Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where to go?

One of the things I do to pass the mid-west winter is think about where I would like to go in the coming spring and summer.  Usually I start getting out my planning supply's in January.  Those planning supply's consist of a atlas, maps, yellow highlighters, motorcycle magazines, a list of BMW rallys, travel books (National Geographic's scenic drives, Road Trip, etc) and Roadfood (the essential guide to eating your way across the US, everybody has a copy right?).

I Start by looking a the Rally list and old magazines to get an idea of where I might want to go and when.  Once I get an idea then I start to figure the mileage and time it would take to get there and back.  If it falls into the amount of time-off I can get in one block I will load the yellow highlighter and start sketching out a route.  Next I go through Roadfood to see if I need to deviate my course in order to eat something really good.  Finely I look for places to stay and other oddity's I might like to see.  You would think that at this point I would be requesting my time-off from work, but actually I often just start all over.  For example last year I was going to go to Nova Scotia, Canada and ride the Cabot trail, eat some bugs (lobsters) and maybe some pizza on the way out and back.  I even had my time-off scheduled.  Then a week before I was going to leave I scraped the whole plan and decided to go to the mountains in New Mexico and Colorado.  I had a really good trip eating green chile's and getting rained on at 10,000 feet (it rained...stormed everyday).  Last year was an extreme example, normally I will have it nailed down if I can even take a trip and where I'm going by March or April.  This year things are different, my work situation is new and I had to request vacation time for this summer in January.  I really don't like to be nailed down so early in the year, July just seems so far away, how can I possibly know what life will bring between now and then.  I had about one week to do what I typically do in 3-4 months.

I have picked a destination and a date for a summer road trip, but before the big reveal, the photos above. The top photo is of dinner prior to being steamed alive at the 2002 Down East BMW Rally at Hermit Island, ME.  The second photo is of Split Rock Lighthouse near Two Harbors, MN taken on my way to the 2002 BMW MOA rally in Trenton, ON Canada (the last MOA rally I attended).  The third photo was taken near Ophir, CO on my wanderings last summer.  The fourth photo was of the Oregon coast taken on my way to the 2001 MOA rally in Redmond, OR.

It turns out that the BMW MOA Rally will be in the same location it was 9 years ago, Redmond, OR (the photo above was taken in the Deschutes Nat. Forest with the sisters filling the background).  It also turns out that the available vaction time corresponds with the rally, so it looks like I will be heading to the west coast this summer with the MOA Rally being the pulling force.  Of course things can always change, well not my time off, but everything else.  Now that I have two dots on the map it's time to get the yellow highlighter out and try to connect the dots.

I also have a new decision to make that I have never had to face in the past, I have to decide what bike to take.  In the past I have dreamed of this problem for many years, but in 1998 after becoming a family man, I pretty much wrote it off. Because I have a loving wife I'm now faced with this delima.  It would seem like a no brainer to take the G650 X Country (the new bike), but it's untested in long distance riding, where as my 1996 R850R has been there and back.  The 850 is set up for the long haul with a Russel Seat, Aeroflow screen and BMW system cases.  I know that I can literally ride all day, really ALL day with the seat and wind screen, and I can pack way more junk than anybody should need in the hard cases.  The 650 on the other hand is in desperate need of some kit, it has a stock seat, an untested Wunderlich windscreen (still in the box, at least for 2 more days) and no luggage.  I have a master list of the mod's and parts needed to get the 650 ready for the long haul and I have 4 1/2 months to get it done.  Worst case I have to take the 14 year old tried and true 850, how bad can that be.

I will try to update the kitting of the G650 X-Country.  Man I got a lot of work to do...

See you on the Road.



Mike said...

Nice post Gordon! Wow, you've taken some nice trips on your bike. Coming back to Oregon sounds like an excellent plan. I'm looking forward to reading more about your preparation and plans.

Take care...

682202 said...


I have been very fortunate to be able to travel around the country on my motorcycle. I'm looking forward to getting to the west coast again. The MOA rally in Redmond made it any easy decision to travel west. GAW

bobskoot said...


I also can't wait to read about your preparations. I suppose the secret is out, Oregon has the best roads and I have travelled on a few of them. I rode to the Soundrider rally in the Gorge a couple of years ago, at Stevenson, WA. I was planning on going to the BMWMOA rally in Redmond too, but we shall see as the time draws closer.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

ps: take the 650x country

irondad said...


Again, I remind you, Oregon does not have good roads. Except for friends like you and Gordon, of course. Do you want heavy traffic on the good ones? If there were any, I mean.


I live about three hours West of Redmond. One more hour West and you'd fall into the ocean. I plan to haunt the rally.

Keep it in mind for later. If you need an emergency contact kind of thing I am more than willing to help.

682202 said...


I appreciate the offer and will most defiantly keep it in mind.

I can't say I remember the quality of the roads from my visit back in 2001, but I do recall not being able to pump my own gas. I got a couple of lectures for trying to do so :)

682202 said...


I'm a bit slow on the uptake, it's Monday here in the middle. You are very correct, Oregon has very BAD roads and folks in big and slow RV's should avoid it at all cost. ;)


I already have Fox, Oregon marked on the map. I hope to find it the same as your photos depicted earlier this year. I am looking forward to shooting it in IR.


bobskoot said...


Sorry, I have to retrain my brain, "Oregon has bad roads, Oregon has bad roads, Oregon has Bad Roads, Oregon has good roads."

Hard as I try I can't be retrained at this late stage in life. I tried to experiment in IR in the film days, but could never get the full effect. You need a metal bodied camera and most were plastic. As you are coming out of Fox on the south, there are a few abandoned farm houses. I was really tempted to stop and try to go inside but didn't. They would be great in B&W or IR. There is lots to see in the John Day area.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin