Subject: Notes from the Road, 1 of 10

Tuesday 7/30/96 8:45 PM
Bozeman, Montanta


The sun was just beginning to rise as I gave the machine one more inspection&emdash;oil level, air pressure, shock preload, etc. I did all of this the night before, but I do it again. I'm all loaded up and read to go. As I head for I-70 and other arteries leading out of town, I do what I always do for the first ten miles. I mentally go over an imaginary check list. No matter how carefully I plan and pack, I never fail to leave feeling like I've forgotten something. By the time I've put ten miles between me and the front door step I conclude (as usual) that I haven't forgotten anything that I cannot buy along the road. At this same moment I look down at the odometer just in time to see 117,000 miles roll over.

Back in 1984 and 99,000 miles ago I bought this 1976 R90/6 from some guy who lived in Tulsa, OK. I had never owned a BMW before. I was on the verge of buying a Harley FLH when a friend of mine talked me into looking at this BMW. He preached the gospel of German craftsmanship, shaft drive (no adjusting chain), and reliability. I just couldn't get over how butt-ugly it was! However, the price was right and my budget was lean so I decided to buy it. I could always sell it if I didn't like it. I didn't know I was going to fall in love.

This is a day for blasting up the super slab. The plan is to get as far North and West in Montana as I can. I've never done a 1,000 mile in a single day, but I'm probably good for 700 miles and that's what I'm shooting for. With new 75 mph speed limit, I'm flowing with the traffic at 80. I think about all the things my motor is doing every minute and about how many minutes it has on its clock, but I don't worry. This is what it was made for&emdash;blasting down the open road.

I enter Wyoming and my brain settles into the familiar "I've got a long way to go" meditation mode. One part of my brain is taking care of the business of riding&emdash;another part is simply musing. It is a little like what I used to do when I was a lot younger&emdash;watching TV with the volume turned off and the stereo on (unlike some prominent politicians, I did inhale). My vision takes in the vastness which is Wyoming while the audio portion of my brain is tuned to something else, and yet, they seem to be connected. Now and then (just like back then), I'm startled into blurting out, "Oh wow," when the audio portion seems to exactly coincide with the video. Far out.

The last one hundred miles are the longest. I'm not really worn out, but I'm ready to make a nest somewhere. Even with Montana Interstates being the closest thing to an autobahn in America, Bozeman is not getting close enough fast enough. My speed keeps creeping up to . . . well let's just say that I'm not sure I am within the state mandated parameters of "reasonable and prudent." Oh what the hell&emdash;Warp 9&emdash;Engage!

I went 720 miles today. Not bad for me. Tomorrow is a red letter day. If all goes well, I'll roll over 118,000 miles&emdash;for me, a 100,000 miles of therapy and fun. Not bad for a 20 year old motorcycle.

Terry Turnbeaugh
Aurora, Colorado USA

"The ideas and concepts which best repay critical examination
are those which for the longest period have remained unquestioned."

-adapted from Alfred North Whitehead


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