March 10, 2011

Travel Tales from our CEO

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Perforce CEO Christopher Seiwald recently returned from an epic motorcycle trip winding through lesser-traveled routes of South America. Having given his lifelong fascination with motorcycles and photography free reign for a bit, he’s now back at Perforce, ready to navigate our Roadmap to Innovation. Read on for a peek at our intrepid leader’s travel diary.

10,000 miles in South America
10,000 miles in South America

Unless you've been following my little adventure on Facebook, and even if you have, you might be wondering just how this magical adventure is treating me, or might treat you if you found your head in my helmet, so to speak.

To start, the motorcycling has been fantastic, and that means challenging. We've had five at-speed crashes so far, sending two riders home and one back to Buenos Aires for motorcycle repairs. Of the roughly 7,000 miles we've ridden, more than 1,000 have been on gravel and dirt roads, and much of the pavement is an on-again off-again affair, with the roads in poorer places being more pothole than tarmac. We've had such wind and rain that we sometimes wear the sides of our tires riding straight.

Brother and sister in Quito
Part of the tour is to visit and support several SOS Chidlren's Villages around the world. The one in Quito doesn't get many gringos bringing motorcycles, and ours made for an instant jungle gym. This brother and sister pair found my bike.

Plus, my motorcycle, the only KTM in the group, has suffered so many mechanical issues that sometimes I doubt it will complete the trip.

But all that just accentuates the awesome riding with stunning scenery on unbelievably fun roads. Our head guide, Kevin, has motorcycled through South America many times, and he specializes in balancing visits to the main attractions with more offbeat motorcyclers' delights. We visited Buenos Aires, Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world), spent rest days in Santiago, and now I write this from Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu, South America's largest tourist attraction. But our path has taken us up Argentina's Ruta 40, Chile's Carretera Austral, Bolivia's Camino del Muerte, and zigzag routes through the Andes that weave us through glaciers, deserts, high high plains, and high high high mountains. The KTM, reliability issues aside, is a perfect bike for this kind of adventure. It is lightweight and sprung like a dirt bike, but can carry my three luggage boxes and a passenger, too, when needed. Yours truly has been fortunate to have kept the rubber side down. So far. I'm loving it.

Being a tourist, on the other hand, isn't as much to my liking. Without actually living in any one place for a good long time, I can't absorb much local culture except of Trivial Pursuit quality. And travelers seem to talk mostly about traveling. Except for some whiskey inspired discussions about American imperialism, the most intellectual activity I get is from diagnosing the problems with my bike. I miss my colleagues and real conversations and doing real things. I miss my family and friends, and, since I'm sure you want to know, I miss a burrito!

Hasta la proxima!