wobblycat

32 months ago

 - via web

- Story

How A Canadian Spent 4 Months Traveling on His Motorcycle in the U.S. During Lockdown

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

If you’re Canadian, and especially if you’re from Southern Ontario, you will definitely remember the winter of 2020/2021 and subsequent spring as Lockdownageddon. I was staying in the Toronto area which has the dubious honour of not only the longest lockdown in Canada, but of any major city in the world. No leaving your home except for essential purposes. No gathering with friends or relatives. And definitely no haircuts. The long, cold darkness of winter mirrored our emotions and lack of hope. Vaccines had just started rolling out, but only to essential workers, seniors and their caregivers. So how was I able to leave and travel while we were supposed to be sequestering at home in misery?

My travels through 13 states from April - early August 2021. See link in paragraph below.

My travels through 13 states from April - early August 2021. See link in paragraph below.

During April - early August 2021, I traveled the continental U.S. through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana (13 states in total) on my motorcycle. Link to Google Map.

This story began while another story ended. In January - March 2020, I rode my motorcycle through Mexico to Belize and Guatemala. It was an incredible adventure and seemed like the reward I needed after a really tough year. But as the “Corona virus” grew to a full blown global pandemic in March 2020, I decided to head back to Toronto, Canada. Notably, I made that decision on Friday the 13th of March. But first, I had to get out of Mexico. I rode like the wind to San Antonio, Texas where friends Natalia and Dan, stored my beloved 2015 Honda CB500X as I flew back to Toronto, Canada. I remember telling them it might be a “few months” because we didn’t know how long the pandemic might last….

Natalia sent me a photo of my CB500X with a mask to show me they were keeping my bike safe!

Natalia sent me a photo of my CB500X with a mask to show me they were keeping my bike safe!

In March 2021, I got a text from Natalia saying my CB500X missed me, and that it was ready for some adventure! That got the wheels turning in my head -- could this even work? I was longing to travel again but even if I did, where could I go and what could I see since many businesses have closed temporarily or even permanently? And what if I caught Covid-19?

Then she informed me vaccines were flowing like the Rio Grande down there and freely available to anyone including non-residents. Well that sealed the deal for me! And it turns out my travel insurance company, Medipac, covered medical expenses due to Covid-19.

My harebrained plan was to:

  1. Fly from Toronto, ON, Canada to San Antonio, TX, USA (International flights never stopped)
  2. Get vaccinated (to help me from getting Covid-19)
  3. Pack my motorcycle and travel!
  4. Ride back into Canada (Despite the Canada - U.S. land border being closed, Canada will always accept its own citizens. And this avoids the costly $2000 quarantine hotel when arriving internationally by air)
I flew from Toronto, Ontario to San Antonio, Texas in April 2020. International flights were always available.

I flew from Toronto, Ontario to San Antonio, Texas in April 2020. International flights were always available.

So, I bought a plane ticket, and even booked my vaccination appointment before I left. I ended up staying in San Antonio for 5 weeks to get both shots of the vaccine, and added Step 2.5: Buy a new-to-me 2016 Triumph Tiger 800 XRT!

Sunset in the Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming

Sunset in the Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming

And of course Step 3 was the best part! I saw so many amazing things like the Grand Tetons, had lots of great experiences like camping under the stars in the desert in Utah. I had some not so great experiences like crashing my new-to-me bike alone in the desert, and my bike inexplicably and suddenly dying in Spearfish, South Dakota.

I had a get-off after I hit a deep section of sand. Unwritten rule of adventure riding: Take photos first! Navajo Nation, Arizona.

I had a get-off after I hit a deep section of sand. Unwritten rule of adventure riding: Take photos first! Navajo Nation, Arizona.

I slept in a traditional Hogan on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, I faced and conquered my fears riding switchbacks carved out of the cliffs on Shafer Canyon Road in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, I got to pet wild baby donkeys, I reunited with lots of my nomad friends, I met and stayed with many great people whom I had never met before. This is the stuff that fills my soul and why I continue the lifestyle of a motonomad. This is living.

Conquering fears on Shafer Canyon Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Conquering fears on Shafer Canyon Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

My heart rate jumped seeing this in front of me. Shafer Canyon Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

My heart rate jumped seeing this in front of me. Shafer Canyon Road, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Petting wild baby donkeys in Custer State Park, South Dakota

Petting wild baby donkeys in Custer State Park, South Dakota

If this taught me anything, it's: Follow your dreams. Sometimes it takes some out-of-the-box thinking, a little bit of research and some help from your friends but you can achieve them. And for me, I didn’t even have to break any rules to make it happen.

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wobblycat

32 months ago

@UrsineDuke Thank you!

UrsineDuke

32 months ago

👍