PLANNING
The planning of the trip has been done over a couple of years - only because we originally expected to leave in September 2000 but as the house did not sell as quickly as we had hoped we were delayed. Our next leaving date was April 2001 but this was put off due to work ( they agreed that if I stayed for a further year to get certain contracts up and running I could have a year off and they would hold my job open ). So planning has been rather haphazard.

The Route - this is basically a list of countries that we intend passing through - no fixed route has been decided and this will be done on the way. Cliff has been mainly responsible for this as my goegraphy was horrendous, althought I now have the counties memorised and generally in the right order ! Buying a world wall map has helped enourmously.

The Bikes - Why F650's. They are bullet proof, simple to work on, relatively small in size ( Cliff wanted to take the R1100GS but the only way Jenny would be getting on it was with a rather long running jump ). We had originally planned on two the same but as it turns out Jenny has the Strada model and Cliff the Funduro. This was thanks to Keith who we bought them from in Northern Ireland. We advertised Cliff's R1100RT and stated that we might take an F650 or two in part exchange. Keith e-mailed us saying that he had two F650's ( his and his wifes ) which they had used to go to Spain on. Thus his was already equipped with Touratech panniers and both had engine crash bars - what luck we thought. A deal was done and we met them at services in Doncaster, the bikes were swapped, money to us and we all rode off into the sunset. It was a long day but we had our bikes.

To see pictures and more detail about what we have done with the bikes click here.

Money - the all important requisite before deciding to do this. We sold our house and bought a flat in town, this meant less mortgage and we could pay off some credit card bills. We can also rent the flat out whilst we are away. We have now been in the flat for 18 months and have saved sufficient funds
( we hope ) for the entire trip. I decided that as we were taking a laptop then internet banking would be the simplist way to look after our money, so I opened a IF current account, savings account and credit cards. All work with each other so that we earn don't earn interest on our savings and current account but then don't pay interest on the credit cards. IF also issue a hole in the wall card with can be used at any machine stating that it takes Sirrus or Maestro - we believe widely available. We are also taking other credit cards.

Sponsorship - we contacted many people asking for any assistance / discounts that they were willing to give. And we were pleasantly surprised by the responses. Obviously as this is not a Charity trip we did not expect help at all. However, BMW GB, Hein Gericke, Bert Harkins Racing and others that I am sure I have forget have provided help and/or discounts. See the Sponsorship & Links page for more info.

Clothing - this has proved to be more difficult that we expected. Possible heat factors being our main concern. Hein Gericke do a very nice jacket and trousers ( not available in ladies sizes though ) but it is not available in the UK - it's in their catalogue but you can't buy it here. BMW Savanna Suit was recommended by John Deacon when we met him at Goodwood Festival of Speed but this was expensive at the time. With some discount from BMW we have decided on these. They have been ordered in and we should get them soon. Again Motorcycle Dealers have not cottoned on to the fact that more and more women are riding nowadays and clothing in ladies sizes, BMW Savanna does come in ladies sizes, is not readily available to try on. So I have had a guess at my size. Helmets - we have tried all of them. We are specifically looking for flip front helmets. Cliff decided on the HJC and although I don't have a love of flip front helmets I went for the Shoei Syncrotec - BAD MISTAKE - I find them difficult to get on and off anyway but with the intercom in it was impossible. I literally had to drag it off my head - thus I have very sore ears and now have a helmet that is brand new, cost £310, never seen the light of day and is no good to me - serves me right for not taking the intercom with me - BE WARNED.

In the final stages of planning chaos ruled. We sent our suspensions off to be remade so that theywould be rebuildable on the road (BMW ones being the throw away type). This was fine until there was a few problems with Cliff's one which was being done first. This finally turned up a week before we left - Jenny's was still to be done. When her one did finally turn up on the Wednesday before we left it was the wrong length - back it went to be redone and returned for Friday !! Whilst Jenny was in London collecting our Jordanian Visa, Cliff spent the day finishing her bike ! Things got worse - the bikes were taken to Jenny's parents as this was where we had been living for the last few weeks. Monday morning came ( we were to leave at 1p.m. ) the bikes were loaded up, Jenny's bike was put on the side stand ready to go and - ooops - it would not stand on flat ground with the side stand. ( In Jenny's words it was about time to say sod it we are not going - she spent most of the morning trying to stifle being sick ). The spring was too weak. Too late now.................we had the spring taken off in Amsterdam and spacers put into it - now it is OK.

On top of this we left Visa's way, way too late. As it stands at the time of leaving we have one passport each ( we have two each ) with the Visa for Jordan only. Our second passports which have the Visa's for Syria and Pakistan are at the Iranian Embassy ( it is a minimum of 2 weeks as they need to be sent to Iran for the Visa ! ). When these are sent back to Jenny's parents they are under instruction to DHL them to us a a given location.

Oh - and it was raining when we left - typical ;-)

Below are a couple of pictures of the organised chaos we called a bedroom whilst living at Jenny's parents for the last few weeks.
For those of you who would like to be put off doing such a journey - I have am compiling a total of what we have spent to date up to the time of leaving - scarry stuff >-( ....GO
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