Talking with The Full Ride, Part Three


Camping – do you prefer stealth/wild camping, or campgrounds? What are the ups and downs of each?


tom head shotTom

The only real preference is that there are no bears near us. I’ve gone up to eleven days without a shower. Weeks without deodorant. I missed brushing my teeth more than I’ve wanted. The more a person can be scummy, the better off they are. Camping is a luxury. We’ve slept on concrete sidewalks in the rain. We’ve unrolled our sleeping bags just off of a 4X4 trail because that’s all we could do. I’m starting to believe less and less in “camping.” That time of the day could be called sleep time. There’s eat time. Bathroom time. Ride time. Smell the roses time. And plenty of “what the hell is going on – is this really real?” time. Camping is more of an adjective than an activity.

Brad head shotBrad

Primitive camping is a lot of fun, and obviously the cheapest. I loved that about Alaska. You can pretty much camp anywhere so long as you’re brave enough. You get the best views and it’s all yours. The Provincial campgrounds in Canada (free firewood!) and the ones in the U.S. National Parks are really nice. But it’s also nice to have access to showers. Every three or four days is pretty average on this trip and you get used to it over time. But there’s been a handful of times we’ve had to go a week or more and that’s really pushing it for me in terms of what I can handle. I’m just scaring children at that point. But let me tell you, that is an epic shower on day nine. Those are the best showers.

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  1. I knew Avery when we were six and seven years old in New Jersey. He was my first best friend in the States when I moved here and he taught me everything I know about the most beautiful cars ever made. I used to love the AC Cobra because of him and dream of getting one. I’ve only recently met Brad and Tom a few years back and I have to say these are the best kind of people I can think of. I can’t explain how happy I am that they were able to finally fulfill this journey and that they made it back safe and as brand new people. It is more than clear how many people they have changed on their way I know how annoying it can be to keep people posted on social media on everything you do, but to use THE FULL RIDE sunny disposition I read about in the Huffington Post article, I see an incredible amount of positive influence on others to do what they’ve always wanted or to start dreaming big. I was able to visit these guys before they left and I can attest to the drive I walked away with when we discussed the plans for the trip. I was planning a trip of my own and they certainly had a role in helping me dream bigger. Now I just can’t help but wonder what’s next for los tres amigos!

  2. I met these guys in Arcata, California at a KOA camp ground. The carburetors from Brad’s Guzzi were spread across the picnic table. I was riding my “new to me” 2001 Honda Goldwing with matching trailer. After talking with Avery for a while, I realized that they were the ones who were really experiencing life on the road. I wished I could join them on my old Honda Shadow.

    • Hahahah I would have loved to tag along on my old KZ440 but I doubt it would keep up. Although its reliability means I’d catch up to them every time they broke down.

  3. Get me a used KLR, 200 bucks worth of camping gear from a Canadian Tire flyer, and I could do this trip just as cheaply, and with far more comfort and personal hygiene than these 3 bearded wonders. Of course, I would completely lose out to them in over-the-top hipster drama.

    • The whole point of this story is doing this ride on a bike you like, or the bike you have. Too many people are not doing these trips because they don’t have the KLR and the $200 camping gear, or they are worried about how they will be comfortable and whether or not they can shower, etc. Getting out there, and doing it, is a skill people seem to have forgotten.

      Sure, after a few years on the road and a few years of camping, you can travel smarter. But you gotta start somewhere, and these guys have started.

      • My very 1st tour that was more than 1 or 2 nights, was a 17,500 km loop around the U.S, and Canada. It was 34 years ago, I had just turned 22, was on a 70s era BMW airhead, and traveling alone. I departed with no advice or guidance from anyone, because there was no internet, and I didn’t know anyone who had done it. My route was pretty loose, charted with a paper road atlas, sticking to secondary roads as much as possible. I found some pretty creative places to pitch a tent and did my own motorcycle maintenance. I only spent 1 night in a hotel, and never had to sleep on the street like a homeless person. I’ve been following this piece, and I was on side with them until I got to; “camping is a luxury”, “11 days without a shower”, and the picture of them sleeping on the sidewalk. Nothing but laziness and lack of effort IMHO. Anyone who thinks that these 3 are doing something really special, should read the thread below.

        • It all depends how you do it. I’ve never slept on the street, but I have definitely camped in spots like gas station parking lots in my tent because I was trying to lay max miles down in a day, and I just couldn’t go any further. If you’re on a tight schedule, you make sacrifices.

          Def wouldn’t go 11 days without a shower though. The sheer thought makes one gasp and stretch one’s eyes, to quote Hilaire Belloc. Unless you’re in the Sahara, there’s always water somewhere to clean up with.

        • BTW, curious if you were an Islander when you did that. Didn’t know any Islanders who did any real bike trips when I was growing up there, met a few later but most of them were transplants.

          I was in Shane Bolger’s shop last summer and he had an old 70s Beemer airhead there that was the only one I’d seen of that vintage on PEI. Price was right; it ran but needed lots of TLC. I was seriously tempted but walked away.

          • I was an Islander at that time; left a couple of times, but have been back, permanently, for a long time now. There are several airhead BMWs on PEI, but used ones, for sale, are often overpriced. I’ve purchased 3 (used) over the years, 2 from NB, 1 from NS, and always found better deals off-island. BTW, I’m not stuck on BMW airheads; it’s just that I know them well. Most classic UJMs will travel equally as well. I have a buddy who took a well used ’85 Suzuki GS750 from Halifax to Alaska > Vancouver > Toronto. Those old 4 cyl. air/oil Suzukis are almost indestructible. All of the big 4 Japanese makers have made various models that are economical used purchases, and with a little maintenance, can deliver epic road trips. It might be a good topic for a CMG piece; prowling through Kijiji, to see what’s available. Maybe you could even get President ‘arris to pry open his moss encrusted petty cash box, and pick up a dinosaur…..I mean, classic bike project. You would have to do all the work; to save ‘arris from having nasty flashbacks from his Dickensian formative years.

            • The original CMG dinosaur, the GS750 that became the GS 7/8 and then partially transformed into the 7/11 now resides in my sunporch. It’s currently #3 in importance on my project list — the DR650 needs reassembly, the DR350 needs a top end rebuild, but that 7/11 has taunted me for several years and will eventually be completed.

              It needs a lot

              of work.

              • Well there you have it. You’ll need a sponsor. The usual ones won’t do; it’ll have to be a down and dirty motorcycle salvage yard of some sort. You obtain a “parts” bike. After inspecting the parts bike, you determine that it’s better than the one you have, and you designate it as the “runner”, thereby demoting the one you have to donor status.

                • I’m not sure that down and dirty motorcycle salvage yards still exist in Canada. It’s hard to compete with eBay.

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