Archive for the ‘motorcycle touring’ Category

Going for a spin!

A few weekends ago the wife and I took a motorcycle ride to Shenandoah Speedway racetrack.  A friend of mine was participating in a “drift” event.  For the few of you out there that might not know about drifting it is the sport of sliding your car sideways through a turn as fast as you can.  Quite exciting to watch a lot harder to do, unless you have plenty of practice and a car set up to do it properly.  My buddy has both the skills and the car.

The ride to the racetrack was great.  Bright blue skies with a few big puffy white clouds. The temp was not too hot or too cool making the ride with “ATGATT” comfortable. We left Front Royal going south on SR 340 in the spring green Shenandoah Valley.  With little traffic it was no time at all before we passed Luray Caverns. The Caverns are a very popular tourist destination and today their parking lot was full of hundreds of cars and lots of buses.

Just a short distance past Luray Caverns is “Cooter’s”!  For those of us of a certain age that remember the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, Cooter’s is a museum of sorts celebrating the show.  The man who played Cooter, Ben Jones, is from the area and had collected a lot of memorabilia from the show which is on display including some of the cars with a General Lee replica out front.  By the way Cooter is also multi-term US Congressman.

My wife had never been to Cooter’s, so we pulled into its packed parking lot.  This day they had a Blue Grass and Folk music band playing, something they do on a regular basis.  We wondered around the facility for a bit with Rocky Top and Country Roads dancing in our ears.  The stop was a nice diversion back to our teen years.

Back on our steady stead we continued south on SR 340 until we reached the racetrack.  I knew we were close when I could see the plumes of white smoke and the smell of burning rubber in the air, drifting is very hard on tires.

It was not long before my wife was buckled in the race car and out on the track.  She was only able to get two laps in before they blew up the right rear tire.  Yet, those few laps were enough to give her an ear-to-ear smile.  She talked about it for many days later.

As the day got longer it was time to head to the house.  A 100+ mile motorcycle ride and a new experience for my wife made this a great day.


Ride on, Ride safe

We were able to sneak out for about 2-hour motorcycle ride this past weekend.  Still a lot going on in life/work, so I am just happy to get out on the motorcycle.

Motorcycling around Front Royal, VA and the surrounding area is a lot of fun.  More than a few nice places as destinations and more than a few good country roads to ride.

We even got up on Skyline Drive for a short ride. The leaves have not yet reappeared on the trees, so the views were spectacular!

The curiosity of the day was the “Audi” Can Am Spyder.  The reality was the guy was not happy with the big, black, empty area on the front of his trike and put the Audi badge there.  It was a neat conversation starter.
Ride on, Ride safe

I though I would try my hand at video recording my travels.  This ride I wanted to “shoot the gap”, the southern gap of Skyline Drive.

There are two places along Skyline Drive where you can ride your motorcycle under the parkway, after going up a twisty mountain road and of course back down the other side.  I had never ridden the southern gap so now was the time.

As you can see in the video it was a wonderful day to ride a motorcycle.  Setting out from my home in Front Royal with a clear, bright, blue sky and a cool but comfortable temperature just made for a perfect journey.  Low traffic in the Shenandoah Valley provided little impedance, except for the deer and her three fawns.  I had to stop and let them cross, woe is me riding in the country. 

So why 150 in 9?  This was a 3-hour ride, but my batteries died after 2 ½ hours.  NO ONE wants to watch a 150-minute ride with no commentary, I have not figured that one out yet, so I set it to fast forward and got the whole thing down to 9 minutes.

Hope you enjoy.

*****

Ride on, Ride Safe

White Sands New Mexico

Five years ago, I didn’t own, ride, or predict seeing my future self on a motorcycle.  Not that I didn’t like motorcycles, they were just not on my life’s blipping radar.  I was a cruise agent with six grandkids, a brick-and-mortar home and, well, I did have a nice little convertible.  Transport yourself to the future ‘now’ and you see me riding 5-6 hours a day, many days in a row…and on a sidecar no less.  I rode it on the Tail of the Dragon, Twisted Sisters, Talimena Scenic Drive and so many other ‘famous’ road.  I’m full timing it in an RV working and riding.  Icing on the cake – I’m making a living at it.  How the heck did I get here!

  • Step one:  Your spouse suggests you guys buy a bike and take motorcycle lessons.
  • Step two:  Two-upping isn’t enough, you get your own ride.
  • Step three:  Life sneaks up and kicks your ass – you decide how to respond.

I didn’t take naturally to riding a motorcycle.  I failed my first class.  I went out and bought a bike anyway and practiced in a parking lot for months before I could get up the nerve to take the class again.  I passed with a perfect score.  About a year into riding, I was in a motorcycle accident (mechanical failure), the bike totaled.  Broke my kneecap and nose and was in physical therapy for 9 months.  What did I do while I was laid up?  I bought a new bike and helmet. 

On a cross-country road trip, I dropped my bike at a corner with my weak knee.  It took me an hour to feel like I could get back on the bike, but I found I had messed up the gear shifts.  My spouse and I two-upped it the rest of the trip.  On this trip I decided two things – riding a motorcycle wasn’t for me, not riding wasn’t an option either.

Mounting up for another day of riding!

Idea!  How about a sidecar.  A new journey of resistance, not on my part but for every inch I tried to step forward, something or someone was shoving me a foot back.  The first sidecar builder I found botched the job – the wheel fell off at 60mph going down the interstate.  The wheel well kept it from flying off and I was able to pull over.  At least 10 other things went wrong in this journey until I found the sidecar builder who helped me change my life (to him I will forever be in debt). Thanks Texas Sidecar Company!

I have put over 20,000 miles on my sidecar in less than two years.  And like this whole path, I continued to forge forward following my new passion.  My spouse and I started RVing so we could ride new places.  I had written a couple of articles for Ride Texas Magazine.  The editor found out and mentioned it might make a good story.  Like everything else, I took it to the next level.  I now write a series called Direction Wide Open on our RVing and motorcycling experiences for Ride Texas Magazine which will culminate in the first ever RV-Motorcycle Rally in the U.S end of September 2022 – hosted by ‘Me’.

I looked for new ways to share my excitement about riding and RVing and found several more magazines who would have me.  I submitted a short motorcycle story to Continue the Ride which is a series of rider stories that showcase the diversity and shared passions in motorcycling.  My story was in the first round picked up and the only one with the unique combination of RVing and motorcycling full-time around the United States.  A few months later Progressive reached out to me to present my experiences at the national Progressive IMS Motorcycle Shows across the U.S.  As an introvert, I now find myself center stage at six major cities presenting on RVing and motorcycling five times per weekend.

RV’ing at Iron Mountain

How did I get here?  Well, I don’t think I was planning on a shift from being a work from home cruise agent grandma to a RVing, sidecar toting, riding, grandma writer and speaker.  But here I am.  This has been the best ride ever!

We originally passed through Goshen a few years ago during one of our motorcycle tours of Virginia.

Goshen is a quaint town bordering the George Washington National Forest the nearest “big towns” are Staunton and Lexington VA.

One of the things that interested me was the Goshen Truss Bridge.  Not the best light for good photos but you get the idea.  Built in 1890 it was the height of bridge engineering at the time.

Ride On, Ride Safe

James Madison’s Montpelier

As noted in in Part 1 of this Quarantine Motorcycle Ride series on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway, had to occur over three seasons.  Part 2 Leesburg to Montpelier occurred last summer.

This leg of the ride started on a cool summer morning.  Blue skies, white puffy clouds, and the local weatherman, promised a comfortable day to ride the motorcycle.

Our eyes and the weatherman were right! Our ride on the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited motorcycle was smooth and sweet.  Great tunes and light traffic made this leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway nothing short of great.

This part of the Byway is packed full of sites that just beg to be stopped and explored as this part of Virginia is packed with history and historical sites.

Getting to Montpelier took us past the following historical sites, and these are the major sites. There are many, many smaller sites in each of the towns you pass through.  This leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway can, by itself, could take a week to work your way though.

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park | Nova Parks

George C. Marshall’s Home

President’s Monroe’s Oak Hill

Bull Run Battlefield (1st and 2nd Battle for Manassas)

This section also passes though the Northern Virginia wine and brewery corridor.  For example, there are over a dozen breweries and 30 vineyards in Loudon county alone! Just do not drink and ride, of course!

Of course, the destination of this motorcycle ride was the home of President James Madison’s home Montpelier.  Montpelier was the plantation home of the Madison family, including the fourth President of the United States James Madison and his wife Dolly.

Montpelier is both a National Historic Landmark and part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Completed in 2008 a major restoration (by the National Trust), in part to return the mansion to its original size of 22 rooms.

Archeological investigations provided information on African-American life at the plantation. Philanthropist David Rubenstein funded and enabled the National Trust to restore the slave quarters in the South Yard and open a slavery exhibition, The Mere Distinction of Colour, in 2017.

Getting to Montpelier is a wonderful ride through historic lands.  If you are in the area, on the Journey Thorough Hallowed Ground Byway or not, take the time to stop.

This byway is 180 miles of American history. Stretching from Gettysburg, PA to Monticello, VA the byway covers sites and history from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, multiple Presidential homes, plus 18 National and State parks.  By motorcycle, this ride is a fun way to learn and honor American national heritage.

The majority of Hallowed Ground Byway is US Route 15 which runs right through our hometown.  This made it an easy decision for a motorcycle ride (like we need an excuse for a ride). 

While this should have been an easy long weekend ride for us it was anything but easy. Because of Covid and the changing quarantine restrictions we had to do this ride over 3 seasons of the lost year of 2020. We started our ride, of the Hallowed Ground Byway, at the Gettysburg Battlefield in the spring.

Part 1 – Gettysburg, PA to Leesburg, VA

Gettysburg by motorcycle is fun and it would be extremely easy to spend several days touring the battlefield and the town. You will not be the only motorcycle there, it is surprising how many folks ride their “iron” horses to the national battlefield. I highly recommend that you take a bus tour of the battlefield as the guide will provide a running commentary of what happened at each stop as well as the sites between stops.

Gettysburg by motorcycle is fun and it would be extremely easy to spend several days touring the battlefield and the town. You will not be the only motorcycle there, it is surprising how many folks ride their “iron” horses to the national battlefield. I highly recommend that you take a bus tour of the battlefield as the guide will provide a running commentary of what happened at each stop as well as the sites between stops.

At the time we rode this leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway most of the historic sites were open with very tight restrictions. Many of the indoor facilities were closed but you could still visit the outdoor sites.

I cannot speak to a lot of regarding local accommodations in Gettysburg. Being only a little over an hour from home we did not need to stay overnight. There are a lot of hotels, campgrounds, and such but with the quarantine limitations in place, few were open. Restaurants were mostly restricted in Pennsylvania and less so in Maryland (at that time).

The day of the ride was overcast and cool. The motorcycle was running well, and we were ready for a day behind bars.  We rode around most of the Gettysburg Battlefield stopping a few of key points of the battle before heading south on the byway.

The ride south from Gettysburg is an easy county ride on both 2 and 4 lane roads.  There are MANY, MANY places to stop along this leg of the Hallowed Ground Byway for example:

National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Multiple covered bridges

Antietam National Battlefield

Multiple State Parks

Vineyard, Breweries and Distilleries

Monocacy National Battlefield

Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Unfortunately for us most everything was closed or very restricted. This day was more about the ride and being with each other than about the sites.  One thing that is true is the couple that rides together tends to stay together. On this daytrip we had a great time, just the two of us.

The next leg will cover the Hallowed Ground Byway from Leesburg to Montpelier, home of President James Madison.

Ride On, Ride Safe

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We pulled out of our driveway on a cool, crisp Friday morning for a long weekend motorcycle ride.  By cool & crisp I mean 51 degrees Fahrenheit, a little less with wind chill, of course. We knew it was going to be at least that or a bit less on Skyline Drive.

We had decked ourselves out in appropriate clothing and closed the vents of the Harley Davidson Ultra Limited, so the chill was not very noticeable. Otherwise, the sun was out with blue sky all about and traffic out of town was quite light.

It took us about an hour to get from home to the northern terminus of Skyline Drive in Front Royal, Virginia. I really think that the state could do a bit better job of signage to get people to the park.  I knew where it was but, until you are right upon it the signs are few and far between.

A lot of motorcycles on the road!

Once we were on Skyline Drive the cool air got a bit cooler! There was nearly a 10-degree difference from the valley to the top of the mountain.  While we did notice it, and I turned on the heated grips, the motorcycle seemed to love the cool air and purred as it rolled up, down and around the ridge.

The leaves had not yet started to change colors or drop from the trees, but the greens were awesome to view. I do have another complaint, maybe it is a by-product of Covid 2020 but several of the overlooks really did not overlook.  The trees and bush build up limited the view on some of the stops.   Only a minor disappointment as the day was so nice!

We reached the southern terminus of the parkway late afternoon and headed to our hotel in Charlottesville, VA. The next day we went to some local site like Monticello. Our return tip was via the American BywayJourney Through Hallowed Ground Byway”, which will be documented on another post.

It was our anniversary by the way!

Skyline Drive by motorcycle really shows that the adage “Riding in car is like watching a movie. Riding on a motorcycle is like being in the movie” is absolutely true.

If you live on the east coast this ride needs to be on your bucket list.

Ride On, Ride Safe

I really enjoyed the films “Long way Down” and “Long Way Round”. The movies chronicled Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor motorcycle adventures.

If you did not know there is a new one which follows them from Patagonia, Argentina 13,000 miles to Los Angeles in the US. This time they ditched their BMW motorcycles for the new electric Harley Davidson “Live Wire”.

The Live Wire motorcycles were modified for off-road use and their trip was supported by all-electric Rivian trucks. These trucks were more proto-type then production according to the trailer.

Long Way Up is coming out on Apple TV. Sigh I don’t have Apple TV so I will have to wait until it comes out on another service as I am not spending any more money on TV.

Beer is a very dangerous thing isn’t it.

For sure it has the ability to dull the senses, but it can also open up a world of free thinking.

sam-manicom-banner-aug18v5

I’m often asked what it was that started me down the road on what turned out to be an eight year motorcycle journey around the world. Perhaps I should be red-faced about this, but as it’s the truth and it led to so much fun, some excellent challenges and so many opportunities to learn, I’m not embarrassed at all. The idea started in drunken moment in a bar on the tiny Channel Island of Jersey!

I was working on the island, which is tucked in the English Channel between the UK and France, and I following a career path, as you are supposed to do as an adult. I’ve travelled a lot during my life but had eventually settled down, thinking that perhaps it was time to grow up and to be sensible. After all, we are supposed to feather our nests for old age aren’t we. Besides that, developing a career was going to be a new challenge. I’d not really done it before, so why not see what it was all about.

I surprised myself at how well I did in my retail manager role. Taken on as a very junior manager, I advanced fairly rapidly through the ranks and had all the trappings of life that one is supposed to have with success. An apartment, a sports car, holidays abroad and so on. I think the keys were that people matter to me, I’m fairly organized, I find it easy to respect the people I’m working with, and I liked looking after customers.

My staff and I had fun and we were successful. The Jersey shop was the number five store out of scores of branches throughout the UK, but there was something missing. I had itchy feet, and the itch was increasing dramatically each week, but I worked on, telling myself that bunking off on another long trip was irresponsible. After all, I was 34; supposedly at the peak of my professional career.

One night in the pub over a bit of a solo celebration when the beers were slipping down rather wonderfully, my thoughts had turned to the itch. By the time I’d made it to the 4th beer I’d realized two important points. Other than work, I had absolutely no responsibilities, and I had savings. What a brilliant combination.

The next beer slipped down dangerously and I started to ponder that call of the road. Perhaps I should push off on a new adventure. Would I ever be in this position of potential freedom again? I’d be giving up a lot though…

I was born and brought up in the Belgian Congo in Central West Africa. I was 10 years SM 9old when my parents decided that it was time to take my sisters and me to live in the UK. I think that was a really hard decision for them. Life had revolved around their work in the Congo for so many years. It certainly was odd for me to go from my usual attire of a pair of shorts and a great tan, to wearing full English school uniform; even a tie and a cap! I was known as Jungle Boy for quite a few years as I came to terms with life in England. I must have been quite a strange little lad as far as the other kids were concerned. A python? So what. But apples, chocolate bars and the Beatles? All new to me.

I made my first solo trip as a foray into mainland Europe, age 16. I rode a brand new bicycle, that I’d worked doing odd jobs to save the money for. That first trip taught me that destinations don’t matter, other than as a plan. What matters is that you go, and that you appreciate the things and people you see and get involved with along the way. Back then I’d no idea that this was going to turn into a plan for life; value the moments.

On finishing school age 18, I’d no idea what I was going to do. Having been to multiple schools, and spent most of my time trying to fit in with each new environment, plus of course buzzing around on the sports field, my grades weren’t very good. University was out! I chose to work a retail management training course for three years with one of the UK’s leading department stores.

Of course, at the time I’d no idea how much the training, new skills and character building would stand me in good stead. I probably couldn’t successfully do what I do now had it not been for all of the training that was involved in those teen years.

Sm 11At the end of those three years, the open road was calling and I set off to spend a year hitch hiking around Europe. With that trip, life changed. It wasn’t hard to make this become a way of living. Work and travel; sometimes combining both. Many of the jobs were basic and low wage, but with each new job I learnt; about the role itself, myself, and the country I was in. I travelled as far as India and Australia. Over the next years I hitch-hiked, bused, trained, hiked, sailed and had a go at every form of getting around that I could.

And then the career in retail management took over. The trouble was, at no time in my life had I felt as alive, as challenged, as amazed, as delighted and at times frightened, as when I was on the move in some different land. One of my favorite sayings is ‘Become a stranger in a strange land’.

As I was sitting drinking those beers in the Jersey pub, that saying was in my mind. I started to ponder the possibilities; where to go and how to go? What didn’t I like about the other ways I’d travelled? I loved hitch-hiking but I’d done that a lot. So what’s new? I’d really enjoyed the pace and challenge of bicycling, but those head winds weren’t something I looked forward to. I also knew that I wanted the ability to cover more ground in whatever time I could make available. Cycling was out then, and so was travelling by bus or by train. Unable to stop on previous trips, I’d zipped on past things, people and places that had looked interesting.

My beery brain was hunting for a new way to travel. A way to solve the issues I was identifying, and give me new things to learn. Slowly my mind worked around to travelling by motorcycle. I knew I wanted to travel through Africa too. I wanted to see if my childhood memories about how things sound smelt and tasted were true. The only problem was, I didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle!

I handed in my notice at work the next morning. I had a bit of a hangover but I was convinced that I was doing the right thing. I then bought myself a little 125cc trail bike to learn on, and passed my test 6 weeks later. It wasn’t long before I’d made it to the edge of the Sahara. Sitting on my 800cc BMW motorcycle, I looked south over the Egyptian sands and contemplated the point that quite likely I was a complete idiot! I mean, ride a motorcycle through Africa with just a few months experience? For sure I was incompetent and perhaps quite mad, but it was too late; I was there. And anyway, I’d told my mates in the pub what I was doing. I couldn’t deal with the loss of face if I turned back without even trying.

sm 6So the journey through Africa began. The original plan, if I dare call it that with things happening at such a pace, was to ride through West Africa. Just as I passed my motorcycle test, things went politically pear-shaped in Algeria, and all the borders in that part of Africa closed. No one had the remotest idea how long this situation was going to continue; my heart had sunk. But I started to look for a plan B – I had a ticking clock in my mind. Because of the terrain and the extreme temperatures, there are only certain months of the year when it’s sane to travel across the Sahara. If I didn’t crack on I’d lose the opportunity.

The alternative route was through East Africa. The problem there was that Sudan had a North to South civil war going on, and Ethiopia had been at war within itself for the past 20 years. On the up side, some people were getting visas for Sudan, and the war in Ethiopia was just coming to an end. With nothing to lose, I set off with new rough plans in mind; I might as well try. After all, I’d given up my job, and sold just about everything I owned. What hadn’t occurred to me was that Mike, and Sally, who I’d met on the way, and I were to be the first people to ride motorcycles North to South through Sudan and Ethiopia for those 20 years. We’d struck it lucky. A window of opportunity had opened.

This was 1992. No Google, no GPS, no cell phones and no digital photography. If you wanted to find something out you went to the library or wrote letters. If you wanted to find the way, you hunted out the best maps you could, and you asked for directions. Getting lost was a part of the journey, and instead of being a negative it simply opened up a world of the unexpected. I still believe that some of the best adventures happen on a road you hadn’t planned to be travelling.

19 fascinating countries and a year later, I decided that actually there was no good sm 10reason to head for home. There were plenty of reasons to carry on though. Travelling by motorcycle, in spite of being thrown in prison in Tanzania and 17 bone fractures in the desert in Namibia, was more than fulfilling my beery thoughts in the pub. Another favorite saying is ‘Stop worrying about the potholes and celebrate the journey’.

I booked passage for my bike and I to sail on a container ship across the Indian Ocean to Australia. And so, what turned out to be the eight year journey around the world had begun. My motorcycle is called Libby. That’s short for Liberty; it’s what she gives me. All these years later, she’s still my only means of transport in the UK. She does now have a younger sister getting me around in the USA on trips there. A 2013 BMW F800GS. That bike is called ‘Lucky’. For sure I know how lucky I am to have her, and the opportunity to explore more of the amazing land that is the USA.

I think of myself as being a bit of an accidental author. I didn’t set out on my journey with the aim of writing magazine articles or books. With enthusiastic encouragement from others I thought I’d have a go. I’d kept a journal every day, so I had the facts and many of the descriptions. Long term travelers learn quickly about the risk of being on intake overload each day; it’s so easy to forget the dates, statistics, sights, sounds, smells, names and so on. The drama and the funny side to life do tend to stay in one’s mind though.

Seeing if I could write a book would be a new adventure. I was putting in 10-12 hour days working renovating semi-derelict houses and then after a quick shower and some food, I sat down to write. It took me two years. Learning everything about the publishing and print industries was been a side fascination, and I’ll never forget the sensation of having my first printed copy in my hand; it’s a wonderful moment. I certainly didn’t expect the 5 star reviews my books have been collecting from kind readers and media reviewers.

sm 8What next? More travels but in shorter stints; I need just enough to keep scratching that itch and to give me material to write travel articles. I also send a fair bit of time doing travel presentations and book signings at motorcycle dealerships, libraries, clubs, schools and businesses. They are my opportunity to share the fun of the road, and perhaps even encourage others to head out and to explore for themselves.

I’m keen that people really think about life, recognize the opportunities as they occur, and take advantage of them. This is such an invigorating thing, both at work and play. I fully accept that many people have responsibilities that will not allow them to head out into the blue for months even years at a time and I really value being around people like that who are accepting their responsibilities and making life zing as much as they can. I love it when people say such things as, “I’d love to travel, but I can’t, yet.” Adventures begin with dreams.

Each of the four books takes the reader riding and exploring through a different section SM 7of the eight year journey and thankfully people seem to like them. I think of my books as being a way to share the fun of the open road with those who for the moment can’t head out on a long trip. With those who really don’t want to travel but love to read about it, and also as encouragement to those who think they don’t have the skills to travel in this way. I had few skills when I started, but I had an open mind, a strong curiosity, and an understanding of the value of respect. I’ve got a positive attitude too. It’s a great world and travelling by motorcycle, to my mind, is a superb way to see it.

 

Sam’s Books

Sm 13Into Africa Takes the reader on that first eye-opening year through the incredible continent that is Africa. There are challenges a plenty; it’s a genuine tale of the unexpected. Woven into this journey between Cairo and Cape Town are the riding, the people, wildlife, history, the disasters and the silver linings; there’s plenty of humor too.

Overland Magazine: ‘The word-pictures that bring a good travel book to life are all here; Sam’s perceptions of people, places and predicaments have real depth and texture, their associated sights, smells and sounds are evoked with a natural ease. Where other author’s detailed descriptions can sometimes get in the way, Sam’s style is engaging and well-tuned. I found myself in the midst of action rather than a mere fly on the wall.’

 

sm 1Under Asian Skies This is the story of just nearly 3 years travelling from Australia and New Zealand, up through SE Asia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and through Eastern Europe. This without doubt is the most colorful and culturally diverse part of the world I’ve been lucky enough to ride. Every day was an adventure.

Horizons Unlimited: ‘Sam has the skills of the story teller and this book easily transports you into three years of journey across Asia. He manages to bring the sounds, scents and heat of Asia to life without wordy overkill and he has obviously researched his historical facts carefully. In places Under Asian Skies is sad, and in others it’s outrageously funny – look out for his battle with the Sydney port officials and the bus ride in Indonesia. All in all this is a really good read, whether you have been across Asia, or are planning a trip. This is true travelling on the cheap and not your everyday story.’

SM 2Distant Suns My third book has me linking up with a German lass in New Zealand. Birgit agreed to ride with me, but to Africa first, and on her own bike. She rode out of Mombasa harbor in Kenya with just 600 miles of experience on a motorcycle! Over the next 3 years we rode together through Africa, and on up through South and Central America. These continents may be on the same latitude, but the contrasts in landscape, cultures and the peoples are huge. The Andes? Simply stunning. Oh and I’d not told Birgit what a disaster magnet I am!

Motorcycle Explorer: ‘An epic ride that almost becomes secondary to the events that happen and the very human element of travelling. Sam never forgets to use his five senses in his tales; leaving you immersed in the sights, sounds, touch, smell and taste of a journey of true human discovery.’

 

Layout 1Tortillas to Totems: This book takes you travelling with us through the 3 countries that make up North America. Three neighbors that are so wonderfully different to each other, make travelling this part of the world a delight. North America was in fact the part of the world that surprised me the most. When you read this book you’ll find out all the reasons why I keep coming back.

ADVMoto Magazine: ‘What I enjoy most about Sam’s method is his way of describing the moment. You feel it, smell it… you freeze, you sweat, and you see what’s before him like you’re along for the ride. You are very much there. It’s a rather intimate, honest style that easily carries you from chapter-to-chapter. I highly recommend that you add Sam’s books to your reading list.’

About the Author: Sam Manicom travelled the world on his trusty 1992 BMW R80GS, with his partner Birgit on her 1971 BMW R60/5.

He has been writing for various magazines around the world since 1996. Those titles include: Motorcycle Sport & Leisure, Adventure Bike Rider, Motorcycle Voyager, Canadian Biker, Motorcycle Monthly, Motociclisimo, Motorcycle Explorer, Australian Road Rider, MCN and ADVMoto Magazine.

He is the author of 4 acclaimed motorcycle travel books. His first book was written as a result of readers’ letters to editors. ‘We like Sam’s articles. When’s he going to write a book?’  Until that time he’d been travelling with just new adventures in mind.

Signed copies are available from Sam-Manicom.com with free UK delivery, and with free Worldwide delivery via the Book Depository.com https://www.bookdepository.com/author/Sam-Manicom

Sam’s 4 books are also available for download as Kindles and as Audiobooks. Sam narrates the books himself.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kindle-Store-Sam-Manicom/s?rh=n%3A341677031%2Cp_27%3ASam+Manicom

https://www.audible.co.uk/search?searchNarrator=Sam+Manicom

https://books.apple.com/us/author/sam-manicom/id516565970

Facebook – Catch up with Sam via his two pages: Sam Manicom and Adventure Motorcycle Travel Books by Sam Manicom.

Twitter – You’ll find him on @SamManicom

Instagram – sammanicom.author

Website – If you’d like to learn more about his books and his presentation schedule please go to www.sam-manicom.com

Sam is Co-Host of Adventure Rider Radio RAW show. Hosted by Jim Martin, the show is recorded monthly with a panel of 5 highly experienced overlanders from around the world. Listeners submit topics for discussion. RAW has been described by listeners as akin to sitting around a giant kitchen table with the team, beers, wine and coffee in hand, discussing motorcycles and travel; there’s controversy, challenging ideas, top tips and plenty of banter!

https://adventureriderradio.com/arr-raw/

Sam says, “If you are a You Tube fan, have a hunt. There are various riding and interview clips to be found, including a recent chat with the phenomenal Ted Simon.”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-658_CSkrA

He was the first Overlander Interviewed by Adventure Bike TV for their popular ‘Under the Visor’ series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bToV6paAEXM

In 2017 Overland Magazine awarded him the Roho Ya Kusafiri Spirit of Travel’ award for his contribution to Overland and Adventure Travel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Y1BKPbp_Y