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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season's Greetings!

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Thanks for sharing the journey of life  with me, thanks to all of you that have your own blog so I can see how your journey progresses....

What a great year it has been for me and I feel very blessed to have the friends and family I have and to be in good health and have the freedoms I do. The freedom of movement is one I believe is very special. How many people in the world cannot move freely around and go and do what they want to do? Whether it is personal mobility problems, financial difficulties or even the luck of the draw as to where they live.

I am amazed to know that somehow I inhabit this body in the USA and I share that privilege with many of you. I have had some travel this year and when I am in a different country, especially a developing country and see how hard it is for people and that so many of them retain a sense of humor and seem happy with their circumstance, it embarrasses me that so many of my fellow U.S. citizens take the freedoms they enjoy for granted and want to refuse others a shot at that, whether they are able to legally  or illegally come here like so many of our ancestors did.

Somehow they think it is something more than the luck of the draw that they were born here.

Let's appreciate our good fortune this year and be kind and welcoming to those who are just looking for a shot at a decent life....most of those folks don't want any more than a job and a few bucks to send home to their families, believe me, most do not want to be away from their families any more than we do.

If you really feel strong about them not coming here...go there and appreciate them and the beauty in their own country and leave a few bucks there so they don't have to come north....

May the Creator bless us all....everywhere!


Friday, December 23, 2011

All is well....well sorta,

I finished the bike repair the day before yesterday and it is good to go anywhere. In fact I have been riding it around yesterday and the day before as soon as it was done....
Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny, 50-ish day and quite pleasant on the bike.

I woke up today, the day I was planning to go see my bride in Durango for the weekend, and there was about 4 to 5 inches of snow and mid twenties temp. Now at 11:15 AM there is about 8 to 11 inches of snow and high twenties temp. So much for travel plans...for today.

Maybe mañana....

I was told this morning by our server at breakfast, a lifetime resident of TorC, that this has never happened in her lifetime...she is about 30 years old. I am sure there are a lot of locals that are thrilled their Christmas will be white.

Happy Christmas, white or other...


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hahahaha...Stay forever? Nope!

I am back in our little compound in TorC and enjoying full-time internet again although it is kinda chilly here.

I had a GREAT time in Mexico, however anyone who knows me knows that the journey is the THING for me, not the destination and after a week on the beach, I was done beaching and ready to roll.

Had a great drive back home and my Chinookie did a great job of being my home as well as my chariot. So comfy in this current incarnation that I am excited to do some maintenance and upgrading  mechanically to keep it up.

One thing I did was include a small refillable propane tank instead of using the disposables. It works great and since I just bought and included a Buddy propane heater, I will set it up with it's own hose so it too can use the bulk tank.

The buddy heater did a wonderful job of taking the chill off the inside when I needed it and is reachable from the sleeping bag...perfect....

I must say that it was interesting that of the 20 or 30 gringos I met while in Mexico, none were conservatives. That is rather telling isn't it? Seems to me if you are concerned about poor Mexican folks slipping through the border and taking all the scut work jobs in the US, you might think it worthy to go there and spend a little money so some could stay home....maybe I am just simple....but it seems to me if we refuse to go enjoy their beaches and wonderful country and pay them for the things they are so ready to supply or to do, we are just increasing the problem.

Narcotraficantes and bad chappies?....I guess I missed all of them. Once again I only met the same sweet, happy and kind folks I always do in Mexico. I didn't even see any more military or police than I usually do nor were they any more rigorous in their inspections, etc. than usual.

Hmmmm, do you think maybe someone is bullshitting us? I sure do...

Happy Trails,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ah, I found my beach!

I am now camped on the north end of Playa El Coyote and I guess I will be here until I head north....I am muy contento right here. As long as my $9 a day holds out I'll be fine.

The local guys come by with everything you could want: agua, eggs, produce, giant clams, bread, pastries, etc....all "almost free" so other than internet, all you need to leave the beach for is to walk over one cove to the El Burro and eat some fish tacos....

I am meeting some of the most amazing and interesting world travellers and adventurers and folks who know the same folks I do, etc. etc.....very cool and very tranquillo...

I think I will stay is said that people come down for a couple days and stay for the entire winter so we'll see if that is true....

Two palapas over the eternal morning fire is kept by an intrepid couple from Joseph, OR and the entire beach crew gathers for coffee and general chatting up each other...very social bunch and very welcoming of anyone who comes along....

I am glad the happy hour is on the south end of the beach though....

Stay well and I will report in whenever I can get up the energy to drive in to the Gecko Bar and cafe for internet access.....


Friday, December 9, 2011

A couple days later...

I am now on the shore of Bahia Concepcion in Baja Sur. Not too sure how this will work out though. I found a campground that not only has a spot to camp, but it is right next door to the only bakery in the area....Newly opened a couple of weeks ago but it is a  restaurant, bakery and hostal with bunks and a couple rooms....I have a shower to use and a real bathroom instead of an outhouse. It costs an arm and a leg though...$15 a night! Yikes!

I may stay for a couple nights and then push on for Loreta, a town I particularly liked the last time we were here. Didn't like the campground due to some serious partying going on but right now there is virtually no-one here, tourist wise.

Last night was spent in San Ignacio in a very quiet and sweet campground right on the river....$7 and a very primitive bañ an outhouse....but it beats 'da woods...
Three other rigs showed up so there are some folks on the road....

I had breakfast in the morning right next to the campground at Ignacio Springs Bed and Breakfast that Tim and Charlotte had told me about. Nice expat Canoodlians with a choice spot on the river and several yurts for rent....They are superb cooks and breakfast was made from all homemade items...whole wheat bread, homemade jellies and jams, nice cut up fresh local fruit and just squeezed juice, local eggs and homemade British bangers and Canoodlian bacon. Ummmmm-um ! I'll be back.

Our usual stop in Mulege, the Orchard RV park has been wiped out three consecutive years by hurricanes so is no longer an RV park...they have built dozens of unique little homes that sell for about 35K US. Unfortunately the next hurricane will scour them all out too...Hmmm, what's wrong with this picture? I think I'll pass this time...

I have been thinking and scheming and I may make Loreto my furthest  point south this trip...possibly take the ferry from Santa Rosalia to Guaymas or wherever it goes and head north on the other side of the SOC. Dunno about that but I cannot get my mind off my sidecar rig and the work it needs so I can once warmer weather this time, head south on it....I really so much prefer riding to driving.

Anyway, more will be revealed to me as I keep waking up in the mornings...I thought I might turn around before now but haven't....

I'll keep you posted....

A big Happy 40th to my son Isaac today....! I sure do love you son!

Happy trails,


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In search of warmth....

After a couple days at Marco’s Camp in San Felipe I got my usual itchy feet and moved on….one more morning AA meeting and some nice conversation took me right out of town…..

Another damnable military checkpoint during which Dina is as uncomfortable as she can get….and onto Mex 3,  one of only two roads that cross the peninsula and one I had never driven.

It was stunning and one I really want to come back to and ride on the bike. I had no idea there was country like that on the Baja California peninsula. Think of Texas canyon on I-10 in Arizona….only a lot more of it mixed with beautiful mountains, vast valleys and nicely farmed fields with small groupings of folks living….

One thing I always appreciate in Mexico are roads with wide shoulders level with the pavement. Plenty are not that way at all and most are narrow…however highway number 3 is like that and beautiful, somewhat patched and quite curvy.

After a 130 miles plus I rolled through south Ensenada and onto Highway 1 heading south. Soon one comes to the sign for La Bufadora and the road to Punta Banda.

Kit and I stayed in La Jolla RV park and Campground 11 years ago in our tent so I thought I would try it again…great choice. It was only $9 to camp for the night with hot showers. I wasn’t ready for a shower yet since it is kinda cold…windy and in the low 40’s…..brrr….

I had a great conversation with several guys…boy, pull out the metal detector and it draws guys better than putting your car hood up! I even heard from an old Mexican about two buried treasures! Man, lucky me…maybe we’ll get rich….wonder why he is still poor and driving an old beater truck. And me? I found 26 cents and a one peso piece in about 10 minutes before dark…not really buried treasure but fun…and a lot more sure than the old Mexican dude’s dowsing wire….;^)

Next night I  camped in a nice little rv park/motel in El Rosario for $10 a night and nice hot shower which I did use. Internet in the restaurant and damn good tacos de pescado in there too. I was going to go back to Mama Espinoza’s place for fish tacos but I got lazy and went here.

Just a tip before I forget. Anyone who hasn’t traveled in Mexico and would like a shower head instead of a stream of water…carry your own shower head and use it when needed. Also keep a roll of bum pad handy since some places require you to use your own. Here in El Rosario at the Hotel Sinahi, there is paper but no shower head….actually even though I have my own shower head, I kinda like the one stream effect so I didn’t even use mine today.

This evening I crossed into the state of Baja Sur and am camped at another RV park we camped at before. Eleven years ago we attended a Spanish speaking meeting across the street on the 12th of December and as we left the doorway we all looked up and there was a lunar eclipse...very cool....

Travel well and do good things,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A note now that I have a tiny bit of perspective...

I love San Felipe! I really do and I love it even more with almost no tourists. Did I just say that?

How selfish of me....the locals pray for tourists and there have been less every year.

I don't want to make this political. So I won't...hard for me not to though. I will just say I know so little of what is going on that I can't really have an opinion. I see a gradual disintegration of tourist facilities as people stay away and I have been including Mexico in my prayers...a lot of the fault lies here but a lot lies in my own home country and for that I share responsibility. If we aren't part of the solution, we are damn sure part of the problem.

I will say that as I walk around and talk to people and go to AA meetings and see the genuine love expressed here, I think with a little more room, (like a rented casita) I could live here for some is just what I imagine when I think of a perfect little Mexican town on a pretty bay with shrimp and fish aplenty and just enough norte americanos to keep me feeling at home....

Be well and do good,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Catch up post...

Hi all, I am finally in Mexico and ensconced on the beach in San Felipe, Norte Baja. I had plenty of excitement with the old wing/sidecar and decided maybe I would do a bike trip to Mexico later and in warmer weather. I will have to see what develops. I am also scheming on a newer bike and sidecar....someday I have to let go of the idea I need to drive and ride ancient equipment even though I love the old beasties.

I did come in my little Astro Chinook van and while I find it hard to believe...I think Dina is a bit happier and more secure in the van...go figger!

I find some mechanical issues with the van as well and bought a pair of new shoes for it in Yuma....the mechanic who was to align the front end said it was too worn for alignment.

I will replace the parts myself when I return to TorC.

I may rethink how far I go but it sure is good to be here in SF at the moment.

It is overcast and a bit rainy but the good thing is that it moves through fairly fast.

I expect the next few days to be really pretty uneventful although full of fish tacos and lard cookies, but nothing to write about so will slow on the posting for now....

Thanks for reading and I will make an effort to do a more exciting bike trip the next time...

Peace and happiness for the season and new year...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Well, this is frustrating!

Today Jon and I drove to Puerto Penasco for the day and some fish and camaron tacos and are back in Steve and Sue's camp for the night....tomorrow we head back to TorC in his van and I will retrieve the Chinookie...trusty beast that she is....and the trailer and come back to Why to load my rig.I need to re-install a head gasket on the port side and that is the next chore....and I may do it in Why and still ride to Mexico or haul it home to do the work.

Wow, this has been a roller coaster ride for me. It sure felt good in Mexico and there seems to be a steady stream of RVs and cars and trucks heading south now so businesses seem more lively and open these days...

We only passed through one Mexican Marine checkpoint on the way back and were waved right through. They do look ominous with their black masks and camo BDU's,  flak jackets and auto weapons but they are the front lines of the drug war.

I am a little fatigued emotionally due to the mechanical troubles but really do feel grateful that they happened here where it is much easier to deal with them. Especially that my patient friend Jon B. has been right there with help and encouragement. There have been some fun times along the way and now we will take a respite and I won't be posting until I am more resolved as to what and where I will be going or even if I will be going at all.

Hugs to all and thanks for your sticking with me and you good thoughts and prayers...


Monday, November 21, 2011

Tomorrow, Mexico.....

Jon and I are staying at Steve and Sue's camp in Why, AZ for a couple nights and are ready to roll tomorrow I believe.

Lots of excitement for me...
As it turned out, the part I needed was located at Cochise Motorsports in Sierra Vista, AZ which was right on our way to Why....

Jon's miraculous fix of the old beat up seal, valve packing, teflon tape, foam rubber and a piece of plastic coffee can lid plus lots of Permatex held beautifully and the new seal goes in today before my left boot weighs any more from all the oil it is soaked with,.,..

We headed west from Columbus, NM and south to Douglas, AZ and through Bisbee and to Sierra Vista getting there about 4 to Patagonia Lake State Campground just north and east of Nogales for the night. Expensive but nice campground near the lake and excellent, hot showers.

Next day to Why via 289 which turns into a graded, narrow, very windy  gravel road through Coronado National Forest just a few miles north of the Mexico border. Incredibly beautiful mountain scenery with a lot of Border Patrol activity and the ubiquitous signs that keep people afraid..."Smuggling and illegal activities in the area!"  Not sure I would want to camp there but if I did, I would probably stick close to the Border Patrol camp about halfway through. we had no problems but I did rename the road "James Bond Road" you know, "Shaken, not stirred!" as it had a lot of "permanente" , Mexican Spanish for washboard.

Made it to Why last evening about 5 or so and had a nice grilled chicken and sweet potato with a zuchinni/mushroom/onion side,  dinner cooked by Steve and Sue, two very sweet and good friends...

Sue has even turned the bunk in her unoccupied class C motorhome...the "Guppy" over to me for the two nights we will stay and I slept like a baby.

Tonite a campfire and hotdogs cooked by the Two Amigos, Bri and Jon...

I will try to post a couple photos on here before Cyndi hollers about visuals again...sorry Cyndi, more to come as we get rolling and more focused on the trip.

Happy trails to you all,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On the road.....

Well, sort of....after a nice breakfast in Arrey with 4 men from my morning meditation group we headed for Hatch to Napa to see if they had a seal that had developed a is minor since it is on the shift lever and relatively easy to get to but it is blowing oil on my exhaust and leaving a mosquito killing fog behind when I ride over about 50 mph...below that it is ok....

Anyway, we decided to camp in Columbus, NM at the Pancho Villa State Campground to wait until Friday when the seal will arrive in the seal store in Las Cruces....a minor setback and one that caused us to travel on Hwy. 28 from Las Cruces to Santa Theresa on the old highway aqnd through some of the prettiest country ever....through miles of pecan  orchards and little Mexican towns...very sweet ride.

The bad thing is that we are still at 4,000 feet elevation and it is way too cold for my taste and camping....only two more nights though and we will head for lower country....

Again I will say,,, that I am very blessed to be having these things happen in the US. I guess a guy who thought straight wouldn't head for Mexico on a nearly 30 year old bike that has many, many miles on it.,...but no one ever accused me of thinking straight....

Stay well and do an adventure before it's too late and remember if you know what's going to happen it isn't an adventure....


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OK then!

The bike is together, running and feeling really good when I took it for a nice test ride.
So, locked and loaded as they say...

I am packed, Dina is packed, Jon is more night indoors, one more Men's meditation meeting tomorrow and we are off...only as far as Arrey for breakfast and then the real effort begins. Next destination will be Coyote Howls Campground in Why, AZ to see friends Steve and Sue...Yahoo!!!!!

Happy trails to all and don't wait too long to follow your dreams!



Things are looking up. I got the starter yesterday and after an afternoon of two of us working on it we got it in...hmmm, to whom did I say it would only take 15 minutes?  Hah!  We had to swap noses on the starter and sprocket with the old one and it finally matched up and became part of the engine.

I have run two heat cycles so far, one more and I will re-torque head bolts and mount the sidecar....

All is well in my little world and we may even leave this afternoon or wait until the morrow.....

Ride fast and take lots of chances....ride like a knob and you'll die!


Saturday, November 12, 2011


I see that my starter is in Las Cruces and due to be delivered Monday. Yay!

I have my mifi turned off til I return so my interneting will be sporadic as I have to find a wifi spot to post Mickey D's in TorC right now. If anyone emails me, just realize it is only due to lack of connectivity that I don't respond right away..
Thanks for your patience,


Thursday, November 10, 2011

News update...

The starter should be here by Monday and I can proceed with business....yay!



Well this morning I left a couple of internet groups I had belonged to for quite a while and had become an important part of my internet presence.  I don't need to go into a long explanation but suffice to say they no longer serve the purpose they did for me when I joined them.

That said, I made a lot of friends on them, I will miss many of them greatly and will certainly keep in touch with any of those that want to stay connected...through blogs and emails.

My interests have changed more from van living to the moto end of the spectrum and I will be using my van for incidental trips but intend to ride as much as I can until I can't....

Anyway, anyone who is reading my blog and is a member of either of those  groups will know I haven't disappeared but will be riding a different direction.

Happy trails,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

So, a little glitch comes along....

El Poderoso is struggling in his elder that have seen this many years and this many miles are reaching the end of their lifespan. The trick is to change them out before they crater....

This time it is the starter. No, it's not a total surprise, it gave a few warnings and is kind enough to crater in the garage. I just need to get a new one sent in....I've ordered it and it should be here in a few days....meanwhile I will see if I can resurrect the old one for this trip....I don't feel good about it though....I just had it out a couple of months ago and cleaned it, lubed it and put in new brushes.

So there you have it, another setback....


Parts are in!

OK, the heads are cleaned up and back on the bike..! Yay! Today the buttoning up of the heads, a couple heat cycles and a re-torquing of the head bolts, and re-mounting the hack, last minute packing and tomorrow should be good to go....

Jon says he is ready, although he won't commit to whether it is the car or bike as transpo...LOL

Stay tuned for the adventure...

Happy trails,

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Well, it's getting colder as we go and I am chaffing at the bit here in TorC.

My parts are in the mail....and it was in the mid thirties this AM. Time to go!

I have the bike in the garage, sidecar unmounted, everything ready for the head gaskets except pulling the heads. I don't want to open the engine for longer than a few minutes to an hour or so. There have been some strong winds with the dust that goes along with it.

Not to say that life is boring or I don't have anything to do....I am finishing up some things that would have gotten left undone if I had left yesterday and Jon is able to use my shop to do some things he needed to do.

A close friend is moving to Florida next week and tomorrow several  guys are going down to Arrey for breakfast with him after my men's meditation meeting in the morning...I will miss him dearly.

It was great having Kit come down for a visit and although it was short, it was fun....

More as it happens...

ManyWheels Brian

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Yesterday on the way to Las Cruces with Jon, we discovered that the left side head gasket had a good size steamy leak. I was on the track of trying to reload windows XP on my nettie and that was a failure so the best thing was the ice cream at Caliche's and learning I needed to fix my moto.

I pretty much go with the idea illustrated when someone says "if I had been five minutes earlier, I would have been in that accident!". I also believe that when I flow with the Tao I am in good hands...way better than mine. So I am thrilled this turned up before the trip and where I have a place and all my tools and any help I need to do the job.

I think part of the problem is that I succumbed to that old bugaboo that says, "buy the cheaper one!" and I used aftermarket head gaskets last time I had the heads off. Big mistake...they have steel covered with a composite graphite covering and Honda's OEM gasket which rarely fail are copper....yep, you guessed it...OEM on order now.  Unfortunately the price I pay for OEM is $46 a piece instead of half that for the knockoffs....

I don't know why I forget this, but when Tim Cahill rode shotgun in a new GMC truck with Garry Sowerby in the late 80s on a road trip to break the Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay time record, the only things that broke were the aftermarket accessories ...the GM parts all held up through a grueling mega trip!

Incidentally they broke the old record of  50 days with their record of 23.5 days! Give that a thought...15,000 miles and maybe 15 borders to cross in 23.5 days!!! That is stunning to me. Not anything that I would ever want to do...I am more interested in doing the slow record, but a real accomplishment to those in the business of record breaking. The book 'Road Fever' by Tim is a bit of a bore so I won't really recommend it but have it in my collection of long distance road trip books..

In the olden days of the 80's the OEM stuff was skookum and Honda was and is one of the best companies in the world for quality. Keep in mind my rig consists of a 1983 high mileage drive train in a 1980 frame with an early 1970's sidecar, so we are talking the "GOOD OLDEN DAYS" of manufacturing. .

I miss that but we'll see how a rig with somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of miles on it and at least half of that with a heavy steel bucket of a sidecar  hanging on the side of it, does.... And I will hope I don't have to hitchhike home with my little doggie buddy to fetch the van and trailer to retrieve  "El Poderoso"  (The powerful one), named in deference to Alberto Granada's Norton 500 that he and Ernesto "Che" Guevara rode around South America in the early 50's.

Here's to repair!
Off to the garage,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is Mexico Safe...?????

I was sent this from another Mexico traveler and semi expat and I shamelessly post it here:

"Show me the statistics. Of the 42,000 people killed in Mexico since Calderon
took office, 98.9% are directly related to drugs. Most of those numbers are
between the cartels. Please direct me to the number of foreigners who have been
kidnapped or murdered. As an rver and an avid boondocker, I can tell you
there is nothing to fear. However, things have changed over the last three
years. We now have to be more careful where and when we travel. Not that there
have been any incidences, but to use common sense. For example, I no longer
drive at night, we no longer boondock on the coast of Tamaulipas like we used
to. These changes are temporary and things look like they are reaching their
peak. I believe that we need to apply more pressure to the U.S. in terms of gun
sales and the U.S. drug consumption.

We just returned from two months in the mountains of
Jalisco. Best trip we have
ever taken. We boondocked in SLP, Jalisco, Coahuila, and Guanajuato. We were
never stopped, harassed, asked to pay a bribe, or sold concert tickets. We
truly went where and when we wanted without any hassle." Anon RVer

Sounds good to me...unless you listen to those who have never been there or who listen to hate radio or "who had an uncle who had a friend who had to fight his way out of Rocky Point with a shotgun!"  No shit...Someone told me this! I nearly choked laughing.

So, Here is to our friends down south and rest easy...they really aren't out to get us, they just want a piece of the enormous drug habit in the US. Stop using drugs, they shrink away. Or if you elect Mr. Perry, we will be at war with our neighbors and all bets are off. That is our habit with any opposition or anyone who has what we want...I hope and pray it doesn't happen with Mexico.

Travel easy,
ManyWheels Brian

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A good start...

Yesterday, my friend Jon and I rode  down to Palomas Mexico to get tourist cards (FMM) and I needed to get the entry permit for my rig. I rode across, Jon walked as he doesn't need vehicle papers for Baja....

What a great time..folks are so interested and welcoming with/about sidecars. I had some laughs with a few Mexican nationals and some fun interactions and got it all felt really, really good to have wheels in Mexico....

That's all, I keep tweaking and tuning and trying to remember what I was going to do when I walked out to the garage....damn, I am not getting this done any too soon....

I don't know of any place in the world where I feel more at home than sitting on my sidecar magic carpet that transports me effortlessly wherever I dream of going....what a gift.

Live well and do good work,

ManyWheels Brian

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just a quick note...

Hi all,
I am currently in Durango at our place here, visiting Kit and getting things a bit more prepared for winter. It is nice to spend more time with Kit than I have in a while and makes me want to be here more now that I have finished the major bike project. Today we are going for a drive around for some more leaf peeping..the colors are just outstanding! I will get some photos today and put a couple up on here.

We have a bumper crop of apples here and I will take some back down to TorC for friends...I made one of our favorites yesterday...we call it Apple Lois after Kit's mom but it is commonly known as Apple Betty. Hard to stop eating it! The fun part is eating the apples, the not-so-fun part is the visitor Kit has when they apples are ripe and the windfalls and bug eaten ones end up in her trash can.

It is an over-friendly black bear that comes in the night and knocks over garbage bins. In this progressive town the idea is that the bears were here first and we need to learn to live with them. A great idea but you really need to look outside first before you go dashing out at night to avoid disturbing Mr.or Mrs. Bear and pissing them off. It reminds us of Alaska and our yard pets of Moose....often a cow and calf and they would lie down near the outhouse in the snow, making our visits out there a bit nervous. They cured us of attaching our then dog Clancy to his wire run outside....the poor guy got run over by a yearling calf right in the yard...he was ok but leery of moose from then on.

Today my friend Jon arrives from Ithaca for his usual winter in TorC and I am looking forward to some of the adventures we do together, everything from discovering great little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants to metal detecting and Indian artifacts hunting and general rooting around in the desert. This winter Jon may decide to ride his Honda Shadow along with me for some of the time in Mexico. Maybe the Baja part. He is an old hand in Latin America having spent some of his teenage years in Uruguay and some other parts of America Sur. I hope he will join me for a while...

That's about it until I return to TorC and take care of three doc appointments and get their OK to head out.

Happy trails,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More on the camping trip....

Due to a comment by my friend John Rogers on my last post I realized I didn't say anything about the experience of my weekend or the people there so here is a followup...

The City of Rocks State Campground  near  Faywood, NM in the lower Mimbres valley gives one the feeling of what camping in Stonehenge might be like. It is a large area of upright rocks  made of volcanic ash welded together and sculpted by wind and sand into fantastic shapes. Here is a link to the website with photos and description of it:

It is one of my favorite spots in New Mexico and I have camped there a number of times.

This was to be a small gathering suggested by a member of an online forum I belong to and it was just that. Three other folks showed up and camped there and we had some nice visits and a very welcome French Dip meal made by one woman in her Class C motorhome. One was from the forum and two were friends of the original idea man.

These were people living a bit differently than the Vandwellers I have gathered with before...they are fulltimers with larger RVs and when the wind was blowing pretty strongly and it was raining a bit, it was super nice to retreat to one of the rigs to chat and stay warm. Not the same as sitting around the fire outside but fun in it's own way....

As may have been noted in my previous post, my interest was less social and more a test of my outfit and gear. As I approach my leave date, I find there is still a lot to do and this trip had a definite role in that.

One thing I enjoyed very much is having several of those moments when I was almost overwhelmed  in realizing the perfection of natural creation. Sometimes I  wonder why I spend so much of my life indoors...separated from the natural elements and the wonders of nature.

Stay well and happy trails and thanks to John!

Monday, October 10, 2011

More prep...

I took a short camping trip on Thursday for a couple nights and tried out my systems...great sleeping a night in my new-to-me Marine goretex bivy sack and Big Agnes Encampment bag with a Thermorest lite pad.  I did find that I can't just use a thin Thermarest any more due to my arms going numb with such a hard bed. I have my eye on a new pad...a Big Agnes air mattress and an insulating pad under that. I think it will work well and I will sleep better and not have to turn from side to side so often.

Friday it threatened rain a bit so I set up my new Eureka Timberline 2  tent...and it was great! This is the same tent as Kit uses for moto trips and she loves it. Perfect for this trip and fits Dina and I with room for some gear. Now I love it too.

I discovered a couple of minor bike problems that needed sorting out and I was able to put together a good list of more to do to get ready..and stuff not to forget to leave home...

I really enjoy this part of the process...the getting is rather like a meditation of sorts and increases the anticipation....kind of like...well...foreplay....trip foreplay...

I will head up to Durango sometime in the next couple of days and spend some time with Kit and enjoy the turning leaves....when I get back to TorC I have a couple of doc visits and then can think more about taking off.

Stay happy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Moving along...

As I get closer to the Mexico adventure and go through the gear once again to try and eliminate more, I am wishing I had set my doctors appointments earlier...
Very tough to wait!

The tent and footprint arrived and I  checked it is the same tent that Kit has had for years and is maybe the best all around tent we have ever used....

It is a Timberline 2 from Eureka and has been made since 1973. Easy to use, roomy and free-standing it is a tough little fella and used by the Boy Scouts and the Alaska State Forestry wildland firefighters amongst many other folks that give it hard use. You can stagger into camp in the dark, totally beat and still put it up easily.

Next weekend I am attending a 6 day camp-out that a friend from an online vandwelling group has put is in City of Rocks State Park south of Silver City, NM. Just over the hill from me so I will be able to try out my camp and see how it works for the same time meet some people I only know from online. Very much looking forward to it.

There is a possibility of meeting a guy there whom I have known about for several years. He has done a lot of sidecar miles with his dog and I would love to meet him....we have several mutual friends. He is Ara G. and his dog Spirit who keeps a blog  where you can follow him and see his beautiful photography... .

I added the name of Blue Sky Expeditions to my header and that is what I will call my traveling dog and man show. It is a name that goes back to the early 80's when I started my custom jewelry business, "Blue Sky Enterprises". A very close friend made a gorgeous sign for me and I have it hanging over the garage doors at Rancho Cielo Azul....our home base. We now refer to our marriage as Blue Sky Enterprises and now this expedition is Blue Sky me it means something that started as Blue Sky dreaming and becomes a success and earns the name....

My date for leaving for Mexico is November 1 although it may be a couple days either way.

See you on the road,
Brian Manywheels

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Upcoming trip...

These days I am checking and re-checking the bike, the sidecar adjustments, the gear, the paper work, Dina and my health and meds, etc.

We are sneaking up on our ready date and I am getting quite antsy....a bad case of "hitch itch" as my neighbor and friend, Sue Soaring Sun says...

I see that the peso is up to 14 to the buck today so I take that as an auspicious note and really should go to Palomas and change some money now when it is this good.

Have watched a few youtube vids of Efrain and Ileana , the young couple who are on a sidecar trip through the Americas to raise funds for educating and feeding and housing street kids in Latin America...
I started playing with the idea of buying a helmet cam to video some of my trip....I'll have to think more on it...

So, lots to do, a camping trip and small Vandweller's meet-up in City of Rocks state park here in New Mexico is coming up the 9th through the 11th of October so I can try my camp set up out.....

More later,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

May the Creator have mercy on our souls.

May we who were sent to war educate those who were not, to the absolute futility and insanity of war.
To realize that the only winners are the corporations who make billions off the blood and tears of their fellows and whose interest is to keep war as a perceived solution to differences that need to be worked out person to person, soul to soul.
May the Creator have mercy on the souls of those who send us to war with profit as their motives.
May the Creator have  mercy on the souls of those innocents who are maimed and killed in these conflicts....those innocents in the countries we wage wars in as well as those in the twin towers and the aircraft used as a weapon by the jihadists.
May the Creator have mercy on all our mislead and desperate souls......


Monday, September 5, 2011

More moto-fiddling...

I have been sitting around a lot due to the hot weather here the last few weeks and recuperating from a small surgical procedure but I seem to at least get one thing done a day toward a smoothly running, dependable sidecar rig to take to Mexico.

The latest fix is a small leak in one fork tube and the addition of Seafoam to a few tanks of gas to try and smooth out the motor a bit....

Seafoam brand engine additive is an expensive type of solvent you can mix with the fuel like you would with Techron or K100 and it cleans the engine from the inside by dissolving deposits of carbon and varnish, cleaning things like the valves, piston tops and maybe most important the carbs....this bike has four carbs....yep, sloppy, old school carburettors and they need to be kept spiffy clean on the inside....

Seafoam can be added to the engine oil and will then help to clean up things like the valve train, rings, crank and bearings, etc. I will do that with the next oil change.

I have been getting some good input from friends who travel Mexico a lot and the latest is that Baja Norte seems to have had a new revival this holiday weekend of tourists visiting and flooding the hotels, bars, restaurants and places of interest. This is so heartening since the narco violence has kept people away for so long and the Mexican economy needs this influx of tourist dollars...It makes it better for everyone including those of us planning trips there.

That's about it...not much to talk about...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ok then....

So after some kinda spicy conversations on a couple forums I belong to I realized I was becoming more interested in being right than being happy...Ooooops

So my solution: back off right now and have a more reality based, centered life, only pursue the things on the internet that pertain to my immediate day and that will further my one bucket list item I am working toward at the moment...

Instead of talking with people about concepts and ideas, I need to take a wrench in my hand and do what I do best.

It is so easy for me to take something I did for a while and choke it to death by trying to recreate today I went to Second Hand Rose, my favorite store in town, bought my wife a card, walked down to the ice cream store cum art gallery (which every thing in town is) and listen to the ice cream dipper guy tell me about flat tracking motorcycles...I had no idea he raced and I sat with my mouth shut and listened to some cool stories...

I so love that I have been blessed with the clarity to know what I need to do when I get growly or off center.

I am still chuckling about what my artist friend said about my sidecar rig and what it reminded her of so I ordered a "Main Force Patrol" decal for the bike...every devout Road Warrior devotee will know that Max was a patrolman for Main Force when the SHTF  down under......

Happy petrol finding and watch out for Toecutter....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I love it..

An artist friend said, " I love your bike! It is kind of Goth meets Mad Max!"

Monday, August 15, 2011

I love my sidecar!

I had a nice 300+ mile day on the combination today and was able to get a handle on a few things that need to be adjusted, changed and added. The main thing is that I did not have enough lean-out on the bike and keeping it tracking straight on a cambered road is hard on my arms...mostly the problem is keeping my left arm and hand from going numb...a chronic condition I have that needs a lot of attention and care to keep it from happening and becoming a problem....

As I was riding through the gorgeous desert with beautiful weather, I had a chance to think about what it is about sidecaring that I love so much....actually the many things about it that I love.

I have ridden two wheeled motorbikes for quite a few years but have only been riding  a sidecar combination for about 10. I consider myself still on the learning curve but am comfortable enough on the combi to feel that I can have an opinion.

I like the security of a three-wheeled rig in respect to the road surface, the tripod effect which eliminates the worries of balance, where to park, where I can ride, what I can carry and that I can take my little buddy, Dina Dog, along.

The community is awesome. If you imagine that only a very, very small subset of motorcyclists ride sidecar rigs...the true 1%ers.... :^) and that that small percent are willing to take a perfectly good, ridable motorbike and hang a wheel off to one side and try to make it work right against all of the rules of physics that govern two wheeled motorbikes. Yep...kinda crazy and a bit absurd but for the most part a group of damn good engineers and mechanics. And very friendly....

One needs to be, friendly, outgoing, somewhat gregarious, since sidecar bikes are so odd and non-threatening, we have people coming up at every gas stop, whenever we park at a store, etc. wanting to know about the rig, wanting to tell their stories about their Dad or Grandfather who rode a 1926 Harley with a sidecar and in some cases, to ask if we would give their kid or someone they love, a ride.....

I had that happen at a store just the other day when a man asked me if he could pay me to give his very sick wife a ride. A ride in a sidecar was on her bucket list and she is a 7 year cancer patient still under treatment. Of course I gave her a good ride and my pay was the joy on her face and the tears of happiness as we rode. As they left I heard her telling her husband about the ride and that now she could cross the second thing off her bucket list. I have to tell you it filled my heart to the brim to give her a ride. This one of many opportunities that have come my way while riding my magic carpet....

That is what I think of when I am riding...gratitude for my magic carpet that takes me to places I have only dreamed of.

Last but not least it has extended my riding career as my body ages and I find I don't feel as comfy on two wheels as I used to.....

Thanks for sharing this with me.....

ManyWheels Brian

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New bed...

I have been working out the kinks with my new collapsible tent-cot from Kamp-Rite.

I found that the locking struts for holding the cot part open and stretched tight, bent the first time I set it up...after several emails with the company, I was sent several replacement locking struts but apparently I could not get them to look at the weak spot.

Aside from that I am quite happy with it and it is high quality. I can use the cot alone, the tent alone or together with the cot....perfect for me with the sidecar rig. I now have it set up in my bedroom in the house and am getting use to sleeping in it. The very nice thing for me is that unlike their other tent cots it collapses to a package 8"x8"x40".....nice for the hack.

More later,

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Utiliagriballistic? Or Industroagriballistic?

Hi friends,
I have been devoting a lot of time on my sidecar rig. A major service, parts updating and what we call "farkling", or adding useful and handy gadgets and customizing for riding comfort, safety and pleasure. The word comes from a combination of function and sparkle.

The rig is tight, runs like a watch and is comfortable. Not only that but it appeals to my personal, perhaps peculiar,  sense of aesthetics....

It is definitely a style that I dub "utiliagriballistic"...

I'll add a few photos....

Ride hard and take lots of chances but don't ride like a knob!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Albuquerque.....and the four elders..

Today started out warm and hazy from the wildfire smoke and four of us old duffers decided to head north for the day and look at the BMW motos at the BMW store and hit a couple flea markets and generally raise a little dust!

A smooth drive to Socorro, a good brekkie and off to the big town.

Aha, into town from Isleta along Broadway and we will slip up Central to the fairgrounds and the big Saturday flea Market....good plan....wait, que la chinga? A parade? Uh-oh, detours and lots of traffic around the pink and blue parasols and....holy cripes it's Gay Pride Day and guess what? Through some devious and deft piloting,  our driver, Bri of the Many Wheels, has us firmly in the lead up Central as the first vehicle in the Gay Pride Parade....!
Damn, too bad we are in a faded and dinged up silver 1988 Subaru wagon since we are pulling off some excellent waves and smiles at our audience of people three or four deep along both sides of Central....

Home now and happy I was able to find some bee pollen at the flea for my allergies and we will check tomorrows paper for photos of us....

Old guys rule!
Brian ManyWheels

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ah, the changes.....

Kit just took a job in Durango, CO doing what she does now but with a smaller facility.  I am quite happy she will be within a days drive from TorC. 350 miles give or take a few. It will make a nice ride going up and back and although the elevation will be a bit tough for me, I have the equipment to manage my health while there.

Her job there will start on May 9, so lots to do before then....including retrieving Betty Bus from Lolo.

I just started a motorcycle project. The frame and swing-arm is in the shop getting bead-blasted and powder coated gloss black. I will transplant a freshened up drive train into it and then move everything over from my current, well-worn sidecar rig...I will have essentially have an improved and fresher sidecar rig. I am quite pleased with the current rig but it is getting to the higher mileage end of the spectrum and a bit harder to rely on for trips and tours....

Life is good in the desert.....

Travel with a smile....


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back in my chosen home town...crazy lil' TorC

Nice to be home for a while and I have been busy doing a redux of my Chinook camper van. It now has a permanent bed, the old cabinets are gone and a small kitchen set up on the top of an old military footlocker. I'll post pix soon. It is now much more comfortable with more usable room. I have eliminated a lot of things I don't use regularly and limited things like food and clothes to the same amount we carry in our truck camper. I now can use the original table and I have a nice couch/bed to sit on or nap on.

Now I have Verizon MiFi as an internet device and can let others use my internet access when camped with them if they don't have an internet wireless device of their own.

I also had been using my expensive  Kermit touring chair and have changed to a cheaper and even more comfortable director type chair that I bought in Quartzsite at the large RV show there. I can leave it out at night once in a while now and not worry about losing a $160 motorcycle touring chair.

I just got the sidecar outfit out and took a ride and it felt so good...the weather is just right during the middle of the day. I had thought I had a starter problem that needed to be addressed, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was not so.

Anyway, I will take some photos soon and publish them to the blog....

Happy Trails,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

San Felipe, Baja California....

So my friend Paul the adventurer, and I have trekked down to San Felipe to meet up with our friend Mar for a couple of weeks on the beach and camping.

It was great and the food, fabulous but the horrible weather up north has brought winds and cold for the last couple of days and I am inside an awful lot....

Thank goodness for a nice internet cafe across the street where I can hunker down with my lappie and do what I am doing now....

Here are a few shots of our camp and my amigos at Fat Boy's Pizza and Bar downtown.

Mar is industrially teaching her online college courses during the day and Paul an I am wandering around working on our Spanish....we gather for a dinner each evening and go to a different restaurant for something, usually seafood.

I am ready to head back to home but it is just too damn cold there...minus degrees and snow in TorC...yikes...I might as well be in Montana....I could at least see my wifey if I was.....

Soon as it warms a bit I will head north and start a complete redux of my van interior so I can lighten it up and put stuff away a bit better....getting it planned out now and will be ready to slide into the job when I get to TorC.


Some photos ....

Here are some shots from the First Annual Rubbertramp Rondyvous on BLM land near Quartzsite, AZ....The final count was 42 attendees I believe....

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Well, we had a great first annual Southwestern Rubbertramp Rondezvous in Quartzsite, AZ.

42 mobile dwellers showed up and joined Bob Wells of the cheaprvliving . com website to celebrate mobile life as well as trade stuff, sell stuff, learn and teach workshops about vandwelling and related things and just plain party! We had jugglers of flaming torches, women reading Tarot cards and men installing solar panels. Dogs roamed at will and all was mellow just like a bunch of dadgum hippies.

People came from as far away as Florida, British Columbia and Ontario, Canada as well as locals from Yuma and Phoenix area.

We camped together for three weeks on BLM lands with campfires every night and meals cooked and eaten together. Some folks like SunstoneKatie and GentleAlex did most of the cooking and we all helped at various levels. There were folks tending fires and folks giving seminars....we even had a great communal poop bucket and outhouse shelter for privacy....

Folks came and went and some were even working in the vendors areas in town...some folks were waiting for the "Big Tent RV" show so they could find summer jobs as campground hosts in the National Forests of the more northern states. Some got the jobs.

The workshops were: solar power, wind power, installing a hightop on a van, a couple "Women Who Roar" workshops for the women, work-kamping, living on public lands, health and dental care in Mexico, traveling in Mexico....with yours truly giving the latter seminar.

Jerry and Nelda came from Vancouver, OR and teased everyone with their Segway......what a machine!!!!!

My bearded and adventurous friend Paul showed up for a lot of it in his Lance camper and he and I plotted an escape to the Baja for a week or two and headed off into the Mexican haze....



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Why I ride a Motorcycle:


There is cold, and then there is cold on a motorcycle.

Cold on a motorcycle is like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots, a bone bruising cold. The wind's big hands squeeze the heat out of my body and whisk it away; caught in a cold October rain, the drops don't even feel like water. They feel like shards of sharp bone fallen from the skies of Hell to shred my face. I expect to arrive with my cheeks and forehead streaked with blood, but that's just an illusion, just the misery of nerves not designed for highway speeds.

Despite this, it's hard to give up my motorcycle in the fall and I rush to get it on the road again in the spring; lapses of sanity like this are common among motorcyclists. When you let a motorcycle into your life you're changed forever. The letter "M" is stamped on your driver's license right next to your sex and weight as if "motorcycle" was just another of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition.

But when warm weather finally does come around all those cold snaps and rainstorms are paid in full because a summer is worth any price. [Even with it's 110 degree blast furnace intensity.]

A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life. We spend all our time sealed in boxes' and cars are just the rolling boxes that shuffle us from home-box to work-box to store-box and back, the whole time, entombed in stale air, temperature regulated, sound insulated, and smelling of carpets.

On a motorcycle I know I'm alive. When I ride, even the familiar seems strange and glorious. The air has weight and substance as I push through it and its touch is as intimate as water to a swimmer. I feel the cool wells of air that pool under trees and the warm spokes of sun that fall through them. I can see everything in a sweeping 360 degrees, up, down and around, wider than Pana-Vision and IMAX and unrestricted by ceiling or dashboard.

Sometimes I even hear music. It's like hearing phantom telephones in the shower or false doorbells when vacuuming; the pattern-loving brain, seeking signals in the noise, raises acoustic ghosts out of the wind's roar. But on a motorcycle I hear whole songs: rock 'n roll, dark orchestras, women's voices, all hidden in the air and released by speed.

At 30 miles per hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid. All the individual tree- smells and flower- smells and grass- [smells of dung, hay fields just mowed or in bloom, and smells of car and truck exhaust and old cooking oil as you pass the greasy spoon; smells from the local bakery, smells both good and bad], smells flit by like chemical notes in a great plant symphony.

Sometimes the smells evoke memories so strongly that it's as though the past hangs invisible in the air around me, wanting only the most casual of rumbling time machines to unlock it. A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous.

The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul. It tears smiles out of me: a minute ago I was dour, depressed, apathetic, numb, but now, on two wheels, big, ragged, windy smiles flap against the side of my face, billowing out of me like air from a decompressing plane.

Transportation is only a secondary function. A motorcycle is a joy machine. It's a machine of wonders, a metal bird, a motorized prosthetic. It's light and dark and shiny and dirty and warm and cold lapping over each other; it's a conduit of grace, it's a catalyst for bonding the gritty and the holy.

I still think of myself as just another rider, but by now I've had a handful of bikes over a couple dozen years and slept under my share of bridges. I wouldn't trade one second of either the good times or the misery. Learning to ride was one of the best things I've ever done.

Cars lie to us and tell us we're safe, powerful, and in control. The air-conditioning fans murmur empty assurances and whisper, "Sleep, sleep."

Motorcycles tell us a more useful truth: we are small and exposed, [we are an intimate part of this world] and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that's no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.

author unknown.........

Baja mellow

Baja Bri

Me and my buddy

Me and my buddy
Bri and "Dina Whitesocks the Dancing Dervish Dog"

B.O.B. and Dina

B.O.B. and Dina


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About Me

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well, I am a 70 year old married man with a couple of sons and 4 grand kids and am currently wending my way around the planet in any way that I find interests me. I am a retired mechanic, certified motorcycle nut, ride a sidecar rig and practice living in the moment. I am a 31 year friend of Bill and Bob and have lived a life beyond my wildest dreams.