WhereThehellisMurph, 3 Wheels, 7 Continents, 7 Years




March 2012


Jan 2013
I started this thread on year 2 of my trip here on the IPA on the Portal.
This week (Feb 2011) sees my departure from Prescott Valley, where I spent a few days with friends and took care of some needed repairs on the bike. Prior to that I had been in the CO area, and prior to that my travels around the U.S. and Canada are on my blog.
My journey started out in December of 2009 as a newly purchased (to me) BMW 1150 GS Adventure with 9,500 miles on it (it now has 44k) and was supposed to be just a two or three month "Get out of Florida" exploratory and possible relocation trip.
4 years later and I'm still on the road and currently in Rovaniemi, Finland. At this point have no intention of going back to run around and around in the hamster wheel again.
The Mexican 1000, http://www.norra.com/mexican1000.php is a vintage car and motorcycle race from Mexicali to La Paz,1000 miles over 3 days. I decided to follow it, photograph it, meet some of the legends of the sport who will be at and participating at the event and do a little exploring of the Baja from a newbies perspective and meet and see some local Baja life.
My blog postings are subject to internet connection, as I do not have an air card, but I usually post twice a month.
My FB page is a little easier to follow and my personal FB page has weekly updates.


Last edited:
It's great to see you on here Murph! I have really been enjoying reading your blog--always fun to see where you are and always interesting reading. Amazing photos that really capture your journey.

Looking forward to the NORRA Mexican 1000 race write up and I know there will be some fantastic photos!

Follow along with Murph on his blog and you can always find him on Facebook as well.

Murph's Facebook Page

Murph's Blog--Where the hell is Murph?


New member
I had the pleasure of spending a large part of yesterday with Murph. He rode into Phoenix and we got him hooked up with Josiah Brennan at Dirtball Customs (BMW Master Tech) to handle some new rubber and a bearing. Enjoyed the day and conversations.

Murph, have a great time in Mexico. Look forward to the action and pre-race photos from Mexicalli 1000.



Ray,it was the first time to change them,so looking in my BMW PDF manual,it calls for a "Tapping" out of the bearings in the wheel with a drift or punch.After trying this for an hour and a half,I gave up and went to a shop for a bearing puller.I have since learned that it's pretty much impossible to knock out the front wheel bearings by the method described in the BMW manual.A little heat and a bearing puller is required.Even with the puller the bearings don't just "Pop out".At least they're done for another 44K or another trip to the salt at Bonneville,whichever comes first.


I had the pleasure of spending a large part of yesterday with Murph. He rode into Phoenix and we got him hooked up with Josiah Brennan at Dirtball Customs (BMW Master Tech) to handle some new rubber and a bearing. Enjoyed the day and conversations.

Murph, have a great time in Mexico. Look forward to the action and pre-race photos from Mexicalli 1000.

Scott,again many thanks for your generosity,it was like Christmas there with you,seriously !!!.
The tool roll I put up on the front forks is still there Scott,works fine.
See you when I get back friend.We'll have a cold one this time :beer:
BTW,try to wait 'till I get back to crash the 1200,ok?.



The NORRA 2011 Mexican 1000............reflections part 1.



I just got back last night from competing and photographing the NORRA Mexican 1000 rally,Mexicali to La Paz in the Baja.An absolutely awesome event with really some spectacular scenery.


We started out Tech inspection at the bullring in Mexicali,press conference and mucho mucho tacos..................mang.




Ned and Kat brought along this wicked ALL owner built(going on 30 years now)flat fendered Willys rockcrawler.Ned figured he'd drive down from the States,do the event,and drive home again.Considering it's a 5.11 gear thats damn impressive.





This was the route for Day 1 and the off road stage from Puertocitos through Coco's Corner and to the highway pretty much nearly wrecked the bike,50+ miles of really nasty washboards,silt beds,washes,one crash and three drops.Some zip ties and a few tools borrowed from competitors coming through and I finally made it 2 hours later to the highway.It's not easy lugging around a 660lb bike on a course designed for a 400lb XR 500.




This is Bob Land of Bob Land Racing.Bob and his team were running an '89 Jeep Cherokee in the Cat 5 class.These guys took me under their wing and really made this event a memorable one for me.


Bobs chase team waiting at the end of Stage 4 for the Jeep for refueling.

After breaking a shock strut and brake line,they worked through the night to get the car ready for the next days racing.




I probably took a couple of thousand pictures,so I will post up as I go along.

Thanks for looking


Last edited by a moderator:


Great photos, Murph!! Please keep 'em coming. I got a note from a buddy the other day who said they pointed you in the right direction towards La Paz at Insurgentes :).

Todd Z.


Great photos, Murph!! Please keep 'em coming. I got a note from a buddy the other day who said they pointed you in the right direction towards La Paz at Insurgentes :).

Todd Z.

I got lost quite a few time down there Todd,and I remember your buddy !!!.
I tell ya,that whole group of racers are such a great bunch guys,the drivers/riders and the chase crews,really great and helpful.
Theere'll be more pics up in a few days,I got lots 'n lots of 'em :))



NORRA Mexican 1000....until next year....

Thanks Todd and Ryan for stopping by,appreciate it.
Ryan,really great photography on followushere,love the beach images,lovely stuff.

So another great event has come and gone,and I got through most of the images that I took while in Baja.Unfortunately I didn't get to explore Baja as much as I would have liked,but I do intend to go back again.I stopped by the OJ office before I left and Scott Brady had given me a few of his top tips on where I should go,but I was going non-stop throughout the whole event,i'll get to them on the next trip there Scott,but thank you for taking the time with me.
I ended up getting "adopted" by the team of the 38 Jeep of Bob Land racing,a really great group of people.They really took me into the race with them.After it was over I had to haul azz back up to Boulder,leave the bike there and catch a flight down to S.Fl in order to move me Mum up to Boulder.10 years of summer all day every day and flat vistas and she's done with it here.Can't say as I can blame her,I feel the same way about it here too.
So it's off to Boulder in a few weeks with Mum,get her settled and I already have the next year or two of adventure travel all set up and ready to go.Details will follow on here of course,but for now I just wanted to check in with the Portal and post up a few more images of the rest of the Mexican 1000.The rest of the write up is on my Blog,Facebook and my SmugMug if you have some time to spare.
As always,thanks to all for stopping by and following along,hope you have been enjoying as much as I.




This is my favorite image of the whole event.
Anthony McCullough was the last person to cross the line,late,very late.I decided to wait until the last competitor finished and i'm glad I did.
1000 miles and three days later,he broke down 100 miles from the finish and his chase had to go out,find him,load up the bike and drive back,but he still crossed the finish line.Anthonys smile says it all.





Ned and Kats 1960 Flat Fender Willys,a thirty year work in progress,ALL owner fabbed.They drove it down from Nevada,competed in the event 1000 miles to La Paz,and then turned around and drove it back up home to Nevada.Impressive when you consider it's a 5.11 geared rock crawler.


It didn't start out looking like this,but a really spectacular 4 or 5 time flip and roll(according to the helicopter pilot who saw it happen)and it took a bit of the shine off the hood,and fenders.......and the whole damn car.


Racing legend Larry Rossler,first time back racing a motorcycle in I believe over 15 years.


Everyone got a bottle of Azunia Tequila at the finish line.Azunia were one of the sponsors of the event,as well as the owner of Azunia,Jim Riley being the driver for the Snortin Nortin Chevy......





Thank you to all for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed the images and don't want your three minutes back.... :))

All the best 'till next time,

Last edited:


Well,I nearly forgot I had a thread here on EP,i'm not used to keeping up a regular posting other than my own blog.My bad.
I really do need to get a little caught up,as this coming March I put the bike on a boat in Miami,ship it over to Rotterdam in the Netherlands for a sidecar conversion,and then a 2yr Round the World ride thru Europe,Turkey,the 'Stans,Russia,Mongolia and ending in Japan,but more on that later.
After the Mexican 1000 last May 2011,I briefly considered heading south,but I really don't like the heat that much,and by the time I got to La Paz,my thoughts of heading any further south were all but evaporated.
So I headed back up north.Colorado was where I was headed,I needed to secure an apartment there as I was moving my Mum from Florida(which she was done with,no more white Capri's with gold trim) and move her to Boulder.
I had intended to rent an RV and give Mum a road trip to Boulder through places she has never seen in the U.S.,but I have to say,if you're going to rent an RV,DON'T rent one from CruiseAmerica.
I went through 3 before I just threw it back at them.They ALL had a steering wobble/shimmy at 65mph,and their response was "Well,they all do that" or "they don't drive the same as a car" or "It was fine when I went to get gas in it this morning",which was a 2 mile drive to a gas station on the slip road,no way you could do more than 40mph.When I asked them do they inspect and drive them to check for handling isues,they replied,no,they rely on customers to inform them if there's any problems.............REALLY?.
The fact that they were trying to pawn off a vehicle with IMO,serious front end issues which could result in a bad accident was very troublesome to me,it's a lawsuit waiting to happen,but I really doubt that they cared.
So,I bit the bullet (you only have one Mum,right?) and rented a 2k mile Ford Expedition SUV from Dollar Rent-A-Car.I never was a Ford guy,but the new Expedition,let's just say I would buy one in a flash.Great driving car,good mpg at 75mph,and comfortable,very very comfortable.
We ended up going from Fort Lauderdale all the way to San Francisco,back down to Vegas again and finally ending in Boulder 5,500 miles later,Mum having had one of the best times of her life.
The following links have some more details:


In Tonopah we met Larry W with his '62 Jaguar XKE Convertible,plugged into the outside wall socket as he charged up the battery of the XKE.
He wrote me after and here's the email:
Hi Murph,

Thanks for writing. I went to your blog and saw the pictures you posted. They are GREAT. The one of just the bugs on the front of the car is my very favorite. I like the bulges of the headlights as it makes the car look like a bug itself: very, very cool.

I did make it home the next day. After I left Tonopah there were a series of very, very heavy rains. Desert rain is always lovely but it did was wash all of the bugs off. So my timing in meeting you was very fortuitous! I wound up driving the last two hours in the dark, in the rain, following a big truck as I couldn't afford the electricity to run my headlights. I slept that night in Big Pine (hwy 395 in CA). The next morning I got home without incident. I recharged and drove the car another 300 miles the next weekend to take my son up to my mom's. It turns out that old cars draw next to no current. So 300 miles is pretty easy and there are stories of driving up to 500 on a single charge (not sure if I believe that one....but it's a good story!).

The car was originally sold to someone in LA in 1962. Six years later is was sold to a guy who owned it until 2004. I bought the car in 2005 after it had been stored a in Las Vegas shed for a year (sorry, no adventure there). After buying the car I had to replace every rubber item in the car as they had baked and broken. I also found that I had to rebuild the rear end, the transmission, the hydraulics, the engine as well as buy new wheels, tires, all of the electrical system, etc. etc. I spent a lot of money for the car....way too much as it turned out. My goal from the start was to use this car on multistate trips with my kids. So reliability was by far my top priority.I got it there but it was a lot of work. It's in good enough shape now that I'm able to do all the work myself. So far I've taken the car to Canada twice. This was my fourth trip to Yellowstone.Overall I've driven 1/3rd of it's total mileage in this last 1/8th of it's life.

This is the fourth generator/regulator set I've had fail in the last 6 years. I'm switching to an alternator. A friend is machining a great set of mounts for a standard AC Delco 10si unit. I shouldn't have any more problems....and if I do $50 at NAPA will take care of it.

My next trip will be at the end of September. A dozen XKE's are gathering for the Southwest Oil Leak (SOL) tour. It will be a few thousand miles of dementia through northern Arizona, southern Utah and SW Colorado. I may just choose to run my headlights the whole way!! (plus the radio and radar detector.....I may even choose to turn on my flashers;)

Thanks again. It was really nice to meet you. I hope your trip is as wonderful as your photos!

Thats all for now,

Thanks all and apologies for the 6 month gap,


Forum statistics

Latest member