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).
After several years of writing adventure specific blogs – those dedicated to various trips I have taken – I have taken the plunge and begun the process of consolidating the old blogs, pictures and posts into one. I have managed to get through the quagmire of registering a domain, loading up the WordPress software and playing a bit with the appearance of a dedicated site.
I am hoping to move the blog on the recent trip to Alaska by motorcycle (http://ja4ja.wordpress.com) and the previous one on a trip to Patagonia (http://patagoniablog.wordpress.com) to this new site, as well as writings and photos on a few more diverse subjects. This will take lots of time and the independently hosted site is a bit more tricky than that hosted by WordPress, but feels great to be back blogging.
This site will include content from these previous blogs, lots of photography, a bit of armchair philosophy, equipment/book/DVD reviews, trip reports and lots of other drivel that is of little value, but lots of fun to write.
I should have the theme and many of the mechanics of the site sorted out within a few days, so if you have a mind, check back frequently to follow or get updates. Thoughts for blog post subjects or issues are welcome and thanks for reading!