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Gord and Elizabeth Harris

Gord and Elizabeth Harris’ relationship, with each other and motorcycles, has stood the test of time. Now ages 68 and 66, they began riding together more than 50 years ago.

Both grew up in and around Owen Sound, Ontario, which is where Elizabeth began riding pillion with Gord. They established their careers there—Gord founding an insulation and construction business and Elizabeth teaching school.


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Ten years ago their motorcycle started taking them further from home. They rode all across Canada, through many of the US states, and while on vacation in Switzerland and Hawaii. Africa popped onto their radar after they read about Renedian’s Waterfalls and Wildlife tour in Motorcycle Mojo Magazine.

Gord inherited money a few years ago after both his parents passed— enough for a new BMW R1200RT and a more exotic vacation. “I just wanted to ride motorcycles,” said Gord. “Elizabeth wanted to see animals. Africa was the perfect destination.”


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Both were quite impressed with the Windhoek hotel they stayed in on arrival while waiting to join the rest of the group. Coincidentally, they bumped into someone who had just finished a Renedian tour. “This is really nice,” he advised, “and everywhere you’ll stay is even better.”

Laughing, Gord confided, “By half way through the safari we were pinching ourselves, asking if we shouldn’t have paid more for this trip.”

“We were totally blown away,” he continued. “Everything was special! It was so interesting riding down these roads in the middle of nowhere and having a zebra run along beside you. Or seeing an elephant come out of the bush!”


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“Nowhere else have we been so immersed in another culture,” adds Elizabeth.

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As a teacher, she was particularly impressed by a visit to a village school. “Some of these kids walk hours to get to this one-room school, “ she says. “The playground is a yard with a bunch of sticks and an outhouse. There was nothing recreational until they received the soccer ball we brought with us. Each of the children took turns holding this precious gift.”

“Many people have asked if I was ever afraid,” says Gord. “I never was, but I was glad to be with experienced guides at border crossings. There was always a lineup for the tedious bureaucratic process. Because we were with people who knew how to handle the officials, we scooted right along.


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Elizabeth thought it might be scary sleeping in a tent in the middle of the jungle but her exhilaration turned out to be greater than any fear.

Motorcycles and animal sightings came together out in the wild and in town.

Gord explains. “There were always animals on the shoulder of the road but they seemed to know not to cross – free-range cows, ostrich, baboons, zebra, donkeys, goats, and guinea fowl. We even passed two donkeys sleeping soundly in the middle of a round about.”


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While each day was chock-full of awesome experiences, they concur the end of each day was extraordinary. “We had time to sit by the pool and reminisce, then go to dinner and talk about the day with the others in our group.

”My parents would have loved that we used the money for this trip.”

Photo credits: Gord Harris