Adventure before Dementia
When I left Belfast in 1979 my original plan was to ride to Australia, on my Moto Guzzi Le Mans. I never made it down under and ended up in Argentina nearly 2 years later.
I travelled through the Middle East, rode across the Sahara Desert and down to Cape Town, where I hitched a ride on a yacht race back to Europe. I then went to the USA and rode from Canada south through Central America and South America to Buenos Aires.
I have recently published my book ‘Going the Wrong Way,’ which is an Amazon best-seller.
I decided to finally complete the journey this year, 44 years after my return from South America and take the very same Moto Guzzi to Australia. I started traveling with an old friend Liam Lavery and made the journey in stages, as we both have wives, children, and jobs. If all goes well, we will continue to America and complete the round the world journey. Liam was riding a new Moto Guzzi V85, and it was interesting to see how the new bike (and younger rider!) compared with my trusty old 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans and myself. We would be totally unsupported in our journey across the world.
We travelled down Europe to Athens, before shipping to Israel and be refused entry to Jordan. Returning to Athens Liam decided he had had enough and came home. I continued alone on the next leg through Turkey and Iran to Dubai. From Dubai I crossed Iran again to Pakistan then on to and India, and Nepal where I left the bike to fly it to Australia, as Myanmar is still closed. Along with the usual political and geographical challenges, I had Covid 19 against me.
The bike is now with friends in Brisbane, where I will re-join it in March to ride to Teo Lamer’s Cathedral of Moto Guzzi Festival outside Melbourne to complete my Australian leg.
Adventure before Dementia
There were other interesting aspects to the journey. When I left in 1979 I was 21 years old, so the trip turned into a ‘coming of age’ story. Now at 64, I will have more in Common with Don Quixote, and a coming of OLD age story! I have also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and have various other aches and pains associated with old age!
We also connected new with old in other ways. My 1977 Guzzi had to keep up with Liam’s 2021 bike, and I had to compare myself to my innocent but pretty dumb 21 year old self!
Unfortunately, Liam decided the risks were not worth the rewards and gave up in Greece.
Other things are just the same. Iran and the west are still falling out. Israel is still at war and the same old arguments still go on in Northern Ireland, albeit without the guns and bombs