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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by gperkins, Sep 7, 2016.
Thanks for the update Graeme. Hope the planning goes well.
I hope the two H.A.T.'s in the garage will mate this winter and we will have some CRF250X babies in spring
Loving your report, just a long way behind.
Thank you so much for the update. This is one of the best RR on ADV by far. Will miss your travels for the next 6 months for sure. Please keep us posted on your progress during your stay at home. I also rented a house out once. Only once! People have no respect apparently when it doesn't belong to them. Enjoy your stay at home. Here is to an amazing 2020 for you both!
And it's only fair that you get the pick of the litter nii, but of course there is always the chance that there'll be a postie and Australia being the natural habitat of the glorious postie bike I get first dibs.
Cheers scudo maybe by the time you catch up we'll winging our way back to Europe. We are glad to have you along.
Thanks for the kind words SmilinJoe. We always knew renting the house out was a risk. But we simply didn't see another way. We built the place over a period of 10 or more years and really love where we are, so unlike some other overlanders we chose to keep the place. We do know, no more though. We'll leave the place empty from now on and have family and friends check in from time to time. Of course this means for going the rent. But like I said previously. I can no longer put up with the heart ache and BS that comes with renting out our home. The up side of course, is this approach will now free up all sorts of possabilities as we begin to spend equal time both at home and on the road. A very fortunate position to be in for sure.
GP, without details we are sorry about your house. Seeing what happened next door to us by what seemed to be a reasonable young family we yet dare lease ours to enable a year long trip next year.
Your report is a great motivator and educational both in locale but in bike travel.
thanks for keeping the report going and have a great time at home.
Sounds like large security deposits might be in order.
I don't want this RR to morph into a tenant hate fest. So i'll wrap up this aspect of our journey by briefly outlining some of the issues that we have had to deal with. Many others whom also own their own property's have to make the same deisions as us and I see you yokesman fit that bill. Of course some tenants are great, but sadly many, if not most, simply don't seem to care. I can't suggest how best you deal with it yokesman for your upcoming 12 month trip. We do wish you the best though. Below is a short list of just some of the issues we had to deal with.
Broken oven door. According to the tenant whom went away for the weekend and came home to the broken door, claimed mice caused the damage whilst they were out of the house.
Electrician called to the property to reset a tripped circuit breaker. Cost to us $180. WTF
Destroyed new Mielle dishwasher. Replacement including callouts. $2200 aprox.
Flooding in the laundry, causing water damage to the cabinent kick boards and door. Caused by the tenant bodging the P trap under the laundry cabinet to accept their top loader washing machine. We have a front loader and their top loader was not going to fit under the laundry bench, but rather sat out in the open space of the laundry.
Hardwood timber floors extensively damaged, including water stains where indoor pots were placed without water trays under them and doors left open allowing water into the house. Sometime in the future we'll have to replace some boards, resand and seal the floors. Cost unknown, but it will be many thousands of $'s.
Broken window blinds.
Tenant thought she was a gardener and in her enthusiasm with the secaturs caused extensive damage to the garden and orchard.
1/4 inch sawn of the top of the entrance door. Alledgedly because it was catching when closing. There is now day light coming through the gap at top.
Numerous stolen items from the property.
But far and away the worst was a major flooding event in the ceiling being directly attributed to the first tenant. This happened in April 18 and it took 6 months to repair and of coarse the insurance company refused to pay. So you can imagine the dificulties dealing with this from the other side of the world. The ceiling in our ensuit, bedroom and kitchen collapsed in numerous places. The house had recently been vacated by the first tenant and we simply don't know how long the water was pouring through the ceiling. Fortunately the lady managing our house would drive the 17 klms out to our place once a week to check on the house whilst we were looking for tenant number 2. It was on one of these occasions that she discovered the flooding. You can only imagine the damage. We were out of pocket about Aus $30000, in damages and lost rent. But like I said, after countless emails and phone calls we finally got a pay out.
This is the ensuit, but was also replicated in our bedroom and kitchen.
Ok, I'd like to draw a line under this aspect of our travels. I only included it because as I'm sure most are aware, there is a whole lot more going on in the back ground other than venturing to amazing parts of the world meeting wonderful people.
Those in the northern hemisphere, heres hoping your've still got a few weeks or if your lucky months left riding before 2019 comes to a close. Enjoy the upcoming festive season and we'll see one and all back here around the end of April 2020, when Katrina and I will hit the road once again for more adventures.
Just started reading this post from the start . I'm up to page 20 now, amazing stuff and I'm in awe of what you have done so far..sorry to read about the problems you have had at your house , hope it all gets sorted soon.
I'm working nights and this is helping me keep my sanity and giving me am ideas etc for the future . Well done so far .
Wow Graeme! That damage and your experience is unreal (but of course, very believable). Interestingly here in Thailand house owners prefer to rent to Westerners since they tend to keep the houses in good repair and/or improve them, while their fellow Thai renters tend to trash the house. I have one Thai friend in real estate who only did her rental contracts in English -- she figured if the owner OR the renter can't read English they would be too much trouble. And since it is illegal for non-Thai's to own property, there you go...
Great travels you two, enjoy the summer at home and look forward to catching up again on your travels next year.
Any updates on life down under? Plans for when you return to the bike?
Apologies for the late response SmilinJoe, i guess a general holiday/festive milaise has set in.
The main news from this part of the world is the fire situation that I'm sure many have heard of on their respective news buletins. Katrina and I have not been directly impacted thus far. Although some days the visability can be down to 400 metres or so from the thick smoke haze constantly hanging in the air. The nearest major fire to us is about 150 klms away. Summer has a long way to go yet, so we can only hope for the best i suppose. Our paddocks are very nearly completely bare of grass and the only green to be seen is on the lawn. But even there I can no longer afford to water. We are on tank water and now have to start to ration whats left. Most people around here are having water trucked in, those not on town water that is. When we built, we had two 100,000 litre concrete tanks installed in ground. Thats a lot and never have we had to have water trucked in. This year is diferent though, way different. There has been no decent rain here since May.
This shot was taken a couple of weeks back, from our front yard. We are in the Bega valley, famous throughout Australia as prime dairy country. It looks the polar opposite at the moment. Oh, there was of course no rain from this little rainbow.
Here is the same view a couple of days later. Depending which way the wind is blowing dictates if we'll be smoked in for the day or not. To put it all into some kind of context. The recent Amazon fires burnt 1,000,000 hectares apparently. These current fires in Australia have so far burnt 5,000,000 hectares, more than 1,000 houses destroyed and 9 lives lost. Some here are having a pretty tough Xmas thats for sure. Extra fire fighters and hardware have been flown in from Canada, USA and New Zealand, all much appreciated this end thats for sure.
Ok, it's not all doom and gloom here. Much of our time has been bringing our garden back to life. recovering what can be, by either pruning, watering, fertilising or just general tidying up or replanting where plants have been lost. We are now nearly 100% self sufficient once again. We have a really well set out vegetable garden, that has lay barren for more than 3 years throughout our absence, go figure.
Two and half months ago there was nothing. Now we are harvesting lettuce, carrot, cucumber, broccoli, beans, capsicum, bazil, spring onion, tomato's, sweet corn and much, much more.
We live in an area that has just about the most perfect climate. We can grow cold climate apples along side mango's. Yeah life is pretty good in our little patch of paradise.
Ok in fear of the mods shutting me down for getting a little wayward. I think the following is well worth conveying. Katrina and I continue to lay the ground work for next year and beyond. First task was to get a new Australian passport for Katrina. That took just a couple of weeks and all done. Next was a biggy, our USA, B1/B2 visa. Bare with me on this one, for it takes a little explaining.
As Australian/UK citizens we are eligable for the visa exemption scheme, essentially a visa on arrival. But for us that won't surfice, for two reasons. Firstly it is a little restrictive and although I'm not too familiar with the details, only allows a short stay once a year or something like that. I think 90 days from memory. But secondly and more importantly, we have visited Iran as most, I am sure are aware. That immediately means that we have to make application via the B1/B2 pathway, book an appointment and present on the alloted day for an interview at a USA consulate. For us that is Melbourne. We were planning a visit down there in the 3rd week of November so organised to front up for the interview then. That was not before sitting in front of the computer screen for 5 hours filling out our applications, i needed a beer after that I can assure you. We did Katrinas first and it was reasonably straight forward, but with mine they wanted to know every country that i had visited within the last 5 years, along with a hell of a lot of other info.
The interview was pretty straight forward, no issues there. Within a week or so Katrina had her passport back, appropriately stamped with the B1/B2 visa. Where as I got an email saying that my application needed to be referred to another department for further evaluation and for the present, I should consider my application as declined. My passport was sent home and I was informed to await further instructions. Some 2 weeks later i got an email asking me to fill out an extensive questionaire. Now they wanted to know which country's i had visited in the last 15 years, dates of arrival and departure, places visited. Can you even begin to imagine what it is like to go back over 15 years of travel, nearly 80 countrys, including many Antarctic and sub Antarctic islands? Work history, family history, including siblings, places of residence, links to all social media and so forth. To cut a very long story short, after 2 solid days of writing down the required data we once again sent of the application and waited with baited breath. No USA visa for me was going to throw a mighty big curve ball our way thats for sure. Well it all turned out well in the end. I was deemed fit and proper to have a B1/B2 visa issued, WooHoo!
I write all this to maybe help others in the future with a similar conundrum. We've known since well before visiting Iran, that by doing so will present us with hurdles for when we go to visit the USA. We've read a number of different peoples experiences on the same issue and got mixed messages as to what to expect. Being holders of two different nations passports, we even discussed pesenting the passport without the Iranian stamp and not make any mention of our Iranian visit. But we quickly put the kybosh on that thought, on the reasonable basis, that if we were to do that and found lying, then we would expect that we would most likely never again be able to visit the USA. So the only sensible approach was to be completely honest and up front. Lets face it, we had nothing to hide and our visit to Iran was completely benign. It seems our approach was of course the correct way to go. Interstingly we used our British passports, for on that one our B1/B2 visa is valid for 10 years, on the Australian passport, only 1/2 that time. I have no idea why?
Ok, now the even more pressing issue of our Russian visas, thats still work in progress and nothing concrete will develope untill about a month prior to our departure from Sydney, back to Sofia on April 27th, 2020. Doesn't mean that there is a fair bit of ground work to lay prior to then though.
So that in a nutshell is what we've been up to this last couple of months SmilinJoe. Oh, one other thing, I've got the Guzzi on the road, the Panzer will have to wait untill January.
Now thats a mug shot.
5,000,000 hectares destroyed
It's beyond my comprehension. The habitable part of tiny Switzerland (about 40%) is estimated at 1'570'000 hectares.
I am very relieved that you two are not directly exposed to fire at the moment.
The VISA-photo of Graeme says more than a thousand words about the nightmare with the American bureaucracy.
Since Hong Kong citizens have been told that they will not be granted permanent residence in the UK despite having a British passport, I have been thinking a little bit about this poblematics.
I admire your energy and thank you for your report.
I wish you all the best,
Excuse my ignorance, what is a B1/B2 visa
Merry Christmas (slightly belated) G & K
Basically if you think you will be staying, touring, travelling in US for more than 90 days then you will need to apply for a non immigrant Visa (B1/B2).
Thanks for the great update. It was nice to hear from you. If not for the fires, life sounds like it would absolute perfect and enjoyable. That is a tremendous amount of land to be burnt. Forgive my ignorance, but it sounds like prime dairy farm land. The garden is amazing. Glad you got the visa squared away. Thanks again for the update. May the rains come, may you have a wonderful, great and awesome New Year.