Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: 2014


Fast Recap: 2014 Progressive International Motorcycle Show (Long Beach, CA)

The International Motorcycle Show returned to Long Beach in early November. It was much earlier than in previous years (it's been traditionally held on the first weekend of December). But no matter, the weather was still perfect for riding. Then again, it's California...

Here are a few shots of my time there. For some reason, I woke up this morning to check my blog to find that all of my witty photo captions and detailed comments had disappeared, reverting this post to my initial placeholder draft and ticking me quite off.

With that being said, I've had some personal family issues that have put other things in perspective so I'm reposting this with the photos only with hopes to return to regular coverage here on TWT when life chooses to right itself again. Nevertheless, enjoy the photos!


Quick Bites: Cha Cha Chicken (Santa Monica, CA)

I have to say, Santa Monica is a great place to be after a filming shoot. The food choices run the gamut, and places to hang out and take a nap between jobs offer a wonderful view and a relaxing vibe.

This brings me to this "quick bite" review that first piqued my curiosity when I had to pick up an order from this place on a Saturday night on a motorcycle courier shift. I use the quotations on purpose; when it's a regular Saturday, the line is so far out the door that it becomes an ordeal to just acquire the food. I came here on a late Monday afternoon to avoid the crowds and I have to say, I now understand the weekend mobs that flood this establishment.

So, who wants some Jamaican jerk chicken?

Cha Cha chicken prides itself in serving "Carribbean Cuisine with Latin Fusion." For this review, I went with their signature chicken dish for a very filling late lunch. I will say that the spiced Jamaincan jerk sauce that this oven roasted, fall-off-the-bone chicken smothered in is just divine. I chose the medium level sauce that had just enough zip to make it interesting (it's also their most recommended). My half chicken-sized plate came with a side of dirty rice and plantains. For my drink, I went with a delicious mango-guava agua fresca. Well then, I think I figured out where the Latin part fits in.

You'll get a lot of food for your buck. The 1/2 chicken platter is just under $12 and is more than enough food to keep you busy. Their homemade agua frescas complements the flavors of the jerk sauce and chicken quite well.

With the beach house-style open seating and friendly atmosphere, this is a wonderful casual place to enjoy a lunch or dinner. Like I said before, this palace is packed on evenings and weekends, so expect to wait a bit in line for your food. Trust me, it's worth it.

After that relaxing lunch, I decided to head around the corner and sleep off my food coma before my upcoming motorcycle courier shift. It's easy to fall asleep to a view like this. Oh, Mondays.

Cha Cha Chicken is located at 1906 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica CA 90405. For their menu and their alternate location in Northridge, visit

Cha Cha Chicken on Urbanspoon


To my 20s...a word or two before you go.

To my were a tough customer, but I'll have to thank you for that.

The second decade of life is a privilege that, in the world that I live in, is both hated and cherished at the some time. Many can't wait until they get to this point, and then loathe many of the days that they now have to live through just to escape it.

I am grateful for even making it this far in this body, considering that it was enough of a challenge to even establish my existence on this planet (there is a story behind that). Regardless, my circumstances have been kind and my path has been gentle in the scope of the current state of the universe.

In the last ten years, I've found myself in several diverse careers that have bounced me all over the place, sculpted my unique skillset, and have given me the tools to survive and thrive in an inhospitable economy.

I've been able to continue playing hockey, the sport I love, despite multiple injuries that have threatened my tenure in front of the net.

I have traversed the United States and Canada in a style reserved to the fortunate with "bucket lists" and a lot of time. And I did the majority of those journeys alone with nothing but my dear Eleanor, my wits, and at times, an unreal level of emotional and intestinal fortitude.

With that being said, the same motorcycle responsible in the previous statement has surpassed the distance halfway from the Earth to the Moon and is still determined to make it all the way there.

I've moved at least five times in my life and I still don't have a reason to settle down.

I now know what it's like to hit mental rock bottom, and know that, for as long as there is a breath in me there is still hope and a reason to keep fighting for what's important.

I've learned to love another person as much as myself, lose that love, and embark on a path toward finding that love again.

I've lived many lifetimes in my journeys and I'm far from finished.

I still refuse to just stand still and let opportunities to learn pass me by.

And lastly, I've learned to accept the things that I cannot control, accept the people who do not understand me, and let time run its course. Because really, everything does fall into place. But the path there can be a hell of a ride. Just hold on.

It would be way too cliché to try to wrap up the 3,652 days that have passed between the time I put a "2" in the tens place of my age and now in a blog post, but that's not what this is for. This is simply a reminder that I'm more than all right...I'm more than prepared for the next round.

I would state this in closing:

I survived my 20s, but I did more than just "survive." I defeated it and came back with trophies and lessons to last the rest of my natural life.
The ups and downs in my journey cemented my resolve to continue moving forward and focusing my eyes toward the horizon.
My family and friends rallied behind me when I was at my worst and celebrated me when I was at my best. And I am forever grateful for that. 
Even in my darkest moments, there was something or someone out there to find me and bring things back into perspective again, even if just for a fleeting moment.  
And dammit, be easy on yourself! In the end, it'll all be okay.

Ad astra per aspera. To the stars through my difficulties. Bring on tomorrow. Take it home, Barry.


Tales on the Motorcycle Courier Shift...nice suits and nudity abound.

When it comes to my motorcycle courier deliveries, this has easily become my most frequently told stories. What started as a routine delivery for Friday night "necessities" (a.k.a. beer and cigarettes) became a little more awkward thanks to how my customer answered the door. I guess it's Hollywood, so perhaps it can be justified.

So, the next question I have is: Do you like Brazilian? Enjoy.


Venturing into Ventura: What a giant sand dune taught me about life and searching for love again.

I had originally drafted this piece as another showcase of the place I call home, but in the light of recent events, this blog entry has taken on an even greater meaning and a far deeper, soul-searching experience. I dedicate this one to an earned friend who helped me discover the light in my soul again. Thank you for everything.

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to take a day off my normal schedule and travel into Ventura County. It had been the first time that I had been that far north on Pacific Coast Highway since I had returned home to Southern California this past February.

In fact, had been so long since I had been up here that I had forgotten what that section of road looked like. But on the side of the highway, right past Malibu on the Los Angeles/Ventura County line, there is Great Sand Dune, a giant, naturally occurring sand dune that stretches hundreds of feet up a hill. It's a popular place for many beach goers to get a workout en route to a great view of the Pacific Ocean. Cardio junkies, you have been warned.

In my case, it was a destination that soon became my personal allegory for physical and emotional demands of a seeking a new relationship after the recovery from a long one that ended painfully. Normally, I don't delve into this topic here on Two-Wheeled Tourist, but seeing that it's not the first time that I've been wounded in battles pertaining to the heart, I give you a series of lessons that came from a recent eye-opening, healing adventure.

And you thought I was just going to talk about a giant mound of sand. That's not how I roll here.


Transcending Spanish: On lessons learned beyond foreign language.

In 1999, I embarked on an academic journey through the levels of Spanish offered at my high school. For all but one year of that journey, I had the same teacher. This particular person had a passion for the power of language, and his uncanny way of teaching this mandatory academic requirement still has me reminiscing about some of those moments in time, even 15 years later. I've written about many of those tales and they lie in the old archives of my written journals. However, beyond learning the ins and outs of Spanish grammar and sentence structures, what I really learned and still value are life lessons that transcend any language. So, I figure with the end of my 20s peeking around the corner, I'd share a few of these lessons as my thank you to him for being one of my most influential mentors.


Long Beach Hydrobikes...because sometimes you need to get away from wheels.

As part of a week-long celebration of the triumphs over my struggles throughout this past year, I treated myself to a hydrobike ride in Long Beach at the Alamitos Bay. From where I live, it's a very quick drive across the Vincent Thomas Bridge, through Downtown Long Beach, and right past Belmont Shore before hitting Pacific Coast Highway.

Just head all the way to the end of the bay and follow the signs. You can't miss.

The hydrobikes are right at the end of a dock. I got there for the first appointment at 11AM so they were all still parked.
Riding a hydrobike is quite easy. If you can't ride an actual bicycle, you'll still be balancing of the unit is needed. Just pedal away and point the bike toward your destination. You'll get there eventually.

The route that patrons are given will lead you across the bay and into the Naples neighborhood of Long Beach. Naples is modeled after the same part of Italy and is known for its romantic canals (yes, there are gondola rides too for you boyfriends looking for ideas). We rode in a counter-clockwise direction, and with no wakes or fast boats in the way, it was more of a pleasure cruise with a little bit of cardio involved.

What you see is me having fun. What you don't feel is that it was nearing 95°F on the water with a heat advisory and the sun blazing down on me at noon. I'm wearing a UPF 50 wicking shirt from REI. No burns here.

Naples holds onto its namesake quite well with actual gondola rides along the canals. The city of Venice (near Santa Monica) had the same thing for a while but the area is no longer as well-maintained as this place.
Pedaling for a straight hour is definitely a great workout! I was glad that I didn't bring my giant Nikon DSLR camera, holding my cell phone to take all these shots was enough of a challenge. Fortunately every hydrobike has cupholders and a cubby compartment for a small bag and your refreshments and personal items. I took the rehydration bit one step further and wore a my Camelbak, the same one I use on my motorcycle rides. It was hot, and I was drinking out of it a lot.

The name of this boat took the words right out of my mouth.
Tip: Wear athletic shoes, unless you want to try to fish your flip-flops out of the water. If you follow instructions, there's no real way you can fall off the bike.

After that fun excursion, I headed up the road to have lunch at nearby Joe's Crab Shack. I had wanted to try this national chain at least once while I still lived in Ohio so it made my personal victory even sweeter as I was making a mess of myself cracking crab legs and munching on hushpuppies. I even topped it off with a root beer float! For an escape of a Friday before heading off to courier work, this was definitely one of my more memorable adventures.

Joe's Crab Shack offered a wonderful view of the Alamitos Bay Marina. Why the hell did I leave California? Anyway, the reason no longer exists, and I'm a better person for it.
Steps for enjoyment. 1. Take a nice photo. 2. Destroy it efficiently.
For more information about Long Beach Hydrobikes, visit Bring your friends or go by yourself! It's all good either way...and go eat some crabs too. Because crabs are awesome.


GUEST POST: Journey to Barber for Track Days in Alabama (Dewayne Jasper)

All right, here's another guest post about the Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

If you're a motorcycle enthusiast and are interested in becoming a guest blogger on here, fill out the inquiry form on the right side of the page and I'll get back to you.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author and not necessarily held by Two-Wheeled Tourist.


If you are looking to take your motorcycle on a long road trip with a purpose in mind, then going over to Barber in Alabama can be an excellent option. The Barber Motorsports Park is primarily a racing location for spectators to watch professionals compete against each other, but there also are multiple track days where you can try your hand at racing. In this case, the journey to Alabama is only half the fun, as once you arrive, you get to test your skills on a real race track and see what your motorcycle can do.

Track Days
Because the weather near Barber in Alabama is almost always temperate, there are track days throughout the entire year. That means that no matter when you want to go, you can probably pack up your bike’s saddlebags, hit the road, and head to the Motorsports Park. In fact, there are between 40 and 50 open track days throughout the year. Different hosts run them, but each event can be a great deal of fun. You can invite your friends along for a great road trip to the park followed by some friendly competition, or go by yourself and enjoy the relaxing trip to Birmingham.

The Course Itself
When you take your motorcycle for a spin during track days, you get to ride around the full track. The road course is 2.38 miles (or 3.83 kilometers) and includes 16 turns to keep you entertained and truly test your skills. This is the same track that hosts such events as the AMA Superbike, Vintage Racing Series, and Grand-Am. If you plan on taking a slower lap to get yourself used to the track, you can take in the large sculptures along the infield, including lions, dragonflies, and spiders.

Vintage Racing
Those who have vintage bikes as opposed to more modern ones may prefer to time their visit to Barber, Alabama, so it coincides with the Vintage Festival. During this event, you can watch the races, including ones that are for vintage machines dating back to the 1920s. There are even off-road races, including cross country and vintage trials competitions.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
No matter the time of year that you visit Barber in Alabama, you should check out the Vintage Motorsports Museum, right next to the track and within the Motorsports Park. This is a great way to give your muscles a break from constant riding, and you will find a wide range of vintage motorcycles. In fact, there are more than 1,200 motorcycles as well as racing cars, including both modern and vintage ones. The oldest motorcycle is from 1904, so you can easily see where the inspiration for the current one you ride came from.

Enjoying the Trip
As any motorcycle rider knows, simply having a destination in mind isn’t enough; you also need some beautiful and relaxing routes to follow along the way, making it well worth packing a motorcycle bag. One great option is the road that takes you from “Mini-Dragon” all the way to 29 Dreams. You start off on Interstate 20 when leaving Birmingham from the east, going for the Leeds exit, which is where the Barber Motorsports Park is located. Simply drive 3 miles through Leeds until you reach Highway 25 South. Then you get to follow this road for 9 miles and will end up at the 29 Dreams Motorcycle Resort. Along the way, you get to see many scenic roads filled with nature. The road is smooth but has enough curves to keep you entertained along the way. 

About the author:
Dewayne Jasper has been riding for over 6 years with his Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R; you can also follow him on Twitter and know about his riding.


Quick Bites: Island Hut (Lomita, CA)

Right before I had to report for my courier shift, I stopped at this local eat to try out this restaurant's take on Hawaiian BBQ. Needless to say, if you're looking for a bang-for-your-buck, filling meal this is the place to go.

The location is right on the corner of Pennsylvania and Lomita Blvd. It's hard to miss and its exterior is quite welcoming.

During my quick stop there, I ordered their California Rolls and a main dish consisting of half chicken katsu and BBQ chicken. The rolls were quite big and actually required a couple bites to get through each one. The crab in them was fresh and flavorful, and I enjoyed the generous chunk of avocado in each one of them. These could be a meal in themselves!

The main course of chicken and rice was filling to say the least. It could easily feed two people with the amount of food on here. I found the teriyaki sauce to be a little strong so I didn't need the additional side of sauce that came with the plate. The katsu was fried properly and was tender and moist.

I'd like to return to try their other dishes and perhaps their Hawaiian-style shaved ice for dessert. Island Hut is located at 2387 Lomita Blvd. in Lomita (intersects with Pennsylvania Ave.) and is right at the corner. You can check out their whole menu at Support local business and gives these guys a try!

Island Hut on Urbanspoon


Tales on the Motorcycle Courier this all started.

After throwing on a few screenshots of my motorcycle courier shift status updates, I realized that I didn't share how this all started. I have to say, it was a bit of a learning curve, trying to figure out how to manage the streets of Los Angeles while managing my time in between dispatches. Practice made perfect, and fortunately I have the right bike for the job, complete with luggage and multiple places to strap things down.

Not every delivery was perfect. Sometimes, things would spill in transit or an order would get screwed up. It happens. I have to say though, one side effect of being able to order delivery was the large amount of customers who indulged in certain herbal products. I was so glad this kept them off the streets.

The convenience of getting "anything anywhere anytime" made delivery dispatches from the richer (and more isolated) areas of LA more commonplace. Because of this, I frequented mansions who would often order hundreds of dollars worth of food without blinking an eye. However, lots of the "normal" people utilized the service as well, even for little things...

Okay! Now back to normally scheduled programming.


Tales on the Motorcycle Courier Shift...for starters.

I haven't touched much on this topic, but I think this needs to be on this blog since it is about motorcycles and travelling. Sometimes travelling just means going around in circles, over and over again.

Since I was laid-off of my full-time job back in April of this year, I started doing courier work for Postmates, a startup based in San Francisco. I've been doing this since the first day of launch in May here in Los Angeles, and it's kept me busy when other gigs were far and in between. While most people do deliveries in a car, I took advantage of the carrying capacity of my touring bike to actually make decent money with this, even developing a system that makes it easy to respond to dispatches that come in on my phone.

I usually work the dinner shifts to try to avoid the traffic of the day, and some of the things I've encountered while taking this from Point A to Point B have been quite amusing. I've shared most of these things on Facebook with my friends, but I think some of these screen snippets definitely detail my level of amusement on being "paid to ride."

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Eleanor was gone for a month due to repairs and long-awaited maintenance. Once I deemed her road-worthy again for the daily grind of the night shift, the stories came back. When I have a chance to sift through some of the posts from earlier this year, they'll appear in a future blog post. But for now, enjoy.