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Old 05-27-2010, 07:44 PM   #151
IslandSpark OP
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Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
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Day 32

I finally manage to sleep in! Rob has been up and gone with his freshly charged battery to check out his bike. I take this little bit of down time to work on this ride report and send a couple e-mails before Rob comes back with bad news.

With a freshly charged battery the bike is turning over well but wont fire... We jump on my bike to go have a look with a fresh set of eyes. Sure enough, the bike wont fire. We break out the tools, pull some panels , check the fuses, check for spark everything seems good...


Anything and everything is ridden here including full on Moto-X bikes...


The people make due with what they have...

Rob decides its time to bring in some experts and we head to the Suzuki shop where we explain the problem and they send two mechanics down to look at the bike. Its quite a sight, one is an easy 250LB the other maybe 150lbs and both of them crammed on a little Suzuki DR200 weaving in and out of traffic.


Rob being "unhappy"

The mechanics don't have much experience working on such an advanced bike, for the most part the units sold here are 100-250cc carbureted and oil cooled single cylinders, not 1000cc fuel injected V-twins. Without having much luck the mechanics get back on their bike and say they will return in a 'while' with a trailer to get the bike back to the shop.

Rob decides to stay with his bike and send me off to make a badly needed oil change happen on my trusty (knock on wood) KLR. After a little searching and more than one shop trying to sell me automotive oils I find three quarts of 4stroke Motul oil. I run back to the hotel to grab my tools and an oil filter from my luggage before looking for a suitable spot to do an oil change.

I ask around and one guy says something along the lines of “do it here, the oil will keep the dust from my driveway away” After a small moral battle in my head I go ahead, park the bike and drop the oil in his gravel driveway. A new filter and 2.5 litres of oil in the bike and its good as new! As I'm ready to leave the man that suggested the idea comes out with his shovel and starts mixing the oil and gravel around, I thank him but when he responds “No, thank YOU” in Spanish I really don't know what to say.


He made me do it!

I ride back to the chicken joint finding Rob is still there and torn right into his bike. As I roll into the parking lot he thumbs the magic button and the bike starts! What the hell?! Who cares! It runs!

Rob decided to disconnect the power commander just to see if it could be the problem. I guess the charging issue and dead battery had either fried it or made it loose its fuel mapping. Regardless, one problem solved.

A quick ride up to the dealership to let them know we don't need that trailer anymore see's me getting the shakedown from the Honduran transit police for an Illegal U-turn (which 5 other vehicles also made). He seems quite upset with me as I keep repeating “I don't understand” and “I speak very little Spanish”. He finally rubs his fingers together in what I would call the universal hand signal for cash money. He wants $50USD to make this issue go away, that's nearly more than he makes in a week, not a chance.

I tell him “its too much” and say I only have a ten dollar bill which, regardless of what he asked for, he seems quite happy with. I pass over the bill as he passes my ID back and shakes my hand. Before leaving he wishes me a good day and good luck with my trip. I pull away laughing to myself about what had just occurred, I should be angry but I'm not.

Back to the hotel Rob goes hunting for a battery charger. His “solution” to the charging issue is that hes going to pull the battery every night and charge it. I warn him about the possibilities of killing the battery after so many deep discharges and frying the ECU from an under-voltage condition. Risk's he's willing to take it seems.


Being an electrician I always have to take pictures of the things were not allowed to do back home...

We find some dinner and retire to the room for a little English TV and an early nights sleep.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:59 PM   #152
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gnarly. at least it runs
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:57 AM   #153
oldmanhowie
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The bike had just over 41 000 k on it when I sold it to you. Still can't believe the bike is back down there. Looks like you are have a great adventure. I bet Rob is wishing he had a KLR right now. Keep up the good work! Raining and 14 c here today. As always ride safe.
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Old 05-28-2010, 05:58 AM   #154
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Glad you got Rob's bike sorted.
Man you have a great eye with your pictures. They are amazing you sure capture the moment.

Thanks for taking the time to post and inspire.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:38 PM   #155
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those guys a power lines have safety vest and gloves.. Now they have Kings as in checkers...What could go wrong? I'm always amazed how many

wires they connect from a single source.

I'm enjoying all the great pics and stories . Ride Safe


Las Vegas
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:55 PM   #156
drifter dave
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Ahh memories.

Sure seems weird to see pics of Jay's bike in the same places. Keep it up man. Any questions fire me a PM.

Dorian
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:26 PM   #157
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Day 33

With Rob's bike running (though the charging issue still exists) we pack up and get out of the city with only a quick stop at one of the moto dealers for a couple new cans of chain lube. We decide we will head towards the Los Manas frontera rather than rolling the dice and trying the Main crossing on the Pan American highway.

10Km out of town and getting up into the mountains, we pullover to put on our rain-gear before the looming clouds decide to soak us. Rob takes a minute to pull apart his rear brake and check it out as hes been feeling it drag on the ride up after changing the pads in town yesterday.



With the brakes finally sorted we continue on our way through the hills and into the rain. Soon we find ourselves at the ass end of a long line of trucks which, being on the bikes, we zip past and right up to the border.

It's the standard process, find the right window, will out the form, get your stamp, go to customs export the bike before heading over to the Nicaraguan side. Again, find the entry window, fill out the form, pay the fee, get a stamp and then deal with importing the bike.




This border crossing was a little more more complicated than our previous crossing at the Copan ruins, but only because of all the helpers and people hanging around. Its amazing how off your border crossing game you can get with just a few people making comments.

Into Nicaragua we make a few miles before finding some lunch at a small restaurant near the highway 1 junction. Chicken rolls, fried plantains, rice and beans make up our plate. The rain lets up for a while and seems to start again as soon as we return to the bikes. Lunch was paid for in US dollars since we didn't have enough Cordoba's from our exchange at the border to cover the cost.



We find a bank and a hotel room in a small nondescript town on the way towards Managua, we try our best to hang our gear to dry in the room but the humidity would make that a no win situation.

In a nondescript town, what would be more fitting for dinner than a beer and a nondescript hamburger that tastes like it was pulled from the bottom of the freezer in a package dated 1990.

Between the border crossing and the rain we are pretty wiped out and fall asleep to “Rocky” on the TV.
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:57 PM   #158
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Loving it guy's. keep it coming. Actually I thought V-Strom's we're a lot less hassle than this one, seems to give poor Rob a bit of headaches no?(IMHO).

I know I love my KLR.
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Old 05-29-2010, 10:23 PM   #159
DubCut
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Hey man, love this thread. The V-strom is driven me crazy though, were you guys absolutely sure the stator wasn't/is the culprate? Check out these two links...


Here's a guy's battery story, somewhat similar to daves':
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=574846

Here's a thread with step by step picture instructions on how to replace the stator.
http://www.stromtrooper.com/forums/s...or+replacement

Maybe something that could be waiting for you in panama, if you ordered it now.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:39 AM   #160
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Day 34


Finally a beach...Off and under way after a damp and humid night, we load up the bikes in the pouring rain and pull on our almost dry riding gear. The plan is to head south and transit the country in order to spend more time in Costa-Rica and Panama.


A very rare dry spot

The rain stays heavy and with around 150KM's under our belts this morning we turn away from the capital of Manauga south towards the town of Granada on the shores of lake Nicarauga.


We find these guys on the side of the road selling "bush meat" aka Iguana's and Armadillo's they dont want their pictures taken and as we are about to leave the cops roll up to talk to them... I guess thats why!

Granada in itself is a very nice old colonial town with a great central park, huge churches and a touristy atmosphere. I could have stayed the night here but since it was so early in the day yet I had problems convincing myself that that was a good idea. I wanted to be lined up to hit the mess of a border crossing into Costa Rica first thing in the morning.


Tourists on the move!


Quite the church!


The old and the new, nothing to spoil a picture like a cell phone tower I didnt see when taking it...


City hall

We find the last decent town before the border on the isthmus between lake Nicaragua and the pacific ocean, San Juan del sur. A small beach town with a rough edge to it, seems like a nice enough place. We stay at a local hostel which ends up being more expensive than we had hoped at $10usd a night.


Beachside @ San Juan Del Sur

Squared away we head for the beach and a happening Bar/Resturaunt by the name of Henry's Iguana where we enjoy an ice cold beer and some AMAZING fish taco's. With a little tooling around town and a stop at the internet cafe we call it an evening and retire to the oven that is our dorm room.


The Hostel and some stinky boots...


Our dinner entertainment, beachside.


Go here for the best fish taco's ever!

With the doors and window wide open and the fan running full blast I manage to drift off to sleep to some mellow tunes on the Ipod.
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:10 AM   #161
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Day 35

Last night was uncomfortable, even with the door and window open and the fans running full blast but eventually I did end up getting to sleep... Around 1am the heavens open and im awakened by the loudest rainstorm I've ever heard, I grab the boots and socks from outside to prevent them from getting completely soaked.

When it finally gets to be a reasonable hour in the morning I'm up and headed for an ATM to get some extra cash for the border crossing into Costa-Rica, on the way I find a great little Coffee shop called the “Gato Negro” or black cat cafe.

Packing up and ready to hit the road Rob has lost his keys somewhere and the spare set he brought with him for some reason does not have an Ignition key on it... He franticly tears apart his luggage and riding gear looking for them with no luck. All he can do now is trace his steps last night and hope he left them at the bar or somewhere... After an hour he returns with the keys that he left at the grocery store last night, always an Adventure...





Half an hour on the bikes has us finding that familiar line up of semi-trucks outside the border crossing. We scoot past and into the mayhem of what is the only crossing from Nicaragua to Costa-Rica. The place is a zoo but with patience and some helpful directions we find the offices we need to find, get the stamps we need to get and wait in the lines we need to wait in.



3 hours pass before we are finally clear of the border, I'm glad we decided to do this first thing in the morning, I'm not sure I would have had the patience to deal with it after a full day of riding.


Waiting waiting waiting...


More waiting, this time for the customs official to look over our bike paperwork...


And a little more waiting on manditory insurance...

Costa-Rica, a new country, a new landscape, a new outlook.


We're in!

We drive into the country for about 40 minutes before turning west towards the beaches where we can spend the evening. Not a lot of kilometres today but we're still wiped out. Playa Coco sounds like a nice enough place, we ride on to check it out.



The town is set back away from the ocean and Rob is unimpressed by the water but frankly we're just looking for a place to spend the night. After riding around we wind an out of the way restaurant on the beach with a covered patio upstairs and decide to see if we can pitch our tents there this evening.

The deal ends up being $4usd per person and we drink their beer and east their food... Works for me, the last thing I wanted to do was pack up camp in a torrential downpour in the morning and this covered porch made sure I wouldn't have to.





With the tents set, a walk along the beach is in order, rob goes for a swim to check out the marine life along the rocky coast and not much later returns due to poor visibility. We grab some dinner at our restaurant which we were wary of as we hadn't seen anyone in there to eat all night, but it turns out very well, some great fish with fried plantains and beans...



The sunshine peaks through every now and then...


Soccer on the beach seems popular...


A dramatic sky scene


Our home for the evening...


Mmmm Food...
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:06 PM   #162
perrogordo
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Pat,
How are you fairing the weather? Guatemala got ponded with rain,did you have to deal wiyh any of that?
What's in th red tubes between your bags? What tires are you running, are you happy with them?
Ride Safe...



Las Vegas
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Old 05-30-2010, 05:33 PM   #163
IslandSpark OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perrogordo
Pat,
How are you fairing the weather? Guatemala got ponded with rain,did you have to deal wiyh any of that?
What's in th red tubes between your bags? What tires are you running, are you happy with them?
Ride Safe...



Las Vegas

Guat and Nicarauga were pretty damn wet, I've got good gear though so I have no real issues. Costa Rica was pretty nice and my first day in Panama today was gorgeous...

The red tubes on the bike (looking from the rear) on the left hand side are 1 liter (MSR) bottles of Gasoline and White gas (for my camp stove) on the right hand side is a welding rod holder repurposed as a tool tube.


Cheers!

Pat
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:58 PM   #164
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Day 36 - And then there was ONE...

Last night was an interesting one... After our visit to the internet cafe, Rob, who left before me, decided to go for a ride on the beach where his battery finally crapped out on him once he stalled the bike in the sand, perhaps not the best idea ever... He comes walking back to the hotel asking for my help to push the bike back to a road where he removes the battery for charging...

With some interesting news via e-mail last night I had a restless sleep, worried about my time frame and the idea that Rob will try to fix his bike in San Jose. I may have to slip off from Rob in order to make my deadlines.

We pack up camp and load the bikes before setting out on an already hot morning. Within an hour we find ourselves getting pulled off to the side of the road by the transit police for doing 90Km/h in an 80 zone. Rob try's to blame it all on me (thanks buddy :P ) in order to get out of his ticket. The officer seems to have a good attitude and doesn't want to write us up on our first real day in CR but comes up with the idea that $20us could make them go away. Paid and happy he wishes us well on our trip and encourages us to keep an eye on the limits.



Rob suggests that he doesn't want to be moving so quickly (hard to guess when he's the one who gets impatient behind any sort of traffic and passes in the worst possible spots) and brings up the idea of splitting ways in the next day or so.

With a missed turn out to the coast we unexpectedly end up on the outskirts of San Jose where rob decides hes going to find a hotel and the local Suzuki shop and get ready to figure his bike out on monday morning. I make it known that I'm not into staying in the city and we say our goodbyes before I head further south.



Its bittersweet really, on one hand I like not having to worry about the others in my group, only doing what I want, when I want but at the same time its nice to have a travel companion, and someone who speaks much better Spanish than I...

Rob will be in San Jose for at least 4 or 5 days and quite possibly much longer if a part needs to be special ordered... Rob's facebook updates this evening let me know that at least he has found a nice cheap place to stay near the dealership and some local friends to help him out.

My path out of town is on a newly constructed and very poorly signed (toll) highway. Which ends up leading me northwest out of town towards the turn off to the coast that I had missed earlier in the day. I had payed too many tolls to make it worthwhile to turn around now...Besides there was a cool sounding place to stay out there recommended by another adventurer.

The run out to the coast starts getting quite scenic around the town of Tarcoles where the beaches and seaside mountains take my breath away. I pass through the heavily Americanized surf/resort town of Jaco with only a quick tour some nice looking resorts and some gorgeous women but the prices are steep and I already have a line on a place for the night.





About 100Km further down the coastline past miles and miles of palm groves I find the town of Dominical where I remember Jdowns saying to start watching for a sign on the side of the road pointing up into the mountains towards Rancho Diandrew where he had stayed and had a great (and cheap) experience.



I nearly drive right past the sign but it catches my eye at the last second. Turning up the steep winding gravel road into the mountains rewards me with some amazing views and a fun ride. Around 4Km up the road and having gained around 1100' I turn into Rancho Diandrew and find it all closed up tight. Unfortunately no one is home, but I take the chance to look round and check it all out regardless. Looks and sounds like a great place to stay in the dry season! The views are amazing, and with good home cooked food and Wifi Internet you'd be hard pressed to go wrong.


This is the sign your looking for


The views as you climb...


The rancho's camping area...


Now thats a room with a view!

With no luck at the ranch I head back down the hill and south a few KM's to the small unadulterated surf hangout of Uvita. The local hostel looks like a great place but is full up so I end up getting a room down the road a ways at the “Gato Cabana's” Nice enough place with clean rooms and I managed to negotiate a fair price.



A quick ride down the road finds me some groceries (fruit and drinks) as well as a delicious (or maybe I was just hungry) fried chicken dinner before I settle in for the night vegging out to some satellite TV and writing up ride reports.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:56 PM   #165
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what a nice report. if i was a teacher i
d give you an A!
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