We arrived home in Tweed on February 17th to cold and snow but the warmth of home after almost five months away. After a marathon of unpacking, washing clothes, opening mail, and getting caught up with family and friends, its time for the reflection I promised. So here goes.
What went well? Everything! All the bikes performed almost flawlessly with only a few bolts lost on the rough roads and the one flat early on. We never felt we were missing anything we needed and the only things we didn’t use were the First Aid kit and most of the tools-definitely a good thing! One bike fell over while stopped and the rest managed to keep the rubber side down for which we are very grateful.
What didn’t go well? Finding decent, cheap hotels in Central America; gravel roads and construction; Patagonian WIND, gas shortages in Argentina; and lack of toilet paper.
But I’m sure the big question you’re all asking is “How did two couples (four very independent people) get along for such an extended period of time?” And the answer is “Great!” Firstly, we didn’t spend every waking moment together. The beauty of the bike is that you are alone while riding so it’s nice to have some company and conversation when you stop for gas or meals. Secondly, we were together as a team fighting against the elements, the obstacles, and the objectives. But probably the biggest factor is that we all had roles to play and jobs to do and everybody did them well: Ross was our leader, scout and maintenance man for the KLRs; Steve was the IT guy, blogger, route planner, and researcher and of course, maintenance for the BMWs: RuthAnn was the interpreter, customs clearer, and accommodation locator and negotiator; and I blogged and flashed my badge occasionally. The best photographs you see on the blog are Steve’s and the rest are mine. Ross and RuthAnn are able to enjoy the moments without having to document every detail while Steve and I made copious notes as if we were on an expedition to an uncharted land. For the record: we crossed 22 borders, rode 25,898 kms., visited 16 countries, 3 continents over 142 days. Cost-?-don’t really want to know.
The Reynens are currently riding their Beemers through Florida on a protracted route back to Green Bay and our KLRs are tucked in storage in Heidelberg, Germany. And so the journey comes to an end. We hope you’ve enjoyed the ‘ride’ as much as we did and we really appreciate all the responses we received along the way.
Special thanks to Roger, Joanne and Wayne for the GPS maps; Ken O’Malley for information and place to work on the bikes; Harold Brooks for shipping and routing information; Norm Myers and Hubert Laurin for helping set up the KLRs; Norm and Linda Babcock for suggesting the ride and of course, Steve and RuthAnn who help make our dreams a reality. Sniff.