Texas farm country – RanchStoc 2024

Had a fantastic trip to Meridian, TX, to attend RanchStoc 2024, to meet old friends, and some new ones.

Stayed at Lake Tom Bailey Camp, MS after a good 600 mile ride. I was supposed to be met by thunderstorms and possible torando’s around Jackson, MS the next day.

Didn’t see any twisters, but it was an all day heavy rain event. Finally pulled in at Meridian Creek Ranch in the afternoon after another 600 miles.

Ranch lodge.

Visited an old, local “built by Norwegians” church located on the ranch

Next day, headed up to Stephensville, the get a hold of some BBQ at Hard Eight BBQ. Good stuff.

Started back home on Sunday morning. Very nice weather. Rode of Naches Trace for a while until I got to Jeff Busby Camp, where I decided to spend the night.

Next morning I continued up the Trace, and decided to make a shortcut, cutting across middle TN, into McMinneville, hit TN 30 (very nice road) until I reached my planned destination for the night, Cherohala Mountain Trails Camp. Had not stayed there before, so decided to give it a try. Very nice and friendly host.

Up early next morning, packed up, and headed up Cherohala Skyway. Didn’t see anothe4 soul on the way across. Stopped in Robinsville for breakfast, and continued on 28 towards Waynesville, hit the Blue ridge Parkway, exit on 276 down into Brevard, and continued on 276 to SC Foothills Parkway, the on SC 9 back home.

The GSA was ready for a 48K service, so I proceeded to do a valve check. Left side was all in spec. Right side had seen better days. That intake lobe looks “odd” 😆.

I’ll have to replace the right intake cam, and two cam followers. Oh well, nothing serious 😂.

Current bikes

Figured I could write a few lines about the bikes I use for touring and just good ol’ mountain road carving.

My main touring bike is a 2015 BMW R1200 GSA. I’ve had this bike since new. I have done all the maintenance and service myself on all the bikes I have owned, and that goes the two bikes I currently have. You get to know your bike a lot better, and so you can do a much better job having the knowledge if something happens on the road. While talking about maintenance, I should mention that I also use and carry on trips, a GS911, giving me the ability I to diagnose potential issues, as well as reset maintenance reminders.

The draft horse - 2015 BMW R1200 GSA

2015 BMW R1200 GSA

The GSA is my main touring bike, for obvious reasons. Longer range, with a close to 9 gallon tank, better wind protection, ability to go off-road, very comfortable at highway speeds, long suspension travel, full electronic package, (dynamic traction control, dynamic suspension, automatic traction control, ABS, ride modes with automatic traction, suspension and ABS selection. You can also pack a lot of camping gear on it.

The GSA is a very tall bike, with a 35-36 inch seat height. and gets even taller if you use some of the aftermarket seats. I currently use a Russel Day-Long, which I find do be a very good all day riding kind of seat. The windscreen I use is a PIG tall touring screen, supported by extra shield supports on both sides.

The bike has a set of Clearwater Erica lights, which are mounted on the crash bar on each side of the bike. The light can be easily adjusted using the “wonder wheel” on the left handlebar, when yo can adjust different light intensities for low- and high beam, along with separate light intensities during day /night. The brake light is a Clearwater Billie light, also fully customizable from the canbus.

Other extras are radiator protectors on both sides, bigger side stand foot, BMW Navigator 5 GPS and a Uniden R3 radar detector, among a few other improvements.

I absolutely love this work horse. Never had an issue with it, except had the water pump changed under warranty,  as it started trickling coolant from the weep hole. Current tires: Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2. 40/36 PSI.

I currently have around 40.000 miles on the bike.


The thoroughbred, 2018 BMW S1000XR. I got this bike new in 2018. The main reason for getting the bike was to use it on short day trips, and weekend trips to the mountains. It can’t really compare at all to the R1200 GSA. Completely different animals. And this bike is exactly that, an animal, a beast. It is the fastest and most nimble bike I have ever ridden.


The S1000 XR has the same engine as the S1000RR, but tuned a little different (more torque mid-range). It is still basically a very angry-acting S1000 superbike engine, and its inline four runs at about 5K at ~70 mph.. It is my bike of choice on twisty mountain roads, as it is VERY planted, nimble, with a smooth power delivery that will do whatever you tell it to, whether it be sick acceleration out of corners, or power wheelies in first to fourth gear. It is not what I would characterize as a touring bike. It will do a daily commute, a cross country trip (again, I don’t consider it a touring bike, but it can certainly do it), it will (in capable hands) out-gun and out-handle many super-bikes. For some riders, this will be the ultimate motorcycle that can do almost anything to perfection. For me, it does everything to perfection, except being a perfect touring bike.

The XR also has dynamic traction control / electronic suspension control / ABS Pro (leaning ABS) / Ride modes. These are much more refined on the XR than on the GSA. The XR also has shift assist Pro (butter smooth clutch-less up and down, regardless of engine load). My GSA has shift assist, but is far from the shift assist Pro on the XR.

So, the R1200GSA for long distance touring, and the S1000XR for serious fun in the mountains, with some weekend camping blended in. I currently have around 13.000 miles on this bike.

Annual Blue Ridge Gathering 2017

Started up Thursday Oct. 10 at first light. Foggy and humid through SC Why 9 to Gaffney, and SC 11 along the foothills. SC11 is also called Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway.

Started to clear up around mid morning. By the time we started on US Rt. 178 (outstanding moto road by the way) towards Rosman, it was sunny and clear.

Blueridge Parkway


Blueridge Parkway




Ate lunch at Country Skillet in Rosman as usual. Typical good country food. Always packed with locals.

Continued up on the Parkway toward Waynesville and Moonshine Campground in Balsam, NC. Arrived around 2:00PM. This gathering is a yearly occasion where a bunch of riders from way back get together for some much needed social activities and tall tales around the camp fire, not to forget the countless roads that are just perfect for motorcycle riding. To go along with that is  70 degree day- and 50 degree night temperatures for camping. You just never get tired of it.

Tent city


Headed out Friday morning, and dropped by Clyde’s in Waynesville for breakfast. Nothing like country cooking. They’ve got superb suppers too. Hopped back on the bikes, and headed up through NC209, a prime motorcycle road that stretches from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs, NC. As usual, there were just a few corners with some gravel / sand in them close to Hot Springs. Have been up this road a few times before, and the gravel and sand is always present.

Had apple pie and ice cream at Smoky Mountain Diner in Hot Springs before continuing through Hot Springs and back down through Hwy 25. Turned off at Marshall, and managed to get lost, or thinking we were lost. However, we just continued, and ended up on NC 63, also a fabulous road we’d never been on before. Ended up back on NC209, and headed back to camp.

NC 209 country store


Saturday we stopped at Clyde’s again for breakfast. Well filled up, we hit NC276 towards the Parkway, passing Cruso Motorcycle Campground on the left on the way up. Very nice campground with lots of tent space and cabins. Worthwhile checking out.

Once on the Parkway we headed north toward Mt. Pisgam Camp. I wanted to show Lois this area, as it is one of my favorite camp spots along the Parkway. After a short break we headed back on 276 headed to Maggie Valley, where there was a Can-Am Spyder rally with vendors. Not much stuff for my GSA, but plenty of accessories for Lois’s 2015 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited.

Early morning on the Parkway.



Maggie Valley Spyder Rally


We finished up with a huge BBQ meal at Butts on the Creek BBQ. Highly recommend. My only complaint was that parking (especially for motorcycles) were somewhat crampy, with limited space.

We headed back to camp for the rest of the night. Started breaking camp Sunday morning and was on our way (to Clyde’s, again for breakfast) before hitting I40- I26 – NC74 – I85 – I485, then back on NC74 to get home.

Since we have been up in the Smoky Mountains several times, we know where the nicest motorcycle roads are located, and we have ridden most of them more than once. Still, we continue to explore new places we haven’t been trough up there, and immensely enjoy it every time.