Category Archives: 14 – 00 Panamericana 05, 2018 – 06, 2019

Life after the journey – Good memories

How is life after a journey? So, well, not much different than before. In the beginning you focus on the important things to get back to a `normal´ situation; having a place to live, getting ready for a job, repair the motorcycles so that you are mobile again and of course seeing your family and meeting all your friends!

We were lucky and found a nice little house in Hamburg.

With a fire place, a little garden, a garage for the motorcycles and with a perfectly developed cellar, with room to work and room for guests. The motorcycle “Stammtisch AT Rhön” had invited us to its annual meeting like the other years and we looked forward to seeing them again. But then they asked if we could make a little MultiMediaVison3DExperienceSuperDuperGreatestShowOnEarth presentation of our journey at the meeting. Hmm… We had about 2.5 weeks left and we had never done anything like this before. And the worst: We have made about 47000 pictures and movies and have not seen anything of it yet… But since the interest was so great, we gave our best and made a small presentation. We had a great weekend with campfire, good stories and an organized tour together; and in the end we were glad and grateful that our presentation was well received.Maybe even they liked it, 2times StandingOvations… (Or they just have been happy that it was finally over – who knows…)

As always, the question came up, how to make such a journey … Again and again there is the statement: “I would like to do something like that, but …” We can only give the following advice:

If you are a person who feels the desire to go and discover the world, do it. There is really nothing that speaks against or what should stop you, because there is nothing to lose. You can only win. Please never forget that you are the guest in the foreign country. Even if you find processes, actions and views absurd, alien or even not logical (e.g. BorderXings in Central America). You may not know all the background, not the history of the country or natural conditions (Nicaragua BorderXing is an exception, it´s absolutely makes no sense to fill out all this papers three times… but hey, don´t complain). Observe and act with caution and care over other customs. Be open to encounter something new and also to learn new views. Most people always welcome you and only want your best. If you have a bad gut feeling, then leave the place and/ or behave calmly.

The majority of folks are afraid of losing what they currently have. A house / apartment with all the belongings, a job, relationships… Our experience has shown that finding a new home is not so difficult; even in a city like Hamburg. In our days most employers’ value experiences like these and even at an advanced age, we have always found a job. In this case, Sascha even got a Sabbatical Year approved. You do not really need most possessions. It can even be liberating get rid of things that are not really important. And for the rest there is always a solution, a storage space at friends, a warehouse or alike. The family and true friends support and help you (even if they say in the beginning “That´s crazy!” All these are no real reasons not to do it. And you should never forget, you can cancel the project any time, if you realize that it is not the right one. That’s no shame! (That´s what Kerstin said, Sascha says: “Go for it, set a target date and go for it. Do not postpone it. Set a realistic Date and off you go… again SET A DATE! Important… There is no way back ;) (ha ha ;)   )

However, we have met only a few people who discovered that this lifestyle is not for them, and hey if it´s nothing for them fine, but at least they tried it! Many more people we met were so infected by the desire to travel (the travel bug) that they do not want to stop anymore :) But that’s another story…

On Kerstin’s birthday we took the opportunity to thank all the lovely people who believed in us and helped us to realize the journey. We shared some of our stories and we took them on a little journey into the past.

Every time we look at photos or remember stories, we realize how wonderful this journey was. We are glad that we had this opportunity and we enjoyed every km (you know afterwards you tend to forget how many times you asked yourself “WTF we are doing here anyhow? ;).

Of course, there is always a bit of sadness, because quickly we wish to go back again. We are still in contact with many travelers we met on the way. We have covered stages together with one or the other and we are eagerly awaiting their onward journey. We are often jealous and would like to be back on the street. But we wish you all great experiences and hope, the way one or the other passes us and we can celebrate a reunion.

Mi case es su casa!

Hasta La Vista Baby!    ;)

Like a blink of an eye one year passed – looking back

After being for two years (2011 – 2013) two up on Sascha´s Afrika Twin RD07 traveling Oceania and South East Asia we had now the chance to travel the Americas; this time on two motorcycles. Kerstin started to ride her own Transalp PD10 in 2014.  At May 19th, 2018 we started our journey and we flew from Hamburg to Anchorage to pick our motorcycles which we sent already a few days upfront. We returned to Hamburg on May 8th in 2019.

At the time we started the rough idea to travel the Pan Americana Route and we knew we do have only one year this time as Sascha got granted a Sabbatical Year. We did not see the purpose to ride up completely to Prudhoe Bay at the Arctic Sea (which is only accessible with a bus drive on reservation of the Oil Company who owns this part of the world). But we wanted to go up to the Arctic Circle and spend a night there.  If possible, we planned to reach Ushuaia and still having enough time to go anywhere up north again to ship the bikes back to Germany; from Montevideo Uruguay; Buenos Aires, Argentina or maybe from Valparaiso Chile… Calculating the kilometers (about 35.000 km or 21.750 miles) at the time we came to an average of about 120km per day. That does not sound that much in the first moment BUT taking it  into account that you maybe stay 2 or 3 days somewhere to go hiking, sightseeing or even longer to do maintenance and waiting for spare parts…

Spare Parts…. When you get them you gotta use them…

suddenly we were worried a little bit, to be able to do it in time. Of course, you can do it, the record is with 23 days by car – but that was surely not what we wanted. There are sooo many things to see and to explore on that stretch…and anyhow we are not the fastest travelers. We do not like to plan too much and let it roll spontaneously. We even thought of skipping the North America part – but Sascha said that will be Kerstin’s training section; and anyhow we were curious to explore Alaska… We agreed we will start as planned and we will see what is coming up and how it is going!

Alaska

The wilderness of Alaska was pure freedom. And apart from the bears, nothing is dangerous. We were lucky with the weather, mostly sunny and no ice or snow on the roads anymore. It was a perfect start to the trip. Simply drive through the vastness of nature. And somewhere with the snow-capped mountains in the background pitch the tent and cook by the campfire and warm up.

On this journey we crossed 14 countries and we had 22 border crossings as we crossed the Chilean and Argentinian border several times to explore the Andes passes. Many people asking us what was your favorite? What was the best spot? And there is no clear or simple answer. Each of these countries has its own highlights and is well worth the trip. Breathtaking landscapes are waiting everywhere and the different cultures, the diverse foods and customs make each of these countries worth seeing. In terms of language, it was a bit easier on this trip than on the previous one: English for North America and Spanish for the rest. However, still a challenge as we are both only beginners in the Spanish language; and the dialects vary a lot.

From our point of view, it is very helpful to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish, even if it is not perfect. And you learn a little bit more each day. It makes it so much easier to get in touch with people, to shop what you need or to discuss with the police, the military and the customs officials. But the most important thing is being open, interested and relaxed – and always having a big smile. Because most of the people in this world are good, helpful, interested and welcome you warmly. And that is probably the most impressive thing we could experience and not only on this trip. Humanly, we did not have any bad experience – except maybe one immigration officer on the way out of Mexico, who was trying to supplement his pocket money and put us in a somewhat tricky situation. But in the end, we were able to solve this peacefully, WITHOUT paying the bribe. Here only in between noticed: we have never paid bribes. In our opinion, this is important because it would make it a habit or support to become one. In any case, once again we have met wonderful people in all these countries and we are extremely grateful and pleased for this experience. Again, we have received so much support, help and affection and it allows us to look back with humility on all these encounters.

In the end we did 47.255 km in 347 days (average of 136km per day) before we came back to Hamburg, Germany in May this year. The transport of the motorcycles from Buenos Aires to Hamburg was smooth. Only to get them out here at customs became a nightmare. They had a new European form and the officers were not aware of the process really… It is a shame that we have to say we experienced the most unfriendly and not willing to help or to support customs officers in Germany after all these border crossings! For sure there is a lot of room for improvement! Furthermore Sascha’s bike did not want to start anymore after the flight. It was not amused that the trip was over probably :) After we searched for hours for the problem and pushed the motorcycle out of the customs area at the Hamburg Airport; we had to call the towing service at the end. And that after 47.255 km the AT had run without problems even at extreme heights, in cold and heat, wet and dry… With the help of a member of the motorcycle community we finally found the mistake: a corroded connection plug.

The motorcycle community is a great thing all over the world! We have received help and support in many countries. Likewise, we have met many other travelers, on motorcycle, by car, by bike or on foot; far more than on our last trip, at least from Central America to the South. This is probably in the nature of things, as the Pan Americana holds stations and highlights that make a meeting almost inevitable. And the south tip becomes really narrow in the end… We had great encounters and enjoyed spending some time and quite some km´s together with other like-minded MC travelers.

We would like to thank you very much. Thanks to all the people we met during our trip!!! And we hope to meet many of those people one day, somewhere! The time passed like a blink of an eye and meanwhile we have August. So far, we hardly had time to look back. We had to find a new flat, to repair the motorcycles and Sascha had to get back to his job. Kerstin unfortunately struggles with her cervical spine since we returned. Two of the intervertebral discs do not look good and unfortunately have a nerve pinched so that it has become inflamed, but finally there is also an improvement here, albeit slowly.

But more about all this in a short while…