The Americas 2013

A Motorcycle Diary

5 September 2013

05 Sep

You have probably been wondering what the delay in the last weeks worth of posting has been all about. Some may even have become concerned at the lack of update that caused people to send worried emails and sms’s querying our whereabouts! The simple fact is that the administration of finishing up the trip and making all the associated arrangements has resulted in the delay, and if the truth be told, I have been resisting writing this final post!!

The ride is complete!


New York city at the flag Plaza in New Jersey with the Statue of Liberty in the background…

Today was a short ride of only 330km from Boston to New York City. I had to keep reminding myself that today was the last days ride and the sight of New York eventually coming into sight was surreal as it has always been a distant destination that we spoke about, more than we actually anticipated the emotion of it coming into view from the seat of our bike!!

Days ride

Our days ride…

We have completed 50,000km’s, or to give one a sense of what this distance represents; 20% more, than the distance to circumnavigate the entire globe at the equator which is only 40,075km, alternatively, looking at this following picture also provides a great visual idea…

Our total 50,000km ride...

Our total 50,000km ride showing the foray to the tip of south America including the rides into the Arctic circle in Canada and Alaska. The different colours represent each leg we did before returning home for a couple of weeks each time.

We are excited with the fact that the ride is over. We are filled with a sense of accomplishment and a mixture of awe and disbelief with the events of the last 9 months; events that will more than likely take a few months, if not years to properly digest and understand the myriad of experiences and implications, personal and otherwise.


Arriving at the Four seasons in New York!!



Central Park from our hotel room..

When I stand back and consider what we have just completed and accomplished, much like the reaction of strangers that hear the story, I struggle to grasp the enormity of the undertaking and this produces an odd and unsettling sensation; a sensation that is mixed with an irrational ability to understand that we wont be climbing on the bike tomorrow to ride to another destination, we wont be discovering another road or a new place, we wont be packing the bike and we wont be writing another blog post to record our ride and the events of the day! Although we are excited to see family that we have both missed deeply, the sum of this is a combination of sadness, a pinch of depression and a big dose of confusion about what has become our daily reality which is about to change back into our normal every day lives, and the fact that it will probably take weeks, if not months, to get back into the rhythm and flow of home.


The New York skyline from New Jersey..


Brooklyn bridge from Brooklyn..

The original idea for this trip was born when riding from Cape Town to Cairo back in 2010. At the time I thought it would be a great idea to ride south America but as time progressed, South became South and Central, this then became South, Central and North and it eventually culminated in finishing up in New York because it’s a city I have often visited and the idea of completing this ride at such an iconic destination really cemented the totality of the ride.


Rockerfeller Plaza on 5th avenue.


The Guggenheim Museum on 5th Ave.

What was originally a ride that I had planned largely alone with Jacqui joining me on one or maybe two stretches, morphed over time into her joining me on the bulk of the ride. Of the total 50,000km’s between Buenos Aires and New York, Jax rode a total of half the mileage on the bike and spent a lot of the time whilst I was riding the rough roads waiting in cities I was heading towards so that I would pick her up and continue onwards. Considering that Jacqui had barely got on a motorcycle in her life before departing from Santiago, is a testimony to what an amazing woman she is! The last 9 months have been amazing, but primarily in retrospect. The daily reality of this trip is that it has been TOUGH! Mixed amongst the beautiful vistas, people, experiences and places were uncomfortable long stretches, cold, rain, scorching heat, insects, stomach bugs from dodgy food, exhaustion and many less than desirable places where we spent the night! Few woman would be able and willing to tackle a trip like this alongside their man! Even fewer that are beautiful , elegant and intelligent, but the truth is that with every mile, regardless of beauty or discomfort we only laughed more, grew closer and loved the journey and each other more and more. I am truly grateful for your companionship my love and am looking forward to many more miles, months, years and decades together!!


Empire State Building..


The Flatiron Building..

A common question is “what has been the most beautiful/impressive destination/place/thing that we have experienced?”! The short answer is that no one single destination, place or thing has ownership of that title! The world we live in is spectacular and it doesn’t matter where one turns, beauty surrounds us in a myriad of different forms; the driest of dead deserts when the sunrise touches it, the slums on the outskirts of a large city when laughing children play in the rain puddles, right across to the obvious and more commonly encountered beauty that graces the pages of glossy travel magazines. The greatest beauty however, was not a physical one, but the realisation that it is a human one. 98% of the people of this world are amazing, friendly, loving, welcoming, interesting, intelligent and have deep, warm and caring souls. This was evident in the manner in which we were embraced by strangers everywhere, regardless of their socio economic status and has given me a renewed belief in us as a species, regardless of the ever sensationalised, excessive reporting on the nefarious activities of the remaining 2% of us, which unfortunately taints our perspectives of each other, and us as a species as a whole!

On the question of the Bike! You may recall that I was struggling with the decision of whether to continue northward using my KTM or my BMW which were both in Santiago after Enrico and I completed Patagonia. Well, although I started sceptical with the BMW, the truth is that I have loved every single aspect of this fat Girl and I would probably tackle any other big and versatile ride like this again with a BMW…regardless of terrain!! This is not to say that the KTM is not my first love, but it is to say that I have new admiration and respect for BMW as an all round adventure bike.

Although it was always the plan to bring the bike back to SA after the ride was complete, I have decided to leave it in New York and to return next July, ideally with my son Max, to ride the eastern and southern states of the US, thereafter, to probably leave it in Arizona before heading back into Central and South America in order to tackle the eastern side of South America in multiple short stages over the years to come, so in essence, the ride is not really over at all, just merely paused for a time! In this regard, I need to say a HUGE thank you to our wonderful friends Al and Roma Connable in Long Island, New York, who have very kindly offered to let the fat girl stay in a warm and vacant parking bay owned by them, in the basement of their very secure building!

I need to thank all the fantastic people and companies that have sponsored my charity drive to raise funds for Afrika Tikkun! Although I set a target of R500k and have only raised a little more than half of that to date, I am deeply grateful for your donations which have gone to such a fantastic cause! All this means, is that we are going to have to have a few charity dinners and other drives to close the gap and if you are reading this and have enjoyed following the ride in the last few months, perhaps you could visit the online donation page here and assist us in doing so!

I also need to thank my kids, work partners and colleagues that have displayed an enormous amount of patience with my absence whilst I undertook this incredible and soul enriching journey. I appreciate that it hasn’t always been easy coping with the long length of time and distance and having to carry what is usually a shared load alone. Thank you guys, I am grateful.

Finally, a common question has been “what next?”! Well, the seed for a trip that looks something like London, Beijing, Sydney is in my hand, and although attractive and not yet planted, it just may be the next challenge to think about once the callouses and discomfort of the current trip have faded, BUT, there is a lot that needs to happen in the foreseeable future before a trip like this can even be contemplated so stay tuned.

Thank you for joining us on our journey.

Rui and Jax,

New York, 5 September 2013.


Ps. I thought it would be good to to put a range of photos together, each of which is from a period during the trip and in a time sequence from beginning to end and supplies a great pictorial overview of how it all unfolded….

1 2 3

4 5 6.1

6 7 8

9 10.1


11 12 13



17 18 19


20 21 22

2324 25.1



26 27.1


28 29 30.1

30 31.1




34 35


37 38 39


41 42.1











49 50 51 52


54 55 56



58.2 58.4 59



62.1 62 63

64 65 66

67 68




70 71 72.1


73 74 75







82 83 84











94 95




99 100 101

Be a sport Many of us have the means and wherewithal to undertake the dreams we want but elect to choose otherwise, many however, do not and that is the purpose of this plea. Afrika Tikkun (http://afrikatikkun.org// ) is a South African non governmental, non profit charity organisation run by the Lubner family that in essence does just that; re-provide the possibility to dream and to create the possibility of turning those dreams into a reality.

Unlike many pleas of this nature, I am not looking for any kind of sponsorship for my trip, but I am looking for your donation, regardless of its size to Afrika Tikkun. Please pledge generously as this is a fantastic cause that will assist them to provide food, care, education, health and social services to those that are desperately in need.

Leave a Reply

  1. Paul Fawkes

    September 18, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Congratulations on the completion of this amazing trip ,what an Outstanding Achievement .
    All the best Paul..