Well here it is the evening of the last night of the year. Tomorrow starts a whole new year. We rode over 8,000 miles last year on two different motorcycles. We started 2014 riding our 2002 BMW K1200LT and then in October we bought a 2014 BMW R1200RT. I put together a little video of our year in motorcycling. Maybe next year we’ll remember to take more pictures but maybe we were having too much fun! “At least I’m enjoying the ride!”
We hope you enjoy riding in 2015!
Tags: Blue Ridge Parkway, BMW, BMW Motorrad, burnt mountain, daytona, florida, K1200LT, north carolina, r1200rt, tail of the dragon, tennessee, trips
Ever since Donna has been riding with me she has had a back rest or a top case to lean against for back support. For those who don’t know what a “top case” is, it’s what BMW calls a trunk. Harley Davidson calls their version a King Tour Pack or a Tour Pack (depending on the model). On our 2006 Suzuki C50T she had a nice big, swiveled back rest that she liked. On the Magic Carpet, our K1200LTE, she had that big top case with a nice, heated back rest. You know I don’t really blame her. I’d want the security of a back rest too. The R1200RT has nothing back there except a small luggage rack. BMW will sell you your choice of a few top cases that mount quite effortlessly on that luggage rack. We opted for the new style 49 liter top case that BMW began using for the 2013 model year. It took the purchasing dealer 4 weeks and a day to get it delivered and they didn’t even key it right to match the motorcycle (even though they were paid to do so). It took a trip to a second and local dealer to get the lock re-keyed in a matter of minutes.
Since the top case got here a week and half ago and a week since its properly being keyed it’s been much colder than normal here, raining here or Donna had to work. Donna really wanted the top case and its back rest to ride back there. She did ride up from Daytona Beach, FL and went on an afternoon ride without the top case but really wasn’t comfortable. Yesterday it was forecast to be about 65° (F) and sunny so we went for a ride to try out the new top case. Well the temperature even got up to 70° which made for an even better day of riding. Donna enjoyed having the back rest on the top case to lean back into. She wasn’t grabbing my belt anymore. I could see in the mirrors that she was back to resting her hands on her thighs as she rode back there. To say she was much more comfortable and at ease is an understatement. But now she says the foot-pegs feel “squishy”. But then again she did have those nice big floorboards on the Magic Carpet. Even the foot-pegs on the Magic Carpet were wide and flat.
The BMW 49 liter top case.
I took the R1200RT out for a short 126 mile ride this morning. One of the things I wanted to do was familiarize myself with the BMW Navigator V GPS system using a route I already had saved in Garmin’s BaseCamp software. There are some differences in the way the new Navigator V and the older Garmin Zumo 220 load routes and where they keep them. I left the new Navigator V GPS set so that it would give me prompts and directions through the motorcycle’s on-board audio system through the fairing speakers.
We’re still waiting for our top case to be delivered so this was going to be a solo ride. Donna prefers the security of the top case and its backrest behind her plus she had to work today.
I took a short and fun route that we’ve ridden a number of times and written about here. I have the route saved in BaseCamp as “Hillbilly Drive“. I take GA HWY 53 across to Dawsonville where I take a nice local road back out to GA HWY 183 going towards Amicalola Falls State Park. Before getting to the park I take GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain and through its curves before getting to Talking Rock, GA and heading for home.
It was a cool but gorgeous day to ride! It started out right at 50º (F) and dropped to 48 going over the mountain before rising again to the mid 50’s. I was comfortable with the liner in my jacket, a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of riding pants. I even wore unlined plain leather gloves but cheated and used the heated grips. I had the SiriusXM radio tuned to the Grateful Dead station and my route in the GPS. Whenever I had an upcoming turn, the audio system automatically muted and played the instructions from the GPS. It was easier to hear the GPS than it was the music. The R1200RT fell right into the curves! I’ll admit that this was always a fun road on the K1200LT but the boxer twin R1200RT increases the fun factor exponentially. I stopped for a short break at the scenic overlook. There’s still just a little bit of color in the trees too. But after last weekend’s winter weather there was already some sand and gravel spread on a few parts of Highway 136. The boxer goes too! There were some parts of the route that I’m used to downshifting from 5th to 4th on the K1200LT to get better power. But with the R1200RT’s boxer twin you just open the throttle and it goes.
I even tried out BMW’s Hill Start Assist today just to see what it’s all about. It’s like using a parking brake that automatically releases when you give the bike some throttle to start moving again. When pulling out onto the main highway up there, GA HWY 515, I finally tried out another option, BMW’s Shift Assistant Pro. Wow what an option! Shift Assistant Pro allows upshifts and downshifts without the use of the clutch. After pulling onto the highway and rolling I shifted into 3rd through 6th gears by revving and shifting and NOT using the clutch. I remember reading somewhere that Shift Assistant Pro is better suited to a more performance oriented ride.
I did miss having Donna back there though. I hope that top case gets here soon.
Looking towards Jasper, GA. There’s still just a little color left in the trees.
Looking up the road.
The GA HWY 136 portion of today’s ride.
The R1200RT takes a short break in the sunshine.
Looking up the road on GA HWY 136 from the scenic overlook.
Never pass up a great day to ride!
Today was forecast to be in the mid 60’s° F for temperatures with clear skies today. Late in the morning we decided to go for a ride. Then we were getting a later start than planned but I came up with an alternate plan. We were going to head up to Talking Rock, GA using the quick route and then have lunch at Biguns BBQ. After lunch was going to be a short ride and then head for home. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as we headed for Talking Rock. But the weather wasn’t warming like we expected. Sure we wore jackets but even after getting to Talking Rock just after 12:00 pm it was still 54° F not having warmed much since the overnight low of 48°. Now here’s the rub. We didn’t put the insulated liners in our jackets, counting on the sunshine to warm things up a bit better than it did. That didn’t happen. We really weren’t cold, it’s just that the liners would’ve made it quite comfortable. After lunch though we headed across Burnt Mountain and towards Amicolola Falls State Park. When we got to the turn though we didn’t head for the park because there’s also a big pumpkin patch that way and we figured it with this being the first brisk fall day the traffic near there would be horrible. We made the right turn onto GA HWY 183 heading towards Dawsonville, towards it though and not to it. We made the turn onto GA HWY 53 and it’s nice curves heading towards places like Marble Hill, Tate and Nelson, all in the general direction of Jasper, GA. The road never even really warmed up enough to make the “tar snakes” and issue today where they almost feel like ice sometimes. Today they were just small bumps in the road. It was a great ride! Even this far south the leaves are really starting change color and the windy day was blowing them out of the trees and onto the road. This is what fall riding is all about in north Georgia. The home weather station showed we got all the way up to 65° F today. It wasn’t a long day in the saddle but at least we didn’t waste a real good riding day!
The couple we’ll ride with, Sean & Christine were out-of-town and came back yesterday. What’s the first thing Donna wanted to get together and do? Well it was to go riding of course! Sean & Christine are now in the home stretch of being full-time RV’ers with a contract on their house and had already planned to look at campers and motorhomes today. We’re leaning in that direction ourselves so Donna came up with the idea for a short ride to lunch for some BBQ and then back towards home to look at campers. We met later in the morning than normal since it was a lunch ride and we headed for Dawsonville and over Burnt Mountain for lunch in Talking Rock, GA at Biguns BBQ. This is the same short lunch ride I had led some members of my Blue Knights Chapter on earlier in the week. But it does amaze me of how much cooler it is on the top of that mountain and it’s not very high. Today it was sunny and it was 8 degrees (F) cooler on the top of the mountain. We headed on to Biguns before it got too crowded and it sure did get crowded today. After lunch it was time to head down to Camping World to do some window shopping. Donna and I even found a real nice Class C motorhome that we really liked. It was to the point that we were looking at each other and scheming. We were at the point that we decided that if we could right now, we’d buy it then buy a trailer for the Magic Carpet and just hit the road. Maybe in another year or so though.
Today was also the first day that I finally got Donna to wear earplugs while riding too. She finally gave in! She had tried foam earplugs in the past but didn’t like them and admittedly they did loosen up and fall look like they were going to fall out. It was time for me to replace my ETY plugs so I just ordered 2 pair this time. She really liked them when she tried them on when they got here and then she wore them all day today and found them comfortable.
I’m in the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. Today was a “Hooky Ride” that I had planned. We started “Hooky Rides” a few years ago and they are weekday rides and the idea is to get back home before the school bus does. The rides were also requested by members who don’t always have weekends off to ride. I know this may come as a shock but law enforcement is not a Monday through Friday job where you work only during the day. It was actually a good idea and sometimes we have quite a number of members show up. It had been a while since we had a “Hooky Ride” so I scheduled one for today. Other than myself, two other members showed up, B.C. and Steve. We weren’t going to let that deter us and off we went for a short ride that I had planned out. I took us on the Hillbilly Drive ride. This ride was intentionally not long and took us on some local roads from Dawsonville, GA over to Talking Rock, GA to have lunch at Biguns Barbeque. It was a simple route too, taking us out to GA HWY 183 before taking GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain and into Talking Rock. What a great day to ride too! When we left Dawsonville it was right at 70°F and a clear, cloudless sky. Heading over the mountain it dropped to as low as 64ºF and B.C. later said that maybe he should’ve worn a jacket. Once at lunch, two of B.C.’s friends came by, both retired police officers who had at one time ridden motorcycles for the Atlanta Police Department in their careers. That meant that counting B.C. and me there were four retired Atlanta Officers who had been motor officers. While it wasn’t an all day ride it was great day to ride and have lunch with friends!
The weather was great for riding today!