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 01:29 AM | Comments (4)