Greetings! Well, after lurking around this forum for almost a year, it is now my turn to give back. I've received a tremendous amont guidance and inspiration from many here and some I've even had the privilege to meet in person. The list is quite long, but you can go to my website and see all the background and prep for this trip. I have there the background stories and some highlights of me meeting a few of the more distinguished Inmates.
At the time, I didn't quite understand why so many of these reports, even those who are being posted in "real time" often don't start until they are already on the road. I NOW UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY.
It is now day 2 of my adventure and I'm just now starting this ride report. The irony is oh so thick.
So here is some quick background and then I get right into the ride report on my next post. I'm summarizing a few months worth of writing and prep in a few lines, but here goes.
It's February 1997, and after turning in my last paper and brining grad school to a close, I hop on a train traveling from Brussels to Wurzburg, Germany. As I have a few hours to kill, I reach into my backpack and pull out a book my friend Massimo Piras had given me the night before the long journey. I had never heard of the author before he handed me the book, but Massimo insisted it was a must read. It turns out the book is "Investment Biker" by Jim Rogers - the epic adventure of Jim and Tabitha going across the globe on motorcycles, sharing their perspectives of what was then a new world order after the fall of the Soviet Union. The timing and unique lens that Jim presents, not only of the adventure, but of how he viewed the changes in the world was incredibly present for me as I had been a student of international relations for many years and I had just wrapped up an MBA while living in Europe's business and political center for the past two years.
Now, nearly fifteen years later, I found myself at a crossroads and thought to reep the fruits of these seeds I had been planted so long ago. Now is the time!
So since May of last year I started charting out my adventure. I started with reading this and other forums to exhaustion and where ever possible, having exchanges by email, phone, Skype or a few times even in person, with those who had done this type of long term traveling adventures. Those pearls have become invaluable to me.
I started with the route, deciding to start in Guatemala and heading south to Rio de Janeiro - sorry, I just wasn't that excited to go down to Patagonia nor did I have the time to be able to go that far. I think ending this in Rio will be just fine.
This was followed in looking into the bike. Everyone and their grandmother had done this type of a trip on a BMW and KTM. Great bikes, but I wanted to do something different. Also, I didn't have the ability to finance the whole trip by myself, at least not how I had envisioned it, so I wanted to try to get a few sponsors to help with some of the costs that would go into the trip - more on how the sponsors tie in later.
After much research, testing, and countless visits to not one, but six dealers across the region and in the US, I decided upon the Triumph Tiger 800XC. This is a relatively new player in the adventure market, but it is amazing how they have taken the best experiences and technology from the mature adventure market and integrated them into their new design.
... sorry, a short break in the story, my battery is running out. Will post more tomorrow and get the first couple reports up... unitl then...
April 22, 2013 - Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
So, after selecting the bike, like many of you, I did a massive amount of research. I do have to give special thanks to some of the more prominent members of the forum and who have just recently gone through their travels and reported on here. Radioman has just an amazing story to tell - simply part of ADV Royalty. Antihero throws a little Zen master while reporting on an amazing journey in what most would deem an unconventional selection for a bike, but he makes it look easy. John Downs whom I personally met a few months ago in Guatemala City. I don't think I've been a more easy going, well mannered, and just with an "all is right with the world" guy. Dylan Samarawickrama who is currently crossing the Darien Gap on a boat he built and is using his motorcycle to power the craft. I know myself and many others would deem their adventure for sissies in comparison to this chap. Fritz PORKANDCORN whom is doing a similar trip as we speak and is going from South to North. Maybe our paths will cross in Colombia. Orisin Hughes who is just a video-making Mongolian cruising legend.
I won't go much more into details here, as I know you all want to get into the ride report, so if you want to read the background on my story, just go to the webiste... there is plenty of fodder there. Enjoy the ride!