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The trip of two lifetimes: P.E.I. man embarks on a motorcycle journey covering North America



Summerside’s Pat Doyle at all times rode motorbikes together with his dad rising up, however even that didn’t have him imagining a visit to Mexico on his Kawasaki KLR 650.

“At a younger age, I used to be launched to grime bikes by my father who completely cherished something with two wheels and that was an excellent bonding for us for a few years,” mentioned Doyle, when he spoke to SaltWire Community Jan. 31 from La Paz, Mexico. 

Pat Doyle dips his late father's license plate in the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories. Contributed
Pat Doyle dips his late father’s license plate within the Arctic Ocean within the Northwest Territories. Contributed

For years, he and his father, Steven Doyle, rode grime bikes and labored on them collectively after they broke. 

In August 2009, after years of wishing and ready, his father took his bike to Newfoundland 

“An incredible, large journey, his first ever bike journey,” mentioned Doyle. 

He remembered his father calling residence typically and listening to the passion in his voice. 

However that happiness didn’t final. 

“Sadly, he didn’t make it residence from that journey,” he mentioned. “Only a few hours earlier than he was to board the ferry again to Nova Scotia, he was concerned in an accident that claimed his life.”

Pat Doyle snaps a memory of his campsite in Death Valley, California. Contributed
Pat Doyle snaps a reminiscence of his campsite in Demise Valley, California. Contributed

Doyle mentioned the information was devastating. Days glided by, and the household obtained his father’s issues. 

“I simply keep in mind being so excited to get his digital camera again – the entire household was – simply so we might see his journey,” mentioned Doyle. “I simply keep in mind seeing the pure pleasure in his eyes and a smile so large. Wow, he was having the time of his life.”

The necessities

Pat Doyle give up his job and offered all his possessions to have the ability to go on an excellent, large bike journey. He began with the aim of reaching Alaska and has continued to journey to the Arctic Ocean and south to Mexico. Right here’s what he considers his key tools:

  • Kawasaki KLR 650
  • Tent
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Sleeping bag
  • Water and meals sufficient for 3 to 5 days
  • Single burner range and gas
  • Two pots and a pan

First steps

It took a couple of extra years, however Doyle launched into his personal “nice large journey” in July 2015 at 19 years outdated. Using one among his dad’s bikes, a road-legal Kawasaki KLX 400, he circled the Cabot Path in Cape Breton on his first journey off-Island alone. 

The bike wasn’t very comfy however someplace on the twisty roads in Cape Breton, one thing clicked for him. 

“That is what I gotta do … I need to go nice distances on my bike like my father did,” he realized.

Pat Doyle stops for a quick snapshot near Mount Itsi, Yukon. Contributed
Pat Doyle stops for a fast snapshot close to Mount Itsi, Yukon. Contributed

Doyle spent years working at a gradual job, behind the components counter at a Summerside Honda dealership, saving up, selecting a motorcycle and planning. His aim was to experience to Alaska.

“I purchased the very same bike my dad had, a Kawasaki KLR 650. I knew it was the bike, there was no query about it,” he mentioned. “This was the bike that was adequate for my dad; it’s going to be adequate for me.”

He mentioned on-line, the bike is described as “a jack of all trades and a grasp of none,” nevertheless it has nice gas effectivity, mentioned Doyle. It additionally has an easy-to-repair single-cylinder motor and no electronics to interrupt.

“Simply an absolute freight prepare of a motor, a really dependable bike,” he mentioned. 

Friends from Stewart, B.C., Edgar, Alejandro, Julio and Ricardo join Pat Doyle with his Kawasaki KLR. Contributed
Buddies from Stewart, B.C., Edgar, Alejandro, Julio and Ricardo be a part of Pat Doyle together with his Kawasaki KLR. Contributed

Taking the plunge

He rode across the Maritimes, placing round 80,000 kilometres on the motor. Then, in spring 2022, he mentioned indicators have been telling him “now or by no means.”

“So, I actually took the plunge. I give up my job, I offered all my possessions. What I personal is what I’ve now – the bike and baggage.”

When his mother, Debbie Barlow, first heard the plans, her response was rapid. 

“Oh, no, you’ll be able to’t try this,” she remembers considering. 

“It was onerous to embrace it,” she mentioned when she spoke to SaltWire Community on Feb. 15. 

To assist hold him protected, she gave him a GPS satellite tv for pc telephone in 2019, which he makes use of to name residence when there isn’t any cell service. There’s additionally a button that can ship a sign to rescuers in an emergency, she mentioned.

“As a mom, as a lot because it’s a fear for me – and I’d a lot favor to have him shut by – on the identical time I don’t need to be the one to carry him again from his dream.”

Frost covers Pat Doyle's tent and motorcycle after he camped in northern Yukon hoping to see the northern lights. Contributed
Frost covers Pat Doyle’s tent and bike after he camped in northern Yukon hoping to see the northern lights. Contributed

Setting out

On June 15, 2022, Doyle left P.E.I. heading for Alaska with the aim of attending to the Arctic Ocean.

“I had the license plate from my father’s KLR, the bike that he was using, and I believed it will be actually cool to dip that within the Arctic Ocean,” he mentioned.

“I type of took this on as a soul-searching journey, if you’ll. I didn’t understand how lengthy I wished to be on the street, I simply knew I wished to get to Alaska, and if that took a very long time, it’ll take a very long time.”

Travelling largely by backroads, Doyle took two months to get to the farthest northern level of Alaska, a spot known as Useless Horse.

That’s when he realized you’ll be able to’t drive to the Arctic Ocean from Alaska. So, he headed south then east by means of the Yukon and into the Northwest Territories earlier than turning north once more to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean the place he dipped his father’s license plate within the water. 

“An actual sense of accomplishment came visiting me. Holding that license plate within the water and simply taking within the surroundings was nearly as good as if he was proper there with me.”

Pat Doyle stops for a photo in the Atigun Pass, Alaska. Contributed
Pat Doyle stops for a photograph within the Atigun Go, Alaska. Contributed

New associates, new locations

Since that feat, the journey has snowballed into an even bigger journey than Doyle imagined.

On his was again south, he stopped in a city known as Stewart in British Columbia and picked up work as a dishwasher at a Mexican restaurant. 

He acquired to know the opposite staff and realized they have been from throughout Mexico, they usually supplied him connections and locations to remain. 

Mixed with friendships he cast with two Oregonian overlanders – people who journey nearly full-time – and a fellow motorcyclist from San Diego, Doyle felt comfy planning a southern extension to his large journey.

Not everybody understands the enchantment of an extended bike journey.

“I simply really feel like travelling on a bike is a way more uncooked approach of doing it. You are feeling, you see, you odor, you hear every little thing. You’re uncovered and it’s superior.”

He plans to spend a couple of extra weeks close to La Paz earlier than heading additional south into Mexico to fulfill some extra associates in Uruapan, a metropolis in Michoacán state.

Pat Doyle sets up camp along the Dempster Highway in Yukon. Contributed
Pat Doyle units up camp alongside the Dempster Freeway in Yukon. Contributed

Staying in contact

Doyle, who’s “grateful to have such a powerful, supportive mom again residence cheering me on,” says conserving in contact is necessary, so he checks in together with her daily.

Barlow says listening to from him day by day and studying in regards to the new associates he makes alongside the way in which warms her coronary heart and tells her there may be nonetheless good on this planet. 

To keep away from “being a nervous wreck on a regular basis,” she has realized to not instantly assume the worst if she doesn’t hear from him when she expects.

“His father is the inspiration for him wanting to do that journey, and I do know it has been a dream of his for thus a few years,” mentioned Barlow, including later, “I simply know Steven could be so pleased with Patrick and this journey. I’ve seen Patrick develop as an individual on this journey.”

As for when he’s coming residence, she mentioned, “he’ll simply know when that point comes.”

Pat Doyle gives the thumbs up from the Baja peninsula in Mexico. Contributed
Pat Doyle provides the thumbs up from the Baja peninsula in Mexico. Contributed

Doyle mentioned his plans are to “hold being open-minded and see what occurs” since he has no set schedule.

“If there’s one factor I can inform anyone, it’s simply if in case you have a dream, observe it,” he mentioned. “You meet individuals on the street, seemingly while you put your self able to be open to something. Unimaginable issues occur, issues I can’t clarify. Folks come out of seemingly nowhere they usually give you some recommendation, they give you a spot to remain, they inspire you and that simply saved occurring over and again and again till I made all of the connections.”

Alison Jenkins is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. She could be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @ReporterAlison.

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