1 Week before the trip

7 days to go

It’s the end of October, and I’m now down to only 7 days before departure to Santiago.  In this post, I’ll talk about the last 30 days, and some of the surprises and disruptions that I’ve had to deal with.

With just one week to go, I’ll be in the gym every day, and for the last 3 days, I’ve planned to visit with Kevin for personal training for a session each day.

With my job at Velocity, I’m responsible for designing the Architecture of our new cloud platform.  I’m part of the management team, and this week, I had to attend a 2015 strategy planning session that took place in Charlotte, NC.  I had hoped that for the last two weeks before my trip that I would be able to work from home, and spend time in the evenings addressing all of the final, and little details as I prepare for the trip.  I’m afraid that this was not to be.  Instead, I’ve been traveling for the last two weeks, and while everyone needs a paycheck, and I enjoy the work that I do, this was a bit of a disruption.

But, as they say, when life hands you lemons, you need to get started on the lemon-aid right away.  And, such was the case this s week.

Having the courage to take a chance

The sessions in Charlotte had gone well, and Wednesday evening, we all had dinner at an Italian restaurant.  The meatballs were great, the veal was pretty good, and the service was mediocre.  We did however manage to o  have a very nice time talking, and getting to know each other better.

As the night was seemingly coming to an  end, Robert, our COO decided that we should continue the evening, and have a nightcap at a place called “Howl at the moon”.  Now, I don’t know about you, but with a name like that, it seems that no good could come of the evening.  Said another way…  What am I in for this evening?

We were just about the only ones in the bar, and the entertainment was a pair of piano players, who did a pretty good job of getting the crowd’s enthusiasm to begin to build.  Well, as I’ve mentioned, I tend to have long, uncontrolled periods of over-confidence, and it seemed that this was to be another one of those periods.

As I stood and watched the two piano players enjoying the evening and getting the place rocking, my mind fell back to a place, perhaps 30 or 35 years ago when, as a teenager, I was a rock and roll drummer.  Now, I was never really that good, but I was in a band or two, and really enjoyed the occasional jam session with my buddies.

So, there I stood, fantasizing about a time 30 years ago, and wondering if there was any way that I could summon up the strength, and clarity of mind to perform with the band.  I thought to my self…  This is either going to be an epic moment, or one of the most embarrassing points in my life.  In either case, I was still undecided.

I mentioned all of this to Marcello, who was very encouraging, but he realized the risks, and he simply left it up to me.  Now, Robert does not act like Marcello ,at all…  When I mentioned this to Robert, he said two things.  First, he said that “I have to do it”.  He immediately followed that up with “and you have to OWN it”.  As I listened to his enthusiastic response, I imagined the scene in Caddy Shack where Chevy Chase explained that you had to “be the ball”.  So, there I was, about to become the ball.

I tossed $20 to the piano players, and within minutes, I was walking up on stage to perform a song with the band.  We settled on Bad Company’s Can’t get enough of your love.  I’m a big Bad Company fan, and figured that, even with the wine and beer from the evening likely to have an effect on my talents and abilities, at least I knew the song, and it was an easy song to play.  So, I threw caution to the wind, and gave it hell.

CliffOnDrums3 CliffOnDrums2 CliffOnDrums1

The video below is the results of that performance.

I have to say, all of the folks from Velocity were well and truly enthusiastic and very supportive of what I did.  In fact, about 30 minutes later, Robert put on his best Marc Cohn face, started channeling Elvis, and sang “Walking in Memphis”.  He was awesome, and as I thought about what had happened, I realized how little we all knew about each other, and how important it is to get to know the human side of all of the folks that you work with.

Did you see me drop my drumstick?

Ride Log

I’m afraid that I have not ridden much in the past two weeks.  I’ve got some new personal things going on in my life, which I’m really enjoying, and between these things, and the travel and preparing for the trip, I’ve had no time.

The return of my damaged tire

2 months ago I tried to teach myself how to replace a tire on my GSA.  Once again, overconfidence caused me to choose the Heidenau K60 for the front and the back of the bike.  These tires are very durable, have great off-road capabilities, and are very durable, lasting up to 12,000 miles for most owners.  They do also have very rigid sidewalls, which make them very hard to mount.  Well, I guess I took this as a challenge, and decided that I would still install them myself.

I asked Bruce to come over and help and so at 5PM on a Friday night, he arrived, and we started at it.  2 hours later, we had mounted the rear tire, and dismounted the front.  That’s where it all started to go wrong.  Now, as a big guy, I’m capable of putting huge amounts of leverage into play, and I used this leverage to put weight on the tire levers as I tried to mount the tire.  In the process, I shredded the bead of the tire, and bent the rim.

I sent the rim off to Woody’s Wheel Works, and asked them to fix it.  Well, when they tried to straighten the rim, it broke, and so they had to replace it.  As long as it was being replaced, they also installed stronger spokes, and mounted and balanced the tire.

I received the wheel back from Woody’s yesterday, and I have to report that they did a fantastic job.  Thanks to them for their help.

The remaining work to prepare for Patagonia

With 5 days left, it’s now time to remove all of the necessary parts from my GSA, pack them up, and get ready to transport them to Patagonia, where the folks at Compass will install them on the bike.  I’m planning on bringing my mirrors with me, my GPS, and my footpegs.  In addition, I’ve purchased a set of ROX risers that the folks at Compass will install, and I’ll let them keep them once I’m done with the bike.

There is still a lot of packing to do, and I need to sort out all of the paperwork.  I’ve spent a good deal of time preparing all of the paperwork, and have laminated multiple copies of my license, passport, etc, but now it’s time to organize it into envelopes, so that I can turn it over to the tour operator, and have extra copies, as required.

What comes next

The next post you’ll see will be on Thursday, probably immediately before I leave for LAX.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.


  1. Cliff,

    That’s pretty damn good for a white guy! Bravo!! Looking forward to the continued posts.


  2. I loved the video! One woman in your party said, “Who knew?”
    Well, WE (your siblings) knew, but Mom never fully appreciated your talent.

    1. Thanks Sis,
      We all have latent talents, it’s just that playing the drums was “a bridge too far” for Mom, and she never really took a liking to the idea of me playing the drums.

  3. Hey lil’ bro, nice job on the drums! You nailed it Cliff. It’s really difficult to walk up cold like that and play without warming up, but you pulled it off.

    Next time you’re in CT you’ll have to sit in with the band.

    “Save your money up for when you get old, gotta keep playing that Rock on Roll” (Rick Deringer).

    Have a great adventure in Patagonia. Take lots of pics.


    1. Ivan, that sounds like good advice. In fact, I’ve been doing my best to do just that. I’ll explain more in my next post. Great to hear from you.

  4. Did you know that I was just down the street that evening at the Arena watching the opening night of the season basketball game for the Charlotte Hornets. Now if I had know that this
    other show was going on just down the street I may have stopped by for my drummer friend.

    1. Hmmm, I did not know that, but at least we had a chance to hook up for a quick meal the day before. Maybe next time…

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