Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Ride of the Year

The Last Ride of the Year has been held in Stockton, Alabama every December 30 for the last 14 years.  Bob, Kurt, Rocky and I slabbed it down yesterday morning from Atlanta - 315 miles for me, and probably about the same for the rest of my group.

Most of us met in Newnan for some bacon and eggs at 7:00 am. Then it was off to the freeways. My new RT is now fully sorted for electronics with the addition of my SPOT Satellite Messenger. The trip was to be a test of all the farkle.

The first thing I learned on this trip is that the buttons on the SPOT completely preclude it from being manipulated while riding. They are tiny, indented, and require an exacting small finger for an exacting certain time. So now I know to leave the thing in tracking mode all day and forget about it. Don't expect many automated Facebook SPOT posts from me.

The second thing I learned is that Elizabeth loves tracking mode on the SPOT. I had shown her my personal tracking webpage the night before. She checked it when she got up yesterday and immediately called me on the phone. Since my phone is now tethered to the Zumo 665, I talked to her while bombing down I-85. She could tell where I was (within a ten-minute window, of course), and really enjoyed watching my progress. Apparently, if you keep a window open in your browser, the progress automatically updates.

And yes, it is wonderful having the cell phone available while riding. The Zumo is tethered to my iPhone, and any audio it is playing will be interrupted while the phone is in use. The J&M MA-967 feeds the sound to and from my J&M Elite helmet headset with microphone. Reception between Atlanta and Mobile seemed to be seamless. Anytime E wanted to find me, or vice-versa, reception was there. She's worried I'll be leaned over in a curve and she will startle me, but I have assured her that if I am busy, I won't answer.

If the phone rings, or spoken directions need to be given by the Zumo, mp3s and Audible books are stopped. I miss nothing! This is a great feature. I was listening to an audio book for most of the way down - it resumed about a half-sentence back each time it was interrupted. XM radio is a stream, so you are going to miss some of that beloved ABBA song if a call comes in or the Zumo needs to tell you to turn left.

We rolled into Stockton at 11:00 local time, just as I predicted.

Both legs of the trip, down and back, included many electronic and visual sightings of the Georgia and (especially) Alabama State Patrols. My Adaptiv TPX Radar Detector gave us plenty of warning, and no licenses were harmed in any way. Plus, since the unit is waterproof, I didn't have to stow it away in the approximately one hour of rain we had on the trip. I love the TPX just as much as I love my Zumo.

Bob, Jim, another great guy whose name escapes me, and I bombed it back to the Atlanta area with only one stop for gas. I added 6.2 gallons to the RT in Lower Alabama ("LA"). That's called cutting it close, y'all, as its tank holds 6.6 according to BMW Motorrad and Bob. While we were stopped, Bob suggested I put the RT's adjustable front seat in the high position, which I had never tried. The new configuration was easier on my back, which is still getting used to the bike, but I am not sure I am going to keep it high - there's much more wind noise, I think.

E watched my return progress with the SPOT and had a nice salad, pasta and wine waiting for me when I got home. What a fantastic day.

No comments:

Post a Comment