It’s not every day that you see a motorcyclist riding down the road with a German Shepherd on the back of his motorcycle.
So it comes as no surprise that seeing Jess Stone and her beloved dog Moxy traveling together usually makes viewers’ jaws drop.
Stone and Moxie, who weigh around 34kg, went on an epic 10-month motorcycle journey, aiming to pass through some 90 countries in Central, North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
“I’m always on top,” Stone explains. “I want to be the first to pass the obstacles.”
First Time On a Motorcycle:
Stone, originally from Canada, first learned to ride a motorcycle on the back roads of Liberia, where she lived with Greg, a decade ago, and she admits it wasn’t easy.
“That your partner teaches you to drive is not the best,” she adds. “He was not patient with me.”
After finally feeling comfortable on two wheels, the couple, who had been married for eight years, took an eight-month motorcycle trip from North America to the South together. A few years after their return, they moved to Guatemala, and Moxie entered their lives.
“She chose me 100 percent,” Stone says, recalling the moment she first saw the dog while she was watching a herd of German shepherds in a nearby town.
“She was there at my feet waiting for me to love her.”
While both Stone and her husband were determined to include Moxie in their rides, she explained that she “didn’t want to have a sidecar or a trailer or anything that would really change the driving dynamics” now that she was finally comfortable on a motorcycle. .
Accompanied by a Dog:
They soon began designing what would later become the K9 Moto Cockpit, a motorcycle dog carrier they manufacture in Guatemala, along with a line of outdoor dog gear through their company, Ruffly.
“Everyone always asks how long it takes to train your dog to be a companion,” Stone says. “Honestly, Moxie needed a weekend away.”
“It took me longer to get comfortable with so much weight on my back because I had never traveled with passengers before.”
Deciding she’s ready for another big adventure, this time with Moxie in tow, Stone connects with Girl Up, a global girl-focused nonprofit leadership development initiative, and the “Go RUFFLY Around the World” adventure in the one who was born
“Obviously, I wanted to travel the world,” says Stone, who is aiming to raise $100,000 for Girl Up’s global empowerment programs. “But I also wanted to show people that you can do that with a big dog.”
The fact that she was able to take Moxie on this particular trip made it even more special for Stone.
I See Her in The Mirror:
“It’s like experiencing the adventure twice,” she explains. “You experience it for yourself. Then you experience it from her perspective, because she’s right behind me.”
“I see her in my mirror all the time. Her head is right next to mine. She sometimes she puts her big nose on my shoulder and her chin there.
“She makes me very happy because she really experiences everything. New sights, sounds and smells that he discovers and experiences.”
Of course, traveling with a dog has its drawbacks. They are very limited on dog-friendly spaces and rely on free campgrounds and the occasional Airbnb while on the road so Moxie can roam freely.
“You have to be the type of person who enjoys nature and the outdoors,” adds Stone.
“Because those are the places we can take them. If you want to be in the city and go to all these fancy restaurants, traveling with a dog makes it more difficult.”
While they originally planned to travel from Guatemala to the Arctic Ocean and across Canada before flying to Spain and heading to Africa, a significant increase in costs due to a number of issues, including high oil prices and supply shortages, forced them to to change course.
Stone points out that Moxie must be transported in a giant box as unaccompanied cargo due to its size.
That means the total cost to them alone would have been around $6,500, including vet fees and shipping a load of pets from Toronto to Spain, had they stuck to their original plan.
Change of Plans:
“It got really expensive,” says Stone, who recounts the trip on Instagram and in a weekly YouTube series.
In the end, they chose to travel “from end to end and top to bottom”, making their journey from Guatemala to Mexico, the US and Canada and then to the Arctic Ocean.
From there they began to drive towards the top of North America, before turning around and heading back to South America.
Before starting, Stone took a few off-road courses to ensure he had the skills to navigate some of the more challenging sections of the course.
“Obviously, I’ve done a lot of off-road driving, but I’ve never felt really comfortable,” she says. “And I wanted to feel really good about it because I have Moxie on my back.”
He admits that he was particularly concerned about driving along the remote Dempster Highway, a long dirt road in Canada that leads to the Arctic Ocean.
“I was worried about running into the machine and hitting it. It’s funny, I really don’t think I’m going to hit anything bad. My engine is what I’m most worried about.”
Fortunately, they made it without incident, but Stone says he often has thoughts that something is going to happen during the trip.
Although things have been going relatively smoothly so far, Stone occasionally lost her balance while driving, causing her and Moxie to fall.
Fortunately there is a Backup:
The fact that her husband is after her is certainly a great source of comfort.
“I carry the dog and he carries the camping gear,” she adds, before explaining that they don’t necessarily travel together all the time and sometimes take different routes.
“Sometimes he wants to try a different route or I want to go in a different direction and then we meet.”
By far the biggest hurdle for her is that she had to replace her motor in May. After experiencing numerous “oil leak problems,” Stone learned that his 2013 BMW G650GS would require an expensive engine rebuild.
She ended up buying a new and used bike model for the same price as the rebuild.
Moxie Sees Strange Creatures:
Among the many highlights they experienced was camping in the Arctic Ocean, where they admired a proud moose with huge antlers crossing the road and also saw a grizzly bear.
She adds, “Moxie shivers with anticipation when she sees these creatures on the side of the road. She’s so excited.”
Currently in Los Angeles, Stone is preparing for the next leg of the trip, which will include sailing to Baja, Mexico, then disembarking in Guatemala and continuing on to Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama.
From Panama, they plan to fly to Colombia, from where they will drive to the “tip” of Argentina, and then fly to South Africa.
Once in South Africa, they will travel up the east coast of Africa to Egypt and on to Greece, before doing the ‘Europe tour’ and crossing Turkey and Central Asia.
Another 2 Years Down the Road:
The next stop will take them from India to Malaysia, where they will ship their devices and Moxie to North America and then return to their first and final destination, Guatemala, which Stone describes as his “second home.”
Stone estimates that he will be on tour for at least two and a half years. For now, however, she is focused on getting to the next stage of the journey and constantly improving her balance skills.
Her four-legged friend of hers continues to be an inspiration, and Stone never tires of seeing how others react to Moxie, joking that every visit to the gas station is like a “selfie party.”
“People get out of their cars and the first thing everyone says is, oh my gosh, he’s wearing glasses.”
“It brings a smile to everyone’s face. And that’s what I love. It just makes everyone have a good day.”