At long last, five years after finishing the second leg of my Silk Road ride in Tehran, I'm a month and a bit away from restarting the trip. When I got to Tehran in 2004, I anticipated riding further, through the Caucasus and Turkey to the Mediterranean, in 2006, but somehow that never happened; my 2-year contract in Egypt turned into a 4-month stint, and then I was broke and needed to work. In 2005 I had a fantastic 7-week ride across the lunar landscapes of Ladakh with Audie and Saakje, and in 2006, when I should have been riding the western end of my journey, I couldn't arrange a visa in time, and I was really too broke for a big trip, so I rode through Vietnam instead, another great ride. Then I settled down from 2006 until a few days ago in Myanmar, and didn't have the big chunk of time necessary for a long bike trip, although I did spend two unforgettable months riding through Mongolia with Audie and Serge in the summer of 2007. I didn't get in any bike touring at all in 2008, but I'm trying to make up for that with an extra-long one this summer now that I'm contentedly unemployed.
So now I'm doing a bunch of things I should have gotten done earlier but didn't find time for: equipping the new bike that the good folks at Rocky Mountain Bicycles are providing me, getting Iranian and Azeri visas (the Azeris are a real bunch of post-Soviet rip-off artists!), spending time with my mom and dad here in Canada, and trying to write more about the previous legs of the trip so that I can interest publishers in a book about the ride. This morning, I'm off to see the Iranian embassy and get my visa; time to dress up and look respectable!