Part 1 of “Shaking hands and kissing babies tour”

I’ve wanted to go to AIMExpo in Orlando for the last couple of years. I used to attend a similar dealer show in Indiana until it was terminated. It was a great place to meet people in the industry, make business contacts, and new friends.

The Barber Vintage Festival in Birmingham, AL, is typically held in early October and the AIMExpo is normally scheduled the weekend right after. It has always been difficult to make the journey to both for various reasons. I love to attend Barber for many reasons, and have been going the last three years. Well, this year I decided to bite the bullet, so to speak, and hit up both events. I am really glad I did!

The journey started with loading the “Vanalog” as we like to call it. This year I was going to set a record for how much we could fit into our Ram Promaster van.  I managed to fit 4 custom Analog Motorcycles along with 2 pop ups, camping gear, loads of merchandise, tables, chairs, clothes, coolers with food and drinks and a bunch of other stuff needed to set up a good vendor display.

Grant (our Media Coordinator) couldn’t make the trip this year so he volunteered his dad, Chris. We took off late Wednesday night and drove through the evening to Birmingham. We arrived after a quick breakfast stop at the Waffle House the next day, Thursday afternoon.

The last two years we set up at the top of the paddock, which is a hand selected number of vendors that Vanson Leathers heads up and is now called the “Highside.” A number of us set up there from Colorado Norton Works and Old Soul Young Blood to Caffeine & Gasoline and GT Moto. We met a lot of great people that weekend, reunited with some long time friends, and made several new ones.

The highlight of the festival for me though was this year’s marquee being the Britten Motorcycles. A hand built MotoGP level race bike from the 90’s. There are only 10 Britten V1000’s in existence and nine of them were at the festival from owners around the world. Some showed them, some ran theirs and a few even ran an exhibition race. It was an incredible site to behold and to hear. I was even able to attend the fundraising dinner on Friday night where the wife of the late John Britten was the guest speaker.

I packed up on Sunday and Chris headed back home to Illinois with some friends from Frame Crafters. Staying in Birmingham one more evening I grabbed a hotel, cleaned off the weekend grime, and went to dinner with some friends; sushi with Bryan Fuller, Vicki Smith and Rich Lambrechts. Not a bad way to end my time in Birmingham. From there I decided to head to Atlanta to hang out with some friends, do some riding, and get some photo shoots in for a couple days.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Shaking hands and kissing babies tour.”

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