Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The show must go on...

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. My sister has just emailed and told me off for this very reason! Normal service will resume soon, but Rhonda and I have been extremely busy since arriving in the U.S. This update may shed some light on things.....

The border crossing was smooth! Too smooth. I ended up in the U.S. with no stamp for me and no paperwork for the bike. When I pointed out to the U.S. customs dude that I had not officially left Mexico, he just smiled and said 'You're in the U.S now. Not my problem!'
I have a Canadian passport (the British one is now full AND mouldy!)  so I'm not too worried about the stamp, but I think Rhonda may be an illegal immigrant! Let's hope Donald Trump doesn't get to hear about this!


The Dean kids!
This country worried me for financial reasons. Now, 2 years in to a planned 2 year journey, I am nowhere near home and hitting one of the most expensive places I could be - certainly in terms of accommodation! Thankfully many bikers have stepped in to help.

The Californian welcome has been as warm as the weather and since arriving 2 weeks ago, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of its resident bikers in sharing their time and homes with me. L.A sometimes gets a bad rep, as do Americans in general. In fact it is not uncommon (particularly amongst travellers) for the entire Western World to get knocked for its lack of culture and kindness. Whilst I agree that Latin America and the entire Asian continent would take a lot to beat, I am willing to stand up and shout out for the rest of us in this case. The Brits and Americans love to point out each other's cute little differences in their our own brand of humour but, I am happy to say, none of them are holding this against me!

Tim and Anna
I have stayed with some pretty interesting people so far. Genuinely cool people! The Dean family in Newport who greeted Rhonda and me with a wonderfully welcoming homemade sign that I will never forget. Mitch in San Fernando Valley who showed me that Broadway shows really can be entertaining. Tim and Anna, the British couple in Pasadena, and Eric over in Orange County who introduced me to a new sponsor (more to come on that later).  These guys are all very different people with very different jobs. Mitch worked as a driver in the film industry, Tim studied as a motorcycle historian and Anna has won awards as a director of feminist porn films! I mean you just don't get to meet people like this if you don't take up these random offers from strangers (now friends of course), and in my opinion they are just as interesting and varied as the people I met in Asia or South America. They did all have two things in common with each other though - Motorcycles and a Love of Adventure.
Me and Mitch at the Hollywood sign
Whilst in L.A Rhonda also got her broken screen replaced courtesy of Bajaworx.com so I'm not the only one being spoilt! This screen is very pretty I must say,  but I am assured it will do more than just look good as it is a lot tougher than it looks! Thanks again Gerald!

During this time of moving around L.A I have also been accepting offers from people all the way up the coast, who have invited me to present for them. This has dictated my route and sees me on a tight schedule. However, we must make hay while the sun shines and it's another opportunity to meet like-minded people. I am lucky enough to have previously crossed the U.S. 4 times and so the focus for now is on the people and the work rather than the sites. This is an adventure in itself.

On stage at the TImonium Motorcycle Show
This last weekend saw me leaving Rhonda behind in sunny L.A and flying in to Baltimore for the Timonium Motorcycle Show where I presented on the adventure stage for 3 days in a row. It's been a great opportunity to catch up with some old friends, meet many of my blog followers and, of course, share my story with new friends. It's genuinely been a pleasure, although I must admit - I am shattered!

The show was busy and a great place to people watch. It is really a chopper/Harley crowd but the last two years has seen a little corner spring up for those who also enjoy the mud! We received a warm welcome amongst the big denim wearing tattooed majority! A great crowd!

Oops! 
From Baltimore I have flown to Chicago and I write this from the Shaw family residence, a few hundred meters from Lake Michigan. It is a beautifully picturesque neighbourhood, accentuated by the crisp white snow that has covered it. I will do a presentation here for a small group, and take the opportunity to check out Chicago before flying back to L.A on Thursday to join Rhonda again.

I am still working on my plans going forward. Once I cross over into Canada I have many options. At the moment, I would really like to make it to Alaska and then use the Trans Canadian Adventure Trail (mostly off road and wilderness) to get over to the east coast. This will depend on my shoulder, in part, and how strong it is by then. It will also require a lot of advance planning if I am going to attempt it alone. I also need to start thinking about my plans for Africa. This also requires a lot of advance paperwork and route planning! I think you can safely say I have my hands full for the next few months and I wonder how long it will really take to finish this challenge! Yes I do still see it as a challenge  - something I must finish rather than a way of life - to endlessly wander the world on two wheels. My brain needs more focus than that. I have always needed goals and that part of me, it seems, has not changed. The next challenge is already forming and I love it - but there is no rush!

A BIG THANK YOU TO MOTOBREAKS FOR THEIR SUPPORT IN PREPARING FOR THE SHOW.


Rhonda with her new screen
Some of the bikes at the show


























6 comments:

  1. Steph, what can I say someone has to keep you on your toes & stop you from slacking!! ;-) Karen xx

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  2. Good to hear from ya again Steph' ... and really interested to hear about your U.S.A experience, after months of travel in the southern half of America. One of my old travel buddies Bjorn, was well under-awed by the US of A. after riding the length of South America, so hot-tailed it up to visit Alaska rather than continuing with a tour of the US. Interestingly having checked his website recently, can't see any blog posts for Alaska? (see http://www.panomoto.com/) Though no doubt he'd help you out, if you've got any Q's on travelling in that region ... Loved the custom bike pictures, but the purple bikini 'thing' is rather bizarre. Wouldn't imagine it'd be too comfy to wear?? Well done for the 3-day presentations in Baltimore. As I'd guess not too many Yanks consider biking, other than cruising snooker-table flat, arrow-straight roads for a weekend ride-out ... Will look forward to next post x

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  4. Hi, Steph. This is Jim, from the Shenandoah Valley, who met you on the first day of the Timonium show. As you said, it was a strange world at that show, my first MC show. I wouldn't have come but for the adventure segment, which turned out to be a lot of fun. But again: an odd group of people. I've never had anyone throw a foam boob at me before.

    And the cold... brrr! How'd you get to come out on the coldest days of the entire year? I hope you make it back to L.A. safe and sound.

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  5. Africa - I thought the US and Canada were your last stop. my God!
    Please do the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse - I'm a big Ice Road Truckers fan.

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  6. Wow, had I know you were passing through Baltimore I certainly would have chatted you up about this. Great adventure, keep at it! Amazing.

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