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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Mum's the word !

I'm sure it's the same for everyone... when we have a major thing to say or do it's usually the ones we love the most that we keep from saying it - maybe to stop them worrying or letting them discourage us or point out things we hadn't want to see?
When I first bought the Bonnie I dared not even tell my Mum for scaring her silly, even hid it down the road when she came to visit -  I did take the courage and drive it the 150 miles to see her last summer and quite incredibly she wasn't even phased - now that's a cool mum !
My dear mother is wonderful and I never want to worry her but I had to at some point tell her about my crazy idea of going across America on a motorbike, on my own etc. etc. Mmmm when is the best time to tell someone ?  I guess never but I knew when I told her it would let me move on one way or the other.
OK so how?
Why not show her this blog?
She's not at all a computer user and just trying to scroll down and read it was a laugh and a half!  And you know what?  The only comment was "Are you going to be safe" You know, that's a real mothers word of honest care.
To be honest my parents were incredible in every step of my life never analysing or telling me what to do or not to do, saying I would learn from my own experience;  from leaving home at 19 to go and find work in Paris to making one of the most terrible mistakes of my life in marrying a Mexican Charro in the back of beyond of Mexico (of course escorted to the church on horseback with loaded pistols!).

So this big thing has now been done and I can now think about the trip and ways of making it happen.
So maybe, reassuring her of my safety, the idea of no helmet and just wearing a bandana with my hair blowing in the wind will have to wait until I reach the Mid West ....

The wonderful song "I've got sunshine in my mind" by Avery Sunshine is what it's all about ...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

So how did the idea come up? ... and which Bonnie? ...

Wow, must have been about 4 years ago. 
As usual, I had itchy feet and thinking about a new adventure reading over the winter months books like Ted Simon's fantastic "Dreaming of Jupiter" which confirmed to me even more how we need to grab and make opportunities happen.
So the idea back then was I would (or maybe naively) simply take at least 6 months "out" and ship my own Bonnie out to the US.

I'd decided that a trip to Timbuktu or "up the Orinocho" or something similar would be full of unwanted hazards.  But I still wanted to create an adventure, to explore beautiful and eclectic remote scenary, ride majestic routes and encounter a dynamic mix of people and with of course hopefully good weather.  Mmmm, that option didn't take me long to think where .... I'd lived previously for a few years in New York and then lovely Boston.  My dream even then (had I not been working with such short vacation time) had always been to travel around and discover the beautiful and natural parts of America.
What better idea than to ideally start in Boston and take 6 months to go down the East Coast, down to the Keys, up and over to the West Coast.?  And I sure did plenty of research to find the best way of shipping the bike over.  Would have had to be brought through Canada due to customs at a fairly high cost.  I also love my Bonnie and the idea of having it in anyway damaged in transit or over there was also a turn off. 

So I started seriously looking to see if I could buy a 2nd hand one... and you know what ?
Suprise, suprise, buying a decent 2nd hand Bonnie was almost impossible.  But a Harley no problem ... people even strongly recommended I go with a Harley due to better maintenance, cost etc etc.  But the idea of travelling on one with the different engine noise Harley's make was not for me.   Call me a dreaming romantic but I didn't want to be defeated immediately.    Can you imagine anything better than driving a beautiful Triumph Bonneville with that wonderful engine noise across the American continent.  There must be one somewhere !

Then 2 years back, I have a reality check.  Maybe 6 months is too long.  How am I going to foot the cost of doing this and secondly, although this sounds crazy, one of the girls at work who took a 6 month sabbatical was quickly forgotten and replaced!  Unfortunately none of us are indispensable, although we'd like to believe it.  So simply put, I guess I've got to get my brain to rule my heart for once and find out what really is possible.

So why don't I reduce the time to say 6 weeks ... and take the gamble that work will accept the time I want to take off (we'll deal with that topic later).

6 weeks should be plenty of time to get from East to West with the journey I'd planned.  Yes, OK, a few refinements to the big picture, but maybe still possible.  So how was I still going to source a Bonnie to do the trip?  Buying one and shipping mine over was now going to be too expensive so the only other option was to try and find somewhere to rent one.   Incredibly there just aren't that many places in the US that you can hire a T100 Triumph Bonneville and then say "hey I'd also like to drop it off somewhere else like the other side of the country and yes not for a couple of days but for about a month!"
So another period of researching and finally found just a few options; one potentially to pick up from NY and drop off in LA (sounded good but they only have Bonneville at that time),  the other one  from Chicago which wouldn't have been the right route I wanted to take and then just recently a set up who are sourcing Bonnevilles and renting them out to go across the US as group escorted trips -  Made contact who said they could even potentially have the bike taken up to Boston for me to collect.  Only issue on all this is dinero - at least £100 per day just for the bike so more ideas are needed to get the budget down or make more money.
So at least the framework on time and getting the bike are getting nearer to a possibility.....  We'll see.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Show me the money!

Just a short piece of news to say Mr Lodger moved in today and handed over his 1st months rent in cash!  Involved in film production here and overseas so hopefully conversations will be entertaining ... 

Nice new £20 notes were carefully counted out and put on a pile on the table - Thank you very much !

Will help a little bit to maybe a handful of days of bike rental budget!  We're off to a good start.  Gotta keep positive that it will start rolling in - ha ! ha !

Next time, I'm going to start talking about more interesting stuff on how the trip was thought out and plans for the route.