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A Toast & Roast to the Senior Member & Backbone of the Forum. RUSS LIZARD-BREATH

I think the fact that Russ has lent a hand to probably 99% of us directly or indirectly and made us better TW'ers and better people along the way too.

Let's share some stories that include our friend as we send him well wishes with heavy hearts.

I just stumbled upon the Congrats Lizard Breath and Purple post. Of course, every post was positive.

This was mine: The best part about Russ is his imput is always polite and positive. He will never One Up you. If something may not be correct, he'll find a good way to spin it. Unlike some (one) others.

As most, I learned about the TW Forum pretty fast after I bought my TDub. (7/08.) I probably gravitated towards Russ because of his name (I am just weird that way). But I purposely stayed away from others to avoid my silly questions from being mocked and laughed at. Russ ALWAYS had a positive spin and honestly told the pros and cons for every question (and there were A LOT) posed to him online, private messages and on the phone. The phone calls were the best. He always added color to our calls.

As I have mentioned before. I had probably asked him 10 times about how to convert to hybrid forks. I am not really mechanically inclined and I was nervous and I also told him I was leaning towards one of his oil coolers. He called me up soon after and mentioned they were coming to Mesa (my home town at the time) for the weekend after Valentine's day.
It turns out he was a mere 2 miles from my home.

The amazing Miss Purple it turns out gave him a hall pass and Russ and I spent the better part of a day converting my TDub to hybrid forks and adding the oil cooler (What a GREAT product design by Russ). We talked about bikes, riding, my kids and just life. I asked my 7 year old daughter tonight if she remembered him. She said: "The nice man that helped you with your motorcycle?" He made a good impression of kindness with all he met.

It turned out when he headed back to the in-laws he forgot his homemade wrench. So as they headed out of town, I had the pleasure of meeting the truly beautiful, genuine, kind and wonderful Mrs. Purple. That TRULY had been one of the BEST days of my 4 years in the desert. In our conversations over the past few years on the phone, I was fortunate to earn his trust and he shared some things in his life.

Knowing that, meeting him, having the pleasure of meeting his delightful soul mate. I can say that Purple is DEFINITELY Russ's best color.

You are in our hearts Russ. May you ride the puffy trails and smile all the way.
[/URL][/IMG] lizrd7375 10.jpg IMG_5788.JPG

Your Friend--Brock.
 

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I've never met him or spoke to him, but admire him so much. When I first started reading the forum a couple years ago and saw some pictures of the guy, I thought he looked so mean and gruff, like the kind of guy you would not want to run into in a dark alley...ha ha, but what a sweetheart he really is. He has given and given to this forum and truly made it a great forum. His knowledge is astounding and his willingness to share it so freely makes it even more astounding. He is a very unique man in this day and age. I loved his stories, especially the one about the Kawasaki Mach 3's. In the very early 70's I talked a friend into buying one for his first bike, ha ha I was able to ride it all the time and wheelied it many times. So scary. I laughed and laughed and got the biggest kick out of his story about when he went to the dealer and test drove one.

I wanted to thank all of you who have donated to help Russ and Gina. If you have not donated yet, you can leave a donation with Ronnydog at: [email protected] or contact him personally for an address to send it to.
 
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That is his screen name on this forum. That's all I know about it.
 

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Russ talked about the meaning behind his screen name briefly in a thread about the meanings behind our screen names. It is somewhere here in the forum. If I remember correctly, the screen name is a tribute to an old friend of his. I've got to hit the road to go to work. If some one gets to finding the thread before I do when I get to work, please throw it up here. It is a good read as well.
 

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Russ is the greatest friend I never met, I think I've read every post by him and have learned a lot. My bike proudly wears a fine Lizrd cooler and Lizrd vents too. I've had a few great phone conversations with Russ and I really like and admire him, he's just a damn good guy and they are rare. My love and prayers are sent your way.
Thank you Russ,
Dan
 

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Russ talked about the meaning behind his screen name briefly in a thread about the meanings behind our screen names. It is somewhere here in the forum. If I remember correctly, the screen name is a tribute to an old friend of his. I've got to hit the road to go to work. If some one gets to finding the thread before I do when I get to work, please throw it up here. It is a good read as well.
Russ posted the following explanation on 10-16-2012. My thoughts and prayers go to Russ, his family, friends, and admirers. Never met him, but benefitted greatly from his advice and information posted here on this forum.
"Mine is also a sideways tribute to a fallen comrade.

His name was Mike Stell. Serial Nicknamer, Sprint car driver, motocrosser, desert racer and overall gearhead. Fearless and opinionated, with a voice like a foghorn, fists bigger than most men's heads and a heart of gold IF he liked you.

Arguably the best friend I've ever had, but one of those friends you had to constantly justify to others. Without even mentioning the barroom situations he'd get us into, to others it seemed his entire purpose in life was that of devising new situations in which to get us both killed. Like the time he convinced me I was good enough to buy a 490 Maico and run Open Class the B-to-V with him when I'd never been in an offroad race in my life. Etc. etc... but I loved him. Lol

He'd begin phone calls with "YO, Lizard breath!!!", loud enough for people in the next county to hear him. Not sure why he even used a telephone. lol.

I miss him like stink."
 

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Shellmoney,

Thank you for posting that. He shared some stories about Mike on the phone as well as the day we spent together last Feb. Russ lived LIFE. That is what I will take to grave with me.
He honored the traits that are too often forgotten. Integrity, honesty, TRUE friendships, Trust, Dependable and treating people the way you want to be treated but also treating people that NEED to be treated.

Happy Friday Everyone.
 

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I'm at work now and have a few minutes.

Shellmoney, thank you for finding that. Even his screen name shows how much of a caring individual Russ truely is.

The B to V (Primm) ride me and Russ did, I consider to be my first real adventure ride. My TW has less than 3000 miles on it and that is how many miles I have on a bike. I know Purple can attest to this as well, but his support simply inspires the confidence a newbee like me needs to keep going. This coupled with his patience for staying behind or taking it a little slower than he would normally ride makes the newbee feel like part of the group.

Like Brock above, he and Purple have been over to my house to help me with my TWissues and lack of motorcycle experience. I've also been out on some local day trip rides with them as well. I don't think anyone that has had the pleasure of meeting Russ and Gina could have said it any better than Brock did. "Knowing that, meeting him, having the pleasure of meeting his delightful soul mate. I can say that Purple is DEFINITELY Russ's best color." FREAKING AWESOME!! Well said.

Mario
 

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Splinter, I still have a picture on my phone that Russ sent me from your Barstow to Vegas ride. I remember thinking what a great time you two must be having, and how jealous I was!
 

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I know little about Russ other than what I've read here but I can imagine from the tidbits I've heard that he was an adventurous person who enhanced the lives of those around him.

One thing I heard and am curious about though, is what Jimbo posted about the first time he met Russ as he was riding horseback from the east coast to the west coast. I'd really like to know more about that trip and what motivated him if anyone knows. It had to be one hell of an adventure.
 

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I know little about Russ other than what I've read here but I can imagine from the tidbits I've heard that he was an adventurous person who enhanced the lives of those around him.

One thing I heard and am curious about though, is what Jimbo posted about the first time he met Russ as he was riding horseback from the east coast to the west coast. I'd really like to know more about that trip and what motivated him if anyone knows. It had to be one hell of an adventure.
He's done a lot of things that would impress folks if they knew, but he's so modest and humble. A very unique man to say the least. I'd like to know more about that story as well. There are a few folks here who can chime in and share that story, hopefully they will.
 

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Russ (simply Lizrdbrth to me then) frequently responded to my early posts looking for help, and perhaps even more kindly to my subsequent posts bragging about the mods his advice helped me accomplish!

The first time we spoke on the phone was after I posted about the trouble I was having getting my TCI skid plate installed. He PM'd me:

Call me before you cut anything.
Russ XXX-XXX-XXXX
With his help and encouragement I got that sucker on, too. And of course he was right, I didn't have to cut anything!

We talked a few more times about a few other topics. I can say that every conversation I've had with the man has been informative, enjoyable, and way too short as most good times are. I never had the pleasure of sharing a campfire with Russ, but no doubt those who have enjoyed enough great stories to fill a book.

I can't pretend that I know Russ well, but I am certainly glad for the chance to get to know him as much as I have.
 

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From my understanding, they are following some of the recent posts as his health allows and all these stories and the donations are blessing them. We are lifting their spirits and Russ is smiling. Keep the thoughts and stories coming please. Thanks Don Benito!
 

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Don, he is indeed having the posts read to him and Purple. Funny you say short calls. I laugh because I call up Russ for one question then next you know it's time for bed and the batteries on the phone are dying. We can learn lessons from anyone/everyone, but those lessons I have learned from Russ STICK.
 

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i got my first call in to or from russ when i was working with the builder of the tw foot pegs.... i wanted his take on the offset and any other issues that i was missing. when i couldn't test the second prototypes, due to a hernia surgery recovery, russ accepted the challenge. he was the unsung hero and got the official tw pegs #2!

russ offered endless suggestions regarding my parts bike, even though it was spelled out very clearly, i'm a slow learner. another couple of calls, another couple of hours.
a short call would turn into 1 hr plus and my wife would question me like the 'jake from state farm' insurance commercial "who are you talking to?" (she's laughing at me as i type this).
he offered suggestions and best wishes for my bc to bc ride, and congrats upon completion.

when i bought my lizrd cooler, sent off before payment sent, and then botched my hoses cutting one too short, he sent me another piece, with a laugh "yeah you can't just buy that at kragen's" he had special sourced that and had a laundry list of the pluses and minuses of every part on the bike, from every year. a veritable t-dub encyclopedia.

i did get a couple of stories out of him regarding his stash of bikes, including the group buy from a desert cult (real cult cult bikes!) but what a bummer i didn't get the cross country horse trip!

he was a suthrn cali foil to us northerners and loved to see a group of guys, from one to nine, enjoying this silly bike that brings us together.

he was a gentlemen and a scholar.

thanks lizrd!
 

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Dear Russ,

As someone who has wasted innumerable hours on this forum obsessing over these little bikes that we all love, I realize that we have come to know each other primarily through our on-screen personas. I lurked on here for quite a while before getting my first TW and it was another period of time before I actually joined and began participating. You were already well established as a longtime contributor going way back to the earlier iterations of this board and I have appreciated the opportunity to get to know you through your frequent posts. I believe that we have only spoken on the phone several times (remember our initial fiasco regarding the TW frame that I picked up for you and your money order getting stolen from your mailbox?) but there were many communications both on the forum and offline via PM. You were always gracious and generous with your assistance and advice and I have come to consider you as a friend.

Many have since come and gone on this forum during your long tenure here, most of them without leaving much of a trace or even a ripple behind. I can assure you that that is not the case for you. I noticed your absence over the last month, but mistakenly assumed that you were either busy on some new project (like that rear disc brake mod I was hoping for) or possibly you had finally become burned out from answering the same questions over and over again. When Ronny informed us of your battle, I was shocked and saddened by this news. Then I was a little ashamed that I was being selfish by focusing on how much I would miss you, and now I just feel helpless because I can't do anything to help you.

Russ, I hope that it helps you to know that you have many more friends than you will ever realize and we all wish that we could ease your pain as easily you helped us fix our bikes.

Take care, my friend . . . hopefully our paths will cross again.

Brian

p.s. Here is my favorite picture of you (although since we've never met in person, I am not quite sure which of these characters is the real you!)

Lizrdbrth and friend.jpg
 

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So many kind and thoughtful words here spoken for Russ. It really touches my heart to see how many are responding. Thank you Gentleman. I am delighted that it is touching his heart also, I don't think he had a clue how many folks love him.
 
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like bitcoins, i was mining for gold and dug up this nugget from one year ago today.... from the mayan apocalypse, oddly prophetic, shows the meddle of the man:

Pass me them blue corn chips and hoist one to the Mayans!


 
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