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“HEY!! HEYYY!!!” Poke.. poke……  There I am, Lying in my hammock. Its 3:30 in the morning. I’m all tied up inside my sleeping bag which is taco’ed inside my hammock. I’ve only been asleep for an hour or two and for some reason someone is rudely waking me up?! I peep out of my sleep cocoon and all I can see is bright lights. At this point I’m  super confused. Did I die? Am I dreaming?  Then I see it, those old familiar red and blue lights. It takes my eyes 30 or 40 seconds to focus but when they do I realize that there’s an officer standing  about 10 feet away from me with his hand on his gun. Then I realize that he’s talking to me. “Who are you and what are you doing?” I reply, “I’m Jim and I’m trying to sleep.”  The officer then yelled, “Do you have any weapons?” I replied in super sleepy voice, “Yeah.”  He then asked me what it was and I told him that I had a 20 inch machete. He continued asking me the same things for a minute or two.  Finally, I just yelled, “What do you want?!” I was extremely incoherent.  The officer then ordered me to leave my hammock. I slowly untied myself and fell out of my hammock. “Where are you coming from,” he asked me. I sleepily replied, “Brazil.” “Don’t mess with me!” He yelled. The next twenty or so minutes were dedicated to me telling our story about how we made our voyage from Florainopolis, Brazil up until that point where I was sleeping, in po dunk Arizona, in my hammock.  He of course didn’t believe me. I searched around and found my Brazilian documents and proved my case. I woke up a little bit more and we talked for another good while. He had called two back up cars earlier. They showed up. So now I was standing there, surrounded by three cars with their lights flashing and six or so officers. I was just leaning on my bike smiling. After talking our way out of trouble with the Venezuelan military police just a few weeks prior, a bunch of Arizona deputies were no big deal. One of them got my information and went to his car. He came back a couple minutes later and whispered something to the other officer. He then came over to me and asked me if I had ever been in trouble with the state of Arizona? I told him that I didn’t think so. He then said, “The state of Arizona has a warrant out for you arrest. Are you aware of that?” I laughed and said, “ha ha yeah right!” He replied, “Did you  get a ticket in Lake Powell in 2006?” “Umm yeah,” I replied. He told me that he had to take me in. I yelled, “YOU’RE KIDDING ME! I just rode a fetching dirt bike 16,000 miles through some of the most hostile countries in North and South America and you’re going to lock me up in Po Dunk Arizonia?!” I was so mad. He calmed me down and after another 20 minutes of persuasion he decided that he’d let me go back to sleep. I laid back down, and within minutes I was passed out again.

After another 3 or 4 hours of well deserved sleep I was up and back on the road. I rode fast and hard until I made it past Tucson. I stopped for gas right before I approached the outskirts of the Phoenix metro area. As I walked in to pay for my gas I remember smiling from ear to ear and chatting up a storm with the gas station guy. What a good feeling to be back in the US. Back home. Well, almost home. I filled my bike and Gatorade bottle with gas and got ready to ride. As I tied my newly filled Gatorade bottle by the other ones I noticed that the Mexican gas was almost a brown color and the American gas was clear. All along people had told me how terrible Mexican gas was. Back on the road I rode all the way through the Phoenix. I stopped for more gas on the way out of the Phoenix.  A couple hours later my bike started struggling as I was climbing in elevation and fighting a hard head wind. The climb up to flagstaff was a long cold one. I stopped at Maverick because its adventures first stop and I needed gas. I bought myself some delicious chocolate milk and doughnuts and hit the road. The wind picked up even more as I got closer to the Grand Canyon. By this point I was wearing all my clothes again with my rain gear on over that. It was pretty chilly. I stopped again at the Indian reservation gas station before Page. I topped my tank off and tightened my chain. It was in super bad shape. There were several rollers missing and it was extremely stretched. I got it just right, pushed started by bike and rolled onward. I rode another hour or so and passed Page and Lake Powell. I just smiled as I crossed into Utah. Almost Home! As I crossed Glen Canyon Dam I was about 70 miles from Kanab when my bike started shaking a little bit. I was right in the middle of the Indian Reservation when I felt a pop and my bike RPM’s went all the way up. Right after that I started slowing down. I looked down and…. No chain. I stopped at one of those little pull offs where the Indians sell their souvenirs. I hopped off and walked back to where my chain dropped. I grabbed it and walked back over to my bike. One of the busted rollers had worn out the link and it broke. Now what. NOOWww What! I looked at my GPS and figured I was close enough Kanab to hitch a ride into town where I could hopefully find a chain or new link. I tried hitching a ride for almost half an hour. Nobody even blinked. I was standing up holding my chain, waving both my arms, and still people would just speed past. I thought, “Are you serious? What a bunch of loser people.” After hitch hiking without any success I walked over to my bike and sat down on the ground. As I looked at the chain and bike I realized that all I needed was a new link clip. I propped my bike up and loosed the chain tensioners all the way up. Then I wrapped the broken chain around the sprockets and lined it up. I looked like I would be able to take out a whole link. I took the chain back off and went to work with a pair of vice grips and a big rock. Somehow I managed to break the chain link and get it apart. I wrapped the chain back on the bike and hooked the chain on. It just barley reached. Then I took the old busted part of the chain and smashed the link on over the chain rollers. I pounded it on tight and rolled my bike forward a bit to see if it would work. 

Worked like a dream! I packed up my tools, put in my head phones, gave my bike a push and I was off! A short hour later I was 30 miles from Kanab. I was fighting a 40-50 mph head wind. My bike was struggling and I was Freezing! I fought through it and made it to Kanab. I searched the whole town for bike parts and found nothing. I started getting ready to ride and then realized that it was freezing cold outside! I walked into the local Levis store and bought every bit of warm clothes they had. I now had gloves, a beanie, a huge sweater, long underwear, thermal socks, and sweatpants to go along with all of the other clothes I was wearing and all covered up by my rain gear. I jumped on and rode fast and hard as it was getting dark fast. I pulled into Beaver at about 9:30 pm and got gas. The girl inside gave me a really funny look. I looked at her, smiled, and said, “I’m riding my motorbike home from Brazil! Haha” I put my gloves on, got a good run, bumped my clutch and started my bike, and rode off into the foggy windy night. The next hour and a half I spent reminiscing the last three months. Just thinking about all the crazy nights, all the amazing rides, all the amazing people, all the answered prayers, and all the things I had seen. As I came down the last hill coming into my hometown of Fillmore I caught a crazy tail wind and got my top speed of the entire 3 months I had been gone. 165 kms per hour.  As I pulled off the exit at Meadow a crazy feeling came over me. Another mile later and I could see my house off in the distance. It was about 11:00 pm so I was a little nervous that everyone would be sleeping already. Keep in mind that nobody knows that I’m coming home. The last time I was heard from by anyone in my family was almost three weeks earlier in Costa Rica when I called home to have my shot card faxed to me. The last time I had seen my buddies was five or six days earlier in southern Mexico. My arrival at home was a complete surprise.  The last three miles I could see that the lights were on at the house and I smiled the whole way there. I pulled into the driveway did a little circle on the front yard, and went straight up the eight steps to our front porch! As I got to the top my chain came off and my bike tipped straight over! It made a huge crash as my cheap glasses scattered and gear scattered everywhere. I stood it up and looked in the kitchen window. There was my mother, with the most confused / surprised look on her face, washing dishes right inside the window. Another second later and her and my Dad were on the porch with me.  My Mother instantly started to bawl and my Dad laughed and then chewed me out for making them worry. It was pretty inconsiderate of me not telling them what I was doing but it made for a good story in the end. In the end, they were just glad I was home. 

I hadn’t been home more than 10 minutes when my Dad said, get that stuff off and get in the bath tub! You’re filthy. I went and looked in the mirror and he was right. I hadn’t shaved in a couple weeks and hadn’t taken a shower in days. I had been riding behind semi trucks to catch their tail wind, so my face was completely black with road grime.  It took me a good 30 minutes of scrubbing to get all of it off. The next few hours were spent telling stories and rejoicing with my family.
On a whim, two buddies and I just bought dirt bikes and rode them home from Brazil. We traveled some visited 13 countries. We met some of the most amazing people and saw some of the most amazing sights in the whole world. I came to know myself better, and most importantly came to know God better. 


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