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Old 01-18-2008, 04:57 PM   #16
bananaman OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
Oddometer: 6,624
Now I'm in Guatemala City. Barb stayed on Lake Atitlan. Wow is that an amazing lake. For $25 you can dive it, but adding altitude diving to this trip is more than I need, danger'wise.

If you ever get a chance, stay at La Iguana in Santa Cruz on Lake Atitlan. Barb liked it so much she decided to stay. Maybe she'll catch up? Maybe I'll wait? Mabye the Max&Barb part of the ride is over? Why hasn't Ian explained the whole How Max And Barb Happened To Ride Together thing?

The ride from Panajachel was uneventuful. Now the old red (it looks black, but my old GS is actually red) bike is at the dealer here. They want US$500 to fix the brakes. Guess what I told them. All I need is a little rubber gasket. Tomorow they are either replacing the gasket of I'm putting it back together, wrapping some paper towels around it, and riding to Panama.

Guatemala City- so at the dealership, where they also service cars, there were two guys standing at each end. One keeping lookout, one getting into a brand new big BMW. I tried to talk to the lookout guy. He had two very large pistols- one in a holster, one in his back pocket. He would NOT let me photograph him. After they left, another customer started to laugh at me. Why? asked I. NARCOS, he said. NARCOS! So if you see a guy with a big big big gun, don't pull a Borat and start asking him why shooting is the most popular sport in Guatemala.

I have no solutions for the political or social problems here. The indians around lake Atitlan speak 11 totally different dialects. The problems here are as bad as in Bosnia.

But it sure is beautiful!
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:33 PM   #17
doc_ricketts
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Outstanding. Waiting for more so don't get your butt shot off too soon, OK?
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:25 AM   #18
bananaman OP
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On my way in a momet to the BMW dealer...

Barb is going to try to catch up. She's on her way from Lago Atitlan and she plans to meet up at the dealership. I hope my bike will be ready soon.

This town reminds me a lot of Panama City, except this Guatemala City is twice as big and has a lot more noise and diesel smoke. My guess is that the mountains keep the smog from escaping.

Last night in the shower it took half an hour of scrubing just to get the grime off my neck. Once I was done I realized I should have used some brake fluid instead of soap.

I'm usually very careful with brake fluid but yesterday trying to source the leak more definitively I got some on my screw driver handle and the handle started to turn to pudding.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:17 AM   #19
pdedse
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Guatemala City

Guate is an unbelievable city to drive / ride in! Once, I asked directions at least 10 times to get somewhere wondering if anyone knew and then a guy on a side street draws a map on a napkin that pinpointed the exact turns I needed for miles. I kept the map!

Enjoying your posts and hope your bike gets fixed. Let's see, YOU bought the BMW because you could get it fixed anywhere in Latinamerica and SHE decided on the KLR because it wasn't supposed to have issues, or...was it the other way around?? (sorry, couldn't resist)
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:37 AM   #20
GSdiablo
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dear breakdown fairy, I'm sorry I tempted you.

Enjoying your posts and hope your bike gets fixed. Let's see, YOU bought the BMW because you could get it fixed anywhere in Latinamerica and SHE decided on the KLR because it wasn't supposed to have issues, or...was it the other way around?? (sorry, couldn't resist)[/quote]


It does appear you tempted the "breakdown fairy" with your brand bias earlier statement. Loving the report so far so keep it coming!!!
If and when you have time can you answer acouple of bike questions?
How many miles on your big red?
Did you ever change the brake fluid?Hoses? (I have the same bike and have not)
Last question. What can you do in taking off a gas tank, that can insure, that the bike won't start? (I know, I'm just being mean, but its fricken 14 below zero as I type)
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:03 PM   #21
bananaman OP
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I won't bore you with broken-brakes pictures. I will tell you that it's awful nice here. The temps today were just right for a t-shirt and jeans. For a while I wore a long-sleeved shirt because in the shade where the bike was getting fixed it was just a little cool. I only rode about five miles today, and half was in full gear, and it was just right to unzip the vents. Cool enough to keep the helmet lid down, warm enough to not sweat.

The Guatemala BMW dealership is awesome. In the end they fabricated a new gasket and changed all the fluid. My job was to occasionally hold something or occasionally pump the brake lever five times. Markos is like a genius or something. Juan is super nice but I didn't see him again after he hit his big GS against the back of some old lady's car. I got to meet Karl, the owner's son (my age, educated in the US). I trust these guys.

I showed up on a Friday afternoon. Another adventure rider was there- Wolfgang, of www.heidwolfonbiketour.de. Markos basically stopped everything to help us. He even stayed late on a Saturday (the shop closes at noon on Saturdays, but Markos stays until the job is done). They had a row of local bikes in various states of repair, and several other customers came in only to smile and wonder what Wolfgang and I could possibly be thinking. (Wolfgang got new TKCs, his Ohlins rear shock re-charged, his valves adjusted, and who-knows what else.)

Wolfgang has 70 liter side cases on his 1996 R100PD. 70 liters. Yes, seventy liters. On each side. He might have a slightly different opinion of the workmanship. If you ever want to buy an absolutely perfectly maintained BMW- one owned by a regular perfectionist- buy Wolfgang's. He's not selling though. Oh, what a beautiful, beautiful travelling machine!

I also met an American from Denver on a GS with no VIN. Silly boy! I still don't know how he managed to get into Guatemala. Neither does he. He had planned on riding to Ushuaia. Now he's stuck here for three weeks trying to get the vin-plate-thing sorted out. Ushuaia will have to wait for him. I can not imagine being stuck here for three weeks. I think this other American by this time has accumulated like ten Guatemalan wives. They follow him around and take turns scratching his vin-number back off. I've been here for two days and I can not wait to get back on the road, back on the way to Panama.

Maybe Barb will explain how a car in front of her hit a dog that must have been already dead and sent it sailing into her lane...

So Barb was on her way to the dealership this afternoon, and she couldn't find it. This is kind of a big town (like 2 million people) and she did a few laps around it. And then she heard someone say, "Barb!" She was way, way far away, and she had run into Wolfgang and Heidi! What a small world we adventure riders make, yes?

Pictures in a little while.
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:16 PM   #22
Klay
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Good story!
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:18 PM   #23
bananaman OP
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSdiablo
Enjoying your posts and hope your bike gets fixed. Let's see, YOU bought the BMW because you could get it fixed anywhere in Latinamerica and SHE decided on the KLR because it wasn't supposed to have issues, or...was it the other way around?? (sorry, couldn't resist)

It does appear you tempted the "breakdown fairy" with your brand bias earlier statement. Loving the report so far so keep it coming!!!
If and when you have time can you answer acouple of bike questions?
How many miles on your big red?
Did you ever change the brake fluid?Hoses? (I have the same bike and have not)
Last question. What can you do in taking off a gas tank, that can insure, that the bike won't start? (I know, I'm just being mean, but its fricken 14 below zero as I type)[/quote]

You must be mis-reading me! What I meant by BMW vs KLR- Barb says her Kawasaki can be fixed anywhere. I'll give her that. Since my bike only has three dealers in Central America, I have to be more self-sufficient. I can do some wrenching myself, and if I couldn't get my brakes fixed here I was just going to tie a rag around the leaky spot so that my pants wouldn't get more wrecked. The only problem is, the gods of GS breakdowns know what spare parts I've got with me, so they'll break something else.

How To Flummox Your BMW Mechanic: when I took the gas tank off, I was too lazy to actually disconnect the fuel lines. All I did was pop the pin, lift, twist, and balance-on-a-chair. In the past I'd done this with my RS tank and never had a problem. I didn't realize that I was just lucky. When I twisted the fuel lines I put tiny hairline cracks in the hard plastic parts that the fuel lines connect to, but the cracks where hidden by the fuel lines. The engine was getting gas, and it looked like plenty, but actually it wasn't. Every time you'd try to start it, you'd smell gas, and you'd think it was just flooded. Jason at the BMW dealership in Beaver Dam even tried to push-start it. Over and over. And he'd look at me and say "WHAT DID YOU DO?!" but he couldn't help but smile because, whatever I'd done, he was going to make some money. I was glad to pay it just so that I could stop being so embarrassed.

I've since added the big 11 gallon Touratech tank, with quick-connects all around. I did the install myself! and it was a great way to get to know this bike a little better.

I bought the bike in June of last year with less than 25k. Now it has a little over 33k, 3300 which happened so far on this ride. I never changed the hoses or fluid on the brakes, but I did have them inspected by Jason. There is no way he could have known that the gasket was going to fail, and I was not going to spend $350 on a new front brake handlebar unit. I had to put new rear pads on when I got it (known defect) and I put new front pads on before I left. I have extra pads with me. I took the rear brake assembly off, back in San Cristobal de las Casas, so that I could get a good look at the pad wear. They're holding up fine.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:02 PM   #24
bananaman OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
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This is a typical room at La Iguana. Rustic. Cold at night. As close to being outside as I really wanted to be.






The patio at the Iguana. This is where they... do yoga!






Boats on Lake Atitlan are the only way to get from one place to another. There are a few paths but not even goats take them. I don't know why there even are paths.









The beautiful 1150GS after it hit a car. I saw the whole thing- the car suddenly backing out, Juan grabbing his brakes and trying to swerve, the car not stopping, Juan whacking the back of the car AND GOING DOWN! JUAN WAS DOWN! and then as quick as that he was up and he picked up this bike like it was a 150.







This little gasket is all I needed. See the marks on it? Worn out. Those tiny marks let the brake fluid out. Now it's all clean, re-built, and better than new. I like the new brakes.


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Old 01-20-2008, 05:26 AM   #25
bananaman OP
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From way back in October- this is how our riding together got started.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=277719

Quote:
Originally Posted by topaz69
I am a 37 yr old female riding from Denver down to Panama and back for 4 months Jan 2-Apr 30, 2008 on an 07 KLR650. My riding buddy is potentially bailing and looking for others who may be interested. While I love riding and have been doing it 16 years, this trip is more about scuba, trekking, culture, rafting, nature, and exploration, than about the motorcycling. I.e., I'll be putting in some long days and taking days off, not riding every day. If you are interested, email me... Also email me if you have an educated opinion on whether doing this trip solo would be dangerous for me (or if you know any chicks who have done this solo).
Quote:
Originally Posted by bananaman
I'm hoping to leave as soon as my kids go back to school- January 7. Depending on the weather I'll ride from Madison, Wisconsin. If there's snow, I'll haul the bike south to clear roads. I'll send you an email. If we don't connect, GOOD LUCK!
Advrider... bringing lunatics together and helping to shrink the world!
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:52 AM   #26
bananaman OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Madison, Wisconsin and/or Panama, Panama
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It's Sunday morning and I'm still waiting for Barb to get ready. While I wait (and wait and wait and wait) here are some more photos. They're not in any particular order. Guatemala, through my lens.



























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Old 01-20-2008, 07:59 AM   #27
bananaman OP
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And still more photos-















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Old 01-20-2008, 08:36 AM   #28
Kayakgk
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Thats it I am picking up those

spanish language CD's and start working on them. From your report on that
accident with the truck driver and the ladrones I was getting the feeling you are a MD or a RN, its not that common to describe a pulse as thready.

Awesome ride report, great photos great writing , it is really inspiring.

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Old 01-20-2008, 08:39 AM   #29
pistol777
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Barb's a babe!! Nice trip.
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Old 01-20-2008, 08:43 AM   #30
william t.
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Really enjoyed reading about the trip.
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