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Thread: This is long. Sorry bout that but it is a ride report...

  1. #1
    John D'oh
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    This is long. Sorry bout that but it is a ride report...

    While out riding on Old Ore Road in Big Bend National Park last week my riding partner and I came across a fellow on a brand new BMW "R1200GS Adventure" by himself and in considerable distress. I knew he was in trouble because he had been in transit between the north and south end of the trail for about 3 hours and the first thing he said was "How far is it to the endÔÇØ?

    The temperature was at or near 100 degrees and it was 1:45 when we arrived at the scene of yet another spill this poor soul had recovered from. My buddy and I had commented earlier on seeing what my wife Carrie calls "Sand Angles" where someone has fallen and thrashed about trying to get it back together and go on in the deep sand. The guy had just gotten his bike back on the road from an impromptu departure half way through a 200 foot stretch of the stuff. He was breathing hard, no sweat visible, down to about a quart of water and out of energy to pick the thing up even one more time. He SAID he'd dropped it three times...but the truth was written in the sand behind him. Fortunately for him, Fred and I came along.

    This fellow had ridden to Big Bend arriving early in the morning from Alpine 85 miles away. He tossed his bags in the lobby of the lodge at the Basin and telling no one, took off to explore the wilds of the Trans Pecos starting with one of the roughest roads in the entire park. He had read about Old Ore Road in the National Geographic which had made particular mention of the condition as being "well maintained", which it is not and never has been.

    His qualifications were simply that he had recently purchased the Adventure to be able to ride TO places like Big Bend, and then to be able to explore those places intimately from the saddle of what he believed to be the ultimate adventure motorcycle. He had watched the maintenance DVD for the bike once and had forgotten to buy a tire patch kitdidnt even know where the tire pump was mounted and couldnt touch the ground seated on the bike without two inches of added height to his Doc Martins. He had a full tank of gas which I believe is around 8 gallons or so and about two good sips of water left.

    I helped him pick the damned thing up twice more before finally getting him to a stable surface back the way heÔÇÖd come. His last fall in the sand had caused the bike to spin around pointing itself in the wrong direction. It was impossible for either of us to turn it around in the sand and get it pointed in the right direction. I gave him a quick lesson in sand management and rode up to the top of a hill where I knew I could get a cell tower to call for help. I watched through binoculars as he rested for a bit and gave it another try.

    He was able to negotiate the last sand trap and the final 4 miles to pavement without further trouble with me following and Fred in the lead. He was very, very grateful for our assistance. He was one lucky SOBLater, he admitted his mistake and I dont think he would be too upset if I mentioned his folly to others in the hope that someone may take to heart a few simple cautionary notes. NEVER TRAVEL ALONE IN THE DESERT. Hydrate constantly (if you arent sweating you are NOT drinking enough and it may already be too late to recover). Bring shade with you in the form of a square of fabric to hang from a bush if thats all you can findyou need to be in the shade to work on a tire for instance or, worst case, to wait for helpAlways let someone know where you are and when you plan on being back. The park service has had their budgets cut and it is easier for them to let the buzzards find a lost motorcyclist rather than wasting gas driving all over the place looking for one.

    IÔÇÖm sorry to have to say this but the BMW ÔÇ£AdventureÔÇØ motorcycle is perhaps the absolute WORST bike to ride off road that has ever been manufactured. Dangerous in the wrong hands too. If you buy into the myth, you might just find yourself in the same predicament this fellow was in but without two old desert rats like me and Fred to get you out.
    John D'oh

  2. #2
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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    Good lesson to pass on, the dealers should print it up and slap a copy onto the sales receipt.
    Gail Hatch
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  3. #3
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Dear Desert Rats:

    +1 Thanks for helping out a rider in need.

  4. #4
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    No apology needed for the length or post.

    Many lessons to be learned and you pointed them out in a respectful, civilized way. The guy most likely owes his life to you.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Ride Well

  5. #5
    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Paul, that was a noble turn provided by you and Fred and a great lesson for one and all. No problem at all about the length of the story.

  6. #6
    USERNAME
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    good ride report. did he have an irish accent?

  7. #7
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s09rwmb View Post
    NEVER TRAVEL ALONE IN THE DESERT. Hydrate constantly (if you aren’t sweating you are NOT drinking enough and it may already be too late to recover). Bring shade with you in the form of a square of fabric to hang from a bush if that’s all you can find…you need to be in the shade to work on a tire for instance or, worst case, to wait for help…Always let someone know where you are and when you plan on being back. The park service has had their budgets cut and it is easier for them to let the buzzards find a lost motorcyclist rather than wasting gas driving all over the place looking for one.
    oh man, is this ever good advice.

    I’m sorry to have to say this but the BMW “Adventure” motorcycle is perhaps the absolute WORST bike to ride off road that has ever been manufactured. Dangerous in the wrong hands too.
    no it's not. you just need to know what you're doing and know the limitations of the bike.

    your second observation is correct... some people who buy these things have no clue... not only about the bike, but about adventure riding. they basically want to look like they ride off-road.

    again, great post... are you interested in contributing a techniques article to "always an adventure?"

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  8. #8
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    Thanks for your report and rescue!!
    So many new riders are taken in by the 'adventure' part of their bike without ever taking classes on actually how to ride the 'big pig' off road. That bike is actually quite capable of going off road with proper training. IMHO, the Gillette rally is a prime opportunity for some GS owners to find out that a big GS is more capable than they are....
    Rob Nye has a thread going on about this, and many GS riders would benefit from some helpfull hints on that MX track.
    The rider you met up with, should have learned his limitations, been better prepared, and not have been gung-ho about taking a 500# bike in over his head...
    I am riding the TAT this summer and already know that I wil need to take a few big bike detours..There is no shame in this, as the trip is still so worth it. Arriving in one piece at the destination is a huge part of doing this ride. YMMV

  9. #9
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    oh man, is this ever good advice.



    no it's not. you just need to know what you're doing and know the limitations of the bike.

    your second observation is correct... some people who buy these things have no clue... not only about the bike, but about adventure riding. they basically want to look like they ride off-road.

    again, great post... are you interested in contributing a techniques article to "always an adventure?"

    ian


    The bike wasn't the problem.

  10. #10
    John D'oh
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    Quote Originally Posted by username View Post
    good ride report. did he have an irish accent?
    No, he did not...
    He already was contrite and quite overwhelmed by the ride hed just done. And, hes a good sort too who just got off without a clue as to what he was about to get into. In truth, he made it far enough that he could have walked outwith enough water. He had no clue where he was even with a GPS since his GPS didnt contain enough data on the park roads so it couldnt tell him how far he was from the pavement. He needed a frame of reference including a dot on some lines of a map and number showing miles to end. What if he had decided to turn around?

    Just as we got off on the last leg out, a small 4WD vehicle wearing street tires came along. This represented the only vehicle to have come in from the south end of Old Ore that day. He did ride all the way out himself so he is to be commended in that regard. Fred and I took him to water and shade and then to our original destination the hot springs for God knows what reasonJust made it hotter.

    It bothers me because I made a rash statement about the motorcycle. As I was picking it up the second time I began to think about how ironic it would be to have a perfectly good motorcycle laying right in front of you, and not being able to pick it up. Most of my friends have a KTM LC4 sitting beside their BMWÔÇÖs

    photo by Ted
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:07 PM.
    John D'oh

  11. #11
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s09rwmb View Post
    It bothers me because I made a rash statement about the motorcycle. As I was picking it up the second time ...


    i can see how anyone having to pick up one of those pigs, especially with a full tank of gas, can come to that conclusion!

  12. #12
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    So was a GS an appropriate bike for this specific ride?
    Ride Well

  13. #13
    Rob Mayes
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    Ian & Charley

    I think too many of us want to be Ian & Charley.


  14. #14
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJM2096 View Post
    I think too many of us want to be Ian & Charley.

    LOL Watching them push those "pigs" thru stuff that I would have just walked away from, bike and all, gave me an appreciation for their tenacity.
    Ride Well

  15. #15
    John D'oh
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIBUD View Post
    LOL Watching them push those "pigs" thru stuff that I would have just walked away from, bike and all, gave me an appreciation for their tenacity.
    Many of us dream about a ride in the wilderness but few attempt it. The preparation and logistics can be daunting. Do you ride there and explore or trailer and base camp...just for starters. Ewan and Charley? They went out and had a heck of a ride together. It does make one kind of want to walk to the garage, load up the scooter and take a run down to Tierra Del Fuego 

    Was a GS appropriate for this ride?

    The Adventure made it through Old Ore Road and took its passenger back to the lodge in the basin. The bike you choose to ride should be reliable and durable and tractable. It should be kept as light as possible for Old Ore. Knowledge and experience can make up for deficiencies in any of these areas. The horsepower and fuel economy from a liter sized BMW twin is nice to have. The application of throttle in the performance ranges you will use off road can get you out of trouble in the dirt and into trouble on the street.

    On Old Ore Road, the airhead GS, HPN and Modified BMWs do well generally and are comfortable to push through the sand and up the rocky ledges. The Oil Heads are a handful with the HP2 being a wonderful exception. KTM LC4s dance along the trail with the 950s being slightly more like the big BMWs in weight but with a ton of instant powerHonda and Yamaha dual sports ran this year on several days rides and did quite well as you would expect as both bikes were designed for this activity.

    photo by Paul...this bike was near perfect.
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:07 PM.
    John D'oh

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