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Epilogue and Afterthoughts

Submitted by on Thursday, 19 February 2009No Comment

Epilogue

There were a lot of questions after I got home: Would you do it again? Would you have preferred going by yourself? Was the language an advantage? What did you needed the most that wish you had with you? Was the bike a good choice?
I am glad only one person went with me because there were situations were I was stressed out thinking not only about myself but my friend. I had to keep my eyes on the roads, on the street signs and on my mirror. This wears you out at a mental level. I was the planner, navigator and path finder but in reality I didn’t know where I was going. I can’t even imagine trying to organize a bigger group who doesn’t speak the language. I personally would recommend a 1:1 ratio of native speakers to gringo. I didn’t want to become a translator at every stop.
Of course you can ride the whole continent without speaking the language, plus there are many people with basic English. Yet the experience of interacting with the locals would be lost at a certain level. Learning the language gives you a deeper connection that won’t make you feel left out.
I could have done the trip by myself easily. Again I speak the language. Yet having someone behind your shoulder gives you a sense of security in all kind of situations. To me the level of friendship made a huge difference. I traveled with one of my best buddies. Someone I knew could rough it on any situation even when I pushed the limits. You don’t want to be traveling with a whiny person who is just for the ride and not the adventure. Someone who doesn’t question the culture or food but embrace it as is.
Having helmet to helmet communications would have made the trip more enjoyable and safer. There were moments I had to make last minute turns or stops. My friend was trying to follow me as best as he could just wondering what the heck I was doing.
I’d wish I had taken my mp3 player. There were some days it would had made the evenings livelier.
The bike (BMW GS1150 Adventure) did an amazing job. Luck? Maybe. Yet it lived to my expectations. I can see situations where a lighter bike would have been better but you can’t beat the cruising speeds). You have to always plan where to park or stop otherwise you will be pushing the bike to get it out. I was prepared to tack intermediate mechanical issues that never showed up. I took spare parts and the dealer was notified to send me any parts if needed anywhere. You can not leave your issues to divine intervention. His bike came back with 70000 miles on the odometer, mine with 47000K. They are no trailer queens.
At the end I rode a bit more than 5500 miles. I saw countless smiles and met many people. Some of them I am still in touch with. The only thing I lost was a sweater and a shirt I forgot in Antigua. We saw amazing landscapes and sites. We never got sick and we ate a lot of street food. Bribes? Zero.

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