Saturday, October 03, 2015

An abbreviated BMW RA Rally


Where have I been?

Harrison, Ark. for the BMW RA Rally. I pre-registered in July at the BMW MOA Rally in Billings, Mont. It seemed like a good idea, being in the Ozarks and all and I expected to see lots of my Indianapolis BMW Club friends there.


2015RA03I was one of only seven Indy folks in attendance – two couples who were staying in motels and a couple of guys who ride GS bikes and like to bash around on fire trails and gravel.

The weather was good – chilly, but sunny. I studied the forecast and chose my equipment well. The heavy-duty Browning sleeping bag was just right for Thursday and Friday nights when the temperature dropped into the mid-40s. Friday morning’s low was 45° and this morning’s low was 47°.

I didn’t go on any rides because I was more into hanging out. Unfortunately, this rally wasn’t much for hanging out and socializing.

2015RA01The most adventurous thing I did was add another stamp to my National Parks Passport when I discovered I was camped within two miles of the Buffalo National River offices. I think it’s the first stamp I’ve added in a couple of years. I carried the passport to Billings, but never bothered to look for stamp opportunities.

My Willis & Geiger Diaplex windstopper pullover turned out to be the perfect all-around comfort garment for chilly evenings and cool motorcycle rides.

I decided I’d had enough boredom this morning and struck camp. I was on the road a little after 11 a.m. under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s. But somewhere east of Mountain Home, the mercury began dropping and the sky clouded up. I was reasonably comfortable except for my hands. Somewhere west of Hardy, I pulled over and put windstopper glove liners into my gloves, which seemed to help along with the heated grips.

I rolled into my garage about 2:45 p.m. and thawed out with a hot shower.

I think most of my rally-going Indianapolis friends chose to skip the RA rally this weekend and, instead, go to the Falling Leaf Rally next weekend in Potosi, Mo. I have to pass on that one because I’ll be dog-sitting.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It’s a miracle!

win10 works

I had pretty much resigned myself to not having full functionality in my free install of Windows 10.

Then everything slowed down and finally my screen went black and unresponsive.

Filled with trepidation, I did a hard reboot of my computer – the first complete reboot since I installed Windows 10 a week or so ago.

Then, wonder of wonders, I started seeing things that I had only seen on other people’s Windows 10 computers and can now say with reasonable confidence that everything that wasn’t working is working now.

Even Cortana, the “personal assistant” who responds to my voice commands via the microphone in my web cam.

Where have all the paper funnels gone?

yellow funnel

Riding home from Billings, Mont. last July, I stopped for gas at a Kum & Go station in Elk Point, S.D and finally got around to checking my oil sight glass.

I found there was no oil showing. Fortunately, I had an unopened quart of BMW motor oil. Unfortunately, the paper funnels I stashed under the seat years ago fell apart because the glue was cooked and dried out. Fortunately, the clerk had a couple of paper funnels, one of which worked perfectly.

I had a little time on my hands this afternoon and decided to ride to an auto parts store and buy some fresh paper funnels.

I got the deer-in-the-headlights treatment at Auto Zone. The counter guy at O’Reilly Auto Parts said he thought they had some back with the plastic funnels next to the motor oil.

They did not.

I was in no mood to ride deeper into town to see if Advance Auto Parts had them, so I just bought a $1.49 yellow plastic funnel and resolved to look for paper funnels online.

Likewise, Academy Sports and Outdoors, which sells tents and camping gear, does not have tent guylines or tighteners.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adios, iPhone 5

my iphone 5 on ebay

My faithful 43GB iPhone 5 went into service on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 and was finally replaced yesterday with a 64GB iPhone 6.

I wiped the memory clean this morning, photographed it with my new phone and listed it on Ebay, along with the Otterbox Defender case that kept it in pristine condition for nearly three years.

Monday, September 28, 2015

New iPhones

iphone 5 6

The new iPhone 6s became available last Friday, which means the price of the remaining examples of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus dropped by $100.

Maria and I went to the Sprint store on her lunch hour expecting to be in and out with new phones in short order.

We were out of there sooner than expected because the two young women working there insisted that the low cost of new phones by signing a new two-year contract was no longer available. The only way we could get new phones would be to pay insanely high prices up front or agree to add about $70 a month to our already exorbitant monthly bill for two years.

We had more questions than they had answers, so we drove across the street to the Best Buy store where a helpful Air Force veteran named Randal told us, yes, Sprint is phasing out the two-year contract deal.

But, he discovered, it’s not quite gone and he signed us up and gave us the deal we’d wanted. Maria got a 16GB iPhone 6 and I got a 64GB iPhone 6. Yes, the iPhone 6s is cool, but not that cool to us.

The iPhone 5 is on the left and the iPhone 6 is on the right in the photo above.

Friday, September 25, 2015

They’re back!


My in-ear monitors are back from being repaired and I’m a happy camper.

They are custom molded earplugs with stereo speakers and they take the tedium out of long motorcycle rides, especially on Interstates.

They were made for me in the summer of 2002 by Miami audiologist Marilyn Navia at the BMW RA Rally in Red River, N.M. (see photo below.)

Marilyn has repaired they a few times in the intervening 13 years when I clumsily yanked a wire loose. I had her upgrade them to dual drivers last winter.

The right speaker went wonky on me riding to Billings, Mont. in July. I showed them to Marilyn at the BMW MOA Rally in Billings and she asked me to send them to her in a couple of weeks when she got home from the rally circuit.

I did. She called a few weeks ago to say she was having trouble replicating the malfunction but would persevere. I guess she got it sorted out because she mailed them back to me this week.

Now I can ride to this year’s RA rally with SiriusXM satellite radio and the prompts of my Garmin Zumo 550.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

China? China??? Really?

guylineThe last rallies of the season are looming, so I ordered some fluorescent guy lines and some guy line tighteners from to help stabilize my Eureka! Tetragon 5 tent, should the weather turn windy.

Checking projected delivery dates, I see that both products are coming from freaking China and may not be here until somewhere between mid-October and November.

I went back and examined the listing and can’t find any clues about these having to come from the other side of the planet.

Unless they show up miraculously early, I foresee a trip to Academy Sporting Goods.

50 years ago today

Fifty years ago today, I raised my right hand at the Armed Forces Induction Center in Indianapolis and took this oath:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Then my fellow U.S. Air Force inductees and I were bused to Weir Cook Airport where we boarded a DC3 to fly to San Antonio, Texas, with stops in Shreveport, La., and Houston.

We arrived in San Antonio around 2 or 3 a.m. and were bused to Lackland Air Force Base where we were assigned to barracks organized into flights and squadrons.

I was in Flight 1499 of the 3703rd Basic Military Training Squadron.

And thus began my 41-day career in the Air Force, cut short by a medical discharge based on the results of tests at the allergy clinic at Wilford Hall Air Force Hospital.

Here’s what we looked like after a week or two of basic training.

Flight 1499, 3703rd BMTS, Lackland AFB, September-October, 1965Click the photo to see a larger version. That’s me in the red circle.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I’ve felt the first twinges of conjunctivitis (pinkeye) coming on for a few days now.

It prompted me to switch from contact lenses to glasses late yesterday, but it wasn’t any better when I woke up this morning, so I headed down to Clopton Clinic for 8:30 a.m. sick call.

The nurse practitioner concurred with my diagnosis and prescribed antibiotic eye drops – one every four hours for five days.

I wear my glasses only rarely and the transition from contacts to glasses always leaves me with a period of borderline dizziness – not enough to fall down, but enough to keep me off of a motorcycle.

It should clear up by the weekend.