Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bike Choice

Smaller vs. a larger displacement bike, 1 bike vs. 2 bikes, BMW vs. KTM, Suzuki vs. Kawasaki and the list goes on. Choosing a bike wasn’t an easy task.

The new BMW F800GS was released almost at the same time we started having this dilemma and knew that it was more than capable for what we wanted. However this meant spending more $, or $ that we didn't have.

We also decided that Angela would learn how to ride, so the riding would be shared. Angela's first bike was a Yamaha XT225. I even loved this bike. It was super light and the best choice for her to learn and gain confidence in riding. Sadly, she quickly outgrew the bike and it was clear she needed something with my power if we were to ride together.

It was decision time, purchase another bike for Angela or purchase a bike that she would ride on our trip. After much research and many hours on the HUBB and ADV Rider, we settled on a new ’08 DR650 for Angela in the Spring of 2008. With a few minor tweaks (lowered front suspension, lowered link, shorter side stand & a lowered gel seat) Angela could comfortably touch the ground. The more I worked on her bike, the more confident I became that the DR650's could be our trusty steads for our trip. I picked up a used ’08 DR later that year and so happened to be the same color as Angela's (his & her's). I loved these bikes; it was much lighter and was way easier to maneuver in the dirt.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Woof, Woof

Hello, my name is Echo and I am a 6 year old Golden Retriever. My parents have decided to go traveling on their motorcycles and unfortunately can not take me along on their trip. They have however promised that when they get back, they will be getting a sidecar for me to travel in. I am now in search of a warm, loving home for a year.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, this is when I was only 12 weeks old, I have grown since.

To aid in the decision making process, I have summarized my resume:-

  • Attended puppy socialization class
  • Attended obedience training class
  • Fully house trained
  • Eat twice a day - once in the morning and once in the evening
  • I am very regular and poo once in the morning after I eat and then again once in the evening, after I eat
  • I love human company and love to be pet and cuddled
  • I am well behaved and not aggressive at all
  • I have experience being in the presence of toddlers and once we are used to each other, may lick him or her a bit
  • Even though I am 6, I still sleep with my parents on their bed; though I can sleep on the floor if needed
  • I prefer lying on the floor to watch TV as I am not allowed on the couch
  • Even though I will watch you eat, I prefer not to be fed scraps and like the odd dog bone treat now and then
  • When given larger dry dog bones, I tend to carry them around the house for a few months before getting into them and like to carry my bone to bed – don’t ask me why
  • I would have just turned 7 years when my parents leave and still do enjoy playing with soft toys, the larger the soft toy the better
  • I like to be walked, however have not taken to the jogging/running thing
  • I do love to swim over the summer and not very fussy whether it’s the ocean or a lake
  • I only play fetch in the water with a stick, and really not into playing fetch on land
  • I have all my shots
  • I do believe my parents will be leaving money with me so that I can buy my own food
  • Did I say I was cute too

I have added a few pictures of myself so you can see how cute and adorable I am. I can send more pictures if needed.



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Friday, October 9, 2009

Our Proposed Route

An Overview

North America

(click on the link below for an interactive Google Map)

Central & South America

(click on the link below for an interactive Google Map),-60.117187&spn=67.188444,155.917969&z=3

Southern & East Africa

(click on the link below for an interactive Google Map),52.734375&spn=121.333608,311.835938&z=2

North Africa

(click on the link below for an interactive Google Map)

Countires Visited:-

Canada; USA; Mexico; Guatemala; El Salvador; Honduras; Nicaragua; Costa Rica; Panama; (fly over) The Darien Gap; Colombia; Ecuador; Peru; Bolivia; Chile; Argentina; (fly to) South Africa; Swaziland; Lesotho; Namibia; Botswana; Zambia; Malawi; Tanzania; Rwanda; Uganda; Kenya; Ethiopia; Sudan; Egypt; Libya; Tunisia; (ferry to) Italy; France; UK; ship/fly bikes back to Canada

All sounds easy enough. What do you think?
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One Year & Counting...

Now that we have less than a year to go, it makes things a lot more realistic than when we originally started to plan and were 3 years out from our departure date. We’ve been able to cross off many items on our checklist; however we still have a few important ones to address over the next 12 months.

In terms of the bikes, much of the work/modifications have been completed. The only outstanding item to deal with is to replace the front springs on the forks, with springs that have a heaver spring rate and with heavier fork oil and upgrade the rear shock. Rear shocks for both bikes are on order, so a few winter projects.

We met with our investment consultant this weekend to review how are investments have been doing and to figure out how we can still keep money invested and have her make funds available to us every 6 months or so. The outcome was better than anticipated and we have started to recover some of the money that we had lost in the global meltdown. Worst case is that we would break even based on our investment - so a lot better than expected.

We will be doing this!
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hedley Nickle Plate Mine

7 riders, 6 bikes, 3 days – was going to be the intro to our video of the weekend’s footage, very dramatic (courtesy of Joey). A long weekend in the Hedley/Keremeos area was the plan.

About a year ago, I had seen a picture posted online of a dirt road going up the side of a mountain with switchback upon switchback till the eye could see and finally reached an elevation of 6000ft and thought that this road couldn’t exist locally. Little did I know it was only about 350km east of Vancouver.

So the wheels were in motion, to get a group of friends together to do this spectacular ride. Joey on his Kawasaki KLR, Colleen (Joey’s girlfriend) on a rented Suzuki DR200, Harry on his Suzuki DR650, Danny & Rhiannin (an Australian couple that we met thru' Horizons and who had moved to Vancouver about a month earlier) rode my BMW 2-up and Angela and I on our DR650’s (yet another shakedown trip for our DR’s). It was an awe inspiring sight seeing 6 fully loaded dual sport bikes roll down the road.We had just come off a week of record breaking temperatures with highs off 34 °C (record breaking for Canadian standards) near the water and warmer temperatures inland, so knew we were in for a warm one. The original plan was to camp around the Keremeos area for both nights; so that we could leave our luggage behind when doing the road up to the mine. However as plans do change, we did a little side trip to Misseszoula Lake to visit Colleens parents as they have a “cabin” in other words a 4 bedroom, gorgeous home close to the lake. It was still light out, though getting late, when we were offered to spend the night, I was comfortable with camping on the lush green grass; however when we were offered to use the bedrooms, the group were sold on the idea of a night of comfort, with warm showers, BBQ’d hotdogs and “bollo golf” (a home made game where you throw a pair of golf balls with a piece of string tied between them onto 3 pieces of pipe attached at varying heights with connecting pipes. Three points if you land your balls on the highest pipe, two points on the middle pipe and one point for the lowest pipe and you can cancel your opponents throw by landing on the same pipe they did. The idea is to reach 21 points. So you can imagine where the conversation goes after a few beers and throwing golf balls around the yard. from top left: Joey, Kay & Dennis (our hosts) from left to right: Colleen, Danny, Rhiannin, Daryll, Angela, Harry

We headed out early on Sunday to tackle the dirt road up to the mine; not before stopping at the famous Doug’s (a well known beef jerky joint) for some, you guessed it, beef jerky. It was amazingly good and addictive and kept us going for the rest of the day. My dirt riding experience is still limited; however I had more experience than any of the other riders, so decided to hang back and be the sweep rider. Gave me a chance to stay out of their dust, and was able to stop and take some pics as well.

It was like the first picture I found, the road climbed immediately and we were on loose gravel that could buck you off if you went too fast or too slow. Care had to be taken around the switchbacks as they were sharp corners with loose gravel. It was exhilarating, mountain on one side, shear drop off on the other – no room for error. No bike trip is complete without the obligatory bike in photo shot to prove you were actually there.

We finally make it to the top where the terrain changes completely and the road is now hard packed and the surface is quicker to ride on and everyone picks up the pace, even the inexperienced riders. I knew that the dirt section led to a paved section, as further along past the mine area, a ski resort was developed. So now we are going down the other side of the mountain on paved twisties, what more could you have asked for. We hit Penticton for lunch and then split up late afternoon. Joey, Colleen and Harry had commitments and had to head back home on the Sunday evening, while the rest of us found a secluded campsite next to a river for the night and on Monday made a beeline for home.

As this was my first long trip on my DR, it performed really well. Comfortable seat, panniers did not seem too cumbersome, I quickly got used to have the Wolfman Ranier Tank Bag sit up on the tank and it didn’t affect me standing up at all. Ang’s. DR with the new Avon Gripsters did surprisingly well on dirt. The Gripsters are going to be our preferred choice of tires for the trip when available. I had also attached a Wolfman Denali Tank bag on her DR; however this impeded her seated and standing positions and have since taken it off.
All in all, it was an excellent weekend.
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Three Mountain Tour

Angela writes:
We’ve just returned from our 3 Mountain Tour shake-down trip around Washington State where we visited Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens and Mt. Baker. After a shopping trip to our favourtie Cycle Barn store in Smokey Point we headed east for Wenatchee State Park. Good thing we had taken Daryll’s latest and greatest purchase with us - our spacious new 2 room tent, as the mosquitoes were killer! Can you see the excitement in Daryll’s eyes sleeping our first night in the new tent? Like kid at Christmas.

The next days ride was filled with windy farmland roads, with great stops for filling up on Rainier cherries, and followed a meandering river into the friendly town of Yakima. After exploring the snowy mountains of the Chinook Pass and watching some die-hard skiers, we took a dirt forestry road in Mount Rainier National Park to our free secluded camp site.

On our way to Mt St Helens our path was graced with the sighting of 3 large buck deer eating grass at the side of the road. Actually I think it was devine intervention 'cause at the time I was singing church hymns in my helmet. Nothing like giving a little thanks to make good things happen! Highway 503 up the west side of Mt St Helens was a twisty, dangerous road as ones attention was always drawn to the magnificant sites presented at each turn, when one should be paying attention to riding (when I say one, I mean me). At the beginning of the road there is a beautiful active logging forest. As you get closer and closer to the volcano, the vegetation gets sparce. You can see the path of destruction that the flood of melted snow caused when the eruption occurred May 1980 and the river carried the blown-down forest that had been closest to the volcano, with it. At the Mt St Helens site itself the only left over forest that can be seen is splintered logs from 30 years ago and now growing little purple flowers. The movie at the observetory was informative but I was surprised at the lack of other facilities here. There was not even a café which I thought would be a staple of any American tourist attraction. After considering the proximity of the site to the active volcano however, I now understand the hesitation of investing in infrustructure. After this long 12 hour day of riding we ended up camping at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park and treated ourself to 6 minute showers. Oh the luxury! Actually speaking of luxury, according to my calculations we did this entire trip on $30/day/person - not bad in the good ol' USA.

The next day of riding had us on the freeway into Seattle for rush hour traffic so it was a great test of skill. Despite getting lost, we kept our patience and sanity and after a quick trip to Ride West BMW for new earplugs, we continued to get the hell out of the city and back out into the wilderness of Mt Baker National Recreation Area where we found yet another free camp site. As we were exploring the lake here, I took off my sandals while walking on a dock to hop on to the final piece of dock, when I realized it wasn't securely fastened to the first two parts. I tried lying on the dock, sticking my arms in the water to "swim" back but I kept drifting out. I was just about to jump into the water of the 10 foot gap between docks (as Daryll helpfully took this photo), when I noticed a flimsy blue string (which you can see on the right) attached to a log which I finally used to reel myself in. We laughed, and laughed....

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Trespassing on Mine Property!

Well not quite, but it sounds good.
As part of our trip prep., we've planned several overnight rides for this summer to test out our bikes, equipment, camping gear and hone our dirt riding skills. The first trip for the summer was around the Logan Lake area. We had Terry one of our good friends join us. Terry on his BMW X-Country, Angela on her DR650 and I on my BMW F650GS.

Day 1 took us to one of the most amazing campsites we have ever camped at. It was about a 30min ride on a dirt road up into the Highland Valley, a bit challenging at times with rocks and large boulders to contend with. The second recreation site that we came to was full except for 1 site that had a walking path leading to a point, and had enough space to pitch 2 tents and park 3 bikes. There was a guy fishing off the point when we arrived and while we were pitching our tents snagged about 4 good size trout, damn I wished I brought my rod. So on another note, I’ve been out fishing a few times, with no luck as yet, so this would have been perfect. I was kicking myself.

Day 2 – we visited The Highland Valley Copper Mine, stopped just before the security gates and were taking a few pics, when a security truck pulled up next to us. So obviously we were thinking the worst and were expecting to be told off for trespassing. To the contrary, the guy in the truck was super friendly and pretty much gave us a running commentary of the mine operation, the process and described each of the different stages of the copper extraction process. He also directed us to another area, where we were later politely told that we were actually trespassing and had to leave.
Later that day, we rode through the Ashcroft valley, a spectacular road into the little town of Ashcroft, being a Sunday, not much was open and the only option for lunch was a Chinese restaurant, less said the better about the quality of the lunch. We spent one more night camping and headed home on Day 3, spending the day riding in the rain, well we got to test out our rain gear and it works.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

About Us

Daryll (born 1971)I grew up and studied in South Africa where I worked in the Health Club industry. After a few years of climbing the corporate ladder, I decided to spread my wings and see what the world had to offer and moved to the UK. I was fortunate to continue in the same industry for a few more years which gave me the opportunity to travel. It was at the turn of the millennium (2000), when I managed to travel for seven continuous months through Scandinavia, Russia and down the East side of Africa. At the end of this trip, I knew that it wouldn’t be the last extended travel that I’d do.

I then moved to Toronto, Canada and started to work in the Spa industry where I met Angela. We later relocated to Vancouver and decided what better way to move across the country and purchased a mini-van, took a summer off and camped across this spectacular country. And the cycle repeats itself; by getting caught up climbing that silly corporate ladder again. Luck on my side, I managed to find work in the Spa industry, managing Spa’s and later getting involved in the manufacturing and distribution side of the business.

Angela & I married in 2005 and later that year, I purchased my 1st motorcycle. I’ve always wanted one and considering I didn’t live in one place long enough to actually own one, I thought what better time. It was a ’05 Honda CBR 600RR, a sport bike that could easily reach a top speed of around 220km/h without hesitation. I hear people cringe at this! I later sold it for something completely different, a dualsport, a ’07 BMW F650GS. A bike that could perform equally well on both paved and unpaved roads. In the summer of 2007, I took some time off work and did my first motorcycle adventure, a trip to Alaska and back, a total of about 10,000km. This was definitely not going to be the last.

Angela (born 1976)“You can take the girl out of Barrie (Ontario) but you can’t take Barrie out of the girl!” ~ Meaning I’m always up for a good-time and for new experiences, to gain a better understanding of the world and the people in it. As for including motorcycles in my raison d'être, I guess it began when Daryll started adventure touring. Even though I've always been passionate about travelling, camping and Daryll, I wasn't really excited about sitting on the back of his motorcycle for extended periods of time. I decided I'd be much more engaged if I were operating my own bike. My first few months of riding were full of tears, and getting over fears, but in the end, I too have become addicted to exploring new towns and gazing at new skies, while a myriad of changing smells (wet pavement, sweet grass, camp fires, morning dew, moss, ferns and salty ocean air) bring back a flood of memories of days gone by. These hypnotic days of riding, inspire me to think new thoughts, and make me so blissfully and utterly thankful.

Today, on this quiet morning, as I painstakingly string my sentences together, I reflect on how not having the comforts of home will affect my ability to contribute to our blog. How well will I be able to frame the truth of our experience in an internet café, on a three legged back-less stool, during rolling electricity black outs, on a keyboard with missing letters T through P? On a daily basis we will be struggling with foreign languages, finding adequate food, obtaining shelter from the blistering hot sun or grueling cold winds and missing our family, friends and loyal dog Echo. We will contend with wet clothes, cold feet, border guards, bureaucratic paperwork, bike gremlins, dehydration, and a frustrated (and quite possibly weeping) spouse.

While reading my upcoming posts, I ask that you refrain from perceiving me too harshly, as I know what sort of person I will become under the stress of travelling. As I craft my worded snapshots of our journey’s experiences, I will likely offer whiny, selfish, ungrateful ramblings and harsh judgments of people or altogether fail to express anything constructive, in a moody bout of rebellion against chaos. Please be gentle with the travelling me as I strive to understand my changing environments, and trust in the fact that I will grow to appreciate my freedom to explore and will eventually recognize that the most difficult challenges and people, will provide the most valuable lessons.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

A Crazy Idea!

Angela writes:
We decided to pursue our adventure motorcycle journey during our daily commute on the morning of June 14, 2007. To a fly on the wall, the conversation would appear as a whimsical distraction from our 9-5 reality however, we knew that the process by which we had come to this conclusion was solid.

At the time Daryll was gearing up for his first motorcycle adventure to Alaska. I was planning our future trip to India but became discouraged about squeezing in the best of the country on a 3 week vacation. It was a period of time for analyzing our short and long term goals prompted by the fact that the tenants living in our house had given their notice. As a couple, our shared direction was coming into clear focus as we completed lists of individual 101 life goals and collectively realized our desires centered on traveling the world.

That day at work it was hard to concentrate, especially with Daryll sending emails every few hours containing websites to help plan our adventure. Although excited, I cautiously waited for a wave of fear or regret which has never materialized. Today it is with calm and focused resolve that Daryll and I have set our plans in motion.
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