Well as much as I love the KLR, I just picked up a new to me 1996 BMW R1100GS. Purchased it from a guy in Pittsburgh PA and flew out on Fri the 7th. Now, I need to make this quite clear: When I purchased that plane ticket the ever accurate weather channel said that it was supposed to be 50F and sunny when I arrived. Well, as many may know, two weeks ago Pittsburgh was NOT 50F and sunny! When I landed at 10pm Fri night it was bloody cold and snowing. Next morning we get all the paperwork done and load up the bike. I had to ease it out of the garage as there was a solid 2" of snow on the ground. However, all the roads were clear but wet. Riding over the Allegheny Mtn's it was round abouts 15F and blowing snow , but again, roads were not icy, so I pressed on to DC and my Aunt and Uncles house for the night. When I arrived I looked like a walking snowman riding a snowman bike, every square inch of us were COVERED in salt. Thankfully it all washed off with ease.
Next day I continued south to my old posting of Elizabeth City NC to stay with some friends for one night. That turned into two nights while I waited out the heavy snow storms blanketing most of the Eastern Seaboard. When I finally did head out, it was barely above freezing and rained all the way to SC. Everything for as far as I could see on either side of the Interstate was a solid sheet of ice, but by some miracle the roads once again remained free of ice. Forgot to mention, the battery on the bike was failing, so after sitting in the cold all night it would not start. Anyone ever tryed to push start a loaded GS through an icy parking lot? I'll save you the trouble, it can't be done. If it could, I would have done it, but instead I had to wait 1.5hrs for one of the local shops to send someone to jump start the bike. I had been trying to get a new battery since Pittsburgh, but in all their brilliance BMW uses a rare sized battery on their bike meant to explore remote parts of the world, and trying to find an open BMW dealer on a Sunday or Monday is impossible (no one else carries the right size battery, trust me I tryed).
However, things started looking up from here. I managed to get a new bat in Charleston, and it was a beautiful sunny day for a ride. Little chilly still, but the heated jacket and gloves were working famously. I explored around a little continuing south from Charleston, introduced the bike to my old friend the Swamp Wookie and gave everything I nice application of swamp cabbage. Note for the future, Metzler Tourance's are HORRIBLE in the mud I stopped for an awesome mushroom swiss burger served by a really cute waitress with a thick southern accent in southern GA, then pushed on to the FL state line. En rout I noticed that the right of my two day old heated gloves wasn't working...joy. At least I'm in FL and its not so cold now right? Stopped for a night at a hotel right on the state line and was researching the failed glove (turns out there is a recall on them) and talking to my Mom when my 5 day old phone died. It was on and functioning, but no screen, no speakers, no mic, nada. All I could do with it was blindly send a txt to people saying my phone didn't work and hope that that was what I actually said, not something like your momma wares combat boots.
On my way south to Ft. Myers to see 1Speed I stopped off at a Verizon store to warranty my second phone in a week, but of course they don't carry my phone anymore, so it has to be mailed...great. I was planning on spending a night with Every Miles a Memory the next night so I arranged to have the new phone sent there. I continued down to Ft Myers and spent a great evening with 1Speed and his wife. The next morning I got a tour of his place and all his toys before heading up to Cedar Key....man am I jealous!
The ride to Cedar Key was BEAUTIFUL! I took the liners out of my pants and jacket, retired the heated gear and face mask, and wore my summer riding gloves. It was glorious! Now you may have noticed there are no pictures in this thread as yet...it had been cold and snowy/rainy, I hadn't wanted anything to do with stopping to dig out the camera which was inconveniently packed in a dry bag. You will all be glad to know that I dug it out for Cedar Key Pat was a wonderful host, and he and his wife have an amazing little resort there with some fantastic rooms. Thanks Pat and Cindy! http://www.lowkeyhideaway.com/
Looking towards the Gulf from the end of the Cedar Key runway.
Egret outside the little breakfast place I ate at in the morning.
Pelican off of Water St? I think that was the name of it. I have lots more pictures of the birds, but they had an incredible knack for always getting the sun directly behind them when I could raise the camera
From Cedar Key I jumped on I10 and beat feet west. I don't have a whole lot of pictures from this stretch because it started raining again, so I just made time. I camped west of Houston TX and slept like a rock with the sound of rain on the tent. I had been real careful to check out the surroundings and make sure I wasn't in anyones yard or way, but despite that when I awoke I realized I was almost in someones front yard. I think they knew what had happened and just left me alone as I never saw or heard anyone.
After about an hour the sky cleared up and I had a beautiful ride through TX. I Stopped on a little farm road somewhere in west TX with a full tank of gas and fresh sandwich/root beer, put the bike on the center stand and laid on the seat with my feet over the handlebars to watch the sunset
With all the rain the previous day I had managed to get water that worked up my pant leg and soaked my boots, so after two days of wet feet I finally got to dry everything out, hence the socks spread over the front of the bike. I was feeling good, so I pushed on until 1am when I finally stopped 30min west of Las Cruces NM and camped for the night.
I am especially proud of this shot: I had forgotten to bring my tripod, so this is a 3 sec hand held shot. Not so blurry when you think of it that way huh?
Using a fence post to help steady the camera.
Thought I'd try one setting the camera on the ground. Didn't come out how I wanted because of the weeds, but I think it actually looks kinda cool.
I was warm and toasty in my sleeping bag for the first few hours, but about 4am I awoke freezing my butt off. My trusty old Cats Meow bag needs to be retired to summer use only, after 10+ years of heavy use it is just not warm enough anymore, despite having a fleece liner to go with. I managed to pack enough clothes around me to be warm again and slept until about 9am. Had a great breakfast burrito in Deming NM and finished up in Green Valley at my grandparents house for the night before returning to Prescott Wed night.
Overall it was a great trip, despite being rushed to make miles and return before school and having horrible weather most of the time. Really the only thing that I didn't enjoy was the equipment failures. For the first week it seamed like every day I had to waste time fixing, replacing, or changing some piece of equipment that didn't work properly, which is never fun.
As for the bike, I love the BMW. I went for a ride with a friend of mine yesterday, my GS and his KLR. As soon as we hit the twisty's I lost him in the rear view mirror, so I pulled over to wait for him after the first set. When he pulled up, he said, "I can tell by the way you go around those corners my bike [his] cost $5000 new and yours cost $20,000 new." That pretty well sums up the difference between them. To be fair though, I do have to add that when we started playing around in the mud I came home and traded for my KLR. The KLR's relative featherweight status is much easier to handle, and the much plusher suspension is more enjoyable when on rough roads.