What a whirlwind year! How was your 2011? Any major accomplishments, life changing events or other items that stick out in your mind? If so, why share it in the comments below! I know my year was beyond insane and crazy – amazingly awesome and yet amazingly, brutally testing of who I am, what I am, what is important to me and it was likewise testing on my family.
There were many joyful moments, some painful moments and even more that were somewhere in between. There were trying moments, and dumbfounding moments. Several moments stick out as having shaped my year the most, and those I reflect upon here – the experiences, lessons learned, and how that will impact me going into 2012.
To begin with, I traveled to Arlington, TX. Home of the Dallas Cowboy Stadium. For work, we had a bull riding event there, Iron Cowboy II. All hands on deck. I will tell you this, if you ever get a chance to see this stadium, it is a testament to what we, as people, are truly allowed to do. Being on the “crew” I got the full access – locker rooms (including the Cheerleader Locker Room – empty of course), and all thing that go with that – unbridled access to the most amazing stadium in the USA.
Fast-forward to Tampa, FL. I was working on investigating the JHE truck, working with a great team from there, on how to implement some new hardware. This was the “discovery” phase, to see what we had, where and how new hardware could fit into it.
While there, I was able to take meet my brother-in-law and his family for the first time. I got them “behind the chutes” access for the the PBR event and took them on the full tour of the bull pens, up on the “chute seats” and had a great time. After the day was over, we all went out to dinner and had a great time.
From there I was home for a a bit, then on to Des Moines, IA. Des Moines, despite being in “middle” America, is a fun town with great people. I met several people there I still converse with on various mediums – Facebook, Twitter, Text and phone. It was a great PBR event, and good times for sure. I was there to install new hardware for the PBR Live Center audio service (PBR Live Center).
On to Duluth, GA., a suburb of Atlanta. Let me tell you, if you have never driven in Atlanta or gone through Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, you are missing out on the East Coast hub of transportation, rivaled only by LA and LAX. It was a good event, with Chad Ochocinco attempting to ride Deja-Blu. Yeah, he didn’t do that well, but he put and didn’t shut up, and that is to be respected. Duluth was fun, but crazy, especially with the one and only PBR Road Crew at hand.
Take a few months forward to July, and I found myself in Charlotte, NC. Yes, home of some famous race tracks. I was there helping to rebuild the JHE Production truck that powers the stats, in-house video and houses several other PBR related items. This 53′ semi-trailer was introduced at Madison Square Garden in January 2011. By the summer break, we knew we had to rework some items to make sure the show went smooth and didn’t have any hiccups. We were successful, as test at Thackerville, OK on July 29, 2011.
A week later I was in Orlando, FL. Not for just a weekend, or a week, but for 2 1/2 months. I arrived July , 25 and came home Oct 12. That’s a long time away from home. But, Orlando being a “tourist” trap, was fun all the same. I was working with a company called Lightmaker, who was helping design and build a new PBR.com. This was so much work, so short of time, but fun with good people to boot. I missed my family tremendously, but will never discount the experience of working on a true software development team.
In March, I started the modifications to my 2008 XL883C Sportster Custom. I began my fabricating some turn signal relocation brackets for the front turn signals. This moved them from the front handle bars to the lower front forks. It looks and works great. From there I installed some custom exhaust, hand built by Walt at Ragerbuilt Choppers. These were some short, nasty and loud pipes – is there any other way to “pipe” a Harley? No.
With the Pipes installed, I moved onto installing a Fuel Moto Power Commander III. This allowed me to adjust the fuel injection to compensate for the free flow exhaust. Next was a free flow air intake. For this I used a K&N high flow air cleaner with a Debrix Cycles breather kit. This allowed me to fabricate my own backing plate, and for now I run the air cleaner open, though I have plans for a cover.
With the travel and going to Florida mid-riding season, I didn’t get any other modifications done, and found out that I think a front wheel bearing is going out. So the Harley was parked and is now being tore down to make more mods, fix the wheel bearing and make it ready to kick-ass this spring.
2011 was an eventful year for all things related to family! My step-daughter was married in February, with me performing the service! Never though I would perform a wedding, let alone for my kid. My brother-in-law was station to Germany for 3 years, so he and his family moved there a month after my step-daughter was married. Was a very joyful and bitter time, especially since he was sent to Afghanistan shortly thereafter.
My step-son then was married in November, and guess what!? He and his wife are expecting a child, so yours truly is going to be a “step” Grandpa…ok, I am now grandpa Bill. How awesome is that! Well, I think it is pretty awesome….save for the fact I will be a grandpa before I hit 40…but all the more time to enjoy the grandchildren, I say.
Other than that, family life was kind of non-existent due to long hours and traveling for so long.
How Was Your 2011 & What Are You Doing in 2012
So how was your 2011? What are your plans for 2012? Me? I’ve been working on enhancing the Live Center on PBR.com, working way too much. Plan to finish my Harley mods by the end of April, nearly a year after I started them, and by all means spend more time with my family.