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August 11th, 2013 | Canada

BIG Birthday, No Bash !!

Since the day we started out on our epic ride, the Big Fella and I have marked our journey by the numbers…

The exact place wher the Big Fella reached a huge milestone of his own. This is on the Nova Scotia / New Brunswick border.

The exact place where the Big Fella reached a huge milestone of his own. This is on the Nova Scotia / New Brunswick border.

We figured it would be easier to say things such as “103 countries”, or “6 Continents” or even “5 Oceans”, than to actually list them !!

Like many people I know, I have taken note each time the vehicle I was driving or riding clicked over another 10 000 km. It somehow signifies the “age” of a vehicle, and “age” is obviously linked to birthdays, so each time one of my vehicles reached another 10 000 kms on the odometer, it had a “birthday”…

The amazing machine I have had the good fortune to be riding around the world, today celebrated his 20th such birthday… It is his 17th since we left home on our World Tour, and during this time, I have celebrated four of my own. (Mine being marked in years, mind you, and not tens of thousands of kilometres !)

Barely 100 kms after the Big Fella’s last “birthday”, we collided with a pick-up truck in Idabel, Oklahoma… That was seven weeks ago…

As we reached the Nova Scotia border with New Brunswick, my ever reliable companion celebrated another big day, and thankfully, this time there was no “bash” to go with it…

Although we did come close to running into a Black Bear on the Cabot Trail, earlier this morning !! And that would have been a “bash” to remember !!

There are not too many bikes that have made it this far without having their engines opened,... But is IS a BMW after all !!

There are not too many bikes that have made it this far without having their engines opened,… But is IS a BMW after all !!

When I left home more than three years ago, I remember somebody asking how many kilometres I thought I would have to do to complete my ride. I had already made an estimation, so I was ready with my answer…

“About 160 000 km…”, I had replied as nonchalantly as I could.

A low whistle had greeted my response, and I think there might also have been a, “You’ve got to be joking !!”, thrown in for good measure…

Today, we exceeded that prediction, and still have another 5 000 km or so to go before we are done !!

The Arisaig Lighthouse on the shore of Nova Scotia's Northumberland Strait, and the Big Fella were both built in the same year...

The Big Fella and the Arisaig Lighthouse, on the shore of Nova Scotia’s Northumberland Strait, were both built in the same year…

As I sit here in my pokey motel room in Muncton, New Brunswick, I am going through the Big Fella’s many other “birthdays” and the places we were when they took place.

For the record, here is a list of those places:

Barberton, Mpumalanga, South Africa. March 2nd 2010 – 40 000 km

Lilongwe, Malawi. April 9th 2010 – 50 000 km

Dongola, Sudan. June 15th 2010 – 60 000 km

Anould, Belgium. July 31st 2010 – 70 000 km

Tabor, Czech Republic. September 9th 2010 – 80 000 km

Limassol, Cyprus. November 22nd 2010 – 90 000 km

Luang Prabang, Laos. March 14th 2011 – 100 000 km

Noonamah, Northern Territory, Australia. September 11th 2011 – 110 000 km

Triabunna, Tasmania, Australia. October 18th 2011 – 120 000 km

Gilgandra, New South Wales, Australia. December 14th 2011 – 130 000 km

Barra do Ribeiro, Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil. February 27th 2012 – 140 000 km

Canon del Pato, Peru. April 14th 2012 – 150 000 km (We both had a birthday on this day !!)

Ocotlan, Guadalajara Province, Mexico. June 8th 2012 – 160 000 km

Junction 37, Yukon Territory, Canada. July 19th 2012 – 170 000 km

Norris, Montana, USA. August 11th 2012 – 180 000 km

Perry, Florida Panhandle, USA. June 20th 2013 – 190 000 km

Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. August 11th 2013 – 200 000 km

"Keep going, and the flag flying, you good thing, you !!"

“Keep going, and the flag flying, you good thing, you !!”

It won’t be long now before the Big Fella and I will ride the trails of our home country again. And hopefully celebrate many more birthdays together…


Madawaska, Canadian/USA border.

13 comments to BIG Birthday, No Bash !!


    Happy Birthday!!!!! Actually congratulations for you both! Ronnie, so great to receive your emails, it is always a big pleasure! Keep safe, hope to see you soon! Best regards, Kátia from Brasil.

  • Doug McIllwain

    Impressive!! He doesn’t look a day over 120,000. 🙂

  • mannie

    Congratulations to you both! You’ve done the BMW Marque very proud! God’s speed and safe riding Ciao mannie

  • Mark Behr

    Another remarkable achievement. Great to see the dream unfolding and the milestones continuing to pile up. Well done and Blessings for the remainder of your ride.

  • Hi Ronnie,
    Talking of birthdays.
    Not to “pooh pooh” BIG FELLAS achievements but to indicate how indestructible some of these BMW engines are:
    Hank (,the guy i referred you to when you had the problem in New Orleans recently,has a 1996 1100GS which has never been opened up.He still uses it regularly for forays from his hometown in Dilley Texas into Mexico and Latin America,and it has very close to 500000 miles (that’s 800000km)on the clock.
    He is talking about coming over to SA next year,to co-incide his 50th birthday with the 500000 miles on his clock at that stage.
    Now that’s almost a million km guys.Don’t think i’ve come across anything with that sort of mileage before (not even a datsun “bakkie”)
    My 1150GSA has 140000km to date and never misses a beat .So i guess i can look forward to another 650000km????I’ll be long gone by then!

  • Margie Gush

    Congratulations on yet another milestone!! I am still reading all your news – just haven’t commented for awhile but I am out here!!

  • Carnivore

    Still got a(2) spare bed(s) here, Budd… when?

    Well done!

  • Chris Mutch

    Way to go, Ronnie. Happy birthday Big Fella !
    Glad it was in Canada, eh….. LOL

  • Murray

    Happy many Birthdays – we enjoyed them all with you in spirit. Many more to go. God Speed as they say.
    Cheers… Murray
    (Birthday boy today)

  • Charmz

    Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy Birthday BIG FELLA, Happy Birthday to YOU!!! Another achievement and another memory made with you in the saddle. Give him a big hug and tell him we can’t wait to see him back on home soil. Er, that goes for you to by the way. We miss you like crazy. Safe riding. Mom and Dad also send huge congrats to you the your Big Boy.

  • Kim

    Yeah-ha!!!! I personally think it’s time for a HUGE party….Get home now, so we can spoil you all!!!!
    Congrats BF!!!!
    BIG kisses

  • Åke

    Congratulations to Big Fella and to you , Ronnie !!
    Go for it , you both !!

  • Antonia Leth

    Congratulations big fella, looking good, what a journey 🙂 I was meant to be in Canada on my road trip at the moment but has been put on hold as my daughter is unwell, I will do Canada (in a car) lol…watch out for bears!! Happy Birthday BF 🙂

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