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

33 comments:

  1. Congrats, Sherri Jo! You did it, and allowed us to sit alongside with you...

    Loved reading your blog and am going to miss it.

    Good luck with your next adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow !!
    You never told me anything about this in our phone conversations Sheila!!
    What a great way to finish the tour. You have a lot of great friends there.

    Congratulations, you did it.

    Murph.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow Sherri Jo, what a story!

    So many memories for you - when is the book being published? ;)

    Best of luck for your next adventure, on two wheels or otherwise.

    Lani (Mark Pearce's daughter)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lani! Hope to meet you someday!

      Delete
  4. Well i have been here since the start and i have checked almost every day since. thank you for keeping me intertained and occupied at work. you had a amazing adventure i wish you many more.
    thank you robert baker

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah Robert! That is really cool, thanks for following! Until the next one... ;-)

      Delete
  5. Sherri Jo,

    This is my first comment. I have been following along since the beginning. This was an amazing adventure and I thank you for taking the time to write this for us to read. All the best in the future.

    Shawn from Missouri, USA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well it's good to hear from you now. Thanks for following Shawn! ;-)

      Delete
  6. Sherri Jo,
    My first comment also. Congratulations on the successful completion of your world tour. That is an amazing feat. I will sure miss checking on you all the time. Maybe there is someway you can occasionally keep us posted on what's going on in your life. Take care!!!
    Bob ...... from Texas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will do that Bob.. thanks so much for following! Sherri Jo ;-)

      Delete
  7. thanks for sharing all the images of your journey, it's been a very good ride

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm more than happy to share. It has been very good, and I know I'm a very lucky girl. Thanks Scott! ;-)

      Delete
  8. Yes you did it - I followed your amazing biog and enjoyed it.
    I hope you are adjusting very well to the life back home and wish u all the best. Keep the spirit living.

    Cheers,
    Uli
    from Munich, Germany

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will do Uli! Cheers from South Australia! ;-)

      Delete
  9. Congrat's Sherri Jo. What a great ambassador to the world. Enjoyed being a couch traveller with you. The photos, writing, adventures and human experiences were stellar and I will miss the updates but am glad that you are home and happy. Take some time to unwind and relax a bit as you deserve it. Once again, thanks and we will all miss your blog. Let us know from time to time how you are doing as we all feel like you are family. Take good care of yourself.
    Cheers
    Lin Brooks from Canada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Lin... Hopefully World Tour #2 won't be too far behind. Greetings from South Australia and you take care too! ;-)

      Delete
  10. Congratulations on this epic journey......your blog has inspired a number of us to get off the couch, overcome some of our fears, seeing the good in people all around our world and plan our own adventure.
    Thank You for sharing your story.......
    All the Best Sherri..

    Bob
    Canada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome Bob. I appreciate the words and to see the good people in all countries, that in itself was worth sharing the stories. Hope to see you on the road someday! Best Wishes from South Australia! SJ ;-)

      Delete
  11. Congratulations!! What a wonderful way to finish an amazing adventure. Thank you so much for sharing it, I will miss checking in on your latest news. All the very best for whatever lays ahead.
    Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much.. is this Janet from the UK? Cheers! SJ ;-)

      Delete
  12. Hey Sherri Jo I can't believe you're finished !! I've been following your blog since I had the great pleasure of meeting you at the HU meeting 2 years ago in Nakusp BC and hearing your adventure. What an inspiration you are to us who dream of a 3 week adventure tour never mind 3 years. I'm sad you've parked Tony and I won't be able to live vicariously through your travels anymore but I'm very happy you're back home safe and sound. Thanks for the adventuress! Vic - Canada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Vic. It is a bit sad, but it was time. Now for the next adventure! Enjoy your adventures!! SJ ;-)

      Delete
  13. Sherri,

    You have been such an inspiration to me.. the only way I can honor that is by paying it forward!! Thank you for all your beautiful pictures, posts and riding knowledge.

    Love,
    Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  14. -It's taken me 4 full days to read about your adventure around the globe. You are an amazing person and a terrific writer who captured my attention from the beginning to the end. Good luck in whatever the future holds for you and thank you so much for this wonderful story. Maybe just the kick-in-the-rear I need in order to plan my own journey. Again, thank you.

    -Wesley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 4 days! Thank you so much.. best wishes on your journey too!

      Delete
  15. Hi Sherri Jo. It has been fun reading the adventures of a fellow Hoosier. I have followed your blog from the beginning. I even modeled my own blog after yours. You have inspired me to buy a motorcycle myself in my doddering years (I just turned 70) and to ride it to Alaska and through much of Europe. In fact, it is in Germany right now, waiting for me to go ride it again this coming spring. Thank you for being you. Maybe I will have the good fortune to meet you on the road some day. Keep on riding and writing and doing those amazing adventures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great message Hoosier Ron! So exciting, you will have an amazing trip. Thank YOU so much!!

      Delete
  16. Thanks for the inspiring adventure, great blog and pics. We still think that your presentation at the HU meet in Naksup, BC is one of the best. Glad to see that you made it home safe, sound and happy. All the best with your next life adventure.

    Hello from Quito, Ecuador!

    Daniel & Sara

    www.worldwideride.ca

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sherri Jo .... I "stumbled" upon your blog...and am so pleased that I did...I think you are truly inspiring.
    I haven't got much work done in th last few days reading up on your rntire adventure...but depite that (!!!) thank you so much for sharing
    Kindest regards from (Old?) South Wales UK !!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Truly inspirational! Thanks Sheri Jo for sharing!
    Mike
    Hamilton, ON,
    Canada

    ReplyDelete