As we coasted down Highway 1 in Baja California, racing against time through the cactus-riddled desert landscapes to make Cabo San Lucas for New Years Eve, Aidan and I realized that we were only minutes away from our bikes' trip odometers flipping to 1,000 miles. We pulled over to the shoulder to commemoratate the moment with some photos and a roadside cerveza. We stood beside our bikes sharing the tepid brew, laughing about some moments on the road thus far, like buying petrol in Coke bottles in a desperate pinch, eating lobster burritors for breakfast, and Aidan unwittingly sitting straight down on top of a cactus. From that moment forward, every time we reached a new thousand mile marker on our journey, we took the time to stop, snap some pics with our fingers signaling the thousands of miles we'd traveled, and reflect on the journey thus far.
Our stops gradually evolved into all-evening events, as we decided to smoke one of our covetted Cuban cigars (and later, our Honduran cigars that we bartered from a boutique cigar maker for a website) at each milestone, and to (collectively) have one beer for every thousand miles that we had traveled in total. I was almost thankful when Aidan had to return to Australia after 15,000 miles and I could abandon the beer rule, but still continued with the cigars until the very end.
Traveling this kind of distance and time, you tend to get jaded about the day-to-day. Rides, towns, meals, and encounters that were once new and exciting blend together into a vague, murkey memory as you focus on what lies ahead.
When the extrordinary becomes the mundane, you need a way to snap yourself out the rhythm and actively experience again. Our thousand mile ritual proved to be that break from routine for us that assured we were processing the amazing things that we were experiencing on this once in a lifetime journey.