Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Friday, July 30, 2010

On The Road with Ken Tuvman, featuring Tim Looney

Back in the '60's Honda had a jingle "You meet the nicest people on a Honda." Well there is something about riding on two wheels that attracts the attention of others.

I often ride alone and at a recent rest stop in Montana, a trucker came up to talk with me when Tim Looney rides up on his 1955 Military Issue Royal Enfield motorcycle. As the pictures shows, there is a reason why Montana is called "Big Sky Country." Absolutely drop dead gorgeous! I often stop for a nature break and just to get off my bike and stretch out a bit. Some of my days on my recent 6,000 mile trek across the United States, kept me glued to my m/c seat for as many as twelve hours - some people think "how can anyone sit on a bike that long?" The answers are: a) take breaks often b) the exhilaration of riding on two wheels and c) the liberating feeling of accomplishment. Every day when I get off my bike safely, I have thoughts of thanks and gratitude for my Higher Power keeping me safe. There's a lot to go wrong on a bike and I'm not talking mechanical but certainly it's up there on the list. The top perils are objects flying off vehicles - retread tires off trucks. buckets flying out of the back of a pickup and four legged animals running in front of you.

BUT the "rush" outweighs the "risk" for me. I know I'm a little on the manic side but somehow my HP gave me this gift to really embrace life. I think the other part of the equation is seeing one too many people I knew get sick and die or get killed that I'm focused on keeping a few hundred feet in front of the angel of death as long as I can. I'm not obsessed about dying but really do focus on the passion of living - survival is a natural instinct for humans and animals alike - it's one of those inert built in features our Creator included in the design of being a living organism.

I used my FLIP video camera to interview Tim - what a kick! As I'm asking his last name and not getting it, Tim uses his index finger and uses it to draw imaginary circles around his ear to convey to me that he's nuts! But not really nuts and I'll tell you why . . .

Tim is a retired printer. As our world becomes smaller, it turns out Tim was a part of one of our suppliers - The Drum Line that does a lot of printed notebooks and writing pads in Arkansas.
Tim's in his early sixties and has been riding all his life. His 1955 British Royal Enfield is really a 1999 reproduction. You see, when Britian dominated or controlled India as one of it's colonies, there was a production line in that country making these bikes. When India gained it's independence, it inherited the Royal Enfield factory and production line. So the folks in India just used the existing infrastructure to keep making these bikes the same way they were made in the fifties.

Now, modern motorcycles are made to not breakdown and to feature things like anti lock brakes and fuel injection to keep you humming down the road and safe. Not so with the Royal Enfield. It's a single cylinder 500cc engine with a chain drive instead of a drive shaft, like my BMW K75.
My cruising speed through the Montana Highways is, well, I don't want to say but Tim cruises at 60 miles an hour. He does carry a cell phone but only turns it one once a week because he promised his daughter he would. He has rebuilt every part of the bike and knows what to do when it breaks. He's rebuilt the transmission and engine - he knows how to find top dead center to adjust the valves and timing. So maybe Tim looks like a Looney but he is not. He carries spare military green gas and oil cans on his bike. The British bikes are notorious for throwing oil and Tim's is no exception. It features a Lucas electrical system, which Tim refers to as the "Darth Vader or Dark Side" electrical system - they're notorious for shorting out and such.
But no matter where Tim has been, when the bike breaks, he knows what to do. One day the rear wheel stopped turning - the wheel bearing seized up. He didn't freak out nor did he call Triple A. Tim was in the middle of no place, so what did he do?

He put his bike on the centerstand, removed the rear wheel and then hitched a ride into the nearest town and got lucky by finding a shop that just happened to have a wheel bearing that would replace his existing. Then he was back on the road again. One other fact - modern cars and bikes are fuel injected - this means they'll perform well in most altitudes. When Tim travels over mountain passes such as the Rockies or Oregon Cascades, he has to reset his Carburetor just so he can make it through the pass.

You won't see Tim at the Sturgis rally - "it's not like it used to be," says Tim. Today it's just a bunch of yuppies and wannabies who trailer their bikes and stay in high priced hotels just so they can tool around on their bikes and then put them back on their trailers and take them home. That's not a direct quote but sums up in a nutshell his thoughts on Sturgis.

Instead, you may see Tim tootling around on secondary roads as he makes his way back to Arkansas, using his National Parks pass to camp along the way. Tim's the real deal. He's self-sufficient and reminds me of the Cowboy who with his horse is able to survive the various elements of life and land.

About an hour has passed - I look at my watch and need to say goodbye - I'm expected back home. My wife, Annie has been gracious enough to let me take my epic voyage in the middle of my life. I'm glad I'm not riding the Royal Enfield, as cool as it looks. I'm grateful that I've got my magic carpet that will wisk me home to safety, one leg at a time.

I learned on my trip that there definitely is more out there than just work, work, work. Flip side, without WWW there would have been no trip, trip trip!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Spiritual Adventure

Hi and sorry for being inconsistent with my posts - just one of my a.d.d. challenges.

Reporting from a Super 8 in Walla Walla, WA where after two nights tenting it at the BMW motorcycle rally (like a Woodstock (kinda)) needed a good night sleep and a washer and dryer so I could do some wash. Now have clean clothes - how about gratitude for clean clothes?

As life unfolds, the day I arrived to pick up my bike in LA, I was having lunch at the Apple Pan with Chippie, my sis in law and my cell phone was vibrating. The call was my cousin Gary, calling from his home in Kauai, to say his older brother Ron had passed away. Little did I know, Ron was THE pioneer of BMX bicycle racing. Here's a link if you want to know more:

Now I'm faced with a mental dilemma - do I cancel the second leg of my trip to Oregon or do I stay in LA and attend the funeral? I did some quick thinking and reflecting and decided not to attend the funeral - now I'm feeling guilty, the price I'm paying for being selfish and choosing my agenda over being supportive to my uncle and Ron's two brothers and extended family. I did pick up the phone and call each family member. I did visit Ron when he was trying to recover from his surgery, which was painful because after the surgery, he was never the same as before.
So, this is a burden I'll have to sort out as time goes on. The burden of selfishness. I need to take a look in the mirror on this one - I recently was upset when a relative living on my route to OR wouldn't take the time to visit me for a cup of coffee but didn't I do the same thing by not attending the funeral? I'll have a few more days on the road, riding in solitude to continue processing this.

Ron loved bicycles and motorcycles. He was THE one person who lit the fire in my soul of the joy and excitement of riding on two wheels. Besides motorcycles I love bicycling - I just love being on two wheels and leaning around corners, the wind in my face and the smells along the way. As a kid, I'd ride on the back of Ron's small Honda 50 and Bultaco to a place called Baldwin Hills, via the railroad tracks. I'd get off and watch him and his friends ride up the hills, take jumps and pop wheelies. Ron showed me how to use the clutch and shift gears. He was really a nice, gentle man with a very big heart.

In the past two years, I've lost some very dear friends. A best friend died at 51 of Leukemia and it was sudden. My first client's son, my age, was shot and killed by a disgruntled employee. My childhood best friends mom, died last week. A very, very nice caring client, who comforted me when I was having some major challenges with one of my kids, died two weeks ago after a big fight with ovarian cancer. It's sometimes tough being the survivor. One of my dad's WWII buddies in MN passed away last week at 89 - I really didn't want to tell dad about it.

But I guess it's "last person standing." Life is for the living and living is what we need to do. That's part of what this road journey is about. I've been travelling down memory lane - crossing roads I crossed a long, long time ago. It's really a great privilege to be doing this.

The time and distance is creating some loneliness to see my wife and kids. Soon, I'll be back home with the grace and willingness of my Higher Power. This trip has enabled me to get in touch with my HP and starting my day by giving thanks to Him for keeping me safe, sober and healthy.

I'll end with my travelers prayer as I get ready to embark on my journey, now heading towards Glacier National Park via the Lolo Pass. Wish me safe travels and good luck for my journey today!

Travelers Prayer: May it be Your will G-d, our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that You should lead us in peace and direct our steps in peace, and guide us in peace, and support us in peace, and cause us to reach our destination in life, joy, and peace. Save us from every enemy and ambush, from robbers and wild beasts on the trip, and from all kinds of punishments that rage and come to the world. May You confer blessing upon the work of our hands and grant me grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us, and bestow upon us abundant kindness and hearken to the voice of our prayer, for You hear the prayers of all. Blessed are You G-d who hearkens to prayer.

Below is a link showing pictures of parts of my journey so far. States crossed: MN, IA, NE, CO, UT, CA, OR WA. States to go: ID, MT, ND, WI, MN