.. and I thought this was easy ….. (the wordy version of the previous picture post)

Melbourne – 0 km
13 April 2016

Most of you know that I like a good bargain.
Actually it goes both ways: happy to give one and even happier to receive one!
So I am always on the lookout for a better deal.

No difference when it comes to ship my bike to South Korea

In several conversation with my shipping agent – thank you Ivan for your endless patience, instant responses and not loosing your sense of humour – from Bikes Abroad www.bikesabroad.com.au I came to the conclusion that one way of saving cost was to crate the bike myself…

I had read many accounts of previous motorcycle traveller who had done the same, so “Hey! what they can do – I can do as well! Haaah!”

I always displayed a propensity to ‘give it a go’! Here, in Australia you call it: “ a red-hot go!” So why not!? All part of the never-ending assimilation process.

To my dear male readers, go and have a look into the mirror now, even the virtual one. Now tell me: how many times have you been starting out on a task, full of gusto, energy and confidence? A task your wife/partner/lover would have called a tradesman??
I certainly have done this – many times over. I Know, for some of us it is difficult to learn (quickly) from past experience, even if it was mildly painful. So I could hear myself saying: “Yep! I can do this! I can crate a bike AND I’ll save some dough!”

Full of self-belief, enthusiasm and eyeing towards an increasing account of brownie points, I set out to do so. I know, I know, these starts are bound to lead to several trips to Bunnings. A single screw, nail or tool is missing. The nails, screws bolts in my collection (a considerable one) are too short, too long, to fat or an immediate need for a ‘special’ tool emerges, one that I most likely never used again in my life time. The reasons are endless and never obvious at the outset….
I must also confess, that usually/always? the task took ‘a little’ longer than a tradesman would have been able to complete it. In my defence I claim that the task unexpectantly turned into something more ‘complicated’ than anticipated.

Why is that so? I don’t know, I’d rather try again, unwavered by previous experiences

Consequently and plausibly I presumed that crating a bike is a piece of cake!

Off I went and asked the good-hearted Stefan B. from BMW Southbank to ‘organise’ a BMW crate for me. Stefan and his colleague Kenneth made it happen almost instantly – thank you boyz! Accosting another good friend, Marcos A, to lend me his ute, so I could ferry the crate to my home. Again, thank you Marcos! Cruising trough Melbourne’s cbd, the crate flat-packed in the ute, I had this ‘tradie-feeling’!  … window wound down, elbow out, showing my chequered flannel shirt, sunnies on, looking superior … Aaahh, here I was coming ready to do the task!

In a moment of  lucidity I rang another friend, Tony J, who besides many other things knows about the crating of bikes. I knew he had crated a fair few. Now, I won’t hold against Tony that  we often find each other on the opposite spectrum of the political debate, BUT he has a good heart and he knows his stuff! – knows it well!

So I asked Tony a few questions re crating. Doubt was growing in my mind. Was I missing some parts?  Was the task after all more complex than thought?  I always could drive to Bunnings …
Or should I  demonstrate behavioural change, learn from past experience and act accordingly?

I decided to let logic rule and asked Tony to professionally crate the bike.
Boy-oh-Boy! With hindsight I can tell you that was very wise decision.
My mate Tony was waiting in Tullamarine , all items in place ready to start the process. And I soon realised that there is much more to the task than I ever imagined.
If I had done it, it would taken a full day and still not be as a good in terms of result.

You can see it in the previous post’s pix.
Tony did the crating and did it well. I was the innocent bystander, learning what to do when un-loading in Busan.
Here’s one of Tony’s tips: leave the few tools you require to reassemble the bike on top of the pile, easy accessible.

Tony’s work will make it easy for me when ze bike will be unloaded in Pusan on May 8th.

 

…and now to something completely different ….

Melbourne – 0 km
13 April 2016

THANK YOU! and Congratulations Carol H – as you are my Number 1 ticketholder, ahemm Follower of this blog.

I must say: “Shame, shame, shame!” on my family, loved ones, lovers, wives, husbands and off-spring, as clearly they didn’t bend-over-backwards scrambling to get this pole position! :-{ (this shows my moustache a bit better).

In my days, when I was young we were i-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y, with no delay whatsoever, following our parents’ Facebook entries.
Not even a moment of hesitation.
Them good ol’ days …..

…and now to something completely different ….

Photos!

As you, dear reader and follower, have been bearing with the constant exposure to my dribbles, today I shall jazz-it-up!

Providing some eye-candy, and THIS FOLLOWING WARNING: “the following content may include bike-porn. However no rear-drives, axles or spark-plugs were hurt in the process of making these pix.”

So here just a few shots – the speak for themselves – for your ophthalmic pleasure:

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rolled onto the crate – the packing task begins

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Ivan & Tony made the front wheel disappear

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Tony applies his skill with -welcomed- Teutonic attention to detail

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ze bike on its knees, all to fit into the OEM crate and reduce shipping cost (just kidding …)

 

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most of the work is done!

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the wrap-around BMW crate – German Engineering!

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almost done. $ cross bars to make it solid

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the final wrap

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Ready! Ship me now!

Voila! the bike is carted and ready to go – Thank you, Tony!  You can crate my bike anytime!

How to share this … it’s difficult

Melbourne – 0 km
March 2016

It all started with a good idea born from the necessity to take tools with me on this trip.

After percolating which tools to bring, I finally had established yet another list (my wife ought to be proud of me doing lists at all …- skating on thin ice).
Subsequently I complemented my tool collection a bit more, so each position on the list was ticked-off.

Now to the next: where and how to store it on ze bike??

The space under the pillion seat on the 1150Gs is the ‘normal’ space, however allows only the bare minimum of tools – I had a fair few more.
Alright, obvious solution: store it in one of the panniers, right at the bottom. The –full-size- pannier destined to hold all my clothing was the choice, as the clothes weighted relatively little compared to the tools. That also would even out the weight of both panniers.

After spending a few hours surfing – mainly US – websites for tool rolls, soon realised I could I came to the conclusion to create my own (that was the bright idea!).

Initially I thought canvass material would be best, but then considering this option a bit further I recognised that our sewing machine wouldn’t cope with such thick – when folded – material. Next choice was a denim fabric, reasonably strong, durable and flexible. Moreover my good friend Marcos not only had an industrial sewing machine and the enthusiasm, time and generosity to help me sewing it all together.

Thus, one weekend, equipped with my Spotlight fabric and German unbreakable Guetermann thread and my tools I rolled up at his shed. His sewing machine, while resembling somewhat an industrial appearance (perhaps a light-industrial area, very light), soon displayed its own temperament when trying to sew double-folded denim … it made a mess of it. Several re-adjustments of bobbins, thread-tension, swearing and throwing hands in the air enabled us to tame this little bugger of a thing….

Eventually, with great persistence and after many attempts we got it together. Marcos did all of the sewing and I stood over his shoulder holding the fabric and made ‘helpful’ comments.
The end result looked certainly ‘hand-crafted’ but fulfilled its purpose: holding the tools together in an organised fashion. However, the look of it … well, wasn’t quite to my Teutonic standard of form and function. I am trying to be diplomatic here…

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Marcos and I just had spend most of a weekend on this task and I trotted off with my large, blue and perhaps a little cumbersome tool roll.

Don’t get me wrong, we did get a lot of things right: the length of the roll fitted exactly into the bottom space of the pannier, thus maximising every inch. It certainly had a space for each tool, had a large flap to rest tools and nuts&bolts and we even inserted two flat, strong earth-magnets into the flap, so nothing would roll off into the dust.

But, deep inside my sensibility I missed the ‘form’ part of our labour.

A few weekends later I walked across the Saturday market in Yea, Victoria. Always a great ride from the northern suburbs especially the road between Strath Creek and Flowerdale must be recommended. There was “Happy Jan” on her stand selling gaiters, underarm sleeves and even Kangaroo-Leather Finger gloves – all intended for gardening – good, handmade stuff. Check it out for yourself www.morrisoutside.com.au . We struck up a conversation, reminiscented over past hippie days and discovered we both had travelled in Africa. Eventually the topic moved onto my upcoming travel preps and the tool roll came up. So she offered to have a go at it.

After one more meeting selecting materials and showing her my tools (careful…!) which needed to be stowed, she came up a week later with this:

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… even using some scrap Kangaroo Leather as a wrap-around and tie-down strap. A piece of home (Skippy?) to be taken along to my journey – how great is that??!

Well, dear Reader, how could I resist!? Would you have been able to…?

Still feeling guilty about it now, even when writing these line, I choose the Kangaroo roll. It is more elaborate, more small details and pouches for small bits than the blue one. It packs smaller, and still had the exact dimensions to fit into the bottom of the pannier.

I promised Marcos to use the blue roll on the re-born Triumph upon its return. and now I shall carry a piece of Happy Jan’s work around Asia.

 

Preparations, almost done …?

Melbourne – 0 km
09 March 2016

New passport and new Drivers License have arrived! Russia-visa is the next top priority!

Over the long weekend (Labour Day) I completed almost all of the outstanding prep-tasks – a good weekend it was!

  • Changed all the fluids: Engine, gearbox and final drive. New Oil filter (did the fuel filter recently when installing the 41 ltr. Adventure tank.
  • Soldered a new control light into my dashboard for the aux lights. Now it shines bright green when lights are on, I almost need sunnies….
  • Swapped the rear bulb for an illegal one: a multi LED circular or rotating brake light from Japan, have been unable to get this recently L, however my good friend Marcos still has one sitting ‘round. It fits straight into the bayonet socket – ‘plug&play’.
  • Changed my K&N air filter to a foam Unifilter. Packed also a spare, pre-oiled foam jacket and intake foam sock.
  • Fixed a little problem with locking-in the seat – all done on ‘ze bike’!

Then I did my packing …. Boy-oh-boy, all that stuff. already reduced to the minimum. I have these ‘containers’ on the bike:

  1. MTD Alu-Panniers, a full sized one and a somewhat reduced-sized one, due to the exhaust cut-out
  2. a former business Aluminium briefcase
  3. a waterproof roll containing already occupied by my camping gear
  4. a small tool/spare parts pouch sitting in the space under the pillion seat
  5. a plastic tube containing two 1.2 ltr water bottles – contingency planning
  6. some space in the Fuse box, ready to take some small, electrical items
  7. a small tank bag 21 ltrs
  8. a 1.5 ltr Camelback with I like to keep light, so just some small stuff goes in there
  9. a waterproof Ortlieb back-pack which double-functions as an additional space to store things, currently I like to keep it empty.

Guess what!? – all is filled! However on the bright side I carry not too much weight.

The panniers are < 25 kg each, the camping roll is ~8 kg and the alu-briefcase has about the same weight. So, in essence, I carry about the same weight as if I would be riding with a pillion and no luggage! That’s good news, the stress on the entire bike should be bearable .. or should I say: ‘bike-able’. Well, we all know that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so let’s wait – and ride it.

For all more detail-loving readers following my pack-list, which will put some to sleep I intent to translate into the major languages of countries I traverse. I like to think it may help with them Customs Officials, seeing me making an effort ….. actually sucking up, but perhaps saving hours on end of waiting time …. another pudding to be eaten.

My Pack-list final, which I shall translate into Korean and Russian to make entry easier …

INSIDE

Exhaust Pannier

<25kg without Ortlieb bag

·       Flags Net under lid

·       Tool Roll
Electrical tape, Rescue tape, Silicon, Sparkplug removal tool, WireBrush, TippEx, BMW Oileinlass Hohlschlüssel, Vice Grip, Shocki Spanner, Spanners 8 – 17mm, Allen keys, Torx nuts, Ratsche & Extensions, Sockets, Hacksaw, Needle Nose Pliers, Valve & ABS Gauges, Rear-Wheel Tool, Scissors, Electrical wire & Connectors, Pincers & Dentist Pick, elect Tester, round & flat Files, Box Cutter, Marking Pen, Loctite & Superglue, Graphite Grease, Rim Guards (hose), Fencing wire, Zip-Ties, Sandpaper, Repair Gloves, Darning Yarn & needles

·       Tyre Repair Kit

·       Tyre Pump

·       Emergency starter/charger

 

·       WD 40 Spray

·       Camping & Cooking in Green Bag

Steri Pen, waterproof Matches, Fire Starters, one-way Lighter, Stove with Windshield, Pot & pan, Plate, double-wall Cup w. Cup-Lid, Toothpicks, Cutlery, Salt & Pepper, serrated knife, extendable Cup, Sugar, Coffee Perco Cup, Kettle, Kitchen Towel, Towel Butts, DishWash box with scrubber/liquid, Container with Tea Bags, Container with Coffee, Oil & Vinegar nested Container, 1 x Emergency Meal, GemueseSchaeler

·       Nuts & Bolts container

·       Rescue Tape

·       Riggers Gloves

·       Kitchen Towel

·       Fishing Gear

·       4x spare tie-downs

OUTSIDE Exhaust Pannier ·       Optima Fuel Bottle

·       blue Alu Bottle with Oil

·       Klapp Spaten & Folding Saw

 

·       round Grill Mesh

·       Ortlieb Backpack

INSIDE

Full-Size Pannier

<22kg without spare fuel

·       spare Accelerator cables

·       spare Batteries

·       OilFilter Tool

·       spare OilFilter

·       spare locks 2x w key

·       Clutch Plate

·       brake pads front&rear

·       Air Filter replacement kit

·       Schnuersenkel

 

·       Scarf

·       Toe Warmers

·       long sleeve shirtsT-shirts, jumper,

·       Undies, singlets, long Mc jumper

·       long trousers, socks

·       Long trouser, shorts, ¾ longJohns

·       Shirt, Togs, MC Roll-neck light

·       MC black Leather trousers

·       Keen Sandals

OUTSIDE

Full-Size Pannier

 

·       4 ltr Fuel Container

·       black Pouch with LifeStraw Bottle

 

Alu-Team case

~ 5kg

Camping & Cooking

·       Axe/Hammer

·       Saddle Bag Pot with Cuplid

·       Mending Kit

·       Stubby Holder

·       TowelButts

·       reusable Storage Bags

·       Container with Towel

·       Optima Repair Kit

·       Matches

·       DishWashLiquid

·       Bottle Top

·       Matches

 

·       LifeStraw

·       10 mtr Rope

·       Scrubber Wash Bag

·       Rei in der Tube J

·       Clothes Line

·       Screw container

·       Lemon Pepper

·       Tube container

·       Reading Glasses

·       4 ltr Water Bag

·       Underberg

·       2xEmergency Meals

·       Zigarre

Camping Roll

< 11kg

 

·       Sleeping mat

·       Sleeping bag

·       Tent w. Groundsheet

·       Tent Repair Kit

·       Emergency Rescue sheet

·       Washbag, inner liner cotton sleeping-bag, Pillow & Towel, Washcloth (indoor o/night@end of Camping Roll)

 

Tank Bag

~ 3 kg

 

Front pouch

dual Philips Head spanner, Earplugs, Tyre Gauge, Lipbalm

 

Plastic Box
Petzl Head Torch, pocket knife, Bear Spray, Emergency Cord & Whistle band, Map Reading Lens, USB Plug & cable, Marker Pen, Biro, Cigar, Coffee, Compass, Visor Spray, iPhone Quad-Lock Rain cover, Matches, Tempos, elec. Adaptor

·       Floppy Hat with Mozzi Net

·       Highlighter Pen

·       Cool Tie

·       Sunscreen

·       Monocular

·       Scarf

·       flat Stubby holder

·       Torch

·       Maps in A5-ish zip-lock bags

·       Travel guides

·       Memo sticks – SDCards

·       black Notebook

·       Credit cards

·       spare Glasses

·       Wet Ones/Moist Wipes

·       Leatherman Wave

·       FlachrundMann

Camelbag:

<2 kg w.o. water

·       Repair Gloves

·       EarPlugs

·       Food/Energy/Muesli bar/Choclate

·       Spot Tracker

Number Plate Box ·       Copies of important doc’s in waterproof zip bags

·       laminated Instructions* print both sides

·       Photocopies of all documentation in w.p. zip bag

On The Man ·       Phone

·       MediCare/NiB card

·      Driver’s License (Oz, German & Internat.)

·       Bike rego

·       Carnet de Passage

·       Passports

·       Passport Photos (in Cloud)

·       Travel insurance policy copy

·       Dummy wallet

·       2 x Credit cards

·       business cards

·       Other M’ship cards

·       U-Tag

Fuse Box ·       USB drive with Tech info

·       CAT Code bridges

·       CAT-Code Plug cross wires

·       Fuses each < twice

·       Headlight bulb

·       Indicator bulb

·       Brake-light bulb

·       Alternator belt around Fuse Box

·       Sparkplugs behind Fuse box

·       TILE

·       spare Keys

Pouch under

Alu Case

·       Spare Parts
Brake & Clutch Levers, Hoses incl. petrol hose, Indicator with inserted bulbs, Oil filler cup + O-rings, Quick Disconnect + clamps, Liquid Steel & Aluminum, O-rings for Quick Disconnectors, Rubber plugs for Fuel Injection & Brakes, Steel Quick Disconnect w clamps, 2 Sparkplugs Autolite 3923, 2 Sparkplugs NKG BK7EKC-N, Brake/Clutch nipple, Quick Metal, Quick Aluminum, Teflon tape, sump guard rubber mounts 8x, Oil-Sight-Glass, Rear-end Seal, Liquid gasket small tube, Loctite 515, spare working gloves, grease nipple for rear drive

·       3 x Tyre levers

·       Zip-ties

Grey
Pipe
·       2 x 1 ltr Water bottles

·       super-long Zip-Ties

 

Preparations, endless …?

Melbourne – 0 km
09 March 2016

Despite having this trip rummaging in my head for several years, I am surprised how much there is still to prepare! Bike, luggage, travel arrangements and self , my major ‘buckets’ still are full of stuff to do!

Bike is almost done. With the long Labour-Day weekend coming I plan to have it completely packed and go for a ride. Testing, testing …

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Rear frame strengthening – a known weakness at the R1100 and R1150 GS

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Rear frame strengthened and power-coated

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Fitting the panniers on – must be level

Luggage is a topic closely connected to the bike. I am carrying all of it on the bike. I plan to include all when crating & shipping the bike to South Korea. Some stuff I intent to take over when I fly to Busan. I hope that the vast majority of my luggage will be sorted by the same time – Labour Day weekend.

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Panniers and re-purposed aluminium business case, now affixes as well

Self, well the mind is there, the tasks are not …. I just went to the Dentist. Always fun! But my dentist Anna has been looking after my teeth for 25 years, so whatever she sees is ‘her work’! Yesterday she found a little hole and recommended to fix it prior to my departure – so a date has been fixed – teeth are under control.

Medication and First Aid, here my much better half Louise has taken charge. I now have a tightly-packed First Aid kit and I am going to buy a First Aid sticker , so anybody can see where this kit is kept on the bike – contingency only I trust…

Doctor’s visit still outstanding. Must arrange before end of week to feel I make progress!!

Got a new passport and a new Driver’s License– the process went faster than anticipated – albeit there was a snag with VicRoads and their system up-loading my photo. Apparently this happens only once-in-a-hundred-times ….. well I wonder how often they use this explanation. Nevertheless, all is there – that’s great! So immediately I can tackle the Russian visa – that’s the most important. Need to find out roughly how long it will take to get it in the passport and have my passport returned – might even drive to Canberra to save time. Then I can determine the travel date for bike and self to Korea. I plan to stay 7 – 10 days in South Korea, trending more to seven.

The Visa for Mongolia I am informed is best to obtain within one day in Ulan Ude, Russia (South Siberia). Then I worry about the other Visas. I rely a bit on info from travellers coming from the opposite direction that will determine when & where to apply for these Visas. Must up-date my list of Visa requirements asap.

 

a tiny(??) bit more about the bike… if you can bear it

Melbourne – 0 km
03 March 2016

Well, I had warned you, dear reader, the aforementioned list is a long one. You must keep in mind that it is more than 15 years old. It literally grew over all these years. … and I haven’t even mentioned the various bits & pieces I accessorised, but took off soon after as they did not fulfil my intended purpose. My motto always has been “form AND function” in almost equal amounts, slightly favouring the form factor.

The other issue about the bike, worth sharing is its mechanical state.
I do almost all my mechanical work myself. Equipped with plenty of curiousity and an itch to ‘open-up’ things and have a look inside, together with the comprehensive technical manual and an ever-increasing tool collection – I just like doing it. I guess this is another kind of ‘exploring & adventure’, albeit in a different paradigm. My ‘explorations’ have more often been successful in fixing a technical problem. I must confess, there also have been more ‘Burke&Wills’ like explorations: expensive, lengthy and unsuccessful. Fortunately they haven’t resulted in death, rather in consulting a proper mechanic, cap-in-hand.

So I’ve learnt about my boundaries of technical competence as a motorcycle mechanic – no “Zen” here for me.

As a result I kind-of know what I can do and what I can’t; think exchanging a clutch for example. So for some major milestones such as 20.000 kms or 50.000 or 75.000 or thereabouts I book the bike into a trustworthy and skilled mechanic (mention here Phil form K&R in Cheltenham, Melb) and let him do a once-over. He sees stuff being worn or in need of a fix, which – when I look at them – appear rather alright….
Well, these are the limits of my competence I have learnt to live with and find alternative solutions should I need to exceed them. By the way, a lesson for life …?

So, ‘Paul” ze bike, went to see Phil and got his long-overdue once-over. Most things were alright, but some replacements around the final drive were performed. The major change was to insert a grease nipple at the plug in the rear shaft drive.

S/W Ver: 9C.14.36R

‘Paul’ ze bike getting some TLC

I did the more pedestrian stuff:

  • Exchange all fluids: oils, clutch, brake
  • Clean, re-grease and prep the airlifter
  • Check all-I-could-reach bolt & nuts torque-values
  • Replaced the rear brake disc and all brake-pads. Here I took this opportunity to thoroughly clean all parts of the brake assembly to ensure its smooth functionality
  • played around with the CAT-Code plug and various settings to prepare for low-octane Russian fuel
  • tried some different spark-plugs to cope with poor quality petrol
  • re-set the valve clearances.

So all that let me into considering which spare parts to take along, contingency management stuff. Weighing up pack-volume, availability abroad and could-I-fix-it I ended up on this selection:

  • Clutch Friction plate – even if only I had bought it and hoped/hoped-not to make use of it – it’s complicated
  • Oil and Fuel filter
  • Brake pads front&rear
  • Throttle cables
  • bulbs, fused and wired connectors to activate the different CAT-Code settings
  • collection of nuts & bolts
  • Alternator belt
  • Sparkplugs
  • Brake & Clutch Lever & nipples
  • Indicator assembly
  • piece of fuel hose and spare Quick-Disconnect with replacement O-rings
  • Rubber plugs for Fuel-Injection and brake lines
  • Oil sight glass – I have read about incidents when it popped out …
  • Sump guard rubber mounts – they tend to rip off in rough conditions
  • Front & rear tyre
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Paul & I in VIC’s High Country

Pragmatics

Melbourne – 0 km

February 29 February 2016

So, off to some more pragmatic stuff!

What kind of preparations does this trip require?

Well, how long is a piece of string??
The answer is: it varies.
It depends on your own preferences. Your own need to remove uncertainty, create facts and plans and contingency plans.

Some take off with a minimum of preparation. Others, and that’s were I fit in, like to indulge, even immerse oneself in preparations. It has to do with my propensity to fiddle with things. Being it the mechanical aspects of motorcycle preparation or how best to pack a small number of clothes in a confined space. I like this stuff!
I know, it’s worrisome …

To balance things a little, I am much the opposite when it comes to budgeting for such a trip, and, alas to organising my visas. I am a firm believer that “Things will take care of themselves” and “I will cross this bridge when I have arrived there ….” Although, my much better half tells me I live in la-la-land and that I believe god – or anybody else – will  somehow mercifully provide, $$$ that is.

However, trying to focus on the pragmatic side of things, here is what I have learnt:
for me there were four ‘buckets’ of preparation:

  1. oneself
  2. ze bike
  3. my luggage
  4. other travel-connected stuff

No rocket-science, but allow me to expand.

Self – is about my mental and physical well-being or sufficient preparedness. In this bucket I see tasks as doctors check-ups, insurance for health and emergency matters, up-dating one’s will, establishing Power-of-Attorney documentation, ensuring the fabrics of family relationships are healthy and well as you never know when and how you will come back. Mindset is another item, however I presume making these plans and progressing to an action-stage prerequisites a mind-set of wanting to travel and explore.

bike – a somewhat easier matter to record. My bike is a BMW R1150GS. I bought it new in 2001, well it was the demonstrator model, so the price was extra-good! From then on I always thought that one day I’ll take it abroad. So, very early on, bit-by-bit, after careful evaluation and elephant-like gestations periods, I assembled and attached various after-market improvements and modifications. You’d better go and get a cuppa and sit back:

  • H4 Globe for improved light output
  • acrylic headlight covers – affixed with Velcro – good investment!
  • Miniblinker on flexible mountings, even though they are not as ‘mini’ as they sound
  • LED spinning taillight – love ‘it! For much increased passive safety, worth the risk being stopped by cops as they are illegal in Australia
  • MV Motorrad Verholen adjustable handlebar risers – great for long stints of standing in the pegs but still remain in control of all levers & switches
  • extended stainless steel front-brake hose to accommodate the risers
  • Speedbleeders brake bleed-nipples front& rear, also for clutch bleeding nipple, so I can take care of the brake-bleeding-task single handed
  • Wunderlich Hand protectors, better than OEM
  • Throttlemeister Cruise control – affixed a small screw into its knurled knob to have a tactile reference point
  • ss Allen screws for brake & clutch-fluid container. OEM ones are easily ruined
  • Carbon Forkbridge cover – Individualising’ my ride, others may call it ‘wanking’, or ‘bike-porn’
  • Telelever alu-caps with BMW emblem some more wanking …
  • GS Adventure screen fits my size better. Lower than OEM but wider.
  • Motorrad Verholen Windshield spoiler top-mounted on Adventure screen. For my 187cm it is great! Reduces turbulences with my Open-face helmet a lot!
  • Migsel GPS/RAM mount – a rather neat solution! Sits fully integrated around the speedo in the RID. Has a short stem with a mounting ball
  • Zumo 390LM GPS hardwired
  • Sigma MC1812 Computer mounted on RID
  • QuadLock – a little doo-dah to securely attach my iPhone to the handlebar
  • GSA 41 ltr tank, second-hand – feels better than anticipated even fully tanked
  • Bagster Tankcover with small Bagster City tankbag
  • Taped-off front of tank with heavy-duty tape, where Bagster-bra doesn’t cover
  • drilled three small holes in tank-filler neck improving the speed of the fuelling-process. Rotated the filler neck by 180° for easier opening with tankbag
  • set of blue bolts for petrol inlet ring – more wanking
  • Fuel-line Quick-DisConnectors – keep the rubber O-rings greased! carry spares!
  • UniFoam AirFilter + foam sock over air intake funnel, easy to clean & reusable
  • Reyno Oil Cooler Grille protector plate
  • Nautilus compact air horn – now I sound like a American Strassenkeuzer J
  • Migsel Lightbar with two LED lights switched via the indicator-cancellation switch
  • Shoo-Roo whistle – only Australians will know what I am talking about. They are called ‘Deer-whistles’ in the US. Do they work?? Well, haven’t hit a roo since …
  • Touratech HardPart on for front fork protection in case of an off L
  • R100R’s speedo drive with 2.875 ratio (OEM 3.0) more correct speed reading
  • H&B Engine Protection Bars – I ground back the connecting plates at the front to enable easy removal of alternator cover and attached
  • Hi-way pegs, so I can comfortably stretch my legs on long rides
  • Rubber plug fitted into Alternator cover for easy access to timing bolt
  • tamper-proof Oil filler plug
  • Magnetic Oil-sump and gearbox drain bolts
  • Deckelflug safety – Lemme explain: it’s a cheap way to avoid loosing the sparkplug covers. I drilled two tiny holes – side-by-side – into the cover, fed a Ziploc-wire into one hole, around the sparkplug cable and back through the 2nd Then lock it zipped! You’ll never lose these little buggers again ….
  • New Odysse dry-cell battery PC680
  • external +pole terminal to connect jumper leads much easier
  • Ohlins Shockabsorbers – Replaced both springs with a stronger ones matching my bodyweight & luggage. The bike sits high, almost like a dirt-bike. I like it!
  • Pivot Pegz foot pegs – highly recommended! Stand-up riding is a breeze.
  • Rear brake footplate extension – easier to operate with clunky boots
  • Rear-brake fluid container protection plate
  • keyless Seat release – with panniers mounted I had to become a contortionist to get the key into the seat release lock. I took off the entire lock assembly, cut off the rear bit, leaving only a short piece for the front seat lock (tossed pillion seat). Attached a stainless steel fishing line to operate the seat release. Bingo!
  • Exhaust bend cover as an ankle protection
  • Removed rear-wheel mud-guard cover– it looked ‘wanky’ to me
  • inserting Dyna-Beads into the tubeless front & rear tyre
  • rear & front 90° angle tyre valve – makes access much easier
  • Number plate safety box – a lockable box sits behind the number plate, therefore hardly visible. Good place to keep copies of important docs – laminated
  • BestRest Tool box pouch – this snugs in the space under the pillion seat. It allows better storage of small spare parts
  • MTD 38 ltrs. Alu Panniers – I bought these Queensland-made ones, coated inside and out, thoughtfully designed along the US Jesse pannier design
  • Alu-brief case mounted on rear rack. I can flip this up to get access to the under-pillion-seat storage space. I keep camping stuff in there

Phew! That’s enough for today. I’ll see if I can bore you with the remaining two in a later post.

 

 

So wtf am I??

Melbourne – 0 km

February 22 February 2016

I wonder how “wtf” will translate … as swearing always feels half-as-bad when done in another language. So here something about me.

If you have read the previous blogs you would have picked-up already some personal information. However if you are just entering now then let me introduce myself in a (coconut) shell:

I am a baby-boomer.
I am a rather very lucky baby boomer having enjoyed a blessed life thus far:
I haven’t been in a war, grew up in Germany at a time when they hadn’t been admitted to the NATO, instead we enjoyed the Wirtschaftswunder = years of extraordinary economic and social growth.
I was lucky and enjoyed always enough to eat, engaged in plenty of laughter, had always a roof above my head. Had most times enough funds to go and party and even indulge in a hobby: motorcycling, to name one of the more lasting ones.
Moreover, I had no difficulties to tighten my belt, when funds were sparse. Times of study, no car only a pushbike, 1-room flat, a Night Porter job to get an income are some examples.

Probably on world-wide standards that would put me into a < 10% bracket of people with a similar experience – lucky indeed to have been born on the ‘right’ side of the road.

Though, I haven’t taken these privileges for granted. Soon enough I realised that education IS important, to me and others, here and anywhere else. So not only did I get a good one, furthermore I started to work educating others. Later on I did just this in not-so-privileged countries as well. Back then we called them ‘Entwicklungslaender’ (developing countries), hardly ever ‘third world’ countries, but that is another debate to be had.

After a very satisfying career in education I am at the verge of retirement. I am already beyond the ‘age-qualifying-barrier’, but still dabble a little in my profession. I always enjoyed what I was doing in my work, who I was working with – lucky again. Almost every morning I enjoyed going to work, and I have learnt that this is not the norm for many others …. so I am now in the < 6% bracket.

I also have a family: three daughters and a wonderful partner, who is also my wife. Almost a dream coming true, as I had this long-held fantasy of being surrounded by young women once I am old and feeble. A picture of a sheik in his harem … ?? Although my three daughters are beautiful people, they are daughters who no longer (never?) acted on their father’s whim or beckoning. Clearly a trait they must have observed from Louise, my partner … So this dream I will have to adjust …

Another one of my long-term fata-morganas was to do a looong trip on a motorbike. Since I’d read Ted Simmons first book Jupiter’s Travels I was hooked! Come to think of it, it actually goes further back. When a kid, there was a German who travelled the world on his pushbike. He was a reporter or so and his name was Harry Ican’tremember. True or embellished, his stories in 20 Pfenning paperbacks were fascinating to me! Adventures, obstacles, Kings & Queens, Africa, South America, basically no geographic boundaries. Add to this the story “How I found Livingston”: and you can see that a bubble, getting firmer with each similar story was hatching in my mind. The idea of wanting to explore the world, ever-so-gently got hold of me.

I said earlier that I did some of this exploring when living in Germany.

Arriving in Australia 31 years ago I continued with this longing. I bought a Honda FT500, single cylinder, longer front telescopic fork and started criss-crossing Australia. Saw many parts, met many interesting people, even wrote a chapter in a German travel guide about my travel. With the advent of creating a family this hobby moved into the background. The dream was adjourned but not forgotten. Now, as my youngest is 18, entering university and since I am still – just sufficiently – physically fit to finally make this journey, IT”S TIME!

Well, some say I am a delusionist ;-).

Now the time has arrived to realise this oh-so-long held dream – GREAT!

 

Curious Meandering – some language issues

Melbourne – 0 km

February 20 February 2016

Curious Meandering …. still needs some practice to roll-off the tongue more easily. But keep coming with your suggestions please.

A final sorting of matters is the language I write in.
Obviously English – with a still strong German accent, even syntax?! However the question is how to I get my Teutonic mates and family to take part when writing in a different language? I certainly like to avoid having to write all twice: once in English and another one in German. Anybody can recommend a link to a free and good translator?

H e l p !!

 

In search for a title

Melbourne – 0 km

February 19 February 2016

 

Thank you for coming back!

 

So here I like to muddle my way towards a title of this journey.

Cost-to-coast was what came first into my mind. But then what coast am I talking about!?

Wenn jemand eine Reise tut .. was another thought. Although nice, I felt it was a little too Germanophil (is this a word??). A diversified one was Wenn Axel eine Reise tut, so kann er was erzaehlen, drum nahm er seinen Helm & Bike und tat das Reisen waehlen …

Both are a moderately well remembered German version of what this is all about. Naturally (well naturally in MY case), my origins are in Germany, a real Frankfurter Woeschtsche I am. Born and bred there. So I most certainly will not deny my heritage, especially since some of you claim that I have a dead-give-away accent ..?? Pheww ME??! … Naahhh, all others have one.
Admittingly I have been in Australia since 1985, almost 50:50 of my lifetime. I could argue the Australian years may have been my more conscious ones, therefore might weigh more … but I am still not too sure about this. So I’d better let go of this title suggestion.

Another thought about a title, which should succinctly and interestingly capture the trip was about Fernweh. A German word I like very much. There is no straight translation into English, so let me describe its meaning. Fernweh is about an inner, often unexpressed, yearning for being in places far away. A phantasy about travelling, experiencing adventures, being free of commitments, almost as if one is on a great holiday, but it is somewhat more than a holiday. A desire to be elsewhere, not necessarily because the present is hard to bear, rather a deep longing for seeing other, new places. As if to try and pack it all into one life. So one who experiences Fernweh usually has a great sense of curiosity. When I was much younger, there was a monthly magazine in Germany titled Fernweh. I immediately subscribed and enjoyed to further fuel my travel phantasies. Unfortunately it (the magazine) didn’t continue for more than a few short years and disappeared.

My inner Fernweh didn’t, it persisted, just a gentle undertow, always slightly present. Subsequent travelling, often with the motorcycle (R75/5 or a Yamaha XS1100) throughout Europe, taking the pushbike through Poland and Germany, per backpack through the islands of the Mediterranean or with an restored Mercedes ex-Army Unimog through Africa. All of these did not entirely quash my Fernweh, rather made me long for further-away places.

Come to think of it, it quire likely influenced my coming to Australia, although there were other reasons as well. Moreover, later in life, once professionally established in my new country Australia, my professional choices to working in developing countries may have been ‘informed’ by my inner Fernweh.

Realising all this pouring out of thoughts relating to Fernweh, clearly it ought to be I the title!!

So am I exorcising this Fernweh – just as somebody suggested? But my own connotations to the word ‘exorcise’ are rather dark ones: a movie I’ve never was interested to watch, and close links to the devil, in whose existence I don’ t believe, except for being ‘in the detail’

So should I use liberate or unchain my Fernweh? Unleash it? Naahh, too much about Elvis Presley and his heart.
Should Monty Python’s Flying Circus come into the equation and I Release Rodger! my Fernweh. Here I like to share that Monty Python has been a major contributor to start understanding and appreciating English humour. Some of my friends, who I hope will read this, believe in Germany being a humourless society …. well, let’em remain in Lah-lah-land and leave’em in their darkness. So Conippen & her friend L. (not wanting to name names), it is just different and not even only on the inside … (had to insert this here, as otherwise I never may have the chance to publicly state it).
However, I digress, sorry.

More thoughts are about Beyond the horizon – turn left. However, this title does not sit quite well with me, as it implies one looks constantly beyond the horizon, risking not to see and experience what is right in front of one’s toes and what one can see as one travels. So kind-of the “here & now” held in hand and mind, making sure to smell the roses as one moves along.

Being curious and Fernweh are evoking strong link. So, just to disclose a little more: remaining curious always had been the motto of my mother and she certainly instilled this in me. Honestly I am rather happy having this personality trait.
So how to capture all this in a title? Curious about Fernweh ? or perhaps Fernwehly Curiousity? Hmmmh, neither is catchy nor making much sense.

Well, dear reader, you now have been hanging in there wandering through my discombobulated, almost cathartic thoughts – thank you and hang-in there further, I feel we are almost there.

How about Meandering and a connection with Fernweh? Meandering was always a trade I seem to have lived by, looking back over the past conscious years. A loose plan I may have had, but I truly kept it with Berthold Brecht’s Three Penny Opera. Herein it is stated:

“Ja mach nur einen Plan,

Sei ein grosses Licht!

Mach dann noch einen zweiten Plan

Gehn tun sie beide nicht …”

 

I know, it is in German! A homage to my German readers who otherwise may have to activate the translation robots. So just a little balance re-established.
Loosely translated it is about the futility of making plans, even contingency ones, as they almost always fail or need considerable adjustment. That always appealed to me, as it abdicated me from making firm plans, much to the frustration of my good partner & esteemed wife Louise. Though I’ve stuck to it, maybe a little more concealed, but never really let-go of this comforting maxim. Therefore the link to meandering ought to be in a title. Going where it appears interesting, therefore sticking to a rather loose plan. Well, perhaps an oxymoron “sticking to a loose plan” doesn’t require much sticking I guess.

The preference towards meandering might well explain that I haven’t yet completed my European part of the route. Indeed, I don’t even seeing a need for firming up this part of the journey.

So, shall I’ll try Meandering Fernweh, combining two strong trades and even both languages.

What do you think? Let me have your thoughts, input. I might be swayed …

PS: weeks later, in the shower (a place I recommend for having good ideas and other stuff) I finally had a Geistesblitz, a brilliant thought: Why not call it Curious Meandering!? Yeah, not rolling of n English/Aussie tongue, but then again my ability to formulate sentences in English was never all too ‘rolling-off easily’ …. 😉

Curious Meandering it is!