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Old 11-26-2008, 12:25 PM   #1
lukeman OP
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K100 with 100k miles DC to Panama

I'm pretty sure it will make it. The bike only has a hundred thousand miles, it isn't all that many... The flying bricks are indestructible. Its been meticulously maintained. That was all the rationalizing that I needed. Solo to Panama. I started in DC the first week of September and here I am sitting in Panama City.

The bike: 1985 BMW K100, somewhere around 100k miles. Its the second speedo (the previous owner estimated it around there from the service records).

I couldn't be more happy with how she performed. Never let me down, no issues the entire way. It refused to electric start twice (water got somewhere) but it started rolling with the help of a couple locals pushing me down the street. It dried out and hasn't come up again.

Starting in Washington DC. The first stop would be the Outer Banks, NC to spend a little time with the family. I would plan the way down to the Mexico from there.

The beginning, Washington DC.

It was a pleasant ride down to OBX. I've done it many times before in a car, but cruising over the causeway on a bike was much preferred.

I have to say that Ocracoke still holds a certain allure no matter how many beaches I visit.

Family vacation is over, time for the real adventure. I drove across the entirety of NC in a day. Stayed just outside of Great Smokey National Park.

From there it was just outside of Memphis TN, my plan was to do the states quickly and spend the majority of my time in Mexico and Central America. Decided to travel to Dallas in two days and found my way to Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. A cool area once you get by all the urban sprawl. Not sure if the spring water helped fuel my ride, but it couldn't have done any harm.

The row of bathhouses from where the hot springs are drawn.

The men's changing room, not too shabby. The entire area has this great throwback feel to it.

Hot spring fountains dot the area.

Camping at De Gray Lake, Arkansas

Made it down to Texas and spend a few days with a cousin. The BBQ places were great down there. Anyone else have a love affair with a Dirty Love Burger? Who doesn't love giant spurs along the sidewalks?

Cruising down to Corpus Christi, I'm anxious to get out of the states and into Mexico. The last night in the states before making the jump south of the border.

The continuation of the trip will be added in the following days as I'm sitting around Panama City trying to sell her and catch a sailboat to Colombia. If anyone wants to meet up I'm at Luna's Castle in Casco Viejo. Yeah, I'm prepared for some flack of not continuing on, but Christmas beckons.


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Old 11-26-2008, 12:33 PM   #2
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Great report

I had a K100. Great MC. Mine had 70K when I traded it to a Dr in FA for a CR500. It will make it fine. You have a tire kit right? Fuel pump mucho beuno? Tires bueno?

Have fun, stand by to be chastised for not wearing pants and boots.
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:47 PM   #3
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Well done, Luke. That's quite a trip on the old girl.
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:35 PM   #4
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:43 PM   #5
Alabama & Costa Rica
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Add me to thread

Sound like a great ride, I'll be following your journey.

BeachGuy on a K-75 (not with a 100K)
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:30 AM   #6
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OK So where's the rest of it?

Wanted to see the pics of Panama.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:33 PM   #7
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And 2-up no less

My first trip to MX was on a 1985 K100RT. As you have stated bulit proof, the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. In over 100,000 mi. I have never had a passenger.

How does the bike handle 2up?
Did you have any problems with vapor lock/overheating.

After my last few vacations with the Gs's I am considering using the K bike on my next trip.

Truly an epic trip looking foreward to more!
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:25 AM   #8
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Thanks for the kind words! Glad to see other K travelers out there.

The bike performed well with Cindy on the back, she really started to enjoy herself as time went on. After we got her over squeezing the hell out of me during crazy situations everything was good. Nothing like avoiding a car/landslide/animal while in a death lock hug. It was my first experience riding two up for such long distances, stopping is slower, a bit more unwieldy going slow, you adjust. I think some basic passenger advice before getting them on is important. Lean with me, if we go down just stay on the bike and don’t try to keep us upright using your legs, etc.

I was never for lack of power even climbing the steepest grades which was awesome. Steep grades can be a real pain in the ass because there are no passing sections and there are always rows of trucks chugging along at 10mph spewing tons of diesel smoke. The trick is to pass as many trucks at once an oncoming car or truck forces you back over. The craziest pass I remember was passing a semi that was also passing a semi all around a curve. It just wouldn’t have been possible without the hp I had on tap. I rode with the Seguin brothers
for a time and it really made me appreciate the K100 all that much more. More on that later.

I think the Corbin seat is a must on the K bikes; mine also had the small sissy bar which gave Cindy a lot more comfort and security. She could just lean back and enjoy the ride without me leaving her behind when I’d jump off the line.

As for the vapor lock, I never had an issue with it. I had read quite a bit on it. Maybe it is more of a problem on the faired bikes? While the wind protection would have been nice, I’ve heard they just roast you. I was more worried about the electronics, all that heavy rain really made me nervous.

I’ve always liked classic cars/bikes. It’s easy to get caught up with the latest and greatest. Nitpicking about this and that, in the end it’s always more about the ride than the bike or the destination. On some of the rougher sections Nate and I would be in the frame of mind of ‘shit, let’s just do it’

lukeman screwed with this post 05-07-2010 at 08:00 AM
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:39 AM   #9
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Great RR............
I'd rather die living than live dying.

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Old 05-07-2010, 09:47 AM   #10
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The next day we made our way into Nicaragua. Just before the border Nate and Lindsey split off and entered a bit further east. They wanted some custom made leather boots, which they heard were quite cheap to have made in Nicaragua. We’d meet up randomly on the island of Ometepe. We never really made plans to meet somewhere, it would just happen.
Cindy and I pushed on to Leon where we stayed at a cool little hotel that had turtles walking around its courtyard. Cindy’s flight was two days out and we spent a peaceful couple days walking around Leon before making a break for Managua so she could catch her flight. We didn’t really get ourselves much time to get her to the airport so it was a mad dash. I got pulled over at a speed trap the local cops had setup. About four of them sitting around radar gunning, I passed in a no passing zone. Which I did, but there was a plane to catch. With so many of them together, it made it difficult for me to bribe. Basically I just told them I have to catch a flight that leaves in an hour, threw down a $20 on their trunk and said I’m paying my ticket now! They wanted more; I told them it’s all I had. It was the most expensive bribe of the trip. We barely made it to the airport. Say our goodbyes and away she goes. I’m on my own again.

Just inside Nicaragua

Nice courtyard at the hotel

Grounds Keeper

In case you forget where you are

New riding vest?

I caved, though I did get a lot of I really like your shirt from locals

My next destination was Granada for a few days then I wanted to catch the ferry to Ometepe. I proceeded to get pulled over three more times going to Granada. It was ridiculous, the first time I didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign, the second time I didn’t use my turn signal while making a turn, the last time I didn’t even let him tell me what I did wrong. I was so pissed off at this point I just pulled out 5 bucks held it up, told the guy that I didn’t care what infraction he was going to make up, this was the third time being stopped in 2 hours, and told him to take the money ladrón. He did, I sped off. It was almost refreshing just cutting through the bullshit story and saving myself 10 minutes of pissing around.

Granada was alright, the nice colonial part of town seemed a bit sterile for me in a way. One big tourist strip, I got the picture of the yellow cathedral and continued on.

Pain in the ass getting the bike on this little boat heading for Ometepe. The ferry was done running so this was it. I love the sense of adventure of pushing a bike onto a boat with a 2x8x12 one mishap and my bike is on the bottom of the lake.

It was a pleasant ride across.

Here is the island. I really grew attached to it after a few days. The locals are much more laid back than the rest of Nicaragua.

Its night by the time we make the trip, upon lifting the bike down the workers sheer off the gear shift lever. Great. I end up searching around for someone that can weld in town. Yes, on the BMW its aluminum, no one has the ability to weld it, which I kind of figured. Eventually find a mechanic that knows the owner of the local motorcycle shop. It's late, I'm beat. We take a Kawasaki shifter, widen the opening and make it work. I roll into a hostel, drink a liter of beer and pass out.

Next day I decide to do a bit of riding around the island. I need to get out of the town where the ferry docks and decide to ride to the other volcano. These two separate volcanoes are joined by a strip of land that created one large island. I found this great place to stay right on the lake front, the sound of the waves was great in the evenings.

Remember that tropical depression? It dumped here as well, the lake was really high.

I did a bit of swimming, it was a hell of a lot of fun. There are actually sharks in the lake. Bull sharks can swim up river like a salmon to enter the lake. I thought the locals were just messing with me but I later checked it out to be true...

The hotel was on the north side of the east island. The owner was this nice middle aged man that enjoyed talking to me about the German girls that also were staying there. The best part about this was the fact that I was the only guest that spoke Spanish and we would be having this daily conversation with everyone around, including the German girls. The conversation normally turned to how white their skin was, the color of their eyes, their breasts, ass and legs. I encouraged this behavior of course, and told him that the shorter one would sometimes look at him while he was working. I told him that German girls were very strong and powerful, he agreed and his mind wandered.

There were three Irish guys staying there as well from Wexford, Ireland. I grew up in Wexford, PA outside of Pittsburgh. Much drinking ensued. These boys could drink; luckily I had been prepping for this moment since beginning this trip. In the end everyone either passed out or went to bed and it was just me sitting outside. I took a last shot of whiskey just because and went to bed.

A sloppy night, here they are singing "The Boys of Wexford" everyone got a bit choked up as it was a bit emotional. It commemorates the Irish Rebellion of 1798. It was quite amazing bringing together Wexford boys from two different continents.

'We are the boys of Wexford,
Who fought with heart and hand
To burst in twain the galling chain
And free our native land.'

This version is pretty close. It really takes me back.

All of us did an 8 hour volcanic hike the next morning, god knows why. We didn't realize that they weren't going to serve us breakfast as part of the deal and found ourselves with no food the entire day. Made for an interesting day, someone had a can of coke which we split amongst all 8 of us. The taller German girl bitched the entire time.

On the way up

A break

Amazing view before going into the clouds

Dense Jungle

No doubt it was a tough hike. Here is the truck on the way back

The tall one, always so pleasant.

Nate and Lindsey showed up the following day having spotted my bike from the road. Everyone else was headed toward San Juan Del Sur. Nate, Lindsey and I would catch up with them down there but first we discovered a yearly festival on the island with a rodeo.
Next post, a raging bull nearly destroyed both of our bikes and we accidentally ate horse.

lukeman screwed with this post 05-11-2010 at 09:06 AM
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:46 PM   #11
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Nice trip! Thanks for the update. It's a pleasure to read and look at.
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Old 05-12-2010, 09:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by lukeman
Next post, a raging bull nearly destroyed both of our bikes and we accidentally ate horse.
sigline material, there
Public Service Announcement: even for asshats, suggesting they set themselves on fire is a bit much.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:26 PM   #13
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I clicked on this because my next purchase (hopefully) is going to be a K75/K100, but am THOROUGHLY enjoying this! Thanks for eventually finishing it, do you think you'll do a write-up of the latest trip to purchase a vehicle? :)

You never did mention what you do down in south America, do/did you live/work there?
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:37 PM   #14
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What a great read! I wish I was on the road and visiting the places you've described so well.

Thanks for taking the time to write, download photos and post. We love it!

"Converting oxygen to carbon dioxide since 1951."
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:37 AM   #15
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Nate, Lindsie and I decided to try to ride around the east island. The road conditions where terrible. When we were nearly at the point of calling it a day we turned a corner and found a ton of people mingling around. Jackpot.

Large tented areas had been setup, girls were all wearing their finest, and the men were all drunk. Not realizing at first what was going on we pulled off and decided to partake in the festivities. Beers were promptly ordered from the typical Rubbermaid outdoor chairs which had years of dirt and grime built up. A rodeo area had been setup in the center of the action, couldn't wait to see what would be going down. The amount of drunks around was pretty intense, it was early in the afternoon and the locals were drinking what appeared to be homemade hard alcohol. Apparently this happens on the weekends one month out of the year, it celebrates a patron saint so we were lucky to have seen this.

Nate and I were particularly hungry, the waitress said that the only thing they had left was something that sounded like mabeyo. Some of the locals had a thick accent which made understanding them nearly impossible for any of us. "Sure whatever we'll take that, two plates."

Later the plates come back with meat that I didn't recognize, it was particularly pungent and not looking all that appetizing. After having a couple bites, I couldn't get any more down, nor could Nate. It dawned on me that she was saying Caballo. Horse. I imagine it must have been some ancient work horse recently (or not so recently) deceased and now sitting on my plate.

About this same time, a random guy came up and told us something about our motorcycle. I couldn't understand a damn thing he was saying. We responded yeah those were our bikes parked on the side of the road on the edge of a gully. He came back about 5 minutes later excitedly saying something about our motorcycles again. "Yeah, they are fine."

The entire trip people would always talk about the bikes so we just brushed it off as that. A few minutes after that an American girl who was volunteering on the island told us that the locals kept saying that we had to move our bikes, there was a crowd gathering around the street and the excitement level was growing. People were yelling, shouting, and generally carrying on. We decided that it was a good time to move them after all the insistence.

There was a massive amount of people gathered now all of whom were completely wasted. We were a bit tipsy ourselves and weren't planning on getting on the bikes for a while. We fired them up, moved them off by an open area where some other cars were parked. As we are dismounting, cowboys were trotting around the road, whistling and yelling. The crowd roared, it was hitting a crescendo. There must have been around 500 people lined up on both sides of the road. The three of us weren't sure what the hell was going down, and we were starting to get a bit worried.

Out of nowhere, running down the street a group of really pissed off bulls! WTF. The cowboys have been provoking them all morning it seemed and they were in a state of blood lust. Right where our motorcycles previously were, the biggest of the bulls goes apeshit. A small vendor stand is absolutely gored. Potato chips and plastic bottles go flying as the entire stand is flipped over and rolls down into the gully. I have visions of the motorcycles being tossed into the ditch. The bull snorts and kicks into the soil looking for more. The three of us look at each other.

The crowd cheers and the cowboys lasso the bull and begin getting in under control. Eventually the mini running of the bulls ends and the rodeo starts. We buy tickets and take our spot in the crowd, not really sure what we paid money to see. The local men proceeded to ride the bulls, the macho young men of the community are showing off for the young ladies.

The thing is, the bulls are just field animals, thrown into the ring once a year, much to their own dismay I'm sure. Once on top the men would cattleprod the bulls into a fury so they would be more entertaining. This went on for quite some time. All the riders were shitfaced, and I hoped that a bull would get a piece of one or two of the dumb asses that kept provoking them.

A good day to ride.

This is the dominant bull, the one that thrashed the cart.

The crowd. I nearly expected the stands to fall into the ring and all hell break loose.

Beers and bull riding.

Might be fitting to put in what my Che shirt says.

"Muchos me dirán aventurero, y lo soy,
sólo que de un tipo diferente:
De los que ponen el pellejo
para demostrar sus verdades"

"Many will call me an adventurer, and I am,
only in a different type:
Of those who risk their skins
to demonstrate your truths"

Here is a video of the rodeo ring. Link to my picasa page, will embed it shortly.

The next day we decided to head back to the mainland. Nate and Lindsie had their boots to pick up and I decided to reconvene with the Irish in San Juan del Sur. This time the big ferry was running and it was going to make life a lot easier getting the bikes across the lake. Turns out we had another adventure before getting onto the ferry. The lake was so high that it flooded the entryway onto the ferry. It had been high for a few days now and the normally clean cement now had a layer of algae slime. The locals weren't sure we could make it across as the water was fairly deep in some parts.
Soon enough we had an audience building to see the riding of the gringos through the lake. Always a spectacle. We talked to a truck driver who was also boarding and thought it best for him to go first so we could see how high the water came up on his truck. It was deep, but we thought we could do it. By this point there was no turning back, I'm not one to let down a crowd and i liked the thought of the badassness of riding through two and a half feet of water to get on a ferry. The muffler on our bikes were quiet low and really didn't want to stop and get it stalled in front of the crowd.

Wait we have to ride through that to get on the ferry?

I got a bit carried away and gave a lot of throttle at the end, you can hear the exhaust and can see the back end come out as I showboated. Glad I got it back under control...

The ferry had beers (i love this country) and we split a six pack and reveled in our own glory. We had a good time sitting on the top deck talking to cute American study abroad girls who were getting away from San Jose for a weekend.

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