Chapter 26 – “Rain drops keep falling on my head…”

August 27, 2011

Trip distance and Time trip correct at Ecuador/Peru border 16/06/11

More photos in the Ecuador gallery

I was a little nervous as I rolled down the hill to the border, filtering past a long queue of traffic in the rain as my Temporary Import Permit for Rosie had expired whilst I’d been back in GB attending my niece’s 1st birthday and best mate’s wedding. As a result I was hoping to bypass customs, go straight to Immigration and then ski across the across the border to Ecuador unnoticed. Mike at Casa Blanca Hostel in Cali had told me how the border was laid out and so as everyone queued for the customs window I slipped down the outside, around the back to the carpark and walked into the empty ‘Migracion’ office where I quickly got stamped out. For once the rain was probably doing me a favor as no officials were outside wandering around. Once across the bridge I was directed to a parking space by an Ecuadorian Policeman and I relaxed and grabbed a quick coffee outside the photocopy shop.

…read the rest of Chapter 26


Chapter 25 – South to South America

May 14, 2011

“What do you mean you want the receipt for my tourist visa!!!???…How could I have entered without paying for it!?”

The ‘migracion’ officer was adamant I pay again and gave me a form to take to the bank opposite. I was adamant I wasn’t going to pay again and so began our Mexican stand-off. To let him know I was prepared for a long wait I removed my crash helmet, donned my sun hat and shades but refused to move away from the window.

I’m not sure exactly what changed but after several minutes a different voice asked me for my passport and I handed it to a different officer who stamped me out without question.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chapter 24 – Mexico

February 2, 2011

“Mmmm…that was a bit too easy” I thought as I rolled out of the Mexican border in Tecate. No US exit post, no Mexican immigration, no Customs. No paperwork was bound to make things difficult for me later on so I returned to the border and spoke to a security guard who pointed me to the immigration office. I was given a tourist visa form to complete and told to walk two blocks down the hill to the bank to pay the M$262 (Mexican Pesos) and obtain a receipt. Once I had my visa I asked about Customs and the temporary import document for my bike only to be told they couldn’t be issued there; only Tijuana or Mexicali. Both of those were wellout of my way and so I asked about La Paz on the Baja peninsula. “En La Paz tambien”. Great, no detour required. Read the rest of this entry »


Chapter 23 – USA Finale

January 2, 2011

Back in the USA…

I hit the ‘Update’ button for the blog (Chapter 22), finished loading Rosie and headed out into Vancouver’s late afternoon traffic. An hour later arrived at the border, and 20 minutes after that I was back in the USA.

The same standard of living had cost me 60-70% more in Canada and I was glad to be back in the US. I found a bush camp by the river right in the middle of Skagit River and pitched my tent.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chapter 22 – 100,000 miles…

August 26, 2010

It would have been nice to have passed the 100k miles marker on the same bike I’d left home with but it wasn’t to be; and so with Lady P (my BMW F650) taking early retirement the task was left to the newly named ‘Rosie’* (my Suzuki DR650). And so it was on August 11th 2010, somewhere on the Alaska Highway west of Tok, Alaska I rolled over 100,000 miles since leaving home on St.Patricks Day 2006.

And what a 100,000 miles it’s been – 4½ years, 5 continents, 38 countries.

* Why Rosie? DR=Desert Rose. Rose Tyler was Dr.Who’s best ever assistant and was played by top bird and my beautiful niece’s namesake – Billie Piper. So ‘Rosie’ it is.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chapter 21 – Back on the Road

May 12, 2010

NB – This update also includes the ‘Suzuki’ tab

There’s something cozy and secure about being tucked up inside your tent, warm and dry, whilst listening to the wind howling through the trees outside. It’s a primeval feeling like a subconscious return to the womb; or am I just rambling on, talking bollocks…?

I’ve spent 27 of the past 31 nights in my 6’ x 3’ home and I’ve finally pitched it somewhere for long enough to write something. So here I am, listening to the sound of the Colorado River as it heads for the Grand Canyon, typing what I hope will be a worthy summary of the past…bloody hell…has it really been 5 months!!?? …Continued in Chapter 21


Chapter 20 – The Early Retirement of Lady P

January 6, 2010

Will she hold…leaving La Paz

Graham & Graham were the first English overlanders I’d met since meeting Richard Harwood in Chile back in January. Young Graham (22) had flown his bike into Toronto in April and ridden north to the ice roads before turning south to cross the USA. Old(er) Graham had started in Los Angeles and the pair met in Guatemala, joining forces for the ride through Central America. We stood on the roadside for an hour or so having a good chat, swapping stories and info. At 4000m the sun on the road from La Paz to Lake Titicaca was pretty intense and after so long in the shade of the city I’d forgotten just how quickly my head burnt. After six months without seeing another overlander I was clearly back on the ‘Gringo’ trail; not since leaving Brian & Fie in Thailand in March 2007 had I seen three British number plates together.

Meeting Graham & Graham outside La Paz, Bolivia

…continued in Chapter 20…


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