Finally, we are just about ready to hit the road, we will be leaving in just under 3 weeks. I will be riding up to Vancouver, BC from San Francisco on April 4, with the bike scheduled to ship by air from Vancouver on KLM Cargo on April 10. Erika will be headed to Los Angeles to see her family and will meet up with me in Paris.
The folks at Animal Travel (www.amimaltravel.com) will be shipping my beast from Vancouver to Paris, they quoted me a rate of $1350 Canadian. Hopefully the shipping experience will be a smooth one. I will be sure to let you all know what happens.
The Carnet de Passages en Douane is proving a bit more difficult than I expected. The Canadian Automobile Association (where we are getting the carnet) has been very helpful, but trying to get a Letter of Credit from a bank to secure the Carnet has been very difficult. Fortunately, we don't need the Carnet until we get to Asia, so we have a little time.
Our plan is to stay with our friends in Paris for a few days, then we are headed to stay with Erika's relatives in Switzerland for a little while. Then east to Austria, Eastern Europe and beyond. We are still undecided about whether to ride through Iran or the Central Asia 'Stans. Guess that will be decided later...
After nearly a month of the Transalp sitting at my mechanic waiting for a clutch cover gasket, I will finally be picking it up tomorrow. The new Wilbers custom rear shock and progressive springs are installed and the bike should handle our heavy load with ease. Just a bit more work to wire up some heated accessories and the bike will be ready!
Almost two years of planning and we are just about ready to hit the road, I still can't believe it. Many thanks to everyone at Horizons Unlimited and our friends and family who have provided much encouragement and support.
See you on the road!
The ride from San Francisco to Vancouver went smoothly, amazingly enough no rain until the last leg from Seattle to Vancouver. Not what I expected in an area sometimes referred to as the "Pacific Northwet".
Not surprisingly, the Transalp has performed very well. The custom Wilbers rear shock and the progressive front fork springs that were installed prior to departure transform the bike when fully loaded. I figure I have at least 100 lbs of luggage and gear and Erika is not even on the bike yet. But the new suspension allows me to cruise at speeds of 75-80mph with complete confidence. I would highly recommend these modifications to any rider contemplating any extended touring.
Riding in the rain is much easier when one has the proper rain gear. On the advice of Jake, a rider I met a couple of days ago at Mike and Lori's home, I purchased a "Fog City" shield from Ride West BMW in Seattle yesterday. This is a strip of plastic which adheres to the inside of the helmet face shield and prevents the inside of the shield from fogging. It works kind of like a double paned window, trapping a small layer of air between the shield and the plastic strip. It rained all day today, I kept the shield down the whole time and my face shield never fogged up. Incredible!
A huge thanks to my friends Reina and Blake in Seattle and Michael and Lori in Washogal, WA (outside of Portland) for extending some wonderful hospitality. Michael took this cool photo of me leaving his home in the morning.
The big task of today was dropping off the bike at Worldwide Animal Travel at the Vancouver Airport. The folks there were very helpful and getting the bike ready was a breeze. I just had to have less than 1/4 tank of gas remaining, the battery cables disconnected and taped, and the dirt and grime on the bike wiped down. They even helped me clean the bike! The bike will be shipped out on Monday, it needs to be delivered to the shipper at least 48 hours prior to departure. I will give everyone a full shipping report in Paris after the bike arrives.
Tomorrow morning I will be boarding a flight to Paris where I will meet up with Erika and our friends Tony and Caroline. The bike arrives 4 days later at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Wednesday morning, April 13. In the meantime, we will have some quality time to explore Paris!
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