After a coupla years of silence, Heather and I have decided to try to breath life back into this blog, for ourselves if not for anyone else. If you find amusement following along, great. If not, well, we’re gonna do it anyway.
I will lead off with a VERY brief synopsis of what has transpired. Heather is free to amplify or dispute anything I get wrong, so that gives me the freedom to write any damn fool thing I wish.
Heather: I won’t say too much, because that is a story she needs to tell, and she will. I CAN say that after several years spent here in Santiago and in Scotland, she is now living in Austin, Texas, going to grad school to get her MBA as a step toward opening that Moto-Biz she has been craving. She forsook her beloved BMW in exchange for a sweet little Aprilia (see the photo) that is fast, fast, fast. And Italian. That should be teaser enough for her to wade in here and tell us the rest of the story…and maybe tell us a little about “Belle Camber”…
Now, I will blab a little about me. On the Moto front, I am still riding the same BMW previously described, and it is solid as a rock. And still just a ton o’ fun. But I have also taken a turn to the vintage world and am now the over-proud owner of a 1974 Norton Commando, that resides back in Colorado. And it is not just any Commando…up in Dolores, Colorado, there is a shop called Colorado Norton Works, owned/operated by a gent named Matt Rambow (no kidding) who recreates old Nortons, and Matt is the best there is — bar none. So one day, while sitting in a construction camp in Peru a couple of years ago, I decided I needed a treat, and that treat would be one of Matt’s creations.
Ordering a bike from Matt is not like buying a bike at a dealer. First, I went up to his shop in Colorado and we discussed and agreed on what the bike should be. Over the course of a couple of years, he acquired a donor bike, took it down to the bare frame, and then during about 6 months of work, put together exactly the Commando I wanted. It was finished last October, and I went up and met Matt and his crew at the Barber Vintage Motorcycle festival in Birmingham, Alabama, where he had the bike on display (among others).
This photo does NOT do this bike justice, but Matt always does a bunch of “glamour shots” of his bikes before he lets them go, so I will have better photos in about a month…because later this month, I am finally going to get to actually take possession of the Norton, and take it on a few break in rides on the Western Slope of the Rockies.
A note to anyone who hasn’t been to the Barber event in Birmingham. If you like motorcycles at all, you gotta go. 60,000 people show up, and it is amazing. The park where it is held includes a race track (road course) and a museum with hundreds and hundreds of vintage motorcycles, from every possible place and era. It also includes a great collection of mostly Lotus racing cars. The three day week end includes vintage races, displays by lots of vendors, the biggest flea market I ever saw (all motorcycle parts and paraphernalia), and the atmosphere is just perfect. Everybody is there for a good time, nobody is cranky, they come from everywhere and every age group. And Barber has every amazing or incredible or just plain weird motorcycle you can possibly imagine.
So that’s it on the motorcycle front, other than an antique Maico Blizzard I picked up recently, which is currently weeping oil onto my parking spot here at the apartment building I live at. It is cute, old, slow, two-stroke, and will be a restoration project one of these days. Just 250cc. Maico is a German brand, pretty much gone, and very few were imported into the US that weren’t scramblers. This one looks a lot like a vintage BMW, only a bit smaller than most BMWs, even the old ones.
I will save the car stories for another post, but just as a teaser…the tale includes three Minis found locally in Chile that recently “immigrated” to the USA, and a Triumph TR6 that lives out in Colorado Springs…those will wait for another post…
As to daily life, I am now working exclusively on a marine construction project that includes three tunnels under the sea, enormous jack-up barges, divers and lots of remotely-operated undersea vehicles. Neat stuff. All in a town in northern Chile called Antofagasta, and all to feed fresh water to a big open-pit copper mine. Water is the next oil, no doubt.
I’ll stop now and give this a rest. I have a crock pot full of pulled pork that needs tending…and it is probably the ONLY pulled pork in Chile at this moment, so the responsibility is heavy.
Those of you who are still subscribed to this blog, thank you for hanging in. Keep watching, as Heather is going to bring in the good stuff. That is…as soon as her crazy grad-school schedule allows her to do a little recreational writing!
Saludos, and hope everyone who read these words is well and happy –
Mike (and soon, Heather)