Posts Tagged With: GPS

January In Florida

Who was that masked man?

Who was that masked man?

Last week I took a solo trip down to my Dad’s in the Daytona Beach area of Florida for a visit and help him with a few projects.  I’m not too fond of solo trips and really do miss having Donna sitting behind me.  A solo day ride is one thing but a solo trip is another thing entirely.  This would also be the R1200RT’s first long trip since we brought it back from Daytona Beach, FL back in October of 2014.

We live just north of Atlanta, GA which means going through or around Atlanta to get to Florida.  I commuted to Atlanta everyday day before I retired so I already had a plan.  That plan was to get on the road by 6:30 am to be just ahead of the bulk of the rush hour traffic.  It would also mean leaving in the dark which doesn’t bother me at all.  I’d rather start the day in the dark than end it in the dark when I’m tired.  You either get on the road early or wait and get on the road much later in the morning.  Well my plan was a disaster due to the lack of driving skills of others.  A multi-car accident on an entirely different highway caused major gridlock on Interstate 75 South!  Imagine looking down at the GPS to see that you’re travelling 7.9 mph, and that was fast for that morning.  It took me over an hour to travel a grand total of 18 miles, 15 of which were on the interstate!  I was normally able to leave for work just before 7:00 am and get to work by 8:00 am with what I call normal rush hour traffic.  An hour and 35 minutes into the ride I was getting to the exit I used to use from the interstate to get to my office!  But once I got inside I-285, Atlanta’s perimeter highway, it was pretty much a speed limit ride.  It was also pretty cold that morning too!  When I left the temperature was in the upper 20’s (F) and peaked at about 30° (F) for quite some time until around central Georgia, well south of Macon.  The cold caused another predicament too.  I was dressed for cold weather riding, not cold weather sitting.  After some time in traffic I was actually getting cold because I had also started to sweat.  I had to turn the temperature on the heated seat down but left the grips toasty warm.  As I approached southern Georgia the temperature started warming to near 50° (F) and slowly warmed a bit more.  I actually had the heated grips on until I was in northern Florida!  On the whole trip down the R1200RT continued to impress me.  I had the dynamic ESA set to one rider with luggage and the mode set to soft, being on the interstate.  To break the boredom of interstate highway travel it was good to have the Sirius/XM satellite radio.  Once I got to Jacksonville, FL I tuned it into Radio Margaritaville!

After a few days in Florida it was time to head for home.  When I left it was sunny and quickly warmed to about 74° (F) for a good while.  As I headed west on I-10 and then north on I-75 the temperature started to drop but it stayed sunny.  The day’s forecast had already told me that I’d be riding into rain the closer I got to home.  As I approached Macon I was still in the sunshine but could see gray skies ahead.  Once in Macon it started to rain on and off just enough to wet the windshield a few times.  As I pressed on approaching Atlanta the rain became more steady, but not heavy.  I switched the ride mode to “Rain” and continued on.  The new fairing and windshield design on the R1200RT does manage to keep a lot of the rain off you while you’re moving.  I’m still adjusting the new timing of the gas stops between the new R1200RT and our old K1200LT.  In fact the R1200RT has a half-gallon larger gas tank, gets better gas mileage and goes further between fill ups.  I stopped for gas south of Valdosta, GA to fill up and then did not stop again until I got off the highway near home, a full 265 miles later!  And even when I did stop, I still had more than a gallon of gas left.  This was with the cruise control seat at about 75 mph on the posted 70 mph stretch which was nearly most of the trip!  The R1200RT averaged over 53 mpg on that last tank!  Now along the way I was checking the trip computer (which can be displayed on the GPS screen) and it showed I’d get home with 65-70 miles of gas left (depending on the speed).  The closer I got to home I also started to suffer from “getthereitis” but I wasn’t tired.  But I will admit that I did find out what I had always heard about BMW seats being hard.  During those last 50 miles I could have sworn I was sitting on a cinder block!  Our previous motorcycle, the K1200LT already had a custom Rick Mayer seat on it when we bought it.  That stretch from Valdosta to home was good practice for an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000!  And it looks like a forecast of sunny and warm for this Saturday!

The R1200RT prepared to head back home to Georgia.

The R1200RT prepared to head back home to Georgia.

Our K1200LT in the same spot nearly 5 years earlier.

Our K1200LT in the same spot nearly 5 years earlier.

Categories: Daytona, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Some Dealers Are Better Than Others

If you’re a reader here you know that last month while in Florida we purchased our 2014 BMW R1200RT.  We purchased it at BMW Motorcycles of Daytona.  When we purchased it, the BMW Navigator V GPS was a free incentive for the purchase of the 2014 RT and we also purchased the BMW 49 liter top case (trunk) for the motorcycle and paid the extra to have the top case keyed to the motorcycle.  The dealership did not have the top case in stock and had to order it.  While still at the dealership someone from the parts department came up and told me that it would ship to them on October 21.  They also retained one of the motorcycle’s keys so key the lock to be the same as the motorcycle.

Now here’s some of the differences in dealers.  They also didn’t have the GPS but said their shop in Orlando did and they would have it sent over or picked up either the next day or the following day while we were still in town.  Well the GPS never showed up at the Daytona dealer.  After a few calls to our salesman I found out five days later that the GPS had already “been spoken for” and they’d have to order it and send it to me.  The salesman or the dealership didn’t call me to tell me, I had called them nearly a week later.  A second call about the GPS and now the top case was made.  The GPS had shown up that day and was sent “next day” but the top case was expected “any day now”.  The GPS arrived on 10/31/14, (we bought the motorcycle on 10/16/14) the next day.  Out of curiosity, I checked the UPS tracking number and found it didn’t ship “next day” on the 30th but had actually shipped UPS ground on the 29th.  I know it’s a popular item.  Just say it might take about 10 days to get if you don’t have it.  Oh and about that top case?  “Maybe on Monday.” is the answer I got.

I waited a few more days to call back on the top case.  On 11/05/04 my salesman and I spoke and I asked if it had actually been ordered.  He said he’d check on that and “get back” with me.  Five days later on 11/10/14 I called him again as he had not gotten back with me.  He longer worked there.  The woman on the phone asked if she could help.  She remembered the sale and said either she or someone else would call me back about it.  She did explain that it could be that same day (it was late in the afternoon) but would probably be the next day but shouldn’t be any later than the 12th.  First thing in the morning the next day she called and said the top case was there but they needed the key.  She found them in the former salesman’s desk after I told her he had told me they were there.  Then on 11/14/14 the top case arrived!  The key was in the lock.  The key would lock and unlock the top case.  But the key would not come out of the lock!  No matter what I did the key would not come out.  Was I supposed to ride around with a spare ingnition key in the lock?  What if someone could get it out?  I called the dealership.  The woman who had found the case put me on hold to check what to do.  Here’s the message she relayed to me, “They said to get a local dealer to fix it because it would be quicker than sending it back to them.  He says it’s probably a bad lock.”  That was their solution.  I had paid them for the lock and paid them to key the same as the ignition key.  It seems I was a valued customer to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona right up until the minute I rode off their lot.

Using a few forums and the internet I was able to get the lock cylinder out.  You just have to know how and have the right tools along with access to the top case.  What I found was amazing.  There are supposed to be 6 tumblers in the lock.  My lock had 3 tumblers installed and the other spots were vacant.  I needed the proper remaining tumblers to complete the job.  BMW does sell a lock set with the cylinder and an assortment of tumblers.

On Tuesday the 18th of November I went to my local dealer, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta with the intent to buy a whole new lock kit if I had to.  I now knew how to set the lock and re-install the cylinder.  “We’ll take care of this for you.” is what I was told.  “These are the only tumblers you have?”  I was told “Yeah, you can do it with three but you’re really not supposed to.”  He got the tumbler kit out and then told me, “Here’s why you couldn’t get the key out, this tumbler is the wrong number.  It did let you insert, lock and unlock but then wouldn’t release the key.”  So in about 15 minutes or less, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta took care of the lock.  Oh and the cost?  There wasn’t any.  And yes I even told them I had made the purchase at another dealer.  They’re a dealer who really understands what customer service is.

Can you tell the difference in the dealers?

Did BMW of Daytona offer to call Atlanta to see if they could take care of it for free or bill them if there was a cost?  No they sure didn’t.  Have they called to see it the lock issue was somehow resolved?  No they sure didn’t.  As it stands again would I never go into or patronize BMW of Daytona again?  No I sure wouldn’t.

But I’d spend the extra money to buy a part or supply from BMW of Atlanta (instead of online) because of the personal service they supply.  They realize you’re a customer long after the sale and want to keep you as a customer.  The owners, who are a husband and wife team are actively involved in their business.  I took the R1200RT to them for its break-in service.  But I’m regretting more and more not purchasing the motorcycle from them.

No matter what motorcycle you purchase, research the dealer as much, if not more than the motorcycle.

As someone on posted; the problem was fixed by a real dealer.


Categories: Accessories, General, Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

I’m Really Liking This Motorcycle!

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.

Categories: Accessories, Rides | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Let Us Introduce You To…..

Okay, I can’t keep the lid on it any longer.  Let us introduce you to our new 2014 BMW R1200RT!

When we arrived in Daytona Beach last week, our K1200LT suffered a failed outer bearing on the final drive of the motorcycle.  BMW Motorcycles of Daytona was going to get us back on the road pretty quickly though.  You can read the entry about the final drive here instead of me going into it again.

We were at the dealer when we started to “What if…” ourselves.  Many of you know what I mean.  What if this happens or what if that happens?  The K1200LT had 85, 391 miles on her when we retired her.  Yes there were some maintenance items coming up due but that’s why it’s maintenance and hopefully not repair.  I had just changed the oil before our trip to Florida.

We were looking at an ebony black 2015 K1600GTL and what is now our quartz metallic blue 2014 R1200RT.  To be honest, the more we looked, I couldn’t justify the extra money of the K1600.  Besides the R1200RT is the boxer style engine.  I really didn’t like the R1200RT in the black or the matte gray they had.  But that’s just my choice.  The R1200RT was pretty much outfitted with everything the K1600GTL had too!  It has the Bluetooth audio and communications system, the heated seats and grips, cruise control, satellite radio, the ESA suspension system and so much more.  Did I say it’s got a boxer style motor?  As an incentive from BMW the purchase of the 2014 R1200RT came with the BMW Nav V GPS system.  BMW of Daytona was out of the GPS so they needed to get it from their sister dealer in Orlando.  It hadn’t arrived by the time we headed for home so they need to ship it this week.  We went ahead and ordered the 49 liter top case, which they also didn’t have and will be shipped.  It was a tougher decision to do this than we thought but we’re thinking it was a good one.

We spent about half a day riding it around Daytona Beach during Biketoberfest while visiting my Dad.  And then on Sunday we rode it home.  The top case wasn’t in yet and this was the  first time Donna would really be riding without a back rest or top case behind her for support.  Luckily, we had done like we had in the past and made the trip home in 2 days after a stop overnight in Tifton, GA.  It was really a good idea this time.  Donna really wasn’t fond of not having the top case yet.  And for me, after having the custom seat on the K1200LT the BMW seat on the R1200RT felt like sitting on a cinder block after a few hours.  I’m sure I’ll adjust to the seat.  The R1200RT gets tossed around by trucks more being that it’s more than 250 pounds lighter than the K1200LT was.  We will miss the Magic Carpet, she served us well.

In the coming weeks as we ride the R1200RT I’ll be posting more articles about it.  She hasn’t been named yet but that will come soon.


Categories: Daytona, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Do You Want The Shortest Or The Curvy Route?

Earlier in the week I wrote a post about the curvy road feature in Garmin’s Basecamp software for planning routes and transferring them to your GPS.  I said I’d play with it a bit and see how it went.  Well, I haven’t ridden a route planned with it yet but I have let the software work its magic.  I gave it a Point A to Point B route from Jasper, GA to Blairsville, GA.  I let it use the shortest route and then the curvy roads option.  The shortest route came in at 58.4 miles and an estimated trip time of 59 minutes.  The route is all on Georgia Highway 515/US 76 and it’s on a 4 lane highway with a grass median between the opposing lanes.  But, it is a nice ride if you’re in a hurry.  The curvy route was 75.8 miles and had an estimated time of 1 hour and 59 minutes to complete.  The curvy route takes twice as long to complete but sure does look a lot more fun.  I can attest that some parts of the curvy route are even curvier than the map lets on.

The shortest route selected by BaseCamp.

The shortest route selected by BaseCamp.

The curvy route selected by BaseCamp.

The curvy route selected by BaseCamp.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Would You Like Curves With That Route?

Our Garmin Zumo 220 GPS shipped with MapSource as the routing software to accompany it.  Garmin has since abandoned MapSource and began using its own software, BaseCamp, which is available for free as a download.  The idea with BaseCamp (and was with MapSource) was that you could create a trip or a route on your computer, transfer it to your GPS and then load the route on your GPS and follow it.  It is nice to do.  By default BaseCamp checks for updates every time you load it.  In BaseCamp you set options for profiles such as motorcycling, driving, hiking, etc..  With the options for each setting you can set the profile to not route you on things such as toll roads, dirt roads, avoid u-turns, highways and many more things.  I noticed a feature in the motorcycle profile that I don’t know if it’s new or I’ve been missing it all this time.  It’s a “curvy roads” routing feature.  That’s right, curvy roads for a motorcycle!  Who would’ve thought that motorcycles would like curvy roads?  Well it’s an option I’m going to start playing with and see what results I get.

The curvy roads options in the motorcycling profile.

The curvy roads options in the motorcycling profile.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Biker Or Motorcyclist?

I rode back home from Florida today.  Not long after I got on Interstate 95 I was presented with two examples of “biker or motorcyclist”.  A biker can ride any kind of motorcycle and so can a motorcyclist so this has nothing to do with what kind of motorcycles they ride.  In fact, today both the biker and the motorcyclist were on the same make of motorcycle.

Biker:  I was in the center lane and could see a motorcycle slowly coming up in the left lane.  As he pulled alongside I noticed right away it was one of the Harley Davidson Hard Candy Customs and had the bobbed rear end, forward controls and mini ape bars.  It was actually a gorgeous motorcycle.  The rider had on a “pudding bowl” helmet and his feet splayed out.  He just had a look that made me think I’d smell his cologne as he passed by.  I gave him a wave and he looked over, didn’t wave or acknowledge in any other way than looking.  Then he opened up his throttle and pulled away, apparently wanting to let me know that he was a member of the Volusia County Loud Pipes Riding Club.  Oh the bars or poker runs that bike has been too!

Motorcyclist: It was less than 10 minutes later another motorcycle slowly came up in the left lane.  The rider of this motorcycle had on one of those “Captain America” helmets and a worn leather jacket.  The bike was an older Harley Davidson Electra Glide.  This motorcycle had been ridden hard and put up wet many times.  You could tell this motorcycle had some miles on it.  It looked worn but not abused.  It had what looked like a sleeping bag and other luggage lashed to the back seat between its rider and a king tour pack that looked like it was on crooked.  Then it happened.  As we rode along side by side for just a few seconds, we both waved at each other at the same time and he nodded his head at me.  He slowly kept pulling away, maintaining his speed.  Oh the stories from the road and travels that Electra Glide could likely tell.


Categories: Daytona, General, Safety, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time For An Oil Change And A GPS Map Update

Today was oil change day for the Magic Carpet. It’s a little early but I’ll be headed out on the road to my Dad’s and it’ll come up due on the trip so I got it out-of-the-way before the trip. Today was the “easy” oil change in that it was just the motor oil. I still have to lay on the floor to do it though!

We also decided to get the Lifetime Map Updates for the Garmin Zumo 220 GPS. We got the GPS in September of 2011 and haven’t updated the maps since using the one free update from Garmin within 30 days of the purchase. We figured roads don’t really change all that much but it was time. Garmin offers a one time update for $49.99 or the lifetime updates for $89.00 so it really does make sense to get the lifetime updates. I had heard that Amazon has the lifetime update for less than Garmin. I found the lifetime update sold by Amazon for $58.03! You can guess where we got it from. The map is updating now as I type this.

The Magic Carpet should also reach 75,000 miles on the odometer this weekend while I’m headed to my Dad’s in Florida.

Categories: Accessories, Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Finding A BMW Motorcycle Dealer On The Road

The BMWMOA has a list on their website of all the BMW motorcycle dealers in the United States.  An enterprising member of the organization created a Point Of Interest (POI) file for Garmin GPS units along with directions for installing the file with Garmin’s POI Uploader available as a free download on Garmin’s web site.  Of course you could enter each one from the list into your GPS address book or as a POI individually but that could be time-consuming.  And, since someone else has already done it for us, why not use their work like they want us to?  Since they are points of interest you merely open the POI file on your GPS and it then lists the dealers beginning with the one closest to your location then 2nd, 3rd, etc..  It’s a handy feature to have while on the road and even works with our lowly Garmin Zumo 220.  Our old, original BMW Navigator came with this file pre-loaded as I think the current BMW Navigators do also.  But, dealers change, move or close so it’s nice to be able to update the file.

BMW Motorcycle dealer POI listing.

BMW Motorcycle dealer POI listing.

Categories: Accessories | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Back From Florida (Again)

I’m back home from the earlier solo ride down to Florida this week.  We’ll both be going back down again next week, this time for Mom’s memorial service.  But, we’ll probably take the car as “nice” clothes travel better in a car.

In the post earlier this week I said that I took a different route this time.  I used I-75 from metro Atlanta to I-475 (to go around Macon, GA) and then I-75 again all the way down to Ocala, Florida.  Once in Ocala, I took Florida HWY 40 across to Ormond Beach and then took I-95 for a few miles to my destination.  The GPS said that this route was 477 miles, took 7 hours and 35 minutes of time in motion and a total of 8 hours and 13 minutes that the GPS was on.  The GPS comes on with the motorcycle and turns off 30 seconds after the motorcycle is turned off.  This route took me through the Ocala National Forest.  I saw bear crossing signs and in a whole section of the forest, the trees all leaned to west from the prevailing winds blowing in from the east coast of Florida.  It was definitely more leisurely than the normal interstate highway route.  I didn’t hear any banjo music while cutting across Florida.  I’ll be adding this ride to the GPS Files page this weekend.

Normally when we go down to Florida, we’ll take I-75 from metro Atlanta to I-475 (to go around Macon, GA) and then back on I-75 until we get to I-10 East where we head for I-295 (to go around Jacksonville, FL) and then take I-95 South to our destination.  The trip home merely reverses the route.  Yes, this route is all interstate highway but gets us there in a day.  According to the GPS the return trip home was 478 miles, took 7 hours and 38 minutes of time in motion and 7 hours and 59 minutes that the GPS was on.

What did I learn about the routes?  The route cutting across on FL HWY 40 was actually a mile shorter but sure didn’t look that way on a map.  The normal, all interstate highway route took a total of 3 minutes longer as I had run into slow traffic when I got to Atlanta.  The route using Ocala FL HWY 40 was 1 hour and 14 minutes longer, probably because of the traffic lights and a few stops in traffic on the morning I left.

I also noticed a few things on this trip or had a few things happen:

  • I got hit on the left knee by a chunk of tire when someone in front of me ran over a piece of tire retread in the road.  The chunk that hit me was about the size of a golf ball and hit me while I travelling just over 70 mph.  While it hit the knee armor , I surely felt it.  I cringe at how it would’ve felt if I was wearing riding pants with armor, or even worse, shorts.
  • At gas stop at a “Travel Plaza” (they attract all motorists by not using the term Truck Stop) 2 tour busses pulled up one behind the other to unload the high school kids from Iowa on them.  But they wanted to be right at the door and blocked about 15 cars of customers from leaving until they were finished.  Someone from the Travel Plaza came out and told them they needed to move to the area posted for “Truck, RV and Bus Parking”.  So much for professional drivers.
  • At 2 gas stops and the Florida Welcome Center I had strangers walk up and start talking about motorcycling and asking questions about The Magic Carpet.  You don’t have that happen when travelling by car in your Ford Taurus or Chevy Impala.
  • While in southern Georgia near the state line I passed a car that had a laptop propped up on the dashboard and angled so the driver could see it!  I had hoped she wasn’t watching a movie.  She pulled into the Florida Welcome Center shortly after I did and parked just one space away.  Guess what?  She was watching a movie while driving at 70 mph.
  • On the way home today I was passed by a Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra in Florida whose rider was wearing a full face helmet, armored riding pants and an hi-vis orange Harley Davidson mesh jacket.  He was definitely dressed more like an armadillo than a pirate!

Until next time, Ride Safe.

Categories: Daytona, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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