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   Planning is difficult. Where do we start? How much should be arranged before we go? There are so many questions and no definitive answers. I would like to think that we are going to start as prepared as possible having researched the countries that we plan to visit, documentation that will be needed and the health aspects that face us, (see 'Health Issues' below). I would also like to think that we would embark on this trip with an intense spirit of adventure and excitement which we first felt years ago when we began to dream about a worldwide tour on the bike. Hopefully we will have done enough research to keep us out of trouble but still be naïve enough to revel in all the mysteries and surprises that confront us on our journey. We just want to get going now but I know we have a lot to organise, not just for our time away, but also for the things we leave behind. Some things just can’t be rushed so for once I will have to be calm and wait!

   The adventure begins with a flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the last week of June, where we hope to be reunited with our bike, which should have been shipped over by sea, a crossing that takes one week. We then plan to leave Halifax on July 1st 06, and ride west passing north of the Great lakes heading towards Alaska then south into the USA. We will spend at leased 6 months touring the States, visiting several friends in the country; eventually down into Central America via, Mexico passing through Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The bike will then be shipped from Panama to Ecuador; here we start our South America Adventure passing through, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
From Santiago, Chile, The bike is shipped across to New Zealand. After exploring and visiting friends, we ship the bike to Australia where again we intend spending time visiting family and exploring parts of this fine country we didn’t get time to see during our last visit in 2006. From Australia we ship the bike to Asia, possibly via Darwin to Singapore, from here into Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and down to Sri Lanka. Here our son Daniel, and his beautiful girlfriend, Donna, got washed away in the Boxing Day Tsunami. Fortunately they survived, unlike the hundreds of thousands who didn’t. What followed was a hellish few days for us as we waited by the phone for any news. As a result, we would like to help out in the area they were at this time, Middigamer, nr Galle, trying to give something back.
From Sri Lanka we head back into India. It will be from here we will decide what we do as far as riding through Pakistan and Iran to Turkey or fly over. This will depend on the political situation at the time.
Once in Turkey we will ride home across Europe Via Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Belgium, France and home. OR WILL WE?
How long is this going to take? Who knows; it’s all part of the adventure!!!!!
I will supply more details of our intentions in the various countries as our planning progresses.

   With just over three months to go, and after considerable deliberation, we have decided to change the route. Basically the reverse to what we had originally planned. This was done because of the unrest in Iran and Pakistan, our gateway to India. I’m disappointed with this change, but we’d always said we wouldn’t be taking any unnecessary risks. I’m hoping that we will still be able to ride through these countries on our way home, however if things don’t improve, we will probably have to ride around some how, or fly over, we will see.
So now we start by shipping the bike from Southampton to Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is being organised by, H-C Travel, and recommended by Kevin and Julia Sanders from Globebusters, (check out their web site on the links page). H-C Travel has been very helpful, and can do every thing for you, from the freighting the bike anywhere, to travel insurance and bike insurance for Canada and the USA.
I’m still shopping around for insurance deals for the road section in the States. I’m getting advice and guidance from my good friend Tom over in the good old US of A. You can’t beat advice from people in the country you’re going to.
From Halifax we’re riding across Canada to Alaska hopefully getting there before the snows come. This is one of the problems we now have with changing the route. With the original plan we were leaving Europe in July with the Northern hemisphere’s winter snapping at our heels as we headed southeast towards India. But now we’re riding northwest into the winter, but still we will play it by ear and if we have to turn south at any time and head for the sun, so be it.
After Alaska we head south into the USA and to warmer latitude. We hope to visit friends in the states so I’m anticipating six months touring in the country then basically retracing the route as already stated but in reverse.

This is possibly the last update to our 'Planning page' before we go. Everything seems to be in place and now we just have to wait!!!!!!!!!

I’m taking the bike down to Southampton on Thursday 15th June, with my good friend Trevor Smith, who’s bringing me back on his bike, BMW R1100RS, this could be exciting as I remember trying to keep up with him around the Isle of Man T.T. circuit several years ago!

Once left with the shipping company, the bike goes to Halifax on the 20th June.

Lesley and I are out of our house on the 17th June to make way for our first tenant. `Warners`, our local estate agent and property Management Company, staffed by a great team of very helpful girls, will, hopefully be keeping a constant flow of tenants into the property. Having left our home of the last eight years, and carrying the stuff we’ll be taking on our bike around the world for three years! We’ll be staying with our son Ian in Norwich, for a week before catching the coach to Gatwick on the 24th June. After spending the night in a nearby hotel we fly to Halifax early on the 25th.

When I bought the BMW R1150GS Adventure from Chris Ball’s Suzuki dealership, (it was traded in on a new GSXR1000, bizarre?). This shop is ably managed by Andrew who, with his team, has won countless awards from Suzuki for the best sales in the region and country. The bike, with only 1000mls on the clock and still under warranty, had all its servicing done at Cannons BMWs at Chelmsford, Essex, so I didn’t get to know the bike very well, okay, I’d never got my hands dirty since I owned it! To address this deficiency I went and spent a morning with Kevin and Spencer of KRF Motorcycles, Bessemer Rd Norwich, Independent BMW Specialists, (check out their contact address on the links page), Who introduced me to the more intimate nooks and crannies of my bike! As a formally trained BMW mechanic, Kevin knew everything there was to know about the bike and more importantly explained it all to me as though I was 6 and now I know it all! I left their workshop armed with a few bits and pieces; some spare spokes, a poor fuel relay, a locking oil cap, some replacement tools, which were missing from the bikes tool kit, and most important, a wealth of information.

 Les and I had another visit to the Hood Jeans factory and picked up our ‘cargo style’ armoured trousers. Having worn them for a while now I can say they feel comfortable and well made. They’re not as heavy as the denim so should be cooler in the hotter countries and have got lots of pockets. Chris and Julie have been a great help ensuring their product was just right for our needs. Chris Ball’s Honda dealership at Salhouse Rd, Norwich, (see the link), provided us with Lesley’s crash helmet, I’d already bought mine from the Suzuki side of Chris’s empire! a Caberg Justissimo, and plumbed in the Autocom rider to pillion communications,  which is great. No missing the insults from the pillion seat now!

We’ve spread our loyalties about as far as the jackets are concerned. Les got her ‘Rev-it engineered skin’, all singing and dancing jacket from the Wymondham motorcycle clothing centre and I got my Hein Gericke Cruise from their Norwich shop. Both jackets are all seasons with loads of pockets; you just can’t have enough pockets!

I’ve joined the International Police Association an organisation that has contacts in a lot of countries along our route. This could be helpful if we have any problems and could be fun to meet up with some other biker colleagues from other countries.

After lots of consulting with Paul Gowen the RAC Carnet de passage expert, we’re sending all the necessary paper work to him to keep on file for use when we need it. Which I feel won’t be until we get to south East Asia, but we will see. 

Just over 2 months to go, and things are finally coming together.
   Early April, we went to the US Embassy in London, and after a 4 hr wait, and only a 10-minute interview, we got our US Visa, valid for 10yrs, multi-entry.
 I’ve booked the bike onto a ship sailing from Southampton on the 20th June 06, destination Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bike should get there in a week.
On the strength of that, I’ve booked fights with `Zoom Airlines`, Gatwick to Halifax on the 25th June, and a room at the Halifax Heritage House Hostel from 25th to the 30th.  I got the details for the airline and the hostel off the Internet.
The shipping and bike insurance, for on the road in Canada and USA was booked through, H-C Travel and David Grist, who’s been very helpful. (As recommended by `Globebusters`)
The hostel sounds very good the staff at Heritage house being very prompt with `e` mail enquiries. After our travels around Australia we enjoyed the hostel lifestyle but it possibly wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea!
 We’ve been to Hood Jeans again and after a successful shake-down tour of Europe wearing a pair of these specialist motorcycling jeans, we decided to ordered a pair each; made to measure with some added extras, you can’t have enough pockets! Check out their kit.
 Les and I are slowly emptying and decorating our house, (Les doing more of the decorating than me!) ready for renting out as unfurnished. This income will help boost the pension somewhat.

Travel Insurance;
   The best I’ve found so far is with Navigator Travel, (link) Very helpful people. We’ve managed to get 18 months with these people and renewable on the road.

Carnet De Passage;
   I’ve been talking at length to the RAC`s (link) expert on this document, Paul Gowen, who’s been very helpful guiding me through this potential minefield.   Also after talking with Kevin and Julia Sanders from Globebusters, it would appear we may be able to get away without this document until we get around to Asia, now we’ve changed the route saving some money in the process.

   Lesley and I have got an appointment with the US embassy early April. They told me the interviews take 4 hrs! Still with the route change, the US visa's the first one we will need.

Bike Insurance;
   I’ve had a quote from H-C Travel, but am still shopping around at this stage.

   We’ve just come back from touring Australia and briefly Thailand, so had quite a few for that, coupled with last years visit to The Gambia, we only need a few more to get the world cover. We see the medical people next week.

   We’re still researching for a charity to promote whilst on the world tour. I’m looking for an organisation, which has contacts in the countries we pass through, so we could call in and pass on the good word. Anyone got any ideas?
Renting out the house;
   This could prove to be the biggest headache, we want to rent our house out as the income for about three years will be a great help financing this project. We’ve been and sounded out the local estate agent, and it would appear it’s going to be easer to rent out unfurnished, so everything must go, table and chairs anyone?!!!
   Already planned the countries we want to visit, as you can see on the route page, but this will remain flexible depending on who’s fighting who when we leave!
   These are three of my favourite sites where I’m currently researching the countries we intend passing through.
 Foreign and commonwealth;
 Horizons Unlimited;
 The Lonely Planet; , three great sources of information.
We also need to know what weather we’re riding into; trying to avoid the extremes.
Please feel free to visit the many very useful sites on my LINKS page.

   We’ve got our first already, International Driving Permit, Just like our driving licence but in several languages.

Carnet de Passage,
   This just gets lets us import and export our bike through countries, I’ve sent off to the RAC, who issue them in UK, for their information pack. Sounds like this could be expensive.
Medical insurance,
    Worldwide cover, getting us treatment in hospitals or air ambulance home if the worst happened. This again sounds expensive; first quote £630 each per year!
More visas,
   We might be able to get ones for Turkey and Iran before we go depending on if they start from the date of issue or the date we arrive at the border, this I’ll have to find out. Not knowing how long it’s going to take us to get from one country to another, which is all part of the adventure, not rushing! But generally we will be collecting other visas on the road from the Embassies on route.
UK Driving license and Passport, we already have.

Equipment etc;
   We’ve already got the BMW R1150GS Adventure ready to go as it stands. I will be getting the fuel chip so it will run on poor fuel, and some plugs for the bikes sockets so I can charge phones and lap tops.
   We’re both good at travelling light so only taking the bare necessities shouldn’t be a problem, I’ll let you know exactly what we take nearer the time.
I’ve bought a Caberg flip up helmet, which I’ve found very comfortable, we now need to get Les one and get rider to pillion communications fitted.
   I’m currently looking around for some sort of communications for sending our reports and pictures back to our Webmaster, Eddie, ether a small laptop and camera or a hand held Mobile phone/camera and keyboard combination, we will see.
   We intend camping when we can so we’ll take our trusty Khyam 'One-Touch' tent, small enough for the back of the bike and big enough for a bit of comfort. You would have seen from my, "shake down tour of Europe"; I had a Jack Wolf Skin tent. Although it packed down small and was light, it was too small inside for the two of us. We already have our sleeping bags and Therma Rests.
   We will need to get a multi fuel stove and some small lightweight pans.
   A good first aid kit is essential. This will have to include things, which we wouldn’t normally consider around here like sutures and minor operation equipment. Including a dental first aid kit for my self-destructing teeth!! With Les`s DVT problem, we will be carrying her pills and potions plus the blood testing equipment. This doesn’t take too much space as it is a large calculator size.
Medication to take with us for the inevitable Delli belly moments and much more!
   We’ll be taking a small selection of dehydrated packs for emergencies, but intend buying supplies on the road. Water; we’ll take a couple of the camelbacks so we have water on our backs plus the odd bottle stashed. Water purification tablets.
   I’ve got to sort out the best way of taking money with us and accessing bank's ATM`s on route with credit cards. Changing money from one country to another.
   I’ve already got a few taking us up to India, but I think we will be picking the rest up on the way
Message from Lesley;
   I am really excited about getting back on the road again. The 3months in Oz really gave me a taste for adventure but we don't plan to take too many risks. At the moment it’s the final health checks that are taking place. Doctor, dentist, optician, Andy, the Chiropractor crunching my back and Ian and Shirley at the local doctor’s surgery preparing to exchange emails with blood test results.
I am one of the 1% of the population in the UK that is under anticoagulation therapy i.e.; Warfarin for DVT's (Blood clots).  Roche diagnostics have kindly given me a CoaguChekXS   INR test machine for my regular blood tests while we are travelling.  This XS test Kit is compact, light and easy to use and will enable me to check on my clotting levels and adjust the medication accordingly. I have been practising so hope I don't encounter too many problems.

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