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


  1. It's always nice to "work" at something you love.

    We're so glad this is working out for you.

    Jeff & Cindy Powell

  2. Why not getEric a job with Yamaha so he can have fun too?

  3. That just sounds like so much fun! To be around the thing you love all day, heaven! One question: What is Pink's?

  4. Thanks for the preview! See you in a few hours - and at Pinks.
    ( for those who aren't familiar with the IBA's annual late-night meal & tall tale fest)

  5. Thanks everyone! Eric already has a job, lol :-) Pink's is a Ride to Eat (RTE) that is held at Pink's Hot Dog Stand in Hollywood about this time every year. Riders start gathering around 10 and midnight is the hour to get your dog. It's a famous eatery in Hollywood. Just give it a Google.

  6. Excellent write-up.. I'm here at Pinks doing my 5 hours early thingy!! LOL.. It's nice to read your blog to kill some time. It'll be goo to see you again..

  7. It was great to see you Mark. Pink's was certainly a lot of big time fun!