Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week 4 - War and conflict

We've had to change our intended route several times already due to unforeseen circumstances. Our route through Europe had to be changed too, but this time because of war and conflict. At the moment some 51 Million people are on the run from war and conflicts all over the world. Haven't we learned anything from the past? Our original route went through the Ukraine and Iran and Iraq. War and conflict put a stop to that. North-east Africa is a bit of a problem too.

Of course our 'problems' are minor ones compared to what the people in conflict areas are going through every day. For us it's an inconvenience, for them it is much more than that. I'm happy to say that Jeanette is looking after the route planning. She's been in contact with the Russian Embassy regarding the options for Ukraine and possible alternatives. Africa is somewhat problematic too at the moment… Jeanette has plotted our route on a giant map with a white-board marker. Needless to say it has been adapted many times this week alone :-) 

We also sorted out the shock absorbers for the Bonnevilles at Morren Import see our post about it here and attempted to fit Pro Oiler automatic chain oiler systems. Attempted as the Yamaha proved problematic with electrical interference upsetting the Pro Oiler computer. By the time Arnold from Pro Oiler worked out what was going on, and that we needed a GPS unit to get it to work, it was too late in the day to sort that out and fit them to the Triumphs as well. It will have to wait until after our visit to the UK.

Week 4 has also been one of tracking shipments. What is where and, more importantly, when does it arrive? We would have loved to show you Mike's XT660 with a set of Holan panniers. Holan did their utmost best to get it all shipped out as soon as possible, made a rack for the XT in record time (which by the way fitted perfectly!) and even included a new lock for the existing topbox so that Mike has one key for all panniers. Of course Murphy is in Poland too and thus the mounting kit, to fit the panniers to the frame, was omitted… Pure oversight and more than likely a result of the hurry to get it out asap. When we told them what was missing, they shipped it out the same day!

Part of the Rukka gear arrived as well, the rest should be here when we are back from the UK, and of course the Icon helmets have arrived too, see our post on them here. Wolfman has supported us with a lot of gear as well, which is underway and should arrive next week too. In between, I'm writing the missing pages on Nicaragua and Costa Rica…

Now that the repairs have been done, the bikes have been serviced and the new gear is on its way, we feel it's time for a BIG Thank You to the many companies that support us. Without their help this simply wouldn't have been possible. We're not millionaires, in fact we sold our house to do this. At times it is a struggle but then again people like Elena and Milla from Rukka reply so enthusiastically and really understand what we are doing. The enthusiasm from Ray at Icon motorsports and David at Wolfman luggage has been inspiring too. These people clearly understand what it's all about and did their best to get things organised as quickly as possible too. Because that is another thing we shouldn't forget: not only did they stick their neck out and support us, they also did the impossible and organised it all in record time!

Holan already supported us from the beginning and yet supplied us with a third set of panniers. They had a big order to fulfil when our request came in and yet made it in record time and, as usual, the quality of workmanship is second to none. Avon is not only happy to supply their top quality tyres, they can also build on a good network all over the world. The support we've had from Avon in the USA couldn't have been better, Avon in Mexico was brilliant too. JT Sprockets not only came to the rescue when we couldn't get sprockets for the XT660R; they also became our chain and sprocket supplier.

Seatrade in Costa Rica gave us the best motorcycle shipment yet, and did so in a banana boat! Very good people to work with and helpful from beginning to the end. UClear supplied us with a set of HBC200s. The only thing we can say about them is that they just work perfectly. Even when our worn out helmets had become so noisy that wind noise was terrible even with earplugs in, the UClear units somehow managed to keep us communicating. Not just a luxury but a life saver on many occasions too. Hilleberg's Keron 4 GT has been our home since November 2012. It has withstood many a storm and gale force winds. In the end the UV radiation killed it but Hilleberg kindly supplied us with a new one. Ventura bike pack has been great to us in the past. We still use their racks and headlamp protectors. Sayto helped us tremendously while in Mexico, organised the Avon Tyres and supplied us with tubes and tyre puncture goo. Their beautiful Barry Sheen helmet has a prominent place in a cabinet at my parents place at the moment, as I just found it too beautiful to get it scratched…

Barkbusters came to the rescue to prevent more broken levers eventhough a Triumph Bonneville can hardly be described as a market for them. They simply want to be there when an Aussie attempts to set a new record.

Rita Morren sorted out our shock absorber issues, allowed us to drop in and test units and knows her business well. ProOiler hasn't actually supplied us with chain oilers yet but has offered 3 of their brand new GPS controlled units, which will be installed shortly. Alt-Berg in Yorkshire will supply us with boots, we just have to go there to try them on!

Like I said before we couldn't have done this without the support and enthusiasm of all these people.
Thank you everyone!