By Stan Wood from the December 2013 Edition
I’m Stan Wood. My wife, Marguerite and I are a pair fifty eight year old Canadians from Vancouver Island in Canada who love to tour on motorcycles and all terrain bikes. We have two children in their thirties. Both of whom have young families of their own. Marguerite is a retired teacher and I am retired contractor. We are adventure junkies and are currently on the longest motorcycle trip we’ve ever done.
We’re at the Southern end of our trip and are just as excited about experiencing every day of it as we were when we started to plan it. In the past we’ve always taken large blocks of time off during our working years to experience these adventures even when our children were young. These trips included extended bike trips while camping along the way. Our motorcycle excursions parallel the bike trips except the distances are far greater and there’s a lot more to see and do.
We took a trip from Vancouver Island to Jasper, Alberta and that whetted our appetites for even longer trips. Our last long trip took us down the American coast through Washington, Oregon, and California. We ended up on Highway 1 into the Los Angeles basin where we almost lost each other in that traffic but still made it out to Phoenix, Arizona. From there we turned homeward but still played tourist all the way up through Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
Right now, we are in the midst of the granddaddy of all our motorcycle trips and probably won’t attempt another of this magnitude again. We’re about two thirds through this trip and have enjoyed traveling most all of it. There is risk which we try to minimize as much as we can.
We’ve not had any breakdowns or accidents in spite of a handful of close calls with other vehicles with over 9,000 km traveled. While on the road, we have seen every description of animal, mode of transportation, people, potholes and rocks, some of which you could drop a house into or squash one depending. We had one incident with corrupt police. Driven up to some missing bridges and found ourselves in the midst of a 300 head heard of cows with goats sprinkled through them.
One of the big differences between traveling in a car versus riding on a motorcycle is that you get to experience more of what is around you. Our senses have been assaulted by every site and smell imaginable.
We’ve ridden by lots of road kill, which doesn’t smell great. We have seen large tarantula spiders on the road and driven through areas where the grasshoppers were bouncing off of us and the bikes as we were riding through. Dogs chase us and try to bite us. One time a kid riding in the back of the truck threw a plastic bottle at Marguerite and bounced it off her windscreen.
We have had a glimpse of the best and the worst of humanity and nature from industrial devastation to spectacular natural beauty. You never know what is around the corner and I guess that is the allure of it. It can be anything from mundane to highly spectacular or tranquil to downright daunting. The people going about their everyday lives as we passed through usually have been more than happy to share some local knowledge with us if we inquire.
Our Spanish is fairly basic but improving all the time. It is been our goal to build on what we have is finally at a point where we can be understood and can ask about things other than just directions from point A to point B. This interaction with people of Mexico is probably the most rewarding part of our travels. Fantastic weather in this part of the world is also a big plus.
Luckily we have had some downtime in a couple of places to rest up and which allows me some bike maintenance work. We spent two weeks in Puerto Escondido and now are spending a week in Manzanillo.
I will just mention at this point that the functioning of the motorcycles has been somewhat of a burden on my mind. I probably spend more time than I should thinking about what might or could happen if this part or another part of one of the bikes should malfunction.
I have kept and maintained them enroute with plenty of lubrication on parts to wear out and so far they’re treating us well. But, always in the back of my mind is an unpleasant scenario running about being stranded at the side of the road somewhere with a problem that I can’t fix.
I am a little envious of Marguerite not having to feel the need to let these thoughts into her mind. Sometimes I really feel the weight of her trust in my judgment though. Although nice for my ego, I really don’t feel worthy of such trusts. On the other side of the coin, together, we do make quite an unstoppable team.
To summarize this trip I would have to say it is quite a thrill to feel the power of an iron horse hurling me through unknown territory.
With a fine balance of risk and management it can be done with a lot of enjoyment. No it is not always fun and or comfortable but the trade-off is un viaje incroyable.