Sunday, October 30, 2011

The end!!

Having been stationary for 2 weeks the realisation that the journey has come to an end has hit home, though i think it will hit harder once i return to the UK. I'm told that its about the two week mark when the depression sets in, i can see why. Having no ties, responsibilities or constrains for 9 months then returning to a world that is based on them is a shock. The prospect of returning to the workforce, working structured hours for allocated time off is even more daunting.
Luckily, knowing people who have completed adventures on motorcycles and talking to them about the readjustment prepared me for the shock.
When i return to the UK having had some rest and recuperation time in Canada 'real life' will begin. 
The bike however is going on another adventure. I got a call from my buddy Charlie asking if i'd sell it to him. He's planning to slowly travel from Canada to Panama, maybe further south. Not wanting to sell the bike we came to an agreement, repairs servicing and shipping in return for the loan. In a few days charlie and the bike will be heading south. If you see them stop and have a chat. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 277 - Seattle - Vancouver

Distance travelled (by bike):  42,050

The final day on the road, a sad day. It actually worked out quite well that i didn't have too far to ride, leaving the overcast metropolis of seattle i took some of the smaller backroads as i started to travel north. My thought was to milk as much out of the day as possible. This however never happened. With Seattle about 50 miles behind me the warning lights started flashing, oil pressure low, engine in emergency mode - pull over. I did, repeating this manoeuvre roughly every 40 miles.
Enough was enough, i needed to get to Vancouver, it was time to hit the highway. 
Things were going well until the traffic at the Canadian border. For the first time in a long time the warning light was red and no longer flashing, the oil light was red and no longer flashing, the temperate light was like a strobe, the service light, deciding it was missing out also turned on….and that was it, the bike stopped.
I pushed the bike to customs and through the border, leaving it and me to rest on the Canadian side. After an hour, it was time to get into vancouver. If the bike died, at least it was on Canadian soil and i had family to help. 
Until i got into Vancouver the bike behaved itself, then after stopping and starting at the lights it started the dashboard light show, deciding i was close enough i ignored the lights increased the revs and drove on.
Relieved to see Becci & Kim's house i coasted into their driveway, not even parked i was greeted with beer. 
I know that i have finished the adventure now, but it hasn't sunk in yet, the bike is still packed and i'm still abroad. Tomorrow will be a strange day when i finally have to unload, clean and store the bike.

I realise I'm coming off a 10 month high that has been the most interesting, satisfying and exhilarating thing i have ever done in my life and it  is going to be a harsh adjustment. The aim now is to reintegrate into reality and search for the ideal work - ==life balance, after all El Che eventually got a gig as a communist revolutionary after his bike died.
I'm sure the lure of the road will not go away, already i'm thinking of the next adventure and how to pull it off.
As of yet the realisation of the journey been complete hasn't sunk in, i'm sure in a few weeks, having had time to comprehend, understand and recover from the adventure, the actuality of what i have accomplished, endured, experienced, shared and the generosity of people i met along the way will have left a huge impression on me. 

from the beginning:









costa rica



el salvador 






parked up at the end - 42,000 mile later

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 274/275/276 - Yakima - Seattle/Seattle

Distance travelled (by bike):  41,780

It was inevitable it was going to rain at some point on this journey, today was that day. As we drove from Yakima the heavens opened. We took the white pass through the mountains, getting colder the higher we drove, decending the otherside of the pass we pulled in to get fuel and defrost. While se were stopped we were told that there had been nearly an inch of rain in the last couple of hours, no wonder we were soaked.
We were told that it would be quicker to get to seattle by going though the national forest, a few miles later Matt was driving the Harley like a motocross bike, i don't think the suspension had ever experienced such a hammering, i secretly was waiting for it fail, luckily for Matt it didn't.
Tearing on through the rain we approached Seatlle, with impeccable timing hitting rush hour. Eventually pulling up at the hotel, having unloaded Matts bike it was good to get out of the rain and warm up.
Warmed up, dried out it was time to hit the town, after a few drinks, some pool and making new friends the bar was closing, not ones to call it a night early we piled into the barmans car and headed on.

A steady start to the day, a steadier ride to drop Matts bike off. Bike returned, it was back into Seattle to be tourists for the day. Birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, Nivana, Pearl Jam and loads of other bands Seattle has a huge music scene, its also known as the coffee capital of the US due to the consumption of coffee and the companies that were founded here, these include Starbucks and Seattle Best Coffee.
Touring the city we hit the major landmarks, the Space Needle, Seattle centre, Experience Music Project, Pike Place Market.
The Space Needle was built for the 1962 world fair, 184 metres high and built to withstand earthquakes up to 9.1 in magnitude it has become a major landmark and offers great views over seattle. The Experience Music Project museum is designed by Frank Gehry and funded by microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Housing a huge guitar collection and exhibitions documenting the history of settles bands, its an amazing place.
Exhausting the day we asked some of the locals where we should eat, again we hit gold, amazing restaurant/bar housed in the basement of some office building.

Today was a sad day, Matt flew back to the UK and reality hit that in two days this adventure would be over. 
Making the most of the day strolling around the city, a few drinks at the airport then back to the ranch to pack for the last push up to Vancouver tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 272/273 - Portland - Portland - Yakima

Distance travelled (by bike):  41,550

After a hedonistic night in Portland it was an incredibly slow start to the day. After dragging ourselves out  of the safety of the hotel we explored the city.
Portland is unique, it has barrow streets and unlike most US cities very small blocks, making it a compact city and easy to navigate.
I really laid back and relaxed city, but it seemed like an epicentre for all the waif, strays, homeless, hippies and crazies on the west coast. 
After a relaxed day some great food and wine it was time to pack up and get ready for tomorrow.

Leaving Portland behind we hit the road. Stopping for breakfast, in typical style we opted for the all american specials, when they arrived they were huge. Matt had an enormous plate of eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, grilled cinnamon buns with syrup and cream, strange mix.
Rolling out of the restaurant we struggled back onto the bikes and headed north east. Stopping at one of the state fisheries and hydro dam, we were privileged to see one of the huge sturgeons, over 12ft. Further up the road we stopped at a historic aeroplane and car museum, amazing collection, all still working and used, every week they drive different cars on local routes allowing locals and tourists to ride along in the vehicles. The planes are also flown every week.
Back on the road it was i great ride east, stopping at the stonehenge war memorial on our way to Yakima.
Arriving at Yakima we headed out for some food and drinks, Matt decided to try a man v's food type challenge, eating over 70 shrimp (7 different types), chicken wings and salad in less than an hour. I had to roll him back.

one of the locals car, decorated with, well what seemed like anything they could find

it already is...