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Old 08-08-2011, 01:19 PM   #1
Flys Lo OP
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Central and South America - 2011-2012

...it begins.

We are 4 weeks away from launch date.
Lets see if we cant balls this all up.

May as well have a theme song for this escapade:







Los Angeles to somewhere in South America
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Flys Lo screwed with this post 10-14-2011 at 06:08 AM
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:57 PM   #2
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Pretty cool!
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:35 AM   #3
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To get past the naturally awkward part of introductions, here are the participants.



Tim - like any Australian male, he will only be referenced by his last name, Seager (like the Master System), from here on out.
Here he is trying his best to make his perfectly operational motorcycle into one that isn't.




Me.



Plans:
Fly back to Australia around April next year
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Flys Lo screwed with this post 08-09-2011 at 08:40 AM
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:15 PM   #4
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I have a piece of paper that states that I am an Engineer. It doesn't state that I need to have knowledge of the English Language – I am pretty sure it was a pre-requisite at my Technical College that you almost failed English in School (a requirement I handily met).
I have read one or two stories on this here interwebs, and I am a impressed with both the artistic manner in which these tales of badassery are woven, as well as the photographic talent that is displayed amongst the posters here. Your stories are jaw dropping, and the photos eye-opening.
I hope that you don't mind me sharing this space with you as I reveal my brilliance in these fields as well. Which is to say I have none.


Did I mention that I am not a photo person and don't normally pack a camera?
No?

So, I can only hope that my lack of talent at most things will be overcome by the fact that I have a spare piece of 2x4 behind me so your balls won't touch the bitumen. If you have a few minutes in your day when your boss thinks you are working, throw a leg over and I’d welcome you to vicariously visit these places that I will provide neither photographic or poetic justice to. Just hold on tight – I generally prefer to make up for my lack of talent or organization with an extra helping of stupidity and exuberance.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:53 PM   #5
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The obligatory pre-face.

Seager is a good mate of mine. We went to High School together – and have kept in touch since. I would describe him as a loose mongrel of Rambo, Bear Grylls and Chuck Norris combined with the aesthetic splendor of a baboons arse. He does live a charmed life however. When he isn't dealing drugs in the middle of bum-fuck-nowhere in Australia* he spends around 6-8 months of each year gallivanting around the globe, hiking, defacing natural wonders with the presence of his ugly mug, climbing random mountains and getting into as much trouble as possible in countries that weren’t listed in my standard issue geography class atlas. His last foray was a month in The Gambia. Heard of it? No, me neither.
*to avoid a rubber glove up my ass at Columbian customs, Seager’s preferred drugs to retail are legal ones. He’s a pharmacist.

It only took him 25 years to realize that he didn’t have enough lard on his skinny arse, and he decided last year to spend his annual ˝ a year vacation in the great land of the free on the conquest of Chicago style pizza, gallon sized cups of coke, racks of ribs, 40oz PBR’s and Krispy Kreme. The invasion commenced in Los Angeles where I had been living for almost 2 years. He landed, I skipped work for a couple of weeks and we did road trip up Hwy 1 to Vancouver to catch the Winter Paralympics with our heart set on seeing some good fights in ice sledge hockey. Seager covers a bit of our tom-foolery in his blog here.

While we took my cage (a lifted, diesel F350. When in Rome…), I think the spirit of the trip was something that YFF’s would approve of. Sleeping arrangements consisted of free camping, the route taken was every side road, dirt path and goat track that the behemoth could navigate and stops were made for diesel, breweries and all forms of Natural Beauty – of which there was plenty. We even kept the windows down and took photos of food! The trip was a hoot. However I probably didn’t do it justice, my face spent more time glued to my blackberry handling work e-mails than it did traversing cliff faces and early on in the trip I came down with a touch of vagina-itis (read: got a cold). Seager unperturbed by my fixation on all things work and feeling sorry for myself carried on in his typical rampant fashion – my primary fear in life, and what wakes me up in cold sweats on a daily basis was being realized. That is, being perceived as a beta male (AKA – a pussy). I was determined to rectify this dire situation. So, while we were discussing Chaos Theory, the merits of Eastern vs. Western Political systems and just generally solving the world’s problems during our conquest north, I strategically interjected in a low tone under my breath “I think doing a 6 month trip on a motorbike would be cool”. Our deeply intellectual and philosophical ramblings ceased and silence befell the truck – the echo of the straight-piped diesel bouncing off the cliff face on Hwy 1 applauding me. I had succeeded. Despite the fact that Seager was planning on following Alex Supertramp’s footsteps by seeing how much misery he could bring upon himself in the Alaskan wilderness with nary a spare pair of underpants or full tube of lipstick to his name, in this truck, right here, right now, Bruce Willis in Die Hard would be envious of my testicular diameter - let alone the school girl Seager who was sitting next to me. I thought I would celebrate my victory by wiping my runny nose with some 3 ply tissues that had a hint of Aloe Vera.

I discounted that Seager had mentioned earlier in the journey that he might plan his next 6-month vacation with another party as he stated he was tiring of spending of months in untouched wilderness with no one to speak to. My sub-conscious relieved me with the thought that this was merely a rare slip, just like when Rambo accepted that he had to whittle away his time guarding a little boat on the river - that way it would be more dramatic when he suddenly popped up from the burning village and removed a guards head with a bow and arrow.

For the rest of the trip I struggled to keep the wry grin off my face, Seager went off and chased Wild Dogs, ran across unknown Ice Lakes, climbed boulders and hiked through the snow while I cocooned myself in the warm truck applying Vicks Chest Rub to my man-boobs. I was confident my bluff game had defeated him. It didn’t bother me remotely that I had no intentions of doing such a trip. I couldn’t even recall where I had gotten the idea originally from, although I did know it was most badass. I was pretty sure I had mentioned the idea previously, but if I recall correctly it was only during the context of extreme intoxication while attempting to swoon groups of exotic Amazonian princesses into my life for a night. In a sober world, where waking up with Shakira wrapped around my body wasn’t a possibility, it was insane.

Filled with self-confidence, I overcame my little cough that was restraining the beast within and began chasing every remotely hot woman that happened across a hostel that we resided at. I took proactive measures to exemplify my typical disdain and intolerance for travelers from my nation of birth and upbringing (Australia) by threatening them with punches to the face when they were merely waiting in line at a night club. I figured that these activities would form part of the job description for someone that stated he was going to travel across the universe on a unicycle, in-between crushing infidels and juggling chainsaws that were on fire, right?

Then as we neared the end of our time together, the moment came that I dreaded, the moment that I had told myself couldn’t happen, wouldn’t happen and shouldn’t happen. While I was crusading the truck through the Canadian wilderness Seager proceeded to disprove my hypothesis that his silence over the past week was down to his inner acceptance that he was in the presence of a superior manly specimen. I clearly was wrong, he had been thinking. “You know how I mentioned that I wanted to do my next trip with someone else? That Motorcycle trip idea you mentioned sounds like a good idea. I’m in”. A thousand thoughts rushed into my head, ranging from “A 6 month motorbike trip. What part of that sounds like good idea?”, “Seager, if I see you for another 5 mins I am going to want to punch you in the kidneys – what makes you think ˝ a year in remote proximity would work?”, “Isn’t “I’m in” a Keith Urban song – does Seager listen to that shit? What is someone who listens to Keith Urban doing in my truck? Get out and walk now.” and other perfectly rational and levelheaded notions. He had called my bluff. I looked over at him he looked decidedly nonchalant about the whole ordeal. I think I stammered out “uh-ok… I’ll e-mail you”. I think I may have relieved myself of a little wee-wee.

I thought I would come to terms with the fact that I was an inferior male, by doing what I do best. Running like a little girl. I dumped Seager in Vancouver, and drove back to Los Angeles. Non-stop In 24hrs. And proceeded to console myself with one of the many things that makes this land so great; glutinous food stuffs.

Cue 6 months later when Seager returned to Los Angeles from conquering the magic bus, fishing like a mad man and defeating bears. He thought he would refresh my nightmares by stating that his moments escaping death by Grizzly Bear were mostly filled with how good an idea a trip on Motorbikes would be. Sometime in 2011 was the date, and I was going to be a part of it.

I overcame my fears of such a trip by dealing with it with my typical judicious level of organization.
Which was none.

I did buy 2 bikes but. (and did my best to destroy them... story(ies) on that later...)


Seager concerned me a little with his inexperience on such a trip; he had only just gotten his Motorbike license.
I suppose that wouldn’t be so bad though, I didn’t even have that.


Despite the fact that I was a little chit scared about the whole ordeal – I thought if I was going to do something stupid, I don’t want to half-ass it. I wanted an Enfield, an old CB750 on knobbies, a Moto Guzzi, I even thought about taking my modified K1200RS (yes, that’s right, while unlicensed and having no experience I followed all seasoned advice and purchased a safe and slow 200mph 550lb scoot to lane split through Los Angeles traffic as my learning tool... this might give you an idea where this trip might end up ). In the end, I thought Seager might be a little upset if he turned up and I had bought him a pink vespa, so I followed you good folks advice got these 2 piles, mostly coz they were cheap. That and the folks at Kawasaki seemed cool, down to earth moto lovin guys/gals – they even sent me a new front rim for free after a 70mph curb jump failed, so big-ups to Jon, Agata and the rest of the folks at Kawasaki North America :) . Then I proceeded to do my best work in effing them up (aka in these parts as modifying), using yours truly for advice.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:23 AM   #6
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In for the trip. Love your humorous writing style....
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:48 AM   #7
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I'm in
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:02 PM   #8
Flys Lo OP
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Preparation, beer drinking, fuckups and other boring shit.


So, in the interests of sharing the wealth, I thought I would give you a quick rundown of what we did to get ready for this trip, mostly so if you are planning on doing a similar trip, you can build a (surprisingly lengthy) tick list of what not to do.
Bear in mind, I am a complete noob at all this, and am naturally wary of preparation, mostly due to its close resemblance in appearance to prostration but also because it cuts into beer drinking time.
Also keep in mind if you are looking for a detailed review of everything from oil we bought to the daks we are sporting you are going to be fresh outta luck. I couldn’t even tell you what brand of reg grundies that are keeping the boys from getting out there and advertising themselves. I think they do have holes in them however.
Research for most of these items was also minimal, flying by the seat of aforementioned holy jocks being the preferred method.

Given we are on the younger end (mid 20’s) of the riding contingent on here our ability to pillage and plunder the corporate world has been limited so far – as a result, so is our budget. This doesn’t bother us a great deal, our limited experience on this planet has told us that a lot of the things that cost money can frequently dilute the experience you can gain from it.
Nonetheless I “splurged” on 2 08+ KLR’s as I was informed that they are substantially better than the older models, and following my logic that the newer the bike was, the less time the previous owner would have had to ruin it. Not having ridden an older KLR, if these are “substantially better” I can only assume that previous models used 2 4”nails for your seat, brakes consisted of using the soles of your boots to stop, and that the engine was a single wind-up rubber band that moonlighted as a pleasure toy in The Castro. Based on the apparent popularity of the old school KLR here and my speculation that not all of you enjoy riding a gutless, brakeless dildo… the claim of “substantially better” is a misnomer, and that we could have happily purchased a cheaper and older KLR and it would have sufficed.
Further splurging was done on farkles/mods of various descriptions. Initial impressions are bucketed into a few categories:

In no specific order
Awesome - Barkbusters, AndyStrapz bags, Heindau K60’s*, Happy Trail bash plate, 22c carb mod, emissions removal, sealed Yuasa battery, Walmart seat cushion, LED blinkers, throttle lock, Pelican cases, Eagle Mike raising links (1”) and Grade 10 subframe bolts
Good - 685 kit, Thermo-Bob. Would be in the awesome category, but given we will probably have to sell both bikes at the end, in hindsight probably not worth it. Although not having to stop at gas stations to fill up on oil and check the fuel level will be appreciated. Wyman from klr650.net comes highly recommended if you are in the So-Cal area and want your pile to be slightly less of a vibrating gut-less shit box.
Questionable – eBay 68 LED H7 light (low beam), handy for dropping your current draw and light output. Happy Trails Dakar nerf bars, I don’t know the dimensions of the jig that these were built on was, but it certainly wasn’t close to the 2 KLR’s that sit in my garage, they were a biatch to fit with lots of misaligned bolts/holes and swearing involved. Also my limited experience with using a piece of strap to support compression loads has shown it not to be successful, but I will reserve judgment there and see how well they hold up with fully loaded bikes when they get thrown on the ground at ludicrous speed.
Bad – wiring. The black pile has had most of its perfectly good wiring loom replaced by a random collection of solder, crimp connectors, circuits and fuses by an oaf. Me.

These reviews may change subject to mood swings, alcohol consumption, and if any of them cause us to be stuck on the Bolivian Altiplano. Further updates in all those regards to come.
*130/70 R17’s seemed hard to come by, I jumped out on a limb and ordered the 140’s without checking to see if they fit. Here it seems that the old adage of "better to be lucky than good" again being proven. They fit.

Other random things recommended or to be considered stupid.

Recommended
  • Buying bikes and other parts with significant time before hand and working on them, screwing things up, swearing, spending too much money on them, and kinda learning how they don’t go back together
  • Shakedown trip/s where you discover what you screwed up on the above point
  • Buying cheap stuff. It may break, but so might the expensive stuff, you feel less like a nong-head if you didn’t spend your life savings on it.
  • Further to the above – buying used bikes. Hopefully with farkles pre-installed. Mucho coin saved.


Stupid
  • Shakedown trips where you strap your bikes into the back of your truck, straps break, backup straps break, bikes join together in back of truck in a repeated fashion, doing wonders to their aesthetics and the structural integrity of all the plastics and switches and stuff
  • Buying new tubes, and not checking if the mongrel getting them out of the box sliced it with his packing knife before you have left the store and ridden 200 miles away from civilization and suddenly have a flat only to discover your brand new tube has a 12" gash in it
  • Spending money on expensive GPS’s and other gadgets that could be more appropriately spent on rum in Nicaragua
  • Putting front wheel on bike with a fragrant disregard to the angle of the speedo cable
  • Removing the exhaust header while you have grease and stuff all over your hands. Next time you run the bike it smells like chicken, if chicken smelt like burning putrid plastics.
  • Not checking bolt torques with a somewhat reasonable degree of frequency after working on them. These things vibrate like an anvil in a cheap washing machine, and as a result I have been admitted to the loyalty program of my local hardware store just based on fasteners that I have purchased.
  • Trying to repair the rear tire on a KLR by yourself. While we might have to do it on the road it just made me discover how many pinch flats I can cause in an afternoon (3 if you are wondering). I also simultaneously discovered the depths of my single syllable vocab as well.



And after all that drivel, to keep you remotely interested, here are the bikes. Sadly the K1200 isn't coming with

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I know violence isn't the answer. I got it wrong on purpose.

Flys Lo screwed with this post 08-10-2011 at 06:25 PM
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motor 1 View Post
Pretty cool!
Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzerfz1 View Post
In for the trip. Love your humorous writing style....
Quote:
Originally Posted by jantarek View Post
I'm in
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:00 PM   #10
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I am 100% full of jealousy. Have fun with that Wildman. I will be following along for sure
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:33 PM   #11
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“Spending money on expensive GPS’s and other gadgets that could be more appropriately spent on rum in Nicaragua

This is an excellent decision. Flor de Cana rum in Nicaragua is the worlds best. Save your money for it.

I have never been as lost as when I used a GPS to get out of San Salvador, El Salvador. I was saved by a Taxi getting me out of the city by following him out.

By the way, larger text size for older people with glasses is always better.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:39 PM   #12
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:50 PM   #13
Flys Lo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachGuy View Post
“Spending money on expensive GPS’s and other gadgets that could be more appropriately spent on rum in Nicaragua

This is an excellent decision. Flor de Cana rum in Nicaragua is the worlds best. Save your money for it.

I have never been as lost as when I used a GPS to get out of San Salvador, El Salvador. I was saved by a Taxi getting me out of the city by following him out.
Thanks for the tips on both fronts. I don't think we even need a GPS to get ourselves lost
Quote:
By the way, larger text size for older people with glasses is always better.
If you try holding down "Ctrl" on your keyboard, and hit the "+" key and it should do that for you
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:13 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Flys Lo View Post

If you try holding down "Ctrl" on your keyboard, and hit the "+" key and it should do that for you
OK smart ass, no rum for you. I hope that you don't get lost in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. Home of Flor de Cana.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:27 AM   #15
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OK smart ass, no rum for you. I hope that you don't get lost in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. Home of Flor de Cana.
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