The Whole Story: Keith Thye's new collection summing up two epic motorcycle journeys 50 years apart

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The Whole Story - Moto Raid I & II

PNW rider, Keith Thye repeats his 1963 Trans-Americas ride and shares both in a new collection

Prior to the 1970's very few Americans had ever ridden motorcycles from the Pacific Northwest, through Central and South America. In fact, Keith Thye and his riding partner Dave Yaden were some of the first fully documented riders to do so, riding 1958 BMW's from Portland Oregon to Pucon Chile.

This was four decades ahead of the coined term 'adventure-riding'. There was no Touratec, Klim, Aerostich, Jet Boil or Redverz. Instead you put on your blue jeans and leather jacket and did the best you could to get 200 miles a day across unmaintained dirt roads. To sum it all up, Thye released his first book, Moto Raid at the turn of the century. The book featured black and white photos alongside his well-documented diary and thoughts of the ride. At the time of the books release, Thye put together a well laid out slide-show presentation and shared it several times with customers of his wife's Ride West BMW shop and the local Washington State BMW Riders club

As 2013 approached, Thye started thinking about what it might be like to relive the adventure and enlisted five other riders, including Yaden to partake on a replay of the journey. After months of preparation, the sextet departed Seattle and headed south. Throughout, Thye once again photographed and documented the journey. Upon returning home, store customers were once again treated to a slide show about the reprisal ride, with Thye sharing photos from 50 years ago, alongside current shots in a sort of A/B process.

But he wasn't done yet. In 2016, he hatched a plan to release a new book alongside the original book. The new book would include detailed notes and all color images from the 2013 ride and the old book would be rebuilt from the ground up with all color imagery as well. The result - 'The Whole Story' is a collection of the two books, 300 days of adventure touring spread between fifty years.

Whether you're planning a multi-country trip on your motorcycle, or just like to live vicariously through other people's adventures, The Whole Story provides enlightening facts of what it was like to travel by motorcycle 50 years ago, and now.

Several differences noted are that most of the roads today are paved, big towns have gotten bigger and communication happens a lot faster now.

But there are similarities that can't be denied as well. Most small towns have stayed small and are impoverished today as they were then; some roads still deteriorate to near impassable, and there's still plenty of monkey-business at play during border crossings and shipping of bikes in third world countries.

Even if you own a copy of the original Moto Raid, you owe it to yourself to buy the set so you can upgrade to color and get the rest of the story.

Look for appearances from Thye around the US this year, most notably during the BMW MOA Rally in Salt Lake City this July.

SR/March 17

The Whole Story can be ordered online at

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