Sorry for the lack of posts these last few days, was out riding and enjoying our beautiful fall weather. First leg on thursday morn was a 200 mile ride up to the annual Big Iron ag and everything else remotely related show in Fargo. As always, the show did not disappoint, with what seemed like a whole quarter section of massive tractors and tractor-trailers.

It’s harvest hazards time here in the heartland, with teenagers and octogenarians press ganged into the cabs of eighteen and more wheelers to rush the drought stricken meager harvest to the elevators. Sure ’nuff, on a NoDak two lane with a generous 65 MPH limit I was passed by a 22 wheeler grain rig who disappeared into the distance at an 80 MPH pace. And after he’s raced that load of grain to the elevator, it’ll sit there for months before finally making it’s way to a processor at 10 MPH pace… What’s the rush?

Noting the increasing number of these multi-multi axle rigs and the problems fitting badly needed (c0nsidering the unskilled drivers) stability control solutions designed for at most three axle tractors and trailers to up to seventeen axle centipedes, I thought I’d queery some of the truck and trailer purveyors as to just how they’d fit stability control technology to their products. ‘Twas an eye opener- many barely met DOT regs for ABS, with bastardizations like slaving all three axles, one of which can have it’s load share varied by air pressure and even lifted, to ABS sensors on just one axle. Or the steerable pusher axle I saw on a straight truck, clearly a used (up) front axle with new mounts welded on and the ABS wiring cut right off! Yup, hit the brakes on an icy road and the factory ABS on the front steering axle and drive axles will do it’s job while the lightly loaded pusher axle locks right up.  Now imagine all that happening in the middle of a tight turn! Of the handful of trailer manufacturers represented, only one- Trail King- seemed to have a handle on how to make stability control work on more than two or three axles. Yup, while Trail King offers stability control, the others are still trying to figure out ABS, which has only been around for a half century.

The show packed up at 4 pm, so I headed west and south the seventy odd miles to the Red River Valley BMW club’s rally at Fort Ransom state park. Merging onto I-94 west, a kindly trucker pulled into the left lane to let me in… I tried to enjoy the draft, but he was running 80 MPH with double trailers loaded with what looked to be oilfield supplies. The 600 mile round trip distance from Fargo to the edge of the Bakken oil field and the lack of a sleeper cab of the Mack tractor pulling this eight axle hundred foot long “turnpike double” explained the “need for speed”, a fact the NoDaks at the rally reinforced with numerous tales of too fast truckers around the oil patch. I grabbed the first exit and enjoyed a saner 65-70 MPH pace on quieter two lanes.

The rally was a hit- despite arriving a day early everything was pretty much up and functional and we were well taken care of all weekend. Saturday brought a nice group ride at a decent pace (but for the HOG(NYSE) and metric cruiser rider ahead of me slowing way too much for the corners) through the scenic Sheyenne River valley… NoDak ain’t all flat!

Even had the local Fargo Triumph dealer bring out some bikes for test rides, unfortunately BMW can’t be bothered with North Dakota. Yup, here’s a state brimming with $$$ from the oil and ag booms, and the nearest BMW  dealers are over a hundred miles away. Reportedly a well established and respected Fargo dealer tried to get the BMW franchise, and was turned down. Yet another BMW massive failure…

Up at dawn sunday to make a 1 pm parade 230 miles distant, just threw the tent an’ all in the sidecar to stay on schedule. Made the parade with a half hour to spare, then an easy fifty mile ride home. This was the farthest the hack’d GS has been since I dragged it back from the dead with the HPD stripped cylinder stud thread repair 4000 miles ago, and it covered this 600 mile trip without missing a beat… Despite some extended 70 MPH cruising with a big hack. Clearly, the GS is a keeper and deserves a few fixes and farkles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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