Things going to plan…. so far!

Things are so far going to plan for my overland Ireland to east coast of Siberia motorbike trip.Leaving New Zealand April 30. It feels like it is getting close. Im pretty nervous!

I have a bike, a BMW Dakar 650 GS. Its waiting for me in Ireland. It will take a bit of work: lowering (alot), dual purpose tyres, heavy duty tubes, replacement battery, wheel bearings, sprockets, plugs and my GPS will have to be fitted. And there is bound to be a few other things.

I have my airline ticket to Ireland, but not one home as I am not sure when I will arrive in Vladivostok.

I have my route sorted. although this is dependent on me getting a visa for Turkmenistan. If I don’t I will have to change my plans and head further north into Georgia and then into Kazakhstan, missing out Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. A shame. Apparently I have a 50 per cent chance of getting that visa.

My route is: Catch ferry from Ireland to France-Germany-Austria-Hungary-Serbia-Bulgaria-Turkey-Armenia-Iran-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan-Russia-Mongolia-Russia. And I pretty much have my internal routes sorted as well.

I have managed to find a way round paying the carnet de passage for Iran (a deposit of about $20,000 to ensure I take the bike out of the country). I have found an Iranian who will guarantee the carnet for the cost of US$500. He’s legit according to other travelers.

I have bought a GPS and am now trying to learn how to use the bloody thing!

Have started getting my visas together. I need them for Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia and Mongolia. The other countries are visa free for New Zealanders. Most visas have to be used within three months so its a matter of leaving applying as close to my leaving date as possible. I applied for my Iranian visa the other day and had to have a passport photo taken wearing a head scarf.

I have lists: tools, spare parts, potential motorcycle workshops along the way, camp grounds and potential places to stay.

Chris Eden is a great source of knowledge- he has ridden everywhere! He has told me of an outfit that will send tyres out to any of the ex- Russian states, and an outfit that will ship my bike home from Vladivostok. Plus a bunch of other stuff. Mark Gabites has also been really helpful- he has also done a bunch of overland motorcycle travel. Thanks guys!

Sometimes I wonder what on earth am I doing! I have only been riding motorbikes a little over a year and am pretty crap at it. Im also giving up a really good job. But i have had a bunch of friends and acquaintances of my age die of cancer over the past couple of years and life is feeling pretty short at the moment. At approaching 60 I need to start prioritising!