Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

May 19th, 2003.-- 1,460 Days; 49 countries; with over 92,000 miles

Credit to in Phoenix and our first rally in the States

-- Story by Erin --

Friday, May 9th: There's a full house at Al and Julie's place!  We arrive at Al Jesse’s shop and meet the guys; Dave and Neil. Dave is currently living in the apartment over Al's garage while he looks for a place to live.  Julie, Al's wife, welcomes us at home later that night, on her way out to work at the hospital. Their friends Steve and Patty were staying at the house as well, in town from Nebraska for a friend’s wedding.

Saturday, May 10th: Spend the morning chatting with everyone while starting to dismantle my bike. That afternoon Hiro arrives. Hiro, originally from Japan, he lives in Santa Monica, California and stopped in for a few-day visit. He's an old friend of Al's.   We head out for a great Thai food dinner and run into an old friend, Rob Taylor, and his wife Christy from New York.  Rob used to be a part of the Village Lions RFC, the rugby team Chris played for in NYC. Rob and his family moved to Phoenix seven years ago and Rob is now head of the Theatre Arts Department at Arizona State University. What a small world!!!!

Sunday, May 11th: Remove the engine from my bike and bring it into Al’s shop. After helping Al to install new windows in his bus/RV, we split the engine open and inspect it. Al says that with the exception of needing a little head work, it all looks quite good and does not look its age.  After much deliberation its determined that the oil leak must be coming from the breather valve behind the magneto.

Monday, May 12th: Send off the head to Ron Wood Racing Products in Costa Mesa, CA. They agree to do the job as fast as they can because we are traveling.   Also, the chain cut into the break-line on Chris' bike, and we got a new stainless replacement Galfer -- better then original, and about 30% cheaper!  Installation was easy-as. 

Later in the evening, we went to Rob Taylor’s house for a nice dinner and evening of reminiscing.   Beth, their daughter and only 10 when she left NYC, is now a 17-yr old wonderful young lady (knock-out).

Tuesday, May 13th: Chris runs around trying to get the magneto pulled off my engine so we can open it further to replace the crank case breather valve.  I work all day on the computer to do a "pitch" letter to motorcycle magazines and a few TV shows to see if anyone might be interested in featuring our story. My good friend Wendy Dougherty, who is a public relations person, advised me on how to present our story and research prospective media. We’ve been interviewed so many times overseas, an interview in our home country would be the biggest honor for us.

Wednesday, May 14th: Oprah wrote back (with an automatic reply) that she received my email!!!

Friday, May 16th:  It’s over 100F in Phoenix when we leave for the Roadrunner Rally in Heber, AZ. Heber is about 140 miles north-east of Phoenix, at a higher elevation and thankfully much cooler than Phoenix. Surprisingly there’s a lot of motorcycle traffic on the road for a Friday afternoon. Al takes the truck up to the rally pulling Julie’s F650GS on a trailer. At the rally site, we find a shady spot to pitch the tent, then place Chris’ bike up in Al’s tent in the vendor area on display. Later than afternoon, we see Helen from Helen Two-Wheels. She’s an old rally friend and vendor who we used to see all the time at the rally’s back east. Helen makes stuff sacks and bags that fit inside Al’s boxes. They’re great bags, which we’ve used for the whole trip.

Dave arrives a couple of hours later on his V-Strom (with Jesse Luggage), and puts his tent up next to ours.  Later that evening after dinner, Belgian Chris shows up to surprise us. In fact, it blew us away to see him, since we thought he was still in California. Simi, his girlfriend, is currently in a rental car for a month touring the national parks with her German friend Anna. Chris is enjoying the feeling of riding his bike without the extra baggage (no offence Simi!) He immediately fits right in and is chatting with Dave and other’s at the rally that admire his Honda Africa Twin.

Saturday, May 17th: Spend the day wandering around the rally site, looking at the other bikes, and hanging out in Al’s tent. In the afternoon, Chris, Al, Dave, and Belgian Chris all partake in the field events: tight circles around a cone, riding the length of a long two-by-four, navigating a slalom course, and a slow race. Chris thought he’d give Al a handicap and made Al ride the course with him on the back! It made for many laughs.

Just before dinnertime, Nelson Oliviera shows up on his fully outfitted F650GS. Nelson, a Portuguese who immigrated to Canada, is a Chain Gang member and stopped by to see if he could meet us. He is just starting his round-the-world trip, heading to Mexico and further south in a few days.  His website:  Nelson gave us some good tips on which national parks to see and we gave him some tips on things to see in South America.

Sunday, May 18th: My dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday Jim! Nelson, Chris and I take another, longer scenic route back to Phoenix. Wow, what a difference in climates coming out of the mountains. The temperatures have gone up since Friday and it’s well over 100 degrees F now!  Next up this week, reassemble the engine and off we go---hopefully!


Hanging with Al & Julie Jesse


Chris & Dave moving my engine to the shop to be worked on.


Taking a break to put in some bus windows.  Now that's something different!


Our time in Asia taught us the art of meditation.  Chris, is it fixed yet?


Don't underestimate the power of the hammer!



Old friends: Christy, Rob and Beth Taylor!


Chris helping Al to balance on the plank.  What style!


Da Boyz win the field events.  Were there any other competitors?

Dave, Al, Chris, and Chris


Meet Nelson, the newest round-the-world traveler.


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