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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

Prompt BMW Parts

September 6th, 2006 by sunflowers

BMW F650 Foot PegTurns out that it doesn’t take six weeks to order BMW parts as Motoden would like to have me think. I ordered a passenger foot peg on Monday from www.motoworks.co.uk as this Saturday Jack from the East London Advanced Motorcycle association is pillioning me so that I get a feel for how fast my bike can go around the bends. And it arrived two days later. Now to figure out how all these bits go together.

I am also definitely taking up Hank’s recommendation of using thread lock on a bike that vibrates like a tractor. It turns out that the F650 uses the same type of foot peg that the UK Police BMWs use so that when the police bikes are on-sold the first thing everyone wants is foot pegs and therefore second-hand ones are as rare as hen’s teeth and I had to buy mine new :-(.

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The Historian and Ukrainian Easter Eggs

September 5th, 2006 by sunflowers

The HistorianFor the last couple of days I have been reading a book called The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. The plot revolves around the search for Vlad Dracula the Impaler’s (real historical figure who was the ruler of Wallachia in Romania) burial place. In it the characters travel to France, Vienna, Slovenia, Budapest, Istanbul and Bulgaria. Most of these places I can picture as I have been to them. But I have never been to Bulgaria, Russia or Eastern Europe. Ukraine really appeals as growing up in Northern Alberta we used to make Ukrainian Easter eggs every year (dying egg shells by making patterns with hot wax and then dying the eggs using food colouring).

Ukrainian Easter EggAs winter approaches in the UK the idea of turning my trip into a round the world is becoming more and more appealing. I was looking at the adventure handbook this morning about routes to India and I quite fancy taking the high route through Eastern Europe. I am not sure about biking in India though as apparently the traffic is frightful. So I would aim to get to India November’ish time. Thinking about it I would have to give Darwin to Tasmania a miss as it would be much too hot. But I could spend Christmas at home with my family in New Zealand which I haven’t done since I was seventeen and then come back to the UK to look for work in January/February time. Mmm, I will have to do some research to see if my finances will take me that far.

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September 4th, 2006 by sunflowers

Even though I haven’t even started my trip and I could dislike it once I start I am wondering if I should turn it into a Round the World trip as that has much more panache associated with it. I was thinking after biking from Argentina to Alaska I could bike across Canada to Newfoundland (which I originally wanted to do anyway), then from Ireland to India (I haven’t been to India and would really like to go – and the alliteration works in that one as well). Then through Australia (Darwin to Tasmania – the two places I haven’t been in Australia) and then fly my bike to New Zealand to leave at home and come back to the UK in Feb 2008.

I just wonder if that counts as around the world as I am missing out China and South East Asia and Africa – but as I have spent more time in those countries I am not as interested in going to them. At lunch we were trying to think of a better website address in case I decided to turn it into a RTW. Some of the website addresses we came up with are: 1chick1bike1world annettesadventure endurogirl

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Kawasaki ER5

September 3rd, 2006 by sunflowers

Kawasaki ER5Sunday was spent lying around reading books. My mate Jon who has just gotten his bike license and bike came around. Jon has a Kawasaki ER5 and it seems like a pretty good commuting bike for filtering in and out of the London traffic but can still get up to 100 miles per hour on the motorways. I might get one like that when I get back to London if I don’t get a really fast sports bike!

I pleaded off on going for a ride so we just went for a pub meal instead. I am going to miss weekends lying around reading once I start my trip.

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Internet dating

September 2nd, 2006 by sunflowers

Friday night I had a date with a bloke I met through an internet dating site www.loveandfriends.com. I was holding out high hopes as he lived in Islington, enjoys cooking and has been to more countries than I have. I think that the night went well but maybe I should have dressed up more rather than going straight from work and not been quite so forthcoming on my investments (another story that I will write about one day). Still since reading ‘He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-excuses Truth to Understanding Guys’ by Greg Behrendt (totally empowering as you no longer have to spend hours agonising about what you did wrong) and seeing as how he is Australian and has a Steps album, it won’t be the end of the world if he doesn’t ring.

Saturday morning was spent on the phone to Orange. After an hour I was previously close to being shunted back into the walk through of:- resets, restarts and re-entering your password. To the ‘we will do a line check and ring back in a few hours’ where you don’t get through after waiting on hold for over an hour at your expensive. I managed to keep them on the line long enough this time to have the line check come through as ok so the support person realised there was something more wrong than my putting in the user name with a space. So I have been referred to head office and it is suppose to be fixed in 5 days.

Next stop was the library which meant I would spend the rest of the weekend reading rather than getting through any number of outstanding chores I should have been doing.

At six my mate Rose showed up with a bag of food, two bottles of wine and cooked me dinner. Which was lovely as I survive on eating out and popcorn. I helped her cook dinner and it didn’t look all that hard. I might give it a go sometime. Particularly as Rose said that the UK eats over half of the prepared food produced in the EU. Shocking!

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Mini HU Meetup

September 1st, 2006 by sunflowers

As I have mentioned a few times the ultimate overlander motorcycling site is www.horizonsunlimited.com which was started by a Canadian couple Grant and Susan who have gone round the world. Last night Maria (she and partner Alistair are doing the Americas next April) organised a London meetup.

About 15-20 people showed up at Cafe Rouge in Covent Garden. It was really nice to spend an evening hearing other people’s travelling stories. A few people recognised me as that girl whose bike wasn’t working (it was nice to say that this was no longer the case). Also it was a big difference from my first HU get together where I was facing my first bike ride by myself the next morning and petrified.

The best thing is this really nice bloke Pete who has just come back from four years in South America offered to give a few of us lessons in tire removal and tube puncture repair. I must say that after changing my bicycle tube I had decided I was more than happy to pay someone else to do job. But apparently I am not always going to have that luxury on the road.

I took my camera along in order to take a couple of pictures but totally forgot. Too much good company, food and drink :-)

Pearsonsps. for all those that looked at my site so that I could have more than 1000 unique visitors for the month of August I only got to 979 (of which I think half are me logging on from various hotels). I have just been talking to my cousin in NZ and thought that I might put up a picture of my two nieces and nephew and apparently they miss me as well.

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Random Ramblings

August 31st, 2006 by sunflowers

Right now all life seems to be is a long list of things to sort out. I guess everyone has dreary times like that. At work I have to get all the monthly reporting done. At home my room is dire need of a tidy with all the time I have been away and the rest of it spent on the support line to Orange trying to get our broadband fixed. There is also my tax to do, buy a passenger foot peg for my bike (lost somewhere in Wales), get a new bike cover, sort out the shipping of my bike, find sponsorship and a hundred other little things.

changeFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
I also want to finish off the book Freakonomics my colleague lent me. An economist who uses statistics to explain anomalies like:- reduction of the crime rate in the US (legalisation of abortions in the 70’s means less people born in dire circumstances) and why drug dealers live with their mothers (they earn bugger all at street level and only those high up in the organisation actually earn good money) www.freakonomics.com.

Dining in the Dark
This morning I saw dining in the dark advertised on last minute.com. This is something that I have wanted to do for ages but they weren’t really doing it in London. I think it would be fascinating to dine with strangers in the dark and when the lights come on see if they in anyway are like the picture you have of them in your mind www.danslenoir.com/london.

AssetsThis photo is one that my mate took of me with her daughter on my bike but apparently it makes me look stacked. Which is true. So I have cut Scarlett out of it and put it up on motorcycle junction (the old biker dating site I registered on) except I can’t actually read any mail if anyone does send me any.

Shoot – I just realised I missed my yoga class because I was writing this. Oh well seeing as I was here at eight this morning I am going to leave slightly early.

Double bummer – this bloke at work asked me to enter the Southcoast Triathlon on Saturday as the bicycle rider. It is one of my long term goals to be in a Triathlon – but we just looked at the website and it is too windy so he doesn’t want to do it – shame www.fun2tri.co.uk/Southcoast-new/index.htm.

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Death and Dreams

August 30th, 2006 by sunflowers

A month or so ago my grandfather went into hospital after collapsing at home. He had been diagnosed with Parkinsons a few months earlier which he basically ignored so fell over a few times and ended up with a blood clot on his brain which has contributed to his incapacity. Since then my grandmother has been looking after with the help of a carer.

Last night I dreamed that my grandmother had died which was quite upsetting as I lived with my grandparents as a child and have always been extremely close to my grandmother taking to her on the phone most weeks. This morning I phoned my grandmother up to check on her and found out that her cousin once removed who lives near the top of New Zealand passed away last night at the age of 106.

I have been delibreating using my few days of holiday and some unpaid leave to fly back to New Zealand for a week. But it is such a far way to go for such a short time period. The other option is taking a few weeks off my trip when I get to LA and flying from there.

I was just looking at the price of fares from LAX to AUK and some of the cheapest flights go through the South Pacific islands. A visit to Tonga or Samoa wouldn’t be such a bad thing!

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Object Fixation

August 29th, 2006 by sunflowers

Object fixation is something that you learn in both rollerblading classes and motorbike classes. That if you focus on the rock, tree etc etc you are going to go straight towards it. It is related to your body/bike will go where you look. So if you are trying to turn a circle look around and you will naturally steer towards it.

At the start of the second day of my bmw off road course I asked Kylie one of the course assistants if she would mind taking a video of me riding. As I started to head towards here I turned the bike and realised that her jacket was on the ground in front of me and even though I had a huge field to avoid it I ended up running over it. To Kylie’s credit she didn’t drop my camera considering her mobile phone was in the jacket pocket.

It was one of the more humilitating things I have done particarly as Kylie’s jacket had tire marks across the front for the rest of the day.

ps. I have put this on the site in both u-tunes and directly. U-tunes is good for large file sizes but I think it loses some of the picture quality. What do you think? … Ok removing the non you tube link as it isn’t even showing the picture.

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Putting it into Practice

August 28th, 2006 by sunflowers

ScarletOne of the first things that we learnt on the off road course was that we should always get off our bikes and then put them onto the stand in order to make sure that when we stop that the ground is stable enough for the kick stand.

Kate and ScarletSo just after riding off from the course back to Bristol I stopped on the side of the road to look at the map and getting off my bike decided to get off without the kick stand down and promptly dropped my bike (third time down). But as we also had practiced picking it up I was ok ;-). I think the difference was my bike is a lot heavier than the bikes we were using on the course and it had my bag strapped on the back which was probably putting it slightly off balance.

ps. the pictures are of Scarlet and me posing on my bike and the other is of her mother Kate who helped me sort out going to university in New Zealand.

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