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Old 12-09-2012, 02:01 PM   #541
Warin
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Joined: Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
I don't really go to foreign countries to hang out with americans (although it happens sometimes and it's good to share a meal with a friendly face). I go there to see new things, meet new people, and experience different cultures, languages, and ways of viewing the world. I'm really interested to find out how mexicans view the US, how they view the drug war, hopes and dreams, different perceptions of things. I need to brush up on my spanish.

The only concern I have with this plan is finances, I can camp for free in the US, but I'm still a bit iffy about camping solo in Mexico, especially as a lady (not that I'd be cavalier if I were a dude, but. Yeah.)
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.

Another common thing around the world is McDonald's... unfortunately. However even there, there are variations... and some use then as a cost comparison around the world - e.g. how much money/ or how much labour time does a big mac cost?

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 http://www.worldbiking.info/resource...resources.html



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...



For Mexico try http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...merica-mexico/ 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?
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:57 PM   #542
smash81
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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!
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Old 12-09-2012, 03:43 PM   #543
Feyala OP
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Originally Posted by thetourist View Post
Oy, Big get-off. Glad you're OK.

My own experience is that the front fender may have been at fault. High fender is a big windsail. Mine has "flapped" at 85mph while going thru a road cut. Definitely got my attention.

I sat on your bike and it is sprung plenty heavy. With big luggage, and all, there may be a touch more rear sag. I'm guessing some aero between front fender - new luggage - passing truck caused the wobble.

I remember your tires at Hells Canyon had serious wedges from wear. Were the current tires worn? This can cause some funny stuff.

What I am saying is that the bike is/was probably fine. You should check for plumb and square after the crash.

Perhaps, maybe, sorta, you should slow down a bit. This, from a serious speed freak. Speed is very addicting and very unforgiving, if you step across the edge.

I run 18-20 front and 20-24 rear and carry 400lbs on the bike.

Go to Mexico !!!

Baja is Mexico light. Lots of gringos and everyone is used to tourists and our bad spanglish. You can handle the gravel on the Sea of Cortez side, but all pavement is still a great ride. TJ has horrible traffic. Alamagordas (sp) near Yuma was the easiest crossing. Douglas AZ was also very easy, with everything done in one bldg.

Hang in there.
Thanks!

The front tire looks fine, but the rear tire's getting pretty bald. I plan on replacing it while I'm here in Phoenix. What is the best way to check for 'plumb and square' on these bikes? I've read a couple things involving string and the wheels and it seemed pretty confusing. I don't think the fender is at fault, as like I said, I've gone pretty damn fast unloaded. The only thing that really changed was the steering head bearings and the luggage, so that's what I'm investigating first.

For the most part I go pretty slow, unless I've got a reason to go faster. I go fast when chasing somebody, when passing vehicles (it was a two-lane highway with hills, I needed to pass the semi before the next hill, with cars oncoming but far off), or, very rarely, to see what the bike/I am capable of in a situation that seems safe. On a normal occasion you'll find me going 10 over at worst, usually doing at the speed limit or just above it. I think that this fits within normal behavior - I did no worse when I was driving cars, and it's certainly not bombing through canyons doing 80 like a squid or whatever. I just don't talk about the times that I go slow because they are unremarkable to me and not worth mentioning, unless I'm creeping along going 20.

Thanks for the tips on Mexico! I am slowly filing things away if/when I do go there. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Fey, I'm glad to see that your RRs are showing up again. BTW your last pictures look great....why don't you post them at the larger size? You prolly have a good reason, but....

I can see that you don't know what to do about the wheel wooble.....and that you are getting plenty of advise, but all of it is iffy, whether it will help you or not.

I see 2 things that you can do that will most likely cure the problem. Put a fork brace on it or a steering dampener. Steering dampeners are $400ish, and fork braces are $100ish. Either of those things will stop a tankslapper from ever happening. Me, I'd go with the fork brace.....

I broke my wrist out at Moab. My VA doctor said that I should have it looked at. I took the chance and ignored her. It took most of a year to get over the pain from the slight break. It'll just take more time than you can imagine.

No need to stop riding....Just get someone to help you pick the bike up....there's always someone, and start looking for campsites sooner in the day.

There's an ADVrider out there that will put you up for a couple weeks while you work on the bike.

Good luck.
I leave them as thumbnails that people can click on to get to the larger size for a couple reasons.

1) That's how it appears on my blog and I am lazy when I crosspost things elsewhere. I could generate slightly larger thumbnails, but that would require fiddling with things.

2) In theory, my hosting plan contains unlimited bandwidth and storage. However, having worked for a competing company in the same field, if my website starts creating undue server load, I suspect that my services will be suspended and I'll be kindly asked to fix it or get a virtual private server, with non-unlimited bandwidth and storage, because I am being a nuisance. I prefer not to find out if this is a correct assumption, and err on the side of decreased server load, optimizing things where I can. Every time the page loads, for each person, the photos have to be served from my server, and it's a lot easier to serve small images than larger ones.

3) Speaking of which, the full size for most of these images is 500-800k. My posts tend to have 10-20 images each. Some of the pages of this RR have multiple posts. On the conservative side, that means that a page of this thread with three posts of mine and full sized images will be 15 megs. Not everybody is on broadband, and I try to respect that. I know how annoying it can be when I'm reading other people's reports on a McDonalds connection and they have tons of 1mb+ photos. Plus, the full sizes are pretty big, like, off the page big. I like them that way, you can see all the detail, and browsers generally resize them to the size of your screen if you view them individually, but embedded they aren't as nice.

I managed to make it to Phoenix, where my parents live, and I've been recovering there. Not much has been done on the bike, and won't until I get a rough ETA on when I should start putting load on the wrist again (probably tomorrow). I'll probably hit up the regional forum and see if anybody around here can help me untweak the rack, or knows somebody who can.

I think I'll try weight redistribution before a fork brace, mostly because that solution is free. I'll do some testing out in the desert and we'll see if that fixes it, along with the other minor checks (steering head nut, wheel true/balance).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Wow! You are seriously organized! Very nice travel kit, good tools and parts, great camping gear. Looks like the kit from someone who's been on the road for years. Major Kudos!
Have you managed to weigh all your gear?
Thanks! I have not. I could probably just use a bathroom scale and tally things up, but I'd like to get a weigh in of the bike and me and all my crap in total. Any suggestions? At a rough guess I'd say around 100 lbs of stuff, the cans feel like they're about 40 lb apiece, I have no difficulty carrying them.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:13 PM   #544
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warin View Post
Short cut.

On the DR (and similarly most other bikes) under the left side cover is the starter motor relay. One of the larger black wires on it goes straight to the battery and can be used to power up you air compressor (or as a charging pint for a battery charger or any large current link to the battery. Saves taking off the luggage and seat. Oh while the side cover is off, write notes on the back side of it - saves greasy paw prints in the service manual. )
I am familiar with the starter motor relay, however I am leery of breaking fuses or other fiddly connected bits as this is not an intended "jump point". Is this a valid concern?

Quote:
More ideas.. to each their own.
Solar charges.
On the motorcycle I don't bother. I use the bikes electrical system to charge the other batteries. Unless you plan on stopping for more than a day it is not worth taking a solar charger. The risk of braking the thing.. well not worth it to me. On a bicycle ? Maybe.
I do stop for more than a day, quite regularly, so that's why I bother having a solar charger. (It's a bit like the water filter in that regard. If I wanted to be around towns with running tapwater and electrical outlets I wouldn't bother, but I like nature.) I do intend to add a USB charger using the bike's electricals, and at some point I will also figure out a system of elastic rope and carabiners that will allow me to affix the solar charger on top of the boxes, so I can charge on the move. Redundancy is my friend in this case.

Quote:
Storing spare parts on the bike.
The brake pads can be bolted on, I use the bash plate with a few bolts and nylock nuts. The crush washers for oil changes - behind one of the plastic caps .. I think for the swing arm (too many bikes!) Saves having that stuff in your bags. I don't carry oil as a regular thing - only when I'm coming up to a change and have vast amounts of emptyness to use.
Those are some good ideas! I guess I'm just afraid of losing parts if they're in various places, you don't have any issues with things vibrating loose?

This bike consumes a small amount of oil (I need to fix gaskets at some point), and I had a spare liter, so bring it or lose it...

Quote:
More? Read

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/gea...ke-preparation ..quite lengthy. But applicable to most bikes (even based on the DR, but made as generic as possible). These ideas may help cut down on your luggage (eg a second air cleaner... no use prefilters, air filter oil? Use that engine oil... and you can get that from a garage. I normally only carry chain oil, grease, and never seeze).

The next one is a bit of a mix of different ideas for different bikes - some don't apply to the DR.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tech/suzuki/dr650prep
Thanks for the links! I will give these a read. Air filter oil is another one of those "use it or lose it" items, when it runs out I'll have to find something new. I thought the stickiness of the air filter oil helped significantly with keeping it working correctly, you've had no problems using engine oil?

Quote:
I went to a HU UK meeting where one of the talks was on yoga ... picked up a few good things. If you ever get the chance to go to one of these then go. Even if not contemplating international travel you pick up on so many ideas... Err the UK one is the biggest, 3 days 3 lecture halls running - you have to chose which one of the three (or more - some stuff is outside) things to see. That's from 10 am to ... well after 10 pm anyways.
I will keep an eye out, but they seem kind of few and far between... They seem like my kind of people, anyways!

Quote:
Nice photos of what you pack... that is so much simpler than the lists I make, and could be handy if your stuff is stolen. Had a lot of trouble convincing the police in Greece that I had a bag stolen off the back of my bike, need it for the insurance claim. The good thing about my lists - I include the weight of each item... if I can find a lighter one then its a new purchase.

PS I don't carry a ratchet - I can do any bolt with other less weighty tools, slower but can be done.
That's a good rule of thumb, but I usually don't have the money for replacement purchases. If I had some spare cash, one of the first things I'd do is get some of those awesome ratchet wrench things I see in so many other ride reports, with different sizes on each side, and reduce the tools I carry.

Without my ratchet, I couldn't get off my rear lugnut regardless of how much I screamed at it. I can't even imagine...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Most are way ahead of you on this mate. Heard of a Battery Tender? Most of us use them at home. They use a common SAE connector. But it's all multi-use. Here you can see ... if you look close ... a wire hanging down near the frame rail.

On the road this plug is mostly used to power my Gerbing jacket. Can also be used to jump start other bikes ... and will easily run a mini compressor ... most use an SAE plug. Plug and Play. At home, I plug in my Battery Tender when bike is parked ... ALL using the simple and unbreakable SAE plug. I've used these for over 15 years.
Hmm. Interesting. I don't have a battery tender (yet). I don't have a SAE plug for my compressor (it came with two alligator-clips for attaching to a battery), but I could probably find one for it. Thanks for the idea!

Quote:
I carry two tire Irons between motor and bash plate. Wrapped in inner tube and Zip tied in place. Been there since '06. I'm careful about where I stow more delicate things ... as they can be damaged. I carry a very comprehensive Nut & Bolt kit, made up just for the DR650. All OEM sizes plus OEM washers, springs, do dads. Drain plug washers can be heated and annealed for re-use. No need to carry extras. Front brake pads on the DR should last 10K to 12K miles in touring mode. Rears go faster (4 to 5K depending) I carry one set. I also ALWAYS carry a set of fork seals. My bike uses NO OIL. No need to carry any. I plan oil changes well head and only do filter every other oil change when on the road ... so 10,000 miles between filters.

Two tire levers here ... another Ty Davis lever in luggage. (12")

Spare nuts and bolts are like buried treasure when in Baja. I mostly end up giving stuff away ... as was the case here. Happy to help.
I worry (perhaps unnecessarily) about anything happening to puncture the defenseless tube, so I wrap it in a bunch of bags and keep it towards the top of my luggage where nothing will get at it. I'd be nervous if it was down and out of sight, especially in a warm place like that. You have had no problems?

Did you buy or make that nut and bolt kit?

Quote:
Very good ideas there. In heavy dust I use "Filter Skins" which slip over air filter. re-usable. I use a small squeeze bottle of 90 Wt. gear oil. It's cheap and available nearly everywhere. A great chain lube. The key to long chain life is regular cleaning. Diesel works fine ... or just a quick wipe down and light re-oiling. I get near 25,000 from a chain.
Filter skins would definitely cut down on the annoyance of swapping filters in parking lots. Where do you get the small bottle of 90 wt? I can only ever find it in large bottles. I used to keep a mayo squeeze bottle that I filled with 90wt, but it seems like a waste to throw half the bottle away! Same with kerosene, the smallest I've found is that 1l at Walmart. I'd be open to diesel if I could find it in small quantities, but shy of carrying around a gascan everywhere, I don't know how to make that work. Suggestions?

PS your sidestand is awesome.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:45 PM   #545
Feyala OP
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Originally Posted by RicH2 View Post
Hey Feyala....Love the last three letters of your name....ROLL TIDE !!!
Hey Ric! I feel bad that I had to look this up, but it was made up for by that youtube commercial I found. My nickname is actually just a randomly-generated internet handle that I've had for yeaaaars.

Quote:
Been enjoying some of your ride. On the maintenance front, and possibly associated with the tank slapper, I'd suggest (if others haven't already)...

Check the swing arm bolt torque.
Check your spokes.
I did the swingarm myself (and all the linkages) with a torque wrench, so they're all proper, but I haven't checked spokes for a while, so I'll add that to the list when I start messing with the front end.

Quote:
BTW...my 17 yr old daughter is admiring your tenacity. Your life may be having an impact you hadn't considered.

Anyway.....have fun and be safe......
Make sure to remind her that I'm technically a bum with slightly more resources!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicH2 View Post
My daughter suggests this may be bear slobber.....LOL....

Kinda of a scary thought !!!
I didn't hear any bears, but I might have slept through it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpen View Post
Fey,
Back on track to your ride report! Just read the whole enchilada, subscribed! Sorry about jumping in your photo...hehe
Fey chased us all night and day to get to Hell's Canyon! I know as hit 108 trying to chase down S1 and asrivor. She has come a long way since then! Doug Bar was huge for her back last summer! It was fun to watch her speak of the ride before w/ trepidation then after she got back she was so pumped about it. Some of those corners have huge cliffs off the road.... not for the faint of heart. Keep going girl! Your writing style has developed nicely and your knowledge of motorcycling has increased amazingly quickly. Is alex back in town yet? If so and you have not solved the DR's bobblehead dilemma have him call me, I have some idea's to start with on this, but you will need someone with a good wrist to perform some tests... heal quickly.
Hey, good to see you here! Yeah, I wasn't going quite as fast as you guys, especially around those sharp corners, but that was a pretty peppy ride, haha!

It will be interesting, if I am able to make it to Hells Canyon next year, to see how I handle Dug Bar differently...

Thanks for the compliments! Alex is in Baja last I heard, and I'm in Phoenix AZ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warin View Post
Feyala when you went backwards down hill .. you only had the front brake to control the speed with, right? Trick - put the bike in gear, engine stopped and use the clutch leaver as a rear brake ... makes it much more controllable! Oh lean the bike against your hip rather than take the weight through your arms and down your back, your much stronger through the hip. As always - try it first, may not work for you.
Using the clutch is a good tip, I didn't think about it at the time. I tend to use both arms and hip when supporting the bike, I'm more worried about the bars twisting out of my hands and the bike falling as a result, it seems more stable when supported that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FoothillRyder View Post
Another nicely detailed and well documented (pics are fantastic!) ride, Fey. Thanks for posting the report!
Thanks, and no problem. That's what I'm here for!

Quote:
Originally Posted by just jeff View Post
Hi Feyala!
I have been following along for a bit and am loving your ride report. I was just reading your last edition and had an idea. What about starting a second thread for the discussion/debate/replies to keep the ride report thread cleaner? That could be an interesting thread on its own.
Regards and keep it coming either way!....justjeff
Hey Jeff! I've thought about doing this, but in some cases, the replies are part and parcel of the story. I wouldn't have gone to Death Valley if it weren't for Ratman, for example. I think it will be OK as long as we can keep it mostly on topic and not branch out into politics and religion again, but sometimes such things happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boboneleg View Post
Great to see you out and about Feyala, I wish we had the wide and open spaces over here but this is a small and crowded island. Having said that there are still a few places you can get to by bike and enjoy the silence

cheers, Bob.
Hi Bob! Yeah, the wide open spaces are definitely something I missed when I was in Denmark. I've heard Italy and Germany have some lovely wilderness though! Someday I will see for myself.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:09 PM   #546
Warin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
I am familiar with the starter motor relay, however I am leery of breaking fuses or other fiddly connected bits as this is not an intended "jump point". Is this a valid concern?
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)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
Those are some good ideas! I guess I'm just afraid of losing parts if they're in various places, you don't have any issues with things vibrating loose?
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:47 PM   #547
Feyala OP
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Quote:
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!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klay View Post
Oh, but it's so enjoyable to have travelers stay over with us...it'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!

Quote:
(I wish your pictures were bigger)
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryboy View Post
Clicky clicky works too.
Quote:
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?

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

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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 yet...you 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...

Quote:
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)?

Quote:
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!

Quote:
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 http://www.worldbiking.info/resource...resources.html
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!

Quote:
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.

Quote:
For Mexico try http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...merica-mexico/ 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.

Quote:
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!

Cheers!

Quote:
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...

Quote:
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!

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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...

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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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Old 12-09-2012, 09:39 PM   #548
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
What is the best way to check for 'plumb and square' on these bikes? I've read a couple things involving string and the wheels and it seemed pretty confusing.
This is my 3rd DR650. I've only ever used the numbered notches on the snail adjusters. Still on original bearings and get around 25K miles on a chain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
Thanks! I have not. I could probably just use a bathroom scale and tally things up, but I'd like to get a weigh in of the bike and me and all my crap in total. Any suggestions? At a rough guess I'd say around 100 lbs of stuff, the cans feel like they're about 40 lb apiece, I have no difficulty carrying them.
100 lbs. is quite a bit. Not too bad on road, but can be tough Off road. Also, if most weight is rearward ... it can lighten front end ... and cause a wobble or tank slapper. Steering head bearings should be set at PERFECT tension ... not too tight, not too loose.

I went from hard bags to soft bags and knocked off 35 lbs. of weight. I'm now down to 65 lbs. including camping equipment ... but not much cooking equip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
Hmm. Interesting. I don't have a battery tender (yet). I don't have a SAE plug for my compressor (it came with two alligator-clips for attaching to a battery), but I could probably find one for it. Thanks for the idea!
Most compressors have an SAE type plug included, among other plugs for powering them. I like SAE because it's multi-purpose.

If you're on the road ... you don't need a battery tender, just don't run down run your battery with too many accessories. But as I said earlier ... my SAE plug powers my Gerbing elec jacket, compressor and can jump start another bike.

Most Cycle Gear stores sell accessory plugs ... so you can adapt to most any other plug or device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
I worry (perhaps unnecessarily) about anything happening to puncture the defenseless tube, so I wrap it in a bunch of bags and keep it towards the top of my luggage where nothing will get at it. I'd be nervous if it was down and out of sight, especially in a warm place like that. You have had no problems?
This is good practice! Protect your tube! I keep one (a 21") on front fender, the other somewhere in luggage ... wrapped in plastic!


front fender bag for tube is handy. Rear tube lives in tail bag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
Did you buy or make that nut and bolt kit?
Most are things I've collected over 3 DR650's .... and about 20 other bikes in the last 10 years or so. There are nut/bolt kits for sale too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
Filter skins would definitely cut down on the annoyance of swapping filters in parking lots. Where do you get the small bottle of 90 wt? I can only ever find it in large bottles. I used to keep a mayo squeeze bottle that I filled with 90wt, but it seems like a waste to throw half the bottle away! Same with kerosene, the smallest I've found is that 1l at Walmart. I'd be open to diesel if I could find it in small quantities, but shy of carrying around a gascan everywhere, I don't know how to make that work. Suggestions?
Filter Skins are good ... but if you're not in a hurry, its not too hard to clean your filter. Use motor oil to re-oil filter ... if it's all you got. Don't use too much oil. I only use Filter Skins riding in groups where dust is SUPER thick. Solo riding, even off road, I can go for a week without cleaning filter.

I start off with a 12 oz squeeze bottle (Asian Hot sauce), filled from home. That lasts about a month on the road, oiling and cleaning everyday. In the USA I don't carry Kerosene ... but start with a can of WD40. In Mexico, after WD40 runs out ... I take run off from Diesel pump hose ...it stinks but good for chain cleaning.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:14 PM   #549
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
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.
Could it be sand/dirt got into the tire while running low pressure? This would abrade tube over time. Also, a heavily loaded bike, low pressures in very hot weather can be hard on tubes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
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.
Sounds like you've got this in hand. Some Gringos camp on beautiful beaches ... thinking it's totally safe. It's not. Any tourist areas can attract
some opportunists. You have good awareness. In some places there are JUST SO MANY PEOPLE EVERYWHERE ... you cannot camp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
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.
unfortunately many will advise against. Especially the women. But in the same breath ... will invite you to their house to stay and for dinner!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
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!
Most medium to large sized towns in Mexico have a Mercado Central (big public market) Not only can you buy fruits, veg, meat ... YES the meat dept. will indeed terrify you!
... but Mercados have lots of little restaurants side by side inside the Mercado. My favorite place to eat ... with the locals. Really small towns?
(Aldea) You're out of luck, but usually a Comedor or two will be around somewhere. Usually somebody will take in strangers to feed them and make a few extra Pesos. Ask: "?Hay Comida?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
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.
Once you discover Mexican panaderia's
you will be hooked. Lots of Veg food too ... but even beans have Manteca in the broth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
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...
YES! come on over to the DR thread. In general, very little comes loose on DR650's. Done thousands of miles on rough dirt roads ... very few probs in 50K. Loc Tite (Blue) is your friend!
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:41 PM   #550
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Filter skins and weights

Filter skins

I carry enough filter skins to keep the air filter clean until the next engine oil change. Then you do a bike service that changes the engine oil and cleans the filters. Simple, keeps the messy bits all at one time. If you only on a 1 week trip then sure, but on a longer trip take enough stuff. One key here is not traveling in other dust, keep your distance.

Weights.

While weighting the bike with luggage gives you the total weight if does not identify where you could save weight. For that you need the weight of individual items. Some bicycle riders weigh all the items yep every thing, tyres, tubes, nuts, bolts, chains ... they call them 'weight weenies' http://weightweenies.starbike.com/ . Suggest you do the similar - use the kitchen scales (should have a resolution of 1 gram .. what ever that is in ozs... about the weight of one grain of rice ) They add up all the bits to get the total. More applicable to motorcycle camping are the light weigh backpackers. http://www.lightweightbackpacking101.com/ Be careful, the lighter the weigh the less stress most things can withstand. Going from cotton clothing to synthetics means lighter weight, faster drying and longer lasting so that goes against what I just said. They do cost more, and you'll find that with most lighter weigh gear.

Warin screwed with this post 12-09-2012 at 11:52 PM
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:18 PM   #551
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Feyala -

Just ran across your rr last night, and I finished catching up a short time ago. Top notch reading. Greatly enjoy your nearly "stream of consciousness" writing style. I like the comments Joseph Campbell used to make about "The outward journey mirrors an inward journey". Its obvious you are having that beautiful yin yang of external/internal reflection, your writing makes that clear, otherwise it would just be "travel".

My life situation is significantly different than yours, but are some points that really resonate. The doing more with less stuff... currently I ride a Ninja 250 and it works for this little guy. "Use what you got". Not too bad having bought a bike basically from a yard sale for $1500.

Over the following years I learned to wrench on the bike and slowly built up a fairly comprehensive "home base" tool collection. It is really wonderful to know your bike, its systems, how things work, and when they don't, what is likely the culprit. I've sort of become a local guru for the Ninja 250 guys, and enjoy helping them learn to do their own wrenching. Love to read of your trials and travails while "learning your bike".

Over time I have done a lot of research and have built up camping gear I am comfortable with, always looking at small packing size vs. cost vs. features. Weight isn't as important on a bike compared to pure hiking but it still adds up. Some of my gear is decidedly spendy, but spreading the cost over the years of use helps me swallow the expense. Riding gear is something I have not scrimped on at all. The money I have spent on gear over the years has definitely exceeded the cost of the bike...but I consider it cheap compared to even a simple hospital visit. So far, mercifully un-needed (save for riding comfort), but its like insurance...you don't need it until you need it.

There have been times when my wife and I have been decidedly "poor", but we have found that mindset and perspective is everything. Its a subtle mind-flip to go from "impoverished" to "frugal". Poor or impoverished may be a condition, but frugal is a choice, and even if nothing else practically changes, having a sense of choice is very empowering.

You may want to read JDowns ride report - http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076 he has been riding VERY frugally and doing a lot of camping. I could easily see someone as resourceful as yourself easily doing a similar trip.

So very glad you seem to be healing up well!

...and, I bet another gal rider I know who lives in Seattle was at the Furry Gathering.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:01 AM   #552
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DR info

Good info on prepping your DR and a tool kit.. This guy rounded most of the world on his DR. He tells you about things that worked as well as those that didn't.

http://shortwayround.co.uk/suzuki/

Also check the http://drriders.com/ site. Good info and helpful folks. Much easier than digging around the adv dr thread.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:07 AM   #553
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Not sure if we're still talking costs of travel and camping, but I camped throughout Baja, Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, and Copper canyon without a single issue. Never was I interrupted at night except once I had a nice visitor in the morning. He was just curious what I was doing because I was way the hell off the beaten path where travelers are pretty much non-existant. This was just north of Guatemala in the mountains with the coffee farmers. Because my Spanish sucks I simply waved, wished him a good morning, and smiled. He looked at my me, my tent, and my bike and then left with a smile.

99% of the Mexican I met were excited and thrilled for me to be visiting and exploring their country. They really are a very good group of people. More then I can say about other countries. . .

Costs were around 20-45$ a day, 10 or more of that was spent on gas (I get around 50MPG on my XR650R). Copper Canyon and Baja are slightly more expensive then other areas. Still cheaper then the states (especially hotels, etc).

Tires aren't cheap in Mexico. Put on a fresh tire before you go. I paid 150 for a Pirreli MT21 in Puerto Vallarta. I saw the same tire for around 100$ though in Guatemala (a few days AFTER I finally installed the MT21 I was carrying around in Tikal... grr). I had the border guards and police laughing at my bald Desert IT even. Once again, good group of people.
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Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 12-11-2012, 09:47 AM   #554
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Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
Tires aren't cheap in Mexico. Put on a fresh tire before you go. I paid 150 for a Pirreli MT21 in Puerto Vallarta. I saw the same tire for around 100$ though in Guatemala (a few days AFTER I finally installed the MT21 I was carrying around in Tikal... grr). I had the border guards and police laughing at my bald Desert IT even. Once again, good group of people.
Good post ... and good info on tires. You need at least enough tire to make it to Guatemala City ... where a good selection of tires are available for a more reasonable price. I packed a rear tire with me ... bought new tires in Guat. City. Made it all the way home.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:46 PM   #555
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Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Good post ... and good info on tires. You need at least enough tire to make it to Guatemala City ... where a good selection of tires are available for a more reasonable price. I packed a rear tire with me ... bought new tires in Guat. City. Made it all the way home.

The MT21 I saw was in Coban, but I think of the 5-6 bike shops we toured, it was the only 120/130/140 - 18" tire. I wouldn't count on it still being there!

Didn't see (and didn't look for) a bike shop in Antigua or Quetzaltenango.

Guat City would be by far the best bet.

I'm starting to imagine South America Fall 2013..... maybe...
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Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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