Epic Ride 2016: Change of Plans!

Epic Ride 2016: Change of PlansWe were all set to do the whole Route 66 next year for Epic Ride. However, nature had other plans and blessed Wayne and his wife with a new baby last month. While this is certainly a blessed event, it means the baby would be 10 months old by the time we go on Epic Ride and to leave a new mother home alone with a 10 month old for half a month was just not going to work. So we had a little change of plans. We shortened the route to a more traditional 10 days, and decided we’d ride to TJ’s home state of Montana instead.

In researching the route, there is so much amazing scenery in Idaho and Montana to see. The problem we have living in California though is that you have to ride several days just to get out of the state and across Nevada! So this eats up several days on each end of the trip.

Another issue with this trip is that TJ has family and a lot of childhood memories in Montana. It would be nice to be able to visit all the places he knew growing up, and spend some time with his family. However, this usually isn’t practical when planning rides because let’s face it, most of us aren’t that excited about visiting our OWN relatives, much less somebody else’s. But sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. As always, the ride wins, and people need to be flexible and understanding.

The last challenge, and this is the same challenge with every trip, is that there’s just too much to see and too much ground to cover. So you have to make sacrifices. There’s a constant balance to trip planning between the amount of ground you need to cover vs. the sights you want to see in order to make a pleasurable trip for everyone.

Having said all that, I really think this has the potential to be the best Epic Ride so far. The amount of scenic byways and national parks we’ll cut through is amazing. And anytime we can finish a ride in Las Vegas is a plus. So I’m excited about this years trip.

Epic Ride 2016: Route 66

So I’m starting the pre-planning for Epic Ride 2016 and it’s going to be a monster! We’re planning on heading out to Chicago and riding Route 66 all the way back to Santa Monica!

It’s an ambitious trip to plan because none of us can afford to take more than two weeks off of work so that means there’s going to be some compromises to make along the way.

We’re probably going to have to bee line it out to Chicago, riding 500+ mile days to get there in the shortest time possible. The reason for this is so we can take much longer to ride the actual Route 66. This is unfortunate because there’s so much to see on the the way to Chicago! But that’s the challenge of trips like this. There’s only so much time so you have to make hard decisions about what to pass up, knowing that you might never be through a particular area again.

So here’s the initial draft of the ride. You can click it for a large version. Depending on how many guys end up going, we may just rent rooms as we go. This will give us a lot more flexibility to explore or cover ground. However, if we get a large group, we’ll have to book rooms in advance because you just can’t assume when you pull into some shit town that they are going to have 5 rooms available.

We’ll have to see how this plan develops over the next 6 months or so when we’ll put it in stone.

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Las Vegas Bikefest!

Last weekend we all hopped on the bikes and rode to fabulous Las Vegas for the annual Las Vegas Bikefest rally. It was a good time! They had a change of venue since the last time we were there so that was kinda crappy, but overall we had a GREAT time!

Epic Ride: A Little History

Epic Ride 2015 is in the books! Gotta say it was an incredible time. There’s really something cool about hanging with other guys and exploring the world on motorcycles.

Lots of people have started asking me how many Epic Rides there have been and how we got started so I thought I’d do a little post to explain the history and what it’s all about.

My brother and I started Epic Ride back in 2007 when him, a buddy of his, and I rode to Death Valley. Although back then, they weren’t called “Epic Ride”. After the first two, my brother couldn’t find the time to go anymore so I continued them and started giving them formal names. Here are the Epic Rides that have taken place so far:

Epic Ride 2007: Death Valley
Epic Ride 2008: Medford Oregon & North California Coast
Epic Ride 2009: Grand Canyon & Southern Utah
Epic Ride 2010: Cross Country
Epic Ride 2011: Canada, Eh!
Epic Ride 2012: Eureka!
Epic Ride 2013: Razing Arizona
Epic Ride 2014: Sturgis Edition
Epic Ride 2015: Portlandia

Each of the rides have generally just been 2 to 4 guys and in 2011 I rode solo and my daughter joined me for the leg into Canada. Since 2012, however, the rides have been growing each year with 2015 being the biggest group at 10 guys!

So how do I plan the rides? Well, my job is to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have a good time (whether they actually do or not is up to them!). So I plan the rides around the number of miles per day we have to ride (usually around 250-300), and then whatever happens between breakfast and bedtime is figured out on the road. I will usually make mental notes of some places I think will be fun for everyone to stop, based on what I know about the guys. But I find that having a destination and no other schedule keeps everyone moving but also allows for spontaneity. If you over plan, the ride becomes tedious, and nobody wants that.

So what tools do I use to plan the rides? Well, for discovery I use Roadtrippers.com and RoadsideAmerica.com primarily, but I also use TripAdvisor.com,  and I occasionally use the various state and city tourism web sites. For mapping I use Google Maps for planning the routes and then I recreate them in my Garmin Zumo 550 GPS for use on the road. I book all my rooms on Expedia exclusively because their phone support on the road is fantastic.

Are there rules for Epic ride? We’ve come up with just three simple rules for the rides because rules suck, but you gotta at least set the tone for the ride. Those rules are:

  1. Guys only. Guys need time away, just to be guys, and the road is the perfect venue for that.
  2. The ride must be at least 1000 miles. If you’re not doing that, you can’t really call it “Epic” now can you?
  3. No talking about work. The whole point of riding is to escape and nothing screws up a vacation like work talk.

There’s a few other traditions we’ve developed on Epic Ride as well. At the end of each day, we chill out with a beer and cigar. It’s a great way to wind down a long day of riding and exchange a bunch of laughs. We also like to seek out the craziest, off the wall crap to see while out on the road. Any Thing, Bigfoot museum, or Muffler Man is considered a must see.

Epic Ride has become a fantastic annual event; one I hope to continue until the day I die. Next year we’re considering a few options for the ride. We might go explore Montana. But if things line up just right, we’d like to do the entire Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. We’ll see what happens.

Well, enjoy these pics from Epic Ride 2015. It was certainly one for the books.

Virginia Creek Settlement

Every year for the past 7 or 8 years we’ve been getting on the bikes and heading over the Sonora pass to stay at a little place called the Virginia Creek Settlement. It’s a tiny little “resort” that has a handful of motel rooms, some tent cabins, and a few other cabins. It sits on Hwy 395 about a quarter mile north of Bodie and 10 miles south of Bridgeport.

We love this place. The food in the restaurant is dynamite and we would probably go just for the pizza, even if we didn’t stay. In the evenings we’ll sit on the porch and smoke cigars or light a bonfire and relax, shooting the bull about the day’s ride.

The ride over is also fantastic and takes us pretty much all day. Every year I try to find some cool new bar or restaurant to stop in on the way. The Sonora Pass is also one of the most beautiful passes to ride over, although it’s a bit challenging on the east side with it’s steep narrow, twisting roads and sheer cliffs. But that’s all part of the fun of motorcycling.

We just got back from our trip this year and I thought I’d post a few pictures. Enjoy! We’re already looking forward to next year.

Hollister Freedom Rally

So on the 4th a bunch of us rode up to Hollister, the birthplace of the American biker, for the annual Freedom Rally. We had a pretty good time hanging out but I gotta say I’m tiring of rallies. Same old over priced, crappy beer. Same old cover bands playing the same tired songs from the 70’s. Same old vendors selling the cheapest and cheesiest biker clothing made overseas (I swear if I see one more guy in one of those shirts with the sleeves cut off and the arm holes artificially frayed I’m going to freak out). It’s all becoming such a cliche.

We’re doing Las Vegas Bikefest in October and I think that’s going to be my last formal bike rally for a few at least a few years. I think just heading out and actually riding to interesting places with cool people is all motorcycling needs to be about.


OK I know this blog is mess. I switched to Tumblr for a year and grew to hate it so I switched back to my old WordPress site and just dumped all those Tumblr posts. Anyway…. I’m back on track so here we go.

The Whole30 Diet! So 90 days ago I went to the doctor for my checkup and as usual he was just all pissed off at me. Well, not really pissed off but disappointed. Kind of like when you did something as a  kid to piss your mom off. Anyway, my cholesterol was high, my triglycerides were insanely high, I was 225lbs and drinking beer like a college kid on spring break. So he wasn’t happy, and neither was I.

Now I carry my weight pretty well, and I don’t eat terrible, and I do workout a few times a week, so in my head, I’m doing the right things, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t. I’ve always fought with fitness and that’s mainly because of two things: I love beer, and I love rich foods. But this time I had reached my limit. I was feeling awful. So I told the doc I was serious about getting it together and I wanted to come back in 90 days to recheck everything.

So the first thing I did was cut alcohol back to almost nothing. I was drinking every day and really slamming them back on the weekends. So I cut back to a few beers every few weeks. I also started really eating much better. But the alcohol reduction alone let me lose about 15 lbs! Woot!

Still even thought that was going well, I wasn’t feeling all that well. Then I saw a post from some friends about this Whole30 diet. Basically it’s a detox diet. They cut out anything man made or anything that can cause digestion issues or allergies. So no dairy, no wheat products, no added sugar. Basically it’s lean meats, vegetables and fruit, period. This sounded like a challenge and a good challenge is what I needed so I started on it with 3 weeks until my checkup.

It was hard at first. The first week was horrible as my body was flushing out all the bullshit, but week two got a little better and by the end of week three I was feeling dynamite. I went back to my doctor for my checkup and what we found was amazing! My cholesterol had dropped 30 points, my HDL was up, my LDL was down, and my triglycerides were down a whopping 152 points!!! For the first time in 10 years my blood tests were normal! The doc even took me off my Cholesterol meds! Oh, and as a side note…. my total weight loss for the 90 days was over 20 lbs. My doctor was freaking out.

I also increased my workouts to 6 days a week. I’m doing P90X3 which are 30 minute high intensity workouts so they are plenty easy to fit into my day.

So i just want to throw out my endorsement for the Whole30 and P90X3. I feel and look the best that I have in years. I’m pretty stoked to continue on and see if I can keep it up. I go back to my doc in 120 days for a follow up. I’ll post the results here.

Here’s a few links to the programs I’m on.

Whole30 Diet

BeachBody On Demand

My Town – My Motorcycle

On Monday, January 6th a group over on Google+ is having a special internet event. The idea is that you jump on your bike and go take some pictures of places that best represent your town with your bike in the picture. It’s kind of a fun thing to do in order to both promote motorcycling and promote your town. Besides, I always think it’s neat to see where other people live. So here are my shots! Enjoy!

You can also see these over on the G+ event page. [ Event Page ]


Old Blog Entries Restored

Well, I spent some time this morning getting my old blog entries back into the database. They go all the way back to 2007! I actually had blogs going all the way back to 2002 but I seem to have misplaced that data. Bummer. That’s the biggest risk of the electronic age.

It’s interesting going back and looking at old entries though. So much has changed with me in terms of maturity, political views, etc. On the other hand, so much is exactly the same. It’s very cool to have this history to look back on.

Who will tell your story? Might as well be you!

I’ve been reading a pretty cool book about the Jewish people called “The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels” [ Amazon ]. It basically talks about the origins of the Bible and the stories within it. And what I find fascinating about it is how it talks about how people recorded their history back in the day.

As I was reading this book I started to think about my family’s history. Who’s recording it? How will my grandkids or great-grandkids know who we were? I don’t really know anything about my grandparents and honestly very little about my parents when it comes down to it, and that’s a shame because it’s history lost.

Now I have been blogging for years so I have a somewhat public record of certain thoughts on issues of the day or accounts of family events, but what happens to that when I die? It’s all electronic. When my account becomes inactive some program will just delete this blog and everything in it and I will cease to exist.

The Standard MemorandumI find that sad. Very sad. So this year I started a few new projects. First, I bought a little notebook called “The Standard Memorandum” [ Website ]. It’s basically a tall, thin notebook where you just jot down a few sentences about your day. You also record a certain amount of personal information like what you’re driving, your measurements, where you work, etc. Nothing anybody could use to steal your bank account, just information that somebody in the future could use to form a picture of who you are. You use one for each year, just jotting down highlights. Then you store them in a box and someday when you are long gone, somebody will find this box and read through them and see what was going on.

The second project I’m doing is starting to write an autobiography. I’m not a great writer so I’m not going to worry about structuring it all nice and stuff, but I’m just going to go back as far as I can remember and just talk about my experiences. I’ll print the pages out as I make progress so I have a physical copy.  I think some day when I’m gone, my daughter and whoever comes after her will get a kick out of it.

And yes, I’m leaving all the bad stuff out.

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