Saturday 06th February 2016,
A New Yorker Travels

NYC to the tip of South America on a Motorcycle I don’t know how to ride…

NYC to the tip of South America on a Motorcycle I don’t know how to ride…
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My Upcoming Trip


During the past 5 years that I spent traveling I’ve used almost every mode of transportation imaginable and crossed nearly every different type of terrain I can think of. It was always an adventure, always interesting, always fun, always new.


I’ve flown in every type of airplane imaginable. From the biggest airbuses, all different types of Boeings, a private jet, an army helicopter to the smallest of planes, 20, 12, 8, 6, 4 and a 2 seat plane. (occasionally flying some of the smaller ones myself)


I’ve sailed on steam boats, catamarans, cruise liners, longtails, yachts, ferries, junk boats, schooners, steam boats, speed boats, houseboats, cigarette boats, island hopping boats and taken a fisherman’s canoe for a few days into the ocean to a tiny island where I stayed by myself.


I’ve traveled in almost every different type of train I knew existed, and some I didn’t. From the high speed TGV that leaves the south of France, steam locomotives, a 4 person plank dragged down the railroad tracks by a motorcycle, 1st class trains across India as well as steerage class 30 hour train rides so packed that I wound up hanging out the train with one hand gripping the door and one foot dangling above the ground that we were rolling over as there was no room on the inside of the car.


I’ve ridden inside buses that were loaded with chickens hopping around, some beautiful buses with reclining seats and champagne before bed, buses with doors and without, with seats and without, and ridden lying down on top of bushels of grain on top of buses, holding onto a rope and attempting to bus surf as we roared through the hairpin curves and mountains of Nepal, and hanging onto the back grate of buses.


I’ve ridden in every type of car that I can imagine. From small vans with no doors packed with people, to off-road jeeps, regular cars, the back of pickup trucks and carrier trucks that would pick me up when I was hitchhiking.


I’ve walked, jogged, run, rollerbladed, skateboarded, sprinted, climbed and swum in almost every weather imaginable (it’s illegal to go in the water during a hurricane in Florida because of me for example)


I’ve ridden bicycles, mountain bikes, racing bikes a unicycle (or attempted to, I didn’t get very far), two seat bikes, mopeds, Vespas, and on the back of motorcycles.


I still haven’t been in a hot air balloon, although truth be told I don’t have any huge drive to and I still haven’t paraglided (which I’m sure I’ll get around to eventually). Other than that, there’s no real form of transportation that I’m aware that I haven’t undertaken at some point.


Except one.


I’ve never ridden a motorcycle. Mostly, naturally, because I don’t know how. Small motor type bikes in south east Asia, naturally, bunches of them, but while I’ve been on the backs of motorcycles, I’ve never driven one myself. Riding motorcycles is, as I’m sure most of us have heard, one of the greatest ways to travel. You get a much different sense of connection to your surroundings when you’re riding through them on a bike.


I couldn’t possibly hang up my traveling pack (not that I think I ever really will) without having experienced this last mode of transportation. Like most things that I do in my life, I tend to take things to an extreme. I’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, know a bunch of people who have gotten seriously hurt on them and unfortunately a few who have died. But there’s no time like the present, as my Grandmother used to tell me. So tomorrow I’m going to go to the DMV, get my motorcycle permit, buy a bike and hopefully figure out how to ride it home without crashing. Which I’m sure will be an adventure in itself.


Then in the next 2 or 3 weeks I’m going to drive it across America, through Central America, down to Brazil for the World Cup, and eventually south to Ushuaia, which as far as I can tell from a map is about as far south as one can get on the continent.  I’ve set aside a year or two (or more if need be) to tackle this. Life is short, if you’re going to do something, like my mother always told me, do it right.


“Il n’est jamais trop tard pour bien faire,” my father used to tell me, which loosely translated in English (although it doesn’t quite mean the exact same thing) is: It’s never too late to do the right thing. So, I plan on doing exactly that.


This should be fun.

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  1. Roger Elliott 20 October, 2013 at 16:28

    Harry, I’m glad to hear you are going to hit the road again and we can all travel along with you, vicariously,. I hope your trip will take you through Maracaibo, Venezuela. I am at Kuwait at the moment but should be back there by the time you get there. I hope. Stay safe, and I’m sure you biker buddies will lecture you on that. I hope to see you soon. Roger

  2. Ax 6 December, 2013 at 11:06

    Interesting that Ushuaia is the name of the hotel we stayed at in Ibiza……..

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