Day 1—2: Texas—Arizona

We headed out of Austin on two heavily loaded motorcycles on Friday evening. In two days, we clocked 900 miles across the three southern states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Getting across the south looks everything one expects it to look. Straight road with red, dusty hue, stretching for hundreds of miles and coming together as a single point at the horizon? Check. Sand storms on the sides of the road? Check. 106 degrees of blazing heat? Check. Neil Young melodies mysteriously sounding from thin air? Ch…nah, that doesn’t actually happen.

In case you’re wondering whether that’s actually fun — yes, it’s a ton of fun, for the first 15 minutes. The rest of the time, which for us has been like 12 hours in the saddle in total, is boring as wretched hell. Riding on a straight, perfectly paved road isn’t much of a ride, and the excruciating heat doesn’t make it any better. The boredom is occasionally pierced by the sighting of beautiful trains, but that doesn’t happen often enough to be anything more than just a blip.

El Paso looked great. Definitely need to go back and explore it thoroughly. Riding along the US-Mexican border and seeing all the colorful houses on the other side of the border within a thousand feet was great. I’m feeling more and more drawn towards the idea of riding across mainland Mexico.


Unfortunately neither Cesare nor I haven’t yet mounted the GoPros, so there aren’t any ride photos/videos in this post.

The real treat was Tim, whose camper we slept in for the night in Arizona, in preparation of crossing the Mexican border tomorrow.

Inside a Camper somewhere in Arizona
Inside a Camper somewhere in Arizona

Tim telling the story of how he hit a tractor with his Harley in 1975 and broke his arm.

Tim and Laura
Laura and Tim

Day 4 part 1: Little Italy

“Che cazzo!”

I woke up early again, to go to the police station as requested yesterday. Walked down to the hotel reception to let them know I wanted to check out. The receptionist told me I should be checking out before noon. I had some time before my 9:00 appointment with the police, so I went to the “otopark” again. The booth was locked. I called Cenghiz. He said some things in Turkish and hung up. After 5 minutes he arrived on his Peugeot and shown me that he was sleeping using gestures. I used Google Translate to tell him that I had managed to get a bus to Istanbul at 4 o’clock. He said he also found some friends who could help me. I then told him I needed to get to the police station by 9:00, and left.

Now, yesterday, when I was arranging my bus trip for 4:00, I was a little worried. I was not sure I would make it, because of the police appointment. My experience with the Armenian police had taught me a bitter lesson of how much time one can spend at police stations over really small things. Uğur told me it wouldn’t take more than an hour, but I was still worried. I arrived at the station a little early — at 8:45, walked in and approached the first policeman.

“Hello sir. English?”


“I had an accident yesterday on a motorcycle, and the police asked me to be here today at 9:00?”

“Yes. Please wait for about 5 minutes”

“I was on a black Honda, if that helps you?”

“Yes, I know your accident. Sorry it happened in Erzurum.”

After a few minutes someone brought a copied A4 paper and gave it to me. It had the scheme of my accident and some notes in Turkish.

“It says here that you were going slightly above the speed limit and that you have lost control of the vehicle. This is what our experts believe. When you go to a repair shop anywhere in Turkey, show this to them. Don’t worry about anything else”

“Is that all? Am I done?”


“Are you sure?”

“Yes sir, you can go now. Thank you for coming”

I thanked him, walked out and checked my watch. It was 8:55. I had finished 5 minutes earlier than my actual appointment time.

So I walked back to the hotel, and on my way back came across another parked BMW R1200GS Adventure (so many R1200GS’s out there, eh?), with two riders trying to exchange money in the bank nearby. I walked in. The riders were a man and a woman, both mid-aged with attractively gray hair, dressed in really classy full motorcycle apparel, looking like a couple. They were busy having a loud argument with the bank representative in lousy English. “Che cazzo!” the man yelled. “Wat you meen I cennot exchange Euro coins in ATM?! Cazzo! Ma perche no? Why not! Big problem!”


They obviously came to no solution, because there was no way the machine could exchange the coins for them. They came out of their booth, pissed, and I approached them.


“Ooo ciao amico! Sei Italiano?”

“No sir I am actually an Armenian traveling here on a motorcycle like you, except I am alone and my bike is not as great as yours”

“Thank you!” his anger disappeared and he gave a really wide smile. “It is a wonderful motorcycle, isn’t it? The best for traveling!”

“I wish I could have it someday. But currently I have a bigger problem — I had an accident yesterday, and my motorcycle is broken now. I am taking it to Istanbul in a few hours. Do you know any people there who could help me?”

The lady jumped in at that point with an “aww!”, being all lady-sweet. They asked about the details of my crash and of course whether or not I was OK.

“Oh yeah, the fucking roads here! Slippery! Two french motorcyclists lost control and jumped off the bridge yesterday, one of them died, the other went back to fucking France! Roads very slippery! Because there is so many bad cars, and it is the gas…”


“E giusto! Correct word! Exhaust on strada! It is as if when the rain just starts!! On dry asphalt! Che Cazzo, and we also meet noone that speaks English here!”

“So then, do you know anyone who could help?”

“Hmm yes, we know someone in Ankara who helps all motorcyclists, he might have friends in Istanbul. Call Ersin! Tell him you are a friend of David and Marcella. He met us in Ankara, he will help you!”

I called Ersin right away.

“Hi, I am a traveling motorcyclist who had an accident. David and Marcella gave me your number and said that you speak English and could help me out”

“Aaaa, the italians, David, Marcella, say hi to them, let me call you back, you need your phone credits.” He hung up and called me. After listening to my story in details, he said.

“I will try to find someone in Istanbul. Please wait for 10 minutes. Someone will call you from there.”


The italians wished me a safe trip and left. After 10 minutes I got a phone call.

“Hello, this is Honda Road Assist in Istanbul. How may I help you?” the guy sounded extremely American

“Hi, thanks for calling me. I had an accident and I need to repair my bike.”

“What is your model?”

“2006 Honda CBF500”

“Are you on the road now? Do you require immediate assistance?”

“No, I crashed yesterday”

“Where are you now?”

“Will be in Istanbul tomorrow”

“Which parts need to be repaired?”

“Throttle grip and its cables, turn signal, tachometer gauge, clutch lever. I would also like to check my front brake.”

“Please hold on a second… Yes sir, we have all those parts except for the tachometer gauge. It could take some time to ship it to Istanbul. Everything else is fine.”

“How long would a repair take?”

“A repair without the gauge would take less than a day”

“And how much would it cost me, approximately?”

“Your estimate would be about 1000 euros, or 1600 dollars.”


“We understand it is very expensive. Parts in Turkey are expensive because of very high import taxes. If you have full insurance, your insurance will cover everything”

“I only have the minimal one!”

“That is a problem. Perhaps you could contact Honda headquarters and explain your situation and they could give you a discount! Do you want their contacts?”

“Yes please!”

I called the number they gave. Nobody answered. Tried again. Then again. Then again, after 20 minutes. No answer.

I felt bitter. There was absolutely no way I could afford paying 1600 dollars for repairing my bike and be able to continue the trip.