Dr Seuss

still needs work ❣️❣️❣️Patience please  

 

 

Dr Suess once wrote:

Congratulations!!

Today is your day

You're off to great places

You're off and away

You have brains in your head

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose

 

anywhere but the Waiting Place.  

If you don't already have this book of his, it is available as an App on iPhones.  

 

Well I just sat at that Waiting Place for about twenty + years hoping to meet a travelling companion to share my journey around the lake! 

My plan was that we would have identical bikes, perhaps Honda XL 500's and twenty years ago we would have been able to ride right around the Mediterranean. Not so now, with political instability in some countries that have Mediteranean coastlines.  

By having the same bikes, we would have minimalised spare parts and tyres that we might needed to carry. The companion person would be a good rider, a mechanic, a bodyguard as I'd prefer to camp where possible, well travelled and financially independent. Oh well, maybe that person does not exist.   I did ask a few friends if they'd join me but it seemed for a range of reasons they lacked the inclination 😩

So, by the end of winter 2016 I decided that I would go anyway  Gutsy decision on my part that's for sure. Lots of friends have helped me along the way, wonderfully sound advice and tips for solo travelling etc  

I researched whether to take my own bike, buy one on Europe or hire one. It just seemed a whole lot easier to take my own bike. Dave from Get Routed in Gippsland provides a very comprehensive shipping service. He needs 10 bikes to fill a container and then the shipment goes to Felixstowe in England. Most people make a return booking with him, so my bike will leave the Uk in October and arrive back in Melbourne about six weeks later.  

What bike would I take?? Well I'd already ridden a Triumph Bonneville around the French countryside for three weeks about 12 years ago. Then it was the fiftieth anniversary of the Bonneville and I included the French village of Bonneville on my trip crossing 21 alpine passes in 21 days before returning the bike (in one piece) back to the factory in Hinckley. Last year I decided to trade my Bonneville for the new Royal Enfield Himalayan. That was a really good idea, I met Rick from Mountain Engineering in New Norfolk, thanks to Mitchell pointing out to me there are some great bikes in a shop in New Norfolk, just along from his home!! I bought the bike in May 2017 and in October the Royal Enfield Owners group were having their National AGM in Deloraine. Stroke of luck, great!   I'll meet lots of fellow RE owners  haha  not one other Himalayan amongst them. It rained all weekend, that didn't take away from the friendship and comeraderie I enjoyed meeting these fellow RE owners. 

Going solo I decided I would not be camping, but sleep behind a locked door every night. And just to make sure, Nic's babysitter, Nancy gave me a timber door wedge to jamb under the door just to make doubly sure I was safe. I still packed a sleeping bag and some camping gear, more for emergencies than anything else.  

Tools and spares were a priority. Rick made up a parcel of tyre levers, front and rear tubes, repair kit, spark plug, oil filter and air filter. I added a clutch lever to that, just in case.  

 Seriously, way too much STUFF, what was I thinking?

Seriously, way too much STUFF, what was I thinking?

 Two months later, just the panniers, blue bag sent back to Australia.  

Two months later, just the panniers, blue bag sent back to Australia.  

 Saddle bag malfunction. Lucky to have not lost the lot. So now one bag tied in pillion seat.  

Saddle bag malfunction. Lucky to have not lost the lot. So now one bag tied in pillion seat.  

 Old panniers now strapped on pillion seat and will be shipped home from Switzerland  

Old panniers now strapped on pillion seat and will be shipped home from Switzerland  

Clothing, way too much got packed and even though I have worn all of it, it is way too much. Some I left in Morocco for a Berber family. My gardening clothes are wrecked so they go in the bin, no use to anyone and the rest of my wardrobe will be seriously rationalised and I'll post what I deem to be surplus to requirements, home to Tassie. I still seem to have a ridulous amount of STUFF in my panniers. Spares parts and my snorkelling gear I will not compromise on. Clothing, well really, I'm doing very well with my pink dress, I found it in a two dollar shop in Tarifa, Spain and have worn it over jeans on the bike, as a dress, as a top with shorts and for swimming it's fabulous. It's cotton and  dries quickly. 

 Snorkelling- cocos island, Christmas Island, perentian islands, tioman island, espiritos santos island, Tasmania island and Dove Lake, and now the Mediterranean Coast off as many countries as I can manage.  

Snorkelling- cocos island, Christmas Island, perentian islands, tioman island, espiritos santos island, Tasmania island and Dove Lake, and now the Mediterranean Coast off as many countries as I can manage.  

 Which way do I go, Morocco to my right? Spain to my left? 

Which way do I go, Morocco to my right? Spain to my left? 

Another point to ponder was:

Which way around the lake would I go and where would I begin???  

Clockwise from Morocco was the outcome of those deliberations. My blog updates fill in the gaps here.  

 Queen of Apps at Mt Hotham, my home for six winters.  

Queen of Apps at Mt Hotham, my home for six winters.  

Tech stuff, yuk. I don't really qualify as a 21st century hip chick, even though at Hotham I was know as the Queen of Apps! And I'm probably guilty of checking my phone way too often and I'm not on Facebook so imagine how much more frequently I could have refered to my phone, horrifying really. The average is 150 times per day. I decide not to take a phone with me, most people are aghast. Me too, because without a phone I'll need to take a watch ( my old Triumph one from when I was in the States), a torch ( thanks Stevie A), a GPS fitted to the bike ( thanks Rod and big Richard for fitting that), SPOT locator-similar to a PLB (gift from Hobart friends), waterproof camera and iPad. Yes it would be simpler to take just the phone, charger and lead. Instead I have an adapter (thanks Rod), batteries, chargers and leads for each of these items. It takes up a bit of space in my panniers but at least when I'm in cafes etc I'm enjoying people watching. Haha most of them though are on their phones, so I'm a bit of the odd one out!! 

 My SPOT, always in my riding jacket top pocket.  

My SPOT, always in my riding jacket top pocket.  

 Screen shot of my SPOT tracking across France in April heading to Morocco.  

Screen shot of my SPOT tracking across France in April heading to Morocco.  

Paper work? 

IMG_1174.JPG
 Planning how to get from A to B, with and without the GPS  

Planning how to get from A to B, with and without the GPS  

I still like to plan my trips on a paper map! I can also mark where I have been and that becomes a record of my trip. My SPOT does the same thing for me and I have it set on hourly tracking.  

Having my own bike I need drivers licence, rego and insurance papers from Australia. Insurance papers for Europe ( I used Tour Insure), special sticker for road tax in Switzerland, Royal Enfield Owners support card and RACT membership for Roadside assist. RACT have a deal with European auto associations to provide roadside assistance when required. There is some confusion though as to whether that includes motorbikes or not?? 

 Part of my sheet for European auto association contact details.  

Part of my sheet for European auto association contact details.  

 Passport stamp for Morocco  

Passport stamp for Morocco  

Passport and a printed copy of my flights and other travel arrangements are kept in my blue bag and just in case I have written my name, passport number, blood group and DNR on the top of my helmet  

Money, you can't get very far without it, so I have two credit cards and a commonwealth bank travel card. Neil at the Penguin branch has been an absolute gem in helping me organise these cards.  

Then of course I have duplicate copies of all these, stashed on the bike, in my luggage, on me and in riding gear pockets. I have a PacSafe shoulder bag, that is my constant companion on the road and it holds a copy of everything. In Morocco however I did manage to leave it behind one day, gasp!! Shiver!! Gasp!!  It found me again by the end of the day 🙏🏻🙏🏻

 Blue bag and hard copy GPS

Blue bag and hard copy GPS

Also in Morocco I accidentally left my camera in a jewellery store, later that day the store owner found me to return said camera. I thanked him by going back to his store and bought earrings and rings.  

 Kind and honest jeweller.  

Kind and honest jeweller.  

In the last month bodyguard George had his tablet stolen in Rome and Dr Rob had his drone stolen in Rome. Hmmm not going to Rome then.  

 When all else fails or you are following the truck below, SBJ has got your back. 🙏🏻 

When all else fails or you are following the truck below, SBJ has got your back. 🙏🏻 

 Yikes! Gotta get around this truck asap  

Yikes! Gotta get around this truck asap  

 Try to look up Rando Wagner and One Human Race and you'll realise we can do a lot more for each other. 

Try to look up Rando Wagner and One Human Race and you'll realise we can do a lot more for each other. 

 Some of the things that keep me safe. My amber ladybird from big Peter, beautiful piece of zebra rock from Jamie and Chinese coin and jade rabbit from my Nic.  My pockets are filled with stones, shells, crystals and I have a few cards and letters wishing me safe travels, these are in one of the panniers. They will not go home until I do. I have angel wings sown inside my riding jacket and a tassie devil patch on my down jacket. 

Some of the things that keep me safe. My amber ladybird from big Peter, beautiful piece of zebra rock from Jamie and Chinese coin and jade rabbit from my Nic.  My pockets are filled with stones, shells, crystals and I have a few cards and letters wishing me safe travels, these are in one of the panniers. They will not go home until I do. I have angel wings sown inside my riding jacket and a tassie devil patch on my down jacket.