Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Blank Stare of Despair

Somebody once said "good things come to those who wait." God what drivel! Gentle Readers, you will not believe the sordid tale which I'm about to recount. It's a tale of narcissistic smugness, turning to disbelief, anger, despair, and finally resignation.

A minor digression if you'll permit... shortly after my high school "career" came to an end, thanks to my supportive parents I found myself in the Colorado Rockies as part of an Colorado Outward Bound course. Three glorious weeks above 14,000 feet in early June. What a beautiful experience! I did things and found strength that I wouldn't have believed just months earlier: Try lugging a 40lb pack up and down the peaks for 3 weeks, pal! Slipping 75 yards down an icy ridge with the point of an ice axe desperately digging into frozen water the only thing saving me from a loooonnngggg, dangerous trip down. Learning how to cook, read a map, count on others, and lead. I was one of the younger people in the group, but not the youngest. And yes, we all survived more or less.

The reason I bring this up is that at one point, the guide situated the group of us around a lake, about 1/2 mile apart, for 3 days of pure solitude with no food. The idea was to spend some time reflecting on our lives, cleansing our bodies at the same time. At the end of day 2, I was pretty much hallucinating and starting to talk to the bugs. We were all pretty lean and blowing through our calorie intake each day so there wasn't a lot of fat to give. I'm sure that made us doubly susceptible to starvation (!) and I kept thinking ahead to the meal I was going to have when the "Solo" was over - mmmmm...

Which brings me straight back to the sordid tale of despair: BMW has announced a 6 month delay in the F800GS - the hallowed subject of my last post. Of course, so far they have offered NO explanation of said delay for a U.S. delivery in Sept. '08. People who have placed deposits are hoping for some kind of "consideration", but the best consideration of all would be to get the damned bike on time. I'm not the only one who sold his bike in anticipation. Ouch - that's just hurtful.

Ah well, this will give me more time to scare up the funds, more time to dream of roads less traveled, and more time to get in riding shape.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dark Magnesium Metallic

Huzzah! If all is right with the world, yours truly will be tooling down the trails on a new BMW F800GS sometime in mid-March.

Earlier this week, I took a 90 min. lunch and spent it test-riding an F800ST to see if I liked the motor and other bits. Mike Lynch over at San Diego BMW Motorcycles (used to be Brattin Motors) didn't bat an eye about letting me take the demo bike and was very gracious upon my return (more about that in a minute).

What a blast! I hadn't been on a proper street bike for years and everything about this one clicked: the smooth acceleration - really nice from 60-90mph; the snappy gearbox that invited shifting; sure-footed handling and brakes. I reminded myself as I stood in a suburban neighborhood admiring it mid-ride that this was the bike I was leaning toward in 2007 before I heard about the GS version. A quick call to my wife Kim let her know where my brain was at and what I was up to (no good usually!).

Back at SD BMW, Mike and I talked a bit about the GS specs, which he was able to call up from BMW Motorrad USA's marketing bulletin. No surprises there since I'd been poring over every bit of Internet info I could lay my eyes on (many thanks to the ADV Bike Forums for instance), and of course cruised up to the Long Beach show to see the bike in person.

The surprise might have been for Mike when I told him I wanted to put a deposit on the GS right then and there - Ha! Music to a salesman's ears. We worked up some numbers which were in line with my budget and in a couple of minutes I became #1 on the list for delivery in mid-March. BMW USA is quoting an expected delivery date of March 8, 2008, although vicious, nasty, jealous and totally untrue rumors of a delay abound on the 'net. ;-)

Sidebar: I chose this dealer for a couple of reasons - in it's earlier incarnation as Brattin Motors, I purchased a used BMW K75S from them. It was a good experience and subsequent service and accessory purchases - and the camaraderie always to be found at the shop - were excellent. Turns out, the former service manager Gary Orr, bought the dealership when Polly and Harry Brattin elected to retire. Gary's running a top-notch shop, and actually is expanding to the Kearny Mesa area (closer to me) this month. If you ever stop by, asked to see the picture of Gary on a K1200GT at nearly 160mph - pretty cool!

But I digress... I chose the Dark Magnesium Metallic version of the GS because I think it looks classier in a bad-ass way. It will have ABS, heated handgrips, a trip computer, centerstand, and clear turn signals as spec'ed. I didn't want to commit to panniers yet, preferring to check out the Touratech aluminum cases shortly after delivery. You can see a killer photo gallery of a Touratech-sponsored trek in Africa here, one shot of which is below.

So... soon begins a new chapter in my motorcycling life. I was sad to sell the Honda CRF250X, but always had my sights on a big-bore dual-sport and exploring roads less traveled. Hopefully I can convince a few of my good buddies (Rod, Alex, Jon, Scott) to join me on some adventures...