April 05, 2006 GMT
Preparing to Leave

Hi & welcome to our first Blog on Horizons Unlimited,

After so many years of reading every corner of the site its hard to believe we are doing our own trip and Blog story.

This is a recent shakedown trip with gear and bike mods as we will take to the UK..


This first Blog is really just practice to see how this web Blog thing is done and to see if I can get words and pics up without any screw ups. I will try to keep this Blog short as we are in the middle of packing up the house and making all those millions of arrangements you need to do so you can be out of the country for a year - thankyou to our family and friends for looking after stuff for us. I am sure this trip would be near impossible without this support back home. Mostly its the government and company bureaucrats that make it all difficult.

For instance we only just got our passports back from the Pakistan embassy in Australia where they held them for 5 weeks before approving our visas! To say we were worried was an understatement - 4 days before we are supposed to fly out and no passports! All because some bureaucrat thinks entering Pakistan on a motorcycle is a special case. I wont bore you all with the tales of incompetence from the Aus bureaucrats in charge of phones, banks, power etc. Honestly I dont know how they can be so good at incompetence and I am starting to wonder if other travellers have all these difficulties getting stuff sorted before they go.

Anyway, enough of the moaning, we are on holidays for a year!!!! Nothing to moan about there....

A little bit of background about ourselves -

John: a chemical & environmental science graduate with a lifetime passion for motorcycles, travel, camping and other outdoor pursuits. His motorcycling has spanned 25 years of mostly dirtbikes, but also a sportbike and naked roadbike mixed in there too. Adventure biking started about 10 years ago with a XR600 with big tank and some outback trips with mates. Married to Alanna for 20 years, currently living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Alanna: a pre-school teacher with a passion for travel and an acceptance of her husbands motorcycle addiction, but only a relatively recent convert to travelling as a pillion. Recently told her worried family & friends that she would travel in the aircraft toilet or baggage hold if it meant she could travel more, so being a pillion wasn't so bad.

John's long time goal was to travel overseas on a bike, initially deciding on South America, but a few years ago changing plans to the classic Europe to Australia overland route through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. Alanna wasn't going to miss out on that, so this meant buying a bike suitable to 2-up for a year. After a lot of reading, riding & arithmetic (pun intended) I decided on a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 with a few modifications - suspension mostly - to cope with 2 of us and luggage/camping gear for a year. This sounds like we are large and carrying too much gear, but we dont exceed the GVM and we really have been very frugal with gear, it just adds up quickly!! I am sure the two-up travellers out there will understand. I will do a more detailed Blog on the bike some other time - for those interested.

We packed the bike ourselves, at our house, on my dirtbike trailer... including topbox, 1xpannier and tankbag in the crate



In the pouring rain...

...in a Harley crate!!!

I had to spray-out the Harley labels for everyone's sensibilities....


So the bike was delivered to the freight handlers at the Port of Brisbane around the end of February 2006 and was loaded onto a ship for the 6 week journey to Tilbury Docks in London, due to arrive on 14 April just a few days after we touch down in the old country. Hope we all make it in one piece.

Only 2 days until we leave now - with a 2 day stopover in Singapore on the way.

See ya on the road, or when we get home.

Posted by John Skillington at April 05, 2006 12:54 PM GMT

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