BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Not Much Happening.


It’s been a pretty uneventful week really. More vaccinations, more renovating the house, more searching for a bike in the UK, and lots more visa chasing. Lots of work with not much in the way of results.

I’m really looking forward to getting on the plane soon.

The good news is that his week will be brilliant musically. As happens every year around this time, lots of artists head to Perth to perform. It just so happened that this week is full on as far as concerts go. Frankie Vali, Kate Miller-Heidke (If you don’t know her, Google her. She is a brilliant Aussie singer songwriter), Leo Sayer, and to top it off, The West Coast Blues and Roots Festival. I’m looking forward to seeing Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, and of course John Fogarty.

Maybe this week should be a holiday.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Who do I think I am?


(Apologies to the TV show "Who do you think you are" for the title of today's blog)

I'm exhausted. I've been spending many hours trying to find info on my family history before I go to Ukraine later this year. Wow, what a headache. First we have a different language, that's not too bad, but then you throw in a different alphabet, and it gets really interesting. On top of that my Father changed his name, date of birth, and place of birth when he escaped after the war so the Communists couldn't track him down. He was hidden in Germany after the war before coming to Australia.

So I'm searching for a name, in a foreign language, in Cyrillic, that has been spelt three different ways in English. On top of that I have three different locations as place of birth, and some of those are spelt differently as well.

Now that shouldn't be hard...should it?

Just to top it off, I can't just go for a ride around Ukraine and follow up leads as I find them. I have to submit an itinerary before I go, it has to be approved, and I have to stick to it while I'm there.

On a positive note, Dad always told me the Vodka is excellent there, and from what I've read the locals are very friendly and always happy to have a chat over a few drinks.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Well, we made some progress today.


First we went to the doctor and asked what vaccinations we needed, if any, for our trip. Now our doctor actually rides a motorcycle and is pretty cool (that's pretty, and cool) but I know she wants a new Land Rover Discovery. She told us we need Hep A, Hep B, Tetanus, and a flu jab. She finished off with "We can do them right now". So off we went into another room where she proceeded to poke needles into both of us like we were Voodoo dolls. I'm sure I heard her say, under her breath, that'll cover one Land Rover payment. She was right; it would cover a Land Rover payment. No, just joking Doctor Linda. Thanks for looking after us so well. We really do appreciate it. (I'm sucking up because we have to go back for two more jabs).

Then it was off to the Travel Agent to arrange a week long side trip to Ukraine in September. We are planning on meeting up with my sister and visiting our Dad's old home town, L'viv. We might dig up a few skeletons and discover we are heirs to the Tsar’s fortunes. Or maybe I could claim land rights for the farm that the Communists took away from my family during the revolution? Chance would be a fine thing. Now you think this would be easy wouldn’t you? “Yes Simon, you need a Visa for Ukraine. It takes three weeks to get one and they are good for three months from the date of issue”. So we need to apply in April, for a three month Visa, to visit Ukraine in September. Does anyone see a problem with this? After lots of questions it looks like we might be able to get a six month Visa to cover us. I tell you what, if getting Visas for the next 41 countries is as difficult as this, we might have a problem. Ah, government departments, the same the world over.
We’ll tackle the next hurdle tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The plan so far...


Late last year I decided to resign from my job and have some time off. While I was at home doing all the little jobs around the house that had been neglected for the last three years I realised I was in a very fortunate position. I wasn't working, my daughter was old enough to look after herself (and our menagerie of animals), and I had enough money in the bank to do what I had always dreamed of. Go exploring overseas on a motorcycle.

My original plan was to ship my bike to the US then ride to the tip of South America. I was going to do this solo as my wife Suzanne wasn't keen to come along. Part way into the planning Suzanne decided that she would come along as my pillion, so the plans changed. The trip would now be around Europe, as I didn't think Suzanne would like South America as much as I would, and I’d buy a bike in the UK that was more suited to riding two up.

So that brings us to now. We have our flights booked and leave Perth, Western Australia on May 24th, for who knows how long. That is about all we have organised so we have lots of work to do. My plan is to try and get to out of the way places and really see what the countries and the locals are like. Sure, we'll do the touristy things as well, but my priority is off the beaten track. Blasting down a freeway and covering twenty countries in a week isn't in the plan.

Our daughter is coming along for a few weeks at the start of the trip to do the tourist thing with Mum and Dad then she’ll head home and we’ll hit the road.

Wish us luck.

Oh, and the name Wrong Way Round? Well I told a mate, Tony, what we were doing and he laughed and said "So you're doing The Wrong Way Round" obviously referring to Ewan and Charlie's adventures and suggesting I would get totally lost. It kinda stuck in my head.

So there you are.