Runaway Rendezvous with Megan The Motorcycling Mamacita

by The Runaway Guide on February 21, 2013

a canadian girl motorcycling solo through central americaI first met Megan at the Papaya Lodge in El Tunco, El Salvador. From the moment she walked into the dorm, I couldn’t stop sneaking glances.  She had her vintage red helmet in hand, her riding boots on, and a sexy wind blown look on her face. When my curiosity could no longer be contained, I introduced myself and discovered that she was just 24 years old and had ridden from Edmonton in Alberta, Canada all the way to El Salvador on her own. I was so impressed and intrigued that the questions just kept rolling.

1) What inspired you to ride to Central America?

I have actually pondered this question for some time because I am not exactly sure. I think someone said something once about someone riding a motorcycle to South America and I thought “neet, Im going to do that”. I wasn’t really serious until people started saying I couldn’t. Naturally I didn’t like that so I started looking into it. I didn’t even believe it until next thing ya know I was sitting on a new moto purchased with the last of my student loans thinking “shit, this thing is heavy”.

2) Have you always rode motorcycles?

The first time I rode on a highway was actually the day I left…. I made it 45 minutes out of town. I couldn’t even test drive little Kawasaki when I bought her. Some people would suggest that this is foolish but when you ride from Saskatchewan to Guatemala there is actually a lovely gradual skill increase. Step 1: straight and flat. Step 2: hills and curves. Step 3: mountains and large American cities. Step 4: Tijuana. And Step 5: sand, creeks, highways that turn into dirt paths, oil slicks, construction detours, and chicken buses.

3) What kind of bike do you ride?

It’s a 1981 kawasaki 440 ltd. Not exactly the ideal bike for this kind of journey but it only cost me a thousand bucks and any kid working in a tortillaria can fix it.

an old kawasaki in mexico

4) What did your mom say when you told her your plan?

Aha she forbade it, then she didn’t believe me, then I told her I bought a bike when we were in the dentist’s office so she couldn’t freak out. Realy she and the pops reacted the exact same way as I feel I would towards my future wanderlust children. They weren’t outwardly psyched that I was set on undertaking a potentially dangerous activity but they came around and now are very supportive. My ma still reiterates the government of Canada warnings to me though every time I enter a new country.

5) What’s the best part of motorcycling Central America?

The best part I would have to say is those times that I break down or have to stop for the night in funny little towns that no tourist would think of staying in. I like to think I get the best of both worlds. I make it to the tourist destinations but I also get a generous dose of culture and interaction with the people of the country. Its also a guilty pleasure of mine when I get to tell people on fancy new BMWs that I rode down on a near vintage street bike with a packpack bungeed to the sissy bar, it’s all fun love though, ive got nothing against BMWs.

breakdown-motorcycle-central-america-mexico

6) What’s the hardest part?

Being hung over on the days I want to leave… at these times I sometimes wish I could just jump on a shuttle and sleep.

7) Have you ever been robbed?

I prefer to think of it as paying for someones childrens education.

8) Have you had any accidents?

I fall off more often then I care to admit but its always been on dirt roads and at low speeds. A result of riding a street bike off street and maybe a little inexperience. The worst I’ve got was the wind knocked out of me and maybe a bruised rib but I’ve always gotten up laughing. Once you accept the fact that you might take a tumble or two it’s not a big deal. As for actual accidents, I find drivers down south a bit nuts but incredibly alert. They might pass you with half a foot of clearance but they aren’t going to run you over (knocks on wood).

motorcycle crash

9) How far will you go?

It costs more to ship the bike over the Darian gap then the bike cost so im trying to gift it to a fellow traveler somewhere between Nicaragua and Panama. If you know anyone who’s interested let me know.

10)  How many times have locals proposed to you?

Never, ive been chased by tuk tuks a few times though, maybe it’s the same thing.

11)  What part of the world do you want to ride next?

That’s a toughy. If not more of South America I’d be inclined to say India-Nepal area. I’d probably switch up the means of travel though. Ive recently grown a strong propensity towards bicycles.

12)  What kind of gear did you bring?

I set out on this journey definitely the budget way. Almost all my gear is older than me except for my camp stove and ive got an iphone which comes in handy for maps. Depsite what some may say, a GPS is not necessary. Other than that ive got lots of bungee cords, a backpack, a tarp, and a sleeping bag. I sent my tent home after Mexico. Ooo one of my favorite things ive been carrying though is a fish filleting knife. It comes in loads handy for some reason and it never seems to get dull.

13)  What advice would you give to someone interested in riding through Central America?

Ignore the nay sayers, find the joy in things going completely wrong, and in my opinion don’t get carried away with gear, thought having said that, I really wish I had one of those little travel hammocks.

Conclusion

I’m still blown away by Megan. She is seriously an inspiration to anyone who wants to travel by any means. After learning about her adventure my motorcycle twitch has returned with a vengeance. Now all I can think about is getting back on a bike. But, I will leave it fate. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Besides, I’m not sure my budget can afford it.

Check her out at Southbound Ramblin.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Flora May 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Amazing story! Now I’m getting urges to find the nearest Ecuadorian bike shop and get myself onto the Pan-American Highway…

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The Runaway Guide May 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

Do it Flora! :) Careful though.

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Alison B. May 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Hi Leif,
Good to see you on Sunday, and glad to now be able to catch up on all of your travels. And all of your adventures to come. Inspiring.

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The Runaway Guide May 22, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Hey! Same! Glad you found me :)

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Ignacio May 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Please, be my wife…. I want thay kind of woman in my life…… I need to meet a woman like you…. nice and coool.. Congratulations

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El Salvador Motociclismo March 9, 2013 at 11:26 am

WELCOME EL SALVADOR

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The Runaway Guide March 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Thank you! Loved El Salvador. I mean it too!

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Bec Rowe March 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm

She’s probably the coolest chick I have ever met!! Great site by the way Leif!

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The Runaway Guide March 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Agreed. Thanks Bec! I’m missing your special rum punch shots :)

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megan February 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I do have a blog Leif! hahah check me out http://www.southboundramblin.com... i Woulndt say i post often but everynow and then . Great blog to you by the way! such interesting reads, im honoured to be featured next to them.. And thanks mom

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T-roy February 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Wow, this is different and inspiring in a lot of ways! Does she have a blog, website, fanpage exc that one could follow about her trip at all? Would love to check it out as I’m sure she’s got some awesome stories about her adventure so far!

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The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Yea, she’s a great writer too. I told her she should definitely start a blog.

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Adam February 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Great story Leif,
Fair play to Megan. I have just read a story 2 days ago, in a paper here in Queenstown, NZ, about two guys who were riding from Canada to Argentina. Illegal and questionable border control officers in Honduras, made life very difficult for them. Long story short, they couldn’t leave and one fell off his bike and needed surgery.

This put me off a little bit but then you read a story like this and it makes me want to do it!

Peace, keep up the good work

Adam

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The Runaway Guide February 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Hey Adam, thanks! That sucks. It happens on bikes, I won’t deny it. As an avid rider, I would definitely recommend experience first. But it is also something that comes as you go.

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Valerie February 22, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Hey! It’s the Mom here! I just want to say that our daughter Megan is amazing and we are proud of her for taking on this great adventure (despite the gray hair she is causing)! Can’t wait until we see her and hear first hand of all the adventure, culture, and wonderful friends she has made! Love you Megs…

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The Runaway Guide February 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm

She sure is! I wouldn’t worry about her, she’s definitely a pro now!

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Amanda Hepner February 22, 2013 at 1:01 am

Love this chick!
For touring cycles, check out jamisbikes.com. Awesome bikes and price points!

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Brett February 22, 2013 at 12:34 am

Wow, that is so awesome! I LOVE to travel but I’m always burdened with having to make plans with other people because I’m afraid to travel alone as a girl… But after reading this, and knowing that Megan has done it, just makes me want to throw caution to the wind & leave tonight!

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Ryan @ Pause The Moment February 21, 2013 at 11:10 pm

What an incredible story. So inspiring and such an epic trip! Doing a motorcycle tour is high on my list of to-do’s in the coming years. I did a 1,700 mile bicycle tour last year, I think I might switch it up and hop on something motorized next time around. Thanks for sharing this.

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