I woke up early this morning. My thoughts kept going back to an email that I’d received from Ronnie last night. But before reading on, go to the right on my blog. At the bottom there is a search function. Type in the name Ronnie and then on the search button.
Something like three posts will be retrieved. Please read through it. All of it. You will need some background.
After my humbling experience in Belgium two weeks ago when I met so many longdistance and RTW riders I have to salute some of the people I’ve mentioned in the blog before.
On 1 April 2011 I wrote about the four farmers from the Eastern Cape on their KLRs, ready to leave on their trip across Africa. After many adventures, break-downs and minor catastrophes three of the four reached Egypt. The press reported on them.
I mentioned John Byett from Cape Town. The four of them on KLRs left Cape Town on 1 January of this year, they did reach Egypt, they turned west and are aiming to get to Singapore soon. If I am not mistaken they are father, mother, son and daughter travelling together.
I mentioned Ernst Bester. He and a friend planned to ride up to the equator and back on a fundraising trip. They left, rode north on a rather unconventional route, crossed the equator and rode back to South Africa.
Jolandie Rust, after another robbery in Angola, plans to cross into the Angolan enclave of Cabinda today.
I admire all these people for living their dreams. For those still travelling I wish a safe trip and many more fantastic experiences.
And then the giant among us: Ronnie Borrageiro.
I often mentioned Ronnie. He is about to start with his sixth and last continent of his ride around the world. I am going to quote his whole email of last night. His words are addictive, his writing style seducive. I look forward to a book about his RTW trip one day. Ronnie dared to do what most of us only dream of. And he found the love of his life …
I have to end my post with a quote of James Dean that I used in the post of the 1st of April last year: “Dream as you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”
Enjoy Ronnie’s email of last night!
My ride on the fifth continent of the Gypsy Biker World Tour has been completed…!! I have received messages telling me that I am now on the home stretch… Well, it has to be the longest “home stretch” in history…!! My ride on the 6th and last continent of my journey, will encompass Central and North America, and cover about 30 000 km by GiGi’s reckoning…!!
South America has been all of the ride people said it would be, and more…!! I could have spent a year there and still not seen and did all there was to do…!!
I spent exactly 100 days on the continent, visited 9 countries and rode over 22 000 km on my trusty companion, the ever willing Big Fella… Together we experienced clouds of volcanic ash in Chile and Argentina; the bleak and beautiful scenery in Patagonia, to go with the tough dirt conditions of Ruta 40 and the dangerously high winds on my way down to “The End of the World”, on the continent’s southern tip… We witnessed the splendour of Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian/Argentine border; the dizzingly high climbs to almost 5 000 m to get up over the mighty Andes, and the thin air and icy, near freezing conditions that waited for us up there…
We rode through one of the driest places on earth, Chile and Peru’s Atacama Desert; along the wild and desolate coastline of northern Chile; into mountainous Bolivia and around the world’s highest lake, Titicaca; then stood looking down on the magnificence of Machu Picchu, a place that re-ignited the passion for life and living within me…
We battled the traffic in the capital cities of Santiago, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Asuncion, La Paz, Lima, Quito and Bogota…
Mishaps were far and few between… The Big Fella had only his second puncture of the entire journey so far, and then inexplicably lay down for a short rest on the torturous Canon del Pato pass in northern Peru…. Guess we all need to take a break some time…!!
Along with all the above, what made South America truly special, was once again the people I met and rode with along the way… People who touched my life and left indelible impressions that will be with me forever…
The “Tres Machos”, Ezequiel, Pablo and Agustin, who rode Ruta 40 with me and turned what was a difficult ride, into a laugh-a-minute, unforgettable experience… The days we spent in Ushuaia together, sealed what was already a life-long friendship in the making…;
Carolina Correa Guzman, with whom I enjoyed a wonderfully simple dinner of salad and wine in Punta Arenas, and discussed her art and life in general;
Carl Stankwitz (USA) and Roberto Martinez (Mexico), who rode with me across Terra del Fuego island until the Chilean border with Argentina, where Roberto’s bike gave up the ghost… I later spent a week with Carl in Ushuaia, enjoying the company of a young man searching for his place in the world… I will be spending time with Roberto in Mexico in the very near future… Keep the Tequila cold, Roberto….!!
Javier and Sandra of Dakar Motors in Buenos Aires, who arranged for my both my rear shock absorbers to be repaired and gave me invaluable advice;
Ezequiel’s beautiful partner, Virginia, who made me want to see a Tango Show again and again, and together with Ezequiel, made my stay in Buenos Aires so much more fun;
The mad-cap and irrepressible, Roger Arnold from New Zealand, who rode with me through Uruguay, Brazil and to the Paraguay border where he discovered that he was not “exempt” after all…!! Roger was there when I was robbed, and helped me out of the gloomy depths that I might otherwise have plumbed for far longer than I actually did… Thanks Bro’…;
Geromo Pirotto, who we met in Punta del Este in Uruguay and who assisted with advice on the best route from Rio de Janeiro to Foz Iguazu, and whom I later met again in Cuzco, after his “hell ride” from Nazca… Hope to see you in Africa one day Geromo…!!;
Silvia Degwitz, artist and spiritualist, who Roger and I met at Foz Iguazu, and with whom we shared a beer and some deep conversation… Thanks for the insight into who WE are Silvia… Very thought provoking and enlightening…;
Agusto Delgado and Danial Ramos, and their wives and friends of Salta in Argentina, who showed me “I was not alone…” and made a host of contingency plans for me, when the Big Fella seemed to be faltering under me on the high climb over the Andes….;
Hani Shua from Israel, who I met at Machu Picchu, and spent the afternoon touring the ruins with, and later gave some “fatherly advice” to, and hope she took to heart…;
Lidia and Freddy from the San Martin Hotel in Lima, who made my stay there so comfortable and helped me arrange to buy a much needed tyre on Easter weekend, for a fellow road warrior, stuck in Puno;
The old Italian recluse and “mystico”, to whom I was inexplicably guided by forces I will never comprehend, on my climb up to the Bolivian border, and who gave me a new sense of purpose with his accurate reading of who I was and my place in the world… I get a strange sensation every time I think about him, and see his eyes boring into mine…;
Nigel and Jamie, who rode with me from Mancora in northern Peru to Mantonita in Ecuador… Wish we could have stayed together longer guys, but the two rides we made together were memorable nonetheless… Get bigger bikes next time, for goodness sake…!! Ha…!! ;
Ramiro Ordonez in Quito and Dario in Pasto, Colombia, who opened their homes and their hearts to us when we passed through their cities… Thanks guys, I hope I can return the favour one day…;
Fabio and Tomasso, from Italy, the guys who made the last five rides with in South America, from Mancora in Peru, to Bogota in Colombia… We settled into a comfortable routine so quickly, that it felt we had been riding together for ages… I only wish we had the time to cover more ground together…
Lastly, to Adrian Alarcon and his lovely wife Diana, who handed me the keys to their apartment in Bogota and said, “Our house is yours…!!”… It was pleasure meeting you in Cuzco, and helping you with the tyre my friend… I know you would have done the same for me…!! Your hospitality and friendship will not be forgotten, and I only wish I had made more time to see more of your beautiful country… I hope we meet again…
As always, to my family and friends all over the world, who continue to send me messages of support, and follow my journey around the globe… You are all part of what has made this trip so memorable, and what keeps me focused on completing this “dream ride”…
And lastly, to my gorgeous wife-to-be, Patricia, whose love, support and understanding, keeps the fire burning brightly in my soul, and with whom I look forward to a long and happy life together… I can’t wait Babe…!! I can’t, I can’t…!!
As I enter Central America, and begin the long rides that will take me to the northern most part of Alaska, I feel a quickening of my pulse and an even deeper desire to complete what once began as a self-imposed test of my determination and will-power; my stamina and endurance; and a burning need to redefine myself in my own eyes; and I now know, will end with a better understanding of what has gone before, and make me a better person than I could ever have hoped or wished for…
With the expending of my energies over the past few years, I have gained a new and inner strength…
The “Final Chapter” has begun…