Around the World in 248 Days- by motorcycle

Oh, how I wish I could go on this trip.

It's being billed as the longest supported motorcycle expedition in the world. The 248-day journey will span 30 countries on five continents, taking riders from modern cities to remote villages, across five-lane interstates and narrow dirt tracks, from arid deserts to tropical rain forests, in some of the world's richest and poorest countries.Eidelweise.jpg

The cost: $101,200, airfare not included -- for the rider, at least. The intercontinental air freighting of participants' motorcycles is included. The air freighting of the actual participants is up to them.

The so-called Discover Our Earth Expedition is the brainchild of Werner Wachter, who founded Edelweiss Bike Travel, an Austria-based motorcycle tour company, 30 years ago. He views this epic journey as his company's most ambitious.

"This trip will certainly be a challenge for us ... and for every rider and passenger," Wachter says in the 28-page brochure detailing the 40,000-mile trip, which begins Nov. 14 and concludes July 20, 2011.

A journey of extremes, the Discover Our Earth tour will travel through one of the driest deserts in the world (the Atacama in South America), the highest national capital in the world (La Paz, Bolivia) and the southernmost city in the world (Ushuaia in Argentina's Tierra del Fuego). It will also cover some of the planet's most famous routes, including the Pan-American Highway network and Asia's ancient Silk Road.

So far, 16 riders have expressed interest in "a unique journey that we at Edelweiss have dreamt of for the last 30 years," according to Wachter. To sign up, fill out the form on the company's website.

Interested parties had better start prepping their bikes. Or buying them. Edelweiss isn't providing its usual Beemers for this epic trip. For participants in Discover Our Earth, it's BYOB --bring your own bike -- not to mention plenty of cash and Imodium.

-- Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times staff writer

Photo: The Discover Our Earth Expedition will include motorcycling the Silk Road, among other destinations. Here, a rider rounds a bend on the high-altitude Karakoram Highway, which connects China and Pakistan. Credit: Edelweiss Bike Travel

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