Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pipe dream

September 7, 2009 - Monday
I spent a good chunk of the weekend driving, and the Beast passed the 5000 km mark yesterday. (In three weeks! Dad gum, I don't know how we did it.) Roger organized a brunch in Auhafen at 10 a.m. yesterday, so after a church service where Florian led, I cruised on over to Basel.
With the drone of the V2, country music in one ear and a never-changing scenery on both sides of a long, straight, boring road, my mind tends to wander all over the place. Yesterday morning was no different. However, due to the fact that the antemeridian temperatures are very fresh and I was wearing a couple layers more than I'm used to, my mind was probably more active than usual, which caused it to meander around various subjects related to motorized vehicles, trip over a notion a couple times, and then poof up like a Pomeranian when the notion solidified into an actual idea.
Backtrack: Florian came home from Oregon to tell me about a gutted blue El Camino sitting near the garage where he'd worked. And suddenly my daydream of a Dodge Ram Hemi as Beastie Hauler was replaced with a vision of a classic Camino with a Buell in the back.
I asked Ted Regentin to look into it, which he very kindly did. He judged it a basket case, saying I could "spend $20,000 to have a decent $10,000 car."
I'm still interested despite that, as I told him. He's a very busy guy, though, so there's been no progress on finding a suitable Camino, let alone restoring it.
I figure on a buy price of $5000, restoration $5000 to $9000, shipping back to Switzerland $6000. Meaning maximum expenditure on this project would be twenty grand.
Except, as I considered during the hour's drive to Basel yesterday, why just have it shipped? I should make something of it.
I've been thinking about extensive motorcycle tours for quite a while now, and the easiest place to do it would be the States, since I speak the language and there'd be plenty of Harley dealers around just in case something needed fixing... Anyway, so as not to turn this into a stream of consciousness, the Pomeranian poof idea was to ship the Beastie to the East Coast, make our leisurely way across the U.S., tending to stay north, pick up the Camino in Oregon, load up the Beastie and drive back east, stopping now and again to exercise the bike, loading Beast and Beastie Hauler into a ship at a southern port and going home.
(Florian pointed out what I'd already considered; namely that buying a bike in the States would come cheaper than shipping mine over. But I don't want to do it on just any bike. I want to do it with my bike.)
I got some handy informations from this site. I'd calculate ten to twelve thousand kilometers on the Beast, since I wouldn't be taking the fastest route cross country and on the way back I'd use it on occasion too. The author had 13 days to cross from coast to coast; I'll give myself a month for each direction. As usual, I won't plan anything ahead of time, because my plans never turn out anyway. I would, however, like the use the opportunity to visit Centralia and the Blue Ridge Mountains, and on the way back in the Camino drive famous Route 66. I'd avoid the cities; I can't stand urban anything and I don't have NY or Vegas on my must-have-seen list. Not to mention I'd probably put the Beast at risk if I left it anywhere in a city. I can't stand cities. I'll stick to the dusty byroads and little towns.
It wouldn't be a tour in the sense of loaded saddlebags and weighted shocks; I'm driving neither GS nor Ténéré. I'd do it sissy style, staying in hotels and motels along the way and buying whatever I needed. That way I believe I could cram everything I need into a trekking rucksack, like I did for Corsica. I'd rather not deck the Beast out in travel bags if I can help it.
Admittedly, the rucksack was stuffed with gear for just ten days. But with some wastefulness - sending things home when I don't need them anymore, and if I do need them, buying them again - I think I could survive on one backpack.
On bike tours I usually calculate €100 per day for gas, food and lodgings; it's never that much, and it'd be even less in the States, but in order to have enough on the side for emergancies or special expenditures, let's go with that. For two months' travel I'd bring $6000.
Hokay. $12,000 or so for the Camino, $6000 to ship it and the Beastie back home, $6000 for the whole trip, no clue what getting the beast over there will cost. I basically need to calculate $25,000 to $30,000. For two months. Dang.
Hm. It's obviously not going to happen that soon. I'm still waiting to see if I can't move out to the boondocks by the end of the year; if I get to furnish three rooms in my usual extravagent style it'll cost a pretty penny too. Also, even if I can settle on a Camino with Ted Regentin, he'll have quite a while before it's ready for pickup.
That means I have plenty of time to save up for this trip.
For a while I thought I'd never go back to States; I hate bothering with the arrogance of border officials. But for a bike tour, and to pick up a nicely restore classic car the likes of which in Switzerland I believe you could number on one hand... Yeah, I'd do that.
I've been listening to too much country music. Now I'm going to go browse Craiglist for Caminos in the Portland area.

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