Table of Contents: 2008 - Texas to the Arctic Circle by Ural 2011 - East Coast of the USA 2012 - Chile and Argentina 2012 - Bolivia 2012 - Peru 2012 - Ecuador 2012 - Colombia * *** * About 6 months ago, my wife's brother passed away. He was 31 and her best friend. In an instant, our world in Texas shattered around us. One her favorite pictures of the two of them: Move forward to 5 months ago, with the wounds of his death still fresh, my wife (Kristen) came to me with a few life changing words. "It's time for us to go", she said. We talked at length about our future for the next couple of days and both realized that her brother's death had immediately taught us that we were meant to EXPERIENCE life, not just watch it pass by. More importantly to Kristen, she now felt as if she needed to live for her and her brother. And so it was decided. A change was imminent. * We are not completely new to motorcycle travel. In 2008 we made our way up the Dempster Highway in Canada to the Arctic Circle and the end of the road in Inuvik by Ural and sidecar. We spent 2 months on the road and realized that for us, it was the best way to travel and one of the best memories we have as a married couple. So when it came time for us to really decide what we wanted to do, traveling by motorcycle kept coming to the forefront of the conversation. And suddenly, before I even really knew what I was doing, I was writing a check for a 2011 BMW GS1200 Adventure. Shortly after that, I began talking with Claude Stanley from CStanley Motorsports about having him build us a custom sidecar. It turns out that he was the perfect guy for what we needed and before long, Claude and his team were building an outfit that was designed to fit our particular needs. * At the end of July, Kristen and I rode our new bike up to Claude in Pennsylvania. It was a blast (even though the heat was seriously oppressive) and I have to admit that I was a little sad when we finally dropped the bike off at his shop to have the real work begin. Kristen was happy because she was tired of seeing the back of my head and when I'm honest with myself, I really am like a grapefruit on a toothpick. A sidecar is much better suited for photography... * We then headed back home to San Antonio, TX and moved forward with what we had talked about 2 months earlier. We were going to sell it all. The house. The cars. Everything that had held us down in the past was going to go. The process was painful and long, but we eventually had a massive estate sale, moved the rest into storage and put our house on the market. We had worked extremely hard in the past couple of years and had saved enough, but with the sale of our belongings, we realized that world travel was actually possible. We had to say goodbye to our dog, Bacon, who is staying with Kristen's parents while we're away. I had no idea how hard it would be to leave him but he's happy at my inlaws... ...he has his buddy Bella to hang out with. Eventually, we had to say goodbye to our parents, my sisters and our nephew and niece, who desperately wanted to come with us: On October 3, 2011 we left San Antonio for an indefinite period of time to retrieve our sidecar rig from Claude and then move as please about the world. We have several plans written in stone but for the most part, we'll be traveling free while always having the option of staying in a location that we stumble upon for an extended period of time or heading back to Texas if we feel like it. * To give you a taste for what we have in mind, before we left we knew we wanted to see the NorthEast in time for the fall foliage seeing as I had never been to that area of the country and we had the opportunity to do some photography work on the side. We also knew that we wanted to make our way the Florida Keys and possibly the Bahamas to do some more photography work (underwater). We also knew that we really wanted to travel in South America and at some point, we needed to get to the island of Tonga in an attempt to swim with and photograph humpback whales. Yes, I realize that sounds random but for what we're doing, planning on the go is perfect. * We're already a month into our trip, so we'll have to play a little catch up: Our trip to Claude's shop was a success in that our new sidecar rig is unbelievably perfect for what we wanted. The quality is fantastic, the attention to detail is uncanny and it is functioning really well. * Drum roll: * * * * Back at the shop, I helped (watched) Claude and his team do some last minute wiring and fabricating. * * And after taking up several days of Claude's time, we were off in our new rig! Thank you CSM - you guys were great and extremely hospitable. ...more to come.