Monday, May 23, 2016

How I spent my weekend

I spent the extended weekend (Thursday-Sunday morning) with about 30 of my Indianapolis BMW Club friends at the 18th annual European Riders Rally in Burkesville, Ky.

My Garmin Zumo 550 really really really wanted me to go via Memphis, but I really really really hate riding through that city and so I turned off the route mapping until I was across the Mississippi on U.S. 412 and well on my way to Jackson, Tenn. and I-40. I took I-40 to Nashville and let Garmin direct me north on I-65 until I ground to a halt at a miles-long traffic jam. I sweated and inched my way along for about 20 minutes before I realized the next exit was only 1.7 miles ahead. I took to the paved shoulder and cruised up to the Tenn. 52 exit and was soon headed east in very light traffic.

What should have been a pleasant ride turned hellish when I entered a yard sale zone about 40 miles long filled with drivers who weren't all that interested in moving briskly. I was cranky and frazzled by the time I got to the Burkesville City Park and the rally site, but I still had enough energy left to set up my big Eureka! tent (the exclamation point is part of the name) and trudge up to the courthouse square for a Subway dinner.

The next couple of days were characterized by rain, ranging from downpours to drizzles to mists, robbing me of any interest in riding anywhere, so I hung out with friends and caught up with their lives.

The Indianapolis BMW Club won the award for most members in attendance. I think we've won it for seven or eight consecutive years. The woman who coordinates the rally for the BMW Motorcycle Club of Nashville said last year that they wouldn't even have a rally if it weren't for the Indianapolis folks. As it was, we represented more than 10 percent of the total attendance.

I was one of the last to leave Sunday morning, taking my time to strike the tent and pack. I gassed at the Marathon station and, determined to avoid the Tenn. 52 yard sale hell, struck out south for a more direct route to I-40. Happily, Garmin agreed. At least for most of the route, still insisting on going through freaking Memphis instead of picking up U.S. 412 at Jackson. I was grateful not to be involved in the horrendous construction backup in the eastbound lanes just east of Nashville.

I stopped for a 99-cent Wendy's junior cheeseburger and gassed at a BP station west of Nashville. Somewhere around the 140 mile marker, I noticed my luggage rack load of tent, cheapo Walmart chair and sleeping bag had shifted badly. I determined the chair was the destabilizing element so I abandoned it next to the guardrail at an entrance ramp around mile marker 136.

I exited at Jackson and gassed again about 20 miles northwest of town where I slammed down a little bottle of 5-Hour Energy. Thus energized, I rode the remaining 118.3 miles home thoroughly enjoying XM-Sirius music on my enhanced (extra drivers) in-ear monitors.

I rode into my garage at 4:09 p.m.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Total riding time: 13:10
Average speed: 59.2 mph
Maximum speed: 95.1 mph
Total miles: 779.1

Friday, May 20, 2016

Rally pin of the day

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Validation of what we've always believed

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


This gender identity foolishness reminds me of a joke I heard years ago.

A first-grade teacher brought her dog to school and asked the class how to tell if it was a male or a female.

A girl raised her hand and offered, "Let's vote."

At least it used to be a joke.

Doesn't work and can cause cancer! How's that for a product from China?

I bought a package of this stuff in January and finally got around to opening and using it to repair sunglasses this afternoon.
Here's the review I wrote on

When you see more than half of the reviewers hate a product, you should consider yourself warned.
Unfortunately, I paid attention to the hype and not the reviews.

This product not only failed to perform as advertised - in this case to repair a pair of sunglasses - but came with instructions that are downright scary.
To quote from the Instruction Guide:

"WARNING! This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm."
"Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves
"Never look directly into the UV light. It can cause eye damage.
"Dispose of liquid material safely. DO NOT discharge into sewer or waterways.
"DO NOT allow clothing wet with material to stay in contact with skin.
"DO NOT allow wash water from cleaning or process equipment to enter drains"

I wish I'd never opened the package.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cheaper to replace than repair?

I got out my Poulan chainsaw yesterday to finish off the cedar tree stump when I discovered the sprocket that drives the chain had seized.

I dropped it off at a small engine repair shop down the road that charges $75 an hour. If the bill is significantly more, I will buy a new one for $111 and free shipping from Amazon and tell them to keep the old chainsaw.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy 15th anniversary to us!

Fifteen years ago this afternoon Maria and I stood under the Boone County Centennial Quilt in the rotunda of the Boone County Courthouse surrounded by friends and family and exchanged vows.

Boone County Clerk Lisa Garroffolo did the honors.

It was a spur of the moment decision and we bought my ring the evening before just before the jewelry store in Indianapolis closed.

Our reception was at a Lebanon ice cream stand that also had a playground, which prompted a young nephew to pronounce it the best wedding he'd ever attended.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bad bad starter relay

This is the original starter relay for my 2003 BMW K1200GT that developed an intermittent fault about eight years ago.

That's when I noticed I had to press the starter button multiple times before the starter would engage and fire the engine. In an effort to solve the problem I spent about $450 for a new right combo switch but the problem persisted.

Finally, when the bike refused to start after more than 150 button presses, Charlie Parsons and I hauled it up to Cape Girardeau and let the guys at Grass Roots BMW Motorcycles dig into it.

As I've blogged previously, they couldn't get a fully functional replacement part out of Germany, but were able to make do with a partially functional replacement and a clever workaround involving a jumper connection.