Friday, December 28, 2012

The Anasazi Trip... The Planning Phase.

 
I decided to try a different approach to my photo-journalistic, write-as-you-go motorcycle trip logs by capturing the planning phases of one of my trips. I should mention that all of my previous trips were carefully planned prior to the departure date. Being a somewhat anal engineer, I guess I'm cursed to work the details out before the launch.

Anyway, here we go again... Sorry in advance Marti... Call it unfinished business, call it middle age crisis, call it whatever you may, I'm planning another long motorcycle trip in June 2013.

4,139 miles over a seven day period, riding a huge loop from our home in Washington down through the Southwest US, and back again, (sorry, that sounded very Hobbitish, didn't it?).

If you recall, I rode through the Southwest US seeking employment to Dallas, TX in 2009. Because of the rigid schedule, I didn't have time to break away from the expedited route for sightseeing. I hope to remedy this during this trip.

So, Bonneville Salt Flats, Roswell UFO's, Painted Desert, Trinity Site, Cliff Dweller Cities, I'm coming for you. But first, hash out the logistics... daily mileage, accommodations, distance to a tank of gas, costs incurred... I'll be busy over the next six months.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tree Hugger Redux... Day 3, mile 963, The Conflicted Ride Home.

I departed Eureka, CA this morning at 7:00 am to a chilly, but sunny 54 degrees. This was the hardest return trip departure I have made since my friend Mike is continuing south and building new trip memories while I make the long trek homeward again.

As I've mentioned in previous ride blogs, Day 3 of a ride has always been the crossover point in my attitude towards the ride. Typically after the second day, riding all day becomes 'natural', and you expect it in the following days. Everything revolves around the mileage conquered that day, and the experiences encountered while constantly moving to your next destination.

Except for loved ones, concerns at home seem much more distant, and you take comfort in your constantly-changing surroundings. I can see why the Gypsies preferred life on the move.

I arrived back in Vancouver, WA on Sunday night to Marti's loving arms, but secretly wished I was continuing on with Mike back in California. Cheers Mike! Share your posts with us!

Tree Hugger Redux... Day 2, mile 583, Riding with the Birthday Boy.

Today is Mike Hollingsworth's birthday. A sage old 45 years. Happy Birthday Mike! We departed Gold Beach this morning to a foggy, misty 54 degrees. We crossed into California, and finally the Redwoods at approximately noon to patchy fog and a chilly ocean breeze.

The Birthday Boy meets big trees.
 
Literally...
 
It seemed like the right thing to do at the time...
 
 
We continued southward to the Trees of Mystery for a kitch photo op with an 80-foot Paul Bunyan and Babe.

 
 
Finally down to Eureka, CA and our hotel stop for the night. This is my farthest point south I plan to travel before my return to Marti in Vancouver, patiently waiting for her whimsy prone husband to return from another windmill-tilting crusade. My riding partner Mike is continuing down to Yosemite National Park and several more days of motorcycle adventures. Yes, I'm jealous. I've offered my blogsite to Mike to continue posting his daily accounts during his ride. I'm anxious to see what he posts.
 




Friday, September 7, 2012

Tree-Hugger Redux, Day One, Mile 340... Cold on the Left Coast!

"I could only get bar shrimp today. Bummer. I watched oceans eleven and had a craving that could only be cured by shrimp on this trip."  - A quote from my riding buddy, Mike Hollingsworth, posting my views during one of our stops. Yes it's true. I've had a craving for shrimp cocktails for the past three weeks since seeing Brad Pitt munching chilled prawns in Oceans Eleven.



We departed Vancouver, WA this morning to a warm 64 degrees, with a forcasted 89 degrees as the day progressed. Very true. We bombed down I-5 as the temperature climbed and cut towards the coast in Corvalis, OR at 80 degrees. We made a stop on the Alsea Hwy. in the Siuslaw National Forest to shed more riding gear to accommodate the hot temps. Big mistake. As we continued westward toward the coast, the temperature dropped 30 degrees. When we actually joined Hwy. 101 southward toward the Redwoods, the forcasted highs for throughout the weekend was 57 degrees. At 65 miles per hour, this is rather chilly.

We hotel'd for the night in Gold Beach with a perpetual fog-mist dropping. Typical beach weather... We have to dress for drastically changing temps tomorrow dropping down into the Redwoods. I forgot about the huge temperature swings in this region. Maybe that's why I keep coming back.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tree Hugger Redux

Well, after three years of hoping, three jobs, near financial ruin, two moves, open-heart surgery, and a tougher-than-nails East L.A wife who tolerates my flights of whimsy, I'm riding again.


It took a few years to scratch my way back up to the pay grades I was making before the 'recession', but I purchased another BMW motorcycle to complete the rides I wished I had made during my obsession days.

Obviously, my incessant rants about my previous bike trips found a following... A good friend and HP coworker, also an avid dual sport motorcycle rider, Mike Hollingsworth, expressed an interest in riding to the California Redwoods. Since I had made the trip twice before, I expressed an interest in another trip. That's all it took. Mike was planning a motorcycle trip down to Santa Rosa, California in the beginning of September to visit an ailing grandparent, and had a long weekend to get to his destination. Voila', instant ride!

I'll post pictures and details here... I'll also be experimenting with FB to see if it's worthwhile posting trip trip stats there. I'm quickly losing interest in FB.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Looking for me? I'm over on Facebook...

Sorry I haven't visited my blog site in awhile, I've been posting most of my current events on my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/davidljmurray. I will post here again with any really big events, but for now, daily goings on can be found on my Facebook page. Thanks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm proud to announce the marriage of Marti and Dave Murray

A lot has happened over the past few months, from another near layoff to near bankruptcy, but one thing has remained constant through all of this turmoil, Martha Basaca Woody. Martha, (Marti), and I were married on March 13th, 2010. A little over two years of dating and a rollercoaster of life events, Marti and I endured the true test of relationships, staying together regardless through some very trying times, and still respecting one another after surviving them.

Marti agreed to marry me on Dec. 19th, 2008. But, due to economic circumstances, we decided to push out the marriage date until things improved for the both of us. Five months of unemployment, a few odd jobs, and salvaging our house from foreclosure later, we made it to our joyous day!

I won't lie and tell everyone that Marti got the best fish in the sea, I'm impulsive, excessive, and stubborn at times, but Marti knows this, knows how to reach me, and has chosen to stick with me through the hard times. For this, I will always love her. And for this, I will always stand by her side. She is truly the rock in our marriage. My new reason for being... And we're very happy together.

Wish us luck on our new journey, although I already know the outcome will be fabulous.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mr. Enertia Goes to the White House...

I know many of my family and friends have followed my blogged motorcycle adventures over the years, but here's one you may enjoy although it didn't involve me directly, www.shockingbarack.com .
Two of my fellow Enertia riders from Brammo rode two electric motorcycles from Detroit, MI to Washington, DC to present Barack Obama with a fully-electric motorcycle. Their 700-mile journey, recharging their bikes every 50 miles or so, was to prove to our DC lawmakers that EV vehicles are both viable and readily available. Just give us a household plug for an hour or two, and we're on our way again.
Until then, I will continue evangelizing the electric motorcycle, and hopefully find a few converts along the way. Regardless, I love doing this stuff!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Electric Bikes Storm Portland!

Taking advantage of the lingering summer weather, Brammo stormed Portland this weekend with Enertia Powercycles on the street. We rode all over Portland, stopping in local neighborhoods for food for our bikes, and ourselves of course, to get the bikes seen in a city that is ideal for low-cost commuter bikes. The crowd reaction was overwhelming. Seeing 'Green Technology' bikes downtown was a thrill for the curious onlookers. Several mentioned that this was reason they live in Oregon, because Oregon is the first to adopt new environmentally-friendly practices, which many of the other states follow our example.
During our Portland storm, we took advantage of the 20 new EV recharging stations along the Portland streets, still absolutely free to EV vehicle owners. Living in a progressive city does have it's advantages.
Now to convince the masses that they need to switch to similar transportation... If I don't get pummeled by people carrying large stones in the process, I may find a few converts.
Wish me luck...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Coolest Job in the World!

After many weeks of getting intimately familiar with the care and feeding of purely electric motorcycles, we're going live with the sales of Brammo Enertia Powercycles, http://www.brammo.com/home/ . We rolled the first six bikes into two Best Buy stores here in Portland this week, and the initial public response has been phenomenal!
To prove my point... The first six bikes arrived at two Portland Best Buy stores on Wednesday night. We uncrated them and walked them through the Best Buy stores to be unveiled on Friday. Crossing through the Best Buy showroom with a newly uncrated Enertia Powercycle, we got to listen to some of the customer responses at their first gllimpse of the Powercycles. My favorite was watching several Best Buy salespeople showing potential customers widescreen TVs while we passed by them pushing the new bikes. As the bikes rolled passed, everyone including the salespeople halfway through their sales pitch went silent and all eyes were on the Green machines passing by. One customer I stopped to talk with briefly while pushing a bike mentioned that he had hoped he was the 'One-Millionth Customer' and was receiving his prize. I hated to burst his bubble, but I did mention that these bikes were available to the public within the week.

Lastly, we set up one of the available Enertias on a display stand, and within 30 seconds had customers walking up asking about the new motorcycles on display. Obviously public curiosity is very high right now. Hopefully this translates to a few sales...

Regardless, I get to play with the new electric motorcycles until someone says I can't, and I love to play with new gadgets. This is Sooo Cool!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Job, New Life, New Technology...

After five long months of unemployment, one short-lived miserable job working hard labor, and an endless supply of support from my family and friends, (for which I am eternally grateful), I am working again. Not only working, but finding myself truly excited about the work I'm doing. A feeling long lost after falling off of the high-tech roller coaster, I'm now actually contributing to a higher cause, cleaning up this planet and making life better for future generations.

Two weeks ago I was contacted by Brammo Inc., http://www.brammo.com/ , about a Field Service Technician position I had applied for some months before, but had completely forgotten about it since I was applying for nearly everything under the sun. Brammo Inc. is a small startup company headquartered in Ashland, Oregon ramping up for production of a small, rechargeable electric motorcycle called the Enertia, (pictured below).
After my first meeting with the folks from Brammo and some chat about the technical specs about the Enertia, I was hooked! For an ex-high-tech engineer and an avid biker, this was my dream job! Being a part of the Green Technology Revolution was an added incentive to be a part of a group which is laying the foundation for future replacement of polluting vehicles around the world.

The Brammo Enertia is the first production built rechargeable electric motorcycle, targeted mainly for city and suburb commuters, with a range of 45 miles on a single charge. To recharge the motorcycle, simply plug it into any 110VAC outlet in your house or work, and 3 hours later you're fully recharged. The Enertia is sleek, nimble, very quiet, and capable of attaining highway speeds of 55mph. The perfect non-polluting lightweight commuter vehicle. The Enertia Powercycle will be sold and serviced from Best Buy stores around the U.S., another new approach to purchasing new motor vehicles. You could simply purchase a new Enertia like buying a new flatscreen TV and ride it home.

The Enertia Powercycle is only the first of many non-polluting motorcycles coming from Brammo Inc., with many options available to meet customer needs. I'll add more posts as I get to 'play' with the newest vehicles.

I'm still in a state of shock about being involved in the future of alternative fuel vehicles, and grinning like a mischievous schoolboy working with the Brammo production team building the Enertia Powercycle. I'll keep posting as events unroll.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Perspective Check?

Okay, we all know there is a huge unemployment problem in the U.S., and those of you who are still working are paying for those of us who are not, ( thanks, BTW...). But, has anybody really attempted to talk to those of us who have been unemployed for quite some time? Notice any significant changes in his or her demeanor? I would imagine the answer is probably yes, and that's probably due to the American self image gained through success in business. We see the signs everyday, your neighbor leaving for work in the morning in his BMW Z6, the meticulously manicured lawn of the house two streets over, or the Barbie and Ken couple down the street still able to make their church fund drive to gain a sense of 'giving back'. Try two weeks of daytime TV and all of a sudden you're recognizing your true contribution to the world. Which is obviously very little.

Self esteem is slowly gained as we successfully interact with our coworkers. Ego results from the successful interaction with coworkers for many years, and recognition of ego pushes us farther up the business ladder. Finally, we build such an over-inflated image of ourselves in the business world that we can't remember what life was like before our good fortune brought us to this level.

If anything, unemployment puts it all back into perspective. You can again rethink your value system, you're immediately able to identify your excesses in lifestyle, and you're forced to focus on what's truly important. Speaking from experience, it is a somewhat humbling, and times aggravating experience, but one I won't forget for a very long time. If anything, it makes great stories to tell the Grand Kids about the Bad 'Ol Days.

I personally have rethought my future, and am pursuing a home manufacturing business. It's something I've always wanted to do, but never found the incentive while I was working in the high-tech industry to launch. Again, time on my hands and perspectives. Wish me luck...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Dharma Bum Effect?

Two weeks back in Portland, and still no job offers dropping on my doorstep. I should mention though that I did get some responses back from job listings I applied to since I've been back, so, the job market isn't completely frozen in Portland yet.

My Tom Joad trip was successful in the fact that I reconnected with family members long lost, but unsuccessful generating job offers, oh well...

One major difference in this trip compared to my previous motorcycle trips is that I was kept to a semi-rigid travel schedule, trying to meet both family and interview commitments along the way. Trying to keep these commitments frequently meant pushing both physical and mental limitations to get to the next waypoint, so I didn't have a lot of time to take in my surroundings, listen to the locals, or stop to smell the roses, for a lack of better terms.

Complete freedom while traveling either makes or breaks a memorable trip. As with my Baja trip, I had a very loose schedule on being anywhere along my route, and I let the route set my pace. Anybody whose read any of the Jack Kerouac books would immediately recognize this as the optimum approach to traveling. Jack was also somewhat notorious for overstaying his welcome in many of the places he decided to flop. I didn't hang around long enough to find out...

Back to the present... Still waiting for job calls, but planning lots more bike trips in the future. Portland is finally seeing some 60-degree days, so I'm considering a camping trip, on the bike, of course, out to the Eastern Oregon desert. Later in the Spring, possibly a trip up to Glacier National Park in Montana, and I do still want to see Moab, Utah in the early Summer.

Maybe this unemployment thing isn't so bad after all...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tom Joad - Day 17, mile 4,949.9, Home At Last to Marti's Home Cooking!

Unlike my previous trips, I had a very good reason to hasten my return to Portland during this trip.

Marti has been patiently awaiting my return during this trip. Keeping her informed of my poor eating habits while on the road, I returned home to a superb meal of homemade enchiladas. A few trips to the gym and more of Marti's healthy cooking, and I can absolve myself of my trip sloth and clear my conscience. And, hopefully, after forgiving me of my absence. Marti and I can resume our lives together.

I departed Redding, CA this morning to a chilly, overcast 34 degrees. I was concerned that my reentering Oregon through the Siskiyou Mountain Pass today might be dangerous due to snow and ice, so I donned the heated gear again and prepared for the worst. The weather gods smiled upon me again, and I passed through the Siskiyou Summit to a 32 degrees, but the roads were clear and dry. I descended back into Oregon to an overcast 41 degrees, and blasted northward on Interstate 5 toward home and a very special woman waiting for me as soon as I pulled into the garage.

As for the trip... Everyone expects the usual insights, revelations, and predictions for future adventures. Yes, I've got a million thoughts and images racing through my head, trying to capture those thoughts here and now would be impossible. To summarize the trip... scenery changes from place to place, but human needs, economic concerns, and an awareness of the 'now' is constant.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the several job interviews I had during my stay in Los Angeles, but I'm still hopeful that something will come of it. Regardless, I did the ride, I made the calls, I met the people. Isn't this why we go on adventures?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tom Joad - Day 16, mile 4,520.3, A Japanese Angel On My Shoulder...

I've never been much of a believer of most folklore, wives tales, and hearsay, but because of the success of my ride so far, I may have to tip my hat to tradition. My sister-in-law's mother, Kay Yoshimura, (Matt and Colleen in Los Angeles), heard of my ride for employment several weeks ago, and following the tradition of many Japanese Americans, she purchased a Daruma porcelain doll to bring me luck during my travels.

The Daruma doll, or Daruma san, as Colleen calls it, is a Japanese 'wish doll' with no arms and no legs. The Daruma doll, also known as the dharma doll, is modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder and first patriarch of Zen Buddhism. The doll has a face with a mustache and beard, but its eyes only contain the color white. Using black ink, one fills in a single circular eye while thinking of a wish. Should the wish later come true, the second eye is filled in. It is traditional to fill in the left eye first; the right eye is left blank until the wish is fulfilled.

Kay Yoshimura colored in the first eye before my departure, wishing me the success in my trip and job hunt. Oddly enough, I always had a feeling of security throughout my trip, and that it would bring positive results when done. Colleen told me about the doll early during my trip while visiting them in Los Angels. I thought about my Daruma san regularly throughout the trip, wondering if my little porcelain figure was keeping a watchful eye over me while I was thousands of miles away. I like to think he was. If anything, he was my imaginary guardian angel accompanying me over the endless miles. My safe return home tomorrow, and hopefully a job offer in the near future will confirm the power of my Daruma san. He then gets his other eye colored in, confirming the wish has been fulfilled.

I departed Los Angeles this morning to a sunny and warming 53 degrees. I winded my way back up through the Grapevine pass above L.A. to a warm 64 degree day. The weather cooperated with some broken clouds, but still very comfortable riding weather as I proceeded north towards Oregon again. I pushed farther north today to try to minimize the distance I would have to ride tomorrow to finally get home. I rode another 10-hour day and burned up 534 miles to put me closer to making my final push back into Oregon and home Friday evening. I was slowed down by commuter traffic passing through Sacramento, CA, this evening. No great surprise there because most of my big-city crossing throughout this trip have been weekday crossing at the worst possible hour. Regardless, I endured the stop-and-go traffic and opened up the throttle for the final push into Redding, CA, my destined stopping place for the evening.

Tomorrow, the end. This is the funny part about rides like this. You're tired and happy that it is over and done, but a part of you is ready to throw a leg over your machine again the following day and push on for another 500+ miles. I experienced this feeling coming off of several of my past big rides. Everything comes to an end, but we both embrace it and fear it? The typical evolution of long rides is that you remember and curse the uncomfortable, long days during your trip. But as time passes, you forget the suffering and realize that you've been hardened by the experience. As more time passes, you wonder if you can still endure those hardships and push your limitations just a little bit farther. This trip was, by far, the longest motorcycle adventure I have ever experienced, and I'm not ready to duplicate the hardships any time soon. But, given a year or so, I may be sizing up another major adventure. Sorry in advance Marti.

Tomorrow, Portland, home, my own bed and a hot shower, and weeks of bragging rights about motorcycle traveling. I love going home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tom Joad - Day 15, mile 3,973.3, Enough Desert! I Need Green!

The day started out very well. I met with my cousin Linda for coffee in downtown Tucson, AZ near the University of Arizona. A very hip portion of town with a terrific vibe and very friendly people. I definitely want to go back and explore it more some day.

It was wonderful reconnecting with Linda this morning. If only for an hour or so. Linda and I lost contact nearly 30 years ago, the usual stories. We both immediately recognized each other. Time has been kind on both of us. We talked awhile about family, careers, and our mutual hopes for a greener, more sustainable society in the future. Linda is much more in touch with these types of projects and efforts because of her work in the Tucson school system and with children. I'd love to spend a week with her just to exchange ideas. Yet another excuse to return to Tucson. This one is on my 'must-do' list. I departed Tucson this morning to a very warm 73 degrees at 9am. I knew I was in for another warm ride this afternoon, so I unzipped all of the vents in my riding suit and proceeded westward for another long, hot desert ride.

As deserts go, and I've seen quite a few, Arizona's desert landscape is the most appealing. Beside its trademark Saguaro Cactus, the rock features, colors, and wildlife seem a bit more interesting than most other deserts. The larger towns such as Tucson and Phoenix are oasis's amidst huge expanses of barren sun-bleached sand and rock. The state of Arizona broke records over the past 5 to 10 years with the largest recorded growth of populations in any American city, surpassing Seattle in the late '80s and '90s, specifically due to the mass migration of greying Baby-Boomers to Tucson and Phoenix's retirement communities. I can see why.

Because of my late departure this morning from Tucson, I rode hard westward to try to get into Los Angeles before sundown. Which meant no stopping for lunch or dinner during my ride today.

My meals today were typically incorporated into my fuel stops, meaning a bottle of water and possibly a couple of beef jerky sticks, (arrrrgh), then back on the road. I'm glad I only do these road trips once a year or so, because my dietary habits go to hell when I'm traveling like this. I'm sooooo looking forward to getting home and one of Marti's healthy home cooked meals.

I crossed the California border today about 1pm to a toasty 86 degrees. As I descended down through the San Gabriel Valley, the wind was fierce and I was again blown all over the road. As I neared Los Angeles the wind tapered off, and I was cruising along again with the normal traffic flow at 80mph. Nearing the city I was caught the the usual rush hour crawl being a regular workday for most folks, and I hobbled along towards my brother and sister-in-laws place in Los Angeles to flop for the evening.

Tomorrow I start north again. I'll head as far as northern California tomorrow, grabbing a hotel somewhere near Redding, CA. Friday is the big push home! I'm ready to run for the barn. My horse is tired, this rider is weary, and my Woman wants me home.