Medical dramas behind us, we can focus on preparing for our departure to Canada on the 13th. This last week has seen us re-united with Streak and Storm in their winter retreat and us ride them up to North Oxford Garage for their preparation for travel. The BMW Motorrad service department led by Matt have been wonderful in dealing with our various ‘needs’ as Streak and Storm were prepared for a RTW journey. We cannot thank Matt enough for helping us with getting Anne’s bike fully fit again. Matt you are a legend!
We were reminded that we need to be more vigilant in our inspections as ‘Streak’, Anne’s bike, was found to have dirty brown dishwater for coolant. We have no idea how this happened as the coolant system of the BMW F700GS is pressurised and we have not touched it. A mystery. As I was smugly standing back thinking my bike ‘Storm’ was fine, it was pointed out that ‘Storm’ had suffered overheating to the point where the surface coating of the side of the radiator had blistered off! I never got a dashboard warning! Note to selves, check bikes more carefully in future. Luckily neither problem appears to have caused any damage to the engines, which were examined carefully during the valve clearance check.
Fortuitously, it was found that the tyres, chains and sprockets on both ‘Streak’ and ‘Storm’ appear to have enough life remaining to see us across the USA and Canada. We will now replace them in Vancouver before departing for Asia. This should see us through back to Europe on the second set. An earlier replacement would have increased the chance of a remote location change, not our preferred option!
Packing has proved more challenging than I thought, with everything we used last time stored with the bikes, it should have been a breeze. However when we travelled in 2014/5 we had an endless summer as our hemisphere moves synced with the seasons. We are now starting mid April in Montreal, possibly heading to Alaska, so a little warmer clothing is required to be packed, although looking at the temperature, we may be wearing it all at once! We have also noticed the visible wear on panniers and other items that we will need to watch on the journey, which is starting almost three years since the beginning of our first adventure. We and the bikes are a little bit older, greyer and more frayed around the edges.
This reminded me that three years ago, this blog started as a way of communicating with friends and family when we decided to undertake our first long distance motorcycle journey from London down to Singapore. This was meant to be a one off for the duration of our 2014/5 RTW trip. Our desire to travel again in 2016 both on motorbike and in a 4×4 saw the blog revived, recording our experiences travelling in Spain and Southern Africa. Now, as we undertake preparations for our next adventure, I realised that the “2slowspeeds” blog not only celebrated its third birthday, but saw its 250th entry posted around the same time! Who would have thought, especially with my limited English grammar and both our limited motorcycling skills?
Since we left home in Brisbane, we have also enjoyed the opportunity to spend quality time with both family and friends between our bike servicing, visa applications and packing. While we were unable to see everyone in our time here, we enjoyed catching up but we are now ready to go. Panniers and bikes loaded, we leave from Hampshire heading towards Heathrow. We will overnight near Heathrow and deliver ‘Streak’ and ‘Storm’ to Air Canada tomorrow for customs processing so they can join us on the same flight on Thursday 13th to Montreal.
We have been so busy that we seem to have had little time to think. This morning as I headed for breakfast, I felt the first stirrings of excitement. The adventure is underway…..