Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Countdown Blog 7

7 months to go and all’s well! In fact I’m starting to get a real buzz in anticipation. Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to meet up with various like (or should that be ‘bike’) minded loons, a number of which can boast a whole wardrobe full of t-shirts when it comes to riding the Americas.

Many of these individuals have taken the time to write books, prepare presentations, edit film, and generally hang around freely passing on pearls of wisdom. If you happen to be thinking of something similar, I can’t recommend enough you taking the time to track them down, ply them with beer, and extract every ounce of relevant info. Speaking to those who have ridden those very roads, and who are prepared to be so generous with their time sharing such hard earned knowledge, has been invaluable. So a big thanks to all from ABR and Horizons Unlimited who suffered my questions without complaint – you know who you are, and hats are being doffed to you as I type. Fab. Brill. Top notch. See, I said I was getting excited!

So what else have I been doing to progress preparations as the daily X’s gather in number on the calendar? Well, my return shakedown trip on the XTZ back home to Spain went well. Lots of little issues with the bike identified, and many already rectified – including the rectifier! More on that in a later issue once all the work is completed, but in short I am happy with my choice of wheels. Clearly this bike can do what I want it to do, and more in some aspects. I’m even thinking of giving it a name! How does 'Idris' sound?

E-mails are being fired off to various companies regarding travel insurance, bike insurance (I can but dream!), and transporting the bike across the bits of deep water I’m going to encounter – not least the Atlantic! The links on the right have again proved to be a font of knowledge in helping track these down – and the replies coming in seem to be covering the ground. I’ve also had a look at the investments I plan to fund the trip, and that all seems to be in order too. I alerted my employer to the plan a while back, which fits well with changes to my work cycle, and the application for special (read ‘unpaid’) leave is being prepared. The online USA visa thing got sorted for about 8 quid, and the requirements of other countries I’m passing through checked again, just in case things have changed.

Local health workers seem to delight in making holes in my arm, as they arm me against the nasties I may encounter along the way. After taking the time to run through my plans, the more worldly nurse advised if I “don’t dip my wick where I shouldn’t” then I’ll be OK – which sparked a raised eyebrow that even Spock would have been proud of. Clearly she was unaware of my devotion to Mrs Pat! The younger nurses, however, offered such valuable contributions as ‘wow, that’s really cool that”. But it is though, isn’t it!

More next month.

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