Friday, July 29, 2011

Trip Starts After More Delays!

My “big trip” vacation motorcycle road trip was supposed to start a few weeks ago, but things kept getting in the way. First, the sewer backup. Then the throttle cables on the BMW.

For the past few days I have been in North Dakota. I rode the R1150GS up and my wife drove. We stayed in Steele, ND to attend a funeral. It was rather sudden.

OK Motel in Steele, ND - GS and WRX

The cemetery was in Mandan, ND (which is west of Bismarck). Here are some photos of the Missouri River valley. Not all of ND is flat as you can see, but most of it is!

Missouri River Valley Near Mandan, ND Missouri River Valley Near Mandan, ND

This morning, I woke up early and prepared to set off. I loaded up all the bags, and starting putting them on the bike. I began my pre-ride ritual, and noticed a puddle under the front tire. Oh no, not again I thought. I had recently changed the front fork seals, so I was happy to see it wasn’t them again.

puddle under BMW

Instead, I found the source of the fluid. It was brake fluid leaking out of the front brake line. Some of it was on the alternator belt cover, so it likely happened on the ride home yesterday. I’m glad it didn’t fail on the road. It was almost 1,000 miles round trip in the last three days.

leaky brake line on BMW

I called around, none of the local BMW dealers had the part in stock which meant a 3-4 day delay. After a brief discussion with my better-half, I decided to take the SV650 instead.

sv650 loaded up

The seat, gas tank, and alternator make the BMW very appealing. I prefer riding the SV more, and the bags are easier to deal with. Since I will be skipping Canada on this now shortened trip, the big gas tank isn’t as much of an issue.

The new plan is to ride east to Maine, and then follow the coast down to DE. I’ll then cut into PA and OH on my way home.

I guess it was lucky I just put new chain,sprocket, and tire on the SV.


  1. Have a great trip. Glad you are finally going to make it out. Hope you can find some wonderfully cool weather.

    The alternator on the R1150GS is more appealing?

  2. Chris:

    glad you are finally on your way. sometimes I wished I had a "spare" bike . You won't need extra alternator capacity this time of year but you may miss the larger gas tank

    safe travels
    Riding the Wet Coast

  3. A lovely and safe trip. Smaller tank shouldn't be an issue if you don't go too far out.

  4. RichardM: It was great to finally start. I can't believe how many things went wrong this month. amazing. My mesh kept me cool. The bank signs said 90F, but I wasn't overly warm. Didn't even open the visor at the stoplights.

    I wrote alternator in a rush, what I meant was electrical system. I have extra lights, multiple power outlets, and plenty of power to run it all. Charge my GPS, camera, phone, and laptop all while riding.

    Bob: multiple bikes are handy. it's just money, go get yourself another one ;) haha

    not so much the alternator as the other electrical goodies, see the above response to richardm about charging.

    Keith: yay!

    Dom: Thanks Dom! It was great to just ride in a direction until I was too tired to ride anymore.

    SonjaM: Smaller tank should work fine since I'm skipping Canada. Felt great to get out and ride. The sunset on Chicago was brilliant. (no photo though...)

  5. You seem to have had some stinking luck recently. I hope the trip breaks that and you have a great time.

  6. Gary: you could say that I've had some poor luck. I also hope the trip breaks the streak.

  7. I have just swopped my brake lines for nice stainless steel braided jobs.

    Now the brake discs need changing!

  8. Nikos: mostly ditto. I ordered Spiegler stainless lines. I was able to order replacements for the front, rear, and clutch for less than the three front cables. should have them soon, so I can get the beast back on the road.