Wednesday, 7 December 2011
This year work has never really got going. The situation in the UK is not good at the moment with the building industry on its last legs.
Normally Jan-Feb is my 'other job' time, but this year it has come early.
By pure chance I came across a great little job as Santa for a month.
I love kids and have always said I would be a santa when I got older..... not this old but really old.
Right through to the 24th December I will put on the suit and be Father Christmas for a few hours a day. Brilliant fun and though the beard itches like hell, that's another bucket lister to cross off.
Ho ho ho !
Have a fantastic Christmas and lets hope 2012 is a better year for everyone.
PS: follow me on www.twitter.com/road2manchester and www.facebook.com/roadtomanchester
Monday, 21 November 2011
Saturday, 5 November 2011
Monday, 31 October 2011
It's a costly affair with entry fees, parking and 90 miles each way. last years show was just about ruined by heavy snow, so maybe this time it might get busy. I will probably turn up like a dud battery, I need some winter gloves anyway, and often there are some bargains to be searched out.
I have been having word a with the new North West Blood Bikes, a charity (in the making), that rushes about the country with supplies of donated blood and baby milk, for free, 24-7. Aimed at the health service and hospitals, Breast Milk banks etc, they do it for nothing, and even pay their own fuel (for now).
Find them on Twitter and Facebook, and LIKE/Follow their progress.
I recently bought this little Kawazaki Z250LTD for Sharon (Mrs R2M), as a doer upper. Shaz took here CBT earlier in the year, so to encourage her to take a further test before heading out, the 250 will be just enough until she gets a few miles done. Keep looking though, as it will soon be 'Electric Blue'. Renamed Kawashazy too..
After my experiences on the big Honda Goldwing, and my own R1200GSa, the heavy work loads have become the norm, and I have added the task of carrying camera men to my remit, to get some more mileage in.
My CV now looks like a copy of war and piece, and as my standard fully loaded kerbside weight has been in the 390- 500kgs range this year and for some time, having a monkey on the back throwing a 30kg camera around makes things so much simplier. (Honest)
Visit my Facebook page and vote for the photo competition....please
www.facebook.com/roadtomanchester I am also trying to boost my twitter friends at
another new one. E mail firstname.lastname@example.org NO PHISHERMEN PLEASE
Phew, that was a long post. It's now 1am though as the clocks went back today it would have been 2am. We have this weird hour gain and loss each year, to gain a few more hours daylight in the winter.
It doesn't work, it's still dark when you get up, and dark on the way home from work by the end of November.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Big bike show at the NEC Birmingham in November. so something to look forward to.
Novemeber in a few days, so hoping to get out and about as much as possible. During the last few days I have been putting my video clips in order, and today will send them off to be edited. Road2Manchester the movie ...... soon..... maybe.
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Jupiters Travellers some have been, some are going, watch this space.
Also there on the night. Sam Manicom, Lois Pryce, Austin Vince, Paddy Tyson and many well know names from the RTW world.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
A nice days ride over the Yorkshire Dales with my brother in Law (Arn) was welcome, as he hired a Honda from Hunts in Manchester for the weekend.
For once the weather was in our favor, and the ride over to Settle then towards Ingleboro and Hawes was fast and the quiet roads gave us a chance to take in the great views.
160 miles of 85% small twisty lanes and the rest a mix of motorway and a few towns to get us into the countryside.
I got the opportunity to do a bit of writing, and the book is at least 3000 words in the making. Lots more to go though.
October already, and despite a week of silly high temperatures in the 80's , the 6th (Thursday) returns of high winds and heavy rain makes it feel more like autumn.
Yesterday I went off to London on my trusty GS, to see a new client.
7 am start 196 miles each way, got the deal and back by 5pm without getting wet.
Sore all over, and rode in high winds most of the day.
£40 in petrol, but I did 'get along' at a pace on occasion.
London is a crazy place to ride, but most drivers are very bike aware compared to most roads in the UK. Still mad.... just aware that any gap will be filled with a bike.
Today is the launch of the Ted Simon Foundation at the Coventry National Transport Museum. 6-11pm
6.11.1973 at 6pm Ted started his RTW odyssey that became Jupiter Travels. The rest is history and tonight at 6pm the adventure biker world meet up to launch the foundation.
Am I going? Not 'arf !
see more. www.facebook.com/roadtomanchester
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
John Barnes was the presenter that called me as I hit the Pacific Highway 101 coast road. The interview then went out live as last nights chat did, and John invited me to the studio once I was back.
Eventually after a couple of false starts, I made it to Blackburn and over a hour of air-time we chatted about the Road2Manchester.
John is a biker at heart, and had visited the USA some time ago. In between music, travel and national news items we enjoyed an in depth (ish) talk to the good folk of Manchester and Lancashire.
Link to BBC I player which will be on for a couple of days. The first bit is saying it is not working, but wait 2 mins and it will start.
If you are reading this post after 30th August, it will probably be deleted, such is the Iplayer system.
The bike has been away for a week as proper work takes over. The weather this summer is also a bit hit and miss, with regular rain and sunny bits.
The Autumn is showings its self already and thoughts of cold and frosty mornings are not so welcoming.
Being out of the UK for May and June has shortened my year, and as they say;
Time flies when you are having fun......................
Thanks to John B, a real gent and pro' I guess that will be my last 'media' thang !
Oh Yes !!!! there is another announcment, but that will have to wait.
Sunday, 21 August 2011
August is after all our summer month. It is time when 2/3rds of the UK go on holiday as the kids get a month off school.
Bikers too get a chance to go for a spin, a holiday or the odd weekend away. The 'season' for events is here, and the choices for every hobby and pastime and outdoor sport abound.
Adventure Bike Meet, Horizons Unlimited camps, shows, and rides to the local biker hang-outs all available if you don't mind chancing the weather.
Last week I had my 'fix' as I rode from home in Manchester to South Petherton in Somerset, so see a potential customer.
As usual the weather was 'iffy' and I dodged a couple of storms and got a little damp on the way down the M5 on the 210 mile A to B ride.
On the way back, via the Cheddar Gorge, one of the roads I had promised myself for years, and was disapointed by, I once again ran the gaunlet of rain and low cloud.
Coming off the M6 at around 5.30pm, I eventually caought up with a storm, and the last 8 miles was in heavy rain.
So 429 miles, one very sore backside (Who at BMW had the idea of putting a stone seat lining on GS's), and a damp suit and gloves.
The GS ran sweetly all the way and speeds more or less at the speed limit (officer !), the new higher grade gearbox oil was working well with up and down changes very smooth.
Next plan is to go for a weekend to Scotland at the end of September with some of the Adventure Bike Warehouse crew, and possibly before that (just possibly) ride to Spain for a couple of days as Mrs J goes to Cabo Riog for ten days. It's that damn ferry crossing from UK to Santander or Bilbao. Soooooo expensive.
250 miles inn the UK and 800+ in Spain..... one way, then return. Hmmn ! not quite a weekend away !
Friday, 5 August 2011
I am not sure which country built the weather machine, but I guess that the economy would not be on its ass, if the sun was out during August.
I had my bike (BMW) serviced at Adventure Bike Warehouse, and it is running great. Well it was when I took the long way home about 3 week ago. In between that I had a week in France with Mrs J, a week in Somerset working and a this week the rain is back.
Riots and unrest throughout the UK have reached Manchester, with thousands of 'youths' running the gaunlet and looting shops under the 'cival unrest' banner, started in London last week.
No reason to spread, its just a sick excuse to take advantage of this mayhem.
Disaffected, yes, lost in society, Yes, no repect, Yes,. No future....maybe.
Bring back National Service. The armed Forces need these yobs, if not as solders, then as trainee members of society.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Every now and then something 'nice' happens. It could be a gift, a chance meeting or a great night out. Often nice things just come along, sometimes great thing too.
A chance message on Facebook by Sam Manicom (RTW Guru), mentioned a new magazine. Overland. So being a curious type, I ordered their first copy which arrived today.
Magazine is the wrong word. More a compendium, a volume, a keepsake.
This 'production' is classy, informative and what I have cristened a 'Keeper'.
Great features from some the the best biker writers and travellers, really great paper and print quality and I feel that this motorcycle travel handbook, will be seen in receptions, collections and coffee tables long after the sell by date has passed.
http://www.overlandmag.com/ buy it but under no corcumstances let anyone borrow it. You may never get it back.
Whilst talikng RTW hero's take a look at TED SIMON FOUNDATION join, help.
Monday, 11 July 2011
The issues with the Star-Com helmet camera and intercom turned out to be the 110volt power supply in the USA that would not charge the 240v system. NO help from Start-Com was forthcoming, so I will not be buying one in the near future. Go-Pro will be my camera of choice in the future.
I have made a guess that I lost about 4 days of video SD cards that I had not down loaded. Shame but the bits between Kentucky and Head north from Alabama are out there somewhere. I just hope that one day, they might be found by someone with the foresight to actually watch them.
I have returned to the BMW GSa with some trepidation as it was due for a service, and since Jon at Adventure Bike Warehouse (Manchester), got his hands on it, the B is running like a dream.
Better oil, new gearbox oil, tuned the carbs, treated the chassis to some fancy sealant, and she is running like a dream. The gearbox oil may be expensive but what a difference.
Just had a e-mail from Giz, at the Cromwell Ridgers (see 'On the road ',vids by Duke) with advise about film making, who is about to set out on another adventure ride and hopfully another fly on the wall film. Good Luck Ridgers. Wish I could come along.
Apart from that..... just off to France for a few days. (Yes we can pop over to Europe from here), and then back to proper work with gusto.
www.decopierrenorth.co.uk my other hat.
Best wishes to Colin on the re-launch of www.cubbproducts.com for his latest Mini Dumper.
PS: ne vids on youtube/road2manchester
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
That done I put my bike away again.
Monday, 20 June 2011
Sunday morning I had to be up to attend the Manchester Day parade where I was to ride my bike in the procession.
At around 5am here and 9pm in my head, I was awake and eating anything I could get my hands on. (Unusual for me I know !!!)
(Nice cuppa tea !)
The Beemer seemed very light and very, very tall after the Goldwing, Driving on the other side of the road seemed very strange too.
Once again thanks you to all of the organisers, Bennetts Insurance for the Biker Dream, RGP International for the organisation, the good people of the USA for being so nice, and my family for their love and support.
Keep on dreaming, you never know.
As they say in America......." well, there you go ".
Thursday, 16 June 2011
and fighting the GPS and the roadworks to get into the docklands area.
My last night would be in the grand surroundings on the Argonaut Hotel near Fishermans Wharf, but I was a day early so I went back to the edge of town and stayed in a more modest motel.
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Giant Redwoods and dramatic sea mists over crashing waves and choppy seas. The Pacific highway is full of great views and great roads. I will add pictures in the morning, Just thought I would let you all know. S'Done.Did it.... finito bonito, QED, Finis, The End
( well almost just got to get to Frisco now. !)
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
80 miles west seemed an odd choice seeing as I wanted to get South to Manchester, California, 500 miles away.
Twisting and turning through a mist covered forest on the way down to Lincoln City, it turns out that it was raining when I reached the sea. Just in time to speak to BBC radio Manchester (John Barnes), live , I did my stuff via mobile phone before once again doing a few miles more.
So in the Dublin House Hotel, Yachats, Oregon (Spelt by a native indian or an Irish settler???? I dunno), a good chilli burger, beer and chat with the locals was the norm.
Bed now with 325 miles less to travel tomorrow. Looking for Giant redwood trees and giant sand dunes en-route.
The Last Manc standing at the last Manc on the list.......... sad, happy, relieved and ready for my own bed, a good cup of tea, and a cuddle (but not necessarly in that order.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Today is Sunday 12th and I am having my 3rd 'Day Off ' I have ridden 2333 miles this week and despite missing a whole lot of things, needs must. Deadlines are deadlines. So just a little ride with Jack my host in Manchester Washington. (Facebook friends are great) This is a beautiful place overlooking the sea with Seattle just in view about 10 miles away.The short ferry ride was enough to get back some sanity after all those miles and the Seattle rush hour.
Happy to be heading home, missing my wife, daughter and dogs, but boy do I have a tale to tell.
Highway 1 down the Pacific coast.......... what a way to finish.
NB: Anyone anywhere in the world thinking that the Honda Goldwing is a poor bike...... Wrong. 7209 miles without a hitch, murmer or issue. 120mph in total silence (Ssssh, someone told me that !), comfort and load capacity second to few. Big? , Yes, Heavy ?, Yes, but so am I.
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
The Tour Bus.
Michigan gave a double whammy. After leaving my host John in Manchester Michigan, I was just a few miles down the road for Saturday
Missy and I had been chatting for months about bikes, music, theme songs for my up and coming video stuff etc: the invite to come over was in the diary. Even her Mun arrived on a Harley.
I left after a great hot breakfast heading for an old coal fired ferry that would save me a 300 mile slog through Chicago. The SS Badger runs a 60 mile trip across lake Michigan and was around 80 miles north of my unique hotel at Missy's.
Arrived in Manitowoc, Wisconsin at mid-day where it had been raining hard and 72F (seemed really cold after 85F the day before). 2 miles in land....... 85F again.
Next stop another facebook invite from Cory Clark in Fond Du Lac.
Next blog, Chicken wings, Turbo bikes, Throwing Horse Shoes, Manc' Wisconsin and 105 degrees + 35MPH side winds. (Fun in the sun.....not !).
Sunday, 5 June 2011
On to Michigan.
A quick beer and a meet and greet from the patron of the pub, and Mrs: S turned up and I was quickly invited back for steak and a bed for the night. John had some chores to complete, and I watched as he made Tortilla Chips and a big frier in the back yard. These would be sold at the farmers market along with home made preserves.
Friday, 3 June 2011
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Alabama has two Manchester and the story about the first resulted in a quick get away as I was warned by a local who had shown me to this mountain forest 'town' !, that the area is not safe for 'outsiders'. He had left me but came back. I was setting up my camera but he wouldn't get out of his car, and soon shot off down the single track forest road. Tales of Hill Billies, meths stills and strange people were exchanged and shot guns being standard, had me make a fast retreat.
In comparison Manc#15 Alabama near Jasper, is another small community, little there and a short visit and to an air conditioned hotel in Jasper. Maxed out at 109F the Goldwings air temperature gauge told me enough was enough.Tomorrow North to Indiana and Iowa. Hope its cooler.
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Within an hour or two it was 80F and climbed to 94 before the 314 mile day was up. My target for today was Manchester #12 and then on towards lucky #13 in Alabama.
Not sure where I was going, I got in behind a group of Harley riders who eventually stopped to get some shade. They quickly put me right and I ignored Helga (my nutty GPS lady), and once again ended up at a bikers favorite haunt, the Jack Daniels Distillery. To make the 92 degrees bearable I looked for a beer........ No, this is a dry town ! Lemonade???
Jack Danny but no alcohol for sale.......
Cheered up by a couple I met last Friday at Deals Gap, I set off once more and managed Manchester by three o'clock,,,, except it was only 2pm as I had passed the Eastern to Central time zone line, now that is strange. One side Eastern Time a step west and central time. You can arrive an hour before you left ! Result.
Still by 4pm eastern time I had managed to find no one in at Manchester TN as it is a public holiday weekend, took some pics and you guessed it, hit the road again. 5pm in Madison Alabama with 314 miles added I gave up and sit once again in AirCon bliss. Within a few days I hope to be heading north again via Ohio and Michigan.
Take a look at http://www.us129.com/ where pictures of every rider thru' the Dragons tail are listed. Thursday last week and about page 10-12 you will find pics of me hitting the dragon. (Tourers pages) I have ordered copies and will download them asap.
At last that universal question you ask a stranger..... " Oh Manchester UK, my friend 'fill in' lives there do you know him?" Only 6 million Manc's to choose from, in this case, NO.
See more on my facebook/roadtomanchester page