Friday, November 14, 2014

International Motorcycle Show - Long Beach, CA - Nov. 13-14, 2014

Thursday morning at 4:00 am came much too early.  The shrill siren of the alarm clock was enough to make me jump out of bed wondering what in the world was going on.  Oh, it was just time for me to get up and get a move on.  Ugh!  But, I made a commitment so I jumped in the shower, got dressed and grabbed my bag.  My honey took me to the airport and I quickly checked in and passed through security.  It's great having the "pre-check" on my ticket.  I don't have to remove shoes or coat.  Just throw my laptop and carry-on on the conveyor belt, walk through the metal detector and I'm in!

After a short wait, I boarded the commuter plane headed for Salt Lake City for my connection.  All went well.  I had a lengthy layover in SLC so I had a nice brekkie and cup of decaf coffee.  No hurry.  I then decided to check out my gate and spied my boss and another employee waving at me.  Apparently, their flight also connected in SLC so we would all be going to Long Beach, CA on the same flight.  Nice :-)

Well, we boarded the flight to Long Beach only to sit for quite some time.  The pilot finally came over the intercom and told us there was a mechanical issue that he wanted checked before we left.  Fine....time passed.....Oh, I was in the last row on a small plane, no window, no recline, right next to the loo.  Lovely.  No place to put my carry-on as the overhead was full of safety and emergency equipment.  Oh well...the row in front of me held an infant.  Yep, it was all good :-)

Eventually, the pilot said we were to de-plane.  So off the plane we all trotted.  Hanging at the gate for a bit, we were finally told we were to get a different plane and gate.  Okay.  I headed to the new gate and waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, more than an hour later, we boarded the plane.  Same last row and seat.  The only saving grace was meeting Peter, a Yamaha rep who was sitting across the aisle from me.  Small world, his fiance, Kerri is a Facebook friend.  That made a rather unpleasant situation much more pleasant and I had a delightful conversation with Peter.  Thanks!!!

Oh, it had also started to snow so by the time we got to the runway, we had to de-ice which caused yet another delay.  Finally, we were in the air and headed to Long Beach!  Yippee!!  Upon arrival it was hurry to baggage claim, grab our bags and head out to the rental car.  All went smoothly and we ended up with four of us in the rental car.  We immediately went to the IMS venue to check things out and get stuff ready for Friday.  Today was Press Day and BMW had some new stuff to show off.  That was rather interesting.  I hung out in the background as the Press got their show from the BMW execs.  It was quite the event with several new bikes and the unveiling ceremony.  Sorry, no pictures, I couldn't really steal the Press's thunder!  After many hours of cleaning bikes, charging I-Pads, setting up displays and all the stuff necessary to have a smooth show, we were headed to our hotel.  I was pooped!  I got checked in and immediately headed to my room.  The rest of the crew arranged to go out to eat but I begged off (a common theme for me) because, well, frankly, I was tired.  I had a pleasant evening in my room and nodded off to sleep.  I knew morning would come all too soon.

My phone alarm went off and it took me forever to figure out how to turn it off!  Yeah, swipe don't poke.  Dang cell phones!  I hope I didn't wake the neighbors.  So, up and at 'em, shower, clothes, coffee....I'm ready to rock and roll.  We hit the event center at 8:00 am although the show wouldn't start until 3:00 pm.  I spent my time setting up I-Pads, cleaning bikes (cleaning bikes it the thing to do when there isn't anything else to do) and cleaning everything in sight.  We had plenty (too much) time to get everything sorted.  I actually had a bit of time to stroll through the show and snap a few pics.

The Long Beach show is like 3 times or more bigger than the Phoenix show.  Lots of exhibitors who don't do the smaller shows were here.

I can't remember what display this bike was showcased but it was also in Phoenix.  I just found it....interesting :-)
 Not far from the BMW booth was a display of mopeds that I found intriguing so I took a few pics.
 The moped Survival Bike :-)

 At the BMW booth, a Roland Sands R nineT custom was showcased. It is one hot ride with 110 HP and an 1170 CC engine.

 Kawasaki is across one aisle from us.
 Here is the new, much awaited BMW the S1000XR.  This is the only one in the US.  It was showcased last night for the press.  A cross between the R1200GS and the S1000R.  It gained a lot of attention!

 I cruised past the Indian booth and snapped a few photos.  I love this vintage bike.
 This Indian is pretty cool, too!
 I came upon the vintage sidecar bikes.

 And then the Touratech booth with their kitted out GS.

 Oh yes, the Klim booth was just getting set up.
 And, KTM had a large booth (unlike Phoenix where there was no KTM presence).
 Twisted Throttle was well represented.
 Oh my heck!  Honda had a great display of Goldwings through the ages. I really enjoyed this display.  What a long way the Goldwing has come!

 Hahahaha, for some fun, Honda painted this Grom to match the GL500.  It's a "mini" GL :-)
 Here is an Indian rat bike - entered in the best of class show.

 Yeah, the Indian rat bike went 130.227 mph :-)
 After my quick walkabout, I was back at the booth ready to greet visitors.  And not too long, here came Rich!  He's off to the Isle of Mann in August - how cool is that????
 I was busy showcasing bikes when a fellow came up to me and said hi!  Well, hi back.  He called me by name and shook my hand.  Well, that's cool.  Do I know you?  Hahahaha.  He introduced himself as Kerry and a friend of Rick Martin.  Okay, that made everything super cool and fun :-)  So, here is a pic of Kerry and me.  Kerry is a rep for Yamaha (as if you couldn't tell).
 And later in the day Greg M. showed up at the booth!  Photo op :-)
 Greg has been taking folks out on demo rides with Yamaha.
So, even though I had a big day of travel and work yesterday and another big day of work and show today, I still had a marvelous time.  Things got really busy when the show opened at 3:00 pm and I was pretty much showcasing bikes the entire show until 8:00 pm.  I had a ton of fun meeting new peeps and discussing bikes, rides and motorcycle related stuff.  Yup, it was fun.  Yup, my feet were killing me again!  Yesterday I wore some new shoes that worked pretty well, but to break things up, today I wore my old shoes.  By the end of the day, I was hobbling around like a goblin :-)

I had taken another pair of shoes but honestly, no time to sit down and change them out.  Tomorrow I'll wear the other pair and take along the old ones.  Hopefully I'll manage to stay on my feet :-)

There was so much going on at the show and I didn't even begin to get enough pictures to give you a good overview.  Regardless, it was awesome!  What's not to like?  I'm hanging out with BMW motorcycles, chatting with people who love motorcycles and  showcasing fun bikes.  Yes, it is a good gig :-)

More tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to the show and then going to Pink's to meet up with a bunch of LD riders.  It should be fantastic, even if I have to crawl on my knees!

Cheers to all.  Check in tomorrow (well, actually Pink's will be a late night so I probably won't get a chance to blog - so maybe the next day!).  Thanks for following my blog.

Cletha in Long Beach, CA

Sunday, November 9, 2014

International Motorcycle Show - Phoenix - November 9, 2014

Last day of the show.  After a good, long sleep (I begged off dinner with the crew again last night, I'm a party pooper!) I felt pretty good.  My feet had the rest they needed and I was ready for the day. The team met up around 9:00 am and we headed over to the event center.

I hadn't really been through the entire show so I took a few minutes to grab some photos of something other than the BMW booth.  At the far back corner was a booth of vintage bikes.  Of course, these pics don't even begin to to it justice but I snapped a few anyway.

 Along all the aisles were custom bikes that were entered into a "Best of Show" contest with various categories.  I managed to get a few photos.

 Then it was time to get to our booth and set everything up for the event.  After Friday and Saturday, I felt a bit more confident on what to do and jumped right in getting things set up.  Each group of bikes has an I-Pad station giving specs and details on that group of bikes.  So, my first task was to get the I-Pad stations set up and running.  (Hahahahaha, I am so not a techie!)  All went smoothly and then off to check the static displays, set out catalogs and brochures and put on my smile :-)  Fortunately, last night I had polished the bikes so I didn't have to do that this morning.  Lessons learned :-)

The doors opened promptly at 10:00 am and the crowd rushed in.   It wasn't too long after opening that I had a visitor!  The lovely Karen Van Santen :-)  I got her to pose on that sexy R Nine T, retro cafe racer style bike that everyone loves to throw a leg over.  I think Karen looks awesome on this bike!
 And then, while I was showing Karen the great BMW Scooter options, who should appear but Marc Beaulac.  Hahaha, see that I-Pad in my arm?  First time EVER I've touched an I-Pad.  This is my new work tool and after an hour or so I was hooked!
 Roger Van Santen was kind enough to snap a pic of Karen, Marc and me checking out the scooter.  Which, by the way, is a very fine machine!
 It was a busy day and time flew by.  I was using the I-Pad to pull up the specs on whatever bike I was showcasing at the time and that worked wonderfully!  Before long, I was an I-Pad addict :-)  One of our goals was to obtain contact information on potential buyers for follow-up by the dealers.  Yesterday, my first day with the I-Pad, I didn't get a single lead but today, oh boy, I rocked it!!!  Thanks to Roger and Karen and Marc who broke the ice and gave me some leads I then felt comfortable approaching folks and getting them signed up!  Yippee!

I was constantly busy, talking to folks, showcasing bikes and generating leads I didn't realize it was way past lunch time.  I took a break around 2:00 pm for some much needed food.  Here are some of the choices.

I decided to go for a slice of pizza.  Yesterday's burger was AWFUL.  I got a slice of pepperoni pizza and a bottle of water and sought a quiet place to sit down and eat (and give my poor tootsies a rest).  Fortunately I found just the spot and sat opposite a fellow from the Arizona Rides program, the AZ motorcycle training program.  I visited with Vic while I chowed down and had a delightful lunch and swapped good riding stories.  Surprisingly, the pizza was pretty good, or maybe it was just the fact that I hadn't had any food but a muffin since 7:00 am :-)

The afternoon was pretty much a repeat of the morning.  Lots of folks stopping by to check out the bikes.  I actually spent some time on the other side of the booth and showed off the R1200RT and the K1600GT series.  The more I look at and show off the R1200RT, the more I'm liking that bike!

So, I had some good learning experiences, made a few mistakes and had a lot of fun with the peeps checking out the bikes.  What's not to like?  I'm surrounded by motorcycles and people who love motorcycles.  It's all good :-)  Yup, it's really good (except for my feet, hahahahha!).

No poopy issues today.  Actually, nothing bad or icky today at all.  I had a few rather strange folks but heck, that just makes life a little more interesting.  Before I knew it, the show was over.  Well, it was over for the visitors but it wasn't over for the crew.  Now it was tear down time.

My first task was to take down the I-Pad stations and then the static displays and pack up all that stuff.  While the team was busy doing that, the union folks came in and started taking down the booth.  It came down quickly!  The whole area was a bustle of activity.  Lots of forklifts beeping and stuff being moved around.

 Then it was time to move the bikes off the floor and onto the semi trailer.  I wasn't real comfortable with that so the guys mostly took care of moving the motorcycles.

I was amazed at how quickly and efficiently everything went for the tear down.  Almost like a ballet.  Dang, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen would have been the perfect music as the tear down show progressed!

Yeah, I know, lousy pictures but here is a shot of loading the semi trailer.  It has two stories and the order of loading the bikes is very important so they all fit without rubbing against each other.  Our truck driver, Mike, knows what he is doing and he conducted the loading while our stronger teammates provided the muscle to run the bikes up the ramp and into the trailer.

It took a bit of time to get everything loaded.  Meanwhile, back at the booth which was quickly being dismantled, I took on the task of gathering the odd bits and pieces and packing them up.  The show ended at 5:00 pm and we were finished with the tear down and packing by 7:30 pm.  Ooohhhh, I was tired :-)

Finally, back to the hotel and into my room where I immediately took off those damn shoes and socks and slipped into my flip flops.  I LOVE my flip flops :-)

It was a good day for me.  I was much more confident (even if I told folks the K1600GTL Exclusive had reverse when it doesn't (hahahahahahahaha - I'll laugh about that for a LONG time!).

I ventured out of my comfort zone and showcased some bikes I knew nothing about - but I learned a lot.  I had fun meeting folks and encouraging them to throw a leg over a bike.  I'm still a GS girl but appreciate the Sport, Roadster and Touring bikes.

So, that's pretty much it folks.  I fly home tomorrow and have two days off before heading to Long Beach, CA for another show.  I'm told that the Long Beach show is one of the bigger shows with a ton more people.  I'm glad I had the Phoenix show to dip my toe in the water, get some training and gain a bit of confidence.

I want to give a big shout out of thanks to you peeps who gave me advice and insight on dealing with some of my issues.  You've been a great source of information and support and that means a lot to me.  Sincere thanks.

I also want to tell you all how much I appreciate that you bother to read my silliness :-)  That makes it fun for me to write this blog.

Off to bed for me.  I'll be home tomorrow evening and am so looking forward to seeing my honey and spending some quality time together.  This has been a great adventure and we'll see what next week brings!

Cheers to all,