Introducing our new correspondent on the West Coast of the USA.

We recently shared the first part of Daan Stafhorst’s Alaskan adventure. Daan is the Dutchman residing in New York from where he shares his motorcycles stories with all of us.

On a recent motorcycle road trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Daan ran into another Dutch biker. Turns out they were in the same year at University. This old pal decided to give up his well paid job and head out for the great unknown.

He flew to Portland Oregon, got himself a Kawasaki KLR 650 and set out for a year-long trip all the way south to Patagonia.

Daan connected us with Koen Theeuwis who agreed to be our correspondent on during his trip.

This is his personal introduction and the reasons why he decided to follow his dream. We welcome him aboard and look forward to sharing his adventures with all of you.

The BikeBrewers’ editorial team
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Beloved Motorcycle Enthusiasts,

Let me start with a short introduction about myself, before we get to the important topics.

My name is Koen, a typical Dutch name, (I guess my parents never meant for me to go abroad) but still, as it means ‘brave’ it is a name I wear with pride. I was born and raised in the Netherlands. I studied Business and Finance (which I still love), but around 10 years ago I discovered my greatest interest: people and their different cultures.

There’s only one thing allows you to truly experience people and their cultures to its fullest; travelling.

So this is what I decided to go for. Now you may think to yourself: ‘I’m on a bloody motorcycle blog, what do I care about this guy loving people, I want the smell of gasoline and roaring engines’. Good thought, keep it, we’ll get there in a sec.

How was this dream born?
During my studies in Rotterdam, I did an exchange in Istanbul and an internship in Nigeria. That fuelled my ‘wanderlust’ (terrible term, I agree) even more. So before starting work in the Consulting sector, I travelled South-East Asia for 6 months and lived a life of total freedom and with absence of busy schedules and ‘important’ meetings. This is where my love for two wheels started spinning. After renting all kinds of motorbikes in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia I was headed for Vietnam.


Inspired by a four wheel guru
The great Jeremy Clarkson (of ‘Top Gear’ fame) inspired me to buy my own motorbike , as he and his Top Gear buddies did the craziest things all over the world using all sorts of vehicles.

For a mere $ 250 I bought a Chinese rip-off version of a Honda Win. Packed with no less than 110 ccs of pure power and beauty (..). Who needs a licence, insurance or lessons? Not me! I rode it from all the way from Ho Chi Minh down the Mekong Delta and back up to Hanoi. After these 4000 km / 2500 miles I was hooked for life. Infected by the motorcycle virus, it was clear that the motorbike was going to be my means of transport to explore the world.

[INSERT VIETNAM PHOTO, see folder]

In hindsight riding Vietnam without any preparation was of course rather irresponsible (sorry mom, we’ll talk about this later). So after I came home, I came to my senses and realised I should actually get a licence. Of course I purchased a bike as well. The second ‘moto’ love of my life was a customized Kawasaki CSR 305. It wasn’t fast, but it looked amazing and sounded even better.

[INSERT CAFE RACER VIDEO]

While riding in Vietnam I promised myself I would make a big trip on a motorbike, before I turned 30. When I learned about the Pan-American Highway I instantly knew this was going to be the next one up.

Finding the right moment
But as with most dreams, regular life kind of got in the way. My career was going well and I really enjoyed what I did (after Consulting I worked for Kraft Heinz, who doesn’t like to sell all 52 varieties of ketchup?). However, the itch for an adventure trip kept creeping up.

But when is the right time? One thing I learned: there is never a good time. You just have to go for it. I luckily did manage to find a slot that was less ‘bad’ than others. The actual planning started in February (2021), I informed my employer in April I needed a year off and decided on leaving last September (2021).

I was finally going to do it! Maybe not finish before turning 30, but starting it, for sure!

Preparations
In daily life I am a very organized person, but when traveling I prefer to go without a plan as much as possible and let things just come my way as they do.
There were a few things that required my attention:
1. COVID – needed to wait for vaccinations, hence my leave date in September. Otherwise I would have started in Alaska in July
2. Route – I wanted to make sure it was actually possible to ride my bike all the way. Turns out, it is not. But there’s solutions
3. Motorbike – was I able to legally ride a motorbike in all the countries on my route? With an American vehicle, yes. Any Latin / South American vehicle was probably going to raise questions of border officials at some point. This thus also concluded my starting country
4. Starting point – I have a good friend in Vancouver (Washington state, just North of Portland) who rides bikes as well. Figured it would be helpful to start somewhere where I had a ‘guide’
5. Other ‘trivialities’ – insurance, vaccinations, luggage, visas, other documents, etc. Will not go into the boring details here, but please find my contact details below if you have any questions.

In my next blog I will write about my arrival in the US and all the hoops I had to jump through to actually start riding. Sneak preview: it was a success, see my monster below. Stay tuned!

[INSERT KAWASABI PHOTO]

Contact
By great demand (;)) I started using Instagram, feel free to follow me on a more day-to-day basis: koentheeuwes
If you have any more specific questions you can reach out there or send me an email at koen.theeuwes@gmail.com. Happy to answer / help!

By Published On: January 1, 1970Categories: Cafe Racer0 Comments on On a Kawasaki KLR 650 from Oregon to Patagonia5.3 min readViews: 436

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About the Author: Ron Betist

Ron Betist grew up with motorcycles with a father heading the Amsterdam motorcycle police force. He has been riding (legally) for over 40 years and motorcycles are his true passion. With a life-long career in marketing and sales he has a huge international network. He joined as a contributor at BikeBrewers in 2017 to spread his word about bikes with the rest of the world.

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