For me the most difficult part of the trip… I tend to over-organize and am well known for taking too much with me.
During the dreaming about this trip period one thing came up very quickly: I need a new tent. I have two, but neither of them is suitable. The first too old and the second too heavy and big. I do have a wish list though. First of all I want a tent were I have headroom. It’s going to be my home for a long time and I hate crawling around. But of course I also have to look at weight and packing size. A dilemma…
During one of the camping weekends organized by members of the Dutch GS club I saw someone sleeping in a tipi. I immediately fell in love with it. After some internet research I found the perfect tent for me: the Safir 5 Lightweight (Tentipi). The next step was to see it IRL. How convenient to see that there was a tipi tent show planned. Even more convenient that I in the mean time had contact to John about trying out his BMW X challenge. The combination worked miracles: Not only did I love the bike, the tent was even better then expected. What a high standard of workmanship! The canvas is of a very high quality and I was amazed by the practicality and possibilities for example for the ventilation. One problem solved!
In October I was able to test the tent for the first time and it is all that I wished for!
One of the weak points of the X Challenge is the dynamo. Not the strongest. In these days it’s normal to take a lot of equipment with you: camera, Gopro, laptop, GPS etc etc so electricity is a thing to think about. Of course there will be many possibilities to use the local power network, but it won’t be easy to find a socket in the middle of know where. The biggest power source I’m going to find will be the sun, so a solar panel the best option. After some good advice, thanks to Jan Boon of Solar Power Supply, I decided to buy a Goal Zero Nomad 20 Solar Kit – Powergorilla combination. Haven’t been able to try it out, so hopefully it was the right decision.
My first self owned money I spend on an SLR Camera. Always loved taking pictures. The last few years I noticed that I recent taking the big bulky camera with me. Another dilemma… My friend Leonard, a professional photographer, suggested to go the store he buys most of his equipment to look at all the possibilities. Getting the best possible advise form him and the salesman I made a radical decision to sell my SLR and buy a DSLR. Smaller, lighter, easier to use and for me, just a amateur in this field well enough. I bought a Fuji X-A1: love the amount of buttons, hated the digital menu of my SLR. I hope to make a lot of beautiful pics with it!
Filming was new for me during our trip from India to NL but I loved it. Just didn’t know enough of it. In exchange for the article I wrote for Roadhouse Magazine (motor magazine in app form) one of the editors gave me some very useful tips about filming. One of the things I want to change is using more camera positions and a better camera. GoPro NL was so nice to lend me a camera for this trip. Really unbelievable the cooperation of these guys! Along with the camera they gave me enough mounts to cover my whole motorbike and me. Great! Trying out all of it right now in Austria while skiing J
One of the most difficult things about traveling is to leave your loved ones behind. My poor parents are thrilled and scared at the same time. So thinking about them in particular I decided to take a SPOT Emergency Responder with me. Thanks to Findmespot for all the help! Not only can I send SOS messengers if needed, but you all can follow me on this website (Spot Me).
What to wear
This is one of the main reasons I’m overloaded most of the time. Hopefully my experiences of the last few months will help me with that. Changing places several times made my wardrobe shrink massively and I found out that I don’t need that much of clothes. The only thing I still need is a new suit. Not easy. I’m going to ride in all type of weather with temperatures between below zero till 50 degrees above it. And then I am a woman… For men there is enough choice but for women! I’m searching for something suitable for over months now. My wishes: a 3-layer Goretex suit with enough ventilation that fits. If I can’t find it I will buy something used and buy a good waterproof jacket with it. At this very moment I’m sitting in the train to bring me to a store that says to be the expert in Goretex motorcycle clothing in Austria where I work at the moment. A train ride of 6 hours (one way) hopefully worth it.
I am a big fan of merino wool. You can wear it for days without smelling and it adjusts to the circumstances. Cool when warm and warm when cold. I already have some shirts and socks. A year ago I bought a coreloft jacket for better insulation that really proofed to be just right (Arcteryx Atom). I doubted between down and synthetic and chose the last one because of the better insulation when its wet.
When Marika and I posted something about this subject on the Dutch GS forum we were given the most contradictory information. From taking nothing until taking everything with us. We decided to take only the things with us that would be really hard to find and mostly required. That’s what I’m going to do this time at well. The only thing I’m really sort of afraid of is changing tyres in the middle of know where. Although I have good faith in the Heidenau K60 Scouts, the tyres we used before with good result, I know that flat tyres are no exception. I think at these times I have to use my charm 😉 (no, I can do it myself but the Heidi’s have one disadvantage: they are very stiff and a bit hard to get on and off the rims).
A big difference this time is that I don’t have cardan driving… I hate chains! Brings back bad memories. Luckily there has been changed a lot. Thanks to the better chains and oil lubrication devices! (Osco).
Of course my dreams went to the most brilliant gadgets, but I try to stay on the ground this time. So no vital stove, small aks, more nice clothing…