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My thoughts and intentions for the route of my RTW ride.
(All money & costs are in US dollars, unless noted otherwise)
Departure date: Aug 1, 2010
From: Silver City, New Mexico USA
General route: From USA -> Canada -> N Asia -> Middle East -> Africa to bottom -> S. America -> C. America -> USA
Intended trip duration: 1.5 years
Budget: $30/day for basic living expenses
Mileage goal per day, average: 100 miles
Conveyance: 2008 Suzuki DR650
US Passport holder
This thread will will be a brain dump for the route planning of this trip. There will be threads for:
All the crap I'm bringing & why
Route reasoning and variations (No, I don't hate Europe, Australia or SE Asia). I'll talk maps & guidebooks here as well.
Medical (vaccinations, 1st aid, preventative measures & items).
Required bits of paper (Visas, vouchers, insurance, carnet, passport, IDP, etc)
Logistics - wrapping up the home life and all of the other unfun stuff no one thinks about when dreaming up a plan like this
Money & costs - How much, where I'm stashing it, dire predictions
I'm going to throw around phrases like carnet, visa, LOI, VOA, and IDP without defining them. If those look like gibberish, spend some time at Horizons Unlimited and/or pick up the excellent Adventure Motorcycling Handbook by Chris Scott. Two excellent resources for people who grin reading threads like this one, but are hungry to learn more.
There will be an online journal, somewhere and somehow. It is not set up yet. TBD.
Last note, promise
This will be mirrored at ADVRider.com.
Intended route. Will go in a westerly direction, ie. to Russia first.
(I'll only include a few of the western US states, and a tiny corner of Canada -- enough to get from New Mexico to Vancouver, B.C. by an interesting route.)
Why this route?
My already-distressed dollars will go further outside of Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the USA. So they're out (the latter two as much as possible).
For a US passport holder, some countries are impossible (or very difficult) to enter legally (N Korea, Algeria)
Other countries are difficult ($) to enter with a vehicle (China, Iran)
Still others are a bit too exciting for me (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia)
I wanted to leave during the summer, especially THIS summer. Summer through Mexico & Central America didn't seem like a great idea. Plus, the visa for Russia must be had in advance, and uses fixed dates for entering & exiting the country. The Kazakh visa must also be had in advance. I would rather deal with these up front, and leave visa-free Americas for the last leg of the trip.
Potential route variations & brick walls
N Asia: Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan were on the route, but with the current political upheavals, they are out. But I am watching the situation.
Middle East 1: I investigated transiting Iran with a motorcycle. For a US passport holder, a guide is required, and since I'm on a moto, I would have to pay for the guide's vehicle in addition to guide service. Two quotes for around $300/day put it out of the running.
Middle East 2: I would like to transit Saudi Arabia to UAE, and go on to Oman and Yemen. I think the chance of getting a Saudi transit visa is very slim, but the only cost is mailing the application and visa, and return postage (about $10 total). I'll know in a few days. Update: Transit visa denied. Reason given: "We don't do that."
Africa: If (Middle East 2) becomes reality, Egypt and Sudan are out, the absence of the former making a big difference to the cost of the carnet. There are mixed reports on the Sudan visa being obtained in Egypt, could be headache-y.
I have maps by Freytag & Berndt, Michelin, and Gizi. Obviously I haven't yet used these in their respective counties, so I can't speak to their accuracy, but I'll share my initial thoughts on them. The Michelin maps are thin, and I think they'll be torn before I leave. The F&B are a step up in paper quality. The Gizi are great quality, and beautiful. The physical map of Mongolia could be framed art. Gizi could make a map of New Jersey look great. I have had good results ordering through Omni Map. After your first order, they give a coupon good toward your next order. So pace yourself.
I'll talk about GPS stuff elsewhere.
I have a stack of Lonely Planet books. Other than Ride Reports, and other forum postings with current/real time info (the HUBB is the best for this, by far), I found that LP covered my route the best. I don't love everything about them. One great thing LP offers is the option to purchase & download PDFs of only the sections you need from a book.
Hey Sean, I am enjoying your 14 page thread over on ADVrider a great deal. Everything well thought through and good points are being brought up. I'm surprised there is not more feedback coming from this esteemed group...
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