Last night, I’m parked in about a 4 acre desert lot next door to my friend’s apartment complex that we’re visiting at the edge of Tucson, AZ. It is mostly desert foliage and the likes with a few dirt spots for oversized parking. It’s completely unoccupied aside from a single vehicle that looks like it’s been parked there for weeks and has a tow-tag on it.

– Related post: How To Determine The Best Towing Company.

I wake up at approx 0130 to what sounds like footsteps outside my window. I perk up and so does the dog. Brianna wakes up as well. I peek out the windows into the moon lit night and see no one. There is a strange car though, parked about 4 feet from our bedroom window. Wtf? It’s occupied as well. We can hear whispers from inside. These dudes gonna steal gas or something? Why are they parked so close? And why are they parked in the actual weeds, lights out, hiding behind us?

I turn on the rv running lights (which are bright, and there’s a lot of em) and start the motor. The red glow from my tail lights is directly in this guy’s face. The driver of the car peeks his head out his open window, says “jesus…” and then closes the window. Ten minutes elapse, and they’re still there. Double wtf?

I put my big boy pants on and go outside and creep around the back between my RV and the trailer. As I approach the driver window, they notice me and I turn on my 500+ lumen tactical Streamlight directly into their faces. You know when you touch a snail’s eyeball, how it retracts back into their head? Well, they basically both do exactly that with their heads tucking into their bodies and their necks dissapearing completely as my bright ass light hits them right in the eyes.

The driver starts to open the door and fumbles as his walkie-talkie radio falls out of his lap. I immediately see that he’s also wearing a bullet proof vest. His radio has a mic attached to his shoulder. Otherwise, he’s in plain clothes.

“Can I help you, gentlemen?” I asked politely.

“Sheriff,” he says. His eyes still unfocused in the beam of my flashlight.

“Do you have any identification?” I asks, as he’s keeping both hands up where I can see them while flashing me his badge.

I lower my light from his eyes and point it at the ground as he retorts “Do you? You realized you’re parked off the street, right?” He started trying to flex on me verbally. Tired, and uninterested in making a scene, I reply “Alright. I just thought you guys were gonna try stealing gas or something from me. Have a good night. Be safe.”

I walked away—not the same direction I came out—without fully turning my back on them as I may have been imprinting. ;) They sat there until 3am before leaving, splitting into 2 cars, and going into the apt complex. Then I went back to sleep.

Weird stuff happens on the road.

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Last night, maybe 5 mins after getting into bed, Bijou and I both heard it at the same time. My window next to my bed was open and we both stopped in our tracks and started listening, barely breathing. There it was again. It was quiet and almost imperceivable, but I was certain I wasn’t hearing things after the second gentle rustle of weeds in an otherwise completely silent, moonlit night.

Rather than go berzerk, Bijou slowly got up, staring towards the window, methodically and slowly inching towards the direction of the sound and started gruffing angrily. For a 3 lbs teacup poodle, it was a surprisingly deep and low, choked back, soft bark while growls came from within her tiny little vocal cords.

I opened the blinds and stared out into the darkness, using my periferals to help me see into the wild under the moonlight. I stared, quiet and motionless for several minutes. I thought I could see a shape against a darker shadow about 30ft away, but I wasn’t 100 percent certain…then it moved it’s head slightly.

“OH SHIT!”

I knew instantly what it was. I whispered over to Brianna to look out the window. She didn’t have her glasses on and couldn’t see anything. I didn’t have my flashlight next to my bed as I usually do, so I crept towards the front of the RV to hit my 52″ LED lightbar so she could see what I knew was out there. It turns night into day.

Nothing. It was gone from view, even with 25,000 lumens shining into the forest. I was certain I wasn’t imagining anything and I grabbed my favorite flashlight and went back to bed and stared out the window with Brianna also watching for many minutes. Movement again! I shined the flashlight directly at it, but first hitting the window screen with bright light nearly blinding us in the process…but there it was! It’s bright, yellow, knowing eyes reflecting 500 lumens of tactical Streamlight glare directly back at us! An adult Mountain lion was sitting just within the grass line, not 30ft from the RV.

Yeehaw. It’s been many years since I’ve seen a big cat in the wild. It was pretty exciting. It slunk off quickly after hitting it with my spot light. Several minutes later, I could hear angry barking from a dog in the not too far distance. I imagine it head that way.

I love RV life. :D

It was just in front and to the left of the grove of trees closest in this picture.
forest rv boondocking

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Brianna and I have been traveling full time in our RV since December of 2017. Nearly a year now. Before, I used to travel to the race track, wherever it may be, then turn around and come home when the event was over. Lather, rinse, repeat. 80+ times a year. “Home” back then was Reno for me. I spent as long or longer driving to and from events than the actual event some times. It’s a lot of driving. A lot of fuel. A lot of time basically wasted on travel where I could be doing something else. 1000 miles round trip to Utah. 1000 to Chuckwalla. 500 to Thunderhill. 1500 to The Ridge. Etc, etc, etc.

I’ve stayed here more than once in the Element.
honda element

Sometimes I’d just drive out into the middle of the desert…because why the hell not?
honda element mojave desert
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I’ve mostly been away from AFM the last two years. This year, I made an effort to be at all the rounds I could; two of em, to be precise. There are so many new bikes, new faces, and new names that I kinda feel like the old-out-of-place-guy. But no worries…I’ve got a camera, and I know how to fucking use it. :D

This round, Tomas came and helped me out on Saturday. I had to shoot some stuff on the west side, so I couldn’t give my full attention to AFM on Saturday until about 2:30pm… So some of these pics are Toaster’s pics.  He’s pretty much a BAMF with a camera too.

Also, Kevin came and busted out the video equipment. For those of you know don’t know Kevin—most of you, I’m sure—he’s pretty much spent most of his last 10 years with 4theriders behind-the-scenes…he’s the guy that brought you your favorite motorcycle video:

So…no official word on what may be coming yet…but I’ll keep you posted. ;)

Anyhow, I just wanted to post up a few pics that I enjoyed from this weekend. It was the final round, so I feel like it deserves a small recap in photos. Enjoy. If you wanna see every single one of 6084 photos we took, then they’re online here: http://4theriders.com/pics.php?loc=/pics/2018/AFM-R7/

Andrew Lee on his #1 plate Kawasaki ZX10.
andrew lee number one plate kawasaki
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So, I’ve had a number of people ask me about my solar setup on the RV. Frankly, it’s not all that extravagant, but it’s probably the single best modification I’ve done to my RV so far. Not just bang-for-the-buck, but all out best thing I think anyone can do for their RV. If you are interested to go solar too, check out Enlyten Energy website

I had purchased 6v batteries for the RV, but I didn’t want to waste the two 12v batteries that the coach came with. They’re only 80ah batteries each, but they were brand new when we got the RV…and I’m a waste-not, want-not kinda guy…so I’ve still got the 12v batteries in there, nearly a year later.

Brianna and I spend most of our time off-grid and not plugged into power. In the last 9 months that we’ve had solar, we’ve put approximately 50 hours on the generator. 10 or 11 of those hours were over a 2 day span mid summer when we wanted AC and had no access to shore power.

We do normal things while on battery. We have lights on at night, listen to music ALL the time on the surround sound system, or we’ll watch movies and such. We run the blender for smoothies. We have vent fans and a stand alone 12v fan. You know, normal stuff.

I installed energy efficient EVERYTHING into the RV. The lights are all LED. Even both smart TVs are LED. One is even 40″…So we’ve got that going for us. I check the voltage very regularly, as I’m pretty OCD about stuff being charged…we usually end a night sitting right around 12 to 12.2 volts. We usually wake up to 14 to 14.3 volts.

Solar. Solar was the best thing we’ve done to the coach so far.

I spent $339 on a kit from Renology on Amazon. It had two 100 watt solar panels, the mounting hardware, screws, all the connectors and 10AWG wiring necessary, and a 30amp PWM solar controller.

renology 200w solar self install kit
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At the beginning of each month during the late fall and through winter, we go to Inde Motorsports Ranch for YCRS. Sometimes it ends up being a mad-dash to get there and get back to somewhere else…sometimes we get a few days to chill and explore. This trip to Inde happened to be the latter.

fj09 mt09 tracer inde motorsports ranch

I’m writing this while stopped at mile marker 2 in Arizona. We’re headed northwest to Las Vegas, but decided on one last stop in Arizona before we go to LV. We can ALLLMOST see the Hoover Dam from where we’re parked. It’s mostly quiet except for the freeway, which is in earshot. There’s no one else out here.

This is what my view looked like about an hour ago before the sun set to the west:

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I’ve decided to try a photo group ride for the public. I’ve done many in the past for manufacturers and magazines and shootouts and the likes, but I’ve never previously offered one to the public. I’m only offering around a dozen spots though. I don’t want it to be too crowded or chaotic. Safety is still third. ;)

When: Saturday Oct 27th, 2018, 10am, ready to go.
Where: Meeting at the Chevron on main street Chevron: 2370 Main St, Red Bluff, CA 96080 to ride Highway 36, stopping at 5-6 various locations for professional action photos. There will be something for EVERYBODY.
Cost: $40
Sign up: Click here to sign up with paypal
What you get: at the day’s end, after an amazing day of riding some of the best twisties in California, I’ll email you your link to download all your high res photos from the ride!
Who: ALL motos welcome! If you don’t have a huge love for ALLLLL two wheels, then you’re missing out. Sportbikes, ADV, cruisers, and even scooters! Let’s do it! <3





Here’s the basic route where most of the photos will take place:

Here’s a few images from the last photo group ride I shot with the Busa Stampede on hwy 36:

The famous “twisties for 140 miles” sign
140 miles twisties hwy 36 red bluff
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My first Yamaha Champions Riding School that I worked at was in April of 2008. Ten and a half years ago. One day, my friend and favorite optician Dr. David Benkle sent me a message and said “there’s this really cool school you should see if you can shoot in Las Vegas!” I contacted Nick Ienatsch, whoever the hell that was, and sought permission to shoot. I was given an apprehensive “o-o-o-o-okay.” I didn’t know it at the time, but Nick stutters sarcastically when he’s not entirely convinced of an idea. Afterall, the school was brand new at the time as well.

ycrs lvms las vegas

My detailed memories of the first school are pretty blurry, to be honest. I busted my ass the entire two days making sure to turn Nick’s stutter into something more confident when I asked to come back to the next school. I sat in during every classroom session, I was on track for every track session. Not only was I trying to capture every moment on camera so I can make sales, but I was devouring the information given by the instructors. They had a lot of things to say that made complete sense. They basically threw every fundamental you could think of at the students, and also backed it all up with the “why” and the “how” that I needed to hear to improve my own riding. I was very much a “but WHHHYYY, mom?” kinda kid.
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I’ve spent an incredible amount of time thinking about this… and still, I don’t know exactly what to say or how to say it.

I signed up for a Patreon account nearly a year ago with the intention of creating content while on the road in the RV. I’d envisioned making fun videos of cool places, of random rides around back roads…I dunno, all sorts of stuff.  I’ve filmed a bunch of random stuff over the year. I’ve got hundreds of photos all stock-piled from random adventures…but I’ve yet to do anything more than simply create an account on Patreon.  Nothing.

Part of it, I think, is fear of rejection. I usually think that people enjoy the stuff I write or post or take pics of and the likes. But…would people be willing to actually subscribe to content I create? Man, I dunno…and I’d feel really dumb creating and posting all this stuff only to have no one interested in it enough to actually PAY me for it. I’ve always felt that way…about everything. Even my full time gig of shooting photos at the track…I tend to have the negative “no one is gonna buy em” feeling. I think I’m good at what I do. In fact, I think my photos rank amongst some of the best in the world…but I have a hard time taking money.

Another part of why I haven’t done it is the fact that I know I’d have to dedicate SOOO much time to creating content that people may or may not ever see.  Photos, for me, are easy. I ride. I know EXACTLY what all my settings need to be at any given moment. I have capable equipment (not as good as the stuff the big name pros have, but I can certainly make it work), and I know what looks good and what doesn’t. Boom. I can shoot my little heart out. The sorting and stuff is the hard part…luckily for me, Brianna takes care of 99.999% of all that for me now and has taken a HUGE burden off my shoulders. But creating photo+video content NOT at the track? Wow…that’s a LOT of time spent in front of the computer.

So, back to what I was originally saying…I’ve been thinking about this for a looong time…and I’ve decided that I DON’T want to create a Patreon page where people will have to subscribe. I’m too scared.

On that same token, I’m running on empty now.  Literally empty. I’ve always been really good with my money. I’ve never had much…but the little bit I’ve ever had, I’ve always made it work. I’ve always stretched it out. I’ve not really ever been stuck. But I’m stuck now.  People sometimes comment “you must be rich!” when I say that we live on the road full time. I guess you could say that I am…Brianna and I lead pretty damn rich lives. But in dollar terms? No, not rich. Not even remotely close.  In fact, I’m the exact opposite of rich. I’m maxed out. Totally. All of our income goes to groceries, bills, and mostly fuel. We almost never just buy ourselves random stuff. When we do, it’s typically out of necessity.

Together, Brianna and I are a single stream income. We both work together to accomplish the same goal: shoot events at the track and sell em to all the trackday riders and drivers. This year has been bleak. Some of it is circumstance, some of it is the economy. Some of it might just be my fault entirely.

Over the years, I’ve worked with most trackday organizations in northern California either full time or part time. I’ve worked with Keigwins, Pacific Track Time, Zoom Zoom, Fun Trackdayz, Precision Trackdays, and a bunch of other smaller orgs.  For one reason or another, my relationship with them was severed. A few were my fault… either quitting them based on personal differences, or not my fault as my place was only temporary or location-based to begin with.  Ultimately, it’s always ends up being gotbluemilk who started with them and is back with them. He pretty much has a monopoly on the entire norcal market. It’s exceedingly frustrating.  I know I provide a better product at a better price. I get texts, emails, messages, and phone calls all the time saying they wish I were there shooting instead of gotbluemilk all the time. But nothing ever changes. I no longer work with any motorcycle trackday companies in northern California. But I want to.

Last year, I started shooting 2Fast up in the Pacific Northwest. I also shot them this year. It was a really rough year for the 2Fast organization and attendance was very low for nearly every event. Even as low as 11 riders one day. That doesn’t bode well for either 2Fast or myself.

As hard as I’ve tried this year, I haven’t been able to get ahead. I don’t need much money to survive, but it seems like I’ve been making even less than that lately. Everyone always says that there’s no money in the moto world…Maybe I just need to try harder? Maybe I need to throw in the towel? I don’t know… I mean, I KNOW that I just want to work MORE. I want MORE events. I want to work with more trackday providers. I want to create. I want to see people happy.  I want people to have affordable awesome memories of the fun times they’ve had at the track riding will all the homies and such.

Ugh. I’m just so frustrated.

Times are tough as fuck right now.

So, now that I’ve dwadled off on the “back story”, I decided that I do not wish to make a Patreon account…instead, I want to ask for a donation. Not free money either…I plan on working for it. I’m asking for a donation towards more content on my blog. More fun, entertaining reads. More maps of super bad ass rides you should do. More photos and videos of things we care about like motorcycles, like great places to visit, see, do, eat, and experience. If you’ve enjoyed the thousands of hours I’ve put into all of this so far, if I’ve helped you out in some way with my writings, photos, or advice, can you throw a few bucks my way?

I’m only asking those of you that enjoy reading my blog and my posts and who will continue to enjoy my blog and posts. If you’re not interested in my writings and videos and photos and words, then no worries. I don’t want a subscription based portal of content. I want it to be free to anyone who happens upon it.  But if you could chip in to help me get through this rough patch, it would go a long way.  I’ll work my ass off to repay it and hopefully keep you entertained with more content and with more love thrown into my blog. :)

Thank you.

//END OF SUCKY AND EMBARRASSING POST

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So, I got another email yesterday kinda out of the blue mentioning my blog and how they enjoyed reading it and the likes.

I felt both pride and guilt…pride because I don’t really keep track of who actually reads my blog. How many people read it? I dunno…I guess I don’t always write for other people; I mostly do it for myself…but I still get a certain satisfaction knowing that other people enjoy reading it. Guilt, because I neglect the hell out of my blog. Haha! I seldom ever take the time to write anymore. That makes me a bad human, I know. *sigh*

Anyhow, Brianna and I had two extra days to kill on our way from The Ridge Motorsports Park down to Thunderhill. Frankly, I wanted to take as long as possible, knowing that it’s supposed to be a hundred and fifteen fucking degrees on Friday at the track. I’m sooooo not looking forward to that…so instead I plotted some squiggley lines on the map and headed for Oregon.

I didn’t realize it’d be as hot as it was in Oregon…it was 100F for the better part of the day today, but whatever. It wasn’t 115F. :)

Our route was from Wolf Creek Rd to Agness, OR with several other side roads thrown in. I posted the general layout of what we’d done below:


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