Saturday, January 20

Where in the world is Paul Mondor?

For a couple of weeks now, Paul Mondor has dominated my thoughts. I’ve tried to restrain myself and not think about him every minute. But I’m hopeless when it comes to Paul. Last Tuesday night, I crossed the line. I began sleeping with him.

I am a respectable, unavailable woman, for whom this is entirely out of character. I have no business engaging in such behavior. Yet when I climbed into bed early this morning, Paul was right there. When I opened my sleep-deprived eyes this morning, I turned over and there was Paul, demanding my attention. I did what only an obsessed woman would. I rolled out of bed, turned on my computer and asked the only question I could: “Where in the World is Paul Mondor?” Is he cold? Is he of clear mind and strong body? Is mother nature treating him well? Is the throng of other Paul-obsessed groupies watching out for him, offering their warm beds, and feeding him well?

You see, although I’ve become a fanatical stalker, I have never met Paul Mondor. And, I probably will never meet the man. Probably the closest I’ll ever come to meeting him is to trace his coast-to-coast Canada route myself and dream of him while doing so.

For more than a year, Paul Mondor has been planning to ride a motorcycle from Victoria, BC to Newfoundland and back home in the dead of winter. Operative words: coast-to-coast; Canada; dead of winter; and motorcycle. The juxtaposition of those terms should have forced his family and friends to launch an intervention because evidently the man is either insane and/or has a death wish. Judging from what I’ve learned about Paul from bleary-eyed reading of more than a year’s worth of posts about his epic journey, Paul is a force to be reckoned with. His DNA is unlike most people; a brain scan, I’m convinced, will show spirited activity in regions that most of our brains show dead zones. Paul's a member of that select group of visionaries that see only the possibilities and rewards in following their dreams, regardless of the names the world's naysayers call them. When it comes to the inherent dangers that would give some of us pause and stop most of us in our tracks, Paul and his ilk see only worthy challenges to overcome while keeping their eyes on the prize.

For the winter bound, road-starved motorcyclists--and a lot of other riders and nonriders, we are living a bit of our own dreams vicariously through Paul. He calls himself the “crazy Frenchman” and if his tenancity and determination is symbolic of that moniker, folks had better just get out of Paul’s way when he gets a bug in his beemer loving heart. I could continue to wax poetic about Paul, but I really want to wrap this up as I hear him calling out to me. I will leave you with some more key words to capture his, man against nature, coastal journey on a BMW F650GS Dakar: killer windchills; 100 mph wind gusts; -33F; avalanches; icy roads; closed roads; zero visibility; harrassing policemen; truckers; genius mechanics; coffee; generous strangers; gravey and ketchup soaked french fries; and, a horde of people wishing Paul Godspeed.