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!