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Touring couple goes International !!!

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  • Touring couple goes International !!!

    We as a couple have been bike-touring for some time now.. We started quite late though, we were in our late twenties/early thirties when we first got in our heads to ride from Mumbai to Agra and back. We accomplished this Mumbai-gujarat-Rajasthan-Delhi-Agra and back (the same way), 3500+ Kms trip in Nov 2007.

    We have had cages (cars) since long, that we use for home-office and normal chores; but when it comes to touring, bike has always been the first choice. Having gone through a number of ride reports of people riding for years or atleast months together, I started to dream of doing one such ride.. shared with wife who was equally enthusiatic except that we couldn't do it then, as we were expecting a baby.. so it was decided that we would do this when our
    child was atleast 1-1/2 years old. We were hoping that then, she could be left with grand parents, while we were gone. (And also we hoped that when she grows up, she won't remember that we left her behind :-|). This was early 2009, when the planning started.

    In 2010, when our daughter was 1.25 years old, we left her with our parents to do a leh ride (http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/tourer/1...ke-others.html). It only seemed fair that we should do the best ride in India before venturing out of the country (it would have been a shame otherwise). It was a great ride but time constraints (limited leave from work) resulted in us pushing that extra mile every day, which was hectic and not enjoyable.

    It was then that I made up my mind. For our dream ride, we would have to quit our jobs to have absolutely no time constraints. With the way the Indian economy was, we gathered it would not be much of a task to find jobs when we returned.

    The trip was to start Nov 2011. However, lady luck wasn't on our side. Ona ccount of certain unfortunate incidents (one of our cars was stolen, we had a major accident in another), we were able to quit jobs only by Feb 2011. [In my case, my organization agreed to give me a sabbatical for 6 months, so I didn't have to quit - something that my wife still holds against me.. but more on that later].

    With sabbatical taken care of, we had to decide on the destination and itinerary. Europe and South America were good contendors but the paperwork was too cumbersome for all of South America, and we could not work on the visa - so that was crossed out. Europe was too cold for riding in Mar/Apr, so that was crossed out for now. So it was agreed that we could ride across USA for 3 months (easiest of the options as both of us had our visa) and then go to Europe after 3 months, when the weather was warmer.

    While I would have wanted to take my bullet Machismo 500 on this trip, it was too much of a hassle with carnet and shipping. Also, we figured that it would be cheaper for us to buy a bike there and sell it before we returned.

    With more and more unavoidable delays creeping in, I reached US on 14th Mar 2011, without my wife. The idea was to use the time buying the bike and getting the ground work done, while my wife would wrap up the stuff back home and reach on 22nd Mar 2011 after leaving our daughter with her parents.

    We both had issues in US immigration as they found it extremely difficult to accept that anybody from india would just want to come to US to ride across their country (my wife had even more difficulty explaining our intent). Anyways, I guess after going through our bags which had things and equipment to support our stories, they were convinced, or so they pretended.

    I bought the bike on craigslist - a 2003 Honda ST 1300 - which I believed was appropriate for two up riding for long durations (after riding it for 2 months across many parts of US, we believe it was a great choice). Buying a bike, in most of the states in the US, is very easy for tourists. You just need to provide them with an address where they can ship your registration paper (In many states even a hotel address can be used. You just need to get the hotel guy to mail the reg paper to you later). For the time, they will give you temporary papers.

    All said and done, the trip commenced on 28th March - finally. We are now 2 months into our ride and realize that 3 months would not do justice to this huge country, so Europe will have to wait. The below map indicates the states that we have riden in the US.



    Wanted to share this with everyone here as I know a lot of people who love riding, but are deterred by logistics, planning, sponsorship etc. We all see/read others doing it and think that its great, but we couldn't do it - they can do it because they must be rich or they can get sponsorship or they must know the right kinda people or they are already based out of US / Europe / ABC etc. But here we are - neither of the above things - but still doing it. Yes, it is expensive and we have had to save for 2 years, but it was worth every penny. We are not so young anymore (more in early to mid thirties), we had other challenges but none of it is insurmountable if the desire is strong. As for us, we were also enthused by the fact that fact we may be the first Indian couple doing something like this. We may be wrong or we may be right, BUT we did it purely because we love to ride. We are sure that we will make memories that will last us our lifetimes (not too sure of that though, since they may only last till our next big ride :-))

    I would love to see more Indians do it (if they are not already doing it). I chose US / Europe since I was travelling with a woman but if I were to travel alone or with other guys, the countries to go to would be endless (and much cheaper too). Even in US, we have realized that we may spend less in months what some Indians would spend for 10-15 day tour to the USA (we do a lot of camping, cook atleast one meal and generally be thrifty)

    My wife is writing a blog of the trip at The Crazy Biker Couple and I mostly update our current ride status at Journey of an Indian couple riding thru US - ADVrider (will also try to be active here)

    Some of the pics from our ride:



















  • #2
    Internationally approved

    Comment


    • #3
      This is truly inspirational - I have been toying with the idea of riding across the US for sometime, but so far have been lazy to actually go out and do that.

      Your blog is great reading - will go through each day of it. And yes, good vegan food is hard to come by in the US!

      Comment


      • #4
        no other words, But simply superb.
        First, doing such a trip is a feat in itself
        second, being accompanied by the better half makes things even better.

        Not many could do that.

        Now, keep the log and pics coming in...
        sigpic
        Engineer, Biker and Photographer


        My Photography Page
        http://www.mandhirpictography.com/
        http://500px.com/mandhirbajwa
        https://www.facebook.com/Mandhir.Pictography

        Comment


        • #5
          Great going to both of you.
          I have been following you on advrider since the day you picked up the ST1300 including your recent tire change. Your wife's blog is very lively with a good mix of fun.

          Ride safe and keep it coming.
          Last edited by Haroon; 05-28-2011, 12:53 PM.



          Growing old is compulsory - growing up is optional
          So many roads, So little time
          RIDE for PASSION

          See us & our global rides at:
          www.rideforpassion.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow man, really inspirational. May be some day we too will follow your steps!

            Comment


            • #7
              Few can only dream of this, like me. Few actually do it, like you. Simple awesome & I'm glad atleast you people were able to do it. Excellent!!! Now keep the flow coming unlike EMI's
              Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
              Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
              ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks everyone for your kind words.

                Haroon: Appreciate it. Are you on Twitter? I think I follow you there. Not sure if you are the same Haroon though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You, my friend, are simply amazing. Would be great to look you up on return into India (as and when you decide to come back!!). You have gone ahead and done what many of us will dream but NEVER get around to doing!
                  http://www.bikenomads.com/wiki/index.php/Leh - All you ever need to know about getting Leh'd.
                  My posting Philosophy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Awesome stuff!! Me and my wife have been toying with this idea for some time.
                    @JustMe: Can you answer a few of my questions.

                    1. Which Visas did you use. In my case i have a B1 and she has an L1. Any chance it will work ?
                    2. Can you give us a cost breakup - Even a rough idea would do.

                    Thanks and Ride safe!!

                    Now i am off to advrider :-)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hats off to u both!!!
                      Ride Hard !!! Ride Safe!!! Enjoy every moment on your machine !!! Cheers....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry Bajaj, had to use your tag lines
                        "Inspiring confidence"


                        Nice! Nice! Nice!
                        Super CommuTOURer� - Talk less, Ride more

                        .: FB :.|.: TW :.|*IG*| Ex
                        PowerDrift:.

                        #Give thy opinion, write em, dont throw em
                        #Everyone errs, accept it, defending/cribbing about it only makes it worse
                        #Dont defend a manufacturer as if you work for them
                        #Write. Think. If relevant hit submit. If not hit yourself
                        #Be kind in your choice of words, you never know who would make you gulp em
                        � Satyen Poojary

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Justme View Post
                          Haroon: Appreciate it. Are you on Twitter? I think I follow you there. Not sure if you are the same Haroon though.
                          Not on Twitter. I am on facebook.



                          Growing old is compulsory - growing up is optional
                          So many roads, So little time
                          RIDE for PASSION

                          See us & our global rides at:
                          www.rideforpassion.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by satyenpoojary View Post
                            Sorry Bajaj, had to use your tag lines
                            "Inspiring confidence"


                            Nice! Nice! Nice!
                            or should i say "HUNTO".I could imagine the US consulate interviewers expression.Kudos to you guys.
                            Socha Toh Locha.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My wife had a B1 and me B2, which is basically B1/B2 as they come together. If your wife has an L1, that would mean she can enter while she is employed with specific organization. Is she already in the US? If so you can show that you are here to meet her. The only problem with B1/B2 is that they stamp you for 3 months. Anything more than that would mean that you have to go to the secondary immigration and that is a pain. Both my wife and I had to spend close to 45 min explaining in the secondary questioning that we were here for tourism and not for a job! (But we did manage to get a 6-month stamp )

                              As for the expenses, it really depends on how much you want to spend. We are on a budget of $100 per day (for both of us), and we camp a lot, cook a lot and go very slow on shopping. There are days when we spend a lot more than that, but it averages out. If you are looking at staying in motels, you might need a bigger budget. But even with motels, an average of $150 should do, but then we are thrifty people , so you are a better judge for yourself.

                              Of course the initial cost of getting started will vary:

                              you can purchase a decent bike $4000 onwards (we bought a used ST1300 for 4500 + registration). In my view buy at least a 1000 CC for 2-up riding. Also with the strong winds here you need a heavy bike.
                              Consider another $1000 - $1500 for bike repairs, tire / oil change etc for the trip

                              Let me know if you need any more info. Would be glad to help anyway i can.

                              Originally posted by Mik View Post
                              Awesome stuff!! Me and my wife have been toying with this idea for some time.
                              @JustMe: Can you answer a few of my questions.

                              1. Which Visas did you use. In my case i have a B1 and she has an L1. Any chance it will work ?
                              2. Can you give us a cost breakup - Even a rough idea would do.

                              Thanks and Ride safe!!

                              Now i am off to advrider :-)

                              Comment

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