G'day. I'm Margaret, frequently known as Beemerbird.
Photo: Voni Glaves, Texas.
After gaining my license and buying my first bike (a Yamaha 75cc step-thru) in 1967, I spent the next eleven years on a variety of bikes (6, in total), then had a break of 21 years while other interests took precedence, finally coming back onto bikes in January 1999, when I purchased "Boris", a 1996 BMW R100RT Classic with only 48km on the clock.
Work was becoming boring, and was interfering with riding time, so I retired from work, early in 2004. WooHoo!
A short foray into South Africa in October/November 2004, where I hired a BMW F650 Funduro for 2 weeks, riding 5500km, and achieved the main reason for the trip - riding up Sani Pass from South Africa to the Kingdom of Lesotho.
A few months later, I shipped my BMW R1200GS, in company with 7 other members of the BMW Club of Victoria, Australia, over to Vancouver, where we rode 22,000km touring through western Canada, Alaska, up above the Arctic Circle on the Haul Rd and north-west USA for 3 months in the northern summer of 2005.
And the travel "bug" had bit me - deeply!
Before the North American trip was halfway through, I knew I was destined to do more travelling in the future. So the first tentative plans of my Round the World (RTW) trip were formulated whilst still in North America, with thoughts generally forming while riding through the stunning vistas of the Rockies. I decided to not take the R1200GS, preferring instead the lighter F650GS in view of some of the poorer road conditions, particularly the amount of dirt roads, in remote areas in which I would be travelling throughout the world. A set of Touratech aluminium panniers was purchased in Seattle, WA, for the planned-for F650GS, and carried back to Australia in the shipping container with the bikes.
At first, a trip lasting about 12 months seemed to be the most obvious choice, but the time span involved just grew and grew, as I added more and more places and things to the "must see" and "must do" lists. I'm retired, so why not take just as long as it takes? There's no real hurry, as long as my health stays good. The itinerary has now stretched to about 4 years - so far!
A slight hiccough in August 2006, when I highsided off the R1200GS in sand, in outback Western Australia on the way to the Off Centre Rally - resulting in a broken neck, 2 breaks in my back, broken clavicle and several broken ribs. But the RTW trip and a lovely black F650GS were on the horizon, and the bike finally arrived after a long wait. I took delivery of "Black Brutus" on 28th December 2006 - my first ride in the 4.5 months since the accident, on a brand new bike. A little scary, until I got used to riding again, but my confidence came rushing back.
Then it was full steam ahead with the implementation phase, installing several additions and making needed modifications to the bike; purchasing smaller, lighter items of camping and bedding equipment; obtaining a new, many paged passport [there's a lot of countries out there!]; researching options and arranging air freight for Brutus and I from Brisbane to Los Angeles. The list went on, and on ...
Time flew by ....
Then it was lift off on Sunday August 19, 2007 - on the "Shakedown Run".