Dinner was always memorable

Sometimes it got a little cold

 

All set for the new adventure


Ready to go. Just before the bike was freighted

INTRODUCTION
When did it all begin


Ever since Dianne and I have known each other (nearly 35 years now) we've been interested in travel. Shortly after we were married in Rhodesia, we went to the UK for our first adventure. The day after we arrived, we bought a Yamaha XT 500. In Rhodesia, because of sanctions, We had been limited to 125cc dirt bikes, so the prospect of a big bore single was too good to pass up. Besides it was cheaper than a proper road bike.

We toured England, Wales and Scotland before embarking on Europe and all up did about 10,000 miles on that XT. We were young and naive and rugged too I suppose. Also we didn't know any better. Our riding gear was, in hindesite, totally inappropriate and at least half our traveling was in the rain and cold, despite it apparently being summer.

On returning to England, we worked through the winter and come spring we sold the XT and bought a Yamaha XS 750, a proper road bike, and embarked on our second trip around Europe, enjoying places we had been the first time and exploring new horizons too.

Whilst we were working and traveling, it became obvious that Rhodesia was a lost cause and we had to look for a new country to live in. The UK was not an option. After growing up and enjoying life in Rhodesia, the UK was so totally different, especially the weather, which for motorcyclists like us, was a major consideration. Now when you get down to it, there actually aren't that many places in the world a young Rhodesian couple would choose to live. As we said the UK was out, the USA was almost impossible to get into, Canada had a problem with not enough Celsius, but Australia, well it had it all. Trouble was the Australian immigration officials didn't want just anyone populating their wonderful country, only those who passed strict requirements could get in. Meeting those requirements or at least proving that we met them, took us about 3 years, which we spent in the UK working through the winters and traveling on the bike in the summers.


1980, and acceptance to Australia was close. But for me, I had to see the USA before finally settling down, as I knew I must when we eventually did get to Australia. We had one more trip in us, and so we flew out on a discounted Freddy Laker flight (who can remember those) for New York City. I'd done better research on an appropriate bike and our gear was also more suitable now and the day after we arrived in NY City we rode out on our Yamaha XS1100. We had a wonderful and memorable 6 months touring the USA, Canada and a small bit of Mexico, before learning that our application to migrate to Australia had been accepted.

Before leaving the USA we decided to ship the XS to Australia. Having owned a motorcycle ever since I was 14 and ridden almost every day to work, sometimes taking the long way, I feared there would be other more important things to deal with in our adopted country and I would have a hard time justifying buying and riding a motorcycle when there were other priorities.

The next 15 years or so we worked hard and raised two kids, but did very little riding. I still rode to work every day and enjoyed dirt bike riding , but one day a strange thing happened and I remember it well. I was 39, nothing significant about that, and had gone down to one of the local bike shops to look for a suitable dirt bike for the young bloke. While waiting I sat on one of those Harley things the dealer had in the showroom! That was it, the moment and the instant that rekindled our need for motorcycling adventures. We sold the aging XS and Dianne bought me a Harley for my 40th birthday. That bike and the HOG fraternity, that is a part of Harley ownership, changed our lives and put us back on course.

Almost 10 years later, and as I write this, I'm looking at our 3rd Harley in the garage. Dianne now has her open bike licence and collectively our Harleys have carried us well over 200 000km and rekindled our love for travel. Dianne and I have just finished packing and protectively taping this one. She's got 60 000km on the clock and already taken us around Australia, and many other places in the two years we've owned her, and in 5 days time 16/04/2004, she'll be air freighted out to Los Angeles to begin a 12 month adventure that will take the three of us up to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, south and east to the New England states, then south again to Mexico, through Central and South America to join other RTWs in Ushuaia for Xmas and to welcome in the New Year 2005.

This trip has been more than two years in the planning, and the hoping. We think we've got all bases covered, and those we haven't we'll sort out on the way. We've had our doubters, particularly regarding our choice of bike, but after enjoying Peter and Kay Forwood's company for a few days late last year as well as Ken and Carol Duval and grilling both of them on their adventures, we believe the Harley is the right choice for the two of us on a trip such as this. We attended the Horizons Unlimited Australian meeting last year and there were a few sniggers about the Harley. We know it has certain limitations but it also has several significant advantages for us. We aim to vindicate our choice.

We plan on maintaining a web site to not only keep up with family and friends but also to offer what we hope will be useful information for other travelers. Updates will be every couple of weeks and we seek feedback and information from other travelers. We also hope our postings are informative and useful and we encourage feedback. If you'd like to see what we're up to click the HOME button now and go to dairy update.

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