Bryan: The hardest blog post ever – Trip End Report!
I have to say, that after doing the posts all the way along the trip, this has been a very hard one for me to even begin to summarize what was an epic trip, 6 years in the planning. It is like saying goodbye to a best friend, knowing you may never see them again! Perhaps the month long delay in the post has made this obvious
15 countries – 30,000K – 100days – 50,000 + blog views – $40,000 ++ raised for Kamloops hospice (Ernie gets all the credit on this incredible initiative)
The original intention of the blog was for our own memories, records and for close family and friends to travel along with us..this grew and the popularity of the blog along with the fundraiser helped in a big way to set the tone of the entire trip. We were amazed and how it helped keep us focused and strong, thank you to all that were interested and commented, it meant a lot and to us, and made our trip even more special!
Since I’ve been back much has happened; the fundraising dinner for Hospice, a very sincere thank you to my family; Jenny, Richard and dad from Ottawa, daughter Katey from Hamilton, friends Jim and Sonja from Calgary, Simon and Katrina and daughter Courtney from Vancouver, and Steve and Melissa from Victoria, for making the effort to come and celebrate with me. Thanks to our neighbors for putting them all up, Amigo Barry and Pam as well as Al and Colleen who are also many many thousands lighter after their generous donation and large contributions at the auction that nite. To our great Kamloops friends that helped us with our commitment to fill the hall, and to all others, local and at a distance, who contributed but did not attend, I am very, very appreciative. I am one lucky guy!
My 88 year old father from Ottawa, a chip off the old block?
Courtney, Karen and Katelynn, aka, the family!
Paisley Groove? But they were great!
Since being home, I have been challenged and asked a few times about my initial bio statements; Did the trip meet expectations, was it life changing, etc? So I’ll begin there:
It’s not about escaping, running from reality, situations, things, places, or people. I hope to come back a better person, husband, father, with a renewed fascination and a wider perspective of life.
Mission accomplished! Big time, way beyond what I ever hoped for on all counts!
I absolutely love my wife of 27 years, Karen and my two adult girls, all of who I am very proud of. I appreciate to the bone, the emotional and financial support this trip has required from my family and the forgiveness for time and emotional absence leading up to it. I know they learn from my exploits. I love the life that I have, and appreciate all of the friends I have. I am one very lucky man! I will miss our long evening chats by the fire. We have, and will again travel far and wide together, but on another day.
Mission accomplished! I have had a very very long leash for the enitre duration of my married life, I believe I have finally run out of leash or at least it will be a lot shorter one going forward! I think she kinda missed me! All great, looking ahead, we are now at a point where Karen and I will soon be able to do these trips together..not that Ernie and Barry weren’t exceptional to travel with.(more later)..but I look sooo forward to biking with Karen in the future.South Africa will likely be the next big one!
Hopefully I can keep up!
Karen going down in the sand last summer at an off road riding course!
Our daughters friends even followed the blog as well, they thought it was pretty cool, and I think they realized for the first time they don’t have to have all their traveling done by the age of 25. One unknown 20 something person even recommended the blog to her friend, not knowing that her friend Lisa Dorval was the one who set the blog up for me and was my background expert….thanks Lisa!
This trip is about enjoying health while I can, motorcycling. challenging myself, travelling with admired friends, learning, experiencing new people, places, scenery, smells, cultures, getting out of my comfort zone, and enjoying a break from routine.
Wow, wow, wow. I could go on for hours here….I am glad I did it when I did, knowing life can change too fast! Admired friends, if I thought it before, I have no idea how to express how much more I think of Ernie and Barry now….to the end of the earth and back these are the guys I want with me… No holes barred, greatest guys, I have known…Ifffffff I was to think of another trip, they would be the first I would ask. I so respect them; their never, ever give up attitude, willingness to dig in, get dirty and help, let alone sleep in the odd slaughterhouse in no man’s land….you have to be able to depend on people 100%, we met challenge after challenge, laughter and determination was always the approach, never a cross word spoken! Wow, I was honored to travel with you two. It also gave me an appreciation of what future potential I have. Both tough, tough friggin dudes, exceptional bikers, travel partners, love ya, admire ya! I’ll be calling you, but for shorter trips.
or Three Stooges?
Listening to tunes – Feeling my shoulders drop – Need for speed – Exhilaration – Smells – Open air – Freedom – People who come up and ask where you are going – Comradery of bikers and the public towards bikers – and of course that Quiet Magic Carpet Ride!
Mission accomplished big time – Holy Cow! Did not even know what day of the week it was, ever! Corners, more than in all previous riding for us combined, non stop scenery, smells, mostly good, rock star status, Comradery! Wow, wow, wow! I did not listen to any tunes the whole ride though, weird, I have no idea why?
Why this trip:
The southern Americas fascinate me – I have not been there – Bragging rights of having done the Americas top to bottom, Investigate for future travels/winters..who knows
Mission accomplished! I’ll be back with more time in hand – not to all countries, but would like to see more of Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Both Ernie and Barry are early risers, Merde
Yup, came back sleep deprived and sick! but hey, I survived!
So reviewing what I had written before the ride, it was epic indeed, better than I hoped for, but not life changing.
OK so now some highlights, lowlights, challenges, surprises
People – everywhere – Human nature is so good and people naturally helpful! South American people are at the top of the pile! Love em! They were so polite, if we were not by our bikes, they would seek us out to ask permission to take a picture, then thrilled beyond belief, when we’d say hop on, we’ll take the picture, or if we’d stand in the picture…
Scenery, while we are lucky, especially in BC, the world south of us has so much to offer, not better, but very different and ever changing, we were amazed by the enormity of stunning, ever changing landscapes we encountered most days. Most Epic: I am such a scenery buff, not sure there were so many…Columbia a real surprise, Peru for sure, but so many others…no absolutes.
Fantastic mountain motorcycle roads! Corners, corners corners!
The Comradery of course!
Patagonia – Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and then north to Bariloche, although Ushuaia itself is beautiful, it is nearly 5000K of desolate, barren, windy, no mans land. GPS map detail and accuracy in SA, we were glad we had them, but finding hotels, restaurants, even streets in some towns was near impossible, leading us to do this the old fashioned hard way, complicated with the challenges of one way streets. Eggs everywhere on everything, yuk! Wifi mostly sucks, many times leading to hours in order to upload pics onto our on blog! Huge cost variances in hotels and accommodations. Being away from home for 100 days, It was too long (although did not take away from the trip!)
Garbage; Fields outside of many cities (often downwind from town), and sometimes city meridians esp. in Southern America are used as waste lands for garbage. Livestock, dogs, and cats using this as feeding grounds….not good… Argentina, Bolivia, Peru being the most memorable. For all their beauty, it seems like very short sighted behavior.
Roads and Drivers; Generally improved moving north. Best drivers: Mexico bar none, worst Bolivia. he worst were Taxi’s, busses, then trucks. Playing bumper cars with taxis in La Paz, Bolivia! I could go on here, trust me, to say some are absolutely suicidal by our standards. We had to be quite conscious of returning ourselves back to NA driving standards as we can home, we had gone native in our driving habits! We had to to survive!
Having said all of that returning from Vancouver today from visiting my daughter Courtney, I was nearly wiped out! Driving my highly coveted Porsche, driving in the passing lane, comfortably north of the posted speed in the passing lane on a three lane stretch of road, a semi in the slow lane veered unexpectedly into the middle lane, the driver in the middle lane panicked and veered heavily into my lane, hitting my mirror with his door, meaning millimeters from a full on impact. Mad that my precious car was getting wrecked, no where to go but a cement median, I braked heavily to scrub off speed, before hitting the cement wall. Now quickly moving beyond loosing my car, I switched to pure survival mode, afraid to take my hands off the wheel to use the horn, bracing myself heavily for what was imminent! However as Amigo luck would have it, the squealing tires and massive smoke plume that ensued, shook everyone to their senses, a near tragedy was avoided, scratches on my mirror and rubber marks on my front fender, will be memories forever. Lesson learned do not ever relax when other drivers are involved.
Fortunately the car and I live for another day!
Standard of living; generally it improved as you move northward…still precious few have what we have in Canada and US. Our 8 year old Honda van was better that 90+% of what we saw on the road. Rock star status! Our bikes might have been gold plated given the attention we received with them..so far out of reach for most south of us…We saw many houses dug into hillsides in the middle of nowhere, pole framed, plastic walled or covered in recycled materials of all sorts.
Many/most countries are police/army states, guns galore, roadblocks everywhere, local residents are questioned about any travel.
Most people we encountered, work very long days, 6 days a week, to late at nite, back early in the morning. I say this as I return to work on a reduced 4 day a week basis, as I wind down my career!
We live beyond the imagination of most and are so, so lucky!
A big vote of appreciation to Barry and Ernie, for making this trip special in every way.
Lastly, Karen, thank you for your huge support and never, ever making me feel guilty about this selfish endeavour. I love ya.
Hasta La Vista Amigos, from one “Lucky Bastard”!