BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Side trip.


As we have so much time to spare and we are so organised (NOT!) we are now having a little five day side trip to Melbourne before we leave on our trip. Suzanne wants to go and say goodbye to her mum and dad and I don't need much convincing to go and see them either. I am very fortunate to have a family of in laws that are fantastic people and there are definitely no mother-in-law jokes around our house.

I might just have to have a Melbourne farewell get together while we are there.

Goodies for the trip.

One thing about our trip that differs from a lot of other people's is that I haven't been chasing sponsorship or support for anything. It mightn't sound like a big deal, but if you're a motorcyclist it is. As you can imagine we will use a lot of motorcycle and camping related products on this trip, from Helmets to boots, from sleeping mats to our tent. I'll be writing up products we use as we go and as I'm not committed to any brands I can write exactly what I think. If a product doesn't perform up to scratch, you'll hear about it. Suzanne will offer a pillion's point of view when it's applicable.

Rev'it Defender GTX jacket and pants: This gear consists of three piece construction, and outer shell, a Gore-Tex waterproof liner and, a thermal liner. The gear has a lot of great features and it's very well made. I've only used it once in 40 degree temperatures with all the liners removed and all the vents open. The venting system works very well, I was still hot, but a lot more comfortable than if I was wearing a normal jacket and jeans. I'm keen to try it in the rain as I've never found any clothing that is truly waterproof on a bike in the rain. We'll see. This gear had obviously been designed by people who ride bikes. Little things like the adjustable neck closure make this obvious. On the negative side Suzanne's jacket arrived with a few zip pulls missing which makes it a pain to use the zips with gloves on. I've contacted both the Revit and the retailer of this gear but haven't heard a thing back. So, jacket and pants good, customer service, not so good.

Rev'it website:

Counting down. Only 28 days 'till we fly out.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

It's all starting to come together.


Since we managed to line up a bike things have been moving a little more quickly. Bookings for the family holiday at the start of our trip have been made; The Wizard of OZ, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Apple cart Festival, Blink 182, The Harry Potter Studio Tour, Disneyland Paris, and Moulin Rouge have been booked and locked in. Most importantly, I've managed to get ferry tickets to and from the Isle of Man for my bike and I so we I can go and watch the Senior TT. That's one big tick for the bucket list.

You can check out the Isle of Man page here:

On the family front we've had a meeting with the lovely Agnes from the Red Cross Tracing and Immigration Detention section. This department focuses on reuniting families separated by war and given dad’s background they are taking on the case. Agnes is really on the ball and has contacted me three times in the last few days chasing more information. Apparently the Ukrainian Red Cross have a high success rate of finding family members in this sort of situation, so fingers crossed. I have a good feeling about this. Hopefully in October my sister Lily and I will be sharing Vodka with our as yet unknown cousins in Poltava Ukraine. Who knows, if dad was a bit naughty in his younger days I might even have a brother or sister I don’t know about. Stranger things have happened.

Only 34 days until we fly out of Perth and lots more to organise. I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Yahoo! A bike at last.


After an early morning phone call this morning (one am) we now have a bike to ride when we get to the UK. A nice, shiny BMW R1200GS Adventure from the team at Park Lane BMW in London. I was starting to get a little worried because I had tried to buy three bikes in the UK and missed out on each one. This time things went smoothly and a deposit has been placed. The best news is the team at Park Lane are happy to keep the bike for us and let us pay the balance when we arrive.

Our home for the next 12 months.
Now girls, have a look at the silver box on the side of the bike. That is Suzanne's wardrobe / chest of drawers to keep all her goodies in for twelve months. Yes, that's right, all her clothes, shoes, make up, hair care products, jewellery, paperwork, face and body paint, brushes, and everything else has to go in that little box. That should provide a few laughs. This is the real reason we are travelling by bike on our trip. Due to the extremely limited space, Suzanne can't shop much while we are away. Can she?

Now I know I have a bike to ride it's back to the web to purchase my Isle Of Man ticket for the Senior TT race on June 8th, and a ferry ticket to get there. Suzanne will stay in London while I ride up to the Isle. It will give me a chance to get used to the bike. The bad news is that June 8th is Suzanne's birthday. I'll be at the IOM and Paige will be at a Blink 182 concert that night.

Anyone want to baby sit for me?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A little bit closer with baby steps.


Well we had some good news and some progress this week. The side trip to Ukraine with my sister has been sorted, booked, and a deposit paid. I've started digging out old info and letters of Dad's and it makes for very interesting reading. The things that he and millions of others suffered during a dark time in Ukraine's history should never be allowed to happen again. I have a large box of letters, all written in Ukrainian, but they do have names and addresses on them, so there is a start. I had three or four Aunties in Ukraine that I never met, so I'm guessing I have a heap of cousins to try and find. It will be a challenge, but we'll give it a go.

The whole visa drama looks like a problem created by misinformation. We were told we HAD to apply for a visa from Australia and the visa would only be good for three months from the date of issue. As we are leaving in May and won’t be in Ukraine and Russia until October that presents bit of a problem. Contact with both embassies proved very fruitful with extremely helpful people explaining I could apply for visas from a Ukrainian embassy anywhere in the world. Problem solved. As always, it's best to go straight to the source and ignore the so called "experts".

On the bike front it's not going so well. I’m pretty nervous about shelling out big bucks for a bike unseen on the other side of the planet. I’ve tried to buy three so far, but with the time difference and emailing back and forth, someone else snapped them up before I could close the deal. I’m sure the guys in the UK are a bit nervous about some bloke in Australia wanting to buy their bike as well. I really want to get one before we arrive though as last thing Suzanne and Paige want to do on their holiday is go bike shopping. They’d enjoy that about as much as I enjoy handbag and shoe shopping.

So with 46 days to go before we fly out I’m heading back on the web to look for a bike. Wish me luck.

For those of you who have been asking, the kitchen renovation and new floors have stalled. The tiler should be here this week (thanks Dave) and the kitchen cabinets shouldn’t be far behind (thanks Chris and Wayne). The loft conversion is complete and it’s an awesome storage area. The team at Attix are great and I’m more than happy to recommend them. You can see them here: