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  #1  
Old 25 Jan 2013
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Just out to get some milk - a three year RTW journey!

JUST ANOTHER ‘ROUND THE WORLD JOURNEY

Is the HUBB the seed or the fuel? I think that for most of us it’s the fuel. We learn of the HUBBs existence once the thirst for information has formed and slack our need at the forum font of textual adventure and possibly the best Q & A sphere on the planet. For me this is no different.


But everyone has their own seed. A sentence or phrase, a chance meeting, a documentary, it comes in a variety of genres. Mine was a chance meeting in Turkey with a couple of German overlanders in 2003. I can’t remember their names only that they were riding Africa Twins and that they had journeyed from my own homeland, Australia. At that time, I was riding around Europe and Turkey by bicycle doing 3 month stints at a time. The concept of one continuous trail from A to B by motorbike seemed amazing to my 27 year old mind. The seed had been sown. But, as many on this forum would attest to, this seed needs nurturing and time, maybe this is what baffled my younger self!


Skip forward to today, ten years, 10kgs and baldness later and here I sit, joyfully about to reap the fruit of that seed sown so long ago. The plan is to ride from my home that I just sold in Cairns down to Brisbane. Ship the bike to Peru, learn Spanish while travelling for a year in South America before heading up through Central America and into the North. Gently meander towards the east coast before another freighting to Europe. Walk the Camino De Santiago De Compostella, mosey on through France, Germany, Austria, Italy and into the Baltics before once again revisiting Turkey. Hopefully skip across to Egypt, Israel and Jordan before making our way through Iran, some of the Stans, China and through the Karakoum Pass and into Pakistan. Another visit to India then into Kathmandu before the flight to Bangkok where we hope to island hop to East Timor and the final flight home to Oz.


We will take three years to do this, well, that’s what I am telling my parents. In reality it could be more or it could be less but so many people seem to need to assign temporal duration to these things! I will be volunteering around 50% of the time, couch surfing, teaching English, learning Spanish, camping, bushwalking and just basically taking my time. I have sold my house, my business, my car and most of all my belongings apart from the sentimental stuff, lets see how far this can take us?
And I say us as my wife has decided to join me for this adventure. It was either that or get a divorce, there’s no way she would let me go without her! So, to be honest, it’s our adventure but with me doing the piloting! By the way, her name is Carlie!


We are riding a 650 V-Strom bought especially for this trip. Research done, wallet checked, researched again and then we have what we feel kicks the goals to get the job done, her name is ‘Zora’. There is a pile more info on the bike and us at our blog site rtwbymotorbike.blogspot.com.au



So here I sit, in Brisbane after the official ‘shake-down run’. Testing the gear, the bike, myself and the quality of along coastal Queensland, Australia, now crossing “i’s” and dotting “t’s” organising the first shipment to Peru where the real journey begins. So far so good, but the best it definitely yet to come, join us for the ride!


From the road – Mark and Carlie


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Mark and Carlie - a three year jaunt around the third rock.
www.rtwbymotorbike.blogspot.com.au
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  #2  
Old 25 Jan 2013
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Thumbs up Congrats!

Congratulations on taking that first step over the "cliff." Look forward to following your circumnavigation on the HUBB,
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  #3  
Old 25 Jan 2013
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Just stepped out to get some milk ...............

Mark & Carlie,

I'm nearly twice your age(s) and I so envy you.

Go for it, and keep in mind Mark Twain's famous quote about regretting the things you didn't do rather than the things you did.

I look forward to following your adventures.

Cheers,
DickyBeach,
Sydney
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  #4  
Old 25 Jan 2013
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Hi Mark & Carlie,

I wish you a very interesting and safe trip.
Mark, congratulations with a wife that wants to join you on a trip like this.

I'm looking forward to reading your trip reports here on the HUB.
Please, make a lot of pictures !
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The bike I ride now is a 1978 Honda CB400T
http://jkrijt.home.xs4all.nl/ (my personal homepage with trip reports)
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  #5  
Old 27 Jan 2013
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very excited to read your blog. have a great trip!
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  #6  
Old 27 Jan 2013
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Mark & Carlie,

I am excited and happy for you both, it seems you have the right stuff, a keen spirit and a sense for adventure.

Mark, you write well, I will be looking forward to reading of your travels over the coming months and maybe years.

Very best of luck to you both,

Paul - in Tasmania
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  #7  
Old 27 Jan 2013
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RTW

I saw on your blog the prep of the bike and maybe you would consider a better rear supension and different spring fork for the weight that you carry , I did it on mine and after 40000 of travel I still think its one of the best mod.

Have fun
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  #8  
Old 29 Jan 2013
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I like the seed or fuel sentiment. There is certainly a loop of inspiration and possibility.

Any chance i could borrow some of your Australia to South America logistics research. Will your bike be registered and insured in Australia the whole time? If so which insurers are worth talking to....

Sounds like a great trip... all the best..
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  #9  
Old 30 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HendiKaf View Post
I saw on your blog the prep of the bike and maybe you would consider a better rear supension and different spring fork for the weight that you carry , I did it on mine and after 40000 of travel I still think its one of the best mod.

Have fun
Yea, that was the advice I got during set-up. I upgraded both the front and rear based on the intended weight to be carried. Don't have the exact details on the spring used but while the ride is certainly a bit less forgiving over some of the bumps and potholes, there is very little sag and the bike feels great fully loaded. Recommended.

Cheers
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www.rtwbymotorbike.blogspot.com.au
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  #10  
Old 30 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by womble View Post
I like the seed or fuel sentiment. There is certainly a loop of inspiration and possibility.

Any chance i could borrow some of your Australia to South America logistics research. Will your bike be registered and insured in Australia the whole time? If so which insurers are worth talking to....

Sounds like a great trip... all the best..
Hey Womble,
yes, the bike will be (read: needs to be) registered the entire time. Of course the gremlins in the transport department say that you can't register a vehicle while o/s however get a friend to do it for you and there shouldn't be any problems.
As for insurance, I have spoken to the governing body for insurance in this country and they have told me that there is no facility to do this from Australia, ie no aussie company will insure a vehicle while o/s. The result of my research, I will do as many have done in the past and insure my ride with persistent vigilance, calculated risk and careful observation. I rode a heavily laden bicycle through many, how shall I say this, dodgy places around the world and took out the same insurance policy then with no ill effects.

Cheers - Mark
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Mark and Carlie - a three year jaunt around the third rock.
www.rtwbymotorbike.blogspot.com.au
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  #11  
Old 30 Jan 2013
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G'day Mark & Carly,

My two favorite Spanish phrases!

Dos cervezas por favor.
& the obligatory,
Dos más por favor.

Looking forward to tales & photos. With a bit of luck, I wont be too far behind you, fingers crossed .... Have everything on the market and I'm chomping at the bit. Happy travels!

Cheers Dave
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  #12  
Old 31 Jan 2013
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Will follow with interest.

Sounds facinating ,lots of photo's Please.Noel
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  #13  
Old 21 Apr 2013
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It's a long one!

After a mild flurry of report activity to get the ride report started things seem to have stalled somewhat. I’m even hesitant to post a report that reports on the lack of action to report on! However there is no doubt that while these ride reports are filled with plenty of action on two wheels, I for one, enjoy the reports for more than just gps coordinates, mileage stats and endless photos of motorbikes in front of amazing backdrops (although that stuff does appeal to my sense of how the world SHOULD work). Other aspects such as the human element of the journey, the emotional discombobulation and the low level trauma, put the colour onto the pages. If that’s the case, then let me get my paint brushes….

In the last post I had almost finished my shakedown run. Things went so well for the entire 2000 odd kms that I started to strut, believing I had out-run Murphy and had lost him and his ilk in my dust. We all know where this is heading.




I had the bike booked in to be crated up for its journey across the Pacific but from the moment of meeting this filthy creature in charge of this most important of tasks my heart sank. And I knew it was too late to change. Rather than accepting my offer to assist and pull the bike apart he demanded that he be left to do it, saying that there was no need to remove the front wheel or even the panniers. What? With no option but to leave my beloved motor with him I knew that the shipping agent would have a field day with this!

The bike was booked on a 48 day voyage from Brisbane, Australia, to Callao, Peru with the sailing date for the 18th Feb. Emails and phone calls to the agent to ensure that things were running smoothly put my mind to rest. That is until the 19th when the agent calls to tell me that it missed the boat. My second “What?” moment. Excuse making aside I really couldn’t believe that this had occurred. I was due to fly out the next day, all these bookings had been premeditated and paid for.

OK, so now my guy tells me that it will be on another boat now heading via Singapore and Busan, Korea and should arrive only 2 weeks later than planned. Skip forward to today, now 60 days past the original date of departure and I have just been informed it will be another 3 weeks. I am running out of “What?” moments. I understand that shipping these things can be difficult and there are so many players and that quite often it is simply a case of putting it down in the notebook of life under ‘experiences’. Reading someone else’s story like you are doing then you would agree with me I’m sure, these things happen. When they happen to you though there is a black-forrest cake of emotional layers going on with more bitter than sweet.

We should be on our bike by now, getting the adventure underway. Its hard not to get angry at the shipping agent but I have been misled by him now on more than one occasion and now he is threatening to withhold the bike in Peruvian customs. I read other reports of folks saying how great their shipping process was and can’t help feeling resentment that I picked a lemon!

But I have a favourite saying, “I have the patience of Ghandi, the optimism of the Dali Lama and the bank balance of Mother Theresa”. I try to live this rather than just jest with it! And so, to fill in the time we have been living in Arequipa for the last 8 weeks in a Spanish language school. Whether or not I can speak the lingo or simply murder it with a level of finesse I will reserve judgement on. We also took the opportunity to visit the local Colca Canyon, an incredibly amazing crack in the earth for a 4 day trek.






Now its time to make our way to Lima, slowly, and hope that I don’t get another email from my shipping agent!

Cheers folks
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Mark and Carlie - a three year jaunt around the third rock.
www.rtwbymotorbike.blogspot.com.au
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  #14  
Old 21 May 2013
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So finally we are underway.



We sent our bike by sea, Brisbane to Callao, the shipping agent giving us a 48-53 day wait time. We thought to spent that at a Spanish language school in Arequipa, arm ourselves as it were, with the linguistical weapons for the next year in Latin and Central America. As it turns out, we chose our language school well and our shipping agent exceptionally poorly.



Finally, after more than 90 days and continual misrepresentations and frustrations later, our bike arrived. The crating performed by the agents guy in Australia was abysmal. I paid 450 valuable dollars and was able to pull it apart by hand. It only had two sides, was open at the top and seriously, held together with clingflim, it was industrial type however! My pride and joy arrived filthy dirty with bags of belongings just thrown in haphazardly. I’m not sure what I should do about this agent. I want to warn others against his unprofessional service and downright lying ways but don’t want to get bogged down with all the negativity. Short to say, if anyone would like more information on who NOT to ship with, PM me!


The Peruvian customs was a 4 day nightmare but the karmic gods kicked in with the good stuff and smoothed over the warehouse procedure by providing me with a lovely young lass with perfect English, spare time and a staff pass that jumped all the queues!


Released from bondage and it was time to wrestle with the traffic that I had been a passenger to for the last 3 months. Let it be said that the Peruvian driving technique is a blend of bumper cars, telepathy and blind faith. Here we go, into 6pm nighttime peak hour traffic into the centre of Lima from the very dodgy port suburb of Callao to our hotel. I needn’t have worried, the 12 kms were almost bumper to bumper, horns baring, exhausts exhausting. I didn’t have a crash nor even get lost, I might have gotten lung cancer though!


Next day we pulled all our belongings apart and for the very first and very exciting time packed the bike for her truly maiden voyage right in the courtyard of our hotel of course. Then program the GPS while muttering a short prayer to the gods of satellites and out into the world we headed.


Our first day was always going to be a short one and we made it to Barranca, a seaside town just shy of 200kms north of Lima. Locate a hotel, unfurl and its was off to the owners recommendation for a ceviche dinner. Ceviche for those who don’t know and should, is a Peruvian version of a dish found in many coastal areas around the world. Basically grab your fresh fish, filleted and chopped, mix with lime and lemon juice and other regional spices and eat. The acidic juices actually cook the fish. It’s great.


After a sleep that closely resembled a coma we were back and up on the road, again heading north. This time our goal was a bit vague, not knowing what colour rabbit we are able to pull out in these early stages but we are powering on up the Pan-American. I know that many of you who have done this trip before will be sitting on there with a tongue-lashing at the ready, let me explain. We have a volunteering commitment in Ecuador which we are now later for, thank you Mr Pretend Shipping Agent. We plan to return back down through Peru in September and stay high in the mountains, in fact we will not see the Pan-Am once on our southward journey.


So after what we thought was a long day, only 360 odd kms, not bad for a second full day on Peruvian roads, we arrived in Huanchaco, just on the seaward outskirts of Trujillo. And here is where a small admission is necessary. I made a rookie mistake. Before I could even get that first down I started feeling terrible. By 7pm I was done. I had dehydrated myself during the day, so much so that it was decided to take a rest day the next day. I know, soft huh? Anyway, lesson learnt but it did provide a rather sleepless night filled with vivid hallucinations and flashbacks. Cheap thrills.


Today we have made it to Puira, our last Peruvian sleep before the 120 odd km push to the Ecuadorian boarder and our next country. Our day today filled with low grey skies, intermittent rain and suicidal bus drivers. The scenery has been breath-takingly boring. Apart from some teasing glimpse of the Andes foothills in the very distant background and the worlds largest rubbish dump cum dessert in the foreground then you will have to excuse the lack of photos in this post.



Tomorrow its off to Ecuador. Now, its off to dinner!
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www.rtwbymotorbike.blogspot.com.au
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  #15  
Old 21 May 2013
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Good read! Not that it makes you or anyone feel any better, but I too have had issues EVERY time I have shipped vehicles or bikes. The best was when I shipped a truck from Baltimore, Maryland to Southampton, UK.

It didn't make the boat (like your bike) despite being there ONE MONTH early. Then, they told me, not to worry, it would be on the next boat and would only be one week late. Fantastic! That part was true, but what they failed to tell me until much later was that the vehicle was delivered to Bremerhaven, Germany, NOT Southampton, UK. So, that was obviously fun trying to get that out of customs and of course arranging to go pick it up. Hooray for shippers!
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