As we launch off on the first line of this saga, there are two principles in action that guide the entire course of travel history as lived out by the author, whom you may have deduced by now, is me. These principles are: There is no such thing as a boring trip, only boring people travelling If you are going to be stupid, you’d better be tough Some years ago, as I slowly lurched toward fulfilling my role in gnawing at the ever - diminishing resources of the US Social Security system, I determined to do a motorcycle trip of somewhat less than epic proportions when circumstances allowed. You see, I have lived most of my working life outside my native land of the United States. Going through immigration and customs, processing work and residence visas, learning languages and becoming immersed in other cultures….all of this has dominated most of my adult life. I have been welcomed to live and work in many countries and cultures, including those that the official US policy is suspicious of. So no, I felt no need for a RTW trip….and I’ve already ridden motorcycle in Japan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, and of course the United States. Therefore, I decided it would be a great trip to ride across the northern tier of Canada from the east to west coast…same continent but still a true adventure. However, as I drew upon my experience growing up on a mosquito farm in northern Minnesota, my instincts for survival kicked in. I realised that the mosquito population in eastern Canada would pretty - well suck dry my hepatitis, malaria and typhoid riddled blood supply. But while the belching would signify that at least the appetites of a few are satiated, the thought of being cudgelled by swarms of hockey stick wielding mosquitoes in the Yukon because I had no blood left to give was more than my constitution could bear. There is an endless supply of those little drones who would consider my blood as a culinary delight, and they don’t take it lightly when the food runs out. And so, straight to Western Canada and the awaiting challenges of the Dempster Highway, and then, if possible, on to Alaska. ontheworldmap.com/canada/canada-road-map.html While pondering the prospect of fending off Canada’s finest, I mentioned to my nephew White Bear a desire to do this sort of trip. He is a better rider than me, can fix things, and is fun to be around.….so we agreed to go together. HimalayaJim, another friend, work colleague and kindred spirit, who recently finished up an international career similar to mine, was also keen. So, the threesome was set, and planning commenced via skype from Virginia, Minnesota and Afghanistan. Now, the reader should be forewarned that we are not previous winners of the Dakar. White Bear (age 44) owns a KTM 520 and an inherited Harley testosterone pump, has ridden a fair bit of off road in the Black Hills, Utah and Colorado and likely other places, but also the 300 mile stretches of Minnesota highways that have nary a curve. HimalayaJim (a few months older than me) has ridden in India, Nepal and the US but not sure where else. My riding resume includes a masochistic journey from Minnesota to Seattle to California and back on my trusty 1975 Honda XL350. I won’t give details, but memories included a 1.8 gallon gas tank during a period of gas shortages, a lariat wrapped around my headlight in case I had to be dragged gas-less across the Nevada desert or Bonneville Salt Flats, bicycle saddlebags draped over the gas tank, a seat narrow enough that it could have been used to cut bread, and a blaze orange Belstaff knock – off that welcomed rain to its inner – most sanctum like a long lost brother. Toughness overcame stupidity and I successfully completed the journey, arriving back home with $12 in my pocket…this was before the days when credit cards were introduced as the curriculum to educate those wallowing in principle #2 above on the joys of 18% interest for unpaid balances. I am also a member of the Iron Butt Association, having ridden 1,272 miles from Hermantown MN to Germantown MD in a 23-hour period on my trusty ’87 BMW K75S, in my opinion a bold – font member of the “Great Motorcycles” list. Again, this was not the result of thorough planning, I simply decided to do the ride after having already completed an undocumented day of more than 1,000 miles earlier in the trip. The plan and execution were simple: 70 mph = 53 mpg; 80 mph = 38 mpg. Ride far, not fast. Beware those rural areas where the only stop light in town is situated on the top of the local police car. Going faster may require a contribution to the local economy through the diligence of said officers lurking behind bushes with radar gun in hand (well, I assumed it was a radar gun……). No fine, all fine. The most recent trip, albeit short but tough, was September of 2018 when HimalayaJim and I met in Nepal and took the opportunity to go on a three - day ride through the eastern hills and up to the Tibetan border. “A piece of cake” you say. Well, sections of the road would say “No cake for me, thank you”. Riding two Royal Enfield Bullet 350s over sections of “roads” long since destroyed was enough of a challenge for us. Caution was the watchword for the day, as we traversed rocks, dust, landslides, all the while peering over the edge of the road to the post – monsoon Bhote Kosi (river) rushing below that would have sloshed us all the way through India to the Bay of Bengal. One 30 mile stretch of the trip took us 5 hours to navigate. That could have been a much faster journey for many, especially on the right kind of bike. But with 131 years of age between the two of us, we were keenly aware that we break, not bend or bounce, so speedy get offs were to be avoided if at all possible. And the trusty Enfield steed (fantastic, actually) is a unique beast because for all intents and purposes it has no suspension, and to ride fast would have resulted in our buttocks being driven up the spine to the point where we would look like hooded cobras read to strike. Also, the foot pegs stick out far enough to remind one of Boeing 747 wings….not to take flight, but to bludgeon every unsuspecting rock, hump or clump of dirt that got in its way. Enfields are the donkey of motorcycles, but quite frankly, much of the world relies on donkeys , who deserve high praise for keeping a large portion of the homo sapien population above ground. Thank you, Royal Enfield. Here’s Hee Haw to you. And just to make it clear, I don’t do Starbucks, bar hopping, Sturgis or Daytona Bike Week. I ride to ride…no stereo, cruz control, electronic this or computerised that (other than basics). My journeys are the outcome of the common commiseration of brain, wrist and butt….coalescing to provide freedom of movement, thought, and spirit.