It’s been a full 6 months of planning to get to this point and most things that needed to be done by this point have been sorted. The goal for me has been to take away the load off Nick so he can focus on hiking and flying. We started using Basecamp (project management software) a couple of months ago to track progress. Over 70 tasks were initially entered, and we have been steadily working getting through this. I’m a bit more systematic when it comes to planning as opposed to the “put your boots on and go approach” of Nick. Lucky for me, I have had the help of Nils Kretschmer to keep me sane and help with the European logistics. Despite all the planning there is always last minute stresses that seems to surface with an imminent departure and a realisation you are very much dependent on the generosity of others. It’s all the little things behind the scenes that people don’t see but do take time. Thank you to all the people and sponsors who have helped get us to this point. The Jucy van we will be using is an essential part of this undertaking and we are very excited to have them onboard as sponsors. The number one question I get from people: “Is Jucy operating in Europe?” Well not yet, and the plan is a UK launch sometime in 2016. The van we have is a sales vehicle that hasn’t been used and at the time that they agreed to sponsor us didn’t have a engine! Ben Taylor from Jucy and his mum, have been an integral part of getting this van roadworthy, so that our friends Catherine and Grey could pick it up in the UK. As some of the other foreign teams have found getting private vehicle insurance without a local address and licence at a reasonable rate is difficult, but the issue has now been solved. Thanks to Catherine for letting us use her local UK address and licence, and for driving the vehicle to Switzerland for us.
As I fly into Geneva the day is blue and clear, with the high alps glistening with snow. I note that there seems to still be a lot of snow on the high alpine areas and am making a mental note to discuss this with Nick. He is under the assumption that technical alpine gear will not be needed as he is not planning on crossing any glaciers or icy areas. The weather and conditions haven’t been consistently great for flying yet here in Europe but many X-Alps teams are already exploring by foot and vehicle. We start our course scoping on the 1st of June leaving from our Kiwi/German supporters Nils Kretschmer house in Nellingen (southern Germany). I’m looking forward to getting some hours in the air and meeting Nils and Nick on the 31st May.