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Friday, 25 November 2011

What gives me a high ? ... Well "Flights for an Epic Journey" for a start ...

"It will be an epic journey. 
Or a.k.a. Bijoulatina's motorcycle diaries. ..."
... no not me saying this but an e-mail sent to me today from my good friend Stewart at Flight Centre who confirmed my flights to America!  The first solid commitment ...

As I'm getting back just a few weeks before the Olympics start here in London, I really needed to get the best price and make sure I could get back - still seems a long way ahead but I'm already spending that hard earned cash.
And I've still only got 50% of what I need for the trip !

Lesson for today - damn hard to earn but damn easy to spend!  So spend wisely!   

Don't want to give details yet, but everything is snowballing .... again when I'm going is key summer travel time so wanted to make sure that the "special" places I want to stay at will be available.
Couldn't believe it but hit the jackpot!
Scored 3 out of 3 this week in securing 3 incredible eclectic places in Oklahoma, Utah and California ... more to follow. 
Some of these places are so remote, small and boho or high up on the wish list of most people that leaving them any longer to book would have created a real disappointment to me.  They will really add to creating a really eclectic and diverse journey. 
OK I don't care staying in small highway cheap places for the rest of the trip but these places will be ones to remember - or maybe the smaller, more insignificant places I still need to find or spontaneously stay at will be more memorable - only time will tell.  

This therefore means that my road trip is quickly solidifying and what scares me probably most is the potential amount of mileage I'm going to have to do each day and the reliability of the Bonneville.  Don't want to do marathon day trips but will probably average between 250 - 400 miles a day.

To tell the truth, I'm actually starting to feel a bit scared on what I've now convinced myself to get into! 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Spontaneity = Saddlebags !

Spontaneity; unplanned, impromptu, natural, instinctive, suddenly feeling the need to do it...  That's what today was all about ...

It was obvious since the last couple of days that as soon as I got the word out to the handful of companies in the UK to try and source me the Bonnie through their contacts in the US that I realized it was through the same supplier in Los Angeles!   

Didn't want to waste people's time, seemed like everyone wanted a decision quickly but needed to feel I was getting the best possible deal but more importantly deal with someone who understood what I needed. 
Tim from The Lost Adventure was the guy.

And why not be spontaneous and meet up at the Motorcycle Live Exhibition at the NEC which just by coincidence (or is it ?) was happening this same weekend!  He also mentioned Jim his partner and well known motorbike journalist based in New York would be interested to interview me on what already sounded like an interesting trip - I was flattered and felt now that this trip really was maybe something special.

So today, trained it up to exotic Birmingham to confirm the trip.  Tim introduced me to the lovely Tamara at Eaglerider  

The best bit of news which made the trip up even more worthwhile,  was what she was willing to do!    I explained about wanting to use my own saddlebags.  The idea of travelling on my own with all my possessions strapped to the back of my seat in a bag doesn't totally appeal.  I would always be wondering, each time I stopped that if I left the bike for a moment would the bag be OK.   

Could they maybe put a holding frame on the sides of the bike to strap the bags on?  Guess what?   Genuinely seemed like Tamara was only too happy to please and said the (no, my!) Bonnie which would be shipped to Boston would have saddle bags put on for me at no extra cost!  That's some cool tailored service ... what a great person - maybe might even have a drink with Tamara when I get to LA.   And no, they haven't paid me to advertise them ! :). 

So the sources of how I'm getting the T100 Bonneville and getting it picked up from Boston, which has taken me more than 4 years to sort has been finalized.

Thanks to Tim, with his existing experience on travelling in the US on a Bonnie, just his honest advice with no pushy sales spiel, and very importantly helping to get the deal on the same cost East to West trip makes me feel sure I've made the right decision.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Is the trip East or West bound now ...?

I never take anything for granted until 100% confirmed.
A small, no a BIG set back yesterday!

Nothing can be done, like finalizing routes, booking flights, searching for fab exciting places to stay and visit until I had the bike and knew where I would start from!
The initial research, which took me ages last year, in sourcing where I could maybe get a T100 Bonneville had paid off.   I could now make contact immediately to try and start seeing availability and compare costs.

Something I'd never thought would be an issue - getting the bike to start the trip on the East Coast and from Boston as I thought I'd found the right contact!
This week I was told by everyone I contacted and in no uncertain way that apparently "it would be difficult, not possible and probably very expensive (yes way over my budget!) as the bike would have to be specially taken there and return fees would be added .... so why not consider an Eastbound trip! 
Hell, why not consider hiring a car and making it even easier :) !

What? ... you must be joking ! 
"Positivity, determination and not taking a No" is today's motto ...

A Westbound trip across the American continent has all the connotations to me of exploring, pioneering, adventures, going into the unknown, approaching the vast open expanses of wild landscapes and eventually arriving around the other side of the world on the Pacific coast. 

An Eastbound trip just doesn't excite me too much after so much effort - it means I'm probably travelling away from the amazing landscapes, having seen the best and just heading home ... mmmm what to do ?

Then this morning I get this email - "Good news. After speaking to the head of the rental fleet in California they've agreed to price your rental the same east to west as west to east.
As its such a long hire they have said they will make it happen."  Wow - I'm sorted!
Preparing this is a trip in itself
- yet another lesson to learn today 1) dont worry until you know the outcome - might be a lot better than you think ....!

So now I have to decide who to hire from - not mentioning names until 100% sure but I was flattered that one even wanted to post my blog on their travel site - they were also the ones who seemed genuinly interested in the adventure and that made me feel good. 

Things will all happen quickly now, even booking some of the special places will need to be done soon to ensure availability and not being disappointed .... here we go !

The secret of a good, no an amazing, trip is preparation and doing just that little bit of extra research.  There are 2 special places I'm now going to have to book very soon - all will be revealed soon ....

Friday, 11 November 2011

11 11 11 .... this is where it begins ... the trip ...

A very special day .... emotional Remembrance Day but also confirmed yesterday that we're all go from my great company that I can go, go, go on the trip - better than I had ever expected ...

So here's the very, inaccurate, initial idea that has taken almost 4 years to put together.

More than 4,500 miles across more than 15 states, from New England's Atlantic Coast to the sunny Pacific Coast;  to include more importantly the most incredible and unknown biking roads across the most beautiful diverse landscapes and emotional destinations I've always wanted to visit. 

And hopefully meeting a lot of exciting, diverse friends throughout the trip; Bob and Bev in Boston, maybe Daphne in DC, friends who supplied my bike bags in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Elizabeth in Memphis, a famous Western horse trainer who travels the world and others in Malibu, California.

And to test that Bonneville (yes, I do still believe I can get one !) to what it really wants to do .... drive, drive, drive, ... be my travelling companion, taking me to amazing places, getting me out of trouble and keeping me safe. 

Just writing about it is bringing it to life and more importantly now talking to people is creating the reality that means I've got to do it !

Just wait and see what I'm going to do - it will be incredible ...