Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2009

The end of BB

(Pic) As I leave Blackboard for the final time, a little reminder is left behind to match the chalkboard art I created which they walk by every day.

Skeleton plans

As I get closer to the end I have been slowly clarifying and fleshing out my plans. With some great advice from a friend ("less countries, more smiles" - thanks Rob) I have simplified a bit.  For now this is what it looks like: Jan 13 - Feb 5: Road trip around the US including a ski trips with friends in Utah from Jan 26-31. Feb 14 - 21: Cambodia, Siem Reap area to explore the Angkor Wat Feb 22 - Mar 22: Phuket Thailand training Muay Thai Mar 23 - Apr 15: Rickshaw Run through India. Whether I fly back to the States from there or visit Nepal etc. is still to be decided. Amsterdam for Queen's Day is also still on the list. Buying tickets shortly!

What's next for Pete?

As some of my friends know, shortly before leaving to South America for the 2009 Mototaxi Junket I gave notice at Blackboard where I have worked for the last 4+ years .  On negotiation with my management we decided on a final day of December 31, 2009, which is now rapidly approaching. The first question people ask on hearing this is inevitably " Where are you going? " implying that I'm leaving because I have a better position lined up - in fact, I do not.  I decided to quit my corporate job in the middle of a recession to focus on improving myself outside the workplace as well as to position myself towards new opportunities that simply aren't available within a company like Blackboard (I've been carefully planning for this financially for years). I'm approaching my upcoming freedom with great joy and figured I would share some of plans, since so many of my friends keep asking what I will be up to.  The nutshell is simple - six months of personal improvemen

Motoventure Recap

I've now been back in the States for just over a week - still adjusting in some ways, but the motoventure is also rapidly fading from visceral experience into warm memory. With most of the media from the trip and the fallout all sorted, I figured it was a good time to end with a final recap: - Rob & Will from Valsalva Victory made it! They were the first team to actually drive a mototaxi all the way from Huancayo to Asuncion. Of everyone on the Junket, I spent by far the most time with them, from carrying their extra weight on mountainous terrain to the hectic side by side drive down towards Abancay in the pitch black because their lights randomly cut out... Definitely stoked that they pulled it off! - Danny Smith from 633 Squadron also made it, along with some others. What makes Danny special is that he's the craziest most accident prone loony in the entire Junket (while also being a stand up guy and great to hang out with). His mate had to leave partway through an

Motoventure Day 25: To La Paz, End of Motoventure

(written 11/14 @ 4:30PM)  Alas, my motoventure is over!  I now have to deal with a day of flights home starting tomorrow, but I can handle that bit.  I'm chillin' on the 9th floor of my hotel in La Paz in this cool cafe, sipping cafe con leche and finishing up my blog stuff before I crash.  In spite of everything, I really had a lot of fun – it could have been better, but hey that's life eh.   Woke up at 5AM cozy as a bug in a rug, packed my gear up and headed north the 160km or so remaining to La Paz.  Immediately noticed that the problem with my rear brake being locked was worse (even though I loosened it as much as possible), robbing me of a lot of power – and it was bloody COLD at speed.  For the first hour I got into the normal process of stopping every 20min or so to warm up, but then it got bearable.    All of a sudden as I'm completely mentally checked out I notice a yellow mototaxi heading towards me!  Who could it be?!  As I get closer I see a giant

Motoventure Day 24: Uyuni to Potosi to North of Oruro

(written 11/14 @ 2PM)  Yesterday was sick.  Got up at 6:30AM and rolled out of Uyuni towards Potosi…  I had heard it takes seven hours by bus, which typically means double that by moto.  Started the day on reserve (fuel leak) with three gallons in my gallonero (gas can).  Unfortunately the two gas stations in town didn't have gasolina until 10AM so I took off anyway.   Yeah, 205km of back roads in the middle of the mountains with minimal little villages and three gallons of gas…  probably not the best idea in retrospect.  I figured worst case I could bum some from someone driving by right?  Three hours in I had climbed crazy hills in first gear (some where I had to get out and run up next to my jaumoto), dodged massive rocks, got stuck in sand, saw immensely beautiful terrain, and NEVER SAW ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.  Woops.    I kept stopping every 30km or so to put a bit more fuel in, but after the second stop I turned around and noticed my gas can had fallen over and was le

Motoventure Day 23: Random Location to Uyuni

(written 11/12 @ 7:30pm)  I cried today for the first time in over thirteen years.  Literally wept.  When I arrived at the salt flats and started blasting away towards the horizon on my little jaumoto all the emotions and stresses and joys of the past few months crashed in on me while I was completely overwhelmed at the unreal beauty and intensity of the Salar de Uyuni.  Unhappiness with my job, my friend with cancer, the insanity of the motoventure, the last few days of wondering if I could make it, and so many other things…  there I was driving jaumoto 70kmh at 8000RPM in 5th just bawling my eyes out.   It was so intense, but then today was an epic day.  From intense lows to massive highs and back to intense lows, I can't imagine I'll experience anything like this again for quite a long time.   It started waking up in a quarry for construction, after getting well lost in the dark the night before.  I watched the sunrise, then got my gear packed in the freezing cold,

Motoventure Day 22: Oruro to Random Location

(written 11/2 @ 5:45AM)  I just watched an amazing sunrise over a desert after sleeping under the most beautiful sky of stars I have ever seen.  I'm also typing this with gloves on so apologies for typos.     I think my bright idea of heading to Tagua then across the salt flats may have been a bit more ambitious than I thought.  The roads here have been insane – ever since Chalapatla I have been fighting sand, immense rocks, huge potholes, and generally very inhospitable terrain.  On top of that, parts of the road are under construction and are very confusing – especially since I decided to continue on at night.  Apparently my current coordinates are a good 10+km south of the main road right now according to my map, woops – guess it's a good thing I stopped when I did.   On the other hand, what a day yesterday.  Rob & Will and I left Oruro fairly early, with me deciding I would wait to get my jaumoto fixed until the next smallish town because Oruro was just so

Motoventure Day 21: Desaguardero to Oruro

(written 11/10 @ 10:30PM)  Talk about ups and downs!  Finally made it into Bolivia, but also finally had my first major mechanical issues today!   In brief…  we lined up quite early outside the border, got our paperwork, and left Peru (it was not that quick or easy).  Coming into Bolivia we just waved at some guards after Rob told them we were coming, no drama at all.  We then promptly wailed down some highway towards La Paz for a few hours, simple as pie.   Around 30km before La Paz, Rob decided to take us on this small back road bypass to "save time" (it may have saved time, to be fair).  I will summarize the following events thusly:  We spent about three hours driving on some of the worst, bumpiest, rockiest roads in the world, randomly asking for directions and eventually finding our way back to the beautiful pavement of Route 1.     At which point I noticed my gas tank was leaking heavily and that what I thought was a cracked header was a cracked head

Motoventure Day 20: Paperwork Delays Are Old Hat

(written 11/9 @ 9:30PM)  Can't say that I'm shocked or surprised, but I'm definitely annoyed.  We are still stuck in Peru, yet officially all of us (ten teams worth of people here) are here illegally – since we've already left Peru and entered Bolivia as people then "snuck" back into Peru to take our motos across…  yet failed at that bit.   After paying an export company $100 per team back in Puno, we showed up at their office this morning at 7AM having been told they would have us through and into Bolivia inside of four hours after they opened at 8AM.  We did get everyone over to the weigh station outside the truck/shipping border within a couple hours and this bit went smoothly.  We then rolled back to the office around 10:30AM where they told us they would have the paperwork ready for everyone by 1PM.  Much drinking and mucking about ensued for a bit (responsibly of course).   At 1PM the paperwork still wasn't ready, and Rob started asking ar

Motoventure Day 19: Puno to Desaguardero

(written 11/9 @ 10AM)  Simple easy day yesterday – loaded up the jaumoto and headed towards Desaguardero, the border town between Peru and Bolivia.  Word was that at 8AM on Monday we could start getting stuff down to cross into Bolivia so we wanted to start early.   The drive was quite uneventful, a simple 150km along a mostly paved road (though it was quite rough for most of it and I had to swerve a lot to avoid potholes).  About two hours out of town I caught up with Rob & Will who were still having problems with their moto and we basically hung out most of the rest of the way – often with me racing ahead to try to get cool photos.   The coolest thing of the day was spending almost all of it with Lake Titicaca next to us on the left – the scenery was amazing.  At one point we also saw lots of flamingos in a little lake, and overall the drive was quite populated with a constant string of affluent (compared to the others we've seen) villages on the side of the ro

Motoventure Day 18: Stranded and Moving On!

Last night I was all set to bail and take a bus to La Paz then fly to Asuncion to catch my original flight home this coming Monday.  I just really wasn't (and still am not) confident we'd even be able to make it into Bolivia or past checkpoints with the new "export" paperwork.  So I pulled up some flights and figured I would pull the trigger in the morning after finding out when some of the other people I know were leaving.   In the morning I'm sitting at my computer staring at a flight from La Paz to Asuncion on Monday morning to get me there just in time for my flight out for $150.  I pulled out my credit card and was about to buy it on-line when Mark asked if I wanted to grab some breakfast – so I went off for an empanada (okay, two).  When I returned, I went to finish my purchase and the flight was all sold out!  After hours of researching I realized there was just no way to get to Asuncion and catch my original flights reliably.    So it looks like I&

Motoventure Day 17: End of a Clusterf#$@%#@$%

We were told to expect the paperwork to allow us to leave Peru to arrive in Puno at 9AM, and that we would be ready to leave by 11AM.  Keep in mind this is paperwork that should have been completed before we ever left Huancayo, and that we were delayed in Huancayo for six days from the original start date waiting on it… Long story short, after sitting around the entire day ON THE STREET at various notaries following closures, openings, movings, delays, and random drama, we ended up outside the export license place at around 5PM expecting to finally be ready to go shortly.  More drama ensued, and we finally were ready to hand in our notarized paperwork and await the return of the Adventurist whose name is on all the papers so we could sign them when the bomb dropped… At 6:30PM on Friday evening we find out that because we are "exporting" the mototaxis outside Peru, we CANNOT LEAVE ON THE WEEKEND.  The border is closed for commerce on the weekend.  We have thus spent