Friday, October 14, 2016

Ride Around Texas Insanity Gold

RAT Insanity Clockwise
I am riding to South Padre Island for the start of the RAT Insanity Gold.  The Iron Butt Association along the Motorcycle Tourer's Forum have hosted this event every few years, since 2006, to the delight of riders from around the country.  I was the Ride Master for the RAT in 2014.

Now, with the approval of the IBA and MTF, Hard Riding Adventures is hosting the 2017 - Ride Around Texas Insanity, "Tropical Adventure" starting May 1, 2017.  The RAT Insanity is to ride around the perimeter of Texas in less than 85 hours or 70 hours for Gold!

I'm finalizing the details with the host hotel for next year's event on this trip.  So, I'm off for some Saturday and Sunday fun in the sun before departing at 6:00 am Monday for a clockwise RAT Insanity Gold.  You can follow along with me on the SpotWalla map below.

Full SpotWalla Map   Realtime Texas Weather Radar Map

The weather was great for the entire ride.  A little hot in Big Bend and a little chilly around Guadalupe Mountains.  During this ride I had no close calls, defined as the need to perform evasive maneuvers.  I did not use excessive speed, unsafe riding techniques or get to meet any LEO the entire ride.  Most all the roads between communities were 75 mph, even small two lane ranch roads.  Got to love Texas!  My new BMW R1200GS Adventure performed excellently.  All my comfort farkles did their job well as I did not notice any comfort stress during the ride.

The clockwise route worked out well for me.  My objective was to match each leg of the route to my optimum riding time and get good rest in a hotel.  Below are the stats for each leg of my Ride Around Texas

  • Leg 1 - RAT Start to Anthony; 6:00 to 22:18, 1,010 miles, 16.3 hours
  • Leg 2 - Anthony to Paris; 5:00 to 23:20, 1,239 miles, 18.3 hours
  • Leg 3 - Paris to RAT Finish; 6:00 to 19:55, 845 miles, 13.9 hours

RAT Start to Finish; 3,094 miles, 61.9 hours, 70.5 Mvg, 49.9 Ovg MPH

Ride Planning and Itinerary 
The ride planning was done in Garmin BaseCamp.  There are 18 mandatory checkpoints on the RAT Insanity, including the South Padre Island start/finish points.   Below is my route sheet after putting in dwell times for stops and anticipated rest.  (The symbols colors indicate day or night conditions at arrival)

Monday, September 26, 2016

IBA Big As Texas Party

The Iron Butt Association's Big As Texas Party is about to start in beautiful Allen Texas.  In the burbs of the DFW metroplex, this gathering of long-distance motorcycle riders is rapidly becoming an annual event.  Festivities start on Thursday, September 29 and conclude with the spectacular awards presentation banquet on Saturday, October 1, 2016.

Below is the SpotWalla group location page for the BAT.  It shows the satellite tracking for each rider who signed up for the BAT TWC group location page.  View Password:  BATWC

Riders will begin to gather at the Hilton Garden Inn-Allen host hotel starting early in the week.  The start for the Texas World Capitals 1,000 and 1,500 mile 24 hour challenge rides are set for 6 am on Friday morning.

The IBA Big As Texas Party is also the celebration event for the end of the annual IBA memorial ride period.  This riders who do an IBA challenge even during the several weeks leading up to the BAT Party get special recognition at the event.  This includes quick turn-around of the ride certification and personal presentation by Mike Kneebone, President of the IBA.  Perfect "Selfie" opportunity!

The Texas World Capitals 1,000 and 1,500 mile rides are below.

After the Rider's meeting at 5:45, the BBG riders departed first, followed by the SaddleSore riders.  Wasn't long before the two seperate groups began to spread out.  The BBG'ers headed west then north while the SS1K riders headed east then south.  First to register picturers were from the SS1K crowd at Paris. 

Dave McQuenney was at the rider monitor desk receiving the pictures of the bonus location and rider flags.  Several submissions have issues that need to be resolved by closer inspection once the riders have returned.  Dave is compliling the list of "Please see the Scoring Team" names for Rider Check-in.  That list will be posted on the door near the Allen ballroom.

Frans and Bettie deWit had a low speed get-off while in rush hour traffic around San Antonio.  No injuries to report but they couldn't continue with the ride.

Jim Judge struck a deer while taking the short cut off the recommended route, by-passing Junction, on his way to London.  About 5:20 pm, time on his last SPOT track, he struck the local wildlife along the county road leading from I-10, through Harper then on to US377.  He was airlifted to Brook Army Medical Center with a couple of broken ribs, banged up hand and the usual road rash.  His spouse, Sandra, was here at the hotel in Allen and was quickly brought up to date on his condition after a short time.  His son is a BAMC to see after his dad and to keep mom informed.  She will be packing up all their stuff from the Allen hotel and driving down to San Antonio in the morning. 

We wish Jim Judge along with Fran and Bettie deWit a speed recovery.

The Big As Texas Party - Schedule of Events

Thursday, 9/29
Afternoon:  Registration in the hotel lobby
Evening:  No Host dinner locally

Friday, 9/30
5:45 am  Rider Meeting
6:00 am  Rider start of TWC 1,000 & 1,500
Evening:  No Host dinner for non riders

Saturday, 10/1
10 am to 2 pm:  Rider check-in - Near Allen Ballroom
4 pm:  Awards ceremony and certificate presentation - Allen Ballroom
6 pm - 8 pm:  Dinner Program - Allen Ballroom
8 pm - until:  Party in the lobby bar

Sunday, 10/2
7 am - 9 am:  Breakfast

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Texas World Capitals Tour 1,000 Recon

I'm finalizing the timing and routing elements of the Big-As-Texas Party "World Capitals Tour" 1,000.  It's going to be a fun ride for all who attend the BAT at the end of September.  Click on the link above to check out all the details.

Going to depart the Hilton Garden Inn in Allen and ride through Paris, Athens, Moscow, Vienna, London and to Georgetown.  My goal is to validated the planning software timing and routing through these segments.  

Click to see the full: SpotWalla Map

Monday, 7-18:  Departed the host hotel right at 6:00 am.  The weather was clear and dry the entire ride today.  Temperatures reached the upper 90s by the time I got to Houston.  Hit triple digits by early afternoon and stayed hot the rest of the day until I got to Georgetown.  The riders of the Texas World Capitals Tour 1,000 will have nice fall temperatures at the end of September.

Overall, the roads are fast and wide with speed limits of 70-75 mph over 90% of the route. The majority, over 60% are four lane or Interstate highways.  Services are plentiful along every segment.  Some slow-down through communities, but that is to be expected.  Traffic through the outskirts of Houston was flowing nicely around 12:30.  There was a bit of a slow-down along Anderson Loop (1604) over the northern stretch of San Antonio due to a fender bender.

Along the way I stopped at each checkpoint to take a picture and do a log entry.  Cellphone coverage was available at every stop, so riders of the TWCT 1,000 will be able to email their pictures.

I arrived at Georgetown on I-35 a little after 8pm.  Compare the arrival times below to those of the projected times of Garmin BaseCamp route table.

  1. HGI Hotel - Paris:  Arrived 7:20, 86.3 miles
  2. Paris - Athens:  Arrived 9:05, 106.4 miles
  3. Athens - Moscow:  Arrived 11:13, 121.7 miles
  4. Moscow - Vienna:  Arrived 14:02, 197.4 miles
  5. Vienna - London:  Arrived 18:06, 246.4 miles
  6. London - Georgetown:  Arrived 20:09, 123.6 miles

The final segment from Georgetown back to the Hilton Garden Inn in Allen is a straight shot up I-35.  At normal Interstate speeds, that's a little under 3 hours to cover the 193 miles.   Most all riders should be back at the hotel by around midnight.

Sunday, 7-17:  I've been farkling several items on the GS Adventure I bought in May.  Recently installed the FLIR PathFindIR camera and display.  I'll be using this in the early morning and after sunset along the TWCT 1,000 route tomorrow.  And, this will be the first extended hot weather ride since installing the airflow farkle to help solve the right side hot spot comfort issue.  It's projected to be in the high 90s or low 100s today.  I'll post how it worked when I get settled in at the hotel in Allen.

Texas World Capitals Tour 1,000 segment ride plan:

The Garmin BaseCamp route timing is listed below.  At each TWC checkpoint I'll drop a Spot message.  This will be a good way to compare the planned vs actual route timing.  For planning purposes I included a 0:10 minute dwell time at each checkpoint.

Friday, July 1, 2016

GSA Right Side Heat Issue

The Issue:  I have noticed, when the ambient air temperature is above 85F, the right side is noticeably hotter than the left side.  This condition exists at both low and high speeds.  The condition creates 'comfort stress' and is annoying.

The Source:  The heat seems to be coming from the right side radiator vent.
 There are two radiators on the GS, one on each side.  The right side has a coolant temperature activated fan that sucks air through the radiator and belches it out the vent.  To a lesser extent, the catalytic converter and exhaust pipe produces some heat that may contribute to the issue on the right side.

The Flow:  Air enters through the right side radiator and exits via the exhaust port on the right side of the fuel tank.  The radiator fan is mounted on the back side of the radiator and helps the movement of air from the radiator to the exhaust port.  The intention of the design is the heated exhaust belches out of the port, which is the widest point on the right side of the motorcycle body, and into the open air.

A significant amount of the heated air that exits the radiator exhaust port is sucked into the area between the right side pannier and back of my thigh and lower leg.  This area is a 'dead' space with almost no airflow created by the forward movement of the motorcycle.  It is relatively calm and the hot air just accumulates, heating up my leg.  The fact that the cytolytic converter and exhaust pipe is just inches away contributes to the heat accumulation.  These elements are well into the airflow along the undercarriage of the motorcycle

I rode with the pannier removed to see how much it being in place contributes to the heat accumulation issue.  There was a slight reduction in the noticeable heat sensation but not enough to make a big difference to the comfort level.

Defining the Problem:   Heated radiator exhaust air accumulates in the area between the right side pannier and the rider's right leg.

A simple test, to confirm that it is accumulation of heated air, is to deflect airflow into the 'dead' space.  At speed, with the cruise control engaged, when I stick my open hand into the airflow away from the right side and deflect air it into the 'dead' space, the sensation of heat against my thigh and calf goes away as soon as turbulent airflow reaches my leg.  It doesn't take much deflected air to change the 'dead' space flow dynamics.

The Solution:  Deflect ambient airflow into the 'dead' space to create enough turbulence to disrupt the pool of accumulating heated air.

Air scoop
Side view

I fabricated a piece of thick plastic sheeting to fit in the bush guards around the bottom of the right side cylinder head.  It is fastened with plastic wire ties.  It has the effect of scooping air and deflecting it into the 'dead' space when the motorcycle is moving.

Initial tests rides have been good.  It works well enough to reduce the accumulated heat in the 'dead' space from distractingly annoying to barely negligible.  I'll keep working on the solution to resolve the 'comfort stress' issues associated with the new watercooled GSA.  Given its new design, I am resigned to a certain amount of issues that challenge my farkling abilities.  Hey, on the bright will be great in the cooler months.  All I have to do is snip off the wire ties and remove the scoop until the hot weather returns.

Front view
Bottom view

The scoop is made of thick, flexible and strong plastic cut from a yard leaf bag frame.  Source: "Lawson Products - Easy Bagger"

Saturday, June 25, 2016

BAT Party Recon

Tentative Routes 
The farkling on the new GSA is coming along nicely.  Not quite complete, as I haven't yet mounted my FLIR PathFindIR infrared camera and display.  Waiting on one last piece of hardware to install the Pyle waterproof display above the instrument cluster.

Also, I have work out the best solution to capturing all the wires from two GPS units, the FLIR camera and the display.  All are being powered from one FuzeBlock mounted under the instrument cluster.  So, neatly tucking all the extra lengths of cables, wires and such away is proving to be a challenge.  

Today, I'm riding up to Allen TX to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn.  That is the venue for the IBAs Big-As-Texas Party at the end of September.  I'm helping with the "Texas World Capitals Tour" SaddleSore 1,000 and BunBurner 1,500 Gold riders.  On this trip I'm going to ride a couple of the route segment for the BBG to validate the moving average MPH calculations.  I'm interested in how much time it will take to ride from the Hilton in Allen, northwest to Willington, south through London and then on to the Stockholm just north of Harlingen.

Garmin Basecamp, route planning software, is predicting about 15 hours for the 979 miles.  Google Maps calculates a slightly different route between Abilene and London that saves about 15 minutes and one mile.

Click her for the full SpotWalla Map

Monday 6/27:  Departed just at sunup for Victoria.  Needed to take a couple pictures to put in the rider's guide for this stop.  From there it was northwest to cross over I-10.  From near Lulling it's a straight shot all the way to Allen via Interstates, toll roads and fast four lane highways.  Clear riding for any BBG rider.

Sunday 6/26:  Depart the Hilton Garden Inn at 6:00 am for the first stop on the Texas World Capitals Tour:

  1. Allen to Wellington - 6:00 - 9:57, 283 miles, 71.5 Over all avg MPH
  2. Wellington to London - 9:58 - 14:40, 327 miles, 70.1 Ovg
  3. London to Stockholm - 14:41 - 20:09, 370 miles, 67.3 Ovg
At each of the stops I took the pictures that will end up in the Texas World Capitals Tour - BBG riders guide.  I did this recon ride on a Sunday.  The BAT TWC BBG will be done on Friday, Sep 30.  My pace had me riding through San Antonio at around 16:30.  I rode I-10 to I-37 through the city center.  There might be some rush hour traffic issues though San Antonio on a Friday.  But, what's a little rush-hour traffic to an IBA BBG rider?  All part of the hard riding adventure, right?

Without even trying, I was able to leave the Hilton Garden Inn in Allen at 6:00 am and arrive at the Stockholm historic marker by a little after 8:00 pm.  That makes 980 miles in 14.1 hours or an overall average of 69.5MPH.  Considering the variety of highways, cities and towns along the way, that is a pretty good Bun Burner Gold pace.

I wanted to determine the moving and overall average miles per hour between Allen, though Wellington and London to the Stockholm marker.  95% of the highways had speed limits of 70 or 75 MPH.  The moving average on both my GPS units were at 72.5 MPH.  All of these roads will be ridden on the BBG during daylight hours on Friday, September 30.  

Since it would be dark by the time I would arrive in Victoria, I decided to stop for the night in Raymondville.  Got a great room at the brand new Holiday Inn Exp for $81, plus tax.

Saturday 6//25:  Just a short 5 hour drive from home to Allen, just north of Dallas.  It was a hot ride up I-35.  By the time I got to Big Deal it was in the mid 90s and very humid.  Topped of the tank before checking into the Hilton.  The desk clerk says they have coffee by 5am in the lobby.  But, my room has a Kerrigan coffee maker.  I'm set...