Sunday 28 October 2012

More organisation

Time seems to be flying by, got a bit more organised, as always facing the travellers dilemma, what to take? I've settled for all that's in the bag I'm holding, that's my clothes for the next year, I've taken more for a weekend at Applecross! As always the quandry, how many T shirts, socks, underwear? Now socks and underwear aren't a huge issue, they can be easily washed at the end of the day (providing there's somewhere to wash then), hopefully we'll manage to find suitable sinks etc every couple or three days otherwise we I'll be starting the rotation system which makes a pair of drawers last 4 days, day 1 normal, day 2 reversed front to back, day 3 inside out and day 4 reversed again! so in theory my 3 pairs will last 12 days although I may find as time goes on less people are willing to get to close to me. Most of the room on the bikes will be used for tools and spares, cooking and camping stuff and of course the electronic equipment to record the trip. about 1 1/10th is left for clothes, good eh?

Saturday 27 October 2012

Final test, all good

Final run today to make sure the bikes are OK to ship now, all fine, tested the new heated jackets which are superb (even though it was cold today I had to turn mines off as it was scorching!
Made this short preparation video, hopefully as well as the blog we'll manage to do video reports as well. 2 weeks to bikes going.......

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Bikes ready (hopefully)

After a few weeks of stress preparing the bikes I'm hoping thats them ready, fully serviced, new tyres, brake pads, chains and Sprockets, all accessories fitted. Now all that remains is to sort out tools and spares, and electronic stuff (camera's video recorder, GPS etc), cooking and camping gear and then we'll see if there's any room for clothes after that!!
Less than 3 weeks before the bikes go so its countdown time, still plenty to do before then including a short shakedown ride hopefully this weekend!

Sunday 21 October 2012


Our last visit to Applecross for a year, its one of the many things I suppose we'll miss whilst travelling. A fantastic weekend and thanks to myne host at the Inn, Judith for making a great weekend even better! Great to catch up with the regulars at the Inn and to chill out in a way that is only possible in Applecross.
We took the car to get a wee break from the bikes and the whole way up I was glad that we did, pouring cold rain until we got to Eilean Donan castle then sunshine all the way, welcomed back to Applecross with a spectacular sunset. Of course the overdose of Alcohol didn't help much but that's the way it is. Scotland at this time of year is an incredible kaleidoscope of colours when the sun is out, every bend reveals natures magic, superb!  The pictures will do more justice to my description hopefully.
The view towards Skye from the top of the Bealach

 Scrounging lunch!
 Reflections on Loch Lochy
 Eilean Donan
Fiona building a cairn the easy way! 2 stones and a traffic cone!

Tuesday 16 October 2012

All clear (hopefully)

So today a visit to the US consulate first thing to get our interviews for a visa, I'm sure it wen't well. I was a tad annoyed at having to jump through this (expensive) hoop but when you see the people who are there doing the same thing? I reckon 70% were not UK citizens (or even EU) so I'm wondering if its a back door ploy to get a visa for these guys? Anyway it went OK, after that we went into the town where I left my rucksack in a cafe and only realised when I was on the "Tour" bus!, it shows how Belfast has changed, not so long ago my bag would no doubt have been blown up in a controlled explosion!
Enjoyed the tour but still dismayed at the sectarianism that still bubbles under the surface in the city, although the "political" murals are important I can't help thinking they keep the divide alive.
We had lunch in the famous Crown bar opposite the Europa Hotel which had the dubious distinction of being the most "bombed" Hotel in Europe (the tour giude informed us that it had been targeted more than 70 times but "only" 50 attempts were successful!) An excellent couple of pints of Guiness were taken with lunch, funny how Guiness never travels well (or at least as good) when it leaves Ireland!

Monday 15 October 2012

Is this legal?

So en route to Belfast for our appointment with the US embassy, the taxi driver was watching an Asian game show on his iphone as he drove. That can't be legal? Be careful out there, apart from mobile phones people are watching tv on their phones on the move! Dangerous!

Saturday 13 October 2012

Busy day in the garage

Still trying to get the G650's prep'd for the big trip, there seems to be loads to do and the clock is ticking. Done a few mods whilch I'll post on a video soon but just doing the basics seems to be taking forever. Luckily Alex came along this afternoon to restore my sanity, there are time when a fresh pair of eyes makes all the difference and today was that day!
Anyway nearing the end of the prep, the goal is to have the bikes both finished for next weekend, then its packing the panniers with 3 times more stuff than they can carry!! Meeting with the US embassy this week to hopefully get visa's for the US part of the trip. Injections for me are now finished, thank god! My arm at times felt like a pin cushion but hopefully its insurance against nasty diseases on the road.
Funnily enough when I was planning the trip and planning the finances I left the prep bit out, big mistake, inoculations and bike prep is a costly business, oh well too far down the road now!

Monday 8 October 2012

Tartan Rally

This weekend was the Tartan rally, resurrected after a year off the calender, as always a good turn out from our group and far too much alcohol taken by all. It was an early night for me as I peaked too early (again!) Ian Lindsay had a go on the Commando on the way up and really liked it, another convert?
It seemed to be a celebration of multiple birthdays and anniversaries so Kate and Ali went mad with the balloons and bunting, cakes were eaten, wine, Vodka and whisky taken, and that was before the pub. The site at Killin has a stunning backdrop and it really was a stunning day which of course meant it was freezing at night!! Frost on the bikes and tents, kind of caught me unawares! A visit on Sunday from the Dommi twins, Sandy and Peter, David T appeared on the Saturday so plenty Nortons flying the flag!
Stunning backdrop
 Decorated tents!!
They make a nice couple
 At least Bob has the T shirt
 Lunch break en route
 The ladies (Fiona sporting the bespoke Mrs Wilson hat creation) 
 Norries "hip flask"
 Ian scaring the bairns!
 Ian later on!! No comment
 Must have been a good song
 New line in specs

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Breva sold

So after a period of inactivity and me thinking my Guzzi Breva was going to go into hibernation for the year I'm away it sold! Jamie comes on Monday to pick it up, I brought it to Edinburgh yesterday and really enjoyed the ride, it was every bit as good as I remembered. Took it to Saltire motorcycles just along the road for an MOT this morning and it passed. I was sitting outside the garage at 9am this morning having a cup of tea, the sun was actually quite warm out of the wind, moments like that really cheer you up, a fresh October morning, good to be alive!
I'll be sorry to see the big Guzz go but the money in the piggy bank will be useful on the big trip!
Also it seems a bit bizzare but I've booked a room in Ushuaia for Christmas (I'm going to camp for New year) it felt wierd booking a room so far away and thinking I'll hopefully be turning up there on my bike thats sat in my garage just now in Scotland. The picture shows the distance between the two points of Edinburgh and Ushuia, 8349 miles as the crow flies (if a crow could fly that far!)