WorldRider: 81 Countries & Counting…The Journey Continues....

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by worldrider, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. Shooby

    Shooby Long timer

    Joined:
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    San Diego
  2. KTM265

    KTM265 Long timer

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    Sep 14, 2005
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    Hell ya buddy.... Been a while since we talked. Looking forward to your shows...
  3. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery Around The World

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
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    1,246
    Location:
    Locked Down. Me: Leucadia, CA - Bike: Greece
    TIME TO REBOOT.
    Even though this thread seems to have been stale due to lack of feeding, attention, and commitment, I haven't stopped riding—that is, until these life and times of Corona.

    Since my book "FORKS: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection," I've continued to travel the world—currently logging more than 100,000 miles through 81 countries. As I sit in a quarantine-lock-down mode in San Diego, my original BMW F650GS Dakar is locked down in a garage in Athens, Greece. I left it there last October when I returned to the USA after over four months of travel last summer and fall.

    With airline tickets in hand, my plan was to return to Greece in June and head east again, riding through the 'Stans to Mongolia and beyond. When can truly do that? I hope soon. I'm waiting and my bike is too.

    To satiate my wanderlust and attempt to cure my cabin fever, I started a new project. A weekly Livestream called "Journeys Webcast: Adventure and Discovery in the Time of Corona and Beyond." I connect with friends and fellow kindred spirits all over the world to talk about travel, motorcycles, the future, and sure a little food and wine is thrown in for color. I'm also continuing to write and produce video content from hundreds of hours of footage. All of this on my YouTube Channel.

    For now, I'm going to reboot and feed this thread with these webcasts, trip report writings, and other videos that document my ongoing quest to ride through every country in the world. So tune in, drop me a note in this thread, and let's wander through this pandemic with a smile and a laugh—share stories, dreams, ideas, and inspiration.

    Here is the replay of my first Journeys Webcast with fellow ADVrider Ronnie Borrageiro—100 Countries. 100,000 miles and an Eat, Pray, Love story an ADVrider will love. Enjoy! There are many others with other riders, musicians, entrepreneurs, chefs, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I'll keep this thread going and appreciate you tuning in now and again!

    DC950 and DaleE like this.
  4. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Seattle and Las Cruces, NM
    cool. I was thinking of you and this thread last week but had no idea how to find it.
  5. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery Around The World

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Locked Down. Me: Leucadia, CA - Bike: Greece
    Thanks DC950! Yeah, it got buried. But I'll keep feeding it for the time being with my long overdue writings from many trips! Cheers!
    DC950 likes this.
  6. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery Around The World

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,246
    Location:
    Locked Down. Me: Leucadia, CA - Bike: Greece
    The Chasing China Challenge

    A few years ago a television producer and team from Vancouver contracted me to shoot a television show about motorcycling "Border to Border" in China. The next batch of posts on the WorldRider ride report thread here will cover that "journey." To be sure, this journey, like all adventures, ended up quite the challenge as you'll read. After China, we'll go to Iceland — and beyond. In between, I'll post links to some great podcasts, too. Thanks for tuning in!

    Not long ago China, comfortable hiding behind its wall of isolation, for the most part, closed itself to foreign visitors—and most everything else. In 1949, Mao Zedong, after conquering Chiang Kai-shek in the Chinese Civil War, formed the People's Republic of China. In the process of socializing the country, foreign investors were kicked out and landowners were forced to redistribute land for communal use by peasants and farmers, yet land ownership was prohibited.

    China began to slowly open up in the 1970s when a number of events brought about evolutionary changes, from the historic visit of US President Nixon to the formal end of the cultural revolution and the death of Mao, China ushered in economic reform policies including the ability of local provinces and municipalities to invest in industry and manufacturing. These reforms paved the path to the further opening of China and the explosive growth that transformed China into the country I'll be exploring soon.

    Soon? I hope so. Though I'm learning that China as open as China has become since Mao, it's still may not be open enough to let me bring in my bike.

    We crated and shipped my motorcycle "Doc" in early April and it arrived in the port of Ningbo (south of Shanghai) on April 27, 2015. Since we shipped the bike QE Productions personnel have struggled with Chinese customs officials and clearing agents to get Doc released. With nearly a month of negotiations behind us, it appears China is open to my visit, but is less open to the temporary visit of my motorcycle.

    There is no question that the Chinese require visitors to follow certain procedures, processes, and formalities; just as any other country I've brought my motorcycle. However, in China, the reasons that Doc hasn't been released to the QE Productions office in Ningbo keep changing. First, we were told that it could not be released until I secured a proper Chinese driver's license. International Drivers Licenses are not recognized there. So, I will take a test, in Chinese, upon my arrival in China next week. Next, we were told that the vehicle is too old. At barely ten years old, our executive producer, Randolph Paul Kelman, sighs in disbelief at the hypocrisy of the situation as he looks out the window of his office where he sees old motorcycles and cars zip by every day—many which should have been taken off the road twenty years earlier.

    Then customs officials informed us that the bike should have been inspected before shipping to China, yet it is unclear as to where in California I could find a certified inspector

    I contacted my friends at BMW North America who connected us with BMW corporate officials from both Germany and China. BMW China worked through no less than three clearing agents who all failed to get authorization to release "Doc" from the port, including a plan to reroute the bike to Yunnan province or Vietnam, and temporarily import the bike from there. This will not work.

    A local Israeli ex-pat who owns a Ducati in China found a possible solution that would require us to refuse the shipment at the port and re-route it to Hong Kong where a Chinese company would register and secure the necessary paperwork and permits—at significant cost. Sounds good. So just as we were ready to the pull the trigger and choose this option, we were informed that it would take 35 days to get the bike to Hong Kong (no more than a few hours away by ship), and it would take another 10 days to process and get the bike back to mainland China.

    Time is money. And in movie and television production, time is exponentially money. At this point, we're burning it and not getting anywhere.


    We are exploring the possibility of borrowing a bike from BMW China, renting a Chinese dual-sport motorcycle (Jialing JH600), or finding a preowned BMW dual-sport that is already legally imported into the country.

    So the adventure in China has already started and I'm still sitting in North America.

    Hanging in Vancouver, British Columbia

    IMG_8692-1.jpg



    IMG_1694.jpg IMG_1407.jpg My time in Vancouver has been somewhat productive, however, enjoying great food with the family of co-director and producer Panayioti Yannitsos, cooking Ethiopian food using a recipe from my book "FORKS—A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection" and testing production and motorcycle equipment from the Phantom drone, to SENA communications equipment, and my new custom-molded in-ear Westone ES60 earbuds.

    But I'd rather be in China—riding and shooting this new television show.

    I will. Soon. Stay tuned.
    DC950 and DaleE like this.
  7. worldrider

    worldrider Adventure & Discovery Around The World

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,246
    Location:
    Locked Down. Me: Leucadia, CA - Bike: Greece
    It's 4:30—Wake Up…
    I press the electronic dimmer for the window from my seat on Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I’m on flight 25 and the pilot just announced we’d be landing in Shanghai thirty minutes ahead of schedule. As the window magically brightens we descend through the low lying clouds, water beads dot my window.

    I’m not dreaming. I’m minutes from China and one of the largest cities in the world.

    “Has your adventure started?” a friend texts me. “Yes,” I respond. It started in early April when I packed up Doc, my motorcycle, and sent it to China.

    Doc arrived here in Shanghai on April 25th. It’s been hanging in purgatory since.


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    Exploring Vancouver British Columbia

    I arrived in Vancouver on May 15th. And until about 13 hours ago, the future of "Doc", riding any motorcycle in China and this television project has been in question.

    I’ve wanted to get to know Vancouver for many years, though didn’t think I’d be forced to wander the city for three weeks in a state of wonder. Not that I wasted time there. I worked with the production crew almost daily discussing strategy, tactics, and route options. Late nights spent with our executive producer communicating with China—during its business hours.

    And I’ve reconnected with a number of friends, many I haven’t seen in years. Stephen Buckley lived next to me in the “pad of altercation”, as we called it during my days living on Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula. He’s a film animator, having spent more than five years living in New Zealand while working on Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, in Malibu while working for Sony Pictures, and now in Vancouver working for Digital Domain on a number of Hollywood blockbusters.

    The last time I was in Vancouver, I was riding “Doc” and on my way to Alaska—on the journey that inspired my book “FORKS”, and on my way through the vast and large province of British Columbia, vibrations from the rough roads caused one of my keys to spin off its keychain. The uniquely German Touratech GPS mount used a very unique key—one that I couldn’t find in the bustling BC city of Prince George.

    My only key was lost. No duplicate, no backup. And no exact blank. This was a challenge Anne, a local locksmith, accepted and handled with ease—creating a new key from scratch. While she crafted her magic, I chatted with her partner, Wolfgang. Though I spent just a few hours with Anne and Wolfgang, the connection sustained—through my trip and beyond. I hear from Wolfgang who now lives in Vancouver. We reconnected over great sushi, beer, and conversation. Sadly, Anne was sick and couldn’t join us.

    Vancouver surprised me again when just the night before my flight, I connected with Johanna, founder of the Travel Eater blog—we connected during my Kickstarter campaign after she wrote a very nice overview of “FORKS.”

    It’s wet in Shanghai. News here is there is no way I’m going to see or ride “Doc” in China. Perhaps with a fat bank account and closer connections to government and customs officials I could trim the more than five weeks process, it would take to legally temporarily import “Doc”. So we are buying another motorcycle. It will be cheaper and faster, and we can begin filming this show.

    “WongDoc” is a 2006 BMW F650GS Dakar, the same as the right, or original, “Doc.” I am on the way to inspect and, if all is in order, pick it up today. While we are waiting for the new license plate, the local BMW dealer in Shanghai will help me service the bike and outfit it the best we can for my Chinese adventure.

    [​IMG]
    I will replace the stock BMW side panniers with Mosko Moto 35L Backcountry Panniers, soft bags. Sadly, I will not be able to use the best hard luggage in the world, my aluminum Jesse Luggage Odyssey Bags. Thanks to the good folks at Mosko Moto and Happy Trails, I received racks and luggage just yesterday.


    [​IMG]

    The soft-bags will serve me well in China, especially with Mosko’s superb waterproof design with its removable dry bag and compression and expansion features. Mosko panniers can attach to many different soft and hard luggage racks, but the Happy Trails SL racks are custom designed for the F650GS, are light and easy to install. This experience proves to me that every adventure rider should have two sets of panniers in their arsenal: a solid hard bag system like the Jesse, and a soft-bag system such as Mosko’s Discovery.

    I’ve practiced incredible patience over the past three weeks, and I refuse to dip into angry bitterness over the situation. I’m not sure where “Doc” will go next. I’d like to get the bike to Vietnam or Cambodia to use for the next episodes of the show. We are trying to sort through the logistics of moving the bike from the Chinese port. Perhaps later today, I’ll have good news.

    In the meantime, I’m happy and ready to roll. I’m inching closer to Shanghai and see the massive modern skyline through the grey mist and haze. I’ll start my adventure there, on foot; Shanghai, like many Chinese cities, forbids motorcycles.
    [​IMG]
    It’s true. I thought by now, I’d be beginning my last week of adventure in China. Feeling a bit shaggy, my first stop might be a Chinese barber and then perhaps a crash course in Mandarin. Shanghai calls, but I’m yearning for the countryside.
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