My 2022 BMW K1600GTL Road Trip: Day Two

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

Our East Coast Editor, Andy Reid, took a motorcycle road trip from Southern California to Cincinnati. Day One of his odyssey is available here.

The next morning, we did a quick photo op at the hotel and headed to Kingman, Arizona to grab breakfast and pick up I-40 again. We stopped at a place in Holbrook called Westside Limo’s Café on old Route 66 and it was there that Harvey and I finally got our steak meal for breakfast instead of dinner. It was chicken fried steak and eggs, but it was also delicious and more than made up for the terrible dinner the night before.

Westside Limo’s Café (Photo by Andy Reid)

After breakfast Harvey and I parted ways, him heading further on Route 66 and I returned to riding on I-40 to try to get to Amarillo by that evening. I rode thru Kingman, AZ stopping for gas before heading to New Mexico where I stopped in Gallup again for fuel.

Chicken fried steak and eggs at Westside Limo’s Café (Photo by Andy Reid)

About 100 miles east on I-40 from Gallup I hit what seemed to be at the time to be the world’s worst traffic jam. I could see the road for a few miles and both lanes of traffic were completely stopped. If that was not bad enough the ambient temperature at the time, according to the TFT display on the bike, was 117 degrees.

Harvey gets Internet access at Westside Limo’s Café (Photo by Andy Reid)

I sat for around 10 minutes on the bike and the trucker next to me rolled down his window and asked me how it was going. I told him besides slowly boiling, all was fine. He replied that he needed to check something and rolled his window back up. A few minutes later he rolled his window down and told me that he had checked with the trucks ahead of him and that the jam was around six miles. He then told me that he was going to make a gap for me and that I should ride on the shoulder to get thru the traffic. He added that he had another trucker explain to the police officer at the front of the jam that I was there and the truckers plan to get me out of it. The officer agreed to their plan, as riding on the shoulder is illegal, and the trucker made the gap, so I rode on ahead. I got to the front and the officer waved me thru to the open road whereby the truckers honked their horns at me as I rode away. This was one of the nicest events I have ever experienced on a road trip. The truckers were amazingly nice and thoughtful to do this, as it was the hottest outdoor temperature I could remember while riding a motorcycle.

I rode on towards Albuquerque and finally found out what the K1600 GTL is best suited for. Since the road was wide open with no cars ahead due to the traffic jam, I was able to open the bike a bit and let it stretch its legs. The change in the way the bike handled was unbelievable. The bike that was blown around by crosswinds at 75 mph was dead stable over 80 mph. It seems as if the aero really helps the bike come into its own at speeds over 80, at which speed the bike felt firmly planted.

I caught some pretty strong cross wind gusts on the way, and they did not move the bike at all. It was as if it was a slot car. In addition, the added weight on the front end made the steering feel more stable and less sport bike twitchy. The K1600 GTL puts the idea of “sport” in front of “touring” and at high speeds this might be the best sport touring bike ever built. While this is not necessarily a perfect match for U.S. roads with their 75 mph speed limits, the K1600GTL is an impressive high-speed touring motorcycle.

Eternally grateful for these vents (Photo by Andy Reid)

In the extreme heat of New Mexico, again somehow 117 degrees, I was very grateful for the extendable vents on the fairing of the K16 as they offered some much-needed directed airflow when moving and made it at least bearable to be on the bike. Without these I would have never been able to complete some of the longer runs in the state.

I arrived in Albuquerque and as I rode thru the city I realized that the bike needed fuel immediately. I looked for something convenient and saw nothing. At the last exit in the city, I decided to pull off I-40 and find gas. It turned out that I did find a gas station, but the exit was the one that led to what had to be the sketchiest part of the city. After a few miles I found a Circle K station and fueled up. The armed security guard came up to me at the pumps and told me that I should probably leave as soon as possible as I was indeed in the highest crime area of the city and my, “Brand new shiny BMW” might make me look like the perfect opportunity for some of the less desirables in the area to earn some spare cash. I took her advice and headed back towards Amarillo.

Rest area with ramadas (Photo by Andy Reid)

About an hour later I started to see rain drops on the windshield and initially thought that it was just a few light sprinkles, at least until I looked in my mirrors and saw a fast-moving dark cloud formation heading my way. Since I hate riding in the rain, I looked for an option to shelter from the coming storm. Ten miles later, with the rain starting to become more serious, I saw a rest area sign. I took the exit and was surprised to find that the rest area had little ramadas each with its own little driveway to ride on. I have never seen anything like this at a rest area, so I rode up to one and parked the bike under the ramadas just as the clouds opened up.

I sat out the storm for about an hour and called my friend, and New Mexico resident, T.G. His first question was, “You’re doing what?” when I explained what I was up to. Then I told him that I was headed to Amarillo, and he told me that with the weather ahead I was never going to make it. He also wondered why I was making the trip on I-40 as it was a boring route and I explained it was because I needed to get to Cincinnati as quickly as possible. He knew exactly where I was on I-40 and recommended that I stay the night in Santa Rosa, New Mexico as the weather ahead was miserable. I thanked him and called my friend John Nikas to find out what he knew about Santa Rosa. He gave me the perfect hotel and restaurant recommendation and I headed out to Santa Rosa as my stop.

Dinner at the end of day two (Photo by Andy Reid)

I exited I-40 to Santa Rosa about an hour later and found the recommended hotel, checked in and also found the restaurant John had suggested. I had a terrific Mexican dinner there, went the ½ mile back to the hotel, Santa Rosa is a tiny town, and went to sleep for the night.