Saturday, November 10, 2012

Provinces and States Ridden In

There is a free utility to make maps like these:

I'm delighted to be able to say I have ridden a bike in all these areas. And, all but Quebec  have been done this year, most since June 2012, on my BMW R1200RT.

Still lots to add...

If you want your own map, go here

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ride to Virginia

A little over a week ago, I rode from just west of Toronto to Reston, VA and back. A fine ride.

Dianne moved the minivan to help me leave at 9am on the Tuesday. She was in a bit of a rush, so I forgot to plug in my electric vest, made for a coolish ride down Niagara Falls way.

Heading towards Lewiston Bridge, I took the last exit looking for a coffee shop. None close. Found a paved spot to park, with a path into woods. Good enough, shielded by a tree. Then back to the road to the bridge and a painless entry into the US.

As always, the GPS got confused and I-90 was replaced by rural roads to Batavia, where I picked up US 63, I-90, and then US 15. That goes basically to my destination.

I was having knee pain and overnighted at Williamsport PA. That was about where I planned to stop anyhow. So far, the weather was great, and the bike ran flawlessly, as it did for the rest of the ride.

Next morning, off again about 0730. Light traffic, nice scenery of yesterday was replaced with more urban roads until south of Gettysburg ... And then into Maryland! Soon, a lovely Welcome Centre offered a place to stop.

I took the opportunity to put the low seat into the high position. Amazing how the lowered pegs and high position help the knees. Nice roads down to Virginia, and by 1400, I was in my room. Visited for a few days and departed 0745 Saturday morning, aiming for Mansfield PA, just south of NY border.

I passed there by 1330, in light rain, and decided to keep going. I was concerned the weather might turn and give me grief if I delayed until Sunday. Besides, it was too early to stop for the day.

Soon, I was past Corning, then stopped in Batavia for coffee. Picked up I-90, on to the border at Fort Erie, ON. Sometimes border crossings take a while, a pain to inch forward on a bike. This time, no cars in front of me, I rode right up to the booth, and was cleared through quickly. Continued down to my next coffee stop, and then home by 2000.

The very last 20 minutes was in darkness. First time really with the R1200RT at night. Great lighting forward, not so much on the road where I set my left foot on the ground. One stop was all it took for me to re-learn to watch ahead very carefully when coming up to a stop!

All in all, a great trip. Bike felt great. Now, one year and one month old, it has 17,500 km on it. My old Triumph, from May of 2000 had only 40,000 km on it by September 2011. Says something I figure...


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm Clumsy...

... just have too little upper body strength, because ...

On the way to Watkins Glen, NY

I dropped the bike twice!

Both times on the right side. At a stop. Sloping right road or shoulder.

Pissed at myself no end.

Damage to bike: scratches on right pannier ( matches the left one now). Scratches to right valve cover (match for the left one now too). Right rider peg snapped off. Replaced with the rear passenger peg in minutes.

I was pleased the peg shaft sheared off and not the peg lowering add-on. Thanks Suburban Machinery!

Damage to me: Bruised my left upper thigh, deep and not visible but stiff. Was ok on the return trip and we did go the slow way through towns, lots of stops. Stupidly had put my thick wallet in the Aerostitch suit's upper right pocket, just below my breast and against my ribs. Lucky I did not break a rib on the first fall.

Healing fine now.

Cardo Scala Rider G9 Intercom

Got this Sept 12 along with the Shoei helmet. So far, so good.

The clamp is not wide enough to fit on the Neotec, so I used the adhesive plate method and waited the recommended 24 hours. I doubt if that is really necessary, but I normally don't have great luck with glues. Seems secure.

There is a neck skirt which was easy to remove. Then, I removed the cheek pads, and the foam speaker recess well covers. The inner liner was next. All easy.

Used supplied alcohol pads to clean the speaker wells, and attached the Velcro pads in them. The well covers have two parts - a flat plate with three tabs (kept) and smaller round foam pad (removed to allow max audio levels from the speakers)

Fitted the unit to the clamp and fitted the various liner parts. All easy.

Went to Richard's and paired easily to his G4 equivalent SRC helmet unit. Easy and we could talk very well. Next is the road test.

Well, the road test was revealing. We had intercom trouble at first, but then we could talk! But, Richard's SRC (a G4 in disguise) would cut off the iPhone if we talked, and he wanted to listen to music from the phone.

[We hope that this problem can be fixed by pressing the MP3 button / button "A" as reported on the BMW MOA forum - will advise when we can verify or not.]

I could get GPS audio prompts just fine. They interrupted the MP3 files I was playing on the Garmin Zumo 550. But, then I could not override them to trigger an intercom call to Richard. Bummer! The GPS audio takes priority over intercom audio according to the G9 manual. So, no music from this source. The new Nano has Bluetooth, so this will be a Christmas present request and all should be well.

The phone (Samsung SGH-T639) seemed to connect, but the Garmin kept putting up screens cycling through the notice "Phone Connected / Phone Disconnected", so I gave up on it. Bummer.

Good News!

The phone is now working ok. In the car, I had the phone in hand when pairing and noticed a request by the phone to say yes to allowing audio to the Zumo. After that, all is ok. I had become convinced there was a firmware problem with the older Zumo, but seems to be ok.

So, only the issue with Richard and his reconnection problem. I'm hopeful.

I will advise.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shoei Neotech Modular Helmet

This is my third modular and is better than the Nolan or HLD. That would be better by light years.


Much quieter, due to the great fit. Throat sealing is far better.

Wider view port, and the visor has a nice ratchet, plus pinlock insert. I needed one of those on that long June trip as there was a lot of rain leading to fogging of the visor. Pin receptacles are out of normal field of view, have to swivel eye to see them.

There is a slider on the left. Move it up and down comes a sun visor. Yes! Wide and tall, it is far superior to the magnetic clip ons for my eyeglasses.

Still, the best feature is the venting. I wear a skull cap under the helmet so I can put it on without bending my glasses out of shape. I also sweat a lot through my head. Lovely day yesterday, but sunny, and by the time I got on helmet, gloves, wrestled bike around on the sloped driveway at the helmet shop, I could feel the heat in the helmet. Got underway, onto the hi way at the end of the driveway, and ... on the top of my head, it felt like an alcohol rub! Wow, does it work great.

Recommended HIGHLY!

New Tires

After 15,000 Km, the Bridgestones that came with the 2011 BMW R1200RT were just about gone. The rear was quite flat in the centre due to the big trip last June, and both tires were showing the start of the wear bars.

My service manager recommended Metzler and we settled on Z6 Interacs. $500 left me enough for a Starbucks. A small one.

Quieter tires. I can feel the difference between Comfort and Normal. Have not tried the Sport setting yet, as I wanted a few miles on them. I'm now in Watkins Glen and will try that on the way home. Handling is better than ever.

Will have to see how well they hold up, but I'm happy now.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Balloon Ride!

When I was a youngster, maybe 10, I saw on TV a propane heated hot air balloon glide through the air. Of course I wanted one. No, my family could not even remotely afford one, or even rides in one.

Couple nights ago, after 57 years, I rode in one. Here are the pics:

Balloon is inside the trailer
Out comes the basket

Big propane burners; these did the job.
There were two balloons being prepared, quite a distance apart.
Initial inflation is by big fans, not hot air.

See the pilot way up at the end inside; he was doing a careful inspection of the envelope.
OK, taking shape.
Rising up!
All aboard.
The other one is up.
That's me on the left in the basket.
Very gentle ascent. Light winds. Speed on GPS was 20 km/hr.
I'll let the scenery do the talking...

Jerome has been a balloon pilot for 20 years.

This is good.
So is this one. Which do you like best?

Just touching down.
Came down on a slope. The balloon slowly collapsed to the ground, and tipped the basket. No problems, a gentle and slow tipping. Got out in an orderly fashion.

And, off back to start for our champagne toast!

It was a great trip and well run. Quiet and peaceful. Sailors will know how nice it is with the wind coming from dead aft. Well, same thing for the whole ride.

If you are afraid of heights (Dar!), you should know there is no rocking of the basket, so after a short while, it's like looking out a big window. Also, the basket is quite deep, so you can rest your arms on the wide top part and feel mostly inside, just shoulders and head outside.

I recommend this to everyone.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Glass Photograpy Experiment

I have a great how-to photo book. "Light Science and Magic" by Hunter, Biver, & Fuqua, 3rd Edition is well written, beautifully illustrated, and has an approach that I have not seen in any other photo book. Yes, my photo book experience is limited, so there may be similar books - I'd like to know if there are. My library here in Mississauga, ON does not have them.

I first read the book two years ago, and re-read it just weeks ago. Still don't have all the diffuser material and reflectors and black cards (the latter to hold back light from certain areas). So, the photos I am going to show you don't follow the book's methods precisely, and maybe not at all.

Editing has been done with Nikon software, Capture NX2.

We bought a new wine decanter to replace the one I broke washing it in the sink. The book spends a lot of time describing how to light glass, a difficult thing to do. Here are my attempts with the wine decanter:

The decanter is on our kitchen table, lit by light from the bay window to the decanter's left and behind. Edges are defined, although the composition is a bit cluttered.

Adding the wine bottle defined the left upper edge of the decanter better. Composition still cluttered.

But, it was quick and easy. Now I must re-read the book and try to do it much better.

While on the topic, here is another wine bottle, alas empty, although the emptying was great:

I first tasted this wine in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2008. Dianne and I had just arrived there for a 3 week vacation with Peter and Susan Blake. Peter opened a bottle of this wine. It became my favourite. On the vacation, we visited the vineyard and met the owner. Peter asked for 6 cases of the wine. The owner, in a nice and gentle voice, indicated there was nothing he would like better than to sell Peter 6 cases, but if he did so, there would be an entire country that would go without this year's quota! He did give Peter the name of a Johannesburg agent, and Peter did get more of this fine wine. When Peter visits me in Canada, I sometimes get a bottle, to be saved for a special occasion.

Thank you Peter!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My B'day Friday 13th

Yes, was even a Friday the day I was born.


Dianne and Suzanne decided I needed a new BBQ to replace the old one, so ...

 The old Broil King was a Soverign, this is a larger Soverign XL.

It was easy to assemble, but the single box weighed 200 lbs, and was a lot to unload from the Caravan. Neighbors are a necessity for this.

Dianne wanted the rotisserie burner and the side burner. The Weber with all that and the Sear Station was $2700... Turns out the 4 burners each have a control knob and a vertical metal divider. Can turn the left one right up, right one at Med or lower. Then can sear left just fine, cook right.

And the pot burner is for boiling corn on the cob, among other things.


Every Friday the 13th, bikers descend on Port Dover. I have done this three times, but 200 thousand folks is too busy for me.

So, Budd's BWM organized a ride that included breakfast and lunch.

We all had a great time.