This was no ordinary road trip. Several months ago, Bachelorette alum Brooks Forester got a call from a friend asking if he wanted to go on a motorcycle jaunt from San Diego, Calif., to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Despite not owning a bike or even knowing how to ride, Forester agreed to join that friend and eight others — including a then-future Bachelorette contestant, the late Eric Hill, who died this past April in a paragliding accident — for what would turn out to be the adventure of a lifetime.
Using both borrowed and bought bikes, the group of 10 guys trekked the 2,062 miles down to Cabo, stopping to surf and swim and eat along the way, and staying in vacation rentals they found through their sponsor Home Away. They filmed the trip for a web series, Baja & Back — and Us Weekly has an exclusive look at the first episode.
It was through this journey that Forester met Hill, a fellow Utah resident with a zest for life and a desire to learn new things and experience new cultures. Both men were contestants on ABC's The Bachelorette; Forester was a front-runner during Desiree Hartsock's season in 2013, while Hill competed (after the motorcycle trip) on Andi Dorfman's season earlier this year.
"We made friends quickly. His passion for travel became apparent, and as I learned more about his Global Odyssey, I couldn't help but be jealous," Forester tells Us, referring to Hill's quest to visit every U.N.-recognized country in the world. "He was truly a remarkable person and someone I was privileged to call my friend."
The two guys, along with their eight travel companions, shared a lot of good times en route to Mexico. But one memory in particular sticks out in Forester's mind.
"We rolled in tired and dirty to this little coastal town called Bahia de Los Angeles, and the vacation rental owner mentioned whale sharks were seen in the bay a few days before," he recalls. "So, early the next morning, we headed out on an old rickety boat, and to our surprise we were swimming with whale sharks. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life."
Watch the first episode of Baja & Back above!