Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Gear is Here!

A big, white Fed Ex truck arrived in my driveway...always a happy moment. When I stepped outside to take a picture the driver looked worried. "Did I hit something?"

"No, it's what you're carrying that has me out here with a camera."

"Oh. Well I do have a big box for you," he stated with some relief.

Here is what we found. In addition to the suit embroidered with name, blood type and cool patches, there was a high end neck brace, two jerseys, T shirts, hat, sleeping bag, MSR Hubba Hubba tent, ground  pad, head lamp...BMW really hooked us up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Links you may be interested in... Tire Change Video...

 Interviews at International BMW Rally 2010 Redmond, Oregon:

And my personal favorite, "Where's Iain?" Dragoo and Pratt in Black Mesa Klim Adventure Gear. Helmets, suits, gloves and more! Other than the requisite Rally suits, Team USA is slotted to wear gear from Klim on the GS Trophy this November!

Kriega Rucksacks and more: We tried to tear them up...awesome stuff. Adventure Rider Magazine

Revzilla! Almost any kind of gear you want and great videos too! Scroll down to "Conditioning For Africa" Two parts...
Wann'a camp? These guys know their stuff. Awesome tools and related adventure bits. I love the mini pump!

Adventure Rider Challenge bike prep:

Gym workout: Bicycle training and questions...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Team USA in the desert near Big Bear and purple mushrooms on a knobby backdrop

Seattle Training...

We just got back from three days of training in Seattle. Shannon, his wife Jonie and I stayed with Iain and his wife Bethany. Iain had scored three awesome bikes from South Sound BMW for our use. We had two Huskies, a 250 TXC and the 310 TE, and a beast of a bike, the BMW G450X.

We had hoped for rain since all our previous training had been on the dry deserts of southern California and in Oregon during the dry season. Well, we hoped for rain and rain we got. It rained all three days we were there. Not constantly, but enough to make things very wet and sloppy. The trails handled the water well, but some places were deep and very slippery. I will attempt to post up more on that later.

Also, Oklahoma Magazine has published a story on my involvement with the  GS Trophy in their November issue. Check it out here:
Click on the page to expose the arrows, then scroll over to page 22 for the story.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Preparations, thanks and a couple of videos...

Well, the final countdown to Africa will soon begin. We leave November 11th. My visa to Mozambique just arrived and Team USA will meet one last time in Seattle for a ride hosted by our teammate Iain Glynn. Shannon, his wife Jonie and I will fly out to meet with Iain and his wife, Bethany on Thursday. Iain promises that this will be a nasty, challenging ride through some of the worst (best) that Washington has to offer. 
Last weekend was spent at the Ride Oklahoma annual Clayton Dual Sport Ride, hosted by James Pratt, publisher of Adventure Rider Magazine, and family. James was kind enough to loan me his DRZ 400 for a day as we explored the CNT, (Choctaw Nation Trail), in far, eastern Oklahoma. It was a good day of rocky riding through the woods with some awesome folks, followed by bar-b-que to die for and served by James' mom, dad, son Adam, daughter Emily and brother and sister in law. Thanks to all for a great dual sporting weekend!
My training has been interrupted somewhat by the weekend's travel and allergies, but we hope to pick it up again as early as tomorrow. Abner magazine posted a story on my involvement with the GS Trophy competition a few weeks ago in their November issue and Oklahoma Magazine should run something in November as well. I had an interview with Andy Rieger of the Norman Transcript last week. We should see something in the local newspaper perhaps as early as this week.
It has been an exciting adventure to date and promises to be even more so once we hit the skys for Africa. I will try to keep folks posted on my blog at:
I would also like to take a moment to thank some of our sponsors, folks without whom the expense of making this trip would have been very difficult to handle. But more importantly, they are people who passionately offer the very best in products and services for adventure seekers of all kinds. Here they are, in no particular order...
Backwoods Equipment Company Check out the Muddy Hands Blog and "A Cowboy Goes to Africa."
Susan and I have been doing business with Backwoods as long as they have been opened here in Norman, Oklahoma. Their lightweight camping gear, shoes and clothing are perfect for the off road adventure rider.
Revzilla: Co-owner, Anthony Bucci provided their awesome Sidi boots for Team USA. He has also provided some of the most personal and pro-active service I have experienced from anyone in the industry. Friends and family have ordered from Revzilla, all with the same great results, fast, friendly service and great products.
Klim USA. From pants to helmets, Klim manufactures some of the coolest and sturdiest gear available and at prices that won't blow your socks off! Thanks to Nate and the crew at Klim for rounding up helmets for Team USA and for your kind attention following our win at the ARC in California last May.
Kriega: Scott at Matrix Motorsorts:, importer of Kriega has been Johnny on the spot with their soft, durable luggage and rucksacks. I have never crashed so hard with so little damage to my luggage as my crash at Dumont Dunes. Nothing tore or came loose on our 1300 mile ride through the desert...a strong testimonial to well made products. Built in the UK too! I think that's pretty cool.
Adventure Designs; Chad is one of the most personable and sincere business owners I have met. His company provides quality outdoor gear from a wide range of manufacturers, but one of my favorite pieces from Adventure Designs is their Micro tire pump. It fits into the palm of your hand and only has the bare essentials necessary to get the job done. Best of all, it is their own invention! A critical and well proven product for all motorcyclists, on or off road. They also offer tool kits, already purified for the bike you ride. Check them out.
And a special thanks to BMW for sending us to the California deserts to whoopp up on their new F800GS motorcycles in preparation for the upcoming competition and for allowing us the opportunity to represent our country in this awesome event!;
Here are a couple of videos you might enjoy, compliments of Iain Glynn and Touratech. Shannon's crash at Dumont Dunes, without Iain's colorful narrative

Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 GS Trophy

Iain Glynn, Bill Dragoo Shannon Markle on Venture Beach..."Training."

Wear and tear take their toll on the Mojave

500' dunes at 90 mph? No problem. Splitting lanes on I-5 with a front flat...indescribable!

Dragoo at OU Stadium...growing younger...

Reflections of 100 stories...a well earned breather...

Kriega US 40, tight and tidy!

Kriega US 30 and Rucksack, unbeatable!

Adventure Designs Micro Pump, like dynomite, it packs a punch!
One month from tomorrow Team USA will leave for South Africa. We will meet in Atlanta, Georgia, then fly together to Johannesburg, South Africa. From there, it is anybody's guess what we will do...except that we know we will be spending time in Swaziland and Mozambique. Our task is to keep BMW's International GS Trophy in the US after being brought here by our friends, 2008 Team USA, Brad Hendry, Jim Stoddard and Jason Adams, along with moto journalists, Jonathan Beck, Ryan Dudek and Jimmy Lewis. My team mates for this year's competition are 25 year old Iain Glynn from Seattle, Washington and 38 year old Shannon Markle from Laramie, Wyoming.

This weekend, October 15th, my lovely wife Susan, her son Mark and I will ride our skinny dirt bikes, KLR's to Clayton, Oklahoma for the annual Ride Oklahoma Fall Dual Sport Ride. This will be a low key ride for me since I am more concerned with not getting tissue damage on my pink body than in showing anybody just how good I am not.

I have flight reservations next week to Seattle, Washington, where Shannon and I will meet up with Iain at his home. Our plans are to ride the ruts, rocks and mud of the northwest and have  yet another opportunity to gel as a team. Iain assures us that we will be challenged at this riding area, some 80 miles from where he and his new bride, Bethany live. Shannon will be joined by his gorgeous wife, Jonie. I will be a fifth wheel for the first few hours and until the boys head for the woods.

Last month Team USA flew to LA where we met up with the 2008 team for a pow wow and a ride. Jon Beck hosted us on a seven day ride through the Mojave Desert. BMW NA, in cooperation with MWW's Logan Williams from New Jersey, who assists with public relations for BMW set us up with a stable of new 2011 R1200GS and F800GS motorcycles. Our accommodations were superb with our first nights being spent at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Valencia. As time allows I will tell more of that story...and what a story it is.

Today was Susan's birthday, so we spent considerable time together, always a pleasure worth dying for. Next week will be busy as I try to remain productive on our home remodel, a dining room addition. Susan has been more than patient as I have traveled across the country several times while trying to re-open our wrecked kitchen.