I was extremely lucky to find out that Tiffany Coates was going to be in Austin, and giving a presentation on her round-the-world travels. Horsepower Farm was hosting the event, with lunch and drinks provided and a nice raffle. I arrived early and was hanging out looking at all the bikes and drinking a soda when Tiffany walks in the back door and introduces herself to me. It was really cool meeting her since she is one of my motorcycling heroes. Listening to her presentation was fantastic and inspirational. I really like the way she goes about things, which is not really being technical-minded or gear-crazy. She just gets on with things! To hear her tell the story of her first motorcycle trip to India with her best friend after they recently learned how to ride really set the tone for the rest of the presentation. It was pretty much just go for it and sort out things as they happen. I really like that attitude. She talked about her journey to India, Africa, and also a trip from the UK to the ‘Stans, Tibet, and China. It was pretty incredible! It seems like many people (including myself) obsess over the gear, farkles, and specs. But after hearing Tiffany speak, you realize that the most important thing is to have a positive attitude and the drive to get started and keep going.
Everyone also got to check out Thelma, the R80 GS that is Tiffany’s first and only bike. It is a pretty cool machine, very basic without a lot of bells and whistles found on modern adventure bikes, and definitely showing the miles. It has a cracked mirror, a bit of rust, lots of bugs on the headlight, but all that adds up to Thelma being the real deal. What a great machine! I look forward to reading more about Tiffany and Thelma’s travels around the world as they don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down.
Changed the oil this past week as part of the 12,000-mile maintenance. Everything went smoothly. This was the second time doing it for me so it went pretty quickly. The process is to remove the bash plate, loosen the drain plug a bit (makes it easier to remove later when the engine is warm), remove the left side cover, then warm up the engine for a bit. Loosen the top drainplug a little, then remove the top oil container thing, then fully remove the drainplug and tilt the container to empty out the oil into a jug or something. After that is done, replace the drainplug and put the top oil container back into place. Next, remove the bottom drain plug and empty out the oil. Clean the drainplug and any debris that the magnet may have trapped. Put a new crush washer on, and tighten the drainplug. Next, remove the front sprocket cover, and get ready to remove the oil filter cover which means to make sure and have your makeshift funnel ready. BMW will sell you the funnel for $65, but I opted for the beercan method (see photo above). Remove the old oil filter and replace with a new one (put a little fresh oil on the rubber seal first). Put a new gasket on the cover, and put it back together. Next put 2 liters of oil in the top, then let the engine run for 30 seconds. Add .3 more liters. Replace bash plate and side cover and you’re done. Easy peasy!
In addition to the oil change, I bled the brakes and put in some fresh DOT-4 brake fluid. Now the brake action feels a lot more solid.
So I decided to go on a nice long ride this past weekend and visit (briefly) a few states that I’ve never ridden in before. In fact, it was my first time ever to visit Arkansas and Oklahoma! You know, Texas is so huge that it takes quite a while to reach any border if you live in the center of it, which I do. However, I love long-distance riding and since I had two days free I figured I would do it!
My route took me east on Hwy 79, and actually continued the length of it into Louisiana. From there I continued north into Arkansas and to my stop for the night in Murfreesboro. The next morning it was off to the Ouachita National Forest and Oklahoma before heading back south and home again. All in all, I traveled about 1,040 miles, 30 of which were because I missed a turn off to Hwy 79 on the way back. Doh!
My favorite part of the ride was definitely the forest area in Arkansas and Oklahoma, and Talimena Scenic Drive in particular. There were lots of nice vistas and plenty of clean air and I wish I could have spent more time there. And the riding around there was super! Lots of twisties and elevation changes to keep things fun. Not everything went smoothly, though, but at least it was nothing major. The USB to cigarette lighter adapter connection came loose and wouldn’t stay tight which meant I couldn’t have my GPS running all the time. I blame that for my 30 mile detour. I have batteries in the GPS, but they ran out of juice quickly. Secondly, one of my earpieces on my earbuds went out which meant no music on the way home. Lastly, when I arrived home I dropped my bike in the driveway. Ouch! I bent the handguard and the bike suffered a few scratches (adds character to a GS) but no real damage. I did manage to lift the bike up on my own so at least I know I can do that.
At any rate, it was a really fun trip and I can now put on three more state stickers on the bike! I’m up to five: Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.