Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Countdown Blog 8

Eight Months to go before I head off on Pat Around the Americas and I’m already having a blast. Some say you shouldn’t over-plan, but take things in the moment and go with the flow. Others like to have all the details pinned down, a clear schedule to hand, and a fixed approach to follow no matter what. I’m finding out that I’ve got a foot in both camps, and it’s not as painful as it sounds. 

Over the last year or so I’ve spent countless hours (or perhaps Mrs Pat has indeed been counting them?) reading about countries to be travelled, making notes, researching bits of kit and, importantly, motorbikes. With genuine thanks to family and friends I’ve been able to renew my camp gear, ‘adventure’ clothing and other stuff. Also with thanks to, well... me really, I’ve also purchased the beast of burden for the trip, a very nice looking XT660Z, on which I have already spent more of those countable hours happily farkling away. 

Now, for those of you not into motorcycling and have grudgingly arrived at this site because I’ve nagged you into it, farkling or ‘to farkle’ (v) is the process of messing around with your bike through the application of aftermarket parts and accessories. This can result in the machine becoming much heavier and more difficult to control, and indeed often has a similar affect on your credit card statement! It does, however, enable you to fix all those little issues about the bike that mere amateurs, such as the original manufactures, were unable to sort out before handing it over to you. And most importantly, farkling provides endless opportunities for hours of talk with like minded ABRs (Adventure Bike Riders) while, of course, also staring at the bike – mugs of tea / bottles of beer also required. See you’re picking up the speak already!

So, eight months to go before Pat Around the Americas officially kicks off, and I plan to do a monthly countdown blog covering aspects of my preparations before the white hankies are waved at the dockside, and then discretely used to, you know, remove that bit of dust from your eye. For those who have managed to survive this far, I thought I’d tell you about the planned trip and who I am. The rest does come with some warnings, however. 

My name is Pat; aka Barcelona Pat on the ABR forum (and others) because, well... my name is Pat and I live in Barcelona. That should give you some insight to the depth of my imagination! I’m just turning 45, and have been riding motorbikes pretty much all my adult life. Before anyone says – 45? Pat Around the Americas must be his response to a mid-life crisis! I should point out that I have a long list of bonkers things behind me, stemming right back to childhood, so perhaps this should be viewed as just another of Pat’s things. That said, if it was a mid-life crisis at 45, that means I’m on for a 90 year run – bonus! I should note that I am supported in all this nonsense by the very wonderful, and gorgeous, Mrs Pat – who thinks I’m a proper loon for doing what I do – but who, nevertheless, chips in her very valued contributions to allow such indulgences. I did say she was wonderful, didn’t I!

There was talk of warnings somewhere above, so here they are: I am doing this for myself; not for a TV show, book deal, self-promotion, or charitable works (though you can donate to my charity pleeeease - see link on the right). Credible motivations as these are, for me it is something more personal that is the driver behind this particular trip – and I’m not sure yet whether I will share such thoughts through this blog. Therefore, given that Pat Around the Americas is a selfish undertaking, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that my motives in putting together this blog are of a similar vein. Great if you enjoy or take something from these rambles – and please feel free to post comments – but for me this is a means to record my trip, my experiences, with my bike, on my own. And, of course, share some of it all with my family and friends. See it is all about my... (cough)! 

To wrap up this first blog, I should say something about the trip. No doubt an experienced writer would have put this up front, but I have a further 7 countdown blogs to bore you with before I go, so lots more to come. From 1 April 2012 I’ll be taking 4 months off work to ride from Tierra de Fuego in the south of Argentina up to the north of Alaska, crossing South, Central and North America. Those ABRs reading this will know the TDF-Alaska run is a well trodden route, with many a bike rider having completed it. Indeed, while I’ll be heading off solo, I very much hope that I’ll have the opportunity to meet up with like minded travellers on the way. That said, it is not without its challenges, and will likely represent a greater number of miles than some land routes travelled around the world. 

That’s all for now. Future blogs to follow with more detail on issues such as: route, the bike, gear, documentation, health, communications and financing.


  1. Good luck Pat! Enjoy the ride!

  2. Cheers mate - I've been really enjoying your 'tales'

  3. I´ll have more do´s and dont´s for you in a few months. Together with 3 friends, I am riding from the heart of Brazil to Ushuaia, always coasting the Atlantic Ocean and then up north to Atacama keeping a left all the way. Don´t worry about being 45, I am actually 47 and can still open my own beer! Hopefully I´ll turn 48 in January, eating some patagonic lamb and local beer. I´ll give you more details as we approach our December departure date. Good luck!