Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Living on the Road

I thought I had taken some long trips, but this guy has really checked out. Can you imagine riding a motorcycle all over the world, never sleeping more than a night or two in the same place, not just for a few weeks, or even a few months, but for years on end? Ernest Herndon passed this along to me a few days ago after meeting Sjaak Lucassen when he passed through Mississippi. Here's the article he wrote for the McComb Enterprise-Journal:

"World-traveling biker stops off in McComb.

Most of us can slake our wanderlust with a week or two in the wilds or on the road. Not Sjaak Lucassen. The 43-year-old Dutch motorcyclist has been on the road since 2001 and still has a couple of continents to go before he gets home. Last week Lucassen spent a couple of nights at the home of McComb long-distance biking buff Shane Smith. Smith — who’s ridden motorcycles to the far corners of North America —met Lucassen at a bike show in Daytona, Fla., recently, and invited him to stop in on his way to California.“There’s not many motorcycle world travelers. There’s a few,” Smith said appreciatively. “This guy’s going to places other people don’t think about going.”

“This is my life,” Lucassen said. “Home is where my bike is.”Lucassen was a small-town truck farmer in the Netherlands before wanderlust got the better of him 10 years ago. “Vacation was never long enough. Sitting on my bike was never long enough,” he said. He motorcycled all over Australia, then backpacked through Indonesia.“Indonesia I loved, but I missed my wheels,” he said. “I decided to do a‘world thing.’ ”He took off on that trip in 1995 and rode for three years, covering 40 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. Then he returned home to write articles, give slide shows and line up sponsors. He left on his current trip March 4, 2001. Lucassen has covered 125,000 miles so far — down the west coast of Africa, across to South America, up through Central America and into North America, where he’s already been to Alaska, New York, Florida and California, none of it on interstate highways. Lucassen has found people to be friendly everywhere he goes, even in warzones.

“Most of the world is OK, you see,” he said. “It’s not like a lot of people think. The world is not too bad. It’s not like you see on TV. The world is not as rotten as people think.”

He rides a Yamaha YZF R1 speed bike, or “crotch rocket,” as he calls it. That’s not your typical cruising bike, but he goes fast on good roads and doesn’t hesitate to tackle bad ones. “I go through all terrain,” he said. A short, professionally made video shows some of his journey thus far. Entitled “Shock the World — Sjaak the World,” it shows clips of him bogging down in the Sahara, fording flooded roads in the Congo and blasting across salt flats.

“There aren’t many safety nets out there doing what he’s doing, buddy,”Smith said. Nor much income. While Lucassen makes money writing articles and selling post cards and photo CDs, “the main thing is by not spending money, by sleeping on the side of the road,” he said. From here Lucassen will go to Los Angeles and ship his bike to Russia for the next leg of his journey. He’s ridden in Russia before and it’s his favorite. “Unspoiled traveler’s country,” he called it. “People friendly, always adventure.”

He originally planned to spend just one night at Smith’s but wound up staying two. “I’m restless,” said Lucassen. “If I’m four days at a place I want to move.”

Here's Lucassen's website:

Friday, March 04, 2005

Sportsman's Guide articles

The Sportsman's Guide offers a wide variety of camping, backpacking, boating and other outdoor gear. This company was long established in the mail order gear business years before the advent of the Internet. You may not be aware, however, that the Sportsman's Guide website also features online articles about a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, from hunting and fishing to sea kayaking and mountain biking. I've been writing a few articles for their online ezine, which also features articles from such outdoor celebrities as Ted Nugent. Here's a link to the first article I did for them, about the fast-growing sport of kayak fishing:

Oh, and speaking of Ted Nugent, check out his website at: I had the opportunity to meet The Nuge in person at a booksigning at Borders in Jackson, where he was signing his books: God, Guns and Rock and Roll, and Kill it and Grill It.