This year marks 100,000 miles on BMW motorcycles, a milestone of sorts recognized by the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America. My reentry into motorcycling has been a wonderful addition to a great life I have spent so far with Deb and our beautiful children. My journey on two wheels spans well beyond the two BMW motos I have had owned over the last 8 years. I have no idea how many miles were accrued back in my younger years.
It was 1970. I assembled an awesome mini-bike with a pull-cord starter rope engine and a centrifugal clutch. This crude excuse for a motorcycle got me around via the alleys and dirt roads in Abilene, TX. A Honda CT70, Hodaka Ace 90, Cooper 250, Bultaco Sherpa T, Honda CL450, Kawasaki KZ750 all kept me traveling on two wheels through high school and college years. Along came our wonderful kids at age 28 and my moto addiction was put on hold until 2006 when I said to Debbie it was time to get back on a motorcycle. I had my mind set on a BMW and I settled in to find a K75S. I quickly found that this was to be a difficult task in Texas and wound up buying a 1992 Koensburg Blu K75S from Bob in Pittsburgh.
I contracted a transporter to bring the moto down to warmer grounds in Texas. I gave the K75S the name of Elke and started envisioning moto trips into the mountains that I had dreamed about since High School.
I began with short rides around my North Texas home and ventured up to Oklahoma across Carpenters Bluff trestle bridge. Riding again brought me pleasure and time to clear my mind while on the open road. So began my route planning experience.
Deb and I trailered Elke to the Golden Aspen Rally in Ruidosa in the fall of 2006. My BMW and around 10 others were the only German machines in a sea of thousands of V-twins thundering through the hills and mountains around south-central New Mexico. We had a great time with everyone around us, and this trip opened the door to many more moto journeys both solo and together with Debbie.
The South Central BMW Rally in October of 2006 opened my eyes to the close-knit BMW riders community. I was taken by how open riders were that I met on the road and at the campground. The common thread of two wheels immediately pulls together people from all facets of life and opens conversations that would unlikely happen otherwise.
When I returned from the BMW rally in the Hill Country, I did research to find BMW riders near my home and found the Lone Star BMW Riders. This group of riders were extremely friendly and shared their knowledge of technical subjects and riding long distances. The club hosted all types of rides from monthly breakfast rides to multi-day journeys into other states. I met Bo Griffin on my first club ride and followed his Iron Butt Association trips over the years.
In the summer of 2007, Deb and I trailered Elke to the mountains around Paonia, Colorado to meet up with our long time friends Troy and Susan. Troy had acquired a 1987 K100RS BMW. We stayed at the adobe Leroux Creek Inn on a vineyard north of Hotchkiss. Troy and I rode the twisty roads across Grand Mesa and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
The fall of 2007 brought the Bavarian Motor Weekend at Sipapu, a rally hosted by the Land of Enchantment Riders out of Albuquerque. This ride was the start of an annual pilgrimage to Sipapu that has yet to cease. My affinity for Northern New Mexico began at a very young age through my mother’s love for art. She wanted my dad to buy an adobe house in Santa Fe on Canyon Road in the 60’s. My dad balked at the $27,000 price. Darn…
The Harvest Classic in Luckenbach brought back memories of my Observed English Trials riding with Keith as well as our road ventures all around the Abilene area. He and I rode Spanish trials bikes back in the 70’s as well as now classic road bikes. It was a great time to be on two wheels. Keith rode out with me to the rally site on his new F800S. Luckenbach would turn out to be a regular stop for me on rides into the Texas Hill Country.
The 2007 LSBMWR ride to the Barber Museum was my introduction to distance in the saddle and minimal time off of the bike. Jim, Tom, Bo and Herman were on this ride and they knew how to ride for sure! We had a great time at the museum and at back road restaurants in the middle of corn fields.
In 2008 I visited my photography friend Charles Evans at his show in Bosque. Charles and I met back in the 80’s as part of the the Visual Voice based out of The Photographic Center run by Rick Eilers. We journeyed to Big Bend and Santa Fe to capture the landscape and light of the forests and deserts. The group published a collection of our photographs in the book First Exposure . After my trip to visit with Charles, I had some time away from work and the spark to create NTmoto.net as a blog for my moto journeys happened. This blog has given me the artistic vehicle to journal my trips and present my photography to all that want to follow.
The spring of 2008 brought me back to Big Bend with the LSBMWR club. I visited Big Bend with my parents in the middle of July. I wondered then why anyone would ever want to stay in the desert for any length of time. Although the summer heat is brutal, the spring and fall in Big Bend is magical. I returned many times during photography trips, camping expeditions with Deb and now on the moto.
In the summer of 2008, Tom and I put together a ride through Yellowstone and on to the BMW MOA national rally in Gillette, WY. Paul and Marilyn joined us on this 3,300 mile ride through some of the most remarkable mountain roads in the west. We rode along the Snake River and the Grand Tetons where I stood at the same place my dad and I did some 40 years earlier when I was very young. I appreciate that my mother and dad would travel the west with me in tow, many times without a plan at all as to where we would stay. The national rally was a large mass of BMW motorcycle riders from across the nation.
Keith joined Deb and me in Taos for the 2008 Sipapu rally. We rode across the Rio Grande River Gorge bridge and up through the magical storybook-like high forests of Cuchara, Colorado. Of course, Santa Fe was the destination afterwards where Deb and I spend much time.
The Big Bend Open Road Race was held in April of 2009. My longtime friend Mark was navigator for a high-horsepower Corvette that was one of the entrants in the time trial between Fort Stockton and Sanderson. I convinced Tom to ride down to the western Texas desert to watch Mark and Keith do the run in their 130 avg mph class. Tom and I continued down to ride the challenging River Road west of Terlingua and spend some time at Fort Davis.
Summer of 2009 brought Paonia back in scope for the Top of the Rockies Rally. Alan and I rode up through Albuquerque. We met the LSBMWR riders at the rally campground. We did a ride over Independence Pass and through Crested Butte where Deb and I had stayed just a couple of weeks earlier.
Sipapu in the fall again drew me, but this time I wanted to visit Chaco Canyon west of the Jemez Mountains. The campground was closed, but a Native American hosted me on his land to camp near the ruins.
I was prepping my K75S for a 2010 trip up into Canada and by chance came across a pristine 2002 K1200RS. This moto would be more than capable for long distances and multiple days of riding. I picked her up on Halloween and Wes helped me take her our on a maiden voyage. We named her Katrina.
The spring of 2010 again drew me to Big Bend with the club. Tom and I were traveling together often now, and I always enjoyed his company. We met up with Paul and Voni at their adobe north of Terlingua and the end of the electrical supply line.
In May, I decided to make a day ride out to Snyder to support Keith Smith’s efforts in the Ride the Wind charity event. David and I awoke at 3:30 AM to meet the group in Sweetwater. By the time we returned home in the evening, 750 miles had passed by, all very enjoyable.
Deb and wound up in Fredericksburg again. We met Gert, a Dutchman living in Bolivia who had made a trip to Dallas for a R1200GS purchase. He was going to ride it around the United States and up to Prudoe Bay, and then work his way back home in South America. I remember asking him on Sunday morning where he was going to ride, and he responded “I don’t know, Richard. Where should I go?”. That’s free spirit.
July began the 14-day, 6,200 mile ride up into Canada and down the Pacific West Coast. I left a couple of days behind the Lone Star BMW Riders and caught them in Banff. We rode together through Albert and British Columbia where I split to visit the ice fields and the group continued on to Hyder, Alaska. After working my way down through the mountainous twisty and scenic roads through Golden and Revelstoke, I wound up in Seattle to pick up Debbie at the airport. Every day of this journey was an adventure, meeting people from all works of life. Seeing my lovely bride halfway through the trip was a bonus. We rode back up into Canada to Vancouver, down to Victoria and over to Forks, WA where we met back up with the LSBMWR club riders. We spent the next couple of day wandering down the twisty road above the Pacific Ocean taking in the spectacular views. Deb and I split from the group at Coos Bay to work our way inland to Lake Tahoe. On the way, Tom left a message on my phone that he saw me on the SPOT satellite positioning and said we were on parallel paths on his return from the MOA national. We met up at Lake Tahoe, and rode back home together after dropping Debbie at the Reno airport for her planned return home via air. What a trip!
September returned once again with Sipapu in scope and enjoyable as always. We had the usual suspects in attendance along with Al Schibi, who reworked my in ear acoustic-tubing headphones for me and made new sets for David and Graeme.
The Cannonball Vintage Motorcycle Rally had a route through Arkansas in 2010. David and I decided to join up for their rest day in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This was an amazing feat to ride turn-of-the-century motorcycles across the United States.
I became interested in endurance rally riding in the spring of 2011. James and Karen organized the Heart of Texas 12 hour rally that caught my attention. One could start anywhere in Texas and wind up in Brady for the finish. It was fun figuring out the most efficient route to gain maximum points, and this also put me in places I would have never thought of riding to. Of course I ran into Bo near the finish in Brady…
In June of 2011, I followed the LSBMWR club through Roswell and to Silver City for the start of their Utah expedition. I had a shorter amount of time available to ride, so I split at Silver City to ride north through Monument Valley and onto Mexican Hat, Utah. I had to change my route several times due to forest fires in the region. For my return home from Mexican Hat, I decided to log a Saddle Sore 1,000 mile ride which began my Iron Butt Association membership.
Of course Sipapu was a destination in September. Tom O, Tom G and I continued on to Utah to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats. What a wonderful ride that was through prime mountain roads and dramatic western vistas! Tom G headed back through New Mexico and Tom O and I returned through Westcliffe, CO which was a regular stop for me through the years.
The spring of 2012 began once again with Big Bend. Tom and I traveled together for this trip. He’s always low pressure and a blast to be with. The FRS radios on the road keep the ride both safe and entertaining with conversation that is spurred by the most obscure things.
In July, I had a health scare that kept me from traveling around the Great Lakes and back down to the MOA National Rally. Once things were cleared and I had a clean bill of health, Charlie and I did a short ride into Arkansas for some celebration of twisty roads and summer laziness at the same time. Charlie’s fun to be with as a traveling partner. We met the club in Eureka Springs on their return from the MOA rally.
September of 2012 again brought Sipapu into the scene, this time with Deb on the moto. We stayed in Taos at El Pueblo Norte where we would return again. After the rally, we continued on into Colorado to stay at Gateway Canyons resort on the Utah border. Total relaxation at the resort was the objective, and we obtained it. The ride was a wet experience, but Deb as always handled it with stride. We returned from Gateway via the challenging and beautiful Million Dollar Highway through Ouray and a stay again in Santa Fe.
October brought a endurance riding challenge of the Big Tex 36-Hour Rally. I started in Dennison and worked my way through Big Bend and along the River Road for a quick rest stop in Fort Davis. The ride the next morning back to the Dallas area finish totaled up 1,600 miles and an ongoing addiction to this niche sport of few riders.
In the spring of 2013, I joined up with Keith at the inaugural Americas MotoGP at the brand new Circuit of the Americas outside of Austin. I watched the rookie Marc Marquez make the course look like a play-day. He won his first race in MotoGP here and continued to baffle the MotoGP community with his riding talent.
The hot temperatures of July in Texas was an excellent excuse to ride to the cool mountain air around Paonia, CO. I did not have much of a plan for this ride and spent hardly any time at the rally grounds, and instead spent the day in the fun and relaxed Crested Butte.
August had me traveling 1,400 miles through Colorado and into Montana to the start of the Into the Unknown 32-hour rally hosted by Bob and Sylvie Torter. Big Sky was an excellent start/finish for this event. I wanted to stay longer at the resort high in the mountains with weather that changed from sunny skies to crazy thunderstorms with cold blasting air and back to sunny skies within the hour. I traveled along the Grand Tetons and within 20 miles of the Canada border to collect my bonus points. I was no match for the seasoned Iron Butt riders, but had a great experience.
The 2013 IBA annual meeting was in Irving, TX, so why not get in the middle of a 1,000-mile day ride down to the Gulf and back for entertainment? Of course, I ran into Bo near Galveston and wound up helping him out with gasoline later on the road. Paul and his wife were in attendance as well as large number of Irving police officers doing the ride. I returned to my house after the ride to find my computer cached with the SPOT location track of all riders returning up I-35.
April of 2014 found me again in Big Bend with the club. I split on Saturday to travel across the Rio Grande to the small village of Boquillas Mexico. USA had finally opened this crossing again in the National Park. The young Chuy was my guide through the village and waited patiently while I enjoyed some tasty tacos prepared by Lilia Falcon’s restaurant.
Debbie was once again the trooper moto companion on our trip with the LSBMWR club to Sedona, Arizona. The side winds were vicious the whole way out and back. The weather in Sedona though was wonderful, but snow was heading in so we decided to move our stay to Santa Fe where things looked better. That resulted in the purchase of a turquoise inlay table that we had shipped in for our dining room.
July found me looking again for another endurance rally. Justin organized one based out of Georgetown, Colorado. I thoroughly enjoyed the break from work for this challenging but enjoyable event that once again took me to parts of the state I would have never thought of. The weather was remarkable where I rode, with intense storms in the middle of my route that other riders struggled though. Leonard and Liz met me for the start and finish which was really nice of them. They were in the middle of a month-long stay in the Colorado mountains. I returned home through Alma with an overnight stay in Cuchara to enjoy the high mountain air.
November of 2014 brought me again to the Texas Hill Country for a 2-day ride. I stayed in Kerrville overnight and enjoyed the rocking live music of Kara and the DAM Band at the Guadalupe River Club. The return ride home via the Twisted Sisters ranch roads 335, 336 and 337 led to the milestone of 100,000 pleasing and exciting miles on BMW motorcycles.