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Riding Eastward:
A Motorcyclist's Journey Around the World
 
 
 
          From Hadrian's Wall                                                                  to the Great Wall 

Volume 1:  Stress, Anxiety, and Endless Preparations                              4 April 2007

Dear Jeff,

Welcome to my journey, you are receiving this first update because you've asked to be kept informed about my upcoming ride, or one of your friends has forwarded it to you in the hopes that you may enjoy it.  I'm Jeff Munn, lifelong traveler, longtime BMWMOA member, and member of the BMW motorcycle clubs in Hampton Roads and Richmond, Virginia.  In early April 2007 I am beginning a lifelong dream of riding my motorcycle around the world.  I will be publishing short updates along the way and hope you will find them informative, entertaining, and maybe a little insightful into the countries and cultures I hope to experience along the way.  Please ride along with me in spirit, and feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone whom you might think might enjoy it.
 
See you on the road,
 
 
 
 
Jeff Munn
Petersburg, Virginia
The PLAN 
Like all great plans, the actual execution will most likely vary somewhat from the original concept, but this is it in a nutshell.
 
12 April 2007 - Fly with my BMW R1150GS motorcycle from Toronto to
Manchester, England.
 
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13-30 April - Ride across Europe, over the Alps, down the coast of the Adriatic, thru Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Greece to Istanbul, Turkey.  Istanbul is the western end of the ancient Silk Road, and the only city in the world that sits on two different continents, as it spans both Europe and Asia on each side of the Bosphorus River.
 
1 May - Meet my new boss, Helge Pedersen, and prepare to help lead 20 riders on the GlobeRiders Silk Road Tour.
 
4 May - Depart Istanbul, heading 8,000 miles eastward to China.  The 53 day ride will take us thru Georgia, Azerbaijan, across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and into China by way of the Gobi Desert.
 
20 June - Arrive safely in Xi'an, China.  Eastern terminus of the Silk Road, and home of the Terra Cotta Warriors.  Load the motorcycle on a container ship for Seattle.
 
22 June - Fly back to the USA.
 
August - Pick up motorcycle in Seattle, Washington, ride across the United States and home to Virginia with my wife Teresa.  The goal is to be home in time to attend the Labor Day weekend, Sherando Lake BMW rally in Virginia.
 
Piece of cake, right?
The Preparations
 
I'll spare you the boring details on the prep of my 2001 R11050GS motorcycle, but it should be sufficient to say that it is ready for this trip.  Even with over 103,000 miles on her already, she has proven to be a trusting and reliable workhorse.  I've had the opportunity to slowly outfit and modify her for long-duration adventure riding over the last 4 years, during which she has carried me to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and all the way thru Central America to the Darien Gap in Panama. (and home safely too!)  If you are interested in reading some of those travel journals, I'll post the links at the end of the newsletter.
 
For those considering a motorcycle trip in Europe, I would highly recommend the services of Motorcycle Services, LLC.  They arrange shipment to and from Europe, are the ones taking care of my GS.  I chose to fly out of Toronto because Canada will allow me to fly to Europe on the same plane that my motorcycle is on.  For some bizarre reason, I could not do that from the USA.  In addition, the air-fare and freight costs were cheaper from Toronto too.  Hmmm.
 
Oh, and I'm not paid to endorse anyone or anything for this trip.  If I recommend something it is because I use it and truly like it.  GlobeRiders is different, after all I wouldn't be doing this trip is it wasn't for them. :-)
The Anxiety
 
I wouldn't be honest if I said I wasn't anxious about this trip.  Years of traveling have given me lots of international experience, but this is way beyond anything I've done before.  It is also months longer than any trip I've ever done, away from my wife Teresa.  I know she supports me fully and wants me to go, but that doesn't mean I won't be homesick every once in a while. 
 
What will keep me going is the camaraderie of seeing old friends again in Europe, meeting new friends along the way, and forging life-long bonds with the fellow riders on the GlobeRiders tour.  I mean, you just can't spend two months on the road with someone without building a solid friendship.  There is nothing like a bond forged thru adversity, and I think there is some potential for that on this trip. :-)
Time to Go
 
Okay, time to get this first update posted.  I have a million things to do, and this was one of the most important.  Please remember that I'm going to be on the road, and not on the internet every day.  This newsletter is also going out to over 100 friends and family members who have asked to be included, so please understand that I probably won't be able to answer individual emails after we head to Canada on the 8th of April.  You can send them to my hotmail account listed below if you wish because I always appreciate the encouragement and feedback, but do forgive me if I can't answer you while I'm on the road.  I'll try to make up for it when I return in late summer.  Thanks.
 
Oh, and for those of you with lots of time on your hands and a lot of bandwidth on your internet connection, you can find most of my previous motorcycle travel journals at the links below.  You might find them interesting if you like stories of motorcycle travel.
 
 
 
 

For those of you who have had these journals forwarded to you by a friend, you can join the mailing list if you wish.  All you have to do is email me at the link below, or use this address  Jeff_munn@hotmail.com    Just put "Please add me to the list" in the subject line and I'll be happy to do that so you can get future updates.

 
For those who are just joining the trip, you can find the subsequent Volumes on the web at the following links:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks for riding along with me.
 
Jeff