January 2013

a naked Liza
a naked Liza

So now the time has come - the final phase of preparations for our big tour has begun.

Kevin who is a house man now, is sorting out our home which we soon will leave - ie clean out and pack of currently unimportant. He tinkers in the attic, the basement, in the shed and otherwise on all fronts and I bet he's all like me: The "to-do-mountain" is threatening to slide and bury us."

The route and the departure date are set: 24 June 2013 we travel together with our best friends Cyril and Sharon to Prague, then on to Sibiu (Romania), where we will meet up withTiberiu who we got to know on our last vacation - a very helpful man who is also one of the organizers of Red Bull Romaniacs – ride eastwards with us for a while. The route is (hopefully) going to Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, South America, Pan-American Highway to Alaska, Canada, back south to the east coast, then by Air Freight to South Africa, up the western continent to the Straits of Gibraltar and then Europe and home.

For the first 5 Visa we have picked a visa service, which however is still unaware of it’s good fortune.

A tenant for our house for the period of absence is found.

I'm busy with the planning of organization (2 passes for each, foreign health protection, internat licenses, carnet of passages, and so on and so on .....)

I've also started to compile a list of still to be aquired equipment and to obtain it simultaneously.

Now we have to find a solicitor for wills and powers of attorney and also go through the checklist of unlimited horizons again, because we certainly have not thought of everything.

Trying to find sponsors failed miserably and not even the local rag has an interest in whatever kind of story.

Potential sposors support much more spectacular things so we have decided that we'll make it on our own.

We caught up with Anja and Holger (www.2aufreisen.de) and they made us aware of the problem of crossing China. We had filed this under will somehow work out and did not think that time is pressing when you are stuck at the Chinese border in October. It won’t leave much time to figure out plan B. Winter is near and who wants to live at minus 50 degrees in the heating vents of Ulan Batar?

So plan B is needed! But which kind?

So I have only once scoured all around the World forums, to find that others also nibble on this issue, leaving no tips. Kev says: "How about transport the bike by a haulage firm to Laos and then take the train through China" So I wrote and rang freight forwarders around the world - nobody wants to do it. Then I contacted Chinese travel agencies. They want the business but it’s all not so easy.They are ever so slightly over our budget ( shot by the € 7,000 above the goal)

In the end we have found a travel agency that helps us through the country for

2203 € PP. If we can find a group af people to accompany us, and at least one of them has a room for the Chinese guide (which are only small). Now I've put on searches on all major travel forums. Let's see what's coming out of this.

The other plan B goes via Vladivostok to Japan and from there by whatever-to-wherever. Three times you may guess what I am researching right now! Exactly! Ferries to Japan and then whatever-to-wherever ..

We have finally started with the vaccination program, after I consulted our family doctor 3 times and chewed the poor practice assistants ears bloody, so that they all realized that we have to start something like yesterday when the departure date is on 24 th of June and some of the vaccinations go over six months. Only one jab was covered by the health insurance and all the others are private prescriptions I've just picked up a lod of vaccines at the pharmacy for 1033, - € what a snapper. There are still yellow fever and meningitis vaccines to be got.

Passports for both have been applied for and contrary to expectations have already arrived - to my great surprise it was easier to apply for German passports than for the Royal ones. Which may look better, but are also 3 times as expensive as mine. Well – they will only hold the same stamps. I should probably have been a little more vain with the pictures -I look like a cross between Polish weightlifter and lesbian from the women's prison (meant to be a joke and no politically incorrect discrimination).

Fooled by the passport agency I sent Kevin to the driving license office to get his German credit card driving license (which he needs to apply for an international license). I should have known - the number with the unproblematic passport application was meant to lull me into a false sense of security. He came back with a mile-long list of forms that he needs for his application. So I have got sore fingers again from phoning all sorts of places and round feet, from running to all the different offices until I had collected all the necessary forms.

I’ve been to our council more often in January than I go there normally throughout the year - I think at the moment that can employ someone just for me (but only short term contract until 24 June). I am being waved in with a friendly smile when I come through the door and they have the best and biggest stamp sets ready.
at the appropriate desk.


In any case, "Things are on the move!"

I guess when we are finally on the road and have to deal with customs and immigration formalities, our nerves will be made of steel



Thanks to our planned trip the company Ortlieb has made a fortune,. For those who don’t know them - they make waterproof everything. From XXL rucksacks with a packing volume of 130l to PVC basin which we all now call our own.

A new camera, has been bought and we have picked out a notebook. This acquisition has to wait until the next paycheck now .

Liza our Around the World vehicle of HU is freshly MOTed and can now hold a beauty sleep until next weekend when Martin and Kev take out the engine and so we can send the away for a complete overhaul and then a little longer still. When the engine and gearbox are fit again and installed the overdue overhaul of the electrical system is due ...