iPhone photo

Photos from AMA Road Racing at Infineon

Just my ride up to Sonoma was interesting. Planned to meet Sean at the Hercules Starbucks at 11:30, so I left my place around 10:30. The sun was bright and warm, soaking into my black, leather jacket and helmet, warming my skull as I rode up 101 toward San Francisco. All very pleasant as I sang Beatles songs in my helmet and just cruised up the freeway. I've been on a huge Beatles kick lately. I'm not even sure what triggered this one.

From under the Grandstand. :)

First interesting part of the ride was crossing the Bay Bridge which I realized I hadn't done in a while. So cool to see the new section so much more... "done." It looks shiny and streamlined compared to the hulking girders of the old span. And, of course, whenever I'm dangling over the bay like that, I always think of earthquakes. I felt that being on the moto I'd be much more agile if things started coming down. Then I look at the massive structure surrounding me and think either one: this thing will never come down, or two: if the earthquake was big enough to bring this down... Why do I always get morbid? Anyway, the new section looks amazing. Can't wait to ride on it.

The rest of the trip to Hercules is uneventful, but when I got there, what an awesome place to people watch. Sean was, as usual, operating on Sean time (he's like a chick or somethin', yo), so I sat and watched the people going about their business in the parking lot. Paunchy guy with long, long, gray hair chatting it up with everyone, a Latino kid was reading, or acting like he was reading, a sign outside a little grocery store for literally a half hour. I couldn't figure out what he was doing, but his demeanor reminded me of when I was sent to sit in the hallway in 3rd grade, but pretended to be looking for something in case the principal walked by and asked me why I was out of class... "Oh, I dropped my lunch money out here and can't seem to locate it in this clean, tiled, empty hall. I definitely wasn't talking in class and you definitely don't need to tell my mother about this."

Sean finally arrived and we headed on over the Carquinez bridge and on to 37 toward Sonoma. 37 is a bizarre road that belongs somewhere in the South. It cuts through this marshy area, just skimming above the watery grasses and hummocks surrounding the Napa River. Just highlights another reason why I like the Bay Area. An hour in any direction and you feel like you're in another part of the country.

Sean checking the schedule

I'd never been to Infineon before and I have to say it's a pretty cool place. It was also cool because it was Friday and we were there to watch some practices and some qualifying, so the place was really empty-ish. Compared to the throngs at Laguna Seca, this was really pleasant. We could walk all over without lines of people, take photos from just about anywhere, everything was so clean and new looking, just a really nice place.

A little excitement when Alex texted me thinking he might be able to get me a two-up ride around the track, but, ultimately, that didn't pan. Still thinking about paying whatever it is to do one of those follow laps at Laguna just to say that I've piloted around a MotoGP track. Yes, a track day would be better, but I'm poor.

Ultimately a good day at the track and I road home across the Golden Gate, stopped at Land's End to take a few photos of the bridge and pretty much collapsed when I got home from all the riding and buzzing of motos. Awesome.

Here are some photos from the day:

The rest I'll put in a gallery, but check them out. Only issue I have with the AMA is trying to figure out who everyone is. The top guys I can figure out, but after scouring the internet I can't find a nice easy guide to who has what number on their bike. Really kind of a pain. Some guys I was able to piece together from other sites, but it became too much trouble. So photos include, but may not be limited to: Martin Cardenas, Tommy Hayden, Ben Bostrom, Larry Pegram (looking awesome on his new, blue, BMW), Chris Clark, Chris Peris, Josh Herrin, Dane Westby, Tommy Aquino, etc. I'm actually not even sure if I have a photo of Josh Hayes. If someone sees one let me know. He should be riding with the #1 plate, right? I'm ridiculous.

[gallery link="file" order="DESC" orderby="ID"]

365 iPhone (mostly) Project

In case you haven't noticed over the last few days. I started 365 Project on Tumblr. Finally figured out what to do with that account. Now if I could just find a use for Instagram...

You'll see the link over in the right sidebar. I'm using my iPhone mostly for this (lazy) and what Jimmy refers to as my beloved Camera+ app. He's right, I do dig that app. I also like Photogene.

Check it out.

A Cappella Moto Truck

If that isn't a band name, I don't know what is.  Their hit song would be an epic tale of a day trip to Santa Cruz to pick up a motorcycle and listen to music, music that employed only voices as instruments...

Actually this post is more one of amazement and love for my little, black, Toyota pickup. What a beast this little sucker is. A hundred and seventy thousand miles on it, brakes worn, suspension kind of hosed and yesterday it was stuffed with three guys (2 that are like 6'3" or more and me) and a Suzuki SV650! The truck didn't even blink... or if it could blink, it didn't... Would stalling be blinking in the car world? Actually, why do we even say "didn't even blink." That doesn't seem like a form of protest or giving up to me. The truck didn't even hold up its tires and beep madly, "Fuck that, you ain't stuffing all that inside..." Okay, that's just starting to sound pornographic. What was my point?

Let me start from the beginning... Alex, Sean and I headed down to Santa Cruz yesterday to load his moto, that had been sitting for months, into my truck so he could bring it home and get it back to running. When Alex asked me, I have to admit, I didn't think my truck could do it. So we piled in and headed down 101, 85, 17 etc. over the hill to Santa Cruz. It was gray-ish, little blasts of blue sky, a ray of light, then gray again on the ride over.

Ian peein' piddley poo (his proper name) was going to be singing with his a cappella group, Cloud 9, on a street corner in downtown SC as well, so we decided to first stop and watch that. Even though I thought I had, I never have seen Ian perform live and in the flesh. I've only seen YouTube clips which were all very good, but something doesn't translate with YouTube (I say that about to post video I took of them on YouTube). They were great. Really entertaining and goofy and everything you want in your a cappella. And while the group was great, Ian really was awesome. He was working the crowd (really big crowd for a street corner as well), and committed to the whole show and performance. I feel like I'm writing a review: "The group had an excellent nose, nutty with a hint of the desperate sweat it takes to harvest such brilliance. A robust, harsh, yet beautiful color, like a winter sunset pulling your eyelids open, forcing you to watch (the weird, eye opening device from A Clockwork Orange), but you're in love with abuse."

Yeah, so go see Cloud 9 perform. It's awesome.

As a side trip, before the show started, Alex, Sean and I went down to Streetlight Records to browse around and kill some time. I have to say, I don't know what to do in record (cd) stores anymore. I remember being in that same store not too long ago with Dave Dworak and we were in our element, digging through the racks of music, looking for awesome deals on obscure, Japan-only-released singles, flipping through boxes and boxes, the clack of the anti-theft, plastic cd holders keeping time to a rare, staff favorite, blasting through the sound system... Now I just kind of wandered, couldn't really figure out where I would even start to dive in and start looking. I didn't know the band that was playing, didn't know what to do really. Now it's all clicking through websites and music blogs and iTunes to find music, videos from La Blogoteque - Take away shows. I'm not complaining. It's just so different from, well, somewhere between five and ten years ago.

After Cloud 9, we headed to Alex's fave brewery in Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Co. for a beer and a hot dog. We then headed over to a sell-everything-i'm-driving-cross-country-to-Boston sale / kegger / hang out that a friend of Alex's was having. This was a very typical Santa Cruz event to me, but one I just don't picture Alex involved with. When I thought about it, I didn't really "see" Alex in Santa Cruz at all. You know, Santa Cruz, hippy-dippy-doo, pot brownies, surfing, naked on the beach Santa Cruz. I think of none of those things when I think of Alex (I was about to type "no offense, Alex," but am pretty sure he would take none from that statement). It was a cool little gathering at a business called Five Feet From the Moon. They make concrete and iron-work type furniture and sculpture, etc. Very cool space. Even the dogs running around were cool. Too cool to be petted by me. I was literally dissed by a dog. Bitch. See what I did there? :)

After gathering keys and driving to Alex's friend's house, we proceeded to load his moto into my truck. This is where I thought it was gonna get ugly, lifting the bike in, tying it down, stuffing us all back into the cab... I just thought the truck would just bust down to its "knees" and surrender. Yeah, completely wrong. I think it took us all of fifteen minutes to load it and be ready to go. My truck was like, "yeah, man. whatever. that's all you're gonna load?" My truck was feeling the laid back, SC, vibe.

With moto secure we went back down to meet Ian and his gf for food and one for the road. Of course, we had another side trip to the driving cross country party to return keys... and another beer.

Food and drinks consumed, catching up with Ian caught up, we piled back in the truck and headed up Highway  One, back home. Once we got out of rainy-gray Santa Cruz, it was a beautiful drive up the California coast as it always is. My mantra if you live here: Don't take California for granted. So lucky to live here. the Pacific was smooth and greenish-blue, the sun was setting behind chunks of clouds... Amazing.

That's pretty much the tale, now here are a mix of iPhone and XTi photos and video.







Alex supervising Sean on strap re-adjustment.





You can watch the video in HD, but for some reason, either YouTube or WordPress took out the ability to embed in HD. Anyone know why?

On another side note, I think this is my first post that includes all the categories contained in the subheading of my blog, writing, photos, music and motos. Exciting.