Loose and dirty...looking for advice
I want to test out few ideas and ask the experts for some professional critiquing. I know there are blind spots I’m not considering…
Before business, I want to give a big thanks to Grant and Susan and the members of both HU and ADV Rider. The ride reports were a source of inspiration and the Achievable Dream DVDs helped strengthen my resolve when doubts began creeping about.
After planning and saving - mostly saving - for about three years, I’ll be ready to depart on an open ended trip mid-2011. I’m 27 yrs old, from the States, and spent the last several years in Europe and the Middle East. My budget will fund a trip for ~2 years and leave a financial safety net afterwards.
I fell into the trap of micro planning early. Weighing the value of magnetic oil plugs, various types of DSLRs & GPSs, personnel protection equipment, soft saddle bags vs. hard panniers…Not to mention choosing the bike! I got fed up with endless possibilities and let it drop for a few months. Recently I began to streamline criteria – cut to the bone of what is important and what is glamour.
- Travel light - bike and gear.
- Modifications to bike for safety only: brake lines, headlight and taillight visibility, loud horn, hand guards. I splurged on personnel protection equipment; body armor, jacket, pants, boots, gloves, ear plugs, and helmet.
- Take a vacation from my vacation. One day off for every three days on and at least one week a month to relax at an intriguing location.
- Be off the road by late afternoon and no night driving.
- Paper Maps and Serendipity. GPS for geocaching and geotagging only.
- Med Jet and catastrophic health insurance.
- Several independent bank accts with no withdrawal fee, conversion fee, or transaction fee debit cards. Several credit cards covering Visa, AMEX, and MasterCard.
Tasks I still have on my ‘To do’ list:
- Mechanical competence beyond changing the oil, patching a tire, fixing a chain. I would like to trouble shoot a faulty transmission and electrical system.
I’ll begin on a 2006 Suzuki DR650 with soft saddle bags. I have two scheduling restrictions. Numero uno is to cross into Mexico ~Oct.’11 and go south. The second is to spend a winter in New Zealand, roughly May to October, as a ski bum. If anyone has any advice for jobs in or around Queenstown during ski season, I would much appreciate it! The rest of the trip I will follow ‘Summer’.
After spending hundreds of hours staring at maps, marking ‘must see’ locations on Google earth, and planning various routes - I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want a definite route. Nor will I ship the DR650 when I cross water. When I hit water, I will sell the bike, and choose my next destination based on weather, the price of the plane ticket, and ease of purchasing a replacement bike.
A plan only lasts until the first shot is fired, so here is my plan: North America – South America – Australia/New Zealand – Asia – Sub Continent – Europe – Africa. Will I end up following this route? Probably not…
I may take a hit each time I sell a bike, but probably not as much as shipping a DR650 each time I cross water. The legality of registering the bike, picking up insurance, and the pain in the ass factor is the only issue I see with this approach. Then again, that might be half the fun…Any war stories or opinions?
West Virginia University 2006
Beta Theta Pi - Beta Psi
Ride Report: TAT...and Beyond