Return to GlobeRiders Home Page
Silk Road Adventure T-Shirt Artwork
Helge reporting on location from the Fish River Canyon, Namibia, Africa

Live!Journal Chapters Menu

Chapter Twelve: Bikes & Biographies

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost (1874 - 1963), The Road Not Taken

"A traveler must have the back of an ass to bear all,

a tongue like the tail of a dog to flatter all,

the mouth of a hog to eat what is set before him,

the ear of a merchant to hear all and say nothing."

Thomas Nashe (1567 - 1601)

"Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything. "

Charles Kuralt (1934 - 1997)

In this Bikes and Bio's Chapter, you'll have an opportunity to get "up close and personal" with the people and motorcycles of the Silk Road Adventure 2005.  Riders and participants were invited to send their "bio's" and favorite photographs not only of themselves, but of their motorcycles too. Some kept it short and sweet.  Others had more to say. The backgrounds and stories are as varied as the bkes. As is true for all chapters of the Live!Journal, content submitted by riders and participants is used unedited.

Unless otherwise noted, all images on this page were submitted by the respective autobiographers, and are used with their permission. Images may have been formatted to fit the page.

David & Cherlyne Allen - Oregon, USA

2005 BMW R1200GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

About Cherlyne and David . . .

I am a 63 year old physician who retired almost three years ago after practicing internal medicine in La Grande, Oregon for almost 30 years. I was raised in Tampa, Florida, spent 10 years at Duke, two in the Indian Health Service in Ketchikan, Alaska, and two more years as a medical resident in Seattle, Washington.

Cherlyne (aka "the bag lady" who made embroidered Silk Road bags for each of the riders) and I have been married for 21 years. Between us we have five children and four grandchildren. Cherlyne will be going with me to Istanbul before the tour and both she and my 36 y.o. daughter, Margaret, will join us in Xi'an before the gorge and Beijing tours.

I have only ridden motorcycles for 15 to 20 years but have been fortunate enough to travel to many interesting places during that period. Cherlyne, as a pillion passenger, and I have made three Alps tours as well as a trip in Scandinavia to Nord Cape. We have ridden in much of the US and Canada. Cherlyne rode back to LaGrande with me from Munich on the 2004 GlobeRiders World Tour. Solo, I have been to Tierra del Fuego, Alaska, and the Arctic Yukon.

A 2005 BMW R1200 GS will be my ride for this trip as I was concerned that my BMW F650GS which I rode to the Yukon Arctic and around the globe might be somewhat the worse for wear and abuse. As I am not a motorcycle mechanic I felt a new bike would be better.

Much of my time is spent at home with music, cooking, reading, woodworking, and working for local cultural groups. Other than going to the gym to stay in some sort of shape, I am now a fairly sedentary soul. Traveling remains the most adventurous activity which I still do. In the past, I have been a private pilot, scuba diver, sailor, ski patrolman, and Army reserve medical officer.

Frank Baughman - California, USA

2005 BMW R1200GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

About Shirlee and Frank . . .

Happily married 52 years....

Three daughters and six grandchildren.

Shirlee owns a travel agency while I've enjoyed Dentistry for nearly 40 years.

While Shirls enjoys M/Cing...two weeks is more to her liking than two months, so she'll leave us at T'bilisi.

Mike Benziger - USA


Silk Road Adventure 2005

About Mike . . .

“Hi. My name is Mike Benziger—nicknamed for a lifetime ”Beez” because a 5th grade classmate spelled Benziger ‘Beiser’ and Beezer stuck. My “ride” is a Red Wing Flyer tricycle that I decided I couldn’t update in time for the trip so I decided to become a passenger and ride 2 up with my long time best friend, Roger Waterman. Work only allows me part of the “Silk Road Adventure,” so I will join the ride in Almaty on June 3rd.

Roger and I grew up together in Los Alamos and because of being near sighted I never drove anything, least of all a motorcycle, until I was 32. I have recently had cataract surgery which has helped my vision, but I am too old to learn new tricks so I will be a passenger.

I am a Pathologist and I have lived in Montrose, Colorado (western part) since 1978. I have 3 grown daughters from my first marriage and a 17-year old son, Seth, from my second marriage to Phoebe who likes to travel, but not on a motorcycle.

I have taken two long adventure trips with Roger—one in Ecuador and Peru—and a Pancho Villa Tour from Santiago to Ushuaia. Roger and I had to convince some of our “manly” riders that we weren’t gay. Certainly scared them at first!

I bring essentially no useful expertise to the trip but certainly a great deal of enthusiasm and a desire to learn and experience as much as I can. I hope by the time I have joined you, you have all mastered the nuances of drinking fermented camel’s milk and can pass on that information to me. See you in Kazakhstan!

Dean & Gerissa French - Illinois, USA

1981 BMW R80GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

About Gerissa . . .

I grew up in North Hollywood, California, and, as a teenager, had small roles in a couple of forgettable films--one, as a cheerleader in Unguarded Moment, starring Esther Williams in her first (and last!) non-swimming role, and another in one of the first rock 'n roll films, Rock Pretty Baby, which starred the late Sal Mineo. (I was the girlfriend of one of the boys in Sal's band.) After college, I briefly taught high school English in the Bay Area before marrying Dean and joining him in Naples, Italy, where he was the Senior Aide to the Commander in Chief of NATO, South. It was an exciting and glamorous assignment, and I discovered that I really enjoyed being a Navy wife.

Dean and I have now been married for 43 years and have three grown daughters: Desiree, who is working on her dissertation for her doctorate at Berkeley; Kristen, who is a financial journalist in New York City, and Arianne, who is a Pilates instructor in Boulder, Colorado. In mid life, I returned to teaching and taught English and Creative Writing in two private schools in Illinois for about 20 years. A few years ago, I became the Public Relations Coordinator for The Chicago Academy for the Arts, a private high school that offers instruction is all the arts as well as college preparatory academics for talented, artistic teenagers. Currently, I am serving on the Academy's Board of Directors and, when I return from this trip, I'm hoping to take classes to become a Dale Carnegie coach. Recently, I took an internet/phone course in "Authentic Happiness," also as preparation for becoming a coach. This course was taught by Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology (who was featured recently in the Time magazine that has a happy face on its cover). I'm also in training to become a Sunday School teacher at a Unity Church near our home in San Diego.

In my spare time I adore reading--almost anything. My husband claims that I always have some book in my hand--even when I am supposed to be fixing dinner! Dean and I enjoy going to the theatre and symphony in Chicago; we have taken numerous salsa and tango lessons in San Diego, (but not enough to know what we are doing!) and I fast walk with friends several times a week. (Dean says I am always fast walking!) I passionately enjoy downhill skiing, a sport I have been doing since I was a teenager--especially on a warm, sunny day with a bright blue sky, the invigorating scent of pine trees in the air, and perfect snow conditions, and I am able to create a dancing rhythm on my skiis as I swoosh down the mountain. Skiing is our family sport, and we frequently try to get the whole family, plus any significant others, together at a ski resort for Christmas.

Sadly, at this point none of our daughters are married, so we do not yet have any grandchildren. I would love to have lots of them to spoil.

In the early 80's after working for Avon Products and World Book, Dean, a former Navy carrier jet pilot, who "retired" from the Navy on 20 years, purchased a small manufacturing business, and, later, bought a small commercial loft building to house his business in Chicago. I helped renovate the building and have become its rental agent.

Fortunately, the area around the building, which was in such a "bad" neighborhood that the banks warned us against purchasing it, is finally becoming gentrified. We have an apartment on the 3rd floor of the building, and Dean takes the elevator to the first floor to go to work in his business, The Modern Specialties Company, which manufactures carton opening, utility, and roofing knifes. We rent out the rest of the building to other Chicago businesses. Almost ten years ago we bought a second home in San Diego, so we commute back and forth between the two places a couple of times a month. I often think that I would prefer to be in only one place, but we both seem to thrive on change, excitement, and stimulation. Dean loves San Diego's curvy, winding roads, which are perfect for motorcycling, and I feel fortunate to have close friends in both places.

About Dean . . .

None of this is documented and is from memory. It could be just a long sea story. I don't know. But Geri said I had to try.

It's about motorcycling, travel and motion. It may have been my mother, but I think it was someone else's that said, "Son, if I don't never tell you nothin' else, just remember this: Don't never stop movin'" Of course this all starts when you get up (or don't) out of bed in the morning.

In school, in South Dakota, I wanted nothing more than a motorcycle but it was denied me. In fact I didn't have my own car till I was 25. It was ok to drive the family car on special occasions since driver's licenses weren't yet invented. I guess the only other thing I really wanted was a pair of motorcycle boots but they weren't necessary either and cost more than tennis shoes.

So immediately on graduation from college while waiting to join my first ship in the Med, I rented a Vespa and tore up the Alps. As soon as the ship returned to Newport in the winter, I bought my first used Harley and cheerily froze to death driving back and forth to Providence. Helmets were not yet invented and I learned why guys like wind in their hair. When the ship went back to sea to visit Iceland and Northern Norway, I sold that bike and the next year went to flight training and got an even better newer used Harley. On Christmas leave, I rode it to Cuernevaca in Mexico and I was hooked.

Navy officialdom frowned on motorcycles as connected to the Wild One and gangs. They weren't allowed on base so I would have to park outside the gate and walk to barracks. It was all worth it, so whenever I had a chance over the next 20 or so years, I had BMWs, BSAs, Hondas etc.

I went on trips with Skip Moscorro of Pancho Villa (now MotoDiscovery) Tours to Mexico. I rented a Kawasaki in New Zealand and a Honda VFR in Britain. I covered the US and Canada. I rented an early F650 in Chile and rode till I broke it with no parts to fix it available. To rectify that situation, I have signed up with Skip to take my own R80 to Santiago and go with him to Tierra del Fuego next January 2006.

But along with motorcycling, I have tried other forms of motion: earthbound, sea and airborne. Like sailing, swimming, running, flying single and multi engine, propeller, IC and jet engines at night and rain on and off carriers, plus seaplanes and amphibians and rotorcraft and parachuting, skating and rollerblading. The point is I do like motion and of all the various forms, I like motorcycling best.

I also like travel and have visited a lot of countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Australia, Iceland etc by air and sea but only Izmir, Turkey among the countries on the Silk Road tour. I flew my AD bomber the length of Turkey at low level from the deck of a carrier. Growing up in the Midwest, I read about the adventures of Richard Halliburton and Robert Edison Fulton Jr. who circled the globe in 1932 on a donated Douglas motorcycle. I particularly like one of Fulton's mottos, "Home Is Not a House, Home Is a Road," I also love languages and have visited Russia on several occasions, recently to Voronezh to teach entrepreneurs about business.

I am very fortunate in having an understanding wife. Even though Geri doesn't like to be on a bike, she doesn't heckle me about it.

So now, living in motorcycle heaven, aka San Diego, I choose between my R80GS, K75S, Honda F4 and Ducati 916, all well used bikes. Mostly, I go out on the weekend for 4-5 hours and a couple hundred miles in the mountains. The Silk Road Adventure is a challenge, but one I look forward to with a lot of excitement. It will fulfill a lot of dreams for me and it is the perfect trip for the perfect bikes, BMW GS. I have already had a lot of fun with that 1981 R80, crossing passes in Colorado alone and with the Big Dogs, and have planned other great adventures on it but none have had as much potential for fun as this trip with as many new places.

I'm looking forward to getting to know the other Comrades of the Silk Road in May and June.

Jim Harding - Washington, USA

2003 BMW F650GS Dakar

Silk Road Adventure 2005

Africa Adventure 2003

World Tour 2002

About Jim . . .

This Bio is a surprise, Jim doesn’t know about it. He’s not the kind of guy to write his own and probably would prefer to remain anonymous, but we thought that he should know that there are people out in world who are following his trips while he’s riding on them. We care that he’s following his dreams and we want him and visitors to the GlobeRiders website to know it.

Ride on, Dad, we love you.

Phil, Jay, and Robbie

Originally from Mississippi, Jim moved around as a child and eventually came to call Alaska his home. This was, of course, after packing most of what he owned onto his BSA motorcycle at the age of nineteen and riding the Al-Can Highway from Seattle to Anchorage in 1965 when most of it was still gravel. It was probably this trip that started the dreams of long distance motorcycle touring because in the next few years of working in the Alaskan Oilfields, Jim hatched the idea of a trip from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. This time it was going to be on his new Norton Commando. However, in 1969 the company he was working for at the time decided that they wanted to pursue oil and gas interests in Southeast Asia and Jim was scooped up into an adventure that he would call his life for the next 25 years.

The next few years took Jim to jobs and adventures in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and New Guinea, found him wooing and eventually marrying a striking young cocktail waitress named Philimenia from the Hyatt Hotel in Singapore, and living the semi-transient oilfield life. However after working for years on offshore oil rigs and growing weary of working for someone else’s profit margin, Jim and his good friend Egon “Swede” Holmstrom decided to start their own venture. In 1974, in Balikpapan, Indonesia, the service company “Harding and Holmstrom” (known as H&H, endearingly at first and later officially) was born. Years of slogging through nipa-nipa swamps running pipelines and doing any kind of work they could get finally paid off. Steel fabrication and offshore services eventually became the foundation of this ultimately very successful company that continues to dominate its niche, even now after 30+ years.

However, success and family don’t quell the vibrations of the “traveling bone”. In fact, flexibility in time and finances only makes it vibrate more vigorously. Time gave Jim a devoted wife, Phil, of 31 years, two boys and a good life, but a move back to Seattle and continued commuting to Indonesia on a 5 week on, 4 week off schedule only served to reinforce that his dreams of motorcycle touring were repeatedly back-burnered. So, the plans began to be laid, finally, for the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego trip in the late 1990’s. In August of 1999, after the 25th anniversary of both his marriage and his company, Jim, his two sons Jay and Robbie, and a close family friend, Jan-Eric, set off from Seattle for Alaska. In the convoy were two identical BMW F650s and a highly modified diesel-powered Dodge Ramcharger for a support vehicle. With Jan-Eric driving the truck, Jim and his boys rotated on the two bikes, riding for two days and then resting the third day in the Ramcharger. Breaking across the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway north of Fairbanks, Alaska was the beginning of the realization of a lifelong dream. The next day, from Coldfoot, Alaska, 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the trip started south towards Tierra del Fuego.

From that day in the late Summer of 1999, with the early winter snows chasing them out of Alaska, Jim and his traveling partners rode south through the Western U.S., Mexico, and Central America. Even when his sons had to call short the trip in Panama because of time constraints, Jim was determined to keep riding. When that particular trip failed to take him to South America, it was Pancho Villa to the rescue. Two South American tours solidified the fact that touring was how he wanted to spend his retirement. Along the way, he met Helge Pedersen, decided that he liked riding with the guy and has now followed Helge on two previous GlobeRiders tours, The World Tour 2002 and the Africa Adventure 2003. Jim is currently on his third trip with GlobeRiders, traveling the Silk Road in 2005 on his BMW F650GS Dakar while his understanding wife, Phil, his Harley Sportster 1200 and his Suzuki V-Strom wait patiently at home in Seattle.

John LaChapelle - California USA

2005 BMW F650GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

About John . . .

I am 37 years old and find myself living in Los Angeles for the last 11 years.  I was born in Minnesota and raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota, home of Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and the fabled Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. 

Attended Syracuse University where in my sophomore year a friend and I decided to start a band, and no I had never played an instrument before in my life.  Strangely enough four years later we found ourselves living in New York and under contract with Atlantic Records. I spent the next several years touring a good portion of the world living out of a suitcase.  Unfortunately my friend, and lead singer, died unexpectedly.

So I decided to move to Los Angeles to ply my trade in the film industry – I had directed some of our music videos and had loved the experience.  I am now Head of Production for a wonderful company called Chelsea Pictures.

I was married for just under ten years but am recently divorced, and as strange as it may sound, it’s been a very good thing.  For both of us.  She and I remain incredible friends.

I have loved motorcycles ever since I was ten, when a Bandito funeral procession of 3,000 bikes roared past me.  This was of course during the more “decadent” days of the Sturgis Rally.  As all 3,000 bikes passed me while I sat frozen on my bicycle, the ground shook beneath me, my pant legs vibrated and my stomach rolled.  That’s all it took.

I currently own a BMW F650GS and a Harley Davidson Dyna model.

Hans Muellers - New Jersey USA

2002 BMW R1150GS Adventure

Silk Road Adventure 2005

World Tour 2004

About Hans . . .

The town of Krefeld in North Western Germany is known as the Silk City of Germany. For people trying to find it on the map, it’s left of Düsseldorf, North of Cologne. Silk was introduced to Krefeld by French Huguenots who looked for protection from prosecutions during the 30 Year War (1618-1648), which devastated Europe. Krefeld was always a very liberal town and a good place to grow up. My family history, I have birth certificates, baptismal records, marriage licenses, etc, show us being in the weaving business for generations, always in or around Krefeld. As far back as 1724 for sure. Silk seems to be a driving force in our and my life.

I always knew about warp and weft, I always knew about how to dye yarns, how to weave, etc. Our local dialect has many words that are weaving terms, which we use daily without even thinking about that the origin or the word is a very technical Textile term. In addition, our dialect is full of French words, too.

So, Silk, French, Textile is part of me.

I even came to the U.S. in 1968 because I had this connection with Silk. I had learned to program weaving machines (yes, a French system called Verdol) and the U.S. imported me as a ‘technical expert‘. So from 1968 until 1970 I taught the little bit I knew to some folks in Paterson, NJ.

I combined my teaching with learning the English language which enabled me to meet my wife which changed everything.

Women can do that to you, you know!

After we married in 1971, had 3 children, each 16 month apart, and no money to speak off I had to make some changes in my teaching schedule.

For the next 10 years I helped a U.S. Silk Weaving mill to get off the ground using my programming skills and thru French connections I learned how to ‘design’ fabrics. This job provided a fair income and was close to home. I had time for the kids, could talk and listen to my wife. I was not the most important person in this mill but it made a living and I honed the designing skills I needed.

In 1982 all that changed. Or let’s say it bloomed. Somehow, by pure accident, I took a job in Manhattan, and within 7 years I took over this business. Yes, I was in the Silk Business. Silk for neckties! Silk from China, everything I did for years was based on Silk.

My life seems to revolve around Silk.

While designing for people like Ralph Lauren, Kenneth Cole, Armani, Tommy Hilfinger, Donna Karen, Bill Blass etc, I was busy and had no time to ride a motorcycle.

In Germany, as an apprentice I rode a moped to and from work. As a very little kid I rode on the back of my uncle’s bike and I always loved the fresh air, the freedom of being on a metal horse.

Now, in 2005, comes along the possibility to ride a motorcycle on the Silk Road.

How could I refuse? How can I not take this trip?

Sure I like Helge, sure I like riding my motorcycle, sure I have been to China many times but I have never ridden the road to China to buy silk. This is a must trip for me given all the history of my life.

I just wish I can get the visa for Turkmenistan.

(Hans maintains a personal blog which can be viewed here.)

Perry Murray - Oregon, USA

2003 F650GS Dakar

Silk Road Adventure 2005

Africa Adventure 2003

World Tour 2000

About Vicki and Perry . . .

Hello everyone, my name is Perry Murray. I'm 57 (soon to be 58) years old, married to Vicki for 4 years. We have 3 children and two granddaughters between us. I've been following Helge around for almost "10 years on 2 wheels" but I still don't get no respect!

Vicki and I would like to show up in Istanbul a few days early and when the tour begins Vicki will return home and wants to meet us again in China for the three Gorges tour.

Sterling Noren - Washington, USA

GlobeRiders Staff - Video & Multimedia Production

About Sterling . . .

It was a shared love of motorcycling and a love of travel that brought Helge Pedersen and myself together. During the winter of 1997-98 I happened to see one of his slide shows and I was blown away by his combination of personality, story telling and images from his ten-year trek around the world on a BMW motorcycle. Being a rider/filmmaker myself, I could easily identify with his passion for riding and the need to describe the experience in pictures and words. I felt that we had a lot in common and so I approached him with the idea of making a short documentary based on his slide show. We could film an interview, and perhaps even go on a ride together to film some `action' footage to compliment the slides... and thus the seed was planted.

Our first project resulted in "Closer to the World", a short 10-minute piece that I produced about Helge's "10 years on 2 Wheels" experience. Produced as part of 911 Media Arts Center's Master Documentary Class, it was good enough to be shown on KCTS, the local PBS station in Seattle. More importantly, it was the beginning of a long and productive relationship with Helge.

After the initial success of this project, which was really quite modest, we began to think about other projects that we could do. But the demands of making a living prevented us from doing anything other than dream about projects that we could one day do. In the meantime Helge began operating his touring business as a way to earn a living and share his knowledge and passion with other riders. In 2000, he lead the first GlobeRiders World Tour, a two-month, 11,000 mile ride across Eurasia that started in Shanghai and finished at the BMW Museum and World Headquarters in Munich. This was to become the first iteration of a biannual event and one of a growing number of exotic motorcycle tours that Helge would design and lead around the world in the coming years. As for myself, I had been working as a freelance video editor in Seattle and the projects that I acquired, while challenging, weren't really what I wanted to be doing. So I took a chance and accepted a position as a Video Producer on board the Vision of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships. During the next two and a half years I traveled to many unique and interesting places in the world and led a life that was personally and professionally very rewarding. It was during this time that I met a woman named Mariana, who was a Uruguayan girl working on the same ship as myself. To make a long romance short we fell in love and talked about moving back on land together where we could pursue our interests (school, for her, and work, for me) without being tied down to a ship's schedule.

It was around this time that Helge contacted me about a journey to Iceland. He suggested we and a third person (Chris Poland from Seattle) make a six week journey to the land of fire and ice to film the island and the great riding that could be had there. Needless to say, I accepted and it turned out to be an incredible adventure in many different ways. My companions on the journey were both seasoned riders with an unlimited amount of knowledge in motorcycle travel and survival-on-the-road skills. The island was a fantastic collection of some of the weirdest landscape the planet has to offer, and being there on a bike... lets just say that I felt pretty intimate with the place, a deep connection that I never would have felt had I been an ordinary tourist in a car or a coach. Finally, the opportunity to be out in the bush with all of my filming equipment and have TIME to be able to work at my own pace, filming the landscape and our adventures, was for me the greatest pleasure of all. We had a fantastic trip together and I got back to Seattle just in time to go back to work on a different ship, the Nordic Empress, making weekly runs between New York, Bermuda and later on the Caribbean.

I brought along my Iceland footage and spent that winter traveling the Caribbean while editing videos about a motorcycle trip across Iceland. Those six months were a turning point. Mariana and I were becoming increasingly less satisfied with life aboard the ship and its hierarchies and duties. We talked more often about a life back ashore - in my mind, Seattle, for her Spain, Italy or Uruguay. And then Helge contacted me with another offer that could not be refused. He was making preparations to begin the second GlobeRiders World Tour, the ride through China, Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republik, Slovakia and Germany. A deal was in the works between BMW of North America and Speed Channel. I was offered a chance to join the journey in an official capacity as a cameraman/television producer and back-up rider. Considering the cost of a trip like this which I would never likely be able to afford on my own for a long time, and the fact that I could actually get paid to ride a motorcycle across Siberia - how could I say no?

So a plan was hatched in which Mariana and I would sign off the ship together in San Juan, Puerto Rico and go our separate ways. After returning to Seattle I would head off to the Far East with the GlobeRiders and she would go home to Uruguay. At the end of the tour in two months I would fly to South America, pick her up and meet her family, and together we would return to Seattle where the next chapter of our life together would unfold. And it pretty much worked out that way...

The World Tour was yet again a step up in terms of the riding/travel/culture that I experienced. While the riding wasn't technically as demanding as Iceland, the traffic and potential for mishaps was just as real. My skills as a back-up rider came in handy when one of the riders broke his ankle and I spent the next three weeks riding his R1100GS across Siberia. We worked out a deal and Helge made us sign a paper which said that if anything bad happened to his bike I wouldn't be responsible. Likewise, if anything bad happened to me, he wouldn't be responsible. So there I was, getting paid to ride a motorcycle across Siberia, - and I didn't even have to pay for the gas! By the time we made it to Munich I had produced the required videos for Speed Channel, which were already airing back in the United States. After a few days with Helge and his close friends at Touratech in Germany, I said goodbye and boarded a flight for South America.

My first visit to Uruguay to meet Mariana and her family didn't turn out as expected. We only planned to be there for a couple of weeks while she acquired a student visa so that she could live in the United States. It turned out that post 9/11 measures prevented the US Embassy from granting her the student visa when they found out that she had a boyfriend in Seattle. They didn't believe that she was serious about becoming a student, suspecting instead that she really would become another permanent illegal immigrant. So we faced a tough decision. Either we would have to break up which was unacceptable to me (if I was going to break up it would be on my terms and not the government's), go back to work together on the ship (the only place it seemed that would allow us to live together), live in Uruguay or get married and move back to the U.S. We chose the later.

Getting married in Uruguay wasn't that difficult, and once we made the decision the process of acquiring the necessary visa was pretty straightforward. What was difficult, for me, was that my Spanish was in its infancy and communicating with Mariana's friends and relatives was very difficult. I was quite amazed and the kindness and care they exhibited to me, a stranger who didn't even speak their own language who had come to take their daughter away to America. The wedding ceremony was conducted solely in Spanish. There were about thirty people there, all of them friends and family of Mariana, and not a single person from "my side" of the family. I would have been very nervous had it not been for the fact that I was focusing intently on my one duty during the ceremony - remembering to say "Acepto" ("I do") at the right time. And you know what? I did.

Back in Seattle we began our new life together on land, away from the rocking swell of the ship and the constant traveling from port to port. Away from the Caribbean beaches and tourists on holiday. Away from the ships crew - the friends we had made from countries all around the world. Away from the sounds of dozens of different languages spoken everyday in the corridors below deck. I knew what to expect in Seattle. I had lived there for six years before going to sea. I knew how to handle to weather - the cold grey skies that linger for so long in the winter, and the rain. And I knew how to keep busy - riding, writing, reading and working. But it was different for Mariana. The things she cared for the most in her life - family, friends, relationships - were all gone, or at least half a world away. Instead of sun she got rain. Instead of beaches she got glaciers. Instead of dinner at 11pm and socializing all night long she got darkness and dinner at 6 then television and bed. Instead of the warmth of Latino culture she got the coldness of brisk Seattle urbanites. And the economic realities hurt too. Instead of free medical care provided by the state she got $2500 worth of emergency room bills in the first six months (for a severe headache and really bad cramps...) Instead of free school (again provided by the state in Uruguay) she had to go to work in order to help pay for school at the local community college. There was simply so much that she had to give up in order to come to America - the land of opportunity where supposedly things are better - that it was difficult to focus on anything positive about her new experience. But she persevered and continues to struggle to find her place here in our land and make for herself a way of life that builds on the values she brings from her country.

As we settled into Seattle our life together became pretty routine. Despite the struggling economy of 2002 I was able to get a job as a writer/producer/editor for a local independent documentary production company in Issaquah, Washington. Mariana found a job as a barista for an Italian specialty coffee company in downtown Seattle. And we bought our first house together, a 100-year-old charmer in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood. Between all of the pressures of a full-time job, finding and buying a house and keeping things together in a challenging relationship I didn't have time for any real riding. Not to mention that most of my free time was now being sucked up in the production of GlobeRiders first few DVD titles. Clearly things were working on some levels - I had a good job, bought a house, and was actually creating meaningful if not marketable DVD titles. But I wasn't doing any riding.

Between the fall of 2002 when I returned from the World Tour and the spring of 2005 I had only went on one long-distance ride, a two-week journey into British Columbia with my cousin Andy. Andy was the person most responsible for getting me into the whole BMW Motorcycle thing in the first place. He still rides his black K75S that he bought new in 1994. It has more than 120,000 miles on it. While he's out there living the dream, riding the back-roads and byways of the continent - I'm inside slaving away at the computer, producing videos extolling the virtues of travel by motorcycle. Isn't it funny how life works out these ways sometimes and the things we hold most dear can vanish just when we seem to get the closest to them?

Alas, I fully suspect that for reasons unbeknownst to me things are happening in exactly the way that they should be. Every stage of life builds upon the previous stage and satisfaction at one level begets suffering for the next. As we build and mature in our growth and development as persons, new problems, needs and desires are introduced at exactly the same time as old ones are resolved. Having sought a life of travel and adventure I have arrived only to find out that it isn't what I expected it to be because I am not the person I was when I started. I will live and breath to travel and have adventures until the day I die but the complexities of this endeavor weren't fully realized by this novice adventurer back in the beginning. Successfully integrating travel with work and a relationship is a truly demanding affair and I feel fortunate to have the support of a family and colleagues that understand this. I know for certain that Helge does. Like most places in life that are new territory for me, he's "Been There, Done That" and has a lot of wisdom about more than just motorcycling. In return for all of this support I feel a desire/responsibility to produce the most outstanding content that I can - stories, films, videos and DVDs that shine a light into the corners of the world and corners of the mind/soul/spirit. A light where people are encouraged to travel and explore not just the world but also themselves and each other, and that, my friend, is the real journey.

[You can view Sterling's GlobeRiders Biography here.]

David Ow - California, USA

2000 BMW F650 Funduro

Silk Road Adventure 2005

Africa Adventure 2003

World Tour 2000

About David . . .

Married forty-two years with 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Will celebrate my 60th birthday on this trip. Work in commercial real estate. Enjoy all types of motorcycle riding and have several dirt, trials, dual-sport & street motos. Alumni of GlobeRiders World Tour 2000 and Africa Adventure 2003. Rode in Northern Thailand, Copper Canyon, Mexico and Baja. Looking forward to riding with all of you.

About David's Bike . . .

This is a 2000 F650 Funduro. It has an Acerbis 6.5 gallon gas tank, heated seat & grips, Ohlins rear shock, Touratech panniers & top box, hand guards, engine guard and skid plate.

I purchased this from Bud Robinson in 2002. He had ridden it on the 2000 GlobeRiders World Tour and left it in Munich. I picked it up in Munich and did a 2-week tour of Northern Italy, Germany & Austria. After that I had it shipped by air back to California.

I have ridden it on the GlobeRiders Africa Adventure Tour and also to Mexico via Copper Canyon and Baja.

Helge Pedersen - Washington, USA

2002 BMW R1150GS Adventure

GlobeRiders Founder

[You can view Helge's GlobeRiders Biography here.]

Chris Poland - Washington, USA

1988 BMW R100GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

Africa Adventure 2003

Iceland Expedition 2001

Dune 45, Namibia


Jeff & Anne Roberg - Oregon, USA

2004 R1150GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

World Tour 2000

About Ann and Jeff . . .

Jeff became interested in motorcycles in the 60’s and since then has always had a motorcycle of some type around. In college he helped a friend start a motorcycle salvage company. To help pay for college he would buy and fix up bikes to sell. Ann came along somewhere in that process and remembers several “dates” rebuilding a Honda 450.

After graduation from Veterinary school, getting two children into and through college, building two commercial buildings and our home we decided it was time to begin exploring the rest of the world. Our first big trip was to Alaska. Since then we have ridden the European Alps, Helge’s first World Tour from Tokyo to Munich, Texas to Panama, several trips across the US, revisited Alaska with our children, Southern South America, Southern Africa, and Turkey.

When not exploring some part of the world we operate a veterinary clinic and two commercial buildings that are leased to other small businesses. We try to travel three to four months a year and use the rest of the year to plan trips, service motorcycles, practice veterinary medicine and be a landlord. We have developed a fair amount of expertise on travel and maintaining motorcycles. We have published both in the motorcycle and veterinary community. Our entire family is active in BMW MOA and the Gold Wing Riding Association (GWRRA).

Our interests today center around motorcycles, animals and experiencing other cultures.

We must have been born on a motorcycle. Since our youngest graduated from high school six years ago we try to travel three to four months a year and have visited about 35 countries so far. We have way too many motorcycles in the garage, including a Harley, Gold Wing and multiple BMW's. When not riding around the world we practice veterinary medicine and are commercial landlords. We did the first World Tour in 2000 and remember Helge saying at the end of the tour that he never wanted to see us again, but guess what, we're back! We are looking forward to riding with both old and new friends.

Bud & Judy Robinson - Mississippi, USA

2005 BMW R1200GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

Africa Adventure 2003

World Tour 2000

About Bud . . .

I am a 63 year old former banker married to my wife, Judy, for almost 42 years. We have two children in their mid and late 30's and 2 grandchildren thus far. I started my career with a Mississippi bank, Deposit Guaranty, in 1967 right out of graduate school and eventually wound up heading it up for around 15 years as it became a NY Stock Exchange listed banking company with offices in MS, LA, and AK.

For over 2 decades, I did long distance running as a counter to sitting at a desk as a banker most of the day. After doing a marathon on every continent, and, ultra marathons on most, the toll on my knees mounted up. In 1999 after I retired from my "day job" of 32 years when we sold the banking company, I turned to BMW motorcycles as an outlet for adventure and signed up for the 2000 GlobeRiders World Tour. The adventure was a great one and the best way to see the 11,000 miles from Japan to Germany in my opinion!

Since that tour, I have also participated in the Southern Africa Adventure tour and have ridden in Mexico as well as the rest of Central America and through Eastern Europe and Turkey. While I have previously been on parts of the Silk Road in a vehicle, I have always wanted to ride the entire Silk Road on a bike. I mentioned this desire to Helge several years ago and am pleased he has the trip together and I am going on it! My wife Judy will accompany me by riding in the support van.

Jim Russell - Missouri, USA

2005 BMW R1200GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

About Jim . . .

Age: 57

Born, grew up and went to school in Kansas City, Missouri where I have lived my entire life except for two years in the army where I was stationed in Missouri, Georgia and Vietnam.

Happily married to Dolores for the past 32 years. Dolores, a retired RN, is home except when she is riding with me on about 80% of my motorcycle trips.

We have three sons ages 27 to 32 and five grand children ages 9 months to 7 years.

I own a competition go-kart business, a family owned business since 1959, here in Kansas City. Two of my sons are in the business and they, along with a fine staff, keep things going while I am away riding the world’s roads.

I’ve been riding motorized two wheelers, started with a mini-bike, since I was 12. Graduated from 50cc to 350cc during the time we sold Bridgestone motorcycles in the mid and late 60’s. We traded for a Harley pan head that I rode while I was in high school. Back then I was a skinny kid and had a lot of trouble getting the thing started. It kicked me a lot harder than I ever kicked it. Latest bike is a second R1200GS. I bought it because Helge couldn’t promise mine back from this trip in time for a cross-country ride in late July. I also have a F650GS, a Harley V-Rod and an Ariel Square 4.

Started riding long distances when my dentist talked me into riding to Alaska with him in 1999; he ended up not going so I went solo. Key West to Prudhoe Bay and back, that started it. Since then I’ve ridden in every state except Hawaii, every Canadian providence except the Northwest Territory and will have ridden in 45 countries by year’s end.

I attended a slide presentation about Iceland by Helge and wanted to ride with him sometime. I planned to do the World Tour last year but went to Norway instead. I plan on doing the World Tour next year and keep this craziness going a just a little bit longer.

Laura Seaver - Washington, USA

1994 BMW R100GSPD

Silk Road Adventure 2005

Africa Adventure 2003

World Tour 2000

About Laura . . .

Early in this trip will mark the tenth anniversary of the day I first rode a motorcycle. Somehow, life has not been the same since that day. Within a couple of weeks, I was the proud owner of The Pumpkin, a bright orange 1974 Honda CB550, which I paid all of $200 for. Okay, it never ran very well, and I always carried bus fare when I rode it, which wasn't all that often, as my life was in rather a state of upheaval. Somehow, by the following summer, I had gotten it into my head that I wanted to do road trips. So, Sept of '96, I finally got a bike I could take out of the city limits. I didn't know many people who rode, but somehow, I got things figured out enough by the following summer to do my first road trip -- all the way to Jasper in the Canadian Rockies. What fun!! In the summer of '98, the motorcycle gods nodded my way, and I acquired my '94 PD that I am traveling this Silk Road with. In the spirit of "better do while the doin' is good," that fall, I packed up the bike and took off for a three month ride through the American SW. I didn't really know what I was doing, but it sure was fun. By then, I'd met some other motorcyclists and the riding was good. I managed to put 20,000 miles on the PD in that first year.

Lots of riding, but sooner or later, a girl's gotta get serious, so I applied for graduate school. However, at the same time, I had heard about Helge's upcoming World Tour 2000. What with this and that, I convinced Helge I should go and I deferred graduate school. Off we went on a glorious ride, where I was lucky enough to ride with Helge, Perry, David Ow, Bud, Jeff, and Ann. It took me almost three months to work my way home after the group finished in Munich. But then, it was time for school. I managed to stay in town (mostly) long enough to get my master's and a teaching certificate, which, after a quick ride to Nova Scotia and back, I took to Ghana to teach calculus for a term at a new and amazing place called Ashesi University. Back in Seattle after that, I took on some short-term teaching assignments and continued to plot and scheme for more riding and travelling adventures. GlobeRiders Africa Adventure 2003 was another fabulous trip.

And so the GlobeRiders adventures continue. In the meantime, I've expanded my riding abilities (an ongoing struggle) by adopting a "baby GS" -- a Suzuki DRZ400, which, along with riding locally, I've ridden to the Arctic Circle and back, playing around in Moab, catching the sun and avoiding the thorns in Baja. Let's ride!!

And if you really want to know details about the "rest" of my life, I'm 37 years old, studied physics in college, worked software through the 90's boom in Seattle, grew up on the East Coast but have been in Seattle almost 16 years, have taught sea-kayaking, snowboarding, GPS usage, math, physics, science, social studies, whatever.

And somehow I keep thinking of a quote that people keep sending me -- "Life is either a grand adventure or nothing."-- Helen Keller.

Emily Gay & Roger Waterman - New Mexico, USA

1992 R100GSPD

Silk Road Adventure 2005

About Emily . . .

My favorite place on this earth is on the back seat of Roger’s motorcycle! It doesn’t really matter which bike he is on, it’s the thrill of the ride, the sights, the smells, everything—you all know what I mean. I find it significant that when we got married after hanging out together for 8 years, that Roger had the cake maker write on the cake: “Ride to the end of time.”

It was a fitting tribute to our lifestyle, which includes a lot of motorcycling! I even learned to ride myself and got my license at age 50--bought a little 535 Yamaha Virago, dumped it riding it home from the dealer (scared Roger nearly to death!), and finally a 600-mile ride up to Colorado to celebrate Beez’s 50th birthday got me through the tentative stage, and I could have kept riding forever. As it turned out I got a new job that involved a move to Austin and a lot more travel, and I didn’t have time to keep up my skills. I sold the bike to a young woman who was as enthusiastic about learning to ride as I was! I’m glad I learned, but I don’t miss it.

My heart is in being Roger’s passenger. And so again, we are off on a new adventure--I can’t wait!!! I will join the group in Tbilisi on May 16, and leave from Almaty on June 5th; that’s where Beez will join Roger to finish the trip.

About Roger . . .

I’m already having trouble keeping up with you fellow journeyers! I’ve been technologically challenged from the first deposit check. Emily and I are both 58 years old. We’ve got four marriages behind us and have concluded that the third is the charm. We have three grandchildren - one 15, one 3, and one four weeks… Two more are in the oven… one in June and on in September. I’m in a family-owned real estate and development company and Emily is a consultant with the YMCA of the USA. My lifetime friend, Mike Benziger (Beez), is a pathologist in Montrose, Colorado. We are all excited about this trip and look forward to getting to know all of you, perhaps too well.

How did it we get to this fabulous opportunity? My father was the 15th of 16 children. He passed away a couple of years ago at 81. My parents were world-class travelers in the “tourers” style. Trips to China in the late 70’s, up the Amazon, around Antarctica, five trips to India, the first West-to-East tour through the Northwest Passage, etc. My dad was also fascinated by kids and toys. We had “tote-goats” on the mountain trails in northern New Mexico before we were teenagers. I had a Cushman Eagle and then a Silver Eagle in the early 60’s. As a bribe to entice me to return to Los Alamos and help with the business, dad helped me buy an R75/7 in the mid 70’s. My ex-wife didn’t care for riding or ownership of the bike and I got rid of it shortly after the wedding. (I should have known something was amiss.) Awhile after she got rid of me, I purchased a used 1988 K100RT and started the adventure once again.

I and a friend decided to go from Los Alamos, NM to the tip of South America in 1996. We got as far as Santiago over an 8 week span… couldn’t make the rest of the trip work and went home. Four years later I found PVMT and headed back to Santiago on my new, used 1992 R100GSPD to complete the journey. Mike went from Santiago to Ushuaia on that trip. We talked of our next dream trip and the Silk Road was the first choice.

Helge’s e-mail announcement came and the decision was attempted. My biggest challenge in preparing for this trip is trying to get the businesses ready for it. My brother, Kent, and his wife, Linda, are accepting a considerable burden in allowing me to commit to this. For this, I am grateful and will try not to be consumed by guilt for more than 24 hours or so. So, I will be solo to Tiblisi, where Emily will join us and then I will exchange passengers in Almaty with Mike joining us. (That reminds me, I need to order a rear tire for Mike’s arrival.)

About Roger's Bike . . .

I looked all over for a pre-fuel injected BMW R100GSPD. I finally found this '92 in Santa Fe, just 35 miles away with only 11000 miles on it. I bought it for a PVMT trip to Tierra del Fuego in 2000. I'm not much of a mechanic, but I managed to do all the improvements recommended in the MCN article a few years ago for an R80GS. I added the deeper oil pan from Touratech as well. Tough bike... I was riding two-up in SA when I heard a big "clunk" in the rear. Couldn't find anything wrong, or hear anything else that told me that something was awry. I drove it another 3,000 miles in SA, picked it up in Houston, and took it to Deming, NM for a thorough lookover. The bearings from the swing arm were rattling around in the driveline casing. The casing was slightly cracked as well. Got it braised and drove it home. No other incidents so far. This bike went to Turkey with Art Bone and Carol Jackson last summer with PVMT. They ran into Helge while he was scouting the Silk Road trip.

Rick Wetzel - Oregon, USA

1989 R100GS

Silk Road Adventure 2005

Africa Adventure 2003

World Tour 2002

About Rick . . .

Hi everyone! My name is Rick Wetzel and I'm 41 years old. I grew up in upstate N.Y. most of my life but moved out here to the beautiful states of Washington and Oregon 13 years ago. Though I was born in N.Y.C. and loved to go down there and visit on occasion, I always considered myself to be a country boy. I might still be there, if I hadn't gotten into motorcycles, and bicycles, so deeply.

Jay Yanick - Washington, USA

2005 R1150GS Adventure

Silk Road Adventure 2005

About Jay . . .

My name is Jay Yanick. Recently retired from a fire extinguisher business that I started many years ago. I have been married to my wife Kay for 45 years. We have two grown children and most recently our first (perfect) grandchild of 13 months.

I have been riding most of my adult life. First trail riding, then to poker runs, then to enduro's, then motocross and finally as I got older I started realizing I didn't heal like a 21 year old. I started street riding. I seem to average about 20,000 miles a year.

My interests are motorcycle riding, skiing, boating to the cabin in the San Juan's, and traveling. I am completely STOKED about joining with the group for this part on my around the world ride.

I have just gotten an R1150GS for the trip and outfitted it (per Helge's recommendations). However I am 6' and 250lb and having a real hard time touching the ground. I think there is a lot of training ahead.

My plan is to depart Seattle about the first of March, head to Palm Springs for a while then across the southern USA to Miami. Then to Spain and across Europe eventually hooking up with the Silk Road Tour on May 3.

My plan is to meet the group at the opening of the container.

Live!Journal Chapters Menu

Copyright © 2009 GlobeRiders, LLC ®.  All rights reserved.