Its not a very cunning plan, it involves riding west. A long way west. In a short amount of time.
The rough route is :-
Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Seattle Washington. We have 10 days to cover nearly 4000miles to put the bikes on a RoRo.
Mike and I will then faff around for 3 weeks and wind our way to Vladivostok to meet the bikes. We may even be able to get new tyres there.
From Vlad, it is west across Russia until Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the Aral sea. Assuming we can get enough fuel, apparently all the cars run on gas in Uzbekistan, we will then head back into Russia, the Ukraine and Europe. Hopefully finishing in Halifax, Yorkshire, where Mike has found a bike rally the weekend we are due back. He is determined to get his longest travelled award at a rally one day.
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Of course, all plans are loose and changeable, as long as we get back in 91 days.
Everything is organised and paid for; the flights from Gatwick, the train to Gatwick and our hotel. The bikes are serviced and have a place on the RoRo from Liverpool to Halifax, Canada, and we have started the steps for the bikes to get on a RoRo from Seattle to Vladivostok.
Everything, including visas, are sorted.
But then we wake up from our happy dreams. Just once it would be nice if all the hiccups happen after a trip started.
Our cheap flight from Gatwick to Halifax,NS, has been cancelled. The airline offered to switch it to 26th May. Clearly not an option. We had to settle for a flight to Toronto instead. The only option then was to book another flight to get us to Halifax still on the 1st May.
Next while my bike was being serviced the rear shock bushes fell apart in the mechanics hands.
Not a major problem, just order some more. Unfortunately they will not arrive until after the bikes are on the RoRo in Liverpool. Jean has gamely volunteered to let me use the (one year old) ones from her bike (the Pegaso she used on the DTW trip).
The only sure thing at the moment is the 10 days we have to get from Halifax to Seattle for the next RoRo. If we miss that, it is off to Vancouver for an expensive (£2500+ per bike) flight for the bikes to South Korea.
And the visas ? Actually they really do seem to be on track, we have used an agency (Real Russia) to apply for the Russia ones (double entry business) ahead of the normal 45 days before entry rule. Last time I looked we both had Russia and Kazakhstan visas, just Uzbekistan to go.
The bikes have gone. Now we can sit and twiddle our thumbs for a few days.
We made the RoRo, despite the best efforts of my bike, it was back in Pitstop for some last minute repairs only hours before needing to be at the port. Mike's has been ready for weeks, and does not seem to shed bits or snap bolts like mine, yet.
We fumbled around for our passports to gain access to the Freeport (Liverpool, Seaforth complex), technically our first border crossing, then had our first customs search. When I say search, I mean open the pannier and close it again.
A minibus escorted us to the 'Vehicle Export Compound'. The compound was stuffed with new and old cars to be shipped out. I was a bit distracted while we were introduced to the man who would be riding the bikes on to the ship. Not because it was a rough or poor looking ship, but because it is called the 'Atlantic Conveyor' . A name I immediately associate with Exocet missiles and sinking.
No worries, Brian is a nice guy and rides a CBR600 from Chester to work, at least he knows about bikes. We ran him through the bike start procedure, we wanted to make sure he knew about the computer check over before the ignition is pressed. Magically mine started with no press much to his amusement and I had to flick the switch off. That will be the first thing I need to look at when we get time.
I also pointed out that if he was to drop my bike he should do it on the left hand side, as I always manage to do. There are still some good scars from an Argentinian roundabout, a French bend (wet) and a BMW GS1200 (twice) in Mexico.
How pristine Mike's bike looks next to mine. I'm sure we will do something about it in the next few months.
We called Jean to tell here we were getting a cab back to where she was waiting for us, she thought we were joking.
Maybe we should be taking this as a backup truck ?
Brian, the biker/cargo loader, uses it to ferry people around the site, carry loads and pull cars on to ships. It never needs MOT, Tax or insurance as it never goes on the UK roads. When it dies, he will just buy another. Perfect.
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