I put together this info graphic. It’s a fair representation of the Americas through the eyes of a motorcycle traveler.
I’ve looked back over 2012 to see what went right, what could have gone better, and what I might like to do in the year to come. It’s been fun to reflect on the past twelve months. Here’s a brief summary of the path my life has taken:
The new year started with lots of preparation and excitement as I set forth to film a motorcycle documentary down in South America. I also built and launched Darien Gap Info A peer review website dedicated to crossing the Darien Gap.
Late in the month, I travelled down to Colombia to meet again with my partner Mike Thomsen of Motolombia. Together with 8 riders, we rode through the heart of Colombia. Filmmaker Andreas Munksgaard and I documented the entire journey. Capturing each days events was hard work but also a great learning experience.
Upon returning to the cold New Hampshire winter, it was time to make sense of the nearly 100 hours of film. I began the pain staking process of cataloging all the footage. This was slow and arduous but laid the necessary foundation for developing the documentary. To keep sane, I played volleyball one night a week with friends.
More computer work… During the week I spent 8am – 5pm at my day job (mostly on the computer) and then came home, cooked dinner and spent 6pm – 10pm working on the film (also in front of the computer). I enjoy editing but it was tough to spend all night on the computer after spending my of my day there as well. However, I pushed on, and each day I saw progress.
At the end of the month I took a break from the film and headed to India on another business trip for my day job. I worked with my team of programmers and business analysts to develop custom web and mobile applications to better serve our customers. The work was fun and of course I enjoyed experiencing India. Best of all was renting a Royal Enfield Bullet 350 on the weekend and getting lost in Southern India!
On the way home, I spent a few days in London where I met up with Andreas. We went over some of the story I had been putting together and he also showed me all around the city. The famous Ace Cafe was high on the list amongst all the numerous historical landmarks. It may be hard to believe, but the English weather was beautiful, sunny and warm!
Back in States once again it was time to finish building the story for the The New World Ride (the name of the soon to be released Colombian Motorcycle documentary). More countless hours spent staring at the computer screen. I also turned 29 years old…
As spring rolled into New Hampshire, I continued building the documentary day by day. By the middle of the month, I was ready for another quick getaway. Setting my compass southwest I headed to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, Arizona. This was my second expo and I was amazed at how much it had grown. If you want to travel the world on 2 wheels or 4, this is the place for you. With hundreds of vendors and thousands of travelers, there is no shortage of gear and stories. Motorcycle Mexico, my how-to guide for motorcycling south of the border, was on sale and I spoke at several roundtable discussions including “Borders, Bribes and Checkpoints.” It was great to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
June was a big month… I gave my 23rd and 24th presentations about my 6 month, 23,000 mile motorcycle ride from New Hampshire to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuia, Argentina. Moreover, I was recruited for and accepted an exciting new job opportunity on the west coast. It was a tough decision to leave my day job that I really enjoyed and to put so much distance between my family. But ultimately it would be a great experience in an exciting and growing industry with many new places to explore during weekend adventures. So, in three weeks, I gave my notice, Amber and I packed up everything we owned and with excitement and exhaustion we jumped on a plane headed for Europe.
Thanks to our friends Bob and Sue at Micatech, we rode all around Western Europe on their 1995 BMW K75 motorcycle. In three short weeks we cruised through France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. Ya… I’m still working on that blog post :). It was an incredible trip. We camped each night and lived off of fresh bread, cheeses and sausages.
And finally after more than 10 years of dreaming, I finally saw the Tour de France! We followed the first few stages of the tour in Belgium and France – wow, what an experience!
From Europe we scooted back to South America for Amber’s sister’s wedding in Quito, Ecuador. The ceremony was in a tranquil mountain setting just outside the busy city. After the wedding we rented a Suzuki V-Strom from Freedom Bike Rental. Mountain twisties and serene beaches were on the agenda for the quick 5-day ride at the equator. (Yup, still working on that blog post too!)
With Ecuador behind us we were off to California to find a place to live in Silicon Valley. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find a cute little duplex right in Cupertino (a 7 minute walk from the Apple campus) with a palm tree and lemon tree in the front yard!
I began work at AAC Technologies were we develop custom micro-speaker, microphone and vibrator solutions that integrate inside today’s smartphones, tablets and mp3 players. By the middle of the month our friend John arrived with all of our belongings. We are so thankful that he drove a 26′ moving truck 3,000 miles across the country just to help us out! For the past 2 weeks we had been “camping” in our new home waiting for all of our furniture to arrive.
Our motorcycles came in the same truck and we were excited to hit the ground and explore California. At the end of the month we rode through the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Lake Tahoe Adventure Motorcycle Rendezvous. Amber went on road rides with a bunch of new friends and I set out for desert dirt riding with people much more capable than me. After pushing my limits and almost dumping the bike several times we headed over Ebbets Pass on our way back to the bay area. We also hosted our first motorcycle travelers in our new place – a young couple from France.
Finally settled into our new life on the west coast, we continued exploring with weekend surfing trips in Santa Cruz, city excursions around San Francisco, road tripping to Fresno to see the Colorado football game and hiking in the Redwood Forests. I also have a bunch of friends from college in the area and it’s been great to reconnect with them too. Additionally, my sister came to live us with. She’s a certified elementary education teacher but there are no jobs to be had in New Hampshire. The hopes of gainful employment lead her to California instead.
September also brought my first trip to China since 2009. I got a custom fit suit in Shanghai before going west and then finally south to Shenzhen. In Changzhou, I climbed to the top of the world’s tallest pagoda. I was amazed at how much Chinese I remembered (still only a few phrases) and was able to pick up a little more along the way. The locals always get a kick out of it when I say something in their language.
Unfortunately however, a night out at every kids dream (a warehouse filled with trampolines), was the straw the broke the camels back and I was in debilitating back and neck pain.
I began physical therapy but still encountered relapses of my injured back. Not fun! I had to give up cycling, running, hiking and any other form of physical fitness. Even simple tasks like putting on my socks or sitting up in bed in the mornings were painful and demotivating.
I slowly progressed as the month went on and with the support of a kidney belt, Amber and I rode 200 miles south along the coastline on Highway 1 to attend the Horizons Unlimited motorcycle travelers meetup in Cambria. New friends like Cliff Danger reminded us of a simpler life with stories of riding Lucy, a small Minsk motorcycle, throughout Cambodia and Vietnam.
Putting on my marketing hat, I revamped the Motorcycle Mexico landing page and saw a huge boost in sales conversations. It’s a gold mine of information for aspiring travelers and I get joy out of helping them ride their dreams. We also hosted more motorcycle travelers, this time a couple from Guatemala on their way back from Alaska.
And with 48 hours notice, I headed back to China for a quick business trip. At least I got to sleep in a round bed…
Remember that motorcycle documentary? In the summer I handed my work off to Andreas who put on the final touches. Over the following months we released mini-episodes from each day of the trip. The penultimate release was a feature length film – The New World Ride. It was a wild journey and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone involved – To all of you… ¡MUCHAS GRACIAS!
Two hours a day of back stretching and strengthening exercises finally started to pay off and I slowly began seeing improvements. Amber and I had hoped to ride to Baja, Mexico during the Thanksgiving break but her work schedule and my health had us put it on hold. Nevertheless, we found some fun in hiking and camping in Marin County just north of San Francisco. Aside from an evening spent convinced that we were being stalked by a mountain lion, we had a great time.
My work schedule isn’t the typical 8-5. Some days are slow and others are action packed with customer meetings during the day. I’m up most nights until midnight working with my team in China. With the end of the year in sight, we headed east for a much needed vacation, exchanging our computers for the families we hadn’t seen in 6 months. It was the perfect Christmas gift.
What went well in 2012?
The past 12 months have been action packed.
- I traveled to 12 countries (8 of them for the first time) and spoke 7 languages (granted some of them were only a few words).
- I gave 6 speeches about my motorcycle travels around the world.
- I did all sorts of new things like paragliding over Medellin, Colombia, motorcycling around Lake Tahoe, eating congealed pigs blood at a Chinese restaurant and shooting trap with a shotgun in California.
- I built and released a feature length motorcycle travel documentary.
What did not go well in 2012?
Though 2012 was a good year, not everything was perfect.
For one, my Russian language learning got de-railed. A new job with a shorter commute meant no time for audio CD’s. I got through 45 lessons (the same amount of Spanish before I left on my first big trip) but it quickly faded with lack of use. I still hope to explore the now disolved Soviet Union and it will be great to use the Russian language to connect with people from many countries. I need more practice.
Also, I didn’t do a great job maintaining friendships. I spent a lot of time in front of the computer with interesting but isolating projects, and I didn’t see my family for the entire second half of the year. As I grow older, I realize how important friends and family are. I’m disappointed that I lost my way in strengthening those relationships.
Finally, I’m not happy with how things finished with my physical fitness. I reached a peak level of fitness in early May when I was playing basketball every day at lunch and running on the weekends. But then a combination of injuries, travel, and a new job with many business lunches made me a little soft. I’m carrying an extra five or ten pounds now, and my fitness levels are lower than I want them to be.
Though I didn’t set goals for 2012, I do have a few plans for the year to come. Soon, I’ll share some of my goals for the future. I have a lot in mind including travel, technology projects, friends & family, happiness, 2 wheels (without a motor), business, health and more.
What about you? How was your 2012? Are you happier now than you were the same time last year? Have you made progress on your personal goals? What went well for you this year? What could have gone better?
Wow, I’m not doing very well with updating the blog these days! Fear not, for life has still been an incredible adventure and I have lots to share to get caught up to date. For starters, I was back in India on another business trip and had an opportunity to rent a Royal Enfield Bullet 350 for a weekend of touring southern India (photos still to come).
Also, this past January I partnered with Motolombia and took 8 riders down to Colombia for an 8 day motorcycle tour through the heart of the country. Along with me was filmmaker Andreas Munksgaard and together he and I filmed the entire journey. It was one hell of a ride complete with smooth and twisty mountain roads, bumpy and dusty trails, cows covering the road, military checkpoints, coffee plantations, private mansions, exotic fruits, colonial villages, crazy chicken buses and best of all… delicious deep fried arepas!
We set out have an incredible ride through a very controversial country. With this film we hope to show the world how wonderful of a place Colombia really is. The past decade has brought many changes and the people of Colombia are once again proud of their beautiful country. It’s important to remind ourselves not to get caught up in the fear that is portrayed in mass media…
After the ride it was time to fly back to the US (to get back to my day job) and spend countless hours in front of the computer editing the footage into a documentary. The film is cut into 8 episodes (one for each day of the ride). After months of hard work I’m excited to announce that the first 2 episodes are now live!
Episode 1 is available here.
Episode 2 is available here.
Stay up to date with the latest happenings of The New World Ride episodes by following along on our Facebook page. I must give a BIG thanks to everyone that’s been involved in the project!!! To all the riders (Mike, James, Dave, Brandon, Walt, Al, Sacha), Ken Freund (our rider-journalist from RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring and Travel magazine), Mike Thomsen (owner of Motolombia, Colombia’s premier motorcycle tour and rental company), filmmaker Andreas Munksgaard (who is a wizard of final cut pro), GiantLoop motorcycle saddle bags, Kawasaki of Colombia, Mashtech motorcycle accessories, Luis Puerto (support truck driver), and all the friendly people we met along the way.
Stay tuned as the final 6 episodes will be released over the next few months. Until then, here are a few photos from the trip. Enjoy.
Most of the video gear laid on on the kitchen table the day before the flight to Colombia.
Jay and Mike in the Colombian Backcountry.
The tallest palm trees in the world (oddly enough, in the high mountains of Colombia).
Riders at the top of the 4000 meter Cerro Guali mountain pass (we started the day at 100 meters).
Jay and Walt (hidden) posing for a photo at a Colombian military checkpoint.
Mike at a fruit stand in the central square of a small Colombian town.
Me and Juan Valdez. Haha…
Jay LOVES arepas!
Back in Medellin after completing the trip. Having a drink at Al’s real imitation Irish pub.
Lastly, as a brief update of all the other goodness that has been going on over the past few months… In June I said goodbye to everyone at my day job in NH. Amber and I packed up all of our belongings, threw them into storage and hopped on a plane headed for Europe (maybe you’ve heard of it). We spent 3 weeks motorcycling all around Western Europe before jumping on another plane destined for South America. We attended her sister’s wedding in Ecuador, grabbed a motorcycle from Freedom Bike Rental and set off exploring the Andes mountains and the beautiful beaches along the equator. After 2 weeks in the southern hemisphere we jumped on another plane set for California. I’ve been recruited for an exciting opportunity in the tech industry and so we’ve moved out to the Bay Area (Cupertino – an hour south of San Francisco). I’m really excited to begin exploring all that sunny California has to offer. In the coming weeks, I’ll put together a recap of this past summer’s adventure. Until then… Ride and Explore!
Back in August I shared with you the first two pilot episodes for the upcoming New World Ride – a Colombian motorcycle documentary. Mike and I filmed these episodes back in June as we were preparing for the future film tour. If you haven’t checked out the final two episodes already, do so now. There is a lot of adventure in these two – Avalanches, grave tunnels, Colombian kids, riding single track down the edge of a mountain, nearly crashing while passing trucks, Bike Week with a local biker club, delicious fresh fruit, and a tour of a working colombian coffee finca.
Episode 3 of 4:
Episode 4 of 4:
Mike and I are getting really excited for this journey. We received lots of interest and spots have been filling up fast. We have only two more spots available. Contact me if you’d like to ditch the snow this winter and ride through paradise! Our tour begins on January 15th and runs for 8 days. Spots on the tour are going for $3,500 which covers nearly everything except plane tickets.
I’ll be posting lots more photos and video clips from our tour in January so stay tuned for more adventure!
Oh ya, I found myself in India on a business trip just last week too and decided that I need a 3-wheel tuk tuk taxi! It would be great to ride around Manchester…
2 months ago I started a new full time job. The new gig has no shortage of engaging challenges and I’m really excited to make a solid dent my student loans debt. After I accepted the offer, the count down to “normal life” began and so with 3 days notice, I hopped on a plane and flew to South America. I visited with my friend Mike from Motolombia. I met Mike in early 2010 when I was passing through Colombia. He also owns the superb Casa Blanca Hostel in Cali where he’s housed more than 1,000 motorcyclists over the past three years! Originally from Denmark, Mike’s been traveling the world on two wheels and four since he was a child. Several years ago he settled in Colombia, married, and started a family and business.
Mike and I kept in touch since I passed through and he was really excited about the Motorcycle Mexico film I put together to get riders educated and inspired to ride in Latin America. Now, we have teamed up to create The New World Ride – A Colombian Motorcycle Travel Documentary. In January 2012 I’ll be headed to back to Colombia to film the ride.
We’re looking to give 6 lucky riders the adventure of a lifetime. To learn more and to join us on tour, check out www.TheNewWorldRide.com. In addition to riding on tour, we also have non-riding spots available in Mike’s SUV as well as opportunities to pre-order the DVD and T-shirts.
A few months ago, Mike and I toured Colombia to research routes. In doing so, we filmed 4 pilot episodes to show you just a little of what to expect in Colombia. Two episodes are now live and the remaining two will be posted in a few weeks.
Episode 1 link: http://youtu.be/XL_eN21pTDA
Episode 2 link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_uMHs7B6rk
Here are a few photos from the recent Colombia ride when we filmed the pilot episodes:
Tour Guide, Mike, ripping it up at a local’s motocross track in southern, Colombia.
The local kids put us to shame when they jumped their Chinese 125s!
A spectacular afternoon of riding at the local “backyard style” motocross track.
Popayan – The White City
Wire bridge with wooden planks…
Drunk locals in Silvia, an indigenous village in the mountains, offered us lots of free whiskey at 10 in the morning.
Muddy road far off the beaten path in Colombia.
Friendly construction worker.
Local kids at the top of a natural pyramid in Tierradentro.
Mike crossing a river in Colombia’s coffee region.
Colombia is a beautiful country with a tainted reputation. Did you know, in Colombia the locals said I was crazy for going to Mexico. Yet, in Mexico the locals told me I was crazy for going to Colombia… However, in New Hampshire they tell me I am crazy for going to Massachusetts – I don’t know what to believe anymore… The truth is, Colombia has spectacular on and off road riding, friendly and interesting people, delicious food and amazing scenery.
I’m really excited about this project. If you or someone you know would like to join us on tour, sign up at www.TheNewWorldRide.com. Even if you can’t get away, you can still join the adventure and support the project by pre-ordering the DVD and T-shirts. Go ahead and share the videos with your Facebook friends, Google+ circles, and Twitter followers. Mike and I really appreciate your support!
Hasta la proxima!
Some Most days I daydream about riding the world. While it’s not always possible to get away, there’s still room for adventure. In order to celebrate our freedom on the Fourth of July. Amber and I packed up the bikes and headed north. Some might think of this trip as a relaxing ride through New England’s back roads. Instead, I like to think of it as a mini world tour…
First stop, the Wright Museum which exhibits artifacts illustrating the heroic efforts of ordinary people living during extraordinary times and is dedicated to celebrating Americans’ sacrifices and achievements during WWII.
Next stop, Whitehorse gear in North Conway so amber can pick up a kidney belt for back support.
The friendly folks at Whitehorse gave us a great road recommendation that took us up through Evan’s Notch in the White Mountain National Forest. Once in Maine we said hi to our buddy Paul Bunyan who was hanging out in Rumford.
The riding was mellow and fun.
Soon afterwards we crossed into Mexico. Wait, what? I’m so confused…
The plaque threw me off a bit. Shouldn’t it be in Spanish?
Sadly, there wasn’t even a Mexican restaurant in Mexico, Maine! Maybe that’s a business opportunity… After Mexico it was off to Peru. There is no downtown – just lots rural land. Does anyone know what an ATV bottle is???
So, are we on Peruvian soil or American soil?
Having had enough of Latin America we jumped across the pond and stopped by Rome for lunch. Rome was burning so we notified the volunteer fire department.
After our civic duties were done we went east, really far east, like to the far east. Welcome to China!
Unlike mexican restaurants in Mexico, we did see plenty of chinese restaurants in China. Oddly, China looked a lot like Rome, Peru, Mexico, and Maine… Oh well. We looped back around for a quick stop in our hometown of Manchester. Well not Manchester, NH but Manchester, ME. This one goes out to our buddy Pete from Manchester, England. Last month he rode his motorcycle to every Manchester in the USA (there’s more than 30 of them). We had dinner and beers with him as he rolled through our Manchester.
With 300 miles logged we called it quits for the day and headed to Amber’s aunt’s place for some delicious homemade apple pie. mmmmmmmmm.
Awake and reenergized we set out the next morning to continue the adventure. We headed south to Lisbon,
Portugal Maine. Unfortunately we were a week early for the Moxie Festival!
Lisbon was fun so we decided to see more of Europe. Next stop, Poland. I had to pee and just as I was about to take a leak by the building I caught myself. Fearing that if a local kid saw me peeing by an elementary school I would be charged as a sex offender, I decided to postpone my whiz until I could find a proper rest room facility.
We continued with the European theme and headed north to Norway.
Only a stones throw away from Norway, we found Paris. Imagine what a mini Eiffel Tower replica would do for tourism… Unfortunately, there wasn’t much going on in Paris, Maine.
A few more miles (pun intended) down the road was Sweden. Judging by the few people we talked to, I’m willing to bet that most folks here do not know there’s a country called Sweden. The fire department had the only sign in town.
After Sweden we popped back down into mainland Europe for a quick stop in Denmark.
By that time we really started to enjoy Europe, so we shot over to see Amber’s other aunt who lives in Naples,
Italy Maine. Together we celebrated our journey with a traditional Italian pizza served in an Irish pub…
The next morning I realized I had a freeloader trying to hitch a ride around the world. He wasn’t talking much…
We wrapped up our Weekend of Freedom World Tour with a brief stop in Limerick,
Ireland Maine where they conveniently have a US Post Office.
Maine has several other worldly towns that were a bit out of our reach. We’ll leave Madrid, Moscow, Columbia (ya, they got the spelling wrong), Athens, Stockholm, Verona, Belfast, Lebanon, Vienna and Belgrade for another trip.
Editors note: We skipped all the English town names because just about every other town in New England is named after… Well… England…
As my friends at NEMO would say – Adventure Anywhere. Because memorable and meaningful adventures can happen anywhere from the backyard to Mt. Everest.
Hey Everyone. It’s been about 6 months since I’ve had an update. Since we last spoke, I’ve launched the Motorcycle Mexico DVD. It’s now being distributed by Amazon and Whitehorse Gear. If you’ve been dreaming of riding your motorcycle through Mexico, this should be your first stop for research. I’ve sold a few hundred to date and the feedback has been wonderful. It’s not a Hollywood masterpiece but the content is a gold mine of information for planning a trip south of the border.
I’ve also been busy presenting at Overland Travel and Motorcycle Rallies around the US. In April I presented at the Overland Expo in southern, Arizona. The event attracted thousands of veteran and aspiring overland travelers from around the globe. I sat on the panels for group discussion “to ride solo or not” & “borders, bribes and checkpoints” and I moderated the “safety on the road” discussion. In addition to presentations I share space in the authors and filmmakers tent alongside many of my heros. Ted Simon, Carla King, Austin Vince, Lois Pryce and Sterling Noren just to name a few. I made up a fun poster for rally goers to jump in and take a photo. All in all it was a great event. You can read the full write-up on the Motorcycle Mexico Blog.
A few weeks later I was off to the BMW Georgia Mountain Rally. I rode down with Bob and Sue of Micatech and we trailered the bikes behind. Once again it was great to escape the New England cold and head down for fun in the sun. After camping through a tornado, the weather really cleared up and the entire time was perfect. I gave a few presentations and had my bike on display for everyone to explore. After the event I ate some boiled peanuts and rode Deals Gap – 318 cuves in 11 miles! I continued north on the Blue Ride Parkway for a few days getting free moonshine from the locals until I made it back to NH. Read all about it on the Micatech blog.
Sidestand Up, the worlds only Motorcycle Radio Road Show had me on as a guest and we talked about riding down south of the the border. Here’s the link to the interview.
Back home in New Hampshire I’ve been giving several presentations about my travels through Latin America. Many of the local public libraries have contracted me to present to their patrons. I really enjoy my sharing my stories and photos and it’s great to inspire others. I added the list of presentations to the sidebar of the A Few More Miles homepage. At the time of this post, here’s the upcoming schedule. All presentations are free and open to the public. If I’m in you’re area, be sure to come on out for a night of adventure!
Drop me an email at ben AT motorcyclemexico DOT com if you would like me to present to your group.
(all events below are at the respected public libraries)
2/15 – Lee, NH 7pm
3/23 – Derry, NH 6:30pm
3/29 – Hooksett, NH 6:30pm
5/10 – Milford, NH 7pm
5/19 – Hancock, NH 7pm
6/14 – Gilford, NH 6:30pm
6/16 – Lincoln, NH 7pm
6/21 – Goffstown, NH 6:30pm
6/22 – East Kingston, NH 7pm
7/12 – Amherst, NH 7pm
7/14 – Bow, NH 6:30pm
7/17 – Freedom, NH 4pm (Sunday)
8/3 – Epsom, NH 7pm
9/16 – New Boston, NH 7pm
9/22 – Dunbarton, NH 7pm
10/19 – Sommersworth, NH 7pm
10/20 – Salem, NH 7pm
TBD – Dublin, NH
I’m actually writing this post from Casa Blanca hostel in Cali, Colombia where I’m working on a pilot episode for a new motorcycle travel documentary taking place in Colombia. But I’ll tell you more about that later…
As I announced last fall, I went back to Mexico for another round of adventuring and more importantly to film for my new project, Motorcycle Mexico. I wanted to make the DVD I wish I could have seen before I left on my trip. I hope it will help riders to get inspired, get educated, and get on their way.
Have you been dreaming of a motorcycle trip through Mexico? In this 2-disc DVD set, you will get the advice you need to help you cross the border, buy insurance, organize your documents, interact with police, find safe hotels and camping, break the language barrier, avoid Montezuma’s Revenge and much more to ensure that you have an amazing ride!
In addition to what he learned on the road, I interviewed veteran travelers and local experts who share their hard-earned knowledge with you. This DVD will get you inspired, educated, and on YOUR way! Whether you are riding in Mexico for just a few days or en route to Central and South America, This DVD will help you prepare for YOUR ride!
Here’s a short 5 minute movie trailer to show you what it’s all about.
It’s $36.99 + $4.99 Shipping = $41.98.
It’s 2-discs. 5 hours of insightful content
Available at www.MotorcycleMexico.com
Intro, People, Culture, Weather, Gear, Border Crossing, Border Towns, Accidents & Insurance, Family Reactions, News & Drug Cartels, Personal Safety, Bike Safety, Women Riders, Riding, Road Quality, Toll Roads, The Left Blinker, Topes, The Bike, Tires, Tools & Packing, Mechanicals.
Gas, Navigation, Camping, Accommodations, Secure Parking, Food, Drinks, Montezuma’s Revenge, Health & Evacuation Insurance, Health Risks, Checkpoints, Police, Money, Language, Connectivity, Get Gone, Credits, Bonus Footage.
Thanks to everyone that contributed and encouraged me along the way!
Ride & Explore!
New to the site? Click here to follow the blog in chronological order. Thanks for checking out the journey, enjoy!
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been back in the USA for over 4 months! Spending time with friends and family has been great and the summer weather has been beautiful here in New Hampshire. So… What’s been going on? Well, 6 months without regular exercise coupled with 3 or 4 daily meals of delicious fried food plays a toll on the body. I weighed myself when I returned home – I gained 15 lbs… YIKES!!! Riding the motorcycle everyday was exhausting but it wasn’t stimulating my cardiovascular system. Now back at home I’ve been kayaking, running, biking (of the pedal variety), and hiking on a daily basis and I’ve shed that baby fat. Here’s a few shots from the absolutely stunning Acadia National Park in Maine.
Have no fear though, I’m still riding the motorcycle nearly everyday. My car has only seen a few days of use this entire summer. Being stuck inside the 4-wheeled box is near torture. The KLR, a.k.a. El Burro, has been a true workhorse. He now has roughly 35,000 miles (I say roughly, because I’ve been without a spedo/odometer cable for the past 12,000-ish miles). All that traveling has taken it’s toll and I now have piston slap. It looks like I’ll be rebuilding the engine’s top end…
I recently presented the my journey through the Americas at the New Hampshire Latino Festival. Latinos and Gringos alike came up and asked all sorts of questions. “Are you fucking crazy!?” was a popular one. I met Salvadorians, Mexicans, Colombians, and Guatemalans. Their eyes opened wide as I described riding through their countries. Many young kids who are still learning about their heritage stopped by to check out my photos. Their parents would point to a picture and say “That’s our country.” Who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll inspire one of these kids to jump on a bike and ride through their country to experience it first hand. I made this highlight map to have on display.
Crucial to the success of my journey were the Micatech panniers and top case. You’ve seem then in every photo with my bike and I certainly put them to the test. With over 50 tip-overs ,they are still in excellent shape and waterproof (although a bit dirty). The boxes are made only 30 miles from my home and since returning home they’ve contracted me to do some engineering and design for new products. The projects has been fun, challenging, and engaging. Designing and building adventure motorcycling products is great. One key element in product development is field testing… Alright, so what’s next??? Ya, it’s about time for a new adventure. Well, in 3 short weeks I’ll be back on the bike, riding 3,300 miles across the country to California where I’ll be presenting my journey through the Americas at the Overland Rally. Are you interested in traveling the world by car/truck/van/motorcycle/bicycle then this is the event for you. So, if you’re in the Bay Area between September 23 and 26, sign on up and check out the rally.
After the Overland Rally I’m headed south to Mexico! Wooo Hooo! I’ll be riding down the Baja Peninsula and then crossing over to the mainland where I’ll be riding for 5 weeks. While south of the border I’ll be filming for a How To Guide for Motorcycling in Mexico. I’m super excited about this project and hope to inspire others to go and ride their dream. Check out the website at www.MotorcycleMexico.com. Interested in following the new journey? Then sign-up for email updates by clicking here (because I won’t be updating this website anymore). When I make it back home at the beginning of November I’ll have put on another 10,000 miles!
That’s about it… What have ya’ll been up to? Drop me a line and keep me in the loop.
Ride & Explore!
Amber and I braved the rush hour traffic into Boston. A ride that usually takes 45 minutes took 2 hours! Obeying traffic laws and being stuck in traffic was torture – get me back on that bike! First stop: American Airlines Cargo warehouse. I grabbed my paperwork and then was told I needed to go to customs for some stamps (stamps??? I thought I left Central America). The best part is that the customs office is downtown. I paid my tolls to leave the airport, headed downtown and was greeted by a customs officer with no personality. He was a bit confused why I was shipping a US registered bike from Argentina to the States. “If you did any offroading, the bike will need to be cleaned and fumigated at your expense. Did you do any offroading?” he asked me. I answered “Nope, always on the pavement” (wink wink). 30 minutes later I got my stamps and headed back to the airport. Despite the fact that I was told I’d not have to pay anything when picking the bike up in Boston I still had to pay a $30 fee (that apparently all shipments are charged). Here’s the guys bringing the bike.
Loading the bike onto the trailer.
With the bike back home it was unloaded and reassembled hassle free.
I guess it’s time to quit moving around because I’ve run out of pages in my passport. At the end the border officials started stamping over old stamps. Here are just a few.
Once I had the bike back up and running I met up with my friend, photographer Sid Ceaser for a post trip portrait session. You might remember the photos that Sid took just a few days before my trip started 6 months ago. Sid is a master with light and created some wonderful images. Here are a few “Before & After” photos with a few other tossed in the mix.
A Few More Photos.
And of course after five and a half months without a hair cut or a shave it was time to get cleaned up a bit. (Click here if video doesn’t work)
It’s been strange getting re-adjusted to “normal life” again. It’s great to see my friends and family but the adventure meter drops to zero. And what happened to all the Spanish? English… that’s no fun. I keep putting the TP into the waste basket and when I do remember to put it into the toilet I feel like I’m doing something naughty. I find it strange that all bathrooms are stocked with toilet paper and have toilet seats. I look at my closet full of clothes and I just want to wear the same shirt and pants I’ve been wearing for the last 6 months. I pulled up to the gas station and waited around for someone to pump my gas, sadly there was no attendant. Credit cards are now accepted everywhere (even when I paid the shipping agency to ship my bike home they made me pay in cash – to a bank down the street…). I went to a restaurant at home and they had 20 different kinds of turkey dishes – I’m used to walking in and asking what they have. They say chicken. I say “OK, I’ll have the chicken” nuff said. It’s a strange new world…
Charles and I have been keeping in touch since parting ways in Ecuador. He’s been rolling south and having a wonderful journey. Then he sends me this photo… In Quellon, Chile he got in an accident. Charles has no memory before the crash (or even for a while thereafter) but based on eyewitnesses he thinks he had a mechanical failure and lost control. Fortunately(?) for him he crashed into a fire truck. He broke 3 vertebrae, and twisted up his ankles, wrists, and knees. With a broken back he somehow managed to remove the tank bag, save only half of his camera’s memory cards, camping gear, and his passport. His other belongings, as well as the bike, were complete incinerated. His story made the front pages of both the local newspapers. Charles then spent 8 days in a Chilean hospital before returning home to Colorado. He’s doing well and studying to take the Bar exam this summer. Get well buddy!
Zoomed In… (For Sale: KTM 640 Adventure – light smoke damage)
I’ve really enjoyed sharing my story with you all. Thanks to everyone who followed along and for all the comments.
Until the next adventure…