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Old 09-20-2012, 12:44 PM   #3001
Super Suz
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He made it!

Thanks to folks who came out to hear Nate. I showed up at 6 to make the dinner and then we waited to see if Nate was going to make it. Just as the meeting was getting started, he came through the door and we all cheered. He was trying to make it for 6 and got there at about 7:55. When he talked about his trip, he said that the ride on that day was one of the hardest days because of all the traffic. Trying to avoid freeways and riding into the urban jungle from Big Sur took a bit longer than expected.

He was starving and had been riding alllllll day at about 45 mph. So we fed him and gave him coffee and made him entertain us with his stories and POV's of his trip across the United States of America. It was great! We brought Dot in from the lot and he showed her off. The signature, basic plastic blue cup was still on the same hook and his sprocket from the last (the one that was all chewed up) was still attached to the bike like a reminding and endearing ornament.

Petefromberkeley also offered to take him in and since he had the spare bedroom and a garage, Nate obliged. Pete knows just what Nate will need today and make sure he gets it. A shower, a good sleep-in, laundry and a garage to tinker in- probably in that order. And this is what he's doing today.

I did video his talk and I'll see what I can do about posting it here.

Thanks again for all who showed up and gave him a nice welcome to the end of his trip. We had a very good turn out from the San Francisco Motorcycle Club and Nate may go over to their club meeting tonight.

If you are traveling around and want to stop by our club, please do! We meet every Weds night and we like guest visitors.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:56 PM   #3002
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Good to hear they got a good welcome
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:25 PM   #3003
Mr. Fisherman
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Awesome

I wish I could have been there...
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:05 AM   #3004
nathanthepostman OP
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Yep, we made it, having a great night at both Oakland and San Fran bike clubs. A big thank you to them.

Might be heading up to Seattle in the short time I have left before flying back to England, but got to get Dot fixed up first. She's starting to sound like a tractor and the back wheel's a bit buckled. But I guess she's got almost 90,000 kilometres on the clock now, still on original piston, having covered 8000 kays on this American trip, or just under 5000 miles. So that's almost 30,000 miles in a combined time of ten months. So she's doing alright. Certainly been an adventure...



And that's having survived 120 degree heat through Death Valley...

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Old 09-23-2012, 08:11 AM   #3005
Cariboostrom
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Welcome to the west coast

Congratulations. I never doubted you and Dot would make it. Love the pictures on Facebook, and especially the one of Dot and the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. What a journey, and what great astute observations of the USA and the people you've met along the way. Well done. You will no doubt find yourself at work very soon, and reminiscing about your amazing trip this summer. I've always found Americans to be very generous, and so glad you have a few extra dollars now to get Dot home. Do come back again next year with Dot and come up to British Columbia and the Yukon and see the Canadian Rockies! I wish I lived closer and I'd have come to see you in San Francisco! Seattle's closer, but not close enough for me to meet you. Give Dot a big pat on the tank and tell her well done from me!
Danielle
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:08 PM   #3006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cariboostrom View Post
Do come back again next year with Dot and come up to British Columbia and the Yukon and see the Canadian Rockies!
Danielle
Congratulations Nate and definitely take up Danielle's recommendation of the Canadian Rockies if you end up in that part of the world again. Beautiful.
Have a safe flight home and I hope both you and Dot get the TLC you deserve.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:38 AM   #3007
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Nate, it sure was a treat to have had the opportunity to meet you and spend a short time talking to you. Glad to see you made it to the coast! We had lunch together in Sargents, CO where we had just repaired a flat tire on my DRZ.

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:11 PM   #3008
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Enjoyed the Book

Hi Nate,

I just finished your book last night, great stuff, I really enjoyed it.

Doesn't look like your heading back to the east coast, but if you find yourself in the Boston area I would be happy to host.

safe travels

Matt
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:25 AM   #3009
Maritime Mike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanthepostman View Post
It's a sad day. Dot's gone. She's in a box. Preparing for take-off.

Yep, today i went to the shipping company, whipped off her handlebars, footpegs and front wheel and did my best to keep the dimensions down. I'd be warned by many of the tricks these companies use to hike up the bill so I was kinda ready for them.

But they have you by the balls.

The woman i've been dealing with could only give me an approximate price because the box was still to be made and that price might change a bit. Down she even thought.

But then you ask for clarity and you hear that it could also go up, it's likely to go up. No more than 10 percent she reckons. And i hope not with it already up to 425 quid. What's that; about 500 or more $?

And I just think it's because she was shocked by how small we'd got it. You could see the commission draining from her eyes. So they have to find another way to sting the foreigner. But I had it in Australia where they inflated the price by 50% so I'm not grumbling.

I'm now just booking myself a flight. I can save 60 quid if I fly via india so I might do that.

And yep, i certainly have got a carnet. I applied for it in Rockhampton as I rode up Australia's east coast and had it sent to the son's house of a woman I met at a tea stop in Brisbane. She said if I ever needed anything I should give him a call. So I did, and asked if he could recieve my mail - the carnet and the new registration docs for Dot.

His dog bit me when I picked it up. It really drew blood and I had to have tetanus. So yeah, alll good with the carnet.

The info on Iran and visas really helped. Thankyou for that. I should be hearing back in the next few days from the visa company I'm using, but they don't sound optimistic with me being English. Fingers crossed. But at least it sounds like there's plenty of options.

Will post a vid and some pics shortly but just wondered if you'd be interested in this; it's just something I've knocked up to see if I can get some more general interest in the trip. It's about motorcycle adventurers. I'd be interested to know if you guys think it's accurate; you know, the bit about why we do it.

Regards
Just nathan, no dot.



Travelling the world by motorbike. We’ve all seen Ewan McGreggor and his mate do it. Long Way Down, Long Way Around; the pair of them jumping on expensive motorbikes and riding to earth’s every sacred corner with a team of medics, mechanics and film crew in tow. But what’s it really like, who are the people living this dream off their own back, without any corporate support or the glittering flash of fame to greet them at the end?

Well I shall try my best and tell you, because I’m a 29 year old Englishman currently riding from Australia to England on a moped called Dorothy.

Three months ago me and Dorothy, or Dot for short, left Sydney, headed north to Darwin, crossed to East Timor before riding along Indonesia, over to Malaysia then on to Thailand where we currently are now. Nepal is next, then down into India and on through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey until we reach Europe and the last leg home. So far we’ve covered 18,000 kilometres and reckon to have the same again to go.

That’s a lot for Dot. On a slender budget she’s all I could afford; a five year old decommissioned Australian Post bike bought from auction and fitted with a long range tank and panniers. With a 105cc engine and 80km/h flat-out-downhill-wind-behind-us top speed she might be slow, but she’s tough and easy to fix; a crucial ingredient in the wild’s of this vast fascinating world.

Despite 60,000 km/s on her clock she’s in rude health, even with all the weight she has to carry. Clothes, electrical gear, spares, tools, camping gear… me. It’s a lot for a little bike originally designed to potter around the streets. Sometimes, if the hill is so steep, I have to get off push. Once, when I camped by the road In Indonesia, it took me two hours to shove her out of a ditch. Then the bitch wouldn’t start.

My budget for everything, including the bike, the visas and all the living costs for the trip was 5.000 pounds. That was for a four month crossing. With delays and visa issues that’s going to take longer, maybe six months, so the budget has gone up, but only slightly, because on the road, in these countries, I spend no more than ten pounds per day. That’s for food, shelter if I’m not in the tent, and petrol. Those on bigger bikes like McGreggor need more because shipping and paperwork costs are calculated on the vehicles weight and value. It makes it cheaper for me riding Dot.

Some riders manage to get sponsorship and corporate funding. It’s a massive help. All I have, and all you need. to get started is a bike, the necessary paperwork - called a Carnet de Passage - to get your bike over the borders and the necessary tourist visas for the rider. Getting those involves many frustrated hours waiting in line at embassies where you begin to realise that riding’s the easy part of an overland trip. It’s the logistics and formalities that grind you down.

That’s where, as an adventure motorcyclist, you have two options. Plan or just go. Some take years to outline the perfect trip. They know where they’ll stay, the road they’ll take ,and the places they’ll visit along the way. Others, like me, just make it up. Set off on a whim and have total faith that things will work out along the way.

I only had 16 days left on my visa when Australian immigration said I had to go. I’d already had the trip in mind but suddenly, with the window of opportunity briefly open, a distant dream became an overnight reality. In two days I packed and planned and rushed around town picking all sorts of stuff. Tool kits, a storage box, tent, sleeping bag and clothing. Then I set off, leaving just two weeks to cover the 5000 kilometres to Darwin. For me it was the best way. Keep me focused and moving. And so began a life in a tent or hotel room. Up at dawn to ride in rain and across landscapes you’ve never before seen. Lost, alone, on the road, your home is your bike now

A typical day would have me wake at 5am, pack up my tent, skip breakfast, hit the road and for the next 14 hours just keep riding. As Dot can only cruise at 65km/h that gave us a realistic daily distance of 600 kilometres. At night we’d eat a banana sandwich, find a place to pitch the tent, sleep, then wake up and do the same thing again. It was like that across Indonesia, too, where my error in applying for a one month visa not two meant we had to cross this vast island chain without barely stopping. It was five thousand kilometres across Australia, six thousand across Indonesia.

My main worry, always, is having an accident or taking ill. Who will scrape me up off the road and ensure Dot and my belongings are safe while the hospital glues me back together? There’s no safety net on this tight-rope. Slip and fall and you’re on your own. Sometimes you worry too long about this and feel utterly vulnerable, which you are, but there’s no point thinking about it. In truth, on the road, the past and future barely exist. You don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow, just on getting somewhere, in one piece, today. Total focus with no wasted energy on things that can’t be changed. Always in the zone; you could say that.

As for loading the bike, everything has a place, a purpose and necessity if it’s to avoid being abandoned as waste. You become attached to these things. I give them names and ask how they all are in the morning. We’re brothers, on the same quest, surviving in conditions their maker never intended. Clothes, laptops, cameras and footwear. All working overtime, being tossed around in accidents and crashes and in terrain they‘ve never been tested. But on we march. Together, a band as one.

That’s why it’s so upsetting when you have to say goodbye to something or see it lost. Hats, gloves, penknives and socks, casualties along the way for which you mourn. I now have to ditch some weight if Dot’s going to climb the hills of the Himalayas. The first thing to go will be clothes, but only once I’ve torn a off a piece of fabric to be tied around Dot’s handlebars. They’ve earned that place, deserve that place.

So why do we do it; to sight-see and send postcards? Nah. We’re escaping, running from something that in our minds make us go. Boredom, the routine of life, a relationship, an inadequacy, you can escape them all on the road. That is until you stop for a while and they quickly catch up. You will be sat, merry in the moment around a campfire or at a table having lunch, when WHAM, they come right back having pursued you all this way across the globe.

But solitude; it’s a mesmering sensation. One where you feel true and unsmudged. You can be you, you are you, not the one at home you think should be you. There’s no act, no face or front. Raw, bare and naked. Finding yourself. There’s no bigger cliché but that’s the truth. Only here are you faults and flaws completely exposed. You see yourself. Am I really like that, why have I not seen that before? It’s not always nice, but necessary, if you’re going to get more from this trip than a bedtime story.

I don’t know what Ewan and Charlie experienced on their trip, where their personal journey took them. The act for the camera must have been tough. To put on a smiling showbiz face when really all they wanted to do was sit and relax, think, stop, listen, look. Breath. Take in the magic of their adventure and get drunk on it. I imagine they yearned and longed for that.

Just to be alone and free. The life of a motorcycle adventurer.
You made me disappear from my present moment and into some future solo trip for a moment. You are an excellent writer and traveler. Thank you for the journey!
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:43 PM   #3010
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Huray! Glad you made it across the States. It was great meeting you in Zion.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #3011
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"So why do we do it; to sight-see and send postcards? Nah. We’re escaping, running from something that in our minds make us go. Boredom, the routine of life, a relationship, an inadequacy, you can escape them all on the road. That is until you stop for a while and they quickly catch up. You will be sat, merry in the moment around a campfire or at a table having lunch, when WHAM, they come right back having pursued you all this way across the globe."


Well written!
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:46 PM   #3012
Super Suz
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All Four Videos of Natethepostman giving a "tell" at OMC

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...NuqT1W1NJiFPst






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Old 11-02-2012, 08:10 AM   #3013
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Super Suz thanks for sharing

Nate see U in England in '15 for the Rugby World Cup. Ride down to the White Swan in Twickenham for a pint or 6
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:35 AM   #3014
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See you were in Ride mag this month then Nathan with the pearls of wisdom for riding kit
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:34 AM   #3015
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I was indeed Mr Kwak.Actually, I didn't realise just how big a tw@t I looked until I saw the piece in print. Ah well...

And there's an interview in MCN this week as well, with them burning out copies of my book for £9.99 inc p&p. UK only. Which is nice. Got to start writing second one as well, on America trip. With plan to return to Seattle - where Dot is - in the spring and make the push north to Alaska, as we originally set out to do this year.Then not sure what. But will make more effort to document it this time. Merry Christmas everyone...

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