Seth Laam Custom Seats

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I’m currently in Redding Ca. getting the Tenere 700 seat rebuilt by one of the best guys on the west coast. Seth Laam has worked magic on my 1200 Super Tenere twice,   improving it after my ironbutt in 2013 and then again in 2016 before my 48 state/ 4 corners ride. Seth has been building seats for 21 years now, that’s a long time when you are still a couple years from being 40😏. He worked under Bill Mayer since a teenager before moving out on his own to make a name for himself.  His attention to detail and personal service is clearly evident when you talk with him. (Hint, give him a call!)
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He is quite popular among several different brands of bikes, he’s seeing lots of can-am spiders at the moment. I know he’s done a ton of Super Teneres and he has said he’s done thousands of FJR’s. Seth is a 1 man show, from initial contact, interview, seat building and shipping department, it’s only him. Wait times can be a about a month (with shipping time included) if you are mailing in your seat pan BUT riding out to Redding will cut that time down to 2-4 hours. The riding around Redding is also very spectacular, on or off road. This is his first Tenere 700 seat but I’m sure it won’t be his last.😏 Call him to set up a ride in, you won’t be disappointed!

 Within a few hours he was done and I’m very impressed with the craftsmanship! His prices start about $400 depending on what want done, that’s a deal in my book!

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Even the 8 month old shop puppy Apollo likes the T-700! 😁

Cyclops Aurora lights with the Camel ADV high fender

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Darryl VanNieuwenhuise and his team from Cyclops Adventure Sports have been patiently waiting to get ahold of my bike for weeks now.  You see, they only had a little bit of time working on a T-700 with Cory Hanson from Camel ADV several months ago in the parking lot of a casino in Vegas.  Cory wanted a set of Aurora LED Auxiliary lights installed on his high fender kit  as he torture tested his T-700 in the desert Southwest but that wasn’t nearly enough time for Darryl. This is the result of being fabricated on the fly. Good job!

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Darryl had my bike for a week and was able to come up with a prototype mount even before the Acerbis high fenders had arrived. Only a minor adjustment of 1/2 inch inward and upward of the final production bracket for Aurora lights moving them closer to the fender will be made. I think I’ll keep this original  bracket though.

The lights also look great with the stock low fender! E96D8BA2-F282-4EB9-861B-ED92C13B230F
And now, some information about the Aurora Auxiliary lights. They are a fully programmable, adjustable and switchable 4000 lumen LED Auxiliary light set  that only draw a low 19 watts. It’s a complete “plug and play” set up for the Tenere 700.  There are amber daytime running lights, a low beam white setting that is at 50% and high beam white that is at 100%. You’ll need to get with the team at Cyclops to program other settings if you want. 

C65172F2-B9F4-4AB2-9969-663BD9419F2DHere are some night time shots, the light the bike with the Auroras put out is extremely impressive!

The sequence of pictures is: bike lights low beam only, Auroras and bike lights on low beam, Auroras and bike lights on high beam at 3 different distances lighting up 30+ ft tall cypress trees

These lights are mainly for off-road use in the woods, I’ll only use the amber daytime running lights the majority of the time. It’s nice to know I have the capability to throw A LOT  of light in case I need it.

Another set of goodies that Darryl and his team installed is a set of Multi function turn signals.   These act as white daytime marker lights then strobe in amber and move in the direction of the turn when the turn signal is activated. The rear brake lights get a boost also from them  when those are activated in red. I really like the hazard lights that now come standard on the T-700, it’s great peace of mind to have that function. Check out this cool video on how they work!

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  There is also a tail tidy still on back order from England through my buddy Erik at Twisted Throttle . Once in, it will clean up the atrocious rear stock fender area and make things look a lot more “tidy”.
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The bike will go back to Darryl when it comes in for its install and a check up of the entire system.

I’ve been working with the team at Cyclops for about 6 years now since they had first moved out of their home garage and into a real shop.
Here is a blog I did back in 2014 on the LED conversion kit for the Super Tenere Review of the H-7 LED replacement bulbs

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They have put lights on a good number of the Super Teneres in the PNW and I’m very happy now that there will be an plug and play option for the Tenere 700. These things will sell like hot cakes! You also can’t beat the very high level of customer service from an experienced rider in the moto industry! Give Darryl or his lovely wife Sandra a call!

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It’s FINALLY here!

8DDC018B-EBC2-43C9-A176-BC5B3EE8CAE7It’s finally here! Ever since this spy photo leaked back in 2016, I knew it was my next bike. BB10D418-A3C0-4A6E-AAD6-70065332D576ADV Pulse article from 2016

Just a mere 4 years later a Yamaha Tenere 700 shows up with my name on the box😏

Without Jeff and his assistant Cassie, at Sportland Yamaha in Cle Elum Wa.  I wouldn’t have a bike, I owe them pretty much everything! A bit of back story on how they were able to secure my bike…

On May 18th Corporate Yamaha decided to change the procedure on how the initial pre-orders would be released. The first few hundred bikes were to go the consumers that could log onto the public website and request a bike at 1200 noon Eastern time Friday May 22nd.  Jeff and Cassie showed up to work more than an hour early (9:00 am pacific is 12:00 eastern) with their typing fingers ready.  The consumer( me) had to go onto a website and request a bike then a reservation number was generated and emailed back to the consumer.

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That number was then relayed back to Jeff and Cassie where they logged onto an internal Yamaha website to place an order using the code I  gave them. Sound confused? Yes,we all were! In a matter of 30 minuets  both the public and internal websites had crashed but Jeff and Cassie had secured 7 bikes by then 🙌 AWESOME JOB! Within 3 hours, all pre ordered bikes were spoken for. They went that fast!

Fast forward to the first week of June when I get a text from Jeff with pictures.  😁

This Tenere 700 is the bike I’ve wanted since before the 1200 Super Tenere came along, it would have been my choice after realizing the Kawasaki KLR (even with the 685 big bore kit) I had didn’t have enough power (only about 35-38 horsepower).  This Tenere 700 has about 65 to 74 horsepower depending on how it’s tuned by Nels of 2 Wheeled Dyno works. Read all about the amazing little motor here The CP2 engine   A considerable difference indeed for two bikes with essentially the same weight.

As I pulled into Sportland Yamaha to pick up my bike, the radio was playing this…..
😁 TENERE TAQQIM TOSSAM couldn’t ask for anything better!
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Jeff’s  crew were busy putting my bike together from the crate and with aftermarket parts from Cory of Camel ADV products Rerouting the brake lines for the high front fender took a bit longer then planned but it all came together eventually.
Once the bike was ready and the check was written, his crew gave me a rundown on how it went together and I was off on a quick 25 mile ride around the area.

My initial response is it’s an AWESOME bike! I’ll do my best to keep the RPM’s down for the first few hundred miles 😏  It’s about the same weight as that KLR but sooo much more smooth power. It will need a better seat which will be from Seth at Laam seats in Redding Ca in a couple weeks. The handlebars will also need to be adjusted a bit too, I hope there is room in the brake lines for adjustable links. These are basic ergonomic things to fit the bike to me, every rider should make these changes. All in all, it’s a really great bike with the power to weight and will be much better to travel with in or on my van. Allowing me to get deeper into the woods to find those scenic vistas. D3463B16-FB4E-442E-B671-425FF51863E9

😁😁😁😁😁

Veterans across the USA

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The last few months have been interesting to say the least! Because of the global pandemic, my adventures  have been curtailed quite a bit with 3 different rallies being canceled 😔

Let’s start back at Mardi Gras and my departure from Louisiana.  I left moms for Huntsville Alabama, parked the van and hopped on an airplane for Delaware to help an old friend from the Air Force drive a Uhaul back to Alabama. Deanna needed some help and I had the time before the March Moto Madness Rally. It was great helping her get moved. I then went back to Amanda’s(who  I stayed with last fall) in North Carolina to hang out for bit. Hadn’t planned to stay as long as I did but because of the virus lock downs nationwide, that was the safest spot since the MMM Rally ended up being canceled.
I really enjoyed my time with Amanda and her growing flock of chicks😉. Helping her around the house, mowing the yard with her kids, cooking and doing chores made me sort of miss the home life of my past when my girls were younger. Her mom Dawn, an Army Veteran was there most days homeschooling the girls while working remotely. I even showed off my (lack of) handyman skills to build a chicken coop for her “meat birds” she is raising to feed her family.  It wasn’t the most square or plumb structure but it’s sturdy!  I know that I will always have a soft place to land when on the east coast. She, and that fact means a lot to me!

 

  After 2 months at Amanda’s, the country started to slowly re-open and it was time to make my way west for the PNW.  I reached out to several military veterans from my past and the motorcycle community to plot my way across the USA.  Social media is the way we stay in touch throughout the year and being able to visit is a huge bonus.
First stop was Richard Glockner in Illinois, we had been stationed together in Korea 23 ago. So cool to catch up! Thanks for the prime rib dinner!
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Second stop was western Missouri and my old buddy Craig Langley that I was stationed with in Arkansas 30 years ago.  He retired from Whiteman AFB, the home of the B-2 Stealth bomber. He was kind enough to give me a tour of the installation  and tell me a bunch about it’s history as a ballistic missile base during the Cold War. thanks Craig and Stacey for letting me stay.

 

Third stop was just north of Oklahoma City to see Angela Rella and her daughter Kayla. We hadn’t seen each other since Tech school 30 years ago other than a passing in a hallway once while on TDY.
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From OKC, I went up to the Colorado Springs/Denver area  for a week to slow my pace a bit after only doing 1 night stops. Not far from the USAF Academy lives retired MSgt Lee Becker and his wife Bex, they are both very well known in the BMW GS Giant community. Not long after I pulled up to their house, a “rock star” of the GS community pulled up. It was Bettina Nedel from the 2018 US woman’s team of the GS Trophy competition in Mongolia. From there I went hang out with Pete and Kat, Pete is a PNW Tenere member and former Army Medic. We did a nice day loop along the Platt River, then past old mines above Idaho Springs. Then I spent a few days with Tirza Deflinger an Army vet. We did a few more loops with Pete West also an Army Vet and some of their friends out to Estes Park and back. I even met up with a future Tenere 700 owner and ex Air Force Loadmaster Jack Lowery. Colorado is so beautiful! I always look forward to riding there and hanging out with the friends I’ve made.

 

Leaving Colorado gets harder and harder every year, but I needed to head northwest. I had such a beautiful drive from outside Denver to Salt Lake City to see Rob and Cheryl Oman who I had known from my Air Force days in Washington.

 

Only 1 night in SLC with the Oman’s then onto Boise to meet with Rob Bayless, the owner of several Yamaha web forums and army vet, to include Tenere700.net

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Rob and Tammy hosted me for a couple days, I had hoped to ride the bike around their part of Idaho but bad weather set in for my entire time there.
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So from North Carolina to Idaho, that was 7 Air Force, 5 Army veterans that I either met up with for rides or hosted me. The Veteran community is awesome that way! It doesn’t matter how long you can go without seeing one another, it’s like we are never apart. I’m honored to have served with so many great people over the years!

P.K. Adventures ( North Texas Tenere Madmen😉)

I was invited through Jaxon Fyffe to meetup with Aaron Gragg, the leader of Possum Kingdom Adventure riders which is a good bunch of guys Northwest of Dallas. He had a trip in the works going down to the coast. Not doing the math, I said sure. (It was a 1200ish mile trip over 3 days!😳)

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We were joined by Tim Scholtz, Kevin Landis, James Queen, Zach Bagley, and the father and son(two up) team of Lee and Max Chestnut. Aaron agreed to let me park the Yamahauler on his ranch while we were away. More on the ranch later…

Day 1 was right at 500 miles at a very quick pace. We stopped in West, Texas just north of Waco for gas and lunch. West is known for several Czechoslovakian bakeries all serving meat filled rolls called Koliches. YUM! The route was all “Farm to Market” secondary roads. We showed up at the hotel in Winnie, Texas after about 11 hours on the road. I slept hard that night!

Day 2 was along the coast, new roads mostly for me. From Winnie, down to the Gulf Coast skirting the beach to the ferry to Galveston. A short (free) ferry to Galveston island and the touristy town that Galveston is. Then Bay City and seafood lunch in Port Lavaca.


Our hotel for the night was about 100 miles away in the very historic town of Goliad. All Texans are taught of the fort and battles that happens there. A really neat place!

Read more about it here…. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjg05

Enjoy some of the pictures from the sleepy little town.

Day 3 had rain in the forecast all the way back to the ranch… yuck. I chose to take a  more direct route that had me going through more rain then the others who normally follow the radar to avoid the clouds. Riding  in the northwest for so long, I’m prepared for the wet stuff. Luckily, I only hit about two hours of rain of the 6+ hours on the road. I did meet up with Zack and James outside Seguin, Zack hit a slippery patch of pavement and went sliding across 3 lanes of highway. His handle bars got bent pretty bad and he lost 1/2 his foot peg but only got a little road rash on his forearm. He was lucky! 5F58A492-36B2-4598-A141-7A419996E424Even with his bike in that condition, he still kept a pace faster then I cared to keep up with. Not wanting to slow him down, he sped off and I was happy to “ride my own ride”

When passing through Cherokee Texas, the smell of wood smoke had me activating my antilock brakes for open pit BBQ. It was South Side BBQ Ohhhh my! Was that tasty! The perfect place to stop and grab a bite after skipping breakfast wanting to beat the weather. I actually beat Aaron back to the ranch by almost an hour.

Aaron had some ranch duties to take care of as soon as he got parked, you see he manages 4000 acres with about 75 head of cattle!  He also has “High fence” and “low fence” guided hunts form wild pigs, turkey and deer.  He asked if I wanted to ride with him to feed the cattle and if we see any feral hogs, it was open season. We didn’t see any hogs but I did get a great tour of the ranch while we fed the cows.

To book guided Hog, Turkey or Deer hunts contact Aaron a Possum King Hunting Company    in Graham Texas. He did say that a 2 day hog hunt has a 90% chance of getting at least one hog.

Once again, this is why I do what I do.. Meeting some great people along the way!
Thanks Aaron and all of the Possum Kingdom adventure riders! I hope I didn’t slow y’all down too much 😉

Arai helmets

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—>Click here<—-

The link above is a good article about Arai helmets. How they are made and what goes into their high cost. I picked my second XD-4 up at BAMF Moto in Portland. James was able grab one right out of the container from Japan, apparently this color scheme sell out fast. So thanks James🙌

My first Arai XD-4 lasted 5 years and a bit over 50,000 miles.  They are the most comfortable helmets I’ve found that fits my large melon head 😏🙄

I spoke with an Arai sales rep at the Dallas IMS show and a new design should be out this year, but I have many thousands of miles to go on this one. Looking forward to seeing what’s new.

Dallas International Motorcycle Show

I went to the Dallas IMS with two goals, sit on the T-700 again and meet up with my friends from the industry. Both were accomplished! It was so nice to meet up with old and new friends from the motorcycle world.

Just like nearly 10 years ago at the 2011 IMS in Seattle, I was able to sit on “my next motorcycle” 😉   This time I won’t have to wait as long🙌 I was still on active duty then (no beard) and didn’t get my 1200 Super Tenere until 2012 after I retired.

Here are a few more pictures of the T-700

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Right across from the Yamaha display was John Bettencourt of Heidenau tires. We’ve been friends since he found out I had a tattoo of a heidenau tire on my leg. ☺️ I even stopped by his warehouse  on my 2016 ride.  He’s at all the IMS shows so it’s great to catch up.

Then I wandered over the the “Adventure” area they had set up at the show.
It was a little stage set up for presentations from Long Haul Paul Pelland, Paul is trying to ride a million miles while raising funds to help fight his Multiple Scleroses. I picked up one of his 2020 calendars he has for sale to help his journey.

The Backcountry Discovery Route Foundation. It’s their 10th year and they were introducing their 10th route from the Pennsylvania/New York border through New England, up into Maine and stopping at the border of Quebec. Facebook friend Nathen Fant From “For the love of knobs” is an ambassador for the BDR routes. He and his wife did the Southern California route last year. Epic riding!

 

Rachelle McMullin fromWolfman Luggage and JC Davis from Mosko Moto were also on hand to show off their excellent luggage.  I first met both of them back in Denver at Woodys Wheel Works last summer. Rachell was then Woodys PR person and JC helped me flip burgers for Woodys blues festival. I love how the motorcycle world keeps circling back.

After the show Paul and John piled into my van for some great down home bbq at Hickory House BBQ  not far from the show.  I recommend the pulled pork. We got to just sit an chat about our travels and the current state of the motorcycle industry.  A great time hearing about the behind the scenes news.

Here are a few more pics from the show. Not that many big names were there. Honda, BMW and Ducati to name a few were no shows. As the price goes up to be in a show, less big names will continue to drop out, only raising the cost for them even more. Sad…

One last thing is it’s awesome for others to walk up to me and ask if I’m that Tenere guy☺️ Being recognized is a cool feeling. One of the PNW Tenere guys back in Seattle(Dan Mancini) had two of his buddies at the show and they walked up to say hi. Derrick and Bruce ride with Dan a couple times a year, last time was in Utah out where those John Wayne western movies were filmed 😉 Thanks guys for saying hi! I really appreciate it! I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY,

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10 years riding Adventure motorcycles

I was reminded recently, its been 10 years when I picked up that KLR “685” off Craigslist. What a decade! So much has happened since! 

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It all started just before my last USAF deployment to Kyrgyzstan July-December ‘09. I went to see Simon and Lisa Thomas from 2Ride the World  before I left to see their presentation about their life on the road, then once I deployed, watching videos of Charlie and Ewan ride their motorcycles around the world sealed the deal. Charlie and Ewan fanned the flames of an entire segment of motorcycle design and style of riding. Adventure motorcycling was unheard in most circles before their Long Way Around and Long Way Around TV series.

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My Adventure training started pretty quickly after picking  up the KLR when I got back from my deployment , attending the PSSOR Adventure camp   Bret Tkacts and his crew did a great job of covering the basics.  I even returned a few more times to PSSOR for more training over the years.

54AE6DEA-E700-451A-842C-D977FCA5E31CBEFF4351-F192-4968-A4C7-F51579EE9E0A67988237-16B7-406B-A3DD-651505699CE53EC7CDA7-D209-4F2B-817E-0214F32A7D692745AAEF-9427-45A2-A972-BE893DA73658That KLR was a great start and took me to some really cool places. Places I couldn’t get to on my Harley, it definitely opened my eyes to what’s possible. B2A2B25B-7087-401D-9B96-2D9D801569C28519D347-DA98-4BBE-B8DA-8EC2CE6E98A7B57445E5-BD5A-4DEE-AF9F-F8CF80C576DBC3FE6A6A-7409-458A-9C79-AC56DEAEB6226A376A02-EE59-49F8-919C-50DA0272FBA24213CC2F-BFE3-490A-BD33-1D301D012687After 30,000ish miles on that KLR the lack of power was evident then what I had with the Harley.  By that time it was 2011 and was retiring from the Air Force, there was a new bike about to hit the market and this video popped up.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tCHWsSRWMkc&t=13s

It’s Nick Sanders returning to England after his Incredible Ride doing 3 laps back to back from Argentina to Alaska, pretty much non stop. For a motorcycle to hold up like that without issues was the strongest selling point I could think of. Much better then Charlie and Ewan’s BMW’s for sure 😉 I sat on the Yamaha Super Tenere first at the IMS show in Seattle and knew that was my next bike.
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It wasn’t too long after I sold the Harley and KLR to get a 2012 Super Tenere from Jeff at Sportland Yamaha in Cle Elum. From there things really took off when all I asked was to ride with others that had a Super Tenere. It didn’t take long to build the PNWSTOG from the ground up. What a great group of guys, friendships that remain to this day. Oh and the places we have traveled together!

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A few years back I was asked by Jeremy from AltRider to lead a 3 day ride through the Cascades as a conclusion to their international distributors meeting. It was a huge honor to show riders from all over the world our neck of the woods.

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Going to a Horizons Unlimited meet up (Training clinic from Jimmy and Heather Lewis) and hosting various world travelers really had me calling for the open road. That  was evident when the Tenere Across The USA trip started to formulate in my head.

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The Tenere Across the USA trip was life changing in many ways, it gave me the self confidence to change my situation and do what I want, on my own terms. It’s a great place to live! These last 10 years really have been amazing! I wouldn’t have thought my life could be this great. I’m also very thankful for all the friends I’ve made this last decade. Y’all have really made a difference! THANK YOU ALL!!