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The Journey




Guiness
 
 

June 1998


My first lap around the sun is over. It has been one year since I grabbed handlebars and started exploring the roads of this planet. They were paved and dusty, wide and barely manageable, sometimes straight but mostly curvy. They were friendly and dangerous, too. But all the time colorful and interesting.

On the odometer of my only companion, trusty BMW F650, is the number 45,000. Kilometers to be precise. I used two sets of chains and tires for the trip from Slovenia to New York, over Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and back to the USA across Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, D.C., North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. I also made a short loop that crossed Missouri, Kansas to my favorite part of the USA: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, and Wyoming.

New York brought the first flat tire (and the only one so far). Maine was so nasty wet that even my computer could not put up with it. And crashed. I lost 11 articles and over 70 days of diary notes. Had to be rewritten under a wet tent.

Did not need to go further than Massachusetts to find my first spoiled food experience. The decision to visit Canada was not originally part of my plan. I actually decided at a gas station to head to Nova Scotia. I met an old BMW rider who was sorry I was about to miss the country of "the friendliest people in the world". So I decided to check it out.

In less than a day I was on the ferry heading toward the land where I found what I was looking for. Though I have been to many places and lands in my travels, Newfoundland and Labrador are the jewels. I won a whole city of friends in one afternoon and spent the night cooking for the whole town. Before I left I became a honorary citizen of New Foundland.

It was in Canada as well, and for the first time as well that I had a moose try to compete with me. A little speed race we had on one of the nicely paved Canadian highways. He was in the left lane. I had the right. Luckily, I stopped before he could run me over while trying to pass me.

Later in the Carolinas, I had the great pleasure of traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway. It gave me a lot of pleasure to see the incredible colors of fall. Unforgettable scenery to be remembered for the rest of my life.

I made it to Florida on a pumpkin day. Halloween they call it. There were no kids or sweets. Just one horrible hurricane. Before I made it to my base in Orlando, I ran out of gasoline. I parked on the side of the interstate and started to walk to the nearest gas station. Due to the heavy winds, I was able to squeeze only 296 km instead of 450 out of one gas tank. I was getting soaked to the bone when somebody stopped the car and picked me up. It was a woman willing to help to the "walking pony tail" as she recalled why she stopped. Americans seldom stop for the stranger on the road. If you think that God sent her there, you are right. She was a missionary... And I was a devil at the Halloween party in Orlando that evening. A lucky devil.

What Florida lacks in curves and twisty roads it makes up for with sky. Big, blue, with a lot of skydivers over it. And why I should miss it out? I found a jump site in Deland and I fell completely, madly in love with the place. After three months, 60 jumps, and a B-license under my belt (not to mention a new Performance Design parachute packed in with a Cypress equipped Vector) I no doubt became the first person traveling around the world with a parachute on a motorcycle.

It wasn't all jumping and riding, though. I had to get my bike to South America, which required some planning. I contacted numerous shipping companies to get my BMW to Caracas. Hellmann International said it would take three days. I wasn't sure if I could wait that long. OK I thought, I can do 3 days of waiting.

Almost a month latter no one at Hellmann could tell me how long it would take for my bike to arrive. In a meantime I decided to waste my time in the most productive way possible. I was talking 10 hours of Spanish lessons every day. While waiting for the bike to arrive I was, naturally, walking. More suffering to come. I got hit by the bus. Sure, on a pedestrian crossing. On a green light. Fortunately I was able to walk away. Good or bad luck again?

More things went wrong in Venezuela. The customs process for bringing some sponsored goods, like a GPS unit from Tom Wade, and other items into the country, proved to be a nightmare. Luckily, DHL in Caracas, managed to understand and reacted properly in a governmental bureaucratic mess.

After 25 days of waiting I got my bike. Finally. I was all set to head for the world's largest rain forest. I couldn't wait. Truth be told, my jungle experience was terrible. So bad it makes me sick to even think about it again. It started well. I got to pilot a Cessna over some of the densest jungle of the Amazonian basin. From the co pilot's seat, to be precise. After shocking my mother with tales of skydiving I spared her from the story of my flying lessons.

I wanted to see jungle alone, without a tour operator and hordes of tourists. I needed a guide, I was told. Unfortunately, my Venezuelan tourist guide turned out to be the biggest nightmare of my trip so far. After he failed to seduce me he started to drug me. Every time I drank anything, I got sick. Violently ill. To make the situation worst I was target for determined insects, laying eggs under the skin. Local Indians helped me out of this hell, and back to the edge of civilization where I recovered for a week. It wasn't long before I could sit on the bike again. And I can't tell you how happy I was to lose my tourist guide.

Venezuela brought a second crash (obviously I have to do it every six months) which I suffered when I was riding from the jungle to a drop zone. Despite the fact I was not injured, I was so mad I had to forget about jumping that day. Silly me.

In May, I went to Los Roques. I had been wishing for ages to spend a birthday on a lonely island in the middle of nowhere. But doing nothing in paradise was not for me. So I took a sailing lesson and earned my scuba diving license.

My traveling anniversary brought up an idea to extend my journey into the new millennium. The world is simply too beautiful to see it in a hurry. I am looking forward to more adventures with my red Funduro "boyfriend".

Beside the general sponsor BMW Slovenia- Tehnounion Avto and over 25 others, the last six months brought some new names on the list of helping hands: Skydive Deland, Performance Design, Relative Workshop, PD Source, Airteck, Cycoproducte, Givi, Sky System, 1800 Batteries, Tom Wade, Cood&Groovy Fridge Co., Michigan Suites, M&G Accessories and many others.
 
 
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