Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Phoenix Bike Week - Day 6 & 7 - That's a Wrap!

Sunday morning was gloomy...the skies were dark and before long it began to rain.  Yuck!  And, I wasn't feeling particularly perky.  After a quick call to Barry at the Maximal Tours Booth, we decided to not attend the last day of Phoenix Bike Week.  Barry said it was wet, cold and dead. This is what it looked like.
 Yeah, not pretty and basically, nobody there except the vendors who didn't want to be there!
We ended up spending the day lounging around while it rained outside and later that evening, our friends Marc and Dee Beaulac, picked us up at our motel and we all went out for Mexican dinner.  Yummy!  We had a delightful evening and spent quite a bit of time after dinner just yakking away.  Nice :-)

Monday morning we leisurely packed the bikes, had some motel brekkie and headed out of Phoenix toward Flagstaff.  Our return route mimicked our route to Phoenix.  We fueled up before we left Phoenix and then again in Flagstaff.  Oh, it got cold, brrrrrrrrrr, as we climbed into the mountains before Flagstaff.  We made a brief stop to zip up our gear vents and when we stopped in Flagstaff, I dug out my heated jacket and plugged in.  Of course, I knew as soon as we got out of Flagstaff and down to lower elevations it would warm up.  I ended up keeping the jacket on the rest of the day and was quite comfortable.

We did get a few sprinkles but no significant rain, yippee!  I had brand spanking new pair of BMW waterproof gloves (to replace the pair I wore out) and I slipped them on.  Hahaha, new gloves - bulky and not yet broken in.  I laughed at myself because I couldn't really feel the clutch or the signal buttons.  Guess it will take a few rides to get them all soft and pliable!

Our ride was uneventful in a good kind of way.  Very little traffic and after Flagstaff, the weather was delightful.  We made another fuel stop at Marble Canyon, AZ which is just west of Navajo Bridge.  Who knew, the Dominguez y Escalante Expedition came through here.

 You can read a bit of the history here:  http://ilovehistory.utah.gov/time/stories/escalante.html

Marble Canyon has a small Chevron service station and convenience store.  It had absolutely, hands down, the cleanest public restroom I have ever used!  Spotless!  I complimented the clerk because I was truly impressed!
We spent about 15 minutes here, having a snack, fueling up and gazing around.  It is a beautiful area.

The next two pictures are pointed west.

 And here, pointed east.
 We remounted our steel steeds for the last leg home.  We arrived safe and sound around 7:00 pm.  It was nice to be home again!

I enjoyed my Phoenix Bike Week experience.  Especially hanging out with Max and Barry of Maximal Tours (and of course, my honey).  While at the event, it was non-stop gawking at people and machines.  Sometimes, a bit overwhelming!  I got to hang with the Hell's Angels and the sex product gals.  Not my normal company, but heck, every once in a while you gotta step outside the box, eh?

So, folks, that's a wrap for my Phoenix Bike Week with 1,045 miles logged on the bike.  I'm less than 2,000 miles from turning 100,000 on my little F650GS sewing machine.  I'll try to keep watch and hopefully catch a picture when the odo clicks!

Stay tuned for more blogs because next month we'll be headed north to Bonner's Ferry, Idaho for the Spring Shoot 'Em Up and you won't want to miss it.

Thanks for following along.  I sure enjoy your comments.

And, consider doing a tour with Maximal Tours.  I'll come along for the ride with you, take pics and give you a starring role in my blog!  http://maximal-tours.com/usa/?noredirect=en_GB.

Cheers,
Cletha




Saturday, April 9, 2016

Phoenix Bike Week - Day 5

Can you believe it?  Day 5 already.  Tomorrow, Sunday will be the last day and then we head home on Monday.  Which way we go will depend on our mood and the weather.  We don't have to be home until Wednesday, so we will see!

Now, Day 5.  Our commute this morning was a breeze and we made it to the venue within a reasonable amount of time.  The parking lot attendants tried to make us park in the bike parking area but we just shouted "Vendor" and rode on to the place we've been parking all week.  Just outside the gate and a quick jaunt to our booth.  Yippee!

It was a significantly different crowd today.  More "normal" looking people and the Maximal Tours booth had it's busy moments.  There were still plenty of interesting people to watch!

Eric and I walked out to our bikes for some water and as we walked by the Jack Daniels booth it was cordoned off and this is what we saw!  A swarm of bees decided to take up residence and shut down the JD Distillery Tour trailer.  Wow!  I've never seen this before.  Here is the close-up thanks to the zoom on my little point and shoot camera.
 And here is the actual view from our vantage point.  Yikes!!!
 Eventually, they were able to subdue to bees with some kind of spray and the JD folks were able to re-open their display.  We even had a JD Vice President come to our booth and chat about tours for quite a while. He was a really nice dude, looking for a retirement ride in the next year or two.

Here are just some random pics of the event.  We had purchased a nice hard pack ice cream cone and I snapped some pics as we walked around slurping our ice cream :-)
 Lots of food options.  However, an ice cream was $6 and a gourmet hotdog was $12.  Better have your money belt on if you wanted to eat.  Oh, the cheap beer was $6 and I have no idea what the pricier booze cost.
 Go AZ was there with a nice booth.
 More random shots...

 Today was the bike show with all the custom bikes competing for a trophy.  It was fun to walk through and see all the different bikes.

 And then, remember?  I told you about the dirt bike jumper boys?  Well here they are!
 Yeah, those are his feet in the air!
 The landing....

 And then, back at our booth, we spotted this big, no giant, pink boob.  I kept trying to get a decent photo but peeps kept getting in the way or the gal wouldn't turn the right direction.
 Oh, there you go. And, believe me, this was tame compared to what we saw yesterday.  I'm such a naive delicate flower :-)
 Hey, a gal on her pinked and blinged out Harley!
 Ooops, boobie gal again!  Jeez, I saw so many big boobs in bustiers I almost felt I should go buy a pair!
 A very cool HD with sidecar.  This guy was all over the show in his wheel chair and then he rides out of the venue in this!  How awesome.
 Eric and Barry very busy in the Maximal Tours booth!
 One of the jumper dudes.  He was surrounded by young, twenty something gals :-)
 Oh, the gal in red, what a look.  The sides of her head were shaved and she had two little pony tails on the top of her head.  That and leather pants, halter top and clunky boots.  She was rockin' the look.

 These three were all sporting unique looks!
So, that's it for pictures today.  However, I had a very unique moment today.  One that I'm sure will never, ever be repeated.  Remember, I told you we had the Hell's Angels on one side?  Well, today was Scotty's birthday and they surprised him with a cake.  I joined them to sing Happy Birthday and later had a nice conversation with Scotty.  Huh?  Me hanging out with the HA?  Hahahahha.  That one goes in the memory book!  No pics because I learned that was verbotten!  So, the pics I got the other day were all in stealth mode ;-)

I also learned that the "Punishers" are Law Enforcement gangs, if you will.  I posted their picture yesterday.  Seems there were quite a number of LEO groups at the show which slowed down the HA sales.  Interesting dynamics.  Gosh, what I've learned this week!  Oh, also, yesterday the police came down our street with the bomb sniffing dog.  Honestly, they did a double walk by the HA booth!

All in all, it was a great day.  We had lots of interaction with folks seemingly interested in taking a European Tour.  I met a ton of peeps from all walks of life, saw lots of different styles and got sunburned feet.  It was a great day.  Tomorrow, I may have to wear my Sidi Adventure Rain boots cause, man, my feet are hot (red). 

Our ride home was pleasant with no real traffic to worry about, hooray!  We ordered Papa John's pizza, pigged out and now I'm ready for bed!

Thanks for following along on this very different journey with me.  Jeez, if I were a Deadhead I would say "What a long strange trip it's been."

Cheers and more tomorrow,
Cletha

Friday, April 8, 2016

Phoenix Bike Week - Day 4

We totally intended to be at the show by noon.  However, that was not going to happen.  After filling up our gas tanks, we headed down the road and hopped on I 101 for the 25 mile ride to the venue.  We saw a few electronic signs over the freeway that said I 101 was closed down the road.  Really?  They close down the freeway?  Apparently there was a big wreck somewhere down the highway.  So, cones gradually closed down lanes starting on the left.  Eventually we were forced to take an exit and use the surface streets to get to our destination.  Well, all the freeway traffic was now on the surface streets just like us and it was a nightmare!!!!  What should have been an easy, peasy ride turned out to be a LOT of super slow riding, stopping, starting, clutching, braking and watching out for the cagers that didn't seem to see us.  Of course, I got hot, too.  It was with a great sigh of relief when we made our destination, parked the bikes and shed the gear.  I think we ended up taking about 2 hours to get there from our hotel.

Today was definitely busier than yesterday.  Man, what great people watching.  Not too long after our arrival, this guy shows us to harass us.  Yup, the mighty Bob Still in real life :-)  We had a delightful visit with Bob.


There were lots of Motorcycle "Clubs" mingling about.

 They had a dirt bike show where the guys were jumping the bikes and doing tricks.  It was pretty awesome but kind of made my stomach lurch as I was certain they were going to crash.  They put on the show several times throughout the day and always drew a big crowd.
 Since we are at a motorcycle show, I thought I'd throw in a few pictures of motorcycles :-)
 No, this isn't a motorcycle, but it is a motorcycle themed custom paint job on a Ford F150.

 Lots of this style bike on display.

 A random view of "our" street.  Big storm cells were all around us for a good part of the afternoon but we got lucky and didn't get rained on.  Some pretty serious wind gusts had us scrambling to hold things down.

These custom helmets were um, ah, interesting.  Yeah, that's it, interesting.



Somehow, I don't think these will catch on with the crowd I ride with.

We did actually engage a number of people today regarding bike tours and I expect tomorrow will be even busier.  We managed to get back to the hotel without issue and now I'm ready for bed.

Thanks for following my blog!

Cheers,
Cletha




Thursday, April 7, 2016

Phoenix Bike Week - Day 3

Before I enthrall you with today's adventures, I have to back up a bit and regale you with the things I forgot to say yesterday :-)

Our ride to the venue yesterday, (just like today), was uneventful and stress free, especially since we had pre-ridden the route the day before.  However, our trip back to the motel yesterday was, hmmm.....spectacularly horrible!  We left the venue just about 5:00 pm (dumb move) and the traffic was so intense.  We left the venue and rode maybe three blocks before merging onto the 101 freeway.  OMG, the 101 was packed.  On ramps were all metered.  Our turn came to merge onto the freeway and we immediately made a beeline to the HOV lane.  Now, the HOV lane was moving along nicely, a bit faster than I would like (maybe 75 and the speed limit was 65) but moving.  Great, I'm okay with that.  But, the traffic was horrendous!  All five lanes were packed with many peeps making stupid moves. You know, all of a sudden everyone hits their brakes.  Why??? (sympathetic braking), No reason, no wrecks, no cops, no nothing but they all stomp on the brakes!  Gack!!!  I hated it!!  And, it was HOT and the traffic was horrible, (so like, normal Phoenix traffic).  I was so excited to see our exit coming up.  We live at a place that really doesn't have traffic and I am not used to it and I really hate it!  You have to be so constantly on guard.  People do stupid things, (duh like always!!
!). (Note:  I so admire you folks who tackle this daily - not me - not ever!)

We slept in a bit and made it to the hotel brekkie by 9:00am.  A bit nicer than the brekkie in Flagstaff, we actually had some fresh scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits & gravy, yogurt, cherry Danish, cereal, fruit and waffles.  No, I didn't eat all of that but that was the selection :-)

We didn't have to be at the venue until noon so we just hung out in the room for a few hours before gearing up to ride to the venue.  Now this was going to be interesting.  There really wasn't any place at the venue to change clothes but I refuse to ride without all the gear, all the time.  So how to handle this?  I didn't want to spend all day at the venue in riding gear - heck - it was hot out.  The issue was how to wear comfortable clothes at the venue and still wear ATGATT for the ride there and back - about 30 miles each way.

I ended up wearing capris and a tee shirt and pulled my riding pants over the capris,(valet helped with socks, pulling capri pants down, boots, etc.),  pulled on socks and my Sidi riding boots.  Put on my jacket, helmet and gloves.  Before leaving the motel, I emptied one side pannier and my top box and stuffed my flip flops in the top case along with my little butt bag that held my ID, credit cards, money, etc.  Arrived at the venue and proceeded to remove the outer layer.  This was very comical as I had to try and balance on one foot while pulling the pants down (after removing the boot) step out of the pants and try to not get my foot in the sand parking lot.  I eventually, got the outer layer off and my flip flops on.  Locked up all the bags and was ready to rock and roll.

Yippee!  Comfortable clothes and a bit cooler weather, all was good.  We arrived at the Maximal Tours booth around 12:30 and met up with Max and Barry.  We were ready for the day!

It turned out to be a pretty slow day. (Que understatement machine), not a lot of peeps.  However, the people watching was to the level of Walmart.  Unfortunately, my camera batteries died and my spare batteries were back at the hotel :-(

Oh, speaking about peep watching, I only saw one, yes one, person who had on decent gear like boots, helmet, and armored jacket.  He was wearing jeans but maybe they were riding jeans, I don't know.

My biggest surprise being here in Phoenix, is the total lack of riding gear.  These peeps wear tank tops, shorts and flip flops when riding.  I bet a bazillion bucks that Eric and I were the only peeps wearing ATGATT.  People looked at us like we were from a different planet!  And I looked at them the same way.  I simply cannot imagine riding a bike without all the gear, period!!!!!

More about that later...

So, at the venue, very slow and few people and my camera batteries about dead doesn't make for a fun filled, exciting day or blog, hahahaha.  On the other hand, Barry, Max, Eric and I had lots of time to get to know each other :-)

Eric and I took a bit of a stroll around our local booth area.  Nothing exciting, just the usual patches, stickers, cheap leather goods, Tee-shirts, etc.  Maybe tomorrow, (I now have fresh batteries) I can find something fun to photograph.

Regardless, from our booth perspective, here is what we have.  Directly across from us is the Drive By Photos.  There are several entrances to the venue where photographers are snapping away and you can go to this booth, find your picture based on the time you came in and buy your photo.  What a gig!  These folks are getting $24.00 for an 8x10 picture!  And....people are buying...a lot of them!  We found our pics but didn't buy, hahahaha.

 Nothing spectacular about this photo, I was just snapping pics on the phone (since the camera died) so I wasn't so obvious when I took the pics I really wanted to take (down below).
 So, the pics I really wanted to take were of the 81 booth.  Why?  Because it was the Hell's Angels booth.  Yes, really.  They were selling tee shirts, hats, and other stuff that was all labeled 81 or 81 Supporter.  Me, being who I am, asked them what that was all about.  Duh, 81 means the 8th and first letters of the alphabet - HA - Hell's Angels.  Apparently, if you are not a member, you cannot wear anything that says Hell's Angels.  But you can be a supporter and purchase stuff that promotes "81".  Interesting, huh?   I didn't want to offend them by taking pictures without their okay.  Heck, we're neighbors after all.  Yup, we have Hell's Angels on one side and...

 Sex products on the other side!
What a combo, eh?  Both booths are staffed with very nice folks.  But, it is really weird!  Our booth, Maximal Tours is very "normal" and on each side we have "out there" peeps.  Makes life interesting :-)

We left the venue about 6:00 pm. Getting geared up was quite the spectacle, I'm sure.  I managed to get my pants on over the capris but socks and boots--- no --- that wasn't going to happen.  My honey,(Cletha's Valet), was such a sweetheart.  He got my socks on my feet (hey, I was balancing on the gravel parking area) and helped me get the boots on and my pants zipped and snapped.  Yay!  I managed to get the jacket, helmet and gloves on by myself, no problem :-)

I was so delighted to find that the traffic on the way back to our motel was moderate and not too crazy, (so like normal Pho after 5pm traffic).  The only craziness was the -motorcycles- in the HOV lane.  I think they were folks leaving the venue and boy, were they crazy!  Riding like fools - no gear = no fear. and I'm sure several of them were a bit boozed up, (Miller lite, eh!).  Riding way to fast and weaving in and out with no signals.  Gosh, I HATE that.  No wonder bikers get a bad reputation.  If the bike riders in AZ are a sample of bikers in general, then no surprise riders get a negative reputation.

However, we landed safely at our motel.  Spent twenty minutes or so talking to some other riders from Missouri, (Cool Hoka Hey rider and his friend), and finally got into our room for a cocktail or two before dinner. (Day 2 for the QT dinner).

So that was pretty much the excitement for today.  I suspect the next few days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be busier.  I have fresh batteries for the camera and promise to take more pictures (for you Peeps of Walmart enthusiasts).

And, just to throw it out there, if any of you are interested in a fantastic tour of Ireland, Scotland, Alps or pretty much anywhere, (really!), Maximal Tours might be just right for you!  Heck, if you decide to do one of the tours, I'll come along and blog for you!

Cheers and thanks for following my blog,

Cletha


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Phoenix Bike Week - Day 2

We woke up to a beautiful but very chilly day.  However, since we only had about 150 miles to our next destination, we weren't in any hurry.  Breakfast was kind of dismal, your choice of Raisin Bran, Fruit Loops or packaged oatmeal were the cereal choices.  White bread toast, mini blueberry muffins, boiled eggs and yogurt.  Well, I had a big 'ol bowl of Fruit Loops :-) along with a mini muffin and a peach yogurt.  I felt stuffed the entire day.  I'm not used to eating so many carbs (lately) and it made me feel plumped!

Check out time was 11:00 am and that was our goal since our next destination was so close we saw no need to ride in the cold.  We were hoping it would warm up before we left.  I geared up and put on my heated jacket (it was still chilly) and hit the highway pretty much at 11:00 sharp and headed south on I-17.  No pretty, winding, two laners today.  Although, I-17 out of Flagstaff is really pretty spectacular on its own.  Traffic was light and we were making good time, not that we were in a hurry!  About 30 miles out of Flagstaff I told Eric to take the next rest stop exit, which we did.  I couldn't get that gear off quick enough!  It had gone from mid-50's to 80 something in that short amount of time!  Amazing what dropping 2500 feet will do!

We spent maybe 20 minutes at the rest stop, changing out gear, checking emails, blah, blah, blah.  Oh, I did take a few pictures :-)

 Don't you just love it when you see a sign like this?  Not....  We stayed on the paths and didn't encounter any wild snakes, bugs, or even peeps :-)


 It was  very nice, clean, tidy rest stop.  After a bit, we lost the cold weather gear and zipped open the vents on our jackets & pants and rode on!

The temperatures got higher and higher and higher.  Oh my!!! Super hot! It's like 100 plus!  I was so happy when we rolled into our hotel for the next several nights.  Here it is, the Best Westie in Sun City.


 We secured our room and cooled down.  Then, did the Mapquest thing to find out where the venue was.  After a quick cool down in the room, we geared back up for the ride to WestWorld where all the stuff was happening.  As we rolled into the venue, we passed the general parking and on to the Vendor Check in Area.   Hahahha,  I have a silver tongue sometimes and this was one of those times!  I told the check in dude that we were here with MAXimal Tours and we would only be here for a few hours...where could we park that was safe for the bikes?   Well,  they let us park right there!  Right next to the gate and in a very safe (for the bikes) place.

I then called Barry, my contact, and met up at the gate after securing our bikes.  Barry took us to the booth and introduced us to Max, the leader of the pack, the dude who actually leads the tours that we would be promoting.  Oh, good stuff!!!!

So, we eventually found the MAXimal Tours booth!  Here we are ready to learn, share and enlighten others on the fun MAXimal tours to Ireland, Scotland and the Alps! 

 The MAXimal Tours booth with Barry, Max, (back in the shadows) & Eric
 Sorry Barry,, not your best side :-) ]

                                                            ^^^^^ Here's Max! ^^^^^^


We are official!




After spending some time with Max and Barry learning more about MAXimal Tours and what they expected during the event, (and catching glimpses of the motocross stunters jumping next door), we headed back to the Best Western for some R&R and a pleasant winding down for the day.  The BikeFest doesn't kick off until noon on Thursday, so we can sleep in and enjoy the free buffet breakfast at the BW in the morning before heading back over to WestWorld and the MAXimal Tours booth.  It should prove to be an interesting time with lots of good people watching while helping out at the show.

All for this evening,

More tomorrow!

Cheers

Cletha