Getting Ready
January 12, 2006 GMT
Katie M, get dressed!

"So, what do you pack?" I asked Bob one day over girlie-man lattes.

"I've worked up some lists. l'll email you. But don't take everything you own, keep it simple." Bob smiled like it was an inside joke. I didn't get it. Yet.

Next day a MicroSoft ding on the laptop announced the arrival of a 9 page Complete Packing List , a 3 page Cost Estimate ($22, 247CAD), a 3 page line-by-line Trip Itinerary (Abancay to Cuzco, 1 day, 491 km), with 70 GPS routes to follow in the next email. I soberly scanned the lists, feeling a wee bit overwhelmed. Geez, I'll need two men and a boy to carry all this stuff! But to be fair, I was also impressed as hell. Bob is not a man to take things lightly - he'll be a damn good travelling companion. And besides, we toured the Arizona desert together February last year and got along great.

The original plan was this: after 31 years retire from the Calgary Fire Department, then travel to New Zealand, Australia and South America for two years. Just the three of us: Joyce, our son Chris and me, by motorcycle. Part One of the plan, NZ and Oz, shared with family and friends on the website lifeinatent.ca, came together in 2002 - 2003. It was a very good year. Like the website, it came and went. Then it was back to work for the three of us, all in new careers.

Now it's time for Part Two: South and Central America. Joyce and Chris still have other commitments so this time my companions will be Amigobob and Katie M. Let me explain. Amigobob is Bob Bielesch, motorcyclist and experienced traveller to points as far south as Ushuaia. Bob likes South America. Katie M is my KTM 950 Adventure. Katie M has been no further than Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Katie likes airplanes.


Cooktown_msc.jpg

So now that I have The Lists, what to put in, what to leave out? And what to do first? Well Murray, says I, let's start with Katie, 'cause that's more fun.

Katie M needed some practical clothes, nothing fancy, for this wee jog will include a cruise down the Bolivar, not down the boulevard. So what does an Austrian 200 kg mama wear for a seven month trip in Latin America? Well, considering the journey would include pavement/gravel/sand/no road/passing through narrow doorways and ship hatches, the clothing would have to be, like practical shoes, less than stylin'.

After some months dressing Katie in engine guards, high fenders, big Jesse panniers and other bulk I now have a bike that looks more like an Austrian extra in an B grade gladiator movie. Don't worry Arnold, your Terminator image is safe. And so are you no-fear teens that drop garage roofs with freestyle bicycles. The only thing I'm likely to drop is Katie.

With departure date set for January 24, 2006, lists transmogrified into loaded panniers (luggage 43 kg), documents collected, GPS loaded, and I've been injected, inspected, rejected and all kinds of mean and nasty stuff, I'm ready to launch.

As Amigobob says, "My take on the trip is to travel and see as much as possible historically, culturally and geographically, as well as to try to understand what we are looking at and "what happened here." I am hopeful that with inquisitive minds we can raise enough questions and have meaningful discussions about the whole experience. Questions we can't answer will be carried home for further research."
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Stay tuned.

Posted by Murray Castle at 07:47 AM GMT
 



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