Operation Moto Dog - Photo by Joel Bear

OMD Q&A

An ever growing list of questions from readers, riders and fans.
Have a question for us? Email me at mallory@mallorypaige.com.

What is OMD?
Operation Moto Dog (OMD) is a cross continent adventure with me, Mallory Paige, Baylor the Dog, and Rufio the motorcycle-sidecar. Initially we were just planning to go from Bend, OR to Alaska and back, but along the way the mission expanded. Once we made it to Alaska, the decision was made to continue across North America.

How long have you been riding motorcycles?
I got my motorcycle license in May 2015 before leaving for Alaska in June 2015. Prior to that I had 50cc Vespa in college and rode passenger on a DR650 in Ecuador. I basically had no motorcycle experience, but figured I had from Oregon to Alaska to figure it out.

Are you traveling with a group?
Nope, it’s just me and Baylor.

Aren’t you afraid?
Sometimes. There are times in the woods where Baylor and I feed each others paranoia. Other times where I get the heebie jeebies and can’t shake them all night. But as I told my sister once, it’s not about being fearless. On top of that, fear is not a good enough reason to not do something. Especially the hard things that make you a better person.

What prompted this adventure?
I had an idea of the type of person I wanted to be. Committing to this adventure meant I would have no choice but to go after my motorcycling, adventuring, woman of the wilds vision.

What kind of motorcycle and sidecar is it? Where did you get it?
It’s a 1998 Kawasaki KLR650 and an old California Companion sidecar. I found them both used on craigslist and spent several weeks ignoring the haters and building the beast now known as Rufio.

How old are you? How old is Baylor?
I’m 31 and Baylor is 11. We’ve been together since Baylor was a 9-week old fluffball. It was love at first sight.

Do you stay in hotels along the way?
No. We tent camp or dirtbag. As much as possible, I look for free dispersed camping like National Forest or BLM land. When that’s not possible we stay in campgrounds. And we’ve been blessed by the kindness of strangers-turned-friends along the way – loaning us a riverside cabin, a converted school bus house, a toasty platform tent, and countless cozy rooms.

How can you afford to do this?
First, I keep expenses as low as possible. I don’t have a house or any expenses anywhere except OMD and we travel as cheaply as possible (see above about camping). And this is not a vacation. I work everyday on the road – writing and building a few select websites.

I’m not rich, sometimes scraping uncomfortably close to just barely getting by, and I’m not building a cushy retirement fund. I’ve made the conscious choice to live a semi-retired life now while I know I’m alive and able to do it. As with all things, there are tradeoffs and this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but I love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Is this a long vacation?
No, OMD is not a vacation.

Are you doing this solo cause you were unhappy with your life/have no friends or community?
I’m fortunate to have the most amazing friends, family and community a gal could ask for. So amazing that they understand I need this adventure to truly reach my full potential. It was not an easy decision to leave them behind, but I know it’s important.

What does your family think?
I have a really cool family. Despite all sorts of bumbled reassurances, they fully support me and the OMD adventure. My sisters are amazing, talented women and I attribute a lot of our go-getter attitudes to the importance of family legacy. And to top it all off my Grandpa Bub is Operation Moto Dog’s number 1 fan. Yes, I’m lucky indeed.

Are you trying to write a book? Is that why you started this travelogue?
I had no real goal starting the travelogue. It was a simple daily account with one reader (thanks Mom!). I never imagined that anyone else would care. That it would grow to have more than 20,000 regular readers. That fans from around the world would come along for the ride. Inspiring and humbling.

Now, I really do hope to write a book. I’ve always dreamed of being an author and would love to share the OMD adventure with as many people as possible. Plus working through the publishing process would teach me so much. And since learning is one of my biggest motivations in life, that gets me all sorts of excited.

What do you want to prove with this adventure?
Mainly I want people to realize they don’t need to be fearless, an expert or perfect to live their dreams. I don’t have any special skills or abilities that should make me good at this. If I can do it anyone can do it. Seriously.

Have you had any engine problems?
Yes. In Anchorage I had the opportunity to learn how to replace a piston. Rufio got a little trip to the operating room and came out of it a purring, 685 continent-conquering beast.

What about traveling as a solo female? Aren’t you worried people are going to take advantage of you?
No, I’m not. Everyday on the road I’m shown the goodness that exists in the world, the deep and inspiring kindness of humanity. Along the way I’ve witnessed an entire community come together to support us, taken an endless trust fall and learned to accept help, had a stranger-turned-friend drive hundreds of miles to haul us into Alaska. Everyday strangers take time to say hi, look out for us and provide friendship and community on the road. People are good. This I will always believe.