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Old 10-16-2014, 05:23 AM   #1
slowinfastout OP
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Shenandoah 500 on a 1200GS - Dual Sport Ride in VA

I did the this event on my new 2014 GS with only 300 miles on the bike, and my pal Scott did it with me as well on his 2006 GS. We both have quite a bit of off-road experience from our youth, but that was a LONG time ago. The East Coast is known for rocks, slick rocks, and a 500 LB + motorcycle is not ideal for that kind of environment so we went into this with some amount of trepidation. When we arrived, we saw a lot of gnarly KTM Thumpers and serious off-road machinery and wondered if perhaps we may have bit off more than we can chew. We didn't want to trash the bikes, they're not cheap. Here we are at the start of the event, which is 500 KM over two days in the mountains of Virginia:



They had two courses to take, one the GPS-based "ADVENTURE" route and the other the more difficult "DUAL SPORT" route requiring a Roll Chart to navigate. We opted for the less aggressive Adventure route, not knowing what was in store for us in terms of difficulty, and off we went Saturday morning, with the first leg to meet up a volunteer fire house in West Virginia at lunchtime. Well, the Adventure route was a street ride - and we were quickly bored. Nice blacktop routes through beautiful country- but we wanted more than blacktop and hard-pack gravel roads. We needed a little more dirt. At the lunch stop, we decided to fall in with the Dual Sport guys and since we didn't have the roll charts, we would just have to keep up.

The Dual Sport portion was perfect for us! Mostly on gravel and fire roads through the forest, with some pavement links here and there. We got dusty, dirty, had a chance to do a few jumps on the fat lady GSes and did quite a bit of stand-on-the-peg time on that route. At one point we wound up at the top of the mountain, 4.400 feet above sea level.



Neither of us went down on the ride, but the bikes were seriously dirty when we got home. We had a great ride and the folks (Washington DC Trail Riders Assn) that put it on were very friendly, helpful and did a nice job. So if you've always wanted to try something like this on your GS and don't have much off-road experience, you can very much safely do the ADVENTURE circuit where you will be 90 % pavement and just a little bit on gravel. The Dual Sport route we did not find to be particularly challenging, just a nice, easy trail ride as well. Get yourself on out there in 2015 and give it a try on your GS, you'll have fun.
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:44 AM   #2
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nice write up. i'd like to do this next year, sounds like a good time..
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
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A couple more photos taken with my iPhone6.

Here a group of us coming off the gravel back onto the hardpack...





At the lunch stop...



The view from top of the mountain (Reddish Knob).



Get your GS off the highway and get it dirty, its a really nice, fun ride that won't tax your abilities or damage your bike.
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:28 AM   #4
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dealer netowrk

Which BMW dealer do you and Scott find more responsive and reliable - Morton's in VA or Bob's in MD?

I've always considered a BMW, but it seems like the horror stories are abundant (though my buddy has a 2008 r1200GS and never had a single issue)....anyways, I'm not worried if I have a reliable dealership close by.

Thanks.
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:52 AM   #5
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Both are excellent dealerships in my opinion (Bob's and Morton's) and I have bought BMW's from each one. I don't have a favorite and typically if I have to go to one its based on traffic reports that day more than anything else as they are the same distance from where I live.

There's a new dealership opening by Dulles airport in January 2015, too. That will be the one most convenient for me. BMW's are great - I keep coming back to them and have owned most every marque out there at one time or another. I do all the work on my bikes myself if its outside of warranty, but I think the horror stories are largely overblown and the machines are solid.
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Old 10-16-2014, 08:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by murdock2002 View Post
Which BMW dealer do you and Scott find more responsive and reliable - Morton's in VA or Bob's in MD?

I've always considered a BMW, but it seems like the horror stories are abundant (though my buddy has a 2008 r1200GS and never had a single issue)....anyways, I'm not worried if I have a reliable dealership close by.

Thanks.
My opinion is well known, so I will just say that you really can not go wrong with Morton's! I have been working with them since 2005, and 3 bikes, lots of parts, and even had Jeff Massy handing me wrenches in the pits for Nate Kern. Jeff is good people, as are all of the Morton's crew. My new bike is coming from them in December!
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:16 AM   #7
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Jeff has also run in the Shenandoah 500 a couple of times and attended a third time to demo the G450X when it was being made. Jeff and I are also both past members of Washington Area Trail Riders (and/or its predecessor, Northern Virginia Trail Riders). We (Morton's BMW) run a one-day off-road riding class every year at the Massey's family farm, and I've been riding GS models for years. We may not spend as much time in the dirt as many of you here, but we do get out there :-)
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:03 AM   #8
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No one ever mentions Battley cycles.. They cant be that bad..
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:22 AM   #9
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:04 PM   #10
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i will not do business with Bob’s.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:05 PM   #11
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No one ever mentions Battley cycles.. They cant be that bad..
I like Battleys. They have good people, and have recently opened a new showroom for BMW and Ducati or Triumph, but are low volume and concentrate on HD. Since Paul died and Drew left, my incentive to go there, especially with the long drive, have lowered considerably.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:06 PM   #12
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i will not do business with Bob’s.
Me either.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:06 PM   #13
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I like Battleys. They have good people, and have recently opened a new showroom for BMW and Ducati or Triumph, but are low volume and concentrate on HD. Since Paul died and Drew left, my incentive to go there, especially with the long drive, have lowered considerably.
agrees about Paul. battley's does have its plus's & minus's as with any dealer. lucky for me they are 5 min from my in-laws house & 30 sec. from the airport. so proximity wise its a no brainer.

Bob's i found had decent inventory stock on aftermarket stuff but have only been there once and in and out in minutes.

Mortons in frederickburg? now that is a hike for us northVAer's. thought about it then thought about 95s. & 95n. and quickly changed my mind.

eager to see what this dealer in Dulles is all about.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:15 PM   #14
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Granted, if you're in Alexandria or environs, the way to Morton's is pretty much either I-95 or US 1 and, believe me, we feel your pain. But keep in mind there are alternative routes to Fredericksburg, at least from the western suburbs around DC. US 29, 15, and 17 all will get you around the I-95 mess, and there are lots of smaller and more fun roads, too. If anyone needs help coming up with a route to us, drop me a note at steve@mortonsbmw.com and I'll see what I can do.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:38 PM   #15
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Granted, if you're in Alexandria or environs, the way to Morton's is pretty much either I-95 or US 1 and, believe me, we feel your pain. But keep in mind there are alternative routes to Fredericksburg, at least from the western suburbs around DC. US 29, 15, and 17 all will get you around the I-95 mess, and there are lots of smaller and more fun roads, too. If anyone needs help coming up with a route to us, drop me a note at steve@mortonsbmw.com and I'll see what I can do.
You are right Steve, there are several alternative routes. Seems I remember the Mortons web site used to have them listed somewhere. Maybe that was the www.bmwbmw.org forums?

Either way, it is a good idea IMHO.
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