8. Minimalism by Justin Chatwin

A man once approached us at the Colon, Panama border crossing on his bmw gs1000.  He was staring at Nik's "madmax" whore of death attire and trying to figure out where he was hiding all of his gear on his Harley.  "Where.. What.. Is your style called.  What would you classify yourself as" he said in broken English. Nik was staring at the ground for an uncomfortably long time.  I could tell that he was really trying to think of a good answer for the guy. 





My once white shirt was now barf brown with sprinkles of yellow from the dozens of wasps that decided to commit suicide on my chest. The biggest challenge for me on a bike isn't snow or rain or hairpin turns. It's heat and straightaways. Boredom, the killer of youth. Although we gave Drew directions down the infamous highway 40, we learned that it was unpaved so we took a detour into central Argentina. Here we hit an all time boring road that lasted the next two days. Think summertime in midland Texas but on the other hemisphere. A hundred degrees. I could still see down the road where I was gonna be at hour ten. Not to mention local farmers were burning the fields.

Fly fishing on the Chimehuin, northern Patagonia 

Fly fishing on the Chimehuin, northern Patagonia 

We rode through giant flickering flames that resembled something out of a Metallica music video. On these trips, we begin to confuse the external with the internal.  What does it mean?  What does it all mean? Self obsession at its finest. Maybe it was a burning off of what we didn't need anymore of the past.   A cleansing.  Nik had already lost half the stuff in his bag and I had thrown out my underwear.  At this rate we'd be arriving in bariloche completely naked.   The road teaches you a lot of things. Maybe it's less baggage, more freedom.   At the end of the day it's the things you own that end up owning you.   A culture of hoarders.  Throw out your stuff. You are still okay.  Burn. Burn..   The Harley's.  The original five guys.  Now two.  The old behavior that didn't work.  The old personalities that don't serve us.  A new high performance life for hopefully a new high performance chapter. So.. The end of an era.  Birth of a new one.  I always admired a man who can live out of one bag. And more so a woman.  

When my highway eyes started playing tricks on me, I was convinced that we had entered a literal purgatory.   I saw Niks head nodding off at the wheel so we pulled over for an afternoon nap at a donkey truck stop.  In hell.   We were running out of money now and earplugs and sunscreen and tire tread and integrity and I had already folded my underwear all four ways to Sunday.   At one point we had to choose between water to drink or gas to move.  I showered and even drank a bit of water out of a farmers hose after our nap just to wake up.  We ended up hanging out mesmerized by a giant golden cloud sunset that hynotized us into a giant golden cloud downpour we had to outrun. Also resembled something of another Metallica music video as we managed to roll into somewhat of a civilization that night.   When you get to the similar latitudes on the other hemisphere it all begins to look the same as ours.   I felt like we travelled through Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, California, and landed in a region that was a spitting image of southern Montana. We spent the next few days fly fishing with an old pal and combing small towns for a working bank machine.   Gotta love socialism.  No money.  No cards.   No hotels.  No Drew.   Luckily the 100 dollar bill in my shoe could speak for a couple nights to a local cabana owners.  We hoped to salvage the money the next day to get to Bariloche to meet Drew the next day.  Nik dismounted his bike "no shit"


"What's up?"

"No wonder I was sliding around on the road all day." The webbing of his worn down tires was showing. Probably a hundred and fifty miles till they pop.

"What are we gonna do"

Nik just shrugged.

"It's not a problem till it's a problem."

I could see the Milky Way. And new constellations. I could hear the creek running. And a single dog barking. We were a long ways from home.