Like a kid waiting for Christmas, my excitement has been building for the last few weeks as I organized my gear to pack for a fly & ride tour to, Tibet, known as The Roof of The World. In addition to deciding what gear, clothing, and camera to bring and how best to pack, I have been reading up on Tibetan history, culture, geography, and cuisine. Nestled on the eastern fringe of China, Tibet hugs the north side of the Himalayan mountain range, along the border with Bhutan, Nepal, and part of India. Home to centuries-old Tibetan Buddhism and the exiled Dali Lama, the once-independent country has been under Chinese rule since 1951. The elevations are extreme. The Tibetan Plateau is called the Roof of the World for good reason. It has the highest points on the planet, and an average elevation of 16,000’. Lhasa, the capital city where we will begin our tour, is 11,995’ above sea level, and our planned route will take us to elevations close to 17,000’. Mt. Everest, the world highest mountain at 29,029’ is located both in Tibet and Nepal along the border. Climbing it or at least getting to base camp has always been a dream of mine, and if the weather is good I hope to at least get a good close look at it on this trip. Having “completed” my South American staged tour last fall, and having only ridden locally since then, I can’t wait to get on a bike in a new country, especially one as remote, as high, and as fascinating as Tibet. The tour is organized by MotoTibet, a new venture of the Colombian-based South American moto-touring heavyweight Motolombia’s new world-wide touring company, Motodreamer. They did an initial tour last May and it looked like an amazing experience, one that I wanted to be a part of. My flight plan is long—ORD-DFW-PEK-LXA, or Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, from Chicago by way of Dallas and Beijing. About 22 hours in the air. After a couple of days in Beijing to adjust to the 13-hour time difference and to sort out Chinese drivers licenses which are required for foreigners, it will be off to Lhasa. We’ll be there a couple of days for sightseeing and to acclimatize to the high altitude before getting on the bikes. All packed up and ready to go. There will be a support truck, but I like to carry my own gear. The Mosko Backcountry duffel will cinch down to a much smaller footprint once I take my boots and gear out. Beautiful September sunrise as I wait for boarding at Chicago O’Hare. For you aviation buffs, a sight that you soon won’t see. American Airlines is retiring the last of their fleet of McDonnell-Douglas MD-80s. Off to eternal rest at the aviation graveyard in the Mojave Desert. Ciao, Dallas! B787-8 Dreamliner, take me to China! After a very long day, I arrived in China, cleared immigration and customs with ease, and I’m off to my hotel to get my internal clock adjusted to the 13-hour time difference.