1. Canada
  2. Korea
  3. Ferry to Vladivostok, Russia
  4. Russia
  5. Mongolia
  6. Russia (Altai region)
  7. Kazakhstan
  8. Uzbekistan
  9. Turkmenistan
  10. Ferry across Caspian Sea
  11. Azerbaijan
  12. Georgia
  13. Turkey
  14. Syria
  15. Jordan
  16. Ferry from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba, Egypt
  17. Egypt
  18. Ferry from Alexandria, Egypt to Venice, Italy
  19. Italy
  20. France
  21. Andorra
  22. Spain
  23. Portugal

Intended route. Will go in a westerly direction, ie. to Russia first.
(I’ll only include a few of the western US states, and a tiny corner of Canada — enough to get from New Mexico to Vancouver, B.C. by an interesting route.)

Why this route?

  • My already-distressed dollars will go further outside of Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the USA. So they’re out (the latter two as much as possible).
  • For a US passport holder, some countries are impossible (or very difficult) to enter legally (N Korea, Algeria)
  • Other countries are difficult ($) to enter with a vehicle (China, Iran)
  • Still others are a bit too exciting for me (Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia)

Why west?
I wanted to leave during the summer, especially THIS summer, and this puts me in Mongolia before winter. The visa for Russia must be had in advance, and uses fixed dates for entering & exiting the country. The Kazakh visa must also be had in advance. I would rather deal with these up front, and leave visa-free Americas for the last leg of the trip.

Potential route variations & brick walls

  • Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan & Tajikistan were on the route, but with the current political upheavals, they are out. But I am watching the situation.
  • Middle East 1: I investigated transiting Iran with a motorcycle. For a US passport holder, a guide is required, and since I’m on a moto, I would have to pay for the guide’s vehicle in addition to guide service. Two quotes for around $300/day put it out of the running.
  • Middle East 2: I would like to transit Saudi Arabia to UAE, and go on to Oman and Yemen. I think the chance of getting a Saudi transit visa is very slim, but the only cost is mailing the application and visa, and return postage (about $10 total). I’ll know in a few days. Update: Denied. Reason given: “We don’t do that.”

I have maps by Freytag & Berndt, Michelin, and Gizi. Obviously I haven’t yet used these in their respective counties, so I can’t speak to their accuracy, but I’ll share my initial thoughts on them. The Michelin maps are thin, and I think they’ll be torn before I leave. The F&B are a step up in paper quality. The Gizi are great quality, and beautiful. The physical map of Mongolia could be framed art. Gizi could make a map of New Jersey look great. I have had good results ordering through Omni Map. After your first order, they give a coupon good toward your next order. So pace yourself.

I’ll talk about GPS stuff elsewhere.

I have a stack of Lonely Planet books. Other than Ride Reports at ADVRider, and other forum postings with current/real time info (the HUBB is the best for this, by far), I found that LP covered my route the best. I don’t love everything about them. One great thing LP offers is the option to purchase & download PDFs of only the sections you need from a book.