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Redmond to Rio: Redmond's Pedro Castro to ride motorcycle down to Brazil

Redmond resident Pedro Castro stands beside his 2005 Suzuki V-Strom 1000, which he will be riding from Redmond to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, beginning Jan. 9, 2013. He will ride 300 miles a day for 50 days. - Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter
Redmond resident Pedro Castro stands beside his 2005 Suzuki V-Strom 1000, which he will be riding from Redmond to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, beginning Jan. 9, 2013. He will ride 300 miles a day for 50 days.
— image credit: Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter

Pedro Castro has always loved motorcycles.

From the time he was a young boy growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to his life now as a Redmond resident and business owner, bikes have always been his passion. In a shed in his back yard on Education Hill are 13 motorcycles of various makes, models and years. From European bikes from the 1970s to more current Japanese models, Castro has quite the collection.

“Each bike has their uniqueness,” he said.

300 MILES A DAY IN 50 DAYS

And one of the bikes in that shed will take him from Redmond to Rio de Janeiro beginning Jan. 9, 2013.

Castro plans to make the trip in 50 days — riding about 300 miles a day — leave his bike in Brazil and return by plane on March 13, 2013. On his 2005 Suzuki V-Strom 1000, he will ride down the West Coast to California, head east on U.S. Route 66 toward Texas and cross the border at Brownsville, Texas, which is directly across from Heroica Matamoros in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Once he enters Central and South America, the countries he will ride through include Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. Castro, who owns Magellan Architects in Redmond, said when he is in Peru, he plans on making a special side trip.

“Being an architect, I have to go to Machu Picchu,” he said, referring to the country’s famous Incan ruins site.

After Peru, Castro will head east to Brazil toward his final destination.


LOVE OF A LIFETIME

He said this Redmond to Rio ride has been a lifelong dream of his after he heard a story about someone in Brazil riding all the way up to the Pacific Northwest. Castro said he always wanted to make a similar trip. And now he will — just in reverse — riding from one home to another.

Castro said his upcoming ride will also mark a number of other things, including the 25 years he has lived in the United States, as well as his 50th birthday, which will occur during the ride.

“This is kind of a celebration of my half century,” he said.

Castro has been riding his whole life and has taken long rides to Alaska and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

“This is not my first rodeo,” he said, calling the first two rides warm ups to his upcoming trip.

For Castro, riding a motorcycle gives him the opportunity to explore a new frontier. And being exposed to the elements, seeing and smelling sites that would normally be missed while in a car, he said it is as close to riding a horse as he could be.

“It’s very hard to describe,” Castro said. “But I definitely got the bug.”

Castro said his love of adventure also comes from the Portuguese blood running through his veins — pointing out that 16th century explorer Ferdinand Magellan (for which Castro’s business is named) was also Portuguese.

MAKING FRIENDS ALONG THE WAY

Although Castro will be riding mostly by himself, he said he will be visiting a number of friends along the way, as well as meeting up with others — including his brother and brother-in-law — to ride together on certain legs of the trip.

Castro also plans to meet up with Donn Harvey, owner of the Redmond-based engineering and IT staffing firm, Protingent Staffing. Harvey is part of a group of six riders who are riding from the Pacific Northwest to Pucon, Chile. The trip is a re-creation of a trek taken 50 years ago by Keith Thye and Dave Yaden, both of whom are in their 70s and will be making the journey, as well. Harvey said they will head out about a week ahead of Castro, but will ride down the Pacific coast of Mexico rather than the Gulf Coast like Castro. Harvey said he and Castro learned about their respective trips through a mutual friend, got in contact with each other and became friends in a matter of months.

“He lives just blocks away from my office…I guess we were meant to meet somewhere down the line,” Harvey said.

He’s not sure when or where his group will meet up with Castro, but everyone will have satellite tracking devices and through email and Skype, they will be able to figure out the details when the time comes.

SAFETY FIRST

Castro said the tracking device is also a way for his family to know where he is going, especially as he will be riding through countries not known for their safety records. He said it is important to have the best gear and equipment to keep him safe while riding, but when he is in more dangerous areas, he relies on his faith — saying if he treats others with respect and with an open heart, he believes he will be OK and all he can do is hope for the best.

“I pray a lot when I’m on my bike,” he said.

To learn more or to follow Castro from Redmond to Rio, he is chronicling his trip on Facebook.

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