still needs work ❣️❣️❣️Patience please
Dr Suess once wrote:
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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??
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 🙏🏻🙏🏻
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.
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.