I’m gonna start this off by saying I feel like a total fucking idiot. I’ve never been played so hard in my life. I’m dumb, I’m stupid, I’m a moron, I’m a fool.

I woke up to excited knocking on the door of the RV in the WB Sacaton rest area off the 10 near Phoenix at about 8:35am. I open the door and there’s a guy all super excited saying “Didn’t you hear?! That guy just won $180,000 on slots and he’s just giving money away!”

robbed by truckers
I reviewed the dash cam…this was the guy that got everything going. The time code is off by 1 hour. It was actually 8:38am

I feel so stupid right now.

I put my jacket on and go outside. There’s a group of about 10 people all huddled up near the back of a truck with 3 cards on a piece of cardboard. There’s a ring leader and he’s got a stack of about two hundred $100 bills in his hand. He’s saying to pick the red ace out of the three face down cards. The corner of the red ace is slightly bent, so it’s obvious which cards are which. Everyone is excitedly picking it and he’s doling out hundreds to everyone, over and over. I didn’t have cash on me, so the trucker standing next to me is says “Here. Take this. Pick that card.” and gives me $100 bill. I do, hand it to the ring leader, pick the right card, and the ring leader gives me the $100 and another one. I’ve got $200 of not-my-money in my hand now.

I feel incredibly dumb right now.

truckers robbed me
One of the guys that just robbed me scouting for idiots such as myself

The ring leader says “No borrowing, get your own money. I’ll double it.” I hand the $200 to the trucker that gave me the $100 in the first place and walk the 30 ft over to the RV and grab my very last $300 in cash that I have. I go back out to them. I’m still a little groggy from just waking up, and all I have in my head is that this dude is a saint or something because he won a bunch of money and now he’s “paying it forward.”

I am so naive.

robbed by truckers
Another one of the culprits

“Pick a card!” they chant. “It’s that one, that one,” all pointing to the same slightly bent card as before. Only it wasn’t. The second I picked the card, they all immediately turned around and dispersed. I stood there for a second, shocked, then yelled “what the fuck?!” and started walking after them when two of them grabbed me by the jacket, pushing me back, saying “You played, man. you played.”

I did. I’m a fucking idiot. And I got played.

robbed by truckers
This look says it all. “We’re about to take this suckers money.”

I feel SOOOO stupid. I’m such a fool.

Please let this serve as a PSA to anyone traveling on the road…It’s a sham. No one won anything. You won’t win either. There is no charity amongst predators. Don’t play. And don’t get played like I did. :(

robbed by truckers
If you see something like this at a truck stop or rest area…avoid it.

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I got to ride the Yamaha Niken today at the track with the Yamaha Champion Riding School. Niken means “two swords” in some language, I’m told, in case you were wondering.

But before I get into any of that, I want to preface this little review with a little known fact about me: I’m an oldschool dick.Especially when it comes to motorcycles, I’m very resistant to change. I’ve never owned a motorcycle that had a quick shifter. I don’t like slipper clutches or Rekluse clutches. I don’t want auto-blip. I don’t use traction control…I’ve ridden damn near every modern day motorcycle known to man, both electric and petrol based. All I need is for someone to gimme a motor and two wheels without all the frills and I’m happy. Now get off my lawn!

Back to the Niken review…the TL;DR version: WOW. FUCKING WOW.

The more in depth review: WOW. FUCKING WOW.

yamaha niken wheelie two up
And to answer the number one question I’ve seen to date about the Niken: “Why yes, sir, it does do wheelies.” Photo: Anthony Sansotta
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Well, it’s wintertime. Work is really slow. Brianna and I spent 3 weeks at Kevin’s house in Elk Grove for the holidays and before his HOA could get too mad that we’d been parked for 3 weeks, we decided to push off for a few days into the wilderness until we were scheduled to go down to Arizona.

Those plans changed as well…as with my line of work, you never quite know exactly what to expect until it’s happening because at any moment, things can change.  Arizona has been pushed back a couple weeks…so we filled our time in one of my favorite places of all time: Mosquito Ridge Road. :)

oxbow rubicon mosquito ridge road
The view from up high on the Rubicon River
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Well, in case you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to… LOTS! We just recently wrapped up the final Rickdiculous Racing school of 2018…Also, we’ve shot a few expos! Totally out of our normal routine, I know, but still fun…in fact, I’ve learned more about side by sides and RV’s and travel trailers and such than I ever knew possible!

We’ve been shooting these expos and such for New Atlas, an online publication based out of Melbourne, Australia. My friend Loz is a writer there and he helped dial me in with the gig. I’m rather liking it.

A couple weeks ago, we shot the Mullin Auto Museum down in Oxnard, CA. Holy wow. Art Decco, but for cars. Check out the gallery here:

https://newatlas.com/mullin-automotive-museum/57035/

mullin auto museum race car art decco
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Brianna and I recently went and did some touristy stuff. We’re pretty much constantly on the road, but 90% of the time it’s places we’ve been to over and over. Often times having taken the same route we’ve done a million times purely for efficiency’s sake. Now and again we’ll detour, time and money allowing, and check out something we’ve not seen before.

Old Tucson, Arizona is one such place. It’s basically a big western movie set. If I recall correctly, over 400 films have been shot there over the years. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood…even guys like Steve Martin and Chevy Chase! I thought it was pretty awesome. Even knowing there was very little historical significance outside of being a Hollywood set, it still felt very much Old West.

They have the entire day scheduled out with shows and tours that run pretty much every 30 minutes if you’re so inclined. You can walk about the park on your own accord if you’d like, but we opted to mostly follow the schedule they have laid out as there was lots of information and entertainment to be had. They serve beer and liquor at the bar. They’ve got some food and ice cream and all that other good stuff to aid you in parting with your money as well.

Here’s a map of what to expect:
old tucson map

Check out this scene of Old Tucson from the movie Death Wish

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Today is a day I’ll never forget. Today, I got to share the track with 11 of Phoenix’s finest. Today, I got to do epic two-up wheelies with Brianna all over Arizona Motorsports Park next to, past, and in front of the PoPo. Today was fantastic.

phoenix police motors unit
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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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