Greg+Open Explorers+Krad-Wanderer

April, 2015. Xela, Guatemala.

Having freshly quit my night teaching gig, I found myself back in the black. After all, I had worked full-time, over-time, weekend-time and double-time to save money, prepare the bike from the frame up, research and map a course and tie up hundreds of loose ends all while plotting my escape from the US. My victory lap started the moment I hit the starter button back in February. What a grand way to spend half a year.

If I were to count milestones on this trip, it would be fair to say that April brought one the most significant with her. April the month, not a girl.

As I prepared for my trip, grinding away relentlessly at work by day and swinging wrenches in the garage at night, I did what I could to keep the ADV spirit alive by cruising ride reports online and playing and replaying whatever films and YouTube mini-series I could find that had to do with moto travel. One film that struck me was Somewhere Else Tomorrow, a film by Daniel Rintz. I had seen the trailer after my first heated romance with ADV riding a year earlier, but never caught the full film. I was running out of films to fuel the fire by late November and by a stroke of luck, Mr. Rintz had just made his film available for rent from the digital cloud during my trip prep. There I sat, some cold Sunday November morning, watching this crazy German riding into the strange east, breaking down in Pakistan, playing with orphans in Nepal. That guy is cool I thought to myself, I wonder what he’s up to now. Well, as it turned out, his website indicated that he was in Mexico, heading south on the second leg of his RTW trip, this time with the love of his life riding alongside. I shot an email out to the couple and mentioned that I’d be headed to Guatemala soon, that we might cross paths, and at the very least I could offer some contacts in Honduras if they needed. To my surprise, I got a quick reply saying that they would look me up when they made it to Guate and at their leisurely pace, our paths would most likely cross.

Cross they did.

April, 2015. Xela, Guatemala. It was after hours at my Spanish school and I was kicking stones in the office waiting for my always tardy student. The office staff and I were waxing scholarly, comparing and contrasting the differences between “Honduran Time” and “Guatemalan Time”, meaning the Latin American concept of always being unapologetically 2-3 hours late for any meeting time, when two figures entered the room. Dressed from head to toe in high mileage motorcycle kit and wearing forlorn looks on their faces, the two blonde hair, blue eyed women cast big shadows in the tiny room. I spun around in my chair and exclaimed, “Hey, you guys come in on motorcycles?!” They paused long enough for me to fully scan their suits and realize how silly my question was. “Yes,” one replied. “Cool, BMW bikes huh?” They looked like Germans and we all know that Germans ride German bikes. (This is an ignorant, completely unfounded, presumption, but I was so thrilled to see some other distance riders up close that I had forgotten to filter anything.) “Yes, BMWs.” “That’s cool. I’m from the USA. I rode down here too.” “Oh, is that your KTM out front? The boys were looking at it.” There are more of them! Nice!

As it turned out, Joey and Ulli, Stephan and Daniel, yeah, Daniel Rintz, had wandered in to Xela that night, and by complete coincidence made for the school where I was studying, teaching, and coincidentally, waiting around for my always tardy student.

Time passed quickly with my new friends. We laughed, we drank, we shared stores of travels on the road, we became fast friends. Daniel had been filming in Guatemala for the promo video for the moto film festival this past September, and I became part of the film crew. The KTM even served as a lighting rig. Ha!

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The Open Explorers + Company.
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Taking out the bikes from the safe haven.
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My 450 amongst its brethren.
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We tried to summit Laguna Chicabal for the video shoot when the rains came. Mud stopped us with the quickness.

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A second film location. Daniel’s riding skills more adept than mine. He dared me to ride up there on the KTM. I had to save face, despite my terror.

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Extra lighting thanks to the 450.
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More proof I was there.
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Daniel and Joey. Autofocus fail.

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