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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wunderlich Supports Wherethehellismurph.





I am very pleased to be able to announce that Wunderlich Germany is now the official sponsor of Wherethehellismurph's 3 Wheels, 7 Years and 7 Continents  Round the World Expedition.


Frank Hoffmann, Murph and Erich Wunderlich, in front of the Wunderlich Head Office in Sinzig, Germany.




A few days before the EGT I decided that as added insurance it would probably be wise to change the original 69,000mile (110,000km) clutch in the engine of my 2004 BMW 1150 GS Adventure. The original clutch had not been giving me any problems or shown any signs of any to come, but when you add a heavy sidecar to your motorcycle, it places much more stress on the motorcycle, the engine and it's associated mechanical components, so while the bike was in probably the most dissambled state I hope it will be for a very long time to come, I figured now would be as good a time as any to replace any and all the parts that were necessary.




These are the 69k ml original clutch plates I took out from my boxer engine. Remarkably good condition for the amount of abuse that I have put this bike through, both on and off road. So good in fact that I'll keep these as a back-up set while on the road.
 I wanted to use a heavy duty clutch plate if I could find one, and find one I did on the Wunderlich website.


So, after a phone call to Wunderlich in Germany to make sure the part was in stock, a quick look on Google maps, and I jumped in the LBS van for a 114 mile (184 km) drive to the Wunderlich HQ in Sinzig, Germany.

So here's where the story get's interesting.

Let's go back to 2010.
I met Mark Corker of Wunderlich America in Redmond OR 
at the BMW MOA Rally being held there that year. I was only beginning my trip then, 3 months or so into it, still no intentions at that point of ever intending to stay out on the road for years. So we just chatted about some Wunderlich parts, no talk of sponsorship, I was just saying hi to the voice on the Wunderlich end of the phone when I called about some of the Wunderlich parts for my BMW.

By the end of 2010 I was coming up to close on a year on the road and had some more communications with Mark regarding some Wunderlich products, but again no mention of sponsorship, although I recall asking him did he have a 'traveller' discount he could help me with, which he graciously did. He went out of his way to accommodate me whatever way he could given the corporate restrictions he had.

By March 2011 and a year on the road, the 30lbs of camera gear was taking it's toll on the OEM BMW shocks, they were dying, so I contacted Mark about a set of Wilber aftermarket shocks  for my BMW that they carried, and this time the 'Sponsorship' word came up. We chatted a bit about it and Marks suggestion was for me to draw up an itinerary of my upcoming trip and send it to Wunderlich Germany, since they were the ones that everything went through (and since I'm my own worst promoter, that never happened).
In the meantime, Mark worked out the best deal he was able to give me with his hands tied by corporate, and I appreciated it, so I bought the Wilbers from him at Wunderlich America and had them on as soon as they were delivered to Arizona where I was staying with my friends Alan and Felicia Sean at the time.

Fast forward to Tuesday, August 21, 2012. 
I arrived at Wunderlich Germany and into the parts office. I had spoken with Escobido on the phone earlier that morning, but of course I couldn't remember his name when I got to the Wunderlich parts counter, so I walk in and I go "Hi, I was speaking with.....emmm......errr.....a guy on the phone about a clutch plate, did they leave it out for me, my name is Murph"?. 
Nein, no, no clutch plate, let me get my colleague (all in a Terminator accent).


Murph and Henning Jeske.

Thats when Henning Jeske came to the front and I introduced myself and we chatted about my trip, he located the Wunderlich Sintered Clutch Plate for me and of course I asked about a 'Traveler' discount' and gave him my card.
Henning had already heard about me from Facebook and my website, so as he was giving me a 15% discount and 
I was paying for the clutch plate (150 Euros, normally 180) we were talking about my upcoming Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia trip in winter. So with the clutch plate already paid for and me about to leave and head back to Holland to put it in, Henning says 'hang on a sec, I want to get someone else to talk further with you'. Ok, I can hang on.

And that's when Frank Hoffmann came and introduced himself to me, asked me questions, listened to some of my story and asked me some more questions and asked me what Wunderlich could do for me. 
So I told him what Wunderlich could do for me, and then I told him what I could do for Wunderlich and thats when he said
 "Wunderlich would be happy to sponsor you Murph".


As I had already paid for the clutch plate before all this sponsorship came about I did not go to Wunderlich intending to look for sponsorship, I just wanted to buy their Sintered Clutch Plate.
But as has been the case with most of the big events of last few years of this journey of mine, sometimes when you least expect it, sometimes when stop looking, what you were seeking at the outset seems to materialize itself effortlessly right in front of you, sometimes at the right time, sometimes not. 

I had decided earlier on this year that some way, somehow, that with or without sponsorship, I was going to make this Round the World trip, this dream, this fantasy trip of mine happen, even if I had to sell my cameras to finance it. 
I would use a camera phone if necessary, didn't matter, I just knew that I wasn't going to turn back now. I was and am determined to make this trip happen.

 And now thanks to Wunderlich Germany it just got a whole lot easier.
Having Wunderlich behind me is fantastic in so many ways, it's also a company that I feel very confident and very able to promote and support as I travel the world by Motorcycle Sidecar, as a lot of the Wunderlich line of products will be used by me on my motorcycle sidecar on my travels. 

The new Wunderlich Sintered Clutch Plate is installed, the bike is running good, and I was given an "All Access" pass to the Wunderlich Warehouse for any products I needed for my BMW sidecar outfit.














Pure Performance on two wheels. 
I've always loved the Gulf livery color scheme, and it looks real good on the Wunderlich BMW.


View Larger Map
This is what my itinerary in the coming months of September 2012 through January 2013 look like.
The Russia part of the trip from November through the end of December going into January is contingent on my Russian visa which I have applied for and am awaiting approval.
If I thought too much about this trip, I'd have myself committed, as I know that the temperature in December in Russia will probably never go above -40. 
I have never done this type of extreme winter travel before, so I'm flying by the frostbitten seat of my pants here.
Fortunatly I met a great group of Russian motorcyclists and sidecarists at this years EGT in Luxembourg, and have been invited to the Black bears Motorcycle Club of Russia Winter Rally north of Moscow the first week of December. 
I was told "Murph, you just get here, we take care of everything, food, accommodation, everything". I spoke with my friend and Round the World motorcyclist Doug Wothke who has been through Russia 4 times, who attested that Russian hospitality is very well known. He said they will take care of everything too, that's what they're like there.


Murph.


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