Early on when I was planning my, now our, great adventure, I made a good new friend at a wedding (not my wedding, but a wedding none the less). Tom Møller Christensen and I soon found common ground in our interest in motorcycles, the urge to ride far and wide, and to be free.
Tom has always been very supportive of our project, always focusing on all the reasons why it could work. One day not long ago he invited me and my wife into his shop, Urmaker Thorbjørnsen. He smiled and proudly presented what was to be our very first sponsorship.
Toghether with Tissot, Tom Møller and Urmaker Thorbjørnsen has sponsored our adventure with matching Tissot T-Race sports watches. Everyday it will serve as a reminder of great support and trust, but also of the fact that time waits for no man. The adventure is right there, you just have to go get it. Tom even arranged a photoshoot for the occation, and the result you can see below. It was a lot of fun.
It’s always very easy to compile a long list, a very long list, as to why an undertaking will not, can not, succeed. Many have done just that.
It is much more difficult to create a list over why it could work out, why it can be done, why you should not give up. Adapt yes, but never give up. It is a choice, and I choose to believe.
Tom has been a valuable supporter and believer, urging us on, when the voice of many where urging us to stay. We’re grateful for it!
Early on after I started this blog, I wrote a small piece called «Going it alone, og going with you?»
I stated some prerequisites for going:
- Motorcycle license, valid internationally.
- ur own MC capable of going offroad, as there will be something of a road-shortage where I / we are going
- Completely self sufficient in terms of equipment and funds. Motorcycle riding is all about freedom to go your own way.
- Necessary training: first aid, some mechanical skills, MC-offroad skills.
Granted, I was thinking about a possible riding companion for parts or maybe even the entire trip. At that point, however, I really didn’t imagine that I would find a riding companion. I also didn’t imagine that I would be married before I left on this trip. I firmly held onto the plan of not getting involved with anyone before the big trip. And yet it was not to be avoided. About 4 months after we first met, both working as bouncers at a local nightclub, we ended up on a date. I still believe that neither of us realized that this was a date before it was over.
We’ve be inseparable ever since.
Four and a half months after that unexpected date, I stammered out a garbled proposal, greatly helped by body language and the very indicative one knee on the concrete. Tonje said yes, and suddenly we where planning a trip, AND a wedding. Nice. I do well when I get stressed over details…
Anyone who have done this know that preparations for a wedding is a grueling trial. Earlier I’ve mentioned that lesson learned from others (Scott and Julie),- tasks need to be separated into blue jobs, and pink jobs. Planning and preparing for a wedding is a typical pink-job, while planning and preparing for our 13 month trip is a typical blue-job…
Tonje kept her cool, enough cool for both of us. she kept us on track and kept me from freaking out over all the little details.. (thanx baby).
On the big day, as the bride-to-be went to the hairdresser for a multi-hour appointment to do hair and what not in order to get ready for the wedding, I enjoyed some alone-time in the garage, mounting the bash-plate to her ride. The garage is one of very few places where I find my ZEN, and once this was done, my only problem was to scrub down in time to suit up and walk to church.. Believe when I tell you the stress-level rose somewhat when I couldn’t find the oil-removal-soap..
THE major milestone in my life. Saturday june 14th, the LostBiker got married to HotStuff, aka Tonje Strand, now Tonje Berentsen.
The ceremony was perfect,- I can hardly remember any of it. I just felt I did a pretty good job not gawking slack-jawed at this beauty walking up the isle.
The pride and joy that I felt, and feel, that this fierce beauty is my wife, is difficult to accurately describe. All I know is that together, as a team, we can do, can accomplish, anything.
She stole my heart, and took my name, and together we will embark on this great adventure that is life.
Together we will ride to old and new places.
I love you, baby
“Someday” is just code for “never”..
Someday I’m gonna chase my dreams. Someday I’m gonna learn how to play the guitar. Someday I’m gonna travel the world looking for real meaning in a world of chaos. Someday I’m gonna leave my corner of the world and look around, live on the road, breathe the adventure.
Make sure that your “someday” turns into “today”. Start however small you need, but take a hold of your dream and go for it. No one is going to do it for you. Your friends and relatives may or may not understand why you are doing the things you do. They may or may not understand your dream.
But that really doesn’t matter.
It’s your dream to follow.
I am about to get married. And my fiancée already know some tell-tale signs of restlessness. With the (mostly) goodnatured nickname «Gorilla» it hardly needs stating that I don’t do so well sitting still doing nothing for too long.
She even claims that I go around looking for projects,- a tree to climb up and/or cut down, something to fix, and axe to grind to shaving speck, or one of the many motorcycle modification projects. It is ofcourse a completely unfounded claim.
Eitherway, the other day when I was hovering over our two BMW F800GS in the garage, I found that I could gain 3,5 cm, or 1,378 inches, of luggagespace on each bike by moving the Rotapax fueltanks backwards.. That’s 3,5 cm more space to try to find a comfortable position riding our bikes for 13 months. (If you’ve not yet heard about the project, click here for the route description)
The process of moving the spare fuel tanks is fairly straight forward. It is simply a matter of measuring up and drilling two new holes in the luggage plate. It is highly reccomended to remove the luggageplate before you start drilling, unless you want to risk ventilating the bike in places the BMW-designers did not intend for it to be ventilated.
I pride myself in using only the tools I have in my toolroll. These are the tools that are going with us on the trip, so it makes sence to make sure I can do any opperation I need with a minimum of tools and gizmos. Drilling two holes in a precision cut luggage plate however is not something I wanted to try without powertools. So I got my drill from storage, removed the luggage plate form the bike and measured up where the new holes should be. Then, drilling the holes is eazy peazy.
In my juvenile days, roaming around in my dads basement/workshop, I remember him telling me «measure once,- cut twice». I now realize that this was not so much an advice as it was a warning.
In retrospect I now wonder about a lot of the other advice he gave me growing up. Perhaps they all where warnings? A bit confused and curious I returned to my work. The lockabel attachment for the fuel tanks have a very spesific distance between the holes for the bolts, a distance I missed by maybe 3 mm (0,118 inches). As metal dont really bend too well, I had to follow my dads advice, now turned into warning, and cut twice. So another powertool came out of storage and I made the annoying little adjustment to make it fit.
Some before and after images. 3,5 cm may not seem like much but I’m sure it’ll make a big difference. And the zen-like state of mind I get from taking on and finishing yet another project makes it all worth it.
Things have been crazy busy with preparations for the wedding the last week, so the preparations for the trip was put on the back burner for a little while.
Now things are finally getting back on track, and yesterday I found and bought all 20 maps we need for the 13 month adventure.
And its quite a few maps that where on the list:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- USA (4 maps)
In addition we’ll be traveling through the following countries. How ever we figure that the bike-mounted GPS will suffice:
- Norway (home sweet home)
- France (the very southern point)
23 countries in 13 months..
Even happier when I found all in Amazon for close to half the price listed at the respective suppliers’ websites. Yay!
The maps are folded, water and muck repellent and range in scale from 1:250 000 and up to 1:2 200 000. Some city centers will be a bit awkward to navigate with a map on the scale of 1-to-two-point-two-million. We’ll have to rely on the GPS, Tonjes impeccable navigational skills local knowledge and a generous dose of luck.
Who dares wins,- right? What can possibly go wrong?
So the route for our world-tour project has been changed. Why? Well, Hotstuff got her license, but it was a bit later than we had anticipated, mostly due to the horrible quality of her first school, and the long time it took to find a vacant spot in another. This did a few not wonderful things to our timeline, and subsequently Hotstuff never got in the training on city streets and gravelcource that we both agreed was needed.
One thing is just driving through Russia and surviving Mongolia .. funny how easy that sentence rolls out so easily..”just driving through Russia…”..another thing is enjoying the ride and the vastness that is mongolia. Very close to no infrastructure or roads. The ultimate adventure… Well, one day shortly after Hotstuff got her license she said jokingly “maybe we should just drive al over Europe instead of Russia and Mongolia? And then straight over to the Americas? And then we can do Russian and Mongolia the first summer after we return from our trip.. I thought about that for about 4 seconds. It made perfect sence. A little reseach and a new route was in place. Check it out below, map by map, month by month. Clicking on the maps brings up more detail. Try it 🙂
The adventure starts august 1st 2014, instead of mid june same year. By pushing the departure date by around 6 weeks we can focus on the wedding-aftermath, and not have to organize both the wedding and a 14 + month trip all at the same time. We’ll start in Stavanger and travel east towards Kolsrud in Sigdal, where we hope to revisit my Kolsrud farm and meet up with some great people. Thereafter we aim for Sweeden, and hopefully a new gravel cource for both Hotstuff and myself. From there we’ll swing by Denmark, and on to Hamburg, Germany for some lastminute but critical gear shopping. Other must-see places in Germay is Villa Lövenherz MC hotel, my home away from home (I wish) and Schwartswald. The last days of August will be spent in Split, Croatia.
Estimated traveldistance for August 2014 is 3550 km. You know it’ll get higher ’cause I always get a little lost. But that’s the name of the game. Coincidently also the name of the blog 😉
September 2014, we aim to take some kind of ferry from Split over to Ancona, Italy, and then travel the east coast of Italy, and again on a ferry over to Greece. After spending around 10 days in Greece we’ll head back to Italy via the same ferry, and ride the west-coast up to Rome, and then on to Genova.
Estimated traveldistance for September 2014 is 3500 km.
October will take us from Genova, Italy, to Malaga and Gibraltar in Spain. We’ll zig-zag through the alps and slowly make our way south-west. The distance traveled this month will not be significant, with goood reason. Sometime this month in Spain we have to get both bikes overhauled for the South and Middle America part of this trip. We also have to get tire-changes. I’ll order the tires sometime in September to be delivered to a predefined adress in Spain, and then change them myself. We also plan to do a significant amount of offroad playing and training in a area relatively close to Malaga. The better prepared we are for the Americas part, the more enjoyable and safer the trip will be. In October we also have to arrange for transport from Malaga, Spain, or Lisboa, Portugal,- and over to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We hope for cargo shipping, hopefully with us as passengers. The alternative is air freight. Faster but more expencive. And monkeys. Gotta visit the monkeys in Gibraltar 😀
Estimated traveldistance for October 2014 is 2700 km.
November & December 2014
South America. Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. Depending on transport from Spain, we’ll have somewhere between 5 and 8 weeks for this strech, Very excited. Hotstuff hates spiders, and Google claims that there are a few here. Google is clearly wrong. Move along, there is nothing to see here… On our trip south we hope to reach Cape Horn. Weather, mostly temprature, may be hard to deal with. On the other hand, we’re Norwegians. Last I rode to work on my F800GS themprature was around 5 deg. C. Can’t get much worse can it? Even though it is almost spitting distance to the South pole. If we dont get abducted by Penguins at Cape Horn, we’ll travel North on the west coast in Chile towards Bolivia. So, celebrating X-mas in Chile I suspect.
Estimated traveldistance for November and Desember will totalt minimum 8000 km.
In Bolivia we’re hoping to find a safe haven with friends that have emigrated & repatriated to Bolivia, La Paz. This will aslo be a logical place to have the bikes serviced and also plan the route ahead in some more detail. We’ll stay way clear of Colombia, and we need to get to Panama City. Only problem is that unless you are a native jungle-dweller or Bear Grylls there is just no way to pass through the Darién Gap. So we’ll ride to Esmeraldas, Ecuador and get on a boat for Panama City.
Estimated traveldistance for January 2015 is 3400 km.
February will take us mostly along the Pan American Highway through Central America. We’ll visit all the small countries that very few people have heard of, and even fewer have been to. There are some skepticism in planning HQ regarding Mexico, so we will find some kind of transport, by sea or by land, from Belize to Miami, FL, USA.
Estimated traveldistance for February 2015 is 3700 km.
March we’ll ride along the Gulf Coast from Miami, through the Everglades, and head up to Dallas, TX for another safe haven and a serious bike overhaul. The punishment the bikes will have recieved at this point means that well to everything from oilchange to break pads and everything in between. March still may give us some winter-surpises. So we’ll stay in Dallas waiting a littlebit for the weather. This will by far be the shortest strech, but we’ll hopefully make the most of it barring icy roads, and enjoy the South Texas backcountry.
Estimated traveldistance for March 2015 is 225000 km.
April & May 2015
April and May 2015 we’ll head to LA on the west coast, and from there head north on the very famous HighWay 1 up to Sanfransisco. From there we’ll og incountry to the Nevada Saltflats. There will be no land speed record attempt, but I am very curious of the wide open flats. From there we’ll head North to Seattle. We plan on two monts to account for King Winter to withdraw.
Estimated traveldistance for April & May 2015 is 6500 m.
June takes us north up up and away to Inuvik in the very north of Canada. We’ll travel on the infamous Dempster Highway, wich is more of a very long gravel trek. Oh be still my heart! Due to the cold Canadian weather (at least waaay up north) we plan to arrive at Inuvuk at the very end of June.
Estimated traveldistance for June 2015 is 3900 km.
July we’ll head back South. Mostly ’cause there’s no more going north. End of the line as they say. The Dempster HW is the only road for a while, but we’ll head south-east through Edmonton, Calgary into the US again towards Montana. Highlights of this strech is amongst others, (but without forgetting Dempster HW going South) Waterton Lakes nasjonalpark and the Princ of Wales Hotel (Canada), and Great Falls Montana- (USA).
Estimated traveldistance for July 2015 is 4100 km.
August is the final strech. We are turning our front-wheels towards home. But, going there will take us through som amazing places. Amongst these Chicago, Washington D.C. and finally New York. From NY we’ll find transportation be it by air or by sea back to Europe, and then finally Norway.
Estimated traveldistance for August 2015 is 3700 km.
July and August 2016
MONGOLIA, – Another adventure, but not too far in the future I think 😉
Some news travel slowly, and this post is in that Category.
Last friday I crashed my trusty Yamaha. Friday evening, a lot of traffic, and I was driving home. Choosing the bus-lane (legal in Norway) due to heavy traffic in the regular lane, I was enjoying the fact that I was not stuck in traffic as was everyone else.
Someone else obviously had the same idea, as one of the cars in the lane to my left suddenly cut into my lane and thereby cut me of. It is clear that whoever drove that little white POS didn´t see me, and I had to choose between the car and a dodgy evasive maneuver. I tried the latter, ended over a grassy devider, flying through some bushes and rolling to a standstill.
So, the cold and wet season is upon us here in Stavanger.
Mid temperature is about 4-5 deg. C. / 40 deg. F.
It´s only slightly different from late summer. Difference mainly the much shorter days, and just about 10 deg. C colder.
Anyway, I ride my trusty Yamaha every day, and hope to do so all year. Mostly because I just love riding the MC. Secondly because I sold my car late august..
The temperature-drop late in late october meant a need for a glove upgrade. So, as the picture above shows, I ordered and tried the LOBSTER gloves from Rukka.
In a word; fantastic! Warm, waterproof good enough for a record wet Stavanger fall, and the lobster design lets me use throttle and brake-lever without having to put all 4 fingers over the lever. Makes for more control and a more relaxed ride.
They said it could not be done!
Or, more like I hoped it could be done but got lost in the research.
I keep playing different scenarios in my head. What if this breaks, how can I fix it. What if this breaks, how can I fix that..?
Parallel to this I already decided to bring some sort of foldable solar charger in order to charge laptop, camera and sat-phone. While traveling I can charge all these items using the alternator on the bike.
However, the trip is not about getting there really fast. Its about spending 12 months (or more) seeing a large part of the world. That, hopefully, also means spending 2-3 days on that perfect spot just because I feel like it. Picture it; Sunshine. Hammock. Book (kindle). Coffee. Blogging about the fact that I have found the perfect spot…
Sitting around will eventually sap the energy out of the gizmos I bring, and hence the Solar charger
But then I got to thinking; what if the motorcycle-battery dies for some reason, or just goes really low? Can I charge it with the foldable solar charger? It turns out, that yes! with a controller that is.. Happy days.
Me preparing for this in all likelihood means that it will never happen. But as theys say, “´tis better to have and not need, than to need and not have..”
Found my self alone in Bergen with time to spare after a great KFM-seminar, and I wandered into a nice little travel-store called Chillout.no.
Before long I had increased my research collection with the following titles :
1) Lonely Planet: “Mongolia”
2) The Rough Guide to: “First Time – Latin America”
3) The Rough Guide to: “South America on a budget”
4) The Rough Guide to: “Central America on a budget”
WHAT? A pre-trip trip?
In order to test all the equipment, packing practice, camping life, the ride, the rider.. ..one must have a shakedown. Important questions I need to answer are amongst others these:
What did I miss? What should I NOT pack? What is actual fuel consumption. Does all the equipment work as I expect? How well do all my electronics hold up? On the road blogging, feasible?
Since my main project is a 12 month around the world trip, I figure a 3 week shakedown is just the thing.
2 Rules to this trip. 1) All nights must be spent in a tent. 2) Avoid highways.
Andreas has already signed on for this trip. Others are welcome, given that they adhere to the rules stated above, that they are completely self-reliant in terms of equipment and finances, and that I like their company.
Planned route is as follows:
- Stavnanger, Norway
- Sigdal, Norway
- Malung, Sweeden
- North Cape, Norway
- Helsinki, Suomi
- Stockholm, Sweeden
- Stavanger, Norway
Estimated travel distance is 4.560 km.
Accounting extra travel distance for me getting lost, and or following spur-of-the-moment navigation decisions (last two points ad up as the same most of the time, or the latter leads to the first..) I would be surprised if this shakedown trip clocks in as anything under 5.000 km. Travel time is estimated to 66 hours.
I just need to drive an average of 217 km every day.
So, I´m going. alone if I have to, but I´ll be happy to share this adventure with someone else.
Prerequisits: Anyone going must have the following
- Motorcycle licence, valid internationally
- Your own MC capable of going off road, as there will be something of a road-shortage where I´m / we´re going
- Be completely self-sufficient int terms of equipment and funds. Motorcycle riding is all about freedom, and tha also entail the freedom to go your own way.
- Necessary training (before departure at least); first aid, some mechanical skills, MC-offroad skills.
Over the last two weeks I´ve read 5 books on different aspects of adventure motorcycle riding. A lot of good info here:
The best where probably “Adventure Motorcycling” and “Building the ultimate Adventure Motorcycle” by Robert Wics
But, “The Unleash your adventure pack list,- what to take, what to leave & the hows & whys of overland motorcycle travel” by Sherrie McCarthey & patrick Schweizer is al LOT more practical and down to the point then the title indicates 🙂
However, current research is the DVD series “Long Way Around” with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.
Good times 🙂
Så, våkna i morges og innså at jeg må ta noen språkkurs de neste to årene. Tror ca 1/3 av ruta går i russisktalende land, og 1/4 går i spansltalende land. Gjør nok livet mitt litt lettere om jeg i allefall har noen gloser.. 😀
Hadde uansett tenkt å ta med en billed-ordbok, hjelper vel litt.
Så, planen er å kjøre verden rundt på MC.
Ønsker å kjøre fra Stavanger, via Leipzig, Berlin til Paris og så ned til Spania. Derfra en tur ned til Roma og muligens lenger sør i Italia om tiden strekker til.
Så opp og øst via Ungarn til Kazakhstan, innom Russland, inn i Mongolia, så inn i Russland igjen til kysten. Derfra en tur ned til Japan. Fra Japan tenker jeg fraktebåt/fly til Buenos Aires, og så kjøre sørover langs kysten av Argentina og så opp langs vestkysten av Chile. Tanken er å følge vestkysten av hele søramerica opp til og med Ecuador, og derfra ta en båt til Panama City. Så videre opp via bla a Mexico og inn i USA. USA sør til nord og så til slutt Canada Vest til Øst.
Foreløpig tenker jeg at dette skal ta ca 12 mnd.
Reseach og planlegging vi helt sikkert påvirke rutevalg. Tar dette etterhvert.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination 🙂