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.