Still waiting for the bloody rego papers so can't ride - come on DVLA; you're quick enough with points when a speeding ticket or somthing is involved. Mind you, we can't figure out the non firing problem on the bikes, so we're stuck anyway. But it will be something simple and just needs detecting and fixing. It is all soooo frustrating though, particularly as its only 14 days till we leave.
But on the up side, being marooned means we're on top of most of the prep. We've got stuff to make grill guards for the headlamps, modify the number plate attachment so we don't lose them and get fined at borders, an assortment of jubilee clips to fix snapped exhausts and footpeg rubbers, and tubing to extend the rear racks. Nadine is sorting a basic but effective medical kit, I've found the maps that I lost and got the camera kit pared down to essentials. Tents are also sorted - including pegs and poles, as is a small but essential tool kit. Farkleing should only take a day, which is just as well as that is probably all we'll have at this rate.
Visas are all well underway and passports are at various places - two at the Mongolian Embassy, two spares on way to Stantours for the Stans paperwork. They won't be back intime before we leave, so they'll be Fedexed down to the Istanbul Bike Club who will look after them for us. Crossings sorted from the UK to France and the route down to Turkey is planned - France, Belgium, Lux, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Turkey. Bit of wiggling about so we can see people and places, and its not set in stone.
Then the plan is to cross from Trabzon to Sochi ( or whatever port the Russians are now using while Sochi is closed for Winter Olympics prep), ride up to Astrakahn into Kazakhstan, head for the Aral Sea, Tashkent, Samarkand, Dushanbe, Osh, Bishkek, Almaty, Semey, Irkutsk, Ulan Ude, to UB. That will be a bit of a ride and nobody said it would be easy, but hey, we've just ridden across Africa on even smaller bikes, so we know we can do it.
See, easy! But any bike problems and we'll get one of these
After that, Mongolia. We're planning to ride the whole country, huge as it is, but have lots of contacts, so don't envisage too much difficulty. We'll drop in from the top (Ulan Ude direction), down to UB, taking in interesting bits of the northeast as we do, ride down to The Gobi and then continue westwards and upwards before heading back to UB, where we will get the train down to China. We'll post the bikes back to London to UB ( in bits - I have a plan, assuming they're worth saving, if not, we'll donate them to my bro in law to break for parts and sell for his trouble. Already know how to get round the customs problem should that happen - that's a benefit of having local family)
So then Beijing. Reckon on a week/ 10 days there focused in the city centre, having a general look around and also looking for the places that my great aunt photographed back in the 1920s. Her pics are in SOAS in London and they allowed me to copy them so that will be interesting to do. I'll do that on a better camera though, which my brother will take to UB for me so I won't have to drag it across the world on a small motorbike.
So, come on rego papers, we need you.......