Friday, August 01, 2014

Post office encounter


Approaching the post office on the K75S this morning, I noticed a pickup truck with camper shell pulling into the parking lot through the exit, which is clearly marked “DO NOT ENTER.”

I parked a couple of spaces to the left as the driver opened his door and looked around like a deer in the headlights while his passenger, a grizzled looking little guy went inside to check a box.

When I emerged with my mail, the driver asked, “Whut kind of motorsickle is that?”

“It’s a BMW.”

“B and W?”

“BMW – like the cars – only they’ve been making motorcycles longer than they’ve made cars. The first was in 1923, so were coming up on 100 years,” I said, hammering home the point that he hasn’t been paying attention.

“Well, I don’t think I ever seen one before,” he offered.

So ended my first exchange of the day with one of my fellow Arkansans.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How a bank ought to be

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Trailcam mystery


Something is triggering my side yard trail cam every afternoon a little before 5 p.m., but I can’t see anything out of place in any of the resulting photos.

Here’s the pattern of photos I found when I pulled the SD memory card yesterday:







4:49 p.m.

5:06 p.m.




4:50 p.m.

4:51 p.m.




4:48 p.m.

4:50 p.m.

4:52 p.m.

4:54 p.m


4:46 p.m.

4:50 p.m.

4:51 p.m.


Whatever it is, it took Sunday off.

I took a seat on the front porch with a good view of the area covered by the camera about 4:40 p.m. yesterday and sat quietly until about 5:15 p.m. hoping to see or hear what has been passing through the camera’s field of view with such remarkable regularity, but saw and heard nothing.

Time permitting, I’ll resume my surveillance this afternoon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rally wrapup

rally canopy

I finished my post-rally chores this morning, consisting of repacking my tent and air mattress that I laid out to dry yesterday afternoon. I had to pack them wet when I left the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Sunday morning because the ground cloth of my tent captured some water from Friday morning’s rain.

I found my original air mattress inflator right where I left it on my dresser. Now I have two of them, having purchased a new, more powerful unit at the rally.

Here’s an evening photo I shot of some of our bikes parked and covered in front of the canopy that was the centerpiece of our club campsite on the north end of the fairground.

charlie r1201My Jonesboro friend Charlie Parsons entered his 1939 BMW R12 in the Vintage Bike competition and won first place in his division.

The bike is for sale for $23,500 if anyone is interested. You can email him at I’d buy it in a heartbeat if I could afford it and had room for it.

charlie r1202

I spent Monday night at the Hannibal, Mo., Motel 6, parking next to an R1200RT ridden by Jim Minton, an 80-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran from Cape Girardeau, Mo.

rally jim minton

We swapped travel stories over dinner at the restaurant next door to the motel. Jim did multiple tours in Viet Nam.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Home again, home again

2014 moa rally pin

This morning began with some hiccups in my riding routine, but everything ended well and I made it home from Hannibal, Mo. without serious mishap.

I awoke about 6 a.m., checked the distance to St. Louis from the Hannibal Motel 6 and realized that a departure before 7 a.m. would put me in the middle of the St. Louis morning rush hour.

So I went to breakfast at the restaurant next door and took my time about packing and loading the bike. I was all ready to ride when, seconds after closing the door to Room 110 and leaving my card key on the sink, I realized I’d left my helmet inside. No problem, said the clerk as she gave me another card key to recover my lid.

Moments after I got out onto U.S. 61, I discovered my Garmin Zumo 550 display was frozen and unresponsive to the buttons. I stopped to fuel up a couple of miles down the road and tinkered with it, removing it from its cradle and power source, but to no avail.

So what do you do when you’re trying to skirt the edges of one of the nation’s bigger cities without a GPS or a map? Out comes the iPhone to chart the way home – U.S. 61 to I-64 to I-270 to I-55 to U.S. 67 to Corning, Ark. which is a hop, skip and a jump from home. I repeated the sequence to myself for several minutes as I rode south without the benefit of Miss Garmin’s directions or SiriusXM entertainment.

I was suddenly back to old school touring with just my thoughts to entertain me and it was in this windy silence that I chewed on the problem of a frozen GPS display. And then it struck me: reboot it by removing and replacing the battery.

I stopped 63 miles down the road at Troy, Mo. to examine the GPS and found that none of my pocket knives or my BMW tool kit had a #8 torx screwdriver to remove the battery. Then I noticed an Auto Zone store a couple of blocks away from the gas station where I was parked.

I cruised over to Auto Zone, showed the GPS to the woman at the counter and eventually found the right torx tool to remove the battery. When I replaced it and pushed the on/off button, the GPS booted just like new and I was back in business. But just in case, I invested in a small set of torx drivers that will live in my saddlebag should Miss Garmin have another seizure.

Problem solved for $11 and change.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and the temperature never rose above the low 80s. I gassed a final time at the “Dirt Cheap” Phillips 66 in Deloge, Mo., had a quick McDonald’s lunch next door and rode on home, arriving at 2:16 p.m.

Total mileage for the trip: 1,554 miles.

FYI: this was my 21st BMW MOA National Rally.

Attendance was 5,866.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday morning rally report

moa internet

Here I am at the Internet Cafe where the phone recharging, Wifi and bananas are free, although a donation is appreciated.

I made the mistake of eating too much too late last evening and paid the price with brutal indigestion about 2 a.m. That, plus the high humidity and lack of a breeze made for a long, uncomfortable night. I didn’t get to sleep properly until I peeled back the rain fly on my tent to let the heat and humidity escape.

I was up with the sun about 6 a.m., chatted with Charlie at the coffee stand he runs and had some interesting conversations with interesting riders from Dallas, Paducah, and British Columbia.

Yesterday was overcast, which kept my tank bag solar panel from properly charging the storage module that, in turn, charges my iPhone, so I grabbed my netbook and iPhone charging cord and headed for the MOA Building.

I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with the rest of the day, except to say that I have no plans to leave the Fairgrounds.

Charlie graciously agreed to haul my waterproof bag full of camping stuff home in his trailer, so I can made the ride back to Arkansas unencumbered.

gs giants

I spent a few minutes watching people struggle with rudimentary off-road maneuvers on the GS Giants course and concluded there are a lot of GS riders who should never leave the pavement.

I’d like to think I still have enough of my dirt skills from trail riding courses in the 1980s to show these kids how it’s done, at least on a 650 GS. Doing this stuff on a 1200 GS is like trying to get an elephant to climb a ladder.

Friday, July 25, 2014