It’s less than 2 days now until we board our flight to Dallas and it’s been a busy week and a half.
As some of you will know by now, we’ll be riding a new and different bike on the IBR than we thought! Towards the end of BLIX last year, there was a funny noise coming from the bike that didn’t sound real healthy to me, but which Kiwi assured me was a clutch thing and something that could be seen to when we had the bike serviced prior to the IBR. Well, fast forward 10 months and it turns out that it was something a bit more serious (I’m going to say ‘engine bearing’, but if you want full details you’ll need to ask someone that’s not me because I’m not entirely sure what that is!) requiring a full engine rebuild.
This was discovered Friday a week and a bit ago and led to a few sleepless or at least disturbed nights of sleep on Kiwi’s part while we figured out what to do. As always, the long distance riding community came through with many kind and generous offers, from the loan of personal rally bikes, assistance with transporting bikes, purchasing bikes, transporting parts and everything else imaginable. After a couple of discussions weighing up costs ($7,000 US for a new engine, $3,000 to hire a bike etc.) we concluded the best bet was to buy a second-hand bike from Scott Madsen and get all the rally ‘kit’ from the old bike moved across to the new one. While borrowing a fully-specced rally bike sounded very attractive, we were both worried about the guilt we’d feel if we dropped it somewhere or something else happened to it and it wasn’t ours.
So Moons Motorsports in Minneapolis is doing the work and with some luck when we fly in on Thursday it’ll be ready to go! Happily, it’s the same make and model as the bike we used last year which means we can stick with our rally routine that we’ve been practicing now for over 12 months and the fancy new seat that’s been made for me will fit the bike!
In other news I’ve managed to catch myself a cold (the joys of winter down under) which while not the worst thing to happen this year, isn’t ideal when staring down a 16 hour flight. So I’m under the doona and downing Codral like they’re gummy bears in the hope I can kick it in the next 48 hours!
Aside from that, we’re mostly packed and ready to go. I still have a list of last-minute things that I can’t pack until I’ve stopped using them (charging cables, shoes etc) and a couple of things to print as back-ups. Our luggage is insane. We have a huge bag of motorcycling gear (including the pillion seat), two polystyrene boxes full of Australian foodstuffs to re-stock Minneapolis pantries, another bag of stuff for when we’re actually riding the rally (maps, clothes, etc) and finally a very small amount of stuff for actually being on holidays! I hate that we’re going to look like those people who travel with their entire house!
So just one more day of work to go and we’ll be boarding the plane. I’m not sure if I’m more nervous or excited at this point, but I feel like we’re pretty well prepared and I’m pleased we’ll have a bit of time once we arrive Stateside to settle ourselves and find our groove.
I’ll keep you updated over the next week as we get seriously into the countdown to the start and hopefully all news will be positive.