6,500 mile trip - halfway over
I'm on my "Big Trip" - the one we all plan, and some of us go on.
My biggie is 7,000 miles over 32 days. I left Dallas 8 days and 2,100 miles ago and my route takes me on a big lasso of the west (Grand Canyon and Zion National Park last week, Idaho this week, Portland and Glacier National Park next week). Tonight, I've finally found a place with decent enough internet access to get online and look at por...er, post a bit about things thus far.
I won't get all reflective just yet, but wanted to share a few impressions data wise from the road while I'm thinking about it.
o This my first long trip since the airbox/software update. The bike is perfect. Flawless. Fantastico. I kiss her at the end of each day's ride when nobody is looking. No more high idle. No more bucking. Finally, I have the GT I paid for nearly 2 years ago.
o My MPG is averaging 44.3. I like 83mph on the straight and boring, and as fast as I'm able to in the twisty stuff. So far, I've had to endure just 300 Interstate miles in over 2,000 miles total. This is by decision, and so far it's working out nicely.
o I threw on a set of Avon Storms before the trip and they are GREAT tires. I am 99% certain that the low speed awkwardness I had before was due to the stock Bridgestones after they cupped (and by awkward, I mean nearly dropping or actually doing so when negotiating tight, slow speed turns). The Storms have eliminated that and I find myself flipping u-turns fully loaded (sides cases + biggie top case packed full) that I would usually only attempt on the Gixxer.
o I have a tumor in my neck. It is MASSIVE. Thankfully, it goes away when I get off the bike, but returns the next day. I'm averaging 500 mile days, with a few explore the park type days thrown in every few days...but when I have back to back 500 mile days, THE SPOT appears. And it is PAINFUL. I'm taking Advil by the bucket-load during the day, and heavier stuff at night. What confounds me is that I cannot figure out WHY. I'm in good shape...and I can say that after the training I've been doing for the past year precisely for this trip. So I'm comfortable in ruling out my conditioning. I have a Sargent seat which fixed all my uncomfy butt issues. I've tried the bars fully down, and fully up...with no real change. THE SPOT, on me, is a half inch to the right of my spine, just where my neck blends into my shoulder. The only reason I can figure that it's only the right side is because of the throttle grip. The GT has a longish throttle travel, but I'm nearly depressed by this pain. I can ride 700+ mile days back to back, except for this pain!
1. Will the peg lowering kit help?
2. Bar risers? If I'm honest, the pain seems worse the higher I set the stockers...
3. Is there a backrest out there that will work with the Sargent seat?
4. Did I just really ask about installing a backrest?!?
o I'm regarded with what feels like astonishment or confusion most days by the people I meet. They are used to seeing Harley riders with zero gear, not BMW riders in full gear.
o Leaving Dallas, I had 45mph crosswinds. In New Mexico the next day, I had 50mph crosswinds. It's the first time I've ever actually had to put full countersteering weight on a grip to keep from meeting the shoulder (and his cousin, Ditch). That was...entertaining on more than a few occasions.
o 112 degree heat is quite discernible from 100 degree heat. I was surprised to feel a chill from the cool air and amused to see that it had dropped from 112 to 98. Chilly!
o I hit a maximum elevation of 10,650 feet in New Mexico, on 64 just west of Taos. HOLY COW - that is by far the most beautiful, motorcycle oriented road I've yet ridden. 89 degrees at the base. 53 degrees 15 minutes later at the summit. 86 degrees on the other side. I took a picture of the snow I rode past at the top.
o I had someone in front of me, before I passed them, actually move over into oncoming traffic (other bikers no less) to attempt....hell, I don't know what he was attempting. At first I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he was "helping me" by not letting me pass into oncoming bikers. But after passing, I'm pretty sure he was just mean spirited and didn't like being passed. The other bikers rode by, puckered, on the shoulder.
o My front brake squawks. It has always done so. But I've narrowed done the "when"...which is after the first 15 minutes, and only for the next 15 minutes or so, then it's fine. Stone cold = okay. Hot = okay. That middle ground though = squawky. S'okay...I wear earplugs so it usually doesn't bother me.
o The transmission klunk drowns out the brake squawk. Say what you will, but I'm in the "a bike that costs this much shouldn't make that noise" camp. My Duc has a pleasant ka-chunk. Not loud, just positive. The Gixxer is silky with a "click". It's absurdly pleasing to shift that bike. The GT's box o' rocks is less than desirable. But, hey...it works.
o One of the teardrop Camelbaks works great in my tankbag. I can flip the helmet up (Shoei Multitec), stick the hose 'tween my teeth and take long draws whenever I need to. It holds two large quart bottles of Gatorade (or water) and most days I need only fill it at the start. With it, I only need to stop for gas and potty breaks (and in Texas, I didn't need to stop for those at all with 112 degree heat near Amarillo!)
So I lied...I'm almost halfway (Portland will represent that). But I'm close. At present, I'm in Pocatello, Idaho for a friends wedding. Then I'm off to Boise (where I'm from) before heading through Medford to the coast, and up to Portland to stay with friends there.
I saw more GTs in Zion National Park then I've seen altogether anywhere else. Pretty neat. Did not get a chance to say hello to a single one.
Pics and fun writeup stuff to come at a later date. For now, I need to soak my tumor in booze.
'07 BMW K1200GT
'06 Ducati Classic Sport 1000 Monoposto
K7 GSX-R 1000
"Oh, somewhere deep inside of these bones, an emptiness began to grow. There's something out there, far from my home, a longing that I've never known..."