Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gadget and Toys

I've always been a gadget geek, from a transistor radio as a kid, to the high tech stuff of today, trying the latest and greatest is a passion of mine.  As I expand my motorcycling into long distance riding, of course it's only natural that I include as many high tech gizmos as possible.  Now that winter is here, most days you'll find me right here by the fire in my comfy Ekornes Stressless Recliner with laptop table .
I've been an Apple fanboy for a while now because they make great stuff and it just works but lately I've been branching out some.  Most of the long distance rally info seems better suited for using windows devices for routing and planning.  Garmin Basecamp has versions for both MAC and PC and my new BMW Navigator V connects to my MAC just fine but other tools such as ezBake and Microsoft Streets and Trips run much better on a PC.  I've been looking for a while, and picked up an ASUS Transformer Book T100 yesterday.  This little windows 8.1 machine has a detachable tablet and keyboard combo that should work nicely as a routing computer.  I played around some with it yesterday and here's how it looks in action.

I wish there was an IOS version of Basecamp that I could run on my Apple iPad Mini Retina.  There a couple of apps that are nice, Motion X GPS Drive and Motion X-GPS .  I use both of them on the mini and my iPhone 5s to navigate, store bonus information, etc.  What's really nice about Motion X-GPS is you can associate a picture of the bonus location with the coordinates as well as a note about what is expected to claim the bonus points.  It's very handy to pull up at the bonus location to review quickly.  
I'm entered in the 2014 Big Money Rally and it looks like it will be a lot fun.  As you ride to each bonus location, you submit a picture from your phone at that location.  I like that they've included the use of smartphones into the rally.  From the old days of Polaroid cameras, to the modern times of digital cameras, the next logical step is smartphone use.  I know my iPhone 5s takes better pics than the digital camera I have. Most of the time, great apps come to IOS before there's an Android version.  That's not the case with Bubbler GPS , a tracking program that also includes the ability to send quick OK messages to those who might be concerned about your ride.  Joel Tolbert has also developed an app for the Big Money Rally for android, BMR App that allows easy check in from each bonus location as well as picture submission.  Maybe I need an Android phone to try out.  Hmmm.  
As you can see, I'm definitely a gadgetholic, it's cheaper than crack.....maybe.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

End of the year update

I haven't done too well keeping the blog current this year, something I intend to do better at in 2014.  I have had a good year motorcycling with just over 25, 000 miles on 2 wheels.  Shortly after the Big Texas Rally, I took my RT in for service at Tulsa BMW and took a liking to a new 2014 F800GS Adventure they had sitting on the showroom floor.  I'd been thinking about one for a while and just couldn't resist so I'm now a 2 bike owner again.  Here's my riding companion, Missy, on one of our morning rides around Lake Draper.
I've only got a couple of thousand miles on it so far but really like riding warm weather.  There is no comparison between it and the RT for blocking wind and cold so I doubt I ride it much between now and spring.  I prefer the RT's big windscreen, heated seat, and grips for the cooler weather riding.  I ordered side cases or I guess the proper name is panniers for the GS and they took almost 6 weeks to arrive but here's a pic of them.
I haven't been on any other trips or rallies since Big Texas and it looks like my RT is going to end the year with just over 51,000 trouble free miles.  She is going to be 20 months old next week so I guess that's not too bad.  I turned in just over 22, 000 miles to the BMW MOA mileage contest this year which ran between April and October so we'll see how that ranks among other riders in the country.  Last year, I was the high mileage rider in Oklahoma but not even a top 25 finisher nation wide.  I use a  Spot GPS tracking device most of the time when I ride.  It allows me to track where I've been, send messages to those who might be worried about me, and send an SOS message if I should have an emergency.  Here's a screenshot of most of my trips made in 2013.
All in all, it's been a great riding year with some great scenery, no mishaps, and a fun time on the bike.  In 2014, I've got several plans made for rides I'd like to take.  The first will be in mid March when I plan to ride to San Diego, get an external fuel cell made, then ride a 50cc (coast to coast under 50 hours) to Jacksonville, FL for the Iron Butt Associations bike week meet up.  Later in the year, I plan to ride in the How The West Was Won rally in Colorado as well the Big Texas Rally again.  I might ride in a couple of others and I need to cover some of the eastern part of the country that I haven't ridden in yet.
I plan to update the blog more frequently as I enjoy riding the bikes and retirement.  Stay tuned for 2014, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.