Side swiped and dragged by RV (I’m alright)

July 15, 2012 in Ramblings

Going into this Journey, I knew that there would be hazards. Scorching heat, bitter cold, monsoons, drought, powerful dust devils, treacherous wind…I’ve experienced it all in the past two and a half months…but NOTHING prepares you for being in a collision, especially with an RV. Before I begin I want to state that overall I am ok and my bike and trailer are still drivable.

I arrived in CA about a week ago and it has been a whirlwind of excitement. There are more Honda Ruckus guys in CA than any other state. As I entered each town, I was greeted by large groups of scooterists…everyone has treated me extremely well. I have had a nice place to sleep, food, and bike maintainence where ever I’ve traveled in California. One of my recent stops was DROWsport, a business that specializes in Honda Ruckus tuning. Drew, the owner was very kind…he gave me a place to sleep and changed the oil on my bike.

From there, I connected with two Ruckus guys – Ray and Keith. I stayed at Ray’s house for two days recuperating. I was feeling extremely worn out and needed the rest. Ray and Keith offered to ride with me up the coast for two days. Ray was able to juggle his work schedule and away we went. We planned an “Iron Man” journey up the CA coastline…from Long Beach to San Jose…about 425 miles in a 48 hour period. That is especially difficult when you’re on a 49cc scooter that tops out at 35MPH!

The highlight of the journey was “Big Sur”…a beautiful part of the CA coast filled with natural wonders. The first day of the trip was long and arduous but a lot of fun…lots of camaraderie, greasy burgers, and flying road debris…lol.

We traveled up steep mountain passes and the hills really slowed us down. We were behind schedule and decided to ride after dark. We were pretty far up into the mountains on very narrow, treacherous roads. Ray was in the lead, with me in the middle and Keith was last. The roads became narrower and narrower until the shoulder almost disappeared. At it’s narrowest, the shoulder was only a foot wide. Ray was in the lead as we approached a long sweeping bend. He was several car lengths ahead of Keith and I. I saw a huge pick up truck in my rear view mirror…It had a lift-kit on it so it was much larger than a normal pick up and it had huge, oversized tires on it. It was hauling an equally huge triple axle travel trailer. It passed Keith, just missing him on the narrow shoulder, but I was not so lucky. The careless driver crossed the white line as he was approaching me and caught my bike mirror AND my left elbow on the side of the travel trailer. The mirror and my elbow became lodged in the trailers side awning rail. I was locked to it’s side and it started dragging me up the side of the mountain. It actually pushed me past the shoulder and I was wedged between the trailer and the side of the mountain…I fought to get the bike free from the grip of the travel trailer…after a good 10 seconds, the bike broke away. It then became a fight to keep the bike upright. When the bike broke free, the momentum threw me into a long rut then up the mountains hillside. I somehow got it off the mountainside, through the rut, and back on the shoulder without dumping the bike on it’s side! I STILL don’t know how I did it. The careless driver never even stopped. They just kept going up the mountain. I was shaken to the core. Keith approached me with his mouth hanging open and a look of shock and disbelief on his face. I was trembling and confused about what just took place. We looked over the bike and trailer carefully. My mirror was bent and one of the plastic signs on my cart was damaged but otherwise the bike was ok. Ray realized that we were no longer following him and circled back around to see what happened. He was equally shocked and amazed that the accident did not result in an ambulance ride.

I had no choice but to shake off the accident and continue forward. We were in the middle of nowhere and had to get off that mountain.

We found a hotel a few hours later and stopped for the night. The following morning, we headed out and by late afternoon we reached Big Sur. It was everything Raymond promised it to be. Absolutely breath-taking. One of the most beautiful places on earth. We spent the rest of the evening exploring and taking pictures. By nightfall, we were still up in the mountains and I did not want a repeat of the previous night. Unfortunately, the rest of the night was equally trecherous…narrow shoulders, careless drivers, and lots of dense fog. We arrived at the hotel at 2AM…a new record of 14 hours on the road. I FELL into bed and passed out. Ray departed for his brothers house just a few miles away. Keith and I are meeting some other Honda Ruckus guys for a ride in the morning.

Also – on an equally difficult note…California is the half-way point in my journey. As all of you know, I am trying to raise $20,000 for three charities that combat child sexual abuse. I never looked at my Pay Pal donation account until this morning. I need to be at $10,000 to be on target. I checked it and to my (initial) disappointment and dismay it was at $1,500. That is nowhere even remotely close to being on target. My mind initially turned towards the negative. I thought “Wow…115 degree farenheit heat, bitter cold, monsoons, being dragged by an RV and this is what I have to show for it”.
THEN, I thought about the people who donated and had an immediate change of heart. Every donation came from good people with GREAT hearts. All of these donations came from everyday people with everyday jobs…many of them struggling to make ends meet. A $20 donation was 3 hours labor flipping hamburgers for some of the people that donated. Others were single parents, families just starting out, and a few were even unemployed. After realizing that, I felt GREAT and I felt PROUD of all the people who came together to support me and the charities I am riding for. I will keep moving forward inspired and blessed as the day I began this Journey! I am so fortunate to be here…healing inside, touching lives, and inspiring others to heal. I could be in no better place.

Downtown Hollywood!

Our first lunch together

Along the California coast

Keith, Tom, and Ray

Keith behind me. Noticed the narrow shoulder!


Somewhere along Big Sur

One of the most beautiful places on earth and I was able to see it with my own eyes!


May 22, 2012 in Ramblings

WOW! So much has happened in the past several days…I really don’t know where to start.

On my way from Pensacola Florida to New Orleans, the rear strut exploded on by bike.

I ran into a store and when I came out, there was a tablespoon of oil on the ground. I felt sick. It looked like it was coming from the transmission. It put a knot in my stomach. I thought, “Oh no…I just had all of this replaced….the engine and transmission are new…I feel sick”. At the time, I had no idea it was the strut…I really thought the transmission was leaking.

Moments later, the sky opened up and it began to POUR down rain. I could not get my rain gear on quickly enough and I was soaked. I had just rode 150 miles…It was late and I extremely tired, my shoulder was really hurting, I was soaking wet, and I was sure my transmission was failing. I felt terrible…it was one of those dark moments that doubt sets in “Why am I doing this”? “What was I thinking”?

I tried to put the negative thoughts out of my mind and remember the blessed path I was on. I found a place to sleep for the night and woke up feeling a lot better. I met one of the Honda Ruckus guys in New Orleans. I got off my bike after another 150 miles and was escorted to a big table. They were having a Crawfish boil at his Parish. I never ate Crawfish before. I felt a little reluctant but jumped in. I ate FIVE POUNDS of Crawfish. Chad said “You don’t eat Crawfish till you’re full, you eat them till you’re tired”. Boy was he right. They are a perpetual appetizer. The tail meat is so small and it takes so long to get it out that you just can’t get full. After peeling and eating five pounds…I WAS tired…lol.

Afterwards, we went back to Chad’s house and scooter guy Ben helped him replace my shock. Chad had a replacement shock in his spare parts bin and gave it to me. Thanks Chad!

I stayed with Chad and his family that night. His wife and kids were wonderful…what a nice family! The following morning we met up with about 30 other people who own a Honda Ruckus. They planned this ride especially for me…I felt very honored that they went through so much trouble. **I felt like we were riding together in support of all the survivors of child sexual abuse** That collective support was so powerful. It set the stage for the rest of the day. We met at a small coffee shop just outside of downtown New Orleans.

While we were waiting for everyone to show up. I started hearing music. It was getting louder and louder. It was joyful “Dixie Land Band” music. Suddenly, a truck drawn carriage rolls past and on the carriage platform was a band! The music was so loud and joyful that it set my insides aglow. Behind the band was a huge parade of BICYCLES! Hundreds and hundreds of bicycles! The riders were laughing and shouting, and acting silly…it was strange, goofy, and wonderful all that the same time. I ask a bystander “Why are they doing this”? The bystander said “What do you mean “Why”?” I said “Well, what’s the reason or occasion”? The bystander replied “There is no reason…this is New Orleans”. “Celebration needs no reason”. Wow. I am choked with emotion just writing about it. “CELEBRATION NEEDS NO REASON”.

By this time, I felt “shifted”…something wonderful was happening inside of me. The vibrancy of this wonderful city began to seep inside of me…and the words “celebration needs no reason” continued to ring inside my head.

We jumped on our bike and headed out to celebrate SURVIVORSHIP!

We stopped at a cafe along the way for more coffee and a snack. I would like to explain the following pose for those who aren’t familiar with it. I became familiar with an amazing Korean guy named Wan through the internet forum
Wan came from Korea to ride across the USA on a Honda Ruckus. There was no particular reason other than the sheer adventure of it. This man inspired me to ride 10,000 miles to combat child sexual abuse.
In many of his photo’s he would wear a t shirt that read “IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING” and he would have his arms outstretched in many of these pictures. When I saw one of these photos, it gave me a feeling of empowerment. So when you see me in a pic with my arms outstretched, it means at that moment, I feel empowered! THANK YOU WAN FOR SHOWING ME A WAY TO VISUALLY EXPRESS THAT INNER FEELING OF EMPOWERMENT!

From there, we rode to a park for a few more pics:

Afterwards, the crew was getting hungry so we went to a “Po-Boy” shop for lunch. For you non-New Orleans folks, a Po-Boy is a type of sandwich. I saw an ALLIGATOR PO-BOY on the menu. I vocalized it as “Ewww…gross…alligator”. Should not have done that…lol. The Ruck crew jumped all over that.
“C’mon Tom, try it…be brave…set outside that comfort zone”!

OK…so, alligator is good…but it does NOT taste like chicken…lol.

So by this time, my hair is on fire…3 strong cups of coffee is apparently too much…lol. We hopped on the bikes and headed towards Bourbon street. As I’ve said before, music makes me happy…I mean really happy…I love to hear people singing and dancing…it uplifts me and makes me feel alive…music and dance is a powerful, transcending force in my life…yet I have rarely been able to experience those live performances that affect me so deeply.
As we are rolling into town, a kid jumped out in front of us and started tap dancing. He had flattened soda cans attached to the bottom of his shoes. It was so sudden and unexpected…he just jumped into the street and started performing. My heart jumped inside of me and I felt 10 pounds lighter inside…an incredible feeling.

So by now, I am feeling lighter than air inside…uplifted and blessed. I could not imagine it getting any better than this…then it gets better. I hear an angelic gospel voice on the street. I see a young woman standing on the street singing. I approach her and explain my journey. I ask her if she will stand by my bike and sing “Amazing Grace”. She was very kind and was happy to sing the song for me. When she started singing, tears began to roll down my face…I was choking back the tears.

Afterwards, she asks if she can sing another song for me. I happily (and tearfully agreed). The song was a gospel song about being on a spiritual journey. I had tears rolling down my face and had to fight extremely hard not to break down. The lovely young woman who sang these songs is Madame ReddRumm.

WOW! Those songs hit my heart like arrows. Thank you Madame for blessing me with your angelic voice.

About 10 minutes later a woman in her mid-twenty’s walked by. She read the sign on my scooter trailer, looked at me and started to cry…within seconds she was sobbing. I did not say a word. I just walked over to her and put my arms around her. We hugged for a long time and she cried and cried. She told me she was a victim. I said “No, you are a SURVIVOR…start thinking like a survivor”. Her mom and dad were with her and I spoke with them for a while. They were wonderful people and I could feel in my heart the connection that we shared.

We finished out our time on Bourbon street with a rousing breakdance performance. I am including this for a good reason. A day or so earlier, I was thinking that I would love to see an actual live performance of breakdancing. It was a style of dance that rose up with the popularity of boom boxes in the mid 1980′s. I collect boom boxes because they make me feel good. I never saw a real breakdance performance and it was important to me. I used to watch break dancing on TV as a kid and it made me forget about the abuse for a little while. It made me feel happy. It was always in my bucket list. Well, I got my wish. We were just sitting there on our bikes along the street and a bunch of guys in white Adidas gear show up and start setting up speakers in front of us. Within seconds they fire up the music and start this INSANE break dancing routine. WOW!!!

We left Bourbon street and drove past a theater. I flagged my fellow riders down and swung my bike around to the theater for a picture:


We rode further down the street and some of the guys yelled “follow us”! We turned into an abandoned parking garage and went RIPPING up six stories on our bikes…30 bikes…some with angry loud exhausts ripping upwards…not a car in sight…it was completely abandoned…it was like a CRAZY CARNIVAL RIDE. We reached the top and the sunlight hit my face…I felt like I had reached the pearly-gates…lol…WHAT A DAY!!! We hung out on the top garage deck for a while and took some great pictures:

We finished the evening by stopping for some beignets and coffee. Beignets are incredibly delicious french donut-like pastries…deep fried and covered in powdered sugar!

We arrived back at Matt and Diana’s house and I was completely played out :)
I went up stairs to go to bed and found a New Orleans style care package on my bed.
Thanks guys!

**I want to thank EVERYONE who rode with my that day in New Orleans. I simply cannot express what it meant to me. Somewhere during the course of that day, I remarked to one of of the guys that “The world could end right now and it would be OK”.


One more ride in Charleston, SC

May 13, 2012 in Ramblings

I am leaving for New Orleans on Monday May 14, 2012. So the Honda Ruckus Guys in Charleston wanted to go on one more ride. We rode to a state park then into downtown. What a great day! Thanks Guys!

Read the rest of this entry →

Moped Motion!

May 8, 2012 in Ramblings

I’ve been trying to solve the engine problems with my bike for the past 3 weeks. The noise is getting louder and the bike is leaking oil profusely. I can’t afford a new bike and a $1,000 engine repair bill would have been a big financial hit. A company in Athens, GA. (Moped Motion) helped me out a while back with some parts. Below is a copy/paste from a post I just wrote. I just posted this on my favorite Honda Ruckus website










So I immediately pay the miracle forward. I found a counseling center just blocks from Moped Motion’s retail store. I called and made a donation on the behalf of Jason and Moped Motion. This counseling center provides FREE counseling to children that have been sexually abused.

Then I called the Athens Banner Herald…the local paper in Jason’s town. I spoke to a reporter and told them about the selfless act of kindness! THANK YOU JASON!


May 2, 2012 in Charity, Ramblings, Tech Talk

These are a few pics from the Harley Davidson dealership on Monday 5/31. Craig (a member of drove down from Wilmington to fix my bike and the local HD dealership donated the garage space and some add’l tools. Jason at Moped Motion donated all the necessary parts. It was amazing to see a group of relative strangers jump in like a group of best friends to get the job done.

On the left – these WERE my variator clips. On the right, one of the new clips that Jason from Moped Motion sent me.

WOW am I short!

The not-so-good news is that the replacement parts did not fix the problem. The engine is still howling. I decided to try to make it to Charleston, SC…it’s about 5 hours away via 50cc scooter. The guys in Charleston wanted to take a look at it…so…I packed up camp in Myrtle Beach and hit the road. The engine was alternating between a whining/howling and a police-siren noise…the first time I heard the siren noise coming from the engine, I (literally) thought I was being pulled over by the Charleston police. It took me a minute to realize that the sound was coming from my engine! I made it to Charleston and met up with Will and Ricky…two more guys from They worked on my bike for a while and realized that it was something serious. We decided that a Honda Motorcycle dealer should look at it and try to give an official diagnosis. So I woke up really early this morning and drove to Velocity Motorsports. A tech looked at the engine and said that it is a failing engine bearing. That is really, really bad. In fact, it’s a potential show-stopper. They said it was a bad idea to ride the way it is. If the bearing completely fails, it could cause the rear wheel to lock up and I could loose control of the bike. I was trying to keep my spirits up after hearing this news.
I just received a call from Josh, another member. He has an old engine laying around in his garage. We are going to Frankenstein something together to get me to my next destination in New Orleans. This is a temporary fix until we can figure out what to do. To repair it correctly the cost will be between $800 – $900 at a Honda dealership… and to trade the bike in on a new one would be $2000+ So both of those options are out. The “Franken-motor” should get me to New Orleans and I can have time on the road for formulate a (hopefully) brilliant plan. Anyone personally know Jesse James from Monster Garage? Now would be a good time to call him. I could sure use a more powerful motor and some functionality upgrades to get through the journey…lol.

Here are a few pics from my trek to Charleston yesterday:

Spring is here!!

I risked life and limb for this pic…lol…Was on a windy bridge in heavy traffic…driving w one hand, I get out my camera and snapped this pic…that’s Capt. Will in front of me on his Ruckus.

Will and Ricky working on my bike. Thanks for the additional clips Ricky!

I met this woman in Starbucks this morning…her name is Alaine. She walked up to me and handed me a Starbucks gift card…inside the envelope was a note that said “Thanks for caring”. I got choked up when I read it. Seconds later, a gentleman approached me, gave me $20 and said “good job”. Later that morning, I was in an IHOP an a woman came up to me and said, “Thank you for what you are doing…I was sexually abused when I was 5 years old”. She turned to the waitress and said, “Please give me this man’s bill”. Afterwards, as I was sitting there drinking my coffee a woman came up to me and ask me about the charities I was riding for…I could tell she was having a very difficult day…she opened up to me and told me that she was on her way to her sister’s house a few states away. Her sister was suffering from drug addiction and she was rushing to help her. It sounded like her sister was in a really bad way. This woman hugged me and thanked me for the inspiration that there was still good in the world, because today, she was having trouble seeing it. Finally, out in the parking lot a woman and her daughter approached me and the woman said that she was molested 35 years ago. He hugged me and said she was thankful for what I was doing. She said she felt our hearts connect with that hug. I felt it too. All of these connections with people occurred in just a few hours time frame…it was almost too much for me to process.

I would not have been able to share the blessings of this journey with these people had the bike been running properly. I was placed here today in this place and in this situation to share those blessings…and to tell them the good news that there can be a quality of life after child sexual abuse occurs. I needed to hear that message again and maybe they were hearing it for the first time. Today, my message of hope even went beyond child sexual abuse and inspired a woman suffering from the effects of her sister’s drug addiction.


So you see, there’s blessings in everything…even in our darkest hours, blessing abound. I won’t let this broken bike break my spirit and I WILL NOT let it stop my Journey. I will WALK 10,000 miles before I let that happen.
I’ve got a 10,000 mile long heart to wrap around North America. I have a job to do.


April 29, 2012 in Ramblings, Tech Talk

MY Honda Ruckus started to make this strange whining noise on 4/26…I was supposed to leave the Apache Campground the following morning for New Orleans. The noise was getting worse by the hour. I spoke with Dave, a Honda tech back home at Z&M Cycles in Greensburg, PA. He said it was either a transmission issue or a main engine bearing failing!! Neither is a minor issue. I met Aaron (blue shirt) the manager of a local car wash and he offered to take a look at it for me. We both agreed that the noise sounded like it was coming from the transmission. He did not have all of the correct tools so we agreed that a bike shop should take a look at it. So I hobbled over to Armadillo cycles just outside of Myrtle Beach and the tech (Jay) looked at it for me. He also agreed that it was a transmission issue and noticed that the belt was glazed and I had flat spots worn on my roller weights. Problem is that Honda dealers do not stock these parts.
I was STUCK. No parts, no tools, and no understanding of how to fix the bike. I posted on my favorite Honda Ruckus website
Actually, it’s the ONLY Honda Ruckus website as far as I’m concerned. These guys rock!
I posted that I was in desperate need of parts, tools, and assistance. WITHIN HOURS I had parts being mailed out to the campground (THANKS TO JASON AT MOPED MOTION) and Craig from Wilmington offered to drive to the Apache with his tools to fix my bike! TOTALRUCKUS.COM TO THE RESCUE!!!

Thai Cuisine

April 22, 2012 in Charity, Food

>Had lunch at my favorite restaurant in Myrtle Beach…”Thai Cuisine”. The owner Lisa is so awesome…she has this motherly air about her…she is very soft spoken and kind. I just love her.
We sat and talked about my journey and she bought me dinner (refused to charge me for my meal). Wow. People have been so amazing.

This is my FAVORITE meal at her restaurant! Curry Chicken. It is the best I’ve ever had!!

Tom and Lisa

One of the Servers came over to me and we started talking. His name is Toto and he is a MMA fighter! We are just about the same weight. (130lbs). Next time I’m in for lunch or dinner I’m going to ask Toto if he can teach me a few moves to kick Bigfoot’s a** when I’m out in the forrest. Yes, I have a ridiculous, irrational fear of Bigfoot :roll: :ucrazy: So maybe Toto can hook me up with some cool ninja moves!


So, a week into the journey, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Mankind is inherently good. End of story. This journey has been like a razor blade through people’s outer shell. Once you get past that thick protective shell, there’s an amazing human being beneath.

2. The Honda Ruckus does not like to run at 15lbs tire pressure. The tires are like warm play-doh and it really slows you down. I forgot to check my tire pressure before I left. When Andrew the gas station attendant fixed my trailer’s flat, he also checked my Ruck tires. Both were at 15lbs. He pumped them up to 25lbs and I thought I got an 80cc engine upgrade…an entirely different bike with 25lbs pressure.

Between #1 and #2, I think #2 is the more important lesson…lol.

Vacant Motel

April 20, 2012 in Lodging

Journey updates for the past 2 days…rushing to publish this before my laptop dies!!!


I’ve had no Internet access or phone service for the past 2 days…was waaaay out in the sticks…so this is a big update.

Man…where to start?

I knocked out 220 miles yesterday! I was on the road the entire day! I made it into North Carolina sometime in the afternoon.


I stopped by a Honda Motorcycle shop and bought a 3.00 x 8 inner tube for the Ruck trailer…just in case…lol. When the guys found out what I was doing, they threw me a free t-shirt!


By evening I was beat. It started to rain and night was coming quickly. I could not find a campground ANYWHERE. I considered sleeping just off the road in the woods but it was raining hard and dark by that point. DAMN…going to have to get another hotel.
I was in such a remote area that I couldn’t even find a motel!
I came up on a convenience store and stopped to ask if there were any campgrounds or motels in the area. The attendant was really nice. He made a bunch of phone calls from the office to find me a campground or motel. His name was Tug. What a cool name…and when you see his pic below, you’ll know why they call him Tug. He is one big guy.


Tug knew of just ONE motel in the area. It was only a half mile down the road. He made a call and they had a vacancy. I jumped on my Ruck and headed over.
I arrive and immediately have a bad feeling. The outside was really run down and there were several broken down cars in the parking lot…well, it wasn’t so much a parking lot as a big area of sand and grass.
I went into the office…again, not so much an office as some really old lady’s LIVING ROOM.
She grabbed the key to room “1″ and said “Let me check it first”. She unlocked the door and opened it…I heard her mumble “Oh, my”. under her breath and close the door. She said “let me get a key to room “4″.
I’m thinking “What’s up with the “Oh, my”? ….she then proceeds to check room “4″. Apparently, room 4 passed and she handed me the key. She then immediately got in her car and DROVE AWAY. I thought that was weird because she was the only person at the hotel. I was the only person there. I walked in the room and almost puked. “What the hell is that smell”?!?!
It was cat urine and mold. What a pleasant combination…lol And where the hell did that lady go? I want my $40 back.
I had a feeling she was going to make herself scarce …so I though, ok try to make the best of it. Maybe look around and check out the rest of the room. Let me give you the grand tour:


Ok, so outside of the deplorably tacky decor, it looks sort of ok, right?


Notice the “pest control” sitting on the desk. The “refrigerator” was a styrofoam cooler covered in cat scratch marks.


moldy ceiling


Dead cockroaches

So I call my sister laughing my ass off…then she started laughing her ass off…”Kimmy, this is hilarious…it’s like a really bad movie”. “I think I’m stuck here for the night”.
So I try to do the Wan “I accept that” thing and I can’t. I started thinking – “Maybe I can just set up my tent in the parking lot”. After a half hour or so, I realized that I was really was stuck there for the night. So I resign myself and accept it. I got one of my tarps and put it across the bed then set my sleeping bag on the tarp. I covered my face with the sleeping bag so I would not have to smell the cat pee and mold.


Journey From Silence

April 8, 2012 in Ramblings

My name is Tom Burick and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
I am embarking on a one-man, 10,000 mile charity ride across 3 nations for,, and the Horry County Sexual Assault Crisis Cneter in Myrtle Beach, SC  – all three of these organizations are focused on combatting child sexual abuse. Stop It Now! focuses on prevention…stopping the abuse before it happens. Joyful Hearts Foundation is there to provide counseling, assistance, and resources when it does occur. Horry County Crisis Center provides a variety of resources for victims of any type of sexual assault – including childhood sexual abuse.  
All three charities have a heart as part of there logo…so I have decided to plan the route in the shape of a gigantic heart that spans the US, Mexico, and Canada…in all, over 10,000 miles. My mode of transportation will be a 50cc Honda Ruckus scooter!