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Thread: Unchained Tea and a Wee Tour '08

  1. #1
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Third Cup Trip-formerley Unchained Tea and a Wee Tour '08

    The Unchained Tea and a Wee Tour.
    Or,
    Put the kettle on IÔÇÖm on the way to South America.


    ÔÇ£They make an awful lot of coffee in BrazilÔÇØ
    ÔÇÿColumbia blend coffeeÔÇÖ
    Seattle, hometown of Starbucks.


    Within days of having decided that Dec 2008 was the go date for a ride to Tierra Del Feugo, I was questioning the wisdom.

    As soon as I announced my intention, fellow riders were pouring from every nook and cranny, ÔÇ£oh IÔÇÖve beenÔÇØ, ÔÇ£IÔÇÖve been tooÔÇØ. ÔÇ£You should speak to X, Y and Z, theyÔÇÖve all beenÔÇØ, ÔÇ£My grandma went with her dogÔÇØ.
    So many riders have made this trip, IÔÇÖm surprised it doesnÔÇÖt show as a permanent red-line-jam on local traffic reports. ItÔÇÖs like finding a human crowd queuing up, to summit Everest. Not at all what I expected.

    I need something to help me differentiate, to give purpose to my ride, I donÔÇÖt just want to be a tourist evicted from a coach and plonked on a bike.
    First thought was to change the bike.
    Why?
    Because a GS is exactly what youd expect people to ride through South America on. Incredibly capable, accommodating and reliabledo any of those terms spark your imagination? Do they scream out Daring Adventure?
    Thought not.

    Still, I have a GS and have no plans to replace it, so that option was out.

    The big GS also, sort of, eliminated the option of crossing the Darien Gap-just too damn big to haul on winch and harness through this 200 miles of muddy, liana bedecked over and undergrowth.

    So where would my inspiration come from?
    Well, England actually.

    I was reminiscing about my time near Colchester. Sunny Sundays would often see the Aprilia Mille, or prior to that, a ZX9 or two, wheeled out and pointed at the north Norfolk coast. By taking the back roads, I could usually reach Cromer, once a grand Victorian escape, now a decrepit seaside resort with all the charm thatÔÇÖs implied by a kiss-me-kwik hat and a plate of chips (fries) in gravy.
    It did however have two redeeming features. Firstly, a car park that was free for bikes, and, a tea hut with a toilet. Okay IÔÇÖll give it another plus, it was geographically placed on my way to either Blakeney Point-a tranquil stop for boat trips to see the seal colony and bird sanctuary, or Hunstanton, a well known biker haunt, with live bands on the green and enough bikes to look at, to pass a pleasant Sunday.
    Anyway, back to the Tea hut. The run there became known as my ÔÇ£tea and a weeÔÇØ ride, as it gave me the opportunity to partake of both and each was equally welcomed, for diametrically opposed reasons.

    And so it was, that during remembrances of the bluff brown waters of the North Sea and the equally brown water of my styrofoam encased tea, and whilst pondering over a map of South America, it came to me.

    Could I ride through South America, the supreme domain of coffee, only drinking, and obviously, peeing tea? Could I, whilst in the sanctuary of caffeine, conjure up a teabag or two?
    And then finally I noticed something, or rather somewhere, that was the clincher. The Falkland Islands. Could I get to this most distant of BritianÔÇÖs British corners and get a cuppa?

    And, yes Id be starting from Seattlehome of Starbucksoh, the irony.

    So, that was the plan. Not great, not worthy of note, but my plan. Something that would, when I joined the traffic flow south, give me a reason to be in the queue.

    Can do spirit.

    One thing I admire about Americans, is their, ÔÇÿcan do spiritÔÇÖ. ThereÔÇÖs not much of a, ÔÇÿwhy do spiritÔÇÖ, or a ÔÇÿhow, or what do spiritÔÇÖ, but ÔÇÿcan doÔÇÖ has certainly been mastered.
    I donÔÇÖt have it.
    I do indeed do, but throughout the doing, I constantly wonder if doing, is actually the right thing to be doing, or even am I doing doing right?
    There are lots of pre-doing issues that need addressing with a trip like this.

    Do I travel alone?
    First thoughts are, yes and no.
    IÔÇÖd like to try riding with a colleague down to Tiera Del Fuego (TDF), but by then, IÔÇÖd expect either they will have tired of me, or me of them. Plus, the little matter of a side trip to the Falklands for a cup of tea, well, it just might not be everyoneÔÇÖs 'cup of tea'.

    Do I have the time?
    Yesthats an easy one at-the-moment, but, will the answer be the same come next December?

    Do I have the finances?
    See previous answer.

    Do I have the support of my wife?
    SheÔÇÖs already telling her colleagues IÔÇÖll be away, so IÔÇÖll take that as yes.

    Do I have the riding ability to undertake this journey?
    IÔÇÖd like to believe so.
    I rode 10,018 miles on a trip across the USA in 06.
    I rode down to Death Valley, then over Tioga Pass, to challenge my vertigo, later in 06.
    Took, and passed, the Washington Motorcycle Instructor programme early in 07.
    Joined in the Jimmy Lewis Off-Road school in the summer of 07.
    Did some riding on ChinaÔÇÖs Hainan Island in September 07 and have extensive riding experience back in, and around, Europe, including some riding with the Brit Motorcycle Police, that goes back many, many years.

    So, I reckon my skill shortages are in other areas:

    Do I have relevant motorcycle maintenance and repair skills?
    Well, I know where the Service Dept is, at Ride West BMW.

    Do I have First Aid knowledge, sufficient to be able to handle whatever the road may deliver?
    Will a sticking plaster cover it? How about an aspirin?

    Do I speak Spanish?
    The answer to that is a resounding Non, or is that Niet?

    Do I have the ability to be able to stay convivial, for long periods, under duress, with a riding partner?
    The longest period IÔÇÖve had to share the road with anyone has been three weeks, and that was with my wife as we toured Spain, so itÔÇÖs not the same, as I got to sleep with her. I have no intention of doing so, with any riding buddies to TDF!

    The first three I can address. The last, only time will tell and is very much dependent upon chemistry.

    Do I really believe I will be able to find tea, all the time?
    Not really. However, thatÔÇÖs not the point. ItÔÇÖs trying that will make the difference.
    IÔÇÖm sure that there will always be some form of sticks, herbs, leaf and dirt concoction that can be drunk if boiled sufficiently long enough, that wonÔÇÖt quite kill me.

    So, for now, thatÔÇÖs all folks. ItÔÇÖs time to hit the books, research, meet up with the two guys who have said they are looking to ride and generally get up to speed.

    I must dash now, the kettleÔÇÖs boiling.
    Last edited by lamble; 01-05-2008 at 02:20 AM.

  2. #2
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post
    I have visions of you riding your GS with this in your cup holder.

    A cup holder?

    I could thermally insulate my camel back and keep tea in that, but would need some sort of gravity feed valve device to add just the right amount of milk in a ratio of 1:5. The milk would need to be kept cold, so refrigeration is a must, a small generator from a dynamo mounted to the rear wheel could provide enough energy to operate a refrigerated top box, if properly constructed.

    See Statdawg, I've thought about it....and that's quite worrying isn't it?

    I am an addict. I am an addict. I am an addict...ad infinitum....

  3. #3
    franze
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    Here's another version for your Yerbe Mate. I had to read your post twice to see if you were "texting" out loud or were asking for twists to make your ride unlike the other rides. Drinking only tea would not be my choice as the beverage at mealtime should compliment the meal and I think you'd tire of biscuits after the first thousand or two miles. Besides, the beer in Mexico is too good to pass up. So, maybe you bring a real fancy, fragile teapot and cups and have a "brew up" when you are extremely exalted, say, at the top of a pyramid in the Yucatan, or extremely discouraged, say after pushing your out of gas bike for an hour or two in the rain. Riding in a kilt and playing the bagpipes at each border crossing would defintely put you in the " did you hear about the guy that......." category.

    I don't think this ride would ever be considered "ho-hum" by anybody. Go for it. I liked your kind words for my country, it's American, not American't.

    good luck.

  4. #4
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franze View Post


    Here's another version for your Yerbe Mate. I had to read your post twice to see if you were "texting" out loud or were asking for twists to make your ride unlike the other rides. Drinking only tea would not be my choice as the beverage at mealtime should compliment the meal and I think you'd tire of biscuits after the first thousand or two miles. Besides, the beer in Mexico is too good to pass up. So, maybe you bring a real fancy, fragile teapot and cups and have a "brew up" when you are extremely exalted, say, at the top of a pyramid in the Yucatan, or extremely discouraged, say after pushing your out of gas bike for an hour or two in the rain. Riding in a kilt and playing the bagpipes at each border crossing would defintely put you in the " did you hear about the guy that......." category.

    I don't think this ride would ever be considered "ho-hum" by anybody. Go for it. I liked your kind words for my country, it's American, not American't.

    good luck.
    I do like the idea of a china tea service. Silver spoon, saucers and fine bone china cups. Not so sure about the kilt and bagpipes, they are a bit, "north of the border" for me.

    I have decided to have an official departing party...at the first ever Starbucks, down in Pike's Place Market.
    On the beer thing, I can take or leave beer and usually leave it, but I am hooked on iced tea.
    I have a feeling that although this sounds like a simple enough idea, there will be times when it gets tricky, high altitude's lower boiling temperature being one example.
    If anyone has links to a tea company that would like to sponsor me, let me know, I'd be happy to have Lipton Ice and a giant lemon painted on the bike in exchange for some tires and gas, then again, one large limey riding the bike, might be enough fruit.

  5. #5
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post
    This might come with a BMW plug.
    Just been to our local tea emporium and they are going to find out about S.American teas for me.
    I see from a tea map I have (sort of thing we Brits carry around) that Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador all have registered tea producing plantations. I also know that the Special Air Services do jungle training in Belize, so there will be a spot of tea there too.

    I'm sure I'll be able to find an adapter for the mug device, although I'm thinking boil water on stove and use a filter mug. That's when I'm not entertaining and have the full wedgewood service laid out!

  6. #6
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post
    Lamble

    Once you get your data you set yourself up as a tea expert. There is a rider from France that is studying Honey Bees. www.worldbees.com Being French there has to be work to be finished somewhere. So follow his trip mission. Please check your routing you might want to try ............tea with honey and a side of Guinea pig with him. Sounds like you can get your own Food Channel Show about tea ?

    You could set up Teas of America dot com and go to all the Universities on your route. You can meet with all the Botany Professors, tea Leaders, and tea brokers. Write a Blog, drink tea, add to your blog, drink tea, flower up the SAS Tea Party, write more, and sip more. See there is not many sites to get information so gather what you can. Be the Ex-Pat tea expert. You might be able to get some herb and spices shop to sponsor your consumption. I will Head Hunt for a few to brainstorm with. I know an Ex-Pat UK GSer in Mexico that would help you. I doubt the guy would have stayed in Mexico without tea unless he robbed a train in England. He has been there for 30 years.

    Good grief, that all sounds like a lot of trouble to go to, just to get a cup of tea, well that, and a few thousand miles of riding

    The blog should run through Unchainedworld (April 08) and as I'm hoping to set up a publishing enterprise for travel writers from the site also, there could be all sorts of possibili-teas.

    Would you dunk the Guinea Pig?

  7. #7
    Amma Holly's Avatar
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    Celestial Seasonings

    Lamble, I went on a tour of Celestial Seasonings when I was in Boulder. http://www.celestialseasonings.com/index.html
    I was surprised to find that one of their best sellers is Morning Thunder, which is a blend of tea and mat?®. They would be the ideal outfit to sponsor you. They own quite a few other companies, so should be able to foot the bill.

    They had an interesting display of artsy teapots, but still didn't explain to the Americans that you need to use a teapot, preferably porcelain, warm the pot, bring freshly poured water to a rolling boil and steep for a proper cup a tea. Sigh, what can you expect of barbarians who dump perfectly good tea into salt water.

    They were very helpful, though in letting me store my helmet and jacket under the counter while I took the tour.

    My favourite is Darjeeling (Twinings, loose,) but Morning Thunder is actually not bad. MT, however, is not available in Canada. Twinings & Tetley teas, among others, are readily available here.

    Holly

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    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    Lamble, I went on a tour of Celestial Seasonings when I was in Boulder. http://www.celestialseasonings.com/index.html
    I was surprised to find that one of their best sellers is Morning Thunder, which is a blend of tea and mat?®. They would be the ideal outfit to sponsor you. They own quite a few other companies, so should be able to foot the bill.

    They had an interesting display of artsy teapots, but still didn't explain to the Americans that you need to use a teapot, preferably porcelain, warm the pot, bring freshly poured water to a rolling boil and steep for a proper cup a tea. Sigh, what can you expect of barbarians who dump perfectly good tea into salt water.

    They were very helpful, though in letting me store my helmet and jacket under the counter while I took the tour.

    My favourite is Darjeeling (Twinings, loose,) but Morning Thunder is actually not bad. MT, however, is not available in Canada. Twinings & Tetley teas, among others, are readily available here.

    Holly
    I was looking at a July jaunt across the northern USA, then back via Canada. Yesterday I heard that we will be getting a family visit in July, so, here a quick off the top of the head revision, I could ride to Celestial Seasonings and have some Morning Thunder.

    Despite Seattle being Coffee Capital USA, there are teas available as it's also a health conscious region and many like these herbal ("erble") infusions. I must confess to being more of a traditional Ceylon black tea sort of fella, although the odd green tea does add variety. Green Tea Chai Latte...not sure what the hell that's about though.

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    Amma Holly's Avatar
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    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    That's very kind of you Holly.

    Completely tangential, there's a friend that teaches yoga. He's putting a routine together (I don't nor never have I done yoga) that I'll be able to use during the ride, part for when I'm in the saddle and part to ease out any aching muscles.

    He told me this whilst standing on his head.

  11. #11
    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamble View Post
    That's very kind of you Holly.

    Completely tangential, there's a friend that teaches yoga. He's putting a routine together (I don't nor never have I done yoga) that I'll be able to use during the ride, part for when I'm in the saddle and part to ease out any aching muscles.

    He told me this whilst standing on his head.
    .

    This I've gotta see.

    When will you be on the East Coast, Lamble?

  12. #12
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tessler View Post
    .

    This I've gotta see.

    When will you be on the East Coast, Lamble?
    Looks like end May early June.

    I wasn't thinking about doing any yoga based exercises, as I thought that if I consumed vast quantities of tea, I'd be getting off the bike quite regularly anyway, hence, the tea and a wee tour.

    In all seriousness, when I've done long rides, I tend to stand up on the pegs for a while. This helps circulation and also enables me to either scare the living daylights out of SUV drivers as I look down on them in their cabs, or to give a sexy little tush shimy. Either way, the effect is the same...I tend to increase my personal space.

  13. #13
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Bonus, they wash the streets with tea.



    and why exactly am I going to do this again?

  14. #14
    Living in exile Threeteas's Avatar
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    Well that certainly looks like a spot to partake of a spot of tea.

    Tea lessons start Wednesday, although reading up started yesterday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post
    The Princess of Wales had Tea at the Ty Nain Tea House and Museum while on her tour there. This fine spot is a Welsh oasis, a worthy shrine, and a civilized spot carved out by those pioneers. It is definitely unchained since there were no English there to apply them. However observe caution, I wouldn't brag about the Fauklins, and I wonder if the Ensign should be flown in some parts. But I don't know Jack.

    If they served sheep puck and oat meal I might consider the place myself. But I am thinking more of Celtic Spice Cake.
    I knew there was a Welsh enclave in Argentina, I'm not sure how it came about though and I certainly wasn't aware of the tea house there, so thanks for that.
    I can't wait to meet Juan Ignatio Evans, or Juanita Williams, it will be surreal.

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