August 2017
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Month August 2017


Earlier in the year I went down to the US to talk to Helge (surely the most experienced distance rider alive) and extract valuable beta about the route ahead. It’s cool being handed down stuff by the pioneering ADV generation, in the same way as I had a coffee a couple of days ago with a woman, well travelled, who wanted to talk gear and stuff for her first adventure ride, in Laos.

In the same way I went down to see Helge earlier, for information, I went down to see Dan a couple of days ago. Long-story-short I flew down to Seattle and rented a car from there, about 185 miles (my bike is at Alyxmoto)

To Dan’s from the Seattle/Tacoma airport (it’s no YVR!), the green line

Lots of Americana in central and eastern Washington

Top subject on the rental car radio, on the drive, is ‘Canadian smoke” from the monster fires in BC, being blown south. When I got to Dan’s it looked like this. It was thick and smelt of burning

So Dan and I pulled an 8 hour shift working on OSM maps, GPS systems clean-ups, with only a short break for lunch. He’s the man, the top expert on GPS systems in the serious traveller, a tester for Garmin, and has consulted for Furkot for 2 years. In real life, he’s a retired engineer. I rode with him and Helge from L.A. to Guatemala. Dan has 100,000 overseas adventure riding, including riding an HP2 in Africa.

We talked about Garmin.

He didn’t defend them when I pointed out the shittyness of the experience with these assholes. As I’ve said before they’re the ride anti-Christ

But there’s extremely good news. A replacement for Garmin Basecamp that looks very good. Dan gave me an introduction to it. Wow, is it ever different. I’m going to use it in planning mode here for a while before I talk about it.

Just a random Furkot screen below. Also nice to toggle in and out of OSM vs satellite.

eclipse at 49.2, -123.2

I wasn’t going to bother with the eclipse. I hadn’t realized that Vancouver would get a ‘significant partial’ until someone said so in an email chat last night.

Well, it was pretty cool because the light did darken a little bit. Not sure what anyone else from YVR thought, but my estimation was down about 20%.

I made an eclipse viewing box according to an instruction video linked by CNN’s website. It’s not pretty, but it’s made exactly to specifications. It sort of worked.

This is the second consecutive product-on-concrete-floor shot on the blog. I promise there’ll be a third, contextually, tomorrow. No idea yet of what.

Delorme illegal in India


Which I use to produce a nice live track, like this (light blue line)

Is illegal. Just heard from Garmin (who as of last year own Delorme)

I knew that satellite phones were illegal, but this confirms SMS via satellite as well. Damn.

by truck

I was Googling for information, looking for bike travellers who’d been through an area and came across this guy, no name on his website (with you on that, brother.) A Brit solo traveller in a light truck in extremely remote and sometimes dangerous places. Never seen this before. It should be a thing

Here’s his rationale on the truck choice, given an additional challenge:

” It became clear to me that there was only one choice of vehicle manufacturer and the question of which vehicle to take became a question of which Toyota to take. After much consideration, I chose a 1993 Hilux 4×4 Diesel. Reliable, tough and utilitarian, mechanically simple, free from worrisome electronics, comparatively light, economic and ubiquitous throughout much of Eurasia, the Hilux made an excellent overland vehicle. The truck would take me over some seriously rough terrain, over some of the world’s highest roads, across the snowy wastes of Mongolia, through empty deserts and the hectic cities of the Indian Subcontinent. The truck’s low-profile look would often blend-in with local traffic, allowing me for example to access parts of Pakistan from which foreigners are normally kept well away, and it would allow me to drive inconspicuously across Afghanistan where security was a major consideration

Nice. Yup, that what was bothering me after seeing your route: security in Afghanistan!

Here’s his excellent website Eurasia Overland

hard work

Here’s a screen grab from video, the Killar / Kishtwar route in northwestern India. The route is disgustingly exposed, 1000′ sheer drop in places, and worse: it’s 66 miles long. No idea if I’ll do it, I have to pass it, so will decide when I get there. But if I do, I’ll wait for some locals, like these guys, to absorb some of their chillness

I always wonder how they build these roads.

Yesterday I saw these photos from Graeme Perkins, a rider I’ve been chatting to recently (he said I could use them.) Photos just taken in the Pamir Mountains.

Here’s how they build them, by hand. Click it to see the precariousness of the situation for the right hand 3rd guy

You can see how they do it: They cut the ceiling line first, then open it up. Hence the ‘V’ shape. Hopefully the right hand guy makes twice as much as the leftmost guy.

And coming in from the other end

Mr Frog