MELAWEND – My Amazing Honda Elite 250 Motorscooter


MELAWEND – my amazing 1985 Honda Elite motorscooter – I named her for my daughters, Melanie and Wendy.
Though I had never ridden a motorbike before, (and I had intended to go by bicycle, but a training accident put an end to that) I got a gut feeling when I first sat on Melawend in Peter Lapp’s showroom in Stevensville, Ontario (Part of Greater Fort Erie).  I went with my gut feeling…. “This is it!”

MELAWEND - b1 - Scooter Rider Magazine - Summer 2003 cover

Melawend and I made the cover of the Summer 2003 issue of SCOOTER RIDER MAGAZINE, the publication’s second issue, and it’s first full-color cover!



This is the platform I build from scraps of wood – mostly plywood.  Mounted with a hinge on the stock luggage rack, it would tip forward with the load on board while I would then lift and tip the seat forward, and then bring the platform and the seat together to form an open triangle – his exposed the gas tank under the seat for filling

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Virgin Melawend!  I took this shot along the Niagara River near my home shortly before the journey began.

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The return to the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York – over 2 years after I began the journey.  The bridge was symbolic of my journey.  Fort Erie and Buffalo was the last site of armed hostilities between Canada and the USA – there had been peace between our nations since 1812.  My hope was that someday peace would bridge all nations.

Melawend on the Peace Bridge

A proud moment in returning home…  I was on the Peace Bridge, heading back home to Fort Erie from Buffalo, and stopped the scooter midway to get this shot of the international border line.  A driver in a big tractor trailer truck behind me gladly held traffic up behind me and gave me a thumbs up as I got off Melawend to take this photo!

USA - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - Tom Smith and scooter Melawend

Melawend and I made it to Washington, DC, after travelling for two years around the world!

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Melawend in Hawaii!

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Melawend on a road through a sugarcane field on Oahu, Hawaii.

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Melawend by a beach on Oahu.

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Melawend and I take in a milestone-moment – reaching Diamond Head, Hawaii – having dreamed about this moment for two years!

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Melawend and I stopped at this roadside shop in Nepal on the road to Kathmandu.

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Melawend I raise a bit of curiosity in locals as we leave Pokhara, Nepal, ready to set out on the road to Kathmandu.

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Melawend and I spent some time at one of the most famous hotels in the East – Raffles Hotel, Singapore.

INDIA MUMBAI India - Bombay

Melawend sure drew a crowd of workers at the Air Cargo Complex in Mumbai (Bombay), India when she arrived.  Few vehicles arrive in India by air!

KENYA EQUATOR Tom and Melawend - two Equator signs - Kenya

Melawend and I reach the Equator – near Nanyuki, Kenya.  These signs were about a half-mile apart, yet each claimed to be on the Equator – so bit it, a line of longitude is thereby a half-mile wide!  🙂

KENYA BLIXEN Ngong Hills road 2

Melawend takes on a torturous road up the Ngong Hills near Karen Blixen’s “Out of Africa” home in Karen, Kenya, near Nairobi.

SUDAN Wadi Halfa train station - Melawend

Melawend and I wait to board an old train in Wadi Halfa Sudan, for the overland trip to the capital, Khartoum.  The “roads” to Khartoum were defined on the map as “tracks” – little more than sand!

SUDAN Tom Smith and Melawend receive flight to Kenya by Sudan Airways

Melawend and I are grateful to Sudan Airways for the flight from Khartoum to Nairobi.

SUDAN Tom and Melawend at Khartoum North School aa

Melawend and I make a welcomed visit during final exams at Khartoum North School, Sudan.

SUDAN Mahdi's Tomb

Melawend at the Mahdi’s restored tomb – Omdurman, Sudan.

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Fred and Tzehai, Eritrean refugees, pose aboard Melawend – just after Fred, to my welcome surprise – cleaned a year’s dirt off her!  Khartoum, Sudan.

GREECE VOULA Thomas Martin Smith and Melawend recieve supplies - Athens, Greece

Christmas in Greece!  My long-awaited supplies arrived from Canada just before Melawend and I hit the road to the port and the ferry that will take us to Africa!

GREECE VOULA rrrr - camp Old Yeller

“Old Yeller” – my constant stray-dog companion at my campsite in Voula, Greece, near Athens.

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Melawend and I reach Monaco!


Melawend at St. Peter’s Basilica – The Vatican.

ROME - Tom and Melawend on Campidoglio piazza

Melawend and I pose for a news photographer at Campidoglio – the hill-top site of Rome’s City Hall
– in a piazza designed my Michelangelo.


After months of cooler and often wet weather, Melawend and I finally put tires and backside happily to sand on the Mediterranean at Valencia, Spain.

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Hotel Sur… a nice hotel Melawend and I stayed overnight at in Tarancon, Spain – on our way to the French Riviera!

SPAIN - Camping Canyelles, Lloret de Mar, Spain - Tom's campsite

Our campsite while visiting Lloret de Mar, Spain.

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The Mazo family – my hospitable and friendly hosts in Poligny, France.

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Melawend gets a tire change at a the Franco Americain Honda dealership in Biarritz, France, just before we enter Spain.

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Camp on a farm in Sweden.


Melawend is briefly a featured visitor at the Palais de Festivals, Cannes, France


Melawend and I arrive at the UN, Geneva.


Melawend and I getting ready to leave Ottawa.  Your writer blew Photo-Op 101, big-time!  Shortly after I took this photo and put the camera and tripod back on the load, a man in a suit, carrying a briefcase, came diagonally across the lawn from Centre Block (the main building the background) to greet me and ask me about my trip…. it was Joe Clark – or former Prime Minister and then current Minister of Foreign Affairs – literally the head man for all the Canadian Embassies and Consulates I would be working through as I made my way around the world!

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The Hartland Bridge, New Brunswick – the longest covered bridge I the world!

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Magnetic Hill, Moncton, New Brunswick – an optical illusion created by rising and descending terrain.

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Clumsy me – I lost my grip while filling Melawend at a gas station in Sweden – the load on the platform fell backwards, snapping off its hinge mount.

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When this highway patrol officer pulled into the station, I thought I was cooked for having an overloaded scooter…. But Officer Hennig Lindt helped me get the load back onto Melawend.  And we talked in the way of new friends!

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Melawend on a high plateau in Norway – with poles to guide snow-plow drivers in winter!

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Melawend in Wales!  One of my ancestral countries!

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Melawend and I camp stately on Glympton Estate, England.


My Melawend and Big Ben in London!


Melawend and I reach the Pyramids of Giza!

EGYPT - Sinai - d - melawend load carpets to Sinai  BMW

One of the biggest and heaviest loads Melawend carried – he we are camping in Ras Sudr, the Sinai, Egypt.  I had been taking three carpets I bought in Cairo to Alexandria in hopes an affiliate of Peace Bridge Brokerage there would ship them back to Canada for me.  But the executive just laughed: “The will never make it.  They will likely be stolen.”  So, being with Don Travers and Murray Biedler, we continued on our travels sound to Mount Sinai – and her we are part way there.  We would go own ways when we reached the holy mountain.  I ended up hauling the carpets back to Cairo – and the merchant I bought them from said he would get a tourist to get them out of Egypt and send them to Canada.  I got them about a year after I returned to Canada!  That is in itself a fascinating people-oriented part of the journey!

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Melawend and I self-serve fueling up on the road to Mount Sinai.

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Melawend just before she boards the ferry from Aswan, Egypt to Wadi Halfa, Sudan.

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A return visit to a café near Carlyle, Egypt – the Sinai.

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Melawend and I with Amer Abu Khamis – cameleer at the Pyramids and my awesome friend!

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Melawend in the Sinai.

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My friend Amer Abu Khamis – tries out Melawend – and falls off.  He decided to stick to his camels – and I to my Melawend!

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Melawend draws attention at a fast-food kiosk near the base of the Pyramids, Giza, Egypt.

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My photo of sunset at the Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion, Greece – used in an article I wrote for RIDER magazine.

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One of the many roadside memorials in Greece to those who perished here at a vehicle accident.

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Melawend and I frustrated, facing a 1,600-mile return trip to Fort Erie, Ontario, because we could not find sponsored onward passage to England while in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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Melawend and I – praying at a statue of Jesus at a church along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.


Melawend – my royal coach – resting stately before the gates of Buckingham Palace, London.

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MELAWEND – My Amazing Honda Elite 250 Motorscooter

Helpful Quotes & Odyssey Photos by Tom

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Chapter 1: Crossroads
Chapter 23: Sojourn in Greece
Chapter 24: The Ups and Downs of Egypt

IN THE LONG RUN: Stories Written From The Road
Christmas in Greece – lively, lonely…

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