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Planning, prep and packing for a month-long adventure

There is SO much to write about! I can’t believe it’s mid-August already, approaching late August.  Where has the summer gone?  A good part of it has been eaten up with a new job.  I’ve been in my new position for three plus months.  Just brought someone on board two weeks ago and have been working hard on getting her up to speed to cover for me while I’m out for a month.

I can’t believe that I’m leaving in  just four weeks.  Gregg and I had planned on meeting up with Tumu Rock at the end of September in northern Mexico at the conclusion of the Baja Rally (  At some point in the past few weeks it became apparent that Tumu didn’t have any support crew for the rally and might need a hand.  Namely someone to drive his rig from stage to stage so at the end of the day his truck and trailer would be there for repairs, oil changes, tire changes and his sleeping set up would be ready for him.  So Gregg and I talked about it and agreed it would be fun (and an adventure) to drive to San Diego in his truck with our dirt bikes and camping gear loaded in the bed, park the truck, unload the bikes, hop on and ride down to Ensenada and load our bikes into Tumu’s trailer and serve as support crew.

Tumu's racing team logo

Tumu’s racing team logo

And so Gregg has become Team Motohawk Racing Crew Chief and Team Photographer and I Chief of Logistics and Assistant Photographer.  Turns out another New England racer, Doug Chapman is already riding in the rally and we’ll be supporting both of them.  My first assignment in the Logistics department was finding a place to park Gregg’s truck for a month while we’re off adventuring south of the border.  My former research co-worker from 1986 when I worked in San Diego now runs an orchid farm.  Yes, I’ve actually stayed in touch with this guy for all these years.  But, alas, Andy couldn’t help us.  So I was looking at the Baja Rally website and realize that I might try one of the sponsors.  So I called up a big race sponsor in Escondido, explained the situation and they have graciously agreed to allow us to park the truck for a month.

So – here’s the plan.  I need to pick up the KLX250 from the local shop where it was getting it’s once over pre-ride tech inspection, oil/filter change, check air filter and to replace all the things I’ve recently broken on it … including a fork guard, mirror mount, radiator screen, etc.  The new DirtBagz racks and bags arrived today and I plan to get them mounted on Sunday with some help from Bill H.

I will get Mexican riding and liability insurance and medical evacuation insurance.  I will pack and take a shakedown right to the early September Guzzi rally up in Skowhegan, ME.  And then on September 19th after work Gregg will come by the office and pick me up and we’ll drive straight through to Escondido.  Perhaps stopping in Colorado at my best friend’s house for a meal, shower and perhaps some sleep before continuing on to California.  Get to southern CA by the 22nd or early on the 23rd.  Park the truck and ride to Ensenada and rendezvous with Tumu and Doug.

According to their website:

The BAJA RALLY is the first and only “road-book” navigation-based rally raid for motorcycles only In Baja CA, Mexico. Taking place over 5 days in September (24-28), the BAJA RALLY features 4 days of off-road rally motorcycle racing over 800 miles of timed special stages and non-timed transfer stages. Likened to a traveling, cultural human experience, the rapidly growing BAJA RALLY 2.0 is the closest thing to the Dakar Rally to take place in North America.


Almost May!

Hard to believe that’s almost May.  It’s been a slow start to Spring.  Here in Maine we have what’s known as “Mud Season.”  It happens while the snow is melting and as the frost is working itself out of the ground.  It’s exacerbated when the temperature warm up so precip comes in liquid form.  It can make for some fairly deep ruts in my very long, dirt driveway – between the oil delivery and UPS guy I have some pretty serious ruts.

I really should have walked the area in front of the barn before I took Margarita out for her first exercise session.  When I didn’t I ended up taking  a “soil sample.”  Luckily for me I’ve learned a thing or two. I immediately turned her off, said “Oops-a-daisy” and then took out my phone and first took this picture and THEN texted a neighbor for a hand in getting her upright again so I could take her in to get her inspection sticker for the year.

You've heard of "soil samples" - this is a "mud sample"

You’ve heard of “soil samples” – this is a “mud sample”

I also got the KLX stickered and then tootled around town on a sunny but very breezy afternoon.  I headed down to Bremen to visit my friends Jacqueline & Roger, but they weren’t home so I went next door to their neighbors Rosie & Orville and to meet their new son Jack.

Out and about in my home town

Out and about in my home town

They had some friends visiting and the three year old Hunter wanted to sit on my bike.  I loved that he insisted on wearing my helmet as his Dad put him on the seat.  Never too early to get into the ATGATT habit!

Never too early to impress the importance of ATGATT

Never too early to impress the importance of ATGATT

Easter turned out to be a gorgeous day so I took the big bike out and ended up in my old neighborhood and visited my neighbors Anne, Norm and Regina.  Luckily for my Regina didn’t mind that I look like a yellow Power Ranger.  Hard for me to believe that I was there neighbor 20 years ago!

Getting an Easter hug from Regina after my visit

Easter hug from Regina after my visit

Me out on my Easter ride

Me out on my Easter ride

After Easter I went for a short ride with the wife of a guy I met while serving on the Steering Committee for the Maine Dual-Sport and Dirt Bike Riders Association.  Jessica is a fairly new rider but confident and a great gal.  She and James have young kids so they can’t really ride together so I love that I get to ride with her while he’s home with their kids.  Turns out she and I have a lot in common, including backgrounds in marine science and knowing the same folks.  Including one who now lives in New Zealand.

First ride with Jessica

First ride with Jessica

It was a pretty chilly day when Jessica and I took our afternoon ride.  I took her from Bowdoin, down the Cathance Road to Rusty’s for a bio-break stop and then into Brunswick and down Pleasant Hill Road into South Freeport. Harraseeket Lunch was unfortunately closed, so we stopped in at Buck’s Naked BBQ for a cup of coffee and some pie.  While we were sitting there eating the couple behind us got up to leave and they said, “We know you’re not snowmobiling but we were wondering if perhaps you’re firemen?”  We both got a really big laugh at that one.  I’ve heard a lot of silly things while out riding in my gear, but that was a first!

The other big news for April is that I gave notice at my job and will be starting a new one on Monday, May 5th.  AND I’m taking my first day on the new job as a vacation day to take the Margarita to Fishtail Racing School’s Track Day!!  I also negotiated as part of my new job my month off this Fall for the ride to Mexico with Gregg.

Last weekend Gregg and I met up with the Tory Hill Gang and then proceeded to Saco to have a planning session with Dean. Dean’s brother lives in AZ and we’re planning on trucking out our dirt bikes and possibly riding through Death Valley to Camino del Diablo and Copper Canyon.  Stay tuned …

Additionally, Jill came by last night and took the Honda for a test ride and left me a hefty deposit.  Looks as though she’s buying the Shadow, thus giving me the funds to buy the KLX from Gregg and getting back down to two bikes.  Just as Jill and I were pulling back into the driveway following her test ride Tara showed up on her Yamaha.  She’s already ridden her bike to work this year.  Her bike needs a new instrument light so we rode over Bill H’s so he could took a look at her bike.  We were both chilled by the time got back to our places.  Lucky for me I have a hot tub that I’d turned up before I left the house.

Tara rode her Yamaha Radian to work

Tara rode her Yamaha Radian to work

The new office I’ll be working out of is rumored to have “jean casual Fridays” so maybe I can ride to work on Fridays?






2014 riding season has begun … at least for me

Okay, so perhaps the fact that I had an early release from work on Wednesday and then had all day yesterday off as a “snow day” might indicate that my riding season isn’t yet in full swing.  BUT, and here’s the proverbial big but …. I did just register the bikes online through Maine’s nifty’s “Rapid Renew” program.

Their 2014 registrations will be in the mail to me on Monday and will more likely than not be in my mailbox by Wednesday.

Now – if all the salt, sand and snow/ice were off the roads by then it truly would be the start of the 2014 riding season for me!  I am oh-so-ready to ride.

Planning the 2014 ride

I just requested approval to be out of the office from September 20th until October 19th! Gregg and I have started talking about trailering our bikes and hopping in his truck on the afternoon on September 19th when I get out of work and tag-team driving somewhere in the Southwest.  Probably to Dean’s brother’s house in AZ. Leaving the truck and trailer, unloading the bikes and our gear and taking a serious ride around AZ and into Mexico for 15 days.  Then trailering up to Moab, UT and riding out there for 10 days before heading east again so I can starting riding my desk again on October 20th.