BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

We're back in the UK - Mini rest period.


We landed at Heathrow and after a comedy of errors got into a cab to drive to our friend Heather's. A nice 70 pound trip later we were standing in her driveway. Ouch! Tucked behind Heather's two wooden garage doors was our mighty steed for the rest of our trip. I was hanging out to go for a ride and get this party started.

We had a pretty quiet afternoon to recharge the batteries and didn't even look at the bike. Heather arrived home about 4.30 and we sat on her fantastic backyard and had a few quiet drinks. Heather's large backyard backs onto a huge field of grass. 

This photo was taken at about 9.30 pm. A very nice sun set over dinner.

We spent a few hours waiting for a fox who lives nearby to make an appearance. He didn't let us down and wandered around the cleared area for about ten minutes before trotting off back to his den. I think he eats pretty well as he appeared to be in excellent condition.

The view from Heather's backyard. Not bad eh?
You'll have to believe me when I tell you the little brown dot in the middle of the photo is a fox.

Then it was a lovely home made dinner with Heather and off to bed.

Bike preparation - How the hell are we going to fit all of that on the bike.


We awoke early to the beautiful sound of Willow (Heather's cat) talking to us. AT 4.30 IN THE MORNING. Willow thought we'd be thrilled that he was giving us this attention.

I got up and tried to start sorting out the huge pile of gear we had to fit on the bike. Once 9am came around I charged off to the motel we stayed at nearby where we left the power adaptor behind weeks ago. No, nobody had seen it. Bummer. Do you know how hard it is to get an Aussie to rest of the world adapter in the UK? I'll tell you. It's bloody hard.

My next stop was a motorcycle accessory shop nearby. They advertise on the net and carry the boots I wanted. OK, that's not entirely accurate. They advertise on the internet that they carry them, but they have none in stock. Not one pair. I had been after these particular boots for quite some time, but only one shop has had them in stock, and then not my size. I don't know what the Sidi reps in the UK are doing, but
I'm guessing it's not much. I found another pair of boots that look the goods, so I picked up a set of Gore Tex Dainese boots, and saved 100 quid in the process.

Back to the house and I fiddled with the bike for a few hours fitting some small crash bar carry bags I had bought. It was about then that I managed to log onto my email account for a few minutes. I checked the ferry booking and discovered I had booked for tonight's ferry, not tomorrow night's. A few frantic phone calls sorted it out though. Another 50 quid burned. Then it was time to visit Zoe's (another painty friend) for dinner. It was a fun night with some special people dropping in as well.

Back to Heather's and off to bed.

Remember, we're heading off to Holland tomorrow morning and we've made absolutely no progress packing the bike for the first time, so we have no idea where everything will go, or even if it will all fit..

Let's hit the gangway and get out of here.
Hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, bike dealers and friends.


Today we ride to Hardwick to put the bike on the ferry to The Hook of Holland. Thanks for the wake up call AGAIN Willow, you legend.

Today was do or die as far as packing the bike was concerned. The real issue here is we had piles of stuff that we needed and as we'd never seen the panniers in real life before we got to the UK, we had no idea how we were going to pack. It's a lot harder than it sounds.

Now just add our our clothes, toiletries, some food, and drinks, a few spares and some tools.
That shouldn't bee very hard should it?

So after much sighing, swearing, squashing, and sweating we were loaded up and ready to go. This was our first ride on the bike together, and our first ride loaded up. After a few quick calculations, I reckon we are piloting about half a tonne of motorcycle down the road. It's a bit interesting at low speed and I'm not really comfortable with it, yet.

As we wobbled off down the road like learners on their first ride I was reminded that Suzanne needed a top up of some medication she uses, and can't do without. Now this is interesting. 

At home the process is: Visit the doctor and get a prescription, go to Chemist and buy one months (the maximum amount you can get) medication for about $20 per pack. Total cost around $180 per month.

In the UK the process is: Visit an emergency care centre in a hospital and see a doctor or nurse. In about 10 minutes you have a prescription for 12 weeks worth of medication and you don't pay for the visit. Head off to the chemist and get whatever the chemist has in stock, in this case 9 weeks worth for about $12! Total cost around $4 per month.


(Insert Suzanne here . . . . I am thrilled! No need to see a doctor every single bloody week ! Me happy big time).

We have also managed to pick up two power adapters so we can now charge every battery powered object we are carrying with us. That will make life a little easier and I should be able to keep the blog updated a little better than I have been. To be fair though, I'd rather be out doing stuff than sitting down in front of a keyboard writing about it. (Yes, and thanks to my wonderful wifey for finding them).

Our next stop was Park Lane BMW where I bought my bike. I wanted to meet Louis as all our business was done on the web and over the phone and we hadn't met face to face. Unfortunately he was having the day off. We'll see you when we get back Louis. Then it was a supposed quick visit to Brian and Julie's for a catch up. That turned into a lovely dinner and we really didn't want to leave. Thanks again guys.

Then we wobbled off down the road on the last leg of the trip to board the ferry.

Tonight we sail to Holland.


  1. Funny that pack and repack routine. Im doing it here with tents and bags and stuff and ties, and beds and stuff, stuff and more bloody stuff. Might take the car :)

  2. I was thinking at one stage I should have bought a camper van. Suzanne was under strict instructions NOT to pick much stuff. How does FOUR pair of shoes and a pile of clothes fit that description?