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December 15th, 2009 - The End of the One-Man Band

I resolved the towing issue although not to my satisfaction. Instead of leaving the bike for eight days in their repair shop, I opted for a one-time cash settlement of $350 for the damages. This doesn’t even come close to the actual cost but I had no desire to stick around and try my luck with the bureaucracy of our justice system. I fixed the bike in Bakersfield and aside from the paint damage, it is up and running again.

Up to now, this expedition has evolved on so many different levels and I am excited to announce a very special change. As you already read in my previous posts, a series of events and setbacks have kept me in Bakersfield and during this time I met Cynthia. Cynthia is a passionate social worker and award-winning photographer whom I relate to on many issues. This was not an easy decision to make for either one of us, but after much consideration and internal debate, I am honored to introduce you to Cynthia as she will be joining the Transcontinental Humanitarian Expedition. Please welcome her to the world of tarmac and rubber.      –Chris Sorbi

My name is Cynthia, and I am about to take a leap. I am not the ardent adventurer that Chris is. While motorcycles intrigue me, I’ve never so much as ridden one alone aside from a couple of short zips down a quiet country road. Yet, I am about to join an expedition that involves leaving behind all of my creature comforts and head off into the unknown on one.

What would induce a social worker with a stable and rewarding job to leave the security and safety of her day-to-day life? The truth is that I have been dreaming about doing something that allows me to combine my passion for helping people with my passion for photography. The heart of this expedition, which is to raise funds and awareness for starvation, is what compels me to make that leap.  I am excited about the unique opportunity that this expedition affords me to have a greater platform to impact change and to make a difference in a tangible way.

Of course, there are certain risks and challenges involved with an undertaking of this sort, particularly as a female. For one, my hyper-active imagination and penchant for reading news about tourist trips gone wrong don’t help my peace of mind in setting out into the great unknown. I am easily scared. I feel vulnerable not knowing where exactly I’ll be laying my head and what sort of two or four-legged creatures will be outside my tent at night. Not having my soft bed or a warm shower every day I can deal with. But the cold and I are not the best of friends, and I loathe the thought of times of being bone-cold and tired with no relief from the cold. I freely admit to being jealous of the male species’ plumbing as I know that I can’t count on finding an actual restroom in the middle of nowhere whenever nature calls. But the drive and the passion for the cause outweigh these minor hardships.

Along with the massive amount of preparation that has to be done to get myself ready to join this journey in short order, there are technical issues to be addressed. In order to maximize my chances of success in enduring life on the road, we have planned intensive training to bring me up to speed. Courtesy of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, I will be taking the Basic Rider and Dirt Bike courses in the following week. I will also undergo additional hands-on training under the tutelage of Andrew Pogany in Monterey, California. While this preparation phase will be intense and challenging, I am determined to make the best of it so that I can be ready.

Hasta la proxima! Chau!

-Cynthia Q.

There are 14 Comments

  1. 8trackmind
    December 15, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Keep it coming. This is getting more interesting with every post.

  2. Spanky
    December 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Wow! Good luck to you both & be safe out there!

  3. 06victory
    December 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Wow good luck. But I do need to say I would really think it thru about taking a novice rider into a third world country your not going to be on asphalt most of the time and your riding skills will be tested. Even a real good rider would be challenged.

  4. Brad BK
    December 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    What a leap Cynthia! In your quick training on motorcycle riding, are you planning to ride with Chris, or is there a second bike joining the expedition?
    And, as for leaps, if and when time allows, feel free to join the site. It’s a big family here.

  5. Tom Witt
    December 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Well there’s an interesting twist (not that the previous twists weren’t interesting).

  6. Jesus Granados
    December 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    if i may say something, Mexico is not a place to be traveling right now, i wish the best for both and hopefully luck is on your side, latinamerica, unfortunately, is soo corrupt, you don’t know who to trust, do leave with the US State Department a good solid route, itinerary, times, even if aproximate, as to where you are going to be, and also with your closest relatives, so that if you don’t make the next crossing, or if you don’t call within the aproximate time, somebody can start looking for you, i sincerely hope you did prepare properly for this trip, you should have had mileage charts, estimated arrival times, departure times, and if at all possible, motorcycle repair shops and dealers along the way at every country.

    Mexico has an array of super qualified mechanics, parts though, tend to be very scarce, should you need any help while abroad, gathering parts, shipping a replacement part, even helping you locate a part here or in any other country, please don’t hesitate to call, and if you guys want to get together before you leave the LA area, let me know, we can talk about lots of things to fully prepare you and help you understand your journey.
    Also, make sure you do carry with you the factory repair manuals, very important!!

    i don’t know where you are this week, i am available all day saturday, i can come and meet you both anywhere if you guys want to just talk in general, specially about crossing Mexico, i have a few miles under my belt, if what i know, can help you in any way, it would be my pleasure to share it with you.

  7. vulcanero03
    December 16, 2009 at 6:25 am

    at the very least, if you are thinking two up, maybe you should consider a light trailer, even a small one would make a world of difference, so that you don’t overtax the bike’s handling and capacity.

  8. bman44
    December 16, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Hope to hear more about this trip from you and Chris. And I have to say, when you jump into an adventure, you don’t mess around! I admire that! Taking the motorcycle courses will help you immensly. Any chance you get to practice what they teach you will go a long way in making your journer alot easier. The idea of traveling two-up kind of worries me alittle though. Chris has meticulously planned his trip for one person, meaning all the modificatons to his bike, and what he could take. Adding another person means adding nearly twice the gear. Not to mention the fact it is hard enough to ride two-up in rough terrain with and experienced rider, let alone a novice. Another bike is pretty much a must have. I’m not trying to be a downer, just trying to be objective. I really wish the best for ya’ll and hope everythng goes great. Be careful and stay safe.

  9. CaddmannQ
    December 16, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Holy Frijoles Chris! I did NOT see this coming!

    Congratulations Chris, and (I think) to Cynthia as well.

    I don’t know how Chris talked you into this quest, but you’ve got a lot of guts to take on something like this. Learning to ride well is a real process of discovery. I discovered how easily people bruise & bleed, LOL, but perhaps you will be more coordinated than I. I learned to ride on a farm in 1969, before there were certified courses readily available to teach you. In 40 years I’ve never had a real injury–no broken bones or bad cuts–but I’ve crashed some bikes and had some minor scrapes and big bruises in my time.

    I agree with Jesus about the situation in Mexico. Half the officials you meet will expect some form of bribe if they can find the least little reason to detain you. Those are the nice ones.

    Then there are ones that will simply arrange to have you kidnapped and drop off a ransom note in the hope that you have wealthy American realtives.

    I do not want to sound too reactionary about this, but my assistant (an engineer-in-training, who was a Tulare County Sherriff’s deputy until a car crash retired him from police work) was born (in SanDiego) from parents in Northern Mexico. He regularly went home there to visit.

    I won’t relate the horror stories he told me, except to say that his brother was a street cop in Mexico, and told him that any higher level police officer who wasn’t a pawn of the local smugglers was simply done away with until they got the idea of who was really in charge and started taking the bribes and looking the other way. Even worse, they facilitated the smuggling and the defense of the local “turf” against rival smugglers.

    Anyhow, I wouldn’t travel therough rural Mexico at all. The tourist route like Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas etc. are all run by much bigger “interests” who depend on the tourist trade and thus do keep the tourists very safe. This is not so in rural areas.

    My assistant, who was clearly as Mexican as any one who lives this side of the border can be, was routinely shaken down by the Mexican cops on his visits to small-town Mexico. His brother used to tell him which way was the safest to travel, depending on what was “going down” there. He never went without calling his brother first.

    OK, that all sounds rather harsh, and particularly critical of the Mexican people. Well,I don’t mean it to be because it’s not the ordinary people you have to worry about. They would be happy to have you visit them. Most of them would consider it an honor to meet you.

    It’s the criminals you must consider, and unfortunately there are lots of them.

    My wife was born in Clovis, but she is Mexican, and absolutely looks it as well. She has traveled in Mexico, but would not attempt to venture outside the tourist havens down there either.

  10. Cynthia Q
    December 17, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Hello everyone,
    I have to be the first to admit that I’m not the bravest soul. Especially knowing that there are real risks involved in this expedition. We’ve been getting a lot of warnings about the situation down in Mexico and need to get as much information as we can to help us make decisions about how to proceed in the safest possible manner. We are taking Jesus up on his generous offer to meet up with him on Sat. after my motorcycle training to get the rundown on traveling in Mexico. As far as the technical aspects mentioned, those are all valid points. Chris will be addressing those issues in his post.

  11. Craiger
    December 17, 2009 at 11:10 am

    What an amazing journey! I started reading about it, today, on Chris’ website and have just finished Aug. 28th’s blog. I’ll pick back up there at another time. Got to get back to work. LOL!

  12. spyug
    December 18, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Glad to hear things have somewhat worked out with the bike & the tow twits. Real shame you had to go through that but I guess on the upside it may have given you the opportunity to meet your new co-pilot. Welcome to Cynthia

    I looking forward to reading more of the adventures and the pictoral “evidence”. Maybe now we’ll get to see some action shots.

    So whats in the plans for the upcoming holidays, when are you taking off again and where are you headed? We who live vicariously through others need to know

    Whatever you get up to have a happy and safe Christmas ( or holiday of choice) and a prosperous and fullfilling New Year!


  13. rudy
    December 18, 2009 at 5:11 am

    That sucks about the towing company, though it’s pretty normal with bikes that get towed. Basically they have a roll-off with a winch. Tie the cable on somewhere to a perfectly good bike and winch the thing onto the deck. That is, after it falls over, and drags along 20 feet of pavement first. They throw a strap over it as it’s laying on it’s side, and there ya go. I have friends that have gone through the same thing. I only park my bikes in driveways or a parking lot, since I don’t trust anyone. I try to stay away from big cities too.

    On the flipside, good to hear you’re mobile again. I wish you the best of luck with your new traveling companion!

  14. Champ
    December 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    So sorry to hear about the damage caused to your GS WOW I can understand your anger and Grief.

    What a Bunch of Dodos. thanks for the warning about unscruplios people. they are in every country but my advise to you, remain the good ambassador that you are the biker faternity must remain the peacemakers the Samaritans and watchful eye of all good and bad in all countries.

    Even when you think your home is the best place on earth, it is probably not as it is made up of so many diffrent people, the good the bad and the ugley.

    Perhaps if you go back to these people and explain your position of … ambasador for the poor and starving… and the work that you do and ask for their help to repair your bike, I am sure that people in this industry know people with the required skills and, and if they refuse say nothing and go to the News Paper and plead your case ” International Ambasador for the poor disadvantaged by unscruplious city towing Co” Im sure that you can think up a good case. The paper is a better court than any Magistrate… good press or bad ..

    You have an event!!! and a cause…. go press for some press. A good journalist can make it a good story world povert against the powerful city ordinance.

    Take care and turn the bad into good use the press to your advantage send messsges ahead to small town news papers and have them announce you arrival and advertise your cause.

    Kind regards

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