Name – Jools / Age – 40 / Occupation – Head Chef / Lives – London
How long have you been riding?
Since I was 16. (24 years) I took my CBT as soon as I could and even passed my part two on my Yamaha fs1e!
What bikes have you owned over the years?
I’ve owned some awful bikes in the past. My first bike was a 1987 Yamaha fs1e, then I had a Suzuki GP100, then on to a Suzuki gs250, then a Yamaha XV535 which my mates took the piss out of me for having as Bike Magazine described it as a ‘woman’s custom bike’!!
After that I went back to basics and bought a Suzuki TS100, but eventually the smell of two stroke oil was too much, so I grew up again and bought a BMW F650GS which I had for 8 years and rode around Europe 4 times on! I had many an adventure on it and some special times, but I outgrew it pretty quickly and when the opportunity arose to buy the new BMW R1200 Adventure I took it by the horns and have never looked back since. Naturally.
Why are you doing the trip?
Well, this year I turned 40 and I thought it would be cool idea to do a 40 day ride on the bike somewhere.
My work is really quiet in August and my daughter goes away to visit her grandparents, So I asked my company If they would give me unpaid leave for the whole of August and paid leave a week either side so I could do a 40 day long ride across the USA and Canada in my 40th birthday year! To my astonishment they said yes!!
I’ve always dreamed about riding across the USA and seeing the west and east mitten buttes, riding past and exploring the Wild West, following in the steps of the pioneers and the gold rush! Maybe it was watching too many cowboy & western films as a kid that did it. Either way, there is something magical, encapsulating and romantic about riding alone in unknown lands far away from home.
What bike are you riding on the trip?
I’m shipping my own BMW R1200 GS Adventure that I bought brand new in May 2015 from BMW Park Lane, London. Since then we have covered over 21000 miles together, so I couldn’t do this trip and leave her behind, it just wouldn’t feel right doing the ride on a strange hire bike that I have no feelings and emotion for. It’s all about the bike for me. If you are away for more than two weeks it works out way cheaper to ship your own bike than to hire one so its win win!
How long will it take you?
Well I have 40 days off work and the reality is probably about 38 days of riding.
I pick up my bike from the docks in Halifax Nova Scotia early on Monday 25th July. and will be riding clockwise around the North American continent until I reach New York City again around 1st September where I will eventually ship my bike back to England.
What are you looking forward to the most?
The scenery, the endless horizon, the deserts and dark skies, possible view of the Milky Way when camping out in the dark, the history of the places I’ll go through, the vast empty prairies, NYC & LA, the Rockies, the nature & most importantly the people I will meet along the way.
Where are you staying on your trip?
Well. Intend to wild camp in my Hennessy Hammock along the way, wherever I end up at the end of the day will be my home. I have a friends in NYC, LA & Family in Seattle, & friends in Vancouver & Saskatoon, the rest of the time I’ll be in my hammock under the stars in the wild hoping not to get eaten by bears!!
Have you any worries or concerns?
Regarding the bike I’ve no concerns, she is tip-top & ready to go with all the equipment I need.
Regarding myself, well I’ve had a few moments of self doubt in the last few months, like the usual, can I do this? Will I get around in one piece and return home okay. There have been times where I’ve almost been sick thinking about what I’m taking on. I’m going to do a lot of miles in a short space of time with not many days rest in between, I’ll be a stranger in a strange land where I’ve never been before and a lot of things can happen along the way. I think what’s important is to try and take it one day at a time and not plan to far ahead.
How have you planned your route?
My plan is to set up camp every night, and then check the map for the area I am in & research the places I would like to see next and make waypoints for them, then I’ll plan a route on Garmin Basecamp for the next days riding based around those waypoints. That way it keeps it simple and easy to manage.