Southbound, solo: the Americas - report by Adriaan



Two bikes in parts

Although I'm not prepared to pronounce myself ill, I do have a problem with the travel bug. I was bitten a long time ago and I get restless from time to time ever since. I then 'have' to travel. Escapism? Maybe... Lust for adventure? Definately! The work in preparation is very 'therapeutic' as well. That's one of the reasons I rebuilt my motorcycle completely.

"Isn't it time for a new one?"; "Go and buy yourself another!" - just some well intented remarks by 'healthy' friends (the ones without bug-bites). It's indeed strange, especially considering the dislike I developed for the frequently failing motorcycle during the Belgium-Australia trip. But I've grown to be accustomed to that old 'moped'. I have a number of great, sensible arguments to not buy a new one: "new ones won't run on leaded fuel", "I don't trust that CAN-bus (on the 1200GS)", "one trip will render it as worthless as the current one", "the accessories won't fit", "I'm familiar with this one - I have to start over with a new one". They're all true and not true at the same time. The travel bug interferes with my judgement, I guess.

Another long journey

Whatever my state, ill of sane, travel time has come. I had some unfinished business with the two America's, so I immediately knew where my next trip would take place when Miriam and I fell apart. Initially, I wanted to go from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska, but I royally missed my window of opportunity (because of a number of reasons). But there's no use crying over spilt milk - the reverse is even better climatologically.

It may be called Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but one has to view that on a global scale: I start in Miami. That city has a reasonably sized harbor, it's (shipping-timewise) closest to Europe and it's usually nice and warm. Once I'm that close to one of the extremities, I won't resist to travel the Florida Keys first and wave to Cuba.

I was on the East and West coast frequently, but rarely in the middle. From Florida, I will go up along the Mississippi river, through "twister country" (and in season, too). Another, completely irrational destination is Broadway and Fifth Avenue on Manhattan in New York. I fancy riding those two streets on my own bike. (And get out of the city fast, as I'm no city-dweller.) I expect to make progress towards the symbolical start of the trip by crossing Canada as northerly as possible.

What next? I don't know and I don't want to know. Not yet.


A BMW on her side

"Damn! All this hauling of this heavy p-o-s!" Isabelle and I are tugging at my motorcycle-without-frontwheel, which we're trying to lift high enough to put it on its center stand. Once on the stand, it will be easy to put the wheel back is, at which time we'll be able to roll it off the base of the crate. (We need to screw studs to the base.) Once rolling, we'll take it for a last (European) spin and next we'll crate the bike for the duration of the sea-voyage to Miami.

"It's not like she's brand new", I contemplate. "We'll just pull her over." The fat Bavarian lady lies down willingly and even sticks out the telescopic arms. Assembling the wheel is easy and a little later we're (stuck) in the mud of a small trail somewhere in the Belgian Ardennes. Just the place where we like to be! Regrettably, I will have to remove most of the filth, since she won't be admitted in the US while very dirty. Oh well, If there's mud in Florida, we'll find it!