Long Way Home

12th March 2010 I'm working out in Qatar until summer 2011 and idle away the evenings planning the Long Way Home trip. The plan, which seems to be sponsored by the Tiger Brewing Company, goes something like this;

My mate Dean and I buy 2 bikes out here, then ride home through; Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, France, dear old Blighty.

First we have to decide the bikes to buy. Not every make and model is available in Qatar, but Alfardan are agents for BMW, Triumph, KTM and Ducati. The KTM Adventure 990 seems to be the top if the list, the BMW GS 1200 is just too big, the title of 'Chelsea Tractor of the bike world' seems apt! Then along comes the new Ducati Multistrada, oh so sexy adjustable suspension with a choice of engine power modes as well, all at the flick of a switch. I think the only sensible thing to do is test ride them both, which you can do quite easily in Qatar, unlike most European dealers.

Dean and I share an interest in diving, so we plan to ride/dive our way round the med from Beirut to the top of the Adriatic. The first leg will be through Saudi and we will probably only get a 3 day transit visa, so will need to average 700 km per day to cross the border to Aqaba where there is some reasonable diving. After that we will visit Petra, Aman, Damascus, turn left for Beruit and dive the French Submarine sunk in 1939. From Beruit we head north to Tripoli, then back into Syria and take a small diversion to see the Krak de Chevalliers, then up to the border with Turkey. We will toddle along the Med stopping where the diving is good until we get to Canakkale where we cross the Bosphorus to the Gallipoli peninsular, which seem to be riddled with wrecks from the 1916 campaign.

We plan to scoot through Bulgaria as the idea of having the bike knicked does not appeal! We will overnight in Nis, Serbia, the go inland to Belgrade, then south to Sarajevo, south again to Budva, then hug the coast of the Adriatic through Dubrovnik where the wreck Taranto lies just offshore, Split, Zarad, then say farewell to the diving and head inland to Zagreb, Budapest, Praha, Nurnberg, Trier, Bastogne, and then home.

Much time has been spent investigating all the goodies we will simply have to 'invest' in, the list at the moment is;

GPS, the Garmin 276c, may be years old, but I've already got one, with the maps for the Middle East and Europe. The 276 is 6 years old, but it is a 'proper' map based GPS, not one of these 'cartoon' style ones, which wont be much use for most of our route.

Lid, the Roof Boxer looks like the muts nuts, a flip up style where the chin bit goes through about 180 degrees, so is behind the helmet when 'up' and hopefully out of the wind. We will be traveling through some pretty hot places, so a combination open/full face should be good.

Jacket/Trousers, a toss up between the Belstaff Trial Master or the KTM Rally. The Belstaff was allegedly used by one C Boorman, and a variant of it is now on the Belstaff website for damn near twice the price of the standard Trailmaster! Cheeky buggers! The KTM Rally looks good and not overpriced.

Boots, Altberg Borego, no contest!


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