November 18, 2005 GMT
Fritz and Bev - Here we go then!

25th October 2005 Bound for South America

Here we go then! Our last day at home, lets hope none of you are Pikey's or that'll be the end of the house and contents! Mind, in a couple of days we'll be living like motorcycle gypsies anyway!

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Straight off to the local tip?


Attached are our first pictures of the trip but taken a couple of weeks ago at the shipping agents (misnomer there by way, they send cargo by any means, guess the terms an old one from pre-plane days). Our beloved bike boxed and being taken away.. We're hoping to a flight with Air France onward to Buenos Aires (BA).. and not the local tip! Costs are not inconsiderable, especially as there has been an increase with a fuel levy, but that's beyond everyone's control, and we only live once (well unless I'm proved wrong on that one!) We could have sent the bike by sea and saved considerably, but using boats
can add delays, and the costs at the arrival port are considered more than the airport. We wanted to start on time so knew we'd pay a premium (Thanks to Mike at Advance Forwarding for all his enthusiastic involvement over the last few weeks). Coming back we'll most likely use a boat as we can live without the bike for a few weeks at this end. Anyway, we haven't even left yet! The other big advantage was we only had to go to Melbourne Nr Derby to drop bike off rather than most shippers who are based in London area.

There are some nerves (distinctly at this moment !), but less than you'd imagine - it still feels like a dream - god help us when we fall out of bed in BA, there'll be a severe bump on head once we get to customs I think. We have opted to attempt to free the bike ourselves and save the cost of an agent. It'll be the first test of our 'pointy Spanish' - that's use of single words, at a slow rate, in the hope the missing bits will be interpreted correctly. I suppose the worst that can happen is that they think we want to scrap the vehicle :-0

We will be reporting back on this one so hang on with baited breath - we will be! At worst, if on let's say Tuesday 1st Nov (bike arrives mid-day Monday so think we'll write that off) we don't succeed then Wednesday we'll be talking to an agent I suspect. Fingers crossed.

Our first few days will be spent at some accommodation that is part of a motorcycle shop in BA; there is a community of like-minded bikers who offer assistance and services through a bulletin board on the web (Horizons Unlimited). Sandra and Javier run Dakar motos (www.dakarmotos.com) and are well known to travellers to this part of the world. They have already been very helpful to us from here, and so we could do no less than stay (as paying guests) in their new 'moto hotel'.

So we fly separately to the bike, in fact we leave tomorrow from Manchester (staying over with Bev's sister tonight) at about 3pm. Thence to Madrid no sight seeing other than out window - and have quite a few hours at the airport there before flying out at 1am. Arrival is about 7.30am, so by the time we're out, Dakar Motos will be open for business, we'll be able to settle in and try to adapt to our new life.
Temps are currently around 20C over there (last night forecast showed similar for here - some Autumn eh!) as it'scoming into their summer of course, so that should be welcome if nothing else. We'll have about 4 days to adapt to a different pace and place. Once we get the bike out we will leave the city and head for the hills (well, south in this case).

Cities will be a necessary evil as there we will find the ATMs and other services we require, but otherwise we will most likely be delving into the smaller places, and hope to be off the beaten track when we can, but well on it at those times when we need to be - but I suspect that might not always be the case, few butterflies thinking about that! Anyway, we have no timetable or scheduled route that is absolutely fixed, we have aspirations (that's the modern word isn't it!), but we intend broadly to travel south towards Peninsula Valdes to see the Sea Lion colonies and our first Penguins (Yes!) and the Whales if right time. Remember David Attenborough and those Killer Whales beaching themselves to grab seal pups? Think this is where it was filmed. (Might be wrong mind) Further along we have more Whales, I mean Wales, as we go to Trelew (Gaiman) for cream teas - Welsh settlers literally had their own colony here, though it has been watered down over time, there is still a strong Welsh influence in the sighs and language, and food!

Further along we get towards the magical region so far as motorcycle (and most other) travelers go..Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego."the land of fire"! This will be outstanding I'm sure, but let's not talk of that until we're over there eh - don't want get carried away.

As an aside, though there will be emails - as and when - you can also track out progress by watching News 24! (I hope that joke doesn't backfire)

That's it for this episode I think, in my usual style I'd guess that once we are over there you will receive many more words and quips per mail as we will be recording our thoughts on a regular basis via my PDA. They'll be piecing into a journal that will be mailed on each time we get to the Internet, so watch out for 18 pages coming your way if the web proves elusive!

A final thank you for the send-offs we've had and messages of good wishes.

Very best regards, Love, Fritz and Bev

Posted by Simon McCarthy at November 18, 2005 08:16 PM GMT
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