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Old 12-20-2010, 04:17 PM   #16
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Oct 2007
Oddometer: 180
More Power To YOU

It's not gonna make your trek any easier, but this New Yorker was hanging
on every letter of every word you wrote as well as the great photos to go along with the Report. And I'm a news photog by occupation.
There's lots of ride reports on this forum, but yours has the dignity of perseverence and courage, unmatched by most and a ring of truth not easily translated. Talking of smoking a blunt with night maidens in the French Quarter is the stuff of classic literature,.
I'm no pansy but you have real dedication to attempt what you ARE doing.
The rest of us are just hanging on like barnacles under the hull. I for one can't wait for the next installment. You are doing what many of us are just dreaming.
You Go Guy,
Queens, NY
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:23 PM   #17
Lost Rider OP
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Ventura County, California Republic
Oddometer: 3,239
I was cruising along on I-10 heading west totally content, watching the miles countdown on the Garmin 660 to the campground. 160, 150, 140...
It was around 55ºF and sunny, a real slice of paradise compared to the beginning of my journey, or Chicago in the last month for that matter.
So many things going through my head, mostly still wondering why I had left.
I mean, I knew why as I said, but there must be more to it?
I think it was the feeling trapped part that did it.
No, more so the jobs.
Why am I so selfish?


What the hell? (daydreaming, poof, gone)


Why is my ABS light on?


I knew why but didn't want to believe it.


So, it's not the battery.

Could I be wrong, maybe all the salt has messed with the sensors?.....

5 minutes go by.

10 minutes go by.

I then look down to see the gauges were off, and I had no signals once again.
There was no doubt something wrong in my charging system with this new found data.

Well, I decided it was best to keep moving towards Houston while I could, but eventually the bike started to sputter, luckily right as an exit was coming up..... I made it into yet another gas station right as the bike died.

This time I called Gulf Coast BMW, talked with Tammy and fully explained my situation, and my mileage.... she put me on hold "to see what she could do"....

It was around 3:00 PM.

She came back on to let me know that they were going to stay at the shop that closed at 6, with a tech, until I got there to sort me out and get me back on the road!
They were closed on Sunday and Monday, it is Saturday night.
I immediately knew I had gotten lucky and happened upon a great mom and pop BMW shop.
Being thoughtful and throughout she gave me her cell number so I could reach her after hours to coordinate.
I was also told how the bike won't make it all the way there with no charge happening, so the plan was to get a jump and continue on the best I could, then deal with the rest of the way when the time came.

The dealer might come get me if I'm close enough...

I might get on ADV regional forum to ask for help.

There's BMW roadside assistance, but with 47,000 miles on my 09' GS I'm way out of warranty...

What ever, I'll figure it out.

I'm about 200 miles from Houston.

Another kind soul helped me and I got the bike started, this time disconnecting the headlight to squeeze as many miles out of it as I could.

Getting back on the road I just hauled ass around 90mph, getting myself around 35 miles closer before she started to die, again, luckily I made it down a ramp and into a truck stop with my as of lately, usual, rolling in on a fancy, dirty, dead motorbike.

How totally uncool, kind of like when you trip on nothing and then quickly look around to see who was looking and now laughing....

This time I really had killed the battery, and no jump would help.
I was 165 miles from the dealer, too far for them to come get me, though she did offer a # for a tow service. Seeing as I'm unemployed, and on a very limited budget thought I'd explore other options before I paid big bucks for a long miles tow...

I was on my own.
Photography for me is not about recreating what I saw through
the viewfinder but to show people the way I want to see the world.
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:31 PM   #18
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Big Muddy and I-80
Oddometer: 7
Damn...sign me up for this ride!
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:24 PM   #19
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Location: Ventura County, California Republic
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OK, so I wasn't quite on my own...

I grabbed my laptop and went into the Loves Truck Stop, determined to get things rolling so to speak. It's times like this that I grow calm and get into Fix It mode - just like when shit hits the fan on a big rock show. Even though it was inconvenient, it's times like this that will be remembered, not the hollow miles I have ahead.

Paying the $4.95 for internet access I logged onto ADVrider and started writing out a post in the Texas regional forum, asking for help.

As I was getting closer to posting I started to think about my previous experience with BMW Roadside.... I mean, since the bike was dead how could the driver look at the mileage?
And even if he did would he know that 47,000 miles meant I was out of warranty?
But did I have an extended warranty?
Who knew?

What could happen?

I have to question The System, nor will I be afraid. No FOX News Fear Hear!

So right before I posted I called BMW Roadside (after I got the # from Ted @ A&S) and gave it a shot..... yes, here's my VIN #, yes it's a 2009 800GS, yes I'm in a safe location.... I've already arranged after hours service at Gulf Coast BMW, so that's where I need to go....

Yes ma'm

No ma'm

Yes, I'll hold ma'm.

Wonderful ma'm!!

OK, I'll be waiting.

Guy's Tow Service would be there in 45 minutes!


I closed the tab and just wandered around ADV for a half and hour, eating some deliciously gross Hardee's gut bomb burger ( my first meal today) when I got the call that Guy's was outside only 30 minutes later!

While waiting I noticed that I had fork oil all over my left boot, upon further inspection the oil was all over the fork and brakes.... great, but you'll have to get in line Mr. Oil leak, I have other things to worry about right now. Take a number and beat it!

The sun was setting quite nicely, it was warm, and I had a ride to dealer where I could get help! Tonight!

Turns out the drivers name was not actually Guy, but Will.
I learned quite a bit about Will, but for now I'll just mention he's actually just been a recover specialist for about a month now.
And didn't have the right the right kind of straps with him.
Hell of a nice guy though.

For some odd reason while I was packing some of my climbing gear was laying around and I grabbed a few 18" slings and some carabiners you might have noticed hanging on the Jesse's... Funny how things like that go down.
So between the two of us we got it loaded and secured.

Will and I got settled in for the 165 mile drive to Gulf Coast BMW.... after we stopped at his Yard to fill up for fuel, "but it's on the way" in a thick Louisiana accent with a smile on his face.

See, Will liked to talk, or at least it was nice having company in the Rig for a change. Since I didn't feel like sharing my story at the time this worked out and I just listened, nodded, and laughed at appropriate times.
You would have never know from the way he talked the talk that he was new at this, but he gave me a nice rundown of all the various jobs he had in his 28 years on this earth. It was actually quite interesting to hear, in between many phone calls from his 19 year old newly married wife.
"honey, baby, yeah that's fine, go ahead, yeah yeah yeah..... OK, hey I gotta go I'm drivin' here! Love you too.... bye baby".... and so on.

It was a quick cross section sample of a fellow American who's life couldn't be more different from my own. We both agreed we'd get along just fine over a beer too.

It was an enjoyable 2.5 hours for the most part, though the road was rough just like Will had said and I was bouncing all over the place without a air cushion seat like his.
I couldn't complain, considering, though this wasn't exactly the kind of entrance to Texas I had dreamed of while riding through the snow...

It was getting late, and my ETA was 9:30 PM, where Gulf Coast BMW's Owners, Manager's, and a Tech were standing by with a empty lift and a brand new F800GS on the lift next to it to be used for parts as need be.

I felt like a rock star racer getting swept into the sponsors pit to be serviced and pushed on my race west.

I get there, get the GS unloaded and hand her off to the tech.
Will and I say goodbye, and I end up tipping him $20... He had explained how he didn't really make squat on these car club runs, and after hearing his story I thought it would be the nice thing to do, especially if down the road there was a problem with them getting paid from BMW... Merry Xmas Will, it's not much but what I got for ya'.

I was greeted by a small group of people at the shop, all filled with smiles and positive energy... It didn't take long and I had a beer in my hand on top of it all!

OK, so down to business.
It was one of two things, the regulator (a $140 part), or the generator (a $850 part)

The tech hooked up the new fancy MOSS BMW computer, but was having issues since it needed the bike to be on to talk to it, of course.
I'll spare you the long version, but after swapping of parts and testing it was determined that it was indeed the $850 generator that needed replacing.

Gulf Coast BMW, being a kick ass dealer, had already been communicating with the regional BMW NA Rep about my case, pitching a very true and compelling story about why this should be a good will warranty part. Seeing as I put the last 15,000 miles in a matter of months, and after looking at the long list of problems this bike had experienced, it was hopeful that it could be covered.

But by all legal aspects BMW owes me nothing with this bike.

OK, so there's cheap motel's close by since the dealer is near the airport.... I had 2 days to kill..... and crossed my fingers since if I did need to pay for this $850 part plus labor it would be devastating to my wallet to say the least....

I'm just hoping for a ride to the hotel, but they weren't going to have that...
"You want a loaner bike?..."

well.... yes, yes I would.....

I said I'll put the bike on my insurance, made the call, bike was covered, done!

As we're walking through the showroom, with a big shit eatin' grin on my face, I pointed at the S1000RR and said that one would be fine...

They said don't push your luck!

How about this spankin' new 2011 R1200GS with the new DOHC Boxer?

Well, yes, that would do nicely!

I find myself at another motel with a brand new GS and a few days to kill... as why I took time to start this little story a my Winter Madness Ride.

We shall see what tomorrow will bring, again being lucky, the Regional Rep happens to be coming to Gulf Coast BMW tomorrow so I will get a face to face myself.

The next big thing will be to decide what to do about Christmas.... and how many miles I want to ride in a few days... Or not.

Photography for me is not about recreating what I saw through
the viewfinder but to show people the way I want to see the world.

Lost Rider screwed with this post 12-21-2010 at 07:07 AM
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:43 PM   #20
Lost Rider OP
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Ventura County, California Republic
Oddometer: 3,239
Thank you NYP797, and the rest of the fellows who commented!
It always feels good knowing your efforts are being heard as I try to put people in my shoes for a minute. Even if the shoes are just cold ass wet boots or riding in a tow truck! Not exactly a dream bike ride for many of you.

Cheers, and wish me luck!

Photography for me is not about recreating what I saw through
the viewfinder but to show people the way I want to see the world.
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:56 PM   #21
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Austin, TX
Oddometer: 784
Winter Madness

Welcome to Texas, and Merry Christmas! Best of luck getting your bike sorted out so you can continue the adventure soon. Love the black and white pics, you have an eye for it. Soon you can continue without the ever present anxiety of your bike craping out, oh what a feeling!

My XR650R Build:
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:46 PM   #22
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Kentucky
Oddometer: 1,378

...but it's a good crazy

IN of course. Nice job and thanks for taking us along.
2008 Suzuki DL 650....Wee Strom
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:52 PM   #23
Dan Keyhoety
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Joined: Jan 2006
Oddometer: 618
crash pad

If u need a place to crash in New Mexico I'm in Las Cruces on I-10.

Don't be afraid your life will end, be afraid that it will never start.

Arrogance is the anesthesia that dulls the pain of stupidity
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:34 AM   #24
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Suburban SacTown
Oddometer: 45
Great pics and good story, as usual. NorCal is wet and cold, so enjoy SoCal.
That which you manifest is before you - Enzo.
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:31 AM   #25
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: North Shore, ma
Oddometer: 335
Another amazing story and pictorial

I'm in

r3mac screwed with this post 12-21-2010 at 03:46 AM
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Old 12-21-2010, 03:57 AM   #26
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Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Jennings, Louisiana
Oddometer: 3,469
Great pictures and story. Gulf Coast BMW, loved stopping by that place for a break in my travels back in my BMW riding days. Great people. Wish they were closer to me.
Hope the rest of your journey is a bit less exciting.
Thanks for sharing.

A '00 KLR 650 40,000 miles, A '07 1250S 74,000 , A '03 5.3L Chevy Truck 78,000 + '43 style dude , Simper Fi ;-)
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:08 AM   #27
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Location: Holland
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Very cool!

Love the story and pics. Good luck clearing your head!

Real freedom is to live free enough to give up so called rights, and to go beyond ego.
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:12 AM   #28
Lost Rider OP
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Ventura County, California Republic
Oddometer: 3,239
Originally Posted by achesley View Post
Hope the rest of your journey is a bit less exciting.
Yeah, I hope so too!

Initially I wasn't going to do a RR for this ride, thinking I didn't need to share my inner turmoil and somewhat boring, albeit cold ride.... but as the story unfolded I figured what the heck!

I'm at Gulf Coast BMW as I type.... and guess what?

BMW is covering my generator!!!

I pay labor.

I'm told that BMW has been seeing similar failures on high milage 800's, and there's talk of a beefed up generator to be introduced.... but that's just a rumor for now.

I really couldn't ask for more, first sneaking in the quick tow, then being so graciously taken care of at Gulf Coast BMW, and now having BMW NA step up to the plate to take care of it's customers who are 11,000 miles out of warranty at a crucial moment in time.

If you live anywhere close by, or in the area, I highly recommend giving Gulf Coast BMW your business, they are the quintessential excellent BMW motorcycle dealer and service center.

A&S on the Left Coast, Denver BMW in the middle left, Leo's South up north in Minneapolis, Gina's BMW in Iowa, and now Gulf Coast BMW.

These are all dealers that have gone above and beyond to take care of traveling riders (Me), I recommend them all....

I can't say enough good things about this whole situation, it's amazing how an experience like this can change one's attitude towards a brand or company - for now, I'm gulping down the BMW coolaid!

These coils are supposed to be copper colored....

The man Eric who's fixin' my bike!

Thanks again for the words of encouragement, while I don't believe in a particular God, I do believe positive the attitudes and thoughts have helped my situation greatly!

Waiting for the parts to come in (I ordered new fork seals too, which I'll deal with later) I can't help but smile. Soon I will be back on the road heading west with choices to make, now the fun begins!

Do I high tail (slab) it to Cali (1700 miles) in a few days to be there for xmas with my girly friend?

Or do I salvage this ride and actually spend a few nights out in my real home, my tent, and take a more leisurely route, possibly "clearing my head".....? It would be nice if this story had a little more substance than bike issues or extreme weather, and I'm surely getting tired of pictures of my bike....

We'll see once I get in Motion.....

Parts are here!

OK, so that's why it's $850.... it's not just the generator you get, it's the whole unit, complete with gears, bearings, and housing.

MAde in Japan?...

My bike should be ready real soon now, so I'm signing off and getting back to being a Roadie in Motion!!!


Photography for me is not about recreating what I saw through
the viewfinder but to show people the way I want to see the world.

Lost Rider screwed with this post 12-21-2010 at 09:19 AM
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:17 AM   #29
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Joined: Sep 2010
Location: NJ
Oddometer: 342
Fortunately or not, nothing is static in our life. It is constantly changes going from one state of being to another. I remember a seen from a movie (don’t recall the name now) when some big mob boss asked his little guy how is everything goes, and the scary guy sais “not good boss…” so the boss goes, “what are you so worried, you have to be happy – after bad always comes good” . Yeah, sounds banal but there’s something in it.
I hope after all the problems, things will be looking up for you next.
Great report, good writing.

How do you find the R1200 vs your F800?
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:25 AM   #30
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Canton Ohio
Oddometer: 406
Wow, there's a huge difference in the color on those parts.
Great to hear BMW went above & beyond to get Ya rolling again.
You are a true gnarly adventurer.
[rtwdoug] Just drop me in there with a Honda XL250
(something I wont cry over if I hafta leave it, plus, they are damn near bulletproof)

[joefast14] Never modify a Yamaha SRX-6, they turn into a money hole that you can never get out of.
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