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BMW Motorcycle Rider Sets Out for Mexico, Covers 17,358 miles!
In 2010, Mac Patrick, Pacific Northwest mariner, turned his attention to his motorcycle, a BMW 3200 GS series. Acting on his lifelong dream to 'Ride South!' he set out from Seattle, Washington and rode into Mexico. His story has now been published.
Patrick tells, in his ebook, ‘Mexico on A Motorcycle: Riding Out The Recession’ of setting out on his trek on a crisp, clear November morning just after Thanksgiving 2009 to make it to the Sun Belt – and beyond. Circumnavigating the coastlines of the southern United States, including Florida, he finally crossed into Mexico at Christmas time. His photography speaks to the reader of parades, festivals, glittering nights, and sun-bathed days. He returned home in April 2010.
Mr. Patrick rode alone. But he wasn’t lonely. Hundreds of email messages were transmitted between himself, friends, and family members. His progress was tracked on a GPS system and broadcast over the internet to a wide circle ‘back home’. All 17,358 miles of progress. Mexico On A Motorcycle: Riding Out The Recession is a 5,000-word travel essay of the reasoning behind the trip, preparation for, and experiences of one man’s need to get away from it all. A look into the human spirit through photography, the ebook features a ride-video, and one hundred stunningly gorgeous photographs, rich in composition and color.
Mexico On A Motorcycle: Riding Out The Recession is available on iBook formats, and Kindle.
My Interview with Mac Patrick follows:
What possessed you to hop on a bike and take this trip?
Basically, the fact that –after thinking about such an adventure for many years – I actually was at a point where all signs indicated that it was ‘Now, or never!’ The yacht repair business was faltering, a cold and grey winter loomed and I had spent all of 2009 preparing myself, and my bike for the undertaking.
Oh, yes! I took motorcycle safety classes, maintenance classes, and attending the presentations of riders who had taken similar trips. I mapped out the route, which originally included getting in – and out, of course – Belize. I had my bike outfitted, tuned, polished – and then I waited. During the Northwest’s rainy days, as winter approached, I researched the visas necessary for getting into Mexico. And my sisters watched the news reports coming out of Mexico about drug cartels and troubles that tourists were running into. I wouldn’t say that I needed their attention, but yes, on every level, the trip was involved.
So, you took off alone?
Yes, intentionally. I don’t mind riding alone. I'm kind of a solitary man. Sometimes the luxury of not compromising on another biker’s schedule is worth the hours of silence. Every once in a while I would join other bikers on the road and then ultimately peel off and go my own way. I never felt overwhelmingly lonely. I knew that I had a solid network of family and friends waiting for me – that helped.
Did you run into any trouble, or encounter any emergencies?
Not personally. I did come up, from behind, just as another biker took a spill that took his life. It was a rainy, stormy night. I had not found a motel to pull into along one very long stretch of road. The ride was a mess, my gear was soaked and I came upon this accident scene. That stayed with me for a number of days. I still think about it. But, again, personally, the trip was a pretty carefree, unfettered experience.
What about keeping the bike in good working order? I mean covering 17,358 miles would take some planning as far as maintenance is concerned.
You’re right. I had to know what I was doing. I kept in touch with the dealer, BMW. I knew where the larger shops were and had them programmed into my GPS system. I stopped in Phoenix, in Florida, and then had an involved maintenance stop-over in Mexico. In fact, there are photographs in my book of my bike on the rack. You can’t cover that distance without at least tires and oil changes. I carried tools with me, but did go through three sets of tires. I have BMW dealerships to thank for the condition of the bike.
How did you document your trip?
I used a GPS finder-service to send locator messages to my family. I also took nearly 4,000 photographs and hundreds of video clips. A video clip is included in the ‘SEE Inside the Book’ feature of Amazon’s product page for ‘Mexico On A Motorcycle’ so I hope readers click-through to see some out-takes of my videos. Here is one example here:
Would you do it again? That is, take that extensive of a bike tour?
Yes, absolutely! Every element of the experience was positive. One day I’ll ride again – into Mexico – and maybe beyond.
Page Updated Last on: May 11, 2012