Driving in Norway

Southwest part of Norway. We drove 1,100 kilometers in 3 days, which is only 700 miles. This sounds like a small amount to drive per day, but there is the catch. If you like sightseeing and enjoy driving next to fjords to see beautiful water and mountains, you will be driving roads that are nothing like highways.

These roads have very strict speed limits, many cameras, and are occupied by many cars with drivers of different skill levels. In many places the roads are so narrow that you have to let traffic heading in the opposite direction through before proceeding. If it is raining, the fog is sometimes so thick that it’s hard to see 20-30 yards ahead.

Now, where was the fun? The roads! There are no straight roads next to the fjords. They all consist of endless turns. A majority of the turns are blind, so it’s impossible to predict or calculate the apex and the speed you potentially could carry through it. Only rarely you see 2-3 open turns that you could drive through with a technically correct line. It was good practice for slow-in and fast-out.

It was 1,100 kilometers of endless joy of guessing, enjoying the right decisions, and powering out from each turn. There were numerous tunnels, ranging from 50 miters to 7 kilometers, slow drivers, which are not that simple to pass on those roads, and other advantages. The last thing that’s worth mentioning was that we filled up the car only once, at the end of the trip. The small Volkswagen Golf did not want to accelerate well, but purred nicely and took us all the way without asking for more diesel. I would not say that a rental is the fastest car in this case, but obviously it was the most efficient one.



A Beemer Vacation

Another February vacation in Florida. I lucked out, because after many days of rain there was finally nothing falling from the sky. I drove to Eagle Rider to pick up the bike that I reserved a month ago. In Florida, they had 10 BMW GSs to rent in that specific location and more BMWs in other locations. Why aren’t there any BMW bikes in MA to rent? Maybe I do not know something.

Anyway, the day was perfect, the bike looked great, and the paperwork took 10 minutes. While waiting for a friend, I took the bike for a couple of spins. It sounded great, but it became obvious very fast that the seat was too high for me. I came back and Eagle Rider’s technicians tried to adjust the height for me. They put the seat in the lowest possible position and put the suspension in Sports mode. This did not change things a lot, but I appreciated them trying.

My riding partner for that day was Mike Ryan. Mike currently works as a dive instructor at Horizon Divers in Key Largo. He is a very interesting person to be around. It seems that his life was never ordinary and shaped him into a unique and strong individual. If you like real life stories, Mike has many of them and he knows how to tell them. If you ever go to Key Largo for diving, make sure to dive with Mike.

That morning Mike showed up on his brand new Honda Touring bike and we drove to the Everglades. We stopped at the Robert Is Here shop, and then drove to the entrance of the Everglades. Between walking on the board walk and driving to the end of the Everglades we chose the latter. We sat for 15 minutes on the bench at the last stop of the park, stared at the peaceful ocean and chatting about why there in no diving on this side of the Keys. We drove back without any stops and had to skip lunch, since I was getting late for my plane. We put 160 miles on bikes that day.

I loved the bike. If I would be shopping for one, I would seriously consider some version of this bike. I could hardly touch the ground with my toes, so it was hard to handle it during stops and backing up, but it was an absolute beauty once you start rolling. It felt stable, powerful, and obedient; great brakes, smooth clutch, and great acceleration.

Looking back, between great diving and riding the BMW (a true Beemer), I remember riding more. I hope Mike will not mind that.

Lana’s February Vacation


February is typically not a good month for a peaceful bike ride — at least in Massachusetts. However, I had to fly to Florida for a HIMSS conference and that’s where riding was just fine. First step was to find a place to rent a bike. There are many Eagle Rider locations around the US and one was found close to where I would be staying. This one was not a typical Eagle Rider, where one can find endless Harley Davidson’s of various models, years, and conditions. This place seemed to be privately held by a person who was renting out his own Triumphs. Well, we all have our preferences, right?  I had never ridden one, but I was up for trying something new. Good reliable bike, but not for me. Thank you for the person who let me rent it. It was a good experience. I learned more about what I appreciate in bikes.
By the way, it was almost too hot in a helmet. February…..  Bike…. Too hot…..I still struggle to comprehend this.

135 is here!

Finally, after ordering the car on 12/29/09, driving it all over Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic in early April, not hearing from a dealer for 2 weeks after the car was delivered to Boston, it finally parked in my driveway as of late May. 

The car is amazing, powerful, smooth, playful, and fun. I could go on, but after the run-flat tires and original suspension are changed, it should be even more fun.

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BMW Motorsport parts now available in the U.S.

Weekend racers can now buy BMW Motorsport parts at four locations in the U.S. Parts catalogs are available at BMW Motorsport or by visiting one of four BMW centers in IL, GA, NH, and OH. Catalogs are available for the 2008 BMW Z4, 1995-present BMW M3, and 2006+ 3 Series Sedan. Read more here.

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