Pants Packing

Packing Camp

And we’re BACK!  Time to gather our thoughts, mull over maps, pack a few pants and get hit the road again!  So far, so good.  As we’re on a time schedule we’ve actually planned a route this time (unlike us!) and will be rocking the rodeo in Calgary before riding the rockies, careering up the Cassiar Highway, scooping over the Top of the World Highway before chasing our way to the tip of Prudhoe Bay!   This time… we shall make it to the top!  Mu ha ha!

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Packing Clothes

Bike gear and pants!

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Motorcycle Luggage Review – Enduristan and Metal Mules

BikesChott

So Sam and I are currently on our charity round the world motorcycle trip (Chasing Horizons – you can follow us daily on http://www.facebook.com/chasinghorizons!  Wheee!  Whilst we were planning it though we both had a maaaajor hard time figuring out what kind of luggage to take with us… soft… hard… which ones and why…!  We finally ended up with the below set up which as you will read is working out pretty mega for us both and hope that the following review and on going updates on their handling and capabilities will help others make decisions in the future for their own luggage solutions!

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Luggage! Soft or Hard… that is the question!

Having laid out our kit for the trip we realised we have a fair bit of important equipment to take.  This includes a laptop, camera equipment (DSLR + lenses and head cameras) and various other electronics like kindles (to save on carrying books and manuals), head cams, phones etc.  We spent many an hour trying to figure out the best and most secure way to pack the above and even had KTM Basel coming up with ideas of how to make a rear rack to contain a water proof laptop holder… but it was all a bit awkward.

Frustratingly for us we absolutely love the Enduristan luggage as it is very durable, hard wearing and simple to use, but as with any soft luggage the panniers will not prevent items being crushed in an event of a fall.  We considered perhaps stacking the electronics some how on the back of the bike away from impact zones but again, the laptop was a flipping awkward shape for any sized roll top bag and then to have things piled on top of it… we just weren’t comfortable with that!

SO!  After much consideration, trial and error testing, research and recommendations we have now decided to combine the very best of both worlds and combine soft luggage with hard luggage.  Yup, our final solution is Sam with top class Enduristan soft luggage panniers and myself with the stupendously amazing Metal Mule panniers!

Now originally we were confused as to whether to go for soft or hard luggage seeing pros and cons for them both.  The reason we were put off hard luggage was due to Sam’s experience on his previous travels with some zegas, which decided to leak and reshape themselves heavily after a couple of falls in snow and ice.  But… the more we looked at Metal Mules and read up on them, the more we realised these were fantastic bits of equipment and way way WAY above Sam’s zegas!

Having spoken to Paul from Metal Mule we are meeting with him up at the Birmingham Bike Show so he can have a look at the bike set up!  Being such an incredibly well travelled fella he is proving to be incredibly fascinating and knowledgable beyond belief when it comes to motorcycle travel, luggage and just general adventure recommendations!  We’re both really excited about meeting him soon and getting the bike kitted out!

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ARghrghGHhgh!

The next person who says to us that the planning of the trip is the most exciting part of it all will be nommed alive! Hahaha! We have had such a harsh 2 months with so many things going wrong or causing us stress from big to small which has just put such a big strain on us. A mini list just so you can get an idea:

  1. House sale fell through. Massive estate agent problems!!
  2. Booking the wrong flights (my bad) to Switzerland
  3. Sams bike breaking down
  4. Delays in parts
  5. Scala headsets broken
  6. eBay items lost in post
  7. Scala headsets broken after second replacement
  8. Visas delays
  9. Carnet delays
  10. Problems in Egypt and Cairo concern
  11. Parts finally arriving… but being the incorrect ones we ordered or not the right amount
  12. Tyre changing issues (balancing problems with new rim locks)
  13. Feeling super manky from Cholera vaccine…
  14. …. being told we took the Cholera vaccine incorrectly meaning it’s not worked and having to order more. This meant both registering and booking doctors appointments which they’re short of at the moment.
  15. Cholera turning up… but only one set two days before we’re supposed to be leaving
  16. Heated Jacket stops working
  17. Waterproof trousers arrive but wrong size
  18. Another ebay Parcel doesn’t get collected… need to rearrange collection
  19. Estate agents state they’re going to take me to court as I refuse to pay them their full fee due to their poor service.
  20. Unable to update website…

….There are so many more little niggly things that we forget about but even my parents have said how it seems that everything is against us leaving no matter how hard we try! This, coupled with saying goodbye to our families and some of our true true friends has just made everything so heart wrenchingly difficult. I think it’s only natural that a few times we have just looked at each other utterly exhausted and said “…should we just stay home, get married, have kids and get a dog?”!

BUT!! We shall soldier on!! Screw the world being against us, we both really want to do this and just need to get going on the road!! Big apologies to us being exhausted lately, we hope you understand :) xx

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We tried to go get our visas but she said Noo Noo No /amywinehouse

Sam and I have been going to and from London the past couple of weeks to finalise our visas!  Our Ethiopian visa, which we have heard can be a bit problematic at times, went super smoothly!  We were in and out in no time and only had to wait 24hours to pick them up!  Great times!  The problem lay in picking up another Visa for a North African country which proved a little more challenging.  Even though we had been through a broker in order to obtain it and paid $400 each already and been reliably informed they were ready to go, the embassy proved to be a bit of a dead end.

Beardless Woes:

Stupidly… I went in to collect it whilst Sam sat outside in the car so to save us parking costs.  Whilst waiting in a queue I had some chap come up to me in the queue and ask in broken English with a quizzically furrowed brow “you… you want to go to this country?…. You?”.  The emphasise wasn’t in the confusion of why I would want to visit what I presume was his homeland, but more that I… of all people… would want to go. I gave a rather enthusiastic response of “Yup I sure do!! Can’t wait” and then watched him sidle off, eyeing me up, still looking a bit confused and then mumble some words to his friend and then stopping and simultaneously both looking up at me confused.  It was then I realised I was the only western girl in the room and realised perhaps…  this was not one of our well thought out moments and maybe Sam should have been in my place.  Nevertheless, I stuck in the queue and eventually reached the counter where I am greeted by a lady who sounded exactly like the mexican cleaning lady from Family Guy:

Server: “So.. you want Visas?”
Me: “Yes please!”
Server: “You on computer system I see. You have visas.”
Me: “Brilliant… here are our passports… thank you again!”
Server: *takes passport… looks at them… looks at me…. looks at screen* “No noo”
Me: “I’m sorry is there a problem?”
Server: “No visas no.  Not today.  Next week.”
Me: “Oh… okay… erm… maybe this afternoon?” (thought I’d try my luck)
Server: “…. nooo noo no”
Me: “Okay… what day would be suitable?”
Server: “Next week.  Maybe Monday”
Me: “Sure… and what time?”
Server: “In the day time” *hands back passports*
Me: “Oh… so you don’t want the passports now?”
Server: “…. noo. noo noo.”
Me: “Okay… can I leave them with you perhaps?”
Server: “… erm… nooo. noo.”
Me: “May I post them to you?”
Server: “Noo. No no.”
Me: “Okay… who do I need to give them to next Monday?”
Server: “Ooh…. ohh. Me.”
Me: “Oh… Okay… and I cannot leave them here with you for you to process Monday?”
Server: “….. noo. No no.”
Me: “If I come back in on Monday, can you post them back to me?”
Server: “Erm… …. … yes.”
Me: “Oh excellent!  And how long would they take to send back?”
Server: “Ooh… ooh. I do not know.  Maybe a week?”
Me: “Ah okay. So… erm right!  I will be back on Monday then with the passports and forms!”
Server: “OK.  And Also £200”
Me: “Oh?”
Server: “Yes. £200. Two visas… £200.”
Me: “Okay!  Sure… erm… thank you!  Big thank you! Have a nice day!”

Hahahaha!  Madness!  Thing is, Sam went in the next week and lo and behold he spoke to the same lady who asked her colleague fella to help Sam who initially told him he had missed the time to come in (they were shut for an hour and half lunch when we went in… note… they only open 10:30 to 15:00!). Sam then insisted by saying “No no, we have the visas now thank you”… and the guy processed it for him no problems!  So man and stealthy beard power seems to be the way to go!

BIG THANK YOU to my Ma and Pa who kindly popped up to London to collect our passports once they had been processed :) This gave us the time to sort out various other bits and bobs and tie up some loose ends so we were eternally grateful!

All sorted now after much fiasco!  It’s taken an extra week than expected which has delayed us but that just means a few more nights in a snug bed and with home cooked meals! :D

 

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