My desire to go somewhere new and exciting has been building for a while. Karen and I are planning on returning to Wales, and have discussed going in March during her spring break. I'd have enough vacation time, she would be off for a week, and a college friend of her's was interested in going with us. Seemed like a plan, if we saved up enough money and got into the mindset now.
My birthday was this week. For the week before my birthday, Karen had begun telling me that my Christmas gift was going to be incredible, fanciful stories meant to make me think it was a kangaroo, a Zeppelin, or a dual sidecar rocket powered motorcycle. The teasing got so bad, she told me that I was going to like it better than any sidecar motorcycle (drool.... Ural Patrol T) and we made a bet that if it wasn't as cool as a Ural, I could by one after Christmas. If I lost the bet, she gets a wine of the month club subscription. This continued all the way till my birthday. Karen gave me my birthday gift the night before my birthday, a nook e-reader, so that I could charge it and use it on my birthday. Very cool gift, already digging it immensely.
On the night of my birthday, she couldn't contain herself about Christmas any longer. When I picked her up, she told me that she was giving it to me that night, on my birthday, and that was final. I argued with her the entire way home that it was a bad idea, and this continue once we got home all the way up to the point that she actually handed me a bag. I really wanted to wait, but she lamented that it was physically painful for her to keep it a secret.
I grudgingly looked into the bag, and realized that there was a book inside. Really, a book? Cooler than a Ural?!?!?! HA! That bike was practically mine! I pushed the book back to get a grip on it and spied the cover. Peru? Wait, What? Why did she get me a travel guide to Peru? What is this paperwork inside of the book? I slid the book out of the bag, and it was indeed a Lonely Planet travel guide to Peru. Karen had a massive grin on her face, and she said "Read the paperwork!" I pulled the papers out of the book and opened them up. On the top of the first sheet was the Delta Airlines logo. Huh?!?!?!?
1 Ticket for me to Lima Peru on March 24th, 2012? I asked Karen what this was, and she said "You are going to Lima in March! I visited ADVRider.com (a popular motorcycle travel forum I'm on) and got suggestions for motorcycle rentals and hostels already. It's going to be cheap, you can rent a dual sport bike, and visit Machu Picchu!" It took a few minutes for it to register as to what was going on, and it took about 24 hours for me to really get a grasp on it all. I didn't even really start planning stuff correctly right away.
Now, I'm entering full blown planning mode. I am going to be using my motorcycle luggage as my luggage for the trip, so I'll be going super lightweight for the week. I am planning on getting new boots and a new helmet before the trip, and if I can get a decent price on my old car, I may buy a new riding suit before then as well. I've got a short list of things I want to borrow or buy before then (Spot Connect personal tracker or a Delorme inTouch personal tracker, point and shoot camera, dry bag, some sports clothing that will wash easily and keep me dry, etc) and I already have a rough itinerary as well. I've been reading ride reports on ADV, researching the best places to rent bikes, planning packing lists, and looking at travel sites. So much to do, but with Christmas coming, it's only a half-assed effort at best right now. Once January 1st hits, I have a feeling that I will know everything I need to do in short order.
I can't wait, a little over 100 days till I visit Peru, my first foray into South America! Thank you Karen, you are awesome! I love that you know me so well, and love what I want to do!
Obligatory Machu Picchu shot from someone else: