Just got back from a 3 day trip on the GT - took a nice little ride up north with a friend who just picked up a BMW GS.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a fantastic ride, great clear roads and the bike was just sublime the whole way. Nothing quite compares to grilling with a friend in the middle of nowhere, followed with a nice nightcap of single malt and a cigar.
Sadly, it was cut short this morning when my friend decided to bail on the rest of the trip. Plus, the bike now has a few battle scars (read on...)
The GT was nearly perfect the entire trip - after a 5 hour ride with a stop for gas yesterday however, that changed a bit. We reached the state park and checked in at the front for our permits. On the way into the park, BAM - my lovely bike started doing the little stuck throttle/high idle trick. Damn! Perfect for almost 900 miles and for the next 10 minutes as we looked for our numbered camp site, the bike was hating life. Cracking the throttle at all would result in an idle sticking at around 2K or so for upwards of 10 seconds. Revving it clutched in would help, but needless to say it was nearly impossible to ride smoothly in 1st or 2nd gear. I was thankful that I wasn't in stop and go traffic or I would have had a REAL handful to contend with.
We parked and the bike sat for a little while...for some reason, it was all fine again after about an hour. No problem...so, we went into town to get a few food items to grill.
This morning started off badly - I was eager to get on with the next leg of the trip (one more day) but my pal wasn't up to it. So we ended up heading home.
We stopped on the way to air up the tires at a gas station - my front had lost 2lbs overnight for some reason though the back was just fine. The place was packed full of weekend travelers - I'm looking for the "air station" and spot it at the very end of the parking strip in front of the gas station. I ride down there and as soon as I clear the edge of the building.....
Here's as good a time as any to mention the 35mph wind gusts we had this morning up in Northwest.
Plus, I might as well mention that the travel compressor that I purchased for the bike showed up today, nearly 3 weeks after I ordered it. Had it arrived before my trip, this next part would be pure fiction...alas, I was without compressed air and needed to use one of the $0.75 rip off joints.
So, back in the parking lot. Can you guess what happened next?
"Who in the @$## is pushing me??"
"Why is my leg buckling?"
In what felt like slow motion, the bike slowly, slowly fell to the left, throwing me clear in a wonderful and polite gesture of good will on her behalf.
I hopped up unhurt (full gear) and did the back hoist lift to get her sticky side down again. I had it up before my friend could even come to a stop to help. Two elderly ladies stood with their mouths utterly AGAPE at the sight, finally coming over to ask if I was okay.
I was baffled...why had that happened? No abrupt brake application...I had been cruising to that end of the building at around 7mph or so at most, nice and easy as you please.
I walked around the bike to see how bad it was and, as I came to a stop with the universal hands on the hips posture of "wtf did I just do", I almost fell over myself! Standing!
I looked behind me and there, to my less than enthusiastic discovery was what I can only describe as a wind tunnel - it was a large open space (probably half an acre) that had been demolished next to the gas station. Further on, the diesel pumps with a few semis parked. But between the semis and the gas station was this long, empty SPACE absolutely howling and funneling the wind our way. The tape they had used to mark the area off had split even and was acting as a wind sock, flying straight and true for nearly 20 feet.
At the end of it all, the total damage is all cosmetic. The rider suffered only dignity abrassions. The left case took most of the impact, with two of the front tupperware covers getting a bit scratched (enough to warrant a repaint I think). I have to admit to sort of secretly liking the battlescars - my Duc is my "pretty bike", the GT is my touring bike. Somehow, the scars make her feel like an honest, travelin' bike. But, I think that's me looking for silver linings to feel a bit better.
So, a great trip ended on a relatively down note - the trip cut short this morning and the bike has a few wounds that are hard to look at now.
I felt a little better when a truck driver came over to tell us that he had watched the fall from his semi, after having just suffered a wind related injury himself. Apparently his door had been flung open from the wind hard enough to rip it off the hinges and he was trying to find a way to 'duct it all back together. I think he, like I, felt better that he wasn't the only one bitten by that bitter, blustery bitch.
Still, a fall is a fall is a fall. I was bummed about the amount of damage it caused but only because I had witnessed my buddy drop his GS not once, but TWICE the day before without so much as a scratch on it (gotta love that GS for hardcoreness!).
All said and done, I averaged a just "okay" MPG of 42.7 and an average speed of about 85mph over the total of 450 miles, with several bursts north of the century mark. What a great bike...I had this moment of intense appreciation and love for her last night as I locked her up for the night. After having gotten us into a pretty remote area, I felt like she had become a close friend (whom I repayed by letting her fall today! Ouch!)
This week I'll get to see what it costs to repair and repaint one of the side cases and two of the plastic panels....