Day 54: From the Atlanta airport down to Orlando, I arrived at the convention center in time to help set up the MotoQuest booth and hit the pool with Kevin. Sure, I’m here to work, but work made fun gets done.. or something.
Media and dealers were the only folks cruising through the exhibits for the first two days and the public were welcome the second two. I listened to Kevin talk about MotoQuest and learned more about their company. The quick and dirty facts: founded in 1998 by a native Alaskan, this business offers guided and supported tours in at least 15 countries where they provide the bikes, handle overnight reservations, and have a damn good time with their customers and the locals. They also rent motorcycles (mostly BMW and some KLR’s) to folks up and down the West Coast from Long Beach to San Francisco as well as Portland and Anchorage.
How did I get involved with MotoQuest? A friend was attending their industry invitational tour around central Alaska right as the Bristol Bay salmon season I had been working was ending in August. Knowing that I’m trying to find work in the motorcycle industry, and the other attendees are fantastic dudes who happen to be industry professionals, he sweet-talked the owners of MotoQuest into letting me join them. I came. I camped. I must have made a solid impression, because I was asked to come work this convention. Several of the industry fellas I met on the Alaska invitational tour were at the expo, so we had a blast catching up.
On the last day, I had a chance to check out the outdoor exhibit. Not wanting to completely abandon my post, I didn’t test ride any toys, but I did get to hang out with Andrea and Bonnie of Coach2Ride. They teach beginner to advanced off-road riding in Anza, California. Back in January, my brother Steve and I took a dirt-bike class with Bonnie which started with technique and body posture on a closed course and then lead to hours of trail riding. By the end, my brother was climbing hills and going off jumps and I learned that I should start working out.
There were breakfasts and dinners and drinks with industry folks. A friend and former employer of mine from Atlanta happened to be staying near the Convention Center, so we met up for dinner one night. When I flew back to Atlanta, I was exhausted. The next morning I rode to Fairhope, Alabama to visit a friend I made at a bar in Portland a couple of years ago and never saw again, but had been inviting me to crash at his house whenever I’m in the area.