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Old 04-30-2010, 05:35 AM   #31
andy750
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Thanks KP - great info! Much appreciated.

good luck!
Andy
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:19 AM   #32
milehimike
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Well it"s Friday so you guys must be on your way to Germany. Time to pick-up your blog rate and remember pictures, pictures, pictures .
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:23 AM   #33
Thorne
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:54 PM   #34
khpossum
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more adventure then I bargained for

2010-04-29:
Yesterday I flew to Frankfurt. Good flight, but as usual it always takes too long. I am good at falling asleep in the plane, I do it about 47 times during the flight, with a total sleep time of 90 minutes. We landed and then I had to make my way to Stephan Knopf in Heidelberg, about 100 miles or so South of Frankfurt, to pick up my bike. Public transportation works well here in Germany, just hop on the airport train and off we go an hour after I landed. However, I did not pay enough attention and was a ways down the track when I realized I should have changed trains. Backtrack in another train and get on the right train, followed by two more train changes. Not a big deal with a clear mind. Not a big deal, lost an hour and a half. That set the mood for the rest of the day, too much in a hurry now for no good reason.

Two more trains and a short walk I found my motorcycle at Stephan’s. I had my bike mostly loaded up before it shipped it from Florida with most of my stuff, but I brought quit a bit more things, some of which I will leave in Holland before setting course for Asia. Before loading everything up I reconnected the battery and tried to start the bike. I hoped that it would just start, but it did not. Stephan had a battery charger, so as I loaded up the bike I got the battery going. After about an hour I was ready to go. Stephan has some apartments available for travelers, but I wanted to get going. Destination: Utrecht, Holland. Distance 250 miles. Easy.

The bike started and off I went. I looked for a gas station, but after about 3 miles out I ran out of gas. I did not realize my fuel was this low. This set the stage for the rest of the day. Oh well, hitched a ride to a gas station with my 1 gallon spare fuel container. I asked a guy on a 1200GS to take me back, although riding on the back of a bike scares the %^%^ out of me. After getting gas in the tank, guess what, the bike would not start. That surprised me, because even the short ride should have been sufficient to get me a restart. No dice however. None of the passing bikes would stop, but eventually a car stopped and gave me a jump (I had my own jumper leads with me). On the road!

After 30 km’s found a gas station along the autobahn, got gas, bike would not restart. Just a short starter grunt. Now there is something definitely wrong. No reason why the battery would not have recharged by now. Checked the battery connections, looked OK, but redid them anyway. Jumped with the help of a car, back on the road, had to get to my end destination for the day. It is only 250 miles, you big world traveller!

Going thru this part of Germany things are hectic, big freeways going everywhere, hectic afternoon traffic and road construction. Lane splitting with stopped traffic is accepted and works pretty well. Not too much crazy lane changing. It seems most drivers are aware of what is going on around them (what a concept) and quit a few go way out of the way to give you room. I only lane split when the traffic is pretty much stopped all the way. That worked pretty well until traffic stopped rather abruptly and I managed to stall the engine and, I know it will come as a shocker, bike would not restart. Now, I am in a pickle, in the left lane of the 3 lane autobahn. I managed to stop traffic, which was not going very fast at the time and pushed the bike to the right emergency lane. Thanks guy in the big truck for protecting me from other cars! Sounds scarier then it really was.

BTW, is is the law here that as a biker, if you are stopped in the emergency lane that you must wear a safety yellow jacket. No problem for me, I always have one on. Lack of first aid kit may also get you a ticket.

Same routine, luggage off the bike, seat off, get starter cable. This is getting easy, almost a routine. This time I was finally smart enough to install the battery terminal extension cable that I just made for occasions like this. The passing bikers that previously did not wave (did not bother me), now all waved at me as they kept on going (did bother me … quit a bit). A car stopped at the urging of my waving jumper cables and he helped me jump start the bike. I put the jumper cables in the tank bag instead of buried under the bike seat. It only took me a third time to figure this major improvement out.

Anywho, needed to do it one more time when the bike stalled at a gas station.

I also had noticed that the GPS continuously would go to battery power and then back to bike power. I also remembered finally that the GPS has voltage indication and I noticed there that the voltage would go up and down continuously. The ABS light came on once in a while as well due to low voltage. By that time I talked myself into a voltage regulator issue. All of this did not prevented me from getting to Holland to my sisters house.

Got at my destination and had a good nights sleep. What a difference that makes! I took my bike to “Joost Motoren” in Utrecht, a small independent shop (GPS coord: N52-07-20.1 E5-02-45.1). Clean, well organized, good first impression. I had made previously an appointment to take care of a few things, but they jumped right away on my bike with the additional issue. Great service. They checked the battery out right away and it showed my brand new gel battery had a bad cell. Good news, no voltage regulator required. They also said the head bearings were ever so slightly notchy. I had not noticed before, but not being the in the mood for more trouble told them to just fix it, please.

At the end of the day they had everything taken care of, including some corroded sparkplug connections they found and gave it a clean bill of health. That is what I needed to hear.

Retrospect. I was way too tired after a long sleepless overnight flight to take it easy and think things thru. After the train “trouble” I was too much in a hurry, for no good reason, compounding things. During the last 7 days pretty much everything I did turned to shit, saying goodbye to my wife and kids for 4 months and this was just one more day like it. Not a good start. I wanted an adventure and that is what I got, no whining, please.

Now, all rested, life is good, the bike runs good, beautiful day in the sun, relaxed. Ready to go. I will stay here for a couple days visiting more brothers and sisters. I forgot how beautiful Holland is this time of the year.

Next week I will take my time wandering down to Italy to meet up with my travel mates near Ancona. It will be about 1200miles in a week. Weather does not look great, but enough time to shelter when rain comes down. Enough time to enjoy the Dolomites and the Italian hill country. Can’t wait. Also pictures then.

KP
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:04 PM   #35
TigerInTheNight
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Hey Karst, Glad to hear you are there. Sorry the bike was acting up but at least you got it sorted out where there are parts and services easily available and not in a couple more months where it would be just the opposite. I've always noticed with myself that when I go on an adventure (certainly nothing ever like this) that it takes me several days to get out of my normal work-a-day mind set and into the more laid back travel mind. It wouldn't be an adventure if everything went well .

Rode with Paul on Wednesday on the Peak-to-Peak (up Golden Gate and down Coal Creek) and had lunch. He's raring to go and should be in Detroit now. You guys take care and keep us updated as you can.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:49 PM   #36
Adv Grifter
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Well, I had suggested to Shu he bring tow ropes for the Dakars (tongue in cheek ) ... too bad he wasn't around to help. Sorry to say, but this is just so typical of F650's. I could leave my bike for a year and it would start. (DR650) Good Japanese made Sealed MF Lead/Acid batteries. Gel batteries are a myth, IMO.

But as I'm sure you know, the F650's continually have overcharging problems and any number of other mysterious elec. probs. Hope you get lucky and miss them all! Now is not a great time to be learning all this!

I've towed, bump started, and taken apart Dakars a few times in bad places for clueless owners. But with careful prep and pre-running they can do OK. Of course you've done some serious travel on this bike before? Bad head bearings? Corrosion? Should have read SmellyBiker's tales!

Best of luck in Ancona (great town!) Lots of Moto boots are made near there. Ask around, maybe you can visit the factory 2nd's store? (1/2 price)
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:50 AM   #37
lisa thomas
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mmm...

sorry to hear of your probs...but don't be too concerned or begin to get too worried about your bike and the probs others may have had....
in all my 7 years on the road I have never ever had a problem with my 650 starting. Once it hiccuped a little when it had been sitting overnight at 16000 feet in temps of -20 c. .....

also never had the 'typical' problems that Adv Grifter mentions that all 650s suffer from (?) "continually have overcharging problems and any number of other mysterious elec. probs"
it can't just be that I'm lucky....cos I 'aint that lucky!

and as far as 'smelly biker' is concerned we personally know Bob and he is not one for preventative or even regular maintenance! (he knows his faults!) but it is a bloody good job that when probs do arise that he has the expertise to fix them.

when you are on this type of trip you need to know your bike inside out - as I do - but in 7 years I've hardly had to do anything apart from the usual consumables.
a quick word on batteries -
We have used both the regular and sealed batteries - and although neither are perfect we've had very few problems with the sealed batteries when compared to the regular battery - not having battery acid leak down your leg when you've had a drop is a big plus. the Hawker/Odessy batteries also crank out a substantially increased amount of power, which helps when you are starting in difficult climatic conditions or have been forced to use a large number of axillary electrical items simultaneously.

IMO they do much more than Adv Grifter give them credit- "with careful prep and pre-running they can do OK"....
rather they are reliable, cope with every type of terrain, weather, crappy fuel (no CAT) - a real tough bike- which loves to be ridden hard.

do your regular maintenance and the trip will be a joy on this bike.

cheers!
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:37 PM   #38
khpossum
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Yes Lisa, you are right. The only reason I bought I sealed battery so it would not drain lying on its side. Not sure what happened here. The bike just sat. Bad battery, I don't blame the bike here.

My confidence in the bike is back to where it was. It is a mechanical device, so who knows what will happen, but there are way too many of these things going all over the place. Most reports show they do reasonably well. That is one of the reasons I got it. I am pretty confident that between the 3 of us we can fix just about all problems on our bikes and otherwise we'll deal with it. When we have a bad day, and there will be others, it will pass. In a week we'll be in the groove and that is what we need.

Shu, are you listening to advgrifter. I get the feeling you are going to buy me my nice cold beer on the campground near Ancona.

KP

PS Tow ropes??? Yes we may need them to drag the DR over the high passes when it can't keep up without enough oxygen, Ha. I get the feeling another beer bet is coming up. I still want to come up with some point system like the Poles did who went thru Georgia. Can't find the RR right now Gonna have to work on that one. It is midnight here. Goodnight.

khpossum screwed with this post 05-01-2010 at 02:54 PM
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Old 05-01-2010, 02:59 PM   #39
crashmaster
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Colonel Kurtz!! Whats up amigo? Looking forward to reading about this adventure from South America. My money is on Shu's DR. Naw, your 650 will be fine. Just dont buy any more Yuasa batteries. Was it a Yuasa? Just a guess since I have had 2 of them with bad cells.......

carry on........

From the ferry to Mazatlan, last year..........

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Old 05-02-2010, 01:51 AM   #40
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Hello Vinnie, In september in Mexico, in April in Panama??? You are slacking, not passing any cars anymore?? I have been slack in following your travels, but I'll read up on it today to see what you've been upto. Good to hear from you again.

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Old 05-02-2010, 05:00 AM   #41
Hondo
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:02 AM   #42
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[QUOTE=khpossum]
Shu, are you listening to advgrifter. I get the feeling you are going to buy me my nice cold beer on the campground near Ancona.

KP

PS Tow ropes??? Yes we may need them to drag the DR over the high passes when it can't keep up without enough oxygen, Ha./QUOTE]

Since you bet me that beer that my bike wouldn't have any battery problems after sitting for 3 months, I'll be more than happy to buy you that beer if you're right.

As far as the tow ropes go, that's more on the order of 'if you carry one you won't use it, if you don't have one you'll need it. but I'll buy you a beer after the high passes as well.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:14 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashmaster
...... My money is on Shu's DR.
Hey Crash- good to hear from you. I appreciate the vote of confidence.

I've been following your trip. It sounds like you're having a good time.

I'm out on the 'road' now, though not on my moto yet. I'm in Ann Arbor for my daughter's college graduation right now but I won't be heading home again. Monday I fly from here to Frankfurt, meet Tom (Don's replacement) and take the train to Heidelberg to pick up our bikes. I'm psyched to be on the move.

...............shu
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:59 AM   #44
crashmaster
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Great to hear from you. Yeah, after almost 8 months I'm still only in Panama. I've been past up by numerous bicyclists and even by one guy I met in Mexico who was walking around the world. Hell, he's probably done by now.

Have a great trip. How is the Russian coming along?
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:57 AM   #45
khpossum
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Digreession: The Loobman

Short digression while I am relaxing:

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a Loobman (google and ye shall find). It claims to lube your chain by manually sqeezing a bottle with some kind of lubricant of your choice once in a while and getting this oil to your chain. The website looks pretty interesting and since the total expense was something like $25 I was willing to give it a try. Not much lost if it does not work. I am always a sucker for gadgets.

What I got was a whole pile of little parts that were quit interesting to assemble. Sit down at your living room table, have a beer, but no more then one beer and go for it. Instructions are given, and 2 hours and with a little bit of mechanical aptitude you will get there. What follows is what wound up on my bike:







It did take a genius to put this all together, not me, but the Loobman guy.

Now what? Tuesday or Wednesday I will load er with some ATF and give it a try on the way to Italy. Will it work?? It may work for road biking. That will be the first part of my next road segment. Will it work for rough road work? I doubt that the oil distributor will stay put. A lot of little fragile parts that will shake from their intended position. It is critical it stays put otherwise the little oil thingies that put oil on the sprocket, on the way to the chain, will get in the sprocket holes when going back even a foot. ... Or the whole thing will just rattle of.

I will keep you posted. As a minimum it was interesting.

KP
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