The Jean Baptiste was a sea blue 2004 Harley Davidson Sportster Roadster when I bought her off some Asian kid out of Chino hills, CA. He took $4000 from me because he was desperate for video game money. Maybe it was stolen, maybe it wasn't. Maybe that's me being racist. Regardless, I got the bike with the title and of course painted her black and built it to taste with my buddy out of Ventura. The original Jean Baptiste was my great grandfather who was a French Canadian farmer. A man who lived off the land and raised thirteen kids. And Jean (feminine) was my only grandma and his only daughter who ran away from home to head west for adventure. She passed away two years ago at the ripe age of ninety five.
Me and my buddy set off like a train of testosterone with two other chargers out of Vancouver and my best bud and riding partner Nik. We were gonna beat the piss out of these bikes all the way to Patagonia: the cure for mankinds ills (Hudson). Three chapters and thirteen months later and all the way in Medellin, Colombia she has died. I rode her till she died, which was the pact we all made the first week taking off out of a monsoon in Palm Springs. With my addictive nature intact and thirst for charging into the unknown, she led me all the way to the heart of the devils playground: Medellin, Colombia. The name of our trip from the beginning was Freedom is a Full Tank and the goal: to keep your tank full. After days of blood sweat and frustrations on the road I kept dipping below the line of empty. These pilgrimages that once filled my tank were slowly wearing on me and the others. We fell apart as our motorcycles did too. 'You just gotta love her' Nik says with a pervert stare. 'You gotta talk to her. Pet her'. Niks bike:?the 'Dirty Sanchez aka Christy Mack, a 1993 tattooed Sportster gets the trophy here at the top of South Anerica. 'We'll get her home to Canada' I say.
What started as five hooligans, ended up two as one ended up in a Honduran prison, one became a father, and one went rogue into the Colombian mountains. The Jean Baptiste was pushed on to a ferry in Panama with a broken motor billowing black smoke and rebuilt in Colombia only to collapse again in Medellin once and for all. She took me to places I could never imagine and introduced me to the most beautiful people and wildest stories. We met the Mexican cartel and Colombian guerrillas. She gave me highs and lows and rode me deeper into the darkness of adventure I could ever imagine. Jean Marie Baptiste. The black bob heavy girl. It's more than a ritual, it's the end of an era for me and The start of a new chapter. My tank is full now and I've left that black, broken bitch buried in Colombia to continue my adventure south with Nik Dean. Why? For no good reason he says. Maybe I'll find another girl in Patagonia to adventure with or maybe I'll go by foot this time. I mourn her death. But I don't admit defeat. After all, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ditched their horses and Che Guevara ditched 'The Mighty One', a Norton Commando motorcycle, half way through his adventure only to go and start a revolution.
The right of passage involves sacrifice.
Up and onward to Argentina. No looking back.
'The only way into Patagonia is to let go of the only reliable way into patagonia' say Nik as he exits the plane.
I have no idea what he means.
With the great internal, burning, wandering fever. The adventure continues..