It is now 24 months since we returned from our epic ride from Argentina to Alaska on our trusty BMW1200GSA, better known as Bertie. It has been a busy time from a family and freelance work point of view and last week Jim completed his mountain leader assessment. This means that at the dear old age of 60 he is now a qualified mountain leader. Another milestone. So if you want to climb a mountain, he won’t lose you and I can vouch for his rope work. (hmm perhaps I should rephrase that)
However, the urge to get back on the road and continue our quest to ride around our beautiful world has never been far from our thoughts and at last the time has arrived for the next leg of our journey. Scandinavia and Eastern Europe – we leave tomorrow!
To some this may not sound as exciting, or after our last journey, as adventurous but we approach it with the same excitement and anticipation of discovery. New places to explore, new roads to ride and of course new people to meet. Hopefully some of the roads will be in better condition !!!
So, the maps have been laid out and 2 points selected, namely Norway and Romania , and with our usual attention to organisational detail we have picked a departure date, purchased a ferry ticket to the Hook of Holland and located our passports. The rest will be made up as we go. Five years ago, the suggestion of travelling in this manner would have been a terrifying prospect but our last journey showed us how liberating it could be taking away the pressures of being in a particular place at a particular time. Why pick these two points? Our destination in Norway will be Nordkapp, the furthest north in the world you can ride on a road connected to a road system and further north than we rode in Alaska, and Romania as we have given ourselves 3 months for the journey (a new grandchild is then arriving) so we can ride the famous Trans Alpina and Transfargasen Highways.
There is always some preparation required for any journey and Bertie has received a bit of a makeover for this trip. At 7 years old and now registering 64,800 miles on his clock, Jim thought he ought to patch him up a bit and reinstate some items that failed in the Americas. So he has:
- carried out a full service
- reinstated the sidestand cut out switch
- replaced the exhaust flap (the locals will be pleased)
- put on a new rear splashguard (our old one fell off somewhere along ruta 40 in Patagonia)
- renewed the brake disc (rotors) and brake pads, ably assisted by grandson Andrew (11)
As ever a big thank you to Ian at Church Stretton Motorcycles who fitted the some Heidenau K60 Scout tyres, replaced the fuel level sensor (no more mile counting), fitted a new alternator belt and provided advice and assistance when Jim couldn’t work it out!
On this trip we will be camping more frequently than in the Americas. Hostels in South America were as cheap as camping there but in Europe everything will cost considerably more. So we have treated ourselves to some upgraded accommodation in the form of a slightly bigger tent with a porch area we can actually sit in for those moments of inclement weather. The rest of our kit remains largely unchanged making this trip easier to prepare and pack for (although there was quite a long discussion as to which camping stove set up we should take before deciding that there wouldn’t be a lot of camp cooking taking place anyway – boiled water for Jenny’s hot water bottle and coffee will be required however).
So here we go again, another adventure on Bertie; probably 3 months and about 12-14,000 miles this time. Some say we’re getting a bit old for this; granted we may not get on and off the bike or get up from floor level in the tent as gracefully as we once did but we think we’ve got a few more big rides in us yet!
So, first stop the Harwich ferry .……………..