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Old 09-01-2011, 07:01 AM   #61
Underboning OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soboy View Post
Great job making it to the East Coast! Really enjoying your RR. I am getting the impression that your Symbas are not quite as sturdy and reliable as you had hoped for. Or maybe LD touring fully loaded requires much more daily maintenance on a Symba than on a DR650. Either way, this has been and will be quite the adventure!
I expected to have to do some daily maintenance on the bikes as they are really a new bike from the 1970s and, like most old bikes I've had, they require a little tinkering (at least the Symbas have a CDI ignition so i don't have to mess with points!). I enjoy working on bikes, and it's kind of nice to get up every morning and spend a little quality time with them. I also like giving every part of the bike a visual inspection daily in order to keep an eye on the tire wear and brake wear, and to look at the underside of the bikes for anything untoward. (I also "ring" the spokes every morning so I am at a loss as to how a spoke broke without me knowing that it was in danger) Plus since I changed the chains, my morning routine is down to about 10 minutes.

I also like the bikes because they need a little "love" occasionally. I started riding on a series of modern Kawasakis, first an EX500, then a Zephyr 750, followed by a Concours. I put 84K on the Concours before Bambi and I had a coming together one night, and all I ever did with the bike was change oil and watch someone else change the tires. I just didn't ever really care about the bikes, they were reliable transportation to take me where I wanted to go. Then I bought a new 1997 Guzzi 1100 Sport, and what a frustrating bike that was. The EPA-mandated jetting was unrideable as delivered, the fasteners grew a beard faster than I did, things just vibrated loose, and I loved it. The Guzzi importer was down the road in Lillington at the time, and Shelby helped me get it better (it was never really "right"). I spent hours working on that bike, and every time I rode it I felt a connection to it that I didn't feel to my Kwaks. On the right road, that bike was a joy and I helped make it that way. It is one of very few of the 15 bikes or so I have owned that I still miss. At about the same time as the Guzzi, I switched from racing a Honda CB-1 (the 400cc, 4 cylinder from 1989) to reverse cylinder TZ-250s. With the Honda you just showed up for the weekend, check the pressures and oil, put in some gas, and thumbed the starter button. And I never missed it after I sold it, it was a thing. My TZs, however, had names and personalities, and I loved wrenching on them at the track and during the week. Rings every two weekends, pistons every four, and a new crank every year. I knew those bikes inside and out and still get wistful when I hear a two-stroke wailing down the road. As for the Symbas, I like these bikes - they are scrappy little fighters, doing what we ask with just a few teething problems so far.

They also won't ever be as hands-off as a modern bike like a DR or my previous Wee. If I had wanted reliable bike that I just had to hit the starter button on every morning it would have been the choice for me. But my worry about the Wee was that they don't have them outside the first world. If something big went wrong, there would be no parts available (look at the stories of people waiting for many weeks to get final drives for a certain other brand ) and no one who could work on it. I have the shop manual for our bikes on the laptop, and if it's beyond my skill there are mechanics all over the parts of the world that we are visiting who know these bikes. No FI, no ABS, no error codes, just simple and easy.

That said, I was surprised by the fuel issue on Re's bike, but if it happens again, I can strip the fuel system on the side of the road with hand tools. Hell, there is even a cut-out in the leg shields so you can remove the spark plug without removing any bodywork (if I need to pump gas out of the cylinder). And as for my spoke, I am adding a few to my spares kit before we leave the US (Thanks to Micheal the parts guy at Alliance Powersports, the new SYM importer) and I'll just try to keep a closer eye on them. The bikes both have about 4800 miles on them now and I am reasonably satisfied with their service so far.

Finally, the bikes are what makes this trip what it is. If we took different bikes it wouldn't be this trip. I hope we won't have any major problems with the bikes, but won't mind to much if we do. It's all part of the trip. Thanks for your comments, it helped remind me why we chose these bikes. I'm glad you are enjoying our trip so far, hopefully it continues to be as much fun!
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:23 AM   #62
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If you have any more broken spokes upon reaching Ohio, it would be prudent to respoke both rear wheels.
I started racing a 250 Ducati in 1987. Being low budget meant I sanded and repainted the origanal spokes. It was fine in 1987.
In '88 I had a hopped up motor and was pushing harder as the fever grew. As a result the spokes began snapping. Sometimes 1 , sometimes 2 and if it was bad 3. In one race. And with only 36 spokes to begin with , it's easy to tell by the extra movement in the rear , that spokes were going.

To keep from having to pull the wheel after every race I ordered a set of stainless spokes from Buchanan's. Once they were in ,no more broken spokes.

While you're in the U.S. would be the time to prepare. The roads in Africa aren't likely to be as smooth.
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Old 09-01-2011, 08:20 AM   #63
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Our bikes are also relatively low horsepower for 100ccs, 6.7hp is what the owner's manual claims and our new RK O-ring chains seem to be holding up well.
My 125 is rated at a little over 8 hp, but that's coupled with 8.3 or so M/KG's of torque, this engine pulls hard and I've been looking at getting a 480 O-ring chain.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Underboning View Post
The chain cases didn't seem to add much in the way of protection to our stock chains as they were very rusty and corroded when I removed them and I had been lubing them with the Dupont Teflon chain lube religiously. Thanks for the tip on the tension as well, I'll keep give it a try.



One of our stock chains next to the replacement
Yeah it pretty evident that the stock chain is shot. You might check the chain tension with the bike off the centerstand and some weight on the bike, enough to level the swing arm. As with most of these 60's designed bikes, they seem to have their tightest chain tension with the swing arm level and parallel to the swing arm pivot and countershaft sprocket. It's the reason why I suggesting setting the chain slightly slack at the tightest point, on the centerstand. Pull the chain case plug and look at the chain while having Re sit on the bike and have her roll it forwards and backwards, I'll bet that it tightens a bit at the tight point.
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:36 PM   #64
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Great read! I'll be subscribed for the duration of the trip.

Regarding the chain perhaps you could try a different chain lube. The Dupont teflon is meant for a dusty environment and it does not pick up dirt easily. Since your chain is enclosed it may pay to try a chain lube that is sticky by nature while relying on the chain enclosure to keep dirt out and get better lubrication from the lube because it sticks to the chain.

What spares are you taking on the trip. Tires, chains, sprockets and cables are a must. Spokes for front and rear wheels, tire patch kits, etc. will not be readily available in many of the countries you are visiting and as such should be packed with you.

Best of luck to you both.
We are taking sprockets, front brake cable, a complete set of wheel bearings, air filter, spark plugs, 2 tubes, a tire patch kit, and a spare tire each. We are also adding about a half dozen spare spokes to the kit this week. One of the advantages to the Symbas is that there is a SYM importer on every continent we will be visiting. The other is that most of the Symba parts are interchangeable with Honda Cub parts.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:07 PM   #65
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Sometimes easy to carry parts can cost a long delays on a trip. Sounds like you've have it covered.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:33 PM   #66
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Be careful when you're changing tubes, you might pop the tube with your tire irons...trust me its a bitch when you have to ride on a tire with no air in it... my supercub also had clutch problems that I never addressed but it kept on going no matter what. Anyways I probably just restated a lot of things you already knew, good luck stay safe and watch your mirrors.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:59 PM   #67
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9/1 – 9/3 Last stand in North Carolina

9/1 Ride to Selma, NC


No maintenance today since I did it all the previous day. We re-packed the bikes and rode out about 10am for a lunch date at Scott's BBQ in Goldsboro. As this was the first time we had ridden the bikes fully loaded in over two weeks, we were surprised by their girth. It took the whole day of riding to get re-acclimated to the weight, top-heaviness, and lack of acceleration that results from carrying a full 50 pounds of gear on each bike. I also stopped periodically to check on my rear spokes but had no further problems with them. We made our way to Goldsboro and sat down for another meal of porky goodness at Scott's before riding to my sister's house in Selma. We checked over the bikes when we arrived and found no problems, so we toured the property to see what Irene had wrought. Our new mailboxes were still standing and, other than a few downed limbs and split trees, there was no other significant damage to her property or ours. Later that evening we went to my great-nephew's soccer practice and spent time with the family. Afterward, we adjourned to Heidi's in Smithfield for a truly excellent burger and a couple of beers.


122 miles in about 4 hours, bikes running fine.


9/2 and 9/3 Ride to Raleigh


We enjoyed a late morning with my sister before heading for Raleigh. A short ride later we were at our friend Matt's business where we unloaded the bikes and headed out for (wait for it...) more food. A delicious taqueria at the BP gas station on Capitol. Yummy! We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on what has changed (and what hasn't) before heading out to the Flying Saucer for beer and visiting with more old friends. After another stop for a few more beers we returned to Matt's for the night.

The next morning we woke late (I'm getting too old for this shit) and drank some coffee in an attempt to clear the fog. Shortly after another old friend came by, and we spent many hours catching up on travels and times. Benjy lived in the Chiapas region of Mexico for many years before leaving on extremely short notice due to increasing drug activity and violence in the area. It was fascinating to talk to someone who actually lived in the area for so many years and hear about the changes that he has seen over the years. Lunch and then dinner and then a little hair of the dog before heading to bed early so we could head for Ohio in the morning.


43 miles in about 2 hours, all the spokes are still ringing clearly.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:04 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by hitchiker_forever View Post
Be careful when you're changing tubes, you might pop the tube with your tire irons...trust me its a bitch when you have to ride on a tire with no air in it... my supercub also had clutch problems that I never addressed but it kept on going no matter what. Anyways I probably just restated a lot of things you already knew, good luck stay safe and watch your mirrors.
I get to change tires on the bikes for the first time tomorrow or the next day. I'm doing both the rears, so I'll let you know how it turns out. The clutches upshift fine but are really grabby on downshifts, especially when they get hot. They are better when we ride them only partially loaded, but still grabby. I've tried adjusting them looser and tighter and changed oil weight but none of it seems to make much difference. Thanks for the good wishes, I've enjoyed reading about your trip, as well.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:16 AM   #69
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9/4 Raleigh, North Carolina to Front Royal, Virginia

We woke up a little late again but felt better than the previous morning. It was my 45th birthday today, and I was looking forward to a good day on the road. Coffee downed and shower taken, I headed out to the bikes for the now familiar routine of morning maintenance. It was a happy surprise to find everything basically in spec, they just needed some chain lube and one psi in the rear tire of each bike, and we were good to go. The weather was good but a little humid as we rode north out of Raleigh towards the Virginia border. We were both experiencing some mixed emotions about our stay in NC. We lived there for 12 years and still have family and friends in the state but left under some unhappy circumstances. Neither of us ever thought we would want to return but both found ourselves a little sad as we rode farther away. These emotions seemed to cloud our journey today. The weather got hotter and more humid, the roads were busier than they needed to be, and I had a bad case of “bike noise paranoia”. We also seem to have lost our paper map somewhere along the way. It was tucked in its usual spot inside the Rok-straps behind Rebekah but went missing sometime during the afternoon.


I kept checking over the bikes every time we stopped, sure I could see or hear something odd as we slowly made it further north. We stopped for a lunch of Clif Bars and warm water and took a rest in the parking lot of a high school in Oxford, NC. When I once again checked the spokes, I noticed what turned out to be the cause of the erratic tapping that I could occasionally hear – the funnel which is clipped to the helmet lock on the left side of my bike was turned around from its normal position and was banging against the side of the bike in the wind.



One mystery solved, we got back on the road and found ourselves in Front Royal, Virginia at about 6:30pm. We had only ridden about 260 miles by this point but my sister (who travels for a living) had mentioned how much she liked Front Royal a couple of times, so we decided to stop for the night. Mistake #1. Maybe there is a North Front Royal?, or maybe life at the Fairfield is nicer?, or maybe it was just our general funk, but we never found the good side of Front Royal. Since it was my birthday, we checked out the under $60 hotels and quickly decided not to stay in any of them. Cigarette burns and moldy carpets were the common denominator and apparently (as evidenced by the numerous non-operable cars outside) the inexpensive hotels in Front Royal also double as Section 8 housing.


So we decided to camp. Hey, it's a tourist area – there has to be good camping, right? Mistake #2. We fired up the iPhone and located several local campgrounds and ruled out a few due to distance. We stopped by one and found out that tent camping (no hook-ups!) was $32, so we rode on. By now it had started sprinkling and our standards quickly plummeted, and the “right” campground turned into the “right now” campground. About this time we spied the Gooney Creek campground and pulled in, determined to take whatever we found and pitch camp ASAP. Mistake #3. If you get bored you can read the reviews on TripAdvisor (that we later found) and appreciate the loveliness of this place. One of the reviews likens it to a campground from Deliverance and that is a pretty apt description. If the place hadn't been packed due to the holiday weekend, I think we might have seriously worried about banjo music late at night. But I digress. As I set up camp, Re once again headed out in search of food. Lightning was flashing in the hills around us by the time she returned. She did a nice job of approximating a birthday dinner with a steak and blue cheese pasta dish, salad, bread, and a tiny cheesecake for dessert, all washed down with oil cans of Foster's lager. We soon went to bed and fell asleep to the sounds of falling rain and the drunkards down the way.


Just a quick update on our spare spokes – it turned out that Alliance Powersports, the SYM importer, was unable to get spokes to us after all. Michael, in the parts department, did put me in touch with Chris from Ootys Scooters in Santa Barbara. Chris recently installed a new front wheel on a customer's Symba and was able to salvage some spokes from the damaged wheel. He, very kindly, is sending a few via UPS to my in-laws house in Ohio, gratis! Thanks, Chris!


280 miles in about 10 hours. The bikes are running fine, I'm just having a little trouble trusting them right now.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:21 AM   #70
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9/5 Front Royal, Virginia to Kinsman, Ohio

After a not very restful night, we woke up to a soaking wet campground. At least it wasn't raining while we fixed our coffee and ate our peaches. We started taking down the tent and wrenching on the bikes when it began to sprinkle again. A quick check of the radar on the iPhone showed what a long day we were in for. I did an abbreviated service on the bikes, adding a bit of oil and actually airing down the rear tires to 32 psi (from 34). I also dutifully rang every spoke in my new ritual of penance to the gods of tensile strength as it began to rain harder. While riding yesterday I had the opportunity to think about my spokes. Before we started this trip I decided to set our tire pressures at 30/34 (up from the recommended 25/28) for lower rolling resistance and longer tire life. I wonder if the increased pressure might have contributed to the spoke failure by decreasing the amount of “give” in the sidewalls? I guess I will never know, but I decided to lower the pressures just in case.


We decided to skip the shower that morning as we couldn't figure out how to dry off in the rain and (honestly) the bath house was more than a little scary. While the bikes warmed up before we set off, I noticed that my tail light wasn't lit. The brake light still worked, but I had no running light. Fortunately we had an auxiliary bicycle light (my dad insisted that we have them for heavy traffic) that I clipped on and set to continuous red. We hopped on the bikes and headed out once again and strained to see any clearing in the distance.




Our route for the day was confusing. In order to stay off the interstates, the route involved so many different roads that I actually had to write them out as a list. Our missing paper map also added to the confusion since I couldn't check the directions against reality. For a while we were on a different rural highway every 10 miles or so. And it rained, and rained, and rained. It rained for the first 8 hours of the trip: occasionally it sprinkled, occasionally it poured, but the water never stopped. And it was cold. The highest temperature we saw was about 65 degrees. Our gear was purchased with Africa, India, and SE Asia in mind, so warm it isn't. We stopped shortly after we started the ride and cinched up all our vents. Later we donned our fleece pullovers, and by the end of the ride we were shivering. We didn't break out our wool base layers but, in retrospect, should have.



We stopped for lunch in the early afternoon at McDeath, which looked like the warmest and driest place in whatever that town was. We sat and ate for a while as we watched the rain continue to soak our bikes. The gear mostly did what it was supposed to: the Dariens kept the rain out, and our Ortliebs and Pelicans kept our stuff dry. Our boots, however, appear to only be waterproof for 6 hours or so, as we both eventually found our toes squishing in water.




That afternoon we rode out of Virginia into West Virginia, through Maryland, and into southern Pennsylvania. The roads in places were as steep as many in the Rockies, and some may have been steeper. Re and I found ourselves struggling up some of the hills in third gear and had to resort to second gear on more than a few occasions. The roads here were beautiful and twisty, and they would have been a lot more fun in better weather (and on a bigger bike). The rain finally stopped somewhere north of Pittsburgh, and we were glad to see some sun trying to break through. After spending the afternoon wringing the water out of our gloves at every stop, our spirits started to rise as we pushed through the last two hours of the day. We finally crossed into Ohio and arrived at the in-laws' sometime after 6 pm and jumped in the hot shower to warm up. Eggs and potatoes and coffee also helped to warm our cores before we headed off to bed.


299 Miles and 5 states in about 10 hours today. The bikes ran well, the spokes held, but I lost a tail light bulb.
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:38 AM   #71
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(to add, I've just read about the oil change and you using Castrol GTX. I use the same but keep getting told not to, and that I should use a proper motorcycle oil, due to the wet clutch, or whatever it is, on our semi auto bikes. Motul is apparently the way forward. And the dreaded spoke twang. I had some problems with mine, and they were heavy duty ones, so it probably would be sensible to have the wheels (at least the rears) relaced with sturdier stuff before hitting south africa, but I know if someone said that to me I'd say get stuffed so maybe a handful of spares would be, er, handy. Other than that I love the bike choice. I've just bought Dot a 125cc Lifan engine so I'm all up for the Chai/Thai concoctions. And perhaps shouldn't say it, but don't get too devoted to this place. Let your adventure come first, and let the telling of it come second. Ride safe you mad crazy American bastards. Dot and Nate)

One more time Michael.
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Old 09-13-2011, 04:21 PM   #72
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9/6 – 9/10 Yet another pause in the Trip

Our last stop before leaving the US was a familial obligation visit with the in-laws in northeastern Ohio. One last chance to do some maintenance on the bikes before we pack them up. Yay! And one last chance to listen to my in-laws express their disapproval of our lives. Boo! Tuesday was an easy day of slacking off and sleeping late. The in-laws have 100 acres of land that used to be a rod-and-gun club, complete with a 10 acre or so lake. My father-in-law recently purchased a small pontoon boat with a 2hp electric motor for general lake duty. In the afternoon the sun made one of its very few appearances for the week and in order to take advantage of it, we took the boat out for a cruise and some fishing. The rest of the evening we again tried to explain our reasons for this trip, to little avail. Wednesday we borrowed a car and rode into town for some last minute supplies and to get out of the house for a while. We picked up fresh oil and a new blue tarp to replace the “custom” bike cover that we somehow lost in Raleigh. It rained most of the day, so it wasn't very conducive to getting much else done. Fortunately we went out to dinner so we could make polite small talk about the food instead of hearing how we are throwing our educations away (again).






Thursday was a better day as it was not raining too much and we could escape to the garage to do some bike maintenance. Our rear tires were shot and needed to be replaced. We had been carrying a new Michelin Gazelle each in case the stockers didn't last this far, but they did an admirable job for the last 5500 miles. Changing the tires couldn't have been easier. No bead breaker was required, just a firm squeeze with the hands, and no more than one tire iron was ever needed. We did Rebekah's bike first, the tire was easily removed and a tire iron was only needed to start the first bead over the rim. The tube was still in good shape, so it went back in and the new tire popped right back on. On installation, a tire lever was only required for the last couple of inches of the second bead. Sweet.






We aired up the tires using our Lezyne manual pump and it only took 270 strokes to reach 38 psi. The owner's manual has you remove the exhaust to facilitate getting the tire in and out of position, but I just lifted the back of the bike off of the ground as Re wiggled the tire back in place. Another advantage to a 200 pound bike! I just removed the tire from my bike since I was still (somewhat nervously) awaiting the delivery of my replacement spoke. I also took the opportunity to change the oil in both bikes and to adjust the valves. The valve adjustment is easiest with two people and only takes about 30 minutes, including removing and re-installing the leg shields. The intakes were less than .02mm loose and were easy to put right thanks to screw-type valve adjusters. The exhausts were both still good at .12mm, so we just buttoned them back up. A visual inspection of the chains showed no real change since the initial adjustment after installation. The sun made a brief appearance later that afternoon so we grabbed the binoculars and went out for a bird watching cruise on the lake before another uncomfortable dinner.






Friday was a nervous day, waiting for the UPS man to arrive with my spokes. This was the last chance for them to be delivered before we left for Canada and Africa, so I was more than a little anxious. We spent the morning shopping for my belated birthday dinner and having lunch at a great little hotdog shop in Sharon, Pennsylvania. The UPS man finally showed up around 3 pm with my spokes. Yay! Once again I would like to say “Thanks” to Chris at Ooty's Scooters for saving my butt and sending me these spokes. One of the most pleasant surprises of this trip has been the kindness of complete strangers who have helped us when we needed it. I installed the replacement spoke and popped the new tire on and lifted the rear of the bike so Re could wiggle the wheel back into place. Re got the wheel into the gap, and when I set the back end of the bike back down, we both saw and heard a nut fall out of the rear end of my bike... Well now, that's not right. Re pulled the rear wheel back out, and we soon found where the nut came from. The rear wheel of the Symba actually fits on a splined hub that remains attached to the bike when the wheel is removed. Similar to the set-up on bikes with single-sided swingarms, it's a nice system because you don't have to disturb the chain when you remove the wheel. The rear sprocket is bolted to the splined hub by four bolts that are held in place by tabbed washers. This is where the nut came from. Closer examination revealed that only one bolt was mostly snug, one had lost its nut entirely and the nuts were almost off on the other two... More worryingly still was that one bolt head had clearly been rubbing against the inside of the swingarm and had machined some thickness off of the bolt head. Not cool. The tabs on the washers appeared to have not done much good as they were all partially bent away from the bolt heads. I removed the hub from the bike, removed the bolts, re-flattened the washer tabs, and put it all back together and re-staked the tabs as tightly as I could. We then put it all back together and fit the wheel in place once more. We tightened everything back up, adjusted the chain and pronounced the bikes (after I inspected the bolts on Re's) fit for Africa! Ahem.


Saturday was our last day in Ohio and most of the day was taken up by lunch with members of Re's extended family, which was nice; it was good to catch up with some people we haven't seen in a long time. The not so nice part was the 1.5 hour ride each way with the in-laws. Later that evening we had another big discussion about our life choices over dinner. Re and I both know that our lives make some people very uncomfortable. We have chosen an unconventional path and Re's parents are the poster children for the conventional life. We don't see eye to eye. We certainly never try to push our way of life onto other people and we wish other people would do the same. After another awkward evening, we headed to bed early so we could be on the road in the morning.


No miles, just a lot of maintenance.
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Old 09-13-2011, 04:57 PM   #73
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9/11 Ride to Toronto

We rose early and got going quickly as we couldn't wait to get on the road again. Re's mom cooked us omelets, potatoes, and sliced tomatoes all accompanied by some good coffee. We loaded the bikes under gray skies (again) and said our good-byes and we were off. Heading north towards Lake Erie, the sky began to lighten and the sun made a brief appearance. Our spirits felt lighter than they had all week as we approached the North Coast. We turned east on US 20 and crossed into Pennsylvania.






We stopped for a quick commemorative picture at the border as we had just completed the first 5000 miles of this trip. The ride was pretty even though the sun decided to hide again, and the light traffic allowed us to enjoy the fields of grape arbors that cover this region.






Enjoying the sights and smells, we soon found ourselves at the New York border where even the light raindrops dotting our face shields didn't dampen our spirits. We turned onto NY 5, which followed the coast more closely, and we spied glimpses of the water through the grape arbors as we cruised along. We stopped in Dunkirk, NY late in the morning to stretch our legs and have a peach. Refreshed, we continued toward the ever darkening skies which finally let loose near Angola, NY. At first we attempted to keep going, but the pummeling rain limited visibility to only a few hundred feet. I spied a car wash on the left, and we quickly pulled off through the standing water and into the shelter of an empty bay. We hid out for about 30 minutes, waiting for the rain to subside. We enjoyed another Clif Bar and water lunch to bide our time. Only the best for me and my lady! The rain eventually slacked off, and we made for the Canadian border and (hopefully) drier pastures.



As we approached the Peace Bridge we were happy to see blue skies ahead. A few minutes later we had completed our first border crossing, paid our $6 toll and promptly missed our first exit. But with just a couple of u-turns we were heading west through the Canadian countryside. This was our first real visit to Canada and, we were surprised to see how similar it is to the US. There are some notable differences, though. We really are enjoying the cultural diversity and the associated cuisines. I am also enjoying the denim shorts that seem to be the style here for women. As an unrepentant ass-man, I certainly appreciated the “scenery” as we rode. (Sorry, I didn't get any pictures) We wound our way through the countryside and eventually made it to the hotel that will be our temporary home until 9/15 when we depart for Cape Town. Tomorrow we take the bikes to the craters for a fitting.


279 miles an about 9.5 hours. The bikes are running well. It was a day of firsts - our first 5000 miles, our first international border crossing and our first country crossed off of the list.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:36 PM   #74
Underboning OP
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Originally Posted by nathanthepostman View Post
In!

(to add, I've just read about the oil change and you using Castrol GTX. I use the same but keep getting told not to, and that I should use a proper motorcycle oil, due to the wet clutch, or whatever it is, on our semi auto bikes. Motul is apparently the way forward. And the dreaded spoke twang. I had some problems with mine, and they were heavy duty ones, so it probably would be sensible to have the wheels (at least the rears) relaced with sturdier stuff before hitting south africa, but I know if someone said that to me I'd say get stuffed so maybe a handful of spares would be, er, handy. Other than that I love the bike choice. I've just bought Dot a 125cc Lifan engine so I'm all up for the Chai/Thai concoctions. And perhaps shouldn't say it, but don't get too devoted to this place. Let your adventure come first, and let the telling of it come second. Ride safe you mad crazy American bastards. Dot and Nate)

One more time Michael.
Thanks for the good wishes and advice. Your ride report helped me convince my wife to go along with this crazy idea, so thanks for that, too. No chance on relacing the wheels before Africa since the bikes are already in the crate. I do have a few extra spare spokes, so fingers crossed. I hope Dot enjoys her new heart, 125ccs sounds like a nice upgrade. I think our bikes with 150ccs would be about perfect.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:47 PM   #75
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Missing and loose bolts/nuts....blue locktite is your friend. Get some and apply to every nut on the bikes before you leave. Enjoy Canada.
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