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This page contains updates on the status of the trip, as well as some ramblings by me about various things. For the oldest news, you can click here.

15th January 2008

Revisiting the trip

Four years have passed and I have changed the hosting provider for the site, taking the opportunity to perform some maintenance. My studies are complete and I'm still working on the final leg of the trip, a ride from Istanbul to London (Pan-Med 2008?). Although many of the pics on the site are (for the moment) broken, I will work through the pages and repair them, staring with the XRL prep pag, as it is the most popular. If you're looking for photos from the trip, have a look here

11th October 2004

Working hard, but a changed man...

Unfortunately real life has caught up, and I have a load of non-exciting work to do. I know it's a horrible post-travel cliche, but the trip has changed the way I look at things, leaving me in a much more stable and healthy psychological place. Excellent! At the moment I am worknig on a re-jig of the galleries now that I'm at home. I also have more than a hundred extra pics to put up, and some gallery links to fix. Thanks for the patience...

13th August 2004

I'm outta there!

As I type I am at home with my family. I negotiated to fly the bike directly from Cairo to Heathrow (££ ouch!) after seeking medical advice in a place called Safaga, on the Egyptian Red Sea. The docs advised me not to drive, as I had a pretty nasty infection (think hallucinations and not eating anything for 96 hours and you're about right). Police convoy to Cairo and then the plane. It was hard to deal with the corruption and beaurocracy while being ill as well, so I was better off at home. It also seems that Syria is temporarily (?) closed to Brits, which is a real shame. That left me in a visa cul-de-sac, running out of time.

Have a look at the remaining Egyptian photos below, and please check back - some site improvements, updates and my final thoughts coming up soon. Thanks!

Gallery 1
Gallery 2
Gallery 3
Gallery 4

14th July 2004

"Egypt" by Franz Kafka.

The stories about Egypt being one of the toughest countries in the world to enter with a vehicle are true, I can confirm. On Saturday morning I left the south of Tunisia, having had tea and watched the sun rise with Yassine and Mohamed - by Saturday night I was sitting on a plane, with the bike nestling in the hold beneath me (nestling!? Maybe not!)

Egypt has not been easy so far. Four days of toil (0830 until 1600 every day except Sunday) and I have cleared the side cases but not the bike - hence laptop and nice new pictures (you know where to find them by now). Apparently my registration plates will be available on on Saturday morning, so I will head for Siwa. I have taken a bit of text down, as yesterday was a pretty stressful day and I moaned a bit. Is it unreasonable to expect customs formalities to take less than A WEEK?? I think not. More soon folks - museums and Coptic Cairo tomorrow.

5th July 2004

Enforced lethargy.

Can't believe it's July already. Need to get moving! More nights in the desert for me, and 350kms of piste yesterday. Ace. People here are fantastically hospitable. Sorting a ticket on the next cargo flight to Cairo. Small tweaks to site (like new progress map). Special news for people who like bats, and donkeys. Goat brain for Cathy. Have bought new mobile, O2 have sent me a new SIM card, yay.

Latest images are here. I attended a 5-day Bedouin wedding. And I have uploaded a 0.5mb video sequence here (WMV). And if you're looking for something within the site (not on the whole Internerd) you can use the newfangled search box on this page. Eventually it will live alongside the Google one.

27th June 2004

Last Chance for the Libyans!

Colonel Gadafi is starting to really stretch my patience with his visa regulations. I have been in Tunisia for an extra fortnight, waiting. More deserty trips for me (two new Tunisia galleries). I think I will fly the bike from Tunis directly to Cairo (ouch £££). Aggravation is the loss of my telephone. If that's my biggest problem then life is good. Have been snapping more animals and interesting things. Thank you for brill e-mails! Sorry to have not replied, but Internet connection here is stuck in 1987.

11th June 2004

Breakages, Bruises and becoming a Student of the Sand...

There are even more new pictures online. The personal lowpoint of the week was a 60km/h get-off in deep sand (it's not as soft as you'd think) which was made rather more complicated and dangerous by a cartwheeling bike behind me. Aside from that, the sellotape and Blu-tak repairs are holding up well. Lots of travel within Tunisia, and some great pics. I am consoled by the fact that I mend for free - the bike always costs!

Best pics of the week, featuring sand, are here and here.

25th May 2004

There is officially Saharan sand in my boots!

There are some new pictures online, but I had to put them up by carrier-sloth, so must be brief. Am well, enjoying the drizzle. It's not at all like drizzle at home, if you know what I mean. People and lifestyle are completely different, and fantastic. Small bike problem fixed with Araldite. Get in.

19th May 2004

Je suis en France!

After finally leaving London (small video and large video) and having a rather stressful haircut, I am now in Brittany, France.

The fun began with the 200 mile jaunt to my first overnight stop. My high-tech GPS satellite navigation system helped me to get lost with unprecedented accuracy. I have safely left my compass and half of my maps of the desert at home. How clever. My sixth sense for the location of petrol stations also failed, leaving me bribing a nice man for 20 of unleaded. With his eyes he told me that he hated me and all I stand for.

Tomorrow I leave to ride steadily south to Marseille. I have decided to take the boat from there, and not Genoa, to save me some on-road driving. The only problem is that I will have to stay on the French Riviera for a couple of days. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Libyan visa not done. And I got sunburnt in Brittany. Ready for the desert? Of course! Gallery soon - some mighty fine snaps. A bientot!

11th May 2004

Pan-Med TV?

In an exciting twist, I posted a demo video onto my server, but it was quite large. The plan is to submit small progress reports in this way from interesting places. I know it's out of character, but I will be a little late in leaving the country...

10th May 2004

Last Minute Nerves

Things have become a little tense with the non-arrival of my Libyan visa (to be sorted today, I hope). A cocktail of fear, excitement and trepidation turn the days into a blur, and I realise that this whole thing is a really good idea. Geoff and Laura, thanks very much for being so incredibly hospitable and making me a much more smily person. For old news look here. I promise to make the site a bit less bikey and more interesting soon!

5th May 2004

The Countdown Has Begun!

Closing down my life here in the UK. A scary prospect indeed. This week will be last minute carnet, visa and bank chasing, as well as getting hold of the more elusive kit that I need. More insight into what I'm about in the all-new random pic gallery, as well as an update on the bike now that it's all stickered. Thanks for the emails - leaving the country in 6 DAYS!

































Riders for Health AquaPac Cyclone Couriers All Bike Engineering Bandit Bikes RGS RGS Visordown


Bike + Sand!!

Have been burning around the desert, crashing lots but loving it. All of the equipment I have is working brilliantly, and I have seen some incredible things and met amazing people. If you like the site, give some of your spare money to some people who will put it to good use.

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Thank you - in graphical form

Bike is now liveried and looking better than ever. Looking to get lots of exposure for my sponsors, and persuade people to read about Riders for Health. Can you help them? Get in touch!

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Child of nature shocker!

Got lots of fresh air today, and went out in the unseasonally Saharan weather (OK, a bit of an exaggeration). Took this XR650L brochure-style pic - pretty, eh?

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New pics of Expedition XR650L uploaded

I have now collected the bike, and am proud to present a gallery of images. The bike is still being run in, but that didn't stop me from getting it dirty. It's great to be back on board. Enjoy! If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.

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The first picture of the XR650L.

I took this picture when I was negotiating with Jerome over the money. Needed a bit of work, but a generally sound bike at a fair price, and so modern after an XT600Z!

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The original plan? To take Priscilla!

Meet Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, also known as "the camel" (a Yamaha XT600Z Tenere, 3AJ). Unfortunately, the bike was stolen and more-or-less written off, just as I was getting to the end of my mechanical preparations. Live and learn, eh?

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