Great report! Enjoy every one of your adventures.
Your GS is my dream bike.
One of these days..........
I love my GS.....But I just haven't been riding it lately. The truth is I'm spending most weekends at the motocross park with my Suzuki Rm-Z250 and on the few dual-sport rides I attend, I'm usually riding my unstoppable Yamaha TW-200.
So I ask myself: Should I sell it? I could get 2 used Orange woods-weapons and a spare RM-Z for the cash I'd get for my GS. It has only 5332 miles on it. 5332 Miles:cry Most of the guys in the club do that kind of mileage in an average month. I bought the bike in late '09; It's hardly broken in. This kind of dialog goes through my head every time I enter my garage.
I drank the Kool-aid back in early 2009 when I saw the first yellow and black F800GS and fell in love. I needed that bike! I had a crush on that mid-sized GS like it was a woman. So much so, that I spent $2300 to attend the Rawhyde BMW Off-Road Acadamy aboard one. (Rawhyde Advetures Rider Training and Base Camp Alpha Trip 11/6 - ADVrider) Long story short; although it was an epic adventure, I ended up hating the wasp colored F800. It was too damn tall! I was disappointed in it's overall off-roadability and it was buzzy as hell on the highway. The Rawhyde experience completely sold me on the R1200GS which I purchased shortly after.......But not very much adventure riding has ensued since.
D texted me a few weeks ago asking if I'd like to go on the Puppy Dog Rally, a fun and easy, nearly all dirt road ride that meandered down through the whole state of Vermont, sponsored by the MOV of Vermont. It sounded great but it was much longer than any ride I have been on in many years. It would be a 900 mile round trip journey for me with a few hundred miles of dirt roads. "Talk me into it please" I asked D. "I've got just a few hundred miles on the bike all last year" After he told me a few white lies, I agreed.
The heavy layers of dust on both the GS and my Aerostich Roadcrafter were embarrassing, but after giving the bike a good wash and the black one-piece suit a good vacuum, I wasn't looking too shabby. A quick 15 mile shakedown ride on Wednesday fully loaded helped with my confidence.
I fired up the Beemer at 6:30am on Friday morning and looked at my gas gauge. It was showing a little more than a half tank and 152 miles until empty. I was Meeting D, Ram and John at Irving Farm Coffee House in Millerton NY at 8:30 which was 77 miles from my driveway. I decided to get fuel up there. Bad move number 1.
Despite my early departure, and uneventful, traffic-free ride, I was the last one to Arrive. I gobbled down a delicious breakfast sandwich and downed a cup of coffee while we discussed our trip. Ram was just going to stay with us until Rutland VT and then peel off to the Americade rally also this weekend. John's plan was to stay with us in Newport VT Friday night, ride all day Saturday, stay in a hotel in Rutland Saturday night and head home first thing Sunday.
As soon as we left Millerton, I knew I should have gotten gas, but my trip computer showed 51 miles until empty. I figured we'd hit a gas station in just a few miles as we were going to stay on Rt 22 for awhile. Less than a mile later I ran out of gas.
It had been along time since I had siphoned gas and I was out of practice. I inhaled so much gasoline vapor, it felt like I did a few shots of Patrone. "I just shamed you on Facebook" D proudly told me. Great. I felt awful but everybody was cool about it and I was incredibly lucky that John had a siphon hose at all.
We took a beautiful 2 lane route up through Vermont until Rutland. While the scenery was stunning, it was quite cool. Despite my one-piece suit and large handguards, I had to turn on my heated grips to stay warm for most of the ride. The lunch stop was at the Yellow Deli; a kind of Hippie'ish place
It turns out they are part of a religious cult About Us | The Twelve Tribes :huh
Ram said goodbye to us and headed off to Harley Land while D, John and myself hit the dirt roads and meandered north toward the Canadian border. We decided to air down a couple of pounds in the tires which helped quite a bit, even if it was only a placebo effect. True to his word, the roads were hard-packed and well maintained......For awhile. And then stretches of less maintained dirt roads with high grass in the middle and small ruts and rocks appeared. But it was all good and even John who had never ridden his GS off road was having a blast.
We had already been riding more than 12 hours and it was getting late when we hit what was later to be called the "Hero Section". It started off with just a little mud when John gave his GS Adventure a little too much right-wrist and did a spectacular 180 degree spin and dropped it. I was following close behind and narrowly avoided running into him.
John is a high-mileage ,highly skilled street rider, but I could tell by the way he was acting, he doesn't drop his bike very often. "John relax and take your helmet off" I told him. "I'm going to pull over here and help you" as I was getting off the bike John said "Let me give you a hand" As I was declining his help, my GS decided to fall as I couldn't touch the ground! "I told you to let me help you!" he scolded. "Rule number 1, get a picture!" I said
While John and I were righting both machines, D appeared walking toward us without his bike. "What happened?" he asked. As we recanted the story and pushed John's bike back so he could remount, I noticed D was about to back into what I thought was barbed wire....I shouted "D, watch that wire!" D made a sound that I never heard come out of him or any human before....a kind of a bellow...as His face contorted, I couldn't imagine that slight caress of barbed wire would cause so much discomfort. Ahh! Because it was an electric fence!
It gets a little rocky up there D told me after recovering from his shock; his smile telling me this was a gross understatement. I groaned. "How far until it gets better? "Just a half mile" I felt better. I could deal with a half mile. But D has a habit of lying
I jumped on my bike, threw it in first and got moving. D's R1100GS was parked about 100yds away at the beginning of a long, rutted, rocky downhill section and as I passed his parked bike, I knew I had to get in off-road-mode. Unfortunately I had forgotten to turn off the ABS (again!) and sent myself on a wild descent, rocks bouncing of the skid plate and bottoms of my shoes (practically sneakers), ABS chattering away as the only way to regain control was to add power. True to his word, D was right, it was only a 1/2 mile until a well maintained dirt road.
I was slightly shaking as my 600lb+ fully loaded bike (with bald street tires), rolled to a stop at the intersection. I was getting worried about John. Even before D pulled alongside me, I could hear John's horn blaring. "WE'RE COMING JOHN!" I yelled as we ambled up the hill. "We might be here awhile" I told D. "What are you talking about? He can practically see the bottom from there!" "He's not used to this, he could easily crash 4 more times before it's over." "If that happens, Ill ride it down" D said
I was feeling hot for the first time all day on the 1/4 mile walk up the steep rocky hill to retrieve John. He had another minor tip over and we righted him trying to instill confidence. "Stay left when the road becomes off-camber, if you stay right you'll....." He wasn't listening at all. D and I got him moving again and as we walked down behind him listening for trouble.......RRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. we heard a minute later as John's rear wheel broke free and the big Adventure GS hit the soft ground one more time. "Somebody take my bike down please?, I'm done!" John said unhurt. "D, take it down" I said. "I'll grab your helmet" While I was getting his helmet, D just up and walked the bike the last few rock strewn yards; and we took a short break.
"What do you say we just go straight there? It's gonna be dark soon" We had 39 miles to go of dirt roads and I was pretty done as was John........ D? He could have gone another 4 hours if the daylight would last that long. "OK" D relented sounding disappointed. While that was the worst part we would encounter, there was another section we would hit before the end of the day that had a pucker factor of 5 but we all made it through unscathed.
We arrived at the Bed and Breakfast about 8pm which was a shame. It was SO nice! I wish we could have gotten there earlier to take in the beauty. We still had to unload and go to dinner and it was already getting dark.
Jim and Sui who are riding with us Saturday and Sunday were already at the Bed and Breakfast when we arrived. They got a late start and took an all freeway route. We introduced ourselves and remounted our bikes for the short ride to Dinner. We ate at a nice but pricey restaurant who's name escapes me. I had the Wild Boar Papardelle which was just OK. As we left the restaurant I said "I gotta get gas, which way?" "Everything's closed" D said. "Really?" After all I did already run out of gas once. Everyone assured me I'd be more than fine and I really didn't have a choice............I ran out of gas 100 yards from the Bed and Breakfast......On a hill...... John broke out his Siphon hose for the second time today and offered me some of his gas. Oddly enough the Adventure (and Sui's F700GS) had some kind of anti-siphoning device as I was only able to suck gas from D's older GS and Jim's Triumph Tiger......I manage to pour 2 cup's of fuel in my tank and I make the final 300 feet to the hotel, my whole upper respiratory tract stinging with high test from the siphoning experience. After falling into my room I notice, there is no phone service but the place has wireless internet. It's encrypted. :eek1 I text D "Do you have the wireless password" The text comes back NO SERVICE Duh! I was too tired to do anything but sleep. It was 11pm and I was out like a light.
I allowed myself to sleep until 6am despite the unusually strong sun at 5. I enjoyed a long shower and took my time packing up my stuff. It was going to be a long day. Breakfast was fantastic. While I passed on the French Toast, the home made muffins and sausage more than made up for it. I rarely eat this early but I couldn't resist those muffins!
After breakfast D announced that we should take the private road north a 1/4 mile for some scenic pictures. "D, I'm out of gas! I only put a cup and half of gas in!" "You'll be fine!" he told me....... It was pretty scenic up there
But..............I ran out of gas FOR A THIRD TIME about halfway to town. By now my siphoning skills were getting so good that I didn't even get a drop of gas or a bit of vapor in my mouth :1drink
We met up with the MOV group in just a short 15 minute ride down the road. Muriel Farrington, the legendary Motorcycle Owners Of Vermont president arrived just a few minutes before we did.
The majestic Ms. Farrington would be leading a scenic route today (just 160 miles of mostly well-maintained dirt roads) on which I enthusiastically volunteered to follow. Jim, Sui and John thought it was a good route as well. Sui (a naturally talented rider) had just 2 weekends of experience on her F700GS. John would later ask if I chose Muriel's ride because of Him. The truth was more selfish. I just wanted an easy day. Friday was way too long. D was definitely disappointed and was looking to do an additional 75 miles on his route, but he would reluctantly stick with us until lunch.
While we chugged along at 35-45 MPH on the incredibly scenic dirt roads, I was blown away by the sights and smells of the ride. The scent of cattle and honeysuckle, fresh cut wood and campfire smoke permeated the fresh spring air. The rolling hills, covered bridges and majestic mountains in the distance will be etched in my mind forever.
We stooped for lunch around 12 at a General Store known for it's Male Nude Calendar......Oh Muriel!... D would leave here to pursue another route which included more miles and a section called "The Devil's Washbowl"
While the ride was a tad slower than some may have liked, I was never bored and was thrilled to arrive at the Silver Lake Campground in Bernard Vt at just 4:30pm, only 7 1/2 hours after leaving Newport that morning. As soon as we entered the campsite I immediately rode up to the, seemingly empty campsite I had stayed at with D in September. It was also the Park Volunteer Campsite. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that I had about 10 bikes behind me that had no idea what I was doing or what to do. I looked down upon the many confused Beemers following me, re-mounted and went back and regained my position and continued through the campground. I was told we could only take a campsite if it had an MOV sign and I didn't see even one sign..........So, I went back to the Park Volunteer spot and parked.
D came up a few minutes later "D! What's up?" He regaled me with fast-paced dirt-road stories with his bike briefly leaving the ground while his Boxer twin would over-rev......"We can't camp here" D told me. "It's the Park Volunteer campsite". "Well where is he?" I told him. "It's late and we're leaving early. I'll volunteer for anything they want. How about a sing-along? Guitar lessons?" "I'll get us a spot" D said as he rolled out of the campsite. One of the old-timers at the campsite next door came over to check out my bike and BS a bit. "You should go ask if you can stay here....Nobody EVER camps here" he told me. He also told me about his no-good son-in-law who left his daughter for a 20 year old! After we talked a bit, I walked over to the Entrance and chatted up Martin....a junior Ranger (I noticed his name-tag) So I told him my tale of woe, that I had unloaded and set up camp on the Park Volunteer Campsite....It was touch and go for awhile. D came up behind me and told me there were no spots that he could see. "Martin you gotta help me!" I pleaded. After a $16 donation and more pleading, Martin allowed me to camp in the Park Volunteer Designated Campsite. in fact I WAS the Park Volunteer!
John said his goodbye's as he headed into Rutland, nearly an hours ride to the south west, but Sui and Jim (who were staying at a B&B nearby) would be meeting D and I for dinner at a Thai restaurant in Woodstock about 20 minutes away.
"I'm getting an all-dirt route to the restaurant" D told me. "You think I'm kidding right?" I didn't. In fairness to D, at least half the roads around here are dirt. It would be nearly impossible to find an all-asphalt route to Woodstock......Around 5:30pm, D and I headed over to Woodstock. The route was perfectly fine, but road-fatigue was starting to set in and I began to lag behind. As we share these narrow dirt roads with cars, I was seeing an SUV around every blind curve in the early evening shadows....On top of that, I had taken the metal boxes off the bike and left them at the campsite thinking the GS would perform better without them, but removing almost 100lbs of gear made the bike ride about 2" higher with a completely different feel and not in a good way. A few minutes into the trip my trip computer flashed LAMPF! WTF is that? I wondered at the flashing warning. "D, is my headlight on" I asked. "Uh....No, not really" D said. My main headlight bulb had burnt out. "Just keep your brights on and you'll be fine D told me. Great.....I was happy to finally get to Woodstock and apologized for not keeping up.
We had a very nice dinner at a Thai Restaurant that D recommended. (I had the Pad Thai Spicy Beef no Egg) that was also very reasonable. It was just the 4 of us now, D, Jim, Sui and myself. Afterward, we walked across the street, grabbed a coffee and had a nice stroll until our coffees were consumed and we went our separate ways for the night. Jim and Sui were staying right in Woodstock at another bed and breakfast. We agreed to meet at the Barnard General Store at 9am and said goodnight. While D did try and find an all-asphalt way back, he was unsuccessful, but his bottles of beer he purchased in Woodstock survived intact.
We were finally able to relax when we parked our bikes at the Park Volunteer campsite. There didn't seem to be any volunteer work to do, so I opened a bottle of Chasing Lion Cabernet I had brought from home, poured a glass and headed over to try and find our group. there were just a few stragglers and no campfire. The party broke up shortly after our arrival and D and I went back to the campsite, laughing and BSing until the Ranger came over and told us to be quiet around 10:30pm. I was dead to the world 20 minutes later.Sunday MorningI got up early and felt quite rested. I packed up my tent and gear and took a nice hot shower. There was a nice hot breakfast waiting for us at the MOV pavilion down by the lake. The coffee and pancakes were awesome! D and I were packed up and decided to head down to the General Store a bit early
We had about 45 minutes to kill, so I had some more food, jumped on the WiFi, updated my social networks and got some gas before Jim and Sui arrived.
D had a 165 mile all-dirt route planned for the 4 of us to the MA border, but I needed to hit the highway by 2pm as I could not risk riding after dark with just high-beams. I offered to ride sweep and soon we were off! D first, Sui, Jim and then me. I had hoped that having Sui directly behind D might temper his aggressive riding style, but Sui probably did a better job of keeping up with him than I would have.
The route was very similar to Saturday and just as scenic, but tighter, with more switchback turns. I had to stand and feather the clutch a bit more often to keep the nearly-bald rear tire from breaking loose on the steeper grades.
We had crossed a bunch of covered bridges, maybe 6 or 7, all beautiful, but I will remember the last one the most. Riding sweep, I was the final rider to enter that particular covered bridge about noon on Sunday. I should have been paying more attention. There were 6" spaces between the sections of floor boards, filled with sand; almost invisible from view. My front wheel dropped in one of the spaces about halfway through the tunnel. As I tried to get the front wheel back on the board, I immediately low-sided and slid 10-15 feet on the wood and sand. The engine-bars and aluminum side-cases kept any part of me from touching the ground and neither I nor the bike was harmed. I had the urge to immediately pick up the bike and pretend it didn't happen but I decided to wait for help. As I was walking to the end of the bridge to look for my crew, another GS came through and didn't even stop:eek1 Karma is a bitch! I know I'm not the first bike to get bitten by that bridge!
These tank-bars are money well spent! Jim ran over as soon as he saw what happened and immediately picked up my bike before I could even help him! If I had any kind of an ego it would have been bruised, but I don't. "Thanks man!!" I said re-mounting the GS. Aside from having to wrestle the right side mirror back on, the bike was fine.
The next hour and a half was beautiful but uneventful. We stopped for lunch one last time before I would hit the road. We gassed up a few yards down the street at a bizarre un-manned Gas Kiosk that took only credit cards. It had a dial-up modem and you had to put in exact monetary amounts even if you didn't need that much. D, showed me where to go to hit Interstate 91 and said my goodbyes.
It was pretty hot by now and it was the first time I was regretting the one-piece Roadcrafter suit. I stopped every 100 miles for gas and a stretch. At my last stop, just 8 or 9 miles from home, a thin layer of silt covering both the bike and myself from the endless dirt roads, a large group of Harleys, in full pirate regalia came rumbling into the rest area. A large bearded rider filling up next to me asked me smiling "Where you coming from brother?" He could see the road fatigue on my face as well as I could see it on his. We BS'd for a bit about our weekends, with much mutual respect. We had very different weekends but similar mileage. As we continued to bond, a woman stuck her head out of her car window and said to me "Are you getting gas or what??" We both turned to stare at her as she backed up and got into a different line.
I got home at 6pm and tried to watch the Lucus Oil Pro Motocross race I DVR'd Saturday. I was asleep seconds after the gate dropped on the 1st 450 moto.
I'm going to keep my GS for awhile :-D
Last edited by 5chord; 06-12-2014 at 04:53 PM.
Great report! Enjoy every one of your adventures.
Your GS is my dream bike.
One of these days..........
Nice report! I know Muriel too!
Go like hell, You'll get there quicker!
2005 BMWR12GS Rock Red 106k miles
2013 TW200 - 8k- miles
2018 X-MAX - 6k- miles
Thanks for the report and beautiful pics! Good to hear from you again.
My handle is B-dub, I ride a T-dub, and drive a V-dub.
Thanks for the ride report, I love my 1150GSA. Put the Continental TKC's on and it completely changes the bike. They are great off-road and are very good on the highway and wet weather. I commute on my GS everyday and swear by the TKC's. The only problem is that I only get about 4,000 miles out of the rear but its a fair trade off.
Unfortunately, with the kind of mileage I've been putting on the Beemer, a set should last me 5 years:-)