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The lure of the open road is embedded deep within our modern psyche; many dream of setting off with the sun on their back to chase the distant horizon, few dare to venture… In early 2004 Norman Magowan parted a career in the Space industry and, together with his wife Maggie, dared to chase that horizon when they strapped on a pair of unfeasibly large BMW motorcycles and set off to ride from Chile to Alaska. Their story, as they say in their Northern Irish homeland, is a cracker!
The two books in the ‘Adventures in Yellow’ series to tell the full story of their Pan-American journey, a 15-month long odyssey through 56,000 kilometres of the hottest, coldest, wettest and driest climates on the planet. The journey began chasing volcanoes in Chile down to the end of the world, where accident and misfortune dogged the early days of the trip. These episodes ultimately turned to advantage and triumph and the metronome to a fantastic adventure was set. The duo readily yielded to the torpid tango wonderland that is Argentina, where all sense of time and schedule was quickly abandoned. Riding across the Altiplano the pace was enlivened by their forced flight from strike-ravaged La Paz. Relief from the madness of Bolivia proved to be short lived when they ran headlong into a real-life lynch-mob up on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru.
Surviving South America, their travels continued with a colourful tropical traipse through Central America and México on roads running ever north into the vivid wonderlands of the US National Parks. The climate chilled again for Canada and the ultimate reach of the journey; the vast wilderness lands of Alaska, where the trip culminated with a 900-mile duel on mud roads up to the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Norman Magowan was born in Belfast in 1961. At the age of 17 he rode his first motorcycle and since then has been travelling the world on 2 wheels.
In 2003 he took a break from a successful career in the space industry to travel the length of the Americas from Chile to Alaska with his wife Maggie on a pair of BMW F650GS motorcycles. They spent 15 months and 35,500 smiles chasing a slow road that yielded the website www.panamericanadventure.com and the pair of gripping saddle yarns in the ‘Adventures in Yellow’ series of books.
Today, Norman and Maggie live in southeast England where Norman worked as Product Assurance Manager responsible for Earth Observation and Science Satellite programmes at Astrium Stevenage.
In June 2015 he packed this in to hit the road again – this time East. You can follow the latest adventures on www.adventuresinyellow.com
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I have a slight bone to pick with you about your book. I like Scotland well enough, but I was only supposed to be going to North Yorkshire to look at a bike. I was not impressed when I looked up from Leprechanus in Latin America and noticed I was in Edinburgh Waverley station!! In all seriousness though, great read, and I’ll pick up part 2 soon!
It’s perhaps a little unfair to start reading the first adventure motorcycle travel book by a new author right after being immersed in Ted Simon’s trilogy for the umpteenth time. However, Norman Magowan’s ‘Leprechauns in Latin America’ rose to the challenge admirably. The book tells the story of Norman and his wife Maggie’s exciting journey through South America and the heartwarming inspiration behind their life-changing adventure. Full of humour and personal insight, and laced with interesting historical background, ‘Leprechauns in Latin America’ is an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable page-turner. It’s a good ‘craic’ that’ll make you want to saddle up and get out on the road to experience it all for yourself.