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Old 03-16-2004, 03:44 PM   #11
Rogue 1 OP
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Joined: Mar 2004
Location: New York City
Oddometer: 659
Part 4 (report 3) New and improved!

Greetings all!

And welcome to Trip Update # 3. A lot has happened since the last time we checked on our hero and the read is going to be long (reeeaall long). So long in fact, I'll be separating it into at least two parts. I apologize for keeping those of you who are truly interested waiting, it's not easy to do this on the road, and I apologize to those of you who don't really give a hoot for filling up your mailboxes with all this useless information. A few notes and such before we dive in.

As of Tuesday the 8th, having spoken to David at BMW Manhattan (covering for Steve), Steve Zizic is out of danger (after multiple surgeries). He still has a long road ahead of him and the outcome was at that time unknowable, please continue to keep him and his family in your prayers.

To all you great people I have met on the road that were kind enough to show interest in my tales, thanks and welcome aboard! To all the people who have helped me, bailed me out of tough situations and generally saved my ass so many different times, a thousand thanks! To all the BMW dealer employees/techs that have kept The Beast (who now sports a name, but we'll get to that later) on the road, many, many thanks!

So let us pick up where we left off...

Monday September 29th through Thursday October 2nd

...are spent getting The Beasts light system working properly and the GPS replaced as promised.

Lets nutshell it... with Steve Zizic out of the picture BMW Manhattan won't exchange the unit that their tech damaged by improperly wiring it! I can't say that this wasn't a real problem for me. I also can't say that I wasn't pissed off. I also can't say that I was surprised, I had a feeling this might happen.

In the end, we work it out. BMW will contact Garmin for a replacement unit and notify me on the road of the progress. Worst-case scenario, I will continue to use this GPS until the end of the trip and send it back to Garmin for replacement at that time, as I can't give it up for a week for the exchange. They find a problem with the wiring harness for the PIAA lights and get a new one overnighted for install (cost/no labor). The acting as service manager in Steves absence is trying very hard to help me within the confines of his situation and company policies. I am sorry for having to be such a hard case with him. I don't like myself as "That Guy."

My apologies David, I know it was a rough first day on the job.

Side Bar: I contact no one in NYC. I don't go to my apartment (that would be cheating), choosing instead to crash (among other things) in NJ at a friends place. This way, (at least in my mind) the Road Trip remains uninterrupted.

The friend in New Jersey... can ya blame me for the detour???

She even drives a BMW...

With the top down I can almost feel like the Beast isn't in the shop...

Friday October 3rd

The weather for the few days I was in the NY area was sunny and warm (highs in the 80s). In a word, perfect riding weather. On Friday morning (gray skies), the first raindrops fall as I swing my leg over The Beast. At this point, I almost find it comical. Once again I head out onto the road and into the storm. This time, however, without any rain pants at all, as I was wise enough to leave them at my sisters house in PA, where they will be safe and dry. (Pretty smart, hmm?) I have family in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (470 miles, yeah, this ones going to be a long/wet one), a full tank of gas and I intend to make a straight run on I80 West.

I have to put on my electric vest to fend off the cold. My jeans are soaked and my poor boots (I'll have to put these in a glass case if they survive this trip) are once again full of water (it's a strange and sickly feeling when your toes squish in your socks). 200 miles out, the rain lets up some and then completely.

The ride is uneventful except for a little gas scare. Pushing the 8-gallon tank, I skip a gas exit with 297 on the trip odometer (T.O.), 8 miles later, no gas at exit! ooops! I get back on 80, and I know I'm running on fumes. I draft behind a truck towards the next exit. With 316 miles showing on the T.O., I pull into a gas stop and pump 7.94 gallons, whew, that was as close as you can get.

Pennsylvania is a lot bigger than it looks when you are driving east to west across it. The sun peaks out for a while revealing cloud capped green mountains, rolling hills, rivers and valleys. This is cow country and you can smell the rain fresh air mixed with the scent of wet bovines and manure (and this is not necessarily a bad thing).

I reach the Ohio state line at 6:30 pm. The GPS tells me I have 70 miles to go to my Aunt and Uncles doorstep. Piece of cake you say? Yeah, sure, as I remount the bike the black clouds and high winds sweep in with a vengeance. Within 15 miles I'm being blown across the lanes and have to take my speed down to 40mph. Hairy, very hairy! Is rain supposed to fall sideways???

Apparently, I am being introduced to Lily, Isadores horny sister who wants a piece of my fine damp ass as well! Whoopee.

I make Cuyahoga Falls about 1.5 hours later, and find myself in the strip mall capitol of the world (who'd a thought?).

Every conceivable chain restaurant is here in one very condensed area. I smell The Outbacks Bloomin Onion before I see the restaurant. The whole area is a plethora of scents designed to incur salivation and obesity. As I make the final turn towards my destination, the MP3 player kicks into "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head", I can't help laughing at the irony.

Pull into my Uncles garage (thank God they had a garage) and out of the rain about 8pm. soaked more than ever before (if you can believe it) and say hi.

Aunt Bridie, thanks for the Sloppy Joes, they were great and just what I needed. Uncle Paul, what can I say, thanks for the beer and the massage chair. (J) Good too see you too Barbara, sorry I missed the rest. Out cold by 11pm.

Uncle Paul and yours truly

Saturday October 5th

Cold and cloudy. Up at 8:30, long needed sleep. Shower, no shampoo, because Uncle Paul doesn't need any! (lol, just ribbing you Paul). The Sloppy Joes are workin' it (I knew three was too many J). I stop for a healthy breakfast of 2 eggs, bacon and flap jacks. Gotta eat light, stay quick.

Just one of the classiest old houses I have ever seen (in not too hot a neighborhood outside Cleveland)

The original plan for today was a non-stop super slab to Chicago, IL. But as I entered Ohio last night the signs for Cleveland remind me of the "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame"... time for another detour. First a quick stop at Sills BMW for rain pants and a new starter switch. Mine has felt like it was going bad since I left BMW in NY.

No rain gear but Zack the service tech is quick to help out with the starter. He agrees that the solenoid switch feels like its going to fail (which we both find confusing on a bike thats less than a month old) but doesn't have the part in stock.

He tries to take a used one apart with no success and then opens mine up to see what is going on. What do you know? It's not broken! There is a small screw that is supposed to hold the back of the starter button in place missing... hmmm... how could that happen?

Apparently BMW of Manhattan forgot to replace it when they had it apart for the PIAA wiring harness. Zack says there would not have been a reason to remove that screw in the first place, if it went completely (and Zach said 2 days at best) I would have been stuck God knows where without a clue.

I decide I am going to leave this one alone.

Adrian just can't take his eyes off the Beast

I meet a nice guy with a K12RS, Adrian and his 2 year old son, looking at a GS ADV. Adrian wants to know how what I think of the bike... heh heh heh... to quote Ferris, if you have the means; I definitely recommend you acquire one!

I punch the name "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" into the GPS and like magic; it gives me the directions and guides me right to it. (Btw, the GPS has voice routing which is piped into my helmet with music via an on board intercom system. Tunes and guidance, all the toys)

I find closer parking...

35 miles to downtown Cleveland. Not a bad looking city. (Although the surrounding area is all industrial and train yards) Clean and bright as the sun has come out. I arrive at the Hall of Fame... beautiful building, right on the shore of Lake Eerie. I can't leave the Beast for security reasons and settle for a couple of pics outside. Down to the Lakeshore, Lake Eerie appears more like an ocean... jet skiers are zipping about and life is pretty cool.

Cleveland Brown Stadium and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...

Next stop, the Windy City, Chicago IL. (340 miles) I punch in the coordinates (heh heh) and head out.

Back onto I80 West out of Cleveland @ 3pm, the weather is sunny, a little cold, and the sky is big and blue. I cross the border into Indiana (farmland and cows, some hills).

I'm doing about 75 (the speed limit) and I am passed by a woman in a red sedan doing about 85, she has a hanger on, and a BMW X5, Black with NY plates passes me soon after... great, their my new bandits. I roll on and fall into step with them.

We all know whats going on and take the lead in turns. Fun and productive as for all intents and purposes, this is one hell of a boring ride. I lose them eventually in traffic. Later, the X5 is close again but we are out of our home state and without radar. I slow to take in the scenery (and so the guy in the X5 with the surfboard doesn't think I am following him).

Rolling hills and the sun is getting low. Magic hour makes the countryside all the more scenic.

A guy in a beat up blue compact doing about 90 passes me and the race is on again. 10 minutes later we pass the X5 and with a wave he is on our tail.

I'm approaching 190 miles without stopping and the gluteis are starting their protest. I stand on the pegs for a few miles and the blood returns to my lower middle. At 225 I can't take it any longer, pulling off onto the next Interstate service area. The Black X5 follows me.

I meet Kenny from Brooklyn, heading to Malibu CA. with his surfboard. Nice guy. Rides a K12LT and isn't happy with it.

I ask why and he says he had a Vmax previously. That's like switching from a funny car to a Winnebago! He says he would have ridden the bike but couldn't fit the board in the bags. My kinda guy.

I didn't ask him why he wasn't flying. We trade emails and take off separately. (Hey Ken! How were the waves?)

3500 miles to date...

Back on the road, 150 miles to Chicago. 90 miles out, pee break and I'm freezing. I start to think "hotel time". A quick call to my Chicago contacts, John and Andy, still no answer. 20 miles out I pull off to hunt for a room. The hottest spot in this industrial area appears to be the local bowling alley.

The GPS finds me a room for $35 at a motel next to an "All Nude" strip club (hmmm). After a moments reflection I decide to live large. It's Saturday night, I'm near the great city of Chicago... let's splurge and head on in to the big city and get to partying!

15 miles of steel mills, chemical plants, train yards and burning spires later (looks worse but smells better than Elizabeth, NJ). I am starting to think a night on the town was a mistake as I pass small oases of drab housing interspersed among the plants and factories.

More to follow....


Rogue 1 screwed with this post 08-11-2006 at 09:56 PM Reason: fix the damn bugs! PITA lol
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