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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Episode One - Two Wheels Through the Big Land Released

Well folks I finally finished up episode one, which takes Pete and I to the ferry in North Sydney. It's only a nine minute video, but damn, it's a lot of work. I'm still learning how to use the Final Cut Pro X editing software, so I have been learning from my mistakes as I go, and that's been time consuming. Also putting in the Google Earth video took up almost an entire morning, however I did the whole trip, so it will save time for the other episodes.

The biggest issue……...trying to come up with a story line, and a feel for the videos. A lot of motorcycle films have an artsy feel to them, and I wanted to stay away from that, because it seems like the new trend.

Anyway I hope you like it, I'll be starting the next episode right away while things at work are slow. Hopefully episode two will be out in a couple of weeks. So stay tuned.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Two Wheels Throught the Big Land - Opening Sequence

I finished up the opening sequence to "Two Wheels Through the Big Land". As of now I am not sure what direction I want to take this in. I am leaning more to a small video/film style than a web series. 

The good news is………I have at least a week or more at home, so I'll get a good push on to get a lot of editing done. 

Other than that, I am suffering from jet lag after getting home from 4 days in Europe. Five hour time zone change is not fun. Going there is not bad, coming home is the worst. I don't know how my buddy at Emirates Airlines does this long haul stuff for a living. 12-14hr flights. Yuck.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Good Day of Riding and Some Sad News

Yesterday a group of us headed off on what is known as the "Frostbite Run" or "Frozen Nut Ride". The "Frostbite Ride" was originally created by one of my work friends Rob Darrah, and was an annual event held in the fall of the year to close out the bike season. The one condition was, it had to be frosty the day of the ride.

Last year for one reason or another we didn't do the ride, so this year I took the bike by the bars and decided to get organized early and not only invite the lads from work, but get a few others involved. So I sent an email to my friend Dwight and his buddy Tom. Well Dwight was away on another cross-continent adventure and was somewhere in southern Texas…..he was out. Tom stepped up to the plate and was eager to go, and brought along four other friends.

On a cold Saturday morning, -1C was the temp when I got up, and there was a pretty good frost covering the ground. The good news……..it was gonna warm up to 11C and the wind was forecasted to be calm.

Frost on the grass as the sun comes up.

The meeting place was The Big Stop on the highway, and at 0930 we slowly started to assemble. It was a mixed bag of bikes, sport bikes, adventure bikes, and cruisers. We represented the whole gamut of the motorcycle world. No bashing of brands or styles, just a bunch of bikers out for a good days ride.

We headed out from the Big Stop shortly after 0930 headed for St. Martins, then Sussex for a well deserved lunch and warm cup of coffee.

 From Sussex we took the back roads towards Cambridge Narrows, stopping at an old house belonging to a friend of Tom's, and then proceeded down the coast of the Bellisle towards the Kingston Peninsula

and finally towards home covering about 220km in total. It was a great late fall day ride, a rare day to be had around northeastern Canada.

This weekend was the annual running of the Tecate/Score Baja 1000 in Mexico, I have been a big fan of this race for a number of years, and it is a dream….really only a dream of competing in it, as well as my dream of doing the Dakar Rally. Dare to dream right.

When I got home from Saturday's ride I went to Advrider to check in on the latest from the Baja, and was gutted to learn that one of my favourite riders Kurt Caselli was killed while leading the race with only 85 miles to go, of the 885 total miles in the race.

Kurt was a racing legend in desert and off road racing even at the young age of 30, and it looked like he was on his way to winning his first Baja 1000 title for KTM when he was involved in what appears to have been a crash involving a large animal. The Baja 1000 is not a closed course and is run through the wilds of the Baja Peninsula.

I never met the man, but he just seemed like a really good guy, everyone spoke very highly of him, and he had mad skills on a bike. He was on the cusp of becoming one of the great Dakar racers after his appearance last year at the Rally.

My condolences go out to all of Kurt's family, friends and fans.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Day, and unfortunately it is the only time of the season that we think about what all the veterans sacrificed so we could lead a life of freedom. Even if you do not believe in the reasons for going to war, our young men and women serving our country have put themselves in harms way, and that alone demands respect. Many did not come home, those that have will never be the same again, physically or mentally.

photos from the Huffington Post

My old high school friend Rick did a little rant on how our country is letting our veterans down.

Maybe we need a national bike rally in support of our veterans to ride to Parliament Hill and let the Harper government know that we need to do all we can to look after these brave folks.

From the Huffington Post:
"Never done this before," Mercer tweeted on Friday, linking to an early YouTube post of the rant in which he savages the Conservative government over its treatment of veterans. As of Sunday, the post had been retweeted nearly 1,300 times and the video viewed more than 90,000 times.
Mercer focuses on cuts to Veterans Affairs which will lead to the closure of nine offices and, consequently, more obstacles to access for those who have served Canada in uniform.
"So if you’re a World War II vet and you have a problem, what do you do? Well, you don’t go to an office and talk to a real person — those days are over," Mercer says. "There’s a 1-800 number they can call, or — this is my favourite, bearing in mind the average age is 88 — there’s an app they can download to their smartphone which will allow them to navigate the Veterans Affairs website, a website that will send them to the nearest Service Canada office where, if they need to make burial arrangements, they have to take a number and stand in line behind some guy like me who’s waiting to get his passport renewed."
"I'm sorry, if you fought on the beach in Dieppe and survived, you should not have to spend any portion of your final days on this Earth in a Service Canada office."

In May, the NDP's Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer said in a press release that staff in Charlottetown told him "that because they did their job 'too well' and had too many veterans coming to the office for service, the federal government was closing the [office].”
More recently, the Conservatives have faced questions about federal support for the Last Post Fund, an agency that helps pay for the funerals of impoverished veterans. Since 2006, the fund has had to reject two-thirds of all applications for help because of narrow guidelines that restrict money to veterans of the two world wars and the Korean war.
The Last Post Fund itself, veterans groups and funeral directors have lobbied the government to raise the amount of money its puts towards funerals, which has been fixed at $3,600 since 2000. They also want the eligibility requirements broadened.
But when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked specifically about the fund by reporters travelling with him on Saturday, he did not acknowledge those concerns. Instead, he said his government was doing a lot for veterans, and that all programs are constantly being assessed. The Last Post Fund was last reviewed two years ago.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

What's New and Plans for Next Year

The AIMExpo was awesome, and it got me all fired up for next years riding plans. Unfortunately since the Expo, I have done absolutely nothing when it comes to the two wheeled transport that we all love.

The week after the Expo I was in ground school and flight simulator training at a place called FlightSafety. Go figure. It's a big facility in Orlando that houses a couple of dozen full motion simulators. Check out the link for more info if you're curious http://vimeo.com/65849583 I fly two different types of aircraft so once a year I have a week of training on each one.

The week after that I headed to Daytona Beach to go back to school. I attended an Aviation Safety Management Program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Ya, I was the old fart on campus. I passed for a professor more than a student.

As soon as I got home from a week of that, my boss figured one day at home was enough and sent me away to work for another week. He either hates me or is too stunned to look at schedule. I think it maybe the latter.

So basically that means no editing has been done on the BigLand Adventure. So far the opening sequence is complete and most of the first episode is laid out in order. I'm starting to realize that editing a lot of video takes a lot of time. It's not the wham bam, thank you ma'am stuff I was doing with iMovie on the iPad. I hope to release episode one before Christmas. Hope, no promises.

I am also putting a book together of the trip. More as keepsake for me than anything else, so when I am really old, I can sit on the porch in my rocker and look back on it all. I've tried ebooks, but nothing replaces the look and feel of a real book in your hands. It's going to be a big coffee table style book, lots of pictures and exerpts from the blog. If anyone wants to buy one, they will be for sale.

Alright, now down to the nitty gritty……..what the hell are we doing next year for a trip. I have been thinking about that a lot lately, and believe it or not, I'd like to go back to Labrador. Not the full meal deal like this year, but I'd like to take some guys up through Baie Comeau, Manic Cinq, and to Lab City/Wabush. There are a couple of guys around here that have expressed interest in getting a taste of it.
My friend from work, John, the guy below drooling over the new Vstrom 1000.

The other day Pete was telling me his friend John, man that is a popular name, I'm gonna have to come up with some nicknames if we get anymore John's, or find some ladies of the night for all the John's. 
Shit, I'm rambling again. Anyway Pete's friend John, a loyal follower of the Bigland blog, is talking of selling is Yamaha R6 and getting an adv bike. DO IT, DO IT. Of course coming off an R6 he may need a Ducati Multistrada, the mighty power of a KLR may not be enough.
John is the guy on the left, who doesn't look like Hemmings.
John, do we have a trip for you! 

The whole trip to Lab City and back should take about five days. About the same time my wife would take to go shopping in the Boston area, but cost a lot less money. This time I want to camp more than once and spend a night in the ghost town of Gagnon. 

Route 389 from Baie Comeau to Fermont was one of my favourite parts of the trip. Nice twisty roads,  enough gravel to make it a real adventure, and you can still get your picture taken in front of the Big Land sign at the border.

So………..who's in? Late June work for all of ya?