(earlier this morning)
what better time to start a motorcycle adventure blog than on an airplane at 30,000 ft after 2 hours of sleep and strange dreams. my flight from portland, oregon
(home) to santiago, chile
(starting point) lands in an hour. i'm surrounded by people shaking in the darkened turbulence, with blankets over their heads.
and so it has begun... four months, eight countries, lots of pavement, gravel, sand and dirt. it's been almost a year exactly since i cooked up this idea. it's not a new concept - countless thousands have done it before me. in general, i will go where the bike takes me. i've been riding street motorcycles since i was 10 or so, but am relatively new to adventure riding and off-road riding. i've travelled the world a good amount, but never on two wheels. i have a week to kill until i pick up my bike at the valparaiso, chile container port about 2 hours west of here on the coast.
i'm not new to the continent. i lived for a year in brazil, and i will return there in a few weeks to visit some old friends on the 10-year anniversary of that stay. my portuguese is ok, but rusty. my spanish is getting better, but i'm often afraid to speak it. that will pass. without learning the language, it's very hard to ever get beyond being a tourist. i put a lot of effort into learning to speak the language, and it will pay off with time.
i've chosen a black 2012 triumph tiger 800xc
as my mode of transport. i had 2 weeks in canada this past summer
to test out the bike and the gear. feel free to visit my "obsessive-compulsive south america trip preparation"
thread. i knew the roads of south america would be challenging from the research - you can find anything from perfect pavement, to washed out gravel, to potholes the size of a truck. i'm 6' 4" and 225 lbs, and have a bit of a messed up neck with 4 blown cervical discs. i wanted a lighter bike to make it easier on myself, but still wanted enough power to pass authoritatively, and enough comfort to ride 15,000 - 20,000 miles in several months. after test rides at a local dealer, i was about to purchase a used 2009 bmw f800gs - then i was encouraged to test out a triumph tiger 800xc. not sure what happened that, day, but i feel in love with the tiger instantly and within a couple of weeks decided to throw down for a new one at oregon's oldest triumph dealer, cascade moto classics
. (great bunch of people!)
i'll try to be as honest as i can in my reporting of the places i visit, the people i meet along the way, and the impact of this external and internal journey on myself. i'll try to capture and post photos and videos that represent the way i experience the continent. a traveler away from the comforts and complacency that is often "home" has eyes that are alive. the good and the bad alike enrich you. i saw a sticker on a motorcycle once that said "the only thing you can buy that makes you richer, is travel." i believe that to be true.
i have chosen a rubber duck as my traveling companion. we have traveled together before. i used to take him everywhere. i stopped doing this for some reason that i don't know. maybe this is what i am here in south america to find out. i feel better now that he and i are traveling, and exploring the world together again. don't laugh at the duck
- he has been a valuable asset in many parts of the world. something about him bridges the gap between cultures, lowers people's guard. i think he is a symbol of innocence, of youth, and of wonder. everyone loves a rubber duck.
we only live once. a man and his duck must make the most of it. and the sleeper must awaken
, on Flickr
my friend and protector
, on Flickr
porkandcorn on the icefields parkway, jasper, ab, canada
, on Flickr