Tracey Martin & Miles McEwing
“Traveling a Mile a Minute. Creating a Smile a Minute”
“Smiles and Miles” is what happens when a girl and a guy, both nicknamed “Smiles” and both with a passion for road trips, happen to cross paths (after a little nudging from a very wise friend). Naturally, they become a couple and begin racking up clicks on the odometer, both grinning the entire time and tending to cause the same reaction in those they encounter along the way.
Both experienced international travelers when we met, together we have visited 5 continents and 18 countries, traveling overland as much as possible. In fact, we recently realized that we have “overlanded” greater than 75% of the circumference of the globe by car, bus, train, and boat.
Early in 2011, we were able to devise a plan for a longer-than-usual chunk of free time. So out came the world map and the travel planning began. With a time frame of September through March, it seemed wise to head somewhere south of the equator, so Argentina became our destination. Of course, the destination is ultimately not that critical because the joy of travel is truly in the journey – the people, the food, the beauty, the curiosities, and the lessons learned.
On September 17, 2011, our Ural will begin rolling South from our home in Calgary, Canada toward Central and South America. Consider this website our virtual sidecar. Come along for the ride!
Traveling by motorcycle is a natural fit for us – Miles has been riding for 30 years and Tracey dabbled in dirt bikes as a teen. Both committed Honda motorcycle fans for many years, we were introduced to the charms of the Ural when we met two intrepid motorcycle travelers in spring 2010. Lois Pryce (www.loisontheloose.com
) and Austin Vince (www.mondoenduro.com
) shared their story of traveling across the U.S. in a Russian sidecar rig, “An Ural is the way to go for a couple traveling together.” Coming from two of our most admired motorcycle adventurers, this message held a lot of weight. Three days later, a new Ural was parked in our garage. Miles bravely drove it 300 km home from the dealership in a spring snowstorm. The fact that it passed this test was yet another gold star on Ural’s report card. The fabulous service we have received from Destination Cycles in Airdrie over the last year has earned two gold stars (www.destinationcycles.com
Some of what we love about our Ural:
- Nostalgic good looks.
- Two wheel-drive.
- Reverse gear.
- Super-comfy chair with loads of legroom.
- Driving a sidecar outfit is not like riding a motorcycle, nor is it like driving a car. It is an entirely new challenge and extremely fun, eventually.
- The UDF (Ural Delay Factor) which causes us to slow down our pace and chat with the endless stream of interesting people who approach us to ask about our unusual transportation.
- You drive a sidecar outfit rather than ride it.
- The sidecar itself is known as the chair.
- The entire machine is known as the rig or hack