October 3, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

The Ultimate Driving Experience covid-19: day 196 | US: GA | info

Yesterday, Giles and I attended BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience just south of Atlanta at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Giles and I have participated in numerous BMW-affiliated events over the years—I think we did this very event in St. Petersburg twenty-something years ago. Autumn and I have done the drive to support breast cancer research a couple of times, too.

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We left before lunch: I on my GS and Giles in his M235. We took back roads as much as possible, enjoying the perfect weather through the lovely countryside. I remember remarking that Georgia is quite pretty—too bad its beauty was constantly marred by ’Rump signs. Traffic got heavier as we approached Hampton. We lunched at a cool little sandwich shop in downtown Hampton, Rutagaba’s Market and Café, and then went to the Speedway.

BMW went all-out. They had robot-looking iPads take our temperature, and we all got a bag of PPE with BMW-branded sanitizer. I was nervous about attending, but they were serious about safety. We were in a group of about 20 people, and we all got to drive two cars: M235i and M340i. They had a track set up, and I had a great time abusing both cars. The 340i was the more fun, for sure.

I took an alternate route home, via US-23, by-passing Locust Grove during rush hour on I-75 for six miles. This is not the first time I’ve ridden the GS on the interstate, and I have to say: it’s pretty darn comfortable. At one point, this dude in a Suburban tried to pass me on the right, but with a flick of my right hand, I was quickly able to leave him behind. Man, the GS is a great bike.

I cut back over to 23 via GA-16 through Jackson, GA, and stopped at Fresh Air Barbecue—something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I took a pound to-go, and made tracks south. The bike’s thermometer read a pretty consistent 70° all day, and it got a bit chilly at times—especially in the shade. Note to self: 70° is about the temp I want to have my jacket liner. I had zipped it in earlier, but took it back out think it was overkill. I think it would have been fine.

In all, a beautiful day. Giles and I decided we have to do a couple of more rides this fall. It’s a plan.