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Ewan and Charley's 'Long Way Down'

There are just way too many inappropriate comebacks I could use with that title... Anyhew! I just got to see a special theater viewing event of Long Way Down; Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor's 2007 motorcycle tour from John O'Groats, the northern-most tip of Scotland, all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa.

Aside from the shoddy theater treatment (the theater pretty much ignored us in the cramped, tiniest theater in the corner of the mega-plex) where the house lights stayed on more than 10 minutes into the show, then stayed off well after the credits finished, and the also shoddy satellite feed that kept breaking up the footage - to follow the journey with the two-wheeling dynamic duo was inspiring and just plain exciting to watch. Seeing as we had the highlights of the 88 day trip edited down to just under 2 hours, one would not expect a dull moment, and there wasn't.

Some of the highlights include one of the first stops in Africa at the Lars homestead site in Tunisia. It didn't even occur to me that this stop might be a possibility until I started watching them progress down Italy, and knew they would be crossing to Tunisia before Libya. Duh! I got a little overly excited at the prospect and was pleasantly surprised to see them make the stop. Ewan admittedly wasn't so pleasantly surprised to find himself not hoarded by fans, even as they visited the "Star Wars Bar" at the site with several images of himself as Obi-Wan pinned to the walls. There were even a good amount of visitors there, and nobody seemed to recognize him! I had intermittently followed the live blog they kept through the BBC while on this trip, and totally missed the Tunisia section.

Otherwise, watching the tour through wild country was just as spectacular as it was with the first trip "Long Way Round". There's a certain quality about the way they documented both expeditions through helmet cams and from support crew riding along with them, as well as witty commentary from the boys, that captures the feeling of being on the trip with them (or at least really, really wanting to be there with them) better than any National Geographic special.

"Down" was a somewhat shorter trip than "Round" which circumnavigated the northern hemisphere (save for the trip across the Atlantic back home). This trip was aired as 6 episodes as opposed to the 10 episodes of "Round", and the general feel was that it was much more condensed as a trip and in it's media release as well. Granted, we saw them get all the research done and the preparation process kinked out for the first trip. Ewan had been shown more than once saying that he and the rest of the crew didn't want to spend that much time away from home and family again (after the first trip), so it's no big surprise they would have trimmed it down this time. Also, they were certainly more efficient this time 'round given the experience they had with the first trip. Ewan's wife Evelyn came down to south-central Africa for a leg of the trip lasting several days. She certainly seemed the timid rider for the most part, and even though she dumped every 20 kilometers or so, she toughed it out and survived. I'm a little jealous (okay, a lot). Somehow I always get distracted from those little disappointments by seeing Ewan covered with road dirt.

Both trips are now available on DVD and book form which are largely collections of journal entries from Charley and Ewan. Fun stuff if you like motorcycles, adventure, world travel, four (and two) wheeling, and Ewan and Charley. Hey, I do!

Also avaialble on DVD, which I have yet to see, is Charley Boorman's "Race to Dakar" in which Charley participates in the African endurance motorcycle race (with a bike much better equipped for that kind of terrain I might add!).

Long Way Down offficial site

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