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.

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