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BMW F650GS Dakar 2007

I spent a lot of time on the internet trying to find this bike. I specifically wanted the Dakar; it was set up slightly more off-road than the standard GS, more suspension and a 21” front tire. It proved to be a challenging task. In 2008 BMW no longer made this model. And there wasn’t a dealer in the US that still had them in stock. I focused on finding a used one. After several months and missed opportunities due to quick sales, I found it. I bought it without even looking at it and drove 70 miles to pick it up. My daughter Linzy took me to pick it up and get all of my gear. On the ride back home, almost 20 year since I had last sat on a motorcycle, I was hooked again.

I planned my first trip even before I had the GS. I was retiring from the Air Force and wanted to travel from Alaska to my dad’s house in Utah. Dad was hoping to meet me in Seattle at my daughter Nikole’s house. We would ride together the rest of the journey. This first leg of the journey would be my first solo ride. I had not considered riding solo before for safety reasons, and I preferred riding in pairs. I was a little nervous to cover 3,000+ miles, many through remote areas in Alaska and Canada.

The solo journey was one of the most exhilarating experiences to date. I was able to ride when I wanted, camp whenever I wanted to, and make all the decisions based on how I felt. I also learned to communicate with myself – I learned about myself, what I was capable of doing both physically and mentally. I recall a particular moment; I got off the ferry in Prince Rupert, Canada at 4:00 a.m. with minimal sleep. It was 38 degrees and raining. I rode for 16 hours that day (not my usual), it took a huge amount of mental and physical strength to do that part of the journey.

I am sort of an introvert and do not socialize much, but on this trip I stepped outside my comfort zone and met several bikers from all over the world. Everyone has a story to tell and listening to folks is captivating; telling is a connection. I still keep in touch with some of these travelers.

I met my dad in Seattle and we finished the adventure together – a memorable experience riding together that connected my past with my present. I love my father very much and I cherished every mile. I still plan periodic rides with dad; he is going strong at 73.

Of course my day to day riding partner is my wife Judy. She amazes me with her abilities. We have been on several adventures together on our BMWs and we are planning a world ride in the near future.

BMW-F650GS-Dakar

BMW-F650GS-Dakar

 

Kawasaki KLR650 2006
Kawasaki KLR650 2009

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