Feel free to watch in HD on YouTube.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Everything is perfectly familiar, but different. But I'm sure we're the ones who have changed. Much more to say, but we're just about to have a quick nap, but this was just a 'we're home safely' post.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
In London still, we’ll be leaving tomorrow at 10PM local time.
Perhaps the primary purpose of this post is to say thanks. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride. Christopher McCandless summed it up best: “Happiness is only real when shared”. You all gave us a reason to keep going, if at least to share a tiny bit of the world with you. Your kind words lifted us up when we were low. There were times when it was difficult to film, but we may not have captured it if it wasn’t for you.
Another thing I’m so thankful for is that we didn’t have any accidents. I’ll try explain. Say you live in a country town, and you go to a big city… daunting enough. You’re probably three times more likely to have an accident. You don’t know the lanes or where you’re going, the traffic is much faster, the pedestrians dart across the road. Combine that with been on the other side of the road, MAD drivers, with laws you don’t know about… for 90+ days. There was the ever-present threat of an incident.
Making it worse is the fact we’ve had no comprehensive insurance since we’ve left home. In Russia, Mongolia & Ukraine we had Compulsory Third Party insurance, but no where else as far as we’ve known. At all times we were very careful and perhaps it paid off.
So, anyway, I’m glad that risk is over with. Sure we could have an accident at home, but you can bet it’s less likely, we’d be insured and we speak the language.
Responses to comments:
Don’t be sad people at a blog ending. Eventually I hope to compose all our video into an interesting story, something you might watch even if it didn’t have us in it. Done with music and decent narration, it could be interesting.
Kerry – thanks for all that. We did go to the museum and see the Rosetta stone copy. Part of me thought that you had touched it before us. Kind of a through-time connection.
Wow. 14 weeks ago I was at work! 14 weeks is NOT a very long time, yet the things we’ve seen blow our minds. I think you guys appreciate what we’ve done more than we do. As I scroll through a few months of photos and videos, I see an immense distance. Every day different. Every day with its own challenges. I had zero appreciation of the scale of this adventure. We would not have seen a single precent of the world, yet it is there for you to see. We’ve proved it’s possible, so the question I pose to you is:
Where will YOUR next adventure in life take you?
Big or small, we want to hear them. And if you have excuses, make sure you check they are valid. The best way to check, is to see if anyone else in the world has had the same excuse and done it anyway. You can bet there’s been not one or two, but MILLLIONS of people with much greater hurdles to overcome than you. Put one foot in front of the other and the rest is history.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Cassie: 25,992kms. I’m still trying to absorb that number. ‘They’ say that most people will drive an average of about 20,000km during a year. We’ve driven over that in three months. We picked up the car in Vladivostok on 28 June 2012, set off driving on 29 June 2012 and finished up on 1 October 2012.
Troopie was farewelled today as we left him and Quorn at the freight forwarder’s depot. I had a bit of a lump in my throat as we were driving away. The guy at the freight forwarder’s office kindly offered to drive us to the train station in Southampton. We were all geared up to get a taxi but he insisted on driving us there. Again, such kindness from a stranger. It really restores my belief in humanity that people can be so freely generous.
The better part of this morning was spent physically getting the car ready for shipping. Graeme got everything off the roof rack and sorted it out so that we could get it in the back of the car, disconnected the auxiliary battery and other stuff like that. Whilst my jobs were to clear out and tidy up the interior, clean out the fridge, empty the water containers and pack a bag. As it turned out, we finished our respective jobs pretty much at the same time and after getting breakkie, putting a splash of fuel in the car and throwing out our mini mountain of rubbish we were ready to set off for the final 93km to the depot at Southampton. I didn’t like seeing those kilometres dwindle. I wanted the drive to be the same as it has been for the past three months – ending in us camping somewhere for the night and getting up in the morning to do it all over again.
Troopie looking a bit bare on top with everything packed away inside.
I’m sure Quorn will look after Troopie until we pick it up.
I’m so sad that the trip is almost over. In fact, it pretty much feels done and dusted already. A couple more days of sight-seeing around London, three connecting flights to get home and…..that’s it. We’ll be home. How strange does that sound!? I’m happy to be heading home because, I don’t want to speak for Graeme, but I am tired. I think we’ve said this before, but if we could snap our fingers and be home we could spend a week or so recuperating and then snap our fingers to be back overseas and continue the journey.
Our train journey from Southampton to London was great. The train was relatively comfy, super quiet, super smooth and quick….and expensive! Everything here is very expensive.
After getting off the train at the Waterloo station we had to find accommodation. Boy oh boy that was a bit tricky. Even using the websites we’ve used previously to get cheaper accommodation it was still crazy expensive. We finally found somewhere to stay in an amazing location. We are within spitting distance to the London Eye (literally at the side of our hotel!) and across the River Thames from Westminster (Parliament House) and Big Ben! Seriously cool. Tomorrow the plan is to jump on the London Eye for an overall city perspective and then take it from there.
Graeme: Yeah, Cassie said it all. We were perhaps a bit daft. We had no idea of the costs that London would bring. After our generous lift to the train station we bought tickets. $106AUD for both… Ouch! Train was good, very quiet. The drinks cart came around, figuring for that sort of money we’d get a free cup of tea. Nope, that’ll be $8.50. Jhezuz. We’d payed 70 cents for two cups in Russia! After that, we found ourselves standing in the London-Waterloo station using Wi-Fi to find a hotel. Again, something we should have done beforehand, but we didn’t know the freight-forwarded would go so smoothly. After exhausting all the Google maps, Apple maps, Expedia, hotels.com, we fluked on Premier Inn. We’d stayed next to one a few nights ago, and they have dotted every highway we’ve been on. At a much more respectable $200 something a night. To put in perspective, some hotels were charging 10 GBP PER HOUR for Internet access, this place charges 3GBP per day. We had the money, but I couldn’t help but do the sums, calculating how long I’d have to work, and how long I’d have to save for each night.
Thinking it was all behind us, I jumped on to book our return flights this afternoon. We’d planned to fly out on the 3rd… at 4207 pounds… each! HOLY CRAP! Staring to freak out, looking around at heaps of other carriers… nope, same thing. Thinking ‘how could we have been so stupid’, all that sort of thing. The annoying thing was, return flights were advertised at (booked a fair way ahead) were like $1500AUD, so I felt a bit robbed at the prospect of paying ~$6500 … EACH. I guess there is a lesson there kids, BOOK AHEAD! If we’d hold out here for a few weeks, they’d be a lot cheaper, but at ~$200/night, you soon eat up any savings! We were stuck.
After much more sweating, like a desert island appeared in the distance. Amongst the next few days of 4200GBP flights, one single flight of a relatively respectable 1470GBP flight revealed itself. Without any hesitation, it was booked and we’re set to fly out on the 4th. Phew.
In some ways we should have booked our flights earlier, but there’s no way we could have known when we would get here. I only posted all this so other people who come after us will do some research about this end of the trip ;)
Monday, October 1, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Tonight we've stopped near a castle that Elsie recommended we see. It's called Tynemouth Castle perched high up on a cliff and it's really crumbly looking which is perfect! Just the way an old castle should be. We were too late to walk through it so we'll check it out tomorrow morning before heading off. There you go, Mum, we're going to see a castle :)
We emptied out our "pantry" and fridge of anything we don't think we'll use between now and when we farewell the car, and gave it to Elsie. It's nice to know all that stuff is going to be used. There was even an unopened bottle of juice and a packet of soup that came with us all the way from Russia. It was always a bit difficult to gauge how much food to buy at a supermarket when we needed to.
I don't really have anymore words for today. I just want to let it sit with me for a while longer.
Graeme: Breakfast at Ed's was hotcakes with would you beleive, pepper. Nice one! Not entirely savory, just a hint. Wow, the generosity is astounding. We always make all these promises with people, like if you're in Australia, you must visit us etc. Not only do we genuinely wish that, I also hope real hard that we would offer such generosity to future strangers that come our way.
I fell asleep at Elsie's which provided a good opportunity for the girls to chat without me there. It's also sad clearing out the car. The car is becoming an empty shell, devoid of the colour that made it our home. Tomorrow we should get 2/3 to Southampton, leaving some time on Monday to clean it up, drop it off and catch a train to London town. We've still not booked accommodation or return flights in case there are complications with the car. I'm torn between wanting this trip to not end, and getting all the lame shipping, accommodation and endless hours of discomfort in cattle class.
Photos: Elsie, Ed & Tynemouth Castle
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Cassie: Today has not panned out how we thought it would – in a nice way. Not that we really had a plan in the first instance. The only thing on our agenda today was to visit the Transport Museum in Coventry – tick. Then as we were leaving Coventry, Graeme thought it would be a good opportunity to get the air conditioning in the car degassed for shipping (a ridiculous requirement of Australian Customs). We were lucky enough to find a mechanic who would not only do this for us straight away, but in the process asked if we would like to stay in his home tonight which he shares with his partner and son, cook us a home cooked meal, enjoy a shower and give us somewhere comfy to sleep. What the!? That’s so lovely. And that’s almost where we find ourselves now. We are waiting for our gracious host to finish up work then we follow him home for the night. Such amazing hospitality from a stranger. His name is Ed, and he himself has travelled to 55 countries! Can’t wait to talk to him more about that over dinner. Graeme is resting against the window of the car. He’s like a child that is all tuckered out after a big day.
Below is a picture of Ed’s workshop and the machine degassing our air conditioning.
Tomorrow we are off to see a family friend in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Elsie, if you’re reading this, we’ll see you soon!!! It’s very special to be seeing Elsie because she’s known me since I was a little girl but we’ve actually never met in the 20 or so years Elsie and my mum have been close friends. It’s going to be a special day.
Graeme (Written a fair bit later):
Wow. Seeing the bikes today was indescribable… but I’ll try. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been more interested in the trip, the route, the sights, the trucks and the bikes, more than the people. Nothing personal, it’s that my dream didn’t have people in it. I still hold in high regard any anyone who has done something like this – so I guess in a way that’s a kind of respect. The show was for me a visual inspiration of what we the route looked like… I liked what I saw. Anyway, I digress. Seeing the bikes was like seeing proof! Proof that the route was dirty. Proof that it was rough. Proof that it happened.
I feel much more of a connection to the trip through the bikes than anything else. I had such respect for the bikes. I don’t know why. In the same way I have immense respect for our car. Tom said when planning this trip, that it would be a shame to do such a trip and leave the car behind. “Rubbish” I said, “There’s no way I’d be attached to an object”. Well, I was wrong. Although I’m not attached to it, I will always see it fondly. I can already imagine issuing it a respectful nod as I walk past it. Or when seeing it from a window. Knowing it was waiting for us in Siberia. Knowing it was our shelter when it rained. Knowing it started every morning. It’s earned its stripes in my eyes.
Back to the bikes, and kind of on that topic of proof. Seeing the welds in Russia, seeing the helmet comms. Seeing the 20117 miles on the clock. It all happened! It’s weird now that I look back on writing that.. of course it happened? I think that’s why I’ve been so desperate to retain the patina of our car. The dust, the water marks. The oil marks on the roof. It all screams authenticity that I can’t wait to share with the readers. The UK weather has washed most of it away, but for some sick reason, I’d kept cleaning one patch on the bonnet throughout the whole trip. It’s a brilliant white, which even now still sticks out against the relative beige surroundings. I hope that others get the same out of seeing our dusty car as I did feeling the dust on the motorbikes. We can only hope that I’ve left enough dust, and cleaned off enough mud to satisfy customs. Pfst, lets face it, either way I’m going to get stung for ‘cleaning’, even if it was brand new – what crooks! I won’t have the luxury of putting mine in a museum, so you’ve got about a week to see it before I scrub it within an inch of it’s life.
One thing I haven't figured out with the bike; is I thought there was a dint or a scratch on the fuel tank when it was dropped on the rocks in Mongolia The tank was immaculate, with exception of the tank bag rubbing on top of it and a heap of stickers. Oh I could talk for hours but I must restrain myself.
The autograph I suspect was written to who won it at a charity auction.
We’ve just spent the most amazing evening with our host Ed. Ed. was the mechanic who de-gassed our air-conditioner who invited us for dinner. He spent hours preparing us traditional Indian food, followed up by Indian chai tea. Yum. The generosity astounds us. He set us up on their Wi-Fi too. He’s travelled through 55 countries, and instantly said you can’t sleep in your car. Stay with us. So we did. We’ve chatted for hours (it’s midnight now) about all manor of world politics, travel, finance, you name it. What an amazing man. We’re still touched by the hospitality of strangers.
Responses to comments:
Mum D: Plenty of research. Dead end after dead end. One photo, on a BBC Coventry website, about four years old suggested that Charlie’s bike was there (when the article was written). It was a long shot.
Chris B: Nope, didn’t shock me. In fact the section in the museum was so quiet, I could have thrown a leg over it. I totally should have.
Steven / Mum C: It does seem to have been quick. It’s amazing how much time there is in life to do the things you want.