Saturday, December 1, 2007

Back to Reality

After 48 hours of earned relaxation, its time to shift gears into working mode. Tomorrow is my first day at the office and I feel that my thoughts are still floating around more riding. It will be difficult in the coming days to adapt to the containment of the 4 walls of my meeting room and office after spending 21 days roaming freely. As always all good thing must come to an end and so will this Blog with this closing post. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all my readers, who followed us over the course of this trip and in specific my wife and lovely children for supporting me on this trip, I hope you enjoyed this adventure.

Live your Dream and Ride on!

Hellraiser Signing off--------

BMW GS 1150 - The Verdict

This journey was accomplished on a 2001 Beemer, purchased with 38000km from Tristar with a 3 month warrantee. The Beemer is equipped with the famous Boxer Engine designed in 1923 by Max Friz. The Boxer engine tend to produce more noise than inline and V-engines because of valve clatter. The Beemer is smooth throughout the rev range, however vibration can be felt in the handlebars above 120 km/h, the Beemer can cruise happily at 150km/h all day without any signs of fatigue. Consumption was frugal up to 120km/h, wind the throttle open and that gas tank empties too quickly. Best range achieved on a tankful was 330km (grandpa) worst 240km. The range is about right, however make sure you always top it, on long hauls to avoid surprises. Comfort, its not a Goldwing, the modification done to the bike made it an acceptable tourer, although it lacked the juice on straight motorways, it stood its grounds on mountainous roads and will out run any superbike. Longest day in the Saddle 924 km, 14 hours, I was still fine and did not suffer any pains. Handling simply amazing, predictable, loads of feedback, I carved corners at 160km/h. ABS I was always skeptical, now I am sold, I avoided some serious mishaps with the ABS, from now onwards a standard on all my bikes. On the plus side was the heated grips, worked wonders on my frozen fingers in the arid desert cold. No major issues encountered burned floodlight, loose front turn signal nut and a loose Speedo cable, none of which are considered crippling. Overall the GS is a solid performer, its due for a free service courtesy of Tristar.

Bilad Al Sham

Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are considered to fall under the infamous name of Bilad Al-Sham.

The unfortunate common denominator across these countries is the apparent poverty particularly visible in the small villages, I can not describe the state of the inhabitant of these areas, but low standard of living is a common sight, which bring me back to reality, that although we are enjoying ourselves we should consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to embark on such a journey. I was interviewed by a magazine in Jordan and a question was asked on what are the objective of this trip, to be honest, we never had any.
However I am positively impressed that the most common question asked by people all along the trip, why are we doing this? Is it that people sympathized with the hardship of riding a bike across so many countries, or is it because we should have adopted a cause. I have started writing this post prior to meeting Alex Wettstein, maybe next time we should think of adopting a cause, get sponsorship and achieve some sort of humanitarian relief.

Friday, November 30, 2007


From the desert of Saudi to the Ruins of Palmyra trough the mountains of Lebanon and along side the shores of the Dead Sea, this has been an unforgettable vacation and a memorable ride to treasure for years to come. After 7500km and 21 days of riding, here are some of the tips I would like to share with you, if you are planning to undertake such a vacation.Total cost of the trip 750KD, that's inclusive, Petrol, Insurance, Food, 5 Stars hotel accommodation.
Cost can be reduced with cheaper accommodation.
12 people was a bit of a crowd , it is recommended not to exceed a number of 6, that eases most of the movement.
Objective, make sure you know your traveling companion very well, before you embark on a such a journey, and you all agree on the same objective.
Riding Skills, I do not recommend this trip for novice riders, driving in Syria and Lebanon whether in the mountain or in the city can be pretty hazardous and involves swift reaction and proper vehicle control.
To insure safe riding, make sure to take thermo undies, Goretex, Cordura Jacket & Pants, Flip Up helmet to enjoy the weather on mountain trips, warm gloves, 2 pair of jeans, 5 T-shirts, fleece sweater, 2 long sleeves T-shirts.
Basic understanding of motorcycle repairs and proper tools.

I am in the process of planning my European Vacation in 2009, so expect some interesting blogs, meanwhile I will keep updating this blog with more pictures so keep visiting.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 20 - 21 Aqaba - Home

1825km covered in the past 48 hours, I just arrived into Kuwait at 16:00 local time. It was the most grueling part of this journey, as we had to cover over 924km on the first day through the barren desert of Saudi, where a cruel cold weather cut through our defenses, we arrived to Ar'ar again where our trip started, slept at 22:00, woke up at 5:00am and drove the toughest 901km back to Kuwait, I caught myself napping out of boredom on the bike. I needed to reach deep down inside to build the stamina to continue, as the combination of lack of sleep, cold and sore muscles were taking over. On the bright side and a welcomed break from the monotoneous roads in Saudi, we were escorted by the Saudi Highway patrol granting us safe passage across the kingdom at a blistering speed of 160km/h.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Long Way Home

Tomorrow is the 20th day of the trip and the beginning of our return back to Kuwait. We will set off from Aqaba to Haditha a trip of 350km followed by another 400km to Ar'ar. This will be probably my last post until we reach Kuwait on the 29th. We have logged 5300km since the start of the trip on the 9th of this month with 1400km to go, we have exceeded the 6000km mark.

Taranalex the Children's Road

We met Alex Wettstein in Aqaba on his BMW GS1200 Adventure, we invited him to tag along with us to Wadi Rum and listened to his story. Alex a 40 years old of Swiss origin has started off his carrier as a nurse in his home town Geneva. 3 years ago he went to Indonesia with his girlfriend and saw the devastation of the Tsunami. As a professional photographer he shot pictures depicting the impact of the Tsunami on the inhabitants, focusing in specific on the children. Upon returning to Geneva he held an exhibition and the pictures were sold, all proceedings were used to buy basic school papers, pens and other needed material for the children. Since then, he managed to publish 2 books to help the plight of children in the Middles-East & Asia and established Taranalex an Association to help children in Asia . Alex dedicated his time to support the lesser fortunate children, he got sponsorship from BMW and other local companies to support him with his new initiative. His journey started from Geneva on September 2007 and he has managed to cover 9000km, passing through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Monte Negro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Syria, Jordan, he will be continuing to Egypt, Sudan, Oman, Iran and final destination India. Alex book is titled Dari-Mana? meaning Where do you come from? and can be purchased online from his website, we wish Alex a safe journey and best of luck in achieving his objective, the world is in need for the likes of Alex.

Day 19 - Wadi Rum First Class Passenger

I was a bit under the weather today, this is our last day in Jordan today and I had only 3 hours of sleep last night. the guys insisted for me to come, but I was in no condition to drive as I felt pretty tired and dizzy although the distance did not exceed 120km both ways. I got offered to ride as a passenger onboard one of the Goldwings. I must say this bike is pretty impressive smooth & spacy. The ride to Wadi Rum was breathtaking, beautiful landscape and scenery. It is said that Lawrence of Arabia have stayed in this area. We stopped there for a cup of coffee and chatted with Alex Wettstein, I will have a full post on Alex.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 18 - Petra

Whichever way I think of it, I fail to find the right words to describe what I have seen today. The words stupendous, marvelous etc will short fall of The Petra Experience. This is one place which is a must see, and its only 1400km away from Kuwait and 550km from Lebanon. I stood in awe today facing the this beautiful city carved in the mountain. Unfortunately since time is not on our side we had to rush the sightseeing process, it would take at least 2 days to cover the area, which I am planning to do in the future. I will not bore you with any details I will let you enjoy the pictures of this wonder.

Day 17 - Karak - Aqaba

Majestic landscapes is how I can describe today's ride, we set off from Amman at 9:00am, taking the coastal road to the Dead Sea, the weather was exquisite, we passed by the newly opened Movenpick resort with excellent amenities and surroundings worth taking the kids to, on a vacation. We continued to Karak, An ancient Crusader stronghold, situated on a hilltop about 1000 meters above sea level and is surrounded on three sides by a valley. Karak commands a magnificent view of the Dead Sea. A city of about 20,000 people has been built up around the castle, I did have enough time to view the place, due to our tight schedule. After Karak we headed down towards Dana Reserves and took the Desert Road to Aqaba, the wind was chilling and as usual I broke away from the pack.

One incident was about to end this journey for me today, was a flock sheep on the motorway, that appeared out of nowhere that made my heart sink to the abyss of my stomach, as I applied the brakes in vein, I managed to pass between 2 sheep within an opening of less than a meter.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Picture of the Week

Got ambushed by a bunch of Karate School Kids in some little village in Jordan.


Mansaf at Abu El Jebain

Our Buddy Bu Faysal invited us today to his family House in Zay, this is the first time I try an Authentic Jordanian Mansaf. Mansaf is the traditional dish in Jordan. Its main ingredients are lamb, rice, and a dried yoghurt-like product called Jameed. I can not describe the settings of the beautiful home, the warm welcome and the tasty food, I will leave the pictures to do the talking. Thank you Bu Faysal for this invitation our Jordanian experience just got the icing it needed.

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Day 16 - Jerash - Ajloun

Yet another great of riding today, Jordan does not ceases to amaze me, today we rode to Jerash which is known for the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa. Jerash is considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. We had the opportunity to watch a Gladiator Show, the historical facts narrated were highly interesting, depicting the combat tactics of the Roman Army. Our trip continued towards Ajloun Castle, which built in 1184 by a nephew of Saladin who defeated the Cruisaders in 1189. This castle is considered a fine example of Islamic architecture. It was built atop a hill and protected the communication routes between south Jordan and Syria, and was one of a chain of forts that lit beacons at night to pass along signals from the Euphrates as far as Cairo.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tire Abuse

P1012308 We have been driving over the course of the past 12 days in mountainous regions, worth 700km of winding roads and probably a guesstimate of 300 and more corners. Yesterday's ride saw the most abusive day of cornering, with speeds exceeding 150km/h, the bike's leaning angle was beyond the 40% mark, that's steep on a GS as a couple of degrees more might cost a trip to the canyon, on a couple of occasions the tire broke loose but was easily managed. This type of riding is unfortunately non-existent in Kuwait which leaves a lot of bike riders in a troubled situation.

Day 14 - Mount Nebo - Madaba - Dead Sea

Wonderful Jordan, on the 14th day of the trip and after some bad weather encountered in Lebanon , we were greeted with great weather and gorgeous scenery. I am mesmerized by the beauty of the surroundings and the beautiful roads that the country has to offer. On this first day we have logged 200km of great driving through the mountainous roads. Our lunch break was at Haret Jdoudnah in Madaba, I highly recommend you pay them a visit they have a great menu in a great setting. I am truly looking forward for the days ahead.

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