Kevin Duke – Touring With Wifey Aboard BMW’s K1600GTL Exclusive


My wife, Carolyn, and I are partners, parents and lovers, but since the birth of our child nearly eight years ago, my moto world seldom crosses over to my marital sphere. Sure, she sees new motorcycles filter in and out of our garage, and she enjoys viewing the videos we produce, but the total number of two-up rides she’s taken with me over the past eight years could probably be summed on one hand. The era of taking regular weekend rides and the adventures of moto touring in foreign countries seem almost a lifetime ago.

And this is why the press launch for BMW’s K1600GTL Exclusive was my fondest motorcycle memory of 2014. The GTL-E is Motorrad’s opulent flagship designed for two-up touring, so BMW kindly invited spouses to accompany us hard-working moto scribes during its introduction to the media. On the downside, Carolyn was able to get a peek at the pampering motojournos must suffer during press intros, destroying the myth I had cultivated about how grueling and arduous my business trips can be. On the upside, I was able to treat her to the kind of regal experience she deserves but that can rarely be accommodated on a journalist’s budget.

And so, thanks to my lovely step-daughter, Brittany, taking care of our little one, we had four days/nights to shift focus away from our young daughter and reacquaint ourselves as friends while enjoying what is the finest touring platform ever to roll on two wheels.

2014 BMW K1600GTL Exclusive Review – First Ride

Our jaunt began with dinner in a terrific restaurant and a night in a Santa Monica hotel, allowing me to rediscover the fact that the mother of my child is a fun and vivacious lady in addition to being a loving mother. I could feel the years rolling backward during the next day’s trip as we rolled northward and rekindled the things we love about relating with each other before our little girl stole our focus away.

My queen rides regally behind me. And here’s a tip for riders who want ladies to ride with them: get heated seats like the K1600GTL-E’s! Photo by Mary Antus Buch, a wonderful lady despite (or perhaps because) being the wife of the editor of a competing magazine.

My queen rides regally behind me. And here’s a tip for riders who want ladies to ride with them: get heated seats like the K1600GTL-E’s! Photo by Mary Antus Buch, a wonderful lady despite (or perhaps because) being the wife of the editor of a competing magazine.

After a lunch stop in Santa Barbara, we rolled into Pismo Beach for a seaside overnight stay, then strafed the magical Pacific Coast Highway on the way to our Carmel destination. We fondly reminisced about the annual trips we made on this same route to attend World Superbike and MotoGP races at Laguna Seca, and we vowed we wouldn’t wait another eight years to revisit that journey. And, as ever, Carolyn was the consummate passenger – light, cooperative and mostly fearless. After a day perusing the splendid Quail Motorcycle Gathering, the next day it was time for return leg down PCH and our joyful reunion with our daughters back at home.

2014 Quail Motorcycle Gathering Report

There were three important takeaways from our trip. First, that the mighty Beemer and its intoxicating six-cylinder motor is untouchable in terms of providing a luxurious but sporting motorcycle for long-distance journeys when carrying two riders. Second, that fellow motojournalists and their partners make fabulous traveling companions. It’s a pleasure to hang with such delightful and interesting people.

2012 Quail Motorcycle Gathering Report +Video

The third and most critical,takeaway from our trip was the realization that we – or anyone – shouldn’t let complacency and distractions interrupt the loving adult relationship between spouses. Carolyn and I renewed our appreciation for traveling together on a motorcycle, and it won’t again be years before we hit the road together.

  • Michael

    There were a lot of very well done motorcycle category shootouts in 2014 from the MO staff. You all should be proud of your journalistic accomplishments in 2014. Personally, I found myself turning to before the other moto-journalism sources all year long. I’m wishing you guys continued success in 2015!

    • Michael, the check is in the mail. (Seriously, thanks for your support.)

    • Sentinel

      Same here, these guys always do an outstanding job, and their feedback and taking the time to respond and answer questions is sadly almost unheard of these days.

  • Craig Hoffman

    I have been reading MO since the beginning and must say it is really on a roll! It was great to read this very personal combination article from all of you. What JB says rings so true, the cool vibe you guys have comes across in your words.

    I have to save my highest praise for Troy though. In my 40 some odd years of reading motorcycle related magazines and articles, his words about Michael Czysz have to go down as the finest work I can recall. Really it is some of the finest written journalism I can recall, period. Troy treated that story with such respect, professionalism and even found a way to work some humor in. It was truly a brilliant piece.

    Keep up the good work all of you. Just wanted to let you know it is appreciated!

  • Old MOron

    Gentlemen, your heart-felt and personal sentiments stand out against the backdrop of today’s hype and commercialism. I appreciate your efforts, and I enjoy your work. See you in 2015!

  • Johnny English

    Gentlemen, I live in England so I know nothing of SoCal or NoCal or good weather in general. But I do know when I,m reading genuine, heartfelt work. Keep it up.

  • Steven Holmes

    If 2014 has been any indicator, I anticipate 2015 is going to be great! I’m really looking forward to see that you folks have to show us.

    Keep up the great work!