In This Issue
- Pawnee Ride
- Morrilton Rally
- BMW-RA Rally Log
- Industry News
by our roving reporter, Randall Eggert
Again, we will be meeting at the Martin Regional Library at 2601 S Garnett in Tulsa. This will be on Tuesday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m. Topics include review of the RA national rally, the great location, motorbike video tips and some examples. More? Anyone doing Crane? A club campout?
by Rex Brown
About a dozen motorcycles converged on the West Tulsa QT on a near-perfect Saturday morning. The mix of bikes was eclectic, with about half being Bavarian. I had suggested two different routes since my tour of ghost towns and backroads involved some unpaved passages. A few minutes after 9:00 AM we rolled out and most of the group opted for the non-gravel route. We stopped in Blackburn, Skedee and the Pawnee Bathhouse enroute to the fairgrounds and the Pawnee Steam Show. I headed to the area historically reserved for motorcycle parking and was informed motorcycles “don’t get special treatment.”
Oh. All along I thought we were doing the car drivers a favor by not occupying an entire parking space!
We paid our admission and walked past the empty area where we had parked our bike the year before.
As always the show was a hoot (pun intended). We dined on award-winning Indian Tacos and marveled at the massive iron beasts as they belched and clawed their way up a 45º incline. Scary to see a 20-ton thing pop a wheelie! By about 3:00 pm most of us had wandered back to the parking lot to begin the ride home.
We convened on Thursday (Tuesday was pre-scheduled by other library patrons) and got the meeting going fairly on time. Went through the normal meeting stuff of past notes, bank balances, show and tell with my voltmeter mentioned below, and jumped into our guest speaker on how Oklahoma seems to follow a different drummer than the rest of the country. Fred Storer is a retired engineer from Phillips in Bartlesville. While driving on a two lane road into town one morning in the fog, found a construction crew building a mailbox monolith on the edge of the road and pondered, “Is that safe?” While hunting books down in Texas and visiting with his sister, noted that the big mailboxes in Oklahoma were simple, almost spindly simple posts put up alongside the roads in front of large country estates. “Why?” Found out the Texas State Highway department is responsible for installing mailboxes along the roadway. Back in the 70s, a mailbox in Texas mounted on a 2 X 6 was hit by a gentleman that went through the car and the man. They had to use chainsaws to remove the board from the body to extract it from the car. Story shortened, it created a testing program with Yugos and existing mailboxes that were minimized for the safety of all drivers. Going further, Texas and the other 49 states belong to AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officers). The FEDs do not belong, but take notes, and make laws belonging to the Federal Highway Administration . In Oklahoma, the state highway department does not put up the mailboxes, thus it is up to individuals to do so, despite breaking existing laws in creating these tank busters.
Voltmeter – I displayed a $5 digital DC voltmeter, 3 wires, exposed guts (it would require an enclosure with a watertight seal if used on a motorcycle) with a 3-30 volt range that I found online. Unfortunately, shipping is about $2 more than the cost of the meter. If we could get a group buy, the price of shipping could be more easily absorbed. The display comes in RED and BLUE. Looking further on the web, found Amazon carries a LCD version of this for $5.62, with shipping. Amazon also carries various sized DC Ammeters with shunts in various colors for $5.39 – shipping included.
Natural State Rally
Was kind of a blow-out. No fault of their own.
Kendall and I arrived around 8:00 pm Friday and saw Steve McClung already there. We chatted a bit among the 25 or so attendees and enjoyed a campfire in one of the park’s steel cooking grates next to the pavilion. Weather was cool, great for sleeping and overcast. We set up our tents by the light of the nearby lamps along the street and the ship lock across the Arkansas River, where the park is located. Then I proceeded to put together my new Therm-a-Rest Luxury Lite Cot.
Fortunately, I had already assembled it once at home then found the instruction sheet permanently stitched inside the carrying bag, showing what I had done wrong. These can be purchased directly from Therm-a-Rest or Amazon, REI, etc. Unfortunately, since these models are fairly new, no one deviates from the suggested retail list. Amazon will still ship free, tho. The original CampRest was not long enough for my 6′ 3″ frame. The Therm-a-Rest long fits me just fine!
Around 11:00 pm we called it a night and crawled into our tents. I arranged my air/foam filled sleeping mat on top of my cot (it was predicted to be a cool night), sheets and heavy bag as a comforter. Everything worked as intended. Around midnight, the rain came. Shortly thereafter, the calls to the men’s room started as normal for my age. My first trip included going to the bike to get my waterproof jacket which allowed me to absorb less water on my journeys outside. Around 2:00 am someone had to show off by doing donuts in the parking lot. I think the rain had slacked off a bit for his show, but resumed to the nice steady event that continued on. My next journey to the men’s building I was hit by an odor that seems more native to a temporary facility. I attempted to flush what the previous person neglected to, and found the button did not work. Hmmmm. Still the rain came.
Found out one of my socks was wet from a spot in the bottom of the tent. Apparently I neglected to attach the little velcro tabs on the fashionable rain fly to my support poles to keep those narrow strips strategically placed to cover the screened sections of the tent. So from time to time, a spit of water would make it inside. The cot seemed to work like a horizontal hammock. It did its job. Come morning, the rain has stopped, the temp is around 52º, and I have to walk on the tarred, gravel pavement to get dry socks and walk to the pavilion to dry my feet and get my boots on. Through the years as the body got bigger the feet did too. Unfortunately the body continued to grow and that made the walk on the parking lot a bit painful.
Prepared for a cool ride, plug in the jacket and head over to Petit Jean State Park for the breakfast buffet. Jumping up from 315 feet to 1,050 in about two miles, we just drove into the low lying clouds after the rain. Not a problem since we were in the park with a limited speed limit. Upon our return to the camp site, Steve was starting to pack up to return to Tulsa. Despite seeing digging going on upon entering the park, assuming for the water issue, we heard that water most likely wouldn’t be back on that day, and the park locked up the showers and toilets to prevent their use. Kendall and I decided to exit also.
Kendall was ready to leave his home at 8:00 am to arrive in Tulsa to ride some of the roads in Arkansas and make the rally in time. Me, being more laid back, suggested we meet at Braums next to the Blue Bell factory at 1:00 in the afternoon. No one has to get dressed for cool morning riding. I think I stepped out of the shower when Kendall was leaving Copan. We have a short lunch and then headed on secondary roads over to Arkansas. Set the GPS to shortest route and generally follow that over to Morrilton. The last leg was on highway 22 through Arkansas and it was a rural residential route with a number of three lane sections (the middle for left turns) that you could not pass and generally was very boring. Upon entering the state from Salisaw was really nice as Kendall said he had not been on some of them. Wonder if they are in the Ozarks collection within the Butler Motorcycle Scenic Maps’ set?
Our route seemed simpler than taking the interstate. OK-51 to US-59 and Stillwell. Kendall noticed the strawberries lined up along the vendor’s booths along US-59. OK-100 east to the Arkansas border, and then AR-59 down to AR-22. I noticed the group of vultures in a field off the side of the road. Kendall and I have different trigger points. The northern half was motorcycle friendly and not busy at all. Of course, it was a Friday afternoon. Toward Van Buren, it straightened up and started accumulating that 5 p.m. Friday night traffic. Then east forever on AR-22. We did stop in Atkins at the restaurant downtown after 6:30 and filled our gullets. The town was busy with their annual Pickle Festival. We saw small girls running through the room with balloons and painted faces. Even the TV screen on the wall with the news on, mentioned the festival going on right now. AR-22 is Main Street in Morrilton, so made a right under the concrete R.R. bridge and 3 miles later, we’re at the rally.
Coming home Saturday, I took a different tact. I plugged in Bentonville and told the GPS to avoid the interstates. First road it takes is AR-22. NO! Not that again. I tried to plug in ‘Appleton’ as a waypoint to force the routing North, but it was not found in the GPS’s database. So I change the GPS’s routing from ‘Shortest’ to ‘Direct’. It shows the map on the display, and in the corner is an arrow stating your destination is ‘that’ way. We basically zigged across a corner of the state and found it a good ride. Some of the rural routes had a tendency to go the wrong direction for a bit, but we figured that added to the charm of the ride. AR-95 out of Morrilton at Love’s is where we paid the highest for gasoline during our trip. Next to the interstate, to be expected. AR-95 is straight. Well, as far as we went on it. Turned east on AR-124 for some curves. We got to see Jerusalem! Caught AR-27 going north. After Hector, started getting interesting as it followed the spines of a number of hills for quite some distance. Unfortunately, we also ran into Fog at about 1800 – 2000 feet. Lost Kendall or he lost me. At Tilly, jumped on AR-16, another fun road. Unfortunately, it went back about as far south as when we jumped on it. It generally did go west. Connecting up with AR-7 at Sand Gap. Isn’t that the Pig Trail, or is that 23? Continuing north into Jasper, where the Subway at the other end of town got us lunch and a break. Before getting to Harrison, turned left to go west on AR-206. We’re now in farming / ranching country where the roads are fairly straight. Going north again, it teed into AR-392, that in turn Teed into 64/412. Stay on that, and I’ll exit in Sand Springs, less than a mile from the house.
While in Springfield, found some gas for $3.199/gallon (plus the premium surcharge) which was the least expensive gas we bought. We split up when the toll road started going to Tulsa, and Kendall took the scenic version to start going north to Copan. Getting into Tulsa, I was wondering why my GPS was wanting me to turn on Memorial, Sheridan, Yale, Harvard, etc. Forgot I had set the unit to stay off highways and was trying to route me home via surface streets. These things will lead your wrong! Got home around 7:15. I think it took us longer to get home than to get there, but we saw a bunch more of Arkansas on the way home. Got to wear down my tire evenly.
RA Rally – Birmingham, AL – Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum
Rex, Kendall and I all started Wednesday from Rex’s house and trucked down the Muskogee Turnpike and I-40 to Ft. Smith. From there, a number of two lanes through Arkansas. The first task was to get out of the loop of the Arkansas River after a wrong turn and get going down AR-71. With a slight overcast, I think we hit our high temperature during our ride on the turnpike, so everywhere further was really enjoyable.
Entering Hot Springs, we dive into a Dairy Queen, since some locations have more selections in sandwiches. Rex took a picture or two of the rainbow terminating at his Dry Sack on the back of his GS. There we spent the next hour and forty five minutes as the rain washed the bugs off our bike. Venturing on, our last 75 miles were to Pine Bluff where we crashed for the night. A very helpful night clerk opened several rooms to familiarize herself with the available options of getting 3 in a room. The latter half of this leg was after dark. Some usage of GPS, phone, and surfing the net for accommodations were beneficial on Rex’s smartphone. Kendall and I always need to drag someone along who has technology awareness.
Next morn, viewing the all-mighty weather app, we go north on 79 rather than 65 going south to avoid the storms surrounding us. After a quick turnabout on the end of a road going south, we were then heading in the right way. We jump across the Mississippi at Helena and jaunt about 18 miles to Clarksdale, where a short stint into town give us gas, and an entertaining look at the town. Upon returning to the highway eastbound, we sit, as we watch a funeral procession head up the highway, fortunately only going about 1/4th mile before all of ’em finally get pulled off the highway. Around Batesville, MS, we ran out of luck again and had lunch at a Taco Bell, then waited another 2 hours 15 minutes waiting for the storm to clear.
Jump back on, and head to Tupelo, MS, and after running through the middle of town, we caught US-78, which, as a 4 lane, is destined to become the next I-22 between Memphis and Birmingham. Fairly smooth sailing almost to Birmingham, but the road is not yet complete, and about 5 miles out, we have to get off and take US-4, the local boulevard down to I-59 to get through B’ham. Couple miles later, I’m in the left lane, staying on I-59, Rex is in the right lane, taking I-65, and we didn’t know who Kendall followed. Now I start running into city traffic, but later find out it is just blocked up from everyone attempting to exit onto a city street another mile up the interstate. I’ve lost my leader! I don’t have the rally site plugged in, just the nearby town. Another fellow on a GS roars by me, and I think, “A leader! I’ll follow him.” And off we go. Well, when we turn off to I-20 going to Atlanta, he’s in the right lane, which defaults to an exit to a street, and I squeeze into the left which keeps on truckin’. Lost my leader again.
Fortunately I start seeing signs on the side of the pike for the Barber Vintage Motorsports, and just follow them. I think at 7:02, I’m the last one registered that evening, and due to my delay in registering, I meet Rex at the security gates into the remainder of the park. We wander around and camp in the extremes of the camping area, almost in the soggy area. Barber has apparently prepared for us well, as there is mowed grass everywhere with nary a brown spot to see (except where someone has sunk into the soggy spot). While setting up our tents, Kendall calls. “Where are you guys?” I guide him to our location and go to the nearest asphalt to insure no mistakes. Soon, there are 3 tents in a row.
I manage to get a shower a couple hours later, and only have to wait for two others ahead of me. Stats: 1150 registered. Men’s room (only 1) 4 sinks, 4 showers, 4 urinals, 2 toilets. I presume the women’s side is the same, except for the urinals. Fortunately, Port-a-Johns are peppered throughout the campsite. By judiciously timing my showers, I was able to take 3, and Thursday was the only day I had to wait. Meals were either available by the single vendor in the campsite, or going off campus to a bevy of chains within a couple of miles.
Friday morning, I served a stint for registration. I only hope my heartfelt apologies to the people who came to my station were accepted when my palm or finger touched the laptop’s touchpad that instantly cleared whatever information I had typed in. Rex informed me touchpad could easily be deactivated the and that problem would have gone away!
A local startup motorcycle manufacturer in Birmingham was having an open house to their facility. Motus Motorcycles have developed a push rod V-4, based on a Chevy short block. Water cooled, 100 ci displacement, and is intended for sport touring with 80 foot pounds of torque off idle, rising to 123 at its peak at 5 grand. You know how fast you can pass with that much torque? With a couple more EPA tests, they were talking about starting production around August. Check out their site. They already have signed up a handful of dealers around the country. US-made is not for the faint hearted, as projected prices start at $31K. If you go by a dealership in the coming months it may be worth a test ride! Then you can say, “I rode the other motorcycle made in America!”
Saturday was out for breakfast, checking out the local Bass Pro shop right down the street. Interesting location. Up about a ½ mile driveway that winds around the woods to climb to the top of the hill, where the building and parking lot are located. Big joint. Closer in size to the original in Springfield than the one in Broken Arrow. Rex goes back later to pick up a Sham-Wow equivalent towel and is enjoying its performance. Now it is time for the guided tour of Barber’s Vintage Motorcycle Museum. This 5 story behemoth holds over 1,000 bikes that have been collected over the years. His first 3 bikes were Honda Interceptors, purchased new for the museum. Nos 1, 2, & 3. They have steam-powered bikes, scooters, wooden bikes, one where the crankshaft is the rear wheel! The Kawasaki water-cooled 6 cylinder that came out in the 70s with the stupid 85 mph speedo and a weight of 805 lbs. and I think I remember them saying 1st gear was almost good enough for the 0-60 mph test! There is an Indy racer sitting on top of the elevator. As Rex said on his first time there, “I finally had to leave because I was hungry.”
Once back at the campsite after the museum tour, we determined that it had rained. No problem, other than we had opened our tents to dry them out while we were on the tour. With the sun coming out, we had a period of almost tropical heat and humidity before it started slacking off by evening. A tenting neighbor bothered to come by and apologize that he was going to get up and leave by five and didn’t want to upset us by doing so. I told him that I’ll use his departure as an alarm clock for me to start my day. Actually, he left a bit before 5:00 am, but I was awake.
Come dawn, I started packing my own stuff quietly, and was surprised by a slight sprinkle. Quickly now, get it packed before it gets wet. It stopped and my traveling companions got up too, making comments about the noise of sprinkles on their tents. We had decided to get 100 miles under our belts before breakfast, so headed out. We seemed to have a tailwind and temperatures in the 70s, which made riding all that more enjoyable. At the detour around construction on US-78 / I-22, we traverse to the far end and pulled in to some watered down coffee at the Waffle House. Two miles later, we were back on the interstate.
Two other Beemers passed us, a GSA and a R1100RT from what I determined later by getting closer, with Colorado plates. Rex and I were chatting about the RT rider’s braided ponytail whipping around the middle of the rider’s back. We stayed within sight of them for about 80 miles when we finally turned off for gas. Mississippi must not be very wide, as it seems to be crossed in a fairly short time. Rex and I were discussing our various GPS’s routes through Memphis, as the last time I came through, US-78/I-22 dumps out on Memphis city streets, complete with traffic lights, and takes some 8 miles to re-connect with I-240 to get up to the I-40 bridge across the Mississippi. Instead, we jumped on the South leg, and jumped on the South bridge for US-70/US-61/US-64/I-55 and joined I-40 on the Arkansas side.
Since the weather was so fine and we did a good job getting out from the Rally, Rex decided to make a B-line home. He jumped back up to I-40 and headed west. Kendall and I stayed on the old parallel road US-70 and were going to have a leisurely ride home. From the gaps between the two routes, I was able to see, and with the Sena, speak to Rex on the interstate, as he outstripped us and got out of view. However, a bit further, the roads still parallel, I could see the jam on I-40 resulting from the construction going on over there, and a couple minutes later, heard the crackle of my intercom, and saw him, not moving, and got to chat again. This time, I rode out of range. Before Forrest City, AR, Kendall and I stopped to chat and we decided to wander up and across Arkansas to get home, so in Forrest City, we stopped on the north side of downtown at a Dollar General and raided their coolers for some drinks and sat in the shade outside to plan our route. Now it was getting warm. I heard a familiar R1200 noise, and saw a yellow GS heading south. It was Rex again attempting to avoid the standstill on the Interstate!
Our remaining trip was uneventful, going to Searcy for a beverage, then filling up in Heber Springs. Riding around the lake and crossing at Greers Ferry and heading over to US-65 to get to Harrison for a motel. The next morning, it was clear and sunny to the east, and nasty looking to the west. While packing my bike, a fellow traveling with his wife complemented us on our bikes and asked if we were going Wet or Dry. Unfortunately, wet. Filled up across the highway, and about the time of pulling back on to the highway, sprinkles were starting. By the time I got to Springdale, the rain had stopped, and jumping on the toll road to Tulsa, it was clear skies and the sun was out. East Tulsa and I met up with overcast, but no rain.
BMW has issued an emergence recall of 2014 model R1200RTs. This pertains to the new liquid-cooled model with the ESA suspension option. According to an official press release from BMW Motorrad: “At the present time it cannot be ruled out that the piston rod of the rear spring strut in connection with the Dynamic ESA option could potentially break. For this reason, customers are requested not to ride their motorcycle until further notice.” This recall affects about 8,000 motorcycle worldwide.
Ride It Like You Stole It Dept.
Occasionally you can see stolen BMW bike notifications in the MOA rag. Low numbers here may be due to the fact our special ride is just so rare in the marketplace? Perhaps if they re-print this chart in % of bikes stolen against those brand registered. Frankly, I’ve never heard of some of these brands.
Rex Brown; Tulsa
Alan Savage; Sand Springs
FOR SALE 1996 Moto Guzzi California 1100i (mostly original)
- Original owner–
- Less than 5,000 mi. on the tires–
- 7-33 rear drive extra ($500 value)–
- Seat recently re-upholstered–
CONTACT: John Dickinson (918) 340-4465 leave message, or firstname.lastname@example.org NOTE: As is, no warranty implied or expressed– $2,000 OBO
A number of MOA & RA local chapter rallies are being held in June. Check our Rally Page for a map and more details. The closest ones that I know of some members attending I will list below…
Iowa Rally at Middle Amana Community Park in Iowa, June 5-8
MotoMo rally in Crane, MO, June 20-22. Great roads, cool spring fed creek to soak your toes.
The Passport Oklahoma from K&N Yamaha is still going on for a look-see at a number of Route 66 sites. The entry fee for the passport is $10 available at their location in West Tulsa (a Sapulpa address).