There was a lot of preparation and thought to planning this journey - from
deciding the best time to leave, what to pack, where to go first and who would
take care of all the things we left behind... this page is dedicated to those
details. For anyone considering a similar endeavor, I know how useful it
can be to rummage though someone else's planning details! For everyone
else, sorry to bore you with the details!
Darren's previous motorcycle adventure in Europe
(although quite fun) was poorly planned and resulted in some harder times that
could have been avoided with preparation, so we didn't want to repeat those
Complete Packing List will be posted soon!
- When to go?
Our decision regarding when to leave was a hard one at
first. After finally making the decision that we were definitely going
to go and put our house up for sale, we both wanted to leave right away!
Of course we had to consider the weather, but we also had to be
financially ready and attempt to minimize the impact on our careers.
Ultimately we chose the Spring of 2007 because we wanted to have enough time
to comfortably travel across the US (taking lots of time to get accustom to
our new lifestyle) and still reach Alaska during the summer. Both of us
chose to resign our positions at work. We will both miss many of the colleagues
and friends we have worked with during our careers in Atlanta. But ultimately work will always be there, but the
opportunity to take this trip may not - and we have always believed in taking
advantage of opportunities. Life is too unpredictable and often too short.
Having large quantities of money saved before embarking
is not necessarily a requirement - many people have traveled with
little more than the what they can earn by working along the way.
However, when things go wrong, as they inevitably do,
knowing that you can get access to a reserve of cash will come a long way to
reducing stress. Since we have been planning to travel for
over 6 years, we have a savings dedicated to the trip. Many
people react in surprise that we could 'afford' too stop working and take such
a trip. Neither of us are wealthy - we have both worked hard and
sacrificed many of the pleasures of life in order to save money for this
trip. Our recipe for saving money to travel: set a goal, create a plan
to reach it and evaluate your progress often. Repeat for many years and
eventually you will find a time when you are comfortable embarking on the
It is our plan to live simply and make our adventure last as long as possible.
So we will be camping much of the trip and cooking our meals ourselves.
This will be no pleasure cruise! As we travel, we will be recording the
cost of general living expenses, such as gasoline and general food items and
posting these with the travelogues.
- How are you carrying all your stuff?
We each have a set of 'home-made' panniers fashioned from old marmite army
food storage containers. This was a considerable cost savings (cost
about $35USD each) compared to purchasing panniers from a retailer, although
they are not as durable and may need replacing along the way if
damaged. We invested a bit more in camera cases, which we
fashioned into top boxes for each bike. These 6 boxes carry the bulk
of our gear. We added multiple fabric saddlebags and a tank bag to each bike
for carrying less valuable, lightweight gear - such as tarps and rain
gear. Some spare parts and tools will be carried in a bag that straps
to the front tire fender and in a PVC pipe strapped between the front tire
and the bash plate. Also in PVC pipes are tent poles, cans of lubricant
and two cooking stoves. One bike typically carries our camp chairs and
small cooler (generally used for dry foods) and the other bike carries the
tent and tarp in two dry-bags designed for kayaks. When we first headed out
from Atlanta, we were also carrying a spare tire each. Even with all
the preparation and thought we put into our gear, we found the bikes too
heavily laden for comfortable travel and had to re-evaluate our gear and
ship forward some items.