2005 The Motorcycling Year that Was
The title worked last year, might as well use it again. So since getting the R-Bike in November of 2003 with some 29,100 miles and around the end of 2005 it had some 57,400 I must have put some 28,300 miles on the rig. In 2005 those miles added up to be around 16,000 miles. Maybe not really high mileage, but when you consider I saw about 20 new states on bike, 270 new counties, got a IBA CC50 (coast to coast in 50 hours), SS3000 (3,000 miles in less than 3 days), and the National Park Master Traveler Certification (you have to get a passport book stamped at least 50 National Parks in at least 25 different states in less than a year), I feel like there has been some quality riding in there. I hope 2006 goes as well.
Ride Updates from 2005
October 15, 2005 - There was a BMW ROM meeting in Magee. So I went over, ate some fish, listened to everyone's horror stories about how bad things were on the coast during the hurricane, and picked up a few more counties for the 82N1YR ride. It was a great day to be riding. The weather was just about perfect. I went across the state and picked up the counties right below I-20 while east bound and the counties above I-20 on the return trip. Between hurricanes, a vacation with my wife, and lots of things going on at home, this was the first trip further than Jackson or so since the end of July. Good to be back in the saddle now the weather has broke.
July 29 - 31, 2005 - Captain I gots to have more stamps, more stamps. With the clock ticking down on the National Park Master Tourer Certification and me in need of at least five more states, I made a trip up to the national capitol area. On the 29th I rode from Vicksburg up to Winchester, VA. About a 1,000 miles, some of those in pouring, no driving rain. The next morning I started collecting stamps, first was Harper's Ferry, and then up to Antietam, and then up to Gettysburg, PA. Along the way I found a beautiful little place called Catoctin National Park. I had not seen it on the map and it was an unexpected treasure mixed in all the death and destruction of all the Civil War sites. From Gettysburg I went down to DC and got a bunch of stamps there and in Arlington National Cemetery. Then I hopped on I-95 south. I am still amazed at how three to five lanes going the same direction in the middle of nowhere can just stop for no reason. There were no wrecks, no road construction, not even any exits, but between DC and Richmond, the traffic would just stop every now and then. I am glad I don't have to ride that very often. I spent the night in Charlotte, NC. Got up the next morning and hit a couple of the South Carolina sites. The plan was to turn up and hit some sites in NC and then maybe ride the Tail of the Dragon on the way home, but I noticed my cell phone had a message on it. I called home and found some bad news, so since I had 25 states and 76 total stamps, I bagged it and went on home in alternating off and on rain and extreme heat.
New States: Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, DC, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
New Stamps: a whole slew.
Total Miles: about 1000 on Friday, and somewhere around 650 on each of the other two days. About 2300 total.
July 15-16, 2005 - I rode up through MO, IL, IN, KY, and TN collecting stamps. It was a nice trip. Probably too much interstate the first day. I rode up past Cape Gerardo, MO, crossed the river and hit up the Pierre Menard home, then over to Lincoln's Boyhood home in IN, and then down to Bowling Green, KY for the night. The next day I visited Monmouth Cave National Park. From there I rode down to Nashville and rode the Natchez Trace home. All in all the weekend was pretty wet and overcast, but it was a nice ride.
New States: Illinois, Indiana, & Kentucky
New Stamps: 1 in IL, 1 in IN, 1 in KY, 2 in TN, 1 in AL, and a whole slew down the Trace in MS.
Total miles were like 850 for Friday and about 650 on Saturday.
June 9-10, 2005 - I rode up through AR, MO, and KS collecting National Park Passport Stamps. Read in more detail by clicking here.
May 21, 2005 - I got up early on Saturday and rode up through the Delta and collected 8 more counties for the 82N1YR Ride. Also crossed the river at Helena, AR and saw my mother and brother in Stuttgart, AR. Picked up two new AR counties on the way over.
New Counties: Arkansas (25% complete) - Phillips and Lee.
Total Miles for the day was 558.
May 13, 2005 - I took a short jaunt over to Monroe, LA to a luthier to drop off a mandolin that needed a good setup done to it. It got warm out there. I was wearing my Gericke Venom mesh pants and coat and still got warm. This doesn't bode well for the summer. Still it was nice to be out riding.
Total miles for the day about 220.
May 7, 2005 - MTF Ride to Eat in Ezell's Catfish in Ninfalia, AL. There was a RTE just over the line in Alabama. This gave me a good excuse to get up early and ride backroads collecting Mississippi counties for the 82N1YR Ride . The day was really nice for riding. It started off a little chilly, but quickly warmed up. Going over I spent a lot of time on county roads. I did run a pretty good bit on Highway 84, but it was foggy there so I was glad to be on good road. The catfish was good, the fellowship even better. Left there and figured to come back across through the backroads and pick up the rest of the counties below I-20, but Alabama only marks their county roads every now and then so I wasn't able to find the road I wanted to go over to Quitman, MS. And I had to be back in Vicksburg to play some old time music so I didn't have a lot of time to dig around and find that road. I ended up riding up to Meridan, hopping on I-20, and heading on home. I got a little over 45 mpg on the first tank (with some commuting already on the tank) and over 49 on the second. I think I like the gas mileage with the RT rearend. The bike kicked over the 50,000 mile mark on this trip which puts me at about 21,000 miles on it in 18 months.
Total miles for the day, 501.
April 1-9, 2005 - MTF CC50 run from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego, CA. Details on the IBA Page.
March 19, 2005 - First run out of town with the new rear end. This trip was to the McComb to a BMW Riders of MS meeting. Rearend seemed to do fine. It does seem to like to run a little faster with it, though. And this bike doesn't need to run any faster.
February 12, 2005 - There was a MS BMW Rider's Club meeting in Decatur, MS at noon, so I got up really early and rode up the Trace and got a couple of stamps on the way over. It was a cool morning, but I had the electric vest and gloves plugged up and working. I saw several deer beside the side the Trace. I passed by the MS Craft Center in Ridgeland too early to get the stamp there. In fact they were just unlocking the building at Kosciusko when I got there. They probably don't have a lot of Stampers come in because the stamp was a week or so off on the date. Then I rode up to Jeff Busby Park. Their stamp wasn't even set to the correct month. And since the year ran out in a few years ago, the stamp is without the year. Two more stamps, closing in on half way on the number of stamps. The meeting in Decatur was good. The chili was excellent. The plan for the return trip was to ride the interstate to Morton, hit a couple of state roads, ride across the top of Ross Barnett Reservoir and come back down the Trace to Ridgeland and pickup the third stamp for the day. In reality, when I got off the interstate at the first Morton exit I noticed a shimmy when I would get off or on the gas. I caulked it up to the exit ramps being grooved. But, when I got on the state road it was still doing it. I stopped and looked at the rear end and could tell that the rotor and caliper had scraped one another. This doesn't look good and there is nothing at this exit. So I got back on the interstate and limped down to the next exit where there was an abandoned gas station and a truck stop that wasn't in too much better shape. There I parked at the abandoned gas station, got out my toolkit and started taking things apart. I grabbed the wheel and there was play in it. So I figured my ride was over with for the day. Luckily I wasn't a quarter of a mile from a cell phone tower so I had great reception. I called my dad and he was willing to come get me. I called a fellow from work and he was willing to let my dad borrow a trailer. So, about 9pm my dad and a trailer show up and I make it to my home, humbled, with my bike in a trailer. A brief tear down the next day with a fellow from work that is a "real mechanic" showed that grease in the rear end had gone elsewhere and caused the bearing to go and ate up some internal parts in the process. I never saw a leak and have no idea where it went, but I should have checked it.
Passport Cancellations: 2 stamps (22 stamps, 7 states total).
Total miles for the day, about 250 under power, another 80 in a trailer.
February 11, 2005 - I managed to leave work early enough to hop across the river to Poverty Point to get the stamp there. I rode the Interstate over and then rode back roads coming home. Poverty Point is a pretty interesting place. It is one of the oldest native American communities. The stamp is non-standard since it is a state site, but the master list says it counts so I can chalk up another one. I probably rode 130 miles or so. A good warm afternoon in February is a wonderful time to ride.
Passport Cancellations: 1 stamp (20 stamps, 7 states total).
February 4, 2005 - I just put a new rear tire on and need to scuff it in some. A trip over to the Trace and down to Rocky Springs is in order to get the new off the tires. This tire is a Michelin Pilot Road. Seems better than the Dunlop that was on the bike when I got it, but I don't notice a real dramatic increase over the Metzler ME-Z4 that just came off of it. Well, besides it doesn't have the middle worn off of it :}. Riding over to Rocky Springs is always a good trip. The only problem being holding down the speed on the Trace. Rocky Springs has a National Park Stamp, but I have never been able to catch anyone manning the place to get the stamp. So imagine my surprise when I saw a truck sitting at the station. I went in and waited patiently while the fellow in the office making a personal call on the phone. After he got off the phone and came out of the office I told what I wanted and he said he was a maintenance worker and I would have to go all the way to Natchez to get the stamp. I have to believe he just didn't understand what I was after so I explain in a little more detail. But, he seems to be one of the government workers we always hear about. He understands what I want, but he will not be put out to look in the office for the stamp, but he hopes that some day I will be lucky enough to catch a ranger in the neighborhood to get the stamp. He goes on to say there is a district office near Port Gibson, and maybe I can catch someone there that might give it to me. Realizing that this fellow really doesn't care, I hopped on the bike and rode down to Port Gibson. I got there about 3:40pm on a weekday, but the place was already locked up tight. No stamp, but it was a nice day for a ride none the less. I got home and found the new brake pads I had ordered had arrived. So I yanked the rear caliper off and replaced the pads. Then a little ride around the area to work the new off the pads. I feel much better with the rear end being re-shod and re-padded. No new counties, no new stamps (though I tried), probably about 70 miles or so. Still a good ride.
January 15, 2005 - The weather was cool, but I managed to make my first out of town run for the year. I got started late, waiting for it to warm up some more, but it never really did. So I got all bundled up in electric vest and gloves and took off north to Arkansas to get a couple of NP Passport stamps. It had been a while since I got one and needed to get going on it again. Before I could make it from the house to the main road (about a half mile away) I had already turned off the electric vest. Then after I got on the Interstate I kept turning it on and off as I wondered why I hadn't asked for a thermostat for it for Christmas. The ride up to Arkansas Post (near Dumas, AR) was pretty uneventful. There was one little hiccup. I met two cars topping a rise. The second car was right on the firsts bumper. Then I noticed that the second car had a black light in the grill, really strange. Then it all came into focus. The second car was a cop car with some kind of weird blue lights. The next thing to come into focus was that cop car had decided to pass the first car as he met me. Luckily the shoulder was wide and my first ever lane split was completed successfully. I had been led to believe that lane split was done when a motorcycle went between two cars all going the same direction, and that it was illegal around here. But I guess, that East Carroll Parish LA Deputies have that option open to them. Much more important to catch that speeder and increase the Parishes revenue than to actually be safe. Arkansas Post is real interesting. I had been to the State site back when I was a kid, but I don't recall ever making the National Park site before. The place is rich with history and well worth a stop. Two stamps, Arkansas Post and also the Trail of Tears. When I left there I rode west and picked up a couple of counties in AR I hadn't ridden in before. Somewhere over in there the heat quit coming on. I pulled over and played with the switch and played with the plug and neither had any effect. A short time later I noticed the turn signals were not working. I figured a blown fuse. So I went on into Monticello and pulled over at an Auto Parts place (which turned out to be closed), dug out my owner's manual, and found the fuse box. Yep, a fuse was blown but there was an extra in there. So I plugged it in, looked at the map, and made my way to McGee, AR where I knew there was a Wal-Mart and more fuses. About half way there I started getting cold again. Sure enough the blinkers were no longer working either. So I went in Wal-Mart and got some fuses and went back out to do some detective work. After going through three or four fuses I determined that if I left the gloves plugged in but unplugged the vest I did not blow fuses. So that is what I did. Coming back south I made sure I slowed down when I got to the East Carroll Parish line. About a mile after passing the spot where I been involved in my first lane split who do I see on the side of the rode writing a ticket but an East Carroll Parish Deputy. And my timing is perfect, he pulls around behind me and follows me toward Lake Providence. A mile or so down the road there is very large box laying in the road. Surely you would think this public safety officer would protect the citizens by stopping and getting this hazard off the road. Well, no he doesn't. He stayed on my tail. Once we got on the four lane in Lake Providence he passed me like I was sitting still. Just south of town he wheels around and stops another one. I don't know for sure if the one I saw that morning was the same as I saw that afternoon, but I do know that East Carroll Parish was trying hard to balance their budget that day. It is bad enough that they run a speed trap, but I felt more than a little endangered by the pass the first one made and it didn't make me feel any better that the second one (assuming they were not the same deputy) just left a major obstruction laying in the road. Watch it around there. Along in there is when I noticed that hands were getting really cold. A quick check of the blinkers proved they were not working either. I was less than an hour for home and figured I would just head on home and trouble shoot the problem in the comfort of my own home. My teeth were chattering before I made it home that afternoon. The problem turned out to be some wires in the harness to the gloves were shorting out. I guess I pulled them lose when I took the jacket off at Arkansas Post. It was not big deal to fix with some romex that I don't think will pull out.
New Counties: Arkansas - Drew and Lincoln.
Passport Cancellations: 2 stamps, 1 new state (19 stamps, 7 states total).
Total miles for the day, about 350 to 375.