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“Your bike is ready.”

I got a call today about 3 hours after dropping off my 2008 BMW R1200GS Adventure at Eurotek in OKC for some recall and extended warranty work. When I saw the my caller ID I assumed they were calling with some type of question about maintenance.

“Did I hear you right? My bike is ready? Are you sure you have the right person? I just dropped it off.”

“Yep, we got it all done. You can stop by any time and pick it up.”

“I haven’t even left town yet. I will be right over.”

I thought I must have been in a time warp or something. Same day service from a motorcycle dealer? I quickly looked out the window of my truck to make sure there wasn’t a sun spot, or make sure Aston Kutcher wasn’t around to Punk me.

You see, I am used to the service at BMW of OKC from many years ago. I bought my first GS there in 2002 and by 2003 I learned that one doesn’t take one’s bike to the BMW store if you wanted to ride it anytime in the next two months. Instead I learned to work on my bikes myself so that I could actually get some riding time in during the summer. I learned to do tire changes, oil changes, valve adjustments, all the routine maintenance items. If not my bike would be gone for a month or two during riding season, even if I called well ahead of time, scheduled an appointment, brought the bike in the day I said I would bring it in – it would still sit at the BMW shop for 4 weeks before they even looked at it.

Finally a BMW dealer in OKC that provides outstanding service and does what they say they will do. Refreshing.
Finally a BMW dealer in OKC that provides outstanding service and does what they say they will do. Refreshing.

I had been putting off getting this recall and extended warranty work done on my R1200GS because I figured my bike would disappear into the maw of the bike shop and I wouldn’t see it again until months later. I finally broke down and called the new BMW dealer in OKC, Eurotek – now a BMW, Ducati, and Triumph dealer in OKC.

“Hey, I got a 2008 BMW R1200GSA that has some recall work needed. Can you guys do that for me?”

“What is your VIN number.” I gave them that info.

“We don’t have all the parts in but we will order the parts and give you call when they get in and schedule the work.”

Yea, yea I thought. SURE you will give me a call. I made a mental note to call Eurotek back in a couple of weeks to see if they got the parts in. Nobody calls you back like they say they will, right?

Lo and behold, I got a call two days later. “We have your parts in. When would you like to bring your bike in?”

“Huh? My name is James Pratt. Are you sure you are calling the correct number? I don’t own a Ferrari or Bentley.”

“Yes sir. This is Eurotek. You have a BMW R1200GS Adventure right?”

Yep, they had the correct person. We scheduled a time for the following week and I brought it in exactly when we agreed. Dropped my bike off on a cold, wet, rainy February day. I trailered the bike to the shop because I figured I would need to drop it off and then pick it up a few weeks later when it was done. I loaded up my Aprilia 280 Climber observed trials bike beside the big GS and after dropping off my Beemer, I drove on down to Tombo Racing to have my racer/bike builder friend Jimmy Cook weld up the aluminum frame. Afterwards I hung around and chatted with owner Tommy Bolton, loaded up my Aprilia, ran another errand in Midwest City, and as I was leaving MWC for home in Edmond I got the call from Eurotek – “your bike is ready.”

Tombo Racing's Jimmy Cook welding the aluminum frame on my Aprilia 280 Climber observed trials motorcycle.
Tombo Racing’s Jimmy Cook welding the aluminum frame on my Aprilia 280 Climber observed trials motorcycle.

I just knew two planets had slammed together, or one of these Oklahoma earthquakes had rattled someone’s brain, or maybe my friend and adventure rider guru Bill Dragoo was pulling my leg. Sure enough, I drove back over to Eurotek and there was my GS, all ready to go and running like a top. They replaced the fuel pump, fuel gage strip, did some adjustment on the clutch cable, and replaced some type of flange in the rear hub assembly. All at no cost to me, paid for my BMW Motorrad.

Dang. Double dang. These guys did what they said they would do. What a novel concept!

I normally don’t write a post about a motorcycle shop, but I normally don’t get unbelievable service like this either. People actually call me back? Exceed my expectations? Communicate clearly and do what they say they are going to do? Is this an alternate dimension?

If you are looking for a BMW, Ducati or Triumph, man, you will have to look far and wide to find a better dealer than Eurotek OKC. I am very, very pleasantly surprised that we have an A#1 top notch BMW dealer in OKC now. It is about time.

A Duc in the rain. This Ducati Diablo was sitting outside on a cold, rainy February day. Poor Duc.
A Duc in the rain. This Ducati Diablo was sitting outside on a cold, rainy February day. Poor Duc.

One of our favorite pavement rides in Oklahoma is a little known road from Fort Gibson, north along the Neosho River to the Fort Gibson dam, then northeast along county roads to Hulbert. This is a winding, scenic 21 mile ride that is always fun and seldom has any traffic. I have ridden this route many times on a variety of motorcycles ranging from crotch rockets to cruisers to a dual sport bike. The pavement is rough in some places with possible gravel in the corners, but overall this is a great ride with lots of twisty corners and epic scenery, especially in the summer and fall.

On the way northwest out of Fort Gibson you stop by the historic army fort from the 1800’s. This is a well-preserved fort that is maintained by the State of Oklahoma. If you have never been there be sure and take a couple of hours and tour the fort. You can see how soldiers lived on the Oklahoma frontier.

Leaving the fort, head north along the east bank of the Neosho River to the Fort Gibson Lake dam. This is a modern hydroelectric dam that generates power for PSO. You can stop and watch the fishermen and take pictures of this huge structure.

Instead of crossing the dam, backtrack just a bit and head north and east along a county road. Here you wind through backroads and along the shore of Fort Gibson eventually arriving in Hulbert. Watch for deer, gravel and sand in the road. During especially heavy rains the road can be flooded and closed. There are several state parks you can stop at for lunch and enjoy the sunshine and view. Not much is available in Hulbert in regards to food, but Sequoyah State Park is nearby.

The roads are all paved and passable by any motorcycle, although the ride can be bumpy in places. Watch for loose gravel in the corners.
The roads are all paved and passable by any motorcycle, although the ride can be bumpy in places. Watch for loose gravel in the corners.
Bill Dragoo riding his BMW GS along the shores of Fort Gibson Lake.
Bill Dragoo riding his BMW GS along the shores of Fort Gibson Lake.
A typical bunkhouse at Fort Gibson.
A typical bunkhouse at Fort Gibson.
Can you imagine living life on the frontier as an Army soldier?
Can you imagine living life on the frontier as an Army soldier?
Bill Dragoo takes his usual afternoon motorcycling nap in the shade of an oak tree at Fort Gibson.
Bill Dragoo takes his usual afternoon motorcycling nap in the shade of an oak tree at Fort Gibson.
This fireplace is all that is left of one bunkhouse.
This fireplace is all that is left of one bunkhouse.
The Army built Fort Gibson to protect the Indians who were moved along the Trail of Tears into the area.
The Army built Fort Gibson to protect the Indians who were moved along the Trail of Tears into the area.
Several cabins and bunkhouses are scattered across historic Fort Gibson.
Several cabins and bunkhouses are scattered across historic Fort Gibson.
Be sure and stop at the historic Fort Gibson. Plan to spend an hour or more touring this great historic site.
Be sure and stop at the historic Fort Gibson. Plan to spend an hour or more touring this great historic site.

I had heard that a new BMW dealer was coming to OKC and today confirmed that information and met the new owner. AC Spencer, who worked at the BMW of Fort Worth dealership for years, is opening his own dealership in Oklahoma City. And it will be easy to find – it is located at the now defunct BMW of OKC dealership location. AC Spencer was clear that he had no relationship with the former dealership and barely even knew them. He is opening a brand new dealership that just happens to be in the same building as the old dealership.

Target opening date is sometime in mid to late April 2014, with a formal grand opening in late May. I was just by his location today and they have completely remodeled the place, added new paint, and were installing phones and network equipment. He said the next couple of weeks they will be setting up the service bays and showroom and getting ready to receive their shipment of bikes from BMW. Right now they will be a single-line dealership.

AC is interested in getting to know the local motorcycle community. He worked at the Fort Worth dealership for over 10 years so has a lot of contacts there and inside BMW. We are working with AC to host some Ride Oklahoma events there this summer. You might wait to stop in and see AC and the team until they get everything ready. It was heads down hammering, painting, and phone calls when I was there so they won’t have much time to visit until they get the dealership opened up.

BMW Motorcycles of Oklahoma City
AC Spencer
417 Hudiburg Circle, Suite C
Oklahoma City, OK 73108
ac@bmwmcofokc.com

They were installing phones while I was there so no phone number as of today.

I woke up on a Sunday morning and unexpectedly had the day free. What to do that costs very little and is fun? Mangum Rattlesnake Roundup! I have heard about this festival for many years and saw in the newspaper the previous day that it was going on this very weekend. Free day, 40 mpg BMW motorcycle, and rattlesnakes. Let’s go! Unfortunately Kay wasn’t able to go with me for this trip.

I hit the superslab out of OKC. My GPS said to follow I-40 way out west, then turn south. But what fun was that? I have been to Mangum many times, both in my airplane and by car, so this time I cut south at El Reno towards Union City, then followed Highway ?? west. It paralleled I-40 most of the way but was WAY more interesting than the Interstate, which I have traveled many, many times.

Following State Highway 152 west takes you through Binger, home of one of baseball’s all time greats, Johnny Bench. I searched around the town on my bike looking for some type of statue, but no luck. For the life of my I can’t figure out why a baseball town like Binger, with such a world famous athlete, would not have a statue of him on their Main Street. Oh well. Maybe it was stolen.

The morning had started a brisk 51 degrees F but was now warming quite nicely. I pulled off my heated vest, opened the vents on my jacket and continued west at a nice clip. Before long a flag on my GPS informed me that one of my plotted Oklahoma Ghost Towns was nearby. I decided to detour to Cloud Chief to see what was there. Nice stop.

Heading south I saw the town of Gotebo my GPS. I have been to Gotebo before, but who can resist going through this famous town one more time? Not much there, but now I have pictures and can ask others “have you been to Gotebo?”

Finally after 180 miles on my uber-comfortable BMW R1200GSA, I pulled into Mangum. There were portable signs warning of a slowdown in traffic. I understand they were expecting upwards of 30,000 people to attend the weekend festivities. I didn’t run into any traffic, but once I got to downtown Mangum I saw the roads blocked off and quite a few people there. My first bit of trepidation was reading the welcome sign hanging across the street. “Welcome to Mangum Rattlesnake Roundup and Swap Meet”. Uh oh, I didn’t really want to ride 180 miles one way for a swap meet.

Fried rattlesnake anyone?
Fried rattlesnake anyone?
I parked my bike, grabbed some camera gear, and headed into the crowds. I kept expecting to step on a wild rattlesnake or at least see people playing with them. No such luck. Most of the stuff for sale was crap you could buy at any local swap meet – basically a bunch of trinkets and other junk. It was even hard to find a cool rattlesnake T-shirt.

On Main Street there was at least a kids carnival and food tents set up – kind of like a poor man’s State Fair. In the middle of the town square a trailer was set up with cages full of rattlesnakes. Cool! But it seems rattlesnakes just like to lay there in the heat of the day (it was now 87 degrees) and rattle their tail when anyone approaches. No attacking, no spitting venom, no eating little kids. I didn’t see any emergency personnel running around hauling snake bitten souls to the hospital. I had half hoped to see someone swallow a live rattlesnake, but no luck. I could have paid $5 to go into a tent and watch snake handlers educate people about snakes. Or $6 and a hot bus ride would have taken me to an old abandoned rattlesnake den, where the handlers would toss a couple of live snakes on the ground and let me photograph them. Maybe if someone was going to do a barefoot rain dance in a snake pit, now that might have gotten me fired up. But it seems a rattlesnake rodeo is really not a rodeo at all – just a bunch of penned up snakes in cages, surrounded by Ferris wheels, kids rides, a midway and junk booths.

I think this should have been named “Mangum Swap Meet/Midway Show with Live Caged Rattlesnakes”. The snakes should get second billing.

Oh well, I can’t always be so lucky. Next week is the Pawnee Steam Engine Show. I have been to that before and it is WAY more interesting than the Mangum Rattlesnake Roundup.

Gotta love Oklahoma.  Tons of toy guns for the kids.
Gotta love Oklahoma. Tons of toy guns for the kids.
This local brought his dog to the Rattlesnake Roundup.  Was he planning to feed the dog to the snakes?  Or maybe the other way around.
This local brought his dog to the Rattlesnake Roundup. Was he planning to feed the dog to the snakes? Or maybe the other way around.
Snakes in cages.  Just laying there rattling.  I guess it is better than snakes in a plane.
Snakes in cages. Just laying there rattling. I guess it is better than snakes in a plane.
This was basically a carnival with a box of snakes.
This was basically a carnival with a box of snakes.
I didn't know they hauled snakes that way.
I didn’t know they hauled snakes that way.

Unfortunately the depressed economy has hit hard here in Oklahoma.  We received this email from Ryan Tupps at Ducati/BMW of OKC.

December 8, 2011

Dear Customers,

We would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to visit us over the past ten years.  However, we have made the decision to close the store and explore other ventures.  As I write this, my only regret is that I made my days too busy with business and didn’t stop and talk to you, our customer, on the showroom floor more often.  The friendships that I have made in my time at the dealership are some of the most meaningful in my life.  It has been the greatest honor, and the most fun thing in my life, to be able to represent the Ducati brand.  Ducati has been, and always will be, a true love in my heart.  Having gotten to meet the people who work at every level of the company, my passion has grown even more.  I would like to thank each of them for the opportunity they gave me with this dealership.

I have also been fortunate to work with people I truly believe are world class salespeople, parts gurus, and technicians, and I only wish I would have learned more from them.  I truly feel that the employees at the shop are my family and we will always continue that friendship.  Thanks to you all for your hard work these past ten years – our dream was your dream too, and we could not thank you more.

This truly is a time of fantastic change, as Jenn and I are expecting our first child in the Spring.  We are both excitedly awaiting this new adventure!  Careerwise, it seems uncertain. But lately I have been asked, “What did you always want to do when you were a kid?” So I’m sorry Mr. Hamilton, but today I begin my unbridled efforts to become McLaren’s top Formula 1 driver!

Sincerely yours,

Ryan Tupps