Sorry to admit it, but I completely missed this thread!
During my trip I had lots of positive vibes coming my way, and I think part of it was my Skoolie peeps sending good thoughts into the universe.
It was a most excellent trip. I got back home to my bus on May 31, exactly 10 months after leaving. 18 countries, 23k miles, 2 airplane rides, 4 ferry rides, 2 sets of tires (and no flats!), 2 sets of chain & sprockets. The bike was stone reliable, with the only failure being the speedometer drive gear in the front hub. Personally, I had the trots a couple of times, the flu once, a few bad cases of homesickness.
List of countries, in order of visitation:
About half of the countries I visited were predominantly Muslim countries, and the people there made me feel very welcome. I couldn't stop for gas, or ask directions or get groceries without being invited to sit for tea, a cigarette and a chat (language barrier and all). Super nice people.
That's not to say that people elsewhere were mean trolls! People were basically good everywhere. I was pickpocketed in Mongolia, and was targeted by corrupt police in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to pay bribes for imaginary traffic infractions. A bomb blast shook me out of bed in Tblisi, Georgia when the offices of the anti-government political party was blown up a block away from my hostel. Some Kazakh kids in a BMW sedan tried to run me off the road. Those were my only instances of unpleasantness.
From Egypt, my plan was to go south, down the east coast of Africa to Capetown, but two things intervened: Sudan refused to issue an entry visa, and I was getting burned out on travel. I will see Africa another day.
Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions I get:
Favorite food: France, Turkey, South Korea. Georgian food, especially the fresh bread, was surprisingly good.
Favorite country: Impossible to name one! I liked certain countries for specific reasons. Mongolia was the best for "adventure" motorcycle travel, having very little infrastructure, very few paved roads, little English spoken, etc. Uzbekistan had the most impressive historic architecture (sorry Egypt). Favorite people were in Syria, followed closely by Russians. Georgia felt very "comfortable" -- hard to explain, but I was thinking of getting an apartment there to wait out the winter. A delightful, unique country.
How did the bike perform/Would you take the same bike again: Performed perfectly, but the seat was not very comfortable. For me, the bike's light weight and simple design make it perfect for this particular job.
Any health problems: The trots were my own fault for eating a lots of a single food in a new country, overloading my digestive system with unfamiliar bugs.
Costs: From the day I left, until the day I returned, I spent about $20k. Not bad, considering that figure includes two long-haul air freightings of the bike and myself, numerous expensive visas (Turkmenistan, an unexpected transit visa for Russia) etc. From S Korea to Egypt I think I was living on $20-30/day, then in Europe daily costs tripled easily.
Gonna do another long trip: Very likely, but I have to earn more bread before I can chase that dream. Africa and Latin America are at the top of the list. Part of me wants to set down roots and build a house, so maybe I'll do that first. Guess I need to get a job first.
Anyway, it's good to be back in the USA!