The world is a completely different place when you dont have a window in front of you. We tasted the rain, we felt the heat and the cold, we smelled the air and we most certainly saw the sights. It was a journey of the most epic proportions that spanned nearly 11,000kms and I got to experience with the best riding partner I couldve ever asked for. My dad. The Road Warrior.
I guess this is it for me. For some it may be skiing mad lines or surfing big waves. For some it might be knitting but the feeling I get out of riding my bike on twisted, desolate roads that stretch for miles in an unknown land is quite honestly overwhelming. It was a much needed spiritual awakening that, at most times, I never wanted to end. Every day we were bound for a new destination that was merely just a name on a map. That feeling of being in control of something so seemingly out of control - when the bike becomes a complex symphony of upshifting, downshifting, braking and accelerating - when not even the wind can keep my eyes dry. I guess that life thus far has offered me no greater solace.
The most profound thing of all is how this elation has truly spawned from the worst imaginable feeling that we must ever endure as humans. A pain so deep that it cuts you raw to the bone. An unthinkable loss. Theres no way that my dad would have ever gotten into biking if it werent for the love my brother had for it. But there we were, riding our hearts out and certainly overcoming adversity along the way. It was all part of the adventure and Im proud to say we made it home safely after 31 days on the road with our final day being our longest at 1100 kms of purely mindless interstate.
Down there, I saw a lot of things that were difficult to accept. The litter, the animal cruelty and, most of all, the poverty. There is such disparity in our world. It suddenly makes the things you stress out back home seem so small. I would however not imply that these people are any less happy than us. Most of them have a roof over their head, they seem healthy, they have a job and they have their family. What more could you want? They are not consumed by always wanting more and more stuff. There is such beauty in simplicity.
For those of you who enjoyed my Letters From The Road, I would like to recommend other reading and viewing that you might find interesting from the true kings of the road:
Rent The Motorcycle Diaries. The true story of a young Che Guevara who makes his way up the whole of South America from Argentina and through the snowy Andes on his bike with his buddy on the back! I thought I had it tough. This movie is beautiful.
Read Long Way Round. The epic 3 month journey of Brit celeb Ewen McGregor & his buddy Charlie Boorman as they roll their Beamers around the entire globe! Then rent the mini series from the movie store. They had a support crew with them that filmed it all and it is quite entertaining to see what they had to endure as they experience the likes of the Ukrane, Russia, Mongolia and Siberia.
Read Ghostrider written by Neil Peart who is the drummer of the famed Canadian classic rock band, Rush. Neil Pearts only daughter was driving to her first year of university and was killed in a car accident. Nine months later his wife dies of a brain aneurysm. The two loves of his life were gone. He hops on his R1100GS in pouring Toronto rain and starts riding west not knowing where he is goingand doesnt stop.
I found it interesting that Mr. Peart departed on his trip in August of 1998, the same month and year that my dad, Clive Jackson and I had departed on our healing trip to the Arctic Circle. Reading the pages of this book I certainly felt a strange connection to it. I kept looking at the back cover, staring at his picture. As he made his way north up to the Yukon, I felt as though we could have been there at the exact same time. My heart started pounding harder with every turn of the page. The way he described his surroundings and the timing we were right behind him. I continued to look at his picture on the back of this book. Then, there it was. Page 53. He devotes an entire page of being at this roadside burger stand in the middle of nowhere called Pennys and how a father and his two sons from southeast British Columbia pulled in on Kawasaki dual sport bikes heading to the Arctic Circle. It was us. I remember walking up to this man asking him where he was from. He completely humbled me with his reply. Toronto. Little did we know who this man was and little did he know that we were on a similar journey as him, looking for answers. The irony would continue as I read on. He ends up making his way to Nelson where he stays at the Best Western. He strolls to the former Heritage Inn and has some of the best Caesar salad he has ever had and writes letters to his friends from our restaurant. He feels captivated by Nelson and as he rides towards the Balfour ferry imagines himself living here, owning a little cabin and spending time on the glass calm lake in a rowing skull.
We live in such a crazy world.
Id like to thank my mom and Staci for believing in us that we could do this and letting boys be boys. Were all on this healing road together.
Id like to thank the management and staff at Martin Hotel Group who has always kept the historic Hume Hotel and the perfect Best Western Baker Street Inn shining.
Id like to thank all those guardian angels along the way who fed us, gassed us up, provided accommodations, told us where the bueno ristorantes were, provided border help, pointed us in the right direction, put the beer on ice and those who simply waved and smiled.
Id like to thank those fine men from Maruata, Mexico who saved us from a most harrowing predicament and helped us continue along our way.
Id like to thank all of you who took the time to read these and those who emailed us and encouraged us to keep writing and riding.
Id like to thank Jay for being our co-pilot this whole way and beyond. You were there when we needed you most. We miss you bro.
And lastly Id like to thank my dad. Thank you for all that you have taught me and given me in this world. Youll always be my riding partner in life. You are my hero and I love you to death. We did it.
Enjoy the ride,
Posted by Ryan Martin at November 04, 2006 10:08 PM GMT
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