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The Countdown is on. :)

Old 06-16-12, 10:24 PM
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The Countdown is on. :)

We're almost off!! 3 days to go before our flight to Hong Kong.

As Rowan mentioned in the 2012 Touring Plans thread, we’ve decided that there is no time like the present to do a 8-month ‘Round The World Tour”. Casually meandering around the world probably describes it best.

Our itinerary takes us to the following places: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Europe, Uruguay, Chile, US, Canada, Perth, Melbourne.

We’ll be following the weather for the most part, and we timed the tour so that we’ll be in the US with my brother and his family (who I haven’t seen for about 7 years) at American Thanksgiving, and then in Canada with family and friends for 5 weeks around Christmas.

In early February 2013, we'll return to Australia to see what’s happening here, and to decide what to do next.

[HR][/HR]

We’ll be taking bicycles, of course, and most of the time we'll be cycling and camping and exploring. And while we're on our journey, we might take the opportunity to ride some events along the way. But although this is mostly-cycling tour, there will also be segments where we fly, take the train, use ferries, and rent vehicles.

We’ll both be carrying our little cameras, and there’s a good chance we’ll be taking a lot of photos along the way.
I will post photos on my Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-bb/sets/

You can also reach that link through the Photo Gallery link on my website: www.machka.net , and I may be updating my website as well, as we go along, when possible.

We'll likely be checking in here as well, when we've got internet connections.
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Old 06-17-12, 04:49 AM
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Happy travels!! Hope you have an enjoyable (and safe) trip
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Old 06-17-12, 05:46 AM
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The trip sounds incredible. Best wishes, be safe and I look forward to a full report!
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Old 06-17-12, 06:10 AM
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Have a fantastic trip, Machka! Shoot me a note if you come through Boulder.
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Old 06-17-12, 06:11 AM
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I leave in less then 24 hours! This is my first tour and I haven't been nervous, till about 430 this morning! I know your excited I can barely wait! So much to do today and a early start tomorrow. Everyone a the bike shop I go to is gonna ride me out of town at 530 in the morning tomorrow! There bringing the bike store van too! It's gonna be great. The owner gave me a whole box of roctane's to take with me!
Have fun, be safe, and post a lot of pictures!!
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Old 06-17-12, 08:04 AM
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Have a good time on your tour Joe. Have fun, be safe, and post a lot of pictures to you to!


Thanks, valygrl. We're not sure what route we'll take when we get to the US. It's tempting to drive up the middle and then across through Canada ... and it's also tempting to drive across to San Diego and up the coast. But we'll see when we get there. And yes, we're planning to drive in North America, but cycle daytours or hub and spoke tours as much as possible.
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Old 06-17-12, 08:55 AM
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have an enjoyable and safe trip.
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Old 06-17-12, 10:45 AM
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Bon Voyage!
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Old 06-17-12, 06:07 PM
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Machka and Rowan, safe and yet adventurous travels! I look forward to your posted photos, and hope the best for you both. This is what life is all about, enjoy!
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Old 06-18-12, 06:05 AM
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We're in Melbourne. One more thing to do tomorrow, and then we fly on Wednesday.

We've packed everything into a storage unit, and when I say packed, I mean that our storage unit is packed!! I'm not sure we could get anything else in there!
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Old 06-18-12, 08:12 AM
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I can only dream of doing something like this. Enjoy!
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Old 06-18-12, 01:33 PM
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Your "Round the World Tour" is essentially avoiding non-developed or non-Westernized countries. (I've toured in Chile and been to Uruguay and they're a far cry from other places in South America with substantial indigenous populations and cultures.) You're missing out on a lot, IMO. Nevertheless, I wish you safe travels.
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Old 06-18-12, 05:52 PM
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Enjoy this magnificent trip! You guys are going to have a blast.
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Old 06-18-12, 08:38 PM
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Machka and Rowan,

Best wishes on you adventure. Ride safely, have fun, and take a lot of pictures!
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Old 06-18-12, 09:28 PM
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Wow, sounds cool, have a great time, and ride safe.
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Old 06-19-12, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl
Your "Round the World Tour" is essentially avoiding non-developed or non-Westernized countries. (I've toured in Chile and been to Uruguay and they're a far cry from other places in South America with substantial indigenous populations and cultures.) You're missing out on a lot, IMO. Nevertheless, I wish you safe travels.
We'll have to let the organisation we arrranged our Round the World ticket through that it's not a Round the World trip until a so-called "non-developed or non-Westernized country" is included!!



Anyway, in case anyone is interested in how we chose the countries we did ...

-- it all started last winter, about a year ago, by talking about riding the North Sea route. We were thinking of just taking 2-3 months and riding the North Sea route.
-- then, after visiting my family last August, I wanted to visit my family around Christmas one year soon.
-- and Rowan mentioned that he'd like to see some of Chile.

So we started looking at Round the World ticket options, and arriving in North America around Christmas, and wanting to spend some time in northern Europe during their summer so we can ride some of the North Sea Route. And we made a list of countries around the world we wanted to see. After all, if we're going to spend 8 months on the road, we might as well see the countries we've always wanted to see.

It took about 2 months to sort the plan out ... and we arrived at a plan we were both happy with.

Did we avoid non-developed or non-Westernized countries ... no. Instead we chose to visit the top countries on our collective lists for this particular trip. Unfortunately, with only 8 months, we can't visit all the countries in the world. This trip will include both visiting countries we've never seen, and revisiting some of our favourites ... a nice combination. Next trip, there will be different countries.
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Old 06-19-12, 07:42 AM
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We're off tomorrow morning. At the moment we have an internet connection, but that will likely come and go over the next few weeks.

Today was a very busy day as we were up well before dawn to drive back to where we stored our stuff to finalise arrangements there and drop off our vehicle, then we made our way back into Melbourne via bus and train, and we hiked all over downtown Melbourne on the hunt for a few last minute things before finally getting back to the airport and packing up all our stuff.

Oh, and apparently there was a decent sized earthquake in Melbourne this evening while we were packing our things. They're saying it was felt all over Victoria, but I didn't notice a thing. Although in thinking about it ... there was a little bit of door banging around about that time.
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Old 06-19-12, 08:06 AM
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Congratulations! You two are doing what so many of us only dream of. What a great way to truly see the world and meet new people.

Happy trails and may the wind always be at your back!
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Old 06-19-12, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Anyway, in case anyone is interested in how we chose the countries we did ...

-- it all started last winter, about a year ago, by talking about riding the North Sea route. We were thinking of just taking 2-3 months and riding the North Sea route.
-- then, after visiting my family last August, I wanted to visit my family around Christmas one year soon.
-- and Rowan mentioned that he'd like to see some of Chile.
We are sitting in the Melbourne Airport international departures lounge, having had a great time going through check-in, putting the bike boxes through the oversized luggage portal, and getting through security. The only hiccup has been my passport which is showing a slight discoloration along one side that came up as maybe tampered on the scanners. So a five-minute wait to clear it through Immigration and we are through to Gate Lounge 3.

The other hiccup was last night when I discovered that the bike boxes I had acquired weren't big enough to take the bikes. They were too narrow. Fortunately, we had booked a hotel around the corner literally from the airport, and I knew that Qantas, the first airline on our list, sold bike boxes, so we walked to their sales counter at 6.30pm, and had the much wider brand new boxes back in the hotel room by 7.15pm.

As Machka pointed out, we have planned this trip for over a year. It won't be our last extended journey overseas -- that is, we don't regard it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There always will be countries waiting to be explored.

However, another factor in all this was that I have spent the past six or seven summers working outdoors in severe summer heat. I also have spent over two years living in the tropics. And another two years in a city with excessively hot, dry summers. I've come the conclusion that as a person born and raised and who has spent most of his life south of the 40-degree parallel, that I don't handle heat all that well. And lo and behold, many of the "non-developed or non-Westernised countries" (whatever that means) are in the tropics.

Hence, we are spending only four days in Hong Kong, and only six days in Taiwan. We are staying in the southern areas of South America deliberately because it is getting on to spring/summer while we are there.

Anyway, back to more important things...

Our bikes boxes each came in under-weight, so there were no fees to pay (at all) on this first leg. We have our other stuff in heavy-duty cardboard boxes, and we have Sea-to-Summit lightweight duffel bags and backpacks for our carry-on stuff. I sent a little parcel home with stuff that I concluded I wouldn't need and stuff we had used to get this far.

The duffel bags and packs both tuck away into tiny little bags, one the size of a large eggcup, the other the size of a teacup. Machka is already a fan of her backpack, which effectively replaced her handlebar bag with shoulder strap that was quite cumbersome. The duffel bags also are designed to be just the right dimensions when full of clothes to be legal carry-on luggage size.

So now we are set to leave!!! Countdown is T-60 minutes!
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Old 06-20-12, 03:23 PM
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Machka, I have been following your posts on here for years. If you come through San Diego, this is an invitation for you visit and enjoy some cycling with us. I know it's a long ways away yet, but don't forget this invitation.
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Old 06-20-12, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SanDiegoCyclist
Machka, I have been following your posts on here for years. If you come through San Diego, this is an invitation for you visit and enjoy some cycling with us. I know it's a long ways away yet, but don't forget this invitation.
Thanks!
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Old 06-20-12, 07:32 PM
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We're in a hotel in Hong Kong getting ready to go explore.
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Old 06-20-12, 08:16 PM
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If you make it to NE Ohio, I'm sure we can round up a few to ride with you. Give me a shout.
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Old 06-22-12, 10:16 AM
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Thanks again!


[HR][/HR]


At the moment, we're exploring Hong Kong ... by foot and public transportation. We have seen some bicycles about, but the prospect of cycling looks a little scary. That part of our trip may have to come a bit later. However, we are getting a heap of exercise. Lots and lots and lots of walking.

And this is an experience for us ... the big city, so much stuff, so much stuff for sale, so many people.


Over the past 3 years, we spent the first of those 3 years living in a shack in the hills with no electricity (but what we could produce with a generator and solar panels), limited indoor plumbing (we were using a rainwater tank and were able to pipe it into a kitchen tap and outhouse toilet), no refrigeration, no heat (except for a fireplace), and no stove (except for a coleman campstove and the fireplace ... I learned to cook over an open fire). The walls and roof of the shed were just tin when we moved in (we insulated the place as best we could) and the floor was sidewalk pavers which flooded when it rained. Our nearest neighbours were the cows. Our nearest human neighbours were kilometres away. Very, very rustic conditions.

Then we moved into a "normal" house in a small town. But even there, the nearest traffic lights were 75 km away, as was the nearest fast food outlet. Department stores were about 100 km away. Our small town was relatively remote.

So to go from that into a city like Hong Kong ... it's a bit of a change. I'm just finding all the shops and all the stuff here astounding.
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Old 06-23-12, 09:44 AM
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I made it to Yorktown! 383 miles thru some crazy heat. hit 105 on my bike computer 2 days ago! Only one flat, and about 100 mosquito bites!! Having a great time though! Eating like crazy and still losing weight!
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