Mental Health 101: Get On the Bike and RIDE!

((Ed note-Red River BMW Club member Drew Newcomer is always up for a ride. Sometimes, though, life gets in the way and riding gets shunted aside. Drew was feeling a little sick of the status quo a week or so ago and decided the only prescription sure to relieve was some time in the saddle.))

By Drew T. Newcomer
Do you have a job that sucks sometimes? (Or, maybe you are one of those folks that have a job that sucks all the time.) Well, I work with the public, so I guess mine is somewhere in the middle (though I am grateful to be working!!) Some people deal with stress by venting to their husband, wife, significant other, some drink, some kick the dog, while, for many of us, the path to sanity is via two-wheeled ride therapy. I was just about to go crazy when a three-day weekend presented itself beginning March 12. So, taking advantage of the time I packed up my trusty R1150R and headed north.

While the skies were overcast and things were still a little cool (hey, that is why I bought the Gerbings!) I pointed the R up the familiar LA 15 to 558 to US 7 right below El Dorado. Once I reached Camden, AR, I turned northwest on AR 24, which is a very nice country ride, until I intersected AR 53 about 15 miles south of Arkadelphia. AR 53 is a nice country road/country ride itself and it took me to AR 8 where I turned west. I really enjoy riding 8. The surface is pristine and the road rises falls and has plenty of nice sweepers that keep things anything but boring. And, the topography changes nicely as you head west into the Ouachita Mountains. After a very comfortable 250 miles, I found my destination of Mena, AR and the king size bed waiting for me at the Limetree Inn.

Saturday morning dawned overcast and cold, but I wasn’t in any kind of hurry. After a nice breakfast in the motel restaurant, I loaded the bike and turned the heat on and headed up AR 88. While clouds were plentiful, the fog, which can be brutal on this road, was not a problem. Climbing up 88 towards Queen Wilhelmina State Park, I felt like I was the only one on the road. A couple of whitetails waved to me as I headed west and neared the Oklahoma State line. 88 becomes Oklahoma 1 at the border and I continued west as the sun continued to climb and the clouds begin to dissipate. I rode Highway 1 into Talihina.

In Talihina, 1 and 63 run together until intersected by OK 2 which took me to Antlers, OK. The geography had changed and this area reminded me very much of the Texas Hill Country. In Antlers, I continued west on OK 3 to Atoka. I continued west through Indian Country on OK 7 to Sulphur, OK where I turned south on US 177 through the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. By now there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the Gerbing’s were no longer needed. The recreation area is very well maintained and there is a good bit of history to be found here (which means it may be worth another trip!) After appreciating some of the wonderful scenery, I rode 177 south to OK 199 where I turned away from the sun and found US 70 in Madill, OK. After 300 miles I pulled in for the night in Durant, OK and found great accommodations at the local Best Western. After a great meal and a couple of cold ones, I pushed the clock up on the bike and crawled into the hotel room’s easy chair. I have found, over the years, that sometimes, there is nothing better than riding alone – but never being lonely. This was one of those days.

With the time change, morning did not come early. With plenty of daylight I headed into the awakening sun and traveled US 70 to Idabel, OK where I zigzagged on OK 3 to the Arkansas State line (where 3 becomes 32) and a break in Foreman, AR. 32 kept going east to US 71 where a lunch stop was in order in Texarkana. I stayed east on 82 to Magnolia where I turned south on 371 until I turned back east again on LA 2 in Sarepta. I rode 2 to Farmerville then back home on LA 15.

The weather had been ideal all day long. Spring is coming (as evidenced by the daffodils along the highway.) I was again reminded of the catharsis that can be attained on a two-lane on two wheels.

Jamroz Takes the Gold in Leesville

BMW Area Sales Rep Mark Jamroz is certainly no stranger to the awards podium in dirt bike racing. Jammer took first in the Senior A division and 19th overall in a day of cross country racing recently in Leesville, La., that featured more than 200 competitors. His performance aboard hs Husquavarna 310 puts Mark in the lead for the Senior A Class. The Louisiana Cross Country Series is hugely competitive and features some notable riders, including multi-time Motocross World Champion Trampas Parker riding his new Munn Racing KTM 450. The RRBMWR club congratulates Mark and hopes to see a series win at the end of the year.

For more information on the series, go to:

BMW Big Bikes, BIg Dominance

BMW is proud of a tremendous showing in a recent MOTORRAD poll of best bikes for 2010. MOTORRAD is Germany's premier motorcycling magazine, with a bi-weekly circulation of roughly 135,000 copies.

BMW was voted “Motorcycle of the Year 2010″ in the readers’ poll in all five categories in which BMW motorcycles were represented – the best result ever achieved by a manufacturer in the history of the vote. In its first time out, the new S1000RR won the "Sports" category.

"Touring" was won by the K1300GT (the 1200RT finished third).

 "Enduro/Supermoto" was clinched by the R1200GS/R1200GS Adventure.

 The K1300S won in "All rounders," and the R1200R took home the win in the "Naked" category.

Congratulations to the manufacturer of our favorite motorcycle who once again gives us reason to say, "So many bikes, so little time."

Edelweiss Encircles Earth, Invites Paying Friends

Most of us have looked longingly at one of the well-planned Edelweiss tours and thought, "I'll do that one day when I have the money/have the time/ have a more forgiving spouse." Well, Edelweiss isn't waiting on any of those excuses to fulfill the biggest and best Bucket List ever. They are offering a 248-day, 5-continent, 48-tour stop, $100,000-per-person extravaganza called the "Discover our Earth Expedition." The tour is SO big and so breathtaking that it has rendered Edelweiss incapable of spelling "Expedition" correctly on the pages describing the enormity of it all. (Fine print also describes the many extras that you will be responsible for--- including freight, shipping, your airfare to and from, and the more than one soda you may want at the end of a long day in the saddle.)

You will be on your bike and away from your home from November 14, 2010 until July 20, 2011, with Edelweiss planning every step of the way. Amazingly, though $100,000 does not fall trippingly off the tongue for most RRBMW riders, a writer with BMW MOA magazine told me at Bike Week that most of the slots are already taken. So there, sluggish economy.

For this tour, riders must provide their own bike, equipped for on road and off, with the equipment the rider believes is important for a trip of this duration and scope. Because of the physical demands placed on the group, Edelweiss says riders who have been on their tours before may not be capable of this one...they stress this is not a tour where someone services your bike, carries your bags and cooks your dinner. Riders should understand about customs, freighting bikes, have all documents necessary and be able to perform minor mechanical work on their bikes. That $100,000 you'll be paying them will provide you a mighty fine roadmap, though, and be prepared to use it. One other thing riders will be is "responsible for all route navigation." Pardon me? (Deeper in the copy it does reveal you can ride with the guide or navigate on your own.They just put that 'navigate on your own' in there to see if you're the Right Stuff.)

Through large swaths of this trip do not expect hygiene, sanitary facilities, nice hotels, good roads, people who speak any language you have ever heard, or any dining option other than the Dim Sum #1 fishheads soup. Do expect: an adventure to end all adventures, a new way of seeing the world, one-in-a-million experiences and great stories in the re-telling.

And the Boardwalk Makes It Two...

Shreveport bike builder Steve Culp heard his name multiple times today at the Boardwalk open show on Daytona Beach, Fla. The Boardwalk show, held on the famed Boardwalk next to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean on Daytona Beach, has played host to the best bike builders in the country for the past 25 years.

The show attracts national and international builders, who often find their unique and high-dollar creations featured in motorcycle magazines and on television.

More than 200 motorcycles, from new school choppers to extreme customs, vied for the trophies.
Steve was awarded First and Second place winner in the Vintage Custom for his Suzuki T-200 and T-500s, and for First in Stock Foreign for Liz's Suzuki T-500, which Steve has painted an original gold with metal flake.

Steve was also summonded to the stage for Third Place-Best in Show, a tremendous accomplishment considering the high caliber of motorcycles on display from award-winning bike builders and painters from around the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the day was when Steve, wife Liz and friends Howard and Ford had to somehow get all the trophies back to the rental house. Steve made good use of his backpack...

...while Howard chose to use the 'hitch the trophy to the bicep' method. Ford favored the pirate-like belt bandolier trophy holder. Liz wisely chose to let the boyz juggle trophies while she rode behind, laughing at the looks the three were getting from other bikers and motorists along A1A.

Daytona Beach won't soon forget Shreveport, Louisiana, and Culp's beautiful Suzuki stable, and that's the way we like it.

...And the Big Rat Makes Three

Shreveport bike builder and Red River BMW Riders' Club member Steve Culp was the big winner February 28 at the famed Rat's Hole Bike Show in Daytona Beach, Fla., taking home two giant rat trophies. Thirty years ago, Karl Smith, Jr.---AKA Big Daddy Rat---started the Rat's Hole tradition that has grown into the really big cheese at Bike Week. 

Steve came loaded for bear... uh, rodent, with two newly-minted custom rides; a Suzuki T-500 racer/street fighter and a T-200 vintage cafe racer.

These bikes are not your average show bikes and that's just fine with Steve. These are the type bikes that he enjoyed as a kid, and when he started looking around for a cool yet inexpensive bike to take apart and put back together in unique and unusual ways, the small Suzukis seemed perfect ...they were reasonably priced, overlooked and under-appreciated. Appreciation for the bikes was flying at Rat's Hole, as were questions about them. Some of the questions, especially the "what IS it?" variety, can take a while to answer. Steve loves finding unique uses for many different model and manufacturer parts and the T-200 is a tasty hodgepodge that sports a 2007 Victory headlight, Hayabusa footpegs, an Italian Gremeca racing front brake and Akront rims. The racing number 6 was chosen for no reason other than shape and symmetry, the color red because Steve had just finished a red Bultaco and loved the look of it.The lightened frame on the little 200 should be very happy whizzing around the track at speeds close to 100 mph.

The T-500 story is much the same. The really big deal on the bike is a $4500 Fontana front brake. It is rounded out with Akront rims and an antique Suzuki racing tank. A Victory headlight bucket makes up the back seat and the headlight is a WWII Lucas. With a fairing, the T500 should be happy on the track at speeds of mid-120s.

The great thing about the Suzukis is that they not only look good standing still, they're also fun to ride and they get a lot of attention zipping down the road. Steve's plan is to sell the bikes and get started on his NEXT project in time for Rat's Hole 2011!
The gang at Bike Week-Steve, Liz and Ford-enjoying sunshine and seafood!