TRAVERSE CITY — Jay Taylor isn’t afraid of the 8,000 miles of road ahead of his motorcycle when he finally points its nose south next month.
He’s more afraid of what would happen if he didn’t take a leap of faith and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip alongside his father — a man with whom he once cut ties.
“It’s been a lesson in getting close,” he said.
Taylor, 29, says he hated his father during high school.
The relationship continued to deteriorate and, during his college years, Taylor severed ties with his father, Dale.
The two began reconciling their differences since then and somewhere along the way began planning a serious adventure. The men will trek south on motorcycles destined for a spot deep in the Amazon where they will spread the ashes of Taylor’s grandparents.
The men intend to see parts of the world oft overlooked — all from the saddles of a pair of used motorcycles. They will snake south through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Hondouras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. They will sell their motorcycles, possibly in Colombia, and jump on an airplane for the last leg of the trip to Brazil.
Taylor expects to confront many challenges along the way, including the possibility that government officials in one country or another could confiscate their cameras or, worse, their motorcycles.
But Taylor is confident he has prepared for the trip.
Their destination is the village of Santo Andre in the Brazilian jungle. It’s the village where Taylor’s grandparents worked as missionaries for nearly five decades with the Pacaas Novos Indians.
Taylor asked himself two questions when the idea of a motorcycle trip through Mexico and Latin America arose. The tour would require weeks of saddle time on his Kawasaki KLR 650 and a host of variables outside the pair’s control.