On matters of nose v. grindstone


TIME TO FACE FACTS, 2016 is shaping up into my toughest riding year in a decade. “Toughest” in the sense that it’ll be tough to get out and do any riding at all. None of this Hey, babe, I’ll be back, and wander home 10 or 12 weeks later, road-lean and blissful.

I thought I’d be headed to West Texas about now, to ride Big Bend National Park, see the Chihuahuan Desert again, camp among the bluebonnets and the javelinas, see a bit of Mexico on the Boquillas side of the border. The plan was to meet up with ol’ CCjon in Houston and ride west from there. Then reality set in and neither one of our schedules would cooperate.

I don’t know about his but mine’s not going to get any better, so I made my peace with the idea and bagged the rest of the year while I was at it.

That means no Continental Divide Trail in July, and no South America in November. I just have way too many other things on the radar, professional and personal, and they all have to get accomplished before I can afford to go goofing off.

Which brings me to this guy…


John Coady, Canadian biker pal. Here he is in California, fresh out of Mexico and on his way north to British Columbia. He sent me this pic a few weeks ago just to torture me, thank you, John.

A few months ago, John rode the Wing from New Brunswick, Canada down to Florida. He was planning to stop here at the humble manse on his way through, unless making miles proved too addictive that day. Which it did. I get it. It’s hard to stop and see people, even people you want to see. I always have good intentions of stopping but almost never do. The Road Zen pulls you along as if by a ring in your nose.



An interesting if weirdly filtered shot from Mexico. That other Wing up ahead is Mike, a Coady brother I haven’t met. I know brothers John and Tony from last summer’s ferry ride out of Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland.



John and Mike tanking up on Mexican barrel gas. Good idea, the see-gas-buy-gas rule. That way you don’t end up walking.



Off-roading through sand on a heavy highway cruiser. Get your leg out of the way when she goes over, or, SNAP! Oww… Then you’re not even walking.


The good news is, my giving up on various misadventures for the rest of the year won’t deter CCjon. He’ll hunt up another co-rider for the Continental Divide run, only because the trail is so remote. It’s close to 6,000 miles up and back from Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

As for South America, the run to Tierra del Fuego, he said he’ll do that alone, which doesn’t surprise me. We’re both solo riders by nature, pretty much. Of course, the last time CCjon rode South America solo he totaled his bike, spent a week in a hospital, then a local family took him in for a few weeks until he was physically able to board a plane home to Texas.

He’s thinking of making a shorter run of it this time, shipping his bike into Chile instead of Colombia. That’ll be a nightmare, no doubt. We ran into one dead end after another trying to arrange sea transport into Cartegena last fall.

I’ll look to make the South America run in 2018, I think, solo or with others, as long as it’s understood we can part ways for any reason, or for no reason. Spanish-speaking others would be ideal. And given all the futzing with shipping containers, I think I’d rather just ride it from here, and, once in Panama, try to find a way around the Darien Gap.


So there you have it. I return now to the ton of scribbling before me, and the chores that never let up. Remember that 70- or 80-foot oak in the backyard? I’m still sawing it up into stove wood.

IMG_4142 9.14.29 AM


Here’s how it stands today, only about 15 feet of the trunk left. The wheels I’m cutting off it are 4 feet in diameter. They’re far too heavy to move by hand so I split them where they fall; knock them apart with wedges and a 12-pound sledge, then saw off another slice.

Daughter #2 came by yesterday and helped me paint the back fence. She arrived with a limp and helped anyway. What a trouper! She was limping because of a hardwood flooring splinter she’d had removed from her foot, the kind of splinter that comes out with a scalpel instead of tweezers.


She had a doctor remove it at the local walk-in, or, in this case, the local hop-in.

Tony DePaul, March 31, 2016, Cranston, Rhode Island, USA



About Tony

The occasional scribblings of Tony DePaul, 63, father, grandfather, husband, freelance writer in many forms, ex-journalist, long-distance motorcycle rider, motorcycle wrecker, motorcycle rebuilder, collector of surgical hardware, blue routes wanderer, outdoorsman, topo map bushwhacker, handy with a wrench, hammer, chainsaw, rifle, former photographer, printer, logger, truck driver, truck mechanic, jet fueler… blah blah...
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3 Responses to On matters of nose v. grindstone

  1. Chris Whitney says:

    Holy Ouch! That photo is the definition of cringeworthy. Sorry to hear of the delays, but good that you’ve made your peace with things. I think you need to save some of that tree to make some grandkid furniture.

    Carry on.

  2. Chris Eck says:

    Can always tell a fellow writer when they use “trouper” instead of “trooper.” Too bad 2016 won’t see much adventure, but if you want an Ariel Atom ride in Ohio in 2017, let me know!

  3. William Stenger says:

    Gads, for a second I thought that was a large sewing needle you decided to insert in your own foot for God-knows-what reason; that’s going to hurt for awhile! Your daughter’s pretty patient to let you snap a pic of that.
    Sorry you have to put your trips off, but I admire your ability to prioritize and demonstrate self-discipline.

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