Sunday, January 13, 2008

Two Wheels Too Many

It’s been all motorcycles all the time around here lately.

Since the weather has been comparably nice the last few weeks, Al has been going for a ride most Saturdays while he still can. Of course, he could ride if it’s cold, too, because he’s plugged in. Literally. He plugs in his heated jacket and heated gloves and he’s nice and toasty. Now if he could just get some heated socks, he’d really be happy.

He really loves riding, and it really scares the crap out of me. I told him that he’s lucky that I don’t get in the car and follow him wherever he goes, just to make sure he’s OK. He rides as safely as he can and doesn’t do anything stupid, but he’s not the problem—it’s the other drivers doing something stupid that I worry about. He wants me to go to all these rider parties, and I do go to some, but every time I go the conversation is all about how this guy walked away from this horrible accident and this guy shouldn’t have walked away but he did, and this guy who knows someone who didn’t walk away, and this guy who doesn’t remember his accident but he’s been told how awful it was. This isn’t helping people! I just don’t get the desire for this particular hobby.

But, he loves it, and I get that.

So, for Christmas I got him Long Way Down, which is Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s motorcycle ride from John O’Groats Scotland to Capetown South Africa. A few years ago, the did Long Way Round where they started in England and went around the world to New York. We loved that series, so I knew he’d like this one, too.

And let me tell you, you get some interesting hits on Google if you type in “long way down.” Luckily the first thing that came up was the official website. I also went to to compare prices (these were the only two places I could get the DVD). I decided to order from Amazon because the Christmas before I bought Race to Dakar (when Charlie Boorman competed in Dakar) from the official website and it took quite awhile, cost quite a bit, and I had to pick it up at the post office, which is not an easy thing here. So, I ordered the book and the DVD from Amazon.

Before you techies ask, no I didn’t even think about the fact that it might be in a format that our DVD player couldn’t read. It was in PAL format instead of NTSC like this country uses. Talk about your dumb luck, our DVD player must be new enough because we didn’t have any trouble.

Anyway, the series was great and I loved watching this adventure. There’s a lot pre-planning, but they were a little more prepared for it this time around. But there were more dangerous border crossings and in several places they had to have armed escorts.

The only problem was that McGregor’s wife wanted to join them for part of it, so she learned to ride, met them at a relatively safe area, and rode a couple of days with them. I wish she hadn’t of done that because it only gives Al ideas.

Oh, and we found out that while we were in Florence, the were in Sienna. There was a reenactment of an historic race, the Mile Miglia, while we were in Florence and we watched a lot of beautiful old cars drive through. When we were watching Long Way Down, the guys stopped in Sienna for lunch and were pleasantly surprised to see the Mile Miglia going through the town. I was this close to Ewan McGregor!

After watching the guys riding adventure through Africa, you can understand our disappointment that the Dakar was cancelled this year. I still can’t believe it. First time in 30 years that the Dakar rally has been cancelled. They had reports of terrorists linked to al Qaeda threatening drivers coming through Mauritania. Unbelievable. The course has been changed before, but they never cancelled the whole race. They were all ready to go, too. Everyone was in Lisbon, primed and ready, then this.

So basically, I don’t want to be on a motorcycle myself, but I love watching other people on motorcycles. I don’t want an adventure of riding through terrorist-laden countries, but I want to watch other people do it. And I don’t want to risk my neck by driving across the dunes of a desert, but I want to watch other people do it. I’m the ultimate armchair traveler.

However, we watched a show today where a couple of guys rode their motorcycles around Scotland. I might learn and ride for that trip. See, I just need the proper enticement.


Jay said...

MSNBCs Chris Matthews was in the Peace Corps in Swaziland back in the 60s. After his commitment was done he bought a motorcycle and rode all over the African Continent. He didn't hit every country but most of them. All by himself! Totally crazy, right? LOL

I can't believe he never wrote a book about that. Of course, the last time he visited Swaziland he got Malaria and almost died.

It does suck about the Dakar Rally. They would just have to go through too many bad neighborhoods I guess.

Oh and I've been on a motorcycle once in my life and I thought I was going to kill myself on it. Haven't gotten on one since. LOL

Jay said...

P.S. I hate Chris Matthews' guts, but always find it interesting when he talks about his trips to Africa and when he was in the peace corps there. And I'm kind of fascinated by Africa too.

R.E.H. said...

Not much of a motorcycle dude myself, but I would love to drive all over the world in a car. That's a dream of mine.

Karen said...

I have been on the back of a motor cycle a few times and I was totally panicked. I am really not much of a thrill seeker by nature. I like to do my traveling in a nice sedan with side-impact airbags.

A. friend in the Ozarks said...

Let me tell you about my first and only time on a motorcycle. It was about me trying to impress my new motorcycle riding boyfriend(now husband), a woodpile, and the world's shortest motorcycle ride. He made it sound so easy.He married me anyway--though probably for the laughs.

Kell said...

Hello a.! Good to hear from you.

He couldn't resist your obvious charms, despite the lack motorcycle skills.

Nettie said...

If you do that, I will HAVE to get my ass back on that hog! I am all for it, it would be something you would never forget.

Sparkling Red said...

I understand your fears about accidents. In my line of work I deal with car accident victims every day, so of course I see cars as incredibly dangerous. I don't actually have a driver's license.
It would probably wear off after a couple of years if I got a different job.

Newt said...

Hey, can I sit in the side car when you toodle around Scotland?

Oh, alright, I'll learn to ride too, that is a good enticement.