The Long Way Home Man travels 10,000 miles on motorcycle
With excerpts from Hadjh Ahrns journal
Tomorrow, Hadjh Ahrns will return from a three month long 10,000 mile motorcycle journey he has called the Long Way Home, from Lima, Peru to his mom’s house in Nevada City.
Ahrns, 27, who spent his childhood in Nevada City will begin his fourth year of medical school on Monday.
In April, Ahrns and his friend since kindergarten Natalie Gangemi began the first leg of the journey with two Kawasaki KLR 650 motorcycles affectionately named Rex and Kiki. The ride would take them across 3,500 miles of scenic mountains and small villages.
Riding motorcycles was new to Gangemi, a petite woman at five foot four inches who didn’t speak Spanish. When packed with gear, the motorcycles weighed close to 500 pounds, and Gangemi “dropped” the bike more than once. Despite her inexperience, Gangemi fell in love with the South American people and countryside.
“It’s a fascinating way to travel because your right in the middle of it. The people in South America are warm and friendly and willing to help at any moment,” she said.
Four other riders, including Ahrns’ brother and cousin would accompany him, tag team style, on the long ride home.
“The ‘Long Way Home’ as I call this journey is derived from my desire for a new sense of freedom and a new way to travel the world. I have traveled over 25 countries in the last four years and never have I actually been responsible for driving from one place to another, Ahrns said in an email.
“My first days ride took me through the slums of outer Lima (neighborhoods of colorful corrugated sheet metal houses that pilfer electricity off of the main power lines and carry water up into the house).
“Here mutts roam the shoulder and between looking out for pot holes and potential dangers that could move from the side of the road into my lane, I completely missed out on what was around me. Every dog was a danger that could end up under my tire in a second. Every bus was in my space and stressing me out,” Ahrns wrote.
The old friends rode through torrential rains that sent rivers down the streets, high mountain elevations reaching 12,000 feet above sea level and through Columbian coffee country where they learned to roast coffee beans on a small farm. They slept in hostels and became adept at fixing flat tires.
In Columbia, Gangemi and Ahrns parted ways. It was there that Ahrns loaded his bikes and boarded one of only three boats that could take him to Panama: a 70-foot yacht called the “Seeadler.”
Ahrns crossed over into San Diego on Tuesday and his mother Karen Ahrns is anticipating his return this Friday.
“I’m obviously really proud. He’s quite inspiring,” she said.
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