Sunday, 18 March 2012

Countdown Blog 1

We're leaving together, but still it's farewell.  And maybe we'll come back to earth, who can tell.  I guess there is no one to blame, we're leaving ground (leaving ground).  Will things ever be the same again?  It's the final countdown... the final countdown, ooh oh ... (sorry I couldn´t resist – I am European after all!)

The final countdown indeed, only a matter of days now until I wave goodbye to loved ones.  These entries will then switch from preparation talk, and start to record the real day by day journey.  Last month I was getting concerned that I wasn´t feeling a buzz of excitement from it all, but a couple of weeks back I woke during the night in a sticky sweat with heart racing.  Being a very sound and regular sleeper I don´t usually recall dreams, but on this occasion I distinctly recall waking with the sensation that I wasn´t going to survive the trip!  Once I had recovered from the shock and my heart had returned to a normal pace, and I had a few moments to reflect, I turned over in bed with a smile and fell fast asleep once again.  The scale of the challenge for me had finally sunk in, I was getting pre-match nerves.  And, at last, I am officially excited!!

That essential element of the trip´s preparation aside, what else have I been doing?  Perhaps most importantly Idris has been deposited with those good people at James Cargo at Heathrow, to await its flight out to Buenos Aires.  Hopefully the bike will arrive on Monday 26th a few days after my arrival at Dakar Motos.  In fact, here we both are at James Cargo saying a short farewell.

The remainder of my stuff has now been pooled into one of the spare rooms in our Barcelona flat, and the process of kit checking (and double checking) is now well progressed.  Worth doing, as it has already thrown up a few points.  For example, my cameras take different size SD cards, one of which I had no spares for, and I had doubled up on cables.  Plus I seem to have accumulated around three times the number of ´dry bags´ than I have things to put in them.  I think I might take a spare or two just in case, but I clearly don´t need to lug around a bag full of bags!  I´ll be taking the gear over with my flight, which allows two 32kgs bags to be checked in.  One of these will be my roll bag to be mounted across the back of the bike, the other will be a ´sacrificial´ bag, which will be left in Buenos Aires as soon as Idris´ panniers are filled.  Including the few bits and bobs that went over with the bike, I should be running with around 55kgs of luggage, camping gear, tools and spares.  

Work has been wound up and, where necessary, handed over to colleagues.  My thanks to everyone there for their help in getting business into good shape, and for all the kind words of support (and the bottle!).  Sad I know, but I´ll enjoy my travels more knowing that things are in safe hands.  My thanks also to those who have sent messages via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and internet fora etc – including mates on ABR (see link on the right) who also helped me pick out some suitable reading matter for the trip.  Just a quick reminder that my Just Giving page is open and ready for direct donations to Unicef – see the link on the top right of this page.  It really is a boost to see that figure starting to tick over – so ´thanks mucho´ to everyone who has given so generously thus far.   

As I type this, I am sitting in the sun at the family home in Aragon.  The most wonderful Mrs Pat and I are spending a bit of quality time together before I head off in around 4 more days.  It is a joy to hear her laugh so much, and something that I will miss greatly I know.  I trust you´ll understand if, therefore, I cut these words short and bid you farewell... until my Day 1 blog from Buenos Aires!


  1. Nearly there!!

    With a place in Barca, a family pad in Aragon and flitting back and forth to another one in Cardiff, you sound like the epitome of a playboy. All you need is a pair of skin tight gold sequin biking trousers and you'll have a TV show before you know it...

    Good Luck and keep the daily updates coming with lots of photos please.

  2. Cheers buddy - you forgot the house in the Costa Brava (ha ha)! Skin tight gold sequin trews... hmmm... don´t you think my bum would look big in those?

    Photos a plenty on thier way!

  3. Hi Pat. We just came home from a trip very similar to yours. We just started up North and went South instead.
    I few tips. Don't get your expectations regarding Dakar Motos accomodation too high up. It's VERY basic.
    Just 300 km South of Buenos Aires in the city AZUL you have to go and visit Jorge (Pollo) in La Posta. It's not a hostel, more a club. But the people are amazing.
    Just 12 km south of Caleta Olivia there's a beach full of sea lions. It's for free and it's quite cool. No tourists there.
    Ruta 3 is a bitch! There's nothing!!!!
    Ruta 40 is fantastic, but in some places hard to ride. So please take it easy.
    We stayed in Antartic Hostel in Ushuaia and really liked it. They let us pull the bike in through the reception and park in the back yard.
    Argentinian hostels are too expensive and not very good. If you get the chance I think coach surfing is really awesome.
    In San Carlos de Bariloche there's the best Tire fitter ever and plenty of tires to find in the city.
    Oh, I'm soooo envious that you are going on this trip now. I might write you again and give a few tips if you want :)
    Have lot of fun!

  4. Hey Henriette
    Very many thanks for the information - that's great. Please feel free to post more tips and suggestions as the blog and the trip develops. I hope you find it interesting.

    Thanks again