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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Brian & Deya met in Vancouver Canada. After a few years together we were married and made choices. One was not to have children the other was not to take life for granted. The rest is yet to come.

October 18, 2010

Can I take my picture with you? No not you, him.

Georgia, is not what I had imagined. I’m not sure exactly what we would find but I was impressed first by the roads and riding. It attaches itself to some popular and fantastic routes, on road and off, that we’ll definitely have to go back and enjoy. We stayed with a friend we had met in northern BC in a town called Cumming. We joked about some of the names of cities as you might imagine and thought that this town could have been in Newfoundland nestled between Placenta and Dildo. Regardless, the town was very nice, attractive with plenty of good food and culture.

During our stay I had an opportunity to pick up some new tires, I wanted to get some knobbies but not yet so Jud took me to his favourite moto shop and we got some Shinko’s for the front and rear. Now I know I just started a big debate but I only really need them to cover the next 4000 miles or less, beyond that it’s gravy so it’s more of a tactical decision versus and strategic one. Jud also taught me a little trick while installing the tubes which may be obvious to some but was new to me. I have got another idea that I’m going to try to help getting my tires on the rims but I will not mention it until I try it.

After the shop we headed for the hills, we were going to ride some dirt and do a river crossing but first we stopped in at the Two Wheels Only Motorcycle Camp and Café (T.W.O.). This place is alright, and is mentioned in the BMW MOA Anonymous book. There was a good group of riders there and we met more good folks. What I didn’t realize right away was that the fellow I was talking to was a person of note. I figured it out after people kept coming up to me and asking if they could get a picture. Turns out they didn’t want a picture with me. (LOL…the arrogance eh!) too funny. But despite being well recognized by people other than myself, Dave Despain is a good guy to hang out with. Previously I rode with a cohort of Dave’s, Ralph Sheheen and met a fellow who was telling stories about his bud, a reputable journalist who works with these guys. He had ridden with the BMW team from South Carolina.
Now I don’t like to draw too many lines because too much spaghetti makes you fat but it seems to come back to the small world theory and degrees of separation. Either way, an interesting, eclectic group. Now for real fame I would have to give to our bud Jud. This guy has travelled all Canadian provinces and territories, all states in the USA and is working on Mexico; that too is note worthy.

We left our good times in Georgia better than we had arrived and headed to Birmingham, Alabama. Arriving near our destination we stopped at the Starbucks, our GPS routes us to many locations that no longer exist, and used the WiFi to do a little research. We had been given the access to the home of a fellow BMW guy but didn’t want to go too early for politeness reasons. While at the coffee shop we met a number of interesting and friendly people. Of note was a guy who was building his own American made Sport Touring Motorcycle; a young and intelligent fellow who clearly had a solid picture in his mind.

That evening we had the honour to meet our host Robert, a fine guy who was a bunch of laughs and a tremendous cook. It wasn’t the complexity of his gastronomy but the simplicity. The kind of eating that both Deya and I really enjoy, thanks again for that Robert! Our time in Alabama was good as we had a bunch of things to do and our host’s support was appreciated.

We visited a company called ACIPCO which was very interesting and got to meet with many APICS members which, for me, was a relief. I really enjoy operations and nerdy talk revolving around operational improvements and their challenges. We saw an important part of any municipality’s resources at work in this plant and got an interesting insight to the company’s culture.

Once we cleared out of the industrial area we headed for the famed “Barbers Vintage Motorcycle Museum” and Porsche race track. (http://barbermuseum.org/) The museum was fantastic though we didn’t have a lot of time to visit before they closed. During the visit of the 600+ motorcycles (1500 total in rotation) we met Mr. Barber, a real gentleman and motorcycle enthusiast. Of course Deya needed a picture of him unlike me who doesn’t like to bother people so I don’t ask. Turns out to be a good thing for us though because Deya has a way of meeting good and interesting people and that is just never a bad thing. As it turns out Mr. Barber and Deya made a deal that had Deya sending him a letter and photo at the end of our trip so he could place it in a spot of distinction amongst the other travelers in his museum.

So Deya runs over to a small group that Mr. Barber was touring around, not wondering why the man himself is doing the tour when he’s got enough staff to do that himself. She interrupts and asked if she could get a photo with Mr. Barber and a gentleman in the group takes the camera for the photo. What Deya didn’t realize and made me laugh is that Alton Brown (feasting on Asphalt, Iron Chef, Good Eats, Food Network Stuff) was behind the lens. I didn’t tell her because again I don’t like to bother people but maybe that was a mistake. I later realized this because Alton might have been able to give us some great culinary tips with our tactical budget that would have significantly improved our food intake. Damn I’m dumb some times because the thing I love next to motorcycling is food. Either way these are two more fellows of note that have been good for motorcyclists everywhere. Two degrees of separation here is that Deya worked with Iron Chef Rob Finnie for a short period, who likely knows Mr. Brown, just thought that was odd.

Before we left we headed over to the shop of the guy we met at Starbucks, Brian Case of Motus Motorcycle, and checked out his set up. Him and partner Lee Conn are producing a motorcycle of worth, it has a great look and a nice feel.  Track testing starts soon and I wish these guys the most success. They have no BS background and some serious support from companies like Pratt & Miller. Stay sharp boys you have a great thing going! Everyone should keep an eye out for this bike when it comes out by Motus, it’s distinctive. (http://www.motusmotorcycles.com/)

Alabama was sweet but it was still time to leave and the next days turned out to be fantastic riding. We made good time without to much fatigue and spent the night in Mississippi at Bench Mark Works, a cool spot with a very impressive vintage BMW collection. (http://www.benchmarkworks.com/). Passing through Louisiana quickly so I can’t really comment and entering Texas the third week into October was interesting. Texas I feel is interesting, I’m not sure why but it definitely has a different feel about it. I like Texas, I can’t comment on the culture here, the landscape so far is not tremendous but I like the feel. The weather is good now and my feet are finally warm after many cold nights.

One thing I’m coming to grips with is the Health Care controversy here. It’s complicated, it’s cultural, it’s political, religious and not my problem! I hear that it’s not broke, that it doesn’t need to be fixed. I reply that neither does the Canadian system, just continuous improvement yet that’s not the propaganda they get. As a Canadian I’m grateful for my country’s universal care and will continue to pay my taxes so that I can complain about it for years to come. As an observer in the USA, I only wish this innovative young country would stop knocking heads and start developing a great solution to a common health care problem that other nations could model from. Come on guys, the opportunity to impress is right now! That’s my two cents worth.

While in Texas we stayed at the BMW rally at Smithville. We showed up late but still won three awards and a door prize that we could actually use on our trip. It was a good time and I’m glad we made it here, though we were tired. The people were very warm and we made some good contacts and got advice on our route. We enjoyed dinner and breakfast and spent some time relaxing the following day. I also took a test on the BMW SMARTtrainer and got an “A” for my superb riding skills, and a couple of grey hairs too. Our agenda for the day was to plan our attack West and how to exit the USA. We still had several days to go and few details were looming like: motorcycle insurance, health care coverage, border document, new tires and maybe even a 40k tune up.

1 comment:

  1. Carl Chapman gave me your link! TWO and all that area was my backyard! Mr Barber??? isn't he awesome? As maybe Carl told you we are near Big Bend right now but leaving for Bisbee, Arizona, in a couple days for a Photo Show. Will be back next week as I am sitting here writing my book (s) for a couple months of the winter. Four years on the road accumulates to a lot of writing! Plenaty of space to camp here... Hope your timing with us works out... If in Bisbee for the weekend check us out at the Panterra Gallery.
    Anyhow... safe travel...
    Be well, always.