Turkey had been a fantastic place, but after weeks of riding through snowy mountain passes we were ready to move on. You might say that we were ready to quit cold Turkey.
We’d bided our time in the south of Turkey as rainstorms came and went every other day. If we’d know how high we would have to climb to get through the interior to the Black Sea, and how much we’d suffer for the cold, we may not have left the Mediterranean at all.
The Ethiopian wolf is the rarest canid in the world, with less than 500 individuals left, most of which live in the country’s southern Bale Mountains. We hoped to glimpse this uncommon beast in its home environment but before we got there, Ethiopia had some trials lined up for us. Continue Reading →
For ten months I combed the darkest corners of west Africa with my surfboard strapped to a motorbike. I found countless empty waves, striking landscapes, and generous people. I hope these scenes provide a flavor for the journey.
We left Nairobi with a plan to circle Lake Victoria, which meant crossing into Tanzania for a third time since we entered east Africa. Continue Reading →
Plenty of dudes have an unhealthy preoccupation with gear of one kind or another and I’m no different. Shiny new things provide fleeting distraction from bits of day-to-day suffering, and preparation for a long journey provides an excellent excuse to fill your garage with stuff. Continue Reading →
During the last few years, there have been murmurs of endless barreling lefthanders somewhere in Angola. Two weeks before I’d left California in September 2013, some video footage surfaced on the internet that would seem put to rest any doubt that there are world class waves to be found somewhere out there in the desert. Continue Reading →
In 2004 National Geographic ran a story about a national park in Gabon with what they called ‘surfing hippos’ that make their way right into the surf zone from the adjacent estuary. I’m not sure there’s a better way to enliven the imagination of an adventurer in Africa. Continue Reading →
One of the great sources of trepidation I’d had since setting off on this trip now loomed 200 feet ahead of me on the highway. There wasn’t a lot of time to think about what to do, so I set my gaze dead ahead, slowly opened the throttle, and hoped for the best.
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After more than a month, I finally managed to extricate myself from the Freetown peninsula. The welcoming nature of the surfers, my beautiful camp spot on Bureh beach, the buzz of new beginnings in Freetown, and the ever-present hopeful spirit of the people made it a good place to get stuck. Sometimes a long journey just feels looking for one place after another to get stuck. Places that fill in the gaps for a while that widen with every mile on the road. Continue Reading →
In a remote mountain village called Kakonso, I got a bit caught up in the moment and promised some really cute kids that I would have a well built for the school in their village, where they currently have no access to clean water.
Update as of 6/9/2014 : Kakonso Village now has clean water to drink
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Some of the most stoked surfers I’ve ever met are here at Bureh beach at the south end of Sierra Leone’s Freetown peninsula. They have the bare minimum needed to surf, yet their enthusiasm for sliding on waves is undaunted and they are in the water anytime a ridable wave presents itself. Continue Reading →
The temperature climbed steadily as we motored downward into the town of Ouarzazate, which serves as a gateway for expeditions to the Sahara desert. Crossing the Atlas Mountains had taken far longer than either Jonathan or I had anticipated and we were now tired from two long days of riding. Continue Reading →
The first rule of riding in Africa is that you don’t ride at night. Dead animals on the road, live animals on the road, gigantic pot holes, and invisible people walking along the side all become substantially more hazardous after dark. These were the things I thought about as we hurtled through the darkness from Tangier towards Rabat. Continue Reading →
In 4 days I fly to London, collect my motorbike, and point her south towards Africa. During the month before I loaded her onto the boat, I fussed neurotically about every mechanical detail, piece of gear, tool, and spare bolt that I might send her off with. Continue Reading →
My baja excursion helped me learn how little I knew about how to ride a motorcycle in the dirt. Some practice was in order before heading off into a remote desert again on my own and the Central California OHV parks provided an excellent place to work on climbing hills, railing turns, and getting our tubby thumpers off the ground a bit.
Sitting in the middle of what was essentially a giant mud puddle halfway down the Baja peninsula I was utterly exhausted, and now quite muddy. This was my second day riding in Baja and my crash course in off-road riding was beginning to take a toll on my morale. Every time I’d crashed this day I’d cursed myself for not being more careful. I was in the middle of the desert, I hadn’t seen a soul in a day and a half, and I had never ridden a motorcycle in the dirt, let alone one fully loaded down with gear, tools, water, and extra gas. Continue Reading →
Funny how some things you just don’t think all the way through until enthusiasm pushes you to a place where it’s tough to turn back. I was in my driveway, trying to figure out how I might lash 4 days worth of water to my bike with everything else that I’ve got attached. In a week I would be riding into the baja desert alone and I only just then started thinking about such basic practicalities. Continue Reading →