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Thursday, 16 May 2013

How this crazy idea started

Tomorrow morning a film crew from Hemmings House Pictures is showing up in my garage to film myself and Peter Oxley discussing our upcoming motorcycle trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. The garage is a total mess and I'm sitting here at a computer procrastinating instead of cleaning up.

So how did all this come about, who the hell are we and why should you care?

Who are we........I'm Terry Burt, 44 years old, married with two daughters, Maggie and Katie, a dog Molly and a cat Buddy. I live in Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada and I make my living flying corporate jets. I'm a Taurus, enjoy slow walks on the beach...........shit, sorry wrong blog.

I love motorcycles, always have, always will. It started with my neighbour, Stuart Oak, this guys brother,
Scott Oak. Anyway, they were my neighbours when I was a very young lad growing up in St. John's Newfoundland, and they had minibikes. Honda CT70's, and Stuart would let me ride around with him on it. From then on it was love at first kickstart.

My first bike was a Honda Z50
I bugged the crap out of my parents to get me this, I'd ride my bicycle down to Fun'n Fast, the local Honda dealer, sit on it and drool over it. After agreeing to go to church every Sunday for a year (you have no idea how much I hated church) and do my chores, I finally had one. I rode the crap out of that thing, loved it, and if I could find another one now, it would be in my garage for the kids.
Over the next 30 years I've had various bikes, a Honda Elite 125 scooter (yes I am man enough to admit I owned, rode and had a ridiculous amount of fun on that scooter). Sure as hell beat waiting for the bus.

 A couple of CBR600's, BMW G650, Kawasaki Ninja, and my current rides a 2006 VStrom 1000 nicknamed "The Grey Goose" and a XR250R, to get my woods, trail riding fix.

Then in 2006 my sister gave me the book Long Way Round
I have been fascinated, no, make that obsessed with adventure riding since then. At the time it was just a dream. Then I discovered this website,
 and a whole new world has open before me. I never really thought of doing any major travel on a motorcycle, I thought that was reserved for rich movie actors that were sponsored by BMW (not that there is anything wrong with that). Shit, the more I read the more I realized a lot of people were doing some pretty amazing rides to some really cool remote places.

Having lived in Labrador in the 90's flying bush planes, I thought that riding to Labrador would be my equivalent to say the "Road of Bones" in Siberia. I mean I am a regular working guy with a family, bills to pay and a mortgage, I can't take off for 3 months. But.....a trek through the Labrador wilderness and the island of Newfoundland was doable.

So finally 6 years later I finally committed to doing the trip. This was going to be my biggest, and most difficult trip to date. I have done a few 2 and 3 day trips, but they have all been pretty easy with my Harley friends.

Now, this is where the plan gets more complicated,  Peter Oxley, and Greg Hemmings enter the picture. Peter is a friend of mine, we paddle surf, and cycle together, and are more or less in the same stage of life. Peter is in medical equipment sale, so if you need a plastic replacement testicle, he's your man. He's also married with three kids, Tegan, Lainy, Gregor and dog Saphie. Pete is a bit of a mad man too, one of New Brunswick top rowers, he has rowed across the Bay of Fundy (over 75km of what can be some nasty water, ie 40ft tides) and a crazy assed row from Fredericton to Saint John on the Saint John River. So he's a little tweaked like me.
Pete's old XS650

Pete, the purple Beiber jacket and El Diablo, the KLR650

 We are out for a bicycle ride one day and I mention to him my plans to ride to Newfoundland and do the Trans Labrador Highway. Pete's response was "you mean like a mini Long Way Round, that's awesome, you should call Greg Hemmings and film it" Greg is also a friend, I sold him a paddleboard and helped get him hooked on the sport. Greg also owns Hemmings House Pictures and makes films, TV shows and commercials. 

Greg is this larger than life character, and he is always in, not a good mood, a great mood. The guy radiates energy and lights up a room. He is the man with a vision.

Before you know it, emails, texts and phone calls are traded, a meeting is set up, and a loose plan is set. Mind you the plan has changed several times, and almost come full circle again. That was last fall

It's now May. Peter who hasn't ridden a bike since his teens, and has never had a bike license, has since passed the motorcycle course, bought a used 2007 KLR650 and is learning to ride again. Let's hope he learns enough before we tackle the Trans Lab Highway.

Greg has put together a pitch to sell to the TV networks, and OLN has taken the bait. So we are in the process of putting together some footage of Peter and I so they can see our chemistry on camera. Sounds lame, but its TV. So if, and it's a giant IF OLN gives us the nod, this trip could turn into a multi year trip to far off destinations. I say multi-year because two working stiffs can only do so much with 5 weeks vacation a year and families at home.

So why should you care? Maybe you don't. Maybe you are a middle aged guy like us, that cannot or will not sacrifice golf time for some adventure and just wants to see what the world is like from the comfort of your lazyboy recliner. Or maybe you are a lonely housewife or divorcee that wants to see two studly guys on TV. (Ok that last part was completely sarcastic)

Since all the other adventure travel shows on TV revolve around races, or young people just barely past the legal drinking age, this just may bring a new perspective and cater to what is probably the largest age demographic on the planet, 35-55 years of age. 

Regardless of whether or not we get an OLN deal, we are still going to do the trip (because it's on my bucketlist) and we'll get some awesome video and photos and make our own web series. We are in a new era where people now get their viewing entertainment from the web, and YouTube has become a free to view TV network with more selection and better content.

So that's it in a nutshell so far.

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