|Getting ready to start the rest of the trip, ticking off this hemisphere on the bikes. Thank you Santa for the globe, and thank you Scott Henkel for the toy bikes!|
I know that for most people traveling, nine months out seems an awfully long time away to start planning a trip. When one plans to pack an entire life on a motorcycle, put her household items into storage, and bail on her life for nine months, planning should have started long ago. In a way, it did. I can remember riding into Denver at the end of the Alaska trip and saying...
"Why are we stopping?? Oh right, we work in the performing arts. We have no more money or time."
The decision was made, right then and there, that five years later we would make a trip in the opposite direction
So...four years later, here I am. That trip to Alaska was my first motorcycle trip. Since then, I have made several more, found a love of off-road motorcycling, and started coaching. I LOVE motorbiking in a way that few get the opportunity to experience. I cannot wait to start on my southward journey. In the last few months, I have followed a number of people as they head south, enjoying their happiness and stocking up on helpful tips from them as they pass from country to country.
So, where do I start? Well, Josh and I started saving $$$ four years ago. A little bit every paycheck at first, then as it seemed it wasn't adding up fast enough, a little more each paycheck. I got the bike of my dreams (ish) last January. Did I love it? On the street, YES! On the dirt...well, it took me a little longer to love. I didn't love it at first. In fact, I didn't even like it. But now, I do love it.
But, Camille is still pretty bare bones. I've now got more protection on her in the way of crash bars, exhaust guard, etc., but there's more to do. So much more to do to my bike, and I haven't even decided on luggage. I suppose the actual "easy" part of preparing for this trip will be what to take in that luggage. Passport, sleeping bag, a map or two, iPad for blogging, appropriate layers, four pairs of underwear, and four pairs of socks. My favorite thing about making the last part of that statement is that my non-moto friends will think, "Only 4?" And my moto friends will think, "Seriously, you're taking 4? I only need 2."
Packing will be the relatively easy part. Getting the bike prepped for 20,000 miles of unknown terrain and unpredictable weather is taking a little more time and energy. I've gotten a fair amount done, have some accessories ordered and in the garage ready for install, and still have a lot of research to do.
In my mind, there is always the struggle between what I REALLY need versus what might be helpful, or isn't needed at all, but darn it, I WANT it. I mentioned I've been following some people as they ride south (and one amazing couple who rode north) and soaking up tips like I needed three sets of my paperwork at this border crossing or at minimum, ladies, take five pairs of underwear. I've also scrutinized what they have on their bikes, what broke along the trip, and what needed regular maintenance.
I'm not going to lie, it is often exciting and overwhelming at once. I'm tackling the bike, a few items at a time. Pretty soon, I will do like I did for the Alaska trip, and start throwing things on the bed in the guest room. That will start the process of what gets packed to go, and what gets chucked out every couple of weeks as I go back in and review what I thought seemed necessary.
But, speaking of the guest room, that is a whole other matter. We've decided to rent the house out for a year. I know, the trip is only nine months, but it seems a better idea to rent the house for a year--we'll figure out where to put ourselves for the other three months once we get there. That means, though, getting the house into a rentable state. With a little work, we can rent the house for a good deal of money, covering not only the mortgage, but also our storage unit for all our stuff, and having a little safety net money left over. Sweet deal, but that means we have yet another list of things to do.
Don't get me wrong--I am NOT complaining about the prep for this trip. There is a lot to do, but I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do this kind of trip at all. A lot of work has been done, and a lot more is ahead. I hope you'll join me for whatever part of it is interesting to you, and travel along with me. I've been doing that with people like Kevin, Laura, Daver, and Daniel and Polly. Even though I wasn't doing the physical traveling, I have gotten to experience cool places through their pictures and stories. Now it's my turn to share!
Really quickly, I mentioned following people on their trips up and down this hemisphere. I've found a number of blogs, Facebook pages, and Instagram pages to follow, including those of Daniel and Polly, also known as "motosurgicaldiaries". Daniel and Polly are a young English couple who flew their 1984 BMW PD to Argentina, rode to the southernmost tip, then turned north and rode as far as was possible, to Deadhorse, Alaska. I found them on Instagram through another friend, Mark Ferguson--ExploreTheDirt--began following them, and as they got into the states, I messaged them and said they were more than welcome to stay with us if they came through Denver. It was a little selfish on my part, as I wanted to meet them and hear about their trip. To our joy, they stopped and stayed with us, and we had a small dinner party along with my friend Mark and his family.
It was truly a joy to meet them, especially after following their trip and seeing some of the beautiful places we will get to see ourselves. Hopefully, as they follow along with us, my pics and stories will remind them of the joy and experience of their own.