Sunday, 15 September 2013

There's no place like HOME - South Australia!!

Well I could have done this sooner, but life (living at home) has been super hectic.  Today is the day I can officially finish my last traveling blog post of Sherri Jo's Because I Can World Tour.  I suppose in the back of my mind I've been procrastinating this as well.  I don't REALLY want it to end.  But I also know when you shut one door, another more amazing door opens and that is something to be excited about.. so lets close this door!

I had just crossed the border from Victoria and I was actually in a bit of a daze while riding along the Princes Highway. I buzzed right past this sign when it hit me!  Sh__!!!  I just crossed my LAST border!!!!!  So I spun the bike around quickly right in the middle of the road and went back for a photo. My home state, SOUTH AUSTRALIA... Lord have Mercy!!!  Is that for real????? It seems like just the other day I was in Brazil.  How did I get here already!??


And then I thought, I better take some photos of myself!  These are the last official photos of me riding on this world tour!  I was trying to be somewhat safe and keeping my eyes on the road while driving with one hand. 


Look! These are my South Australian trees!!  Okay, I agree. I'm getting a bit carried away.


I'm truly getting a bit overly excited about being this close to home.  Thank goodness there's nobody around to see me.  I'm waving the bike all over the road as if it was just given to me as a present. If I could, I'd pop a wheelie! What the heck, one more photo.. ;-)


It is still winter here in the south.  The weather changes from downpours to full sun every 30 minutes.  That's okay, you won't throw me off today!

Gotta take the obligatory photo by the big lobster.. which is for sale if anybody is interested!  Everybody needs a big lobster in their life, right?


Riding, riding.. I find that the more I think about getting home the faster I seem to go.  I manage to control the speed (most of the time).


This is the Coorong.  This is where I had spent most of my time in Australia when I moved here from the United States many years ago.  That is so in the past, but it's nice to see my old stomping grounds, which means I am getting REALLY close!


Yep!  There's my old driveway.  How many times have I jogged up and down that track in my life. Either with my dog, pony or a kangaroo in tow for company! I enjoyed my time there, but I can't help to reflect at how proud I am to have escaped this place and moved on to an even better life!


Not much further and I met Neil Collard on the road.  He invited me to stay in his house for my last night in the south so I can plan to be home tomorrow at a certain time.  Neil and I take the ferry at Wellington.  I forgot about this ferry! 



A few days ago, I got a message from wonderful facebook follower Ally Cunningham asking if she'd mind if she and a few others could ride along with me my final kilometers.  Absolutely!  I would love that!  Then she made a facebook page event and called it the "Because She Could" ride home.  That was super cool and gave me quite chuckle on one hand and a bit of a tear on the other.  I saw a few riders said they were "going" on that page and I was excited. To make it easy to meet them on the road and to let my neighbors and friends know what time I'll be home, I stayed at Neil and Chris' house Saturday night with a plan to meet Ally and her friends at 10 AM Sunday at the local coffee shop before riding home.


It was a good final night on the road and nice home cooked meal.

Neil Collard

Phew!  I can tell one of the first things I'm going to do when I get home is get a hair cut!!  I heard a heap of motorcycles ride past while I was packing up the bike and Neil said they must be going to the coffee shop to meet us.  I told him 'No, that was a huge group, they are just out for a Sunday ride."


We pulled in to the coffee shop and there were A LOT of motorcycles there! I parked the bike to meet Ally and her group.  I don't know hardly anyone in South Australia who rides motorcycles, I wasn't part of the culture before I left, so I am still thinking that most of these bikes must be some other group who just pulled in for a favorite coffee spot.

Until I finally met Ally Cunningham in person!  She said they are all here to meet Sherri Jo!  What? I pretty well just want to fall over.  How is this possible??

Big Thanks to Ally Cunningham!!


Even today I'm looking at all the bikes and still can't get over it!  I feel beyond honored.  Many of them came a VERY LONG distance from other parts of South Australia just to be here this morning.  Thank you ALL again!!!  I remember feeling very humbled and quite honestly like I might throw up at any minute.  But, I will keep my composure as best as I can.



These guys are too cool. And looking at this photo, I've just realized that I've clearly been on a bike too long.  Am I really that bowlegged??




Brian Campbell

This guy, Andy, freaked me out a bit, the poor dear! He kept making me do a double take.  He was reminding me so much of Kevin. He looks like he could be a cousin! Not only did I quickly find out he's from Scotland like Kev, so he has the same accent and he stands with arms folded the same. He also has that same confident smirk. If only Kevin could have been here today, I bet they'd find out they come from the same Scottish bloodline somehow! 


I had to put this picture of Kevin in from when we were near Medellin Colombia last year.  See!!??  Possible Scottish cousins!!?? ;-)


So many amazing people here.  I wish I could talk to them more.  The good news, is these are the local riders I never knew before I left.  I hope to ride and spend more time with them now that I'll be in one spot again for a while.



Martin Castilla (middle), Craig Sickerdick (right)

Craig Sickerdick (left) Glenn Hall (right)

Ally who is the master of the day, called the time for us all to get ready to ride!!  A huge group, the Easy Riders were heading on South for their official Sunday lunch ride.  But it was so cool they all came here this morning to say g'day.  I really loved it.  The others are going to ride with me home.. Yeeee Haw!!!

Getting everyone lined up and safely on the opposite side of the road.


I kept looking at all those little headlights in my mirror.  Are they all really riding with me?


We pulled over near Sellicks Beach for a group photo.  Just for fun, Because WE Can!!




Next stop, Sherri Jo's neighborhood...

OMG... this is my street.. this is it.. It's nearly over...


A couple of Mark Pearce's photos.  We were running late.  And they told me they heard the motorcycles a fair distance away and knew we were coming in.  With all those bikes, it sounded great and you'd have to be a very deaf neighbor not to know that Sherri Jo is coming home!!


My previous excitement turned to full-on tears.. sorry for the soppy bits, but this is what happened.



To the driveway, where good friends Clare and Randall had my house open, the garage door up so I can come home and park the bike good and proper.  I got off the bike and went into the most ridiculous cry.  Overwhelmed at everyone who rode with me today, everyone who was waiting for me here, and of course, the official end to Sherri Jo's Because I Can World Tour.  Thank goodness I gave that tour an achievable name!  Once I got my breath back, then it was.. Woo Hooooo!!!

Tina Haigh, Randall and Clare Kiesewetter


I can't believe it!!!  I'm HOME!!!!!!

Happy!  I made it!! ;-)

High Five!!


Wonderful Mark Pearce who drove all they way down from Port Pirie today! And let me borrow some of his photos. Good to finally meet you in person and thank YOU! ;-)

I think Mark was one of my very first facebook friends!  If I remember, he either saw the newspaper article or listened to me on the radio way back in 2010.


Peter Tee who has given me heaps of Apple Computer and camera advice over the years!  Tina Haigh who is one of my first ever Aussie friends and the first host I had when I stayed at her house in Port August on my very first night on the road in 2010... going a whopping 70 km/hr all day long.. haha!!!  I was such a dreadful rider when I started!

Ciao!!  Thanks for coming!!!


I'm in the garage!  This is the last point of panic before I started the bike and rode away alone on June 1, 2010.  The tenants showed up an hour early and I still couldn't quite figure out how to pack the remaining items in!  So I tossed them in the shed, shut the door and hoped for the best.  Completely shaking when I started the bike, completely wobbly from nerves to rev the throttle, I left.  Now I'm home and know there was nothing to be afraid of.  Tony is safely parked in the same spot.  All is well.


Given that all my furniture is still out in the shed, I set up camp in one of my spare bedrooms.  They have carpet, the master does not.


And how good was it the next morning to find my kettle and tea cups right at the shed door!  Smart one Sherri Jo!  The happiest I have been in a long time is to be in my own home, drinking my own tea out of my own teacups in my OWN kitchen!!!  Love love love it!!


I worked all day bringing boxes down from the shed, and then on the bike running around to my first day appointments.  There was literally no rest, but I will not complain.  I'm so happy to be home.


So there we have it.  After everyone left and the sun was going down I took a moment to breathe.  Look at Tony parked in the drive. So surreal and I'm thinking that it seems like it was only a couple of months ago that we were here, but it was actually 1,160 days (3 yrs and 2 months) ago. I look at my yard and the wonderful views and feel really really grateful.  Like anyone in life, I've had my ups and downs over the last 3 years, but mostly ups.  I've seen so many amazing places, things and met the most incredible people.  I had no idea what an impact the people of the world would have on me.  The overwhelming generosity from strangers is still my biggest surprise. 

I'm so happy the idea to ride around the world on a motorcycle popped into my head one day.  Horses for courses, I'm glad it wasn't to sail a boat around the world!  I admire the people that do, but having spent some months on a sailboat before, it's so limiting and boring in comparison to the experiences and places a motorcycle can take you.  I'm glad it wasn't a bicycle that popped into my head.  I wouldn't have had the patience!  Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  But if I don't, I feel that I can leave the planet at any time from now on knowing that I'm proud of my life. I gave it a go and didn't sit back and waste it. I love my life!  (There, that is the last time you'll hear me say that for a while...)

Hearing your comments and knowing that somebody out there was actually reading this gave me inspiration to not only keep writing, but to keep going when I needed a boost just to keep going sometimes.  I only started this blog so I can have the memories for when I'm an oldie.  I never really expected that so many people would actually read it.  That has also been a huge fun surprise and I've made a lot of good friends because of it. Thank you ALL for following!

Thank you to my wonderful sponsors.  In particular Rukka Riding Gear from Innotesco in Melbourne http://innotesco.com.au/.  They really did so much with 3 amazing riding suits and gloves keeping me warm and dry the entire time.  And a huge thanks to Safari Tanks http://safaritanks.com.au/ and Touratech http://www.touratech.com.au/home/.  Still my favorite accessories and proven they can take a Sherri Jo beating and still function perfectly! ;-)

And lastly a super huge hug and thanks to my family and friends.  I'm so lucky to have the best in the world.

It's time to bid farewell. I know it's a common cliche, but honestly and truly, if I can do this, ANYBODY CAN!

Lots of Love,

Sherri Jo Wilkins xxx