Monday, 30 January 2012

Countdown Blog 3

I’ve got a date!  No, not that sort of date, Mrs Pat would kill me!  A departure date – 22 March, less than two months away as I type and I’ll be on my way.  Idris will be heading for Heathrow on 12 March, following which I’ll be dashing back to Spain for a week or so to do the final countdown (we know a song about that, don’t we...).

People are starting to ask if I am getting nervous, and I must confess to being a bit twitchy a few weeks back when I handed over wads of cash.  But that must have been due to me being a tight git, as it only lasted 24 hours, and now I’m left wondering why I’m not more on edge.  Perhaps that will come.  At least I hope so.  Imagine completing such an epic trip with just a shrug and a comment, such as “well the weather was nice!”  I want to feel the buzz of something new, something challenging, something unknown.  I hope that will come.

Last time I scribbled it was all about Santa – great guy that he is.  And Santa has that funny trick of leaving bits and bobs around for other people to use.  Needless to say, I benefitted well from his little visit at the end of last year, so I thought I would share some information in this entry on my gear for the trip.   

I’ve decided to take a tent and camping gear.  To fit within my travel budget (and because I like it) I’ll be doing some camping and wild camping over the period.  But I’m taking the smallest possible tent, even though it will be a real squeeze to get both me and my gear inside.  A down bag, thermal mat and silk liner will keep me toasty warm on cold nights – and a bit of luxury, I’ll also have an inflatable pillow with cotton pillowcase (also for use in any manky hostels that I feel the need to rest my head in).  I’m going to go with a trangia spirit burning stove, with a limited cook set, as I expect to be ‘eating out’ a lot!  I´ll also be carrying a tarp for extended rain cover when camping plus many other uses, such as ground sheet, wind break, bike cover etc.  More detailed information will appear on the relevant page of this blog, as soon as I can lay my hands on that packing list.  

I´ll be taking along my phone, with an international SIM card, notepad computer (with skype), plus a couple of cheapish cameras to record the vistas – the cables for which seem to be more bulkier than the gear itself.  I´ve already written a bit about how Idris will be adorned (and some of its spare bits).  So how will I adorn myself (no spare bits for me!)?

I´ve taken advantage of some of the first class reviews that have appeared in ABR magazine of late (if you are not familiar with it – then have a look at the link on the right).  Some top notch base layers have been aquired, coupled with a couple of undies, good quality trousers (zip off type), fleece, a pair of lightweight casual shoes, and a few pairs of my favourite icebreaker socks.  As I´m having to take more spare bike parts along than I originally thought, the clothing has to be shrunk (!?).  Thankfully I´ll also have my portable washing machine to ensure I´ve got a good supply of clean (full sized) togs.  For washing machine, read a black watertight bag half filled with water, soap, and dirty clothes.  When tagged to the back of the bike and subjected to the sun´s rays and bike vibrations for a few hours, it has a remarkable impact on those hard to reach stains - daz whiteness without the boil wash (well, apart from when we are crossing the Atacama dessert).

Talking about hard to reach things – I´ve been amazed by the response I´ve had to this blog and to the number of people I have been able to reach and who have sent good wishes from all over.  Some 2,000 hits on the site, and I haven´t even started the trip yet.  Very many thanks to all, and I hope you continue to enjoy these ramblings – which will be supplemented by lots of fab photos and even the odd video as I move along.  I also very much hope you´ll be able to help others through this blog, and my Just Giving page (see link on the top right).  Two more countdown blogs to go, as the preparation intensifies... 


  1. I would think twice about taking a trangia with you, take a petrol stove instead. Meths is not always easy to find and you (should) have petrol at hand all the time. Keeping things simple is key to big trips and unifying fuel sources is a good step. Pick up a petrol stove for less and £50 and use your trangia pot (only ever need 1), the fuel bottle also doubles up as a petrol reserve cant do that with meths!
    Good luck on the trip!

  2. Hey Pat,

    We have just set up, and we’re wondering if we could add your RSS feed to the site,

    The site is designed to be a research tool for overlanders (Motorbike, 4x4, Truck, 2wd) archiving past and current blogs. We hope it will become a great resource for overlanders going forward,

    If you have time have at look at, if you’re happy for us to add you just let us know or sign us here:

  3. Cheers Mike - thanks for taking the time to post and your kind wishes, and I hope you enjoy the blog as it fills up.

    I'm sure you are right about the multi-fuel stove. I'd been pondering this very issue. In the end I decided to go with my trusty spirit burner as it is the one I already have - and I'm having to be tough on myself now regarding pre-trip spend. If it doesn't work out, I can always switch while on the road.

    Many thanks again