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Old 05-02-2012, 07:37 AM   #1
Malindi OP
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And so it begins...



“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu ~


Planning is the antithesis of how we want to approach this trip. Aside from a handful of countries and a vague idea of what we want, nothing is cast in stone. Plans, timing and desire are subject to the "whim du jour", a technique perfected on the banks of the Mekong in 2000, when during a mid afternoon reading session in Luang Prabang we decided in about 5 seconds to stay put for another week.

In general, the trip will go south from Vancouver, meander through the Western US and slow down in Mexico. Central America is a bit vague at the moment, but Colombia and Ecuador have been widely discussed and ideas gathered. The Galapagos will be on the itinerary, as well as a hike around the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru. We tried the latter in 1996, but the lack of infrastructure, mostly abandoned villages, following Shining Path guerrilla movement over the years hampered our efforts at the time. The rest of South America will mostly be covered on the western end, avoiding places like Venezuela and some of the French colonies.

The current plan is to fly from Santiago de Chile to New Zealand or Australia after we're done with South America.
In New Zealand, lots of riding, hiking and camping is planned. From there, Australia will be a much longer adventure, with an offshoot to Papua New Guinea. Drifting upwards, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the rest of Asia will consume another year or two. We've both been to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, and there are lots of places we want to go and revisit. Bhutan is a delightful mystery and most likely we won’t visit there by motorcycle. The question then becomes whether we tackle China and "ride over top" to Nepal, or whether we try Myanmar, maybe by putting the bikes on a truck, or fly to Nepal from Bangkok.

An inordinate amount of time will be spent in Nepal and India, the latter which I visited for exactly two days, when I crossed from Pakistan to Nepal in 2006. India is going to be a challenge but the plan is to cover a large portion of it. Personally, I can't wait to get back into Pakistan, the land of rugged peaks, devoid of tourists and with surprises around every corner. Here too a number of treks will be made and hopefully the Baltoro Glacier will be accessible when we're there. Leisurely Iran will provide a break from intense Pakistan and slowly ease us back into Western civilization. Turkey, Syria and Jordan are known quantities to both of us but Egypt is net-new, certainly with the bikes. Then we enter the heart of darkness.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:40 AM   #2
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April 26, 2012 - We left Vancouver in the drizzle and spent the better part of the 8 hour initial ride in the rain. It stopped on the east side of Snoqualmie pass and slowly the weather got better. Our goal for the day was White Salmon, where we will stay for a few days in the house of a friend and help bottle wine at Major Creek Cellars.


On the way there, we took the canyon road between Ellensburg and Yakima.



My friend Jim's house is located near the top of a mountain and set in spectacular scenery. Mount Adams is in the background.



Below is a shot from the top of Catherine Creek, overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, a short hike away.



The weather is such that we'll press on southwards to John Day, Oregon, as it's too early in the season to go east and visit Yellowstone, something Jan had his sights set on.

I've ridden the Maupin, Shaniko, Antelope, Fossil etc. area quite extensively and we had a lot of fun on the twisties.



Hwy 395 snakes through endless high desert areas, some of which are quite remote. There were lots of opportunities to take pictures but we pressed on, wanting to get off the higher elevations. Although it was dry, the temperature was close to freezing.



On the second day after leaving White Salmon, we ended up in Susanville, California. From here, we'll go to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, then head east to Utah.
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Malindi screwed with this post 05-02-2012 at 08:33 AM
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:39 AM   #3
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So who the hell are these guys?

Laos, 2000
Some time back in 1991, my friend Jan and I made a trip to Kenya. Sort of last minute, with adequate preparation, but totally unaware of what we were going to find there. I had traveled a fair bit as a kid, mostly with my parents. Whereas I had flown lots, Jan had never been on an airplane. "I think this is going to be a fairly easy trip." Those words were mine as we stepped out into the Kenyan open after we left the airport. It still looked all very civil at that point. Later, we laughed hard at those words, for it was all so different than we had anticipated. The trip was an eye-opener and an unbridled success in every aspect imaginable.

We also realized the extreme pinnacle of wealth we live on during our day-to-day life and our total disconnectedness to the world at large versus what we were confronted with. We had stepped outside of our glass bubble, shocked to realize we were in it all our lives. After that, our outlook was never the same. Since then, we have traveled a lot. Jan especially has been "bitten" by the travel bug and has succeeded in traveling about 10% percent of his time since 1991. Since Kenya, we tackled, among others, Vietnam, Peru, Laos and Nepal together, as well as swaths of Europe and the Middle East. There are about 45 more countries to add to Jan's list and maybe 30 to mine.

All of our traveling up to now had been along roughly the same lines. Get a plane ticket, arrive, and look for a cheap place to stay. No advance reservations and no agenda to keep. Just a return flight. Of course we have a rough idea of what we want to see, but in what order, length of time or any variation to the theme, are split second decisions made "on the ground". A bit more challenging of course than observing the scenery from the luxurious confines of an air conditioned bus, whilst listening to the drone of the travel guide. We prefer to be the ones who wave smugly at the washed masses behind the shaded reflective glass, then dive back into the thick of the local scenery. Returning back to "civilization" is always greeted with happy anticipation of the luxuries of warm running and potable water, flushing toilets and the availability of Scott Extra Soft toilet paper. Then we sit and reminisce for a while in our respective corners of the world (I moved to Vancouver, BC in 1993) and talk back and forth about what we saw and experienced while away. Sometimes we connect with other like-minded individuals, which is always a rewarding experience. Too quickly, however, our minds drift back to the open road. Fridge magnets, diapers and minivans are not our destiny.

In 1999, I bought a motorbike and the lure of the open road quickly became an addiction. While Jan and I were in Laos at the end of 2000, I coined the idea of a world trip by motorcycle. We started talking more seriously about this over the following days. One evening, as we relaxed on the beautiful wooden porch of our guesthouse in Savannakhét, Laos, we heard footsteps lumbering up the stairs. "Howdy mates", greeted the stranger. As we peered over the balcony, we saw two motorcycles neatly parked below.



Chris and Cuan found two very eager listeners in us. Their arrival couldn't have been timed better. By the end of the trip, our sights were set on the ultimate adventure.

Vancouver, 2007
Too much time passed, but in 2006, we managed to squeeze in a semi-serious trip. Jan and I rode from the Netherlands to the south of Jordan and back. I continued on to Iran and eastwards, eventually shipping the bike back from Bangkok after about 10 months on the road. The write-up of that trip can be found here.

Vancouver, 2012
Game, set and match for the adventurers. The lingering but ever present tug of the open road wins at last. Careers are tossed aside, suits and ties ritually burned and astounded onlookers in our life share a mix of joy and fear at our plans. We've "bagged it" and are now free as birds, without a care in the world. Jan arrived here in April with his bike. The first leg of the trip will be south, towards Ushuaia, Patagonia. Between here and there, lots of adventure awaits. From South America, the next stop will be Australia or New Zealand.
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Malindi screwed with this post 05-02-2012 at 08:49 AM
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:07 AM   #4
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Welcome to the road. I'll be interested in following your travels as you progress.

Based on those few shots of White Salmon, WA, you'll have to go some to find a nicer place.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:25 AM   #5
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Best of luck Kevin !

Hope you have a ton of fun.

Looks like a great trip.

Patrick
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Welcome to the road. I'll be interested in following your travels as you progress.

Based on those few shots of White Salmon, WA, you'll have to go some to find a nicer place.
Well, currently we're at Lake Tahoe and going to do a nice loop tomorrow of 200 kms. Lots of photographic stops planned. It's starting to warm up too..
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:56 PM   #7
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Best of luck Kevin !

Hope you have a ton of fun.

Looks like a great trip.

Patrick
Thanks Patrick! Hope you are well, long time no see.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:56 AM   #8
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Well, keep out of the freezing rain. Curious to see some pix if you choose to publish.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:27 AM   #9
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Thanks Patrick! Hope you are well, long time no see.
All good here !

My riding now mostly consists of commuting to work as the 3 year old and 1 year old seem to take up a ton of time.

Have fun !

I will follow your trip on here so update often.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:58 AM   #10
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I suggest you ask the mod here to move this to RR from Day Tripping. DT is for day long or weekend trips - that is, unless you guys plan on wrapping this up in a day or so.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:43 PM   #11
Malindi OP
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I suggest you ask the mod here to move this to RR from Day Tripping. DT is for day long or weekend trips - that is, unless you guys plan on wrapping this up in a day or so.
I could not find the RR forum... I must be blind. Can it be moved? How do I request this? Email a mod I know? (Pilot)
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:44 PM   #12
Malindi OP
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All good here !

My riding now mostly consists of commuting to work as the 3 year old and 1 year old seem to take up a ton of time.

Have fun !

I will follow your trip on here so update often.
A 1 and a 3 year old? Yeah, that'll crimp your riding season.... congrats!
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:03 AM   #13
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I don't know who the mod is here but apparently he hasn't seen your post or maybe is ignoring it. I have no idea. I suggest you move your request to that area which is named something like Blame Baldy Ask Harry where you can ask questions about the mechanics of this forum.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:00 AM   #14
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This looks like its going to be fun! Great photos ..... just need more of them!!! ... and when you eventually get to Oz let me know
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:13 AM   #15
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Not all gas stations actually verify the ZIP Code. Here you can enter 11111 or 00000 or anything. Some Canadians have reported using zero right filled Canadian postal codes. Frex, L3G 4N5 would be entered as 34500. There is no way to my knowing, if the station verifies.

I pass that one because most self pump stations where I am are 24/7 but the attendant is only there 8-5 or so. If you need to fill at 2300h, this may work for you guys.

As to the disposal, I"m surprised that a fueling vendor doesn't have a fuel disposal method of some sort.
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