Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Last few miles on the road

Tomorrow in Bangkok my motorcycle will be put in a wooden crate and prepared for shipping.

This ends my trip through Asia on my own temporarily imported motorcycle. It is a moment of relief yet also of great sadness, all at the same time. Sometimes I can't imaging that the journey comes to an end.

I met so many people on this long ride, people who were incredibly generous in their help or friendship, truly amazing folks who I would not have met otherwise. I saw amazing, joyful and sad things along the way, I encountered temperatures between 8 degrees C and 40 C, altitudes from sea level to 2,900 meters (Phou Bia, Laos). The sun was shining, it was overcast sometimes, and sometimes I went through flooding and heavy rain. Most of the times, however, it was dusty and dry, my lungs are rich in the local red dirt.)

Of course one could ask whether I would do it again, to ship my BMW from the U.S., instead of renting one. This is a questions I was asked sometimes. I thought about it, about the significant complexities of the shipping, customs clearance, and last but not least, the expense involved.

The answer is a clear "Yes! Of course I would do it again."

There is simply no comparison between riding on your own, very capable machine, versus enduring a ride like this one on an old, beat-up 'war horse' motorcycle one may find to rent somewhere. (BTW cost is a considerable factor: The cost for renting can be significant. I was on the road for approximately seven months, which equals to: 7 x 30+/-days x $49.00 (in Thailand, for a larger bike, maybe a HONDA Transalp or Teneree = Total about 10,000.-. Compared to this, my expenses related to the motorcycle riding were a BARGAIN! And you won't be able to rent a bike like mine.)

Besides, a very important consideration is the fact that borders can only be crossed on self-owned vehicles. That would limit the riding of a rented bike to one country only. (Maybe flights to other countries and renting locally could solve this to a degree, however, try to rent a larger motorcycle in Laos, for example. Impossible.)

The own motorcycle, especially a machine like mine, is in all of these countries also a true conversation starter. It is impossible to not get in contact with folks on the road, foreigners or locals alike, motorcyclists or not.

Tomorrow will be, maybe, my last blog entry, the crating of the bike, a Good Bye! and some low-key 'final remarks'.

Here are the last images from yesterdays ride into the capital of Thailand.

Wonderful, hand-made spirit houses.
I should have bought one and ship it back with the motorcycle.
They are usually erected at the edge of a building site and provide a new home for the spirits of the land after a new building went up.

She reminded me of my mom, sitting in the wheel chair in front of the TV. 

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