These guys are riding a REALLY long way
I was saying, this is the kind of thing that usually results from a few beers and some notes scribbled on a napkin.
“That’s exactly how it happened,” said Tim.
“It” in this case is the Step-Thru Pan-Am, an epic journey from the top of Alaska to the southernmost tip of South America, being undertaken by Stephen Tig Hogg and Tim Munro, both of Wellington, New Zealand. On scooters, yes.
In this case, Bajaj Chetaks. Why Chetaks? The guys had researched several possible mounts, including Stellas (which are sold as Retro Belladonnas in NZ), but they chose the Chetak for its reputation for solidity and the greater reliability of its 4-stroke engine.
I met up with them Wednesday in beautiful downtown Blaine, Wash., just south of the Canadian border. A hoped-for welcoming contingent of Bellingham scooterists didn’t occur, since people had things like employment that had to take priority. You know how that is. Tim and Tig totally understood.
The Chetaks’ major issue during the journey has been oil consumption (yes, rather ironic for 4-stroke engines isn’t it), though they’ve otherwise done yeoman duty as motorized pack mules.
The guys aren’t doing this to raise awareness or promote a cause or business—they’re just out for a really long ride. Which they’re doing on their own nickel.
Pleasantries exchanged, I led the guys into Bellingham for lunch at Boundary Bay. They tell me scooters are everywhere in New Zealand, especially in Wellington. Petrol is quite expensive there.
The guys couldn’t stay too long; a friend in Seattle was putting them up for the night, and they wanted to get there before it got too dark. I bid them safe travels and pointed them down Chuckanut Drive. They plan to arrive in Tierra del Fuego sometime in March, 2013