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Old 12-09-2012, 05:47 PM   #548
Feyala OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Wandering...
Oddometer: 358
Originally Posted by achesley View Post
I am so enjoying your report, pictures and everything. Being a solo traveler for many years now, I have only one bit of advice for you . ENJOY. Do it your way. I quit camping at 62 due to a bad hip. Now, cheap moteling it with food and gas is running me right at 110 bucks a day on the average.
Keep it coming lady, lovin it.
Hey, thanks! Glad to have you along for the ride!

Originally Posted by Klay View Post
Oh, but it's so enjoyable to have travelers stay over with's not mooching, and I wish more people would take advantage of the tent space list.

Following your interesting travels.
It's definitely fun on occasion, but, I dunno. I have difficulty sometimes accepting hospitality.

Besides, if I stayed with other people all the time, I'd forget what it feels like to sleep on the ground!

(I wish your pictures were bigger)
Originally Posted by larryboy View Post
Clicky clicky works too.
Originally Posted by Klay View Post
I didn't know that. Thanks!
I had no idea people didn't realize that these photos were all thumbnails! Is there something I can do to make this more obvious? Maybe like, outline them in white or something?

Originally Posted by larryboy View Post
Hiya, Fey!!!
Hope life is treating you well!

Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
I have a feeling your 244's are worn out. I know the 244, bought a set a couple years ago. Not great once worn, very affected by road texture. Once worn badly? Check in on the BIG DR650 thread in Thumpers. Ask about tire pressures. Lots of good opinions and lots of experience.

Nearly bald is not good! ... And how many miles on the front? Many fronts "Look" fine, but in fact are badly cupped. Cupped front tire handles poorly. 244's are inexpensive but not the best tire for the DR650, IMHO. I've run 12 or 14 sets of tires on my 50K mile DR at this point.
They don't look cupped? The ones I had on at the Hells Canyon rally wore to sharp wedges, these ones look fine? I don't remember what mileage I was at when I swapped tires, but it's been at least 4k miles. I know nearly-bald is not good, but I'm very... frugal, and I knew I was heading to Phoenix soon. They'll get changed before I leave again.

Tubes don't really wear much. Especially at the pace you're riding. But if your tubes are very old (like over 2 years) I would change them out for new. Buy good tubes if you can. Worth it. (Michelin, Metzeler, Bridgestone, Dunlop)
I am not sure how to describe it, but I've seen at least one flat from some sort of friction or heat. The tube material got thin enough that it caused a small tear. The only thing we could figure at the time was low pressure + over 60mph for a while. I'll be replacing my rear tube with the tire, and the spare I got is for the front, so hopefully I am set.

Sand riding is very tough no matter what pressure. But low pressure is better than high. Sounds to me like you did VERY GOOD off road.
Thanks! I still have a LOT to learn.

ALL GOOD! To get into politics and Narco trafficante discussions you'll need a bit more than "buenos dias" and "Hola Paco, que tal" ... but if you get further South, do take a class. Well worth it IMO. Always best to dive and and TRY to communicate.
I used to be nearly fluent when I took Spanish in high school. Years later, I held my own in a religious discussion with a hispanic coworker in spanish. It included a lot of hand gestures, and I've forgotten the tenses other than present, but it worked. I'd like to re-learn the other tenses and get a wider vocabulary. I learn quickly, so this shouldn't be too hard.

Can't recommend solo camping in Mexico unless in an organized camp ground or on private property. Bad stuff does happen. It's rare, but there it is.

I've been going to Mexico since age 14. Dozens of trips: buses, trains, motorcycle and VW Van. Rarely camp but you CAN do it safely if you pick your spots ahead. Random "wild camping" solo could pose risks in certain situations.

I spent 7 years living, working and traveling all through Latin America.
Did two years in the Antarctic, based out of Argentina. (USARP). Lived in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina.

Baja is not cheap (as mentioned earlier) and it's full of Gringos. But its still a magic place like no other. Mainland Mex is another world; Fewer Gringos, less English, about 1/2 the price for motels. Gas is about $3.20 a gallon nationwide. Moving costs money. To save money, once you find a "garden of Eden" type place, rent something, hang for a while. Your expenses will fall to almost nothing. Great place to Winter ... I've done it.

All the best getting healed and getting your DR back on the road.
Sounds like you've had some fun experiences! I'd love to be as widely-traveled. Yeah, one of my concerns is inadvertently camping somewhere that people use for illicit activity, or being found by drunks and harassed, etc. I believe that most people are basically good (or at the very least, don't care enough to bother), and unless I pose a threat, nuisance, or opportunity, they are unlikely to be unnecessarily cruel. I try to avoid putting myself in those kinds of situations, but I can see how camping in some areas would do so.

Do you think that the locals would give useful advice if I asked them where a good spot to camp would be? I plan on asking around to get a sense of the various areas, I've heard that they do warn gringos to stay out of certain towns after dark, etc.

Originally Posted by efredette View Post
I've never been much of an early riser. On a long trip I left my motel in Nevada around 10am. While riding I noticed lots of red smears on the road. Later that day I stopped for gas and happened across some riders I had met a few days earlier. They told me a couple riders had gone down around 7:30am due to bugs that covered the blacktop. Plows were called out to clear the bugs off the road. I was glad I had not had an early start that day... So now I think it is okay when I take my time in the morning. I'm really enjoying your RR...camping alone...I have not done that are courageous.
Thank you for that! Was it a caterpillar migration? I've seen some of those before (though thankfully not in a vehicle)...

Aww, thanks for the compliments. Camping alone isn't that bad, I actually feel safer camping away from people than I do in campgrounds, but maybe that's just me...

Originally Posted by beemer67 View Post
I have been riding to the Copper Canyon area of Mexico (mainly) each October for the last 10 years. Most of the time I rough camp. After reading your RR (and enjoying it) I feel that you understand how to camp safely. That is, get off the road and find somewhere where others aren't. I generally feel safer camping in Mexico than I do in the U.S. and I rough camp there as well. There are private campgrounds around but they aren't common. Campground in Creel for instance is 100 pesos a night (US$8.00 at the moment) Hotels seem to run 200 pesos and up ($16.00) The per person cost in hotels always works out more than if there are two of you. The Mexican people have always been super helpful and friendly to me. I try to stay away from the border areas, but even there everyone I have dealt with have been friendly.

And occasionally when I haven't been able to find a track off the road I have been on, I have stopped at a small farm holding and just asked if I could camp off to one side of their property. Never been refused.

Bottom line for 'rough' camping, if no one knows you are there, you can't have a problem.
Thanks for the tips! Those hotel prices aren't too bad. Even the shitty dives I've been able to find in the states are $30-50 and that frequently doesn't include the $10 "luxury tax". And you have to SEARCH for the dives. I've tried to haggle those down, showing up late, I figure they'd rather have a cheaper rate than an empty room, but most of the overnight managers don't seem to care.

Do you have any tips for finding a track off the road where you are unlikely to be discovered, or is it similar to the states (rural area, no houses, go off the main road, go on dirt for a while)?

Originally Posted by Warin View Post
One of the things I do to 'see' a country is go to a super market. Most countries have one row for chocolates / sweets. The Swiss have 3 rows. The French have one row for wine. Of course you have to 'adjust' the total size of the super markets to a 'standard' size. And they can change across the country. Ozie 'outback' stores have the bread in the freezer (supplies take longer than the expiry dates) and kangaroo tails are in the meat freezer... you don't find that in the Ozie city stores.
Yeah, I figure I'll be seeing mercados pretty often, given I cook most of my own food. I've got a slight idea what it'll be like from the hispanic stores here, but I'm sure I'll find something to amaze or terrify me!

On the wild/free camping .. yep, if they don't know you are there then you don't have a problem. I find where a road crosses a creek good due to the increased vegetation. Another place is on the inside of a road bend - the headlights don't go there as much. The alternative is camping where you are known, e.g. at the back of the Police station. Done that once. Noisy but safe? Bicycle riders camp more frequently than us, limited speed and energy, so this should help
Thanks for the tips! I will definitely keep those in mind... I hadn't thought about the inside of road bends, but it makes sense!

Finances. Look at your costs. You'll find the bike takes a good bit of it. Slowing down to say 50mph will substantially reduce that (both fuel and tyre). The next one may be food. And slowing down will increase that for the same distance (more stops). Don't starve but try to eat what the local 'peasants' eat... should be cheap and filling. While I'd not advise only eating this, I'd try to make it a regular part of the menu? Costs will also change from location to location, non touristy places can be cheaper, cities are cheap for food and tyres. The country is cheaper for camping...
Yeah I am good with rice and beans. I'm still not sure how the vegetarian thing is going to mesh with Mexican culture, but we'll see how it goes! I love trying new cuisines. The only part that sucks is that you end up missing things you can't get... like fresh Danish pastries or mangosteens.

For Mexico try for ideas of places. Depending on your level of spanish, doing a language course while doing a home stay in Mexico might be a good idea?
I think I might be able to get back to a workable level of spanish with some electronic resources and seeking out a group of people who are learning/teaching spanish to practice before I go. When I am in major cities I love the hell out of free skools, but it's a bit hit and miss. I'll see what I can find.

Originally Posted by smash81 View Post
Glad the netbook arrived safely! It's traveled many, many miles with me. I carried it in a padded case I got off CL for a few bucks, would've sent it along but it houses my "new" [to me] netbook.

WOW. Thank you for that huge write up on your expenses! Wasn't expecting that. My girlfriend Karla (rides her own bike) and I are experienced, thrifty travelers and we don't care much for motels. The only time we pay to camp is if we want to check out a really sweet park (the redwoods in northern California this summer, worth every penny. Holy hot showers batman!). We hardly eat out even at home (maybe once or twice a month) and the closest thing we get to fast food is a splurge on Subway on a hot ride day. Tip: Subways are almost always super air conditioned! While it's definitely more pricey than cooking for myself, $5 footlong gets me a lunch and a dinner. Great when crossing the middle of the country in July.

Thanks again for taking the time to write all that up, I'll share it with Karla. Looking forward to more posts, VERY glad you're healing up well!
Sounds like you're already doing well in the frugality department! It's no problem for the writeup. I figured that even if you didn't find it useful, somebody else might. I don't see too many people doing motorcycle trips on the cheap (other than the infamous Jamie and Alex, of course).

Motels, frankly, are really gross. I've worked at a housekeeper, and even at a four-diamond resort, we changed the comforters twice a year, with cold/warm seasons. Some of my coworkers were cleaning coffeepots with bathroom sponges. The remote and doorknob, the foulest parts of the room, are never cleaned. Why do hotel/motel pillows smell weird? Because they are never changed.. only the pillowcases, so all the face grease and hair chemicals from a thousand people before you are just hanging out in there. And don't even get me started on the possibilities of parasite transmission. Yeah. I'll take the woods, thanks.

Redwoods in California, I camped alongside the river, as the park was closed. Beautiful area. I agree on Subways. I just wish more of them had wifi!


Originally Posted by Warin View Post
No problem. The connections to the starter motor relay are very hi current (think in the 100 amp range) - no fuses! And they are big and reasonably robust. And under the right side cover ... (left on a KLR)
Alright, good to know! I still think I'll do the battery tender thing, but knowledge is power...

Use nylock nuts, You won't be using them frequently so a little extra time here is not too much of a worry. I use longer bolts - that way the thing will be very loose and noisy before the nut (and parts) ever leave. If you have the space longer bolts work well. Don't over look these as sacrificial bit to use as nuts/bolts for other stuff that may have fallen off.

My DR manual specifies engine oil for the air filter... and I use that for the filter skin too.
Good tips, thanks!

A ratchet wrench has a clicking thingy that allows the handle to turn in one direction while the nut/bolt stays still. That clicking thingy is a weak point. For something requiring a lot of pressure you are better off with a plain ring spanner or a socket (6 point will be better than 12 point - number of star points inside the socket) and plain Tee bar. They are also cheaper than a ratchet.
Yeah, I wouldn't use a ratchet wrench for the rear lugnut, but it'd be useful for 8/10/12/14 type sizes. I currently carry both sockets and wrenches for those, because sometimes things are in an awkward small space that even adding an extension will not help with.

Tubes .. I've had one go off - stored too long in one of those front fender bags out in the hot OZie sun. It cracked where the sharp bends were.

The 'spare nuts and blots' are something you make up yourself. You want the essentials - those that hold on the leavers, handle bars, may be the ones that hold on the engine, rear shock, ... you want one or two of each type... with experience you'll find out what bolts tend to get loose on the bike ... having found them you'll be able to check them every so often on your bike.
I am lucky that I haven't had many bolts get loose yet. Maybe I should solicit opinions on the dr650 thread and make myself up a kit...

You can get diesel in small quantities at a gas station .. same as you can get gas in small quantities. Need a large entry container.
Most gas stations I've seen won't let you put gas in unapproved containers, and I don't carry a gas can with me.

We all have different things ... because our experience, time and place of purchase and budgets are all different. Different does not mean wrong.

Getting things in small quantities is a problem. Solutions can be simple. Small quantities of flour might be had from an RVer. Solvents for cleaning the chain, local garage mechanic. People like to help, give them the opportunity.
Yeah, I just hate feeling like I am "mooching". It's bad enough when I legitimately need help. Something I guess I need to get over eventually...
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