Slurping a coffee at Burnout Cafe in Vancouver, Canada, the butterflies in my tummy were doing barrel rolls. This was it! The start of our big ride from Canada to the southern tip of Argentina. With no house to sell and no apartment to rent out while we are gone, whatever savings we have would have to do. This would be my last fancy latte for a long while. Our luggage included a quality tent and a camping stove so we could free-camp in national parks and Bureau of Land Management areas as much as possible and save on restaurant bills.
The general plan was to race through the expensive U.S. before slowing down when we got to Mexico. There were only two problems with that. One, my bike was a small Honda NX250 that wouldn’t be racing anywhere fast. My partner-in-crime, Aidan, with his BMW F650GS often has to wait for me to catch up. The other problem was that, in seventh grade, my best friend had returned from summer holidays in the U.S. with fascinating photos of vast desert landscapes with huge red rock formations. I had been dreaming of exploring them ever since, so we would have to make a few allowances.
Best Things Are Free
It being October, the stunning Oregon coast with its fragrant pines, wild coves, and quaint towns along the twisty coastal road was mostly hidden from view. A thick fog rolling in from the sea reduced visibility to a few meters and a damp cold crept into our jackets and under our skin. We endured, knowing that all we had to do to escape the fall weather was to ride south as planned. At night, we escaped the wafting wet by popping inland for camping spots by rivers just warm enough for a refreshing bath.
In California, the highway entered a cool, dark forest with black silhouettes of tall tree trunks interspersed with bright diagonal sunbeams illuminating the white mist. This monochrome wonderland was the first redwoods I’d ever seen. I had heard that these trees are so big that you can drive a car straight through them.
Motorcycles & Gear:
1992 Honda NX250
2004 BMW F650GS
The drive-through tree by Myers Flat had a whole tourist attraction built up around it. Entry was $5 and a line showed the next vehicle where to wait so as to not obscure your photo. The natural hole in the gigantic tree trunk was indeed something to behold. But the touristy experience felt somewhat lacking. The higher ticket price at the “original” drive-thru tree by Legget suggested that this one would be better.