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Thread: Introducing...

  1. #1

    Introducing (via x-country ride)...


    I'm Jon. New BMWMOA member here ... couldn't be happier about it. Just joined up & posted my 1st thread (Nicaragua report). I've been riding for a few years now and have never been adamant about use of a particular brand of bike - however - what made me first decide to get into the world of motorcycles was a photo of someone ... somewhere, on an '02 1150 GS Adventure. Saw that pic & I was hooked. Had to get one of them things. As life (and ebay) would have it I ended up on a series of dirtbikes, that lead to the competitive trials competition world, but years later the bug never left and I sought out, and found, my 1150 GS. The fact that it happened to be over 5000 miles away only sweetened the deal to me.

    What follows is the story of my first BMW.
    Last edited by inte_gs; 02-26-2008 at 04:13 AM.

  2. #2

    Finding Vermont.

    This trip came about somewhat on a whim ... I was headed out to North Carolina to shoot some production stills for a movie location there. Seemed like a good idea to retrace the original route of the movie's main characters from N.C. to Baja, filming & shooting stills along the way.

    Only time ... and the next 4000-or-so miles will tell if it was indeed a good idea

    Step one was to find a used bike to make the trek with. Craigslist came to the rescue and I found an '06 BMW GS Adventure with well under 3000 miles on it! The service interval on these things is 6k miles ... this thing is barely broken in. The fact that it had no modifications to it other than the addition of the exact luggage I'd need for the trip sealed the deal. When I showed up, it was everything the owner made it out to be, PLUS I found a nice set of gloves in one of the boxes that he gave me! Very nice extra as I didn't know I'd encounter 200 miles of North East rain in just a few hours...

    At the previous owner's place - moments before rolling out.

    Less than a mile from the house, the pavement ended and I rode into the twilight along the picturesque Vermont backroads ... completely forgetting the directions I was told just a few minutes ago. God Bless GPS...

    The first night I would stay in Springfield, VT (hometown of the Simpsons). Not quite what I expected - no nuclear plant, it was quite nice in fact. Took care of the DMV paperwork here ... never been in a DMV before where I could count everyone in the office, employees and customers both, on one hand.

    The next day I didn't shoot too many photos. The ride from the owners house to Springfield was AMAZING. Vermont is hands-down among the most beautiful places I've visited. So it was a little surprising to wake the following morning to POURING rain (the gloves included with the bike turned out to be fantastic for rain!). I was headed to New Hampshire to stay with a friend off the adventure rider website. Along the way I had to stop once or twice to get my bearings. Lot more turns in the roads around here than the freeways I'm used to back west...

    I arrive at Nate's place - great guy, great family. We stay up looking at potential routes on the computer:

    Next morning I head out through a bit of the New England forest:

    Then back to the highway and toward Max BMW where I'd pick up some tires to last me the rest of the trip.

    The shop HIGHLY recommends Nancy's diner just down the road. I haven't eaten yet this day, so figure it's a good option - their recommendation turned out to be spot on

    That's Nancy herself on the right:

    While sitting in the BMW shop, there was another customer also waiting for their bike and he gave me all sort of routes to check out. Also informed me that I was only about 20 minutes from Maine. Had no idea. Being so close, I headed north for 20 minutes, entered Maine, then headed east to the coast to make my way south.

    Arriving at the Atlantic:

    Met another couple there who have been married & riding motorcycles together for 35 years! They gave me all sorts of insights into various roads in the area.

    This road provided a good opportunity to do a bit of filming, so on went the camera rig. This will see much more use from North Carolina, south and all the way west, but this area is so scenic it makes for a perfect spot to work out the camera techniques with this bike.

    Weather might not be cooperating tomorrow, so the plan is to get as far south as is reasonable & hopefully get out of any potential weather systems ... from there it's onward to Florida, hang a right, then back home to California!
    Last edited by inte_gs; 03-04-2008 at 06:47 PM.

  3. #3

  4. #4

    rain, traffic, night riding, and sleep...

    There are a variety of reasons to take a long motorcycle ride. On or off-road, one can come up with just about any reason/excuse to go for a spin. Typically there's a destination, training, errands to run, whatever ... As mentioned in the first post, the Hearing Everett film was the impetus for this ride ... how the ride developed however I couldn't have planned if I tried.

    As I would be needing to navigate my way through 90% unfamiliar terrain, and do so quickly, I ordered up a new GPS unit - this unit came with XM! Fantastic feature as my iPod locked up during one of the flights over so that got shipped back home.

    BUT ... I learned the hard way that the included antenna for the radio was bad
    I spent several hundred miles on the road with nothing but the wind noise for company. I know many long-time riders would scoff at the idea of an iPod, but I'm a junkie for on-road audio, especially when putting in over 12 hours/day on the bike (more on that later). You mind will wander all sorts of places as you watch Salvador Dali's fishing line whiz by ... (dotted line, catches every other fish, never mind...). At one time or another we've probably all been in a conversation that ends in a sort of awkward silence when you run out of things to say ... it's really weird when that happens & you're the only one inside your helmet.

    Any rate, after a couple days or riding around & filming the north east, I arranged to return the malfunctioning antenna and ordered a new one. As I'm in a different state each day (sometimes many states in a day back east), I looked at a map & figured overnight shipping to someplace in South Carolina would work. I picked a UPS depot in Wilmington and THAT determined my adventure for the next couple days.

    After the replacement was ordered, shipping was arranged, I plugged in the UPS address to my GPS ... it came up with nearly 700 miles worth of roads and an arrow pointing south.

    So I turned the key...

    Left New Hampshire & it immediately started POURING.

    While trying to follow the GPS AROUND Boston & New York ... I managed to go straight through both. Heck, I even ... somehow managed to ride around Boston, then double back just so I could go through traffic in town!

    Boston was nothing compared to New York however. Sitting in traffic for literally hours. Just watching the tenths click off the odometer was cause for celebration. Heck, in Opposite-Land this place is great - 10 little parties every mile. Try as I might, I couldn't see it this way for very long. Neither could the GS apparently as having no fan or radiator it started making all sorts of odd noises as the temperature gauge ran out of room to register.

    Something had to be done. I pulled over onto a busted-up embankment next to the freeway to let the motor cool & think things over. Funny that the cars I pulled over next to might have been pulled over as well. When I fired the bike back up about 20 minutes later I was only three car lengths back from when I'd stopped.

    A suspension test was in order. Looking at this embankment I though "I can probably make it up this". Sure enough, the GS was well-equipped for some urban dualsporting. Escape from New York had begun. Embankments, curbs, ... small retaining walls ... all fair game. Problem was every time I got back to any kinds of "expressway" (worst use of the term I've ever seen...) it was stopped. The GPS quickly re-routed me ... straight through the Bronx. What started as a "cool urban downtown" feel, quickly deteriorated to the point my "you'd better keep moving" radar started pinging as the obvious poverty rose in direct correlation to the number of unbelievably blinged-out Escalades. The cries of "Hey MONEY!" coming from the curbside throngs were almost completely muffled by my earbuds - ignorance truly is bliss & I just kept rolling through my tunnel of semi-silence. Granted, rolling over curbs & walls & such, but rolling nonetheless.

    None too soon, I was back on the road ... but running very late at this point.

    I ended up on the New Jersey turnpike - was hoping to avoid toll roads, but I was happy to be on anything moving ... anywhere ... at this point.

    I thought my traffic woes were over once I passed NY & Jersey.


    Accident on the 95 - ALL lanes closed.

    Tried getting off & taking Hwy 1.

    Most of the eastern seaboard apparently had the same idea.

    It was around 10 pm at this point & I was getting nowhere fast.

    Finally caught a break & hit some clear road, back to the 95, a little way south & pulled off at the first KOA sign I saw. Saw a steep dirt road leading to blank spots - no picnic tables, etc ... just clear a spot. Perfect.

    12 PM. 17 hours on the bike. Time for a nap.

    NEXT DAY ...

    Up early & on the road by 7am - I was headed for UPS, still over 300 miles away at this point. Odd goal or not, might as well aim for something ... and nearly 700 from where I set this waypoint, the target was acquired:

    I spend the next hour in the parking lot here taking the bike apart & replacing the bum antenna, packing that up & shipping it off. Also shipped off some paperwork for the bike & a few items I didn't need with me were shipped back home. Then I was off to Myrtle Beach where I would spend the night & next morning taking video & some stills.

    Arriving at the Atlantic:


    DAY 6 ...

    Today was another very-distant-target day. I'll be visiting a couple churches in Florida, so from Myrtle Beach, I simply put one of the church names in & followed the arrow. Instead of sticking to the interstate the whole time, I'll occasionally wander off on some interesting road just to see what there is to see - the GPS will typically recalculate to get me to the intended destination via whatever road I force it to take.

    Got on one such road - a sandy two-track:

    ...and there was indeed stuff to see:

    Telling the GPS to redirect me:

    That's it for today ... until then ... rolling on to the next update!

  5. #5

    history, scenery, and bodysurfing two oceans...

    After leaving Georgia headed south, I was fighting the clock. Had two churches to visit to present the film to in Florida, 200 miles apart, on the same day. I had the fortunate opportunity to film a bit of the scenery around Savanah so that stop was well worth it. From here I barrelled south towards western Florida.

    My home of southern California is essentially an irrigated desert. Left to its own devices, the green would return to its natural state of mostly brown. Back east the opposite seems to be true. Nature is always on the verge of taking over pretty much everything is seems. The default state of things is for grasses & vines to grow over stuff. The chore here seems to be controlling the growth rather than encouraging it.

    The cultures seem to vary more. Where California is a melting pot of many cultures coexisting for the most part in the same cities, back east each state seems to have a unique identity, a unique accent in most cases as well. The culture change can range from fascinating to disturbing - at one stop I was getting some suggestions for roads south in Georgia from a local resident & was advised to "Not stop for gas or anything between here & there... you'll encounter some unusual folk." When pressed further as to what exactly I might encounter, they just made references to "The Hills Have Eyes".

    I did stop - the rumors are only partially true. No cannibals that I know of, but the jury's still out ...

    I roll into Gainesville Florida & right away stop at a coffee shop to grab some tea. First thing I read about is the unintentionally hip catch phrase adoped by a new kind of superhero ... "Don't Taze Me Bro".

    Arriving at the first house where I'll be staying, we're immediately invited to a baby shower/bar-b-que ... as all the driveways around here seem to be long dirt roads, the GS gets some night-riding offroad testing in...

    The decor reflected the local pastime:

    Being a college town, there's a very eclectic mix of people - that was reflected in the church services:

    Immediately following the first meeting, I had to make it around 200 miles to the 2nd ... the weather got a bit ugly on the way, but cleared nicely & I made it to the next town with literally only minutes to spare.

    If you were just driving, you'd pass through this town in the blink of an eye. If you stop & spend some time here, you end up going back in time around 200 years...

    I'm fairly confident that I'm the only person in history to ride through this town, on a motorcycle, listening to Toy Dolls' "Nellie the Elephant".

    The next morning, instead of heading straight back to 10, I took 65 south to drive along the gulf to Pensacola.

    Riding over cities & through the developed areas, I eventually came to where the road ended due to hurricane damage...

    It was there that I did a little bodysurfing. Haven't just been in the Atlantic a few days earlier, a session in the Gulf was in order. Oddly enough the waves were far better here than they had been in South Carolina. It was an extremely brief session - just an excuse to take a break from the past 250 or so miles of riding. Afterwards, it was off to my next destination around New Orleans...

  6. #6

    Welcome aboard. Great pics and report. You'll fit in just fine around here.

    I used to live in HB. Miss it quite a bit.

  7. #7


    When's the book coming out? I have to say that sounds like a dream job to me. Seriously.

  8. #8
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

  9. #9
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  10. #10
    Welcome! Love the white pig! Great pics.....

  11. #11
    great photos... and welcome.

    what type of camera equipment do you use?

    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    __________________________________________________ ________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e || '07 Xchallenge || '14 Grom

  12. #12
    univers zero tessler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    New York City
    Fantastic Job and welcome, Jon.

  13. #13
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Live Free & Ride, NH
    Welcome,excellent ride reports are always welcome!
    Gail Hatch
    SheRidesABeemer's Blog
    05 R12GS
    87 K75CT

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Whitefish Bay, WI, 3mi N Milwaukee

    Thumbs up

    When will your trip be on the big screen in a theater near me? Your posting was basically the trailers, right?

    Just curious, what helmet do you use?
    "What is beautiful is simple, and what is simple always works"....Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47.
    Current bike: 2015 Yamaha TW 200, modified for road/street use with tire, sprocket upgrades. "Center yourself in the vertizontal. Ride a motorcycle...namaste' "

  15. #15
    Welcome and I too must say that was certainly a great introduction on your part, wonderful adventure and pics.

    So when are you going for really long ride?


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