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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Don't Stop Me Now



Thanks to my Dad, the ever adventurous one, and who gave me the bug to explore, I've pasted over the past few months on my kitchen wall old, old 1970's National Geographic maps (with my Michelin up to date road map) that he and I used to look at and dream about travelling somewhere "unknown".
Thanks to these maps I've discovered places not even mentioned in modern travel books which I'm going to find along the way. Like Okmulgee’s in Oklahoma Annual Pionner – Pow Wow and Rodeo event in July – is that politically correct or even still happening ?

Also this weekend started putting together my “visual” list of things to get and organize.
Finally got the French Shark helmet which has lots of ventilation, a safe good choice but also cool in matt black! Mustn't forget the essentials but the secret has gotta be to pack light ..

Mmm, the lodger handed her notice in on Friday so got to go through all the stuff of getting a new one as I still need that for the budget – it will happen ..

Sunday, 5 February 2012

So much help at hand in that big world out there !

I have to say, that since the last posting, I’ve had some incredible feedback, help and support from friends and people I don’t even (yet) know. 

Out of the blue I was contacted by Chris at Jupiters Motorcycles in New York, who I’d contacted previously about sourcing a Bonnie but who also just happens to be one of the co-founders of the Ted Simon Foundation (Jupiters Travels) -  
http://jupiterstravellers.org  - “We believe that individuals of good will, moving among foreign cultures and making themselves vulnerable to the beliefs and customs of strangers, have great importance in promoting world understanding, and even more so when they can distill the essence of their experiences into a form that can be absorbed by many.
The books written by Ted Simon following his solo motorcycle journeys continue to serve as an inspiration to other travellers who seek to know the world, and their place in it, through personal adventure.
The purpose of the Foundation is to encourage and assist travellers in making an extra effort to develop their observations and insights into something of value for the rest of the world to share, whatever their medium of expression might be. Our tendency will be to favour those who travel alone, since this removes barriers to communication …”     

This makes me feel I should continue the blog with this thought in mind.  I can definitely confirm that my travels and extraordinary experiences alone to places like Brazil, China. Kenya and Morocco were incredibly enriching to my soul and those I met.
I'm still seriously looking to take a GOPRO to film the trip.  And hey, my good friends, Seb and Cat, in Cornwall cooly said they'd love to offer it to me to be "part of the trip".  I was most flattered.  Thanks guys.                                                                                                 
Even better news (if I take the plunge) is that the new GOPRO Hero 2 Motorsports edition (although sold out in Europe) is getting a remote control combo kit which means it can be managed more easily as well as a new WI-FI which means the pictures can potentially be sent to the i-phone for immediate downloading.  Hey, who said I wasn’t a techie (not!).
And Margo from The Doctors Inn in Galax, the centre of bluegrass country music and famous for the Rex Theatre’ live radio shows emailed me saying -
  "How very exciting of your adventure here in the States!!  We have a garage that you can keep your bike in overnight if you like.  Yes, there will be music at the Rex that Friday night unless something changes and your bike will be the highlight of the "Cruisin & Groovin" event ... what fun!"
Yes, there's a special Car and Bike event that day in the little town of Galax in the Blue Ridge Mountains - better make sure I (and the bike) look presentable! :)  

Also, I was having real problems knowing how to figure out leaving Asheville from the Blue Ridge Parkway  and get to do the Tail of the Dragon route and Cherohola Skyway – I’ve looked at maps  to figure out but due to the stories I've heard of the dangers of driving Tail of the Dragon, I don’t mind not doing it all (the experience of doing just a bit of it will suffice me !) – I also need to get to Nashville that same day ... so I contacted Ron and Nancy from the Tail of the Dragon Store and hey this is what they said ...

“The Dragon is not that dangerous. Thousands ride it each week in the summer and have no problem. It would be a shame to come as far as you are and not do most of the 11 miles. You can cut it short by turning around at the Overlook (mile marker 8.8). The Overlook is a wide paved pull-off where many riders gather. This will expose you to the best of the Dragon.
Experienced, smart riders will have no problem on this road.
Coming
from London you need to make the most of each mile!
Be sure to stop and say hello at our Tail of the Dragon Store at the Dragon. Look for the big tail.” Ron and Nancy www.tailofthedragon.com
Thank you everyone – it gives me even more courage even though I’m already having palpatations!

I’ve also started sourcing some of the special travel items I’ll be taking for the trip.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I’m going to take and how it will be packed and carried on the bike.  I need durability, water resistance and something easily fittable on the back of the bike.  Now that I know I’m definitely going to have panniers fitted on the side the issue is the bag.  The original idea was to get a Ortlieb roll closing packsack but they seemed either too small or too big for the bike so finally got a 72 litre The North Face Base Camp bag.  In the sales so got it cheaper and of course black to match the bike!

Went over to the MCN Motorcycle Show yesterday and finally sourced the right straps for the bag – decided on the American Rokstraps “Strap It” adjustable which will be tough enough and can adjust to if the bag gets bigger with all those things I may be tempted to buy but probably will be dirty clothes!   Also Swiss brand Exped do Fold Dry Bags to keep gear waterproof or maybe I’ll just pack the dirty gear to contain the pong!                                                                                                                     And for practicality and bit of fun couldn’t resist buying some sexy microfibre underwear no seams more comfortable to ride www.microfibreboxers.com.

Also met up with Tim at the show from the Lost Adventure who’s helping me with the trip – paranoia set in again when he said the only real thing I should know to do is adjusting the chain! 
Oh my god, I don’t know why, but ever since I got the Bonneville that has been my paranoia!  Don’t know why – got all the spanners but the bike’s heavy to get on the middle stand – well got a few more months to practice!                                                                                                                                 As he cooly said, “don’t trust the Harley dealers over there to know about tightening a chain – they may find it difficult”  mmm – yes communication will be essential even if it’s just showing them the Bonneville’s handbook !  .....