Bon Voyage Trooper

All of a sudden Trip 2 seems to be hurtling towards me. I’ve said my goodbyes to lots of friends already. Thanks for brunch yesterday Monica.

Today, I dropped off the Trooper at the cargo terminal at Glasgow airport and that brought home just how close the start of the trip really is. Like last time, the Trooper had to be dropped off several days before the flight to go through security screening, but unlike last time I was a bit more savvy about what I can away with.

Last time I had run the fuel tank to nearly empty, which meant I was desperate to buy fuel as soon as I left the cargo terminal at Toronto airport. This time I was determined to send the Trooper with as much of the one gallon allowance as I could, which lead to me miscalculating the fuel consumption between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and having to carry on up the motorway an extra 30 miles past the airport in order to burn excess fuel.

I’d also listened to John from Servisair about luggage in my saddle bags. The shipping instructions clearly stated the bike had to be completely unladen, but last time John had told me that wasn’t a problem from Glasgow at least. So I had again booked extra weight allowance for the bike, but this time I made full use of it, and had dropped the Trooper off with saddle bags fully laden with tent, sleeping bag, tools, etc. Dropping the bike off this time was much less interactive. Last time I’d had to push the bike up into the X-ray machine, and even with John’s help, we’d very nearly dropped it. This time I only had to park on the weigh scales and then remove the main fuse.

John, like last time, was ultra helpful and accommodating, only this time I got his name. He’s a fellow biker and his gleaming Fireblade was parked right outside the cargo office. We chatted a while over cigarettes before checking the Trooper in and he told me I was the first bike to be shipped across from Glasgow this year. He also told me that he had been looking at flying his Fireblade over, but finances this year didn’t allow it. Brother, I’m sure you’ll make it over the pond sometime soon and I just know you’re going to love it.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks assembling some new kit for the trip, and also repairing some old faithfuls. For this trip, I’ve decided to upgrade most of my luggage. This is mainly because we’re going to be riding 2-up for 4 weeks in the middle of this adventure, and I cannot deny Doreen hair straighteners again.

In 2011, I’d managed just fine with a couple of dry bags strapped across the passenger sit, a rucksack on the luggage rack, and fixed soft panniers. When we’re riding 2-up, I have to loose the dry bags, and half the space in what luggage remains. Doreen came over for 3 weeks last time, but of those 3 weeks, we only spent 1 week truly on the road. The other 2 weeks were spent riding from fixed bases in either Sturgis, SD or Austin, TX which meant we weren’t trying to take all our luggage with us. We took a week long trip down to Dorset a few weeks back and it reminded us of just how little space we have riding 2-up, so I started checking out options for new luggage. My internet searches found some very promising looking kit from AGM, T-Bag and Nelson-Rigg, but unfortunately I could find no one actually stocking it in Scotland, so I’ve had to settle for what Rob at Edinburgh Harley-Davidson had in stock – a H-D touring bag with 50% more capacity replacing the rucksack and a new AGM roll-bag over the handlebars. I’ve also picked up an Oxford magnetic tank-bag. I’m still planning on strapping the 2 dry bags across the passenger seat when I’m riding solo, but these will need to posted ahead with the camping gear and other non-essentials when we’re 2-up.

My old faithful leather jacket is also in for repairs. My jacket isn’t anything real special – it’s a Gore-Tex leather, so it’s waterproof, and it has inbuilt armour. It’s a bit battered and faded now, but it suits my needs and I love that jacket. It travelled all around the US with me last time, and even made an appearance at our wedding last year since I rode in on the Trooper with Doreen and Korilyn on a fantastic trike from the great folks at Trike Tours Scotland. A couple of weeks back the outer zipper on the jacket finally gave up the ghost after the savaging given to it by Edinburgh Corn Exchange cloakroom staff, and when I tried to get a replacement jacket, I discovered they don’t make them anymore. So the jacket is in with a tailor having the zipper replaced. I pick it up tomorrow and I really hope they’ve done a good job.

From Our Wedding

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