ADVrider Inmate interview series will be a weekly feature highlighting some well known (and some not so well known) riders that inspire others with their travels, tales, attitude, photography, humility, bikes and general ups and downs of life on the road. They maybe inmates who ride a few days, weeks, months or even years and tell their stories, their way. The Inmate Series will let you get to know them and inspire you to go and read their Ride Reports and maybe follow in their tire tracks.
@flyingdutchman177 has two of the most read ride reports on ADVrider, combined they have over 5.9 million views, with over 100 countries ridden (and still going), multiple bikes and still riding and let’s not forget his love of life and love of wine!
Around the World in 800 Days started in the summer of 2012 and ran until the summer of 2014 when he took a short break, then Ed continued until the end of 2017 with Around the World Ed-venn-ture the next 800 days epic tales of countries some will never see, seen through the eyes of someone with a passion for life
Tell us about your inmate name, how did you come up with it?
The name comes from an opera by Richard Wagner.
It is about a cursed captain doomed to sail the seas for an eternity and his redemption can only occur if he finds a woman’s love that is pure and true.
In my case, it is a motorcycle, not a ship. I am sort of a hopeless romantic, hoping to find my true love while exploring the world.
The number is my favorite number as it was used by the Mini Cooper S that won the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally – my first and favorite car as a child.
Are you riding anywhere right now or planning to go next?
I just returned from 3 1/2 months in Europe this past summer. Currently, I am in Baja Mexico exploring some fun routes and trails for the new Africa Twin Baja Adventure bike tours for Chris Haines. I am really excited to share my passion for Baja and riding motorcycles here with others.
What is your current bike?
I still have my BMW R1200GS ADV that I rode around the world. It still looks and runs like new. I also have a Honda CBR1100XX in California that I use as my daily transportation when I am back here. I have a Honda CRF250L that I keep in Thailand and Honda VFR800 that I keep in Europe. Crazy as it sounds, I am actively researching my next bike for my next Edventure…….I just need the money for it. I am broke again but feel richer than ever.
Do you have a dream bike that isn’t your current bike – if you had an unlimited budget?
Unfortunately, my dream bike doesn’t exist yet. But it would look like a new Honda Africa Twin, only weigh 100 pounds less. The SWM Dual Sport comes very close to what I would like to have (with Honda reliability).
Where is your favorite country to ride and why, and which other two round out your top three?
I would have a tough time picking my favorite country to ride but it would come down to between Baja Mexico and Northern Thailand/Vietnam. While it isn’t a country, my third pick would be riding around Europe because of the diversity in landscape and culture. But I have been pretty spoiled growing up in California as well. The Western US should be on the top of everyone’s favorite motorcycle riding destinations.
Is there one particular road or track that stands out above all the rest?
The “real” death road in Northern India – Kishtwar to Killar. It was my dream to ride that one and you have to experience it to appreciate it. Good luck getting there. The road itself wasn’t all that scary but being ambushed the day before by Muslim extremists in the Khasmir province was about a scary as it gets.
A dream location to ride to that you have yet to visit?
I still have the rest of Africa to experience. I also want to see Japan, Mongolia, Indonesia, Western China and the Eastern part of South America.
Scariest moment on your travels?
Besides the event in Khasmir mentioned above, I have had quite a few guns put in my face, woke up to Arabs shooting rifles at me and being robbed at knife and gunpoint, and then chasing down the bandits in my underwear to get my phone back. But my scariest moment was getting sick in Colombia and feeling so alone that if I died – who would know and who would care.
Most memorable day?
That epic 6-day trek on foot that I did in Nepal from Jomsom to Tilicho Lake – and surviving. Not sure anyone has done that before, solo.
Do you think more people should travel and why?
Traveling is definitely not for everyone. But the people that do travel considerably, I have noticed, are more tolerant of other cultures and ways of life. And that is what the world needs more of right now – tolerance.
Top 3 tips for a new rider?
1) Start. Stop talking about it and just go
2) Don’t have a set itinerary. Stay flexible or you will be forced to pass doors that will open up for you that you didn’t know existed.
3) Don’t sweat the details. Things won’t always work out. But with a little resourcefulness, you can overcome just about anything. That’s why I became an Astronaut. And if something bad does happen, it might, in fact, turn out to be a positive and fun experience in the end.
When you aren’t riding what do you do for a job or used to do for a job?
I used to work in the Commercial Real Estate industry, developing shopping centers. That industry collapsed in 2007 so I hit the road. Now I am a traveling Astronaut, a vagabond trying to reinvent myself.
What does the word ‘adventure’ mean to you?
Great question! For some, it is joining a tour company, shelling out tons of dough and doing an African Safari with all the comforts and services of a 5-star resort. For me, adventure has to contain two things – risk and uncertainty. Everything else is just a vacation.
What is your one favorite photo ever from all your travels?
OMG. Not sure I could pick one. I do like the one of me camped in the Sahara Desert and drinking a bottle of 2006 Brunello di Montalcino.
After over 100 countries do you still have the motivation for long-term travel?
My motivation actually consumes me. Call it a sickness or what you want, but it is all I think about. With that said, I would also like to have a home – something I have been without for the past 6 years. I would like to have a base to return to where I have all my stuff to feel safe and secure. But perhaps if I ever got a home again, I would have the motivation to leave again. It is hard being on the road for so long – but I love it! Plus there is still so much more in the world to see and see again.
You return to Baja often for tours, over the years what change have you seen in the riders?
I am here in Baja right now. I have been riding down here for the past 30 years. I have always seen guys down here on dirt bikes – and it does have some of the best off-road riding in the world. But today, I can’t believe how many big adventure bikes I see down here riding the highway down the peninsula to Cabo. And it is truly one of the best rides one can take on any sort of bike. When I see a fully loaded GS pass by me, I can’t help but wonder if I helped inspire their purchase and desire to explore the world outside the US.
Which was the best wine you’ve had in all the countries you’ve ridden through?
Haha – only I would be asked such a question. Part of my motivation to explore the world was to visit as many wine regions as possible and taste the wines there. The wineries on the Pacific Coast of the US are certainly world class, as are the wines from the various wine regions of Spain, Italy, and France. Bulgaria was a big surprise for me. And I fell in love with the wine from Georgia and the country itself. Argentina Malbecs are some of my favorites. But if I could only pick one wine and winery, it was Clos Apalta in Chile…….I can still taste it- YUM!
Any countries you regret going to for any reason?
It is easier to pick my least favorite places than it is my favorite. I tell people that Mauritania was my least favorite countries in the world. At the time, I told myself that I never wanted to go back. But over time, my memory fades. And I can honestly say, there is no country that I would not go back to. Some I liked better than others but I gained experience and knowledge from each and everyone one. And that is why I love to travel and explore. For me, it’s all about the ” Edventures”.
When Ed’s not posting on ADVrider you can find him also on Facebook.