Friday, August 28, 2015

Mine Soon

Will pick up at noon next Tuesday. I will post pics of the actual bike at that time.

Bike has a high seat, but this will be replaced with a low seat soon. High seat still much better than my 2011, due to the lower centre of gravity. Still, a low seat gets both feet flat on the ground.

Test ride went very well today. This bike has not had the beating of last Saturday's factory demo tour bike and is really peppy. That new 15 bhp can be felt!

Pretty happy, moi!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 East - Followup

It's a gorgeous August Sunday afternoon here in Mississauga, just west of Toronto. We are in the backyard, under the hard roofed shelter, Dianne is eating a hard boiled egg and I am having a beer while I think through the trip and recent aftermath. I thought some faithful readers would like to know the latest.

  • Air Conditioner Failure
Sigh. New deluxe Carrier last September. It failed while I was away. Something always fails on Dianne while I am on a trip. I used to travel for business and things happened. I remember a fence blowing down. Once, she got harrassing phone calls and the police had to get involved. Pool pump failure another time.

Turns out there is a fancy flow control valve called a TXV unit. Before high efficiency A/C, a simple tiny hole would do the job of letting high pressure coolant expand.  Now, if you do a Wickipedia search, you can see there is more complication, more likelihood of failure. The compressor control electronics (outside, more complication) sees low pressure but old fashioned gauges say the copper lines are intact and have coolant. Yea. No need to pull down drywall to replace the tubing.

Did the repair guy have the needed TXV? No. It will have to be ordered and they will come back once they get it. Sigh.

The weather is cool right now, so we are lucky.

  • Insurance Settlement
Yes, the bike is a total loss. I have been informed of the settlement and will sign over the ownership tomorrow. Unlike how a lot of folks have felt with their settlements, I feel I was treated fairly by my insurance company and am grateful for that.
  • 2015 BMW R1200RT Test Ride
I had been told the bike I had was fine, but the newer models had a new engine, new chassis, and new features that made it really great. That proved correct.

The above photo is from a review on the web. I chose to show it because it is the best illustration of how narrow the bike is just aft of the big gas tank. The engine is smaller, moved down and forward in the new lower chassis. Finally, I can have both feet flat on the ground at a stop. With 15 more horsepower, the bike is decidedly more sporty. Yes, soon one will move into the garage. Don't know if it will be a 2015, they are almost sold out. More later in the week.

The mirrors are higher and may be more outward in position. I like them.

The instrument panel display is readable in sunlight. A major improvement.

The Dynamic electronic suspension adjustment actually does stuff that you can really feel. Rain, Road, Dynamic are the major settings with fine tuning available in each for Comfort, Normal, Hard. These affect damping. In Dynamic, various things are measured including weight. I believe it adjusts even during a curve. Also affect the traction control and the ABS settings. Very clever.
  •   That's all for now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 Trip East - Day 14

At Home!

Ok, I flew home from Moncton today on Porter Airlines.

Yesterday morning, the damage assessor assigned by the insurance company drove from Nova Scotia to Moncton and inspected the bike. He declared to me that the cost to repair was such that the bike was going to be assessed as a total loss. I was not needed in Moncton and could go home.

So, I went to U Haul, bought a few cardboard boxes, sealing tape, and some parachute cord. Then, I put the top box and the aerostitch suit into the box and filled the remaining space with a bunch of clothes and other things I had with me into the box until it was filled. All the rest went into the tank bag and my flat laptop sleeve. I taped the box and used the cord to make handles. It felt a bit heavy, much as a large suitcase would.

At the airport, I paid for one checked bag and an overweight charge. $125 and change. A bit of a rip, but all airlines are doing it. Happy to pay for it. Took a cab from the Island Airport.

At home, Dianne and I enjoyed some wine and cheese.

So, in a few days I will know what the insurance company offer is going to be.

Until then, I am just going to get back into the normal routine, but no riding for a while.

Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 East Trip - Day 10

Serious Bike Problem

First, I am fine. The bike never fell over, but that could have happened.

I had never heard of Judique, on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I was riding south on Route 19 towards Port Hawkesbury. Nice two lane road, but the pavement is like me in a way, shall we say "mature". So, I ended up riding in the middle of the lane. Route 19 is twisty and equal opportunity for right and left curves, some tight, and many blind crests. Surprises can occur.

I saw a curious object on the road ahead. Brown was my first impression. Cubic, about 3 to 4 inches on a side. Sharp edges. A brick? I did attempt a swerve to the left and almost made it. There was a thump. I thought the front tire was going to join the old rear of last Tuesday, but no warning on the panel and tire pressures were holding. Yes, I know I should not pay too much attention to the panel so I looked up. Figured I got away with it. I have normal peripheral vision but hardly needed it when the big red warning light appeared. Is that a tire warning? Not this time. It looks like an oilcan. Slow down now, but gently and get ready to go to the shoulder. I was down in first gear, feet ready for pavement, pulled the clutch lever...and the engine stopped. The bike stopped and I put the sidestand down to have a look. No traffic at all. No panic.

Yes, this was from my engine.

There was a thin line of oil on the road, not visible from the seat if I looked back.
This gout of oil was from when I stopped.

The rear tire got a soaking on the right side. Did not feel any wobble at all. This may have been due to my superb balance (yeah, sure) or some BMW stability control software. I liked the result either way.

I've carried that safety triangle in a side case for years. Glad I got it. And, by the way, I did not call the police at any time, and saw no police, but someone did slightly relocate the triangle. Two bikes, one of them a BMW, smoked by me after I placed the triangle and was walking back to the bike. Not even a wave. I was really pissed. This was squiddly action for sure. As I was walking to a nearby house, a car did stop to ask if I needed help. At that time I had been adopted by the house owners and did not need any more help, nor could I have ever received more generous and gracious help. If you ever see a funny suited guy walk up your driveway and ask for help, your best efforts are not likely to even approach my hosts Dugal and Pat MacDonald.

It took a while, but the tow service ordered by my insurance company arrived with a proper trailer with front wheel chock.

Kevin Mackenzie is the owner of the company and brought his wife and two children along. They were going to take me back to the BMW dealer who changed my tire last Tuesday, then off to a local hotel with a pool for the kids. Next to Dugal, my favorite person of the day. He took several handsfree calls on the way and it was like the soundtrack to Highway to Hell TV show.

Kevin spotted the bent rim and brick dust right off. 

Another view.

Had to take a picture of Kevin and his family.

Next steps:
  • I'm in a nice Comfort Inn
  • Tomorrow, I pick up a rental car and try to enjoy some local sites.
  • Monday, visit the dealer and meet the claims adjuster, figure out what happens next.
  • Tuesday, maybe parts arrive and bike fixed.
  • Wednesday, likely the earliest day I could depart.
You may say, hey Ed, why are you so confident this will go that fast? You might need a whole new engine... . Well, Kevin pointed out there was only a single large smooth edged hole on the right lower engine sump. Looks like a plug got knocked out. Yeah, right. But it could be. Hope springs eternal.

Ok folks, I am going to bed.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 East Trip - Day 9

Cabot Trail!

It was a great ride. If you do it without stopping, it will take you about 4 hours or so. That would be a mistake. The lookouts are actually signed and paved, so they are safe for timid folks like me. Remember, I've already broken a peg this trip... .
I have some videos, but they might appear in a few days. And, apparently I managed to not record what I most wanted to record, the switchbacks. It is impossible to see the tiny little red light that says the camera is recording while riding. It looks like I got it reversed - turned the camera off when I wanted it on. Still, the video looks like it shows the rather worn state of pavement at the tip of the trail.

I did stop and took these photos:

The sun only appears around noon, but it really helped make this sky pop.

Lots of bikes on the Trail. Not as many as on the weekend. I would say that on a weekend, there are the same number of bikes one would see on Vancouver Island, at least during peak vacation periods.

There are some sites that appeal to me; this is one of them.

I asked someone to take this shot, just to prove I really was here.

I went back to the Bell Buoy Restaurant. Today, I had the fresh Halibut. The server did not think it had come in yet! He returned all excited, said it just did come in. So, I ordered it and let me tell you, fresh halibut is delicious. The chef does a number of treatments, I had the mango salsa version, and it was great.

The local yacht club is on the left, and there is a small harbour. I parked down there yesterday, but found a spot on the street today.

 Ok, now the sad part. PEI was being considered, but the available  rooms are in the stratosphere as far as cost. I  also think some of these internet sites are doing a scam, offering a price such as $115 and then saying sorry you had a connection problem, call us. When you do, the price is hugely increased, in the order of $159.

So, I decided to go to the distillery at Glenora and buy a bottle of single malt and pass on PEI. So that province and NL will remain the two Canadian provinces in which I have not ridden. It's possible I could return to do them, perhaps in June or September, but realistically... .

In any case, the riding roads in Gaspe and here in Cape Breton are right up there at the very top of bike roads anywhere in the world. I'm glad I did the run to Moncton to get the new tire and return to do the Cabot Trail. I even bought the T-shirt at the pub owned by this fellow:

He is very helpful to all visitors on bikes and I have enjoyed my emails with him.

So folks, I am turning the corner tomorrow and heading home. I will give some thought of what to do on the way so it won't be a huge slab ride.

Chip in with suggestions if you care to. Just don't be offended if they don't fit in with my trip.

Videos: just checked with the processing that is going on in the background. It is not complete after a couple of hours of processor grinding away. I should explain that I follow the GoPro workflow which creates big files as a sort of digital intermediate that then allows you to save in economic sizes for cloud storage while retaining the immense files on your computer. Filled up the damn hard drive today! Stuck in a 32 GB empty micro SD I have for backup use on the GoPro and found it was not big enough! There is a problem here, but it's too late for me to solve it.

I shall sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2015 Trip East - Day 8 (Edited Final Post w/ Pics)

Today was a day of positioning and seeing the Alexander Graham Bell museum in Baddeck.

It was raining lightly on departure but stopped and resumed from time to time. I saw where the Trailsman Motel was located as I made my way to the museum. About 10 km out of Baddeck proper, and not a bad place as it turns out.

I have some photos taken in the museum that need processing and uploading. However, the internet speed here is awful. So, I may make a separate blog entry. If they upload ok, I will edit the blog title to help you detect this. I am going to be here 2 nights.

The Bell museum is run by Parks Canada. The setting is beautiful and the exhibits really well done.

AGB was a man with varied technical interests and lived at a time when things electrical and all aspects of aviation were developing rapidly. The displays show how he became involved in many areas.

Silver Dart

HD4 Hydrofoil replica on left and restored HD4 on right.

A "train" hydrofoil and a rocket torpedo

More Silver Dart showing the display room

View from coffee shop

AGB's study

I ate an early dinner at the Bell Buoy Restaurant and Supper House. Americans prnounce buoy as booey, but real English pronunciation is "boy". So, Bellboy is the name. I passed on the lobsters and went with scallops which were cooked so as to be tender and not toughened up. I sort of rushed out because the rain was going to arrive in earnest, again.

By 1750, the rain has come and passed through. I have some pictures to post that you will enjoy.

Tomorrow, I will do the Cabot Trail loop. It's at least four hours, more if you stop for lunch and also stop for pictures. The weather will not be perfect, but we shall see.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015 Trip East - Day 7

Part 1 - 0830

The sun is shining, I packed and set off. Immediately, there was a warning that the rear tire was low. Gauge said 22 psi. The bike had not moved since I checked into the hotel in the afternoon two days ago. There clearly is a leak.

The nearest dealer is 250 km away, in the outskirts of Moncton and I will head there this morning. They can do the headlight and the tire (or - hope it's not the rim!). I called them but they open at 0900. I want to call them first of course.

I am a member of the BMW Owners of America organization. Before I left, I took advantage of their Roadside Assistance program (transport to dealer) and upgraded to include Tire Hazard protection. Will see what that does for me. Transport not an issue right now, but it may become one.

Oh, one more niggle. I have been listening to music in my Cardo G9 headset in the helmet. This morning, the phone won't pair properly. I will try to get it going later in the day. Minor.

So, I will post updates to this during the day, when I can.

Part 2 - 1530

At Atlantic Motoplex, near Moncton. Exiting the ramp from the highway, I should have done a rolling stop and turned right. Instead, I stopped and put my left foot down. I did not realize the slope was that much, off to the left and dropped the bike, breaking the peg. Rode to the dealer.

Nice people work at this dealer. They are looking after me. Special thanks to Chuck Michaud at the service desk.

  • No peg in stock, but moved the left passenger peg to rider position.
  • There was a cotter pin in the rear tire. They would not plug it.
  • They had a Pilot Road 4 GT in stock (BMW back home had to order it in.)
  • Before the trip, I ordered Road Assistance and Tire warranty from BMW MOA. Called the tire warranty number from the dealership. They talked to the dealer who agreed to accept credit card payment from the insurance company for my tire, including mounting, balance, and tax. They did ask the dealer to measure the tread depth. Very new, so full payment.
So, on the whole, I could not be more pleased.

Heading back towards my origin of the morning, but may not make it all the way back as I don't know when I will be leaving here. Might be very soon as they moved the bike. That means the tire is back on and the headlights are next. I am having both replaced as they are four years old and it's a lot of work to get the fairing bits off.

I will let you know how far I got later in the day.

Part 3 and Last

Almost time for bed...

I'm all the way back to Port Hawksbury, at the same motel. Got the last room, because I stopped and phoned them ... sort of said "If i don't call, they will surely sell out" and they almost did.

So, 666.1 km, 99.6 kmph moving average, 09:56 time, only 03:15 stopped, so the dealer did a great job as noted above.

OK, booked a motel in Baddeck for 2 nights to see it and do the Cabot Trail.

Hope the weather holds. By the way, that rain the other day 106 mm here in Port Hawksbury. And, some roads are washed out, so I may be short-circuited...

Tomorrow's problem. Good night!

Monday, August 10, 2015

2015 Trip East - Day 6

Time flies. Especially when you spend half a day in bed. Nice naps, and I would say I needed them.

Spent some time on the computer looking in detail at the route(s) I will take tomorrow. Might well take two days here. I'd like to do the coastal ride and also a side loop to the historic Louisberg fort. Can't really do it in one day. And, while tomorrow's weather is looking good, the next day might not be so fine.

So, more tomorrow.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

2015 East - Day 5

My motel in Port Hawksbury is 500.1 km from the motel in Miramichi. That's 500 km of slab, under overcast skies.

Just after the Canso Causway, a drizzle started. I decided to gas and was determined to find a motel soon after. Previously, I had seen a billboard with a lovely looking new motel called Maritime Inns. Looked great, but expensive. After filling the tank, I looked up and saw the inn next door! Plus, the rain had started. The room is $130 but gorgeous. Supposedly, the weather tomorrow is sunny, just as I start the loop counterclockwise.

At the gas stop, the bike had a warning icon on the display. Has it been that long since I had the bike serviced? No, it's not the reminder light. The manual explains it's a rear bulb burnt out. Not sure which one, brake or turn indicator, but will check in the dry morning.

Standard P21 bulb. Wonder where I can get one? Mr Garmin says the Napa Auto Parts store is 0.7 km from here. David will remember I showed him the torx kit I brought with me... . This should be about the easiest fix I could expect. More tomorrow about this, especially if it gets complicated.

Off the road a bit early today, due to 110 kph limits and rain, but I am positioned nicely for an early start. Hm, when does the store open? I can see it all unfolding now...

Oh, 8am. Perfect timing.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

2015 East - Day 4

It rained overnight, but was not raining when I started out this morning. It did rain just before noon, a bit, and cooled off too.

Just before I was to take the bridge over the Saulmon river to New Brunswick, I noticed there was a nearby town. Got gas and lunch, then off to Miramichi.

The roads were fine, if not at all up to the excitement of yesterday. In due course, I arrived here in Miramichi. We have friends who own and run a B&B here, and I stopped by to see them. Had a nice visit with them, then off to the motel (they were full).

At the motel, I asked at the desk about a restaurant. They have a deal with Mike's Bar and Grill. Whisper "Day's Inn sent me!" to your server and you will get a $6 steak, plus $1.50 for fries, plus $1.50 for additional veggies, if you want them. I did not feel all that hungry, but the flank steak was nicely cooked and the fries were piping hot. A veritable steal.

Back at the hotel, the desk lamp and the floor lamp were not working. Both needed new bulbs. Never had two bad bulbs in a room before, but now all is well.

Tomorrow, I will point the bike toward the Cabot Trail. I have no idea as to where I will end up. Today was a shorter distance, only 431.1 km says Mr. Garmin. That's good, as I am feeling a bit arthritic at this point. Time for an early night, I think. Oh, lost an hour due to time zone too.

No pics today. Rain and overcast and just boring trees on both sides of the slab. I am assured that this will change, weather permitting.

More tomorrow.

Friday, August 7, 2015

2015 East - Day 3

Left Rimouski about 0745 and arrived just past Perce Rock around 1630 or so. A superb ride.

Last year, I did the Lolo Pass (99 miles of twisties following a river) plus a down and up set of switchbacks in Idaho/Oregon. The Lolo road is claimed by some to be number 3 in the US. The switchbacks were more difficult and I was pretty slow and careful.

Rimouski to Perce is both more spectacular in scenery and technically more challenging than Lolo, but no switchbacks. Almost. Not real switchbacks.

You start with a flat run along the south shore of the St. Lawrence. A few gentle curves, lots of nice enough houses on both sides, farms, usual stuff, Tim Horton's, better stop. Ok. Now as we get farther and farther along, the road starts to climb as well as curve. Oh, now it starts to dive and climb. Curves too on the down and up. Mild rollercoaster. Ok, 9% grade ahead. Easy, but who is to know that the civil engineers are just softening you up. More later.

Getting sort of lulled maybe a bit of fatigue. Speed seems to be near 100 (limit 90) and that is staying with traffic when there is some. There was none ex Rimouski, which I put down to early morning. It built a bit but then disappeared. Poof. Nobody ahead. Nobody in the mirror. Some forest but you are never far from a little hamlet between the road and river. Hey this is the only road, pretty near so everybody lives near the river. Huge covered sheds totally full of split firewood ready for winter. Here, that means late September, I figure... .

Cool by the river. Sort of overcast early on. Video failed until I changed the battery (I carry four plus the AC charger, and in the top bag, which is electrified, I have a car lighter unit for the charger... remember I am an electrical engineer). Starting the camera means taking left hand off bars and that became increasingly infrequent as to desirability. Voice control needed for the GoPro camera. Well, don't hold your breath for me to get one, when they are available, if ever. If I gave you all the video, you would maybe not take the road, and that would be bad, bad, bad.

At a rest stop. Every little town has one of these with washrooms.

Looking back down the road.

Since I have a zoom lens...

And, just to prove I'm in Quebec.

The following video shows some interesting hill and cloud formations a bit more down the road, plus an aborted fuel stop. Just did not want bad gas, and I thought this was a different brand initially.

Was worried about running out of gas at one point. Only had 100 Km range left according to Mr BMW's computer. You may say that sounds like a half tank on your bike. The R1200RT has a 25 litre tank and when filled to the brim and ridden on roads like rte 132 that gives a readout of 484 km... . Here I was nearing the end of the river road, about to take a right 90 degree turn down the road away and in forest. Not many gas stations. Now I figured there would be gas at the right angle (yes, modern Miramar, Esso after the turn, Shell too. What the hell do the people in the houses work at out there? Based on the new houses, they don't do badly...) but the lady at the info centre said gas was 5km down the road and it was rural, shall we say, but the gas was good.

Right 90 degrees. Ride by the side of a national park. Round the peninsula and start down to Perce.

After a ho-hum section, the road becomes a roller coaster. By this time, you are and Alpine expert rider, you are tired, you hardly notice the technical difficulty because you are in the groove. Oh, my new Michelin Pilot Road 4's are doing all the work and making me look good! Damn right. Don't take this road on old, hard, bald stuff.

Oh, look. off in the distance, while on the flat, there is Perce Rock. In haze. Drive on.

Round the bend, start riding back towards the rock. Ok. More roller coaster. Let's get by these two identical motor homes. Lotteries in action, I bet. That was easy. Too easy. At 32K Km, the engine is really nice. When I do the pass that briskly, and it's late in the day, I wonder. Well, what's this? Shit, this is a real roller coaster, 15% grade, curves, and road work that leaves only 1.5 lanes. The 0,5 is on my side of the road. No, it's not a problem for me. The Dodge Ram truck in front with the dual wheels on each side has the problem. Oh, he is braking, ... Good thing I always lie back a ways...

Now wait a minute. That RAM is a diesel. On the roller coaster, he is choking me. And, just coming down into Perce town, the grade is curvy and 17%. That is a first for me. By then, no problem. Why did I have to work so hard on the Lolo road?

I first saw Perce Rock when I was in about Grade 4. Always was fascinated. So, now I've seen it.

A closer look.

Where I took it from, a spot just past the town of Perce and up a hill.

This is one reason I seldom park the bike to take pics. Too dangerous. But, I had to do it this time. Had to.

So, did I hear someone say why not park the bike in town and walk to a nice vantage point? Ha! you have not been to the town, right? There is one road, loads of motels, restaurants, and souvenir shops but really no parking. I just rode right through and up the hill.

When I get into the motel, I have a few electonics to charge up. 

OK, off to bed.