February 08, 2007

Round the world on credit

Posted by gornzilla

My original plan was to leave May 1st because I want to make it Sicily by May 18th at the latest.

If you read this blog, you know there's a vintage motorcycle race in Italy called the Motogiro d'Italia that I want to make it to. 2007 is the 50th anniversary of when Leopoldo Tartarini, an Italian Ducati racer, and Giorgio Monetti, his friend, left for a round the world ride on Ducati 175cc bikes. I hope they'll be at the Motogiro.

They had mechanical and engineering skills, plus the Ducati factory helped them out. I'm doing my trip alone on a 1965 Ducati 250cc with the help of the internet and low interest credit cards with very large limits. My mechanical skills are mostly of the duct tape and bailing wire sort.

I am willing to once again, work 2 jobs 7 days a week for a year or two to pay for Round 2. The same work that paid off my medical debts (you don't get epilepsy for free!), student loans and saved up for the bike that took me round Australia: aka Round the World - Round 1. And just how I'll save up for Round 3: riding from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

My motorcycle is at The Melbourne Desmo Centre, in Australia and I'm here in Sacramento. That makes getting it fixed a bit difficult. Since it's 40 years old, getting parts for it can be a pain sometimes. Ian, in Australia, has the parts and he said he could build me a more reliable bike around a Mototrans (a Spanish licensed Ducati single). I stayed at his farm, Happy Farm, for a week and did farm work when I was down there. It's a neat place, and once he starts selling his wine, you should demand it!

A month ago, I thought this was figured out. I'm getting the bike shipped from Melbourne to England, and then from England, I'll ride to Sicily. Only, by the time the bike gets repaired, it might be a little late for me to make it to Italy. And there's no point in trying to rush to the Motogiro if I can't make it. Not that a tiny Italian motorcycle built for long distance touring can go fast enough to be called "rushed".

Plus, I'm still broke. And, the friend who married me so I'd have health insurance, quit her job a few months ago to move to LA to be near her boyfriend and to finish her RN degree. She'll still be a surgical technician, only with the degree, she'll get paid more. Right now, I'm supplying her with health insurance.

So even if my bike is ready by March to make it to England by early May, it'll be on credit, with no health insurance. And I have to fly back from Sicily for a few days for wedding.

Get to England. Ride straight to Italy. Ferry bike to Sicily. Fly from Palermo to Berlin to San Francisco and back.

But I can't buy the tickets without knowing when my bike will arrive. The longer I wait, the more expensive the tickets will be.

And once I get back to Sicily, I have to ferry over to Tunisia to visit the city of Matmata. Matmata is were the Mos Eisly Cantina scenes were filmed (you know, Star Wars: Episode IV on Luke's planet Tattoine), and there's an underground hotel there that I have to sleep in because I'm a dork. It's only $10/night and I'm sure they will be filled with Star Wars dreams of Greedo shooting first.

Site with good Matmata pictures. He whines as much as I do, only about different things.

I was thinking more about this when I was in the shower this morning. I might have to postpone this trip for another year. I could pay off my credit card debt, save up money, and figure out health insurance. I could get the more reliable Mototrans shipped from Australia to California, and ride it across the US. Then ship it from New York to England. Only it'd be next year.

This morning I emailed Bob my mechanic; and Ralph, the guy who is crating my motorcycle for the shipping company who rides around South America with Mary Ann, his wife on a purple BMW; and Ian (the guy who is supplying me with parts) and said uncle.

Ian responded right away -- which is odd since he rarely uses a computer and his wife answers most of his email. I haven't heard from him or his lovely, Performing Pig training wife Georgia, in a month. He said he sent the parts off to Bob's in Melbourne today. So at least, my bike will be fixed. But do we have the time, Captain?

Now I'm at a loss. Do I say, "thanks, but I can't afford this trip this year" and get Ralph to ship my bike to Oakland. Do I just say, "Oh screw it" and go to England on credit?

Health insurance where they'll ship me back to the US if I need to be is cheap. I think there's a more expensive version where they'll pay my medical costs too. Don't forget that I'm epileptic, so I'll be paying for Keppra, my anti-seizure pills, out of my own pocket. I'm sure medication is cheaper overseas.

Sure, there's one answer that seems obvious, but I don't want to push this trip back. I don't think I'll flake, but I've been back from Round 1 for two years.

Random "what ifs" enter my mind. My epilepsy is controllable with medication but if it acts up, I won't ride. Fuel prices are only going to get higher. Tartarini and Monetti are getting older and I really want to meet them.

On the plus side, I can hope that Bush will be brought under control (insert blowjob joke here). This will make riding through other countries easier as a US citizen. Especially the mid-East. I'm planning on riding to Kabul, Afghanistan and then through Pakistan to India.

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

Posted by gornzilla at February 8, 2007 01:29 AM

gornzilla . If you're coming to the U.K and you need accomodation you are more than welcome to stay at my place .I live near Nottingham which is virtually in the centre of England.Regards Chris.

Posted by: Chris at February 11, 2007 02:06 PM

Thanks, Chris. I might fly out for the 100th IoMTT. Send me an email so we can figure this out.

I like your pictures. I'm hoping to find a Matchless at some point. Yours is nice looking.

Posted by: Dave at February 12, 2007 06:32 AM

There was an article in japan times about a nepalese man who decided to bike around the world for next 10 years.He left with $20.00 and is somewhere in Tokyo today..He`s 3 or 4 years in into his bike ride.Yea--not on motorbike but on cheap nepalese bike.He`s gotten` help from all sort of folk here in Japan.
Other day--i was sitting down waiting for my buddhist kindergarten class to start.Drinking a coffee and enjoying the early spring outside.There this old cool looking car(fuji industries post WW2)that i would tottally dig.But i took a photo it on flickr and that was enough.I can`t afford or even accept the lifestyle that goes with owning a cool old car.
The wife is arguin` with me to get a japanese license.I`m so not into it..My junk bike gets me where i want at a snail`s pace.Things did get in a hurry/stressful the other week and i blew a rod`.So Dave take it easy..I`m sure if ya hold up a sign or just be your fun self folks will help ya.I`ll be throwing some cash your way--when ya get started.Your Stories are funny..Teach English thru your trip--Sell bike parts...But don`t mix your kacho with your kancho.Anyways hopefully i`m off to Nagaski to see the lantern festival on Saturday...Gambette--jay

Posted by: jayjay at February 22, 2007 10:14 PM

If you need somewhere to crash in Berlin, my couch is open to you for as long as you like.

I'm still in your debt for the email full of helpful tips you gave me when I moved to the Bay Area seven years ago.

Posted by: Sean at March 10, 2007 01:05 PM