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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake

Emotional Breakdown

September 16th, 2006 by sunflowers

Today started with my regular call to Orange to find out the status of our still not fixed broadband to which I got the same set of routine questions and told it will be fixed in 48 hours (better than the usual 5 days). I then met up with my mate Jon to check out a few bike gear shops for something to wear that is a bit cooler than my current outfit. I am not sure what happened but I started to get really emotional (mainly road rage) and ended up sitting on the side of the road bawling and I have no idea why. I think that I can remember less than half a dozen times in my life that I have cried (outside books and movies). Either it is the lack of internet at home or I just had an overload of stress about getting ready for this trip. So I went home with tears in my eyes and spent the rest of the day lying in bed reading trashy chicklets (chick literature).

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The Chain Gang

September 15th, 2006 by sunflowers

There is a website called the Chain Gang for BMW F650s www.f650.com. Several people have mentioned it to me and when I first started looking for a suitable bike I used it to research the technical details of the F650 and the difference between a GS and a CS as I almost bought a CS without realising it is the non off road version of the F650 GS.

Yesterday I posted a question to the Chain Gang forum about the crated size of my bike. www.f650.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=254561#254561 I got quite a few responses and Trevor kindly forwarded my website details to some of the people he knows at BMW to see if they could offer any kind of sponsorship which is most kind of them.

So far no one has given me a reply about the size of a crated bike but some of the members have passed on well wishes and friendly advice. That is one of the best things about becoming a biker is the camaraderie that exists in the motorcycle community.

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Free Bike

September 14th, 2006 by sunflowers

A bloke who rode a KLR from New York is offering to either sell it cheap or letting someone ride it back up to him. Luckily I managed to reply to him first (the joys of trans Atlantic timing which when having to deal with our Sacramento office doesn’t work in my favour). As it would be perfect as this whole trying to get my bike over there thing is a right pain. None of the shipping companies have gotten back to me even though I have pestered them several times. So I decided to check out air freight with Lufthansa (£1400 I think not).

Unluckily though it turns out that transferring ownership and getting a bike out of Argentina is not easy if not impossible. Still as the bloke said where there is a will there is a way. Anything to get out of having to crate and uncrate my bike myself 😉

Update: having talked to Javier and looked at the posting on the HUBB regarding getting bike out of Argentina it appears almost impossible to do this legally and illegally you could end up in jail. It may make interesting blogging but after a month of having no internet access here in the UK I don’t think I could survive without it if it is not provided in Argentinean jails. So I am going to keep on investigating legally getting a free bike and finding out about shipping my bike. Bonus though I talked to a really helpful bloke at BMW in London and they will help me with getting a cardboard crate (apparently new BMW’s are shipped in cardboard – strange but true).

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Following in the Family Footsteps

September 13th, 2006 by sunflowers

I talked to my mother this morning and she mentioned that she rode a moped between Amsterdam to Austria (apparently she had to peddle it up the hills, must have been fun in the alps) where she finally left it and hitchhiked the rest of the way to Croatia after deciding that she was spending too much time looking at tarmac. Not enjoying the scenery is one thing that I am quite worried about on my trip but I guess I will be able to do my riding in shorter time periods as I won’t have to peddle going up the hills.

Marsden CrossMy flatmate’s mother is staying with us for a few days and she said that in Christchurch, NZ that apparently it is a big deal if your family came on one of the first four ships. I have always know that I am a direct descendent from the first European female who was born and remained in NZ, Hannah King Lethbridge (apparently there is a pakaha (Maori word for white fella) that was born first but didn’t remain in NZ). So I phoned up my grandmother to ask if they came on one of the first four ships and she said that we are descendants from Captain Hansen who brought Lord Samuel Marsden in 1814 over. Picture is of the memorial put up at Marsden Cross where the boat landed.

Amazing how your family never tells you these things. You would have thought that my mother would mention her trip (Ann’s Adventures from Amsterdam to Austria) when I said I was going to ride a motorbike from Argentina to Alaska instead her first response was she wished that she was able to go with me. That is until she realised that it might be dangerous and then she said couldn’t I just limit my trip to Canada and the US!

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Orange Outage

September 12th, 2006 by sunflowers

It is now over a month since we lost our internet connection. When I phoned up Orange I was told that I have been moved up a tier past the technical team and again it is going to take five working days before it is fixed. I might phone up and find out if there are any more levels above this.

I am finding it really hard to organise my trip without any access to the web. This must have been so much harder to do before the advent of the internet!

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Multiple Injections

September 11th, 2006 by sunflowers

I had to work from home today as the roof has been leaking so I had to let a roofing company in to check it out. Turns out a few of the tiles are broken. Still the day wasn’t wasted as I made it to the health clinic where I got injections for Tetanus, Polio, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hep A, a prescription for Meningitis and a blood sample to see if I was still covered for Hep B. Then it was on to the travel clinic for Rabies and Yellow Fever. After this I will need two more injections for Rabies (1 week and 1 month), an injection for Meningitis, maybe a booster for Hep B and a prescription for Malaria tablets. Lucky for me they are having a 15% discount on Yellow Fever at www.1stcontact.co.uk. You can also look up what vaccinations you need for different counties. So I am now a walking live culture!

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Essex Air Ambulance Charity Ride

September 10th, 2006 by sunflowers

Getting ready to goToday there was an organised charity ride to raise money for the Essex Air Ambulance from Basildon to Harwich. They reckon that there were about 5000 riders. We turned up without registering and managed to join in paying our five pounds registration fee at the finish of the ride.

It was pretty cool riding with so many other bikes. It was slightly scary at times as there was a lot of overtaking into already crowded roads which meant that I kept on falling behind to let them in so it was good that we were fairly close to the front otherwise I would have ended up last which is bad enough when I am riding out with twenty people on a group ride but to be the last in five thousand is a bit much.

Bunch of bikesComing home wasn’t quite so good as I managed to get on the wrong road into London and ended up in South London going through the Blackwell Tunnel under the Thames which was a pretty cool tunnel that I haven’t been through before but not so cool it took me over an hour extra of filtering through London traffic to get home.

Just before going to sleep my flatmate came up to tell me that some kids had knocked over my bike so James helped me pick it up. That makes it’s fifth drop and I haven’t even hit the roads of South America yet.

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Exhilarating Experience

September 9th, 2006 by sunflowers

Jack (see Advanced Riding Recommended) from my advanced riding group kindly offered to pillion me on my f650 so that I could see how fast my bike could go around the corners. So I showed up in Walthamstow nice and early at ten in the morning as we had to fit my foot peg before we could head off. Easier said than done! It took us two hours including a stop to the shops to get a bigger bolt and bleeding the brakes as on the way to Jack’s my brakes started feeling really spongy (even after bleeding I think that my brakes are a bit suss).

Anniversary at Ace
Finally we hit the road and the tractor was taken faster than I have ever gotten her around the bends. I must say that it was quite exciting sitting on the back as it was only my second ever pillion. We stopped for a cuppa at Beach Hill (a renown bikers hangout near Walthamstow) and then back to Jacks to go and buy some front brake pads to fit at a later date.

On the way home I only meant to stay on the North Circular for one section and ended up half way to the Ace Café so decided to meet up with my mate Jon there. Turns out it was the Ace Café anniversary and there had been a ride out in the morning so the place was jammed as you can see.

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September 8th, 2006 by sunflowers

Stayed home all day and hid under the covers. Made an appointment with the doctors surgery and managed to sleep through it and they wouldn’t see me when I turned up forty minutes late so have made another appointment for Monday just in case. Internet connection still not working thanks to Orange (broadband provider).

Mm, makes me realise what I am going to miss while I am traveling. Still I guess you can’t live life hiding under the bedsheets.

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Climate Change

September 7th, 2006 by sunflowers

Climate change is one thing that effects us all and if futuristic plots like in the movie Water World are to be believed it won’t be much of a world for long distance biking if things continue the way they are. There is a movement in the UK to lobby all the MPs to support a Climate Change Bill. There is one person in Lower Holloway trying to set up a visit to our MP for the 6th October which I think I will try and go along to. You can find out about lobbying at www.foe.co.uk or make a pledge by clicking here.

On a personal note last night I started getting a mild panic attack about all the things I have to do before I go and today I am downright thinking the whole trip is a silly idea. Why do I want to give up my comfortable life and ok paying (but no satisfaction) job to head off on my own and live on the road? Let’s hope this is a mild case of nerves rather than a wake up call to reality 😉

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