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Old 08-28-2009, 02:32 AM   #16
T.H.E OP
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Aug, 24. Camp Wal-Mart

No surprise here, I woke up late again. 4 days of warm bed and good company has spoiled me pretty bad. The light was on in the room so I figured that Sabina tried to wake me up but to no avail. I started packing my stuff right away and got on the road.
Highway 16 goes out of Edmonton for about 70km before adapting with highway 43 which leads to the famous Alaska Highway. It took about 2 hours to get to highway 43 because of all the constructions but finally made it. Alaska Highway is a giant and well maintained road (well mostly) which starts in Dawson Creek, BC and runs across the Canada to Alaska. It is eye bothering green everywhere you look and at times I thought I was in Ireland. Towns are getting father apart and gas prices are soaring by the mile.
Because of my late start, my goal was to get to Grande Prairie, about 400km north. I stopped for lunch at a gravel turnout next to an impenetrable forest of aspen. I had my usual tuna in olive oil and a wheat English muffin. English muffin tastes just like bread but lasts much longer. The tuna in olive oil is my staple diet and can be prepared a million different ways. (Which all taste the same by the way) it also is a good source of protein and fat. I didn’t take my eyes off of the forest edge which was 15 feet away for fear of a grizzly charging at my tuna can. I need to get some bear spray.
After riding on a construction zone before Grande Prairie on a 20km grooved road, I made into town. These grooved surfaces are not dangerous per se but novice riders seem to have a heart attack when they encounter one because the grooves on the road take the bike in their path and it feels like that the bike has a mind of its own. 80 km/h on groovies was a treat after a long stretch of a flat highway.
I stopped at Wal-Mart and got a tire repair kit (which I had but forgot to bring with me), bottle of sunscreen and stocked up on stew and fish for the next few days. I was ready to head out of town and look for a camping spot but then I decided to pitch the tent right here at Wal-Mart and call it good. Italian wedding soup and two English muffin for dinner, cup of hot chocolate and a cookie for dessert. Camp Wal-Mart is quite and cozy. Let’s see if I can wake up early tomorrow.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:32 AM   #17
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Aug, 25th to 28th. Alaska Highway

I’ve combined three days of writing into one. I will be out of contact for next 6 days so stay tuned and pray for good weather or I might not come back at all. Dempster is not a road to take lightly.
The 25th started rather cold and cloudy. I woke up around 8 am and left Wal-Mart, dressed up in my winter gear. I had no luck locating a bear spray in Grande Prairie so I made it my mission to find one before I get eaten alive.
Storms up here tend to come from the north unlike the United States that’s normally from east or west. When something is coming down, I’m riding right into it and there is no way around it. It felt so cold that I thought it was going to snow at any moment but it never happened. When I got to Dawson Creek, I finally found a bear spray and officially started my journey on the Alaska Highway.
The Alaska Highway is the most magnificent highway I’ve ever seen. With its twist and turns, sky high spruces, thick alders, high mountain lakes and the mesmerizing sceneries, it is something out of a dream. The country up here is so wide and so wild that one can’t help admiring this beautiful land of plenty. Deer, caribou, buffalo and bears all roaming wild. Babbling brooks and raging rivers at every bend, puts this highway in the league of its own. It’s awfully gorgeous.
At one of my pit stops, I met an older gentleman on a brand new Kawasaki Vulcan who was also headed north. Jean-Luc Darcy is in his sixties and is a Vietnam veteran who’s going to Whitehorse for the Canadian legion ceremony. Born in Belgium and schooled in Canada he has traveled the10K miles round trip from his home in Colorado to Alaska 3 times on a motorcycle and is under way to rack his 4th one.
After sharing a smoke, we got back on the road and since we were heading the same route, we stopped at the same turnouts and became friends in no time. We stopped at a remote (everything is remote here) restaurant near Pink Mountain called Mel & Mags. I had the most amazing meat casserole I ever had in my life along with a giant plate of five different salads from the salad-bar. The place was clean and staff so friendly that we ended up staying there for almost 2 hours. This place is highly recommended and if you don’t know me well, I am the most anal person in the world when it comes to food.
I was planning on camping out but Jean-Luc offered to get a room for both us which I didn’t argue with too much. We stopped at Fort Nelson for the night. At the Bluebell Inn, the internet was non-existent so no update could be done that night but after a couple of beers, I found out Jean-Luc is not going to Alaska after all. He’s heading with me to the Arctic Circle (I might have had something to do with it but I blame it on beers). We studied the maps and made assault plans for the duet late into the night. Two is always better that one I suppose.
The next morning I re-arranged my stuff on the bike; I moved the gas cans to the side and put the tent and sleeping bag inside my backpack. Now the pack sits about 10 inches lower and what a huge difference that made. No more getting blown over with every gust. Now I can actually ride as fast as I want without holding on to the O-Shit-Bar for dear life.
Fort Nelson to Watson Lake was only a 6 hour ride but we were wrong again. The road turned into a demon and I had one of the most nerve wrecking rides of my life. The highway construction Ninjas had dumped loose gravel for 300 kilometers and left for China I suppose. If caribous popping out of every corner, crazy truck drivers going 90mh and bombarding us with rocks and the bike fish-tailing and sliding on the ice-like surface of the road weren’t enough, we had to watch out for buffalos crossing the road like it was a parade of some sort. We stopped every 30 minutes to rest and bitch at the road and after 9 hours of tackling this death-trap we decided we had enough. We stopped at a provincial park and camped out. Soup and English muffin was my complement and camping fee was Jean’s. We cleaned the bikes and setup our tents and before we knew it, the sun was coming up.
We left the Liard campground at 9am and we hoped to get to Whitehorse by nightfall. Whitehorse was 422 miles away and the construction had ended right after the park so we rode out in style. At one point I thought I saw a monkey then I figured I was hallucinating from starving to death so I picked up some speed and found a restaurant. We had eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast for breakfast and I checked my emails while we were there. The whitefish pilot published an article about me that I thought was interesting. Matt Baldwin, thank you if you are reading this.
We walked out of the café to black skies and cold wind from the north. The weather up here is like a woman; one minute it’s all nice and lovely and a minute later it starts throwing tantrum. It started raining shortly after and it got colder by the minute and time stood still while we got soaked to the bone. Out of my fogged up goggle I saw a loaded bicycle crashed on a road whit what looked like a human body face down next to it. I hit the break hard and turned around for the scene of the crash and started running while taking my helmet and trying to take my goggles off at the same time. When I got there the body was moving and found a guy lifting his head up and trying to tell me something but I couldn’t hear anything. I took out my ear plugs and asked the guy what happened again. He was just drunk and there was no accident. He said he was trying to get out of the rain and take a nap. I was furious. This asshole almost got me killed by breaking that hard on a wet road and there was nothing wrong with him. I told him to get his shit off the highway and move to the shoulder before he really gets run over and walked back to my bike. Now my head the only part of my body that wasn’t wet was soaking too. I told Jean-Luc that we should ride all the way to Whitehorse no matter what and we can dry off in Wal-Mart or something but his hip was hurting him pretty bad and he wasn’t about to ride another 2 hours in the rain. He wanted to get a hotel room and stay in the next town so I told him I’m on a budget and can’t afford that kind of luxury. He offered his room and I didn’t argue either. We stopped at Teslin Lake in the Yukon Territory and got a lake-front cabin for the night. It’s a beautiful lake and a very nice cabin that I’m sure costs quite a bit. We started spreading everything all over the room to dry and I made more soup and cooked some rice for dinner.
We are heading to Whitehorse tomorrow morning and we’ll leave Whitehorse for Dawson City the next day. Dawson city is the last stop in semi-civilized world up here before we start on the Dempster highway for the Arctic Ocean. The Dempster is a notorious dirt road that is 750 kilometer long that goes all the way to Inuvik. If the rain stops and conditions are half decent, we should be dipping our toes in the ice water of the ocean above. Till then…








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Old 08-30-2009, 08:05 PM   #18
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Aug, 30th. Revelation Camp, Yukon territory

“After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, a voice as of a trumpet speaking with me, one saying, Come up hither, and I will shew thee the things which must come to pass hereafter.” Book of Revelations 4-22

I have been holed up here in Yukon Territory for 4 days and 3 nights and have seen weather like I’ve never seen before. I’ve gotten ready to break camp and get on the road a million times but in blink of an eye, the sky turns apocalyptic and Hail, rain, thunder, wind and agony dumps on me. If the end of the world is not coming, I’d be surprised.
The place I’m staying at is called Robert Service Campground just outside of Whitehorse. The famous poet, Robert service lived here for number of years before he married a Parisienne and eventually moved to Paris. The campground is nice and clean and has a common area called the living room which is few couches and a fire pit covered with a tarp overhead. I spend most of my time in the living room talking to people and working online. You meet people from all over the world and intelligent ones at that. I met Tammy Elliott; a plantologist who is doing a research on “High Alpine Tundra Ecology” here in Yukon. She also did some research in the Ellesmere Island arctic region on Musk Oxen and showed me her presentations on the subject which I found very interesting. The arctic has always been a big interest of mine. I even wanted to become a polar explorer when I grew up, but Robert .E. Peary beat me to it.
On Friday night I attended Jean-Luc’s Canadian Legion ceremony which was very touchy and at the same time fun. They were great bunch of folks and I enjoyed their company immensely. I did pick their brains on world hunger and recruited a few more people up here as well.
The rain has stopped so I’m going to pack the bike and get everything ready for tomorrow morning. God knows what Dempster looks like after all these rains, but I need to get closer if I want a shot at it. Still heading north…



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Old 08-30-2009, 08:44 PM   #19
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map?

Can we see a map about all trip?
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:51 PM   #20
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Go to my website at www.motorcyclememoir.com. That's where i do my major updates and copy & paste them here. There's a map right on top that shows where i go. I will be coming back from British Columbia and going through WA, OR, CA, AZ and then to Mexico.

You can also sign up on my website to recive lastest updates. Under the sponsor logos, you'll find the box for that.

Chris
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:27 AM   #21
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I had a GS750 in 1980, couldnt break that motor and it handled for the era.... a classic
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:31 PM   #22
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Wow, 5 years on a motorcycle. I hope you have the best of luck.
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:37 PM   #23
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Have a nice ride.
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:37 PM   #24
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Updated: Sep 4th. Here’s the link: http://www.motorcyclememoir.com/
The internet here is so slow that it took 5 hours to update my website. There’s no way to add pictures here so read on my website. Chris
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:39 PM   #25
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Ambitious ride. I did two years around the world, so I know a little about what you are feeling now in the beginning. My advice is don't work too hard at first- pace yourself. And don't spend too much time thinking about finishing; just deal with today every day.

I'll keep an eye on this.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:13 PM   #26
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Sep 5tth – sep 6th Top of the world highway

“People who get up early in the morning cause war, death and famine.” Bansky
I woke up late again. Dempster took a lot out of me and resting up seemed like a good idea. Lets backtrack to a day or two so when you read this post, you are familiar with the characters.
When I got back from the Dempster and met up with Gib again, I found out that he wasn’t the owner of the lodge. Gib Acuna is a Californian who’s been traveling for over a year now and decided to go up the Dempster on his Fat Boy Harley. On his way back he asked for a job and he’s been working at the lodge for a month now. The best way to describe this man is that to say he is a “people person.” He starts a conversation with a dead tree stump if you let him. He loves candy bar (he already ate half my candy collection) and to cap it off, he is the coolest guy you’ll ever meet. Pushing 61, he still jumps around like a 5 year old and has more energy than a humming bird. In 4 days, it feels like I knew the guy my entire life. He offered me his place to stay and as I never say no, I moved in right away. He has shared his employee meals with me ever since I’ve been here and I’m indebted to this man greatly.
He had a master plan to build a motorcycle park right at the gate of the Dempster highway, with campsites next to the river, mechanic shop, food service and entertainment! His idea was a brilliant one and the location he had in mind was unbelievable. You can’t go a meter on Dempster without relying on the Klondike River Lodge and he wanted to pitch his idea to the owner of the lodge. I helped him prepare his business plan, made a power point presentation and we worked on the details for a long time. When the show time came, he nailed it and the great news is: Starting from May of 2010, there will be an amazing motorcycle campground at the base of the Dempster highway with full support, from tires to towing and rescue. He is the right man to do it and I’m sure it will be successful. I’m designing his website, logo, and taking care of the computer stuff while he does his construction. I wish him the best of luck.
I also met the owner of the lodge; Ross Weitzel. Ross is an interesting sort of guy who does his business on a hand shake. Up here in Yukon, there are no lawyers or legal complications, you shake the man’s hand and your word is your contract. He sponsored my lodging and my meals throughout my stay and reimbursed my camping fees. I liked the place to begin with, now I like it even more. The cook’s name is Brian and being a long time biker, he feeds me every night and supplies the beer while we talk all night and he has more stories than you could imagine. One hell of a nice guy.
The most revolting encounter I had was a conversation with a guy name Mario who was dating Christy one of the waitresses. Mario is a German who moved to Canada some years back and is a farmer in Whitehorse, Yukon. He asked me what was all the world hunger stuff about and as I was explaining, he said something that I will never forget. “What happens after we feed everyone and no one is hungry? They are going to want more, they would want to eat beef, they would want a motorbike, and they would want a house. I am not ready to give up what I have so they can get what they want. It’s a cruel reality but that’s how it is. They have to be poor so we can be rich.” Is it the ignorance or the arrogance or both?
Brian marinated two moose steaks for me to take along for dinner and after exchanging numbers and emails, I finally got on the road. First stop was Dawson city and I got aboard the ferry to cross the river. Top of the world highway starts from the river bank and goes all the way to Alaska. It’s a gravel road with occasional potholes and some paved patches. The road was OK and the scenery beautiful but to be honest, I didn’t see much of it as I was cold and the wind blew so hard I could barely stay upright. I concentrated on the road and zipped through for hope of lower elevations.
At the American border the drama started. At the border crossing, I stopped at the red light. I put both of my feet down and put the bike in neutral and as I raised my head, I noticed the border patrol man in his shack waving at me so I took it as a sign to go to him. I covered the 20 feet or so and stopped at his window and turned the bike off.
He asked why I ran the red light and didn’t wait for the green light. I told him that you signaled me to come over and so I did. He said that I was signaling you to stop. I told him I was already stopped and there was no need to signal me to do so. The conversation went on and on as who was right, so I asked him straight up what he wants me to do.
He said to go around and come back to the light again and wait till it was green, then approach him. I’m getting pretty pissed off at this point but I did what he wanted. I crossed into United States and came back into Canada and stopped at the light again. On green I approached the window and this time he asked me why I didn’t stop at the Canadian custom while I was turning around! I told him that I was instructed to turn around and come back to him and he didn’t tell me to do so. He looked at me and said: “You people don’t have a stoplight in your country?”
That’s when I blew up and said: well I’m an American and we do have a goddamn stoplight in our country. We also have another thing called the freedom of speech and expression. Watch me exercise it for you; Go Fuck Yourself.
There was a silence and his eyes started to open up so I went on by telling him that he turned me around for no reason and I don’t care if he’s going to let me in Alaska or not. I will write a complain letter to the Department of Homeland Security and will see into it to the end. He looked at me for a second or two and asked for my passport very firmly calling me Sir. I thought to myself that they are going to rip the bike apart but to my astonishment, he stamped my passport with a big caribou stamp and said no hard feelings. We are just testing our new light system. Have a good day.
Warning: You should never tell a man to go fuck himself if he is the only one with a gun in the middle of nowhere! I got lucky, do it at your own risk.
All in all, I enjoyed my stay in the Yukon and met some amazing people. Yukon with little over 30,000 in population is still a wild place. Hope it stays this way…





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Old 09-08-2009, 11:45 PM   #27
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Sep, 6th- sep 7th. Bock Bock

First I like to thank Ronald Schulten and Sarah Olson for their generous donations.
If you go to northern Alaska, you have to visit Chicken. It is laid back, fun and in the middle of nowhere. With the population of only 27, chicken was settled by gold miners in the late 1800s and in 1902 the local post office was established requiring a community name. Due to the prevalence of ptarmigan in the area that name was suggested as the official name for the new community. However, the spelling could not be agreed on and Chicken was used to avoid embarrassment. I was pumping gas when I saw a Cessna 150 pulled in next to me and started filling up. The highway is used as a runway for aircrafts also. You don’t see that in New York City.
From chicken I rode southwest towards Tok to spend the night. Gib told me about a motorcycle campground named The Eagle Claw in Tok and I wanted to check it out, also I wanted to check my voicemails after 2 weeks. I got to the campground and saw a sign that said “Pick a spot, we will be around later”.
This campground is a marvelous place. Clean as it can get with teepees, cabins and tent sites. There’s a steam room, an unbelievably clean outhouse, dish station, ready cut firewood and real flowers on the table. There was also a stove and a pot to warm up water for cleaning dishes at the station. I was the only person in the whole area and no one came around, so I made a good fire and put Brian’s moose steaks on the coals. Dinner of moose and mashed potato and hot chocolate for dessert caped off the night. I packed up in the morning and turned the switch to on, pulled the clutch in and heard a snap.
Lots of people made fun of me for taking spare parts with me but dammit I was right. In the middle of nowhere, I had a brand new clutch cable sitting in my saddle bag and the tools to pull off the job. I got to work and unloaded everything again since I had to remove my seat to take the tank off. The weather was perfect and I was amused that my preparation paid off. The new cable was not an exact fit but I made it fit anyway.
I loaded everything back up and stopped at the cabin to pay my camping fees. I knocked on the door and waited for a while but no one was home and there was no drop box anywhere. I remembered seeing an ad for the place in the gas station that I filled up the night before so I went back to the station and got the number and call the owner. She was a very nice lady and even told me to not worry about the camping fees but I went back anyway and left the money in her car. If ever in Tok, don’t miss this place.
Crossing back into Canada was a breeze and the Alaska Highway was in its best shape. I stopped in Beaver Creek for a sandwich and met two guys on BMW’s. Stephane vachon is a French Canadian who’s been living in Panama for past 15 years and Oliver Fecht is a German teacher from south of Munich. They both met at the same place and I walked in and sat next to them at Buckshot Betty’s. I think it was the buckshot Betty herself who was serving since she wasn’t very nice but the food was great.
Oliver went looking for a campground, Stephane and I went to find a hotel room for him so I could use the internet and then I was going out of town to pitch my tent somewhere in the bush. The single bedroom was $90 but the double bed was $69 so Stephane invited me to stay. Stephane is riding a GS1200 BMW which he bought in Florida and has been touring Canada and Alaska for a while now. He was heading back to Whitehorse so once again I found a cool travel mate. After answering emails and updating the website, we both crashed and before I knew it the sun came up. It was -2C outside with a good frost covering everything. The morning started cold and stayed cold well into the afternoon. We hooked up with Oliver at Betty’s and road out south all together changing lead every now and then. I wore everything I owned and had to bust out my ski gloves since my fingers where freezing but it was a beautiful ride.
At the Haines junction, we said our goodbyes to Oliver as he rode south for Skagway and we went towards Whitehorse. We are staying at a hotel in Whitehorse (courtesy of Mr. Vachon) as I’m writing these and will go our separate ways tomorrow. Stephane will go to Skagway and take a ferry south, and I will head for Prince George in British Columbia. Stay tuned…








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Old 09-10-2009, 12:08 AM   #28
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Sep, 09th. Teslin Lake, Yukon Territories

When I woke up, Stephane was already gone, so I packed up and got on the way. I talked to Gib this morning and he is meeting me at Watson Lake on Friday. From Watson Lake, we are planning to travel together all the way to Oregon, Fundraising on street corners all the way.
I covered the 170km section of the Alaska Highway to Teslin Lake and stopped at the Yukon Motel, in Teslin. Teslin Lake is one the biggest lakes in Yukon territories and can be seen from miles driving on the Alaska Highway. In fact, it seemed so big that I thought it would never end. It might have had something with the drizzling cold rain that was hitting my face but it sure looked like the Pacific Ocean.
At the Yukon Motel, I talked to Juanita Kremer, the owner of the lodge and she generously sponsored my accommodation for the night. The Yukon motel consists of a gas station, large RV Park, restaurant, several cabins and an amazing wildlife museum. It is a lake front property with a beautiful view of the Teslin Lake. The wildlife museum is a one of a kind, stocked with most creatures of the north in a magnificent display setting. I am just happy to be out of the cold for the night and I’m heading to Watson Lake tomorrow to meet up with Gib.
Tonight I received an email from a guy in Guatemala named Oscar stating: “congratulation for your travel is very interesant please visit this tread this open in honor of yor travel”.
I checked out the site and emailed him back in Spanish saying thank you for his efforts and so on. He wrote me back: “Gracias a dios hablas español por que yo no hablo casi nada de ingles”.
After a few emails I got to understand the depth of the efforts these guys are putting into collecting food for poor people in Guatemala. These guys are not waiting for a foreign assistance as they took the matter in their own hands to feed their people. I salute their determination and fortitude. Although they are not rich by any means, they are playing their part. Please visit this link to see their efforts: (you can use the Google translator if your Spanish is rusty like mine)
http://www.velocidadmaxima.com/forum/showthread.php?t=192649
Guatemala is among the 10 poorest countries in Latin America and according to World Bank; more than 33% of the population is living in poverty. I will be visiting Guatemala in 3 months or so but in a mean time, I’m calling out right here and now to teachers, doctors, farmers, stock growers, … to answer my call. I can arrange for your accommodation and tools so you could teach and practice even for a short period. I’m only one man and can do just so much.
They need your expertise and resources; they are a proud and willing people who just need a helping hand. Please contact me if you are willing to help however you can, I need volunteers for many different tasks and projects. Let’s be united, let’s feed a piece of bread to a hungry child. I’m begging you… please make a donation, even if not here, please go to donation page on my website and support an organization of your choice.









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Old 09-10-2009, 02:08 AM   #29
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Sir, may I take my hat off to you for not only being adventurous enough of to do an RTW on a classic bike but also to have the heart to be thinking of less fortunate people and making this your commitment.

Anybody who quotes Harry Chapin has got to have his heart and priorities correctly aligned.

Having lived in the Philippines for many years and being involved in helping deserving people here I applaud all your efforts.

As soon as I can access your website i will be showing my commitment also.

I know it is some time away but when you are in Asia any assistance you need please let me know.

Expatbiker

"The more I make, the more I can give away"
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:04 AM   #30
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Expatbiker,

Thank you for your support. i would love to when i get to Asia. keep following the trip. keep the comments coming guys so i don't feel like i'm writing to myself.
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