Winter 2006

Breaking in the BMW R1200GS


After getting off of the Apache Trail, I decided to push on to CA. I stopped to fill up and get some food. Then I set off on the interstate to Blythe, CA.  

I am participating in a fund raising event called the Race to 50 States.  It was put together and is being run by Brian and the guys at Dual Sport Riders of Louisiana. The object is to collect pictures of a bike, a DSRL t-shirt and a state sign, with the goal being to collect all 50 states. Since it was dark and the sign was close to the edge of the road, I decided not to try to get the CA sign for the 50 State Race until the next day. That would turn out to be a mistake.

It was around 8:00 PM when I got checking into the hotel in Blythe. Riding the trail took much monger than I had expected, but it was definitely worth it. It was the highlight of the trip.


Day 05
Blythe to Holbrook, AZ

Not to disappoint, the sun was out in sunny California. I used to live in California and my ex-wife is from Grover Beach, so I have been on this road a few times. It seems like I should be headed towards LA, which is the route we used to take every year to visit the in-laws. But not this time; it was time to head north. As mentioned, I didnít get the CA sign the night before and I decided not to make the 5 miles trip across the border to get the picture that morning. I figured I could just get the sign at the Nevada border or in Needles.

Highway 95, the road to Laughlin, NV from Blythe, is a great 2-lane highway. It has rolling hills and some great twists and turns. At points there are so many hills that it feels like being on a roller coaster. The scenery is desert flora with very few signs of life, which makes the ride even better.

I got the sign at the Nevada border, and took a few minutes to soak in the views. Then it was off to Laughlin to get fuel. While filling up the tank amidst the casinos (that is all there is in Laughlin) I realized that I still didnít have the CA sign picture. I couldnít remember seeing a CA sign on Highway 95, so I decided to head back towards Needles.
Eventually I had to come all the way back to Interstate 40 to get the CA sign. There was not one in Laughlin, nor one in Needles. The choice not to ride the 5 miles across the border that morning now doesnít seem like such a good decision.

I was fooled by the 75 degree temps in Blythe and Nevada and did not wear my heated gear or gloves. When I crossed the Arizona Divide at 7,350 feet, I was getting pretty chilly and the heated grips were maxed out. I stopped in Flagstaff, AZ to get gas and put my heated vest on. With a renewed sense of confidence in my ability to ride in any weather, I hit the road again.
About 30 min later I started realizing that I wasnít all that warm. As I do with most things mechanical or electronic, I immediately assumed the worst and figured that my vest had stopped working. It was getting darker and colder, so I began planning to stop for the night.

At some point I happened to reach down and notice that my vest had become unplugged. Although difficult to do with my left hand and with gloves on, I managed to get it plugged back in and got all toasty again. That was all I needed to push on to Holbrook, which was my original goal.

Because I was getting in so late, I decided to stop at the Best Western Adobe in Holbrook for the night. If I am staying at a KOA, I like to get there before dark. It is easier to get the bike unloaded and some of the KOA offices close early. If you have a tent, you donít need the office to be open. You can just set up camp and pay in the morning. But you have to get the key for the cabin, so you have to time your arrival when the office is open.