After we dropped the bikes off at Air Canada cargo and being separated from Streak and Storm, we feel like we have lost control of our destiny, in limbo. We have not quite finished the trip, yet this is another milestone – we can’t even work out how we feel. It is a strange time.
We get back to the UK on the 12th September after an overnight flight from Montreal, via Halifax. Clearing the bikes from Air Canada at Heathrow is quick and painless (except for an additional unexpected charge – from customs or Air Canada, not sure as each one claimed it was for the other…). It was still a very good deal overall, so no complaint, especially considering it was all done in 15′ and after a sleepless flight, we appreciate being reunited with Streak and Storm so quickly. We are lucky with the weather, clear blue skies, and we are able to repack in no time, even earning a congratulation from a truck driver who has been watching us from his cab. This friendly guy even offered me the use of his cab to change from as he saw I was about to take my jeans off. That is the least of my concerns, decline and I am back in my riding pants in no time.
Our first port of call is BMW Oxford, where we bought our demo bikes from. We thought they’d like to see the bikes after their round the world tour as the had commented when we left that it was nice to see that their bikes were going to be used for what they had been designed. We also wanted them to complete the bikes’ 36,000 miles service (we had already done the oil change and cleaned the re-usable K&N air filters).
A few hours later, we head for our hotel half way to Anthony’s sister Tansy in Dorset. We are exhausted, thought we would not be much company after an overnight flight, we didn’t want to ride too far and needed a long sleep before seeing family again.
I sleep for 11 hours and wake up refreshed – not so lucky for Anthony with his itchy skin. It looks like our last leg will be done in the rain. We rug up as it is cool too.
I recall how I had thought how long and boring the motorway journey to Dover nearly 15 months ago had felt – and it was our first day only – how will I cope with riding all around the world?!?! It seemed like such a massive task ahead of us. And we felt so green and inexperienced: we hadn’t even finished the beginner’s off road course and our motorcycle maintenance experience was next to nothing! Now, on our last day, the trip seems like it happened so fast and easily and it is just about over. Although it is raining, I am savouring these last couple of hours.
We approach Tansy’s home, the sun is out, the butterflies have reappeared, we see Tansy on the doorstep looking out for us, spotting us in the distance and waiving. What a sight. What a feeling. One last turn right, onto the gravel driveway, stop, the poppers and streamers go off, engines off. Wow. We have made it!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, the 2 Slow Speeds have just gone around the world on motorcycles and made it back with Streak and Storm, the 4 of us relatively unscathed. Our grateful thanks to our trusted companions, Streak and Storm, and our many guardian angels who can take a well deserved rest now.
I saw a little saying yesterday “what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”. It made me wonder what I would do. I am so glad the YouTube videos of roads in Russia, Kazakhstan, India and Myanmar didn’t put me off – they terrified me, the videos that is and I dreaded riding in those places. But the experience was different, they made me feel alive. The people we met, the numerous generous actions of strangers, the friends we made – worth absolutely everything. And the whole trip was so easy really. We were never threatened, never robbed and never felt unsafe. I am so glad my fears didn’t end building barriers to a most amazing experience.
We finish our trip being so much richer than when we left, with our brains full of memories, hearts bursting with the kindness of people the world over and looking forward to seeing family again. We will be coming out of our retirement when we return, having spent a lot more than planned because we didn’t camp as much as originally planned and stayed in better hotels. But one thing is certain, we have absolutely no regrets.
What next is a big question mark. The result of Anthony’s skin biopsy this week (and 4 stitches) will determine what we do in the short term. But we have changed our plans for the next few months, and forfeited travel bookings in Europe to return to Australia next month. It will be easier for Anthony to be in one place over the next few months at least while his treatment is fine tuned. Sadly, it does mean that we will not be able to catch with many friends and family members in Europe as we had planned to. But the last couple of months have been quite horrid for Anthony (without counting his crushed ankle) and he has been incredibly brave to continue as he has. It is more than time to concentrate wholly on his health now.
We are grateful to you too, our followers, for your support during our trip – if we hadn’t written the blog, for you initially, if you hadn’t let us know you were following us, commented and encouraged us for more posts, it would have been easy, tempting even, to stop writing and we would have had no way of remembering all we have seen and done and the names of the wonderful people we have met along the way. After some months, we ended up writing the blog for ourselves too. So, so long, and thanks for all the memories…..
Anne for the 2SlowSpeeds