Friday, December 27, 2013

a few of my Vietnam videos for you to enjoy

While touring Vietnam, I have been compiling video documenting my trip as best I can. Here is some clips that I have put on Youtube.
 I shot this while stopping to ask directions. The parents, as most Vietnamese, didn't speak English so they didn't come over and offer help however this child came over to get a closer look. Although she didn't understand English either,  I understood her perfectly!
While in an internet cafe some local kids gathered round and were watching the videos that I was uploading of my adventures. I started showing them all my YouTube videos and pretty soon I have all the kids in the place laughing hysterically.
While riding north in the country side I passed many grazing animals. Here they don't have fences but it you hit and harm an animal, you have to pay for the animal.
These isn't any rest areas on the highways of Vietnam so when I came across this one at a remote gas station, I though you may find it interesting. Having toured places like Morocco that only has holes in the floor, this place is as close to our normal as it gets ( with the exception of the heights of the urinals.)
World renown bike traveler and good friend Joe Sparrow heard about my trip and wanted to come over and share some of these good times. Here he is offering some of his knowledge of the Vietnamese language
The traffic in the cities is nothing like what we experience. The driving etiquette is also totally different and takes a little while getting used to.
Although I do not condone unsafe driving on public roads, here in Vietnam, the rules of the road are all different. If you go to slow you get ran off the road if not just ran over. It is better to go with the flow and pass as others do. Passing on the right as well as the left and splitting lanes in the norm here. DON'T try this anywhere else!
Stopping into a Honda Dealership for some parts for our bikes, Joe Sparrow and myself found out we could use an automated computer motorcycle driving test and get a Vietnamese license. You can tell we never had game boys because we didn't do so well. In my defense, I have several different people giving me instructions in broken English.
While checking out this vintage Honda motorcycle I couldn't help but notice the Bean're sticker.
every meal seems to be an adventure. I never seem to know what I am going to get so I just sit down and let them bring me whatever they are serving.
I love coconut milk ( basically coconut  flavored water) even though I do not like processed coconut. Here every where you turn is coconuts for sale. I make sure I have at least 1 or 2 everyday.
This is a little lesson in traffic etiquette. As I said before is is different then anywhere else I have been.
And traffic etiquette isn't just for driving or riding. It is also important to learn if you are going to walk as most places don't have side walks and if they do, they are filled with bike parking forcing you to walk on the side walks
This was my first video shot in Vietnam. Looking back I realize just how green I was 2 weeks ago. I have learned a lot and will continue to learn I am sure.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

First day on the road in Vietnam

I was told to take highway 14 north because it is a great new highway and it is the best road. Getting out of the city of Ho Chi Minh proved to be difficult and then missing a turn, I almost went into Cambodia. When I finally got to 14,  I was expecting something entirely different.
Road construction is going on in many places with no flagmen or safety devices. You just figure it out as you go and try not to get hit.
Every now and then there is a sign which does no good unless you can read Vietnamese. The rules of the road is if your bike can fit through an opening, go for it just watch out for steam rollers.
Unfortunately other vehicles like trucks use this same philosophy and it can get pretty tight sometimes.
This may sound dangerous but then you have to add into the fact that I am riding with one hand while snapping these shots.
Even this bridge that I stopped for a photo opp rocked and swayed every time that a truck of other vehicle rode by.
And if this wasn't thrilling enough, I still managed to find a roller coaster with absolutely no safety bars or belts or any other concern for safety. On the up side, the lines were short.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Vietnam at first glance

I've been in Saigon, Vietnam for a week. The initial cultural shock luckily have wore off. It was very intimidating with the traffic and the language barrier and every corner I turned was like nothing I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot.

Staying in the city for this short length of time has given me a chance to enjoy the city and take it all in
Most of the people here have their lives centered around 2 wheels.
Here is a scooter " pegging" a 3 wheel bicycle that is carrying about 15 sheets of drywall ( that is enough weight to make most small pickup trucks squat.)
This bicycle is made for hauling one extra person, NOT over a half a ton
 There are many of these 3 wheeler work horses. I've even seen then with double forks for extra weight like hauling a truck load of steel re-bar for all the concrete construction projects going on.
Here is the double front forks of one of the heavy duty trikes.
They utilize even inch of space on their bikes too. Here he even has some room left on the front fender luggage rack.
It is one thing just to ride with these big loads but factor in the thick traffic with road etiquette that allows no stopping for intersecting and bikes coming at you from every angle and it can be intimidating for even the most seasoned rider from the States.
So now I have a bike like what they ride however I did a little bit of Yankee customizing just in case they couldn't tell where I was from. Now I'll explore on two wheels and see what else I can get into-

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dental work in Vietnam

    One of the things I wanted to do while I here was get some much needed dental work done. Over the years, every time I had a dental problem, I would just have the troubling tooth pulled which still was more then I could afford usually. This wasn't the best idea but since it started out with my rear molars, it wasn't very noticeable. One thing that was getting more and more noticeably was one of my front teeth was dieing ( and the other was a old crown done in my Marine Corps days.)  I knew that eventually one if not both were going to need fixing. I had a bridge with a crown next to my front tooth that was also done in The Marine Corps. This lasted well as it didn't give out till after more then 30 years but last year it failed. for about 2 years I stopped trimming my mustache to help hide the problem. As the problem got worse I started to smile a lot less being very self conscious about my teeth. Needless to say, I needed to address the problem so I looked into getting some dental work while in Vietnam. A Facebook friend had a son that lived here and he had a dentist that worked out of her house ( she moved her dentist office out of the commercial space to save on rent). I sent several emails back and forth and she met me the first day that I arrived and began working. Working 3 to 5 hours everyday, I have been in her dental chair getting all this and then some done. In all I received 9 porcelain crowns, 4 fillings and 2 partial dentures ( porcelain and titanium )for my rear molars. I have so many teeth now that I feel like Gary Busey when I smile.
     If you are interested in contacting this dentist, her practice is called Golden Smile Dentist Office. She is Located in Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon) and her Email is

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bama Swap and Drag

Rick's Cycle and Violent Choppers put on the Bama Swap and Drags. The Bama Swap and Drags is put on twice a year- In the Spring and in the Fall. It is held at The Sand Mountain Dragway in Section, Alabama just off of Hwy 35. It is a very modest track with no frills but also no restrictions which makes for big fun. It is all about the fun and run what ya brung.
Who doesn't love to let it rip every now and again?

They also have one of the best old school swap meets around. At most swap meets, you have to get there early to find any good deals. Here there are great deals all day long. I talked to one guy that got a shovelhead motor for 400 dollars ( and that was with stock Harley cases!)
I did a book signing and took up a collection to help raise money for my Asia trip. I sold out of books and to top that off, Michael Lewis donated 100 bucks to further my travels abroad- That translates to over 20 million Vietnamese Dong! If you would like to donate also, you can just click here to donate
Cutting up with Michael Lewis, CEO of Violent Choppers with his lovely wife Jessica.

Got to see my old friend Stogie and afterwards even rode back to Tennessee with him before parting ways.
Vending next to the man himself, Ricke Lewis of Ricks Cycle Parts while Max Bowersox (who rode up from Charleston, SC) texts for some racing tips. Note the surf board in the back ground. Proof that you never know what you will find at the Bama Swap and Drags!
Mailman even rode up from Atlanta and scored a cool vintage coffin tank. He was also going to take pictures of the drags as you can see him not doing. Photo captured by RJ Alexander.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bean're 2014 Calendar

 Due to popular demand, the 2014 Bean're calendar is now here. This is a quality calendar made with premium card stock and not just flimsy paper. It also has Bean're-isms written on the pictures and includes dates of the bike rallies and other events that I will be attending.
  I've made these in limited numbers and they are to help me raise money for my motorcycle tour of Asia and the publishing of my next book. First come first serve till they run out. I can mail them to your address around Thanksgiving so that you should have them by the first week in Dec. I will cover the cost of Shipping ( to the US only).  To get a Bean're Calendar just click on the "calendar" button on my donation page.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A hand up NOT a hand out

When I started my donate page to help raise funds to do an Asia tour, I started it with a business plan. I wanted to use the adventure to write about in my second book. I want to write the story so that it feels like you are right there beside me taking it all in.  That is just part of my plan. The other part of my plan is that I am going to publish my second book on my own and not with a publisher.
   The only way to explain my first book's revenue is to talk numbers. I think a lot of people think that I am getting rich from my book but let me disclose a few figures. When Barnes and Noble sells my book or, my royalties are 96 cents. I get a royalty check for these and others distributors of my book every 6 months. My last royalty check was for 138 dollars. That was for 6 months. I make more when I sell my book myself so truth be told, I would rather have one way for the public to get my book- by shopping on my website
   Now this brings us to where I am today, asking for money. I am well on my way to making this a reality. I will be in Asia as I already pucrchased my plane ticket. I land in Vietnam on Dec 10th. The donations that I get will effect the legnth of my trip and the countries that I am able to visit. It will all be reflected in my book but also in this blog and on Facebook. Rest asured that there will be many many pictures on facebook and I am sure there will be some pictures that everyone will enjoy. I would love to take everyone with me but living vicariously through my on this trip is the next best thing.
   I am also trying to give my supporters something back immediately. I've always said that I couldn't do what I do without the support of my friends so everyone that donates anything will have their name in my book as a supporter. I'm calling these people "Team Bean're". Another thing that I am doing is to have a pre sales of my next book to all the donated 50 dollars or more. The minute that my  book is finished, I will mail out a signed copy to all that donated 50 or more. I am going to try and make a little homemade DVD of my try over in Asia for donors that gave 100 dollars but I thought that wasn't enough so I am working on a Bean're 2014 calendar to give out before I leave to all that donated 100 or more.
click here to donate now
    I am 1/3 of my way to my goal and I have a few more weeks so if you can, I ask you now to support this.  Everything collected it truly appreciated and will be used to propel this project. Thanks for all the support both in the past and now,
Your friend,
go fund me page

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Why Vietnam?

   I recently announced that I will be flying to Vietnam on December 10. I love exploring the world and this is one country that I always wanted to go to for many different reasons. I've also wanted to tour as many countries in Asia as I could so it only seems like a natural starting point.
   This trip is going to be different though, even for me. There are many things that I am doing differently. I am not taking my bike as the expense is just too much ( 5000 one way). Instead, I will be buying a bike when I get there. It will be a small cc bike- something that the locals ride. I still plan to put a purple spray can paint job on it and some Bean're stickers and make it mine. I plan on spending about 3 months traveling across such countries as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myamar, Thailand, India, Tibet and Bangladesh just to name a few. I am doing it on a shoestring budget but it will still cost more then I have.
   I'm asking for support. This trip I am asking for help BEFORE I leave. It is just too big of an ordeal to do on my own and I really feel like the time to do it is now. I can't wait till I have enough money or that day may never come.  This trip isn't just a vacation. I will be writing about the entire adventure for my next book. I will be collecting footage for at least a home made DVD. I will also be taking lots of pictures, many of which will end up on Facebook for your enjoyment. As donors to this en-devour, I am offering back all these things.  Join Team Bean're and be with me in more then just spirit. There is no minimum or maximum although there are certain amounts that do have rewards. EVERYONE donating will get their name in my next book as official members of Team Bean're. Thanks for you support!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rally venues during off season

    A lot of bike rallies began at tourist destinations that were off season. This allowed a great venue and cheap prices and helped out the local economy. The problem  is that once the rallies started becoming successful, the off season just came prime time and rates went back up, sometimes even higher then normal peak season rates.
    Here is an example of Myrtle Beach in October. Oceanside motels for 29 to 39. This isn't just one hotel either. All up and down the strip is billboards toting their low prices and every place has vacancies- no reservations needed. If you want to be a high roller, you can find a 1 or 2 bedroom condo for under 100. There is still plenty of warm weather for riding and another important reason for coming here when it isn't bike week is the local law enforcement. They go back to "normal" mode instead of "high alert" and you don't get pulled over for things like wearing non-DOT eye protection or having a blue dot in your tail light.

 This is by far my favorite time to hit Myrtle. I found this out when I was living in the Carolinas back in the 80's but I forgot just how fun it was till a recent visit through there.  
There is no reason why you couldn't get several of your friends together to ride to just such a destination and have your own mini bike week. The money you save just could go towards some new scooter parts!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My two back to back world record attempts on a mini bike

I set out to break a Guinness World  record on  July 28th ( it was postponed a day due to mechanical problems). Within the first few hours I blew my 1965 NSU motor up.

I thought the problem was that I was riding a 2 stroke ( oil mixes with the gas). I threw the broken mini in the chase van and made a bee line to Anomosa, Iowa where my friends at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa were helping me locate another mini. Kody Wisner of Wisner Cycles was the connection made and another mini bike was purchased. It was a 1984 Honda Z50.
I started my second world record quest from Strawberry Point Iowa.
I ran the mini hard trying to really make good time. I ran it wide open thinking that the little Honda was bulletproof. I was only doing about 34mph. Here is a video of just how fast wide open looks-

I didn't think this would hurt it but it got very hot with in the first hour.  After letting it cool and making some adjustments, I slowed my speed down to between 20 and 25 mph  and even with a severely damaged motor, I made it 166.7 miles in less then 10 hours before the motor finally seized up. As much as I wanted to claim this title, I have to throw in the towel this year after exhausting much time and resources.
In hand sight, I realize that I was very hard on both mini's. Riding along on 2 Cannonballs you would think I would know that this wasn't a race- it is an endurance run yet I made a rookie mistake of wanting to do too much too fast.
I also want to thank ALL my sponsors and especially Kevin "Mailman" O'Brien for following me in a chase vehicle and all the help building and repairing my mini's

It may be over now but both mini's are very salvageable and I plan on returning next year with the knowlege and experience gained and capturing a world title-

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mini bike world record attempt update

As the time it is almost time to leave for Sturgis on my mini bike and attempt to break the Guinness World record for longest distance on a mini bike ( 1400+ miles), I just wanted to give an update and give so props out to all the help I had.
The destination is The Legendary Buffalo Chip where my longtime friend and sponsor, Rod Woodruff will be waiting with a masseuse and a hot tub.
Here is the video of the first time I got it started ( a week before I leave).

      First of all thanks to all my supporters  like Klock Werks, JIMS, Feuling, Progressive Suspension, HHI, Renegade Wheels, Rinehart Exhaust, Earth X batteries and Heaven Cycle in Miami. Being a two stroke I am lucky to have Spectro on board also to keep everything running smoothly too. Sabina with Unique-Designs-Upholstery is doing the custom crush velvet seat. Avon Tyres, the best tire on the market, unfortunately doesn't make a tire this small.
  I want to thank Big Will Ramsey with Faith Forgotten Choppers for making my custom intake since you cannot buy one for the 48 year old motor  (NSU Quick 50 made is 1963-65).

 My friends with Shadetree Racing in Lexington, KY  are re working the gas tank. Dozer is welding in a custom gas cap and Casanova is heading up the paint and body work.
Brandy is polishing my custom gas cap.
Kaelin's Custom Cycle and the help of Frank and Dee Dee that I could not do without.
my main man for this deal will be Kevin "Mailman" O'brien. He has always been there for me but really stepped up this time and will be following me ( at 35 mph) the entire 1400+ miles, 6 days trip to Sturgis. He also is making me a custom helmet to go with my super hero costume for this trip from his and Philip's company, Fu King helmets.

and lastly but most important is Mickey Eddinger. Mickey passed away last year after a 15 year battle with cancer but before he did he wanted to be involved as he loved racing and wanted me to have his personal van to keep up the racing tradition. Mailman will be driving this ( and hauling both our bikes) and this way Mickey is with us every inch of the way. We love you Mickey!