An article from Dec 20th, 2001:

The Buenos Aires Herald®

Ultimate Adventure
By Simon Birinder

What do you do when your annual leave is just not enough? Quit, zip-up your boots and get on your bike!

At least that is what Erin and Chris Ratay opted for back in 1999. With a rough plan of the journey ahead, the careers councilor and salesman sold their New York home and furniture and became ² instant minimalists² with just one fixed agenda: ² To see new sights, meet new/different people, share new experiences, face new challenges and learn about other cultures.²

The first leg of the initial 15-month tour kicked off on May 21st in Casablanca. From there, the pair traveled north on their BMW bikes taking in most of Europe and then continuing down to Turkey, Central Asia and South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In the first six months, they covered 35,000 kilometers and 21 countries.

Tired of whirlwind stopovers, they decided to extend the trip, in order to better appreciate all the things they had set out to see. On December 21st of this year, they will have been on the road for more than two and a half years and the journey is by no means over.

A passion for life and adventure has clearly been the driving force behind the expedition. The road has been very long and the pair have certainly met their fare share of bumps and winding turns, but as they themselves say, it all adds to the adventure and excitement of the journey.

The travelers have fallen victim to the odd case of bribery along the way, primarily in dealings with officials in Rumania and Asia. Chris however, has had plenty of opportunity to refine his haggling techniques and has proved more than a match for even the most underhand police officer.

If there is one thing both Erin and Chris have learned during their journey, it is patience. This goes hand-in-hand with accepting the things that go wrong and learning to be flexible with their plans.

Potential crises have more often than not transpired into extraordinary experiences. In July 2000, Erin was hit by a truck in Malaysia. Within minutes, she was surrounded by a crowd of locals who loaded her belongings onto their scooters and ferried them to a hotel where the usual tourist price was waived. She was not charged for hospital treatment.

This particular episode as well as the country's mouth-watering food, left the couple with nothing but the fondest of memories of their visit. Indeed, Malaysia together with New Zealand rank as their favorite destinations to date.

The pair are currently relaxing in Buenos Aires awaiting spare parts for Chris’ bike. The work is being provided free of charge by Raśl Cordasco, Marcelo and Willy at Cordasco Motohaus in Buenos Aires.

The couple leave for the South of Argentina on Friday and hope to spend New Year with friends in Usuahia. They plan to be in Chile by February and will travel North taking in 13 countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and finally, home to the States, arriving at the end of 2002.


photo to follow


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