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These guys are riding a REALLY long way

October 11, 2012
Tim and Tig

Tim and Tig, on their Chetaks (Orin O’Neill photos)

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.

Step-Thru Pan-Am logo

“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.

Tig working on his Chetak

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.

Heading out

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

There are more pix right here. You can follow the journey on their Facebook page, and there’s also a Web site. Favicon

  1. Martha permalink
    October 11, 2012 1:53 pm

    Thanks for this, Orin. Good fun reading the blog.

  2. Steve Miller permalink
    October 11, 2012 5:24 pm

    Have you read John Gerber’s account of his ride to Tierra del Fuego?

  3. October 11, 2012 8:04 pm

    Steve, I’m finding lots about the late Mr. Gerber, but nothing like a book or article about the journey. Got a link?

  4. Jack Riepe permalink
    October 13, 2012 10:11 pm

    Dear Orin:

    These guys offer a whole new perspective on that little hook for hanging the shopping bag from the supermarket. I’m curious to see how well they do on that jungle stretch that drives all the GS riders crazy.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

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