Friday, July 9, 2010

BMW Rally 2010 - Day 1

It's finally time for this year's big summer trip. This year I won't be on the road for 35 days straight  but I will be riding for 2 weeks with my sweetie pie and her Spyder. Last weekend I managed to work on the bikes and get everything ready to go. Yesterday evening I finally started packing.

This morning the plan was to leave at 7am. I personally had my doubts as we never seem to leave on time. But this morning we were ready to leave at 6:45. Just before we pulled out of the driveway, we checked the radios and found that my mic wasn't working. After some frustration and testing I figured out that my cable was messed up but that my co-rider cable was still in good shape. So the challenge was to quickly reroute the working cable to the rider position. This sort of a situation is a great example of why I don't mind spending the extra $30 for the J&M CB with the 2up option instead of the cheaper solo option.

As I began removing the side cases to disassemble the rear of the bike, I discovered that I had left my clothes in the house so this problem turned out to be a blessing for me as I would have gotten into Oklahoma before realizing I had left my clothes behind. After about 45 minutes I was buttoning up the rear of the bike and quickly eating a sausage McMuffin that Reagan had bought for me while I was working. We were finally ready to go, it was 7:45 as we left the house. This time with all of my luggage. A quick stop by the Exxon to fuel up and then we headed toward Houston on 59N.

The sky looked good and traffic was mild for 8am, so we took the beltway around town to I-45N. Then it was north to Dallas. Our first stop for gas was Woody's Smokehouse in Centerville. Exit 164 for anyone who doesn't know. As usual, Reagan became the Spyder ambassador as people wanted to ask her about her bike. A quick bio break, a phone call and we were ready to go again.

The weather continued to look good all the way through Dallas. For anyone who thinks traffic in Houston is horrible, they have never driven on I35 in Dallas. And if they have and still think Houston is worse, they are just delutional. I had several drivers just come over into my lane without any concern for me. In one case I was stuck splitting lanes as I had a large truck to my left. I'm starting to think a shotgun mount might be a good idea, kind of a Mad Max sort of thing.

We stopped north of Denton for gas and planned to eat at the Cracker Barrel, yet there was a long wait so we made some adjustments for the rain that was starting to fall and then continued north. The rain wasn't bad, merely enough to make the roads wet. We stopped in Ganesville at the Cracker Barrel (note: Take exit 501 not exit 500 as the billboards claim). By the time we were finished with lunch the rain was just a sprinkle.

As we crossed into Oklahoma the rain really started to come down so we pulled into the rest stop to allow Reagan the chance to put on her Frog Togg top. We opted not to put on the pants as we figured we'd just drive through it. Note to self, if you are going to put on the top, put on the pants. I also discovered that my waterproofing has worn off of my Olympia jacket since last winter, so I'm going to look for an Academy tomorrow and spray it down tomorrow night if I don't run into any rain late in the day tomorrow.

Just south of Ardmore, OK. we came upon some road construction that pushed us down to 1 lane. Then to make matters worse there was a wreck at the other end of the zone. Apparently Oklahoma doesn't have a steer-it, clear-it concept. There was a dually pickup truck that looked like it rear ended another truck and the dually was just left there in the roadway. With a Fire truck, State trooper and multiple construction trucks all standing around staring at the truck. OMG, push the dang thing out of the way and get traffic moving. Instead they had traffic backed up in both directions for miles. There must be some sort of cosmic karma thing about me getting stuck in the rain on an interstate in a construction zone because of a wreck. This sort of thing happened to me a few years ago in Georgia while I was trying to out run a tropical storm from Florida.

Just after 4pm we arrived in Norman, OK. at the Super 8. Fortunately I had made a reservation earlier in the week, apparently there's a tour bus or something that has taken up all the other rooms. We parked the bikes and unloaded. Then kicked back and relaxed for a little bit before going across the street to the Golden Corral for dinner.

Getting from Sugar Land to Norman, OK wasn't a difficult task. We took the interstate the whole way becase we want to get as far north as quickly as we can. This will give us 2 days to play around in South Dakota in the Mount Rushmore area. Today we covered 450 miles in 8 hours and 12 minutes.  Gas stops were quick, only the lunch stop hurt our time. When Reagan does her SS1000 on Wednesday the plan is to not stop for lunch but just take a short break for an energy bar instead.

This is day 1 of 16. So far we are off to a pretty good start. Tomorrow night is Holdrege, NE.

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