I’ve been silent too long

An update since my last post

Early in January, in my last post I described myself as being uneasy about the upcoming trip, and I was very concerned about my safety as I would be traveling through Russia and China, two countries where an American might find himself or herself in an unexpected, high-risk situation, simply because I am a US Citizen. Well, over these past 8 weeks, I’ve done enough research to settle the issue, and as a result, I’ve decided that I’ll be going forward with the trip, as it was previously laid out.

A tough decision

I did not come to this decision lightly, and some of you, those that I care about, and who care about me have expressed an uneasiness about my decision. Nevertheless, I hope that you can appreciate that I’ve done the work, researched the situation, and assessed the risk to be acceptable. To be clear, both Russia and China were already classified as a Level 3 risk by the US Department of State, and as a result of the kidnapping in Russia, or China’s proclivity to limit the travel of US ExPats, the risk rating for both of these countries has remained the same. So, if there is an elevated risk, the State Department (A generally pessimistic organization if ever there was one) has not seen fit to make it any more difficult to travel to these places.

Time to get my mind right…

And so, now it’s time to work in earnest to complete the planning for the trip, and get my mind right. You may recognize that expression from the movie Cool Hand Luke, where Strother Martin regularly told Luke that he needed to Get his Mind Right.

Now, I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but this idea, this concept of getting your mind right is a critical way of thinking about traveling in foreign countries. As a foreigner, who wishes to enjoy my visit, and to leave without causing or being part of an international incident, it’s important to get my mind right. And so I will. I’ll take a relaxed but respectful posture, especially when in Russia and China. Combining this relaxed approach, with all of the other work that I’ll do to learn what type of things to avoid, should prove to keep me safe. But, while I’m on the trip, I encourage all of you to keep an eye on my travels, especially as I travel through Russia and China.

Putting it all in perspective

Who would have thought that I would issue these words… “Boy, I’ll be Kyrgyzstan is going to be a breeze”.

From now on, you can expect to see more posts, and it’s likely that the next post will be a report on the health of my bike, as my first shakedown ride of 2019 was a failure, due to a dead battery, and an incorrectly adjusted clutch. But, more on that in my next post.

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. You will be fine in all those places! … Just don’t say “what we got, heyah, is failure to communicate” ..

    1. Nance, I love the fact that you, and Lee both decided to make Cool Hand Luke jokes. Thanks

  2. Cliff: Service for your bike would seem to be a large concern for you in Russia and China. Have you been able to identify motorcycle repair shops along your route that could lend a hand and have access to parts should you need? In our visits to Russia and China, we did not notice much in the way of motorcycles that were manufactured in Japan or Germany. Best of luck to you on your Journey! – Jim & Bonnie Roberts

    1. Hi Jim,
      I could not agree more. Getting the bike serviced in a reliable manner, by a qualified tech is going to be a challenge, as I travel through these countries. But, as it turns out, that is the topic of my next Blog Post, so please do comment on the next post, and let me know if you think I’ve solved the problem, or not.
      As always, thanks for your thoughts. It’s great to have someone with such a vast amount of experience making comments.

  3. I know with your planning you will be fine. Regardless there will still be those of us who will worry, and yes we will keep an eye out on your posts when you stat traveling.

    1. Carolyn, thanks for always watching out for me. I’ll do my best to stay safe, and not enjoy too much of that great German beer.

  4. Brother, all these concerns and risks are real and cannot be dismissed but if you have done the research and are still raring to go, then I support your decision. For myself I would ride through western Europe and be happy but your trip will certainly be much more epic and much more gratifying. Cant wait to get the intra-trip updates. Rock on.

    1. Michael, you know me. I’ve agonized over the decision, but now that it’s been made, I’m 100% committed, and I’ll do whatever level of planning and preparation is necessary to stay safe, and return back to the US, so that we can continue to enjoy our discussions about F1, and MotoGP.

  5. Cliff, I’ve thought about you and the trip a lot over the last couple of months when there was no word from you and thought that “Well, he just figured that it was too dangerous”. But then I though ” Nah, not Cliff”.
    So, glad that your back in the saddle (so to speak). Wendy and I send you our best wishes and look forward to sharing your adventure.
    Cheers mate.

    1. Hey Burke, I love how much confidence you have in me to “get ‘er done”. But, to tell the truth, I really did agonize over the decision about whether to go or not. In the end, I figured that if I behaved myself, and if the world order did not get any worse, then I’d be able to complete the tour, and tuck away all of the amazing experiences that I’ve got planned.
      It sure is a great feeling to see how many friends trust my decision, but express concerns. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Please be sure to give Wendy my best.

  6. Maybe you should learn the Canadian national anthem and use a lot OAH ah in speech.
    I know you are careful and Karran and I are thinking of you.

    1. Hey Pat, you know, your idea is not really too crazy at all. In fact, I spent about 30 minutes searching through Amazon.com, looking for Canadian T-Shirts. Maybe I’ll need to refocus, and find the perfect shirt from our friends up North.

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