Rob was a lanky lad, one of the few that could dwarf a KLR
Rob and Zac working tirelessly at the FAR 2015
picture by Tammy Perry
I met Rob Harris, or Ed 'Arris as he is known, shortly after Pete and I did the Two Wheels Thru the Bigland videos, Zak Kurylyk reposted my blog reports from our trip on CMG, and once the videos were done, they were also hosted on CMG. That led to being asked to video and edit the Dawn to Dusk rally, which led to the Fundy Adventure Rally.
It was after the first rally that I got to know Rob fairly well, I went up to Sackville to visit him, hash out ideas about the rally, solve the problems of the world, help him change tires on bikes, liberate his basement of some of Ed and Rachel's Canadian leftovers. In fact I met the infamous Ed March in Rob's kitchen for the first time. (he's much taller than he appears in the film).
I was supposed to go back to Sackville again in June to interview Rob and his wife Courtney for the "On Any Fundy" documentary. I had hoped to make the trip in May, but figured I'd have more time in June once he returned from his travels. He invited me up to stay the night, so we could have a few pints.
I'm away on my own travels, making my annual trip to Teterboro, New Jersey for flight simulator training. So I rode down again, this time on the Guzzi. Yesterday I put in an 11 hr day on the bike. Riding through some incredible scenery in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, through Massachusetts, and ending my day in Danbury, Connecticut. It was a near perfect day, sunny skies and warm temperatures.
My euphoria of the day came to a screeching halt last night when I received word that Rob had died in a motorcycle accident at an adventure rally in Ontario. I was shocked, and could not belief what was written in the text.
I've spent the day, like many of Rob's friends trying to come to grips with this. I am surprised at how much this has upset me. Maybe, with age you begin to value life more, maybe it's questioning your own mortality, maybe it was just that Rob was great guy, who left behind a lovely wife and two young daughters.
All I know is that it was a hell of rough ride from Danbury to New Jersey this morning.
Thank you Rob, for letting me get to know you, inviting me in for a peek at the world of CMG and motorcycle journalism. For a guy who loves motorcycles, what you did for me was awesome. I got to spend two entire days riding an 800GS and 1200GS off road with no chaperone, have Clinton Smout teach me some new skills, get me a media pass to the AIMExpo in Orlando, and show my "Riding the Trans Labrador" video at the Toronto Motorcycle Show.
I'll never forget sitting in the CMG office sorting through hours of FAR video, and for a moment pretending to be a moto journalist.
Thanks for all your contributions to the world of two wheels.