I get what you're saying, overall ... the ride is indeed an impressive accomplishment ... certainly in terms of resourcefulness and obviously in terms of his persistance and resilience.
In regard to motives of us here in the US ... is it really true that "we feel like we can't get across America without all a $1000 GPS, $2000 luggage, a $15000+ motorcycle, $1500 worth of protective gear, thousands worth of tents and camping supplies etc., etc."?
Perhaps it is that some folks actually simply enjoy traveling with all that stuff; that perhaps a large part of those people found all that stuff useful having traveled previously without it. Then perhaps for yet others they simply do not see the need to travel under the constraints of being some form of purist (albeit a specific form of purist ... i.e., motorcyclist). Heck, I'm sure there are nany folks in the US that can afford to buy a brand new high-end adventure bike should theirs break down on a cross country trip (that of course is not me ... not even close ... but it is true for some folks).
Of course, one could try to create a purist sort of adventure in the US by applying some constraints such as choosing to ride only basic 1960/70s motorcycles, carry very little gear along, reduce one's budget, etc. but in the end it is an experiement at best ... a psuedo-adventure. The ease of finding all manner of logistics across the US sort of changes everything. Availability of gas, emergency rooms, ambulatory services, food, etc.; to say nothing of the low probability of running into crime/unrest on the road invalidates any real comparison.
As much as we may try to simulate some conditions with constraints, we can't simulate the risks. The fact is adventure riding here is not the same as adventure riding there.
Personally, I experience no sense of shame or guilt in admitting that adventure riding in the US doesn't resemble anything like this guy's trip. It's enough for me to get off the paved road every once in a while (on my big-assed, unfortunately expensive BMW GSA) ... to (comfortably) see sights/roads I wouldn't normally see ... to camp out under the stars (in my high-tech, lightweight tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bags, etc.) ... to wake up in the morning in a nice little campground with hot showers and hot food (courtesy of my jetboil) ... and get back out on the road again, whether I (comfortably) ride 1500 miles over a few days never straying more than 200 miles from my house or whether I were to go ride cross-country.
My need to rough it decreased dramatically after my Navy career.
Craig 11 R1200GSA (aka Big Bird) 04 R1150RT (Sold)
"The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live." Seneca