Travelling up to Sweden was lovely and I just took things as they came. Since I felt like it, I stayed one day longer in the south of eastern Germany, I had no ferry booking – I just bought a ticket before riding on to it. The price was just the same as if I would have booked early. Also, this ferry doesn’t require that one books a cabin, which saves me a lot of money since a cabin is really expensive for a solo traveller and I’m happy to sleep on the floor if it saves me money.
Entering Sweden, the weather was at its best. I rode up to visit Carola, our national president for WIMA Sweden. She was offering breakfast and I had information to pass on from the Presidents’ meeting in Hungary. We had a long, leisurely breakfast that continued until lunchtime. Then I rode north to see friends in Jönköping. At this point, it was nice to park the bike andnot touch it for a few days. Onwards from there, I rode to Gothenburg, where I was to spend a couple of days riding the good old roads with friends. It was nice to do “social riding” and honestly I was more interested in the coffee and chat than in the riding itself. Sweden has such beautiful countryside and the summer cafés are absolute gems. We had homemade cake at Grovare Lamm och Handel, you have to know where to find these places and in Sweden these cafes make for riding destinations for motorbikers.
The last leg, for this time, was up towards Karlstad and my home. The countryside where I come from is called Segerstad, which literally translates as “the town of victory”. When I arrive here on my bike it does truly feel like a victory, every time. Especially the last 5 years, when I have travelled either all the way from Spain, or like this year, from England via Wales and Hungary. Someone pointed out that it wasn’t the nearest way. Who wants to take the nearest way? Well, actually returning to England I do. A direct ferry would be brilliant.
Today, I’ve had a busy day, finding out information on the internet. I have tried to sort things out according to new possible plans and mainly I have found out how not the way I want things are going to happen. First of all, I have change a university course in Japanese to Spanish and investigated the time frame of the validity of my motorbike insurance abroad. Since I don’t know where I’m going to live during next year and it is likely to be too cold to return the bike to Sweden later on. Besides I need the wheels. I honestly can’t think of storing my bike away another winter. It is just too sad. As it stands, my insurance days abroad will run out in the end of February so I’ll need to have a solid plan by then. As for the Spanish course, I am now accepted but then the next problem needs to be solved – we’ll be in Scotland camping for the first bit of the course and the 4G net isn’t all that developed – will I be able to find good enough internet for the first couple of seminars?
Well, to be able to get to Scotland I must first get from Sweden to the British Isles. So, I have tried to book myself and my bike on a freight ferry for a swift return but without success. Therefore, I will, again, have to make the rather epic journey down to Hook of Holland. It seems like the best option is a ferry from Gothenburg to Fredrikshavn and then onwards, 1000k ride to the next ferry. It will take me a few days longer and cost me a lot more. I hope to be able to meet up with some friends along the way to make the trip more exciting.
Lately, I have been meditating on the idea of changing my bike for a lighter one, perhaps smaller, since we are increasingly riding small mountain roads and the Versys is rather heavy and the weight distribution isn’t brilliant. However, it is amazing when it comes to carrying large amounts of luggage and super comfy to ride far, albeit not fast due to the vibrations. Maybe I should make up my mind and decide to keep it – and then order that aftermarket central stand I so dearly want.
Well, regarding the bike I have more urgent matters. Getting an appointment at the garage here in town proved difficult. I had expected this, that was why I wanted to get the clutch cable sorted in Hungary and had the service booked in England before leaving. The local Kawasaki mechanic is on vacation and the others don’t want to touch my bike since they are busy with their brands. The bits have been ordered but there is no guarantee that there will be time to do the work when the mechanic comes back. I might have to pack them in my panniers. Knowing this doesn’t encourage me to spend dear money on ferry tickets either. Really, I should learn how to do stuff myself. Therefore, I spent some time googling for basic mechanic workshops and this resulted in a booking for Christopher and myself at the Oval Motorcycle Centre in London at the end of November. I’m cross with myself for not finding this course while based in London. To make the journey worthwhile, we are combining it with the play No Man’s Land with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart – this will be like seeing Magneto and Charles Xavier or Gandalf and Captain Picard together, or both. I’m going to be emotional. In fact, I am, just thinking about it.