Saturday, February 25, 2012

The End of an Era

February 25, 2012

I am almost out of time. This fact is really weighing on me and I will address it later. But the biggest problem I had was what to do with the motorcycle. Since the moment I decided to not drive home I knew this would be a problem.

I wrote earlier about how I had a few legal options. I could deal with massive paperwork and money in order to leave it in customs or nationalize it. This would involve another trip to Chile and days of paperwork.

Other options included lying about repairs, bribing border officials, signing the title to Alex and just getting a new one at home, or simply driving full speed through the border and hoping for the best. None of these really appealed to me. It was a huge headache that I didn’t know how to solve.

Well, Friday night I was at a party for Laura’s birthday. Her roommate is a man from Urubamba who lived in the States for a year. He loves motorcycles and had a lot of money saved up. He offered to buy the motorcycle.

I told him I would think about it and call the next day.

Wow, I had not even thought about selling but that would not only solve all my problems but then I would get one final week in Ollantaytambo. It actually would be the best decision ever except for my stupid, irrational, emotional connection to an inanimate object.

So in the end, that was it. I met with him yesterday, and by 6:00 pm I had the money in my account and no motorcycle.

The last photo of my bike while it was mine. I think it is appropriate it is in front of the restaurant.

Enjoy the bike Salvatore

It is a 30 minute combie ride back to Ollantaytambo. Talk about a chance to reflect. One thing about this trip, as much as people have defined the past eight months, the motorcycles rides were my time of solitude. There is nothing to compare to hours and hours of driving alone through unknown, beautiful territory. When I get home, I will have dozens of people with which to share this experience. I have made friends for life. The girls and I will always be happy to see each other. People have defined my time in Peru, and have made it the event that it was.

But my only companion for those long, lonely hours on the road was my motorcycle. It never let me down. Close calls, twisting roads, canyons, valleys, 16,000 foot passes through the snow, the utter desolation to Arequipa, sleet, rain, heart-stopping views, no one was there with me but that bike. I suppose it does make a little sense to become attached to something that your life depended on for so much.

And when I looked at that bike, it represented so much more. It also reminded me of my friendship with Jeff. We bought it together, he taught me how to work on it, rode trails together, and went out on that first day way back in June. He once reworded a famous quote from Pirates and it made so much sense on that 30-minute ride home with a helmet and no bike. Not only did I lose a traveling companion, but I lost something else…

"Not just Michigan. The entire continent. The entire world. Wherever we want to go, we'll go. That's what a motorcycle is, you know. It's not just a frame and an engine and a seat and tires, that's what a motorcycle needs but what a motorcycle is... what the DR650 really is... is freedom." -Jeff Verwey

I lost my freedom. Before yesterday, I could go anywhere I wanted at any time. The world was my playground. Now I am a slave to taxis, buses, and flights. It is a weird feeling.

But, I can always build another. I will.

Since that morning back in June: 9074 miles, 4 countries, 8 states, and unbelievable memories.

Sitting by the market after getting dropped off from the combie ride home. Two helmets, no bike.

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