The Untold Story

When we thought of doing this trip, a northern hemisphere summer round the world trip, we knew that we would be time and weather challenged but we both felt it was something we wanted to attempt.

Weather challenged we have certainly been for the past 2 months. We had hoped we would be late enough to ride up to Alaska but that was not to be. Winter across the USA, as it turns out this year, has been fierce and long and spring unseasonnably cold and wild. Instead we ended up going as far south as Arizona in pursuit of calmer and warmer weather but also to fill the time before our booked ferry trip to Vladivostok.

We certainly have had a great trip, enjoyed reconnecting with friends and family, making new friends, stumbled across gems we knew nothing about and simply letting fate or luck or whatever guide us to our next destination. But because of the freezing conditions, we have not camped as much as we had planned and accommodation has been horrendously expensive. While we have ridden in some pretty bad conditions, at the end of the day, if we want, comfort is never far, so long as we are prepared to use that plastic card… Having no fixed plan is something we have found we both enjoy. And yes, despite the weather, we’ve had a great trip so far.

The 2slowspeeds enjoying travelling despite the cold!

But… yes a big ‘but’ I wanted to share with our faithful readers. There has been a lot of soul searching. The but relates to the next stage of our trip. Due to the constraint we have put on ourselves of completing the trip during a northern summer, and due to visa restrictions (ie being limited to 30 days to cross Siberia, Mongolia and out of Russia before getting to Kazakhstan), we will have to rush this next part, Vladivostok to Ulan-Baatar especially, a mere 4000kms to cover in 10 days. How do we feel about this constraint? At least we’ll have long riding days with late setting summer sun. Do we really want to do this trip? Do we want this pressure? We can always back out at any time anyway. Should we rather just go to Alaska now and spend more time in Canada? And of course there’s the news of our unstable world at the moment – North Korea firing missiles, terrorists anywhere and everywhere. Our thoughts go back and forth… What shall we do?…

Anyway, all this just to let you know that we did question whether we should or whether we wanted to continue with our RTW trip. After much soul searching and checking with each other, we have decided it is something we both would like to complete. We really only finally decided about a week ago. The main aim was to visit friends we had made on the last trip and next on the list now, we really want to return to Uzbekistan and Iran (Turkmenistan willing). And discover Mongolia.

When we handed the keys to Streak and Storm to Justin at BMW-Ducati in Vancouver, I felt my first pang of excitement towards our next stage. This RTW is happening!!! Of course I will have to wait until the plane lands in Seoul before I can get really excited.

– Anne

The other way around?

March already! While we have been busy planning, drawing up schedules, checking websites, reviewing visa requirements and generally getting more organised, we are get closer to departing from Australia, under four weeks to go and I can hear the ‘tick’ ‘toc’ ‘tick’ ‘toc’ of the clock getting louder. Anne is ahead on the packing front, ready to depart now and I have a vague mental pile of what I need to take. The action list seems to be like the tide, it appears to be retreating, then rushes back in again, higher than before as we identify new tasks. All this activity has been focused on heading out across Europe, through Iran and the ‘Stans’ and onwards to Mongolia. However………

A week ago we suddenly realised that we would be in Iran and the ‘Stans’ during Ramadan which is from the end of May to the end of June this year. The main reason we are returning to this region is to spend time with friends, which would be more difficult for them during Ramadan (when eating and drinking during day light hours is not allowed). We have been so focused on weather, visa and associated timing issues, we missed this additional dimension. At the same time, I had been discussing airfreight options with Air Canada both to and from Canada ahead of the release of their 2017 ‘Fly your Bike’ program.

As we walked last Saturday, for our usual morning constitutional, we both realised that all the issues we had been considering, Ramadan, air freight options, ferry capacity from Vladivostok to South Korea in July, crossing Europe during upcoming elections etc, could be ameliorated by a change of direction!

We are now going round the world (RTW) from East to West instead! Unwinding our previous trip in a directional sense. No more sunrises in our eyes, just sunsets.

So we will ship the motorcycles back to Montreal, where we completed our 2014/15 RTW trip, with Air Canada in mid April. We will then head west across North America to the west coast and then ship Streak and Storm to South Korea, take the ferry to Vladivostok and overland back to Europe via Mongolia, the ‘Stans’ and Iran. All in the same timeframe we hope. The flight to Montreal is booked for the 13th of April and we need to wait until 30 days before departure to book Streak and Storm, a normal air cargo procedure.

It may seem a little strange, so close to our departure to turn everything around, but the ball of visa spaghetti that Anne has so eloquently drawn and written about can be untangled in many different ways one strand at a time.

We have always said that it is easier being on the road dealing with the challenges: visas, shipping, routes etc as they occur than tackling the sometimes overwhelming task list we seem to build before departure. Our change in direction really only affects our sequencing of visas, we will now do more of them on the road. (Pity we had already paid for and obtained our Letters of Introduction for our Iranian visas which are now obsolete due to the change of dates.) The other advantage we have is that having undertaken a similar trip before, we are comfortable in making this decision based on the experience we have already.

We also had my annual medical heart checkup this week. I felt like the proverbial hamster in the wheel while on the treadmill doing the stress test, fast running out of puff as the speed and angle of attack were increased, seems the gradual rate of increase approach of the past has been changed. The good news is that I did not collapse and get flung off the back to become another stain on the wall and the specialist saw no changes that would require action or an adjustment in my medication. A clean bill of health and good for another 12 months. He wished us a good trip and I will see him again next year. Excellent news, always good to tick another box.

How will it all turn out? You will need to stay tuned for further instalments over the next seven months.

– Anthony

2017 where next?

The New Year’s champagne has ceased to flow, the last party streamer has fluttered to the ground, and the party music has finally been silenced, now 2017’s pristine calendar waits to be filled with good intentions. While we have only been back for six weeks settling in and our good intentions to paint and redecorate our home, have drifted to the back burner as the lure of the open road once again fills our minds. Yes we are planning another motorcycle trip in 2017.

Before I reveal our plans for 2017, I thought it might be of some interest on how we went about reaching our decision. For those who just want to know the route and not our decision making process, just scroll down past the next paragraph and picture.

We had fairly quickly decided that we wanted to undertake another long distance ride after going to Spain last year. Given the milage on ‘Streak’ & ‘Storm’ we feel there is another long trip before we may need to undertake serious work on them. So out comes the A1 sized paper book we have used over the years for planning purposes and I add a small clutch of coloured markers. Let planning commence! A somewhat inaccurate map of the world is drawn and four possible routes snake our from the motorbikes home in the UK. Pros and cons of each option are discussed and the inevitable action lists are drawn up.

After much discussion we each independently rank the four options and find we both agree on the same first choice. We are drawn to this option for a number of reasons;

1: the chance to revisit some friends made in our 2014/5 RTW trip, no we are not repeating the same route;
2: the attraction of spending more time in sparsely populated regions;
3: visiting new places we have had on our list for some time;
4: returning to a region we last visited in 1985; and
5: the trip to last no more than six months.

How early planning evolves for the 2 slow speeds.

How early planning evolves for the 2 slow speeds.

As you can see, our options included Europe to Cape Town and a circumnavigation of Europe, neither of which we felt was quite what we wanted to do this year, so we have chosen to attempt a Northern Round the World (RTW) in the summer of 2017! Phew there it is out in the open, RTW again, sounds so simple when put this way as I sit on the couch typing away, but based on previous experience, there will be a lot more to do before we start. Motorcycle maintenance, route planning, visa acquisition and a host of others items that I have already forgotten from the last trip and will need to review on the blog for reminders.

Our plan is to travel, subject to getting the appropriate visas, via Turkey, Iran and the ‘Stans’ again, Russia, Mongolia and on to Vladivostok. Ferry to Korea, then plane to Alaska and then ride to east coast of America and then return to the UK. We plan to depart the UK by mid April returning towards the end of September.

This timeline, if adhered to, should allow us to complete the journey in the Northern Hemisphere summer, but it will be tight. Any untoward delays or forced detours could impact our ability to complete the trip before winter’s icy fingers start to reach out. This adds a little extra spice to the challenge we are setting ourselves.

We are now drawing up our ‘to do’ lists and from there start to build an action plan. As we do, we will keep the blog updated on our pre trip progress. Have a great 2017!

– Anthony

adventure bike tv…….?

Just when you thought the blog entries were over for another year and you could resume your slumbers, here we are again. We mentioned that we attended the Horizons Unlimited South Africa Adventure Travellers Meeting event in our Nov 6 post. What we did not mention was that, a web based adventure motorcycle tv program was there to film the event. In addition they conducted a few interviews for their ‘under the visor’ segment, including, yes the 2slowspeeds. We were told that it could be up to six months before they used the interview, if at all.

Season 3, episode 7 is just out and features the South African event, with quite a few glimpses of us, well mostly Anne, and yes an in depth interview with your intrepid bloggers, us! So if you have a few spare minutes or the TV is only showing Christmas reruns go to or click or tap the photo’s to see the episode on

The Horizons Unlimited South Africa Adventure Travellers Meeting starts in the first photo and our interview in the second.


– Anthony