English car drivers can shoe-horn their cars into the narrowest of gaps. The ride through the Yorkshire Dales was sublime, but would have been more enjoyable if the roads had been dry. Car and truck drivers are quite courteous, flashing their indicators in thanks once they’ve overtaken a slower vehicle (usually me, but also slow trucks and OAP’s in cars). [OAP – Old Age Pensioner, as per English newspapers].

Scotland is a rider’s paradise. Beautiful scenery, great roads, minimal traffic – everything has been laid out perfectly for the appreciative rider. @#$%ing lot of point-to-point speed cameras though – talk about the fun police.  Just watch out for mud on country lanes, often trampled in by herds of cows crossing the road. 

Riding in Northern Ireland in spring-time is not for the feint-hearted. The combination of challenging roads and weather conditions make every ride a battle to be fought. The roads here are often very narrow. The ride across the steep and twisty Torr Road is the hardest sealed road I’ve ever ridden. I’ll try and post some photos and video later. Off-camber corners, roundabouts slippery as ice-skating rinks, Northern Ireland is like a textbook of riding hazards. 

In Ireland the roads are wider, and many roads include an emergency/stopping/passing/turning lane, so slow traffic can pull to the side and let fast traffic go through. The lane divider markings on country roads are very visible, so it makes for  easy riding, but watch out for directional signs painted in Limerick;s town centre – today we were on a two-lane, one-way road, and both lanes were marked to show that traffic could either go straight ahead or turn right. There are that many warning and information signs on the side of the road that they can become a distraction as you try and figure out what’s coming up and they read like the race notes for a rally car – “Road narrows to sharp right over humped bridge with elderly crossing on far side and prancing deer seen near major junction ahead”.

The 100 kmh speed limit on country lanes in Ireland can be a bit disconcerting – in W.A. roads with driveways opening up onto them probably wouldn’t be posted at anything more than 80 kmh and probably lower. In the wet I just stick to around 50-60 on these twisty roads. 

250km in a day is often a full day’s ride. We’ve done a couple of 350+ km days and they are big day’s out. 

Just musing over some observations ….parking is an issue with few people wealthy enough to have a garage or even a place to park their car at home ….most have to park on the street. The houses are all TINY by Australian standards….yet there is heaps of vacant land all over ….its a puzzlement!  They all ( private homes, B&Bs and Hotels) seem to have weird showers with little heating systems where you pull a chord to start it and you have a choice with dials …freeze or burn …anything in between gives you the water presser that would fill a teaspoon …. I don’t know if anyone here manages to wash …or maybe they don’t bother! Most places have stairs …homes, cafes, hotels etc …the majority are steep and narrow and very difficult to negotiate with heavy panniers and motorbike gear. EVERYTHING is built on hills ….we are really getting our excercise …which is good …..except for our current chest infections making breathing even harder. The Locals are very welcoming to Aussies and helpful…..but there are some MAD drivers….especially on the narrow single traffic roads …..luckily Vince is a defensive rider and always one step ahead in keeping us safe…I am also very thankful for BMW ABS …the ANIMAL does her bit as well. The weather is a challenge …rain, hail, ice, snow, thunderstorms and gale warnings all experience in the past week! This combined with narrow roads and traffic has slowed progress and not many miles can be covered in a day …our planning …conservative by Australian standards of between 200 – 400km a day (we have done 1000km in a day in WA) is way out! The scenery is SPECTACULAR to say the least…in both England and Scotland ….truely beautiful and magnificent…the sense of history is also amazing!


Well the day finally came …..it was hard saying goodbye to family and friends but exciting at the same time. An early start at 1.30am with a flight at 6.00am… some 30 odd hours of travel ahead without sleep as we don’t travel too well on flights. Arrived at Gatwick around 6.00pm on 16th March and straight in a Cab (15 pounds) to our hotel near the airport in Copthorne for a shower and bed …we slept for 14 hours straight! We caught a cab to Vince’s relatives in Hanwell but that one cost us over 90 pounds!!!!! Exchange rate is only 44 pence to the Aus Dollar – ouch!

IMG_0920IMG_0928IMG_0568IMG_0937IMG_0929 Originally planned for March 14th at the Pinnacles, plans change…… we decided in June 2014 to kind of elope instead…..we wanted our wedding to be about the promises we made to each other rather than about other people and what pleased them rather than us. It was a beautiful and intimate day – shared with our two good friends Rob and Angela as witnesses, and the intrepid Bully who drove Karen to Queen’s Garden’s, Perth Western Australia in the sidecar!

Vince attended the Inaugural Perth HU Travellers Meeting held in October 2013 – where he met the founders Grant and Susan Johnson …HU and the DVD series “The Achievable Dream” were inspirational and when Vince met Karen in 2014 it was one of the first experiences he shared with her. It was almost an indoctrination into a cult for her…..and she was hooked. She became a member in her own right after the South Africa trip.  P1110112
 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA By the time the October 2014 HU Travellers Meeting (held at Fairbridge, W.A.) came around they were both hungry for more….. it was a great weekend with Karen doing her thing taking notes on her iPad to help their planning. They attended most sessions together, but sometime would divide and conquer to cover more ground. It was a marvelous experience.
 In January 2015 Karen contacted the HU organiser in Germany, Jens Ruprecht, to ask about any language barriers to the couple attending the HU Summer Overland Adventure Travel Event at Campingplatz Pfrimmtal (Pfimmerhof 3, 67729 Sippersfeld) on 14 – 17 May 2015, whilst they are in Europe. Jens extended an invitation to present and after discussion they agreed. So Vince and Karen will now be Australian ambassadors presenting twice: “2upadventures – Aussies Abroad – Dream it…Live it…. Ride it…” about their 12 month Honeymoon so far and also “We come from the Land Downunder! Riding in Australia – the real story!” OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter taking delivery of the ANIMAL on 16th May 2014 they did a short trip out to the Pinnacles to help run her in for her first 1000km service. The Pinnacles is a special place for Vince and Karen as it was on a Perth Motorbike and Sidecar Rider’s Camping trip to Cervantes and the Pinnacles on 4th and 5th Jan 2014 that they both knew they were meant to be together…..   IMG_6017IMG_6028IMG_6004













Upon returning from the South Africa ride Karen and Vince were so impressed with the BMW 1200 GS that the looked at purchasing one for their big trip. At Auto Classic in Perth, Karen fell in love with the GSA fully kitted out with metal panniers and top box – she even had the colour picked out -Olive! It was a step up from the 1200 GS they had ridden, and as the latest water cooled model, one of the most expensive options available ($29,000 plus $3000 for panniers, top box GPS) -but you only live once and the heart wants what the heart wants! Karen’s philosophy was may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb!  2014_BMW_R_1200_GS_1139225
 TRIUMPHTiger1200Explorer2014UrbanTouringMotorcycle Karen was already set, but Vince, being Vince, wanted to explore all options…He took Karen to view the  Triumph 1200 Explorer ($22,790) at JCS Motorcycles in Burswood. Karen took a look but was unmoved.
Vince then took Karen to view the KTM 1190R Adventure ($20,000) at Savage Suzuki in Midland. Again, Karen took a look but was unmoved.  2013-ktm-1190-adventure-and-adventure-r-officially-priced_2
 BMWR1200GSAdventure2014EquippedAllroadTouringEnduro The ANIMAL! Vince couldn’t change Karen’s mind to go for a cheaper option, and had to admit in his heart of hearts he also wanted the BMW R1200 GS Adventure they had initially picked out! So the decision was made – get out that credit card!
We took delivery on 16th May 2014 but had to wait a little longer for the right pannier and top box that were on back order. Vince made further modifications on the bike such as an endure bashplate, and later thing such as bark buster hand guards, headlight protector, lowered the seat etc which you can check out under the bike tab!  Karen and Vince buy a Bike
The South Africa Big 5 Oh Trip was organised by Kevin (Gobby) and expat, as a reunion ride for the Laos Beer Drinking Team. Karen was a late ring in and approved for inclusion as their ‘medic” due to her nursing and ambulance officer background. This pic was taken on our fist night in Cape Town at Signal Hill with Table Mountain in the background –  AFRICA NOT FOR SISSY’S!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 P1130273  Our rented BMW 1200 GS from Cape Bike rentals was a pleasure to ride on – even though on the very first day Vince managed to loose the Airhawk we brought from Australia – in all honesty it wasn’t required!
 Cape of Good Hope – this was our shake down ride from Cape Town for the day to get used to the bike and the road conditions. It was blustery but fine whilst we were there and we enjoyed a lovely meal at a nearby restaurant.  P1130280
 IMG_0017 One of the highlights of our trip was when we ere in Outshoorn – we got up before dawn to experience a wild Meerkat encounter – absolutely unique! In the colony there is a hierarchy whereby the top Meerkat urinates on all below him –  so you really don’t want to be at the bottom of that pile!
 Conquering the Swartzberg Pass was an accomplishment – a steep climb and then decent with no barricades and a sheer drop! Breathtaking! With Vince yelling “Are you livin’ the Dream yet Baby?” in the Sena – Karen could only respond with “Ask me later”as she hung on white knuckled. She did however manage to recover well in the pub at Prince Albert with a double scotch!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Animals in Africa were amazing, both in the wild, Game Parks and Wildlife Parks. We managed to see the BIG 5 – Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and Rhino. The Cheetah Outreach Centre was an amazing experience -touching and walking with the big cats. But encounters with a baby white tiger and the Lemurs at Outshoorn were exceptional. The Lemurs were so cheeky and had such soft little hands …Karen wanted to take them home!

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Karen had NEVER ridden off road before….as some of the South Africa Trip would be off road she was instructed that she needed body armour …so some was purchased (notice the supermodel cockroach approach complete with breast and knee protection!) She felt like a transformer! Vince thought she should get an idea of what to expect off road so they took his Suzuki DR650 up to Mt Dale…..it was an experience that she handled well! Adventure Girl says BRING IT ON BABY!