Our trip starts in 22 days, 4 hours and 53 minutes – but who besides the counter on the right is counting?
It’s currently 6am Sunday morning, I can’t sleep anymore so I thought I update our blog. Yesterday night we finished the major task of finishing Fort Knox – our study – so our new tenant can use it.  Sigrid managed to turn our shed into a portal: It seems you can stick everything in and there is still space for more.  But maybe I should start a bit earlier, like about a year ago.

Roughly 1 year ago we started to make a detailed preparation plan for the trip. There was still one major question to answer: What do we do with our house? We knew we had to rent it out to allow us to go on our journey. The question was: Could we rent it out furnished?  If not, what to do with our furniture and all our other stuff?  After talking to some real estate agents, we realised that renting a furnished house would be not easy. The real estate agents didn’t like to look after a furnished house either.

So, we had to rent our house unfurnished, but where to put all our stuff? The shed, that we built a couple of years ago couldn’t hold it all – as per usual, a shed is always too small. Then, while we were looking for a solution our oldest son came up with a perfect idea, he and his buddy would rent our house while each of them rent out their own house. The advantage for them is that our house is closer to the city, so they save travel time each day and they are closer to their friends. They pay less rent to us then they get for their houses and we save real estate agent fees and don’t have to store out our furniture.

Bingo! A Win – Win situation.  That made everything else much easier.

Next we looked into the safety aspect of our trip a bit, and thought doing some sort of self defence could be an advantage (we are both no fast runners, so we needed something else). Our youngest son recently joined a club that teaches Krav Maga, an Israeli self defence style, and we were impressed how much he took home after a couple of lessons.

So we thought we quit our gym for a year and join the club. We did it, and after 9 month of training we took a lot of useful techniques and behaviour pattern home, which we’ll hopefully never need to apply. Having said that, we are aware that we are far from being perfect in these techniques, but the whole course made us thinking about dangerous situations and what we can and can’t do.  Anyway, since this course had only one cardio lesson per week, we noticed that our trouser started to shrink. Did you know, eating chocolate makes trousers shrink?!? I guess one never stops learning…

So we decided to go back to the gym for 2 month where we had been for about 10 years before.  We finished our 2 month with our dungeon masters and the trousers fit again 🙂

And, the biggest, greatest major news hit us 7 Month ago. Niko and Anna adjusted their life to suit our travel plans and decided to make us to grandparents. ONE Month before we leave.  Well, currently we are waiting for telephone call any moment, maybe that’s a part of the reason why I got up so early today :-).

During the last year, we were chewing the ears of off all our friends.  (Talking about our trip, not literally!)
Doing it long enough, we infected two of them: Brian and Val (aka Wombat and IT). We have been riding together for years and enjoyed each other’s company during a couple Ulysses club AGM’s.  They decided to join us for the first 5 Month of our trip; which means we’ll do the America and Canada leg together. Then, as we vanish into Mexico (hopfully temporarily!) they stay in Canada/USA.
To make the paper work easier for them (remembering only one surname), they added a bit of excitement and got married 6 Month ago, and they are still going strong :-).  So they had to plan their wedding on top of all other things required for the journey, which was for sure a major challenge. They did a marvellous job and the wedding was one of the most enjoyable that we had been to.

The trip planning together was really enjoyable too. We had plenty of meetings, spent hours looking at our route, decided what’s possible to see and so on. They also pointed out a major oversight: the weather. The temperature when we visit the Niagara Falls is on average zero degree Celsius, which makes camping a less errr… ‘fun’, option.  Worse, the long range weather forecast for Rutland in Vermont – the place where we are picking up our new bikes – is some minus degrees and snowing. Great…..

The reason why we decided the buy the bikes in Rutland? Well that’s a separate story alltogether.  But we’re here, you reading, me writing, so why not tell it now?
At first the plan was to purchase and register the bikes in New York, where we start our journey. Well, 6 month ago, we started to look for a dealer who would sell us the bikes for a good price and would do so some modification to the bikes. (lowering the bike, fitting other springs to compensate for the long range tank and the luggage rack and so on)
We found a dealer who would sell us the bikes, but during the conversation we found out that foreigners can purchase a bike in New York, but they can’t register it. Yeah.  Really.

That, of course, was a major blow. It’s hard to go on a motorbike trip without registered motorbikes.  Searching the internet and calling the DMV in New York showed that the dealer was right. We really can buy the bikes but we really can’t register them.  To cut the story short, we found that each state in the USA has different rules for the registering a vehicle and that Michigan and Vermont are kindly allowing foreigners to register their vehicle. Michigan is too far from New York, but Vermont is only 500Km away. So we settled for Vermont and found a very supportive dealer in Rutland.

So that’s why we ended up with bikes in Vermont, with the slight overside of snow :D.

But we are lucky, it seems like Rutland has a heat wave this year! The predicted temperature is 14 degree C during the day and +1 during the night.  A couple of days ago, I was talking to the sales manager and he confirmed that all our parts – springs and a stators – have arrived, are fitted and he is just waiting for our luggage racks to arrive.  The racks are currently sitting in our garage here in Australia and will be picked up by a courier on Tuesday, along with all our other stuff (Camping gear, tools and bike add-ons) which we don’t or can’t take on our flight.
Hmm, I think that’s it for the moment.  A nice and short update.  I guess the updates will come a bit more frequently now.

Ahh, that reminds me, our homepage took a major step towards the final stage.  Our oldest son, Simon, added the capability to our blog to displays our current position  in 15 minutes intervals, so everybody can see immediately where our current position is.
We purchased the spot device and the service to make our position available on a separate map, but the integration into our blog needed some tweaking 🙂
(Or as he says, where the spot is.  But we don’t plan on being too far away from the spot…)


Things are coming together, well 22 days 2 hours 5minutes, there is not much time left.

We bought 2 tanks, one white on black. First the white one was not available, but with the manufacturers help – Safari– one was shipped from Australia. Then the US shop sold our black tank to someone else….another Tank was shipped from Safari, this time they paid for the shipping cost.

Now the next thing…the black tank is on its way back to Australia because no one was home to take delivery of it!
They were all at a funeral for a week, and the international transport only holds it for 5 business days after a failed delivery attempt -Darn!

Harder than it should be! :/

So we thought everything was done with our Safary tanks…
We finally got the white one sorted – then the black one was already sold…

Wait, What!? We’d already paid for it!!
Communication went back and forth a few times, but no black tank in america. One will by manufactured in australia by the end of the week and then sent to America.

And no! we are not paying shipping cost again… Time to wait and see how this pans out…

We have bought the bikes!

Bjoern has organised new springs for them as well.
The tanks are on their way.. well, mine  – the black one- is.  Some minor issue with the white one for Bjoern 😉

Simon has moved in.

We have almost all of our injections.
.. just currently you cant find anything in our house… ok it’s not THAT different from normal 😉

And my contract will finish automatically on the 23 March,no need to resign 😀

To get Simon ready to look after our house he needs to be able to rent out his. To achieve a good rental price and attract the right kind of tennant we did some renovations with him. It was a massive weekend starting on Thursday – Australia day – and going on until Sunday night.

But the result was quite good! Still some more work required, but this time it will be outside.

It appears to be quite difficult to register a bike in the US.

New York and New Jersey want at least 6 points of ID. That’s where we failed due to our documents obviously being Australian and not from the US .  Of course that’s not mentioned on any of the DVM Websites…  Grrrr…

Day 1:
We were originally meant to stay in Springtown, but due to a mix-up we all of a sudden did not have any accommodation. After some mad reorganizing on the part of the people in Springtown (great work!) we travelled to Mt Pleasant.  We ended up staying at the Mt Pleasant hotel in a simple room. There we had nice dinner at the pub. To make up for the mix-up we got very generous breakfast for the next morning.
At night I discovered that while I brought the laptop I forgot the power supply!  Bjoern to the rescue! We can charge the laptop with my bike with the connectors Bjoern brought! Success! So , everything was well until the next morning.  Time for sleep! 🙂

Day 2:
The simple room did not have any cooking facilities, but it didn’t matter. We had very nice fruit with a coffee in the morning and got ready to go. Loaded up and rugged up, we’re ready to go! Last thing- start the engine!

Whooops … not a single spin from the starter motor.  For some strange reason the battery was completely flat…

OK no Problem, out comes another gadget Bjoern built- trickle charging my bike from his battery. That should work… another coffee and 15 min later, try again.
Bugger… only a faint humming from the battery. So, while the trickle charging is working it will probably take a while… Meanwhile we were checking out other options.
I saw a motorbike shop in town, let’s go there and see if he can help! Off we go to arrive in front of the shop – they had a very polite sign up saying
“we are on xmas holidays until next Monday”

So we’re on our way back to the bike for another try. Once more, no success. While the alternator made half a turn, it wasn’t quite enough.  So we asked people in the neighboring room if anyone had a jumper lead – again with no success. Even the very helpful staff cleaning the rooms could not help us. But she came up with the information that there is a petrol station on the other side of town. She even offered to drive us there, but we were ready for a walk. So off we went to find the petrol station.  When we got there it appeared as though it was stuck in time – looking like a petrol station out of an old movie set with an attached garage.
It looked soo crammed but the owner knew were everything was and – for a deposit – leant us his jumper lead. Back we walked. We tried to start the bike again, still no success. So now we are attempting to get the bike started with the jumper lead. That means seats off…. Easier said than done- while the seat of my bike came off, no worries,

Bjoern’s seat was a different matter.
The nut on the right hand side was so tight that the thin spanner that comes with the Suzuki toolkit was not strong enough and bent open, damaging the head of the screw in the process. The lady from the pub came to the rescue again.  She said her partner is also into bikes and he would have all sorts of tools. After a short phone call and an even shorter wait he arrives with a REAL ring spanner and the screw comes off in no time. From there it was easy, connect the terminals of the battery and in no time my bike was started, making its formidable thumping noises again

Darn Screw!Jump start done!
After a big thank you to our rescuers we were finally off, but we did not dare to go off roads . With my history I would have dropped the bike on the dirt and then we would not have gotten it started again. So we went via the main road and only a short ride to Tanunda, our final destination for this little trip. We stayed in a very nice cottage with access to a pool and a beautiful Spa. Luck would have it that the other available cottages were not booked at this time so we had this all for ourselves!
We went for a short trip to town to get a few supplies like oysters, Champaign and BBQ meat and settled in  🙂

Day 3
Today we were lazing about, alternating between Spa, Pool, and lounge – live can be hard Bjoern fixes Screen🙂

Bjoern did however fix the screen door and I tried out the laptop in conjunction with the mobile as proof of concept and found out that Simon sent us a nice e-card and Gaby had booked the accommodation in NY for us! Progress! Real Progress!
We talked about the upcoming adventure and how we would organise luggage. What to send and what to take on board of the airplane are still contentious issues.
At night we walked for a nice meal to The Clubhouse in Tanunda. It was a balmy night, very pleasant after the hot day.

4th day
Late start, some more swimming, spa and discussions, testing out how we could charge the laptop during the drive…. Only if we drill a hole into the top box… not quite ideal… More thinking to be done.

Another short trip to town to get some pasta that will help us to use the leftover from the BBQ and provide a nice dinner

Day 5:
Over already?! Cant’ be !
But it is .. but not before a nice cooked breakfast, courtesy of Bjoern – Ok I’m spoiled

We packed up and left as it started to drizzle. OK, a question dear reader: When does drizzle become rain? At which point does it warrant a stop and put on the wet weather gear?
Too late for me- too early for Bjoern – but we could syncronise due to our new beatiful communications equipment ! We stopped along the way and put the wet weather gear on and slowly made our way to Summertown to visit Charles and Joanne. We got warmed up by their coffee and a nice chat. Bjoern had a niggling issue with one of the screws on my luggage box- he could not fit the taps. Charles gave him the great advice to use copper paste and together they fixed it there on the spot- thanks Charles!
Then we made tracks homewards bound and arrived home early in the afternoon.


What a nice break! I’m soo looking forward to make kt permanent for a year!. Ok I might not get the Spa thingy , but just being on the road is a great feeling! Can’t wait! 🙂

We used our yearly getaway to ride leasurely with the fully setup bikes and see if we find any quirks.

And we did!

1st takeaway: If you take the laptop – take the power supply as well
2nd don’t assume your tools work, test them 😉
3rd If you have collected tools for the trip – take them along!

We arrived in New Castle at about 14:00. We registered and then called Wombat, following the direction to the reserved space at the campground. Pitched our tent and had a look around.

This was actually Julie’s birthday, so in the evening we walked to a nice pub to get some food. Unfortunately the pub didn’t have any meals on Mondays. So off we walked a bit further (miles and miles) to get to the RSL. The food and beer were great, but just before we left we heard a pounding noise on the roof. John was brave enough to have a look outside, and it turned out to be rain, lots of it.

After we all finished our meal we went out, waited for 10 minutes and decided that the rain wasn’t easing. So Wombat organised a big taxi which didn’t come, in response Val ordered 2 taxis. They came and we all got home via Maccas for a night coffee, but dry.

John got a phone call that his tent has given in to the rain. When we arrived at the site, it was only one side that has collapsed, the rest was fine. We temporarily fixed it. Wombats and our tent leaked a bit at the front zipper, but the sleeping parts were dry.