Sunsets from the road…

North slope of Alaska, 200 or so miles above the Arctic Circle

Homer, Alaska

Whistler, BC

Baja, Mexico

Calvario, Mexico

Monterrico, Guatemala

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

Caye Caulker, Belize

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Celendin, Peru

Valparaiso, Chile

Valle Nevado, Chile

Valle Nevado, Chile

Paso Roballos, Patagonia, Chile

Paso Roballos, Patagonia, Chile

Caleta Olivia, Argentina

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Tornquist, Argentina

Santa Tereza do Oeste, Brazil

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Fortaleza, Brazil

Amazon River, Brazil

Amazon River, Brazil

Amazon River, Brazil

Bucaramanga, Colombia

Knight Key, Florida Keys, FL

Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC

Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC

Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC

Day 315 – Shenandoah National Park, VA to Lambertville, NJ

Day 315 – Shenandoah National Park, VA to Lambertville, NJ      07/02/2011      Mileage: 342

Morning came on the Blue Ridge and I broke camp one last time. It is hard to believe this will be my last day on the road after all this time and miles under my wheels. It will be bittersweet to finish this journey, as I am sad to see it end, but excited to get home to see my sister and friends. So after packing the bike, I pointed her north one final time.

The weather was perfect and rivaled only by the scenery, so I was savoring every bit of it.

The bike was running great as usual, but the drive sprockets and chain were now totally shot and the chain was bouncing all over the place and eating the swingarm slider. I adjusted the chain as best as I could…and simply hoped it would make it the last few hundred miles without flying off! I came down out of the Blue Ridge at the north end near Front Royal, VA and stopped off at a Starbucks to get some WiFi and make some plans to meet up with friends later today. Erik and Bob, friends and fellow moto heads, are going to ride out into Pennsylvania to meet up with me on the road and join me for the home stretch into Lambertville, NJ where I will officially end my journey. Back on the road, I had to stop and check the chain a few times so that was slowing my progress…but I finally made it to the rendezvous point. A short time later, Bob, on his Suzuki DR650 and Erik astride his KTM 640 Adventure, rolled up…it was so good to see them! Like true moto heads, they immediately started grilling me about the bike…how many oil changes, how man flats (None! More on that in another post) carb adjustments, mechanical problems…and then of course, the women…in that order! Ha! So after talking a little shop, we pointed our bikes to Lambertville to meet up with the rest of the gang.

I am a sushi addict and I didn’t have much opportunity to eat sushi along the way. So, I was craving sushi and my favorite sushi bar called Ota’Ya just so happens to be in Lambertville…needles to say it was a forgone conclusion where we were going to eat dinner! But first, some tequila!

…and another…

…and another…

Sushi and Jagermeister? These are the choices you make after tequila shots…

That is a boatload of sushi!

So, I guess that’s it…a little over 10 months and 42,000+ miles later it has come to an end. To say it has been a rewarding journey would of course only scratch the surface. I have learned much about the world around me and the spirit within me. I have slept out under the haunting glow of the Northern Lights, and guiding light of the Southern Cross. I think back to all the experiences I had and people I met along the way and I am, and always will be, forever grateful for having had the opportunity to do this trip. I have come away with many valuable life lessons which I will cherish and carry with me forever.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.   -Sydney J. Harris

It’s been over two years now since I returned home…

It’s been over two years now since I returned home, and what started out as a conscious decision to not write the last blog post until I had time to reflect and gain some perspective, quickly turned into the time consuming task of starting my life and career again. I’m back working in New York City which feels a million miles away from my journey, yet in many ways it still feels as close as yesterday. I finally “found” the time to finish the blog by sequestering myself alone for a few days at my buddy Mick’s cabin in Vermont, well away from the hectic pace of my day-to-day life and the leash of my smartphone. So what follows are some long overdue updates to my journey.

Day 314 – Asheville, NC to Shenandoah National Park, VA

Day 314 – Asheville, NC to Shenandoah National Park, VA       07/01/2011       Mileage: 396

Morning came over the Blue Ridge Mountains and I was up, packed and on the road before 9. The air was cool and crisp and carried the fresh scents of the surrounding forest.

The views from the road were as spectacular as it was to ride. The speed limit is low on the Blue Ridge Parkway and for once I was happy to comply so I could enjoy the amazing scenery a bit longer. I stopped and lingered at so many scenic overlooks along the way that I lost count.

If you own a motorcycle or a convertible, you simply must take a long weekend when there is good weather and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway…..it’s that good….and trust me, I’ve ridden some good roads on this trip.

Dusk caught up to me in Shenandoah National Park, and after stopping off for some malted hops provisions, I found a campsite for the night. This was to be my last night on the road and it will be bittersweet for sure.

The glow from  my MSR WhisperLite International stove to keep me company….along with the faint hum of the generator in the camper across the way!

It’s hard even for me to look back at all the places I’ve been and people I have met along the way….it has been a long and rewarding journey for sure. Tomorrow, it’s back on the road north one last time…

Day 313 – Macon, GA to Asheville, NC

Day 313 – Macon, GA to Asheville, NC       06/30/11       Mileage: 489

I was up and on the road fairly early as I had a long day in the saddle planned. My goal was to ride from Macon up to and over the Cherohala Skyway, then over to ride the famous “Tail of the Dragon” and finally make my way to the Blue Ridge Parkway to find a campsite for the night. Fortunately the weather was cooperating and the roads kept getting better with each passing mile. Rural Georgia has some fantastic country roads and I was enjoying every turn of the KLR’s wheels. My route brought me through the Chattahoochee National Forest before crossing into the mountains of western North Carolina. The roads in this area are a motorcyclist’s dream come true and it’s proving to be fitting and enjoyable end to this journey.

Continuing on into Tennessee I rolled into Tellico Plains to pick up the Cherohala Skyway back into North Carolina towards the beginning of the “Tail of the Dragon”….a road that has 319 turns in only 11 miles!

Enjoying the curves on The Dragon…

After making my run on the Dragon, I stopped into the Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort for the requisite souvenir and a, um, beverage.

Back on the bike I headed east towards Ashville and the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the roads were as good as the Dragon, and in some ways maybe even better.

Arriving at the Blue Ridge Parkway around dusk I immediately headed north and began to look for a place to camp. I ended up finding a great campsite in Mt Mitchell State Park which has some great sites perched high on the mountain over 6,000 ft.

The air was crisp and cool and made for a great sleeping. Tomorrow it’s back on the Blue Ridge Parkway north towards Virginia…and one more state closer to home……

 

Day 312 – Miami, Florida to Macon, Georgia

Day 312 – Miami, Florida to Macon, Georgia        06/29/11        Mileage: 577

This morning was rough after last night’s drunken debauchery, so I was in no rush to get on the bike. John, Sabine and I met for breakfast and Sabine helped me fill in some of the blanks from last night. Damn the bottle, I’m not drinking ever again….or, well….at least until later. After breakfast I bid farewell to my dear friends as they left for the airport for the final leg of the journey to their new home in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sabine was taking a regular commercial flight and John was flying with their dogs Lua and Simba on the cargo plane. I will miss them immensely. After lingering a bit to use the wifi and shake off the hangover, I packed the bike and hit the road north.

I dodged thunder storms most of the day….but this one caught me so I took shelter under in abandoned gas station…

I decided to head toward the Blue Ridge so I took the less traveled road through the middle of Florida up into central Georgia and ended up in Macon. The scenery was nice but not super inspiring so I didn’t stop for many pictures.

A little taste of the South…Waffle House!

Tomorrow it’s back on the road north towards the Blue Ridge Mountains and the famous “Tail of the Dragon”.

Day 311 – Miami, Florida

Day 311 – Miami, Florida        06/28/11        Mileage: 18

Today I would say goodbye to my cousins Barbara and Murray who have been wonderful and accommodating hosts. But, I would also be saying hello to my friends John and Sabine whom I met in Brazil almost 2 months ago. They are moving to Brazil and will be literally flying out of Miami tomorrow to Sao Paulo with their two dogs Lua and Simba…so I’m so glad I was able to catch them before they left for good! I met them at their hotel and after a few quick beers we headed out for lunch at The Field Irish pub up in Fort Lauderdale.

Well, The Field is an awesome pub with great atmosphere…and our lunch quickly spiraled down the rabbit hole…especially after the double Patron’s and Guinness started flying. What started out as an innocent lunch was now an all out booze fest. Thankfully Sabine is a saint and was doing a good job corralling the two drunken idiots. The rest of the night was a blur with many gaps in the memory record, but I did apparently order ravioli (ps: I can’t even tell you when the last time I order $%#@ ravioli!?) at an Italian restaurant that I scantly remember being at.

Why are these pictures dark and out of focus? Well, I assure you there was nothing wrong with the camera, and everything wrong with the photographer!

Back at the hotel I tried to hold it together long enough to get a room after which I promptly went to bed….and by that I mean pass out cold.