08-19 Day 40 (BMW, St. Petersburg)

No Sightseeing today… Focus on the bike!

Mileage

Date8/19/2019
Travel FromSt. Petersburg, Russia
Intermediate LocationSt. Petersburg BMW Dealer
Ending LocationSt. Petersburg, Russia
Starting Odometer29,268
Ending Odometer29,275
Miles Driven Today7 Miles
Total Trip Mileage4732 Miles
Countries visited Today 
Countries visited on trip US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia

Breakfast

This morning’s breakfast was fast and efficient, and i spent it checking email, and coordinating with Mike, so that I could get the second key for the bike out of the supply van. So, by 8:15, I had been up for hours, and had completed yesterday’s blog post, and was ready to get dressed in my gear, so that I could ride to the dealer.

The BMW dealership

Arrival and debrief

I arrived at 9:15, and spoke to Fred, who was manning the service desk. The dealership has 2 tech’s, and a technical manager, whose name is Stanislov. When Stanislov arrived, we had a quick chat, and I debriefed him on the problem. He speaks English pretty well, but we got a little help from Fred to translate some of my colqual expressions. For example, I used the expression “Limp Mode” , but Stan was not used to this, or had not heard it before.

In any case, Stanislov said that it would take a couple of hours before he’d let me know what is happening, or if they can fix it.

The Internet

So, here’s a bit of surrealism for you. I’m sitting in the BMW dealer, writing this blog post, using the free WI-Fi from the dealership. I’m sure Gideon is cringing as he reads this. Sorry buddy, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Everyone is very helpful

Starting with Fred, who helped me get into the queue to get the bike serviced, and moving to Andrew, who saw me standing in the middle of the floor and asked if he could help me. We started talking, and I quickly found his English to be very good, even understanding slang and colloquial expressions.

Andrew was awesome, and he helped me navigate the complex series of pages, necessary to get connected to the Internet.

Diagnosis and resolution

I’m in awe… As I mentioned, I’m dealing with 2 problems. One, is related to the key depleting the batteries very quickly, and the other is that the bike goes into Limp Mode, under certain conditions.

Stan and the guys checked the s/w version of my bike, and noticed that the s/w is from 2014, the original s/w version, installed when the bike was purchased. This version has a known defect, which is related to the throttle sensor, and a false positive diagnosis of a defect, which is known to cause the bike to enter Limp Mode. The new version of s/w specifically mentions this defect, and resolves it.

In addition, there is another known defect related to the keys, which causes them to sometimes deplete batteries very quickly. I’m told that my dealership back home should order me two new keys, which should be covered under warranty.

So, a very strange sequence of events, or just damn bad luck caused these defects to suddenly appear, just as I begin the most logistically and geographically complicated of my life. And so goes life, right?

I cannot thank these guys enough. The EuroSib dealership looked at my bike immediately, diagnosed the problem quickly, provided documentation about how the were highly confident that the problem was fixed, and performed all of this work under warranty, at no charge. Stan and Fred were kind enough to provide us with a report.

Folks, this is another example of why I buy BMW motorcycles. And so, instead of dreading the situation, and wondering if it would, or when it would fail again, I’m now confident that the bike is back in order, and fully sorted.

Done and dusted

So, now I should be able to go back to the hotel, and go out to do a little sightseeing. I’ll also need to buy a bunch of new batteries for the keys, to address the fact that the keys are defective, and will still consume batteries at much faster than normally expected.

Sightseeing?

Well, after getting back to the hotel, I had a little bit of work to do, which took me up to just before the evening meeting. So, no sightseeing during the day, but I had a chance to Join Feros and Mina at a Russian Folk Exhibition, where traditional dance and song are combined, and delivered in two 45 minute segments, with a short reception in-between.

The music and dance were really a lot of fun, but after the performance, I had a few problems getting the cab driver to understand which hotel I was staying at, but after an hour, we got it sorted out, and at that point, it was time to get some rest, and prepare for an early departure tomorrow morning.

What will tomorrow bring

We’re told, and by all accounts, we’ll have about 280 miles to cover, and we might hit rain over this section of road. In addition, we’ll have s few short runs of dirt, and sand to contend with. But, I have a lot of confidence in everyone’s ability to either kick ass, or stay calm, and manage it well.

We’re planning a nice lunch stop, which will also offer us access to some 16th century buildings that now make up a museum. I’m hopeful that we’ll clip these miles away, and arrive before 5:00 PM, but with such a large group, and with so many bikes, there may be issues that cause delays. Hopefully, it won’t be my bike that causes the delays tomorrow.

Expect delays

Just like the road sign says, we assume that the Internet access in our destination city will be very low quality, so I may not be able to publish anything until we reach Moscow the following day. In addition, we’re now beginning to follow roads, and stay in towns and cities which are not big cities, and where the roads can be in need of repair, causing delays.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.

Comments

    1. Don’t worry, more videos will be published later, if I ever get a chance to sit for 5 minutes.

  1. Cliff,
    Looks like you’re having an amazing adventure! You’ve met so many helpful, kind and interesting people in your travels, Thanks for sharing the blog and videos. I certainly look forward to them. Travel safe!
    Janice

    1. Hi Janice,
      For sure, each day seems to be deeper into the complexities of the trip, but it exposes so much more of this amazing adventure.

    1. Cliff,

      Just let me know and I can help you build a spreadsheet with the version numbers of the software and showing which versions are compatible with which hardware, key batteries, operation modes (incl. the special one called “limp”), weather patterns, days of month, etc…

      … oh, wait, this sounds familiar. Please check your bike for any engravings of “10.1” – if so, you already have that spreadsheet :-)))

      As always, you are doing awesome engaging with helpful and motivated minds in tackling any problem in front of you, Cliff!!!

      Closely following the journey and enjoying the blogs and videos.

      Ivan

      1. Hey Ivan,
        You bring up a great point. I remember when I was at Intuit, and you were my go-to guy for all things Oracle. I always found that working with Oracle as a partner, rather than an adversary was the best approach, and I guess I’m simply continuing that same approach, as I travel the world. Thanks. I could use your help with some of this Russian language stuff.

        1. You’d chuckle! – Ginny just contacted me to ask for some details from those times, so that she can ask for similar help from Thomas again.

    2. Lee, I have to admit I’m a little bit embarrased, but both my dealer in Charlotte, and the dealer in Tallinn missed this. So, I guess I’d say that I’m in good company. When all of these tech’s miss it, I feel marginally better. That said, you have my permission to give me a load of crap for this…

Comments are closed