Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Discovering Scenic Clewiston

Off on an adventure today to discover "The Old Florida". Headed West from Wellington to Belle Glade and thought we'd take the OLD road US 27 from Belle Glade west to Clewiston. The sign said Rough Road, but about 1/2 mile down the road to the west, they had it blocked off, but only for the portion in Palm Beach County. Once you get into Hendry County, the rough road was open again; but by then you're already in Clewiston. If you don't know where Clewiston is, don't bother asking, no one else seems to know either.
Off the highway onto the back roads

Deb described this whole are as "the place time forgot". (It's at the south end of Lake Okeechobee)
Tiki Bar

I thought the restaurant next to the famous Tiki Bar might be open, but the place looks like a ghost town in the Summertime. Couldn't find anything in town that looked like a place you'd choose to eat in. At times, you would you had crosses the border into Mexico as the buildings' exteriors were painted like PiƱatas. I stopped to ask directions but the guy didn't speak English, so I had to make do with my Pigeon Spanish. We searched the town for a diner but the only thing we could find was a Bait Shop selling Scented Worms (whatever the hell that was).


Mounting a TomTom GPS on a BMW K75S

There are few places to easily mount a GPS on this bike. But there is room above the dashboard switches if I could mount it below that. Turns out, the fork fairing is held on with 2 recessed screws. I removed the 2 screws and inserted 10mm long nylon spaces so that a mounting plate would be held off a short distance from the fairing and not rub.

I then made up a mounting bracket of aircraft grade aluminum so that I could attach an extension arm I had lying around. You can get similar things, including a cradle to hold the GPS, at

Aluminum Bracket with crinkle finish
Bulky GPS assembly
Assembly bolted into position
Side view of GPS mount (windshield removed)
Driver's perspective
You have to lift your head a bit to see the bottom of the dash, but it's the best compromise. There are thumbscrews on the mounting bracket to allow you to quickly remove the GPS cradle if you don't want it installed.

To test it, I used a PowerLet adapter with 5vdc converter and plugged into the port on the bike. But that wasn't an elegant solution with that rat's nest of wires. The better way is to build a power USB hub with built-in 12v DC to 5v DC converter. Couple options:
  1. Cyclenutz carries a weather-proof gadget with built-in voltage converter so that will make a clean installation and the same port can be used to charge a phone or other USB device. This is the easy solution. You could mount this right below the GPS or in the tray under the seat like in #2 below.
  2. Build your own. There is a simple way to do this; find an old converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter and gut the electronics. I then found a dual USB outlet and mounted everything in a $3 plastic components box you buy at Radio Shack. I connected it to a switched wire so it only runs when the key is on and an optional rocker switch in case I want to turn it off (the LED shows when it's ON). I ran one USB cable along the factory wiring to the handlebars. The 2nd USB port is available to plug in a cell phone and leave in under the seat when I ride.

5 volt DC power supply with 2 USB outlets

After all this work, I find that the GPS is virtually unreadable in sunlight. This is S. Florida (no tree canopy) so to see anything means I have to pull over and find some shade. Visibility is great in the evenings and that's when I seem to need it most. Or they sell a sun shade for $7 on FleaBay.