Many f you are already aware, but for those who aren't I'd just like to say that the adventure has begun. I hereby invite you all to tag along on this trip which I hope will live up to expectations.
I've purchased a domain and have a little site going, albeit not yet at 100%; Gravel Seekers.com
I'll try to keep this site updated as we make our way around Australia.
As of now we're still in Melbourne trying to get the bikes through customs. What we thought woul be an easy task, since we had gotten approval by the DMV to import the bikes, has turned into somewhat of a papermill since customs won't talk to the DMV..... we're hoping the bikes will be "ours" on wednesday though. Let me give a big thanks to Leon H. (adv rider) for faxing an estimated value of our bikes on BMW letterhead to our agent
I'll copy the first two reports from gravelseekers.com over here:
1. 2005: an outback odyssey
The countdown has begun. I’ve ben counting down for a while now to tell you the truth, but I’m not counting months or even weks anymore – we’re down to days ! Summer has finally arrived here in Oslo with daytime temperatures between 26o
C - 30o
C, so it’s kind of sad to be leaving, but I can’t dwell on that now. Tuesday the 12th of July marks the beginning of what will hopefully be the adventure of a lifetime. At least until the next opportunity comes knocking.
We start at Oslo Intl. Airport Gardemoen and the journey takes to London and Hong Kong before Touching down in Melbourne, Australia. We were debating if we should stop over in Hong Kong for a day or two on the way down, but decided against it in the end – we might do that on the return trip.
The bikes were shipped via container on May 27th which is supposed to arrive in Melboure on the 11th of July. I’m sure it will be pretty exiting to open the container and see what shape the bikes are in. From experience I know that the container probably won’t be unloded until the next day, which happens to match our arrival schedule perfectly as we land on the 13th local time….maybe it’ll be 14th by then – either way it’s a damn long trip.
2. Departure and arrival
Tuesday, July 12th, has come and gone. The day we’ve waited for for so long started just as hectic as the previous days in July. The last few details had to be arranged and we had to squeeze in the last swim in the Randsfjorden as well.
We left Gardermoen Airport without any delays and arrived at Heathrow on time, after about two hours in the air. The central arconditioning had died so airport employees were franticly running around with their mobile AC units. After a while they got the centralAC working and the four hour layover went by in aprox. Four hours….
The flight from London to Hong Kong was the longest of the trip with it’s 12,5 hours. The seats were surprisingly comfortable and everyone had their own little entertainment center mounted in the back of the seat infront of them. The layover in Hong Kong got to be a tad more exiting than it needed to be as they had forgotten to scan out passports in London. It turned out to be innocent and we had time to look at some camera gear which was supposed to be cheap. Lots of nice new models, but our time there was just too short to ask the important questions and get the right answers so we made our way to gate 62 without any new camera gear.
The next flight lasted 8,5 hours and served the best fod by far. Yngve and I (and a few others) got seats where the entertainment units were defective. The very nice flight attendatnt moved the movie “Sahara” from channel 1 to ch. 37 since that was the only one we could see. She later gave us vouchers for US$25 each, but I’d rather have a functioning entertainment unit.
We arrived in Melbourne on Thursday the 14th of July at 6.10am local time and , like everyone else, we became victims of the very strict quarantine laws of Australia. Or so we thougth until we stood in line for about an hour to get through the passport control. The lady in uniform with the magic stamp was dead set on getting my street address in Melbourne and got pissed when I said I didn’t have one. Tonje experienced the same thing and the unirofrmed ones were whispering “this is very suspicious” among themselves. The let us through though.
With out passports stamped we collected our luggage and went through the customs check fairly quick. They only scanned our stuff and if I’d known I would’ve brought more than 4 cans of snus (oral tobacco which I was told was ilegal in Australia).
A short busride later left us in downtwn Melbourne and we hadn’t walked more than 50 meters when Christian strolls over to a MC messanger and says hello. Turned out it was George, an aussie friend of Christians. What are the odds ?! Breakfast at The Blitz at a little over 9am and a hotelroom for the night booked by 11am. It was just that the night was so long away we just had to take a “power nap”.