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Views from adventure motorcycle tours

Belinda & Patrick Peck
Bob Dow
Benka Pulko
Dale Thornton
David Sheppard
Edward Unruh
Frank Tabor
Jason Homewood
Jacques Klopper
Joe Barker
John Clarke
Kenny Wickstrom
     Lorne & Cindy
Punky and Lews
Roger Hogg
Ralf & Eva
Simon Milward
Tim Hendrickson



 Punky and Lew arrived in Santa Rosa

We went down in slippery gravel/mud on a curve on the Pan Am Highway in Colombia. This was after sighting a burned bus, the result of guerrilla activity. After going down, I opted to continue riding a number of hours to reach the border with Ecuador and stop in Tulcan.

Date: Wed Aug 22, 2001 5:20 pm

Punky and I will be at Charlie's Grill, just west 101 Freeway off Shiloh Rd. at 1320 19th Hole Dr., Windsor, CA. The only building on 19th Hole Dr, according to Bill E. We'll be there about 7pm. Hope to see you and anyone else there.
Punky and I will depart for Corralitos in the morning.

Punky & Lew in Escondido, CA NKLR

Date: Wed Aug 29, 2001 12:11 am

We're at George Basinet's place in Escondido, CA for a few days. Twist rode with us from Fountain Valley to make sure we didn't get lost. Whatever will we do in Latin America without all this help from Listers and other helpful Americans and Canadians? Yesterday, we visited the V.P. of Marketing and Sales, Bob Moffit, at the Irvine, CA Kawi headquarters. He didn't promise anything for support, but didn't say absolutely not either. He did say it wasn't likely they could do anything for us on such short notice. I reminded him that I contacted him first last November. He took pix, probably for the corporate bulletin board. I told him, "I am not looking for a free bike or a big early Christmas present. I have normal expenses covered and don't expect major problems with Critter, but if such problems arise, I would appreciate help from Kawi." I gave him the opportunity for Kawi to share the benefits of the tremendous amount of attention Punky and our tour has proven to draw. He'll think about it. Next stop, Tucson, AZ. Then, Latin America here we come ready or not. The real adventure begins. Stay tuned. Motormark, more film coming.

Punky & Lew visit IronButt in Pomona

Date: Thu Aug 30, 2001 9:47 pm

Yesterday, Punky and I, George Basinet and Bob Hancock, rode to a crosscountry IronButt checkpoint at a BMW shop in Pomona, CA. Saw my Georgia friend, Skert, who was participating in the event. Punky drew almost as much attention as the IronButt riders. Newspaper, TV and magazine people interviewed, took pix and videoed us. Punky was mum, but otherwise cooperative. Again, another guy came up to me saying, "Hi Lew. You're Punky and Lew. I've been following your adventures on the KLR List." Recognition, at last. Friendly, smiling faces interested in what we are doing are a great moral booster. Departing for Tucson Saturday. Received an E-mail from Mariola. She is riding south from Seattle now. Hope to see her along the way, before our Christmas Tango in Ushuaia.

Punky & Lew ride San Diego Cnty.

Date: Sat Sep 1, 2001 1:33 am

Today, we had a fine twisty ride in San Diego County with George Basinet from Escondido to Mount Palomar, Julian, Ramona and back to Escondido. George and his wife, Alice, have been great hosts. We'll be departing in the morning for Tucson to stay a few nights with Lane Tassin. I'll get Punky's International Health Certificate from a vet, another document from the Mexican Consulate and we'll cross the Mexican border Sept. 4, the day after my birthday/Labor Day. From Nogales, we will have to average about 140 miles/day for 100 days to reach Ushuaia by Christmas. On the road again, and diggin' it -- Punky too. Cleaned the air box UniFilters, adjusted the engine balancer chain, installed a new WestCo gel battery and dash light bulbs. Critter is all set and Senor Frog's mouth is open for more bugs to come his way. George's wife, Alice, prepared some goodies for a small group of Listers, Bob, Ed, George and I, to munch on while we bantered.

Punky & Lew ride to Tucson

Date: Sun Sep 2, 2001 1:34 pm

We rode from Escondido, CA, about 450 miles on I-8, through the Sonoran Desert, El Centro and Yuma, to Tucson in about 9 hours. We stopped 4-5 times to stretch, take a pee, get a drink, fuel, etc. The temp for the first 2/3rds of the trip was around 102-110. My Brosh Tex riding suit made the temps tolerable. Punky got kinda hot, mouth open panting heavily, and I stopped, periodically, to wet him down and give him a drink. The last 3rd of the trip got cloudier, which dropped the temp into the 90's. We went 80 mph most of the way. Upon our arrival at Lane's beautiful desert home in Tucson, Lane supplied Punky and I with a big cup of ice water, cold beer (not for Punky), dinner and a dip in his pool. Critter still takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' better than ever. It is now well broke in and adjusted. I rode WFO on a flat stretch and found we could do an even 100 indicated mph. Astounding, for this loaded machine. Rich Kickbush, I received the package with the visors at George's place in Escondido. Thanks for sending them. Lane Tassin, our host here in Tucson, says Steve Anderson, of Phoenix and Richard Ohnstad, of Tuscon, will come and visit Monday and help celebrate my 64th birthday. We'll ride to some of Lane's favorite local dirt/paved road areas. Plan to depart Tuesday for Mexico.

Punky & Lew in Mexico

Date: Tue Sep 11, 2001 11:29 pm

Just arrived in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico and heard of the tragic events in NY and DC. I sure hope the US government can identify those responsible, as well as any countries that harbor them, and retaliate in a meaningful way. We are staying in a beautiful home with Lee Bell, a very friendly Lister in Ajijic, a popular American retirement community just south of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The Sonoran Desert of Arizona finally made Critter hiccup in the blazing heat. It was a temporary problem that dissappeared like the previous incident in central British Colombia, Canada. The heat also took a toll on Punky and I. I got dizzy. We crossed the border without incident and rode through more desert heat to Hermosillo, Sonora, Mx, where we spent night. We then rode through the Beautiful Sierra Madre mountains. There are many obstacles to look out for, horses, mules, burros, cows, dogs, rocks and holes. Came within about 5 feet of a horse. Took a spill in a curve. My leg was caught under the right side of the bike in the middle of the road. Had some nasty thoughts about vehicles coming around the curve, before I extricated myself and righted the bike. I was huffing and puffing so bad that I couldn't do more than get us to safety at the edge of the road. A truck came by and 2 Mexicans gave me a hand. No damage, except to my pants. Glad I was wearing protection. The incident slowed me down for a while, but the next day we were burning up Mexican highways again. We spent 2 days in Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico and rode around both sides of Copper Canyon. I decided to ride the inland route via Parral, Chihuahua, Durango, Fresnillo and Zacatecas to Guadalajara. This way we had very little rain and a lot less heat than we would have experienced on the west coast going through Mazatlan. The road repair detours were fun, zooming by the other vehicles slowly making their way through the bumpy dirt bypasses. Nobody observes posted speed limits and I pass most of them. I found more friendly and helpful police officers. Two of them bought me hot dogs and a coke, another escorted me to a cheap (affordable) 100 peso motel room. I have had diahrea every night for 3-4 days. Haven't used the Lomotil yet. The scenery continues to amaze me. Punky draws as much attention as ever, only the comments and questions are now in Spanish. All is well and we will depart Thursday for Juan's place in Valle de Bravo. Saturday, 15 de Septiembre, is Mexican Independence Day, so I expect we'll see a big celebration.

Punky & Lew in Valle de Bravo, Mexico

Date: Tue Sep 17, 2001 12:42 pm

We are in Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico, not far from Mexico City and Toluca. Staying with a Lister, Juan Carlos Ibarra, in his big house overlooking a lake, with green hills all around. This is a very popular place for the rich from Mexico City to have vacation homes and to visit. The climate is moderate, because of the high elevation, like Ajijic, Jalisco. Ajijic has a large retired American/European population. September 15 was Mexican Independence Day. Juan, Punky and I rode about 100 miles to a 500 acres ranch/farm/hacienda of the girlfriend of Juan. There, we joined the family of about 40 in the celebration of Independence Day, food, drinks, fireworks, as well as the 100th anniversary of the ranch/hacienda. It was a very special event to be invited to. They, many of whom spoke English, were all very nice and impressed with our tour. Today, I will change the oil and clean the filters on Critter. We will probably leave here in a couple of days, heading for the Guatemala border on The Pan American Highway. All Mexicans drive like maniacs and so do I. I would rather be in front of them than behind them. I feel it gives me some kind of control and adds to the adventure. Los Angeles freeways and splitting lanes at 80 mph were good training grounds. Riding with Juan is a blast. He is just as nuts as I am. He no longer has a KLR, but wants another one, and now owns a 750 cc Honda Africa Twin. It is a very nice bike, the first one I have seen. They are not sold in the USA. Juan was quite surprised at how well Critter performed and kept up with him. He was often twisting the throttle to the max, weaving in and out of holiday traffic and burning through curves with Critter, Punky and Lew breathing right up his ass. Juan plans to ride the Africa Twin to Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina in December. Robyn, good luck with the stock values. I understand that the market is falling this morning in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Personally, I agree with the Jacksonian opinion of how to retaliate against this terrorism. Pull out all the stops, conduct a take-no-prisoners and show-no-mercy, slash and burn, all out war utilizing all our power and weapons. I hope Americans are sufficiently outraged to do it. However and whatever it takes. No limited warfare please. Korea and Vietnam should have taught us a lesson never to be forgotten. If we have to practice descrimation against innocent Muslims, in order be safe, then so be it. If we are going to war, then do it right. Bomb Afghanistan and Iraq into oblivion and help them go the their wonderful place with honor and peace in their afterlives. Let the Israeli's do what they want with their enemies. Hunt Bin Laden down, capture, imprison and torture him in the most painful ways possible, until he dies a natural death. Pardon my rant, but I am pissed. All is well with Punky, Lew and Critter.

Punky & Lew in El Salvador

Date: Mon Sep 24, 2001 7:01 pm

We left Juan's place in Valle de Bravo last Wednesday and rode through more beautiful mountains. The twisties never seem to end. We got rained on heavily before stopping the first night, somewhere around 150 miles short of Oaxaca. The next day we rode to Tehuantepec. Found out we just missed a tropical storm, which had developed in the Bay of Tehuantepec and was moving in the opposite direction as we were. After leaving Tehuantepec, we went through an area called La Ventosa (The Windy Place). It was, very. When I used to sail, the winds that blew offshore from this area into the Bay of Tehuantepec were called, by Gringo sailers, Tehuantepeckers. We stayed overnight in Tapachula on the Mexican side of the border and crossed the next morning. I got pissed at the girl who refused to exchange my US dollars for Guatemalan Quetzales. She wouldnґt take my $20 bills, because one had blue ink on the edge and the others had wrinkles or a small tear. I pulled out some of their own Quetzales and showed her that they were in far worse condition than my US dollars and demanded new ones. She complied and understood the irony and humor, although she had to do as she was told. We made it through in about 2 hours. I have refused the help of trmitadores (border crossing helpers) to get through the borders. They are very insistent as am I. When crossing into El Salvador, one of these guys ended up with my documents, including my passport, in his hands without my permission. I told the female government worker, in no uncertain terms, that she was not to give my documents to anyone who didn't work for her office. Guatemala and El Salvador are very beautifully fertile green places. It took us 4 1/2 hours to get through the El Salvador border on Sunday. Everyone was kept waiting, not just me. While riding along the Pacific shore on a twisty road, I came across 3 El Salvdorans riding sport bikes. They all blew by me, then stopped a few miles up the road. So did I and made new friends. I then showed them what Critter was capable of in the twisties. Drug my boot in a heavy high speed lean. They were impressed. We had lunch on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and drank beer, too many. I rode through a 100 meters long very dark tunnel with dark sunglasses on and my visor down. Didn't think quick enough about what to do. Couldn't see anything except the light at the end of the tunnel, and I aimed for it. Now I know what tunnel vision is like. I am getting into the habit of riding without the Nolan chin bar locked down. That way, I can flip it up in a hurry, which also allows me to slide my sunglasses down. If did run into a guy who had rigged a cord across the 2 releases, so he could unlock the chin bar with one hand, while moving. Somehow I managed to keep from hitting the walls and was very glad no other vehicle came through in the opposite direction. The adventure continues tomorrow as we leave La Union, El Salvador and ride 30 minutes to cross the border into Honduras. We will then head into Nicaragua and probably stay about 10 days or more in Costa Rica, before going to Panama and flying to Bogota, Colombia. That way my funds will be replenished for another month to help pay for new tires and the flight. Punky, still the star of our travelling show, is doing fine, as are Critter and I. Time is up at this computer place, where I am paying 20 Colones for an hour.

Riders down/Punky & Lew in Nicaragua

Date: Fri Sep 28, 2001 9:51 pm

Everything bad I have ever heard about crossing borders in Central America is true and Honduras is the worst. Five hours of bullcrap, copies, stamps and four 4 mile trips back in the direction we had come from. I used a tramitadore (helper) to no avail. More crap when we exited Honduras into Nicaragua. Critter had a flat front tire at 60 mph 100 meters outside Condega, Depto. Esteli, Nicaragua C. A. We went down hard and slid for quite a ways on the pavement to a point just off the edge of the road, before the 8 ft. drop-off. We were helped by a group of boys, one of whom took the the wheel to a nearby gas station for repair. The left aluminum pannier and the aluminum brackets and the SU rack behind the pannier is attached to are heavily damaged. I did temporary repairs, even as it started to rain, and Critter is damaged, but operational. Took refuge in the nearby town of Condega, about 62 kilometers southeast of the Honduran border to repair myself for a week. Got medical treatment for road rash at the local Centro de Salud at no charge. Paid, with the last of my money, for a room until Wednesday, when the CA account should have more funds in it and I can go to Esteli, about 35 kilometers, to use an ATM. My bank accounts are empty and the credit card's validation date is expired last July. The tel. # at the casa de huespedes where we are staying is 0-505-752-2393. The owner of this place's name is Francisco Adan Centeno R. and he speaks English. Robyn, if you can arrange to send $200 by Western Union to Condega, Depto. Esteli, Nicaragua as soon as possible. I don't even have enough to make a phone call. I understand that you go to Western Union and give them the funds and they will give you a code #, which you then call me and give to me so I can pick up the funds. I'm hoping that nothing is amiss with the direct deposits. Please check on the Florida account for me. Punky is fine -- not a scratch . I'm in hopes that the tires will last until we get to Lima, Peru. Critter needs repair and a knowledgeable steel and aluminum welder. I hope this message gets through, because this browser I am using on the only Internet connected computer in town, is telling me it can't work right with Hotmail. Help!

Punky & Lew in Costa Rica

Date: Fri Oct 12, 2001 8:21 pm

We are OK and in San Jose, Costa Rica. Intend to stay in this beautiful country for a month and depart for Panama City on Nov. 5. From there we will fly over Colombia and Ecuador to Lima, Peru. The news continues to be terrible about Colombian guerillas killing and kidnapping people. Ecuador causes too much trouble when you ship a vehicle in. The local Kawi dealer installed new rubber fork boots and seals and a mirror. They gave Critter its first cleaning since leaving Florida May 3. A welder repaired the damage to the left aluminum pannier, SU rack and the aluminum bracket that was broken in 5 places. This guy didn't charge me for his work. His parents are from England and he was born here and speaks English. He is a motorcycle enthusiast as well. Will take him out for a drink and dinner. Costa Ricans are called Ticos and they are very nice folks. There are 35,000 retired Americans and even more Canadians and others living here in this tiny country. Just picked up Critter and it's ready to go again. My aches, pains and road rash are getting better. Punky is fine and still the star of our travelling show. We'll take the extra time here to see more of this beautiful place, using San Jose as our base. Glad to see the news about the attack on Afghanistan and the war against terrorism. I'm curious as to where Mariola is now. If she reads this, we are at the Hotel Kalexma in La Uruca on the edge of San Jose, Costa Rica. The phone number is 506-232-0115. The adventure continues.

Punky & Lew in Panama

Date: Thu Nov 8, 2001 8:27 pm

Hi Skert: Thanks for the interesting recap of your Iron Butt ride. You have my deepest respect and admiration. One of the media people at the Iron Butt checkstop in Pomona, CA asked me, during an interview, what I thought of the Iron Butt. My response was, "I respect and admire the riders for their determination and stamina, but personally, I am an adventure tourer not a masochist." As I write this message, there has been an earthquake that freaked a bunch of this Internet Cafe's customers. I'm from California and it didnґt bother me a bit. I never stopped typing. We are now in David, Panama for the night, heading for Panama City to fly to Lima, Peru. I decided to pass on Colombia, too dangerous, and Ecuador as well, because they cause too much trouble and delay when you ship a vehicle into their country. Still trying to make Ushuaia by Christmas. I haven't heard any news about Mariola Cichon and her attempt to get in the Guiness Book of World Records as the first American woman to solo around the world on a motorcycle. I wonder where she is and how she is doing. I have a date with Mariola to do the Tango in Argentina. I always heard it takes 2 to Tango. Punky and I are fine. Critter is still performing flawlessly with 27.6k miles on the clock. We met a very nice American living in Costa Rica, who invited us to stay with him for a few days and learn more about the possibility of living here myself after we finish the tour. We stayed in Costa Rica for 5 weeks. It's a beautiful place. I like the rural areas at high elevation, where life is tranquil and the climate is pretty even all year, never too hot and never too cold. The costal zones are very nice, but too hot for me. The mountain areas are only about 1 hour away from the beaches. I'm guessing we might be back in Florida in 9 months to a year, depending on whether we fly from Venezuela to Miami or ride back through Central America. It was such a pain in the ass crossing borders in Central America that I'm not sure If want to do it again.

Punky & Lew in South America

Date: Sat Nov 10, 2001 6:20 pm

We departed David, Panama, yesterday morning at 10:15am and rode to Panama City. I was stopped by a cop, who had his ticket pad in hand telling me I had violated several laws, which was true. I got busy explaining our tour and how nice police officers have been to us and that we had a collection of police patches. I had just crossed the border into Panama the previous day and got another patch from the Policia National de Panama. The officer was impressed, gave me a warning and bade us farewell. As we were crossing a bridge over the Panama Canal at a high rate of speed in traffic, I saw a motorcycle with aluminum panniers stopped at the side of the road, then I saw a yellow helmet hanging on the mirror. I quickly, as quick as my mind works, thought of Mariola. Then, I looked to the right of the bike and there sat Mariola smoking a cigarette, as if she was waiting for me to come along. I braked and downshifted with a squeal of the tires. We were both astonished and enjoyed a big hug. As many of you probably know, I just sent another message asking if anyone knew her where she was and how she was doing. I had last seen her in Fairbanks, Alaska, in July. Of course I stopped and we had a joyous reunion, emptying a bottle of rum. We are sharing a room in a local hotel -- as friends. When we crossed the bridge, we were in South America. Mariola plans to fly from Panama City to Bogota, Colombia. I had decided not to go to Colombia, but how can I let her go alone to that dangerous place. I can't, so we are going to the airport Monday to make arrangements to fly together. It will just be another of many risks we take. That is adventure touring. Today we went to the Miraflores Panama Canal locks and viewed ships passing through and took some pix. We also rode to old town and The Gamboa Rainforest, where we, of course, experienced heavy rain. Mariola's bike quit running in the heavy rain. I looked and didn't see a T in the carburetor vent tube, and told her it might be the problem. She said she has had this problem a number of times. She lets it sit for 15 minutes and it works. Stay tuned for more adventure as we ride a ways with Mariola. She is not planning to make it to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina for Christmas. She plans to meet with her husband, Kris, in Lima for 3 weeks beginning Dec. 2. I still will attempt to be in Ushuaia for Christmas. We'll see. We are meeting with a guy from Switzerland, Marcos, tonight. Tomorrow we will ride with a local guy, on a Goldwing, who befriended us.

Punky, Lew & Mariola in Bogota, Colombia

Date: Wed Nov 14, 2001 3:58 pm

We are all safely in Bogota, We have seen some intersting sights, including The Presidential Palace, and are waiting to pick up the bikes from Girag Air Cargo in the morning. Today we visited the Museo De Oro (Museum of Gold), which is a heavily guarded place loaded with ancient Colombian gold artifacts, many in a huge vault. Punky was the first dog ever allowed in the museum. I went to the top dog to get him in. We're sharing rooms and Mariola is having a hard time sleeping because of my snoring. Punky has never complained. Tomorrow we will ride south into the danger zone to meet with a biker doctor cyber-friend of Mariola's at Armenia. He wants to escort us around to some interesting sights in his area. He lives in Medellin, the drug capitol. After that, we will head for Quito, Ecuador. All is well, for now. Mariola doesn't like discussing the danger. I can't forget it. Mariola is very impatient. I am laid back. She isn't used to delays because of Punky. I love her when she is upbeat, happy and enjoying herself. Sometimes, though, her impatience is difficult. She is used to getting her own way and admits to being pushy. She says she got through borders, that took me 4.5-5 hours, in 45 minutes. We will help each other to get through Colombia. Then, probably go our separate ways. I can put up with all kinds of delays and shit. She can't. I'm hoping for the best.

Punky, Lew & Mariola in Salento, Colombia

Date: Wed Nov 18, 2001 5:16 pm

We are in Salento, Colombia. Met with 2 BMW GS riders, Tiberio and Camilo, from Medillin. They were very nice and escorted us on a great highway and dirt ride in this area. Fantastically beautiful mountains and valleys. No problems so far. We are riding to Cali tomorrow, then heading for Quito, Ecuador. All is well.

Punky, Lew & Mariola in Columbia or Ecuador?

Date: Wed Nov 21, 2001 8:03 pm

We went down in slippery gravel/mud on a curve on the Pan Am Highway in Colombia. This was after sighting a burned bus, the result of guerrila activity. After going down, I opted to continue riding a number of hours to reach the border with Ecuador and stop in Tulcan. While doing so we came to a huge blockage in the Pan Am. A huge number of trucks were stalled with flat tires, courtesy of the guerrillas. We managed to worm our way around and in between the trucks and hundreds of people and police in about an hour. Mariola had been riding ahead of us and was informed by a driver to turn back. Mariola was a big help to me after the injury and helped in many ways. She has continued on south to meet her husband in Cuzco, Peru. She should have already done so on Dec. 1. X-rays in Tulcan showed the outside bone of my right ankle to be shattered in 4 pieces. A titanium plate would have to be screwed on to hold things together. It's been longer than I care to admit since I've been screwed, but if I had my druthers ....? I opted for a second opinion and flew to Quito (only 1/2 hour away), where the hospital and Dr.s, I figured, were better and I'm glad I did. I had my surgery on Saturday, Nov. 24 and was released from Vozandes Hospital, a missionary hospital in Quito, the following day. I had a epidural anesthesia, which deadened the lower half of my body. Didn't feel a thing and talked to the anesthesiologist throughout the operation. I told the surgeon, before he started operating that a nurse ordered me to remove my undershorts prior to being moved to the OR. I asked the surgeon if everybody was sure about which part of my anatomy they were operating on? I told him, "If you do operate on my penis, please make it bigger and stronger." The surgery was performed by a Traumatologist, Yale graduate, who was then trained in Switzerland fixing skiers broken bones. He consulted with a orthopedic surgeon about my injury. The post-operative x-rays indicated a successful surgery. Punky was cared for by an Evangelist for 4 days, while I was hospitalized. They allowed Punky to stay with me in the emergency room for 5 hours, but refused to let him stay in the private room with me, despite all my pleas and tricks. I am recovering and being well cared for in the home of Christian Evangelists, an Ecuadoran attorney, Eduardo, and his wife Angelita. $14/day in a private room w/bath, including 3 meals a day and waiting on me and Punky. I expect to be laid up for 30 days, at least, which will make being at Ushuaia for Christmas impossible. The main concern now is to be there before the Patagonian summer ends. I'm feeling well under the circumstances and am going to get the stitches out tomorrow. The hospital is an excellent modern equipped facility. The bill, so far, is at $1k, a fraction of what it would have cost in the U.S. Punky was not injured in the mishap. We have another new friend in the person of Ricardo Rocco Paz, of Quito and a regular on He offers assistance to international adventure tourers coming through his area. Ricardo flew from Quito to Tulcan and retrieved Critter, which had been left in the care of a taxi driver in his house, for me and rendered numerous other helpful and friendly services. Critter, which has no damage worth mentioning, is now safely parked inside missionary Joe Baxter's print shop in Quito, only a block away from where I am staying. Joe and his wife Ruth have been a big help to us. It's their laptop computer, which Joe brought me today, I am using to send this E-mail. Ricardo has visited me many times and brought things I needed. Ricardo has invited me to ride with him in his car to his home in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, Thursday. He owns a lover's motel there. Tiberio Jaramillo, of Cali, Colombia, and a regular on, was also very friendly and helpful to us in Colombia and helped put me in contact with Ricardo in Quito. All things considered, our luck is still holding out pretty good. I am trying to figure out if I can afford to go across the Andes to Ecuador's Oriente Province, where we can see some real Amazon Jungle Indians and culture. The Galapagos Islands, 600 miles offshore, would be a nice trip to, but that is about $1k and out of the question. We are on the Equator, but Quito is at about 9,300 ft. and pretty cool. Can't wait to see how cool it is in La Paz, Bolivia, at about 14,000 ft. Thanks to my best friend, Robyn, for her help and support, as well as Mark Wilson's concern and offer of assistance. Enough for now. I still need to read recent E-mails.

Punky & Lew/Glen Heggstad

Date: Thu Dec 20, 2001 1:22 am

I am in Quito, Ecuador, recovering from surgery, which installed a titanium plate and pins to repair a shattered right ankle. The doctor says he will remove the cast Cec. 27. Then, I will be able to put full weight on the foot. For now, I can only put partial weight on the foot with the aid of crutches. I am not suffering any more pain. Punky, who was not injured in the fall, and I are being well cared for in the home of an Ecuadoran attorney and his wife. As most of you know, my injury occurred in a fall going through a curve on the southern section of the Pan American Highway between Popayan, Colombia and the Ecuadoran border. I consider myself lucky to have made it through Colombia with only a broken ankle. You may recall that I was accompanying Mariola Cichon through Colombia to help protect her. Guess who needed whose help? We had ridden from Bogota to Armenia and Soteno, before heading down through Cali to the Pan Am and the Ecuadoran border. We twice saw signs of guerrilla activity, a burned bus and many trucks with tires punctured by the ELN blocking the road.
My new Ecuadoran friend, Ricardo Rocco Paz, has given me a copy of a message from Glen Heggstad, a fellow American KLR rider touring to Tierra Del Fuego, describing his ordeal just 2 weeks before we rode a similar section of the road in Colombia. Glen was kidnapped by the ELN and held captive in the mountainous jungle for five weeks, suffered mock executions, psychological torture, loss of 43 pounds and threats of all kinds, before being released minus his bike, money, passport and documents and with only the clothes on his back. A partial account, in his own chilling words, of what transpired at the scene of his abduction, where the guerrilas were trying to force Glen to go with them into the jungle follows. Fearing torture before death he replies to AK-47's jabbing his ribs, "No quiero ir! I don't want to go! The shouting increases substantially, but I have made up my mind. Me no voy! I'm not going! The situation is totally out of control and everyone is shouting more and louder in languages neither understands. The leader levels his machine gun at my face from ten feet. I snarl back, Chinga tu madre puto, lo hace aqui! _uck your mother, punk! Do it here! The leader lowers his weapon and draws a 9mm pistol, chambers a round and points it between my eyes. I scream out, Andele pues puto! Get in on, punk! I close my eyes just before a deafening crack rips through the air. I've never been shot before and don't know what it should feel like. For a few moments, I'm not sure if I'm dead or alive. Nothing is registering in my brain and my body is frozen. The bullet cleared my head intentionally and he now takes careful aim at my arm. I realize they want me alive and that I am going with them, with or without a gunshot wound in the arm."

Glen then disappeared into the massive green mountainous Colombian jungle with his captors and without a trace as his worst nightmare became reality. Glen's message spoke of friends coming from the USA attempting a rescue, recruiting ex-rangers with a Cobra helicopter and 50mm machine guns. They were deported shortly before his release. Glen says he cannot disclose more details, because of an agreement with the ELN, FBI and Embassy officials, who believe other hostages would be in danger. The FBI made arrangements to fly Glen home to the USA and were incredulous that he refused, saying he would stay, await delivery of another bike and continue his quest to Tierra Del Fuego and back. Glen says he gets E-mails from people who suggest he has a death wish, but he considers his tour an exercise in determination. Glen, obviously a very gutsy and determined individual, is awaiting a new passport, a flight to Quito and delivery of another ride. I and Ricardo Rocco Paz, who was himself kidnapped by the ELN last year, await Glen's arrival in Quito, where we hope to greet him at the airport and offer any possible assistance. There is another bed in my room. Ricardo is expecting delivery of a new Honda Africa Twin around Jan. 1. He intends to ride with Punky and I to the Peruvian border. Maybe Glen will be ready to ride with us? Ricardo will then continue his Round The World For Peace Tour, heading for North America. I hope our American motorcycle community will extend the same courtesies and assistance that he does to any rider coming through Ecuador. I'm proud to have him as a new friend. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Welcome to the realities of international motorcycle adventure touring. I always said, "I don't expect it all to be fun." I expect to be back home, via a flight from Caracas, Venezuela, around November, 2002. Don't intend to go back through Colombia or Central America.

A very merry Christmas to all, especially my best friend, Robyn and little "Squirt" and his new 9 week old Yorkie brother "Spanky?" I understand "Squirt" is suffering the same harrassment from "Spanky?" as "Punky" did from the little "Squirt" when he was a pup. Paybacks are hell, says Robyn. Punky still dances with anticipation, when asked if he wants to go for a ride on the motorcycle. It won't be long now. Thanks to the many who sent words of encouragement. I had a serious backlog of messages to answer. I hope Mariola made it safely to Cuzco, Peru to meet Kris by Dec. 1 and is enjoying their time together. Maybe we'll meet a fourth time down the road. I hope so. Stay tuned for more reports. Glen, please let me know when you will arrive at the Quito airport. Feliz Navidad y un prospero ano nuevo.

Happy New Year from Punky & Lew

Date: Mon Dec 31, 2001 7:10 pm

It's been a hell of an adventure riding Critter throughout North and Central Americas with my faithful companion Punky during 2001-. Despite the setbacks, I'm looking forward to a fantastic new year of outstanding South American scenery whizzing by and meeting wonderful people wherever we go. Punky is the hook and always has been. He still dances with delight when asked if he wants to go for a ride. The ride is the thing. Everything else is important to me, but the ride is the thing that blows my skirt up. With my newly healed ankle, I'll probably slow down again for a couple of days. Then it will probably be back to outdoing the wildest and most reckless of infamous Latino drivers. My new friend in Quito, Ricardo, is a fine example of the wildest of Latino drivers. He drives his car like a weapon. Anyone who impedes his relentless pursuit to get where he is going gets sideswiped or worse. A bus driver pissed him off, so he whipped in front of the bus and abruptly stopped. The bus rammed his rear and Ricardo took satisfaction. He says, "It's great to have an old beat up car." It's an adventure riding in a car with Ricardo. I can't wait until we ride our bikes together. Reaching Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina, by March first, before it gets too cold in Patagonia is the top priority. We'll have to blast straight through without stopping at many of the most popular attractions. We should be back on the road in 3 1/2 weeks. I'm curious to hear news of Juan Carlos Ibarra and his plan to ride his Africa Twin to Ushuaia beginning in Dec. 2001-. Where is he? He is a blast to ride with. Hope we hook up again in S.A. I just might catch Mariola down the rode to Ushuaia. She's in Bolivia, but donґt be surprised. She says she "is stunned" that Iґm going for Ushuaia this season. She feels she is late and lucky to make Ushuaia by mid to late Feb. before it gets too cold. We'll see. Ted Simon, author of Jupiterґs Travels, is in Peru headed this way on his second world tour. Hope to meet him in Quito. Everyone should have a friend like Ricardo Rocco Paz. Punky and I are extremely fortunate to have met this marvelous and very helpful man. I wish Ricardo the best in the coming year during his Around The World For Peace Tour. I hope more than a few Americans welcome this very interesting guy into their homes when he is touring the USA. He helps any rider seeking assistance or just good company in Quito, Ecuador. Glen Heggstad is a very exceptional guy from California, who survived a 5 week ordeal in the jungles of Colombia kidnapped by guerillas. Glen will no doubt write a fascinating book of his exploits. I'm very glad to have made a new friend in Glen as well. His stories are captivating. We'll all celebrate the end of an eventful year tonight in Quito.

Happy New Year to all of ya. >>    Page: 1 2 3 4


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