Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seattle to Argentina on a KLR650


This is one of those ride reports that touched me when I read it. The original post is on the ADVRider forum here. That thread is 66 pages (or more by now) so I am placing just OZYMANDIAS's posts here. Feel free to read the whole thread if you want too.

05-07-2006, 11:01 PM

Hello Friends-

Finally! Everything is coming together and it looks like I’ll be leaving today. My plan is to stay with a friend in Portland the first night and try to make Salt Lake City by the third. Then I’ll take a bit of time to see Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, visit a friend in Tucson, and cross the border at Nogales. I’ve now read a number of books on motorcycle travel in general and riding in Central and South America in particular, and I think I have a good leg up on things. Special thanks to Glen Heggstad and Gregory Frazier for writing their excellent and informative books.

All I can really report on now is what the preparation has been like, and there is no question that there was a great deal of work involved. At certain times it felt like a full-time job. I’m a novice rider, and have been pleasantly surprised by how much support I’ve received from the motorcycling community. You all have given me much valuable advice, and two new friends I made, Glen and Carl, have done a lot to help me get the bike properly upgraded- thanks guys.
The upgrades have been pretty extensive, but have already started to show their value. I never realized just how many things could be improved on a stock motorcycle. Glen, Carl, and I went off-roading a week ago, and I must have dumped the bike at least five times. With the improvements, the bike came out more or less unscathed, though I was a little beat up by the end of the day. It was a good learning experience, however, and I now have a better idea of my limits on the bike. My strategy on the trip is to play things very conservatively, for I haven’t yet developed the skill to be pushing any limits.

For those of you who might someday be interested in doing some touring yourselves, I'm posting a list of the things I bought and their costs below. This doesn't include the cost of buying beer and pizza for the guys who helped me work on my bike! I’ll also keep track of my budget along the way. I project I should be able to average around $35 per day if I’m careful, but time will tell.
All the best to everyone, and I’ll write again soon.


$2950 2001 Kawasaki KLR650
$123.25 Bike Registration
$157.20 Sub-Frame Upgrade, Radiator Guard, Water Pump Guard
$20 Adventure Motorcycling Handbook
$24.97 CO2 Kit for Tires
$31 Spanish CD’s
$16 Spanish Book
$12.79 Iron Zip Ties
$100 Motorcycle Safety Course
$82.85 Hand Guards Maier
$289.58 Immunizations, Bug Repellant
$1140 Pannier Boxes, Shift Lever, Skid Plate, Foot Pegs, Doohickey Upgrade Kit, Master Cylinder Guard, Clutch and Brake Levers, Chain Lube, Carburetor Vent Kit
$50.12 Low-Profile Oil Plug, Oil Cap and Wrench
$22.41 Thread Locker
$16.98 Fuses, Tie-Down Straps, Razor Knife, WD40
$250.20 Tent, Thermarest, Kayak Bag, Platypus
$262.01 Armored Textile Jacket
$25 Motorcycle Endorsement Fee
$27.15 Gloves
$11.71 Oil
$98.16 Liteguard, Speed Bleeders, Water Pump Seal, Oil Seal, Mirror Mount, Throttle Rocker, Quicksteel, Grips, Threebond
$58.58 Spanish Books / Motorcycle Books
$44.21 1 Gig Camera Memory Card
$16.55 Metric Wrenches, ¼’ Drive Ratchet, Allen Keys
$532.32 First Gear Riding Pants, Glove Liners, Gore-Tex Riding Gloves, Textile Motocross Gloves, Spare Fork Seals, Tire Patch Kit, Neck Warmer, Fog-Off, Stretch-n-Seal Tape, Wire Couplers, Oil Filter, Chain Breaker, Spoke Wrench, Spark Plug, Tire Levers, In-Line Fuel Filter, Spare Clutch Cable, Spare Throttle Cables, Spare Bulbs, Chain Lube, Grease, Metric Wrenches
$348 Velcro Straps, Tape, Tank Bag and Accessories, Motorcycling Books
$264.10 Corbin Seat, Mirror Vibration Dampeners
$25.97 130/90W H4 Halogen Bulb, Spare Fuel Filter
$20 Larger Kickstand Base
$52.29 Threadlocker, Snap Ring Pliers, Miscellaneous Hardware
$14.42 Small Vise Grips
$208.84 Progressive Fork Springs, High-Temperature Bulb Socket, Brake Saver, Bar Snake, Headlight Cutoff Switch, Fork Oil
$15 Spare Passport Photos
$10.87 Tire Pump
$5 Miscellaneous Hardware
$15 Toiletries / Medication
$21.76 International Driver’s Permit, Brazil / Uruguay Driver’s Permit
$180.39 Boots, Straps, Compass, Mosquito Net, Tent Pegs, Tent Repair Kit
$15 Parts for Tool Tube
$16.31 Rechargeable Batteries
$10.88 Alteration to Pants
$4.33 Hose Clamps
$13.03 Disposable Cameras
$36.49 Spare Face Shield, Mirror Eyeballs
$266.48 Spark Plugs, Spill-Proof Battery, Brake Bracket, Counter Sprocket Retaining Plate, Front and Rear Monster Tubes, Spare Countershaft Sprocket
$7907.20 Total

05-08-2006, 09:48 PM - Day 1

Hi Everyone-

Thanks for all of the well-wishes. I left late, and made it to Vancouver as planned, though at 12:30 at night. It was my longest motorcycle ride yet, at about 175 miles, and I experienced freezing my ass off for the first time too. I stopped and ran laps around a parking lot, and it was remarkable how much being cold affected my coordination. I spent the night at a friend's and will head for Salt Lake City shortly. Some of you expressed interest in the trip, what gear I end up using, etc. I'll do my best to keep everyone informed, and to answer questions. For the person who asked, I'm using Happy Trail panniers with kayak bags atop each. I need to figure out how I'm going to get some pictures up here, and hope to do so soon. I'm burning daylight, so it's time to boogie.


05-12-2006, 05:45 PM - Las Vegas!

Hi Everyone-

I'm in Las Vegas, and before you ask, yes, the showgirls are of course all over me. What woman can resist a smelly, dirty guy of the mean-looking bike? Things have been going well so far. I have met people who have been very friendly and generous to me- one guy, Jason, gave me $50 toward the trip. I stayed at a hotel one night, and camped another two. I saw Bryce and Zion, and both were awesome. Zion was wonderful to ride through- you go right through the bottom of a canyon, with amazing rock formations rising on all sides. Also, about the first 50 miles of I-15 on the way to Vegas is cool as hell. I rode it wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, sneakers, and sunglasses, and it was then, going about 80 with the landscape stretching out around me and bugs crack-popping all over my body, that I for the first time really felt like an adventurer.

I'm here at a friend's to replace my chain and sprockets, something I should have done before I left as it is the original chain with 11,000 miles on it. Then it is to check out the Hoover Dam, to Phoenix, Tucson, Tombstone, and then Viva Mexico! I'm keeping detailed notes and will put it all together when I get back. Maybe it will turn into a book. I still haven't figured out the picture thing, but hope to soon. Adios for now, amigos.


P.S. BTW, I ran out of gas once, and tipping the bike on its left side really does work. It got me about 3.2 extra miles to a gas station, which I camped behind and filled up at in the morning.

05-16-2006, 07:58 PM - Crossing Over

Hi Everyone-

I got to Tucson last night and stayed at a friend's house. I'm going to look for a new rear tire and some other things today, and tomorrow I'll cross over into Mexico at Nogales. If anyone has any advice about where to stay and what to see, I'll be glad to get it. I'm thinking to head south from Nogales until I hit the coast, and then to follow it the whole way. No real plan thus far- just keep moving south to Guatemala. I'm guessing it will take me a while to cross Mexico, because I don't anticipate being able to make the same kind of mileage I have in the US, but time will tell. I saw my first Joshua tree and my first Saguaro yesterday, and many other interesting desert plants. Also, it is hot as hell down here! I feel like I'm riding into a hairdryer half the time. Well, it's time for the real adventure to begin. I'll be in touch.


05-20-2006, 03:59 AM - Topolobampa

Hey All-

I made it to Topolobampa, Mexico, about 500 miles in. Not a ton of time to write because the internet place is closing in two minutes. I decided I´m writing a book for sure, assuming I make it, so I´ll keep everyone up on that. More soon.


05-22-2006, 04:43 AM - Mazatlan

Yesterday I hooked up with a motorcycle gang (it sounds cooler than "club") and they invited me to ride with them to a little town called San Ignacio. It was a beautiful place. Everyone ate a ton and they got pretty drunk and rowdy. We all stayed in the same hotel and in the morning went for breakfast. The government here is trying to promote tourism to the town because it is generally perceived as dangerous due to the proximity of drug dealers/growers in the nearby mountains, so we were provided with free catered meals. Since we were guarded by police with AK-47's, I take it that the general perception may not be far off. The custom here seems to be to move from meal to meal with little or nothing in between, so we had lunch immediately after breakfast. I then said my goodbyes and headed to Mazatlan, where I am now.

It seems like a nice place so far, and I may spend the day here tomorrow to take in the cultural attractions. I'm wondering if my rear shock is adjusted optimally. I'm guessing I should have it adjusted as stiffly as possible, but I'm not sure what's what. I thought I had it before I left, but now I'm wondering. Also, I have a Pirelli MT 21 on the front, and it's wearing really oddly. The nubs in the middle aren't really getting worn much, but the sets of two that they alternate with are getting worn quite a bit, and not uniformly either- one corner toward the center, is shearing off of each of them. I don't understand it, but the tire only has about 2500 miles on it. Well it's getting near time to go out and check the nightlife, so wish me luck with the Mexican senoritas!


05-24-2006, 07:26 AM
(Post from OMGWTF)

Ran into Clayton in Panguitch, Utah and here are some pics I took. Man, I was jealous and wanted to quit my job and go with him.

Clayton, I'm looking forward to seeing pics of your own in this thread.

Good luck with the senoritas.

CHEERS!... er, um I mean SALUD!

05-24-2006, 09:09 PM - Puerto Vallarta

Hi Everyone-

Thanks Jason for posting those pictures. I rode from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta yesterday, and though I'm getting a late start I'll try to make some more distance today. I'm finding that I don't like the tourist towns much, and will try to avoid them when I can from now on, though I did manage to land myself a juicy American college girl last night. Ole! In my research on this trip I often heard mention of small "mom-and-pop" type places where I could stay cheaply, and where they would cook me breakfast and what not. It may be me, but I'm not seeing them. Maybe I don't know what to look for, or maybe they will start appearing as I move further south.

So far the trip has been really interesting. Something notable seems to happen every day, and being out of my element is giving me a chance to practice patience and to fortify aspects of my character that are not usually taxed as they are down here.

I feel like I'm making good time, though I can already see that getting off of the interstate-like roads is going to slow me down tremendously. Passing trucks and such is fun, but many of the Mexicans drive like lunatics, and I often come around corners to face oncoming cars and trucks in my lane, causing me to brake sharply and pull to the edge of the road. I also need to find a way to cut costs, because I'm spending money at a much greater rate than I'd like to be. Besides, I've been reading the Motorcycle Diaries, and it seems that many of the adventures Che and his friend had were due largely to their lack of funds, so even if I'm not completely poor, I may be better off faking it, and I'm going to need something when I start school in the fall. Anyone from Nashville? That's where I'll be in August.

Well I'd better get on the road. I'll write again further on.


PS. I wish I'd brought an Ipod or something. I got this Shakira song stuck in my head yesterday because I saw the video, and it was going around and around in there for about four hours. I was even singing it out loud, which was a little embarrassing even though I was the only one there. She's a hot potato, though. Yowzer. Clayton

05-25-2006, 02:45 AM
(Post from OMGWTF)

Clayton's pics:

05-27-2006, 05:26 PM - Acapulco

Hola Amigos!

I'm in Acapulco, and it's pretty nice. I found a hotel for $120 pesos per night (about $11) and though there is no toilet seat, it came with complimentary tattered towel, soap, and two enormous, dead cockroaches on the bathroom floor. I met a German and an English guy last night, and we walked around and checked the place out. A garishly made-up hooker started walking along with me and grabbing at the family goods. I didn't really mind because I figured it was a free handful of ass, but when I got home I realized it had cost me the $400 peos in my front pocket. Live and learn! I camped out the other night, and thought to just sleep under the stars, until I found a scorpion while clearing the ground. "On second thought, I think I'll set up the tent." Lots of iguanas on the road, and I was thinking of running one over and taking it somewhere to have it cooked, but I was told it is illegal. Not so for armadillos, though, and the next one that wakes me up in my tent might get shish kebabed.

I bought some gas from drums for the first time, and was a few liters short, so the girl offered to fill up a two-liter coke bottle she picked up from the ground and poured some liquid from. When I looked it had about a teaspoon of sand in the bottom, so I said no gracias. Thanks Jason for posting my pics. I have a bunch more on some disposable cameras, so I'll scan them when I get home. The truck is just my old beater, "Old Red", I had so regrettably to let go before the trip, and the boxes are more or less everything I own in the world, packed up nice and tight. I threw away or sold a lot of shit before I left, including all of my furniture. Well that's all for now. Wish me luck with the senoritas!


06-08-2006, 12:03 AM - Bad News

Hello Friends-

The bad news is that my trip is over. The worse news is that I had an accident, broke my back, and am now paralyzed from mid-chest down. It happened about four hours outside of Acapulco. A donkey was on the side of the road, and I went to go around him, but when he saw me he got startled and ran out in front of me. I was knocked unconscious, waking up unable to move my legs when some Mexicans found me.

I’m doing alright. My psychological state is good, and the doctor tells me the surgery, which was about six days ago, was a success. Although there is of course emotional pain to deal with, I have not been suffering a great deal in that way, but have rather been trying to keep my eye on goals I’ve set for myself, like starting law school on time this year. I still believe it possible for me to live a good life- I just have to learn to deal with this new challenge. I still want to write my book too, but of course it will have a different ending than I originally intended.

When I got to the hospital in Mexico, I asked them to go on the internet for the number to my Med Jet Assist insurance, to provide me with medical transport back home. The hospital did not have internet. I asked them to make a phone call but they wouldn’t let me unless I gave them money to go buy a phone card. I gave the guy the about $40 US in pesos I had in my pocket, he took forever to get the card, and I was finally able to contact my mother for about a five minute call. When I asked to make another call, the man refused until I gave him more money, so I directed him to a $100 US bill I had hidden in my wallet. This bought me about another five minutes to Med Jet Assist. After that, I wasn’t allowed any more calls, and was generally ignored. Simple requests were refused for no apparent reason, and I would sometimes spend long periods saying, “Por favor?” while lying on my back in the hall, until one of the many hospital staff around would decide to stop ignoring me for a moment. I want you all to know about this, because if I hadn’t had that insurance, something even more horrible may have happened to me.

My internet access is limited here, so I’m going to leave off for now. I’m pasting below a copy of a letter my Mom sent to her friends and colleagues. You have all already been very helpful and supportive of me, and I’m very grateful for it. I’ll let my Mom say the rest. Best to everyone, and I’ll be in touch.


Dear Friend and Colleague:

I am sorry to be writing to you with such sad and awful news, but a week ago today our son, Clayton, was injured in a horrific motorcycle accident. He was taking a trip through Mexico before entering Vanderbilt Law School in August. He was medivaced out of Mexico to the MethodistHospitalNeuroTraumaCenter in Houston, Texas, where I am now. He is now paralyzed from his nipples downward, and short of a future medical miracle, he will never walk again. We are blessed with having the kindest, most qualified surgeons and trauma professionals possible.

He is the bravest person I know, and has been a hero for his father and me. His willingness to fight and sustain is inspirational to his doctors and nurses. His dream is to make it to law school on time, and according to the rehab team, that may happen...however it will take a great deal of commitment and fight on his part. We are praying for that, and ask that you do the same.

Clayton had no insurance. The medical bills are enormous and while the hospital is trying to work with him and us to provide some assistance, he needs all the help that he can get. The costs are staggering. I am coming to you with hat in hand. So many have asked what they can do. The smallest contribution will make all the difference in the world as they add up dollar after dollar...

We set up a fund the: Clayton W. Schwartz Paralysis Fund

If you would like to make a donation, please make checks payable to the fund as stated and mail as follows:

Clayton W. Schwartz Paralysis Fund
c/o Marylyn Schwartz
35 Fleetwood Avenue
Bethel, CT 06801
All contributions will be used to pay medical, rehab and educational expenses directly related to his life circumstances as they exist today.
Please share this note with your agents/region (if applicable) or others who know me, will want to be aware of the situation and may not have been includedod bless you for the prayers, love and kindness we have received already

Marylyn B. Schwartz, CSP
President Teamweavers
Master Trainer for Leader's Choice
35 Fleetwood Avenue
Bethel, CT06801

06-11-2006, 09:15 PM - Hi Everyone

My nurse contrived an awkward but workable way to pull me up to a computer for a bit, so just a brief one for now. I was able to read some of what all of you have written, and I'm so thankful for your support. Someone wrote, "Ride on, Clayton" and it made me cry. I'll try my friends. I wrote a post on a pad the other day and my parents are going to get it to Honey so she can post it. Thank you Honey. Thanks to those who have made (some shockingly generous) contributions, and to those who have expressed the desire to do so. I'll thank you all individually when I am able. My mom has a paypal account through her address. I will soon have my laptop, and will be able to write more easily and at length. I have many thoughts in my head, and will share them with you as I am able. You have all come to mean a great deal to me. I've only told about five of my friends about the accident, because for some reason I'm not ready yet.

I want to say something I think very important. Many people have mentioned my inexperience as a possible factor in the accident. I think it was. I'm hot-headed, and believe I rode foolishly. I saw the donkeys on the side of the road, and tried to get to the right to get around them. That was when the one bolted in front of me. I should have simply applied the brakes, for which there was plenty of time, and passed them very slowly and cautiously. The moral here is that I should have approached my riding much more cautiously and prudently, and not have felt in such a rush. I feel like an animal from one of Aesop's fables- when they behaved foolishly, they got drowned, devoured, or what you will. I did so and got myself paralyzed. If only I had said to myself before each ride, "Take your time, relax, and don't be a hot-head", I'd probably be in Panama now, with two working legs. Learn from me my friends.

I'm told there are other threads about my accident on here, and I'll try to find them, but if any of y'all would copy and post this to them, I'd be grateful. Thanks friends. I'll be in touch.


06-16-2006, 01:03 AM - The News From Houston

Hello Friends-

I just got done reading a number of threads and am, once again, so thankful for what all of you are doing for me. And again, forgive me for not responding to each of you individually, but perhaps it is better to write one longer note so I can say more rather than repeating similar things many times.

It is about day seventeen in the hospital, and though there have been delays, it looks like I’ll be going to rehab tomorrow. I now have very little pain at the site of the surgery, and have regained my appetite somewhat. I’m still able to do very little, and honestly lying in bed for so long is a bit maddening. I can do a bit with a light dumbbell, and am able to pull myself on my side using the rails, and to pull myself upright using a grip they hung above me.

I’ve been honest with everyone until now, and feel that anything less would compromise the value of the relationship I’ve come to have with all of you, and show insufficient gratitude for all that everyone has done for me. I’m having a hard time, my friends. Everyone praises me for my attitude and spirit, but I’m not so sure. I fear waking up in the morning, because of the reality that immediately sets upon me. I was once so strong and capable. I frequently felt joy, and always had hope. Now it’s not clear at all to me that I will ever again come to view my life as worthwhile. Heavy thoughts force themselves upon me all day long, and I sometimes cry.

It does not surprise me that I am feeling this way just now, but the future also seems like such a black and frightening question mark. I’m concerned now about my capacity to succeed at law school and deal with this at the same time. Even before my accident, it took a tremendous amount of work and effort to keep myself moving upward. How will I maintain that while fighting this threat to my spirit?

I suppose the essence of things might be somewhat simple. Before, I had a choice of striving and enduring and making it to the top of the mountain, or of falling by the wayside. Now, I have the same choice, but about 120 pounds of my body is, in effect, dead, and if I’m going to get to the same place I’m just going to have to drag it along with me a little at a time, both literally and metaphorically. There are so many unknowns for me just now, that all I can seem to do is keep my composure as best I can, do what the doctors tell me, and deal with things as they come my way.

Things seem so complex, and I feel that the way I’m expressing myself betrays that I’m losing the battle. I don’t know what to think about that. You have all inspired me, and I wish I could be more of an inspiration to all of you, but this is how I’m feeling. I don’t want to be a doomsayer or discourage anyone from pursuing a life of adventure, because I can honestly say that I don’t regret having chosen to go on this trip. If I found I could stand and walk tomorrow, I’d fix my bike up and finish the ride, absolutely, albeit far more cautiously. I just want you all to understand what a horrible nightmare this is for me, and how greatly becoming like me is to be feared. Keep riding my friends. There is cowardice and foolhardiness, and courage is right in the middle.

Just so you all know I’m not completely lost, I can still enjoy the company of my hot nurses and would like to put my arms around them, and there are certainly moments when I smile and laugh. I’m working on my laptop now via a wireless connection, but I’m told that rehab only has dial-up, so hopefully I’ll be able to figure that out, because it has been about six years. I’ll be in touch everyone. Again, thank you all so very much.


06-19-2006, 08:10 PM - Hi Everyone

Just a short one, because I have to get back in bed soon. They got me up in a wheelchair and I rolled myself a bit today. I read all of your posts. Thank you all for the encouraging and inspirational words and stories. I guess I don't have a ton to say just now, and I almost didn't want to write because of that, but I thought I should check in. Though I haven't been feeling the best, I have been cooperating with all of my therapy and trying my hardest, which at least gives me something to focus on. Many people have visited me and called me, and I have received a tremendous amount of kindness from complete strangers. Hopefully I can get online more often now, but for now, best wishes to all, and I'll write again soon.


06-25-2006, 12:19 AM - Update

Hello Everyone-

Things are gradually changing for me. It’s slowly becoming the case that I’m not overwhelmed by grief at nearly every moment of my waking life. Even when the really painful thoughts come, they don’t tend to hurt as acutely as they did before. I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking I’m out of the woods, or even close yet. This is just how things strike me at the moment.

I have been lifting weights regularly now, and can almost get myself from bed to my wheelchair without assistance. I can stay up in the chair for hours at a time now, and this enables me to occupy myself in a number of ways. I’ve also noticed that I’m gaining a little more power over my thoughts. That is, if I start to fall into negativity, I’m starting to be able to pull myself out of it, instead of being swallowed by it.

One of the guys on here, Doug “The Dude” came to visit me today. He is a wonderful inspiration to me, and I’m so grateful to him for befriending me. I guess that in short, my friends, if I dare to say it, things have been getting better over the past few days.

My two sweet and pretty physical therapists say that in certain ways I am progressing faster than anyone they have ever seen. There are a lot of people here that seem to care about me, and I get more capable every day.

Flaco- thank you for asking, but I have enough just now to keep me occupied as far as those types of things go. I’ll certainly ask if I need anything.

Friends! You have been so good to me I feel I could burst with gratitude. Your caring words fill my heart and make me strong, and your generous donations will surely free me from many worries as I try to move forward. Thank you again. I’ll keep doing my best, and I’ll be in touch. Sincerely,


07-30-2006, 09:01 PM - Ozy's Mom Here
(posted by Ozy'sMom)

Dear Riders:

It's been too long since I wrote to you. It has been a tough few weeks. Clayton is finally out of rehab, and has been here in CT pending a short vacation, commencing this Thursday, to NC to see family. From there, God willing, his dad and I will be driving him to Nashville, TN to start law school. His dad drove to Nashville last week and spent three days there getting his new apartment set up. I finally found him a fully "handicapable" 2-bedroom apartment right across from the law school. I am hoping that he will soon find a roomate to share the rent and be a "look out" for Clay. Leaving him there is going to give me my 8th ulser and maybe 15th heart attack encountered these past two months. This Monday the accident happened exactly nine weeks ago... a blink of the eye in terms of what is still ahead for Clay.

Clay is struggling terribly day in and day out. Yet, he pushes onward despite great difficulty, loss and pain. A day has not yet passed that I have not shed tears. I am often at a loss of what to say to bring him some comfort. I have come to believe that there are no words. Each person must find there own reason for going on when such tragedy strikes.

I must tell all of you that since this tragedy, I watch every person I see on a bike and wish they would all wear protective gear, be more careful, move more more slowly and just think of how vulnerable they are. I speak for all the moms and dads out there when I say, when your kids are hurt, you suffer as deeply and as painfully as do they. Why are so many riders helmetless? It just doesn't make a bit of sense to me??? Clay had a helmet and still was irrevocably injured. However, the helmet saved him from possible death or brain injury.

God bless you all for continuing to remember Clayton and funding his expenses. Your generosity paid for a big chunk of his custom wheelchair. You are loved for that kindness. Please drop me a note as I always appreciate hearing from all of you. I will do my best to keep you posted on Clay's progress. He has many folks that he needs to communicate with. It is just so hard for him to get it all together. Anger comes and goes, as do the tears and pain... He needs time. Right now, it is all that we pray for...time pass quickly.

Warm regards and appreciation.

08-14-2006, 07:43 PM - On my own in Nashville

Dear Friends-

I know I’ve been out of touch for too long- forgive me. I started a new thread with this post but it got buried pretty quickly, so I'll post it here too. I ended up spending about four weeks in rehab in Houston. Next was my parents’ place in Connecticut for about ten days, where I stayed mostly in a hotel. I then visited Grandma and the rest of the family in NC, and headed to Nashville, where I am now. My apartment is about two blocks from the law school and pretty nice. I’m here!

Today is the third day I’ve lived completely on my own. The first day I was here was with my dad, and it was for some reason one of the hardest days I’ve had yet. I thought of the joy I would have been feeling if all was well. How I would have taken a jog and gotten the lay of the land. How I would have done so many things I can’t do now.

The next day I went to the law school for the first time. Somehow, I was all smiles when I met the people in the admissions office, and they were all so welcoming and supportive of me. I felt good that day. My dad left three days ago, and since then I have been flying solo. Two weeks ago I came to the end of eight straight weeks of staring at the ceilings of hospital rooms, and now I’m alone in a new city- sink or swim!

I can’t say I’m exactly ecstatic with life yet, but I’m still alive. Today I decided I needed to get the hell out of my apartment and do some exploring. I saw a guy wearing an “I Love NY” t-shirt, and I asked if he was from NY. We got to talking and he invited me to Starbucks to meet his friend for coffee. It turns out he has narcolepsy, his friend has Tourette’s, and of course I’m a gimp, so a grand time was had by all. One of them had experienced having an arm and a leg paralyzed, but eventually recovered function. They are both in the music business, so we met up with some other people for dinner, and had a lot of laughs. Later we came back to my place and took turns driving an electric wheelchair someone donated to me around the courtyard. I suggested we try to jump it off of something, but there was nowhere to do it. Since they know so many people and my apartment is big and has a nice balcony, I said we should have a party here, so maybe I’ll be tearing it up with all the hotties at my place this weekend. I guess the moral is that I need to be getting out there in the world if I want to make friends.

Yesterday I read a book called “No Excuses” about a guy who became an accomplished wrestler despite severe birth defects. He talked about how he had to take it upon himself to break through the trepidation others might feel when meeting him, and that people’s behavior toward him would be a reflection of how he felt about himself. I find that, to my surprise, and despite my generally troubled state, I have been able to be quite personable, and that when I talk to others my unhappiness does not come through. I don’t understand this, but it is a plus because being around others strengthens me.

Orientation in three days! People ask me if I’m excited, and I don’t think it’s the right word. I guess it seems kind of surreal to me, as if it can’t really be happening. Part of this feeling comes, perhaps, from the fact that I really have no idea how I will react to the fact of being enrolled full-time in such a demanding program of study. Before, I would have been cocksure, overflowing with friendliness, and ready to kick some ass. People often say I will eventually do "all the same things I did before”, but it’s simply not true. Accordingly, the realization of just how incredibly disabled I am makes it difficult to say with full confidence how I will handle school. Before I could get up, shower, shave, and dress in about twenty minutes. Now it takes me, at the very least, two hours to get out the door. But this is starting to sound like complaining, which is discreditable.

In short, I’m doing what I have to, but a lot is still uncertain. One thing I’m sure of is that the money you have all given me has helped me tremendously. I had enough in the bank to finish the trip, get home, rent a room for a month, and maybe buy some “Hot Pockets”. The rest was going to come from loans. Now just my wheelchair alone cost $5600, and without everyone’s generosity, I might be paddling myself around cross-legged on a skateboard. Truly, you have all helped me a great deal, and I guess the way to repay you is to succeed and do well in law school and in life, so I’ll try. On the trip I began writing the book I was planning to put together. I don’t think I will have enough now, but I will complete what I took notes for, and post it up here soon. It may still be of some use to someone, and it’s about half done anyway.

Once again, I’m sorry I haven’t written in so long. Oh, and if anyone lives in Nashville and would like to stop by, please let me know. We can have some dinner and talk like we’re hot shit. Some of you have already told me to get in touch when I got here, and I will. My friends, you are all wonderful. Onward and upward!


04-10-2007, 05:34 PM
(Post from OMGWTF)

Stumbled across this:

Hope you're doing well, Clayton. We'd all love to hear an update from you.

09-13-2007, 09:26 AM - Howdy

Howdy everyone. I've been away for a long time. I still think often of how kind everyone here was to me. Thanks for everything.

I'm still in Nashville. I finished my first year of school and now I'm just taking some time off. I thought to write because I finally, after about sixteen months, had my stuff shipped out here. It's strange to see all of it after so long.

Anyhow, I just came across my KLR 650 Clymer manual and won't be needing it now, so if anyone wants it just say so in this thread and PM me your address. I'll just send it to whoever posts first, to avoid confusion. I didn't take it on the trip in the first place because I knew I could count on all of you for advice. Little did I know you would all help me far more than that.

I hope everyone is well. Get out and kick some ass for me.


09-15-2007, 06:53 AM - Passing The Torch

I still have all the books I read to prepare for my attempted Seattle to Argentina trip in 2006, and I want to give them to someone who wants to make a similar trip.

Even though my trip turned out badly, I don't regret the kind of life I chose to live. Adventure! So please, don't just anyone take these books. I want them to play a role in preparing someone for an adventure of their own.

So if anyone knows someone who is planning a big trip and could benefit from these books, let me know and I will send them the lot. They are:

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook by Chris Scott
Riding South by Gregory Frasier
Riding the World by Gregory Frasier
Two Wheels Through Terror by Glen Heggstad
Chasing Che by Patrick Symmes

And I still have my KLR 650 Clymer Manual too, if anyone can use it.

Ask and you shall receive.


02-26-2008, 02:24 AM - Sad News
(Posted by OzyFriend)


It is with great sadness that I write to let you know that Clayton (Ozymandias) took his life over the weekend.

I was lucky enough to get to know Clayton once he moved to Nashville. Like many of you, I was inspired by his adventurous spirit and saddened by the outcome of his last ride. This thread stands as a testament to what a wonderful person he was and I would like to thank all of you for providing support for him through this forum.

A memorial service is being planned, and I will post the information when I get it, in case any of you are able to attend.

God bless.



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