Meeting Friends on New Adventures

May 13th, 2014 by admin

One of the great things that Mucho loves to do when on the road is meet new friends!! What a great experience meeting Keith Mashborn who won 19 straight at Ascot and Chris Carter, 3 time Six Day medal winner!!

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More Pictures from the road

May 12th, 2014 by admin

Cannonball Centennial Trip – Denver to Kansas (and everywhere in between)

May 8th, 2014 by admin

Cannon Ball Centennial Trip From New Mexico to Denver

May 7th, 2014 by admin

Crossing the border between Mongolia and Russia!

September 19th, 2011 by admin

We’re up early and head over to the border. The que now is 20 or so trucks and as many cars. We have all agreed that I should handle customs after we all have cleared immigrations. I head the group of 6 bikes out of the guest house. I see a little hole in the lanes that divide the trucks from the cars and we all weave our way to the front without much protest from the cars and trucks already in line to where the guard is standing in front of a large gate. This guy is in charge of monitoring the flow into the immigrations area. Fortunately he agrees to let us pass first through the gates. Its 8am and we’re in first! At this gate after showing passports we are given a slip of paper that we later find out needs about seven different stamps from 7 different officials before we are allowed to pass out of the other control area to the Russian border.

We all park our bikes in the customs area and get processed through immigrations, not enough O’s in smooooth!! Then I get all the paper work for each bike from Eric, collect all the passports and head to the customs window. The board clerk behind the counter shuffles through the paper work 9 times looking at each document then the others, one by one. I know she has no clue what she’s looking at but have learned after many border crossings to be patient and say nothing. For those of you reading this who know me, you also know this is almost impossible! After about 15 minutes of me smiling at the window she calls over another board agent, says something in Mongolian with an “ I don’t have clue” look on her face who starts shuffling through the documents. Then she motions me to follow her. By the way, nobody speaks any English! So far it’s been all sign language and smiling. We head through a control area and upstairs. She hands over the doc’s to yet one more agent and we start the process all over again.

It’s been now over an hour and still nothing has moved forward. Finally a woman who looks like maybe she’s a supervisor of some sorts in very broken English says “where are your entry documents?” I wrote yesterday about the process. You check into a country first with a specific amount of time then you check out. You must follow this process to make sure that you have not brought your vehicle into the country illegally to sell it and not pay an entry or sales tax.

The problem is we don’t have any entry documents! The bikes were all shipped from Singapore to Ulaanbataar by rail. The shipping agent never gave us the customs seal of entry when we took possession of the the bikes in UB. So I say “oh no problem be right back”. I go back down stairs and find Eric and the boys. Another clue about border crossings is only show what documents they ask for. Don’t show up at a border with a big hand full of of doc’s. It only will confuse them as to what to do with them. Wait, be patient and hope for the best. In this case we don’t have what they want! So I ask Eric for the receipts of payment for the bikes from the shipper and hope to B.S. My way through. I take the receipts up and hope they will pass. More shuffling, more WTF is this?, ask the person next to them if they understand and then….”this is not a customs form, do you have one?” No this is what they gave us:) obviously we cleared customs or we would not be here, smile, laugh everything is ok! Wait here…then shows a new person I have not seen. She starts shuffling, then says follow me. We go to another department where we start all over with her speaking Mongolian and me smiling and shaking my head up and down like understand. Up until now we have been working the 5 bikes from the guys from Singapore. She notices we have 6 little pieces of paper from the first control. She says “What about the other bike?” me, “Oh, that’s my bike” now the next problem is all the other bikes are listed on the receipt. My bike was processed separate because I am an American, I require a Carne’ de Passage to enter and depart Singapore so that document is my receipt.

Now new problem. My Carne’ expired on September 3rd its now September 5th! My original plan was to ship my bike back to Singapore with the guys. So as soon as I got to UB, I Fed-exed my original Carne’ back to the states to renew. Now all I have is a photo copy of the original expired document! I am screwed! By the way a Carne’ is an insurance document recognized internationally as a guarantee to whatever country that requires it, that I will not leave my bike in that country past a specific time or sell the bike in that country. If not properly stamped entry and exit that country can make a claim against the bond for the value of the bike including import fees. So again I say, “Oh, no problem, be right back” smile, nod. I go back down stairs find Eric. He gives me the photo copy of my expired Carne’ and I go back upstairs and hope for the best. Now that they are focused on my bike, I am hopeful that the other bikes will clear. The big boss looks at my document and says smiling, “Oh, Ok now I understand, you need to go to see bla,bla,bla” I reach for the documents for the guys and she says “no! you need to go take care of your bike, we still are working on these bikes”, shit. The copy of my expired Carne’ is Golden! Everybody who see’s it just stamps, signs and moves it along!! Now about 5 hours has passed. I keep going from department to department. Then to the copy center then to the bank to pay fees, then back with a reciept. Then get all stamped, then find customs officer to inspect the bikes, VIN. numbers match license plates and passports. They have called customs in UB and confirmed legal entry. I have given everybody pens and MuchoBill stickers, smiled and kissed everybodies ass. It’s now 3pm. 7 hours!

I have gotten all the documents stamped and my fixer guy that we have been working with all day finally says we can go!! Only one more
thing! Because of all the special work there will be a “Special Fee”. 75,000 Mongolian! About 60 US. Obviously I say “no problem!” and no receipt!

We exit with our little paper with the 7 stamps, cross no-mans land to Russia! Now you think that Russia would now even be a bigger issue? But we all process in about 1 hour! Could not have been easier! Very efficient! Sometimes it’s easier to enter a country than leave it. We freeze our asses on our way to Ulan-Ude, but we are riding our motorcycles in Fricken Russia!

Headed for the Border! Mongolia to Russia!

September 14th, 2011 by admin

More, Gorkhi Terelj National Park

CLICK HERE <--- to see the full travel itinerary We decide to forgo the 30 US per person breakfast and hope to find a traditional Mongolian breakfast on the road. The plan for the day is to head out to the Giant Metal statue of Chinggis Khaan. This is the Mongolian and proper spelling, some where along the way the Chinese, out of disrespect, changed it to the now familiar spelling fo Gengis Kahn. Anyway we found a great little spot for breakfast just overlooking the statue. We had a typical hearty Mongolian breakfast. Mutton soup and fried noodles with beef. The Statue was gigantic! The pictures do not do it justice. I'm talking Statue of Liberty Big! We pose for photos, and head back to Ulaanbataar, where we will take the road towards the Russian Border. We plan to stay on the Mongolian side tonight and get an early start in what is always a tedious process, border crossing. I have written about border crossing in the past but here is a brief review. When leaving one country to another it always starts with immigrations first for the person then its off to customs to clear the Moto. Customs is basically immigrations for the bike. Then you enter no-mans land between the two borders and start all over again to enter the new country. I always count on at least four hours to complete. But you never know what to expect until you get there so its not something you want to start late in the day. Borders are rarely open 24hrs and you don't want to get processed out of one country and get stuck in no-mans land overnight. Its a beautiful day and we bypass most of the horrific traffic in UB (Ulaanbataar) the road is decent two lane with less and less traffic the farther we get out of the city.

The country side was expansive, blue skies with big puffy clouds and green everywhere. We see lots of herds of sheep and horses, always tended by the traditional nomadic Mongolian. Everybody makes lots of roadside stops to shoot pictures. One of the other changes from last years China expedition was to have shorter days and take time to smell the roses. Border towns… always basically a shit hole where people survive off travelers either crossing too late or trying to get an early shot at the border crossing. We are crossing at the Kjahta border, we get into town about 7 pm and see a guest house that might
be our lodging for the night. I stop and head in to see if there are any rooms at the Inn and find a plump little Russian woman who knows as much English as I know Russian..nada.

So we both go into to a situation lacking language skills and start miming out what we both need to know. Yes, she has rooms and then pulls out her international money translator used around the world to tell you how much your gonna pay….a calculator! 20,000 Mongolian! About 17 USD. The boys are ecstatic!! While the guys are unpacking, Eric and I take a ride down the road towards the border about 150 yards away. The border has closed and there are already about 20 trucks and cars in the que. We ask what time the border opens and find out its 8am. Back to the guest house to unload bikes, shower and eat. Up to my room and its not so bad, little bit funky with just a slight moldy smell, little toilet room but no shower. I start making my I need a shower moves and get nothing?? So then I say douche and she smiles and says yes, yes, douche! She motions me downstairs and around the corner outside. The guys are already in line. You see its the public shower, only 2000 Mongolian and no hot water but you get to use it. I decide on a Wet Ones shower and meet the guys down stairs for dinner. Chris is sitting there with his big smile and enjoying a beer. I make the sign for me too and then its what are we having for dinner? A menu appears and you guessed it..its in Russian with no pictures. Chris and I start making farm animal noises as to what we might like to eat and the young girl figures out that moo moo probably means beef. She says word goulash!

Both Chris and I agree yes, yes. As each one of the guys shows up everybody agrees goulash it is. Then Chris Makes the motions and sounds of a chicken and mimes the cracking of an egg, then flips his hands over to sign that he want them fried. It’s all part of the adventure tour! Ok, its 12:15 am and we got an early start so I’ll fill you in on the border crossing tomorrow.

Quick Updates On The Road

September 13th, 2011 by admin

Ok, lots has happened since last pitiful update. Got the bike out of the container an all day event. Lots of excitement at the yard. Each bike comes out of the the container from Singapore and it like Christmas! All the bikes get unloaded and then we locate some fuel. The bikes have to ship empty and the batteries have to be disconnected before they are placed in the container. Well one of the riders bikes starts spewing fuel all over the place. The fuel pump inlet is
cracked! The guys go to work trying to repair the crack with epoxy and James, I and Godfather, start shagging bikes back to the hotel.

When we get back to the hotel there is a big GS with knobbies already there?? We check it out but the owners not around. Just an odd coincidence to see another GS Like the bike from Singapore. I get to work on my bike, adding some new parts to my bike. New windshield, mudflaps, and tailbag. I have ditched my BMW hard, tail case for a soft case, hoping to reduce some weight from the the back of the bike and hopefully prevent any further damage to my subframe I
repaired for the third time. The guys return from the shipping yard after leaving the one damaged bike overnight in hope that epoxy will have time to set on the fuel pump. While they are checking in the guy with the big GS we saw in the parking lot stops by to see all the other GS’s that have magically appeared in the middle of Mongolia. We chat him up a bit and just before he leaves I asked him if he might be interested in selling us his fuel pump.

Loa, the rider with the broken fuel pump has arranged for a back up to be sent from Korea, but it won’t be here until Tuesday. Loa is in the hotel trying to secure a ride in a truck to fallow us in case the fuel pump fix doesn’t take. Our new friend Shane says no problem! Anything to help out a fellow biker! So the gang heads over to Shane’s house and remove his fuel pump for a spare. Loa, leaves him $500 U.S. as a deposit and were back in business! We go out to celebrate our good fortune to nice dinner at local pub appropriately named, Ghengis Kahn. After while some of the group go to the airport to pick up Chris, Godfather-David and I head out to a local Nightclub. David loves to look at any type of girl! and gets very animated any time we get around any. Big flirt! So he’s always fun to go at with even though he’s 71!

So we arrive the bar around 10:30, nothing is going on, only a few people that look like they are celebrating someones birthday. David, immediately says “bad place” But we are here, so we have drink. After our second drink we start to see a band setting up and then some more people show up and by the time the band starts it packed! David is very happy! Lots of beautiful Mongolian woman and the band is fronted by a scantily clad singer with a great voice. We are having a great time and then Chris and the rest of the guy’s return from the airport around 1am. Everybody is having a great time but we can see that the locals are getting a bit hammered as some fights start occurring. The bouncers are on it but we decide to get out of there. We gotta ride tomorrow/today:)

This Is Mongolia, Baby!

September 13th, 2011 by admin

Today we head to Gorkhi Terelj National Park. It’s a short day for us all to get our gear sorted out. Started out a little bit hectic. The traffic is absolutely horrible, it doesn’t move! Even on bikes it’s so tight you can’t split lanes. There is no traffic control or stop light so everybody just tries to shuffle forward. We get separated a couple of times and this just further delays our start. It takes us almost two hours to get out of Ulaanbataar. Finally the roads start to open up and the countryside is spectacular. We’re riding along and come across this guy with a couple of huge eagles tethered up, yes freaking eagles! It turns out that training eagles to hunt is a national sport and this guy motions us to pull over and we take some photos holding his eagles. Only in Mongolia!

We enter the park after paying a small fee, it only gets more beautiful!

Passing through small villages with lots of yurts, the nomads idea of a motor home without the motor. After about 60 klicks of incredible views and vistas we arrive at Park headquarters. Being the designated hotel guy I check for rooms. There are only two options; one mid-level looking property and one looks like a palace in the middle of nowhere. Knowing the ways of my frugal but rich guys, I go to check out the mid-level property first, no luck, sold out. I inform the guys and they all look a little concerned. You see on this trip we have all decided that we didn’t want to be tied to an itinerary so we have made no previous reservations. The down side is we pay rack rate and hope for the best!

( If you have quicktime player and want to see a video of a Russian Fountain) click —-> russia

I head over to the Palace and see three New Rolls Royce Phantoms in front! I laugh to myself thinking this is gonna be as my Cousin Bob would say “a little bit spicy”. The place was built for rich Asian tourists to stay and yes it was a “little bit spicy”, 240 US for a double and 280 US for the single. You’d think you get a great room but this was the deluxe room, no view no riverside, you get to face the parking lot! Everybody gets unloaded and we head for dinner. Now, being a 5 star property you would expect 5 Star service, right? Nope! Horrible service by people who could give a shit! You know why? Because they can! Where else you gonna go??

A Year In Review!

September 7th, 2011 by admin

September 29th 2011

It’s 5 am in Hong Kong and I am arriving via Cathay Pacific airways from SFO on my way to my destination for this leg, Beijing! I left Western China a year ago. After entering through Laos into China, West and North into Tibet, Nepal and into India.If you were following along, I left my bike in Calcutta with a shipping agent. The remaining Singapore Mafia had arranged to ship their bikes back to Singapore, using tried and true, Danny Limm freight forwarder. But I wasn’t sure what my next move was. I still had two month’s left on my India travel visa and wanted to keep my options open. As you may recall I was a little disenchanted with India. I thought that what I should really do was go back and spend more time trying to experience and understand it’s cultures better but in the end it just didn’t happen.When I returned from the China expedition last September, I was only back in the states ten days before heading to Central and South America with the Wheelchair Foundation. Two weeks and five countries of flying in Ken Behring’s private McDonald-Douglas MD-80 ! I was invited along with my friend Don and his son Josh. Josh has CP and is in a wheelchair. The three of us over the past 6 years have been on over 16 wheelchair distributions in 9 different countries. But there is nothing like traveling private with David Behring and his mother Pat in the the “Big Jet”. It was another over the top trip! Basically on this particular trip, a bunch of the nicest “rich people” you ever met donate 25 grand a couple and they get to go on the trip and participate in wheelchair distributions. The entire trip has been organized with all of the chairs being shipped ahead. On this trip we distributed over 400 chairs, primarily in Peru, Chile and Argentina. Traveling with this crowd is a big deal. Everywhere we go we are hosted by presidents and dignitaries. The distributions are life changing. If you’re not familiar with the foundation please click on the link on the front page on and please make a difference!  A $150 donation purchases a wheelchair and changes someone’s life!

November 2010
Annual motorbike trip to Hollister California with the family.

Basically a bunch off friends and their families meet up with their motorcycles and motorhomes, camp, party and ride for Thanksgiving week.We have been doing this for over ten years and a fun time is had by all. Stop by and see us sometime!

December 2010
Baja California, El Oasis
Christmas for the orphanage.

As many of you know we have helped sponsor an orphanage in Baja for about ten years. Each year I work with the orphanage and choose a worthy project. I then go back to my Rotary club and friends and hustle them out of their money for the projects. Many of them also come with me to do the project, help out and play with the kids. Some past years projects include a soccer field, complete computer lab, a solar well, game room and complete A/V room. We also do major Christmas shopping in Tijuana for all the kids to make sure they have something to open on Christmas Day. Each child is shopped for individually, we have their age, size and interest.  We also do a major Costco run for consumables.  Of course we always head up to Mike’s Sky Ranch for an annual Christmas beer!

January 2011
Ten days of R and R in Puerto Vallarta.
Stayed at the Intercontinental and had a blast!

February 2011
Back to Guadelarra with my friends Don and Josh to distribute 300 wheelchairs. While we were there we couldn’t miss the city of Tequila!  It was a great distribution with the local Rotary club.  And always great to travel with Don And Josh.

March 2011
Ten days in Baja with Malcolm Smith Adventures.

This is also an annual event I have been doing for over 11 years.  It’s the major fundraiser for the El Oasis Orphanage.  Malcolm is responsible for stumbling across this place while pre-running for one of his the many Baja 1000 races.  It’s another big group of riders who get together every year and ride from Tecate or Ensenada all the way down the peninsula to Cabo San Lucas. We crisscross from the Pacific to the Sea of Cortez.  All in total ends up being about 1400 miles of the best off-road riding in the world with a bunch of generous nice guys who have a great time and manage to raise upwards of 100 grand each year for the orphanage.

April 2011
Wheelchairs for El Salvador!

This time my Daughter Jessica joined Don, Josh and a family friend.  We had an exciting host who showed up at the airport with two guards toting automatic weapons and all of them in bullet proof cars! He jumps out of the blacked out SUV and says Welcome to El Salvador! This was my second trip to El Salvador. My first time was back in 07′ when I had just started my RTW (round the world) trip. I came through there solo after entering from Guatemala.  It’s a beautiful country with amazing, caring, passionate people. This trip was particularly special for me because my daughter was there to help. This was Jessica’s 5th distribution. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful daughter who has a big Heart and enjoys giving as much as I do.  It was also special because we delivered our 5000th wheelchair!

April again 2011

Baja One more time!

For the past few years I have been bringing my pre-runner, Ford f250 for Malcolm’s ride. It started out that I built the truck for a racer friend of mine who became paralyzed after a minor accident. We had spent a lot of time together in Baja and he just really wanted to get back there. So I built a special truck for him with basically a Hoyer lift to raise his 6’5 270 lb quadriplegic ass into the truck. Then we strap him into the six point harness and chase the bikes to Cabo. Check out the video on YouTube. After the long trip down I usually leave the truck at the Finestera Hotel in Cabo for a month then drive back up the peninsula at a leisurely pace and enjoy the best of Baja.

July 2011
Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Ok! Finally back to where we left off in India. Between my Visa expiring, my genuine dislike of riding India and the fact that my 2002 BMW 1150 GS adventure was feeling a little bit neglected after 40,000 hard miles, half of which have been off-road, she needed a little TLC. In April I shipped her Back to Singapore to the BMW dealer there, Performance Motors. These guys know the GS. You wouldn’t think that an Island in South east Asia with hardly any open dirt would be the capitol Of Big Bmer GS’S, but there has to be more GS’s than any where in the world. It’s also the head quarters for the Storm Riders! AKA, The Singapore Mafia, My riding buddies I met last year for China to India. So for the 4th of July I flew to Singapore to check on the progress on my bike. While I was taking care of my bike, I knocked off a couple of extra stamps in my passport. Progressing my goal of tagging 60 countries before I hit the ripe age of 60 years old. Now 51, I gotta get cooking! So I traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia and the Philippines renting scooters and seeing the sights. Back to Singapore to prepare the bike for shipping to Ullan Bataar, Mongolia. This will be another adventure with my friends from Singapore. I will hook up with them on this trip in Beijing, China and we will travel together to receive the bikes in Mongolia and travel to Russia and Siberia.

July, 2011
The Colorado 600

Back from South east Asia just 8 days and it’s off to Denver with one of my best friends Chris Carter from Motion Pro. This ride is organized by Don Riggles, a legend and open lands activist to riders in Colorado. The concept of the Colorado 600 is an invitation only ride to bring together riders and professionals from the motorcycle industry. It’s a 501c3 and a large portion of the entrance fee goes directly to keep Colorado trails open for the enthusiast to enjoy. It’s also set up to educate and invites open discussions on how all riders should be involved in keeping the trails open. Each morning starts off with open discussion and a presentation from organizers, forestry officials, and AMA (American Motorcycle Association) and is MC’d by Stan Simpson, past president of the AMA. Over 70 grand was raised, all of it going to keep the trails open. 5 days of some of the best and most challenging single track Colorado has to offer. In attendance were many past and current ISDA, Dakar, and professional racers. the riding was both challenging and exhilarating! There is something for everybody and many new friends were made.

August 29th 2011
Arrive Beijing, China from San Francisco.

Spending a couple of days acclimating from the 22 hour trek across the international date line before meeting up with Singapore Storm Riders/Border Crossers. Doing some regular tourist type stuff. Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Palace, etc.

September 1st 2011

After battling with Beijing traffic I arrive at Beijing International airport. I meet up with my friends from Singapore! Guess what the first thing we do is? Go for Chinese food for lunch! We board the plane for Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. The View from the plane is spectacular! What a remote and beautiful country! Everyone is excited and anxious to start our adventure! We are still missing our favorite navigator, Chris. He will be joining us tonight.

This is India!

November 8th, 2010 by admin

After a great evening with my new friends, I get up early and head out of the hotel to do some basic maintenance on my bike. First locate moto wash then somebody to do an oil change. David my concierge buddy directs me to a gas station where I can get the bike washed, then some more directions for a mechanic. The bike is filthy! Road grime, oil and mud. The little guy at the wash shakes his head from side to side as I pull up but motions me forward to his carved out area in the parking lot. Immediately the crowd begins to gather and the questions begin. Super nice group of onlookers all kind of murmuring amongst each other. Taking pictures with there cell phones and drinking tea from a little kid selling from a thermos. It’s a beautiful day at the moto wash. The little old man is busting ass, getting in all the nooks and crannies after about an hour the owner of the gas station wants me to move the bike out to the sidewalk to finish wiping it down and mostly because the crowd has gotten so big, the patrons can’t get there cars up to the gas pumps. Then he tells me I owe 150 rubies, about $1.50 us. I give 200 rubies and I thought the old man was gonna cry! Then a nice man on a Red Czechoslovakian Jawa motorcycle pulls up and tells me David the concierge sent him to take me to his shop to do the oil change. Man, I love a Concierge! So I follow my new best friend over to a sidewalk moto repair shop. When I say sidewalk, I mean sidewalk! No store front, no garage door, sidewalk. There are 6 or 7 bikes in various stages of repair. He direct me to back the the bike up to the curb and put it on the center stand. No problem, except in the two seconds it takes me to back the bike up, I am already surrounded by onlookers! Can hardly get my leg over and off the bike. I secure the bike and explain to him the particulars of an oil change on my bike and he goes to work with his now 30 assistants giving advice and encouragement. After removing the skidplate and drain plug he looks at me with a look of dispair. I’m thinking what does he need? He makes motion of pouring oil in the hole and I say yes yes yes. That’s where the oil goes. He nods his head and gives me the same look. Like what now?

Yes, that’s where it goes. Then one of the onlookers says where is the oil? I say in the pan? He says where do you keep the new oil? I say what new oil? He says the oil for the bike! I say don’t have. He says we go to the oil shack and buy. So me and my newest Indian friend head out to the oil shack and secure 3 litres of fine Castrol 20/50.
I enjoy some street tea with some onlookers while the mechanic buttons up the bike and one of his assistants paints over the welds from my China repair that is already starting to rust. Just a lot of nice people with a common interest in bikes, hanging around B.S.n around on a beautiful
day in India!

I am feeling a little guilty about my first blogs about India, I might have a been a little harsh. Most of the people I have met in Kolcuta have been genuinely kind and friendly. I mention my initial experiences with Davids wife and she confirms that the people from the north can sometimes be difficult with foreigners. They really don’t get many North Americans or Europeans visiting there part of the country. He assures me that the roads and the people of India only get better from here! My original plans were that I was going to ship my bike from Kolcuta to Casa Blanca, Morocco. I have now decided that to have judged India on just one region and only a few experiences is like flying to the US and visiting Texas and forming what ever opinion about the entire country. So I will return in January and continue onto New Delhi and Mumbai. Then Africa!
This has been an incredible Adventure!
Out of the states for almost 6 weeks, over 8000 kilometers or close to 6000 miles. 6 countries, 30+ days on the bike. Next to the USA Trans America Trail the longest single trip I have been on. I am happy and sad it’s over. Now I head back to Bangkok and then US for 1 week and head to South America with the Wheelchair foundation on Ken Behring’s private plane to deliver wheelchairs in Chile and Argentina with stops in Costa Rica and Peru. The adventure continues!
I am one lucky MF!
Thanks for listening.

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