoGP in Laguna Seca. I saw many motorcycles that day, probably doing the same.
The rest of my journey was simply foraging a way home, much of it being on larger highways or freeways. I rode from 50 degrees on the coast to 100 in Redding and by the time I got home, I was ready for a cooling swim and some cold libation.

It was all good.

Just over 1500 miles
To PDX

To Waldport

All the way back home…

Hugo ventures to find his own…BMWMOA OR Rally Part 2

Well, I have said over and over that I’m not a camper and try as I may, I failed tent 101. I had a hell of a time just getting out of it the first morning! Then there is that whole thing about trying to dress etc and we all know you can easily see though a tent which makes the entire prospect even more exciting. 😉 Then there is the evening bathroom vigil, where I wait until I nearly have to run to the bathroom, and it’s dark and the closest bathroom is a porta potty which I’m afraid to allow my silk pajama bottom to drift across that icky floor. Sigh…well, I’m not one to rough it obviously, but I must admit i’d rather pee in the woods than use a porta potty!! So, yesterday the first order of business was finding my tent. Today the first order is to find an actual bathroom, where the porcelain god can be properly worshipped and where there might actually be a shower. I was able to secure both and smile a little knowing if I could get out of my tent in the middle of the night, a nice clean bathroom was near! Oh joy!

I gotta say the nice thing about being up before more sane people is that I am able to get in and out of the shower with no wait. I felt ready to go find coffee and knew that SherpaTed had a pot ready. I sauntered over to get a cuppa and savored it, chuckling at my fellow camper’s opinion of the devil’s brew. It’s weak, it’s watery, it’s boring, it’s NOT Starbucks…well there is that, but you didn’t pay $4bucks either, did you? I wander off, digesting both coffee and opinions silently, while looking over my rally book for seminars.

Some of the seminars were truly nothing more than glorified infomercials, while others were just awe-inspiring. I went to an amazing one presented by MotoDiscovery “Riding in Cuba, the People to People experience”. By the time they were done, I was wishing i had won the lottery and could just sign up both me and Gary. Cuba is one of those places that’s like falling into a time warp or stepping back in time. Most all the cars and motorcycles are from pre-Fidel which means they are from the 50s and earlier. The motorcycles there are gorgeous, especially the old Harleys. Most are in barely used condition since the island isn’t that large, so the mileage is low. I was amazed at some of the tour photographs! I guess regardless of the politics, the people remain loving and interested in all travelers. According to the tour company, you can only visit as a “people to people” exchange, which means they are able to introduce those touring to many of the locally manufactured items and the artists who create them. The people make beautiful music, create wonderful cuisine, have excellent cigars and love to laugh. I hope that someday, I’ll be able to visit there.

Now it was time to go and look at the Vintage BMW show.

There were so many amazing bikes, I was just in “envy”.

These two looked from about the same era, but looked quite different too. I don’t know enough about them and can see they both have boxer engines. I obviously need to read up on the history of the boxer as well as the history of BMW in general. Now, sadly there was NO seminar on the history of BMW!! Neither one of these looked particularly comfortable for the type or riding that I do.

Side car racing!

Wow, all shiny except for the engine!

I love these crazy fairings!

Now this one looks touring worthy and i love that sweet fairing!

This one looked a bit rough and there was no info regarding it. I found it rather delightful, but the box below with the oil looked as though it was related to Harley. 😉 The one behind it was also a beauty.

This is a sweetie…made me think of my friend, Donson!

Amazing just how may Beemers were here!

Shade was a commodity.

Speaking of…my pal John did me a great service, moving Hugo into some shade in the heat of the day, only I got back from my seminar and the bike was gone…I kept my calm, knowing with all the awesome machines all over the place, no one in their right mind would single out my R12 to steal. So, I scurried down to Kelly’s tent and asked is she had seen my bike and she quickly responded, “it’s right over there in the shade, why did you LOSE it”. Hahahahaha of course about two hours later, i found the note that John had left me tucked into my sherpa provided camp chair. Yep, big as life was a note that said, “I moved your bike into the shade. John”. Duh….

The next seminar I took was the most amazing of the entire rally, by an amazing woman, Benka Pulko. http://www.benkapulko.com/intro She took off from a small Slovenian town at the age of 30 setting out to see the world. She currently holds the record for the longest solo motorcycle ride ever undertaken by a woman-in both distance (111,856 miles/180,016 kilometers) and duration (2,000 days). She is a published author and a noteworthy photographer and I am in total awe of her talent, skill and beauty. The presentation included video, stills of her amazing photography, and many many pix and stories of the people she encountered on her travels around the world. I am inspired by her lively tales and her dedication and her “believe in yourself” campaign. She was the most amazing presenter at the rally and from the crowd, I wasn’t alone in my thinking.

The only picture I got of Benka was in full movement, but she looked like a Hindu goddess of dance.

When I left Benka’s presentation, I realized that I had missed my friend Holly Berkley’s, “The Secret of Super Riding”. Well, hell, you can’t do it all!! I’ll have to catch Holly on her next local seminar.

The night came quickly and I grabbed a boxed wine and made my way to the evenings musical offering, Jonny Lang, blues guitarist from the age of 12. I somehow knew he had probably mastered his genre. He was very good, but Canned Heat had already stolen my heart.

Some things you simply don’t question…

I stayed up late, drank a variety of wine and the result was paid by a poor night of sleep. I tossed and turned on my airbed and felt chilled. i put on socks and a down jacket, and finally warmed up and got a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep. I awoke early, and did the “Coffee with Dave Hough” that began at 7am then went and showered. It was then that I realized, I was ready to go back to Portland and sleep in a bed! I wandered around a bit, looked at vendor booths and saw absolutely nothing I couldn’t live without. I did attend one more seminar, “Women Who Ride”. It was a panel discussion, that tottered on the edge of mundane except for the tribute to Ardys Kellerman. I sat there and thought to myself, men would never be talking off their boots to pass around to show the boot lift. Maybe I’m a bit jaded, but it just seemed like most of these women wanted some special love as it may be, or maybe affirmation that what they were doing, though not in the mainstream of most women’s daily activities, was ok. I could be way off here, I’m not sure, maybe i need more female companionship, but it just seemed like it could have been an awesome discussion from versed female riders on what it means to be a woman rider! I should have stood and said, for me, riding is a passion. It’s something that I own, i practice and I LOVE. It’s not like I could simply walk away from the sport saying, “awwww, i’m done with this, now I’ll try ________ (fill in whatever…) I burn with the desire to be seat-side touring the country, seeing new things, seeking new goals and experiencing new skills. And most of the time, I desire doing this solo. Yep, that’s what I should have said, but instead remained quiet listening to tales of ill fitting gear and too tall motorcycles.

There was one breath of fresh air. A young woman of 16 who had gotten her motorcycle license after the MSF last November who already had over 8000 miles. She mainly rode a small dirt bike and for IBA she took a Burgman scooter. Now that’s cool!!! Welcome young jedi!!!

I got my bike packed up and bailed on that evening’s affairs and instead took the long scenic route back to Portland, enjoying every moment riding on the back of my new pal.

Tomorrow the final chapter of this journey…riding home!!

Hugo ventures to find his own…BMWMOA Rally–Salem, OR

I have always said that I didn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member, however that all changed when I bought my first BMW motorcycle. Suddenly, I wanted to join a club in the hope that I could gain boundless knowledge from other beemer owners, hanging out consuming high brow cocktails and expensive hors d’ourves, while chatting about the weather in Europe. Well, it wasn’t quite as I supposed and more to the point, I was once again just another woman treading in a man’s motorcycle world, only this time at least, I was riding upon a slick BMW.

Well, why not? I got the machine, now let’s go and join the crowd that would be gathering in Salem, OR for the BMWMOA’s International Rally. There I could rub elbows with a huge number of motorcyclists and probably learn more that I’d have time to digest regarding my new brand of choice.

Ok, I hope that you got this intro was completely tongue and cheek. I have no bonfire of vanity from riding a BMW, it’s just that perception is everything, and often times BMW is perceived as a vanity brand, but anyone that has ever ridden one, is acutely aware of the well designed and beautifully manufactured motorcycle that aspires to the desire of every rider whether on or off road. These machines have ridden across Mongolia and Africa under riders with both lots and little experience and hands down have delivered. In reading Lois Pryce’s book, “Red Tape and White Knuckles”, one realizes that any motorcycle can be ridden anywhere and if you have adventure pumping through your veins, many tried and true real world excursions are often upon the back of a BMW.

So with noble intentions, I mounted my steed for a week long excursion north, into what I thought would be reasonable temperatures. Well, so much for that aspiration!

I left Carmichael hoping to meet my pal Tyler Risk and her group in southern OR. I decided to bail riding around John Day, which was my original thought, when I discovered that the temps there would probably be similar to those in the Sacramento area. I wanted to find higher elevations and some twisty roads, since I hadn’t really done any fun riding since buying the new to me R1200R. I figured, Hwy 70 would put a smile on my face as would riding one of my favorite roads Hwy 139 around Eagle Lake, just north of Susanville. Afterwards, I’d head to Klamath Lake and then take a cut off to meet Tyler in Shady Cove, OR near Crater Lake. All went as planned and I collected nothing but smiles in my helmet that day!

Hwy 70 ( I need to get over my tunnel phobia)

Eagle Lake (awesome highway!)

Quick stop for a fabulous coffee milkshake (no, it’s not very low carb…) in Adin one of the cutest towns in the area. Now tell me that bike doesn’t look tough…

Klamath Lake
Funny, when I lived here, I never considered it beautiful, but then I was a teenager, beauty was only found in boys and horses.

Riding around the west side of the lake is lovely. There was little traffic and plenty of places to stop and awe!

I arrived in Shady Cove after a brief lost moment when my GPS decided it was done for the day. I need to get another powerlet that is closer than the one already on the bike, which is on the left side of the bike under the seat. That one is perfect for heated gear but a bit too far to plug the gps. My battery obviously must need replacing as well, but regardless, I had to employ an actual paper map. Hmmmmm, i tried a side road which was a ton of fun, but didn’t really get me where I intended. Oh well, one is NEVER lost on a motorcycle and I drifted easily into the Royal Coachman Inn, in Shady Cove to Tyler’s waiting eyes!

The Royal Coachman is a most awesome place right on the Rogue River, reasonably priced, motorcycle friendly with a great restaurant next door. What’s not to like?

I loved that I was Number 1…;)

The motel grounds were exquisite.

There were both ducks and geese about.

And a few spiders…

and Spyders…

The following day, I Donna Rees aka demenshea, went on a group ride. I can’t tell you how much flack I got! CC even said, “don’t look now Donna, but you are on a group ride”. Ya…well it’s a darned special group!!

Scott Wade

Tyler

Scott’s wife Susan and CC in the background with Tyler on the right.

Scott, Sue, CC and Bill…they were a wonderful gang to hang with over the amazing Hwy 227…wow!!!

Love the bridge, but glad we didn’t have to cross it…it was hot and slick to even walk on!

After 227 we rode along the Umpqua River which supplied some gorgeous vistas.

We continued onto Coos Bay over Hwy 42 a nice cool scenic route. In Coos Bay, we stopped for lunch and another layer as the temperature difference was quite noticeable. It was there that I parted ways and was working my way back to the east and to Portland so visit my mom before the rally. I spent a couple of days in Portland and then headed to Salem on Thursday morning. The rally was already in full swing!

Hey, that’s not a beemer…but there were several of these spotted over the next few days!

I was already ooohhhing and aahhhhing…

I loved this gal’s bike!

First order of biz…to find my SherpaTed tent, in the sea of already placed tents.

Here it is, number 53 complete with dogtag and mint on my pillow. Awwwwww

Just up the way, I met a forum buddy Kelly and her husband Jay. Now how awesome!

Next I found my friend John MotoRider, arriving.

We found it necessary to get right out and wander and hustle up to some libation in our BMWMOA supplied cup.

We didn’t stick around long enough to hear this guy play or drink enough…

Loved this entire set-up…camo tent, stealth bike and sidecar.

John finally thought he found a box large enough for all my crap…oh ha ha, a girl’s gotta have room for her smile. 😉

There were plenty of bikes that had traveled the world.

I enjoyed a couple of seminars after meeting up with CC and Bill who had also split off of Tyler’s group but a couple of days after me. We were able to catch “Making the Long Ride Easier” with seatmaker Dan Webber and and awesome rider coach and Baja 1000 rider, Coach Ramey Stroud. He gave testament to Dan’s skills as he got him back in the saddle after a devastating accident that left him with a head injury and some lower body paralysis. He is now riding again, which is amazing. I adore his attitude, “Get-offs happen to all of us in one way or another, the difference is how we handle it. The trick is to keep looking ahead– setting goals and putting them on the calendar.” Bravo Coach!

We also tried to find the “Packing Light/Packing Right” seminar, but ended up in a BMW Apparel and Equipment presentation. We didn’t last long.

The evening entertainment featured Canned Heat. Now that was a blast from the past and they still know how to ROCK a crowd!

Harvey Mandel was on lead guitar.

With as much marijuana as drifted from the stage, I’d say someone in the group had a much loved Rx. The show was excellent!

Day one had come to a close…now time to test my tent.

Taking the long way to the BMWMOA…

Well, I can’t help myself. I’m super excited to get out and put some miles on my new bike. For those of you that are just reading this, I got a new to me 07 BMW R1200R and it’s one sweet machine.

So, that said, I decided to sign up for the BMWMOA Rally being held in Salem, OR. Apparently it’s quite the event and they are expecting over 5K people. There are seminars, vendors, a beer garden, vintage bike show, and lots more. I’m really excited about the rally too, never having been to one.

I’ll be doing something very unlikely for me at the rally. I, who NEVER camps, will be camping on site with Sherpa Ted. What he does, is bring tents, sleeping bags, chairs, sleeping pads, and sets it all up for you so all you have to do is show up. He even makes coffee in the mornings! So, for my first time at moto-camping, this sounds pretty painless. It will keep me on the grounds so I won’t miss any of the seminars I’m interested in attending, nor anything else for that matter. Plus, I can hang at the beer garden without fear of having to ride anywhere. It also solves parking since I can park right next to my tent! This is gonna be a blast.

So, my plan is as usual not set in stone. I am thinking about going to John Day for a couple days of riding using this route. Or riding up to meet my friend Tyler in Shady Cove, OR using this route. Both routes have their benefit. In John Day, the riding around the area is amazing and around Shady Cove, there are also many good moto roads and it will be cooler. So I guess once I have the bike packed up and ready, I’ll do a coin toss and call it good.
Here’s a couple of teaser pix from around John Day taken a few years ago.

My good looking husband, Gary.

So, hang in there as either way I go there is sure to be some photos along the way and lots to report on the BMWMOA! Stay tuned and check back!

Bell Helmet Revolver EVO…moderately priced Modular Helmet

Bell’s Revolver EVO–nice aggressive styling, so I don’t feel like I simply have a huge head!!

It was just over one year ago when I first got my Bell Revolver helmet and I posted this review. Well, it’s time to do a follow up.

Sadly this helmet is a perfectly fitting helmet for my head shape. The only other one is the Arai Profile, which is NOT a modular helmet and according to Arai, they will likely never make a modular, so I make do with what fits.

Let’s face it, any full face helmet is better than none and I’m here to tell you the Bell is definitely decently made helmet for the money. When I bought mine, it was being replaced by the Bell EVO which addressed some of the issues I had with my original Bell Revolver. But I’m getting ahead of myself, here.

The first ride I took with my new Bell Revolver that magnet that serves to keep the chin strap from flying around while at speed, got lost. It simply fell off. Ok, I could deal with that, but it did make me crazy. I always had to either wrap the extra length inside where it often came loose or my final way to control it was to put it under my coat velcro where is stayed pretty well. That was number one.

The next issue was the fact my visor could not be cracked open to the first notch so I could get a bit of air flowing. It would simply slam shut. It did the same thing at whatever level I tried, the visor slammed shut. Boom…nope didn’t work. Number two.

The third and final issue that made me return my helmet was the fact the rubber seal along the neckline of the helmet began peeling away from the surface. Nope…time to use the warranty.

Now Bell has an awesome warranty. It’s basically covered for the life of the helmet, 5 years. I wrote the company and got a response right away and was asked to return my helmet for another. I did just that and my new Bell Revolver EVO, the second reincarnation of the original Bell Revolver was delivered today only two days after my returning the original. Quick and painless, only I’ll miss all my reflective stickers that were covering mine.

Ok…now for the EVO.
First off the things I had issues with were addressed. Well, not the silly magnet closing. That’s as cheap as ever. But the plastic seems better attached and the visor is definitely tigher and should be able to stay up a bit. The sun shade is still to light, which is sad since the reason we use a pull down shade is to protect us from the sun. The venting is the same, which also is a shame since the front vents should be screened so we don’t get small insects inside the helmet which has happened often. Instead there is screening in the back which makes no sense, since if there are insects, i’d like to have them see their way out! The need to reverse the screening. Supposedly the issue of noise though the helmet has been addressed somewhat in this new incarnation, but we’ll see.

The fit is awesome. It’s snug but comfortable and I don’t foresee any “hot spots”. Ok…that’s all for now. I’ll report back when I return from first trip on the beemer to the BMWMOA Rally in Salem!!

The new Bell Revolver EVO…moderately priced at $199. Best fitted for a narrow oval head shape.

Sunshade down

Looks like a bit of a quality control paint issue…

Face opened