Well, pulled the trigger on a “new” 2012 BMW Sertao from Max’s in CT. Has about 4 miles on it and got it at a pretty good discount. Pick it up on Tuesday. Heading to Hermy’s today to take advantage of their “Black Friday Sale” and pick-up some needed parts to modify he bike a bit including:
- High Seat – adds about an inch to the height to facilitate the long inseams. Also, reported to be a little more comfortable
- Oil and air filter
- GPS Mount – hope to use the same GPS from the 1200 GSA
- High windshield (maybe)
- Engine crash bars (maybe)
Other items I’ll need to add (other sources) include:
- Handle bar risers
- Bash plate to protect engine
- Racks and saddle bags – probably soft (Wolfman)
- Tank bag – bolero use my old RKA from the GSA
- Center stand – aids in servicing the bike and changing tires
- Various protection – headlight, master brake cylinder, ABS and radiator
Probably other things, but no real rush. Need to get a few thousand miles on the bike before going too crazy
Anyway, the ride to Hermy’s was a bit chilly. Thermometer showed 15 degrees F when I left the house. Met up with my son Ben on his Versys for breakfast a the Sunflower Cafe. A balmy 22 degrees by the time I got there.
Ashes Before Dust
Ran across a great video that does a great job capturing the sense of adventure experienced on the ride to Alaska last year. If you have an hour to spend, check out the video put together by some folks making the ride to Alaska from Seattle. Check it out HERE! Hope I can figure out how to post i ton the blog.
Looks like I am “on” for the Trans America Trail in 2014! About 5000 miles of off-road motorcycle riding from eastern Tennessee to Oregon. I am not sure that I can take the time to do the whole thing – minimum of 22 days, but will at least get a few weeks in this year. Pretty much decided on a BMW Sertao for the ride – about 150 lbs lighter than the GSA I rode to Alaska and much more manageable off-road. Some say this bike is still too large, but I think it is a compromise between the highway miles to get to the start and the single track stuff I may encounter.
Can’t wait to find and outfit the bike. As I said above, much lighter and simpler than the big GSA. One cylinder and fuel injected which means about 65 mpg. Just need to find one at a reasonable price – might be a challenge. Then the outfitting starts… Soft luggage and a few minor modifications and I should be ready to go! This trip I am planning on taking the time to enjoy the outdoors and scenery. Have invited my son, Ben along – hope he can make it…
With the recent medical issues behind me, I am gearing up for the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp in about 2 weeks. Although a bit out of shape from the recovery from the melanoma surgery, I am looking forward to the camp and getting the GSA off the road. My last real training on the big bike (1200 GS) was over 3 years ago when I took the Rawhyde course in Pittsburgh. I have done very little off road riding, except for about 600 miles of gravel enroute to Prudhoe Bay last summer. Currently back to a couple of miles a day and some light weight training, so should be good to go in about 10 days.
Promises to be fun and certainly will push the skills envelope and this tired, nearly 60-yr old body. Hope to get the bike prepared this week-end by removing the accessory lights, removing the mud guard (always falls off anyway), adding the TKC 80 tires and a couple of more items. Have to dig out the BMW Rallye riding gear. A summary of the course can be found in my previous post of February 2. Stay tuned for the gory details!
The New 1200 GSA
After putting nearly 75,000 combined miles on my current 1200 GSA and previous GS, I still always feel a little insecure when I see the “pavement ends” sign warning of a change in road conditions. This is in spite of taking a Rawhyde Adventures course a few years ago, about 1500 miles on dirt/gravel in South America and 2-3,000 solo miles off-road in AK. The big BMW 1200 GS Adventure is made for off-road excursions and became famous in Charley and Ewan’s round the world motorcycle ride documented in the Long Way Round series a few years ago.
With a little over 45,000 miles on the GSA, I decided it was time to throw on the knobbies, get it a little dirty and to brush up on my off-road skills through the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp – a 2-day course in south New Jersey offered this April. The Pine Barrens is a great area to experience due to the unique environment and landscape; boasting more than 1,000 miles of trails to develop and test riding skills. The course promises to “prepare you to safely navigate your way through this amazing but sometimes challenging landscape, and help improve your off-road adventure riding abilities.” Well, I guess this remains to be seen, but the instructors sure seem to be up to the task. I just hope they are around to help me pick-up the 650 pound motorcycle when it falls, as it is sure to do.
I will provide a blow-by-blow account of the adventure as the course gets started here on the blog. For more information, check out the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp here. I’ll provide the details and plenty of photos, maybe a video spot. The course is scheduled for April 27 & 28, 2013 and looks like a pretty full agenda. Stay tuned!
I to admit that I am a bit of a junkie for any book describing international adventures on motorcycle. Ever since 1st stumbling onto “A Long Way Round” with Ewan and Charley a few years ago, I can’t seem to get enough of this stuff.
However, The University of Gravel Roads goes beyond many of the typical stories of adventure motorcycle travel. As Rene writes about his 4-yr, 95,000 mile trip and its challenges of the road (or lack thereof), I was pulled into the trip, sharing the rider’s worries and fears; feeling great relief when the border guards or locals didn’t take him hostage or throw him in jail.
This is a great tale of courage and resourcefulness, by a guy who was essentially solo around the world on a limited budget and undefined challenges of weather, governmental roadblocks (real and administrative), mechanical issues, and just about anything else you could think of on such a trip. I couldn’t help but empathize with the feelings of regret about initially inviting a companion, then realizing that much of the romance of the trip began to ebb with the burden of dealing with someone else’s needs in such a rugged and uncertain undertaking.
I found myself absorbed in the sometimes clunky, journalistic portrayal of the adventure and the personal challenges; but all with a sense of adventure from a guy who seems to be an adventurer 1st and a writer second. Great photos and overall great read. If you have any inclination to this type of journey, get a copy if you can find one and settle in for an armchair adventure that I am sure you will enjoy. Think it is about $35-$40 on Amazon or directly from the book’s web site (above).