Friends on the Pan Am Hi-way

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Scott BradyChristophe Noel and the dream team at Overland Journal and Expedition Portal – What an utterly great bunch of adventure-gutsy guys and gals.  I say no more–truly inspirational people.

S&M Boilerworks – Meet Shannon and Mike, a zany couple with a thirst for living the life they love from Seattle who are all about “sustainable unaccountability”..!  Love it guys.  Such a hoot these two and some gorgeous stories of when they carried Ducati, their Chihuahua on the back of Mike’s bike. Shannon is one of my biking besties, and Mike cracks me up every time he breathes.

Clinton Logan – What a thoroughly nice Kiwi travelling for all the right reasons who has an innate ability with which to articulate himself. Loving your style Clint, and what a pleasure to spend a few days with you in Cartagena, Colombia.

Desk to glory – An adorable, media-savvy Canadian couple: Richard and Ashley are driving through the Americas in a well-kitted Toyota Pickup, this time setting off from Costa Rica to wend their way down to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Stunning little videos to boot.

Open-Explorers – A great German couple Daniel and Josephine on their very new and very old BMW motorcycles respectively. Daniel is the star and producer of the movie Somewhere Else Tomorrow and Josie is as amazing in the kitchen as she is on the sewing machine. Whoa! A fabulous riding ensemble who made wonderful company during our third stint in Costa Rica’s capital.

Dos Motos Seriously wow, the most British Germanic couple you’re ever likely to meet. Astride on big BMW motorcycles in their mid-sixties, talk about gutsy; they’ve walked through part of the Darien Gap amongst a myriad of other wild adventures.

Wander With Me – Colby & Alita are rocking it in their 4×4 and behind the lens; we love how they do their ‘ting and run a rather swish website to boot! Keep inspiring guys and here’s to our next meet.

Our bigger picture – While recuperating at Lake Atitlan from the killer overnight hike up to the summit of Acatenango volcano in Guatemala, we had the good fortune of meeting Paula and John in their Toyota Tundra & Hallmark Milner Camper. I’ll be forever indebted to the loan of their fluffiest pillow, unforgettable evenings laughing the night away with these party animals and forging some fast friendship. They produced a music video for their friend turning 50 and featured us, it’s hilarious: give it a watch!

Yusif Marzuca Rivero – Just about the most hospitable Mexican known to man.  He has a passion for piloting jets and tendency for taking in two wheeled waifs and strays like us.  Staying with Yusif in Toluca for just shy of a week resulted in making another fabulous friend, one whom we’ll never forget.  He was the perfect host; endlessly agreeable, jovial and undemanding. Muchas gracias Yusif!

Live.Travel.Play – Gregor and Janice are travelling in a 1987 VW Van ‘Lucky’. Their latest adventure: driving from Calgary, Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina. A great couple!

Beers and Backpacks – We hooked up with this chatty young couple while people watching in the plaza of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile; having a ball while blasting around the world. Keep up the good work guys!

Carlos Figueroa – What a champion! This guy took a real punt on us and invited us to stay at his place and reassured us that we weren’t in the way the entire time we occupied his entire front room. Neither of us had a Couchsurfing reference yet this host liked our story enough to warrant a three week stay. Thank you to the moon and back Carlos.

Fernando Volij – We hung out for a week with Fernando making him a promotional video for his company ‘Caviahue Tours’, which as the acting ‘tourist’ having to undertake activities such as dog sledging, snow-skidooing and snow shoeing was oodles of fun. Thanks for the free accommodation in return Fernando, you’re such a lamb.

Mike and Orla – A mad-as-a-box-of-frogs Irish couple who can only be described as SAVAGE.

Juan-Pablo Gonzalez and family – A salt-of-the-Earth and magnamimous Argentinean whose lifelong friendship with his wife Veronika, we will do our upmost to uphold. He’s also a partner in Argentina Moto Tours.

Jose Luis “Toto” Cano and family – Another insanely hospitable Argentinean with his partner Euge and their littlun Gasper showed us a generosity akin to treating us like kings for the best part of nine months. He’s a partner in Argentina Moto Tours and owns a stunning lodging ‘Posada Olivar’.

Freewheel Tour – Luis is just about the singlemost positive guy on the planet. There’s nothing not to love about him and he runs his own business taking tourists into the heart of Mendoza’s mammoth landscapes. Cool guy.

Damian Magario – What a selfless guy, who helped us in our dire hour of need after Pearl gave up the ghost in Peru. Can’t thank this guy enough. Read more about exactly the lengths this guy went to in order to help us, here. Heaven-sent!

Julio Acosta – A top chap who invited us to some tasty tucker at his restaurant, The Paddock in Trujillo, Peru. He runs tours at Peru Moto Aventura to boot! Thank you so much to Ricardo, his friend too, who treated us to a slap up platter of ceviche…mmmn, amazeballs.

Oscar Andrade – This Bolivian guy rocks. He got in touch with us, put a Singani on the rocks in our hands and us up in his house. Threw a couple of parties in our honour and showed us the sights of his home city La Paz. Unbelievably good to us, muchas gracias Oscar.

Juan Pablo Ciarroca – This Argentinean rider pulled up beside us on the roadside, asked us if we needed some lodging and two weeks later, we were still hanging out with him and his friends having been shown the best of Ushuaia on Tierra del Fuego. Such a nice guy.

Flightless Kiwis – Ben and Emma, also known as the two flightless kiwis take on the planet in their 4Runner: “The tale of a slightly mad plan to drive the Panamerican Highway from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina and anywhere else we can on the way.”  I love their ethos that every road-tripper needs a robust set of wheels beneath them, and these guys have just that. Liking your new life plan, guys.

The Tangletown 4 – Nate, Victoria, Ben and Amelia are a family of four enjoying life on the road in Cosmo, their Freightliner Sprinter.  Touring the Americas for a year means Ben at 13 and Amelia, 11 are being home-schooled and from what we saw, are having a blast soaking up everything there is to learn from one country to the next.  What an experience for those kids!

Fernando Duran – It doesn’t take long when living a life on the road before you’re reminded about life’s miracles.  Fernando and his magnanimity being chief among them.  Treating us to a complimentary stay at one of his four star hotels, the Posada San Agustin in Durango left us flabbergasted as it did deeply humbled, thank you Fernando!

Citronautas de América Mestiza – An awesome Argentinean couple riding around in the coolest Citron we’ve ever seen.  Their four-year journey has so far taken them from their homeland to Mexico, selling mostly jewelry along the way.  Thanks for giving us a ride into town at Las Pozas to get Jason’s battery charged overnight, really appreciated your functioning wheels and kindness!

Quadman ATV Rental – Kelly and Ron, owners of a big quad biking rental place in Los Barriles on the Baja Peninsula got chatting to us about this and that.  They were gregarious as generous; not only did they take the time from their busy day to say hi for half an hour, they left us with a bottle of chain lube, scratch-removing visor polish and a microfibre lint cloth, which was unexpected and graciously received.  Later, they only went made an enormous donation to us.  Wow, guys!  Thank you, you’ve rendered us speechless…a jaw-on-the-floor moment of the trip.

Piki Piki – Michnus and Elsebie are two like-minded moto-travellers from South Africa who’re a hoot and a half.  They shared burritos and banter, stories and stacks of info as well as let us kip on their motel room floor, and more besides!  Adore these two, they’re fab-u-loso!

Radioman – Mark Donham is a full time adventurer who rode around the world on two wheels over 31 months, 26 countries, 6 continents and over 90,000 riding miles.  Fathomlessly funny stories including why his nickname became Radioman…!  (The lady sewing his iPod lead into his jacket happened to call him that once and the name just stuck!)

Ruben Herbias – A top guy from the Philippines of all places, retired in California and welcomed us with open arms over dinner, at his home and beachside time-share while we were in San Diego.  A pleasure to spend time with him and his sweetie of a wife.

The Websters – A gorgeous family from southern California, who hosted us in their RV parked outside their home. We couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful welcome into the States, hung out with their eclectic mix of friends from a licensed marijuana dealer (medical purposes only!), a Olympic Gold retired female windsurfer to a woman whose driving force is ‘Soul Collage’–a life affirming process through the use of collating magazine cuttings onto cards.

Ken and Beth Collier – One of the most amiable couples we’ve had the good fortune of meeting. They hosted us twice for a few days in Arizona and I cherished every second with them. Superb people.

EH Alberts (and his dog) – A wandering motorcyclist with his dog who is usually sat watching the world go by alongside the man himself–Eugene–in his own personal sidecar.  What a way to live, not exactly a dog’s life is it? We had the pleasure of meeting Eugene in Moab, Utah.

The Pack Track – A couple of cool Aussies we stumbled across in Moab, Utah on an adventure to travel with their two(!) dogs on the back of the motorcycles through five continents before returning home to Australia and conquering a sixth continent. Whoa!

Kim Krause – A fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kinda gal, this Californian is travelling around the world by moto, campaigning against child abuse and competing along the way in events such as the GS Trophy. Go Kim!

Woody Witte – The founder of Woody’s Wheel Works, I have honestly never met such a charismatic chap who facilitates unique and special moments wherever he goes. He has the demeanour of Jack Nicholson, the voice of Al Pacino, the silver fox hair of Santa Claus and the engineering prowess of the world’s crème de la crème when it comes to wheels and dynamic motion. He’s a character alright.

Ed March and Rachel Lasham – Scooting around on their Honda C90s through the Americas, these guys are inspiring the art of budget motorcycling at every conceivable moment. There’s nothing not to like about these guys. Chuffed we bumped into them in Moab, Utah–talk about happy accidents and talking the hind leg off a donkey! Keep up the good work, you pair.

Wendy and Doug – Often times, it’s the unexpected encounters that get me most.  Within seconds of clocking us on a little RV park by the beach of San Felipe on the Baja, Wendy–who was just about to celebrate her ruby wedding anniversary–donated a bag of Shortfin corvina fish, just because.  It made a measly meal into something magical–those memories on the tastebuds will stay with me for life.  Thank you Wendy, the fish was so tasty, so good.

Laura and Erik – When you meet a couple with whom you hit it off without a hitch or hesitation, and their offer to hang out comes with a recommendation to taste the best fish tacos in town (Alfonsinas, Bahia San Luis Gonzago, Baja Peninsula, Mexico), you’d be plain daft not to join them!  What a blast we had for 48 hours with these guys on the Baja and then again in their hometown, northern California. Love it when your sense of humour is gloriously in tune with your host’s!

“Jonny Hot” – An endearing chap who went out of his way (all day in fact) to lead us to the Wave, near Kanab, as well as some 700 to 800 year old petroglyphs at the Mansard site in Arizona.  Such a gorgeous guy, made me howl with laughter and kept us entertained from 3.30am to late into the evening.  Wonderful parents to boot, can’t wait to see you three again!

Brian – A real Murican kinda guy, rears his livestock, loves his hunting and shared his beef and bathroom with us, all while permitting us to make camp on his seven acres. Thanks Brian, you’re a lamb!

Mary Kuntz – A superb lady that took us in from having met her briefly during our week with the whales in San Ignacio.  Opened her home, kitchen and life to us.  Thank you for such fantastic hospitality, I’m still salivating over the frittata and homegrown chard…nom!

Martha and Kurt (Black Dog Cycle Works)– A salt-of-the-Earth couple oozing in hospitality as much as hilarity: we had the best time with these folks down on their little piece of paradise on Baja California.  Counting the days down until I actually get to wrap my chops around the fresh fishy fare, courtesy of ‘Taco Tuesday’ but can vouch that Martha’s wine was top notch.  In addition to the red vino, thanks for laying out the red carpet in the blue house.  So unexpected to lap up the height of luxury.  Lush times.

Amanda and Andrew – Perhaps the two single most hospitable people this side of the pond.  Thanks to a brilliant biking couple we’ve had the stellar good fortune to meet on the road, led to an introduction and unforgettable experience with Amanda and Andrew.  Which in turn saw us meeting their mutual friends, all of whom were terrific.  These guys were truly the embodiment of kindness.

John Bates – When you pop into the local barber shop for a trim, the last thing you imagine is for a customer to pick up the tab because they like your travel story. We met John in Shoreline, Washington, the chap that paid for my fringe cut and Jason’s new hair do! John: thank you so much for shaving five years off Jason and allowing me to see while riding again. You’re a lamb.

Rob Barnett – A fellow traveller with an awesome trip planned.  It’s always a joy to connect with fine folks, and when they’re bikers on top, well, sharing in that commonality is an endless treat. Thank you so much for hosting us at the drop of a hat, and chuffed you could glean something from our on-the-road ramblings. You have a piece of paradise in Vancouver, Canada, a stunning welcome into the country.

Eric and Frances – Filling the bikes with juice at a gas station, Eric strode over with a grin on his face–I instantly liked him and hoped he would stop to say hi.  He did, and introduced us to his partner Frances and cycling pal, Mark. They treated us to a slap up meal in Pemberton–stunning food and fine company, and gave us one of those priceless microfibre lint cloths with helmet visor spray for the carnage of Canadian and Alaskan airborne bugs ahead.  Thank you both!

Kevin – After a long, hard day’s ride through BC, Canada, we peeled ourselves off the bikes having almost fused as one with them, Kevin hesitated not a second in asking us if we fancied resting our weary bones in his log cabin in Lac la Hache, BC.  A beautiful view of the lake, warm roof over our heads and a soothing shower awaited. Thank you Kevin, it was a joy to meet your wife and sister-in-law too.

Heather Sweeney – Think yoga-loving, au naturel, culinary goddess, zany Canadian. Spent a week chilling out with this wonderful lady in Whitehorse (Yukon), oh and singing karaoke until the wee hours the night before hitting the road. Thanks for giving us a comfy rest stop, taking me to Long Lake for some soul-nourishing yoga and curing my hangover–our time with you was really appreciated while getting both bikes prepped for Alaska. Stay lovely!

Lana and JC – A joyful couple who put family and people before all else. Such a treat to enter their world while in Anchorage, Alaska. Salt of the Earth folks, adore them.

Beth – Rocking up for a quick bite on the road to McCarthy, Alaska, we kicked the side stands down at Chitina Grubstake and tucked into a basket of fish and chips without further delay.  Being asked by the owner Beth if we fancied taking away two fantastically-sized red copper river salmon fillets left my jaw-on-the-floor and later, four ravenous bellies full of fish! Thank you. Two words: nom nom.

Ian and Kristina Goodwin – Stumbling on an article about why Denmark in particular is renowned for being the happiest country on the planet, I recently discovered the word “hygge”. Well known throughout the northwestern European country, it’s as Danish as the finest bacon as far as illuminating the soul goes. It means creating an inviting atmosphere, taking pleasure from the good things in life while enjoying the company of great people. An example would be tucking into an Alaskan Smörgåsbord in the warm glow of antler-adorned lounge lights. Or devouring a killer fish fry and laughing over a game of ‘Cards against humanity’ until your jaw and sides ache in equal measures. Thanks to two beautiful Alaskan born and bred Kristina and Ian, who opened their home and souls while sharing their bread and beer, this is exactly what we’ve had the stellar good fortune of experiencing and absorbing—rasher after rasher, slice after slice and time after time.

Dean – When Jase took his bike off the Rich highway, Alaska down a small gravelly bank, failed to spot a steel corrugated culvert, the bike dropped hard into it where the front wheel stood still and hurled Jason over the handlebars, flipping the bike over 180.  Quite the sight.  Unscathed physically, it was just the pride that got royally dented.  However, the F800GS came off rather worse for wear: ripping a sizable tear in both his front inner tube and tyre, dimpling the rim (a Woody’s Wheels one no less), ruining the front brake discs, snapping one of the mirrors clean off, cracking some of the plastic, as well as his prized fairing in numerous places. Despite the unforeseen costs chomping into the budget, all is fixable and foremost Jason walked away without injury.  Making it to the nearest hotel, I explained our pickle to Dean on the front desk and lo and behold, he offers up a front tyre in the perfect size.  Ten minutes later and a few bucks lighter we’re raring to go and on our way again.  Dean, you saved our bacon and with deep-seated desire, sure hope we get to buy you a beer at ‘Dust to Dawson’.

Fishhook Fatties – What a brilliant bunch of insanely likable bikers. Ever felt like you’ve known folks that you’ve just met, since forever? No airs and graces needed, we hit the ground running with this gregarious, unpretentious circle. Guards down at the same time we kicked the side stands out, it’s a joy to meet so many like-minded people. Without ego or agenda, each and every one of the Fishhook Fatties has harnessed a zest for motorcycling, making the absolute most of their time. Alaskan summers are short, I tell you! Burned the candle at both ends for an intensely magic period. This won’t be the last they’ll see of us: no goodbyes guys, just see you later.

In a Bolivian army sarnie!

In the middle of a Bolivian army sarnie!

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