"... I just walked away from my job, whispering 'No more' to Corporate America. Immediately afterwards, I bought a motorcycle and then got a license a few weeks later. I needed the help of a friend to ride my brand new Kawasaki KLR650 off the showroom floor (because, I didn't know how to ride a motorcycle at the time of purchase.) Next, I decided to get rid of all my belongings: books, furniture, microwave, fridge, stereo, bicycles, snowboard, clothes, and knick knacks that I've kept for years. Everything went to donation or was sold on Ebay, leaving me without a place that I can call 'home'. Now I just live my dream of roaming the world, which harbors a possibility that I fall prey to an unexpected disaster. On the road, everything is a fair game, which is the kind of game I like to play."
Rick Koda, USA, around the world?, in South America
"... When I came around the turn I saw something I did not believe. The road was gone... Instead there was water running down from the mountain. Brown, foaming and roaring water. But... I had to go that way. Imagine that on both sides of the road there was a kind of wall made out of water running through the drains... I think it must have been 1.5 meter deep, and the current was strong enough to take trees with it... and it did. I could see some traffic-signs so I knew where the road should be. Apart from the fact that water was pouring into every opening in my rain-suite (and now I know there are many) I was doing OK. I even managed to avoid a collision with a garden-door that came to me like a surfboard and after a few scary moments I was on dry road again. My joy was not for long..."
Maarten Munnik, Netherlands, RTW, in Germany
"...I ran into a group of about 30 police, all on BMW's, in rural France. They were out with two instructors, finishing the 'proficiency' training that is required before they can be assigned to ride motorcycles. I was invited to ride along with them (they had a great 130 km long route laid out). Towards the end of the day, the chief instructor suggested that maybe I could lead the pack, and asked that I keep up a 'challenging' pace for the students. So - I wicked it out of there, scraping pegs in the corners and hitting 160 to 180 km/h on the straights through all the secondary and tertiary roads, with a pack of 30 cops following way behind me. I always slow right down to 40 or 50 when I go through villages (too many kids, dogs, pedestrians, etc.), but the cops would come ripping through the villages in one big wolfpack at Warp 7, with all their blue lights on, in order to catch up the distance they had lost to me during the rural riding. What a howl, it was the highlight of my trip. They bought me dinner at the end of the route."
Michael Moore, Canada, in France, on PanEuropean
"...The bike club turned up, lead by Elgar on his Jawa 350. The other 2 members were on Minsk 125s - very similar to BSA Bantams. One brought along a huge video camera to capture 'the day the foreigners fell off'. First we had to ride round town in convoy, to show all the locals our machinery. Then a challenge - the local 'big dirty hill'. We all stopped at the bottom of a limestone track, with a hairpin halfway up. The recent rain had turned the fine limestone powder into a firm porridge, but it looked do-able. We then had 10 minutes of them asking us 'problem da?' and 'problem yes?', and we replied 'problem nyet' and 'problem no'. So they'd have to go up it and we'd have to try. The pull was a bit squirrelly, especially with road tyres and touring pressures, but we got up it cleanly - much to their surprise - English honour upheld!"
Simon McCarthy and Georgie Simmonds, UK to Asia, in Azerbaijan
"... Coming over a little hill, mild turn to the left... one crashed car, another one, oh an exploded army jeep, and there a burned out army truck, hmmm are those the remains of a lorry spread around in a big circle.... and what look at that, a black torched armored tank....!!!!!! For a second I thought I was riding through the remains of an ambush…
Pieter Maes, Belgium, in Morocco, on Honda Transalp
"Çanakkale, North Western Turkish coast. The very first kilometer I ride in Turkey happens at 130 km/h. From the very last checkpoint in 10 seconds flat. My pillion is a custom officer holding tight to my shoulders and trying to get a view in an icy wind, his legs wobbling around my luggage roll and pannier. I was ready to ride away after the final stamp, as a German car, oblivious of all whistling and shouting drove by. The next moment the officer jumped on the back and shouted 'Go get that German car!' As he got off after we managed to stop the car, I get a tap on the shoulder and a 'Thank you very much'. (The pleasure was entirely mine!)"
Trui Hanoulle and Iris Heiremans, Belgium, 2nd overland to India, in Turkey, on DR650SE's
"...You know I told you we lived a normal life. And like many other young couples we wanted to do something for the future. And so we decided to buy an old run down house and renovate it. We looked at maybe 30 houses and chose one. We had the agreement with the houseseller. It was one day before we had to sign the contract. Falk came home and we both were sitting in the kitchen and he took a long look at me and asked me. Reina what would you rather do, buy this house tomorrow, take a credit for your lifetime or travel around the world on your motorcycle? I thought one second and answered, "Take a trip around the world." Falk said, "Me too." And then he asked me, "When would you like to start?" And I said again after only one second, "At the first of September next year." He said, "Well, lets do this."
I jumped up, phoned the houseseller and cancelled the agreement..."
Reina Kasperowski and Falk Thümer, Germany, around the world
"... Frank sat down in the rain and said 'Dale, move your bike over a little so the truck can get by'. I really didn't have any room to move, so thought I would take it off the kickstand and just lean it a little to the right to give a couple more inches. As my right foot touched the edge, it gave way; I was tumbling and sliding with my bike down the mountain. My bike and I stopped suddenly against a thorn bush. I was dazed now… couldn't see anything at first, but soon saw that my bike and I had a potentially greater fall if I wasn't careful. I couldn't stand up, too steep and slippery, and I didn't want to hang onto my bike, for fear it & I would go into the abyss..."
Dale Thornton and Frank Tabor, USA, in Peru
"... Up ahead I see a few small boulders in the road and some cut down trees being cleared which I easily skirt around with people yelling parro at me. At this point I'm thinking parro must mean obstacle of some kind, maybe a landslide up ahead. What the heck I'm on a motorcycle and should be able to get around anything. Now I am encountering stones neatly arranged across the road about every quarter mile which I just run right over. People are not smiling at me anymore. There is a feeling of trepidation in the air but I can't quite figure it out. When I saw the tree branches laying across the road and the boulders blocking the way with men standing ready on either side I said, here we go.
I kicked it down a gear and rode over the first set of tree branches in a hail of rocks and chunks of who knows what being pitched at me, all of it came close but nothing hit me. The first hurdle was a cinch but couldn't make it past the boulders as there was no space wide enough to get through. I am stuck and the mob is now storming toward me chanting parro and they are not happy. Once again my options are limited, there is nowhere to go, I must stand and well you know... negotiate. At least no one is shooting at me..."
Glen Heggstad, USA, in Peru
"... Along my motorcycle career I have crossed my share of international borders. But nothing in my know-how quite prepared me for crossing from China to Hong Kong. I am primed to ride through pothole-ridden roads, mud fields, bull dust and other natural disasters. Riding through crowded train stations, mechanical escalators, security checkpoints, and store rooms was not quite in my bag of tricks. Queuing up astride a full-size motorcycle at immigration and customs lines along with 100,000 weekend Chinese shoppers hauling baskets, carts, boxes, and bawling children was colorful to put it mildly
... My 'ride' across the Lo Wu station came to a sudden dead end on the second floor of an extremely crowded waiting room on the HK side. You see, Lo Wu is a busy pedestrian only border crossing that leads into a railway station where you catch a train to Kowloon. Motor vehicles cross at Man Kan To, a few kilometers away. Whoever issued my permits in Beijing obviously had never been in this part of the country and had not a clue what to expect. But the law is the law, and at Lo Wu I crossed..."
Frank Campbell, USA, over 12,000 km on a BMW F650 from Europe to Hong Kong
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