Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heading to the BMW MOA Rally

The annual BMW Rally is next weekend but I went to Missouri a little early so I could take a RiderCoach training class on MSF’s new Bike Bonding series. The training course will be 3 days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). On Wednesday and Thursday I’ll get to teach the new class to rally attendees assuming I pass my training.

When planning this ride it looked like is was a little less than 800 miles from my house to Sedalia so I decided to just do it in a day as I was traveling alone this year. I also learned that the training began on Sunday instead of Monday as I had originally thought so that sealed the deal on me riding it in one day as I had a crazy 4 day work week this past week.

I left the house at 5:30am with a full tank of gas. I planned on stopping somewhere in Oklahoma for my first stop and thought my second stop would be in Missouri. The route was simple, at least until I got into Missouri. Take Hwy 59 north to Nacogdoches, pick up 259 up into Oklahoma until it runs out. Then get back on 59 through Arkansas and into Missouri.

The ride up 59 was nice. The weather was cool but I had concerns for the rain. Yes, another riding day in July this year and rain is a factor. So far it’s been everyday this month. I wonder if mother nature is trying to tell me something about the upcoming Butt Lite rally next month?

When I got north of Houston I called the folks at Sirius XM to resend an activation signal to my Zumo 665 and then I started receiving my NavWeather data. I must say, it’s radar imagery is greatly improved over what the Zumo 550 had. This time I actually have radar to tell me where the storms are in relationship to my route.

As I pulled into Nacogdoches, the traffic light turned red and I came to a stop. I realized that was the first time I had put my foot down since pulling out of the driveway 2 hours earlier. Taking the loop around town and picking up 259 went as planned. In fact the whole ride was going well until I got to Longview. There both GPSes tricked me. Instead of grabbing I-20 east for a couple of miles and then picking up 259N again they decided to take 31 through town. That was at least a 10 minute time waster, thankfully I wasn’t on the clock.

I stopped south of Idabel, OK for fuel as my gauge had said I was out. It turned out that it was wrong and I still had an extra 2 gallons left. That’s OK, the stop was pleasant and gave me a chance to visit with a few locals.

I continued north through Idabel and Broken Bow. Finally when I got to Smithville I knew I was almost there. To the bet little stretch of twisties there is in the area. Todd and I found these curves several years back when coming home from a Harley Davidson training conference. Back then we were pretty worried about running out fuel so part of the fun of the curves were overshadowed but this time I had plenty of fuel.


Once the twisties were done then it was back to regular riding but now I had a little bigger smile on my face. The weather seemed to be getting warmer as the day progressed. And the storms seemed to be staying at bay to my east. That was until I got to Ft. Smith, AR. As I was about to head north out of town I saw the unmistakable look of rain in the air in front of me. So I pulled into a bank parking lot and donned the rain gear. By the time I got everything on I felt like I was soaked just from my own sweat as the temperature was warm.

I was glad I had the rain gear on because it really started to come down heavy as I headed north. And to top things off, AR-59 gets pretty twisty so I was really having to watch the road as well as the other drivers. That went on until I got up near Evansville where I pulled over to remove the rain gear.

Riding through Arkansas on AR-59 seemed to take forever, but then again I was going the entire length of the state. The speed limit drops to 35 quite a bit as you go through little towns and much of the route is 2 lanes. Since the locals never seem to want to go the speed limit there was a little bit of passing when conditions permitted. For this reason, I’m glad I was alone on the ride as a group could have certainly made it more challenging with the limited passing opportunities.

Finally I made it into Missouri and picked up Hwy 71 until I got to Nevada, Mo. Then it was east on 54. I started looking for gas and finally stopped in Weaubleau. The bike didn’t need much gas as it turned out that it got 40mpg on that leg. The slower pace definitely had something to do with that.

With less than 100 miles to my destination I was ready to get there. My wrist was bothering me as was my UnderArmor underwear. I pressed on to Hwy 83N which took me to Hwy 65N and into Sedalia. I stopped by the high school to scope out the training range and then headed to the hotel. Total distance for the day was 790 miles and I finished it in 13 hours.

About my wrist, last weekend I realized that I REALLY needed cruise control. In fact it’s the number one reason I want that new K1600GT. Finally this week I broke down and ordered the electronic cruise control kit for my GS. Yes, it’s a little pricy but I think it’s going to make next month’s rally much more enjoyable. It should arrive at my house before I get back from this trip. Just knowing that seemed to make my wrist more sore as I road today.

About the UnderArmour underwear, well they may be great for sporting activities but they don’t do so well for long hours in the saddle. I’ve previously worn LD Comfort but thanks to some border expansion issues my LD Comforts are no longer so comfortable. I’ll resolve that issue at the rally this week when I visit their booth to get some new pairs in the right size.

I’m not yet certain on my route home, next weekend. I might run over to Kansas City and “slab it” the whole way home or I might just press the “Go Home” button on my GPS and see what I get. Whatever I do, I want to make sure I get at least 800 miles on the odometer before I get home so I can reach my 100,000 miles on BMWs goal. It’s always something :)

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