I think I may have taken my minimalist approach to the journey too far this week.
I am without a motorbike.
Even I understand that attempting a motorcycle trip without a bike might pose an obvious difficulty.
The best laid plans etc although I had put the shock absorber back, greased the swingarm bearings and fitted new break pads, I had hoped to do some more maintenance on the bike before I set off. But I’ve decided that due to work commitments, and following the withering comments of the mechanic who MOT’d the bike, I’d better have it serviced and checked over by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Whilst I’m firmly in the “don’t force it use a bigger hammer” approach to engineering, Kyle and Bob of Woolbridge Motorcycles
are true experts. For many years they ran the KTM/Victory workshop at Sideways Garage and they’ve maintained my 2006 990 Adventure from new. I did feel a pang of guilt handing the keys to Kyle and telling him the bike is in fact a shed. His eyes said “you don’t need to tell me I can see from here”, but he’s far too much of a gentleman to comment. I’m going to tell him about this blog, so if you’re reading Kyle, you’re a pro, I can’t thank you enough, and yes I will drop the 990 in when I get back.
Other things this week – I’ve applied for a Russian Visa – a double entry one (there’s got to be a joke there somewhere – accountancy joke that is). I read that it might be handy to have the ability to enter the country twice on the same visa, just in case. There are 100 miles or so of road that goes through Kazakhstan and although I intend to go around it (staying in Russia) I’m guessing that the detour roads aren’t very good. Unfortunately after smugly applying for the Russian visa, I remembered that as I don’t have a visa for Kazakhstan my fiendish plan won’t actually work.
I’ve also booked the channel tunnel crossing, well when I say booked, I’ve applied for the Tesco vouchers that I need to book the channel tunnel. Well when I say I’ve applied for the Tesco vouchers my wife did in fact apply on my behalf.
Apparently, as a reward for trudging around Tesco every week they, in their infinite benevolence, kindly send you through the post some paper vouchers. Now here’s the clever bit, your nominal £10 Tesco paper voucher converts into a £30 Channel Tunnel voucher. In order to do this you have to apply back to Tesco on their website. Once they have received this online application they then post back to you the PAPER Channel Tunnel vouchers. You then use these paper vouchers to then apply ONLINE to the Channel Tunnel company for the actual Channel Tunnel ticket. I don’t know if I subsequently get a paper ticket or an online one, by this staged I was actually quite happy to pay full fare anyway and I'd lost the will to shop in any supermarket ever again (not that this will was particularly strong in the first place). My wife obviously understood the whole voucher application process completely.
I merely revelled in the simplicity of it all.