One week to go
Hi, I’m Les Kay and my travelling partner is Cai, my 18yr old son. We live in a small village in North Wales, UK. Cai has just finished his pre-university exams and is spending his gap year on a fairly epic bike trip covering a great deal of the American continent. Me, well I’ve spent the last stage of my life self employed, doing a variety of jobs; from posing nude for artists, to delivering bouquets of flowers. Recent summers have seen me associated with local friends and their Glastonbury festival escapades, they’ve had me leading painting workshops for kids, building giant caterpillars (see Creative Recycling ) and even driving a three wheeled trailers. Despite the offer of another manic festival this year it’s my privilege to be accompanying Cai.
I’ve ridden bikes for thirty years. Mostly for the enjoyment but also as in instructor, this eventually detracted from my enjoyment. Cai’s early experiences never progressed beyond sitting on bikes under someone else’s control. Though he always liked being the one to operate the throttle, as he sat in front of me on the tank.
That all changed a few months before his 17th birthday when he got an early Christmas/birthday present, a cheap and nasty Chinese copy of the XL125. But hey, it did the trick! We’d take it round the fields at a friend’s, playing at locking the rear wheel under control, falling off and slow delicate stuff. By his 18th birthday he’d passed his test and gone onto an old CB250 RSA, then a Cagiva 500 Canyon. The progression was timed to bring his riding standard and confidence up to scratch for starting this trip.
The intention is to start in LA and head north along the coast road, Highway 1. Somewhere between Vancouver and the Yukon we’ll turn right and ride up into the Rockies; where following the continental divide south will eventually spit us out towards Mexico. We’ll try to follow our own noses and cover Central and South America before returning home. Our ideal is to stay off main routes and tarmac as much as possible. We're going to show our route and some of the sights we see along the way on our Google Maps page
There is so much behind organising a long distance journey on a bike. It’s generally believed the better organised, the less that can go wrong; yet often it’s the things going wrong that make a journey more memorable. I find the unexpected generally provides more variety in life than the expected; it’s less tainted with your own preconceptions. By far the better way to ride is to keep your eyes and mind open; its not that you look for the obscure or profound experiences, just be aware of them when they occur. And boy do they occur!
The intention is to start in LA and head north along the coast road, Highway 1. Somewhere between Vancouver and the Yukon we’ll turn right and ride up into the Rockies; where following the continental divide south will eventually spit us out towards Mexico. We’ll try to follow our own noses and cover Central and South America before returning home. Our ideal is to stay off main routes and tarmac as much as possible.
We’ve planned this for the last eighteen months. With only one week to go now it still doesn’t seem very real. There’s too much to get our heads round and too many people who want to know everything we plan to do. How do we know what we’re going to do? We won’t get bikes till we reach LA; which ones, we don’t know. It will be nice to get a couple of XR650's but I'll not buy without seeing the bikes first, so it has to wait until we get to the states. We have our luggage and all the equipment we’re taking packed! Now all there is left to do is pack the rest of my household goods away and throw a massive party to say cheerio to all our friends. Aren’t all trips started with a healthy hangover? I hope not!
Posted by Leslie Kay at June 21, 2007 11:44 AM GMT