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Old 05-09-2012, 10:43 PM   #106
QuidProMoto
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Ok, so it looks like I have killed this thread somehow. What I say? Can I take it back?
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:52 PM   #107
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thanks

Didn't realise i was 2 weeks or so behind, well bad news atm is that the bike blew a head gasket as i was about to enter Malaysia, Well it didn't blow but it was about to pushing bubbles out the coolant and making it overflow.

So she's being fixed, i will get another update up to explain where we have been in the next day or so!!
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:57 PM   #108
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Jeesh! I know you blew a gasket but I thought you had forgiven us ;). Hope all is well! Enjoyed the story so far. Would like to hear more.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:39 AM   #109
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Phuket

Phuket, then Phuket, and Phuket Again.

It's been a while since our last blog, but if I'm honest, the last 10 days have been anything but the hardest of my life! In fact they have been very relaxing indeed!! First we got back to Bangkok, a place we are now pretty familiar with and it almost felt homely which was odd. We stayed in the same fantastic little cheap place we stayed the last time and it was as usual very good value and they do look after my bike well.

I took the bike to KTM and moaned about the coolant level rising slightly so they replaced the radiator cap, which has not solved the problem, but I think I have a slight leak from a hose which must be letting air in, as other than the increase in level the bike is running very well. After 2 short days in Bangkok we saddled the bike up and hit the road to head in the direction of Australia which for us felt like a big deal as it's been a good 3 months since we headed in the direction of our final stop.

The first day we did about 500km. IT'S SO FREEKING HOT at the moment, its 40+ degrees and it's a wet muggy hot, it makes you tired and so for this reason finally I have resorted to riding with no jacket on the last couple of days, simply because I was sweating so much it was making me very uncomfortable, to a point where it might be dangerous. We headed straight south toward Phuket, and the first night we stopped at a fantastic little place called Rocky Point Resort, it cost us £12 for a big room with TV and we had the whole place to ourselves, fantastic!!

The next day we started the day with a swim then hit Phuket. Disappointingly we found out we had just missed Phuket Bike Week, we saw lots of big bikes leaving as we turned up!! After choosing a nice place and settling down just in time for sundowners, we decided we should spend a week or so in a bit of luxury, as our wedding anniversary is only a month away. We stayed in a beautiful resort called the Boathouse on Kata beach. The service is amazing, absolutely 5 star, the food is good and the poolside and private beach area is always pretty quiet so were are very happy. Cat loves the service at the beach - they give you TWO towels each, constant refills of cold bottled water, pieces of fruit on skewers, and cold face towels that smell like lemon sorbet.

We spent the fir
We spent the first 3 days chilling out and went out on Thursday night for few beers, meeting a really cool American guy called Quinn, and 3 girls from Australia. We have spent most our time chilling out - one day was a snorkelling trip which was pretty good where we got to go to the Beach beach (Maya Bay on Phi Phi) and saw James Bond Island. Another day we went game fishing but didn't catch anything other than some Tuna and 3 Queen fish all less than 2kg in weight!! But we did meet some cool Aussie guys and spent a few nights out in Patong with them.

The Saturday night we went out to Patong which is the main entertainment area. We sat in a bar on the main street and just watched the madness: it was a lot of fun, there is so much going on such as colourful drag queens, giant lizards and cute baby lemurs, and it's all on a really buzzy positive vibe. There IS a quite seedy side to things but in general it's a very fun place to see and hang out, and no matter how you view it, it makes Thailand very different from any other place I have ever been. We watched the lady boys who do the Cabaret show hand out flyers and get their pictures taken (yes, we also got the obligatory photos), they love the attention and play up to it a lot. It's just a really crazy place to be, almost comparable to Marrakech in that sense but obviously very very different.

So now after having a "holiday" from our travels, we look forward to getting on the bike tomorrow and getting to Malaysia or at least the border by tomorrow evening. Here's to hoping it's not too hot and it doesn't rain!!

Well, it didn't rain and it wasn't too hot, but we really should have hoped for a healthy bike…..

We left for Malaysia as planned and got 200km down the road, only to see bubbles blowing out the coolant bottle into my half bottle of water I had attached to the overflow pipe: A neat trick was I told about from ADVrider.com which basically proves without a doubt that I had a head gasket going. It was slowly getting worse, so we stopped and considered out options. As the crow flies we were closer to Kuala Lumpur than Bangkok but we had a border crossing to deal with and that would mean getting off the beaten track with a falling apart bike.

After some phone calls to see about overstaying our visa meant (we had 3 days left) and what our options were, we decided the smartest thing to do was to head back to Phuket, where we could get a truck/plane/what ever we needed!! Once back in Phuket and staying in a slightly cheaper place we made our plans and made some calls, understandably annoyed at this new situation. It soon came around that it was in fact smarter to rent a car (Toyota Hilux we got) and drive back to Bangkok ourselves, to drop the bike at KTM. It's so cheap to rent cars here and freight to Bangkok was going to cost £800 (what we paid from Dubai to Nepal!!).

So the following day we went to see the rental guy, who right from the start came across like a right twat, but we looked for other options and there just weren't any. So we rented the car from him, went back to the hotel and with the help of some other tourists who Cat had politely roped in, we lifted the bike on the truck and strapped it down (6th time now I think).

I did the 1000km to Bangkok the following day, I was really tired but it got done, there's not a lot to report it was boring and I was less than impressed with the wallowy Hilux which handled like a pile of crap. The air bag light was constantly on and the steering was off but we cruised down the motorway dodging Thai drivers and nut cases until we came to Bangkok. We arrived at our hotel and after some negotiating with the posh hotel across from our guesthouse, secured a space to park in. A guest at our hotel was a traveller like us - we saw what I think was a 950 KTM outside, but it had a mix of different panels on so it was difficult to tell and it looked like it had been in a fair number of scrapes over its time. It was from the Netherlands, we never met the rider but did leave our card with the bike.

In the morning we woke early to drop the bike off at KTM, then went to the hotel for breakfast and decided that it was smart to split up the journey back to Phuket by doing it in 2 days and resting for the evening at Rocky Point, the place we had stopped at on the way down the first time. And it was a lucky decision, because our day would not be an easy one...

On the way out of Bangkok, just as we were leaving the city, I overtook a bus that was slowing to take a left exit and suddenly I lost the back end of the Hilux - it went into a bit of a sideways slide before I fully lost grip and it spun round in the road! Lucky there was nothing in front or beside us and the bus had stopped and we ended up facing the wrong way in the road. Shocked, as it came from nowhere, we got out to see we had hit a road sign (the exit from the motorway sign), and there was a policeman standing right there blowing his whistle shouting at me!

He had seen the whole thing and I guessed he wanted me to come with him. He went to block the road so we could get the Toyota facing the right way around, but then BAM! another biker rode straight into him and fell on the floor! The policeman was furious and up to this point had seemed very calm and nice and it made me worry, as I had no idea at that time what they were going to do me for.

I of course asked if I could pay a cash fine on the spot, but he spoke so little English he didn't even get that, but did say to me no book no book and I understood this to mean I had to go to the station. The guy on the moped who hit him got a massive telling off and all his paper work taken off him after an open palm to the face. Cat was shaken up and could not believe this was all happening but was staying pretty calm.

I took one of my driver licences (an old one) and left Cat with the car, slightly worried I was going to get thrown in a cell. When we got to the station I relaxed as they were smiling and laughing, he explained what had happened in Thai to someone who seemed like the boss of the station and it turned out I had to pay a fine for hitting the sign as the policeman saw me lose control but said it was slippery and not my fault. I wasn't speeding or anything. They asked for 1000 baht (£20) so I agreed eager to get out of there, and after about 45 mins and going to 3 different desks with a discussion about football and the jokes about the policeman being hit by the other biker, I was free to go after shaking everyone's hand.

Once back at the car I could see we had hit the wheel on the curb and put a small dent (in the already dented) tail and broken a light cover. Annoyed, but feeling lucky things weren't a lot worse, we drove off. I thought the car still felt odd so I slowed down after the lights (there was not a single car on the road) and after feeling everything was probably in my head, I indicated and crossed 2 lanes to get on my way, and not 100 meters up the road was a police road block! He saw us and immediately tried to stop us on one bogus charge or another. I carried on (forgetting I was in a car, not the bike) and immediately got caught at the lights up ahead. Whoops.

The policeman caught up to us on his bike and I played dumb and we followed him to the side of the road. He was very aggressive and took my licence, saying I had not indicated (that old chestnut), basically a crappy tourist tax we have come across before. I tried to explain I had just come from the station but he said I must go back there, I said which one, but he just gave me a ticket and rode off into the traffic. Lucky I had given him my old licence (my last spare - I have now lost 3 to the Thai's) but even if I was going to go to the station and pay the bogus ticket, "where was the bloody station?????" I was annoyed at the absurdity of it especially as I had just come from a different station 1km away so we just kept going!!

Further down the coast, once we started looking for a hotel, we realised it was Buddha's birthday and therefore a national holiday, so it took us over 2 hours (and over 15 stops) to find a bed, which in the end was nothing more than a wooden beach hut with a bit of a premium (£15 instead of £8). Once back in Phuket we had to go explain to the hire company the damage, and straight away he wanted 10,000 baht for a broken light and a dent (surround by other dents). We argued but he would not have any of it and so in the end we paid him. Hopefully we did more damage than just what he could see! The good news was that with fuel and even the crash damage included it was still about £300 cheaper the flying the bike back to BKK or forward to KL.

Once back in Phuket, for the third time, we went for a beer and bumped into people we had met a couple of nights before who are friends with Mark Jones, the kiwi guy who we met heading to the Isle of Mann TT at the very beginning of our trip! How funny is that, very small world indeed!!! We had a beer with them, some food after, and booked our flight to Chiang Mai for the morning, where we have decided I will do some more fishing at the Dreamlake fishing resort, and Cat will get some pampering while the bike is being fixed and road tested.

Our Next blog - The beginning of the end after we get some bad news.................
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:26 PM   #110
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End Of The Trip - Our Final 2 blogs

End of the Trip - I will add photos soon!! Sorry its so much text, all our stuff is still packed up!!

So here I sit on our LAST day of proper travel in Chiang Mai. Yes, that's right, our last day. I will explain how this has come about over this blog and how it wasn't an easy decision to make ,but one we feel is smart and the best in the long run.

So we went to to Dreamlake Fishing in Chiang Mai, for a fantastic 5 days fishing and I was very lucky to net some incredible fish, including a new fresh water record for me of an 81-pound (37kg) Alligator Gar. (For those interested, I actually caught 2 Alligator Gar, 3 Catfish, 4 Red Tail Catfish, 7 Mekong Catfish, a stunning giant Snakehead and Garami and lots of smaller Mud Carp and Tilapia.)

We spent a few days relaxing and trying to plan the next part of our journey, and it was throwing up a few problems. The first was I have only got 2 pages left in my passport and with 2 or 3 countries to go I could run out of space. To get another passport, the current one has to be sent to Hong Kong as (due to fraud) they don't issue them in Thailand anymore and this takes up to 4 weeks. This means I would have to wait around in Thailand for 4 weeks, only problem is my Thai visa would run out after 2 weeks and then I would be here "illegally" so to speak, with no passport! So not really an option.

The next problem we had was that I HAVE to enter Australia by the first week of June to get my 5 year right to remain visa. Now, the bike at this stage was not going to be ready until the 15th of May, giving us 3 weeks to get down Thailand into Malaysia and onto the plane to Oz. Which was do-able but meant we would miss Indonesia and Singapore which would be a bit of a shame. There was also the fact that all our personal insurance, storage contracts, Carnet and everything else was running out and would need to be renewed: the biggest jaw dropper was our travel insurance who wanted £150 per month per person for us to continue. All this was making carrying on at a pace where we could see stuff and do what we wanted very difficult.

Then came the straw that broke the camels back: turned out the lower gaskets and the pistons rings were also gone, meaning KTM needed to order parts which they "hoped" would be in by the end of the week around the 19th, but the bike would not be back together and properly tested until around the 25th. Put simply, we were running out of time and the financial implications of running longer for the sake of 1000km or so in SE Asia did not make any good sense at all. The biggest disappointment would be not doing the Ozzy loop, but with a 5 year right to remain visa it does mean I can come back at any time and realise this goal.

So it was with all the above in mind, along with our commitment to work and the fact we had told people we would be back after around 12 months, we decided to call the "bike" part of the trip a day. Yes it's a shame, but really I also need to get my back looked at as I'm in a lot of pain, it's got to the point where there are simply too many things facing me which need to be addressed. So after 28 countries riding and 50,000 km this might be the end of the journey.

………………….
PERTH

So we flew to Perth to meet Cat's family and chill out here while the bike gets fixed. It has been a nice slow integration with reality but perhaps a bit of a highlight also of how lucky we are and have been. As most of you know, I hurt my back whilst with the London to Tbilisi riders in Turkey: I have since had bad days and good days and for the most part have been of the nature of "I'll get on with it" with the aim of finishing the trip being my main focus. After a couple of days, and watching me limp around moaning and munch a lot of pain killers, Sue and Chris said I need to see someone and so I went to see the Chiropractor. He then insisted I get an MRI scan before he would touch me, and the news has not been good since.

In a nut shell, I have a large herniated disc in my L4/L5 area which is causing pain in my S5 nerve (right leg) and could be effecting my S1 nerve ("mans" area). After I got the scan and went to the doctor they also realised I had shrinking of my right leg (around the muscles, NOT getting shorter, as some of you have joked!) and so they have come to the conclusion that I need to get it operated on soon rather than later. The travel insurance company were useless and so we have decided to go back to the UK and get it dealt with there as at least when I get out of hospital I can rest in my own home and still run part of my business.

It's been sore, but I'm used to it for the most part, and even though I've finished riding a bike on mud and broken up roads, it's only now starting to worry me.

Other than that we have hung out with family, eaten out and I even bought a pair of jeans!! Yes, I love jeans and it was a very good thing to be able to buy and wear a pair again.

After about 2 weeks in Perth we are heading back to the Bangkok to crate the bike up and head back to London. We plan to be in London around 30 May and have planned a few beers with friends around June 1st!
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:29 PM   #111
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End Of trip Part 2

Final Goodbyes…..

So we came back into Thailand, my back is no better and so I guess it must have been something I did in the last few weeks has been the cause of the back to go from very bad to very very bad. Believe it or not, it may have even been the fishing and those big 50lb + fish put up one hell of a fight! But it was only a matter of time and rather it be now than falling off the blade on a track somewhere over summer.

I notice when we've come back to places/cities that they don't look the same, maybe it's because you know what to expect and where you're going so have time to take more things in, or maybe it's because you're no longer just jaw dropped at the different sites and sounds. But I have noticed on this that trip whenever I have spent some time away from somewhere and come back, I tend to take a more grounded view of it.

I love Thailand, I mean, there's things I don't like about it, but I really do think this country is one of the greatest places on earth. There's so much going on, and after coming from the stunningly clean streets of Perth with the big spaced out houses and the graffiti-free, rubbish-free life they live, coming back into Bangkok with its stalls everywhere, people selling food, clothes and just about anything you could ever want pretty much everywhere you go makes your senses go crazy and it's a beautiful thing.

I love that fact you can sit down at a little stall, eat some rice and chicken right in the middle of Bangkok for less that 40 baht (80p) while only 10 meters away rice and chicken in the posh restaurant opposite is £12, or the steak restaurant the other side of you has not a single main meal on the menu for less the £20. It's just excellent and Thailand does this with so many things.

The other good example is some of the most beautiful and magnificent shopping malls I have ever seen: they contain everything from Levi's to Gucci and beyond with some even having Lamborghini and Austin Martin dealers in where you can even buy Lamborghini cycles! Opposite these malls, in what would seem to be the car park, will be hundreds of stalls selling fake everything and some custom designers trying to show their stuff and where you can pick a T-shirt up for as little as £1.50. And it's ok: no one closing people down and trying to stop people doing it, everyone just smiles and gets along and some shop in both while others prefer one or the other.

Where we come from, I really think it's such a shame that "old man council" and "health and safety" have gone so far - we're all being forced to shop only in malls and eat only in restaurants all because the little guy in England is not allowed to exist, because it would be a health hazard this, or a fire hazard that.

This said, Thailand can still be the most frustrating place on earth: along with the varieties of eateries and shopping, it also applies to the level of education and so sometimes even the most basic of things takes ages due to a lack of common sense. (e.g. KTM not telling me they needed to order a particular part until I come in to collect and pay for the "finished" bike - what happened to a phone call?!)

We met with Allan Roberts again for a catch up and a discussion of his up and coming Dakar Rally attempt, and the Australia Desert Challenge. He is one hell of an inspiring guy and I love hanging out with him, he's got a real "let's get the fuck out there and do this" attitude rather than a "well I would really like to but cos of my (insert one of a thousand excuses here) situation I can't." I truly wish him all the luck in the world and I will be looking to support you in any way I can. It's guys like you that make me think I'm not the only crazy person in the worked who is so "lucky" to be able to follow my dream…….. I'm still thinking about getting "don't call me lucky" tattooed somewhere on my body!!

We tried to ship the bike out, my what a hassle!! To begin with we sent about 20 emails out to different agents and after 2 days only 3 had replied despite us chasing them all up. One company had us believing they knew what they were talking about, but kept adding things in like "wood needs to be fumigated." "No, not included in price, that's extra." "Yes, Virgin Airlines accept dangerous goods cargo." (They don't.)

We eventually told them to stuff it and went to another agent recommended on a few traveller's blogs, even though they were more expensive, but we just wanted to get it sorted. Unfortunately they too had a problem. Our bike import paper was 10 days expired. For anyone that knows this (and it's printed in English in the thai customs website) vehicles can stay in the country up to 6 months, and if you stay over your initial expiry date - normally a month - you just pay a fine of 100 baht per day up to a maximum of 1000 baht, when you leave.

But the shipper wouldn't accept this, so we had to go to the airport to try to get a new form. But the customs guys couldn't just give us a new form, and they couldn't understand why the shipper had such an issue with this paper. They insisted it's no problem. I made them call the shipper and explain the situation, and we went to the shipper's offices in the cargo terminal. They they decided AGAINST what customs advised and decided that actually, they would make it a problem still. This went back and forth a few times. In the end, the customs guys (who are really very helpful - the head of the department deals with us and is very good) - advised us to get another shipper, and they called one for us and said they will call us in a few minutes to discuss our bike. (To date - 14 days later - we're still waiting for that call!) It appears Bangkok shipping agents don't need or want our business.

So after spending 10 hours running around to sort this issue out and getting nowhere, we decided to go for some food and a beer to clear our heads.

I pull out the airport onto the motorway and straightaway a police officer on a bike sees me and gestures me to stop. I think, stuff him he's in the inside lane the other side of a bus and I'm in lane 4, I'm outta here - as normally they're on 250s and cannot keep up. But much to my surprise as I emerged out the front of the 6 or so buses he was right there on a FZ800 with panniers, BOLLOCKS!

When I stop he says "not bike on highway, no good, big trouble." I point to the Sat Nav and say I didn't see a sign and the Sat Nav says this way. He asked for my licence, I said I don't have it. "Your passport". I say "Nope, I have come from the airport, I ship my bike tomorrow and they have all my documents." He was a bit confused at that one. "No problem" I say, "I normally just pay a fine for my troubles now." "Yes," he says, "2000 baht."

Laughing I say wow you must be rich man this is why you have nice bike! He laughs and straight away says 1000 baht. No no, I say it's a normally only 200, but he says "you on highway, could be big trouble, give me 500 baht." I then say ok ok, knowing I have a 500 baht note in my wallet. I pay him and he was very pleasant and let me continue on the motorway with his escort which included a little run to see what pace I had in the KTM, then when I nearly took the wrong exit he followed me off and guided me the right way.

After the day we've just had, I say to Cat, "fuck sake could our day get any fucking worse?" and literarily within 30 seconds the heavens opened! One of the few time I was wearing t-shirt and shorts on the bike and Cat was huddled in behind me wearing jeans and a top. Man, it hammered down, a typical Asian monsoon storm where you get about a day's worth of rain in 30 mins!

Anyway I eased up and slowly cruised back to the hotel, if I'm thankful for one thing before leaving on this trip it's having done a couple of track days in the rain - you have a lot more grip than you think and it helps teach you what the bike will and will not do. Once back, and totally soaked to the skin, we got changed and I had a coffee ordered to clear my head a bit.

I find the most frustrating thing here is waiting for other people. In my work, I have a certain amount of control-freak syndrome. I push things to the limit, work problems out quickly, and I'm not afraid to ring people to the point where others find it embarrassing. I will happily call someone thirty times in a day to find out what the hell is going on and put pressure on them, and I think that is why I find these situations so frustrating. It's horrible having a day like this were you do all the right running around, and speak to all the right people but nothing happens. Normally I'm on the phone to someone's boss, or a lawyer or someone who I know can put pressure on these people to get things done. Instead I got soaked to the fucking skin, my wallet is lighter than when I left this morning and we literally spent a day achieving NOTHING.

So we decided to go for a quiet beer. Cat is not feeling too good as it turns out she has an Oesophagus Ulcer after taking her malaria pill late on night with not enough water and then going to bed straight away, so she is struggling to eat and drink but has found that Baileys seems to work, either that or she drank enough of them the pain just went away.

But we talked and to be honest, laughed a lot at our situation. Then I made some calls - being me, I don't like to leave any stones unturned - and other options turned up. And by the end of the day the bike situation had been dealt with, in fact in the end I had 3 options but I chose the one that was fair to all parties involved and it means myself and Cat can fly out in 2 days time.

…………….

So this morning we packed our stuff and tried to get a taxi, and it was not the best end to Bangkok. We got a taxi driver who let us put our stuff in his taxi and then told us he wanted 500 baht and would not take us there on the meter. Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm not one for being crossed, but this part of me tends to have an even shorter leash ESPECIALLY before I have eaten or had a boring coffee, and needless to say this taxi driver got a bit of a James special "you thief I hope your family are proud, you will get no business, bad omens for you" - the whole lot, as I unloaded the taxi with Cat's help while he just stood there.

I notice the Thais are suspicious and the whole "Buddha will bring bad luck to you" really freaks them out, especially as I rubbed my beads as I said it, but good as he was ripping us off!! Within 2 minutes another driver was there and we cleared things with him first, telling him what had just happened and he said "yes don't use Tax Mafia no good they cause big problems." This second guy was what most Thais are like, especially in the north, big smile, really helpful and chatty. In the end I gave him 300 baht - 100 over what the meter said which I think is a fair deal for everyone.

My back is killing me, flying is proving to be harder than I expected and I'm now on the second leg of the 14 and a half hours in the air. I can barley keep my leg still even though I have doubled up my co-codamol and I'm on Ibuprofen and even some valium to help me sleep which I'm only managing to do for an hour before my leg pain wakes me. It's not too bad once I'm back on the ground but as you know on the plane everything swells and this seems to mean the disc leans on the nerve a little more and it's borderline agony, I cannot imagine how bad it would be if I had no pain killers taking the edge off.

So really guys this is the end. It has been an adventure and no matter how I look at it, it didn't quite end how I wanted it to. But that's why I think it's been so good - we left with no real plan and man have we done some incredible things! Seen some incredible things, been to incredible temples, see tigers in the wild, eaten amazing food, met amazing people and got to understand many religious traditions.

I look back and from a world perspective I feel like I left like a silly little boy, I certainly feel that when I read parts of my blog back. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pretending to think I'm some world guru now, not at all, in fact I would say I'm probably a well informed teenager at best. There are much more experienced people like Ted Simmons, Geoff Thomas, Alan Roberts, Marcia and John, Big Tom and many others who have inspired us, some have helped us, and we stand in your shadows and thank you for sharing your stories and inspiration with us. There are probably others who I have missed, I know and I'm sorry but it's hard to recall all the details from memory.

It nearly brings a tear to my eye to think this is all over. I never left England until I was 19 and I feel like a lucky guy, and I hate being called that! Hours of work has gone into being able to do this. I never thought I would ever do anything like this as a kid, in fact there are many things I didn't think I would do but have achieved nonetheless, and I encourage any single person out there that this is doable and it's not difficult and it is amazing!

Sure there's ups and downs, good days and bad, but when you meet and spend time with a beautiful Iranian family or get blown away by some fun lovely Nepalise kids, or share a joke with some Indian lorry drivers whose only way of communicating is by hand signals, or when you enter a country like Laos and see what we have done to each other and the disrespect we seem to be able to create and the awful things that we can do, and yet these stunning people are living there with big smiles who welcome you like you're family when they still suffer due to western wars that they really wanted nothing to do with, home sure seems like a long way off.

Then you go to Cambodia and see the shanti towns back from the beach 1/2 a mile from where only 4 years ago they were forced off their own beach land because it was sold to big hotel chains, yet they have parties in the street outside their wooden shacks and invite you to drink and dance with them, even though the iPod you have in your pocket might be worth more than all their possessions put together, and it truly makes you feel like we as individuals are something special.

I will never forget this trip, not as long as I live, sure I would do things differently and I may not always have done things right but you cannot be perfect every day, no one can. I sit on the plane and I can say I'm a bit teary-eyed, I feel a bit stupid really but holy shit it's over and the memories and things I have seen will change my life forever. The one thing I would like to add is that I pray everyday we do not go to war with Iran, if we do I think it will make me almost inconsolable for the people there are incredible and I wish in the end I had spent more time there. If I can, I'm definitely going back. Please don't be put off by what you see and read in the papers, bad news sells papers good news doesn't sell quiet as well.

This of course will not be my last trip, don't get me wrong I want the things in life that 90% of the world's population want and that is a family and to settle down with my own part of the world. I intend to make charity work a bigger part of my life and I do intend to do more trips. I want to do Africa and more of Europe, Russia then probably via Iran and the Stans over to Mongolia and back. Then there is Australia and in the end the Americas which Cat and I know we can do when we are a little older.

But for the next couple of years it's back to my biggest love and that is business. I'm looking forward to getting stuck back in and creating new opportunities and then when the time comes, taking the odd week or so off to disappear into Europe and go to places I'm yet to have seen. We are very lucky to live in the UK - a whole variety of different cultures is right on our doorstep and I think we just don't make the most of it enough!!

……….

Now I need to say "thank you"s. This will be my last blog, but I will keep you updated with what we get up to and until we get home. I will keep the travel diary site (www.jamesandcat.com) up at least, even if I don't link the updates with the followers we have on other sites (horizons unlimited, advrider) so if you're reading this somewhere else and want to keep in touch, please go sign up to www.jamesandcat.com

We have met so many incredible people on this trip: everyone who has helped us, encouraged us, given us advice or has swapped stories over a few beers. The journey really has been the people you meet, especially those who helped us out along the way when we were in trouble: The Moroccan businessman who showed us an alternative way to make a living; the bike gang in Hungary who adopted us for the weekend; the families in Iran; the Sikh Indian with the tyres; the Turkish police after my accident; the hotel owner in Turkey; and many times Hemel Hempstead KTM who have always took time to give me some advice and help whenever I have called, which was often for nothing other than a thanks and for me to quickly hang up! Phil from Rider's Corner in Chiang Mai; and of course Eddie on 24/7 telephone mechanic advice while I have been in Asia. Plus anyone else who has shown us their home or way of life or taken time out of their day to talk with us and make us fell welcome. So many great people and so many friends for life.

I also need to thank our families, and close friends, special mention to both sets of Mum and Dad's; Gaz Hurst who drove halfway across the country to collect and look after my stuff and is letting us stay at his house until we get a place sorted; Ferg Harrington for being there for me and looking after my business who is not just my business partner but a true friend; Jade my sister for spending hours searching flights seeing what deals she can score us with her stewardess discounts when needed; Rob from Southern Cross for helping me out whenever he could. And everyone else for the words of encouragement, the kind emails from people we have never met, and we wish those who said they were planning their trips all the luck in the world and if you come via London we have an open house - just drop us an email as we would love to return the favour and kindness we received on the road.

Also the websites www.advrider.com and horizionsunlimited.com are so invaluable - so much help, encouragement, advice. Help fixing the bike, routes, things to see and friends along the way has all come from these incredible hubs of information. These online communities are a must for anyone considering doing any sort of big bike/overland trip.

So that's about it. We travelled through 30 countries, 28 by motorcycle, flew over 2: Pakistan and Myanmar as we could not take the bike in or get visas. We covered 50,000km on the bike, went though 3 sets of tyres and had 1 accident on the KTM and Cat had one a hire bike (only one broken bone.) We rode to 4000 meters high, paid as little as $5 for 30 litres of petrol and as little as 50 cents for a meal. We probably drank too much, ate too much and didn't do enough exercise so to speak. We saw elephants, long nose crocodiles, tigers, a rhino, rare birds, alligators, monkeys, buffalo, rare deer, big eagles, and desert cats. We went to churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, palaces and castles. We rode on all terrains, twisty mountain roads, sand covered roads across deserts that seemed to go on forever, huge pot holed truck filled roads in India, mud tracks, sand tracks, roads that were collapsing and had landslides on, and even up the side of a mountain on a trekking route. We slept in hotels, hostels, tents, on the beach, in hammocks, in people's homes, and even in the food storage room in the middle of a field in Cambodia. We have eaten lots of different types of food, too many to mention in fact but have turned down crispy cockroaches and dried meat rats. It's been a hell of a journey and I hope you have enjoyed following it with us. If you have just found the blog, go get a cuppa and have a read. It might make you chuckle and think about taking some time out of the rat race.

Lastly (but not least!) thanks to Julie and Chris (the Jetstreams) who one Sunday over some drinks and good food told us that we should definitely go and do it, when we were wondering about it, and I do believe the following weekend I bought the bike!!
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:26 AM   #112
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:00 AM   #113
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many many thanks for a great travel story,i have followed you from the start and all good things have to end sometimes,but it sounds like you have plans for future trips
we start are trip in jan riding back from oz to uk and hope to have a great trip like yours
expect an email for advise when we are on the road lol
cheers for now and thanks again Clive
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:02 AM   #114
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thanks

My pleasure guys and if you come to london you got a place to crash and park the bike, just drop me a line!!
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:28 AM   #115
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A fucking fantastic read. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. Sorry about your back. I know everythime you tell someone you have a bollocked back , they say theirs is worse.
I have a trapped nerve and a lot of the same things you talk about. I do feel your pain(maaaan). If you can get Lyrica (sp?) from the doc. It's the only thing that helped me in the early stages of my problem. Kills the nerve pain. Long term it isn't too good for your head as it is actually used to help people with mental problems and can leave you feeling down (i was on it for about 6 months before i realised) Still might be worth having a go on it.
Take care and the best of luck with the future.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:53 AM   #116
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Thank you,
Thank you,
Thank you,
this is a great RR, I looked forward to every update and enjoyed it. Shame about the last bit.
All the best in life
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:59 AM   #117
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ah dear wonderfull pictures! Subscribed! enjoy your ride as long as you can
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:57 PM   #118
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thanks for your reply's its very appreciated as sometime you feel your writing to none. Your correct about the back thing, very one says "yeah i get back pain" but you think not f$$king like this you don't mate!

IT dam sore, but i hope to finally see the specialist next week, if not it might be a case of off to the emergency room i think as the pain is unbearable sometimes!

The ride has been incredible, i don't think its really sunk in yet.
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Old 10-13-2013, 10:38 AM   #119
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Back over a year and 12 months since surgery

So im back in the UK, back to running my business which has been keeping me busy as ever!!

I had back surgery in September (last year) to rescue the Nerve and try sort the pain out. Well it worked and i'm glad to say i have been back in the gym now for 2 months.

Im still on bikes often and im still dissapointed i didn't get to ride through indonesia and into Oz. But i got plans to pick up where i left off at some point.

Im hoping work goes well for the next few months as i got some hopes to take 3 months off and ride from London to Cape town so watch this space.

Hope all you guys are good and thought i better throw up an update as i do get the odd email asking where we went!!

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Old 06-23-2014, 12:27 PM   #120
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Vote for Discovery channel

Hey guys,

I got through to the final for Discovery Channel's Make My world Bigger.

I would love you guys to vote for me!!

http://www.mywbcompetition.com/gal.aspx?og=1

Im good, just about to leave on a 3 week trip to norway and back and my appendix has burst putting a hault to that for now. Hoping to get time to do it August/September time.

Thanks in advance for those who vote for me!!

Rixxy!
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