You’ll often hear folks who ride say the ride itself is a form of therapy. The feeling of being “in the zone,” concentrating on nothing but the motorcycle under you and the road ahead of you; these are the times that peak our consciousness and ease our anxieties. In an upcoming movie documentary, four military veterans ride to "Where the Road Ends" for all those reasons and more.
The group of vets approached it as a mission. The four of them, with several great sponsors and all on Kawasaki KLR 650s, began their route in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Lest you think that was the easy part, they did it in November. In order to cross the Darien Gap at all, they had to time their arrival with the dry season, otherwise they’d all be stuck in a mud pit. That was why they timed their departure from Alaska on Veteran’s Day, November 11. They bolted custom side cars to their KLRs and rode through heavy snow and freezing temperatures. They endured electrical failures on one of the bikes, and their tires spat out their studs on the road. They screwed new studs in, fixed their electrical problems, and kept going.
One of them was hit by a passenger car in a snow storm in Canada, but continued on. They unbolted the side cars in Oregon, and continued the rest of the way on two wheels instead of three.
They rode from the top of the Earth to the bottom along the Pan-American highway. Their trip concluded in Ushuaia, Argentina. They fought their way through the Darien Gap in the process; the “no-man’s land” between Colombia and Panama and one of the most dangerous jungles in the world.
In his blog, the team leader Wayne Mitchell says, “We set ourselves to the task of being the first motorcycle riders to travel from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina by land through the Darien Gap in one continuous expedition. In reality, we would realize that that claim, that title, would be pointless. Merely surviving the Darien Gap would be our true accomplishment.”
The group had support vehicles and a team medic, but the five-month trip was still a serious challenge. There are several episodes of their journey on YouTube (the first episode is linked above) and they promise that the full movie of their adventures will be released soon. I for one cannot wait to go see it!