Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Austin, Texas (continued)

At 11:00 this morning, Governor Rick Perry of Texas called a news conference to announce actions he and his team are taking to support the hurricane victims. It was a compassionate, impressive speech. They are going to move victims to Houston's Astrodome.

Driving through Arkansas the other day, I passed a caravan of school buses headed east. Somebody else was taking initiative. These are the times when people show their real strength.

On a much less significant level, I moved out of the hotel and down the street to Lone Star BMW in Austin, where Josh, Tim, Steve and Jessica, and the rest of the gang got me in and taken care of on short notice. A 6,000-mile service (at 25,930 miles now), replaced the rear tire and rear brake pads (again! The brakes are proving a real weakness on this machine, but then I'm putting them to the test, riding fully-loaded most of the time.) Conveniently, my headlight low beam burned out last night, so that's getting replaced as well. (I seem to be going through an excessive number of lamps!)

The temperature about 100° here, with prospects for more of the same going south. Sitting in my Aerostich suit at a couple of long traffic lights just up the road, I thought I was about to keel over. So, I bought a light-weight mesh "First Gear" riding jacket. I'm not about to ride like many here: no helmet, and just t-shirt and jeans. But, I have to compromise a bit to avoid expiring from heat!

4:45 p.m. and they've finished up. I've been able to relax here and use their wireless service, so the time has felt productive. Josh has some parting advice for crossing into Mexico: "don't even stop in the first 100 miles. Gas up on this side, cross and just keep riding. Stick to the main highways. Don't stop until you've run about three-quarters of the tank." Not encouraging, but he says it's "realistic".

CNN just announced regular gasoline selling for $5.57 per gallon at a BP station in Atlanta. Prices are expected to escalate dramatically throughout the Gulf region.

Now, to load up my horse and look for a place to camp. (I wish I HAD a horse right now. It would be a lot cheaper!)

6 comments:

Jkampion said...

As the Texas governor and those school buses displayed the compassion and the spirit of many Americans, so does the $4 plus price per gallon of gas in Atlanta (and the increases of $.45 - $1.00 per gallon increases elsewhere in the country in a single day) showcase the voracious greed and callousness of many others. So proud. So disgusted.

timtraveler said...

Boy! And I thought I was a cynic!

Anonymous said...

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Sigh.

jinx said...

Tim,
I've been following your blog ever since friends spotted you in Coldfoot, Alaska. They took a picture of you and your bike. If you'd ever like a copy, let me know.

My main reason for commenting is I plan to ride my new GS [I got the silly yellow color, same as your brother]from Seattle to Alaska next summer and was wondering how much, if any, trouble you had with the bike...being a re-design and all.
So now I see it abruptly stopped on the Mexican border..... what's your assessment of the 2005 GS?

timtraveler said...

Hi, Jinx,

Thanks for the photo! Can you tell me any more about the photographer? I’m trying to recall who I met that day!

I knew I was taking a risk with a brand new bike. Not only was I not familiar with the machine, and thus add my own missteps to the mix, the machine doesn’t seem to have all the bugs worked out.

I’ve never had a new vehicle that has challenged me so much, but I’ve also never challenged a new vehicle so much. Still, this thing is touted as being the best machine for World travel. I’m not so sure…

Today I received a fuel pump regulator from a shop in Vermont and the bike seems to be running fine now. The unit apparently failed due to moisture. The fellow that diagnosed the problem says he’s seen it numerous times before up there, in a wet climate. He has brought it to BMW’s attention, feeling it is a design flaw. They didn’t want to hear about it.

The bike’s a real work horse, and when it’s running well, doing its thing, it’s an amazing bike. Mine could be an aberration (maybe it’s the blue color, I don’t know.)

Alaska is definitely the place to go! Fantastic on a bike. That has definitely been the highlight so far.

I guess my suggestion would be to get the bike and break it in. (I started out with 6,000 miles on mine; not really enough time to learn enough about the bike.)

Good luck with your plans and thanks for reading along.

Tim