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Trans Americas 2009 - The Blog

The Just One More Mile story of Paul's Trans Americas 2009 motorcycle expedition.

Friday, 11 December 2009


The last post... home at last...

Once again the day dawned dark courtesy of the black-out curtains which Jim had finally realised was the secret to not waking up too early. As it was, we both woke around 7am anyway, and with some of the group going off to customs at 8am and potentially not returning before we left for the airport, we got up to have breakfast and say the first of many goodbyes. Once they'd gone I returned to my room to start work on the blog and to copy some pictures for Simon before returning to the lobby just before 10am to say goodbye to the first of the group to leave – Nick and Simon. As always it's emotional saying goodbye to people who have become good friends and this was no exception. Having enjoyed all 19 weeks of Nick's company and 11 of Simon's (since he joined us in Bogotá) seeing them ride off in a taxi left a lump in my throat. That was probably made worse by the knowledge that I would be next to leave the group just 4 hours later...

How to while away those hours, though? Well, first was to settle my hotel bill and then spend as much time chatting online to Tracy as I could, before finishing my packing and heading downstairs to look for a likely suspect with whom to eat lunch. Aaron was just checking out, and as usual he proved to be the perfect companion for such a task, as he suggested we eat in the Thai place we'd eaten in on Monday night. A 20-minute cab ride took us there, where we sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed some really fresh calamari followed by, in my case, chicken with chillies and almonds with basil. It was turly delicious and a great way to pass the time. Once back at the hotel I only had a few minutes to grab my bag, then re-pack the stuff that was in the end compartment when it split as I tried to drag it along the corridor before being back in the lobby surrounded by my travelling friends and saying lots of goodbyes. I really am going to miss these people...

I shared a cab to the airport with Pieter, the German guide from the Patagonia trip, and once there had my bag security-wrapped to prevent it splitting more, then checked in and passed through security for one last stamp in my passport and went through to the departure lounge. All very easy. And so to while away the next 2.5 hours until my flight to Paris boards and I finally start the 18 hour journey home...

Long haul flights can be a real pain, but this one wasn't so bad. For a start, there was an empty seat next to me and I had an aisle seat with reasonable legroom and plenty of room in the overhead bin for both my helmet bag and my small rucksack/Camelbak. Then the inflight entertainment was “on demand” which meant I got to see Terminator Salvation and The Hangover, 2 films I'd probably not watch otherwise but which helped while away 3 of the 12 hours of the flight to Paris. If it hadn't been for the turbulence and the couple next to the window opening the blind at dawn (4am) then I might actually have got some sleep too... but I arrived in Paris in plenty of time and with a couple of hours to kill before my flight to Manchester where hopefully Tracy would be waiting for me... how strange it's going to be to see her again after all this time... can't wait!

I fell soundly asleep on the flight from Paris which helped the time pass quickly and no sooner had I landed and cleared my final passport control than I was in the baggage hall watching my bag with its bright green plastic security wrapping go round on the carousel. I double-checked my watch, not wanting to go into the arrivals lounge earlier than I knew Tracy would be there, and then cleared customs without even a 2nd glance from the bored-looking customs agent. And there in the hall was my gorgeous wife, looking very slim having lost 2 stone whilst I was away and with a wide grin on her face. A long hug and then we were off to the car, almost walking into the barriers as we feasted our eyes on each other... 5 months is a very long time to be away from someone you are still in love with...

Once in the car we chatted excitedly about things that had happened at home or on the trip, agreeing that there were some things we needed to spend some quality time discussing as we seek our next adventure... and so home, to a real fire, 2 lovely new cats (Titch and Marmy) and a take-away curry (I had been craving an Indian since my last one in Tuscon).

The adventure was finally over and I was home, safe and sound, the familiarity of being back as comforting as putting on an old pair of slippers. It was almost as if I hadn't been away... except... I now had a full bank of new memories and stories to share. Oh, and about 3,000 pictures to sift through...

Friday was spent visiting my girls and grandchildren, including being introduced to “The Beans” at long last – Isobel and Rebecca – and aren't they just gorgeous?

Proud Grandpa, back from his adventure...

And so I'm home, this adventure is over and so I'm closing the blog. I've had the most amazing time as those of you who have read the blog will know. At this point I'm not sure what adventure lies ahead, as that's something Tracy and I need to discuss, but rest assured there will be one... after all, if life isn't one big adventure, what is it?

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, or even if you haven't, please use the “Comment” feature to leave a comment. All you need is a Google account and they're dead easy to get if you don't already have one.

If you're inspired by the story to undertake an adventure of your own, drop me an email (paul@justonemoremile.com) and tell me about it, I'd love to hear from you.

Finally, if you'd like to make a donation to a good cause related to this adventure, please donate to Gerald's Devon Air Ambulance fund. You can do so here

Paul, it's been great following your adventure on the blog. Must be good to be home but sad that it's all over - I am, don't know what I'll do for entertainment now!

All the best


It was very pleasant follow every day your blog, for the first time a complete Trans Am blog. All the best for you and your family!!


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I'm so very pleased to have you home again and to celebrate your achievments with our family. xx
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