PetaPixel

Modern Motorcycle Diaries: Man Captures His 500-Day Trip Across the Americas

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If you feel feelings of wanderlust and jealousy easily, you might want to stay away from the story of Alex Chacon. He’s a guy who recently completed a 503-day solo journey on a motorcycle. He rode 82,459 miles across 22 countries in both North and South America. Chacon also captured photos and videos throughout the journey in order to document his experience.

Here’s a 9-minute video Chacon put together after returning to his home in Texas. It shows highlights taken from over 600 hours of video, and has gone viral with hundreds of thousands of views in less than a month:

The journey started shortly after Chacon graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in biomedical sciences. Prior to starting his graduate school studies, he decided to follow through with his longtime dream of exploring the world adventurously while supporting a worthy cause.

Starting from his home in El Paso, Texas, Chacon rode south until he hit Ushuaia, Argentina, the “End of the World.” He then rode up to Brazil, then all the way up the Americas to Alaska before finally riding home to Texas.

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Chacon says he sold everything he had prior to embarking on this ambitious journey — one that was inspired by Che Guevara’s The Motorcycle Diaries — and used the trip to raise awareness and money for the charity Children of Uganda. To raise money, he worked for two months, sold his car, sold his clothes, gave blood, and took every opportunity he could find to make and save money.

Over the course of the trip, Chacon passed through interstates, highways, dirt roads, no roads, mud, rivers, through hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, rain, hail, sun shine, snow, ice roads, and more. Every night he would stay at whatever shelter he could find: gas stations, parks, couch surfing, hostels, or anyone willing to take him in. His meals would often consist of various canned foods.

As his story began spreading on the Internet, fans became donors and contributed food, money, and gas. Even the bike company Kawasaki contributed $1,000 toward a new bike, and GoPro joined in as a contributor as well.

Video and images during the trip were captured using a Canon DSLR, GoPro camera, and a special monopod Chacon designed for himself. The GoPro would often be fixed to the side of his helmet and the side of his bike.

Here are some of the photographs Chacon snapped over the 503 days:

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You can find more of Chacon’s photographs over in this Google+ album. You can also find out much more about the project itself over on its website.

Alex’s Motorcycle Adventures (via Laughing Squid)


Image credits: Photographs by Alex Chacon and used with permission


 
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  • Brixton

    This is awesome!

  • jake

    500days for new facebookprofile-pictures. nice

  • Alan Dove

    Awesome trip. I hope he skips the second part of the Che re-enactment, though.

  • cezar

    Someday i can do similar to this but to my country only… :)

  • KH

    Impressive on a KLR.

  • KH

    Ok, makes more sense now. Looks like he started out on an 06 and ended on a newer model. Not that a KLR couldn’t do over 80,000 miles in one trip, but runs like this one are tough for a thumper.

  • Kai

    How did he charge his camera battery?

  • http://twitter.com/ralphhightower Ralph Hightower

    Awesome project and photography. But lane splitting? No! I’ve thought of opening my door to lane splitters.

  • Dave

    Lane splitting is legal in some places. In California it is legal to lane split and illegal for cars to impede the bike who is lane splitting. In addition to being rude opening your door could get you arrested.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bala.chandrasekharan.7 Bala Chandrasekharan

    Fantastic Alex…. U are inspiring..Long live and happy miles to U

  • http://twitter.com/Aarography Aaro Keipi

    Yeah, I was wondering about that, since the bike switched colors at some point :D

  • http://twitter.com/Aarography Aaro Keipi

    Probably a 12v outlet hooked up to the bike’s battery.

  • gregkono

    Very very cool. The video demands your total attention. As a life long motorcyclist, I am very very jealous. This is what I dream about often. So glad you’ve done it and shared with the world!!

  • Gtwo

    I thoroughly enjoyed your video highlights. Need a word or two above Awesome. I’d love to do this. Would love to make it into 5 or 6 trips. Thanks for the inspiration. Kono, got to make some plans!!!….

  • happywanderer

    Lane splitting in CA is legal. It is illegal to impede a motorcycle lane splitting. If you cause an accident by trying to cuttoff a motorcycle lanesplitting, you will go to jail.