Many of us dream of taking that endless motorcycle trip — that one with no destination in particular and only the adventure of the every day journey.
Few of us ever actually take that kind of a trip; instead we settle for the one long road trip to Sturgis, or Moab or Daytona each summer and call it good.
There is one among us — and indeed he is the only one of his kind I can think of — who didn’t settle.
He took off and never looked back. Fortunately for the rest of us, he has shared his adventures and his accumulated wisdom of the road in thirteen books and nine documentary DVDs. His name is Dr. Gregory W. Frazier.
There is a good chance you have read some of Frazier’s work, even if you haven’t read any of his books or seen any of his DVDs. He is as prolific a writer as he is a rider, and his articles show up in nearly every motorcycle magazine and website worthy of mention.
If you are unfamiliar with his work, which has its beginnings about 50 years ago, spans six continents, and five complete circumnavigations of the planet, you are in luck. His latest book, Down and Out in Patagonia, Kamchatka and Timbuktu, Greg Frazier’s Round and Round and Round the World Motorcycle Journey, gives you a chance to do some catching up.
In it, Frazier starts from the very beginning of his incredible journey, growing up around Portland, Oregon, then on to Billings, Montana, at 14, complete with snapshots of him as a toddler mastering the art of motion in a four-wheel push scooter.
Lest you think Frazier springs from the good life and a serene Quaker upbringing, early on in the book, he lets you in on some very difficult times in his youth – personal and chilling, not the narrative you’d expect in a motorcycle travel book.
But that is because Frazier has written something more than a motorcycle travel book. His book reveals as much about him as it does about the long roads he has traveled; maybe even more.
The book takes us along on his motorcycle odyssey to the far pavilions; if it can be reached by a motorcycle, he has probably been there, and he may be about the only one who has. Spanning 224 pages, with 300 color and 50 black-and-white images, the book is masterfully edited by Jordan Wiklund and beautifully presented in hard cover.
It is a fount of hard-earned wisdom about the little details, too. For example—keep your helmet to yourself, no matter how persuasive local monks may be in wanting to try it on; inheriting their head lice infestation just isn’t worth it.
And, after circling the globe, crossing all 24-time zones and being less than a day’s ride from home, don’t let your eyes wander to the mountains miles ahead — keep your eyes on the desert floor before you or you could hit the only big rock for miles and endo the faithful Kawasaki KLR that just carried you 19,631 miles!
After taking the reader around the world to points most of us will never see anyplace but on the map, going solo all the way, Dr. Frazier’s final chapter is a tale of going two-up; and it is not always easy.
“Two up on a single motorcycle changed the dynamics of global circumnavigation beyond my expectations. Of all the rides around the world I had done, carrying a passenger was the toughest,” he bluntly states in the intro to the final chapter, “Solo No More.”
It wasn’t just having to manage the ride, either — Frazier got the don’t-drink-the-water trots in Kathmandu while his new travel companion, Donna-Rae, strolled into anti-government street fighting.
In the end, they made it home in one piece with a great many images and stories to share about what Dr. Frazier accurately sums up as, “a long, strange ride around the world.”
- Title: Down and Out in Patagonia, Kamchatka and Timbuktu, Greg Frazier’s Round and Round and Round the World Motorcycle Journey
- Author: Dr. Gregory W. Frazier
- Published: 2014
- Publisher: Motorbooks, an imprint of Quayside Publishing Group, 400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401 USA.
- ISBN-13: 978-0-7603-4583-2
- MSRP: $35