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08/25/2001 Entry: "Ride West--Concluding Thoughts"

So, I guess the question remains, was the trip worth it? I think the answer overall is yes. I don't think, however, that I would do this ride again, certainly not this way. Powering across from Memphis to Eastern New Mexico on th interstate was basically just covering ground, the same goes for the ride down 101 from Oakland to Corona del Mar. That's not a very exciting thing to do on a bike.

Even doing those parts of the ride, however, there was something worthwhile to be gained. You have all of the time in the world to think about things in your life--or not to think at all. Riding like that is a form of meditation. Of course, I've also found the same thing to be true when driving long distances.

What really made the trip worthwhile for me was the riding on the secondary roads in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and California (Nevada I could do without). I shot four rolls of film while I was riding and 90% of the shots were from the riding in those four states. I would do that part of the trip again in a second. Next time I do a ride of this distance, however, I'll structure it a lot differently. I'll travel less than 400 miles a day and spend much more time in places along the way. That wasn't practical this time, but I won't do this kind of trip again without sufficient time to stop and wander.

I've also decided that I'm going to sell my K1200RS. I think I finally understand what "sport touring" is about. The bike was wonderful on the two lane curvy roads and amazingly smooth and fast on the interstates. Aside from the slight vibration in sixth gear at 85 mph, there is virtually no difference on the straightaway between riding an indicated 80 mph and 120 mph (which I hit when crossing Nevada). The overall position, however, is too cramped for someone of my size and physical condition. Over time, my upper arms became exhausted from leaning forward onto the bars and my knees and hips were ill-equipped to handle long periods in the saddle with such an aggessive posture. One solution would be to alter my position by adding bar backs and lowering the pegs, but that would require other modifications, such as getting a larger windscreen that I don't think are worth the effort and expense for me. The ride also made me realize that the K12 is too much bike to use for daily commute riding. I have a lot of fun riding around the city, but I didn't realize until I was out on the open road for a while how little of the bike I was really using. If I could afford to have more than one motorcycle, I might hold on to the K12 for special occasions and buy something else for daily use, but I can't so the K12 must go.

I'm thinking at this point that I might move back to the GS style and get an R1150GS, but I'm also thinking maybe something a little smaller, like the F650. I don't know but I'm definitely going to be riding something different in the near future.

2001-09-20 Note: I've been back for about a month now and I'm not so sure about selling the bike anymore, at least not right away. It took over two weeks for Two Jokers to ship the bike back from So. California (but at $250, you really can't complain). I just got the 24k service and had new tires put on. The bike rides much better but needs a new rear shock. It's hard to sell a bike when it needs a $500-1000 part. I may put an Ohlin on and then evaluate what to do with the bike again after that.