We made it to Denver and BMW on 26th June, our 1 year anniversary since we left the UK. It is hot and so green. It is not the brown we have seen in the past because of the amount of recent rain. Daisies, white flowers, yellow flowers, purple, blue, pink. We have arrived at the tail end of the spring flowers but it is still stunning.
Our first stop in Denver when we arrive is BMW. It pains me to keep talking about Streak’s problems, but below is a synopsis in one long paragraph. As this goes into some detail, skip the next paragraph if, like me, you are tired of Streak’s problems, but just know that, as of 9th July, I think Streak is finally fixed!!
The service manager at BMW Denver in Aurora whom I have been dealing with since early June and well before the end of warranty has been away and is busy in his office so we see Linda, who checks the bikes in and out. I explain what Streak has been doing, including the lag, spluttering and stalling while riding which had reoccurred after Santa Fe but been fine for 2 days, and the previous squeaky suspension and strange sudden sagging feeling with the suspension while riding. We are told to trust them, they know what the problem is with the lag and spluttering as they have seen this many times. We find out from BMW Denver that BMW USA will only honour US specification motorcycles warranty work and that we will have to deal with BMW UK to get warranty work refunded. This has been confirmed to us by BMW USA. This is when the service manager comes out from his office behind Linda, introduces himself and explain to Anthony (I must have been invisible!) that it is what they have always done for people with non US bikes. We cannot afford to go on with Streak in this state so we have no option but to ask them to go ahead, and we will have to deal with a refund later… This is not a good feeling to say the least. This is the first time a BMW dealer has not honored the guarantee, and we have seen many since November in Thailand as you know!!!… Tuesday, Linda calls to say the bikes are ready, both have had their 25,000 miles service and Streak’s lagging problem is fixed. As suspected, we are told, the air filter was badly blocked, they cleaned it and all is fine. (Really?!). But there is a fault with my shock absorber, (which we had been told about by BMW Monterrey in Mexico in May, so well within the warranty period) and it will cost US$1795 and take 2-6 weeks to arrive. It is not dangerous so we decline to have the shock absorber fixed here because we would be expected to pay for this warranty work and we might have to wait an additional 6 weeks for the parts to arrive – we do not have this time anymore. We will get this work done in the UK as the problem was identified during the warranty period. As a bit of background for those new to the blog, the throttle lag and stalling while riding was first investigated by BMW Chiang Mai, Thailand in November, unsuccessfully fixed with a new throttle valve switch and identified as requiring a new DME by BMW Kuala Lumpur in December, all within the 2 year warranty period. The stalling while riding and spluttering got worse in Colombia in April. We rushed through Central America to get to the US in time for the problem to be looked at within the warranty period, but because of a major recall on BMW’s 1200GS, there were no maintenance slots available and we had to wait until end of June. We will now have to work on getting a refund for all this because BMW North America do not honor the guarantee which all other countries we have visited have. Wednesday, our friend Karen drops us off at BMW, we pay, it is painful, but we are grateful that BMW have done all the work so quickly for us. Time to reload the bikes and head to other friends of ours, south of Denver. Streak is purring beautifully once again. 15 miles out, on I470, it coughs, splutters and dies. I put my flashers on, and let Streak slowly freewheel to the curb, cutting across traffic on my inside. I let Anthony know what has happened and once on the curb, let out an almighty primal scream!!! This is now really frustrating. We have to get off this interstate asap and call BMW. Streak splutters, dies, restarts, splutters. We limp to a car park off I470 and call BMW: if Streaks can restart, they want us to return now. Yes, it dies on me again all the way back, once in a particularly awkward spot, but luckily, Anthony is protecting my back and the cars, probably seeing my flashing lights, patiently wait for Streak to eventually restart. This time the service manager comes out immediately so I explain to him the exact symptoms (I am no longer invisible), while Anthony deliberately stays back. Yes, the spluttering that didn’t occur for 2 days has returned, badly. It seems to start when Streak is hot. And the fuel tank is under half. I ask him to take it for run. No way!! It’s too dangerous he says…. Ha, really?! What about the parking lot? Off he goes, but doesn’t go out of 1st gear and Streak doesn’t miss a beat. He asks me many questions. He had ordered a part for Streak before our arrival last week and he will now install it. He had missed an email I had sent him after Santa Fe letting him know the problems had reoccurred and therefore didn’t look into the spluttering and stalling and didn’t hear my telling Linda this too… I point out that the service engineer overfilled my brake fluid reservoir and it has been leaking all over my tank over the past hour. That evening, I got really annoyed at myself for feeling so frustrated at them. People rarely get under my skin this way. The next day, Thursday, Linda calls – I get Anthony to answer, as he is so much nicer than me and I can’t face talking to them right now. Their new findings: replaced crank shaft sensor as found, while hot, intermittent signal interruption. On test ride, the bike still stalled. Replaced fuel pump unit as found voltage far above specifications. Regarding the suspension: found a fault for rebound adjustment – an intermittent internal fault and leak in the shock. Friday, at 4.45pm, I notice 2 emails from Stephen telling me the bike is ready for collection. A phone call an hour ago would have been nice… Too late to collect, so that will now have to wait until Tuesday 7th July. While we pay another $850 for a full fuel pump unit, and a crank shaft sensor and some fuel cleaner for Anthony, the service manager comes out and explains what they have done. In total for those parts, and 2 services, $2200, and they couldn’t even give the bikes a clean… Unbelievable. Enough said, we are not happy and now we have to find out how we get some of this back as part of warranty and get more warranty work done when we get back to the UK… All this because BMW USA will not honour other countries’ BMW warranties…. I would like to stress that this is not meant to be a rant against all BMW dealers, as we got absolutely fabulous service from BMW in Kuala Lumpur, Lima, San Jose in Costa Rica, Mexico City, Austin and Santa Fe who have all provided fantastic service, above and beyond expectations, and Streak has performed well apart from those issues, and Storm has not missed a beat.
Karen, whom we met in Brisbane through mutual friends, picks us up from BMW. How great to see her beaming face again. We stop for lunch on our way home to Broomfield – once again, I choose a berry salad. Yumm!! Those salads are so delicious, full fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, different types of lettuce and some seeds for crunch including tiny bits of candied pecans. I must remember this for when we get back to Australia. We spend the next 5 days at Karen and Mike’s home. Mike treats us to his special bbq ribs, marinated to perfection by Karen the night before!! How amazing to see their kids, Kristi and Ian all grown up!!! We dogsat Kristi’s dog Eggo a few times – what a cute and intelligent dog!! Kristi, you’re lucky we didn’t dognap Eggo – I am sure he would love to travel and sit on top of our fuel tank! It was lovely just to be, relax in a home, chit chat, go for local walks to the local supermarket, get our washing up to date again. Packed lots of maps and brochures and sent these home. Said goodbye to Anthony’s old gloves. We had the use of Mike’s car for a day after we dropped him off at the airport and the house was ours for one night as Karen had a golf trip away that had been planned ages before our planned arrival. Karen and I had our toes painted. We did a spot of shopping too, looking to replace my Keen sandals which I have worn every single day since we left the UK and replace Anthony’s torn waterproof trousers – one leg was torn all the way up one side, so it was much needed. Karen drops us off at BMW before collecting Mike from the airport. Our stay with Karen and Mike was simply lovely – thank you Karen and Mike!!
After our aborted ride out to Roxborough Park, and return to BMW, our friends David and Leslie come over to pick us up, taking the same route as we were taking in case they find us stranded on the side of the road. We unload the bikes again, leave Streak and Storm behind. It is great to see David and Leslie again!!! David and Anthony first met 20 years ago. They were the pioneers in coal seam gas in Australia and they signed the first coal seam gas deal in Australia. How brave they were back then, with so many sceptics around them at the time. After a few years, Anthony joined David’s company Tipperary and spent the most exciting and rewarding part of his working life there. I met David and Leslie a number of times in Denver, we skied together. They also organised my first ever art exhibition in the US!! It is there that Deborah first saw and fell in love with Aboriginal work and invited me to show in Houston in their restaurant and started my annual Houston shows. So a business association turned into a long friendship.
And what a warm welcome we are given by David and Leslie!!! We are thoroughly spoilt. We spend many hours chatting about the current political and economic climate in the US. We discuss politics, religion, retirement. Once again, we are touched that they open up so much with us, and we learn more about some aspects of life that is so American. What a wonderful to be and chatting with friends.
David and Leslie take us to Estes Park, in the heart of the Colorado Rockies at 7522 ft/ 2300m altitude. The scenery up to Estes Park is lovely. We have lunch at the gorgeous old Stanley Hotel which was built in 1909. After our leisurely lunch, interrupted by a call from BMW Denver, we head to Loveland, through the Big Thompson River canyon which is stunning – I spot so many places I wish we could just stop and camp along the Big Thompson River. Loveland which has a huge sculpture park. I have always loved sculpture parks. This one is full of humour and joy. One artist made a sculpture of a shepherd with his goats. Some years later, another sculptor had his flock of wolves strategically placed in the park so that they are all looking back at what could be a tasty meal, the shepherd’s goats.
Leslie hardly stopped cooking magnificient meals for us. My one and only “core strength” gym session with Leslie wasn’t going to do much to counter the kilos I must have put on but showed me what muscles I need to work on: the legs and thighs are good, balance excellent, but my sparrow biceps need muscling up still!! We had fun making more s’mores.
We spent our first 4th of July in the USA since our last one in 1985 in Alaska. Those two evenings could not have been any different. Instead of the loud, beer swilling evening with a bunch of happy-go-lucky misfits, we spent this year’s 4th of July at friends of David and Leslie’s, Karen and Bill who kindly included us, with a group of people actively involved in supporting The Seed Company, a bible translating organisation, currently working on 700 languages in 70 countries. We had a bi-annual update meeting prior to the 4th of July fireworks. Not quite what we had expected but it was lovely of Karen and Bill to invite us, very interesting and we met some lovely people and enjoyed some amazing fireworks:
This evening, we met some of David and Leslie’s dear friends – what a fun time we had with Pam, Anne-Marie, Teresa and John, especially learning from Anne-Marie about some of the sights in some San Francisco suburbs where for example walking down the streets totally naked is allowed, etc. I will let your imagination run wild with the “etc”…, really wild… The things you learn…
It has rained so much since we have been in the US and Denver has been no different. Very unusual weather we are told. We are leaving tomorrow and hope we get to set up camp before it rains. We have had an amazing time with David and Leslie – what wonderful hospitality and generosity, thank you Leslie and David!! And what a beautiful spot to spend a week.
But we have been here much longer than we expected and the twisty roads, green pastures, multicoloured wildflowers and rushing creeks of Colorado beckon – we can wait to be back on the road again and camp – must remember to watch out for bears and the camping rules!!