Samstag, 12. März 2016

February 2016...... Suzy Blue is back home..... the end of my amazing trip!

After the overwhelming welcome from my family and friends at the airport in Zurich I had a bit more than one week to settle back home; enjoy Christmas, wash and store the little bit of luggage I had with me - the bigger part was still on the trip together with Suzy Blue.

what a feeling!!!! I'm overwhelmed....

My everyday life goes on as before; family, friends and job require time and attention. But all the many impressions and experiences are still very near; I find myself sometimes with a big grin stealing into my face when I think back: moments, people, places from my journey come to my mind.
But the trip is still not really finished - the “dream team” is not complete yet, Suzy Blue still on her long journey home.

together with other adventure bikes.....they sure have a lot to tell!!
 Then in early February the the long awaited mail from Hamburg comes: the container ship from Chile will arrive in a few days, on board the most precious cargo in the world .... at least for me :- Suzy Blue reaches safely Hamburg and then is brought with a little truck to the south border of Germany to relatives of Michael. Michael, who was with Frauke together on his BMW on the almost same trip and I had then encountered on both the steel rat as the end in Valparaiso again. So by train and bus I drive late February to Hänner, about 110km away from Lucerne, just on the other side of the Rhein. I’m quite excited ..... will everything be ok with Suzy? Will the engine - after having attached the battery - restart immediately? and and and.....

The weather is perfect, even though with 2-3 °C not perfect motorcycle weather. But I wear my great suit and underneath as a precaution 3 merino layers to keep me warm. There she is!!!
..... my faithful little companion - and she starts without any problems; probably wants to get back home as quickly as possible! Even with a damaged right rear turn signals, a not working rear brake we both make it easily back to Switzerland. And we even have enough time to warm up my cold fingers at the Ace Cafe in Rothenburg, and spend the evening with a colleague talking about….. ? guess ;-)
Before Suzy lue gets her well-deserved big service and an extensive cleaning, she is presented in Malters at the motorcycle exhibition of the local motorcycle clubs "Speedy Gonzales". She is admired together with some photos and the maps with the route of my trip by many people. Many - especially men - can hardly imagine doing such a long journey with such a "small" motorcycle; it’s fun to tell them about my trip, the people I met. And so Suzy Blue is a little celebrity - at least for a few hours.


Meanwhile, she is at the mechanic; the engine is still in perfect condition, just the usual wear parts to change: wheel bearings, brake disc, brake pads, oil change, etc ......
I take the luggage off the bike and bring it home - a lot of memories back up when unpacking, the smell of gasoline is spreading in my garage. I'm looking forward to g back on the road with Suzy Blue even if it is “only” little trips around Switezrland and in Europe..... but even here there is a lot to discover ..... and who knows what the future will bring me…..

A big “thank you” to all of you who have been following me on my trip, I wish you to stay healthy and dare whenever to live your own dreams as well!!

Hasta luego mi amigos .... we'll meet again - sometime - somewhere - on the streets of the world :-)

Montag, 28. Dezember 2015

16. – 24. December: Viña del Mar, Santiago….and byebye Suzy and South America – for now ;-)

As "promised" I take the remaining days comfortably, only drive short distances along the coast and spend the afternoons mostly walking along the beach, in ungspectacular villages like: Taltal, Caldera, La Serena, Viña del Mar 

the impressing Quinta Vergara amphitheater - place for 20'000 persons

the famous "flower-watch" - with Swiss mechanic....what else :-)

sight to Valparaiso.... beautiful beach but definitely too cold for a swim

and then finally Santiago which is actually the only big city I visit now in Central or South America. It feels good sitting being in the sun and slow down; there’s enough at the moment going through my head: will Suzy be ok on the transport, will everything work out with my return flight, how will it be to be back home, to go back to work soon; suddenly put back to a regulated daily routine . And at the same time I use the time to look back : how was it like for me now ? My first really long trip on a motorbike, most if the time traveling alone.

countless parks and possibilities to relax, biking, jogging....

statue of Mairia on San Cristobal hill, protecting the capital town
view from San Cristobal

view from San Cristibal hill to the mountains behind Santiago and  to the "Gram Torre Santiago", with 300m the highest building in Southamerica                 
 So on Monday I drive from Santiago to Valparaiso and bring my more or less clean Suzy together with Michael (and his BMW ) to the shipping company. De-connect tha battery, reload the lugagge and then…say goodbye! Really a bit a sad moment ... ..Suzy will travel together with 22 other motorcycles in a container to Hamburg and from there with a truck to southern Germany where we will pick them up. Oh, I just can magine what stories about adventures and sufferings the bikes will tell each other ;-) Approx. in early February I should be able to pick her up and drive her home. Then a really thorough wash and an extended service. That’s the least she deserves. But I guess she will not feel bored around me….. have already plans for 2016 – even if only „small“ ones ;-)
Coincidentally, on Monday along with Michael and Frauke also William - he was traveling with the two together since the Stahlratte - and Daniela, then the only non-motorcyclist on the Stahlratte, are in Valparaiso and we spend my last evening together, "dig" in memories and tell each other stories from our trip adventures. Time is running and of course I miss the last bus back to Santiago. Luckily they have a spare room in their appartement and I can sleep there. 

Frauke, Michael, me, Corinne, Daniela & William
Back in Satiago next day I skip my original plan to go for some sight-seeing in Santiago; get my things ready fort he travel and enjoy the remaining time, hanging around at the hostel Casa Matte, discuss with Cristian and other motorcycle travelers about the bkes, the travels, ….Cristian and his lovely wife Francesca have rebuilt their house into a hostel and meanwhile it is famous along motorcycle travelers as Cristian can help with any problems and it is just great as there are always other travelers around. 

view from the terrasse of Casa Matte over the roofs towards the high tower and the mountains
 But the moment I sort of was afraid of has come: I have to leave. Via Metro and Airport Shuttle I get to the airport, stand there for almost 2 hours in the queue to check in and after that have to wait for another 3 hours until it’s time for boarding. As good organised Santiago seems, with the airport shuttle it is a bit strange: the latest Airport shuttle leaves the city at 10pm but there are flights the whole night....... hmmmm, well, what the heck. Everything else on my trip back worked perfect - except that the many security checks really get on my nerves: before boarding is clear, but while transferring from one plane to plane (plane – transfer bus – plane) again 2 checks seems weird; I have no idea where I should be able to get something dangerous on board that way. In Munich I even catch the connecting flight from Munich to Zurich in the last second. 

beautiful Lucerne with world famous Chapel bridge
view from my terrasse towards city wall and the mountains

Still too close, of course, at the moment the impressions, but a first retrospect:
Get it down to the point: it was just GREAT - UNFORGETTABLE !!! An extended look back I'm going to make in 2-3 weeks when I back in everyday life and all the impressions could settle somehow.
But here some first facts:
Travel days: 180
Riding days: 113
Distance: 35'000km
Countries: 15 (including Alaska.)
Motorcycle: 4 overthrows (without damage), 2 large & 3 small services (with the usual wearing parts), 3 rear and 3 front tires (but with 1 poor quality of each), pinion/chain
Repairs: none
People: 4 overthrows (without damage except the wounded ego), 1 day Diarrhoea, 1 day with a slight food poisoning
Victims: 3 birds (small), 100s of butterflies, 100thousands of insects

I’m endlessly grateful for all the guardian angels, good thoughts and thumb-ups that accompanied me during these 6 months and obviously have done “a good job” ;-)

Now I wish to everybody some relaxing days - and a 2016 that will fulfill whatever you’re dreaming of and fighting for.

Hasta luego mi amigos .... sooner or later you will find me again on this "channel" !!