Upcoming Events


HCBMWR News

Breakfast for the next 2 weeks...

Date posted: 9/17/2017  link

I will be in New Mexico this coming weekend. Here are the breakfast locations for the next 2 weeks. The calendar has been updated.

Breakfast for Saturday, September 23rd is 8am at Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls.

Breakfast for Sunday, September 24th is 8:30am at Granny D's in Canyon Lake.

Breakfast for Saturday, September 30th is 8am at Wimberley Cafe in Wimberley.

Breakfast for Sunday, October 1st is 8:30am at Hill Country Cupboard in Johnson City.

September meeting minutes and treasurer's report

Date posted: 9/7/2017  link

Meeting minutes are here and treasurer's report is here.

Meeting Minutes and Treasurer's Report for Aug 2017

Date posted: 8/1/2017  link

Meeting minutes for Aug 2017 can be viewed here and the treasurer's report here.

Meeting Minutes for June 6, 2017

Date posted: 6/11/2017  link

Meeting minutes for June 6, 2017 can be viewed here.

Meeting minutes for May 2, 2017

Date posted: 5/7/2017  link

Minutes can be read here.

Meeting minutes for April 4, 2017

Date posted: 4/5/2017  link

Meeting minutes can be read here.

Final Big Bend Boondoggle Details

Date posted: 3/19/2017  link



Final Details for HCBMWR’s ANNUAL BIG BEND BOONDOGGLE - 2017 VERSION

1) DATES:                    

Thursday, March 23rd to Sunday, March 26th

2) CLUB HQ AND LODGING:  

Stone Village Tourist Camp

http://stonevillagetouristcamp.com/

Telephone 432-426-3941

3) OVERFLOW LODGING:      

Hotel Limpia

http://www.hotellimpia.com/


Harvard Hotel

http://sproulranch.com/


Some folks will be in Alpine.

4) SATURDAY CLUB DINNER:  

TBA

5) CAN'T MISS RIDES IN THE BIG BEND REGION:

Davis Mountains Scenic Loop - TX 118 and 166

To, From, In, and Around Big Bend National Park

   FM 2627 to the river at La Linda MEX

   US 385 to Panther Junction

   Basin Junction Road to The Basin

   Ross Maxwell Scenic Highway to Santa Elena Canyon

TX 118 from Study Butte to Alpine

FM 170 – “River Road” from Study Butte to Presidio

And, for the GS-ers, Old Ore Road, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Pinto Canyon Road (all unpaved)

6) McDONALD OBSERVATORY  -

The moon will almost be a new moon. Nearly perfect conditions if the weather is clear!!!

Friday, March 24th, Moon will be 16% Visible

Saturday, March 25th, Moon will be 9% Visible

Twilight program 7:15PM (both nights)

36” telescope special viewing 8:30PM (both nights)

Star Party 8:45PM (both nights)

Make your own reservations if interested

I do know there are folks attending both evenings. And do expect it to be very COLD!!!


7) TRAVEL ALTERNATIVES:   

Meet about 9:00AM in Kerrville for breakfast for the traditional group ride through the Hill Country to Fort Davis, via Del Rio-Sanderson-Marathon-Alpine (I believe some folks are going on this route).


Travel in your own group via route of your choice - there are several very enjoyable roads south of I-10 (if you want company, make your plans known to the group).     


8) Forum:                    

A thread in the forum has been started for this trip. Go to the forum to get in on the discussion and up to date information. Ask for help if you have not been on the forum.


9) Weather:   

Ft. Davis weather is in the 70’s and 80’s during the day and in the high 30’s to 40’s overnight. Bring your cold and warm weather gear. And bring water with you at all times!   


10) Hiking:   

Contact Rich Stott or Jim Emmons if you are interested. We are planning on at least one very serious hike (probably Friday) and one easier hike (probably Saturday). The serious hike will be up to 12 miles or maybe a little less depending on how we are doing. The easier hike is in the 3 to 4 mile range.


11) Ride your own ride and be safe:

Please remember you are responsible for yourself. If with a group, stay in your comfort zone. And bring water! 




Meeting Minutes for March 7, 2017

Date posted: 3/8/2017  link

The meeting minutes can be read here.



A ride and breakfast

Date posted: 2/12/2017  link

First of all, based on the number of people that went to the wrong place for breakfast this week, please read this notice. And, I promise to try real hard to get the announcement correct.

Steve & Sami Shreeve want to ride the Painted Church route and he has put together plans to do so next weekend. And based on today's weather forecast, it should be an awesome weekend to do that. More on this below.

For Saturday, February the 18th at 8:30am, breakfast will be at El Rey in Dripping Springs.

Following breakfast, the Painted Church ride will begin. Here is what Steve has to say about it:

The Painted Church ride will start at El Rey in Dripping Springs right after breakfast (9:30ish). If anyone wants to meet along the way, thats fine, just let me know in advance so I can look for them.
From El Rey to the last church, the ride will be 145 miles and about 3 and a half hours riding time. We will stop in La Grange for a BBQ lunch before we hit the last church. After that you are on your own to get home.
We should be done about 4:00 at the last church, but that time will vary depending on how long we stay at each stop. I added 3 hours to the ride time for looking at the churches and eating lunch to get to the 4:00 finish time.
Here are the churches we will go to:
  Praha: St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption
  High Hill: St. Mary’s Catholic Church
  Dubina: Sts. Cyril and Methodist Church
  Ammansville: St. John the Baptist Church
  St. Paul's Lutheran Church

See this link for a map to print in pdf format and this link for Garmin Basecamp coordinates.

For Sunday, February the 19th at 8:30am, breakfast will be at 8:30am at the Chess Club in Blanco.

Meeting Minutes for February 7, 2017

Date posted: 2/8/2017  link

Meeting minutes can be read here.



Spring Trip to Big Bend

Date posted: 1/7/2017  link

Updates: Item 9 - Contact trip coordinator (please read and respond!)

HCBMWR’s ANNUAL BIG BEND BOONDOGGLE - 2017 VERSION

 1) DATES:

Thursday, March 23rd to Sunday, March 26th

 2) CLUB HQ AND LODGING:

Stone Village Tourist Camp

Telephone 432-426-3941 

14 motel rooms reserved (Confirmation #39523, Belinda/Randall, Jan 4th); 

$75-$89/room (double occupancy), depending upon kitchenette, etc. 

6 camp rooms also available (nice, slightly rustic, shared central bath) 

Make your own reservations early to avoid disappointment!

 3) OVERFLOW LODGING: 

Hotel Limpia

Harvard Hotel 

 4) SATURDAY CLUB DINNER: Saturday @ 6pm @ Cueva de Leon

Down the street from Stone Village

Beer store across the street, I.E. BYOB

 5) CAN'T MISS RIDES IN THE BIG BEND REGION: 

Davis Mountains Scenic Loop - TX 118 and 166 

To, From, In, and Around Big Bend National Park 

FM 2627 to the river at La Linda MEX 

US 385 to Panther Junction 

Basin Junction Road to The Basin 

Ross Maxwell Scenic Highway to Santa Elena Canyon 

TX 118 from Study Butte to Alpine 

FM 170 – “River Road” from Study Butte to Presidio 

And, for the GS-ers, Old Ore Road, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Pinto Canyon Road (all unpaved)

 6) McDONALD OBSERVATORY

The moon will almost be a new moon. Nearly perfect conditions if the weather is clear!!!

Friday, March 24th, Moon will be 16% Visible 

Saturday, March 25th, Moon will be 9% Visible 

Twilight program 7:15PM (both nights) 

36” telescope special viewing 8:30PM (both nights) 

Star Party 8:45PM (both nights) 

Make your own reservations if interested

 7) TRAVEL ALTERNATIVES: 

Meet about 9:00AM in Kerrville for breakfast for the traditional group ride through the Hill Country to Fort Davis, via Del Rio-Sanderson-Marathon-Alpine (someone may step up and coordinate for those wishing to travel that way). 

Travel in your own group via route of your choice - there are several very enjoyable roads south of I-10 (if you want company, make your plans known to the group).

 8) Forum:

A thread in the forum has been started for this trip. Go to the forum to get in on the discussion and up to date information. Ask for help if you have not been on the forum.

9) Notify the trip coordinator:

Continuing our planning for Fort Davis and the Big Bend Country, I need to start "organizing" (and I mean that very loosely) some of the trip details. 

If you're going, will you please send me an e-mail to michaellmcc@yahoo.com and let me know the following:
1) Names (if accompanied) and where you're staying
2) If you intend to join the HCBMWR group for dinner on Saturday evening
3) Your planned route and travel dates (esp. if you want to meet others for the ride out)



Meeting Minutes for January 3, 2017

Date posted: 1/5/2017  link

Meeting minutes can be viewed here.



Talk about Alaska

Date posted: 1/5/2017  link

Hi Folks, 

We received the following email yesterday from a guy that lives in Alaska, rides a motorcycle and has written about both. I will copy his email below and you can read it. The club officers thought there would be interest in hearing what he has to say. The problem we face is finding a suitable place for a gathering like this. Does anyone have any suggestions? Anyone want to volunteer their home? Contact myself or Kevin with any suggestions. There was actually 2 email exchanged:


From: Philip Freeman
Email: phil@motoquest.com
Comment: I am coming down from Alaska to go to the IMS Show in Dallas and also presenting about Alaska at Alamo BMW on February 1st. I wrote a book about riding Alaska and can help riders plan a dream of a lifetime there. The book is called "The Adventurous Motorcyclist's Guide to Alaska". The co author happens to also live in Austin! I live in Girdwood, Alaska.

I have idea I would like to float to you...
I was wondering if there might be a possibility, since I will be in the area, to meet your group in an informal way (like somebody's house for a potluck or something) and just talk about details of Alaska and beyond. I could show some photos, or we could just pull out a map and go over it with the group.

I think an informal venue would be conducive to getting to know you and your group on a more personal level and also it would be more valuable for you in terms of information regarding riding to Alaska, ect.

Its always fun to talk about dream trips and I would very much like to spent that type of quality time with you and your group.

I look forward to your reply,

Sincerely,

And the 2nd email:





Meeting Minutes for November 1, 2016

Date posted: 11/2/2016  link

Meeting minutes can be read here.



Meeting Minutes for October 5, 2016

Date posted: 10/5/2016  link

Meeting minutes for October 5, 2016 can be read here.



Meeting Minutes for September 9, 2016

Date posted: 9/7/2016  link

Meeting minutes for September 9, 2016 can be viewed here.



Meeting Minutes for August 2, 2016

Date posted: 8/2/2016  link

Minutes can be read here.



Meeting Minutes for June 7th, 2016

Date posted: 6/8/2016  link

Meeting minutes for June 7, 2016 can be read here.

Forum Problems

Date posted: 5/15/2016  link

Update: Monday, 5/16, 8:50AM OK, I think we're finally back working. Thanks for your patience; I know mine had just about run out.

Update: Monday, 5/16, 6:00AM Clearly they have not fixed the problem. Here is the latest chat with their support group:

the domain is in renewal process
WHW-Help24x7
 at 6:08, May 16:
I have updated our domains team to check this
WHW-Help24x7
 at 6:08, May 16:
I am personally following it up
WHW-Help24x7
 at 6:08, May 16:
it will not take more than 2 - 3 hours from now

This is almost verbatim what they have told me three times now. So I'm not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, I am looking at other hosting options.

Update: Sunday, 5/15, 1:30PM Despite assurances from the hosting company that this would be sorted out "within 30 minutes" at 5:30 this morning, the problem is obviously still not fixed. In my latest chat with them, they assured me that it would be fixed in "4 to 6 hours". Am I living backwards in time?


Sorry for the problems with the forum, which is currently showing that it needs the domain renewed.

I renewed the domain two weeks ago and then yesterday it started doing this. I contacted the hosting company Saturday night and they apologized and said they would fix it. Then this morning it was still wrong. I chatted with them again just now (Sunday morning) and they promised it would be corrected "within 30 minutes".

So I hope they get it right this time. They said their renewal software wasn't working right and they were having to do renewals manually.

Thanks,
Jim



Meeting Minutes for May 3, 2016

Date posted: 5/4/2016  link

Minutes can be read here.



Meeting Minutes for April 4, 2016

Date posted: 4/5/2016  link

Meeting minutes can be read here.

Meeting Minutes for March 1, 2016

Date posted: 3/3/2016  link

See Meeting Minutes here.

Meeting Minutes for February 2nd, 2016

Date posted: 2/5/2016  link

Meeting minutes can be read here.

Meeting Minutes for January 5, 2016

Date posted: 1/6/2016  link

Meeting minutes for January 5, 2016 can be found here.

Motley Crew (not Crue) Spotted on RM 165

Date posted: 11/19/2015  link

A beautiful day and a nice turnout last Saturday has resulted in a spotless (well, almost) RM 165.

Many thanks to all who helped, and special thanks to Jeff Acklen for leading the effort and Joe Aaron who also brought his truck to haul us (and our trash) around.

(It's like herding cats to get this crew into a single picture, but some bad Photoshopping did what chief cat-herder Acklen could not!)




Meeting Minutes for November 3, 2015 and HCBMWR Rep

Date posted: 11/6/2015  link

Meeting Minutes for November 3, 2015 can be found here.

I have been informed deer season has begun which may add to deer agitation on top of the fact they are in rut. Please be careful out there and keep an eye out for them.

Robin Jones has brought to the club's attention the need to have a representative for BMW of Austin. Here is what you would find in the meeting minutes about the topic:

  • HCBMWR needs to establish a better relationship with local dealer.

  • BOA has the lowest consumer satisfaction index ever and it seems like they are not happy about that.

  • The HCBMWR should expect preferential treatment, discounts, etc. from BOA.

  • HCBMWR should have monthly meetings with BOA to provide feedback, etc.

  • Robin has experience doing this at his previous dealer and has volunteered to do so here.

  • He needs to hear club issues to take to the dealer.

  • A thread has begun in the forum specifically for this purpose.

A thread has begun in the forum and already folks are providing comments. Robin really wants to hear your comments on the topic and the forum is the right place to do that.

Speaking of the forum, here are the latest topics begin discussed:

Re: Thread for info for Robin Jones to take to BMW Motorcycles of Austin (Woods) by Stevie Shreeve (BMW Motorcycles of Austin)
Today at 06:12:14 AM
RIP George Barris by Stevie Shreeve (Member Discussions)
Today at 06:05:33 AM
Sunday Lunch run Dec 6th. by Stevie Shreeve (Weekend Breakfast Destinations)
Today at 05:50:30 AM
Re: Paint & Patching Scratches by Matt Baxter (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 05, 2015, 06:56:23 PM
Re: Thread for info for Robin Jones to take to BMW Motorcycles of Austin (Woods) by Chris Rice (BMW Motorcycles of Austin)
November 05, 2015, 06:43:26 PM
Re: Paint & Patching Scratches by Chris Rice (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 05, 2015, 06:38:30 PM
ATTGATT by m2 (Safety)
November 05, 2015, 01:02:54 PM
Re: Paint & Patching Scratches by Mark Johnson (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 04, 2015, 10:42:42 PM
Re: Paint & Patching Scratches by Matt Baxter (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 04, 2015, 09:53:57 PM
Re: Thread for info for Robin Jones to take to BMW Motorcycles of Austin (Woods) by Matt Baxter (BMW Motorcycles of Austin)
November 04, 2015, 09:44:16 PM
Re: Thread for info for Robin Jones to take to BMW Motorcycles of Austin (Woods) by Matt Baxter (BMW Motorcycles of Austin)
November 04, 2015, 09:13:48 PM
Re: Paint & Patching Scratches by Stevie Shreeve (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 04, 2015, 05:29:23 PM
Re: Paint & Patching Scratches by Chris Rice (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 04, 2015, 01:40:20 PM
Re: Thread for info for Robin Jones to take to BMW Motorcycles of Austin (Woods) by Chris Rice (BMW Motorcycles of Austin)
November 04, 2015, 09:50:03 AM
Re: Paint & Patching Scratches by Stevie Shreeve (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 04, 2015, 09:39:13 AM
Paint & Patching Scratches by Chris Rice (Service, Repair and Upkeep)
November 04, 2015, 09:33:22 AM
Thread for info for Robin Jones to take to BMW Motorcycles of Austin (Woods) by Stevie Shreeve (BMW Motorcycles of Austin)
November 04, 2015, 09:23:10 AM
Re: Autumn in Arkansas by Mark Johnson (Personal Trips)
November 03, 2015, 09:30:12 PM
Re: Autumn in Arkansas by m2 (Personal Trips)
November 03, 2015, 07:28:04 PM
Autumn in Arkansas by Jeanne Stokes (Personal Trips)
November 03, 2015, 07:15:33 PM

 

Meeting minutes for October 6, 2015

Date posted: 10/10/2015  link

Meeting minutes can be viewed here.

Meeting minutes for September 1, 2015

Date posted: 9/6/2015  link

Meeting minutes for Sept. 1 can be read here.

Steve Blecksmith

Date posted: 7/9/2015  link

Our dear friend and fellow club member Steve Blecksmith passed away suddenly last night. As some of you know, Steve had been quietly and courageously battling health issues for some time.

We will all miss Steve's smiling face, quick wit, and warm friendship.

We will provide more information as we have it.

Please join all of us in giving our thoughts and support to Karen.



Another heads up if you are in town...

Date posted: 7/1/2015  link

As you probably know, Lone Star is moving very soon. They have sent the following email to us:

 

Hey Y'all,

I just wanted to send an invitation

We are moving out of the LoneStar Building soon.

Every item in our Parts and Accessories Department will be discounted.  Even New Items that have just arrived!!!

We will also be doing a canned food drive for raffle tickets for select “Hot Items” this Friday and Saturday July 3rd & 4th

I will draw raffles at 4pm on the 4th  (no need to be present, I will call the winners)

Anyway, I just wanted to reach out to you so you can tell your club members to come take advantage

BMW will have an open house at our new location 11405 n IH 35 on Saturday August 1st  12-4pm

I will have free giveaways :)

Thanks All!  Hope to see you this weekend!!

Chrystal Banz | Marketing Manager

The Return of the Gonzo!

Date posted: 6/28/2015  link

Dharma Wheeler has checked in with another edition of the Gonzo Motorcycle Diaries, this time all dressed up in a shiny new blog-site!

Take a look at the site here, and check out the latest diary entry (shortcut here).



HCBMWR Donates to Hill Country Flood Relief

Date posted: 6/25/2015  link

The HCBMWR continues its tradition of being a great neighbor with a contribution of $1,600 to the Austin Disaster Relief Network to aid the victims of the Memorial Day flooding.

The donation consisted of $500 from the club treasury, with an additional $1,100 donated by club members specifically for this effort.

The HCBMWR board thanks the membership for its generosity, and continues to take great pride in the quality of the people in this organization!



HCBMWR Helps Out at Life Time Tri CapTex

Date posted: 5/28/2015  link

Five members of the HCBMWR met at 6AM for an early Memorial Day breakfast, then helped out with the Life Time Tri CapTex held in downtown Austin.

As usual, the riders carried race officials on multiple laps around the bike course as they watched for rule violations and safety issues.

Of special interest to our riders was the paratriathlete category, as this was the national championship event. Watching these special athletes overcome tremendous obstacles to compete at this level is truly inspirational. Seeing a runner with no legs run a 5K after biking 20K will give anyone pause to consider their perspective on day-to-day life.

Special thanks to Jeff Acklen for spearheading the club's effort. Along with Jeff, others who participated were Joe Aaron, Mark Johnson, Hub Helm, and Jim Emmons.



Another Fine Mess We've Gotten Ourselves Out Of

Date posted: 4/19/2015  link

Once again, the HCBMWR members have come through with a cleanup of our adopted stretch of RM 165 between Henley and Blanco. Despite some predictions of sketchy weather, we had a good turnout for breakfast at the Bowling Club and for the subsequent cleanup session.

In a major upset to the traditional favorite Keystone, Corona seemed to be the most common brand of beer bottle jettisoned by the denizens of Blanco County since our last cleanup day. 

Special thanks to Jeff Acklen for bringing his pickup and assuming the mantle of the "Captain", taking over for the dearly (temporarily) departed Eric Brubaker. And special thanks to Joe Aaron as well for bringing his pickup to help with the trash and trash-picker-upper hauling.

Many thanks to all of the HCBMWR members who helped out: Joe Aaron, Jeff Acklen, Steve Colwell, Jim Emmons, Brett Field, Klondike Mike Fleck, Karl Friedrich, Kevin Good, Mark Johnson, Dave Schani, Meryl Stoller, and J.B. Young. Thanks, guys!



HCBMWR Announces $1,500 in Charitable Donations

Date posted: 12/15/2014  link

The HCBMWR is very proud to announce that its membership has approved $1,500 in charitable donations for the 2014 holiday season.

For the second straight year, the HCBMWR will donate $1,000 to the Capital Area Food Bank. This donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Beaumont Foundation and the Johnson family, resulting in a benefit of $2,000 to the Food Bank. This donation will provide 5,000 free meals for needy recipients in the Austin area.

Additionally, the HCBMWR will donate $500 to the Town and Country Miracle League. This donation will be matched by Pinnacle Texas Management Services, resulting in $1,000 to the league.

The Miracle League provides the opportunity for special needs children to play baseball. With the help of over 200 middle and high school "buddies" to assist the children on the field, the Miracle League provides a fun and rewarding experience not only to the participants, but also to the dedicated volunteers who make it possible. These photos speak eloquently to the wonderful work done by the League.

Thanks to all HCBMWR members for making this possible. A special thanks goes out to those members who volunteered their services at the triathlons; the donations from those events to the club played a large part in the club's having the funds available to make these donations.

The HCBMWR looks forward to continuing its outstanding tradition of charitable contributions next year!



RM 165 Is Clean Again!

Date posted: 11/19/2014  link

Despite our knack for picking cleanup days with nasty weather, the HCBMWR crew stepped up and did the job again on Saturday, Nov 15, cleaning up our two-mile stretch of RM 165 between Henley and Blanco.

After breakfast at the Bowling Club, we made our way back to the muster spot and met up with some more of our folks and got to work.

Many thanks to those who helped: Eric Brubaker, Joe Aaron, Kevin Good, John Conniff, Mike Hooker, Jeff Acklen, Dave Schani, Meryl Stoller, Ken & Marilyn Korn, Michelle Farrell, Art Zeitz, Mike Fleck, Karl Freidrich, David Alger, and Jim Emmons.

(We didn't get a group photo before we started, so we might have missed a couple of names of folks who weren't at breakfast...so many apologies and let us know and we'll make sure we get your paycheck to you...OK, not really on that last part but we'll at least get your name added to the list.)

Later, an emotional Eric Brubaker commented: When we took on this project I feared the interest may fizzle and getting 12 plus each and every time would be a lot of work.  Our club has come through in spades.  Always a big group, always some fun in addition to the work.  I am proud of our club and proud to call each and every one of you my friend.

'Nuff said.



Meandering to Minnesota

Date posted: 8/6/2014  link

The latest gem from Mike M:

Meandering to Minnesota – la deuxième partie

A thousand miles from Austin, it was time to replace my OE tires, so late the week-before-last I had new ones (the two that had formed my backrest) mounted by Gina’s BMW in Iowa City. Nice dealership… but I’ll never look askance at $40.00 per wheel again.  Afterwards, it was on to Prairie du Chien, WI, on the upper Mississippi, with the Nav V set on “curvy roads”. Meandering with a capital “M”. Despite Northern Iowa’s and Southern Wisconsin’s farmland, with right angle section lines, property lines, and related roads, there are lots of curves in the river valleys and among the bluffs, and a ton of steeply-rolling grades. Giving control to Garmin in curvy mode means you need to have plenty of time, be good on gas, and largely indifferent as to the types of roads, since some are pretty low on the maintenance/paving food chain. Also, not mind the occasional farm implement taking up about 15/16 of the roadway. But it led me through a lot of pretty and interesting countryside. Touring Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Wisconsin, was interesting if you’re into arts and sciences.

Eight of us met in Pike’s Peak State Park in NE Iowa, across the river from Prairie du Chien, and headed for St Paul on the GS Gypsy Tour. In a roundabout way. The focus was on farm roads, both paved and unpaved, and the “ORV” trails (offroad vehicles - snow mobiles and ATVs) that prevail in the forests. Very early in the day our route encountered a washed-out bridge. Conveniently, the pedestrian bridge a couple of hundred meters away and across a farmer’s property (they weren’t home), was just wide enough for a GS.

The GS ride was not too difficult but it made the trip to St Paul mileage-intensive... sort of like selecting “curvy roads” mode.

We arrived at the MOA Rally in St Paul Tuesday evening and separated to find camping spots, of which there were many. It was cool one day and rainy another at the rally; afterwards, a little on the warm and sticky side. Overall, the rally was very enjoyable and I’d recommend it if you haven’t been to one. Nice people, well organized, good seminars, tons of bikes, and a bunch of exhibitors – the vendors you may always be looking at in the “Owner’s News” and on-line. Nice to talk to them face-to-face and see some of their merchandise. Other highlights included visiting with Hub Hubbell (sic) and the Dynamic Duo (Joeeric); seeing the beautiful antique, vintage, and classic bikes; watching BMW Performance Center instructors do the GS obstacle course; and, riding an S1000R from the BMW demo fleet. One of the leaders of the group to which I was assigned was an acquaintance from Houston, who kindly separated a couple of us from the group and led a spirited ride. I hadn’t appreciated its shift assist, which would put a smile on anyone’s face:  Accelerate, forget about backing off the gas, who needs a clutch - just pop it up through the gears!

The return trip was as successful as the northern leg – no serious incidents, no I-states, no rain, not much heat until approaching Central Texas. One highlight going both ways was “discovering” (sort of like Columbus did) the beautiful Ouachita National Forest area in SE Oklahoma: Forest, lakes, rivers, hills, state parks, curvy roads, and only slightly over 400 miles from Austin. Seems like it could be a good spot for a club trip sometime.    

I don’t listen to music when riding, preferring to concentrate on the road, observe unique customs and behaviors, and generally ponder the meaning of life. Extensive travel has allowed me to learn some things… but there are still many, many baffling questions that I haven’t yet figured out:

  • In deep back-woodsy communities and clusters of homes (some on wheels, some not), why is there always something burning? Smoke to ward off evil spirits?
  • Is Lutheran really the predominant religion in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as Garrison Keillor suggests, or is it simply “Beer”?  
  • Why do floppy hats and cigars suddenly appear when [old] men camp out? Ancient tribal ritual?
  • Where does “farkle” end and “Beverly Hillbillies” begin?
  • Is a GS Adventure with big wheels, square-edged tires, and a rigidly-attached sidecar really a GS Adventure?  
  • Why are there more silos than people in Iowa?   

Enjoy the ride!



RM 165 Is Clean!

Date posted: 6/28/2014  link


Click on pic for full size

Well, at least a two-mile stretch of it is.

Twelve volunteers braved some questionable weather early to make it another successful cleanup day on our favorite stretch of road.

Many thanks to (back row) Eric Brubaker, Rickey Carter, Mark Johnson, Meryl Stoller, Mike McCrary, Brian Buongiorno, Joe Aaron, Mike Gross, (front row) Blake Westerterp, Dave Schani, Jeff Acklen, and (photographer) Jim Emmons for making it a short, sweet, and productive couple of hours.

As always, trash and trash talk were in great abundance.



The Gonzo Motorcyle Diaries - Chapter 2

Date posted: 6/9/2014  link

The Gonzo Motorcycle Diaries
(Memorable Moto Moments Which May Have Never Happened)


Dateline: October 7, 1967, La Higuera, Bolivia, 18°47′S 64°13′W
 
6,400 ft. above sea level is a strange place to be if you have bad asthma. I sure wouldn't be caught dead there if I had suffered from it. But some do get caught that way.

Trust me, the Bolivian altiplano was no picnic in October. Sun so bright that I was wearing my Mt. Everest dark black-lensed Jublo glacier glasses from my last summit ascent a few years back. Riding my BMW R60, I was now retracing an old Alaska to Tierra del Fuego on a half-assed excuse of a ride south. The bike was light and sporty, just the way I like my women.

I stopped and looked up at the blazing hydrogen ball in the midday heavens above. I won't lie, I was sorta lost.  My head was throbbing like Wotan's hammer was pounding at it non-stop. He wasn’t. It was something else German, the Beemer moto engine between my legs; the Bing carbs gasping for air. I pulled out my map and compass, trying to figure out where the hell I was.

“Someday some smart ass SOB will invent a damned gizmo to make finding your location all magic and easy… Yeah, right, who am I kidding!??!... Never gonna happen! ” mumbling curses to myself. I had already waited a lifetime for one-man rocket belts to happen also. I finally got my bearings, put the map and compass back in my bag, and took off.

With some time on my hands from ‘Nam, I had picked up a small job. I did occasional freelance work for the “good guys” when I needed some off-the-books somolians to pay for my twin vices: motos and mujeres. I’m no doctor but it was an operation with a doctor. A wet operation. 

Sliding my bike around a loose graveled corner, I had to break suddenly for a small group of men crossing the road on foot. They looked scraggly and short, typical of the peasants in this region. The tallest one looked different from the rest and carried an AK 47 on his shoulder. His smaller buddies were packing Russky heat as well, slung across their backs like guitars in a roving Huayño music group. It was obvious that these guys weren't a Bolivian Boy Scout Troop looking for lost Girl Scouts selling cookies in the middle of nowhere.

The tall one approached me. He wore a beret and beard, smiling at me. It was him. The unmistakably recognizable kisser worn on t-shirts around the world from Moscow to Berkeley. His eyes narrowed a bit. He knew that I knew that he knew that I knew who he was. He knew. I knew. We both just knew we both knew. Know what I am talking about? Then you now know what we knew. Knowledge can be a complex and powerful thing.

“Nice moto” he said in broken English.
“You like them?” I returned.
“Quizás. Perhaps. I have ridden them a bit in the past”, he answered.
“What was your ride?” I asked.
“A 1947 Model 18 Norton”, scanning the plain, then turning back to me.
“Nice English bike but leaks a lot of Texas tea”, I offered.
“Quizás. But oil, like many things, you can get if you are committed,” he said equivocally.
 
Turning back while taking my measure, he paused. “I like your poncho, it is very colorful and typically folkloric of the region”.

I looked down at it, not recognizing it or where it came from, seeing it for the first time.  I won't lie. I was clueless where I had picked it up. I felt like a drugged hippie after a love-in at a San Francisco crash pad with torn psychedelic Jimi Hendrix and Quicksilver Messenger Service posters on the walls spinning around me.

“Drank too much trago last night in a pueblito at a dance. Ate too much quwi. Don’t remember anything but waking up next to a campesina with this on… and nothing else. My head is killing me. The quwi wasn't bad but that trago is lethal. That plus lots of trips to the outhouse”, I reported.

“Don't worry, compañero, I am a doctor, you need one of these.”

He pulled two large banded-cigars from his pocket and cut the tips off each with an old rusty pocket knife. I lifted my dark glacier glasses off my eyes and up onto my sun-burned forehead and watched him hand me one of the Cuban Commie tobacco-built ICBMs. Silently and slowly, he scratched a wooden match against its stained box with “¡Patria o Muerte!” blazoned across the background of a faded Cuban flag. 

He slowly lit my Commie Contraband Cubano, studying me more closely,observing the cigar's medicinal effects on his patient. 

"You look better already."

His men were now sitting on nearby rocks in the shade, chewing coca leaves silently. We took a few puffs together to get the cancer rockets launched. I won't lie, I inhaled deeply.
 
With a firm locked-eyeball stare, I thanked him. 

“Cohibas. Excellent. These taste very Cuban”, I noted.
“Quizás. I prefer a pipe. I have asthma”, he shrugged as an ironical faint somewhat sad smile spread across his iconic face.
“Well then, I guess we are burning the enemy’s crops.” I noted.
“Quizás. For you. American, I suppose?” he asked, knowing the answer before ever asking it.
“Red and white corpuscles and blue veins, Doctor.” I replied. “You?”
“Argentina. But I was in New York City not so very long ago. The pastrami sandwich there was good”, his back now turned, looking about.
“Yeah,Argentina... love the place. Hot tangos, hot women and hot steaks”, I responded, fondly remembering that wild night with Sonia and Analisa in BA.
“Quizás. I don’t live there anymore, I travel a bit,” he shrugged again in a noncommittal way.
 
We stood there together a while, saying nothing, smoking like men do, casually blowing a few smoke rings now and then, watching our ashes lengthen and then fall off the end to the ground.  

My headache started to fade. It was time to go.

“Thanks for the smoke, Doc. I have lost my Lucky Strikes. Nice cigar for a change. I gotta get down the road and find some gas.”
“We will meet again compañero”, he said while shaking my hand and placing his other on my shoulder.

Putting my dark glacier goggles back on, I looked him steadily in the eyes. 

“I wouldn't put a big long bet on that if I were you Doc”, I said while mounting up.
“Quizás”, he nodded in fatalistic agreement.
 
I gunned the R60 boxer and drove off into the distance, leaving history in the rear view mirror.
 
- Dharma Wheeler



Dharma Wheeler's Blog: The Gonzo Motorcyle Diaries

Date posted: 5/29/2014  link

The Gonzo Motorcyle Diaries

(Memorable Moto Moments Which May Have Never Happened)

Dateline: 1969, Paris-Dakar Race, Somewhere in the Sub-Saharan Desert

There I was. Rear wheel hub of my R100 GS half-sunk in the desert sand dune I had just roared down it at a 70 degree angle. Blazing sun. Royal blue sky. No clouds. Heat reaching 100F. Malcolm Story has passed me several stages ago. My headlight had shattered during the previous stage. Low on gas and water.

“Pilot error. I should never smoke while riding down-hill on sand. This always happens when I do” I said to myself. “And I should never have listened to that blonde in the cafe on the Champs-Élysées. Motorcycles and woman. Bad mix.” 

I had been in Paris on a long R&R from my 5th. Air Cav tour in ‘Nam. She had purposely caught my gaze from her table with her cafe au lait. She looked like Bridgette Bardot but spoke much better English. I bit.

“You are American?” she asked.

“No, I’m Trouble.” I answered.

“But you look strong American, follow me.” she said with a flip of her bangs.

I was awakened the next morning when she stuck a lighted Gitane smoke between my lips, staring at me with her long gaze. I won’t lie, I inhaled deeply.

“You like danger American, yes? Race in the Paris-Dakar on a moto to amuse me,” she asked casually.

“How hard could that be?” I snorted. “I fly Hueys into hot LZ’s while guys in black pajamas in rice paddies shoot at me with AK's. But me? I just grin at them while humming ‘Sugar, Sugar’ by the Archies. That ride-around-the-block has gotta be a cake-walk, Frenchie.”

I inhaled again slowly. “Find me a bike Mademoiselle- à votre service, je n'ai rien à faire en ce moment.”

She stole a drag off my lung dart. “Strong American, if you race for me, I will meet you at the finish line in Dakar. We will be lovers forever."

But the second-hand Beemer I bought from the tattoo'd Corsican in Marseilles was firmly stuck in the sand. Screwed. I lit up another one. Dark tobacco given to me by the Berber chief way back in the Atlas Mountains.  While coughing and removing a tobacco flake off my lip, I turned my head around aware of someone. The empty desert is like that. It is just never empty. A quarter-of-a-click away I saw the kid. He was squatting by his camel. Nor more than 8 years old, he got up and and approached me with his big furry pet.

“Monsieur…” He pointed at my bike, then his camel and pulled a rope out of his bag. He pantomimed pulling the bike out of the sand with his beast. Then he stopped, gestured again by pointing at himself, “Cigarette?”

I lit up a smoke and handed it to the Little Desert Prince. He palmed his and we both inhaled a few deep pulls, studying the situation. With the butt hanging from his lower lip and puffing like a Brooklyn cab driver, he attached the rope and the camel pulled my ride out of the sand.

I cranked old Sparky up, waved, and went onto the next étape. 

When I finally reached Dakar, there was no blonde at the finish line.

- Dharma Wheeler



Paean to the Panhandle

Date posted: 5/3/2014  link

From Mike McCrary

Normal disclaimer:  No offense to anyone, living or dead; or who’s from, or who lives in, or who even knows anyone from or living in, the Panhandle of Texas.  And this is a cultural exchange, not necessarily a Texas geography lesson (although it’ll probably help some).

Having grown up in North and West Texas and attended Tech (the “Texas” in front of it is not usually needed here), I’ve driven a lot of miles across that part of the state.  A lot.  You cross or skirt the plains to get from North Texas to Amarillo or Lubbock or Odessa or just about anywhere in the southwest, meaning you go through the rugged and beautiful areas situated along the eastern and southeastern edge of the Llano Estacado.  In West Texas speak, the CAPROCK.  But I was always on the way to somewhere else, and didn’t take the time to travel the back roads, ride, take photos, or even stop and read the historical markers.

We’ve heard them “Rave On” (which happens to be a Buddy Holly song, and everyone knows Buddy was from, and is memorialized in bronze, in Lubbock) about the Eastern Panhandle.  By “them”, I mean ‘FJRt’ Zeitz and Kevin ‘Johnny B’ Good, who at various times have waxed lyrical about the rugged edge of the caprock, as well as the canyons formed by the Red River and its branches southeast of Amarillo.  That of course includes Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyons State Parks.  There’s a dramatic rise when approaching the plains from the east, but if you’re already on the plains and heading east toward the ‘downhill’ edge of the caprock, the sudden drop into the canyonlands is dramatic and beautiful.

To make a long, boring story short (but it may still be boring to those who ain’t from Texas!), Dan and I share a serious condition – retired (in Dan’s case) and pretty much retired (in my case) - so thought we’d take a mid-week ride to the Panhandle.  Air out the new vasserboxers.  Shoot some photos.  Maybe get some movie footage using the GoPro.  As it turns out, however, the Panhandle is long and wide and standing still except when the wind blows (which is more or less all the time), so a long-winded handlebar video would be a waste of time.  But shooting in black and white might accurately capture the “panhandleian” ambience. [Full disclosure - in today’s digital world, “shooting black and white” is a figure of speech.]  Think Peter Bogdanovich’s film of Larry McMurtry’s “The Last Picture Show” - same idea, except the small town in the movie was in North Texas, not the Panhandle.  But there are still similarities – Texas landscapes - small towns that are in various stages of desiccation – red dirt (not that you can tell in black & white, but trust us, in both cases it’s red) - big sky (sometimes blue, sometimes reddish-brown) – hard working people, at least those who are still there.  And don’t forget the wind.

Our destination Tuesday was Turkey, NE of Lubbock, and Dan, with Ms Garmin’s help, led us on a motorcycle-friendly route from Austin through Lampasas to Goldthwaite, then Texas 16 to Comanche, followed by Texas Highway 36 to Abilene. “Direct” was not an objective. Texas 36 is one of the great two-lane rural highways, extending diagonally across Texas from Freeport on the Gulf Coast to Abilene.  From Abilene we took US 83 to Aspermont, 380 to Jayton, then Texas 70 north to Turkey.  We had a continual, strong headwind, not difficult riding, but gas mileage dropped precipitously once north of Abilene.  Around Anson, we saw and felt a definite change – the sky went from partly cloudy blue and grey, to a solid reddish-greyish brown.  The wind was carrying a lot of soil… from the Northern Panhandle, Oklahoma, Kansas, you name it.  Welcome to the plains.

Wednesday’s sightseeing ride was a rectangular loop that included Palo Duro Canyon, then Caprock Canyons, then through Quitaque (not “quit ache”, but kit-a-kay) and back to Turkey from the west.  A couple of the legs captured the edge of the caprock and the river canyons, as well as the state parks.  As maps show, roads in the Panhandle run N-S and E-W, except right in the canyons or along the caprock edge, where they squiggle a little.  To get from Turkey to Palo Duro Canyon, we rode north to Clarendon (temp in the 30’s Wednesday morning), west almost to Amarillo, south to Canyon, then east to Palo Duro.  We then reversed the last eastern leg, turned south, then east again to complete the rectangle.

Going north from Turkey, Hwy 70 is a great ride as it crosses the rugged river beds and southern edge of the plains.  At Clarendon, we turned west on US 287.  The north wind that prevailed on Tuesday still prevailed.  You know the one – that strong, cold, counter-steering, leaning, buffeting, arm-aching, head-twisting, eye-watering north wind.  Welcome [again] to the plains.  We enjoyed a similar experience each time the farm roads took us west or east.  Dan, in my rear view mirror, looked like he was trying to get Marc Marquez’s lean on… just to keep it in a straight line.

Palo Duro Canyon meant a stop at the overlook, then down to the river bed and through the park, taking the opportunity to hike and look around.  After a tour there, we made a quick stop in Canyon for coffee, then it was [straight] FM this and [straight] FM that, to get us to Caprock Canyons for another welcome respite from the plains.  Finally, back toward Turkey.  Dan headed for the hotel, and I decided to take a dual sport detour south of town.  It started off packed gravel…turned to sand in the low spots…more and deepening sand…and, after it bucked me off, I got my first opportunity to practice lifting the new GS.  Soft sand meant no damage (to me or the bike) – and it’s now it’s been suitably initiated into the dual sport club.

We stayed at the 1927-vintage Turkey Hotel for two nights.  It’s a little long in the tooth to put it kindly, but we had hot showers, soft beds, and good breakfasts during our stay, so no complaints.  The only café in town served, in the words of the man in the hotel, “Spanish” food.  It was actually pretty good Tex-Mex.

On Thursday, we had breakfast early and reversed our route back to Abilene, then returned to Austin via Coleman, Santa Anna, Brady, and Llano.  Good, un-crowded roads, sunshine, and mild temperatures meant we had a great ride and were able to peel off layers of insulation as the day wore on.

All in all, a good ride and a fantastic way to spend part of a “work week”.

Bob Wills, of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys fame, was from Turkey, and his classic “Faded Love” (by fiddle rather than in Texas Swing style), is a fitting soundtrack for a short montage.  It may sum up the ride around the Panhandle better than all the verbiage.  But it doesn’t have the geography lesson. https://vimeo.com/93671039



Motorcycling in Spain

Date posted: 4/24/2014  link

It was a packed house at Marie Callender's on Apr 23 as approximately 30 members of the HCBMWR gathered to welcome our guest Felipe Baena from the Granada, Spain BMW club, and his friend Alejandra who lives here in Austin.

Felipe showed us pictures from his recent trip through Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. We think it's safe to say that there will be a flurry of web searches today for the Stelvio Pass, Budapest, motorcycle rental prices, trans-Atlantic motorcycle shipping costs, motorcycle tour packages, and so on. Talk about whetting some appetites!

At the end of the evening, Felipe presented Eric with a t-shirt from his club and a hat from Granada's favorite football team, and we reciprocated with a HCBMWR shirt and hat and an honorary club membership for Felipe.

It was a very informative and enjoyable evening, and we look forward to continuing our new relationship with Felipe and his friends in Granada!




Greetings from Austin!

Date posted: 4/22/2014  link

“Greetings from Austin”… not only a cool, vintage postcard look for a well-known mural in South Austin, but a great way to spread the word about the Hill Country BMW Riders Club… AND take a little time to enjoy its fabulous home city.

The First Annual HCBMW Austin Urbane Assault ride showcased some of Austin’s interesting sights, from the wonderful - Florence’s wildly decorated Comfort Yard in East Austin, so named because Flo provides safe, free after-school care and comfort to local children -  to Willie’s statue in front of the Austin City Limits auditorium – only weird to the unenlightened!

In between there were beautiful views of downtown and local lakes from several vantage points, anything goes Graffitti Park (for those who didn’t lose their way), a timely waterside coffee stop (what’s a “café ride” for, after all!), an assault up Mount Bonnell, and finally a tour through the beautiful and remote (but in a near-urban way!) Emma Long Park.  There was also plenty of time for easy riding, other Austin attractions, and visiting.

Those who missed out on this unique ride will have to anticipate… and await… the Second Annual Urbane Assault!



HCBMWR Do Big Bend 2014...

Date posted: 4/7/2014  link

...in pictures, video, and music, as Mike McCrary presents another of his treasures.

Mike's serving suggestion: make it full screen and crank up the volume.

Enjoy!

Big Bend 2014 - Hill Country BMW Riders Club from M McCrary on Vimeo.



There and Back Again: Amelia Island 2014

Date posted: 3/13/2014  link

Joe and Jim made a quick run down to Florida to see the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. This is the classic car show that is named after the classic Kawasaki motorcycle. Okay, maybe not that last part, but don't tell Olie.

We started the trip on Thursday with the best possible way to start a road trip: breakfast at Donn's. Then we headed to 71 and on to I-10 to start the long drone to Pensacola, our first night's stop. The ride was fine, as interstate droning goes...a little traffic going over the big bridge in Baton Rouge, a bit more traffic going through the tunnel in Mobile, but nothing too bad. The weather was clear and cold at the start, turned to cloudy and cold east of Houston, then started raining at about Baton Rouge.

So the last 250 miles was in cold rain. The heated gear was cranked up. Joe stayed dry except for his hands, because he wasn't wearing his rain gloves. Jim stayed dry except for his feet, because in his infinite wisdom he decided not to spend the extra money for the Gore-Tex lined boots. But as 4 hours in cold rain on an interstate goes, it was all good. Jim had cool "W" brands on the tops of his hands from the heating elements in his glove liners.

There's something really satisfying about being able to hop on your bikes and cover 700 miles in lousy weather and remain largely comfortable. We're very fortunate to have great bikes and great gear. We were making fun of all the Harleys on trailers headed down to Daytona for Bike Week. Then it occurred to us that they were probably making fun of the idiots on the BMW's riding in the cold rain while they sipped coffee in their nice dry and warm trucks!

Day 2 was an easy day, about 425 miles, from Pensacola to St. Simons Island, GA, where Joe's brother Jim A lives. The weather was still gray and cool, but no rain. That night we had a great dinner of crab cakes and flounder at a nice restaurant down by the ocean with Jim A and his fiancée Mandy.

Saturday, Day 3, was Cars and Coffee at the Concours, at the Ritz-Carlton resort on Amelia Island, FL. We had a short ride of about 70 miles down to the show. The weather was our reward for two days in the gray and cold - it was absolutely glorious. Mid-60's and not a cloud in the sky. A definite hat-and-sunscreen kind of day.

Cars and Coffee is pretty casual, sort of a "bring your own" car show. The cars ranged from interesting daily drivers, complete with half-full coffee cups in the console, to very rare vintage race cars, to very exotic modern sports cars. Joe's car would have been right at home, and would have shown very well in that company.

The highlight of the day was the Blitzen Benz. That's the car that held the speed record from 1909 until 1919. It's a four-cylinder Mercedes displacing...wait for it...21.5 liters. Yes, that's not a typo...5.375 liters per cylinder. (That three-decimal accuracy is to keep Joe happy.) They fired it up and people came running to see it from all over the grounds.

Sunday, Day 4, was the real deal...the Concours itself. We thought we had seen cool stuff on Saturday, but Sunday was absolutely mind-boggling. Something like 350 cars, many of them worth more than $1 million. The very first Shelby GT350 race car. The very last Cobra 427 made. Yacht-sized Duesenbergs, Bugattis, Packards, and Mercedes. Ferrari Daytonas and 275's. A 1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster that sold for $2.42 million at the auction on Saturday night. Wayne Carini, Jochen Mass, and Peter Brock were there. They had something like 100 judges for all of the classes.

At some point you just reach saturation. It would have been easy to spend days there if you really examined every car and talked to their owners.

Here's a link to all of our pictures from Amelia Island.

Monday, Day 5, time to head for home. Rather than put in a long day, we decided to head to Pensacola and visit the Naval Air Museum. We got there about 2:00 and spent a couple of hours looking at the planes. It's a really cool place, many beautifully-presented planes from the very old to the very current. We didn't get to do the bus tour out to the flight line, as the last tour was already full by the time we arrived. So maybe next time on that.

Here are our pics from the museum.

After the museum, we rode on to the east side of Mobile so we could get past any morning rush hour traffic on the final day. There was a wreck on the eastbound side of the interstate coming out of the tunnel that had traffic backed up for miles. Among the cars were three AMA racing team trailers heading for Daytona.

Tuesday, Day 5, was time to head for home. The weather reports were pretty dire, and the message was clear...get on the road early and make some miles fast. It was dry when we started, but we knew we were going to hit the rain later. We made full use of onboard weather radar via the Garmin Smartphone Link that is built into the new Navigator V GPS. It lets you overlay a weather radar animation on top of the map showing your route. We saw that there was a heavy batch of rain coming up from the gulf headed right across Lake Ponchartrain. The weather guys were using words like "torrential" on the forecasts. We decided that if we made great time we might be able to get past it before it came across I-12. So we put the hammer down for about an hour, got lucky with no LEO problems, and just made it past the storm. We figured we cleared the rain by about 10-15 minutes. Without the radar display, we almost certainly would have been caught right in the middle of the heaviest rain.

We couldn't escape all of the rain, and finally had to punch through about 50-60 miles of it between Lafayette and Lake Charles. It was pretty heavy at times. It was really nice to be able to watch the radar and know how we were progressing through the band, and know that we just had a few more minutes to go and that we'd be clear the rest of the way after that. Sure enough, just before Lake Charles the rain stopped, and by Orange we were seeing patches of blue sky. By Beaumont we had clear skies the rest of the way home. We sailed through Houston making full use of the HOV lane, and headed back up 71 to home.

We were struck by how green things were looking along 71, and then spotted several patches of Indian paintbrush, and one patch of bluebonnets! It was almost as if spring had sprung during the five days we had been gone.

We hit the Austin area around 5:00, took 130 to circumvent the worst of the traffic, and arrived home in the 5:30 range.

Takeaways:

  • it's nice to have safe bikes and quality gear if you're travelling on a motorcycle
  • even slugging it out on the interstate is better on two wheels than on four
  • add weather radar to ABS, traction control, and heated gear to the road trip essentials for bad weather
  • we don't have nearly enough money to hang with the Amelia Island crowd, but for $60 they'll let you watch
  • we have to start planning a trip to Pebble Beach right away


Ten Days in February on a Motorcycle

Date posted: 3/6/2014  link

Olie and Mary just got back from a trip to Florida and other parts east, and Mary has provided us with another of her legendary trip reports. Take a few minutes and enjoy it here.

Olie has shared all of their pictures here.

Welcome home, Mary and Olie, and thanks for letting us share your great trip!



New Club Flyer

Date posted: 2/11/2014  link

We have updated our club information sheet and membership application form. This can be another marketing tool for the club, so feel free to post it at your favorite haunts and keep a couple of copies on your bike to give to prospective members.

We'd like everyone to encourage new members to sign up using our online process. Handing them this flyer and pointing out the website address will be much nicer than just telling them to "go to the website".

And for a prospective member who is not as comfortable using the computer, or prefers an off-line signup approach, they can fill out the form and mail it in as in the past.

We'll try to make sure we have a few color copies at the meetings and at breakfasts, so if you want a color copy and don't have access to a color printer, you can grab a few then.



Big Bend Flashback - 2012

Date posted: 1/25/2014  link

To further whet your appetite for the upcoming Big Bend trip, here's a blast from the recent past from our club photographer/videographer laureate Mike McCrary. Be sure and click the "full screen" button!



Chilly Start to Cleanup Day

Date posted: 1/25/2014  link

Click for larger pic!Despite a chilly (OK, it was downright cold) start, the HCBMWR did a successful cleanup of our very own stretch of RM 165 (the part with the big hill and the expansive view of the Hill Country).

17 members braved the frigid holdover temps from Snowlapalooza '14 to make the trek to the Blanco Bowling Club, followed by a short ride back to the junction of 165 and 2325 for work time.

Members reported temperatures as low as 21 on 1431 and 22 on 165 during the ride out. The Gerbings et al heated gear got a good workout. By the time breakfast was over, it had already warmed up to about 50, and it was a balmy 60 for the ride home.

We put a good dent in the flotsam and jetsam along 165, and shared many good stories, jokes, and outright lies while we worked.

Thanks to all that helped out!



Oh, West Texas!

Date posted: 1/16/2014  link

[Here's a trip report from Art Zeitz. A little taste of things to come for the Big Bend trip (Art just couldn't wait). We think it would have been a bit better with the BMW six humming...but oh well. Thanks, Art...awesome writeup and pics! -Ed.]

Oh, West Texas! (or, What I Did After Club Breakfast Last Saturday)



I rode west out of Wimberley to 473 through Comfort, then GoldWinged it on the super slab to Balmorhea. Stayed 2 nights, returning Monday late pm. Out and back were nice, but Sunday was Funday: Ride all day—return at dusk—highs in the 60’s and nothing but sunny blue skies.

That morning just past dawn started by heading out and back on the Boy Scout camp road, then out and back to McDonald from Ft. Davis. Cherry-picking the best crooked roads is why it’s Funday. Marfa—Shafter—Presidio, then east on 170 through the moonscape, past the tee-pees. Saving BBNP for March. Then north on 118, which is kind of a big deal. That is 100 epic miles of pavement that links Stoody Beaut with Davis Fort. Especially with no wind, cool air and blue skies.

This was just the cure for FJR withdrawal and cooped-up-Holiday open road lust. Big sky. Empty road. Timeless scenery. The Honda six hummed happily and the sun smiled down upon me.



HCBMWR Donates $1,000 to Capital Area Food Bank

Date posted: 1/8/2014  link

The HCBMWR's year-end charitable donation for 2013 was presented to the Capital Area Food Bank in the amount of $1,000. This donation was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Beaumont Foundation, resulting in a benefit of $2,000 to the Food Bank.

According to the folks at the CAFB, our donation provided 5,000 free meals for needy recipients in the Austin area.

Thanks to all HCBMWR members for making this possible. A special thanks goes out to those members who volunteered their services at the triathlons; the donations from those events to the club played a large part in the club's having the funds available to make this donation.

The HCBMWR look forward to providing a donation to a worthy local charity at the end of 2014!



HCBMWR 2013 Holiday Party

Date posted: 12/23/2013  link

Approximately 40 club members took a break from shopping frenzy and gathered for the club's 2013 holiday party. The quantity and quality of food was amazing, and as always the "white elephant" gift exchange kept everyone on the edge of their seats.

A great time was had by all, and the pictures are already rolling in. Let us know if you have some you'd be willing to share, and we'll add them to the list: Stevie's, Shell's



Getting Started with MotoCamping

Date posted: 11/5/2013  link

Eric went to a good presentation on getting started with motorcycle camping at the RA Rally in Asheville, NC this past summer. He brought back a copy of the presentation and you can view it here. (This is a large scanned PDF, so please be patient.)



HCBMWR Fall 2013 Trip

Date posted: 10/30/2013  link

A group of 16 HCBMWR members, plus a couple of friends, made the fall trip to New Mexico last weekend. The group used the Hotel Artesia in - you guessed it - Artesia as a base camp. "Why Artesia?", some asked. Well, it's an easy day's ride from Austin, it's centrally located among several points of interest in southern New Mexico, it's large enough to have several good hotels and restaurants, and there's a lovely view of a refinery. OK, so you can't have everything. But the hotel was excellent: good rooms, a great dining/hanging out area, and a bar! And they roped off an area of the parking lot just for us. The town is actually quite nice, showing evidence of the oil boom in mostly good ways.

We rode out on Thursday, most of us meeting up in Llano for breakfast at the Hungry Hunter. We had a good breakfast, although one who will remain nameless got the last of the hash browns. We'll just refer to him as "Mr. Smith".

We had a nice late lunch at the Red Mesa Grill in Big Spring, then rode the last stint into Artesia, picking up at least one nail and getting to town about 5:15 or so. We then had some good Italian food at Piccolino.

Friday started out rainy, but most of the group braved the weather and headed south down to Sitting Bull Falls, and Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks....picking up another nail along the way. A smaller group went in search of a tire in Roswell, then turned that into a nice ride to Ruidoso. Dinner on Friday night was Mexican food at La Fonda. They set us up in our own room, with great service and good food...can't beat it. Actually you can...they don't sell beer.

Saturday was the ride to Cloudcroft. A large group headed there, made a gas stop in town, then headed up the Sunspot Highway. Beautiful scenery and a great road, although it is probably much better when there's no black ice; unfortunately that was not the case this day. So a little adventure ensued and Plans B, C, D, and E went into effect. But we ended up with some good riding and most of us ended up enjoying the day.

Saturday night was a very good dinner at the Wellhead Restaurant and Brew Pub. They do serve beer, and good beer. At least we Texas folks thought so.

Sunday morning started out cold for the ride home for most of the group, although a few adventurous types headed farther west for more riding. Evidently tire plugs don't like the cold either, and more tire adventure ensued, culminating with a session of group tire patching in Fort Stockton. But that was ultimately successful due to an appearance by the Incredible Hulkbaker. The rest of the trip was mostly your basic I-10 cover-the-miles, but we did do an inspired little detour on TX 290 through Sheffield and by Fort Lancaster State Historical Park. A great little break from the interstate drudgery, and highly recommended for your next I-10 jaunt.

So, all in all, a great little four-day weekend. We didn't get to do everything we wanted to, but then you never do, do you? Save some for next time...and there will definitely be a next time.

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HCBMWR Support IRONMAN 70.3 Austin Triathlon

Date posted: 10/28/2013  link

On Sunday, October 27th, nine team members from the Hill Country BMW Riders provided official transport support for race officials and a photographer monitoring the cycling portion of the 2013 IRONMAN 70.3 Austin Triathlon.

The club members transported the officials monitoring the cyclist racing in the event over a 56 mile course on roads east and south of the Austin Exposition Center off Decker Lane. For our team it was an early start, as our members met at Donn’s BBQ on Hwy 969 at 6 AM to get a bite of breakfast, review safety requirements, and race logistics.  Race day was a challenge with the remnants of a storm/weather front just passing through the area shortly before our breakfast meeting. Having the roads slick from fresh rain showers made support for the event all the more challenging. Support consisted of transporting race officials at a pace of 20 to 25 mph over a three hour period.  Team members have to monitor road conditions (which can be treacherous) over East Austin roads, keep pace with instructions from the host official, and avoid inhibiting progress by the race participants. Despite some accidents by race participants (due to the slick roads) our team successfully completed our mission.

Hill Country BMW Riders have been providing this level of support for multiple triathlon events in Austin. Our team takes pride in being able to contribute this level of support for Austin community events of this type.

The club wishes to thank participating volunteers Joe Aaron, Ken Ayers, Steve Bosbach, Wayne Brissette, Kevin Good, Mark Johnson, David McCullough, Pat Moriarty, and Bo Willyard.



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