A little after Audrey passed away in November of 2020, I received an email from Helge Pedersen of GlobeRiders.  He had a couple of spaces left on a tour of the Himalayas that left from Chengdu, China and went through Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Myanmar and finished in Bangkok, Thailand.  It was quite expensive, and, still being catatonic and despondent after losing the love of my life, I was certainly in no frame of mind to make large financial decisions.  So, I asked some people whether I should do this tour.  Every single person I asked replied with, "What do you mean you haven't signed up yet?"

The tour went to places that Audrey and I had wanted to go but hadn't been to yet, including Everest Base Camp.  I had been dreading the idea of travelling without Audrey, so the idea of an organized tour was indeed very appealing.  Riding with Helge Pedersen would also bring our world travels full circle as it was Helge (and Grant and Susan Johnson) that inspired us to travel at that BMW rally in 1998.  (See this page)  It was an enormous amount of money, enough that the two of us could have travelled for a year, but I would have Audrey's life insurance money and her words were still ringing in my ears, "Your job is to travel out on your motorbike.  What else?"  I called up Helge and booked the last spot on the Himalayas tour scheduled for September 2021.

The tour was postponed from 2021 to September 2022 due to COVID restrictions and then again to September 2023 when it was clear restrictions wouldn't be lifted in time.  When travel restrictions were still in place in China in the fall of 2022 the tour was cancelled altogether, and a substitute offered.  Would I be interested in riding from Muscat, Oman to München, Germany in April of 2023 instead?  Of course I said yes.

With the tour finishing in München and having my 2007 BMW R1200GSA already at Audrey's sister's place near München I thought it would be ideal to have that bike shipped to Oman and then ride it back to München.  So, I arranged for a thorough service at Motorrad Zierer as they've been servicing this bike since 2012 (prior to our ride to China).  They went through the bike from stem to stern, making sure it would be ready for this epic ride.  

Picking the bike up after service in 2012

The cost of the tour included shipping my motorcycle from Vancouver to Oman, so I knew I was going to have to pay extra for shipping from Germany.  I didn't think it would be 4,000 euro though.  So, I had a change of plans.  Instead of taking my tried-and-true travel bike, I would take my new "retirement" bike on the tour from Oman to Germany.  My 2021 BMW R1250GSA was delivered on the first day of my retirement and I purchased it with my retirement bonus and traded in Audrey's "retirement" bike for it.  

My retirement bike is delivered

This raised another challenge, since now I would have two motorcycles in München at the end of the tour.  How about I ride home from München?  So, I hatched a plan to ride up to Denmark, take the ferry to Iceland, ship the bike to Halifax and then ride via the Trans Labrador Highway across Canada back home.  It looks like 2023 is going to be an epic year of motorcycle travel.

The black line is with GlobeRiders from Muscat to Munich and the white line is on my own from Munich back home via Iceland

With the tour company taking care of so many of the details for this trip, everything from accommodation to route planning, it has been a bit different getting prepared for this journey.  I am thankful that they have done all the research with respect to obtaining the necessary visas as there are some that I just couldn't have done on my own, such as the visa for Iran.  That required over a month of work just to obtain the authorization to apply for the visa.  Things are finally falling into place, even having found a house sitter until I return from Iceland, so I am very much looking forward to flying out on March 29 to Muscat, Oman.

First my bike has to get to Vancouver so it can go in the GlobeRiders container to Oman

Stuffed into a container for a couple of months for the journey to Oman

The map on the saddlebag is ready for a few more lines...

On to Oman!