The Greater San Fransisco Area

Continuing my quest to travel the world.

It has been my quest to cycle around the world for a very long time, although I have ticked off 16 countries to date, I still haven't achieved the ultimate goal of cycling the world. I cannot wait any longer for the conditions to be perfect, age is catching up with me, so it is now or never.

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia
After our trip to Vietnam in 2012.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

There's a change in the air.

We've had all four season's in a week. A polar blast straight from Antarctica, but before it hit, it was strangely warm. Now that the polar blast has moved on, it's strangely warm again.

The Polar blast really was cold, snow - even in Nelson - to sea level. Unheard of here before. This was followed by severe frosts. Now it feels and looks like Spring. The Daffodils  are opening up, the Magnolia and Cherry trees are covered in new blooms, the Lambs are appearing in the paddocks and most disturbing of all, is the very white bare legs that are appearing all over the place. Vineyard workers, Labourers, and cyclists. In a confused concoction of clothes, I saw one cyclist today in a Balaclava, long sleeved jacket, and shorts!! Do they think they are going to get a tan??

It may not be Spring yet, but the signs are there, that it is just around the corner.

We still haven't found a sponsor yet. But a friend / customer [ who is a Psychotherapist] came into the bike shop Niel works in, and offered us free Marriage counselling when we get back. He assurred us that we may just need it when we get back from our big adventure next year.                                        

Thursday, 21 July 2011

News Paper clippings

We got interviewed for the local News Paper last week. Check out my new page titled newspaper clippings, to see them all.

What's funny is when complete strangers come up to me in the shop that I work in and say "Are you really going to do that?", "How are you getting your Vespa around the World?", and " If Niel is riding unsupported does that mean you can't cook him a meal?"And " How can you tell that people aren't cheating?"

Inane questions - every cycle tourist knows what it's like. "Where have you come from?" is the most common question. It's also hard to answer. For example if you say "From New Zealand", it just confuses them, if you say "From ie: San Fransisco [or what ever city you started the trip in], they naively think you've covered that distance in one day. If you say "From [ whatever the last town you spent the night in], or 100kms back that way" it doesn't seem to satisfy them.

I'll never forget in the U.S. last year, reaching our highest ever pass of 11,200 feet, a man trailing his family came over to ask us if we: "were going up or down?!?" In exasperation Niel said " Down, next silly question". I also got them crossing the 4 and 1/2 thousand kilometres across Australia on  my Vespa. 1,000 kms from Sydney, 2 Harley riders saw my Western Australia Plates and said: " You haven't ridden that thing from Perth have you?" laughing thinking it was a great joke, "Too right" I said " and I'm off to Sydney. [Boy I made them look silly].

The Rabbit Proof Fence in Western Australia - heading East

Don't get me wrong, I like these comments - at least someones taking an interest. On the whole they are encouraging, positive comments. Many people are complimentary and want to take our photo.
Actually that reminds me of a funny story. We were cycle - touring Italy in 2000, and were pulling up to the camp ground office in Monza [just out of Milan]. The receptionist [who was gorgeous by - the - way] came out with her boyfriend [ who wasn't bad looking either], and he asked us if he could take our photo, because we "were Beautiful!" We expected him to come back with a camera, but he came back with this huge pack. Inside the pack was an array of camera equipment. "Yes" he answered when we enquired, "he was a photographer for a living". Because we were next to the Monza Grand Prix circuit, I asked if he photographed the Motor racing. "No" he said: " I photograph Cindy Crawford"

Photo of a photo by a Milan photographer.
I'm starting to do a countdown of sorts - it's 6 weeks till Spring - Yahoo!, In less than 7 months we'll be in Europe. This time next year we will be almost finished. By this time next month, the weather will be the same temperature as when we start in February in Europe, so I will know how cold it's going to be. You know what it's like. I haven't got as far as counting days though. One things for sure, the last 6 months has flown by, the next 6months will too.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Vespa Chick in Winter

I've been ridiculously busy in the last few weeks. Up early and to bed at midnight using every minuite of the day, I'm not sleeping that well because my head is buzzing with everything from travel plans, arranging for new Carpet to be laid, to money worries - there is never enough, or simply finding time to paint and exterior wall of the house. A few nights ago at 4 in morning, I heard the Cat playing with a  Mouse it had bought inside. I was too exhausted to get up to deal with it, so I tried to go back to sleep. When I next opened my eyes, the cat was asleep beside me, and there was a very much alive Mouse on my chest looking at me!!

Winter Riding
It's now real Winter weather, after a record breaking wet and mild May / June. It's now cold and frosty and when it's not frosty, it's wet and snowy. However on the bright side it's only 6 weeks till it's officially Spring. It might be a wet and cold Spring - but it's still Spring. We've already gained daylight at the end of the day. Riding my bike home in the dark there was a bit of dark blue on the horizon where the sun had set - that wasn't there last week. I suppose I should get onto Winter pruning the Roses - all 80 of them.

Vespa Chick in the frost

Actually for all my stressing out, we HAVE achieved a lot. Our route has been perfected, the right amount of kilometres and the right amount of days, I won't tell you how many days - some things have to remain a secret. Our flights have been pretty much perfected. We've sorted out how to get Visas for countries that require them, but it's too early to actually apply for them. I've renewed my Passport. We think we've found someone to house sit, and look after the Cat and mow the lawns while we are away. We've even been interviewed by the local Newspaper. And we've got friends that might ride with Niel across Australia and Canada.

We havn't managed to get any Sponsorship though. the lotteries Commission turned us down for Grants funding, because they said we arn't :" benefitting the community", I can't see how -  more motivational you could get, but they didn't think so. I just think someone could really benefit from the great advertising we could give them,

There is one thing we really do love about Winter - sitting in front of a roaring fire watching the Tour de France on TV.

Watching the Tour