November Mid Atlantic RiderS by jennyyingdi


									                         Mid Atlantic Riders’ Rag
                                              November 2003
   BMW MOA Charter 280

   The Monthly Newsletter of the Mid Atlantic Riders
Dave Cowgill     From the President

(302) 378-2682         he season's winding down but there's still time for some great
                       rides. Along with a noticeable chill in the air and the change of
Pete Mazzella          colors on the trees come the added hazards of wet leaves on the
Vice President   roadway and lots of downed branches and twigs. They all add up to
(302) 645-0619   acting like grease or ball bearings under our tires, so keep a sharp eye
                                                  out and make sure you signal to your
Dan Davis                                         buddy behind you that there's a hazard
Secretary                                         at hand.
(302) 697-9421
                                                 Speaking of hazards, a friend at work is
Paul Reburn                                      recovering from a close encounter of
Treasurer                                        the ugly kind while riding his Kawasaki
(302) 737-8668                                   Concours earlier this season. This took
                                                 place on 495 east of Wilmington, but
Bud Heberling                                    could happen anytime, anywhere. He
Webmaster                                        was running 65-70 in the right lane,
(302) 398-4008   with a buddy close behind and off to his right. A vehicle just ahead and
                  Next Breakfast                                 to the left struck an
Ed Lombardi                                                      object that was lying on
Editor            Our next breakfast will be at Dover’s Best the roadway, kicking it
(302) 453-8666    Diner at 9 AM on Saturday, November 8.         up and out towards the
                                                                 first rider. He caught a
                                                                 glimpse of it and
                 thought it was a piece of cardboard.

                 WHAM!!! It was a short length of 2" steel pipe! Fortunately, it struck
                 the fairing first breaking out a large section. Next, it completely tore off
                 the left footpeg and bracket, trying to take the riders foot along with it!
                 He managed to keep the bike upright and coasted off to the shoulder
                 almost passing out from the pain. The pipe missed his buddy who
                 stopped and called for an ambulance.

                 It turns out that, amazingly, nothing was broken except the motorcycle,
                 which has since been repaired. His foot was badly sprained and
contused but still attached! Four months later there is still pain and discoloration but
he's riding once again. Total elapsed time of the incident? About 1-1/2 seconds!

Please, friends, be careful out there.

On another note, your committee is busy making plans for different events and activities
to keep you all active and involved with your club through this fall and winter season.
Please give them your full support whenever and wherever possible.

From the Editor

      lmost all of the members have the newsletter e-mailed to them; five don’t have an
      e-mail account and they need a paper copy. I’ve been asked several times if I
      could send a paper copy to everyone because it’s easier to read a printed copy
then trying to read it off of the monitor (where it’s usually quickly scanned and deleted).

                                 The August issue taught me what’s involved in printing
                                 and mailing a newsletter to every member. The August
                                 issue was the largest so far; it ran ten pages and had a
                                 lot of photos. I did it in PhotoShop, which made the
                                 files much too large to e-mail so I snail-mailed it to each
                                 member. I tried several tricks to shrink the file but none
                                 reduced it to a manageable size.

                                 Mailing a 10-page newsletter to 26 members (at that
                                 time) meant printing 130 double-sided pages. Kinko’s
and Staples wanted a budget-busting $416 for the job, which was completely out of the
question; the only other choice was to print the newsletter myself. After taking a deep
breath, I started printing. The job took 13 hours and used about ¾ of a color cartridge
and half a black cartridge. Printing and mailing costs came to $1.43 per newsletter, for a
total of $37. I switched to Word after the September newsletter because it generates
files that are easier to e-mail.

So please, I know some of you are very busy, but hitting the “Print” button isn’t as much
trouble at your end as it is at mine. My printer and the club treasury will appreciate it!

This is the largest newsletter ever! We have a lot of (I hope) interesting articles. A
month of begging, cajoling and generally making a nuisance of myself has resulted in
several members stepping up to the plate and contributing very good articles.

There’s an interesting article in this issue on what automobile insurance companies are
thinking about doing with GPS. Although the article deals with automobiles, the plan, if
successful, will almost certainly be applied to motorcycles as well.

MARS is starting a winter mileage contests, our first, and the details are a little farther
down in the newsletter. I should warn all of you that our club president rides to work
every day, so he will be the one we’ll have to beat. (Maybe if we ask him, he’ll take a

handicap.) We’re keeping this year’s contest simple, and if there’s enough interest and
participation we have ideas for future contests.

We hope that you can attend this year’s Blue Knight Run (see Upcoming Rides). This
run draws about 200 riders, so for those of you who have been put off by the Philly and
other toy runs that draw thousands, this is a much smaller scale with room to move.
The ride benefits disadvantaged kids, so lets all turn out for this one; it will give our
motorcycling sport a great public relations shot in the arm.

Dave Back has produced another outstanding article that will be of interest to us. In this
month’s article on winter maintenance tips, Dave mentions that fuels in our area are
oxygenated and in the winter the amount of oxygenating agents is increased, resulting in
a 20% reduction in fuel economy. I’d be interested to know if anyone noticed a drop in
fuel economy during the winter months. I never have, but now I’ll be sure to check.

Dave also mentions in that he can get us a good deal on a top-of-the-line battery charger
if he gets at least an order for at least ten. If you don’t have a charger, or if your present
one is getting a bit long in the tooth, be sure to contact Dave to order one of these spiffy
Yuasa maintenance chargers. Dave’s e-mail address is and his phone
number is (302) 762-0777.

I want to thank our secretary; Dan Davis for his excellent article comparing all many of
numerous motorcycle roadside assistance plans being offered. Dan could list many
more plans then he did, but he chose to include on the major ones. Did you now that
Nextel (yes, the cell phone guys) also offer a motorcycle assistance plan?

From Our Secretary

     ometimes during a perfect ride, Fate, the gods or just plain bad luck conspire and
     we have a mechanical breakdown along the road.
     Although we possess a fine tool kit, a Haynes
manual and Yankee ingenuity, we are defeated by this
marvel of German engineering. There’s nothing left to
do but reach for our cell phone and call our roadside
assistance plan for help. At the Editor’s request, I put
together a list of assistance plans that offer nationwide

We would like to hear from any of the members who
have had experience with these or other plans to offer
their recommendations or comments.

      Plan               Contact                 Cost                        Comments
 BMW      $35/year                        Available through
 Roadside                                                                 BMW dealers

 BMWMOA               $22/yr plus            Covers up to three
 Platinum                                     $32 membership fee     motorcycles.
                 (636) 394-7277               (to join BMWMOA)       Flatbed truck or
                                                                     motorcycle carrier.
 AMA MOTOW                  $25/year plus          Towing up to
                                              $39 membership fee     35 miles
                 1-800-262-5646               (to join AMA)

 RV RoadHelp           $79/year               Offered by KOA
                                                                     and Allstate.
                 1-800-214-5135                                      Unlimited towing
                                                                     and no dollar limit.
 MTS Towing            $40/year               No limit on
                                                                     number of
                 1-800-999-7064                                      motorcycles. Other
                                                                     plans $15 – 22.
 Gold Wing                $50/year, non-         Towing up to 50
 Road Riders                                  member                 miles.
 Association     1-800-843-9460               $25/year for

Other plans are available but they did not seem to be as good as any of those above. If
any of you have had experience with others, we’d be glad to hear from you. Let’s hope
that our only experience with any roadside assistance plan is paying the annual fee.

The Local MARS Group Rides to Bob’s BMW for Oktoberfest
By Dave Cowgill

     aturday, October 11th, was a beautiful Indian summer day! We had a nice turnout
     for our monthly northern breakfast at Damon's with sixteen attendees and three
     new members joining the club. After we stuffed ourselves and exchanged some
                                  friendly banter over another cup of coffee we headed
                                  outside to launch on our respective rides: Two
                                  members were heading to the Lancaster, PA area to
                                  check out a BMW dealer; several others were heading
                                  south on Rt. 9; I
                                  was leading a group
                                  to Bob's BMW for
                                  his First Annual

This turned out to be our largest club ride to date as
we had ten riders headed to Bob's. We proceeded in
fits and starts: first, we had agreed to meet at the
Texaco station at Mt. Pleasant in order to top off the tanks and re-group for the ride
south on 301. Next, we had to stop again at the 301 Truck Plaza to gather up two more
riders and then a last potty break at the Maryland Welcome Center.

Finally, our gaggle of Beemers headed for Bob's in earnest. My son, Brian, from VA
joined up with us at the 301/97 junction, and we rolled into Bob's 11-strong! Bob had
                                the party in full swing with a large turnout. His staff
                                was outfitted in Bavarian folk-style fashions-guys in
                                lederhosen and the gals in Dirndl dresses. Outside,
                                the local Blue Knights Chapter had the grills going,
                                featuring bratwurst and knockwurst sandwiches along
                                with kraut, fixins and German chocolate cake for
                                dessert. There was an "oompah band,” German folk
                                dancers and door prizes, too! Bob was also featuring
                                special sale prices on selected merchandise with
                                discounts on every item in stock.

I didn’t get to linger as long as I would have liked as I had pressing commitments
waiting back in Delaware. We left for the return trip in groups of twos and threes. All in
all, it was a fun day with lots of good folks sharing a good time on a great day!

My review of the Garmin StreetPilot 2610 GPS Receiver
by Bud Heberling / 2002 BMW R1150R Rider

     hree intrepid MARS club members recently found themselves in a sea of cars,
     pickup trucks and SUV’s. We were going nowhere fast on a nice Saturday
     afternoon on Route 896 near Lancaster, PA. Having become bored with staring at
                  SUV butts, I decided to take action. I told my new Garmin StreetPilot
                  2610 I needed a route to
                  Newark, De. Just give us
                  some back roads – no
                  Tolls or Highways, I told
                  it. I was, after all, riding
                  BMW’s best handling
                  motorcycle, the R1150R
                  Roadster! Within less
                  than five seconds, I had
our new route. I motioned to my friends to
follow me. We were soon riding on some
nice twisty and, more importantly, SUV
butt -free, roads. Schedules dictated that we eventually return to Route 896 but we
could have ridden back roads nearly the entire way to Newark.

The Global Positioning Satellite system is truly a marvel. Thirty-two geostationary
satellites send timing signals to the GPS receiver. By superimposing a pointer over a
map, the GPS receiver provides the user with a moving map display. Unlike most things
these days, usage is free – once you purchase a GPS receiver you are ready to navigate!

I’d been drooling over moving-map type GPS units for quite some time. My $100
Garmin eTrex had served me well for several years of mountain biking, hiking, and

kayaking. With each manufacturer’s release of their latest model, I always found a
desired feature or two was missing. Finally, this past September, Garmin released their
StreetPilot 2610. It appeared to have every feature I wanted. Most importantly, it used
readily available CompactFlash memory cards for map storage instead of their previous
proprietary (read, expen$ive) cards. The touch screen display was an added bonus. I
generally don’t like touch screens. However, I find it much easier to use than the
normal joystick / keypad combination – especially beneficial for motorcycling. Being
physically smaller than Garmin’s previous offerings was another plus. Also, Garmin’s
probably the top GPS manufacturer.

I ordered my StreetPilot from for $800. A RAM mount (another Great
Product!) was an additional $40. In addition to the main unit, Garmin includes the
following accessories:

      CityNavigator (2 CD’s - USA & a bit of Canada)
      Remote Control
      Mount– Beanbag temporary type
      Mount Bracket – permanent or semi-permanent adhesive type
      USB Cable
      Cigarette style power plug / speaker
      AC power plug (for home use)
      128 meg CompactFlash memory card

So, how does one use the StreetPilot 2610? For navigating, since it’s auto-route capable
(not all GPS units are), you can simply key in the address of the city, address, attraction,
cursor point, etc. to which you want to travel. The 2610 will offer the quickest route
according to time or distance. You can also specify a route via particular location(s) en
route. Through voice prompts, directional arrows, text, and highlighted roadways
displayed on the 3.3" x 1.7" screen, you are directed to your chosen destination. The
StreetPilot accounts for your speed by adjusting turn prompts as your speed changes.
Miss a turn and you’ll be notified that you’ve gone off route. A U-Turn is initially
suggested; keep traveling and the unit will almost instantly recalculate a route revision.

Imagine you’re in an unfamiliar area and suddenly have a craving for, Oh - some
General Tso’s Chicken. You punch in FIND / DINING / CHINESE. Your 2610 lists
several Chinese restaurants ranked by those nearness to your present location. Select
one and hit GO TO; you’ll be munching your fortune cookie in no time. Your
StreetPilot’s prompts will have taken you right to the restaurant’s parking lot!

The 2610 also allows you to: mark waypoints (a waypoint is simply a particular location
you want to find your way back to); save Routes (favorite travel routes that you want to
be able to repeat in the future); check your speedometer’s accuracy (mine reads 5 mph
too fast! – so much for German precision!).

I’ve set my StreetPilot’s information tabs to display: Current Speed, Direction of Travel,
Local Time, and Roadway name. Tab two is Destination Distance and Arrival Time.

Distance to Next Turn and Time to Next Turn are on tab three. The fourth tab shows
the name of the next road I’ll be turning onto and if it’s a right or a left turn.

After loading the included mapping software into my home computer, I selected
Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia and part of North Carolina
to be loaded onto my 2610’s 128-megabyte memory card. Using my previously
purchased USB card reader, it only took a few minutes. I recently purchase a 256-meg
card for $40. I’ll soon load it with other states I may want to visit.


      Water resistance – The manual says it’s “Rugged; fully gasketed; IPX-7
       waterproof. IPX-7 waterproof is a European standard meaning the item is
       immersed in 3’ of still water for ½ hour with no ill effects. I’ve read reports of a
       2610 ceasing operation until the USB port was thoroughly dried. I don’t know
       why Garmin didn’t supply covers for the USB and external antenna port. Perhaps
       the below mentioned Motorcycle Kit addresses that…

      Screen brightness – I don’t know that any color screen (or monochrome screen
       for that matter) would be bright enough to see clearly in the brightest sunlight.
       However, I’m satisfied with the 2610’s auto-adjusting color screen. In the
       brightest sun, I can always make out the display. In less than bright sunlight, it’s
       excellent. I mounted mine so that it juts toward me from the handlebars; it’s
       close to my face and thus easier to see. It also means none of my gauges are

      Voice Prompt Volume – I can always at least hear the British Woman’s voice (you
       can pick from several) has spoken. I can hit the voice key for her to restate her
       previous command or I can simply view the onscreen text version. At reduced
       speeds, say 35 mph, I hear her fine. Garmin’s soon to be released $40
       “Motorcycle Kit” includes a hard wire with an earphone jack and a specialized
       motorcycle mount that addresses an issue pertaining to mount security.

Please contact me at if you have any further questions about this
great device. The more I use it, the more pleased I am with my purchase. Now, if you’ll
excuse me, all this typing has made me a bit thirsty. I’m going to run outside and punch
in FIND / DINING / IRISH PUBS and see where my her voice leads me…

 A much better written review can be read at has videos showing
 the StreetPilot 2610 in action.

 For an excellent tutorial showing how GPS works, see RAM Mount photos can be viewed at

From the Big-Brother-is-About-to-Watch-You Department

    he story below appeared in Wired Magazine (an on-line news magazine) on
    October 3, 2003 and should be of interest to all of you GPS-on-bike aficionados
    out there.

      Insurance Rates Driven By GPS
      By Will Wade

     Auto insurance companies have long been willing to cut drivers a deal with
     better rates if they manage to avoid the unwelcome sight of flashing police
     lights in the rear-view mirror. Now, an academic study may one day
     provide insurers with the technology to increase their rates for people with
     unsavory habits behind the wheel.

     The Georgia Institute of Technology is sponsoring a study using global
     positioning systems to track the movements of cars and monitor the
     motoring habits of their drivers. The most immediate result could be a
     better understanding of Atlanta's traffic patterns, a city known for its
     increasing sprawl and congestion.

     The long-term goal is to evaluate GPS technology as a method of
     computing mileage-based auto insurance rates. Proponents say the
     technology is an egalitarian and efficient way to determine insurance rates,
     but civil libertarians counter that the tracking scheme is an invasion of

     "We are looking at how drivers interact with their vehicles," said Randall
     Guensler, an associate professor at Georgia Tech who organized the
     Commute Atlanta project. Over the summer, his team installed GPS units
     in 500 Atlanta-area vehicles from a randomly selected cross section of 285

     For the next year, he will use information from the tracking boxes to create
     a detailed log of where every car went and when, how fast they traveled
     and the places they got stuck in traffic. Plus, 350 of those machines are
     collecting engine performance data, which can determine when drivers are
     shifting gears, when they are slamming on the brakes and when they are
     putting the pedal to the metal.

     Guensler said this will be one of the most detailed traffic-pattern studies
     ever completed, and the information he gets will be far better than the trip
     diaries that have been used in the past to evaluate local driving conditions.
     The diaries depend on individuals manually filling out logbooks every time
     they get behind the wheel, and are notoriously inaccurate.

The data will help city planners determine which streets need more
stoplights, which are notorious choke points and which are becoming
popular shortcuts. "We will be able to find out whether the transit system
is sufficient to support the level of expected growth in the region," he said.

After collecting driving information for a year, Guensler plans to move into
a second stage of his study, which will use the baseline driving habits of
participants to determine auto insurance rates. Although that phase is not
currently funded, and may not be carried out as originally planned,
Guensler said his research could give the insurance industry consumer
response to the concept.

For example, if the GPS box records a daily slog to creep through 20 miles
of traffic during rush hour, and the driver begins to carpool and eliminates
that high-risk commute, the driver might receive a discount on his
insurance rates. Guensler said that could provide an incentive for
consumers to support mileage-based pricing.

Conversely, if the tracking device documents a habit of speeding through
neighborhoods with schools or retirement homes, the insurance company
would probably think twice before lowering an individual's rates, and
might even raise them.

"I think the insurance companies would be interested in this kind of
information," he said. "It can make pricing more efficient, and anything
that makes pricing more efficient is good for them."

However, David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy
Information Center, warns that if mileage-based insurance plans become
common, the insurance companies may not be the only ones looking at the
tracking data. "Once that information is collected, it is very hard to control
access to it for secondary uses," he said.

The government might be very interested in tracking the movements of
specific individuals, under the mantle of homeland security or law
enforcement, Sobel said, while marketing organizations could spot
residents from wealthy areas who regularly pass by a specific shopping

"Subjects may consent to the primary use of the data," he said, if they
think they will get a lower insurance premium. "But they may not have any
idea of the secondary uses of the information."

Guensler agrees privacy is a significant issue in mileage-based insurance
plans. If the idea becomes a reality, he suggests an independent agency
could be created to warehouse the information, doling it out only to
insurers, and only on a need-to-know basis. "The question is who owns the
data," he said.

       In the case of the Commute Atlanta project, created as a confidential
       academic research project, he said Georgia Tech owns the location
       information, but is obligated to protect the privacy of every participant. "It
       would take a court order to get these logs, and even that would go through
       a number of appeals," he said.

       If the insurance industry does pursue mileage-based premiums, it remains
       unclear whether GPS will even be a necessary component.

       "Our attitude is that there already is a way to measure how many miles
       you're driving," said Patrick Butler, director of Cents-Per-Mile Choice, an
       Austin, Texas, advocacy group in favor of pay-as-you-drive insurance
       pricing. "This is a technology that has been available for years: the

Keeping Your Beemer Fit in the Off Season
By Dave Back

   t seems a little unusual to perform an engine oil change just as Mother Nature begins
   to limit the amount of use our motorcycles receive. Sure, there are those who will
   ride until frost forms on their face shield, and all through the winter months, but for
the majority of us, we tend to limit the amount of riding we do or we put our favorite
mount away for the season.

The reason we should change the engine oil before we store our bike or limit our riding
                                   is that the oil captures the contaminates that are
                                   the byproducts of the burning fuel from the
                                   combustion that takes place as the engine runs.
                                   These byproducts form acids in the engine oil,
                                   which are counteracted by the additives in the oil.
                                   The reason engine oil is changed is because the
                                   additives become depleted, so changing the engine
                                   oil before stowing away our ride removes these
                                   potentially harmful metal damaging acids that
                                   collect in the engine oil.

It's also a good idea to top off your fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer such as Stabil® to
the fuel. Whether carbureted or fuel injected, unprotected, the fuel will gel over time,
especially the fuel used in this part of the country, which is oxygenated to help with
emissions. Also, the amount of the oxygenated agents in the fuel is increased during the
winter months, which many will notice about a 20% reduction in fuel economy. The
reason for the winter fuel is that engines have a longer warm-up period and the fuel is
designed to ease the emission levels.

So often overlooked is where it all starts, the battery, and there are many reasons for
this. I'm sure that more than on one occasion, after a long winter's wait, on that first
warm day in March or April, when the ignition key was turned the lights didn't come on,

were dim, or when the starter motor was engaged all that could be heard was a subtle
clicking noise.

I can certainly empathize with those of us whose escape from cabin fever was foiled by a
dead battery. Over the years that I worked in motorcycle shops, many a frustrated
customer would come into the dealership complaining about their battery having gone
dead and yet the motorcycle was still under its manufacturer's warranty. Well, I can tell
you their mood didn’t get any better when we sat down with "MOM" (the motorcycle's
owner's manual) and carefully read the warranty.

Warranties cover defects in workmanship or materials, and a battery is considered a
maintenance item. Left uncharged for a three-month period, a motorcycle battery can
fully discharge and become totally unrecoverable. Warranty does not cover a failure due
to the lack of maintenance. BMW got wise to this and countered by offering battery
chargers with their models a few years back.

Because the batteries are relatively inaccessible on some of our mounts, it’s
understandable why they don't get their fair share of maintenance. Ideally, during the
riding season, the fluid level should be checked once a month and topped off as
necessary with distilled water. Also, it's very important to make sure the battery vent
tube is properly installed and not kinked. The tube should protrude out the bottom of
the bike so the air rushing underneath the motorcycle can purge any harmful vapors.

There are several quick checks that can be done to verify a battery’s condition. The best
way is with a hydrometer and a load tester, however, a voltmeter can quickly give one a
general idea of the battery's condition. With the ignition key in the off position, a fully
charged battery should have 12.6 volts; at 12.4 volts the battery is considered 75%
charged. Another check that can be done with a voltmeter is to check the battery voltage
while cranking the engine over with the starter motor. During this test the battery
voltage should not drop below 9.5 volts.

A couple words of warning, the battery is filled with electrolyte, a mixture of water and
sulfuric acid that is extremely corrosive. Should your scoot ever be involved in a minor
mishap (hey let's face it sometimes gravity wins) be sure to thoroughly douse the
underside around the breather tube area with water or a mixture of baking soda and
water to neutralize any potential spilled battery acid. This is one advantage the gel
batteries have over the lead acid batteries is that they are self contained and there is no
risk of spilling if the battery is tipped to the side.

The other issue is that when batteries breathe they give off hydrogen gas, which is
extremely explosive. Batteries can blow up under the right conditions, so when charging
a battery, make sure it is charged in a well ventilated area free of sparks or sources of
ignition. If the battery vent tube is kinked the battery can overheat and self-destruct as

During the off season, if the bike is not ridden, the battery should be charged at least
once a month at no more than 10% of it's rated amperage rating. Most of the beemer
batteries are rated around 18 amperes, so the charger should not exceed 1.8 amps

otherwise the plates in the battery could overheat and short out, permanently damaging
the battery.

It’s perfectly OK to charge a battery at a lower amperage rate, and this reduces the
likelihood of doing any internal damage. The problem with a conventional charger is
that it produces a steady electrical current so there is a risk that the battery's fluid level
could drop below the safe limit, which will also cause the plates to overheat and short.

The best solution is to obtain a charger that is designed to maintain a battery. There are
several that I have tried with excellent results. While at the Pocono Cycle Jam a few
years back, I met the gentleman who designed the Battery Tender® who now works for
Yuasa. He incorporated some of the technology that was used in the Battery Tender®
into Yuasa's version of a battery maintenance charger, which he claimed had some
advantages over its predecessor.

In addition to the maintenance charger, Yuasa offers a charger that can revive some
dead batteries. I have not used their charger, but I have used the Optimate® battery
charger/maintainer/restorer with very good results. These chargers can be used both to
maintain and to revive a sulfated battery. I have recovered enough batteries to justify
the cost of the charger and I would say the success rate over the past few years has been
better than 50%.

From my experience, I can surmise in saying, better a cheap battery and a good charger,
than a cheap charger and a good battery.

By the way, we can make a bulk purchase of the Yuasa maintenance chargers for
$20 plus shipping if we buy ten or more. To date I have only six requests.

Traveling On US 61 & 52
By Pete Mazzella

    uper-slabing it across North America can get a person from Lewes, Delaware to
    Coos Bay, Oregon in a hurry, but it sure becomes a bore. There are little roads
    along the way that are so much more fun and they are really worth examining.
Two of those roads are US 61 and US 52. What a neat little stretch of road!

                                 US 61 runs along eastern Iowa, north from Bettendorf at
                                 I-80 to Dubuque. In Dubuque, US 52 takes over. The
                                 blue line on my map turned to orange after leaving
                                 Bettendorf. The number of trucks and cars gradually
                                 decreased until there was no one riding with me. Right
                                 away I discovered that the availability of different
                                 octane levels was reduced to two: 87 and 90.
                                 Sometimes, 87 and 89 represented the only choices. In
                                 addition, ethanol was the higher rated octane. So, I
                                 crossed my fingers and pumped the higher rating. The
rationale was that I was going to burn it up right away, anyway. I was making about 650
miles that day and this was close to my last little bit of road.

The relief of finding this little stretch was tremendous! Starting on I-70, just west of
Columbus, OH and traveling through Indianapolis, IN to I-74 was a bit tense. On I-74
outside of Le Roy, IL, I watched a funnel cloud form above me and begin to drop to
earth within a quarter mile of me. Not a lot of fun, but Iowa was a different. The sun
was out and I had the road to myself.

The Rand McNally Road Atlas lists US61 as a multi-lane highway. It is, but it is also
very quiet. In Dubuque, US 52 connects with US 61. US 52 is shown as a red line (Rand
McNally refers to this as a principle highway). This low-tech research typified the trip.

Picking up US52, the traffic thinned further and I had the road to myself. What a
beautiful two lane, rural road! In Guttenberg, IA, I stopped for gas (91 octane, thank
you very much) and ran into folks from Huron, South Dakota. Those folks knew my in-
laws for many years and had been in touch with them recently. While refueling, another
rider stopped to fill his tank and spoke very highly of the part of US 52 that I had
skipped. From what he said, US 52 comes into Iowa from Illinois at Savanna and is
listed as a scenic road by Rand McNally. Sure enough, it is. Actually, I-80 could have
dumped me on Illinois 84 to US 20 and on and on…that looks like next year’s ride.

Little towns dotted my path: Monona, Postville, Castilia, Ossiah, and Calmar. I stayed
the night in Decorah. There was a great little Comfort Inn that let me park the bike on
the front side walk so the night staff would always see it. The following day had its own
adventures, but for now the glow of the end of the day and that peaceful ride gave me a
great night’s sleep.

Next summer I am going to take that trip again. This time the route will take the smaller
county roads and sights rather than distance will be the object of the ride. Anyone
interested in going along for the ride?

MARS Announces Its First Winter Mileage Contest

      s most of us are awere, the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association sponsors a
      yearly mileage contest which runs from the spring through the fall. Most of us,
      however, ride much longer than that and MARS wants to start it’s own winter
contest. This year’s contest will be the first and if there is enough interest we’ll do it
every year and maybe add some variations, like being able to include the total mileage
on multiple bikes, awarding a prize to the member who traveled the farthest distance
from home, etc. If things go well, we’ll start another contest in April that will run to

Here are the simple rules for this year’s contest:

   1. The contest starts at our next breakfast on November 8 in Dover. You must
      register your starting mileage with our secretary, Dan Davis, at the breakfast.
   2. The person accumulating the most mileage by our breakfast on April 10th will
      win a $50 gift certificate from Bob’s BMW.
   3. You must bring the bike to both the November and April breakfasts.

The bike you register for the contest does not have to be a BMW.

Upcoming Rides

If you go to an event, please take your club business cards and try to get a new
member or two.

Sunday, November 9 – The Blue Knights Toys for Tots Ride to Benefit the
              Salvation Army Emergency Shelter. Registration is at the
              Mill Creek Fire Hall at 3900 Kirkwood Highway (Rt. 2, just south of
              Wilmington) from 9:00 to 11:00 am. Admission is one NEW toy for
              a child from infant to age thirteen. Canned goods and cash will also
              be accepted and there’s a $5.00 admission fee. For more
              information, call the Blue Knights’ chapter president, Mike
              Pollinger at (302) 838-7278. If you need specific directions to the
              fire hall, call the hall at (302) 998-8911.

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