Obsessions Die Hard is the story of Ed Culberson’s determination to fulfill his dream. As a teenager he was fascinated with the Pan-American Highway System, which runs the length of North and South America. In his early forties, he acquired another passion—motorcycling. It was only natural that he would merge the two.
Culberson, then a retired U.S. Army officer, wanted to ride his motorcycle along the Pan-American Highway’s entire route between Alaska and Argentina. However, in the Darién region of eastern Panama and western Colombia the road is broken by an 80-mile gap filled with jungles, rain forests, rivers, and swamps, forcing travelers to detour around it by boat or plane. The area is so inhospitable and unexplored that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries, and a curse aimed at Darién trespassers shrouds the region. But the Darién Gap, known as el tapón del Darién—the Stopper—didn’t dim Culberson’s dream. It became his obsession.
In the face of staggering obstacles, Culberson suffers failure before meeting success, encountering killer bees, arrest by a corrupt law officer, cycling injuries, and back-breaking labor to get himself and “Amigo,” his BMW R80G/S motorcycle, through the torturous jungles and swamps. He also encounters strangers who become friends, including Cuna Indians who guide him and share his triumphs.
A story of one man’s struggle with his own obsession, this is an amazing tale of human endurance and perseverance.
All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to ALS of Texas.
“I heard that Culberson had done it. Cut the Gordian Knot, squared the circle, ridden his damned gap. Bugs, leeches, caimans, Manuel Noriega, and fried BMW diode boards, oh my!”
-Dr. Robert Hellman, Editor, On the Level BMW Riders Association International
“This is an old-fashioned adventure story from the man who invented the whole category of Adventure Touring in this hemisphere. The style is fluid (and) the story compelling . . .”
-BMW Riders Association
“The wildest trip I’ve ever read about. It’s an incredible story. It’s a great story. Full of adventure and a lot of agony. This is absolutely never-put-it-down reading.”
-Clive Thomas, WWNZ-AM
“An inspiring story of how determination can overcome adversity and failure. Culberson traveled an area so inhospitable that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries . . . but the gap didn’t stop Ed Culberson’s dream. It turned into an obsession.”
“A riveting account of Culberson’s unusual trek through the Darien jungle. I recommend it, unreservedly, to anyone interested in reading an extremely well-written, true adventure story.”
-Panama Canal Record
“Culberson’s narrative is especially interesting because it’s incredible that both man and machine could survive a journey of such tortuous dimensions. His story is an impressive record of human grit.”