Final Post


I know, I know… I promised to get blogging again, and I will, but no longer from this Platform.

A few years ago I was just getting to a point to change TWBrit over to a full-blown website and turn it into my fulltime job.
However, due to the maniacal rantings of several ignorantly uninformed people, not only did that destroy all possibility of this, thus unfortunately destroying my income and ultimately losing the roof over my head at the time.
Obviously this will never be forgotten, especially as it led to me losing contact with my family and my dying mother – BUT!! we move forward.

And move forward we have, and there are more changes yet to come too… New websites, twitter accounts and a whole host of other cool stuff

So the links on the side will be taken down and there will be no further updates.

Thank you for stopping by for a read and a chat, and I hope that I will get to catch up with everyone in a few months


Published in: on 13 September, 2015 at 19:25  Comments Off on Final Post  

New York, N’ooo Yoyk!

Bouncing out of Nashville we set about attempting a 2am ETA in NYC and made it!


Strangely, after all that people had said about driving in the Apple and it being a city that never sleeps, there was hardly a thing on the road and it was a straight forward navigation to our downtown 6th Ave hotel, where they promptly stole the Snot Rocket (our car) for safe keeping.6th Ave

However, the New Jersey (N’ooo Joyzeee) Turnpike is NOT for the faint hearted or for anyone with a shred of logical commonsense due to the clarity of the signage, or indeed no signage. Thankfully, other than a few other lost souls, all was good.

The following day was a mad rush and full on with Gabsatrucker heading out early to chase her own butt up 20 blocks and pound out the rest of her 7 mile run around Central Park.

I jumped in a cab and headed to Chelsea and the new global headquarters of!rocketboom gold

Set in tasteful surroundings and interrupted from beavering away I sat down and had a great chat with Andrew Baron about how the future for Rocketboom and how other enterprises were rapidly shaping up to be far larger and indeed a permanent existence in the day on day “must watch” web media  listings :-)

The evolution of Rocketboom has been long and its consistency in what I call intelligent humour – ie Witt, sarcasm and irony mixed in with a variable amount of new or leading tech, entertainment and global web cultural insight is well established and is still leading in this field.

Andrew’s exceptional ability to seek out great talent for presenting Rocketboom is second to none and the present anchor of the show Keghan Hurst is a perfect example of this.

Andrew Baron’s great strength is not just that he is one of the first true instigators of what we term web media, but it lays at the door of not just knowing what he wants to achieve, but also in listening to so many others without being derailed from his overall aim. In this he has achieved a greater understanding than most within this field and in the creativity stakes there are few to rival what he has achieved.

In the evening Gabsatrucker and I headed over to meet Andrew, his stunning and glowingly pregnant wife Rima and their friend Eli for what Andrew termed Korean BBQ which was a fantastic evening with a lot of laughter.

While we were invited to stay for another evening, our plans were forever changing and we were sadly unable to. As we walked back to our hotel leaving great people and company behind us we came upon Times Square which was very much alive and bouncing.


Grabbing pictures and a bit of t’shirt swag we called it a night.




Naked CowGirl

Day 2:

Waking early and packing up our gear, we headed out to catch a few sights before leaving this unrelenting island city.

A fast walk up the street our hotel was on (that sounds like they moved it) and you hit the likes of Radio City and the not so liked News Corp headquarters.


Radio City

Onto the subway and Grand Central Station for crepes (of course)




Then South to the 911 Memorial.. BUT, remember all the trouble I had getting into the Hoover Dam? Well this time, I’m wearing a Leatherman tool and all manner of sharp objects as we headed into security.

The X-ray operator sees the Leatherman and asks to look at it, calls another guard over and then “Sir, where did you get this?”

Me: “Ebay, why?”

Reply: “I’ve been looking for the same model” before handing it back to me…

Now that is commonsense security!! They acknowledge the item, make you aware they have and then carry on as normal – and where? Where this whole terror thing for this country started!! Well-done 911 Memorial Security with their reasoned, professional and very logical approach to what they do.

I can’t really add much more, this place and most definitely this memorial leaves you silent as it stands for so much more now than the day it all happened, and to a far higher loss than ever before.


With that, we left the fair city of New York and headed back south, Philadelphia, DC, and on to Virginia – or ENGLAND as I like to call it.

LA to Sin City : Las Vegas

Rainbow Bar and Grill

After an evening in the Rainbow Bar and Grill we headed over the Mojave Desert to the Nevada border and after a quick stop at a state line mall and with the sun rapidly setting behind us  and the sky displaying strange unusual colours – we crossed the border and descended to a place some call the City of Lost Souls (personally, I thought we’d just left it in California).DSCF1555

Vegas is known for a vast myriad of reasons, most of which are bad to the moral amongst you (not that I know what these moral things are). But like all DSCF1789realities of life, all things good and bad exist everywhere. It is normally only a need to open your eyes – but here in Vegas they’re a nice bunch and prise your eyes wide open for you (with their teeth).

As all know, Sin City has been revamped over recent years and for the most part it has become family orientated. Most street attractions are shut by midnight and then only the clubs, casinos and bars punch on into toward dawn.

Every shopping area on the Strip had designer names above the doors, yetDSCF1804 every promotions person out on the street wear shirts offering you women to your hotel room in under 20 mins.  And while this is a city where prostitution is completely outlawed, the Las Vegas Yellow Pages are a far more of an adult read than any copy of 50 Shade of whatever!

DSCF1810Obviously now with Gabby feeling right at home, it must be said that those looking for the “Old” Las Vegas just need to travel a few blocks over from the Strip and to where shopping changes from Designer names to places that specialise in the attire of Show Girls and if you want a feather for your cap – this City is what you may consider the Mecca of feather sales . Off the Strip you will find a more tradition Sinful evening. So, not being afraid of a little hardcore fun, knowing how to let our hair down in ALL the wrong ways – we went to see the Tim Allen show.

But in the regular entertainment stakes Las Vegas Rocks!! There isn’t a band or performer of any reasonable repute in the world who is not passing through here. And some that have no credibility at all ;-)


Taxi drivers are either friendly and fun – or not of around here… In one cab ride I realised I hadn’t been on a journey like this since being in the Middle East. So I asked the driver where he was from.. “Ethiopia” he replied. Gabby asked “do they even have cars there?” Well frankly they don’t even have food unless we put on a show for them.DSCF1846

Vegas is a must see and do for those never having been, but there is just so much more to see than a few shows, adult titillation and expensive boutiques and great restaurants. But there are some odd sights about the city. Like this line early in the morning outside a Gold and Pawn shop… Many of these people are in a state of pure distress, even men are crying…

A few blocks back takes you past the Heart Attack Grill where  waitresses dress like nurses, will mop your brow, take your pulse and where anyone over DSCF1852350 lbs eats for free!!  They claim it’s “Food Worth Dying For” and indeed, to date, two people have passed on from this world right there in the restaurant. Out of interest (and the inability to write “two fat bastards”), one portly gentleman and one skinny bugger died there, one at the table and one as he was leaving.

Of course Vegas is also a regular town, with ordinary shopping, and ordinary hardworking people. They even have a few major companies based there, so it’s not all adult entertainment, gambling restaurants and shows.

It also has a vast through-put of NATO military personnel heading for the NellisDSCF1554 Airforce base and of course a healthy supply of UFO spotters, complete with foil hats marvelling at new experimental aircraft shapes coming in and out of Groom Lake (Area 51) in the dead of night.

In fact, only a short drive east you will find yourself where Alien’s breed – which is not true, but you will find yourself at the Hoover Dam.

The mosDSCF1598t amazing thing about the Hoover Dam is not the loss of life building it, not the sheer scale or even the balls forward Engineer genius and determination in constructing  it – nope… The single most amazing thing about the Dam is trying to get past the security screening to enter the place.

It was about the point I had removed all metal items, hat, coat, boots, belt, wallet, watch,DSCF1611 change, e-cig, passport, med tag, testicles and brain I had to even ask myself (as someone who understands security and threat) what could I possibly have on me (other than me) that could be a threat to millions of tons of concrete and/or the people around me?!  I was wondering if the pliers would have to come out now for some teeth extracting .

Finally staggering through almost stark bollock naked I was finally clear to cause mayhem. But then there is the Catch 22… “Stand here for your picture to be taken” But I don’t want DSCF1631my picture taken! “oh, it’s ok, it’s so you can buy a gift photo of DSCF1634yourselves later”. No it isn’t because we have a camera, “No Thanks!!”

“It’ll only take a second – say cheese!” (pulled faces) click…. Photographer cracks up, security guard glares on, jaw clenched, cheek muscles flexing…

Such is the nature of how Terror has won the war in this nation… Fear causing overt security without any real thought… AND the removal of your own copyright as they actually get you to appear for your own mug shot against a green screen – it’s actually easier to get on a plane thDSCF1681an into the Hoover Dam – think about that for a sec! Besides, surely the best place to do harm is in the highest concentration of people – that would be the queue to get through security then…

The Hoover Dam is and always will be awesome and one of the great engineering achievements of our time, actually before oDSCF1718ur time. What did surprise me as we strolled along through drill and hand carved tunnels was that they really don’t generate any effective power from the Dam. Yet this Dam must be capable of a huge amount of output. But then after reading through the lines of the somewhat bizarre and erroneous talk by the guide – you realise quickly that the full potential of this Dam is and never will be reached due to internal politics. Indeed, we were told one thing while having a diagram explained in one of the vast feeder tunnels – yet the diagram showed something quite different.

Nevertheless, the Hoover Dam is a MUST SEE, but I hasten to add that people with claustrophobia may have concerns on some of the tours they run.DSCF1715

And with all done, we headed on our way towards the Grand Canyon and home…

Published in: on 19 February, 2013 at 06:54  Leave a Comment  
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Fender : An Icon & The People Who Help The World To Rock

Click on Images to Enlarge

We had cut some tough driving the day before coming down the old coast road from Monterey, a road NOT dissimilar to that of the coast road between Cannes and Monaco. This morning it was Gabby to take the wheel and drive like psychopath through Los Angeles and get us to the Fender factory before it closed at 4pm – as they were closed for the following day (Wednesday) all day. As I mentioned in an earlier post HERE we turned up the previous Wednesday when closed and they still looked after us!!

The choice of driver was well founded. Gabby who is known on the web asDSCF0629 @Gabsatrucker and famed for International half marathon running, 100 mile cycle racer, former Harley rider and kick-ass big rig driver – can adapt to pretty much to any driving style and can make progress where most people simply can’t.  Her adaptation and traffic reading of the nightmare known as the freeways of LA are not for the faint heart – but every defensive and offensive action founded in years of advanced driving skills were positively put to use.

For me this meant bemused pondering like “Toyota Sequoia drives well on two wheels” and “These brakes are GOOD!” including “The view from the rear window is great” and of course, that old nugget “I left my teeth in the dashboard”.

It was tough going, everything and everyone who could get in the way – did get in the way and this went on for hoursF12!!

Finally, minutes before the 4pm deadline I phoned Fender and left a message to say we were only 5 miles out…

We arrived at 4:10pm and as I walked up to the door – it opened with the smiling face and ever greeting persona of David Brown the Manager of the Fender Visitor Center and Ralph Esposito who is the Projects Coordinator / New Product Development for the Fender Custom Shop.

Running past us was Gabby, hoofing it at speed towards the toilets.

We hung out a while and it was decided that as they’d had an extremely busy day, they’d invite us back the following day (when shut)to carry on and Ralph Esposito wanted to give us a complete, indepth and thorough tour of the Fender Custom Shop.fender-customshop-logo

We set to retire, but was delayed by sudden outpouring of adoration from the Fender team over the two dogs Elsie (who I call Wubble) and Ben, the most timid little fella who we took in from a Dog Shelter. With adoration over, we headed in to Anaheim and a hotel.

The following day was an education the likes of which no ordinary factory tour could ever provide. David Brown took us over to the Factory to check on the body of the Telecaster they’re building for me and which has bF4een principally engineered by David.

We went through the main factory and into some parts where no one from outside goes, through the paint shop, curing areas and final assembly. In the waiting area of hundreds of guitarF8 bodies we found my Telecaster body and inspected work already done prior to that evening’s satin coating.

We headed out in search for a walnut neck to see if there had been any left over from the limited run of the Stratocaster’s, one of which I had purchased. With none left, we headed down past the wood shop we entered the Fender Custom Shop and was taken through to catch up with Ralph.

FCSTo describe Ralph is easy – he knows his shit! He’s been there a long time, believes in what he does and believes in getting the very best for whoever the customer is. He’s knows that what they do in the Custom Shop is the very best of their efforts and abilities, yet FCS1with so much knowledge and insight he’s very down to earth and easy to listen to and indeed – learn from.

We were taken through every work area, if there was a master builder about we were introduced and where not – Ralph explained the work that Gt1each did. We talked and talked as he led us through a history of music from a side few rarely see. We moved on to the Gretsch Custom Shop and then into an area where they’re building a special run of Eric Clapton guitars. WeF1 went further to where they turned the finished necks and so much more.

Back in the Custom Shop, examples of models they make and have made were everywhere, and even one incredibly light weight Stratocaster which was so light I thought was made of balsa – but obviously wasn’t. With much talk of food and beer next time we’re in town – thus sealing my return at some point (it was this word : “Beer” that did it) we headed back to F2Visitors Center so I could put the rest of my guitar parts together with David Brown.

There was still more to choose including neck type, electronics, metal furniture and finally the information to be placed on the Neck Plate of the guitar. This Neck Plate will show the name of the guitar which is TWBrit, F11the date and where it was born and finally “Engineered by David Brown” whom has been the most outstanding, outgoing and friendliest person from the F5outset.

Together David Brown and Jane Esposito of the Visitor Centre are a great team; they’re knowledgeable and  passionate about what they do and the products they provide.  In fact it was Jane’s husband Ralph who we’d met the evening before while waiting to go home who taken us around the Custom Shop and all it’s workings.

Now I’ve said this before; We’ve been to Gibson hollow body factory in Memphis, We’ve been on a fantastic tour of Taylor Guitars in El Cajon, San Diego (who had no interest at all when I wanted them to build me a custom guitar). But out of these, nothing prepared us for the welcome, friendliness and great people at Fender. While this is easy to throw all under the title “Great Customer Service”, of which I am the greatest of sceptics and picky when presented with the good stuff – the team at Fender humbled us! No, they didn’t make us feel special, they made feel welcome and like friends and that is very rare, very rare indeed!

David, Jand & Ralph

To David, Jane and Ralph who did so much for us


Of the three guitar companies we have visited; Fender has not just done a little more or been a little better than the rest – they have and are miles ahead in the entire experience of dealing with and understanding customer wants and needs. They go the extra mile without being asked and around the world Fender and these great people in Corona, California create things so iconic to the USA and music as a whole it is amazing how they take all this in their stride without any of the pretentiousness of so many other companies.

Gibson for instance will charge hundreds and hundreds of dollars to add a plastic strip around the edge of a guitar (called a binding) and in some cases, add $1000 for that added extra – not great for the present financial climate and considering how much work you have to do to get Gibsons truly playable.  But with the “can do – will do” and friendly reception that awaits all at Fender; Fender is certainly on the road to a better recovery from the financial doom and gloom of the past few years – and frankly? I will buy from the people who give me their time and effort and appreciate their customers where so many others don’t!

Fender Musical Instrument Corp is now one of (if not) the biggest guitar manufacturers in the world! Their other products include:



Jackson Guitars




Guild Guitar Company

SWR Sound Corporation


Brand X





They are also exclusive the U.S. sales representative for Sabian Cymbals and exclusive worldwide distributor of Takamine Guitars and Gretsch Drums.


I went to Fender USA and it was shut!…. but….

FenderLogo red

Today we have visited the Fender Visitors centre.
DSCF0621Walking in we got strangely eyeballed by a security guard while there were a few people milling about and much talk of NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants Expo – the bees knees in music gear).

We went further in, passing the shop and looked at all the displays, but in under 5 minutes I was creating my own guitar.NS13_logo_Black_0
Noticing the place seemed quiet a guy suddenly turned up at the door and said “Sorry, We’re shut Wednesdays, we’re only open as we had a group in from NAMM”.

DSCF0632Noticing I had guitar parts out, he suddenly asked “you looking to build?”, I replied, “yes and I’ve kinda come a long way to do it”.

This changed everything, and that change, while I would have been happy to leave – was about to stun the life out of me.

We had originally set off to Fender in the afternoon because they do all the factory tours in the morning and we’ve had enough of factory tours (no offence to Fender)… But what we were about to do was a bit beyond your average tour.

David from Fender was wanting to go for his lunch, so I said it wasn’t a problem and we’dDSCF0635 come back next Monday.
He wasn’t having any of this and together we went through the selections of guitar parts and I explained that one of the coolest looking Stratocasters was the one Bonnie Raitt plays, it has no paint or varnish, but had aged in a rustic style that is frankly awesome. The problem is that I wanted a Telecaster.

“Right” David proclaimed, “lets go and see what is laying about in final assembly”.
Moments later we were in the factory and walking through all the places normally DSCF0645prohibited. We searched through hundreds of guitar bodies (and I mean hundreds!) Finally we found a Telecaster body made of Birdseye Maple, but it had a slight defect in the polish and while it hadn’t been buffed up yet – the thing was – I wanted a matte satin finish…

Next the body shop guy, David, Gabby and me looked on as a guy with an evil sander set about making the guitar how I wanted it!!

So… there we were, in a factory and visitors centre that was closed to the public standingDSCF0642 over these guys who were bending over backwards for us to make my guitar of choice.
I was humbled!! Because what they were doing wasn’t really any extra cost to a normal guitar and they were really getting behind making me what I wanted..

DSCF0641While looking around I clapped eyes on something strange, a Stratocaster with a body of Burnt Ash and a Walnut neck.
“What is that?!” I exclaimed. “It’s a special limited edition of 100 guitars” said David.DSCF0644

Sometime later I’m playing the Proof of Concept version and while I choked over vast sums… the deal was done.

FS2With a swapping out of the tweed case for a TSA approved SKB case, all that’s left is for the actual guitar to register on theFS1 Fender system so money can change hands and for it to arrive in Arkansas in a few days time or be picked up next Monday when we find out if the intensive effort on the Telecaster body can be completed.

It was full on 110% top quality and outstanding customer service from start to finish!!
Of Gibson, Taylor and Fender for quality of customer service, care and attention
1st is Fender (with no official factory tour)
2nd Taylor, purely for the factory tour and absolutely NO wish to go any distance AT ALL to aid, sell or offer any level of customer service face to face.
3rd is Gibson in Memphis who were so useless and S**te I don’t want to talk about them or my time there.

For the very first time in the USA, one company has come forward and offered me exactly what I wanted and more, everyone else has always found one or more issues or not even bothered.

Fender USA was that company and I am a proud and happy customer!

So the only thing left : learn to play the guitar!!

Down Day N Haggle

Down Day N Haggle

I woke today feeling like I’d been out on a well known British past time of binge drinking, which we class as normal – but today felt like I’d been at it for a week.
4 pints of water, 4 x 16oz mugs of coffee later and enough Ibuprofen to surgically remove my stomach lining like a cheese grater – I started to feel near normal [for me that is]DSCF0608

Gabby on the other hand took off to have her finger and toe nails turned into M&M’s.

I sat around and took pictures of the place we’re staying and by mid afternoon everyone was home and everyone feeling near normal, so the quest for food followed and was DSCF0574sorted out about 50 yrds away – nevertheless we are in LA, so we took the car anyway.

Over lunch plans for the afternoon were made; Gabby was going off to the Mall to find some comfortable “run-recovery” footwear and I was going to get the Snot Rocket washed.

Now ALL men know the following : If a lady knows exactly what she wants to shop for and knows where it is – she will get it (but only after comparing the exact same thing in every shop that carries it). However, if she knows what she wants but is going to search for it – she will NOT get it… But, she will buy things totally unrelated – as such the said shoes weren’t purchased.

We went off down into Pasadena to drop Gabby off and I headed to the local Mexican car wash…

Now, I don’t how things work in this regard here, but soon felt that I being taken for a fool, especially when I was being told what needed cleaning and why… heck when testing Land Rovers we’d drown them in mud, then fix them up like new and send them on to the customer and I was now being told various things the obviously some people in LA believe.
So I told them exactly what I wanted and nothing more. For this he wanted to charge me $65.00 carwash

That wasn’t going to happen!!

Yer see, there were these things called “signs” about with all the prices on them and while I didn’t go to Oxford University – I can (amazingly) count due to the number of fingers and toes I own. I didn’t want a machine auto wash because of issues with the rear door, I wanted a thorough handwash and wipe down. This is $39. But I also wanted the wheels cleaning, body waxing and Rain-X on the windshield/screen… AND the interior windows cleaning.

The haggling started…

As this was going on, two guys had started vacuuming out the interior who I had to stop.
The figures from the guy were all over the place… so finally I said “look $45 the lot and you’re doing very well out of it”… He stopped, looked at me and said “you a businessman!” – I said, no mate, You are.

Finally he accepted the $45 and while I still felt I was getting ripped off – this was soon belayed with what followed; 3 guys spent 1hr 45mins working like mad on the car, meticulously taking time on the wheels, the wheel arches, the roof and roof rails. All plastics were cleaned and treated properly and every single mark and dead bug remains removed. They did a frankly stunning job and the Snot Rocket now looks good enough for the two big white strips that I feel it needs on its centreline from front to rear, along with police siren and flashing grill lights.

Even Gabby was impressed as she hauled her shopping bags in (containing nothing she had gone shopping for). And as the day drew to a close Gabby took to taking pics on the return to the hotel.

Tomorrow – Fender USA

Published in: on 22 January, 2013 at 22:41  Leave a Comment  
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Road Warrior and the Cave

Today’s journey (followed live by quite a lot of people) was not at the speed of the Santa Monica terror train – BUT!!! You would not believe the stuff I/we witnessed… Thankfully I wasn’t the driva – but Lady Stirling Moss behind the steering wheel was having none of it!

I honestly think it’s actually the only time I wished we weren’t in the SUV (better known as Snot Rocket) but a fast (as in s**t off a shiny shovel) muscle car with carbon fibre brakes and a twin set of anchors for that touch of added superior stopping power would have been just the ticket today.

Having set off in good time, scary driving behaviour I haven’t witnessed since living in Riyadh took a massive toll on our progress, nerves, spine, eyes and tongue swallowing. All of which paled when we got into L.A. proper – here fear of sudden involuntary prolapse followed by limb removal and sudden death soon followed. That said, for the most part, driving the streets of LA, while busy, was ok compared to the freeways.

CBSFinally we arrived at CBS Television City all but a few minutes later than our book in time to be told our tickets for the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson were no longer worth anything and that we pretty much had no chance of getting in as we’d be sent to the back of the “off the street walk-in crowd”.
We turned around and headed back out… [we were later told the security guard had been over-zealous]

We slipped into the traffic and away toward Hollywood Blvd, passing a dog shop onbark n bitches the way going by the name “Bark N’ Bitches”. It was actually Gabby who pointed out it was a dog shop as I thought “hey, that must be a bar” lol.

chinaTurning down Hollywood we soon came across the Chinese theatre where there was obvious preparation at hand for some kind of location shoot – this I later found out (once back at the hotel) that is was for an all night filming for Iron Man 3!!

Gabby asked where should we go? So I was suggesting the Rainbow Bar & Grill to meet Lemmy from Motorhead… however, a darker place came to mind as we passed the Church of Scientologyscient (aka Cult!!) International Celebrity (read: nobhead) Welcome Centre : A Cave… Sorry, I mean my idea was a cave.

Yes a place I knew of that wasn’t part of the usual tourist stuff, infact people of the area call it a secret location -seriously? Are there any secrets in this city? Even the Die Hard Nakatomi Plaza is really 20th Century Fox’s HQ and strangely enough called Fox Plaza

Any way this place has been the set for more TV shows than I can write and more B movies you’d ever thought existed – BUT!! Above all you will know it for one thing and one thing only – Batman!!

Cv1A short walk off the beaten path find you in a place that is both a little odd, kinda medieval and something I think Gabby thought would make a great place to keep the wine, well I think that’s what she meant when she said this is a great place for a full sized rack :/

Only then to notice the Hollywood sign above us and pics ensued…g hlywd sign

Heading back and the street level traffic was max’d out and now taking a toll on mind, body and definitely soul… we, turned away shattered and sadly having to re-organise the plans for the next few days. But with rest needed badly, you have to know when to stop for a day or two.

Here’s the list of TV shows shot at the Caves:

The A-Team
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin
Alias Smith and Jones
Bat Masterson
Beauty and the Geek
The Dukes of Hazzard (“Hazzard Connection”)
Falcon Crest
Have Gun, Will Travel
Little House on the Prairie
The Lone Ranger
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Mission: Impossible (1960s)
The Monkees
The Outer Limits (1960s)
Salute Your Shorts (The Cursed Skull)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek: Voyager
Twin Peaks
The Virginian
Wonder Woman

Yeah, Yeah “and the sun came up over Santa Monica”

Yes… as the Cock crows – the Sparrow Farts… and at Sparrow Fart we hauled ourselves out of bed and headed (at unbelievable speed) north to a coastal area between Beverly Hills and Los Angeles  known as Santa Monica.
“Why?”  I can’t hear you ask…
Well the female version of Sherpa Tenzing aka this morning’s driver of the car now known as the Snot Rocket (the car is known as that, not Gabby) was to make her Hollywood debut in the Santa Monica Half Marathon.
DSCF0279So, in the freezing (when I say freezing I mean cool) sun kissed morning on the location of Baywatch, Gabby slumped from the steering wheel to pry my embedded white fingers from the dash, and wipe the remains of my face from the windshield.
Strangely, this is a place so laid back even cop cars carry surf boards, I noticed this as IDSCF0307 tried to explain to a south asian guy that hanging around there any longer, he’d be able to smell the mornings early showing of napalm.
On and the freezing contestants all stood about trying understand the organizer who was saying things like “well you go up there a bit and then come back around and it’s a race yer know”.
And off they all went while famous sweaty faces plodded, cycled or unicycled past oblivious to the incredible tense Santa Monica beach race now in full swing. DSCF0303
Gabby I have always found responds well to a more direct method of encouragement, and I would love to claim that after Gabby set a personal best/record of 1hr 46min 09sec in completing this half marathon, that it was all down to me chasing her around the 13.1miles – however I can’t… She did it all by herself and frankly – good on her!!
Gabby snatched her medal up and as I write this  the Results for Gabby’s Santa Monica Half Marathon have come in:
Gabby was 3rd overall and came in 2nd place for the women.Rocking!!!

We headed on back down the actual pacific highway looking for a place to pimp out the Snot-Rocket. Tomorrow we move on to LA… then away to the north for more fun.

Need Coffee


Published in: on 20 January, 2013 at 18:20  Leave a Comment  
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Strange week and a respectful sadness…

On Wednesday, a guy in America died… no surprise, people die all the time. So what was SO different about this guy?

Well firstly, before Hollywood told a minuscule part of his life, there wasn’t many soldiers who hadn’t heard of him. If it wasn’t enough to be a legend in grumpiness, striking fear in those who worked with him irrespective of their rank – his life time of service to his country was staggering.

His C.O. in one of those actions is a man whose very rules of life are things I strive to live by and while history and many people will give little credence to the Vietnam War, his small part in it has become almost mythical.

Indeed, he fought in WW2, took part in the invasion of Sicily, later he landed on the beaches of Normandy, made no less than 4 Combat Jumps and later he did a 5th as he parachuted into the Korean War.

A tough man; rising to the rank of Sgt Major and respected and revered by all who knew or had heard of him.

It was Vietnam though as the Sgt Major to 1 Bn 7th Cavalry Regiment, Custer’s regiment, that standing in the centre of a raging battlefield, armed with nothing more than his mouth, guts and trusty Colt 1911 that his legendary status became complete.

That battle was La Drang; his C.O. was Hal Moore and Hollywood recorded it under the movie title “We were Soldiers”. La Drang was a battle that raged for four straight days and was won through incredible leadership, determination, guts and sacrifice.

In my life, there are truly few people I’d be honoured to meet, most are already gone; But Lieutenant General Hal Moore is one of them and the other… Well the other died on Wednesday:

Command Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley

A nation should be proud, a soldier to be observant of the character and standard of this man – a standard they’ll never be able to attain.

In other news…

This blogs resident copper – one times PC Charlie… has been busy busting another marijuana farm… No this isn’t in reference to the elderly couple who had a visit from the Police last week after they’d bought, from a car-boot sale, what they believed was a shrub. They took it home, planted it and cultivated it over several years – thus growing it into one of the largest cannabis plants ever seen in the UK…

Charlie and his colleague’s on the other hand raided a rented house that had been turned into a full-scale production facility containing over 730 mature plants sitting under heat lamps and integrated hydroponics systems.

So professional are the people who build these places they have a whole system of engineering ready to go. What they apparently do is rent student accommodation, these are often very large vacant houses; they pay a years rent up front in cash and say there is no need for anyone to come around etc.

Hours later their team go in, run pipes and cables straight through ceilings and floors, bypass the electric meters, waterproof the areas that need it and make sure no one can see the glow of sun lamps from outside and so on… Then they bring people over from China to maintain it…  Well this bust had a street value yield of several hundred thousand pounds if not more and in to the 7 figure brackets.

As he told the local media “Normally they would just bypass the electricity through the consumer unit inside the property but they have done so much damage it has had to be isolated underground outside. This is a very dangerous property. “We have located 736 plants worth around several hundred thousand pounds. “This is one of the largest I have seen in the area and I have been involved in 15 cannabis factory closures.” Sadly Charlie didn’t see or come across a packet of hand rolling tobacco for me  ;)

Other stuff…

The last flying Vulcan Bomber will apparently fly for the last time next year… The trust that run it have said they need to make vital modifications to the wings next year that would cost over £200k. They  have asked people to NOT donate or raise funds because if they damage the wings in the process – then the damage is permanent… This is very sad news  – BUT!!!! There are plenty of Vulcan’s sitting around and if this is the case – what the hell were they doing it for in the first place?! I’d like to see one of each of the V-Force flying together and I’d also like to see a Vulcan fly in the true ballistic pattern (some will know what I’m talking about) because every time I’ve seen that Vulcan fly – they’ve never shown what it can really do :-(


This last week we had a bit of trouble with the site. It turned out that trying to post a comment resulted in a “405 nginx” fault. I spoke to WordPress and it got sorted out… The team over there are just great! :-)

Austin… the saving grace of Texas

Now I could go into the history of this City, the capital of Texas – but that is what Wikipedia is for… so go there to read it ;-)

I on the other hand will write of my brief experience of this Oasis of a city and one I’d like to return to. Beyond the complaints of the I-35, a little known parking lot that runs the entire length of Austin. As you approach Austin at night it looks like an oasis of high-tech and modern living. Indeed, Andrew Baron of Rocketboom even called this city “The saving grace of Texas” and for the most part I can see why.

Oh, it is an oasis… but furthermore it’s also a city of culture and has a “cosmopolitan feel” if you like. Like all modern cities though, the concept of skyscrapers in the centre have not escaped Austin, crushing much of it’s history into oblivion. Yet down there in the heart of it is the famed and acclaimed 6th Street and if you add in 4th, 5th and Congress Avenue… then there is more than a heart beat or pulse of this city’s history and entertainment right there.

These days, the area of South Austin seems to have a greater vibe, open parks, restaurants, leafy suburbs and a greater “wellbeing” feel. Something I found very attractive and yes from what I could see, it’s obvious the town planners have long term goals for making the city greener and healthier than most.

Austin like any large city has its good and bad, the first day we walked down 6th Street (2nd Jan) around 2pm and a full on brawl broke out in front of us. Two guys punching the living daylights out of each other without a care in the world of who they bounced into, or where in the world they were from.. No police presence, and while I sidestepped them as they flew past – this blogs buddy @Gabsatrucker got fully barged out of the way by them, just before skulls met the concrete sidewalk. This was certainly, how should I say… interesting… We went to Starbucks and I said “soooo, this is Austin huh?” Gabby on the other hand was really not happy either… This was on the back of the news that on New Years morning 3 people had been shot, one to death and someone was killed trying to cross the I-35… Kinda leaves you with a cheery feel… That and the fact that Austin has oh so many people begging on street corners in the 4th,5th and 6th street areas at night.

But nevertheless… there is a vibe to the city as a whole you can’t quite put your finger on, the south is awesome and the club names like Antone’s, reverberate through the music scene globally. In fact one night in Antone’s made up for a lot of the misgivings we had earlier.

Yes Austin does have it’s many sides, but it’s this mix that probably makes it so intriguing and apart from having to change hotels due to rather unpleasant smell at the first one – it is a city I will definitely spend more time to explore.

Austin also has quite a few interesting slogans “Keep Austin Weird” is something you’ll see just about everywhere and then the “Austin, Live Music Capitol of the World” and it’s fair to say they’re not wrong! It’s a city of modern culture, hi-tech industries, fitness and fresh air – heck they even name the flight between Silicon Valley and Austin the “Nerd Bird”… It also has to be right up there with as one of the biggest conference venues in the world along side cities like Dubai and with it being home to South by South West (SXSW) there are hotels galore – some better than others, but the closer you get to downtown the prices go from reasonable to extortionate.

This is one of the major centres of entrepreneurship in the US and certainly with regards to technology, but it’s frankly stunning that Dell computers does not seem to have anything for the public, nerds and geeks to visit or see… In fact I was seriously surprised there was little in the way of Dell’s visibility at all – certainly an opportunity lost on Dell’s part. A “Dell Technology Showcase” or “Experience” is seriously needed.

With so much going on I think the city will grow, continue cleaning its image. But if you want to enjoy a fitness lifestyle, then look no further than this awesome city with the Lance Armstrong cycle way, large parks and running areas and even a park on the water front with a special area to allow dogs to run freely.

Yes, it’s right to keep Austin weird, but it’s also right to redesign and build for future tourism, future-tech transportation systems and greener more hi-tech lifestyle and I really think Austin will…. Because if it doesn’t, it’ll just grow more monolithic buildings and increase its number of tourist t-shirt shops that will be more about a “has-been” city than the heart and soul of the great state of Texas… I some how doubt that will happen though :-)

Austin is (with insight from; Andrew Baron, Gabsatrucker and Mary Hennig and adored by Dr Sue Black )

100% TWBrit Highly recommended

I guess I should make an actual TWBrit approved logo now then lol…

Gibson Guitars Factory Tour

So the other day I finally went to Memphis… but more importantly for me, I went to Gibson Guitars for a tour of their factory. I had already phoned Gibson before Christmas and talked to them and decided to go when the factory restarted production in the New Year.

I’ve had a lot of questions for Gibson for a number of years, especially regarding build and play quality of the Les Paul guitars made in the early 2000’s. On arrival we entered the vast empty reception and then the shop. We looked about and then enquired about the factory tour. Moments later and $10 lighter for each of us and the tour was booked and would happen on the hour. So I spoke to a female assistant and asked her questions about the Gibson Dark Fire which is basically a robotic guitar that tunes itself in any pitch you like etc. She was amazingly informative, really, and thoroughly knew her stuff. In fact I asked her dozens of questions for which she answered all of them in depth. She also invited me to play anything they had and to feel free to try all I liked… (you don’t hear that every day) I was frankly starting to feel impressed… On the question of setup and overall quality she informed me they now use a thing called a “Plek” machine that traces the fret board and grinds the frets and the “nut” to the optimum height and “action” (the distance of the strings from the fret board). So the bottom line is: if you’re buying a new Gibson – make sure it has a “Plek’d” sticker on it. Before the tour we had to sign disclaimers to enter the factory floor, wear safety glasses and get told that absolutely no cameras are allowed and mobile phones etc. The mobile phones thing was because 90% of phones can take pics.. But this is where I started having a trouble with the tour!! We were then taken through to a long windowless corridor where, upon the wall hung loads of guitars, one of which was a hand signed version of BB King’s “Lucille”. It was here we stopped for our tour guide to explain the very basics of guitar types, their respective parts… Obviously we weren’t in any sensitive area, so why no pics of these great guitars? Now, don’t get me wrong here, you don’t want flash photography around moving machinery… but nothing of what we were about to see was anything near what you can actually see on YouTube!! In fact I’ll go further… there was only one person working in the factory putting on machine heads… So what in god’s name is so secret to prevent photography? Why do I say this? Well, I do understand when they’re working with new technology’s that they wouldn’t want others to see… And it’s kinda cool to hear over and over again “we invented (or) did this/that first”  – but how the hell would anyone know if you wont let them take a pic?? But the reason I will say it is this – I live 5000 miles away.. I got more information, images and background info watching YouTube!!! I didn’t see shit being made!! I didn’t get to touch, hold, have shown how or experience fk-ALL!! THEN while the guy showing us around kept holding up things and guitar parts and waving them slowly past us – he took time out to do the same with an 8” grounding wire!! And for $10 each we all stood there like frigging morons as he took his time to show each and every one of us an 8 inch bit of wire!! I just thought ”this has got to be the ‘in’ factory joke” I even mentioned this to others there… The guide’s “patter” was perfect… then he suddenly turned and said “that concludes the tour, any questions?” which is ok for a 30 minute stroll – but then said nothing. We all looked at him blankly… I eventually asked where the hard shell cases are made – the answer was simply “in Canada”… Then more silence.. it was actually uncomfortable..

Gibson, for what you charge for guitars etc, there are thousands of things you can do to improve this tour – heck I didn’t even know it was for hollow-bodies only until we started the tour…

The lady in the Shop was totally awesome, the tour was dire. I’m not taking anything from the fact Gibson make some of the finest guitars in the world, if it has the Gibson name on it, it’s exclusive made in the USA and over 60% of everything they make is exported globally and that is testament to their craftmanship, put another way – if you listen to or play music of any type, you’ve heard of and know who Gibson is. But there was an air of real disappointment with the tour  – so word up if you’re a Gibson fan, I’ll save you the time, air fare, patronization and disappointment… here is a video that will show you much, much more than anything a Gibson tour will show you. You won’t have to wear goggles, sign disclaimers, you can smoke, eat, drink and take all the pictures you like…

I think I’ll head to Taylor

World Famous and of Austin’s Modern Heritage

If I haven’t mentioned it before, Austin probably has the most diverse music history in the world… Yes, I will hear people cry “Oh what about New Orleans, London, Memphis etc… but frankly, some incredible people have emerged from this, the most diverse and cosmopolitan and capital city of Texas… It’s was after all the whole reason for the now globally famous South by South West (SXSW). But seriously though, no city I know of celebrates it’s musical origins as much as Austin.

So why do I mention this, I’m not talking about the bars, nightlife – so… what? Well Austin through the years and decades has not only had incredible artists and clubs where they cut their teeth, but it has some pretty amazing people behind the scenes too… But Austin is musically vast in its diversity, from hip-hop through to its popular and gritty Indie scene. There are just so many bands and individuals who come here to make their mark – and they do. And like with all bases of great live music, it has its own “in” scene of the time – yet Austin caters for nearly all scenes at once. Even today while many can talk about the explosive Blues scene of the 70’s and 80’s, you really don’t need to walk too far to hear those dulcet tones that are so familiar even to those do not follow it.

I have already mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughan, yet I didn’t mention his brother Jimmie Vaughan, an outstanding and highly accomplished blues player in his own right, with a very discerning style too, both of whom cut their teeth here. But you know “that” guitar… the one Fender spent a fortune on replicating for an initial rrp of $8000 and created a whole collectors dream guitar that you simply will not obtain for less than 10’s of thousands of dollars… Well Stevie Ray Vaughan bought the original guitar from a now very famous guitar shop in South Austin… Ray Hennig’s “Heart of Texas Music”… and today Ray Hennig and his family are still crucial suppliers to the entire music scene in Austin – irrespective of genre or taste. Even a Wikipedia quoted Ray on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar purchase:

“ When he came in, like every other day, we had a long row of guitars and he wouldn’t take them off the hook. He’d simply walk down and feel them and look at them and move on to the next one. He stood there and looked at that old thing and I thought, oh no. Then he reached down and felt it, just like he did always. And then he took it off the hook, hitting some licks on it. He said, ‘Ray, where’d you get this?’ I said, ‘Stevie, you have got to have picked the biggest junker on the wall.’ ” —Ray Hennig,

Well today, before leaving Austin, I made my way to the “Heart of Texas” and met both Ray and Mary who are frankly the most outstanding, friendly and helpful people you could ever dream of meeting. Mary took time to talk to us and we talked about the UK and their own travels across the UK and Europe – and of course, had a great dig at the Fr**ch :-)

Now you only have to glance at the walls at this place to see the history enshrouded here, the place where the people we’ve all heard of go to get guitars, guitars setup and all manner of other things. Yet this isn’t a used up “has-been” place! Many of the pictures are new and some have surprising faces on them too. But the importance of this shop, the passion of the owners has been instrumental in quality and excellence of not only many famous artists, but the actual sound that has adorned all of our ears at some point.

Today, as we entered we were greeted by the frankly stunning Mary Hennig who took time to talk to us and explained much while towards the rear of the shop Ray was working hard on an acoustic guitar and doing what he does best.

It was a breath of fresh air to finally meet these two wonderful people who had a lifetimes experience and knowledge of the true Austin music scene, unlike rumour, reading stuff on the web etc. and to talk guitar tech in the form of the next generation of Hennig’s – Shane.

Sadly the site the shop presently occupies and has become famous because of it – is to be bulldozed and rebuilt by the owners of the land where it now stands. While this maybe a new beginning opportunity for the Heart of Texas Music – it is frankly the most wrongful destruction of a significantly historical landmark that has served, supported not only the musicians, live music scene and artists that have become household names – but has made a real impact the overall history of Austin and US wide music history… Hey put it another way, I live 5000 miles away and I know of this place and I normally haunt Denmark Street (UK’s Tin Pan Alley) in London.

It’s also strange that as a teenager I had my idols, but ever since becoming a musician of sorts (not a very good one I hasten to add) and even from the early days of working in a studio in Sheffield, I rarely consider the term “fan”, in fact I tend to look at other musicians as peers of the passion I guess, if they make something of it for themselves, then good for them – it’s often only in their demise we truly acknowledge their greatness! Yet without The Heart of Texas – where would they have been…

I hope to spend more time in Austin in 2012 and the coming years, and I would love to one day hear the stories of these wonderful people.

But if you have time to visit – DO!! Yes, tell them of TWBrit, and please – thank them for what they bring to the industry and to Austin (and buy something of course)

To Ray and Mary, thank you for your time and I hope I see you all again sometime in the future… Oh and the reason I had my back to the 60th Anniversary Telecaster – because I wanted it of course and I’d have looked at it any longer I’d have bought it :-)

The Heart of Texas Music website


The Road Trip

So, onwards to the present day and yes, it’s obvious from previous posts that I’ve jumped the gun a little. After a saunter down from Roswell and having a fleeting look at Holloman AFB, we headed to Las Cruces to crash for the night. Sadly the actual Trinity Site is only accessible twice a year, but that’s not to say I didn’t get to play with some interesting hardware before we headed south. So at first light we headed back over the mountain range and headed towards the White Sands Missile Range…

Initially we were told that the Museum was shut and only the Missile Park was open, but it was soon obvious that the whole site was open. First stop was the dubious origins of the Space Program and the tech that made modern missiles technology a reality – the Nazi V2 rocket!! Indeed, at the end of the war both British and US military’s took many of the V1 and V2 rockets home to play with, not to mention the scientist teams that built them.

Then it was onto the Trinity equipment… that’s when I noticed strange things happening to the camera screen, as though slightly darkened bars were on it – It’s fair to say that some of this equipment still glows a bit.

Outside in the missile park there was everything from a TOW missile, Patriot and this sucker… Yes, that is me – stood leaning against the bottom of this Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile…

Back on the road and with all the other driving done already, we headed south for Austin – around 700+ miles for the whole day. At El Paso I had no idea that the Mexican border ran along the freeway and the thousands of huts on the right was indeed a Mexican shanty city. But we did take time out to soak up the 80f sunshine outside a Starbucks..

Moving on through some stunning countryside (and Tarantula habitat) we pulled off at a mainly dead town of Fort(shitsville)Stockton for food which was frankly a mistake. Stopping at a Sonic we went to the restrooms which are behind the kitchens and had to navigate past two piles of vomit to enter – only to see the state of the kitchens… we left in favour of a DQ – which was only mildly better.

Passing miles and miles of wind farms which Texas has lots of and are vast!! We finally pulled off the i10 and headed towards Fredericksburg which turned out to be totally stunning and probably the quaintest town I’ve seen yet in the USA. As we rolled into town it was already dark, but nothing prepared us for the Christmas lights and oldie worldly feel of Main Street.

Stopping to grab McD’s coffee we headed out of town… only for @Gabsatrucker (the Driva) to happen upon a speed exceeding the local speed limit of 50mph… As we approached a speed to allow us to cover 2 miles per minute – a car on the opposite side of the road lit up it’s roof and the pursuit started… all 300 yards of it ;-)

The officer was frankly a decent personable guy and asked for the licence and registration and asked where we were coming from and going to etc. This provoked a little natter and moments later he returned, wished us a Happy New Year and left… That’s it.. :-)

With that I relaxed in the full knowledge that @Gabsatrucker is a full blooded, hellraising, lawbreaking, get away with anything – Criminal ;-)

All in all I was in Austin and settled in for 23:50 just in time to watch the New Year in and enjoy the fireworks that erupted in just about every direction you could see…

Next time….. Austin!!

A Pilgrimage of sorts, one I never thought I would do…

It all started many years ago, I was 15 and hadn’t long been living in Sheffield. We were all into rock back then and someone offered me an electric guitar for £15… I took up the offer for a thing called a “Hondo II” which was a black Les Paul copy. The lad I bought it from was called Pete Young and what I didn’t know was that he sold it so cheaply to buy drugs. Pete was an awesome guy, but sadly the drugs got the better of him and they eventually took his life.

Back then it was the dream of every budding guitarist to be able to play Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. I felt quite accomplished at this and while the guitar was so bad Robin Hood could have used the neck as his preferred Bow, I later bought an American Standard Strat, a US Telecaster, almost an original Les Paul Recording and presently own a bizarre thing I bought in Saudi Arabia. My heart was actually in drumming, this all later changed as drumming isn’t very conducive to having happy neighbours.. So the guitar was king again and I must add that it has probably kept my sanity for many years.

So rolling the clock forward to the last few years and who were my idols? Well I have in my possession (and have shown it on this blog) an invite to New York to meet the one and only and now sadly; late Les Paul. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the trip but hey… that’s how life is – but I have visited Marshall.

In the world of guitar gods – there are many, many different styles. I never liked Hendrix much because I don’t think Hendrix understood what he himself was doing and Carlos Santana (while an awesome guitarist) never floated my boat either.

But there was one guy who did. In fact when I first heard his version of Hendrix’s Little Wing, I thought there was more than one guitarist… In my mind, this guy actually “got” Hendrix and furthermore – took it all to a level far higher.

Sadly in 1990 the very same guy was killed in a helicopter crash after leaving a gig at Alpine Valley, along with several of Eric Clapton’s own band members.

Today he is widely regarded as and was one of the finest guitarists to have ever lived and while his main genre was Blues, he performed with many others (including David Bowie) and in many other styles as well.

That guy was Stevie Ray Vaughan and this week as part of an accompanied road trip I have had the privilege of visiting many of his old haunts and visiting his grave side in Dallas.

I can’t add any more to this, but if I can be called a fan of any type, it would be of SRV and I am so in full knowledge that I simply do not have the skill and talent to be able to play close to 1% of his own level.

Finally I spent New Year in Austin Texas where he cut his teeth before making the big time. Here in his honour stands his statue.

I feel strangely privileged.

If anyone wishes to visit his Grave Side, below are maps of the actual location of the Vaughan Family Estate in Laurel Land Cemetery, Dallas (click to enlarge). But please, be respectful, don’t cover up his name and do NOT steal anything .

Ahhhh the interesting things in New Mexico

This will be brief so I will come back to it all – anyway… so there I was on the accompanied road trip of sorts, when last night we crossed the border of Texas into New Mexico… and promptly saw the lights on the horizon 44 miles prior to reaching this town everyone has heard of. 30 minutes later and we roll into town with mysterious green glows that seem to emanate from everywhere on Main Street…

This is Roswell, home of a reported UFO crash in 1947 and has welcomed every tourist, nut job, geek, hippy and serious researcher ever since. While formal signs will point out that Roswell is the Dairy Capitol of New Mexico, little in the way of lactacious teat pulling is evident… but what is – is this amazing amount of “buy anything with an alien on it”…

It’s fair to say that while it’s fairly obvious something did happen near Roswell, the whole thing has been fairly well lost in the whole touristic quirkiness of the place… This however did not stop me buying a couple of t’shirts and a mug for Fenny – a blue mug strangely.

Onwards and into outlaw country… and the home of Billy The Kid… Driving down Highway 70 (Billy The Kid Byway) aka it’s not hard to see why this landscape favoured the outlaws of the day. Access to the Mexican border and a landscape so easy to hide in it’s kinda obvious. After stopping to read several Historic Markers we pulled over in Ruidoso Downs and the Billy the Kid Byway Visitors Centre to broaden our knowledge considerably.

Then on, on to Tularosa and a food stop of @Gabsatrucker’s (the Driver)  choice and one where only locals stop… to all intents and purposes the place was a shack and I (the Navi-gatorrr and road trip resident legendary bloke) indulged in @Eric_McWhirter’s  food of choice i.e. anything with a Green Chilli in it…  I swear, that man is trying to kill me!! So I did as the locals do – gained a sweaty tan real quick :-/

On again and a slow drive past Holloman AFB, home of the F22 Raptor and F117a  and then to the place I will visit tomorrow….

 Hmmm………….. A Gift Shop…. :-)

As the Sun Go Down

Yep, as the sun started to give up on the day, slightly later than a week ago as we have now passed Winter Solstice and I head west bound for Dallas… I’ve been somewhat bemused at how people effectively “don’t” over take here, they just sit there doing the same speed as the cars in other lanes. This I would find exceptionally irritating as both a car driver and former trucker… But for my US trucking friends, they live with this all the time and I take my hat off to their endurance ;-) Finally the sun dropped off the horizon and the miles dragged slowly by at 90. The thing about this road trip is that it’s a fast hit on key or interesting places, it’s not a full road trip in so much we’re not taking the old highways like Route 66 etc… I’ll come back later for that.

Dallas looks awesome at night and frankly while there is some thing I wish to see here tomorrow and will post about that later, there was one place I has grab a quick look at – even in the dark and at night… I’ll let you work it out – but a lot of lurking was done on my part ;-)

Published in: on 29 December, 2011 at 08:14  Leave a Comment  
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Sabine Schmitz site is now in English – YAY!!

Yes, Sabine Schmitz website ‘Speed Bee’ is now also in English for all you die hard fans of this amazing racer.

speedbee-site-front-pageThere are plenty of videos, reports and even an online shop for promotional items.

Fans will pleased to note that some of the promotional items will not break the bank like typical F1 merchandise.

speedbee-beeThere is also video of Sabine setting the new lap record of 7 minutes and 07 seconds.

Just click on the Bee for more.



Published in: on 14 April, 2009 at 08:18  Comments (1)  
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The Nürburgring and Top Gears Respect for Sabine Schmitz

top-gear-logoYou don’t have to watch the UK’s Top Gear motoring show for long to realise that beyond the all too typical male bravado, there is one person whom stands head and shoulders above the prideful presenters tgteamsmlof Clarkson, May and the Hamster. This person is their nemesis, more highly skilled than all of them put together and frankly they love and respect her. That person is Sabine Schmitz. The fastest drcropsaiver of the torturous Nürburgring in Germany.

And this is why; Sabine not only out drives just about everyone, she set the lap record at Nürburgring at the age of 19 at 8 minutes 16 seconds in a Ford Sierra Cosworth. In October 2008 she set a new lap record for a non-turbocharged car at 7 minutes 07 seconds in a Porsche 997 RSR (Frikadelli Racing Team).


Nürburgring History and F1:

gp-track-copyNürburgring is not the little track you may have seen and possibly will see later this year in Formula 1 – no, it’s huge!!  It’s 13 miles long, it’s a mountain race track and has 147 corners!

With steep inclines, descents and hairpin bends, it is not only a formidable test on the skill and stamina of any driver irrespective of skill level – but the car itself. Simply put, if the car is not in 100% top shape, it will not survive this assault.

Back in the 12th century Count Ulrich probably never imagined that one day, anurbergring-copy1t the foot of his time-honoured Nürburg, the queen of racing courses would attract people from all over the world. After the Ring opened on 18th June 1927 it soon became clear what a great economic force this early form of the leisure industry was going to become in the entire region. Restaurants with guest rooms turned into hotels, meadows into car parks and the races were a blessing for what was one of the poorest regions in Germany. The story of the Nürburgring goes back eight decades – a period in which it has produced many stories, has thrilled many generations of racing drivers and fans and has become the economic powerhouse of the Eifel region.

Part of the track called the ‘Nordschleife’, still in use today was nick named ‘The Green Hell’ by Jackie Stewart. It is widely considered the toughest, most dangerous and most demanding purpose build race track in the world.

Sabine History:

Born to the neues-bild10local hotel and restaurant owning Schmitz family, Sabine and her two elder sisters grew up in the “Hotel am Tiergarten”  in Nürburg within the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Sabine came to mass public attention driving one of the two BMW M5 Ring Taxi around the 13 mile long race track in an entertaining manner. As she once put it “Anyone can drive fast on an Autobahn, but drifting a car sideways around a bend at 140 is different”.

Conservative estimates say that Sabine has driven around the Nürburgring no less than 20,000 times, and she has become known as both the “Queen of the Nürburgring” and “the fastest taxi driver in the world”.  Her company, Nürburgring – based Sabine Schmitz Motorsport, offers advanced driver training and a “Ring Taxi” service for passengers.img_0016

Her list of achievement is simply staggering by anyone’s account. She has raced for companies, driven all over the world and even put a Main Battle Tank through its paces. Furthermore she is an accomplished helicopter pilot. Ironically, Top Gear once raced an AH64 Apache Longbow, yet none of them could actually fly one – they might want to think about that.

Sabine is known worldwide, her Television career has brought heSabine Schmitz 8r global attention putting her all too familiar smile, style and highly entertaining skill into our homes.

Basically, if you ever wanted to see men put in their place, then not only can this lady do it – but the sheer intimidation of such an amazing race track, simply destroys them. And lets be honest, Clarkson deserves it.

First up, to explain what Sabine is all about The BMW M5 RingTaxi

Ok, you get the idea,  now lets see her with Top Gear (sadly the quality is low on these as the YouTube BBC page is yet to carry them.

Clarkson Diesel Jag Pt1

Clarkson Diesel Jag Pt2

Sabine Top Gear Ford Transit


Nürburgring 2009

This Year will see massive investment into the Nürburgring, in fact they are turning it into an all year round leisure facility with major upgrades and expansion costing around 252 million Euros. The four main areas of investment are in Racing, Adventure, Business and Holiday. They will be working with existing tourism service providers to make, frankly, one awesome site. From Rock concerts to Formula One and the myriad of other functions from driver training to the grueling Nürburgring 24hr race – Nürburgring will be, and IS, a must for anyone interested in motor sport at any level.

For more information regarding activities and events at Nürburgring, go to there website HERE

Sabine – present work + website

frikadelli-racing-teamSabine Schmitz continues to expand her awesome career to date and is still a keen Professional Racing Driver. She presently races for Team Frikadelli Racing and while there is the Sabine Schmitz Motosport Website, Sabine is vespeedbee-beery much involved in a real hands on capacity with her ALL NEW website . At present it is mainly in German Language format, but Sabine tells me the English version is coming very soon.

For further information about Sabine, her work (past and present) and what she’s doing in the future, please do not hesitate going to her websites.



In conclusion; TWBrit, or moreover, I would like to take a moment to thank Ihre Meltem Yildiz at Dederichs Reinecke & Partner who are Nürburgring’s PR Team and special TWBrit gratitude to Sabine Schmitz for information and help with writing this article.


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