'Shaken, Rattled and Still Rollin' (first published in Dockwalk) Brennan Dates, the seven year veteran yacht chef has finally completed his one year motorcycle odyssey of over 37,000 miles from Miami to the Southern Tip of Argentina and then back to Miami. This trip on his BMW 1150 GS Adventure was in aid of raising $150,000 for research and awareness into Parkinson's disease. His initial estimate of 20,000 miles has nearly doubled, due much in part to unforeseen challenges, including numerous mechanical conundrums, two accidents, vanishing permit and immigration paperwork, 'on-the-take' border guards, 20 different border crossings. Montezuma's revenge, an Italian pirate captain, extreme weather conditions and concerned family and friends telling him to call it quits. Even his Garmin GPS base maps sometimes led him in the wrong direction, (does this sound familiar!) Riding through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador. Then Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and finally Argentina, he experienced some of the roughest, beautiful and breathtaking terrain, to some of the largest cockroaches that you would never want to make friends with. His biking skills were put to the test travelling through Bolivia where only 30% of the roads are paved. "Most of the time I was riding through riverbeds, and had no idea of how deep they may be, until I got stuck and had to push through mud at an agonising pace.' However, along with the slow times, he also cruised the twisting and winding roads to Machu Picchu which certainly made up for it. He suffered two major accidents. The first was in Rio Gallegos, Argentina, just one day's ride from his half way point of Ushuaia; he swerved to try to avoid hitting an intoxicated man. “I just could not get around him in time, I hit him and I went down hard”. This caused Brennan to suffer a broken clavicle in two places, and left him pretty much bed-bound for five weeks. "Thankfully the old man was okay" said a relieved Brennan. “They took a blood test from both of us at the hospital. He was drunk. That in and of itself is not illegal, but, it also mean't that it wasn't my fault”. "The one
compensation was discovering the most amazing fresh pasta store across from my hostel. I packed on 15lbs; it was a mixed blessing from the food gods. His bones survived his second accident on his return trip through Panama, this time the bike took the brunt of the damage to the tune of $5,000, "An online adventure motorcyclist community (www.ADVrider.com), caught wind of the accident and donated money and parts to get me back on the road. I am so grateful for their generosity." acknowledges Dates. "Without a doubt, hardest thing about this trip was being away from my family and friends. Being alone on the road for months on end, gave me plenty of time for reflection both good and bad," mused Dates "The unbelievable generosity of spirit and time that complete strangers and fellow bikers gave me helped find the strength and will-power to keep moving forward when times were tough." "It has definitely encouraged me to help people," the next time I see someone broken down on the road, I will stop to help them, no matter how rushed I am." Brennan has already raised $40,000 towards his goal, "It's a big dent, but we still need more help." You can help by visiting his website www.parkinsonsride.com, where you can donate, read his motorcycle diaries and look at some amazing pictures.