ADV Rider Community,
Hey guys, I'm David. First off, sorry for the incredibly long-winded intro here, but I wanted to get it all in. So, here goes...
Seven years ago I received a promotion to move my wife, life, and me to Denver from sunny San Diego. I got to Denver and loved the city, culture, and people, but HATED
my job. I spent two years in front of a computer trying to figure out what I'd gotten myself into. Luckily, I found ADV Rider, which kept me occupied during those long days in the office. I read RR after RR and thought to myself, "people actually do these crazy trips?!?". The seed had been planted, and fast forward to now I can't believe I'm actually writing my own. I feel that I owe it to the community to share my story since some of you kept me going during dark times in corporate hell (and dark times in general). I thought, "someday
I'll escape and do a trip like that!"...
Rewinding back a bit further, and a little more about me, I'm originally from Atlanta. I grew up there and had a good childhood. I eventually went on to move downtown and study marketing at GA State Univ. From there (after a fair amount of partying, dj'ing, and general rabble-rousing) I got a job out of college in consumer electronics sales. I excelled and flourished in my career and eventually moved into management, and larger territories. The job I hated in Denver forced me to switch companies and I moved into the wireless industry. I worked for a carrier in B2B sales and management for awhile, and for the last five years I've worked for an OEM handset manufacturer. I always thought climbing the corporate ladder and making money would provide happiness in life. Well, I was wrong. So long story short, I've quit. My last day at work was this past Friday and I feel fantastic!
Learn more about who I am here:
Other big life changes that have recently occurred are A) sold my car, B) sold my house, C) got rid of a lot of possessions and moved the rest into a 10x10 storage unit, and D) got a divorce. The car and house things are HUGE, and necessary steps to take this trip, but I'll touch on the divorce thing. I met M (we'll call her M) in Atlanta. She is originally from Medellin, Colombia and moved stateside to attend college. She was exotic, beautiful, charming, well traveled, and essentially everything I wanted in a partner. Problem was, she didn't exactly feel the same about me. However, like the salesman I am I was persistent and finally 'closed the deal' a year or so later. We were married in 2004 just prior to the move to San Diego (another job promotion). We stayed married until May of this year, so that was approx 9 years. From the time I was 25 to 35. I'll spare you the gory details of the divorce, but long story short, she changed, I changed, we changed, so decided to split. It has been incredibly hard for me, but has also been a major impetus to do this adventure/journey/motorized walkabout.
See more reasons for the trip here:
Another major stressor in my life currently is that my stepfather is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. A few years back he was diagnosed with colon cancer during his first routine insurance approved exam at 50 (side note - get checked!). It was stage IV out of the gate and has since spread to his liver and lungs. The first few chemo treatments worked, but recently the docs decided it was time to stop all treatment and let nature run its course. So, I'm actually heading out from Denver this Friday (Nov 8th) to first go to Atlanta. This in an effort to spend time with and care for both my stepfather and mother during the transition. It will be very, very difficult to be there for that process, but it is the right thing to do. And to be honest, I'm honored to have been invited in during such an intimate moment in someone's life. It will certainly be powerful to say the least leading into my own trip/journey.
On a less somber note, my passion for motorcycles started when I was a young boy. In fact, I don't remember beginning to like them and have no idea why the urge to have one was so strong. I do however remember dreaming about my first dirt bike night after night - year after year, and my dad finally surprising me with one on my 12th birthday. It was a huge old Yamaha Enduro 175 that I couldn't even touch the ground on. On my first ride, I kicked the bike into gear, grabbed a handful of throttle, and immediately crashed directly into the back deck in front of all my friends (got that out of the way early!). I learned to ride the heck out of it though and never looked back. Since then I've kicked my leg over and/or raced too many bikes to count.
I started racing motorcycles in 2008 with the MRA (Motorcycle Roadracing Association) in and around Colorado. I had a decent rookie season with a handful of podium finishes, but a nasty 100+mph crash at Pueblo Motorsports Park left me on the sidelines for the last few races of 2008 and all of 2009. I came back in 2010 and got back up to speed relatively quick. In 2011 I decided to get back to basics and race in the inaugural season of the Ninja 250 spec class. This in an effort to get more comfortable braking later and carrying more corner speed on the smaller bike. I also picked up supermoto riding/racing and took home several first place trophies in the Colorado Supermoto Series. All the training, money, time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears paid off in 2012 as I was able to win multiple races, and win my first class championship. Crossing the finish line in the final race was a feeling like no other and something I can't explain. It was definitely one of the most exhilarating and emotional experiences of my life.
The rough plan for the trip is to leave Friday (Nov 8th) for Atlanta. Then depending on happenings in Atlanta I plan to depart on the 'real' trip on/around Dec 15th. If I'm a day, week, or even a month late it shouldn't matter much as I'm not booked on the Stahlratte until March 3rd. I plan to do Mexico and the remainder of C.A. I'll spend some time in Panama City with a friend of mine Estefania prior to setting off for Colombia. Then my thoughts are Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and possibly Argentina. I have plenty of experience traveling and of course plenty of experience on bikes. However, I don't have much experience traveling long distance on a motorbike or maintenance/repair know-how (I know how to ride em', but not how to work on em'). Due to the racing over the years I can perform all necessary prep and maintenance (i.e. wheel/tire changes, chain adjustments, lever/cable repairs, oil and air filter changes, etc), but when it comes to electrical and/or cracking a case, I'm clueless. I guess that's part of the adventure eh?
Get more specific route info here:
So that's probably enough for one post... I'll continue in the next with bike and gear info. I'm excited, scared, nervous, but as ready as I'll ever be. Thanks for letting me share and I hope to take some of you along for the ride!
PS... I'll try to keep it rubber side down. Well, at least one wheel.