The Netherlands

 

A happy sight at Schiphol. It took quite a while and a lot of confusion to clear the bike. The shipping company (MID, part of Worldwide Animal Travel) was not used to the new regulations in force, apparently.

 

 

My friend Jan has a similar machine to mine. In 2002, I spent a few weeks here to help him build it. At that time, our plans were much grander, anticipating a 3 year trip. Now he's planning to tag along for 3 months, on my vastly reduced schedule. How life changes ...

 

 

Holland is home to the biggest airhead-only motorcycle workplace I have ever encountered. Nothing but airheads, and about 80% of them of the G/S and GS variety. Everything you could possibly need is available in quantities of 10 or more, including fully refurbished, ready to roll R80G/S's. It's a dream come true for airhead lovers. Mat Beekers is the owner of Boxer Toko. The best thing about the place is that you can work on your own bike, with their tools, pulling Mat in for a quick question here or there. The best of both worlds.

 

 

The start of the trip was a bit challenging. On the way to Jan's place, 2 days before the scheduled departure date, I managed to seriously remodel my side cases. I was fully packed, which resulted in quite a bit of damage.

 

 

 

I was on a dirt road, taking a shortcut through the backcountry. I pulled the clutch lever to gear down and the cable snapped. Still in gear and unable to shut down the engine fast enough resulted in a tumble, which flipped the bike on both sides. The rear frame was bent and the cases ripped at the bottom, letting in a lot of dirt as I slid along. Luckily, I had a spare clutch cable lined along side the main one and quickly replaced it. In the end the damage was easily repaired, courtesy of a hammer, a block of wood, pop rivets and some silicone glue.

 

 

We're all packed and ready to roll tomorrow morning.

 

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Border crossing

Visa: not required

Carnet: not required

Bike insurance: Green card

Intl. drivers license: not required

Entry point: Amsterdam (Air from Canada, MID shipped the bike)

Exit point: Venlo