83,000 KM, SIX CONTINENTS AND NOW A LIFE OF NO REGRET – Monday February 25 2013

– When people reach retirement age, it’s common to vow “to see the world” – and end up going to Noosa.

Publicist Shirley Hardy-Rix and former head of the Victoria Police Homicide Squad Brian Rix spent 16 months riding a motorbike  83,000 kilometres around the world.

They visited 32 countries on six continents.

Having survived extreme weather, appalling roads and wild bears, they have arrived home safely.

The trip covered the southern tip of South America to northern Alaska, south-east across Canada and the US, and from Manchester to southern Spain.

A plan to traverse Africa from north to south was thwarted by the Arab Spring, so they flew to Johannesburg in South Africa, from where they explored southern Africa.

Ms Hardy-Rix loved Alaska. “It was so rugged, and so extreme. It was cold and grey on some days; other days sparkling blue, and grizzly bears would be walking along the side of the road”. Mr Rix said southern Chile was very much like Switzerland: big lakes, big mountains, with snow-capped chalets and glaciers”.

The toughest road was southwards down Ruta 40 in Argentina – 3000 kilometres of dirt, with Antarctic winds.

They tried no to ride at night, but heading towards Popoyan, in Colombia, it was dark, rainy and foggy. They came around the corner on a mountain road into the path of two trucks, side by side. Mr Rix pulled the bike into a ditch and a truck missed them by 15 centimetres.

Ms Hardy-Rix found the slums in Peru confronting, but marvelled that people living in tin shacks would be cheerful, dress immaculately and work hard selling sunglasses at intersections.

In South Africa, a trip to a Zulu compound was curtailed because the warriors were striking over pay.

Mr Rix, a former president of the Police Association, was shocked to see South African farm labourers demanding a pay rise from 65 rand ($A7) to a paltry 150 rand a day, given fuel and food prices are similar to Australia’s. He saw how such inequality could spur growing unrest in the country.

Asked why they did the trip, they said after they said after the deaths of friends and relatives they didn’t want to live with regrets.

Did they have any arguments? Ms Hardy-Rix said, “the first time we did our big motorcycle trip [London to Melbourne 10 years ago] we argued about my lack of navigational skills. This time we had a GPS” – Carolyn Webb

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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