Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Google Earth Network Link Tutorial

This is a quick tutorial to show you how to add our club's CCBMW Google Earth file link as a "permanent" place in your collection of Google Earth Places.  This is actually very easy.  The article below provides you step-by-step instructions (including pictures) on how to do this.


If you do not already have the Google Earth browser, you can download it for free from  The Google Earth browser is similar to a web browser, but it displays geographical information (locations) rather than web pages.  If you have never tried the Google Earth browser, I high recommend it – it's a lot of fun!


Our club now has a file available that will add a network link to your Places collections in the Google Earth browser.  When you open the Google Earth browser and select the club's network link (by clicking the check box next to that Place entry), Google Earth will access another file stored on our club web site and provide you with the club's latest location information on motorcycling-related rallies and events.

The network link file is a Google KML, or Keyhole Markup Language, file.  KML files are simple text files that tell the Google Earth browser how to find and display geographical information.  The file being accessed by the network link file is also a KML file (it is actually a compressed or Zip file version of a KML file) stored on our club web site's collection of downloadable files.

Once you add the network link to your Places collection, you never need to do so again (unless we make available a "new-and-improved" version of the network link file).

The "Motorcycling Events and Rallies" file provides you location and background information on various motorcycling events and rallies scheduled during 2011.  This includes the International Motorcycle Shows, the BMW MOA and BMW RA national rallies, various local and regional rallies being sponsored by BMW MOA-affiliated and BMW‑RA-affiliated clubs, local motorcycle racing events at Virginia International Raceway and Carolina Motorsports Park, as well the 2011 World Superbike racing events.  I hope to soon add the 2011 AMA and MotoGP motorcycle racing event locations.  When events start being announced for 2012, we will be able to simply add these to the collection – you will not need to do anything different to have the latest information!

Network Link File Download

Using your preferred web browser, you can use the link below to download the network link file.

In Internet Explorer, right-click on this link and select the Save Target As… option to save the network link file to your computer's hard drive.

In the Firefox web browser, clicking on the link opens a dialog window which will allow you to save file to your computer's hard drive.

In the Google Chrome browser, clicking the link will download the file to your computer's default location for downloaded files.

Adding the Network Link to Google Earth

Locate the network link file that you downloaded to your computer's hard drive.  If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, double-clicking the downloaded network link file should cause this file to open in the Google Earth browser.  The "Motorcycling Events and Rallies" entry should appear in your Places panel on the left, under the Temporary Places folder.

To permanently add the new Motorcycling Events and Rallies entry to your "My Places" folder (which is shown immediately above the Temporary Places folder), all you need to do is answer a question when you close the Google Earth browser.  After you select the File, Close menu option, a dialog will appear on the screen to tell you that you have unsaved places in your "Temporary Places" folder.

If you answer Save (by clicking the Save button), the Motorcycling Events and Rallies entry will automatically be added to your "My Places" folder, and will appear there the next time you start the Google Earth browser.

Notice it will display a special "network" symbol next to the Motorcycling Events and Rallies entry.  To see the latest information, click the check box beside the "+" box located to the left side of the item in the list.  This will expand the list for that entry.  Checking the boxes beside items will make those locations appear in the main window.  Likewise, unchecking items (or folders) will make those items disappear from the main window.

Congratulations!  Your Google Earth browser now includes a network link to access our club's events and rallies information.

The current Motorcycling Events and Rallies list includes "Rallies," "Events," "Race Events," and the "2011 World Superbike Races."  On occasion, additional entries will be shown for things like a planned club ride event (for example, to show the proposed club ride route).

After you click the "+" box, you can scroll through the list and click on any item your want to display.

Double clicking the individual item will cause the Google Earth browser to zoom to that item.  For example, double clicking the Rallies folder will display all the rally locations in the main window.

Double clicking on any item in the Places panel will zoom to that location in the main window and display a "bubble" which provides further information about the location/event.

GPS coordinates for the location can be obtained by looking at the status bar at the bottom of your Google Earth browser's window (as shown above) or by right-clicking on the individual item in the Places panel and looking at it's properties (also shown below).

Future Information

Please help keep this information up-to-date for your fellow club members!  If you know about an upcoming rally or event of interest to our club members, please forward any information you have (especially the location and date) to  These can be events you have read about online or in a magazine, or events that you have learned of by word-of-mouth.

Let me know whether this is a useful tool for you.  You can leave comments at the bottom of this post, or provide them via email to

A future addition being considered is adding the locations for all BMW dealers in the U.S.  This could be done as part of the club's rallies and event places collection, or it could be done as a separate collection of places (which would you prefer?).  Since this is a lot of work to assemble, I would first appreciate feedback on the usefulness of this tool, before I invest the time.

Thanks for contributing!

Bill Murray
March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to the March 2011 edition of Beemer Ramblings.

March 2011 Club Meeting

Our next club meeting is another lunch gathering and is scheduled for Saturday, March 12th (weather permitting), at the Dale's Seafood in Tabor City, NC. This Google Maps link will show you the location, if you are not familiar with Dale's Seafood (GPS Coordinates: N34.75692 W77.94810]. We will meet there at approximately 12 Noon.

If you are planning to attend, please send me an RSVP, via email at, so I can call ahead and "warn" the restaurant. I would appreciate receiving every one's RSVP by Thursday, March 10th.

Per our normal pracice for winter meetings, if the weather forecast for the meeting date looks questionable, watch your email for a last-minute postponement notification. You are also welcome to contact me to confirm whether the meeting is going forward as planned, or is being postponed.

If you missed our February meeting at The Mad Boar, we enjoyed some great weather and an excellent turn-out. A few pictures from our meeting are available on our club's Google Picasa web album.

Although my annual plant outage period will have started at work by the time we hold our club meeting, I am still planning for a back road ride to and from Dale's Seafood. If you are interested in joining me, send me an email at and I will ensure you are kept up-to-date on the plans.  The departure location will be the Maco Depot Mart (Mobil Station) located at the intersection of Highways 87 and 74/76.  We will be leaving the Maco Mobil Mart around 10 A.M.   If you use the Google Earth network link discussed in the "2011 Rallies and Events" article below, you will see several options for ride routes that I have planned from the Maco Mobil to Dale's Seafood, and from Dale's back to Wilmington.

If you are already planning ahead for our April meeting, it is posted on the CCBMW Riders Club calendar on our web site.

K1600GT/GTL Pricing Announcement

BMW Motorrad USA has announced pricing for the 2012 model year K1600GT and K1600GTL tourers. The K1600GT will have a base Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $20,900, while the K1600GTL will have a base MSRP of $23,200.  There is an additional destination charge of $495. Both new models will be available this Spring.

Both Base models come equipped with:
  • Xenon headlight with dynamic leveling
  • Heated seat
  • Heated grips
  • Cruise control
  • Multifunction display, on-board computer and multi-controller
  • Integral ABS
  • Luggage rack
  • E-Gas throttle with three power modes
  • White LED turn signals
  • Power adjustable windshield
The Base Model K 1600 GTL also includes:
  • Bluetooth
  • Audio system with tuner, Sirius satellite radio with one-year complimentary subscription, iPod/USB integration, 3.5mm Aux input, GPS preparation
  • Top case in body color
  • Comfort backrest for top case
  • Third stop light for top case
  • Comfort windshield
  • Comfort footrests
  • Chrome body kit

SpeedTV Television Coverage for Daytona Bike Week

Daytona Bike Week is here and SpeedTV is going to be providing great coverage for those of us who cannot make the trip there. Here are the broadcast dates and times for some of the events being covered by SpeedTV:

AMA Supercross (March 5, 8 p.m. ET, LIVE)
The Daytona 200 (March 12, 1 p.m. ET, LIVE)
AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike (March 12, 11 p.m. ET, SDD)
AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship (March 13, 3 p.m. ET)

SPEED2, the network’s broadband channel, will be offering live coverage of AMA Supersport from Daytona on March 11 at 2:15 p.m. ET and March 12 at 10 a.m. ET.

SpeedTV World Superbike Television Coverage

In addition to the Daytona Bike Week Coverage, the SpeedTV channel will begin their broadcast coverage of the 2011 World Superbike season.  The first event of the season in this weekend, with the Phillip Island, Australia.  Here are the broadcast dates and times:

Phillip Island Race 1 (February 27, 5 p.m. ET)
Phillip Island Race 2 (February 27, 6 p.m. ET)

Phillip Island Race 1 (February 28, 3 a.m. ET)
Phillip Island Race 2 (February 28, 4 a.m. ET)
Phillip Island Race 1 (March 1, 3 a.m. ET)
Phillip Island Race 2 (March 1, 4 a.m. ET)

Phillip Island Supersport Race (March 1, 2:30 p.m. ET)
Phillip Island Supersport Race (March 3, 4 a.m. ET)

You can get up to speed on 2011 WSBK (I could not resist the pun) at the SpeedTV's World Superbike web page.  Troy Corser will be back as a member of the BMW Motorrad Motorsports factory team, and he will be joined this year my a new team member, Leon Haslam.  The full 2011 WSBK season schedule is  available on the SpeedTV web site.

Garmin nüMaps Update

Garmin has issued a new quarterly update to their map sets (the latest is version 2011.40). If you are a nüMaps Lifetime subscriber, you can download them from Visit the Garmin Map Updates web page for more information on the nüMaps product.

2011 Rallies and Events

If you are interested in knowing when and where some of this year's motorcycling events, rallies, and races are being held, and are a Google Earth user, then I have developed a great tool for you.  This link is a file that you can add to your current list of places in Google Earth.  The file contains a link to a file on our web site that I will be periodically revising with more up-to-date information.  Currently, I have the IMS events (most of which have unfortunately now been held), a few racing events (more will be coming), and many of the east coast BMW-related rallies (and a few more around other areas of the country).  It takes  some time to maintain this information, so I welcome your feedback on the usefulness of this tool.


Thanks for staying in touch.  I will see on the roadways.  Until then, ride safe and ride far!