Well I think it's about time that I updated on some of the more general 'Stuff' that has been going on. (This is me saving the life of one of the many tortoises that we see trying to cross the roads here in Turkey, .. and they can actually run when required)
Both bikes are behaving far better than their respective owners and we've had no real issues. Alarm worries struck me at a couple of border crossings but I think that was mainly because the 'Sensor' was buried beneath so much needless luggage that the signal from the fob simply didn't penetrate. Apart from that, the Michelin Anakee tyres have done about 10,000 miles and we'll be lucky to get another 3,000 before we try to replace them in Volgograd. We'll replace front and rear brake pads at the same time and probably change the oil and filter. We're carrying K&N air filters and after the dust of our illicit expedition into Bulgaria it's probably a good idea that we change the original Triumph paper elements. As for the rest, ..... best to leave well alone I think.
My new Caberg Trip helmet, bought specifically for the journey, has decided to 'self destruct'. We were heading through Macedonia on a wonderful stretch of fast and winding road when the top plastic sliders decided to part company with the rest of the helmet. At the speeds we were traveling (quite quickly officer, .. but safely) the force of the wind catching the flapping plastic almost ripped my head off, ...... but I survived ;-). I tried to change the visor but unfortunately the main side screw is turning in its socket and so I'm stuck with a cracked visor from here onwards. Thankfully superglue came to the rescue and now all 'floppy plastic parts' are once more firmly secured to the helmet, ..... for now.
I've had several interfaces with wildlife whilst Alan seems to have remained immune. I caught a wasp in my tee shirt coming out of Prizren in Kosovo. It stung me six times before I managed to stop the bike and strip at the side of the road. (Much to the amazement of two Police Officers who stood and watched). I've been stung on the move twice more by other wasps and also again at borders for unofficial taxes, ..... but that's all part of traveling I guess.
I shared my tent in Greece with three mosquito and they had their fill of my blood overnight. I was too lazy to go to my bike for the '100% Deet', so I guess that's my fault really. I let them out of the tent in the morning and at least they looked fat and healthy.
We've crossed into Asia now, Alan's first time. We avoided the temptation of Istanbul (and it's traffic and expense) in favour of Gallipoli and we're thankful. It would have been great to show Alan around Istanbul but we'd probably have needed to use a hotel with secure parking and that would have been additional expense that we can ill afford.
The budget did take something of a battering but we've managed to get it back on track through Greece and Turkey. In Greece we did this by living rough and eating whatever we could buy and in Turkey it has been purely down to the generosity of total strangers. Thankfully petrol is not part of the £20 per day as the fuel cost is something that is beyond our control and 'free fuel' is a difficult commodity to 'blag'. However, the price of Petrol has come as quite a shock to us, especially here in Turkey. We hope that Russia has not yet jumped of the 'hyper fuel tax' band wagon because we're relying on cheap gas there to help us afford to do as many miles as possible in America, ... here's hoping.
We're still not sure if we have a means of getting directly from Vladivostok to Anchorage but hopefully we'll meet travelers coming 'West' who will be able to inform us of the current Flight/Ferry status and some approximate costs. If it's difficult, we'll ship the bikes to the USA and go touring in Asia on 125cc hire bikes for a few weeks, ... it's actually cheaper to do that than for the two of us to fly directly from Russia to the USA,.. weird but true.
As for home,.... we're missing the people and not the place. It's taken us four weeks to replace the idea of 'Being on Holiday' with 'Traveling' and we're now a lot more relaxed. Now any problems that we encounter are all part of a days fun and not the pain in the arse that they always seemed to be in the beginning, .. or maybe we're both just growing up.
Alan is concerned that we're neglecting to mention our respective charities in the blogs and that people may overlook one of the driving forces behind this journey. It's a fair comment, but it's also true that we only have time to write so much about the amazing things that have happened and time is not something that is really on our side at the moment. Thankfully people have been making contributions directly to both Hospices, ....... and for that we are truly grateful. Any new names are being added to the Orange Tiger as and when we can, .. so if you have contributed recently don't worry, ..... your names are on there.
The people we've met along the way have created the most memorable moments, .. many of which we may write about at a later date. The 'Blogs' just give small snapshots of each country or each day, .. the dairies we keep are filling quickly and if we forget to write anything down, ... then worryingly they may be lost forever. The weird thing about the generosity of those people that we've met so far is that those who have the least, .... give the most.
Advice to other would-be-travelers? Just do it, .. any bike,... any destination, ... it's not difficult but if you don't do it, ...... you will certainly regret it.