It has been a busy few days. First, a dreadful commuting week and attending to my full time job, in town, has taken most of my time. I am a contractor, and I can tell you, I am counting the number Work Days to Freedom! As you probably guessed, I have a spreadsheet for that! I plan to quit around Easter, so I need to wait, before I give my notice.
In addition to work, we had friends over at home last weekend, so I spent a fair amount of time cooking. My beef Bourguignon was superb I must say, in all modesty!
Nevertheless, I still managed to sort few things out.
First, the house and dog are sorted. The lovely couple (Ian and Brenda) who lived in our house when we rode to Kyrgyzstan, in summer 2016, are free from the 26th of May. Their flat is rented until mid-September, so they will be happy to stay in our house, and look after the dog, while we go travelling.
For those who want to travel but worry about their pets and home, I can totally recommend this website: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/
We found our current home sitters there. The only money exchanged is to join the website. Pet sitters sit for free, they get to live rent-free somewhere, while owners can go away knowing their pets are well looked after. Everybody wins. One of my friend has been using this site extensively for few years now, for his dogs, and never had a bad experience!
So Ian and Brenda will arrive the 26th of May, and we will fly out the 28th. It gives us a full day to fill them in and get the dog settled with them.
I have been investigating few countries, like Botswana and Namibia. It seems fuel range may be an issue.
My XT250 has a fuel capacity of 10l. My fuel range is 310km maximum (about 190 miles). I don’t want a bigger fuel tank, as it would make it top heavy and the bike would be more difficult to handle in challenging trails. I expect a lot of sand in some sections.
Alistair’s previous travel bike, the TTR, had an Acerbis tank of 20l. His “new” (2015?) travel bike, a CRF250L, has a 6.6l fuel tank. Alistair will need to change it for a bigger one. They come as 10 to 12 litres.
Carrying extra fuel on motorbikes is never that easy (in addition to the big extra weight!). I have 2 fuel bladders (5 and 8 litres) but they are quite awkward to fix on bikes, when full. As we need to get the CRF fitted with a luggage rack, we will make sure it is built so that we can also fit one jerry can on the inside of the rack.
There is a lot to do with the bikes, especially the CRF, to make it travel ready. The XT was already sorted for our last trip across Russia, in summer 2016, so I just need few parts to be replaced and get the bike checked. Well, that’s actually Alistair’s job. My main problem is to find parts for my bike. It is a Japanese grey import. The XT250 was never sold in Europe and importing parts from the US, or Japan, costs a lot, especially the import duty is horrendous!
I keep getting emails from “developers” saying they want to help me increase my sales and give my website a higher profile. Hmmm… First, I have nothing to sell, and then, I really don’t care about raising my profile anywhere.
I have no idea how many people read this blog! Maybe 3? And 2 of those would be me, one from my office and the other from my iPad at home! So, to my lonely reader: I hope you enjoy my monologues! And no, Alistair does not read it!
So, here I must make a confession. Why do I blog? Why spend so much time, first blogging on the road, then rewriting the script, before loading my latest few rides reports into ADVRider? It is a lot of work indeed!
Well, before blogging, I used to keep holiday diaries in notepads, I still have them. A blog is so much more powerful. My reasons are purely selfish. First, sometime down the line, after a trip, when I am back to work, sitting in an open space office, the size a football pitch, surrounded by 100s of other workers ( I do feel like a factory chicken !), totally depressed, staring at my screens and various spread sheets and other crap, I can sneak into my blogs. I can reread and remember and see the pictures. It never fails to cheer me up.
Many years down the line, when I am old, and my mind and body are starting to give up, I hope to impress the robot_nurses of future nursing homes, with my tales and show them (plug them?) into my ride reports. The diaries, ride reports and pictures, will be the only thing left! No one can take that away from me.
And while the other inmates will contemplate the end of their lives with regret, having spent so much of their life at work and not enough with their loved ones or achieving their early dreams, I will be able to feel content because I have been fulfilling my childhood dreams. And way beyond!
And then, after boring everyone to death in that nursing home (pun intended! ) about my motorcycle trips , when the Grim reaper finally comes to collect me, I will be able to tell him: “Come on My Friend, I am ready. I have explored this planet extensively, I am ready for new Horizons, let’s cross the Final Frontier”. I will go without regrets, because, wow! I had quite a Ride!
Are you fulfilling your childhood dreams? Set free your inner child, you may be pleasantly surprised!