Wild Camping in Developing Countries by Jay Kannaiyan

February 11, 2012 by  
Filed under On the Road


Wild Camping in Developing Countries by Jay Kannaiyan (JamminGlobal.com)

Riding in the AndesAs I journeyed through Latin America on my Suzuki DR650 motorcycle, with all the possessions that I would need to survive on the back of my bike, I was anticipating the experience that completes motorcycle travel: camping. Arriving at a place chosen to be home for the night and then setting up that shelter, perhaps getting a campfire going and being a part of the nocturnal outdoors is to me a quintessential experience of overland travel. It also completes that feeling of freedom that comes with traveling on a bike; a freedom to choose where to spend your night.

I know that camping isn’t for everyone, but since I wanted to extend my budget (by staying in fewer hotels) and simply wanted to get to know the nomadic lifestyle, I made wild camping an integral part of my trip. I have comfortable-enough minimalist camping gear that doesn’t burden my luggage and allows me to enjoy the experience when camping becomes an option. And just to be clear, camping in the wild or the bush refers to not staying in established campgrounds.

I started camping from Peru onwards and after a few nights of sleeping in my one-man Catoma Twist tent, I formulated a strategy to help me in deciding where it was safe to camp. Although rural areas of developing countries are generally safe at night, there are some countries where it isn’t advisable to wild camp in a fabric tent, but with a few cautions, I managed to do it with no issues.

When I was traveling across the Pampas (savannahs) of remote northern Bolivia, as a part of my journey through the TransAmazonica in Brazil, camping was the only option due to the lack of urban areas and their hotels. I was riding through the world’s largest rainforest, which is contained in the Amazon Basin, an area as large as Australia but with a population density lower than that of Mongolia’s. That meant there were a lot of wild animals about and just making camp in the bush would not have been prudent. So, I opted for pitching my tent in front of rural houses.

Two to three hours before darkness, I would start paying attention to farm houses that I rode across and marking them as a waypoint on my GPS so that I could come back there if needed. As I’m riding along, I usually wave to most locals that I make eye contact with, to immediately establish a friendly relationship. In this same way, I like to stop at a ranch where I can see the owners outside their house, giving me information of the security situation. In hot climates, most people are lounging outside, so this information is my primary decision maker. That can also be read as, “Don’t stop at houses with no one around!” I broke this rule within a few days since there was no other house around and the owners, a young caretaker couple had gone into town to buy groceries. So, you can have hard-fast rules, but know when to break them.

Upon approaching the head of the household, I first introduce myself: where I am from and where I am going on this trip (I usually give a far enough known location so that they understand that I’m a traveler and not just a lost tourist). Then I ask them if I can put my tent here for the night and most everyone accepts. For Brazil, I memorized how to say these basic phrases in Portuguese using Google Translator and that got me through the Amazon. With rural people being as polite as they are, besides welcoming this impromptu guest, they also offered me a warm meal and a bath.

Even though I was now camped in someone’s compound, dangers still existed. Someone could rob my bike at night or assault me in my tent and rob me. Most likely this won’t happen and it hasn’t, so far, but I like to always just be prepared, because you never know. My strategy is to put the tent as close as possible to the bike and tie a cable between the bike cover and a tent peg. I bought a 15 inch machete in Bolivia for $3 and slept with that by my side, wrapped in a sweatshirt. The plan was that if someone tried to lift the bike cover at night, it would disturb my tent and I would spring out wielding the machete. I still haven’t had the chance, but I’m ready. These tactics might not be effective in real situations, but at least thinking this way increases my situational awareness and that is the basis for surviving.

With urban development accelerating in the developing world, there are very few places where a hotel can’t be found for the night. But what’s the fun in traveling from one concrete abode to another? I encourage you to add more camping in your next travel and get closer to nature and the people who live with it. 

Why I Travel Solo

November 7, 2011 by  
Filed under On the Road

Recently, we posted an introductory article by Jay Kannaiyan of JamminGlobal.com., and we hope you enjoyed it. Jay has become a friend of BikerCamps.com over the past year, and we think he has a lot to offer both the experienced and novice rider. A lot about riding has to do with individual preference — the bike you choose, the roads you travel, the company you keep. This next article by Jay will speak to those of you considering a solo journey. It's not for everyone, but as Jay will share, there are lots of positive things to be said about traveling alone. Learn from Jay some of the pros of traveling solo and why for him, for now, that is how he's chosen to travel. Please feel free to share comments about this article or suggest topics for future articles. I'm sure Jay would love the feedback, and so would we.

"Why I Travel Solo" by Jay Kannaiyan (JamminGlobal.com)

Riding in the AndesI am asked this question quite frequently on my trip. Firstly, I'd like to state that traveling solo doesn't mean being lonely. On the contrary, I find it allows others to see this stranger on a motorcycle as being more approachable, leading to novel social encounters.  Taking a water break in the middle of the Western Desert in Egypt, I am approached by a local Bedouin and invited home for lunch.

In the years leading up to this trip, I learned the character traits needed for motorcycle touring by going on small to big trips around the US with these riding mentors of mine. While I enjoyed traveling as a pair or a group, I could see the flexibility that's offered when one travels solo. But on a ten-day trip with accurate information on roads and hotels in a developed country, there's not much need for being flexible.  I feel the option is needed when traveling through developing countries, where things can change quite often. This change should be cherished in the spirit of exploration, so it's best to be prepared by being flexible and going with the flow without needing the consensus from a traveling partner.

The flexibility also affects your riding. Sometimes I end up stopping every fifteen minutes to adjust something or ride for two hours without a break. If you stop unexpectedly, the other rider(s) start worrying that something has happened. But if both these riders rode solo, then no one would worry when you are fifteen minutes late. Of course, it's nice to have a traveling partner when something does go terribly wrong, but even then, besides being incapacitated, an individual can find their way back to safety.

I've also found that if you are intent on getting to know different cultures, a home-stay with a local family can give a traveler insight into the nuances of various societies. The biggest difference I experienced was the skewed daily schedule of Argentine families, where they eat lunch around 4pm and then dinner around 11pm or midnight. Thanks to CouchSurfing.org, I have access to this insight, which wouldn't be available through hotel stays.

Since I'm entering people's lives for a short time, I feel that traveling solo gives my trip a smaller footprint, making the adjustment of a guest into the host's daily routine that much more congenial compared to accommodating a group. Along the same lines, when I'm staying in small hotels, I've seen how the staff readily accepts that bike safety is of paramount importance and allow me to park in their lobby.  When I was staying in Guanajuato, Mexico, my front tire was against the reception desk with my rear tire squeezed by the front door.  I feel traveling with two or more bikes wouldn't welcome these kinds of accommodations.

One facet of traveling solo is that others view you as being vulnerable; not having an immediate support network and I've seen that this brings out the caring nature in people; especially in mothers of my hosts. I have to admit, it's comforting to be taken care of by a mother after being on the road for a while. In the northern Brazilian town of Maceio, Brono's mother welcomed me as a son and prepared a copious amount of food after noting that I was too skinny. I've learned that accepting such acts of kindness allows your benefactor to feel satisfied in providing to someone in need. Modern individualistic society tries to instill the notion of self-reliance and looks upon accepting gifts as a sign of weakness, or at least an act that must be paid back. However, there is a joy in giving unconditionally that exists in older societies.

While I may be in solitude inside my helmet, frequently staying with locals keeps me very social. This allows me to develop both these sides of my character. In the end, the journey of life is with ourselves, so we might as well be comfortable with it. As big changes in our society become the norm due to the effects of humanity on this planet, personal introspection is going to be needed in order for realistic change to occur. Traveling solo allows you to get comfortable with yourself and listen more to your intuition, your instinct, which is the basis for rational judgment.

Camping out in the middle of Patagonia, with not another soul for hundreds of kilometers, I feel connected to the vast land and sky that we are a part of. My companion and my safety net is parked next to me, ready to ride on.

Jay Kannaiyan – A Long Journey Home

October 3, 2011 by  
Filed under On the Road

BikerCamps invites you to follow along with us the travels of Jay Kannaiyan of JamminGlobal.com.  Most of us only dream of one day lightening our loads and taking off on a lifetime adventure to foreign lands. Jay is living that dream. From trip planning to troubleshooting to viewing breathtaking scenery, Jay has offered to share with the readers of BikerCamps.com some of the details of his trip. Further details are also available on his JamminGlobal.com blog.    

Introduction to JamminGlobal.com and Jay Kannaiyan

Taking off my helmet at a petrol station in Peru, I'm approached by a curious local, and the inevitable first question is always, "Where are you from?"  I enjoy the shocked reaction upon them hearing, "India," and I quickly add to that, "but I started in the US," which doesn't help reduce the shock value.

Hola, my name is Jay Kannaiyan. I was born in India, but moved early to spend my childhood in Zambia, Africa, where wildlife safaris were the regular family trips.  After finishing up school back in India, I arrived in the US to pursue mechanical engineering, and that's where I got my first taste of two-wheeled excitement.  I putted about campus on a Suzuki GS500; and once I landed my first job, I started making small trips on the bike.  I soon recognized my need for speed and upgraded to a more powerful Suzuki GSX-R600, on which I toured around the US and dragged knee around Mid-western race tracks, putting 50,000 miles on her in four years. I saw the beautiful mountains of the Eastern US and the great lands of the Rockies in the West, and soon the desire to go further, beyond the asphalt, lead me to the dual-sport Suzuki DR650.

By this time, the idea of riding around the world on a motorcycle appealed to my inner core, and I eagerly absorbed as much knowledge as possible about this way of life.  I knew I had to make some preliminary smaller trips in order to iron out the bigger issues like what to carry and how many tools I would need, etc.  Since I planned to head to South America, I figured a short trip to Mexico was in order to see how it would be to travel in a developing country with a foreign language.  Brushing aside all the usual warnings, I had a great experience and knew I could continue all the way south.

Waiting for things to line up, I next went up to Alaska and all the way north to Prudhoe Bay.  I had some major mechanical issues towards the end of that trip, but I put it down as experience-building for the big trip.  After recovering from a skiing knee injury, I spent two weeks going down the US Continental Divide as a final dry run with the bike setup properly and with all the appropriate gear.

The time came to pull the trigger on the big trip, and I sold everything I had in Chicago and set off on my DR650 — motorcycle and man into the wind. It's been over a year now, and I feel right at home on the road with sanDRina, my steady companion. I've already had numerous lifetime experiences and my appetite keeps growing. When the muscles tire, I rest my bones in a welcoming place. When sanDRina shows signs of wear, she gets treated well, as her health is as important as mine.  Waking up for a sunrise in the remote high altitude southwestern deserts of Bolivia over a pot of steaming oatmeal and a cup of coffee, I breathe in and know that life is good, on two wheels.


Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of this journey of a lifetime.

Motorcycles Ride Lake Express Free During May-June

April 13, 2010 by  
Filed under On the Road

Motorcyclists living in southern Michigan or Wisconsin, as well as those planning to travel to the area during the months of May and June, might be interested in a discount being offered by the Lake Express Ferry. For those not familiar with the area, Lake Express is a high-speed auto/passenger ferry that transports passengers daily across the southern tip of Lake Michigan between Milwaukee, WI, and Muskegon, MI. Sailings take about 2-1/2 hours one way, allowing riders to cut their travel time between these two cities by 4-plus hours, completely bypassing the congested Chicago traffic altogether.

The Lake Express will operate from April 30th through October 31st this year; and for the months of May and June, motorcycles will ride for free, a savings of $38.00 per one-way crossing. That offer applies to standard two-wheeled motorcycles. Keep in mind, there is still a fee for each passenger. According to the Lake Express customer service operator we spoke with, that fee per person is $95.50, which includes the fuel surcharge and the port and security fee. While perhaps not the most frugal method of circumventing the southern tip of Lake Michigan, the approximate 28% discount being offered by Lake Express was certainly worth mentioning and most definitely will be appreciated by the many bikers who will no doubt take advantage of this savings during May and June.

Accustomed to transporting bikes, the Lake Express has space specifically designated so that riders can enjoy the crossing confident that their bike is safe and protected. There are tie-downs provided for riders to properly secure their bike to the vehicle deck, and there is an easy on-and-off "nature" to the ferry allowing riders to go ashore within moments of reaching port. There is a minimum of 12 available slots per departure set aside for motorcycles, but exceptions may be made for larger group bookings. Motorcyclists are asked to be at the ferry 45 minutes prior to departure; and for safety and security reasons, once the Lake Express is ready for departure, no one is allowed on the vehicle deck. There is an open deck available for those who want to enjoy the cruise outdoors. There is also a classic climate-controlled cabin and the L'Expresso Cafe with on-board dining and movies to keep you entertained for those who'd prefer to cruise indoors.  For a slightly higher fee, you can opt to sit in the premier cabin where you will enjoy steward service, complimentary newspapers, non-alcoholic beverages, headsets for movies, and work-friendly table seating with electrical service for those traveling with their laptops. There is lots of good info on the Lake Express web site, such as attraction pages to check out for both Wisconsin and Michigan.

Wondering what's in the area specifically for bikers? Well, the Harley-Davidson Museum is located right there in Milwaukee. You'll want to check out the H-D Museum site for scheduled events that might be going on during your visit. For example, during May, there is a Women Riders Month Celebration in Milwaukee (May 22), and the First Rumble at the H-D Museum (May 27) scheduled.  A little further north in Tomahawk, WI, is the Harley Davidson plant where you can schedule a behind-the-scenes plant tour.  In Milwaukee, you may want to check out the upscale Iron Horse Hotel which caters to business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike. Whether you book a room for the night or just want to drop by one of their restaurants or bars, the Iron Horse would be a fun aside visit for any biker visiting the Milwaukee area. Of course, there are lots of scenic routes through coastal and country back roads throughout southern Michigan and Wisconsin. Don't forget to check out the lodging map on BikerCamps.com. There are plenty of good motorcycle-friendly camping sites to choose from for those interested in camping.

Omnibus Public Lands Bill Voted Down

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under On the Road

Narrow Victory for the AMA and Off-Road Motorcyclists

This month, Senate Bill 22 narrowly failed to get the two-thirds votes of the House required to get enacted into law. The vote came down to 282 yes votes vs 144 no votes. That’s a 66.2% yes margin which is about as close as it gets.

The Omnibus bill, which in reality was 160 bills rolled into one and included more than 1,300 pages, was the latest attempt to steam-roll a bill, which none of the legislators had read, through the Congress. Luckily, the AMA, along with other outraged motorcycle groups, were able to scream loudly enough to be heard. They  urged motorcycling voters to get involved and  let their congressmen know how they felt about this law, and the people responded. Luckily, enough of the representatives listened to their constituents to halt the measure before it got sneaked through.

Had the bill passed, it would have banned any motorized vehicles from more than 2 million acres of public land. Despite this bill failing, expect it to come up again. As always the price of freedom is vigilance.


Here is the Voting Roll for Senate Bill 22

Check to see how your representative voted, if they voted NAY, you might want to thank them, if they Voted Yea you might want to tell them that they are working hard to lose your vote next election.  If they are one of the six that didn’t vote at all, you have to wonder how they got elected in the first place.

Nay Bonner, Jo [R]
Not Voting AL-2 Bright, Bobby [D]
Nay AL-3 Rogers, Michael [R]
Nay AL-4 Aderholt, Robert [R]
Yea AL-5 Griffith, Parker [D]
Nay AL-6 Bachus, Spencer [R]
Yea AL-7 Davis, Artur [D]
Yea AK-0 Young, Donald [R]
Yea AZ-1 Kirkpatrick, Ann [D]
Nay AZ-2 Franks, Trent [R]
Nay AZ-3 Shadegg, John [R]
Yea AZ-4 Pastor, Edward [D]
Yea AZ-5 Mitchell, Harry [D]
Nay AZ-6 Flake, Jeff [R]
Yea AZ-7 Grijalva, Raul [D]
Yea AZ-8 Giffords, Gabrielle [D]
Yea AR-1 Berry, Robert [D]
Yea AR-2 Snyder, Victor [D]
Nay AR-3 Boozman, John [R]
Yea AR-4 Ross, Mike [D]
Yea CA-1 Thompson, C. [D]
Nay CA-2 Herger, Walter [R]
Nay CA-3 Lungren, Daniel [R]
Nay CA-4 McClintock, Tom [R]
Yea CA-5 Matsui, Doris [D]
Yea CA-6 Woolsey, Lynn [D]
Yea CA-7 Miller, George [D]
Yea CA-8 Pelosi, Nancy [D]
Yea CA-9 Lee, Barbara [D]
Yea CA-10 Tauscher, Ellen [D]
Yea CA-11 McNerney, Jerry [D]
Yea CA-12 Speier, Jackie [D]
Yea CA-13 Stark, Fortney [D]
Yea CA-14 Eshoo, Anna [D]
Yea CA-15 Honda, Michael [D]
Yea CA-16 Lofgren, Zoe [D]
Yea CA-17 Farr, Sam [D]
Yea CA-18 Cardoza, Dennis [D]
Not Voting CA-19 Radanovich, George [R]
Yea CA-20 Costa, Jim [D]
Nay CA-21 Nunes, Devin [R]
Nay CA-22 McCarthy, Kevin [R]
Yea CA-23 Capps, Lois [D]
Nay CA-24 Gallegly, Elton [R]
Yea CA-25 McKeon, Howard [R]
Yea CA-26 Dreier, David [R]
Yea CA-27 Sherman, Brad [D]
Yea CA-28 Berman, Howard [D]
Yea CA-29 Schiff, Adam [D]
Yea CA-30 Waxman, Henry [D]
Yea CA-31 Becerra, Xavier [D]
Yea CA-33 Watson, Diane [D]
Yea CA-34 Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D]
Yea CA-35 Waters, Maxine [D]
Yea CA-36 Harman, Jane [D]
Yea CA-37 Richardson, Laura [D]
Yea CA-38 Napolitano, Grace [D]
Yea CA-39 Sanchez, Linda [D]
Nay CA-40 Royce, Edward [R]
Yea CA-41 Lewis, Jerry [R]
Not Voting CA-42 Miller, Gary [R]
Yea CA-43 Baca, Joe [D]
Nay CA-44 Calvert, Ken [R]
Yea CA-45 Bono Mack, Mary [R]
Nay CA-46 Rohrabacher, Dana [R]
Yea CA-47 Sanchez, Loretta [D]
Nay CA-48 Campbell, John [R]
Nay CA-49 Issa, Darrell [R]
Nay CA-50 Bilbray, Brian [R]
Yea CA-51 Filner, Bob [D]
Nay CA-52 Hunter, Duncan [R]
Yea CA-53 Davis, Susan [D]
Yea CO-1 DeGette, Diana [D]
Yea CO-2 Polis, Jared [D]
Yea CO-3 Salazar, John [D]
Yea CO-4 Markey, Betsy [D]
Nay CO-5 Lamborn, Doug [R]
Nay CO-6 Coffman, Mike [R]
Yea CO-7 Perlmutter, Ed [D]
Yea CT-1 Larson, John [D]
Yea CT-2 Courtney, Joe [D]
Yea CT-3 DeLauro, Rosa [D]
Yea CT-4 Himes, James [D]
Yea CT-5 Murphy, Christopher [D]
Yea DE-0 Castle, Michael [R]
Nay FL-1 Miller, Jeff [R]
Yea FL-2 Boyd, Allen [D]
Yea FL-3 Brown, Corrine [D]
Nay FL-4 Crenshaw, Ander [R]
Nay FL-5 Brown-Waite, Virginia [R]
Nay FL-6 Stearns, Clifford [R]
Nay FL-7 Mica, John [R]
Yea FL-8 Grayson, Alan [D]
Nay FL-9 Bilirakis, Gus [R]
Yea FL-10 Young, C. W. [R]
Yea FL-11 Castor, Kathy [D]
Nay FL-12 Putnam, Adam [R]
Nay FL-13 Buchanan, Vern [R]
Nay FL-14 Mack, Connie [R]
Nay FL-15 Posey, Bill [R]
Nay FL-16 Rooney, Thomas [R]
Yea FL-17 Meek, Kendrick [D]
Yea FL-18 Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R]
Yea FL-19 Wexler, Robert [D]
Yea FL-20 Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D]
Nay FL-21 Diaz-Balart, Lincoln [R]
Yea FL-22 Klein, Ron [D]
Yea FL-23 Hastings, Alcee [D]
Not Voting FL-24 Kosmas, Suzanne [D]
Nay FL-25 Diaz-Balart, Mario [R]
Nay GA-1 Kingston, Jack [R]
Yea GA-2 Bishop, Sanford [D]
Nay GA-3 Westmoreland, Lynn [R]
Yea GA-4 Johnson, Henry [D]
Yea GA-5 Lewis, John [D]
Nay GA-6 Price, Tom [R]
Nay GA-7 Linder, John [R]
Nay GA-8 Marshall, James [D]
Nay GA-9 Deal, Nathan [R]
Nay GA-10 Broun, Paul [R]
Nay GA-11 Gingrey, John [R]
Yea GA-12 Barrow, John [D]
Yea GA-13 Scott, David [D]
Yea HI-1 Abercrombie, Neil [D]
Yea HI-2 Hirono, Mazie [D]
Yea ID-1 Minnick, Walter [D]
Yea ID-2 Simpson, Michael [R]
Yea IL-1 Rush, Bobby [D]
Yea IL-2 Jackson, Jesse [D]
Yea IL-3 Lipinski, Daniel [D]
Yea IL-4 Gutierrez, Luis [D]
Nay IL-6 Roskam, Peter [R]
Yea IL-7 Davis, Danny [D]
Yea IL-8 Bean, Melissa [D]
Yea IL-9 Schakowsky, Janice [D]
Yea IL-10 Kirk, Mark [R]
Yea IL-11 Halvorson, Deborah [D]
Yea IL-12 Costello, Jerry [D]
Nay IL-13 Biggert, Judy [R]
Yea IL-14 Foster, Bill [D]
Yea IL-15 Johnson, Timothy [R]
Nay IL-16 Manzullo, Donald [R]
Yea IL-17 Hare, Phil [D]
Nay IL-18 Schock, Aaron [R]
Nay IL-19 Shimkus, John [R]
Yea IN-1 Visclosky, Peter [D]
Yea IN-2 Donnelly, Joe [D]
Nay IN-3 Souder, Mark [R]
Nay IN-4 Buyer, Stephen [R]
Nay IN-5 Burton, Dan [R]
Nay IN-6 Pence, Mike [R]
Yea IN-7 Carson, André [D]
Yea IN-8 Ellsworth, Brad [D]
Yea IN-9 Hill, Baron [D]
Yea IA-1 Braley, Bruce [D]
Yea IA-2 Loebsack, David [D]
Yea IA-3 Boswell, Leonard [D]
Nay IA-4 Latham, Thomas [R]
Nay IA-5 King, Steve [R]
Nay KS-1 Moran, Jerry [R]
Nay KS-2 Jenkins, Lynn [R]
Yea KS-3 Moore, Dennis [D]
Nay KS-4 Tiahrt, Todd [R]
Yea KY-1 Whitfield, Edward [R]
Nay KY-2 Guthrie, Brett [R]
Yea KY-3 Yarmuth, John [D]
Nay KY-4 Davis, Geoff [R]
Nay KY-5 Rogers, Harold [R]
Yea KY-6 Chandler, Ben [D]
Nay LA-1 Scalise, Steve [R]
Nay LA-2 Cao, Anh [R]
Yea LA-3 Melancon, Charles [D]
Nay LA-4 Fleming, John [R]
Not Voting LA-5 Alexander, Rodney [R]
Nay LA-6 Cassidy, Bill [R]
Nay LA-7 Boustany, Charles [R]
Yea ME-1 Pingree, Chellie [D]
Yea ME-2 Michaud, Michael [D]
Yea MD-1 Kratovil, Frank [D]
Yea MD-2 Ruppersberger, C.A. [D]
Yea MD-3 Sarbanes, John [D]
Yea MD-4 Edwards, Donna [D]
Yea MD-5 Hoyer, Steny [D]
Nay MD-6 Bartlett, Roscoe [R]
Yea MD-7 Cummings, Elijah [D]
Yea MD-8 Van Hollen, Christopher [D]
Yea MA-1 Olver, John [D]
Yea MA-2 Neal, Richard [D]
Yea MA-3 McGovern, James [D]
Yea MA-4 Frank, Barney [D]
Yea MA-5 Tsongas, Niki [D]
Yea MA-6 Tierney, John [D]
Yea MA-7 Markey, Edward [D]
Yea MA-8 Capuano, Michael [D]
Yea MA-9 Lynch, Stephen [D]
Yea MA-10 Delahunt, William [D]
Yea MI-1 Stupak, Bart [D]
Nay MI-2 Hoekstra, Peter [R]
Yea MI-3 Ehlers, Vernon [R]
Nay MI-4 Camp, David [R]
Yea MI-5 Kildee, Dale [D]
Yea MI-6 Upton, Frederick [R]
Yea MI-7 Schauer, Mark [D]
Nay MI-8 Rogers, Michael [R]
Yea MI-9 Peters, Gary [D]
Yea MI-10 Miller, Candice [R]
Nay MI-11 McCotter, Thaddeus [R]
Yea MI-12 Levin, Sander [D]
Yea MI-13 Kilpatrick, Carolyn [D]
Yea MI-14 Conyers, John [D]
Yea MI-15 Dingell, John [D]
Yea MN-1 Walz, Timothy [D]
Nay MN-2 Kline, John [R]
Yea MN-3 Paulsen, Erik [R]
Yea MN-4 McCollum, Betty [D]
Yea MN-5 Ellison, Keith [D]
Nay MN-6 Bachmann, Michele [R]
Nay MN-7 Peterson, Collin [D]
Yea MN-8 Oberstar, James [D]
Yea MS-1 Childers, Travis [D]
Yea MS-2 Thompson, Bennie [D]
Nay MS-3 Harper, Gregg [R]
Yea MS-4 Taylor, Gene [D]
Yea MO-1 Clay, William [D]
Nay MO-2 Akin, W. [R]
Yea MO-3 Carnahan, Russ [D]
Yea MO-4 Skelton, Ike [D]
Yea MO-5 Cleaver, Emanuel [D]
Nay MO-6 Graves, Samuel [R]
Nay MO-7 Blunt, Roy [R]
Nay MO-8 Emerson, Jo Ann [R]
Nay MO-9 Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R]
Nay MT-0 Rehberg, Dennis [R]
Yea NE-1 Fortenberry, Jeffrey [R]
Nay NE-2 Terry, Lee [R]
Nay NE-3 Smith, Adrian [R]
Yea NV-1 Berkley, Shelley [D]
Nay NV-2 Heller, Dean [R]
Yea NV-3 Titus, Dina [D]
New Hampshire
Yea NH-1 Shea-Porter, Carol [D]
Yea NH-2 Hodes, Paul [D]
New Jersey
Yea NJ-1 Andrews, Robert [D]
Yea NJ-2 LoBiondo, Frank [R]
Yea NJ-3 Adler, John [D]
Yea NJ-4 Smith, Christopher [R]
Nay NJ-5 Garrett, Scott [R]
Yea NJ-6 Pallone, Frank [D]
Yea NJ-7 Lance, Leonard [R]
Yea NJ-8 Pascrell, William [D]
Yea NJ-9 Rothman, Steven [D]
Yea NJ-10 Payne, Donald [D]
Yea NJ-11 Frelinghuysen, Rodney [R]
Yea NJ-12 Holt, Rush [D]
Yea NJ-13 Sires, Albio [D]
New Mexico
Yea NM-1 Heinrich, Martin [D]
Yea NM-2 Teague, Harry [D]
Yea NM-3 Lujan, Ben [D]
New York
Yea NY-1 Bishop, Timothy [D]
Yea NY-2 Israel, Steve [D]
Nay NY-3 King, Peter [R]
Yea NY-4 McCarthy, Carolyn [D]
Yea NY-5 Ackerman, Gary [D]
Yea NY-6 Meeks, Gregory [D]
Yea NY-7 Crowley, Joseph [D]
Yea NY-8 Nadler, Jerrold [D]
Yea NY-9 Weiner, Anthony [D]
Yea NY-10 Towns, Edolphus [D]
Yea NY-11 Clarke, Yvette [D]
Yea NY-12 Velazquez, Nydia [D]
Yea NY-13 McMahon, Michael [D]
Yea NY-14 Maloney, Carolyn [D]
Yea NY-15 Rangel, Charles [D]
Yea NY-16 Serrano, José [D]
Yea NY-17 Engel, Eliot [D]
Yea NY-18 Lowey, Nita [D]
Not Voting NY-19 Hall, John [D]
Yea NY-21 Tonko, Paul [D]
Yea NY-22 Hinchey, Maurice [D]
Nay NY-23 McHugh, John [R]
Yea NY-24 Arcuri, Michael [D]
Yea NY-25 Maffei, Daniel [D]
Nay NY-26 Lee, Christopher [R]
Yea NY-27 Higgins, Brian [D]
Yea NY-28 Slaughter, Louise [D]
Yea NY-29 Massa, Eric [D]
North Carolina
Yea NC-1 Butterfield, George [D]
Yea NC-2 Etheridge, Bob [D]
Yea NC-3 Jones, Walter [R]
Yea NC-4 Price, David [D]
Nay NC-5 Foxx, Virginia [R]
Nay NC-6 Coble, Howard [R]
Yea NC-7 McIntyre, Mike [D]
Yea NC-8 Kissell, Larry [D]
Nay NC-9 Myrick, Sue [R]
Nay NC-10 Mchenry, Patrick [R]
Yea NC-11 Shuler, Heath [D]
Yea NC-12 Watt, Melvin [D]
Yea NC-13 Miller, R. [D]
North Dakota
Yea ND-0 Pomeroy, Earl [D]
Yea OH-1 Driehaus, Steve [D]
Nay OH-2 Schmidt, Jean [R]
Yea OH-3 Turner, Michael [R]
Nay OH-4 Jordan, Jim [R]
Nay OH-5 Latta, Robert [R]
Yea OH-6 Wilson, Charles [D]
Nay OH-7 Austria, Steve [R]
Nay OH-8 Boehner, John [R]
Yea OH-9 Kaptur, Marcy [D]
Yea OH-10 Kucinich, Dennis [D]
Yea OH-11 Fudge, Marcia [D]
Nay OH-12 Tiberi, Patrick [R]
Yea OH-13 Sutton, Betty [D]
Yea OH-14 LaTourette, Steven [R]
Yea OH-15 Kilroy, Mary Jo [D]
Yea OH-16 Boccieri, John [D]
Yea OH-17 Ryan, Timothy [D]
Yea OH-18 Space, Zachary [D]
Nay OK-1 Sullivan, John [R]
Nay OK-2 Boren, Dan [D]
Nay OK-3 Lucas, Frank [R]
Nay OK-4 Cole, Tom [R]
Nay OK-5 Fallin, Mary [R]
Yea OR-1 Wu, David [D]
Yea OR-2 Walden, Greg [R]
Yea OR-3 Blumenauer, Earl [D]
Yea OR-4 DeFazio, Peter [D]
Yea OR-5 Schrader, Kurt [D]
Yea PA-1 Brady, Robert [D]
Yea PA-2 Fattah, Chaka [D]
Yea PA-3 Dahlkemper, Kathleen [D]
Yea PA-4 Altmire, Jason [D]
Nay PA-5 Thompson, Glenn [R]
Yea PA-6 Gerlach, Jim [R]
Yea PA-7 Sestak, Joe [D]
Yea PA-8 Murphy, Patrick [D]
Nay PA-9 Shuster, William [R]
Yea PA-10 Carney, Christopher [D]
Yea PA-11 Kanjorski, Paul [D]
Yea PA-12 Murtha, John [D]
Yea PA-13 Schwartz, Allyson [D]
Yea PA-14 Doyle, Michael [D]
Yea PA-15 Dent, Charles [R]
Nay PA-16 Pitts, Joseph [R]
Yea PA-17 Holden, Tim [D]
Nay PA-18 Murphy, Tim [R]
Yea PA-19 Platts, Todd [R]
Rhode Island
Yea RI-1 Kennedy, Patrick [D]
Yea RI-2 Langevin, James [D]
South Carolina
Nay SC-1 Brown, Henry [R]
Nay SC-2 Wilson, Addison [R]
Nay SC-3 Barrett, James [R]
Nay SC-4 Inglis, Bob [R]
Yea SC-5 Spratt, John [D]
Yea SC-6 Clyburn, James [D]
South Dakota
Yea SD-0 Herseth Sandlin, Stephanie [D]
Nay TN-1 Roe, David [R]
Nay TN-2 Duncan, John [R]
Yea TN-3 Wamp, Zach [R]
Yea TN-4 Davis, Lincoln [D]
Yea TN-5 Cooper, Jim [D]
Yea TN-6 Gordon, Barton [D]
Nay TN-7 Blackburn, Marsha [R]
Yea TN-8 Tanner, John [D]
Yea TN-9 Cohen, Steve [D]
Nay TX-1 Gohmert, Louis [R]
Nay TX-2 Poe, Ted [R]
Nay TX-3 Johnson, Samuel [R]
Nay TX-4 Hall, Ralph [R]
Nay TX-5 Hensarling, Jeb [R]
Nay TX-6 Barton, Joe [R]
Nay TX-7 Culberson, John [R]
Nay TX-8 Brady, Kevin [R]
Yea TX-9 Green, Al [D]
Nay TX-10 McCaul, Michael [R]
Nay TX-11 Conaway, K. [R]
Nay TX-12 Granger, Kay [R]
Nay TX-13 Thornberry, William [R]
Nay TX-14 Paul, Ronald [R]
Yea TX-15 Hinojosa, Rubén [D]
Yea TX-16 Reyes, Silvestre [D]
Yea TX-17 Edwards, Thomas [D]
Yea TX-18 Jackson-Lee, Sheila [D]
Nay TX-19 Neugebauer, Randy [R]
Yea TX-20 Gonzalez, Charles [D]
Nay TX-21 Smith, Lamar [R]
Nay TX-22 Olson, Pete [R]
Yea TX-23 Rodriguez, Ciro [D]
Nay TX-24 Marchant, Kenny [R]
Yea TX-25 Doggett, Lloyd [D]
Nay TX-26 Burgess, Michael [R]
Yea TX-27 Ortiz, Solomon [D]
Yea TX-28 Cuellar, Henry [D]
Yea TX-29 Green, Raymond [D]
Yea TX-30 Johnson, Eddie [D]
Nay TX-31 Carter, John [R]
Nay TX-32 Sessions, Peter [R]
Nay UT-1 Bishop, Rob [R]
Yea UT-2 Matheson, Jim [D]
Nay UT-3 Chaffetz, Jason [R]
Yea VT-0 Welch, Peter [D]
Yea VA-1 Wittman, Rob [R]
Yea VA-2 Nye, Glenn [D]
Yea VA-3 Scott, Robert [D]
Nay VA-4 Forbes, James [R]
Yea VA-5 Perriello, Thomas [D]
Nay VA-6 Goodlatte, Robert [R]
Nay VA-7 Cantor, Eric [R]
Yea VA-8 Moran, James [D]
Yea VA-9 Boucher, Frederick [D]
Yea VA-10 Wolf, Frank [R]
Yea VA-11 Connolly, Gerald [D]
Yea WA-1 Inslee, Jay [D]
Yea WA-2 Larsen, Rick [D]
Yea WA-3 Baird, Brian [D]
Nay WA-4 Hastings, Doc [R]
Nay WA-5 McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R]
Yea WA-6 Dicks, Norman [D]
Yea WA-7 McDermott, James [D]
Yea WA-8 Reichert, Dave [R]
Yea WA-9 Smith, Adam [D]
West Virginia
Yea WV-1 Mollohan, Alan [D]
Yea WV-2 Capito, Shelley [R]
Yea WV-3 Rahall, Nick [D]
Nay WI-1 Ryan, Paul [R]
Yea WI-2 Baldwin, Tammy [D]
Yea WI-3 Kind, Ronald [D]
Yea WI-4 Moore, Gwen [D]
Nay WI-5 Sensenbrenner, F. [R]
Yea WI-6 Petri, Thomas [R]
Yea WI-7 Obey, David [D]
Yea WI-8 Kagen, Steve [D]
Nay WY-0 Lummis, Cynthia [R]

First Motorcycle with Flexible Fuel Technology

March 14, 2009 by  
Filed under On the Road

Honda CG 150 Titan Mix

Moto Honda da Amazonia LTD., a Brazilian subsidiary of Honda, has announced that beginning sometime in mid-March 2009, the CG150 Titan Mix, which introduces the new flex fuel technology, will become available for purchase in Brazil.  This will be the world’s first motorcycle to be equipped with a mix fuel injection system, a technology independently developed by Honda. By blending gasoline-based fuel with bio-ethanol fuel, often produced from sugarcane and wheat, Honda anticipates a reduction of CO2 emissions along with customer fuel costs.

So why Brazil as the venue to launch this new motorcycle? Well, turns out that while the CG 150 Titan Mix will be the first motorcycle in the world to offer this new flex fuel technology, around 90% of new automobiles already being sold in Brazil now use this technology. So the Brazilians already have ample supplies of this fuel mixture already available.

Commuter Bike – Clean & Affordable

Honda is expecting that because of the lowered fuel costs and cleaner emissions of the CG 150 Titan Mix, it will be an ideal form of transportation for commuters. In 2008, there were approximately 1.91 million motorcycles registered in Brazil. Of those bikes, 1.326 million (about 72%) were Honda’s. So brand recognition among the Brazilian people is already in place. Another feature that Honda hopes will be attractive to commuters is the starting price for the CG 150 will be 6,340 Real. Converted to U.S. dollars, that would  be 2758.32, a price that Honda believe commuters will find affordable. They’re hoping for annual sales of about 200,000 units.

Motorcycles Included in 2009 Stimulus

March 1, 2009 by  
Filed under On the Road


2009 Tax Credit for Motorcycle and RV Purchase

The recent stimulus package that was signed into law on Tuesday (2/17/09) had a last minute inclusion for motorcycles and recreational vehicles. Cars and light trucks already had dibbs on their dollar share of the stimulus billions, and with the successful lobbying from the AMA, Harley-Davidson, and other industry groups, along with the support of four senators from areas most affected by a struggling motorcycle industry (Bob Casey, D-PA, Christopher Bond, R-MO, Russell Feingold, D-WI, and Herb Kohl, D-WI), motorcycles and RVs quietly squeaked there way into the bill. This is not an industry-saving piece of legislation, as we understand it, but may be a gentle purchase incentive for certain buyers. The cost to include motorcycles and RVs to the stimulus is estimated at around $100 million.  

Section 1008 of the Stimulus Plan

Section 1008 in the stimulus bill allows taxpayers purchasing a motorcycle or RV under $49,500 to deduct state and federal sales tax paid in 2009 when filing their ’09 tax returns. It is important to understand that this is a tax deduction and not a tax credit.  A tax deduction reduces income reported and not taxes owed. To be eligible for the tax deduction, a single person’s annual modified adjusted gross income for that tax year cannot exceed $125,000 or $250,000 for a joint return.  The effective date for this deduction, according to the language of the bill itself applies, "to purchases on or after the date of the enactment of this Act in taxable years ending after such date." We interpret this to mean that for any bike purchased after the date the Act was signed until one year from that date.You may want to check with the dealer on that if you are purchasing close to the beginning or ending date.

What does that mean to me?

Let’s say you were buying a bike that costs $20,000 and you pay 6% sales tax where you live.   The sales tax wold come to $1,200 and is deductable from your taxes next year.  So if your tax bracket is say 30%, then that would be a savings of $400.  Not a lot, but every little bit helps.  If you were thinking of buying a new motorcycle anyway, that’s $400 worth accessories that you won’t have to shell out the cash for.

Ricky Carmichael Top Rookie

February 27, 2009 by  
Filed under On the Road


Carmichael Still Racing – Trucks This Time

After enjoying perhaps the most successful career in motocross history and dominating the sport for nearly ten years, Ricky Carmichael semi-retired from motocross in 2007, and has now begun capturing the attention of four-wheeled racing fans. His incredible career in motocross earned him the nickname "The GOAT" (Greatest of All Time).  This past weekend, Carmichael’s performance at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Auto Club Speedway in San Bernardino County 200, earned him the Raybestos "Rookie of the Race" award. Driving the No. 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet, retaining the same number he wore in motocross, Carmichael finished the race in eighth place, making him the only rookie driver to finish in the top 10. That will move him up 9 spots in the 2009 NCWTS point standings. Not bad, considering this was only Carmichael’s second race.

Most beginners of any sport would be estactic with that kind of showing, but comments he made after the race indicate Carmichael likes to be in the lead. In one interview, he said, "I’m super pumped, and I learned a lot. I wish we could have done better for KHI but personally, I’m happy." It will be interesting to see how he performs in upcoming races. On April 25th at the Kansas Speedway, Carmichael will get his next opportunity. He’s really missed by his fans at motocross, but glad we at least get to follow him with NASCAR.


Electric Motorcycles

February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under On the Road

Tree Huggin’ Motorcycles

enertia electric motorcycleThe motorcycle industry, like the auto industry, has been delegating some of its R & D dollars to the design of innovative fossil-fuel alternative bikes. While motorcycles are known for their excellent fuel economy, few people are aware that hydrocarbon emissions on some bikes and scooters may be up to 90 times more than an SUV.  The reason for this is that while motorcycles and scooters have better fuel efficiency than cars, their engines are able to convert fuel into energy at a faster rate than autos thereby producing more nitrogen oxides, which is one of the primary ingredients of smog. Adding catalytic converters to motorcycles has been proposed by some, but motorcyclists are generally opposed to these  power-robbing and fuel-efficiency destroying devices that are mandated for automobiles.

However,  some have been experimenting with alternative ideas for "green" bikes and currently the most common approach is the electric motorcycle. Electric vehicles have been around for long enough in the automobile industry for us to know that the primary shortcomings are their limited range between recharges and puny acceleration capabilities.  For most motorcyclists these are both non-starters.  But as we all know, motorcycles and cars are completely different animals, and while range is still an issue, the speed and acceleration problem seems to have been conquered.

Green Means Go

Killacycle -- fastest electric motorcycleJust to show you how much progress has been made in terms of acceleration, one of the newer motorcycles that recently made history in the drag racing world is the KillaCycle. On October 23rd, 2008, the KillaCycle, ridden by Scotty Pollacheck, did 7.89 seconds @ 168 mph, becoming the new official NEDRA (National Electric Drag Racing Association) record holder. This amazing time was the quickest quarter-mile time for any electric vehicle in the world. The KillaCycle will accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than a second and has over 500 hp. What makes this bike so powerful is the A123 Systems nano-phosphate battery cells. This is the same type battery used in the  DeWalt cordless hand tools. Not a bad speed for an electric screwdriver with wheels.

Another electric motorcycle that has been introduced in 2009 as a street version is the Zero S, which sells for just under $10,000.  The Zero S has a top speed of 70 mph and a range of 60 miles before needing to be recharged.  While we don’t envision cruising along the highway like George Jetson on this thing, it could make a 20-mile each way commute a lot cheaper when gas prices go back up.  I would expect to see a lot of these hitting the city streets as soon as OPEC tightens the thumb screws on us again. 

zero-xZero Motorcycles, the company that makes the Zero S, also has a dirt bike version called the Zero X which accelerates from 0-30 mph in less than 2 seconds.  Award winning designer Neal Saiki came up with the Zero design, and we found it interesting that the frame of the Zero X, being made of aluminum, weighs only 18 lbs. The total weight for the entire motorcycle is only 140 pounds.  The Zero power pack uses a non-toxic lithium-ion technology and contains no toxic metals whatsoever, meaning these batteries are rated for land-fill disposal in the US, Canada, and Europe. Several celebrities, including Jay Leno and James Denton, own one of the Zero X bikes. Jay Leno has done a YouTube video about the bike in his private garage and James Denton did a video with him doing a demo ride at his cabin property in Montana.

In the recent TED Conference (Technology, Entertain, Design), there was yet another of the green bikes to be unveiled. To purchase one of these beauties, you’d better have plenty of the spending kind of green. Scheduled to release a limited 50 bikes in 2010, the new Mission One bike will cost $68,995. Not an economical solution if you’re looking for a commuter bike that will save money at the pump. There will be a more affordable model announced at a later date. The Mission One bike is a design of Mission Motors and is going to show its power ride reaching a top speed of 150 MPH with 100-foot  pounds of torque between 0 and 6,500 RPM. The lithium-ion battery energy source will have a charge time of under 2 hours at 240 V and 8 hours at 120 V, with a running distance of 150 miles. The bike design is truly a beauty, and we’re hoping Tarantino will come up with another Kill Something movie, so Uma can show us what one of these babies can do.

There are other alternative-fueled scooters and bikes available, with more still in the labs. As stated earlier, we don’t expect these newer bikes to replace all gas-powered motorcycles. They will be an alternative to some, and an addition to others. Doubt tattoo artists will be inking these brand names into anybody’s arms in the near future though.



Jeremy Lusk Fatally Injured

February 14, 2009 by  
Filed under On the Road

Jeremy Lusk, "The Pitbull" in Fatal Crash

Jeremy Lusk, nicknamed "The Pitbull," known for his daredevil performances in the sport of freestyle motocross, suffered a fatal head injury on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009, while performing at a competition in San Jose, Costa Rica. Born in San Diego in 1984, Lusk began riding motorcycles at the age of 3 and turned pro at 19. Of the brief number of years since turning pro, 2008 had been his most successful and his future with the sport looked bright. At the ’08 XGames freestyle motocross competition, Lusk came away with a gold and silver medal for the FMX best-trick doing a double-grab Hart Attack backflip. That same year, Lusk also entered the X Games Mexico competition and won two gold medals there, as well as a bronze helmet in Freestyle at the Moto X World Championships.  The General Manager and VP of the X Games franchise, Chris Stiepock, stated that Lusk "had emerged as one of the world’s best freestyle moto riders." 

On Saturday, while attempting to land after doing a back-flip trick over a 100-foot jump, Lusk was unable to complete the maneuveur and landed headfirst on the landing ramp. This is a trick that Lusk had done successfully many times before. While performing in 2007 at the X Games in Carson, Lusk had experienced a similar crash. He was able to walk away from the that crash,  in San Jose there would be no such happy ending. After the accident, Lusk was rushed to Calderon Guardia Hospital in San Jose, where he was put into a medically-induced coma as a protective measure because of severe brain swelling.  Jorge Ramirez, chief of intensive care at Calderon Hospital stated that Lusk had suffered severe damage to his brain and possibly spinal cord injury.  About his condition at the time of death, Ramirez stated, "…the medicine was being reduced to see how his body responded. That didn’t mean he was going to wake up. He was in shock and that got worse last night, until he stopped responding and entered into cardiac and respiratory failure."

Loss to Freestyle Motocross Community

For anyone who’s a fan and has watched any of the freestyle motocross tricks, it is something to watch and evident that there is substantial risk involved for the rider. X Games Senior VP Rick Alessandri stated, "When a professional athlete takes the field of play, whether they’re a bull rider, motocross rider or equestrian, they understand that (death) can happen on any given day to any athlete."  Interesting to note is that while there are frequent injuries sustained by these talented riders, Jeremy Lusk is the first known death to take place in either the Dew Tour or the X Games.

Upon being notified of the accident, Lusk’s wife, in-laws, and parents immediately flew to Costa Rica and were at his side when he died on Tuesday, January, 11, 2009. Lusk was only 24. Below is a tribute video:



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