So, I thought I should get this all down in one form or another before my THC-polluted memory bank fizzles away into just a color-filled haze. This has been a journey years in the making, covering well over 30,000 miles. It includes adventure, mishaps, bloodshed, and an un-expected tale of love and loss. I don't know what I really expected to get from all of this. Hell, I barely even had a plan in mind. No final location, no goal at the end of the day or mile marker to aim for. Just get back on and ride. And after all, what's a story if it hasn't been told. It would be a shame to let these experiences and memories remain locked up in my jumble of misfiring neurons known as the mind.
We'll start out with a simple introduction. Here we have our fearless (and a bit clueless) leader.
This handsome Italian fellow goes by many names. Alex at birth, I have been known to reply to anything from Al, to Al-Buns, Exalander, Upstate, Road-rash, and Burnout. Hell, if you can catch me in a brief moment of lucidity as I stumble about my natural environment, I'll answer to damn near anything, with an abundance of “Dude” and “Man” being thrown about. But don't let the bad-ass shades fool you, I'm far from intimidating. Quite the opposite, really.
Now, I've always been an adventurous soul. I've had the term “free spirit” thrown my direction more than once. Growing up in upstate New York in a predominantly lower-middle class household, I really had to get creative to get my fix. There were no amusement parks, and the funding wasn't there for any vacation above an annual trip to one distant relative or another. So I amused myself with what I did have an abundance of, restricted access. If I wasn't supposed to be there, I wanted in. Even at a very young age, barely into my teens, I had a fort which was nothing more than an abandoned warehouse down by the railroad tracks. I'd spend entire summers there, and have the scar tissue to prove it. Re-inventing myself as what would become known as an “Urban Explorer”, I was able to occupy myself for years creating a rather impressive database of various abandonments, semi-abandonments, and various natural wonders. With a website to feed, and a crew of misfits, I have seen quite a bit. Been everywhere from defunct city armories
to a vast network of drainage tunnels beneath the city
to caves and caverns, both man made and natural
long forgotten subway tunnels and massive railroad terminals
and vacant power plants powerful enough to light a city of 220,000.
These adventures were often fairly well planned out, including recon and security scheduling, but were fairly poorly funded. This often times resulted in a lot of necessary equipment being jimmy-rigged by whatever I had on hand, including a repelling harness fashioned from a length of tow rope
just to figure out what the hell this hole was all about.
These tendencies and my often overpowering curiosity blended well with the art of adventure touring and would manifest themselves numerous times throughout the years.