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Old 06-27-2012, 01:29 AM   #31
judgebill OP
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Los Angeles, California
Oddometer: 226
Thumb Clif 2012 June 26 2337 / 0016 / 0129

Clif Notes (Thanks Steve, for the suggestion)...

June 27 0016 @ Tacoma Washington

When I bought the k1600, I promised myself that I'd never drop the bike. And until now, it has tipped over 3 times. The last time, I even managed to get it on my helmet cam, so I could go back and re-live the embarrassment.

I love my k16. I also fear it. Sometimes, it makes me feel totally incompetent and stupid. Other times, it has brought me through scenery and beauty that I didn't know existed in the very state (CA) or continent I live in. I've put 2,000+ miles on the bike and even now, I'm impressed by its power - that it can accelerate with so much force and stability up steep climbs.

If you ask me if I regret at this moment getting the k16, I'd say that I have no regrets. I love that bike.

If you ask me if there were a lot of risks and dangers to get the 1600 as my first motorcycle, I'd say "definitely". (And these risks continue of course, as I still consider myself a beginner).

I wish I could post here that I'm like Tom Cruise in John Woo's Mission Impossible - and that I rode out of the Long Beach BMW Dealership with the engine roaring.

The honest history, though, is that the 1600 scared me so much - and I had never ridden a motorcycle other than the 250 cc in the Basic Rider's Course in a PARKING LOT - I had to have it delivered to my house. The delivery occurred while I was actually taking the BRC course, so I didn't see it until night time when I got home.

I need to be honest here because there's a reason such a large bike is taboo for beginners. I do want people to see that I'm having the time of my life... and that I'm constantly seeing the world in a way that's breathtaking. But I don't want to give the impression that anyone can just go to a store and buy a 1600 just as they get their Motorcycle riding license. Well... you can - but you probably shouldn't.

So back to the story, my first hard lesson about the k16 occurred when I rolled it off the middle stand on the first night I had the bmw. It quickly tipped into my car, leaving a big dent on my car and worse, breaking the bike's mirror. I had caused (because it broke at the mount) about $2,000 in damages before I had even ridden it one mile. Not long after, it would tip over 2 more times. The weight of the motorcycle scared me.

On June 7 (delivery day), I saw the GTL at night in my driveway. I didn't ride it at the dealership because I didn't know how. On June 24, about 16 days later, I would be going on a motorcycle tour with Bill. However much I was scared of the k16 and that the tour was only days away, I used as motivation to ride as much as possible.

I rode as much as I could everywhere. Unintentionally, but fortunately, I ended up taking and passing 2 separate BRC courses simultaneously. The 2nd one ended as I started riding the GTL for the first time. This meant I had 20 hours of guided instruction on 250 cc bikes in a parking lot.

I would wake up, get on the GTL as soon as I could, ride around, go home and rest, eat, maybe watch a few minutes of TV. Then, get back on the GTL. If I was too tired to ride in traffic or on main roads, I would ride circles around the same neighborhood blocks. Later, I would discover that I was freaking out the neighbors because my white helmet and BMW model made them think a police officer was obsessively riding around for hours a day. (Because I only had time to explain this to one of the neighbors, there are still a majority that think the CHP or police have special interest in our area... and the officer also waves at everyone over and over again!)

I had structured my finances (a fancy way of saying I went into credit card debt) so that my full time job would be riding. But a job usually has hours - and with riding, I just did that as much as I could.

The second time I tipped my bike (which was also the first time it went down while I was riding), I was so freaked out I forgot how to operate the clutch, everything. I got the brake confused with the clutch. I went home feeling defeated, layed down on the bed for a short nap. And got back up and forced myself to ride again. I was definitely scared, but if I wanted any chance of keeping up with Bill on the tour, I'd have to practice.

The father of a famous musician was at the Long Beach dealership and told me he didn't want the GTL because he felt like he was getting on a horse. So if the GTL is the modern day horse, then I was essentially "getting back on the horse again."

I am having fun. I am now on tour, constantly seeing nature at its finest. Bill is one of the most intelligent, insightful people I've ever met in my life. If he was going on a tricycle tour, you better bet I'd got to Toys R Us and get a shiny, new red one to follow him.

This could be a lesson about trusting your gut. A lot of well meaning friends and people have said that I'm crazy and I'll die. My first BRC instructor nearly failed me just for considering a 1600 cc motorcycle (and yes, he knew it was a touring bike). He said I should use a 250 cc for the first 1-2 years of riding. My family (and my mom who doesn't know the difference between 1600 cc and email cc) wants me to sell the GTL and quit riding any motorcycle.

Of course, I myself had numerous conflicting feelings and desires. But I knew a couple things for sure:
1) Bill is one of those people you're lucky to meet - and if you do, it's once in a lifetime. I wanted to go on this tour with him
2) Bill had experienced a few motorcycles and loved the GTL like crazy. I trusted his recommendation and I'd ride as much as I could to try and prepare for the tour on THAT bike.
So despite all the fear, risks, and what seemed like setbacks; the focus on those couple things and trusting my fundamental instinct (can't say "basic instinct!" haha) got me through at least until now.

Any of you reading this are welcome to join us. My cell and email (email works best) are at the end of all the videos I've been posting of our trip. I try my best, but sometimes the internet we've encountered is "difficult" and I can't upload much. But I'm trying - and hopefully you'll see some scenes in video and photos - so if you can't be here with us, you can at least see it as I'm uploading the experience.


PS - we are reading ALL your comments. But I really have to sleep now for another day of riding that'll start only some hours from now.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:41 AM   #32
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sounds like driving in the indy 500 when just yesterday you raced your brother down the driveway on tri-cycles.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:15 AM   #33
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Wi
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Wow what a trip. Your taking the trip of a lifetime for your first adventure. Some day it will be mine.
Gravity is your friend, don't let it get you down.

IBA #8568
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:53 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by judgebill View Post
Hi! I'm Clif, the 1600 is my first motorcycle.
A BMW K1600GTL is your FIRST motorcycle????? Yikes!

You mean you skipped the 50cc trail bike and old 250cc rusting heap, and all the others in between, and started on the cream of the crop? You have nothing else to look forward to! Except having an amazing trip on amazing bike. I look forward to seeing your journey here.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:32 AM   #35
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Location: Fly over zone
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You guys are awesome. The 1600 is an amazing machine. I used to have a 1200LT in another life. I loved it.
As long as your moving along the weight disappears. Just be careful when your pulling in somewhere. Level spots are your friend, and if you can pull forward when you leave, even better.
They just aren't made for parking lots.
On the big beemers the best part is you're not going to be near as tired at the end of the day. You're riding in comfort.
Keep posting, this is going to be epic.
Rest when you need it. Mistakes happen when you get too tired.
Ride safe.

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IBA#32778 2008 R1200GSA 2007 G650XChallenge
No man is as good as he ought to be, and few men are as bad as they seem.. (from a early 1900s post card found in Perry, Missouri..)
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:40 AM   #36
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Some things to consider..

In order to enjoy life you need to be a little crazy for 20 seconds!! You 2 have replaced seconds with 20 days!

Clif--have U and Bill discussed the road conditions in Alaska during the rainy season? You must have read how slippery the roads can get. Maybe Bill has planned your route to avoid these conditions. Being a beginner this would be a very tough place to learn.

Having a plan B might be a good idea. Canada and Idaho and Montana are beautiful this time of year.

We all want you to have a great trip and remain safe. Create memories that will last a lifetime. Ride safe--Bob
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:09 AM   #37
judgebill OP
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Location: Los Angeles, California
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Wicked clif 20120627 0707 Tacoma Washington

Morning everyone!

A new youtube video is up.

You can google "bill clif rain". Or, click this...

Thanks :)

judgebill screwed with this post 07-30-2012 at 11:24 PM
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:21 AM   #38
judgebill OP
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Some Thoughts on riding to Alaska

Bill here; Alaska is one of those dream rides that we all think about making, in the sense we can have a lot of fun dreaming since dreams cost nothling. I've been dreaming about Alaska for years (3) since I began riding. But I decided that it was time to stop dreaming and begin riding. Got a copy of Milepost, the riders bible for Alaska and devoured it. Yes, there will be rain, animals on the road, mosquitoes, lots of daylilght and some challenges. But these are what we all face everyday, in one form or another. You know that when you begin riding it really comes down to you and the road and how you feel about it and how you are willing to deal with whatever comes up. I don't know what Clif and I will face but we're willing to enjoy whatever it is. Life is a continuous learning experience and we're having fun learning. I admire Clif for his willingness to step outside of his comfort zone and open his imagination to new experiences. He is a great traveling partner...and one who keeps promising to post some pictures here. We'll keep posting our notes and appreciate all the comments. You guys, and gals, have been very supportive. We appreciate all the comments. Wish you all could join us.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:29 AM   #39
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I'm on the wrong coast, otherwise I would find a reason to ride along with you two for a while. This has the potential to be a great story!

Ride safe and keep the rubber side down.

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Old 06-27-2012, 09:41 AM   #40
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Location: Clinton, MS
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Made the trip last July. Just remember there was and probably still is road construction ( mostly gravel with rolling terraces) for 240 miles between Haines Junction Yukon and Tok, AK. The problem with the gravel is it is not consistant. Sometimes it gets very deep other times it is just loose on top of a hard surface. Also pot hole after pot hole. I left my Wing at home and rode a DL 650 V-Strom. Never had a problem but there were plenty others that did. One guy was pulling a trailer on the gravel and lost it. He and his wife were hospitalized.
If you can, do not miss the stretch between Carcross, Yukon and Skagway, Alaska. That to me was the prettiest stretch. You can take the short ferry ride over to Haines, Alaska and the ride back North and that ride is almost as good as the one coming in.



Ivanhoe-2001 screwed with this post 06-27-2012 at 01:47 PM Reason: spelling
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:15 AM   #41
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Good on Ya!

I'm looking forward to the Cliffs Notes...on this one. You guys rock!

My first bike was a GSXR 1000 I paid $300 at a mechanic's lien. Wow, what a motorcycle! I rode it every chance I got, very conservatively. I'd get up in the morning and go for a jaunt around the city streets, endlessly starting and stopping. Clutch and brake control all the time. I had a blast learning! Looking back on it, would prolly have been better to start on a smaller bike, but no one was hurt in my experiment, so it was all good.

I then took the MSRF course on a VERY tiny motorcycle. This class taught me all about survival, and I still remember all the techniques, and practive what I learned. Viva la MSRF!

Now, it's been about 280000 crashless miles on a variety of BMWs (and one VFR-thanks Mark)! Life gets on better than this. Riding and more riding, has taken my mind off serious life altering issues and allowed me to find balance.

It sounds like it's been this way for you as well! I am looking forward to your ride report!

Steve in So Cal

ps-I saw two Gold Wings at Prudhoe Bay. While not my Weapon of Choice for the Haul Road, it only proves that you can bring what you run!
"Converting oxygen to carbon dioxide since 1951."
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:35 AM   #42
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Ride on Gents. Enjoy your adventure.
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:38 PM   #43
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Three pages and no pics by the OP. Hmmmmm.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:00 PM   #44
Joined: Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by judgebill View Post
Alaska, the dream of so many riders, was a bug that bit me a year ago. Now I'm ready to make the trip on a BMW K1600GTL, loaded with unnecessary equipment and necessary optimism. Leaving Saturday the 23rd from Los Angeles, riding up the coast to meet another rider in Palo Alto and then up to the North Country. I'll post pictures as they are taken and as I figure how to do it. You all are familiar with the bike...and I'm a 75 year-old rider with stars in my eyes and adventure in my heart. See you on the road.
Hi honey. It took a while to be able to write here but I made it. Just want to follow you and Clif. Remember to insist with Bill F and Elen or (love these thingies, had never used them before). We love you, we miss you. have funand know how important you are to us.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:20 PM   #45
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I saw the videos. Fun. However, could I please see Bill's face a little? I miss him! Thank you Clif. Selene
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