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Old 03-10-2014, 07:19 PM   #1
BackpackerMoto OP
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BackpackerMoto: ADV Noob vs. Patagonia

It's 1939.

In a small industrial town in the southeast of Germany, my grandfather is about to die. Cornered by Nazi soldiers, his outbursts and protests against the Third Reich are going to come to a bloody, violent end. He will leave behind a wife, twin daughters, and an eight year old son.

For his trangressions and refusal to cooperate with the war effort, all holdings of my grandfather’s family are seized by the Nazi regime.

+ + + +

It’s 1950.

My father is 19 years old. For him, for the people of eastern Germany, and indeed for the millions trapped behind the Iron Curtain, the end of World War II heralds the beginning of what will be 40 years of occupation. Holdings and properties that had been seized by the Nazis were subsequently grabbed by Soviet forces who occupied the region, which were then seamlessly transitioned into the control of the puppet East German government formed in 1949.

My teenaged father, along with many of his compatriots, has seen enough of Soviet-style communism and oppression. Farewells are made to his twin sisters, their husbands, his mother, and his aunts and uncles, who all have been living under a single roof since the war. Determinedly, he attempts to make the potentially deadly escape from East Germany and cross the heavily guarded border into the freedom of the west.

He fails.

After a month of subsequent imprisonment, he agrees to the terms of his release, which include a signed oath to never again make such an attempt, at the threat of further incarceration for himself and, additionally, his family.

Three weeks later, my father tries once more. This time he is successful, and he escapes into West Germany. He won’t see his family again for over 15 years.

I won’t pretend that there’s any correlation between my forefathers determined courage, and anything I’ve encountered in my life, let alone how it might remotely relate to a 5000 mile motorcycle ride through parts of South America. Its significance is only this… I most definitely descend from a long line of stubborn, unwavering, sometimes obstinate authority-questioning Teutonic ancestors, at our best when swimming upstream. Unlike my forefathers, I can claim no righteous stand against oppression and tyranny. But as any solo adventurer can certainly attest, a certain personal obstinance is required if you wish to succeed.

Because, firstly, you need to confidently make your stand against the naysayers who have, amazingly always at the ready, a mountain of reasons why you shouldn’t go, as they beg of you to reconsider.

Secondly, in those dark moments during the adventure when those people are possibly, remotely, in some small way… correct… you will need some stubborness and willfulness to see you through.

Nevertheless, let’s examine the Top 15 reasons as to why this solo ride is ill-advised:

1) Motorcycles are dangerous.
2) The only Spanish you speak is from the menu at Señor Fish.
3) You might get hit by a banana truck on some desolate Patagonian dirt road.
4) You might get hit by a banana truck in the middle of Santiago.
5) You don’t know the region very well.
6) You don’t know the region at all.
7) Local banditos/revolutionaries will steal your stuff and hack you to pieces with a machete(s).
8) You won’t be prepared for the wind/cold/rain/snow.
9) You don’t have a daily itinerary.
10) You’re completely unprepared.
11) You can’t rebuild a motorcycle engine.
12) South America has jungles. Jungles are dangerous.
13) Your loved ones will worry about you (note: they worry anyway).
14) Verizon doesn’t have cell towers in Tierra del Fuego.
15) There are less lethal ways to enjoy solitude.

There are two things in common with every single person who contributed to The List.

- None of them ride a motorcycle.
- None of them have ever been to South America.

Long, uncomfortable silence. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barks.

Okay… I know their concerns come from the right place, that they care and want to keep me out of harm’s way. Their love does not go unnoticed, nor unappreciated. Nevertheless, I will arm myself with little more than my lifelong dedication to unprepared preparedness, and the absolutism that riders and explorers know instinctively, intuitively…

Certainty is the natural enemy of adventure.
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:19 PM   #2
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I can only say that you will most certainly not be alone. Ride on and keep us updated.

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Old 03-10-2014, 10:19 PM   #3
TUCKERS
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You'll be fine.

Take along Band Aids and Aleeve.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:44 AM   #4
Dieselboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BackpackerMoto View Post
It's 1939.

In a small industrial town in the southeast of Germany, my grandfather is about to die....
Very interesting first post. Welcome!

I look forward to seeing your adventure unfold.


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Old 03-11-2014, 03:07 AM   #5
antipode
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Got my attention from the start.
Looking forward to see how it unfolds.
Good luck!
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:04 AM   #6
805gregg
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No bananas that far south
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:11 AM   #7
lakota
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Outstanding first post. Your introduction will have a lot of us following along. Ride safe and have fun
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:51 PM   #8
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Lakota, antipode, dieselboy, Migolito, the Tuckers (when in SoCal, I'm 20 minutes from Claremont), thanks much for the kind words and encouragement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 805gregg View Post
No bananas that far south
I chuckled, because Fearmongerers (panicus sapien), when doing their fearmongering, aren't going to let agricultural realities get in the way of their sermons!
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:06 PM   #9
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Website and FB page

Got the trip website up and running, where I'll unload extra photos, bonus windbag commentary, and gear reviews.

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Photos Past

And... let the self-loathing begin... I created a Facebook page. I weep.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:31 PM   #10
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Prologue 2 of 2

It's 1981.

"What is it?" I ask, disinterested, pushing the glasses higher up my 12 year-old nose. "A motorized tricycle?"

"Noooo," my best friend, Billy Hunsacker (real name) replies with appropriate condescension. "It's called a Honda ATC 250. It hauls ass."

"Show me!" I respond, with indignance to match his disdain.

He does. It does. Then he lets me ride it.

Okay, so it's not the typical "I've been riding dirt bikes since I was 5" genesis story. There's no glorious history of youth championships, nor club championships as an adult, or a career cut short by some accident not of my own making.

I can be quietly smug, however, for having won the Baja 1000 almost every weekend during 7th and 8th grade. Somehow someway, I survived almost two years of riding that 60 Minutes-certified deathtrap ATC around Billy's backyard dirt track, a long-kept secret my mother is learning as she reads this.

That Honda was the first motorized vehicle I ever operated. Hauled ass in it. Launched it off jumps. Leaned it on two wheels, wheelied it. Helmets? Parental supervision? Hah. How dangerous could it actually be if a skinny four-eyed 7th grade twerp like me could learn to ride it, and keep riding it for a couple of years while avoiding serious injury, paralysis, or death.

After eighth grade, my buddy went to a different high school, we drifted apart, and my riding 'career' was put on hold for about ten years.

But my imagination wasn't. It was captured the same year I said goodbye to the ATC, when I learned about some insane race, on the other side of the world.... that somehow, completely inexplicably...

Covered two continents.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:11 AM   #11
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Brilliant intro! Godspeed!
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:55 AM   #12
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:58 PM   #13
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:21 PM   #14
FotoTEX
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It will be a great adventure with alot less stress than your grandfather had escaping the Nazis. Guaranteed. And yes, there is cell reception in Tierra del Fuego, at least my AT&T phone worked there.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:28 PM   #15
Travelbugblues
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Location: Home: Seattle, Current Mission: South America!
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Love it

Hahaha! Or "Jajajaja" as they say in Espanol. You'll have a great time! I'm here in Patagonia as I type this, having started my own trip on January 1st. My dad's main reasons were as follows:

1) You are a GIRL! Girls shouldn't travel around Latin America alone!

2) The Andes are notorious for causing flat tires! FLAT TIRES ON TWO WHEELS IS BAD!

3) The Argentine drivers are the worst, most aggressive in the world (note, he's married to an Argentine, so he knows :)

On another note, when you end up in the Tierra del Fuego national park, be very, very wary of this Fat Fox, who ate my motorcycle bag and I had to run around in the pitch black, half naked, trying to get it back!




Have fun! Maybe see you on the road! I'm reeeeeal slow on a 125cc Honda :)
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