What I love most about TSY is meeting good souls like Murph.  Currently Murph is on the road, solo. Just him and his BMW GS. I have to say, I’m eatin’ my heart out a little over here, and before we dig into the story, I also have to say– I’d love us to support Murph on his trek anyway we can.  Check out his travelogue / photo-journal of his travels chronicled on WHERE THE HELL IS MURPH… and while you’re at it, buy one of his prints and/or make a donation however big or small– just do it. Let’s keep Murph on the road, gas in his tank, and food in his belly.

I knew I couldn’t do Murph’s story justice myself. You truly have to hear it from the man himself, and you’ll see why this is more than a bike ride.  It’s an inward journey as much as an outward one–

Born in Dublin, in the early ’60s– trials rider, enduro rider, then road racer. There’s a lot more in those eighteen years I spent there, but that’s another bottle of Johnny Walker Black. Left Ireland for the U.S. in the early ’80s. Lived in NYC (is there any other?) and loved it, but as fate would have it, a series of events had me move to Florida. At the time, blue skies, beaches filled with bikini clad nymphettes got me hook, line & sinker. I was soon to realise that all that looks good on the surface is not what it appears to be when you dive down a few feet.

Made a lot of money in Florida in property in the last ten years– in fact, was a multi millionaire. But then the Irish disease that afflicted my father got me. Booze. Alcoholism. I drank my way through a three million dollar apartment building I owned, a few houses, and three condos. Lost it ALL.
The last two years have been sober. January 17th will officially be 2.  But before that I went down as far as anybody could go, the depths of 24hr drinking. It really was a horrible place I led myself to. So in December I bought the bike, and tried to stay afloat by staying in the rat race, but being extremly independent and always having worked for myself– a $10 an hour job and being treated like a slave didn’t last. Meanwhile my house has been in forclosure for the last two years, so I really just exploded and said– FUCK IT.
A retread on an old relationship didn’t work (go figure), I hated Florida, I always loved traveling, so got on the bike in April thinking– Lemme go and see some friends around the country, take some pictures, ‘n post ’em on a blog…

Back from an Amazing Week in Portugal…



View from the hotel in Vila do Conde

View from the hilltop our hotel graced in Vila do Conde


Had a great week in Portugal visiting factories and making new friends.  The people there are incredibly friendly and gracious.  Enjoyed a crazy Wednesday night in Porto hitting the locals on the head with hammers (all in good fun), music and fireworks over the river.  After a couple days we finally stopped saying “gracias” (dumb gringos that we are…) and thanked them properly.  Obrigado!

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The Road to Guatemala

The Road to Guatemala

I’m a little anxious today as I pack for a week of serving in Guatemala– which means separation from family and being delivered into the hands of hard labor and living conditions that most of us Americans would consider totally unacceptable.  As I studied the details of what to expect there, I quickly became thankful for everything I take for granted here— basic stuff like clean water, modern plumbing, and decent health care.  It put things in perspective. Quick.  

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Martin & Osa Johnson- Safari Film Legends


In the 1930s, when the last unexplored regions of the world were being “found,” Martin and Osa Johnson, an American couple from Kansas, delighted audiences in theaters with films of their aerial safaris throughout Africa and Borneo.  Both pilots and photographers, the Johnsons explored Kenya and Tanganyika in 1933, taking the first aerial photograph of Mt. Kilimanjaro and documenting herds of wild animals on the Serengeti Plain.



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The Passenger


It’s been months now since I’ve flown anywhere, and I really miss it.  Like, bad.  Getting out of town– a break in the routine– taking care of business and firming relationships– seeing new people and places– cool restaurants and hotels– gone.

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Have House, Will Travel.


Seeing ACL’s story Cottage in a Day instantly brought my wife’s cousin to mind– Dee Williams.  Dee definitely moves to the beat of her own drum.  

From Time— A few years ago, Dee Williams, a toxic-waste inspector, put her 2,000-sq.-ft. bungalow in Portland, Ore., on the market and moved into an 84-sq.-ft. cabin on wheels that she built using salvaged cedar, torn-up jeans for insulation and solar cells for power. Then she hitched her tiny house to a biodiesel truck and drove to Olympia, Wash., where friends let her park in a grassy corner of their backyard. Although Williams, 43, admits that she misses having room for friends to spend the night, she says, “I love my tiny house.”

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Sidecar Conversation.


I don’t know if you can tell from some of my recent posts– but I really need to hit the open road.  Soon.  This picture makes me especially itchy.  Must.  Get.  Out.

When I was a boy there were certain things that were just cool to you.  Tents, campers, convertibles, BB guns, slot cars, Indian arrowheads, Zippo lighters, hermit crabs, anything to do with a CO2 cartridge… well, you get the picture.  But if I had to pick just one thing, it would probably be a motorcycle with a sidecar. Continue reading

Wanted- A Place in the Sun.


You won’t fide a whole lot of actual shade at The Shady Dell, but you will find an artsy, desert haven down in Bisbee AZ.  If I had the dough, I’d pack up and head there right now to escape my winter blues.   Once New Year’s has come and gone, I am officially over it and ready for the sun.

The Shady Dell is run by a young, retro couple with a passion for 50s vintage living.  There are 9 fully-restored campers ranging from a ’49 Airstream to a ’57 El Ray— often mistaken for an Airstream, but actually more rare and coveted.  

Nestled perfectly within walking distance from each trailer is Dot’s Diner. Built in the 1950s by the pride of Wichita Kansas, The Valentine Manufacturing Company, this authentic diner was originally purchased by John Hart in 1957 and delivered to the corner of Ventura and Topanga Canyon Blvd in Los Angeles. The diner was transported by flatbed truck to the Shady Dell in November, 1996.

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