Landed, Part 2

[Originally posted to my blog Portlanded. I’ve reproduced it here because it details some of my trials transporting my bikes cross-country.]

I’m feeling a lot better today. So, a quick wrap-up of how I got to Portland.

Basically, I was exhausted the entire trip. I pulled over and took naps often and wasn’t making very good time. I only managed another 520 miles or so on Thursday and spent the night in Alexandria, MN.

Friday was even worse. I stopped for gas in Dickinson, ND. I checked out my cargo and found that the R100 GS had torn loose and only some boxes (placed with great foresight by Rick) were keeping it from falling onto the F650GS.

Sure, the back of a U-Haul isn’t the best transportation for three motorcycles. But I’d used one with a single bike in ’96 when I moved to Florida and thought it would work. This newer U-Haul didn’t have the same tie-down points, though — the sturdy wooden rails I’d had in 1996 had been replaced with aluminum bars that were higher and fastened at only three points.

The kicker? The metal rails are just screwed into the fiberglass wall of the truck. I was stuck — while I had a side rail that I could use, it suffered from the same weakness as the front. If that went, I’d have nowhere to secure the bike and likely be stranded in the middle of nowhere.


So I got out my Owners Anonymous guide put out by the BMW MOA. I can’t say enough about how great these people are. The OA is a book of MOA members who have volunteered to be listed, and there’s a list of codes of what they’re willing to do — provide coffee and chat a bit, have tools available, a place to pitch your tent, that kind of stuff. No names — just a member number and a phone number. Sure enough, there was someone in Dickinson and within 30 minutes he’d driven over to look at the damage with me.

We ran through a bunch of options like trying to fix the tie-down, buying a motorcycle trailer at a local shop (he recommended a couple places I could go) and visiting the local U-Haul. I grabbed a motel room and spent all day Saturday trying to fix the problem. Trailers were way too expensive or places were closed — it was Memorial Day weekend, after all, and I was told that lots of people were “down at the lake.”

Finally, I just bought some extra straps at Wal-Mart and used them to share the load on the side rail. The setup below (with everything else unloaded) got me the rest of the way to Portland.

R100GSPD with extra straps

Way cheaper than buying that motorcycle trailer.

After that, I just wanted to get done. I got out of Dickinson in the afternoon. I slept in rest areas when I needed to and things went better — dinner in Billings, some breakfast (and wi-fi) at 4 a.m. yesterday in Bozeman, lunch in Coeur d’Alene and by 6:00 p.m. I was in Boardman, OR fueling up for the last 160 miles or so.

And that’s it. Portlanded around 9 p.m. last night. I love beginnings.

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One Response to Landed, Part 2

  1. Debbie says:

    See had you given your little sister the Kawasaki as she REALLY wanted you would have only had two motorcycles to contend with on the drive.

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