The Notiers Notes
Our Sunday Scoop
By Tim Notier
Marisa, Pegasus (our KTM 1190), and I have been a trio of man, woman, and machine over the course of the last 4 years. We have struggled together, overcome hardships together, and each of us has pushed the others past their limits, urging them to continue on when things got tough.
All of us have our roles as we navigate the world. I am generally the pilot, with my black chauffeur hat and gloves replaced with my motorcycle helmet and plastic knuckle gloves. My limo is our KTM, but Marisa is no ordinary passenger. Marisa is the true hero of our story. She is my cheerleader, my support crew, and my morale booster when both the bike and I are feeling grumpy and worn down. Between the three of us, Marisa is usually the one with the least amount of 'issues' as we bounce along gravel roads and across rivers.
There have been times when our struggles are of our own doing, most notably as we rode across the Bolivian Salt Flats when they had a thin layer of water reflecting the heavens above. And even though we took some of the most memorable pictures of the trip while coasting through this dreamlike scenery, it very well may have led to the large portion of electrical and mechanic issues that kept rearing their ugly heads as we continued further down the road. This is not what teammates do to each other.
After troubleshooting a malfunctioning kickstand sensor, we hoped that was the only damage we had done on our blissful ride through paradise. But a year later in Africa, our radiator had sprung a leak. The mechanic who took a look at the bike asked me, "Where have you been that could have caused this type of corrosion?"
I knew the answer, but kept it to myself.
But Pegasus pushed on, rarely complaining as we traveled down sandy corrugated tracks that often left her laying on her side while fluids leaked out of overflow hoses. I patched her wounds the best that I could, and Marisa was always right there behind me to say, "You are doing an amazing job."
The three of us had a few more scars on us than we did the day we left, but we wore them like badges of honor. We successfully rode halfway up the African continent before Covid hit and tossed a wrench in our sprocket. After a year of waiting things out in Kenya and Uganda, Marisa and I decided that going back home to save up some cash and doing a full rebuild of the motorcycle would be a good use of our delayed travel plans. But before we wintered in Chicago, we wanted to tour the States, present at some overland expos, and take full advantage of the summer before we hunkered down to endure our first Chicago winter in four years.
Unknowingly, this would be the farewell tour to a member of our trio, one that had carried us nearly halfway across the globe. Our trusty steed was becoming less reliable as different failure codes flashed across my dash. After 85k of tough and overburdened miles, Peg was reflecting some of the abuse that I had put her through.
I had asked a lot of that motorcycle, and it had performed better than I could have ever expected. Some may say that 85k miles is not the full lifespan of an expensive adventure motorcycle, but my mind flashes to the way people age. There will be significant differences between Kim Kardashian when she reaches her 50's versus a blue-collar coal miner who had spent decades of their life through difficulties and hard manual labor.
Marisa and I knew that Peg had served her time. Fixing her up via a full rebuild would cost 6k dollars or more, and there still may be hidden gremlins lurking deep within her components that aren't diagnosable until they present themselves in some foreign land.
The good news is that Marisa and I still have the same wanderlust as we did so many years ago. The dream of riding through the plains of Mongolia are still alive and well. Our passion to explore the unknown has not faded in the slightest, and we have already chosen the next character of our story.
We can't wait to mount the newest member of Notier's Frontiers, but this story is not about what is to come, it is about the successes and triumphs that our honorably discharged motorcycle has faithfully guided us through, all with the enthusiasm of a new puppy. I will always remember the sound of her engine as she eagerly burst into life, ready for whatever nasty roads we may traverse down that particular day.
Marisa and Pegasus are both mythical creatures that have been crafted by the gods and by some source of unbelievable luck and fate, are a part of this little chauffeur's life. Another machine that has been forged by Hephaestus himself will be put through the same tests, if not more than its predecessor (minus any future salt flats).
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