Feeling like Elon Musk

I’m feeling like Elon Musk, but not in a good way. It’s like the launch of the Falcon Heavy that has to be postponed due to the weather. My leg, which I hurt 2 weeks ago and required stitches, has become infected during the off-road training. It was an active and useful day and I forgot all about the wound, and stuff has gotten in. Although I have been taking antibiotics and they are working well, the infection is not fully gone and the doctors won’t let me leave just yet.

We have been preparing to leave for a long time now, and it’s frustrating to sit and wait. But on the other hand, leaving now would be foolish and I don’t want to have to spend time in strange hospitals being treated by doctors I don’t understand. We had a look at our planning and there is no impact, we don’t really have dates anywhere that are in danger by leaving a few days later.

So I will keep you posted – at least we have time to work on our video editing skills 🙂

— Erik

Off Road Trainings. Now we are ready!

Everything is packed, the to do list is done, we are ready! This week I bought a new motor suit and boots, and my saddle problem has been perfectly solved by Tijger Leathers. Thank you Remco!

So, today is Monday 14 May. The initial plan was to leave yesterday, on Sunday the 13th.  But Erik’s doctor wanted to see his leg once more, before the big trip.

Erik had an unfortunate fall during sport and hurt his leg 2 weeks ago. He now has 8 stitches on his left shin, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but last Monday we had our third and last off-road training and his leg got infected.

He is now on antibiotics and his leg is swollen and does not look really pretty. I won’t post any photo….

The good thing is that it gave me an extra day to play around with my GoPro trying to make my first video. Hell, that is tough. First selecting the right clips, adding music, making it interesting, special effects, colouring, rendering, etc, etc.

Here is the first result and yes, I know, I am not there yet, but time is up. We have to pack and leave now.

So, enjoy our first video of day 2 and 3 of our off road courses. Great two days by the way at BERRT. I advise everyone to do it. Thanks Werner and Bert!

Hopefully the videos will get better once we hit the more interesting parts of this world.

Last day in Paris

Today is my last day in Paris.

Tomorrow I will leave with my motorbike to Erik in Amsterdam.

The last 3 days I did a tour with my friend Rob through the Belgian Ardennes, Luxemburg and North Eastern France. Last checks of the bike, does everything work well, how do I pack my stuff, what is practical, what do I have to change.

One thing I need to change for sure is my saddle. I am not a tall guy (178cm) and my legs are relatively short too.

So sometimes I feel that the R1200GSA is a bit too high for me. Especially when I try to maneuver it when at a stop. But for me it is the best bike for this kind of trip. So no question about taking a different one.

When I bought this bike, BMW offered me to scrape out the saddle and make it lower. Big mistake! For me this saddle is now so uncomfortable that I won’t go on this trip as it is now.

Luckily, I did this test weekend to find out in time. I still have more than a week in Holland to change it. And I had many tips, hints and propositions thanks to the Facebook pages of Horizons Unlimited and the GS Forum in Holland.

Today I have signed some last things in the office, said goodbye to the team, bought a tent and some other goodies, went to my hairdresser Vee (she is also a biker) and did the last packing, unpacking and repacking.

My emails have been forwarded, I don’t receive any copy anymore. I don’t want to see any work mail by accident while checking my private mail.

Carolien and Ichraf in the office are taking care of it all, together with the rest of my team. Thank you team for letting me live this adventure!

So, this is it, 3 months of holidays. That’s a first…. Should I call it a sabbatical leave? I did, in my out of office reply.

It is a weird feeling. I know I am going on this great trip, people are wishing me lots of fun and are telling me to be careful.

There are Facebook and Instagram messages and likes left right and center, and still, I don’t realise it completely.

I guess I will only feel the true extent of it, when I cross the Bosporus or so.

Can’t wait…

New photo by Paul Schim van der Loeff / Google Photos
New photo by Paul Schim van der Loeff / Google Photos
New photo by Paul Schim van der Loeff / Google Photos


It’s coming close

Today is the last day at the office for me – I’m saying goodbye to my colleagues and I hope to see everyone back in September.

And it’s just little over two weeks to go before Paul and I head off east. We have already done a lot of preparations, from planning the route to preparing the bikes. To give an impression of some stuff we have done so far:

  • Arranged visa’s for Russia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Tadjikistan and Azerbeidjan. The rest is either visa-free or can be done at the border.
  • Figuring out insurance and other formalities for the countries we will be visiting
  • Got inoculations: Hepatitis A, B, Yellow fever, japanese encephalitis, rabies
  • Got medication against malaria, height sickness etc
  • Spoken to a host of people who have done similar trips about the do’s and don’ts – where to go , what route to take, what to prepare, what to bring and what to leave at home. Thanks Wolfgang, Marco, Peet!
  • Countless hours of reading up on ride reports to prepare for local circumstances
  • Countless hours of debating what tools to take and what to leave
  • Together with Olivier from the Motorzaak prepared the bikes – Olivier let us do the work so we got quite familiar with the bikes
  • Installed extra USB charging facilities on the bikes
  • Prepared off-line and on-line maps, navigation, compass
  • Arranged for tyres to be ordered in Russia so we can change them before going into Mongolia
  • Training: Medical + first aid, more bike mechanics like plugging tires
  • Training: Off-road driving with those heavy bikes
  • Built this website
  • Figure out how to make movies with a GoPro and a drone (stay tuned!)
  • Arranged for transport of the bikes back from Vladivostok to Hamburg
  • Prepared laptops with information, maps, e-books, navigation software
  • Trying to learn some Russian

And many many things more…

New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos
New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos
New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos