I have wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember, but was never encouraged in that direction. After my second divorce I took up motorcycling and started writing about that. Soon I was making money working for a regional magazine. That came to a screeching halt after a major accident I am afraid though.
In terms of influences the book "Ghost Rider" by Neil Peart is what got me started. His book is an account of a 6 month journey across North American by motorcycle after losing his family.