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Old 12-29-2011, 09:29 PM   #181
sion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymatt43 View Post
Kristen attempting to trim my beard (which is currently out of control):


Look at that thing:

meh...

THIS:



is an out of control beard...

nice update...keep em coming
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:53 PM   #182
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Location: Texas, USA
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San Antonio, TX - Preparations for South America

Travel Plans for us and the bike:
So, as we mentioned before, we had been planning all along to ship our rig down to Colombia and attack the continent from there. However, as many of you also know, things rarely go according to plan.

Thankfully, the first thing I decided to do was to hire Gaston from SAmericaXplorer to help with shipping. It has been my best decision thus far as this whole process is a bit intimidating to a rookie like myself. We haven't completed the shipping yet, obviously, but Gaston has been super patient and very helpful thus far. In fact, he prompted the extreme change in our plans.

Up until yesterday, we had already booked a flight to Cartagena, Colombia for January 19 and were going to be shipping our bike on the 13th from Houston, TX. I was chatting with Gaston, however, and he was asking me about our plans. I told him one of the most important locations that we were looking to photograph was in Patagonia and that we were planning to make our way down there by mid-April. He politely let me know that we were pretty stupid to visit during the onset of winter as many places will not be accessible. So, with that valuable information (and a frantic bit of research on the average weather temps throughout Chile and Argentina) we decided that we would ship our rig to Valparaiso, Chile instead of Colombia and make our way north from there after hanging out in Patagonia. Plus, it gives us a chance to miss the rainy season in Bolivia and Peru and make our trip overall more pleasantly cool than sweaty. I've also heard the weather is totally unpredictable so all plans are futile.

A Tip on Orbitz.com:
I bought our tickets to Cartagena on Orbitz for $475/person, which after looking for weeks was actually pretty good. However, I spent an hour and a half on the phone trying to get our flight canceled with some sort of a refund. My tip: the flight insurance is bunk. If you have a serious issue, it MAY help you get some money back, but for normal day to day cancelations, it's not very useful. And even during serious issues like the death of my brother-in-law, my father-in-law had to send in a copy of his actual death certificate in order to receive a partial refund on a flight he had to cancel. Either way, make sure you read the fine print. Thankfully, orbitz refunded me some but I had to pay $200/person for the cancelation. I only received about $500 back. Horrible.

Crating:
Thankfully, we hadn't already made the shipping plans for the bike, so no cancelation was necessary there. I have been having quite an issue on trying to find a place to get our rig crated, however. My rig is super big: it weighs in at about 1260 lbs and we'll be tossing in another couple of hundred pounds of gear so we're estimating about 1400 lbs for the whole deal. On top of that, the wheel base of this thing is bigger than a SmartCar. It measures out:
L 2.43 meters x W 2.06 meters H 1.34 meters. It's enormous and there's not much I can do to slim it down without really tearing into the setup. I've heard of people getting their bikes crated for $300, but between Gaston and I, all the quotes we're getting are around $750! Not great. I'm going to be checking into some companies from San Antonio but I'd really like to get it done by someone in Houston for convenience.

Either way, for those that don't know (I didn't), after crating, the bike has to sit at the port for 72 hours before shipping for customs. So, since we are planning to ship the rig on January 13, I really should have everything ready to go by next week. So many things to do, so little time...

Ocean Transport:
I decided to ship via ocean solely due to price. Shipping via air is ridonculously expensive. For our size of a crate, to Colombia we were quoted $850 and 5-8 days of travel. For Chile, however, we have been quoted $1700 and 25 days of travel! The crazy thing is that if we shipped from Miami, it would be nearly half as expensive... Gaston is currently checking into this price discrepancy because it really makes no sense.

This is where you might be asking, why don't you guys just ride it down through Central America? And I have an answer: I know Central America is probably amazing and awesome and rad and whatever else, but we have both been more intrigued by the west coast in South America and want to spend our time and money there. Plain and simple.

Flights to Lima or Santiago?

The flights this far south for our bodies are much more expensive than to Colombia. We've thought about flying to Lima because it is WAY cheaper than flying to Santiago and a bus ride down would be relatively cheap. Still looking into it.

Preparations for the BMW:
Our 2 1/2 months down the east coast was very productive in helping us pinpoint what we needed to change as we move towards countries that would provide additional challenges to get parts, accessories, etc. Here are some things that we have changed to the rig and ordered:

Padding for our nose box:


*



With the use of an old egg crate mattress pad and some adhesive, Kristen padded the crap out of her box up front that holds some sensitive equipment. That combined with a few internal bags makes this box way more useful and safer for our stuff, especially on bumpy roads.

*

Parts from BMW:

I took my rig to our local dealer, Alamo BMW, and chatted with their head mechanic and parts guys for about 2 1/2 hours about extras I should take for the bike. Basically, a just-in-case list. Here's what we came up with:

- Fuel Pump Controller
- Front and Rear Brake Pads (due to the weight of the bike, braking wears a bit more on the pads)
- Oil cap and various O-rings
- Alternator Belt
- Various Light Bulbs (I've already had my main headlight go out)
- Octane Booster and Fuel System Cleaner
- Repair kits for Wheel Bearings
- Air Filters
- Various cables

I am really concerned about fuel quality and considering there is no fuel-filter on the GSA, I'm even more concerned. I could have completely gone off and bought all sorts of crazy crap but I'm not really interested in carrying things like another final drive or clutch as I'm not enough of a mechanic to do anything about major issues. Plus, the cost of these parts was almost more than I can bear... ($150 for brake pads!!! What?!?!?).

*

On the back of the rig, I'm carrying the original BMW rear wheel. I'm going to be putting some kind of knobby tire on it for off-road use (when the tread on the auto tire won't be enough) but I haven't decided what yet. I've been looking at a Metzeler Karoo that I would only use if I needed it:


I'm also going to take along 1 or 2 extra front tires as this rig seems to eat them alive.

*

Accessories:
For some reason, I didn't decide to get a fuel can holder that locked when we had everything built. Pretty dumb. Thanks to this forum, however, AT Overland was recommended and those guys are amazing. I called today and tried to order something like this:


I was told that they were sold out, but they searched the shop (even though they were technically closed) and found me an older style (steel instead of aluminum and powdercoated black) which they gave to me at a discounted price and made sure that it would get to me in time for shipping. Great guys and highly recommended.

*

I bought one of these plus a small (tiny) boat anchor for help in a tight spot:


I also bought (or received as a gift from my uncle with some direction) a waterproof bag with backpack straps from Bass Pro Shop that was made for a kayak to replace my trusty North Face duffel that has seen it's last trip. It's just not water resistant enough for motorcycle travel. I'll have to get a picture of it, because it's pretty tough looking and I think will hold up well.

Stuff for Us:
The big purchase was some new rain gear - and we got the goods. Our old Colombia gear was really deteriorating and our families all pitched in for Christmas and bought us some super nice gear. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you guys, but we got some Arcteryx jackets and pants! It is super high quality stuff and will hopefully survive the rain and mud for a long time.

*

We also bought about every Lonely Planet book we could and a ton of maps that will hopefully be relevant (a fellow ADVer, Effrain recommended them). We have a Garmin, but I don't know how useful it will really be.


*

My father-in-law also got us a Spot Connect so that we can send texts and short emails from anywhere, supposedly:


There is a ton of other gear that we have been compiling, but I'll have to save the rest for another post as I'm pretty whipped at the moment. I'll add to this post when I get the chance.

For now, I'm going to go enjoy a midnight stroll down the beach with my wife and dog while we're down at the coast. Goodnight, ladies and gents.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:55 PM   #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sion View Post
meh...

THIS:



is an out of control beard...

nice update...keep em coming
Holy crap, dude! Wow, I think my beard just shivered in fear...
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:30 PM   #184
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just read straight through. your photos and commentary are excellent, thank you so much for sharing your journey.

and you're a lucky bastard to have a wife so compatible. blessed really.

best of luck on the next adventure, i'm IN!
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:49 PM   #185
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Shipping

If I may suggest , try checking the cost of a full refrigerated (in our jargon - a reefer) ("as dry" or NOR) container it will discount the cost of the crate.

There will empty reefers going back to chile and little suitable cargo to go in them -
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:11 AM   #186
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Just done with one adventure and immediately on to the next... that's the spirit

Thanks for sharing the prep with us, very interesting stuff indeed
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:07 AM   #187
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fuel stabilizer

Hey Matt,

I'm sure Texas doesn't have this problem, but the crap gas they feed us here in California goes tango uniform in as little as a few weeks. I don't know if it would really affect a fuel injected bike as much, but it sure can clog carburetor jets in a hurry. I use Sta-Bil in all of my bikes if they are going to be sitting for more than a few weeks, as I've had too many clogged pilot jets to mention. If you haven't already done this to your Ural, you should do that before you split. Speaking of the Ural, unless someone's going to be riding it for you regularly, I'd set it up for long term storage. I'm sure some of these northern, cold-weather inmates can walk you through that process.

Don't trim the beard, dude!

Happy New year to the both of you!
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:34 AM   #188
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tagging along...
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:39 AM   #189
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Quote:
I am really concerned about fuel quality and considering there is no fuel-filter on the GSA, I'm even more concerned. I could have completely gone off and bought all sorts of crazy crap but I'm not really interested in carrying things like another final drive or clutch as I'm not enough of a mechanic to do anything about major issues. Plus, the cost of these parts was almost more than I can bear... ($150 for brake pads!!! What?!?!?).
Matt....I know it's important to support your local BMW dealer but oftentimes when going on a trip like yours.. a bit of savings is not insulting to the dealer

Most parts can be had from Beemerboneyard..for reasonable prices! http://www.beemerboneyard.com/

As for the fuel filter on the 12GSA.... it's a lifetime filter, It is integrated into the fuel pump and the entire pump must be replaced to change the filter.

I have not heard of one single failure resulting from this situation, and no one had been left stranded.

As for tires...Karoo TKC 80 mototires...hmmnnn....they'll get hacked pretty quick.

You can get these autotires for offroad/on road use...pretty aggressive and long lasting. From :

http://www.tiresbyweb.com/tbw_tirese...=1&choice2=All

*

Safe travels.....Cheers Amigo

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Old 12-30-2011, 01:23 PM   #190
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:26 AM   #191
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Here's something you might want to have in your parts kit just in case. A plug for the oil sight glass hole, in case it starts to leak or pops out. I've carried one of these in my toolkit for years which is probably why I haven't had to use it yet.

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Old 12-31-2011, 05:56 PM   #192
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Hey Mat &Kristen!! How do you'all like this fog? Hard to fish and bird watch when you can't see more than a 100 feet. Wife and I are at our home at the coast as well. Happy New Year and good luck on your trip!!!!!

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Old 01-05-2012, 07:46 PM   #193
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Eek

Matt,

BMW injectors and Sta-bil- not a good mix....
Don't use Sta-bil or any un-approved additives in your BMW. Most of the info here is the results of stuck injectors after long term storage... still it is something that you need to look into....

read up here..... Lots of info....

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=562199&page=46

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelWisman View Post
Heres a pick



I saw this about a dozen times. Not every bike that had Sta-Bil in it looked like this but every time I saw this, the customer reported storing his bike with Sta-Bil.

I have NO IDEA what it is, almost looked alive and if you ran a screwdriver through it you could pull out viscous things the consistency of under cooked egg flower soup.

Every time I saw this the pump and injectors were stuck.





Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Dub View Post
Hey Matt,

I'm sure Texas doesn't have this problem, but the crap gas they feed us here in California goes tango uniform in as little as a few weeks. I don't know if it would really affect a fuel injected bike as much, but it sure can clog carburetor jets in a hurry. I use Sta-Bil in all of my bikes if they are going to be sitting for more than a few weeks, as I've had too many clogged pilot jets to mention. If you haven't already done this to your Ural, you should do that before you split. Speaking of the Ural, unless someone's going to be riding it for you regularly, I'd set it up for long term storage. I'm sure some of these northern, cold-weather inmates can walk you through that process.

Don't trim the beard, dude!

Happy New year to the both of you!
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:53 PM   #194
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Wow, what an incredible report. I've enjoyed every bit and am looking forward to following your travels and more amazing pics. Godspeed and be safe.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:19 AM   #195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighTechCoonass View Post
Matt,

BMW injectors and Sta-bil- not a good mix....
Don't use Sta-bil or any un-approved additives in your BMW. Most of the info here is the results of stuck injectors after long term storage... still it is something that you need to look into....

read up here..... Lots of info....

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...562199&page=46
Wow, good to know. I hadn't heard of this.
I'd still recommend it for the Russian bike.
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