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A Photographer's Journey Around the World

Map showing Helge's "10 Years on 2 Wheels" travels.

North America


Growing up in Norway, I would dream about what it would be like to travel across the US. Images from Hollywood told me one story, but I knew that their was more to it than that. I had the chance to find out for myself when I was chosen to be a exchange student through AFS (American Field Service). For a year I lived with the Stone family in Los Angeles and attended the 12th grade at Eagle Rock High school. Afterwards, I felt that I had to come back and see more and I did in 1988, after traveling in Latin America for 3 years.


It was late in the season and almost everyone I met on the Alaskan Highway was heading south. It seemed a little odd, because it was only the end of September, but winter does come early in Alaska. The border guard in Chicken, Alaska, was already packed up to leave his post for the winter. No wonder he shook his head when I came through on my bike, snow and all. But I didn«t mind the snow, and in the winter, Alaska is free of both tourists and mosquitoes.


Karen and I were about to take our first major trip together in 1988. Having a traveling partner was quite a change from my routine; I had been on the road by myself for 5 years by then. I had to learn to compromise, but together we made it work.

Sleeping Beauty

Traveling on a budget meant Karen and I had to take to low cost "hotels" many people would have found unacceptable. But for us it was just part of the adventure, with very special experiences, like seeing a deer outside our window, and a skunk living in the crawls pace. Having a girlfriend that could endure and enjoy this kind of travel was wonderful.

Key West

It was our first long trip together and Karen«s first ever long ride on a motorcycle. Our plan was to cross the US within 3 months before returning to Seattle, Karen«s home port. What we Failed to anticipate was how hot and sticky Florida gets in the summer.... it was terrible. Traveling on a low budget, we usually camped somewhere along the road, a park or on the beach. Upon reaching the southern most point in the Continental USA, I daydream about riding my bike in Cuba. It is still a dream.


We all take too much with us when we go somewhere. I do it on a weekend trip, flying to Norway for Christmas and when taking short vacations. We are so focused and even dependent on all the material things that we think will make us happy, that we think we can't live without them. But in reality, their is not much you really need to go for a summer vacation with your Beemer

Just ask Richard from Canada. He would tell you that he can't leave the dog at home so he puts it in a cage on the back. What about the new video recorder that aunt Helen gave him for Christmas? Just put it on top of the tankbag and Richard "Spielberg" is ready to shoot. The spare wheel just looks cool, and you know you are really going places when you carry your own spare (front wheel?).


Of all the motorcycle Rallies I have ever been to, I'd say that the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota, USA, is definitely the best one. No wonder I«ve been back there 3 times. The highlight was when I attended the 50th anniversary in 1990. A total of 400.000 people visited the small town of Sturgis during the week-long celebration. It really was a blast, not only admiring the bikes, but checking out the people along Main street as well. If you ever have a chance to visit, do it. The Rally usually takes place first or second week of August.

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