Brammo Blog: Ride for the Cure—Taking the Turquoise Trail to Madrid for a Cause

4 04 2014

BrammoBlog Ver. 2.0-Blog post something  something…I’ve lost count.

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So Saturday was a group ride to Madrid. The ride to Madrid is, as you know if you are a frequent reader of my blog—which is my mom and my split personality (split personality just mentioned that he hates the blog and never reads it…so it’s me and my mom)—one of my favorite rides. I love that ride to Madrid.

This will be, as usual, a photo blog with very little writing by me…which, judging by the happy grunts and squeals that suddenly appeared in my head, Jason (my other personality) approves off.

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The ride is a large group ride that starts from various locations with everybody ending up in Madrid. Madrid was prepared with food and beer and music and, thankfully, one of the most beautiful days ever. New Mexico has many beautiful days, but the spring can be dicey. Often the winds blow at gale force. But Saturday was sunny and calm and just gorgeous.

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The ride was a benefit to raise money for the Cancer Center at the University I work at. So a win win for me….help a cause and ride my Empulse.

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I started from PJ’s Triumph motorcycle shop.

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There were a few bikes…but I expected more as there were 1200 riders last year. I forgot that some start in Santa Fe and ride south on the Turquoise Trail and some start at PJs and some…well just a bunch of starting points.

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I parked here for two reasons…1. It gives me room as I know a bunch of people will come over to ask about the bike…and 2. They were filming over here and I like to get into the shot…I’m vain like that.

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See…I follow the media.

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The film crew came over and filmed the Made in the USA sticker on the bike.

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People always ask, “Who signed your bike?” I tell them, “My close personal friends, Eric Bostrom and Shelina Moreda.” Nah, I tell them that the great people who race for Brammo signed my bike, likely against their will…or that they thought they were signing it for a good cause, rather than signing it for some old dude in New Mexico.

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Off we rode and the first and only stop of the ride was Madrid…I parked at first up in the way back…I found these Chili Peppers and decided to park between them…but then moved down to the front where the other riders where.

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Remember that I park where I want. And so does my coat. I parked here for the first hour…then went and found a place I could charge while I walked around and got lunch.

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Checking out the bike…I would stand and answer a number of questions…but then finally had to walk around to see the other bikes and the booths…and the killer jackets…

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The Duke City Rockers are friends and asked me to eat with them…

rockersRon has a classic bikers look…I got to get me one of those shirts…

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Found the Cancer Center table…fairly modest…I think the bikers intimidated them.

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This great art table…

air brush bikeThis crazy airbrushed bike…

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But I guess I should show some of the turn out.

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Many liked to park near the Mine Shaft Tavern.

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click the panorama….

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Including this big “bike”…

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more parking

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Another big bike with a car motor. Notice the group coming in. Bikes were constantly coming and going during the 3 hours I was in Madrid.

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Lots of nice custom rat bikes…

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A bit down the road, this great house had a few bikes in front.

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Of course I had to explore a bit of the outskirts of town….

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This is my “find rusty things in New Mexico” series. Not much rain, no salt…it takes a long time for things to rust here.

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Love this….

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Great barn? Storage? No idea, but I love it.

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Funny…these tractor treads will take centuries to dissolve…but still the cactus will remain…

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Steampunk heaven…

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train panorama


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Great old train…

rust5More rusty gears…I felt like a small Alice wandering around broken watch gears.

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more chargign

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A shout out to the Crystal Dragon for letting me charge as I ate and wandered.

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And it was time to head home…I forgot to mention that I got up way too early and took this “before dawn” photo in front of my house…

pre dawnThat flowering Crabapple is a pain, but it is pretty in early spring.

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Here it is the night before…just at dusk….

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Crazy pink.

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Till next time….Gavin.

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: http://www.brammo.com

For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: http://www.brammoforum.com

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Bonus.

 Just a couple of photos from recent days:

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“Take you daughter to work on a tractor” day. These special event days at work are getting more and more complicated.

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Back alley in Albuquerque. I love wall art and this photo makes me happy.

a panorama, so click…

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Brammo Blog: Winter is Coming…or is here…but the weather is kinda nice.

12 02 2014

BrammoBlog version 2: edition something or another…I’ve kinda lost track.

Ok…it’s been a while. Life continues to be beautifully hectic. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Still, it’s tough to get in some “lets write on the blog today” time.  And I, like too many times before, have no theme for today’s blog. So it is another Mish-Mash Photoblog. As I always say, more photos and less me is a good thing.

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So this winter has been very mild compared to the rest of the country, especially the Eastern part. Little snow and mostly warm days. Heck, next Sunday, Feb 16th, it is suppose to be 70 degrees. That wouldn’t be surprising in San Diego, but we are a mile above sea level and actually get winter here in Albuquerque.

First photos are from a week or two ago. It was in the mid fifties in town, so I thought, “Hey, it’s beautiful here in town, I should take a ride up to the top of the Sandia Mountains.” This was, as my lovely wife pointed out when I got back, a silly idea. The mountain is always 25-35 degrees colder, and usually much windier, making it feel even colder. She said, rolling her eyes (more on that later)**, “Gavin, it’s lovely here in town. Why ride up the mountain when you could have taken a beautiful, and warm, ride along the Rio Grande?” Damn…But she is smart and I am dumb. Plus I wanted some snow photos.

I hit a milestone on the ride. 5000 miles. Now I’m a year round rider…but I have a short commute. So to some, especially those people in California with nice weather and crazy long commutes to work, 5000 miles isn’t a lot. But for me, well I usually put 5000 miles a year on any bike I own. So the Empulse is just like another bike. In other words, I treat my electric motorcycle like I treated my previous motorcycles. And that is a good thing.

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I got a late start on the ride. It was really 3 o’clock…I am horrid at changing my clocks with daylight savings time.

I was about 4 miles into my ride when I stopped to get that photo. I would have to hurry a bit to get up the mountain and back before it got really cold and dark. The backside of the mountain faces East and gets dark well before the west side where Albuquerque lies.

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Snow!

I’m at the Ski Basin parking area at around 8,600 feet. The peak is another 2000 feet…but I didn’t make it that far this day. I stopped here as my start was a bit too late. Maybe next weekend. But I did get some photos.

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Sandia Peak Ski Area. I park where I want. Plus the ski day was over and only a couple of people where left.

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I used a twitter photo treatment here to get the dreamy effect from my iPhone. One day I’ll have to get a nice camera, but the phone is just so convenient.

Sad story…see the people on the stairs? They where helping a young man, 12 or 13, down the stairs. He had a leg brace and arm brace…obviously he had an accident on the hill and was in temperory casts till he could get proper care in town. One of the people, likely his brother, was helping him but was still wearing his ski boots. Walking down stairs in ski boots is hard…walking down stairs in ski boots while helping an injured person is near impossible. He stumbled, fell and took his brother down with him. It was painful to see, and to hear…I went over to help, but there were enough of them helping. Slowly, after much screaming, they got him to the car. After that I really didn’t want to keep going to the top and decided to get home while I was still healthy and whole. Casts and braces and screaming made me realize that going further on the slightly icy roads was probably not a wise choice.

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So, 58 degrees at home. Below freezing at the ski area. Almost 60 miles round trip. Use 75% of my battery. A nice ride. A river ride would have been smarter.

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So that was a couple of weekends ago. This weekend I was at home and I took a ride just before sunset. I thought, “Gavin, you should get a nice sunset photo up in the foothills at the base of the mountain.” And so….

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Up at Elena Gallegos. A nice picnic area. These photos are facing to the East, away from the setting sun.

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You can see the orange of the sunset reflected on the battery support bar.

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Panorama. Click, if on the internet, to make bigger.

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Panorama. I cast a long shadow. Like Peter Pan, I often have to sew my shadow’s feet to mine or it runs away.

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Also facing East…but a bit later as the sun was further down.

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Now facing West.

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The iPhone is not great at taking photos into the sun. I had to play with this a bit and it is still grainy. Oh well. Still pretty.

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I got the sunset photo bug the day before taking those photos. I was leaving my brother’s house just at sunset and took a nice sunset photo. Now to get a photo of the bike and the sunset is tough. Usually the bike is way too dark, or the sunset is way too washed out and bright. So what I sometimes do is take 2 photos and merge them. One focused on the bike and the second focused on the sunset. So that day I took two photos and downloaded them to my computer. When I went to merge them I mistakenly added a third photo. So my final merged photo added a little something to my sunset image. This is my Photoshop Fail photo…though I do like it. The Clownfish photo fits in very nicely with the color scheme. Happenstance can be a wonderful thing.

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We get a lot of orange and pink sunsets in New Mexico.

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Let’s  keep with the theme of random recent photos. I was with my brother and his wife for a bite to eat at 2 Fools. An Irish pub in town. I parked out front like I always do. There is never an spaces as the pub is in a busy area of Knob Hill near the University of New Mexico. But I can always find space between two cars. That nights spot was a biggish space and not at all a tight fit. I parked dead center giving good space for the cars to easily get out without hitting my bike.

I come out and two Harleys have parked on either side of my bike…very close to me. In fact, I wouldn’t have been able to move my handlebars if the bike to my right didn’t have a raised handlebar. No harm, no foul…just hope that if I ever cram in next to them that they don’t get bent out of shape over it.

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It was a bit tighter than the photos shows it. Nothing horrid. I’ve parked that close to friends before. But that was friends.

I was the Street Fighter meat in their Cruiser sandwich.

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Speaking of sandwich…I took a ride on the Range….

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Or “to the Range” would be more accurate. Yummy wedge salads and wonderful green chili stew.

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Well that about does it for this blog post. Not as exciting as some posts…better than others.

Till next time….Gavin.

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

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Bonus.

I was riding home from a Farmington clinic when I saw this building. I was pretty sure it was a site used in Breaking Bad…but it looked more run down than I expected. So I grabbed a quick photo as I drove past. I know Breaking Bad is over, but I can now add this to my list of known sites. I will have to jump on the Empulse and get a photo one day soon. It will be the furthest site on my pretend tour.

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It is an abandoned gas station near the Zia Pueblo.

Here is an image that shows it in Breaking Bad as a functioning gas station:

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**My wife’s eye rolling is legendary. I once wrote about it in a story of when I was helping a tarantula…well here it is:

Every September during mating season when the male tarantulas are out looking for love I will stop my car on the road whenever I see one of these 8 legged Casanovas to make sure they don’t get run over. One time an especially lethargic tarantula was taking too long, so I took of my sweater and let him climb on it and then dragged him across the road. My wife was sitting in the car, rolling her eyes and shaking her head. Like making a circle on your stomach with one hand and tapping your head with the other, it’s tough to do. But it is possible with practice…and she gets lots of practice with me around.





BrammoBlog: “Tour Lightly”…Or “I am the one who’s engine never Knocks”

30 09 2013

Brammo Blog: ver2. A beautiful day: a slightly melancholy yet joyful ride.

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So it was Saturday and it was just beautiful out. Fall came on fast, like a welcomed visit by a long-missed friend. Fall is wonderful for riding, especially in New Mexico. Cool, crisp, clean air accompanied by endless blue skies.

And it was the Saturday before the big Breaking Bad finale. I knew I wanted to take a long ride. I knew I wanted to ride alone. And I knew I should take that Breaking Bad self-tour just one more time. Plus I had added a new locale or two. So off I went.

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Like always I started off from my house. I was planning a new route and wanted to see how it went. I usually start with Walt’s house, but that always seemed like starting with dessert. So this time I was going from HIGH to LOW. So I would ride to the base of the Sandia Mountains (Hank’s House) and hit stops along the ride down to Los Pollos Hermanos down in the South Valley.

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La Casa de loco…

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Noon. 70 degrees. Ready to ride. 2nd gear Sport mode is my default riding in the city gear.

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So Hank’s house is just below the foothills and next to a nice hiking trail. A great place to start.

This is about 6 miles from my house and the furthest point East and also the highest point. It’s, literally, all downhill from here.

(A quote my wife made on our wedding day.)

(ps. No photoshop on any images. Just beautiful New Mexico sky. My mother thinks the cinematographer of Breaking Bad is a genius. I tell her the person who decided to film in New Mexico is the genius…the landscape begs to be filmed…but yes, the cinematographer is very talented.)

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Next stop is waiting for “relocation” at the Dam.

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Notice the object on top of the dam.

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It is  a full-sized, real vacuum cleaner. Gosh I do love the sense of humor of my fellow Albuquerquen’s.

(and yes, I did use an effect on this image. But it is the only one.)

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Yes, a lot of “Dam” photos. It was a new location, and it was a nice photo stop. I understand why Vince Gilligan used this location as it is quite striking.

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The next stop is one of least favorite stops. But I get asked to show Saul Goodman’s office all the time. Well a while ago it was an empty store front and it looked like it did in the show. But it has been bought and turned into a bar and now looks nothing like his office.

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Still, Hooligans is not a bad name for Saul’s office to be called.

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Next is the highlight of any Breaking Bad tour. Walt’s house.IMG_7981

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I’ve been told I need to show more than just the bike at the locations. So here is a “selfie”. The helmet is kept on to protect the innocent.

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Off to have an “A1 Day” at the Octopus Car Wash.

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Next is another “new” location. I hadn’t stopped here till my nephew came to visit from South Carolina. He loved the episode where Walt shows up naked with amnesia at a grocery store.

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The fun story here is that this store is in a mildly bad neighborhood and when I took my nephew on the Breaking Bad tour earlier this summer, his mom and my wife wouldn’t let us get out to take photos. We had to stay in the car and take photos out the window. Lame. The area isn’t that bad. It’s called the International District, so how bad could it be? Acutally the area just named itself that recently, putting up signs. Welcome to the International District. Everybody still calls it by it’s older name, “the war zone.”

I stopped to take a couple of photos. Nothing happened. It really isn’t that bad of an area.

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Next is a brand new location I had never visited before. Mostly because this house is only shown at night so I thought it would be hard to recognize. But it is actually a nice house…and look: SOLAR PANELS”. Gus Fring is eco friendly!

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No Breaking Bad tour is complete without a stop at the Crystal Palace, aka the Crossroads Motel. Just looking at it and you know that the room are sticky.

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Panorama

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Next is a stop at Java Joe’s: or Tuco’s place.

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And then on to Jesse Pinkman’s grandmother’s place.

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Not a scheduled stop, but just a couple of blocks away is The Dog House. Used a couple of times in the show. Jesse buys a gun there. Jesse gives away a wad of money to a homeless guy there.

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Then off to one of the saddest locations: Jesse’s apartment.

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And then the furthest location on the tour. Twisters. Also know as….Los Pollos Hermanos.IMG_8007

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I actually had to bend over and tie my shoe on my way in…I felt like I should have a magnetic box to place on a car.

I think this place should buy an old Blue Volvo and park it permanently outside.

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The booth Walt sat in for his first visit. I wanted to park my bike there, but my helmet will have to do for now.

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95 has no symbolism…Just my order number. The food isn’t great, but I like to support them for being part of Breaking Bad’s history.

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I love that they keep this painted on their wall.

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And then I headed back home.

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3 hours. 55 miles. About a dozen stops. And lunch. A nice day. And the temp jumped up to a San Diegoesque 72 degrees.

I will miss Breaking Bad as the show is so good. I’m glad Albuquerque was a large part of the show. But I think I’m done with the tour.

Luckily I have tons of great rides around town. So this might be my last Breaking Bad tour…and definitely my last Breaking Bad/Brammo photo tour.

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Till next time….Gavin.

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

No bonus this time…sorry Proto.





Spreading the Gospel of Brammo at 8000 feet.

6 09 2013

Brammo Blog: Mesa Verde felt like a Church and I was a Disciple.

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I have to admit that I had a hippie upbringing as a child. Southern California in the 60’s, a cat named Love, VW camper out front that Mom had to park on a hill to get a rolling start. Nature, open spaces, and quiet beauty have always been a draw to me. And it doesn’t get much more beautiful, open and quiet than Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado.

I took a nice little 3 1/2 day weekend and headed north. Mesa Verde is only 250 miles from Albuquerque (I should freaking go every weekend), so not “far”, but too far to ride the Empulse R unless I wanted to take a few more days off work—which is what I will do next time.**

I didn’t take enough days off to drive to and from Mesa Verde by electric motorcycle, but I really wanted to ride the Empulse once I got there. Electric motorcycles excel at riding through nature. So quiet and smooth, you feel so attuned to the surroundings. Plus Mesa Verde has some cool twisties.

So off to U-haul to rent a trailer.

(hint to Brammo…Make an Empulse Trailer. I will buy one)

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Loaded up and ready to go.

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IMG_7673Like Sammy Hagar would sing/scream: “I can’t drive “backwards” 55″

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So I get a bit of a late start (this will figure into the blog later). I worked half a day Thursday and then went to get the trailer at about 1pm. When I got to the U-haul location where I reserved the trailer I noticed they only had a tiny trailer with 8 inch wheels. Their first question,

“So you don’t plan to go over 35 mph do you?”

Me: “Well yes, I am driving to Colorado and back.”

Them: “Oh, this trailer can’t do that. It is for in-town towing only.”

Ignoring the bigger question of why U-haul is renting trailers not much bigger than the Radio Flyer pull-cart my granddaughter gets pulled in around the Albuquerque Zoo, and trying to keep the incredulous look off my face, I ask, “What person would rent a motorcycle trailer for 4 days if they are only using it in-town?”

So off to a second U-haul stop where I get the trailer shown above. It doesn’t have a ramp and they want to send me to a third U-Haul location, but luckily I have a ramp at home. So with that bit of trouble over I am finally good to go. I get home, load up and it is suddenly 3pm (I had planned to leave before 2–I guess a hour late isn’t too bad). Deanna usually gets home from work at 3:30, so I decide to wait to say goodbye before leaving.

I hit the road just after 3:30pm. Since it is a 4 1/2 hour trip I figure I should get to the park at 8 pm (right at sunset). Off I go.

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And, as predicted, I am just outside of Mesa Verde as the Sun is setting (the edge of one of the Mesas is seen at the left of the photo).

Panorama Photo. If on the intrawebs, please click the photo for the bigger.

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So I get to the entrance at about 10 after 8 and the Entrance Booth is un-manned (un-womanned too). With nobody home and I drive on through. I notice a sign that says: “No Trailers beyond Morefield Campground.” I wonder if Morefield Campgrounds is before or after the Far View Lodge where I’m staying. Even so I figure they can’t mean a small little motorcycle trailer, right.

It’s 15 miles from the Entrance to the Far View Lodge where I had reservations for a couple of nights. It is rapidly getting DARK. I’m about 5 miles in when I pass a second sign that says, “Morefield Campground. No Trailers beyond this point.” OK. Hmmm, well I have reservations and there was nobody to ask at the Entrance Booth nor here in the middle of nowhere. So I drive on.

Suddenly I am no longer just the “I park where I want” guy; I am now the “I trailer where I want” guy. Both guys can get into trouble when on Federal Land (see Trinity Site blog).

So about a mile past that last sign I drive by a Ranger going the other way. And I see the near instant U-Turn of impending doom. When the authorities pass you and immediately make a U-Turn it is never a good thing. Ask my wife (that is another story though—short version—a child had been taken in a red car. My wife has a red car. Cop jumps a medium doing a U turn behind her and pulls her over. She starts to roll down her window when she notices the cop is now in the middle of the road with his gun drawn and pointed straight at her. He yells at her to put both hands out the window .Our daughters are in the back seat. My wife freaks out. She does everything she is asked, but is in tears from fright. The cop says, “Sorry, wrong make of car” and takes off. A man points a gun at my wife while our kids are in the back seat and he says, “sorry”. I know he has a job to do…a hard job…still, though this happened 15 years ago, I would like to politely punch him in the face. Especially as I have a police officer friend who tells me that anytime a cop pulls a gun he is prepared to use it. And if they fire they are not shooting to wound, but to kill.)

Blue Lights start flashing and I “pull” over. Pull over is a bit of a misnomer as there is no place to pull off the road. So I guess I more accurately “stop” in my lane.

Now the Ranger walks briskly up and I ask, “Do you want me to move further up the road and find a place to pull over?” He ignores this and I notice that he is actually quite angry…more so than I expected.

Him: “Did you see the signs back there?” He was red in the face and instantly pissed off.

Me: “Well it is pretty dark.” Perhaps not the best reply.

Him: “There are two signs that say, No Trailers. Did you stop at the Booth and get clearance?” He looked at his watch. “Oh, maybe they had already closed?”

Ok, I see that I am not going to get shot. He is pissed, but he hasn’t moved his hand toward his hip. Do Rangers even carry guns? I didn’t want to find out.

Me: “I’m sorry. Nobody was at the booth. I have a two night stay up at Far View Lodge and, yes I saw those signs, but I couldn’t ask anybody at the empty booth and thought I would ask up at the lodge. I just drove up from Albuquerque and I really wasn’t’ sure what to do. When I made my reservations nobody told me I couldn’t bring a motorcycle trailer. I ride an Electric Motorcycle and they don’t have the range, yet, to get here from Albuquerque. But I really wanted to ride it up here at Mesa Verde as it seems the perfect way to see the park without being loud and invasive.” A bit wordy…I might have been more nervous than I thought at the time. I really didn’t want to turn around and look for a room for the night some place outside the park.

He walked away and radioed somebody my license plate and name and came back a totally different man.

“Ok, just let the lodge know you have the trailer and have a great visit.” Holy Invasion of the Body Snatchers, he was smiling and pleasant. And then he left without another word.

On a side note: A) the road is twisty, but I’ve been on worse. I had no issues with the trailer, even in the near pitch black. B) I saw that same Ranger 3 more times over those two days. We had a pleasant conversation each time. He asked about the bike and my trip and was a very nice guy. I wonder if they have had some major issues with trailers in the past. When I told the Lodge about having a trailer and that I was to let them know, they didn’t seem to care at all. And at the Lodge there was another trailer parked right next to mine. So not sure what the fuss was about, but now I know to not bring a trailer…or get there earlier so I can get permission at the gate.

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But enough of all that. It was a 5 minute delay and not really a big deal…more important is this:

Mesa Verde.

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and

IMG_7738click…Cliff Palace. An amazing place.

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It is just so beautiful. And perfect for riding an Electric Motorcycle. More on that in a bit. For now…more photos.

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The weather was just insanely nice. Cool in the morning. A bit warm and intermittent cloud bursts in the late afternoon. Clear and crisp in the evenings.

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There are multiple cliff dwellings throughout the park.

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IMG_7776Panaroma. I call this “Life finds a Way”. The Mesas stand about 2 thousand feet above the surrounding area and get tons of lightning strikes, especially at this time of year with the summer monsoons. Huge areas are burned. But life, and flowers, keep coming back.

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IMG_7785Panaroma. Many dwellings are in the cliff. But there are ancient dwellings up on the Mesa tops too. The Native Americans do not want us to use the word “Ruins.” The spirits of the people are still here.

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This shows Eric Bostrom’s signature and his “signature” helmet.

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close up

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The mountains in the background are where Durango is. I love Durango. I love Mesa Verde. What a great area.

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I avoided most of the rain while riding, but I was often the highest thing on the Mesa and wondered if my electric motor and battery pack would attract or repel any lightning. I must of seen close to 100 lightning bolts in the time I was there. Not flashes, but bolts.

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A little back story. This is the “Sleeping Ute” mountain. Link here: http://deewebs.homestead.com/ute.html. The natives believed this was an ancient warrior god who was wounded in battle and had laid down to sleep and heal his wounds. I had to take some photos with this in the background.

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Cloud burst hitting Cortez, Colorado

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After a bit of rain, I went back to the Mesa Top Loop at sunset. Fun and beautiful…and I was the only one out at that time of day (the road closes at sunset…so I was pushing it a bit and thought I might end up getting my second unfriendly Ranger visit…but I finished before the road was locked shut. Lots of wildlife out and about at sunset. I didn’t have any issues as my motorcycle was driving past them before they knew I was there. Quiet is nice. One thing of interest. I’m use to white tailed deer. At Mesa Verde they have black tailed deer. They are bigger, and for some strange reason look dumber than white tailed deer. Hard to explain. They just have a slightly dim, goofy face.)

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Cliff Palace at sunset.

I mentioned about how nice it is to ride the electric motorcycle in nature. Example: early in the day when I was touring the Cliff Palace there was a group of Harleys parked up where the Empulse is in this photo. Well when they took off everybody in the tour turned and looked over as the Harleys were loud and suddenly they were part of our tour…or so it seemed. It’s not a horrid thing I guess, but it feels so much better to be moving so quietly through that place that the deer don’t even run from you.

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And the next day it was time to head back. Goodbye mesa tops. Hopefully in a few years as the tech improves, and there is more quick charging infrastructure, I won’t be trailering my next Brammo motorcycle.

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And coming down off the mesas I can see my next stop…Durango.

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Why stop in Durango? Ska Brewing. Had to pick up a few shirts and hats and such. And the Ska Brewing truck matches my black and white themed bike.

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And I had to get some Breakfast while I was there.

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Till next time:

Gavin

**Next time I go to Mesa Verde: I can ride from home to Cuba, NM. 80 miles of highway is pushing it, but I will likely stop for breakfast (a real breakfast, not a Ska Brewing breakfast) and get a few more miles of range by charging at that stop. I will charge to full in Cuba and then drive from Cuba to Bloomfield. I can stay the night in Bloomfield (never thought I would say that) and charge overnight. Next day, drive from Bloomfield to Durango. Charge while getting breakfast. Then Durango to Mesa Verde. Charge overnight. Couple of days in Mesa Verde and head home. Adds a night in Bloomfield each way (boring), but then I’m only taking the bike which is nice. And getting lots of riding in, which is nicer. There is some beautiful country between Albuquerque and Mesa Verde. Charging at Cuba could be a pain, but I think there should be 220 at the local RV park.

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

Bonus:

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some photos, without the bike, from my trip:

IMG_7683morning from my room…at 8135 feet. Panorama.

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IMG_7687Excavation of a Pit House (approx 600 AD)

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IMG_7690Work being done on this cliff dwelling

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IMG_7720Cliff Palace from above.

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IMG_7748Cliff Palace from the far side heading out.

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IMG_7745A Kiva at Cliff Place.

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Inside a Kiva that was rebuilt at Spruce House.

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Bonus Blog. A Brammo Blog Breaking…story. Sorry couldn’t think of another B word that fit.

18 07 2013

This is the part where I went snooping and asking questions and Brammo gave me some information to get me to leave them alone.

A Brammo Blog Exclusive

BrammoBlog Ver. 2.0. Number 8.

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Ok, so if you follow Brammo on the Facebook you will get some tid-bits of information and some pretty photos. Like this one:

Eric Bostrom doing a sick wheelie on the Empulse RR at Thunderhill Speedway.

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Or this one:

A bunch of Brammo bikes getting ready to head to Laguna Seca for the Red Bull United States Grand Prix, featuring the MotoGP World Championship

http://www.mazdaraceway.com/red-bull-us-grand-prix

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Or you might find photos where Brammo is trying to be “Artsy” and come across this:

A pretty photo of the Team heading by Mt. Shasta on the way to Laguna Seca.

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And if you’re really sneaky you will follow Brammo on Twitter and find even more photos and information.

Like this:

What we see is a new rider cleaning Eric Bostrom’s bike…or at least pretending to for the camera. Is this a new rider?

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Still, one photo of a new rider all in Leathers at the Brammo paddock does not instantly make me think that rider is part of Brammo’s team of riders.  Brammo gets quite a few guest riders showing up to check out the bikes. Just last week Chip Yates leather-ed up and took a ride on the TTX as part of a story for Motor Trend Magazine:

 http://www.motortrend.com/.

But seeing Mr. Yates ride that Zebra and Neon Yellow Empulse TTX,  while doing a story on Brammo, didn’t make me think he was joining Brammo’s Team.

It did make me think Ms. 93 would be ticked off if he hurt her bike.

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I just thought this rider, all in leathers, was a friend of the Team. Pro Motorcycle racing is a fairly small group and they do tend to hang out and have fun together when not trying to beat each other on the track.

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Then I find this image:

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Test rides are one thing, but few companies let test riders do wheelies on their hella expensive race bikes….

Instantly my “what’s going on here” senses went off. Either that or my vertigo has returned. Damn you wretched gravity and rapidly spinning World.

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After taking a moment to regain my balance, I continue my snooping around looking for clues. (Dan Brown has my permission to cast me in his next novel. Is the title: The book that didn’t sell and ended Dan Brown’s career because the main character was boring as hell, too long?)

Snooping didn’t take long as I quickly found that Adrian Stewart, Brammo’s Head of Marketing, has just that day “liked” Shane Turpin on the Facebook. Hmmmm…the plot, as they say, thickens. Not unlike my blood due to my skyrocketing cholesterol from too many breakfast burritos. Which might also explain my vertigo.

And finally I find this photographic evidence:

With this final clue I assume Brammo is adding a new racer to their stable. After all, you get your name on a windshield and you’re part of the team.

So we have a new Brammo rider for Laguan Seca:

Shane Turpin

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A well known and well liked rider. He is a Pro, especially at his home track at Miller Sport Park in Utah.

http://www.millermotorsportspark.com/

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Which raises the question: Will he be riding for Brammo this year at Laguna Seca AND at Miller? And maybe even more races? I don’t know any of that…yet 🙂

And when I bug Brammo enough about how my “master sleuthing” (Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch has nothing on me…except fame, fans and a really crazy long name) leads me to believe that there is a new Brammo rider being added, I get this short reply:

Shane Turpin
“Tornado Turpin # 14”
Brammo building the dream team…

Which is a bit much in marketing terms. I would have gone with a somewhat more nuanced approach, but I put it here for the readers.

Congrats to Brammo and to Shane. And I really hope I get to see him race at Miller this year. That would be cool.

http://shaneturpin.com/

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More to come…Gavin

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

Bonus:

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Wait…if having your name on the windshield makes you part of the team….

rr tank turpin

I must be on the TEAM!!! Looks pretty authentic to me…





Leaving OZ: I don’t think we’re in Ashland any more Dorothy…I mean Deanna. Oops.

3 07 2013

Brammo Blog Version 2.0, #6.

So this is the blog were Deanna and I leave the Mothership and head to Thunderhill for some racing.

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Deanna and I had a nice time in Ashland. (see yesterdays blog) Thanks Adrian for the tour of the town and heading out with us to Peerless for dinner and helping me kill at bottle of Pinot Noir. Nothing like heartburn at 3 am to make any trip extra nice.

Then came the tour of the Headquarters which was covered in the last blog.

And today we cover heading down to Willows, CA to watch Brammo race a bit at Thunderhill Raceway.

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The Track. 3 miles of Fun.

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IMG_7040Nice rolling, brown grass hills…And Wind Power.

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So first we have to find the Brammo folks. Luckily that is fairly easy as they travel with a big truck.It is a variation on the phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” They drive quietly and travel with a big truck. On second thought, I guess those two phrases are nothing alike.

At the Entrance the nice people at Thunderhill tried to charge Deanna and myself an entry fee. I told them I was with Brammo and they quickly waved me through. Fibs make Baby Buddha cry. But this was a small semi fib. A Fib-ett. A Fib-let. A demi-fib. A…ok, enough of that.

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IMG_7014Brammo claiming their space.

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IMG_7016Deanna and I parked and walked over just as both racers (Eric Bostrom and Shelina Moreda) were getting ready to take some laps.

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It was, as it always seems to be, frantic kinetic energy and then Eric was quickly on his bike and gone.

IMG_7020Or maybe he wasn’t gone….maybe he just blended in with the herd of Zebras near the track*

*(full disclosure–there are no herds of Zebras near the track)

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IMG_7021Nope, Shelina was taking her first ride on an RR!

ps… I’ve been taking “The JJ Abrahms school of Photography” where their slogan is: “No amount of Lens Flare is Too Much Lens Flare.”

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IMG_7025Eric was out first and back first. Notice the mountain bike in the background. That is an Eric Bostrom edition. Notice the helmet he is wearing. That is an Eric Bostrom edition.

A few more endorsements and he will be moving into NASCAR territory. 🙂

As for that helmet…I just might have to get one. It would look wicked with Walter White.

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IMG_7026Shelina came back and was grinning from ear to ear.

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When Shelina came back after her first ride she was bouncing around like a 4 year old who had just had 6 Otter Pops and a fist full of Pixie Sticks. She loved the ride and was chatting up a storm about the bike. I think, but I’m not sure, that she liked it. 🙂

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Then it was discussion time with the crew and the riders. I do like how the riders give instant feedback to the crew and there is a very good and interesting back and forth. A few adjustments are usually made based on the rider’s suggestions and back out they go for a few more laps.

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IMG_7028+++  IMG_7030Close up of the companies helping to make Electric Racing a mainstream event. It takes a village to change the World.

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IMG_7048Some adjustment to the second RR.

+++IMG_7046And then the TTX is brought out in new Livery.

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IMG_7045Lordy Lordy, those Icon people are not fond of subtle Livery.

+++IMG_7044A Panorama of Thunderhill’s Start/End straightway by the paddock.

+++IMG_7042Icon’s latest helmets. As I said, Icon doesn’t do subtle. I actually kinda like the blue 32 helmet, but I don’t think it would go with my jackets nor my bike. Now the black and white goes with everything…and the fluorescent yellow adds safety!! Well at least that is what I will say to justify buying yet another helmet.

And that’s Brian heading out of the truck. I want to thank him and everybody on his team. They were all so open and friendly and willing to spend time with me. Brian was also very gracious with his time and talked with me for much longer than I thought he would/could…and he is a busy man.

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IMG_7049An Empulse getting some charge at the track.

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IMG_7037 Shelina on the RR.

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Shelina back from a ride on the RR and giving her impression. Here she is talking to 2 young professional men…and one old, bent-over geezer in a Mammoth Brewery shirt.*

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*Must remember to work on my posture…in my next life. Baby Buddha told me I might come back as a Silver-back Gorilla if I’m good. But I think he was just making fun of my white beard…and back.* I’m still hoping for an Orca or Eagle or Gibbon. Mostly I want to be the top of the food chain in the Sea, or the top of the food chain in the Air, or a Gibbon. I like Gibbons and I would love to have crazy long arms.

*(I’m kidding about the white back hair. I have the back of a twelve year old…just don’t tell him I have it, he might want it….back. Gawd, a disturbing joke ending in a disturbing pun. I am a horrid human being and now Baby Buddha suggests I might come back as a tapeworm.)

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Well, I can not possibly end on that note. So I have a couple of more photos to show. This next photo shows the Brammo van parked at night outside a restaurant in Willows. You may wonder why I took this photo. It’s boring and doesn’t really mean anything. Well it doesn’t mean anything until you have a bit more context.

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So let me explain a little more. This is Friday night and the team had a long day at Thunderhill. They returned to their hotel to clean up and then all jumped in the van to go out for dinner. Deanna and I stayed at the same motel and we also ended up at the same restaurant for dinner. The thing is this: Deanna and I didn’t drive to the restaurant. Nope, we walked. Why did we walk all the way from the motel to the restaurant at night in a town we did not know? Because it was literally 100 feet or so from the motel.

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hotel-foodAnd here is a small panorama Deanna and I took on our way out the next morning. The black arrow is the Motel. The red arrow points to the restaurant that we walked, and Brammo drove, to.

When Deanna and I got to the restaurant I had to go over and give the Crew a hard time about driving (and driving a GAS van) from the motel to the restaurant.

They all laughed and told me they thought it was much further away and felt a bit sheepish.

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Next blog. I ride the Empulse from Albuquerque to Santa Fe for a Classic Motorcycle show.

Fun times.

Gavin

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

Bonus:

Information: I drive (a gas cage, 😦 ) to Gallup, New Mexico every month to do an outreach clinic and see some of our pediatric patients who live far away. Last month I passed a trailer carrying 8 Tesla S electric cars and thought, “Dang that’s cool. I bet I never see anything cooler than that again on this ride.” I was wrong. The very next month on my Gallup trip I passed the freakin’ BAT-MOBILE. Well the Bat-mobile from the 60’s TV show. I think that one is cooler than the Dark Knight one anyways. Kitsch Kounts. (I should trademark that…but I have to be Kareful not to add another K word in there.)

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IMG_7270And yes, I was driving and taking photos of the Batmobile with my iPhone. I am a bad man.

A tapeworm for sure.

Sigh.





The Mothership Connection: Beam me up Adrian.

29 06 2013

Brammo Blog Version 2.0-Number 5 

And So We Land In Ashland.

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Ok, I can not use the phrase “The Mothership Connection” without thinking of the great album by Parliament. George Clinton is totally gonna kick my ass for this:

parliamentship

and yes, shamefully i added my face into the photo.

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But (if you can manage to erase that image from your head) we move forward.

Deanna and I took a nice driving vacation this summer. Photos will be uploaded here someday when I’m less busy…like 20 years from now.

It was an amazing trip. Through Death Valley and up to Mammoth Lakes. From Mammoth to Yosemite. From Yosemite to Lake Tahoe. And then from Lake Tahoe to Crater Lake. Each stop was just perfect.

Then, after a wonderful stay at the Crater Lake Lodge, we headed home by way of Ashland, Oregon. Now Ashland is a quint little town with the famous Shakespeare Festival every summer. But on a trip of amazing National Parks it was a bit of a question as to why we stopped there.

And the reason was:

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Yes, Ashland is home to Brammo. And Brammo makes the electric motorcycles that is, mostly, the theme of this blog.

And so we had to stop. Brammo Headquarters let loose her siren song and no amount of plugging my ears or tying myself with large ropes to the car seat could keep me from her.

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So Sir Adrian* met us at the front and took Deanna and I on a tour.

*Sir Adrian was knighted in the late 90’s for his excellence in Circus work and for his efforts to rid the Isle of Man of wild Alpacas. He was, for a very short time, considered Britain’s Pied Piper.

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The tour did get off to a slow start as the staff had a bit of fun at Adrian’s expense. Knowing that Adrian always starts his tours showing off the IET manual transmission they put super glue on the top of the model. And in his left front pants pocket. You can actually see him saying, “Jesus, I will fire every last sodding one of you worthless….” softly when he realizes this.

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But after a bit we got going. First stop was the awards cabinet. Or cabinets. The awards are starting to pile up.

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And then off to the work area. I could only take photos of this side as the other side of the large work area is largely for future projects and updates to current projects.

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I’m pretty sure I got to see a few things I shouldn’t have seen. But I really don’t remember as on the way out I was given the “Men in Black treatment”.

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We did get to tour the Battery area and get a nice history. Deanna was impressed and asked more questions than I did. Of course I was still giggling about the super glue gag.

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Battery pouches. It’s kinda like Tang was for the Astronauts. Energy contained in sealed packages.

Ok, it’s nothing like Tang. I just felt like I had to say something here and panicked a bit.

ps…don’t put a straw into and then try and drink from any of these pouches. Adrian will yell at you. Don’t ask how I know this.

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After the battery tour, and Sir Adrian removing all straws and other objects from my pockets, it was off to the Assembly Line.

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Mmmmmm, tasty new Empulse Rs. Had the new bike smell…and taste. And I was yelled at again 😦

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A bird’s eye panorama of the production floor. Don’t ask how I got this photo. I pretty much assume I am never invited back to Brammo…or Ashland…or probably Oregon.

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At one side of the production floor I did spy an Empulse that was a bit different than any I’d seen. A dual sport model? Not really, but it did have big knobby tires and lots of mud all over it. So yes it would work in city and highway and off-road. But not a production version of a dual sport. Just a modded Empulse R.

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IMG_6975I did get to sit on it and flash my “East Side” gang signs for all my homies in Uptown.

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We also snuck upstairs to see the “Classic” bikes outside of Craig Bramscher’s office.

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This is the first Enertia.

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And here is a “production ready” Empulse before Brammo decided to go from a single speed to the 6 speed shifty transmission.

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It was a short but sweet visit. I got to meet a small number of the staff (see below) and they were all great. But at least half the staff was out of the office…more on that a bit later.

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Friday afternoon most of the staff will go for a ride out for lunch. Here is a group, and me, as they are heading out for pizza. 5 electrics and one on a gasser…for shame. 🙂  They asked if I wanted to go, but Deanna and I had a bit of driving to do that day to get to our next stop.

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Our next stop was in wonderful Willows, California. Home of…well I don’t think it is home of anybody famous. But it does have Thunderhill Raceway.

And, by coincidence—honest and I swear—our trip was planned long before the event at Thunderhill was announced–Brammo had their race team down at the track for some racing against gas bikes.

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On the way from Ashland to Willows we passed by Mt. Shasta. Beautiful. Just like on the soda can when I was a kid.

Because it HASTA be SHASTA!

Ah, it will rot both your teeth with it’s sugar and your mind with it’s butching of the English language.

I’m surprised they haven’t already had Arnold Schwarzenegger doing a commercial for them.

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And here is where we stop for the day.

Next is THUNDERHILL.

And then a blog about battery performance in hot weather (we are breaking records left and right here in Albuquerque this summer).

And one on my ride up to Santa Fe for a Classic Motorcycle show. Busy Busy Busy

But for now…

Take care,

Gavin

For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

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Bonus:

My Brammo swag.

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Cool Parker Racing hat with Brammo logo on sides

and

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Icon/Brammo motorcycle jacket. I sleep in this.

and nothing else….which is even scarier than the Parliament image at the start of this post.

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