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Old 07-03-2012, 12:29 PM   #526
Toadride
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Just tuned back in. As always, best pics, best story. Oscar awaits.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:37 AM   #527
J-Dub
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30 years old

Man, you guys are.......

OLD!



Enjoying it, guys!
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:42 AM   #528
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Your cumulative ages still aren't close! Good on ya, keep rollin'!!!
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:15 AM   #529
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HELLmy kids are their age
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Old 07-04-2012, 04:02 PM   #530
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30! man I got a pair of pants older than that
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:22 AM   #531
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My bike is much older than you two


And now, go ahead. . .
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:51 AM   #532
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Been following the brake issue, good to see you may have it somewhat resolved. Hope the fluid did not mess up the cosmetics. I've been on board from the beginning and I gotta say enjoying it. I have the same year bike without the side car and your issues are not a picture perfect postcard for BMW. The side rig issues I understand, the bike issues are another matter.

Saty safe and enjoy.

Terry
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:44 AM   #533
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replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsman View Post
Fantastic pictures, especially of the one with the hand coming out of the earth to hold you. God has you in the palm of his hand it seems. We (Oilivia and I) start off on our own little journey in about a month, leaving the Great State of Texas for the west coast and north fom there. Bike problems are solved for the moment. We have a new to us Goldwing with a Hannigan car. She has to fly back from Seattle on August 16th to go back to work and I will continue the ride for another couple of weeks. or so.
Sounds like you guys are living the dream yourselves. Stay safe out there - I hope the new rig treats you well. There are times I wish I had a Goldwing seat on our bike...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Strong Bad View Post
I have spent my entire life playing and racing off road across the desert in California, Nevada, and Baja. I have ridden & driven hundreds and hundreds of miles in the soft sand on beaches and in dunes. I have paid my dues to the sand Gods amny times digging myself and others out of the soft stuff. However, I have not ridden my 1200GSA/Dauntless rig in soft sand.....yet. But, I believe that many of the same techniques used in a car as well as on a bike will work. Most of it is pretty logical.

Keep your speed and momentum up as high as you feel safe with. Excessive wheel spin is not your friend but speed is.

Don't make sharp or abrupt turns, run as straight as possible.

Lower the air pressure on the bike and on the tub to yield the largest footprint as possible (aka: airing down) You want to see the tire's sidewalls bulge and you may have to go as low as 8 or 10 psi!! The larger footprint will provide bouyancy to help you float on top of the sand. This means that after you get out of the soft stuff you will need to re-inflate your tires (aka: airing up).

If you start to get stuck do not continue to spin the rear wheel until completely buried, rather stop as soon as forward momentum is lost. Again excessive wheel spin is not your friend. Continued spinning only creates more work digging out.

When stuck, remove all sand in contact with everything except the wheels out from under the rig. Your wheels will have made a trench behind them. Dig out the sand in front of your wheels to make a shallow ramp out to the top of the sand. Use anything you can find to line the ramp for traction, sticks or rocks..... ANYTHING that will prevent you from dropping further into the sand.

When you start to drive out, do it slowly so as to get as little wheel spin as possible. In standard transmission cars it is common to put the car in 2nd gear and "ease" out with little throttle. However, I know first hand that that your bike's 1st gear is almost too tall for a lot of stuff, so I don't think using a 2nd gear start would do much except thrash you clutch. I strongly suggest your wife gets out and pushes, or better yet have her on the bike and you push as you are trying to get as much momentum as possible with as little wheel spin as possible.

In Baja, guys racing limited race cars with 2 wheel drive (like Class 11-Stock VW Bug), use strips of carpeting about 5 feet long to line the ramp out. They have the carpet tied to the back of the car on a rope so they don't have to stop to retrieve the carpeting (it just drags along behind until they find a good place to stop and roll it back up).

Finally, don't get frustrated when stuck in the sand, relax and calmly deal with it, don't let it sap your energy. There are two types of people who drive in the sand: those who have been stuck in the sand and those who will get stuck in the sand.

Oh yeah, I would trade you places in a heartbeat, I'll take being stuck in the sand in Bolivia any day over being stuck at work in Southern California! Jajajajaja!
I wish you would have been around to coach me a little before we took off. We didn't get stuck excessively but I did have some butthole-puckering moments, especially right at first. I had ridden some sand and a lot of mud with our Ural in the past but our new rig is so much heavier and made the really deep stuff a bit of a chore. I learned very quickly to let off the gas when the sidecar wheel tucked into the sand and yanked us sideways. I think riding in flat sand would be a complete blast - a lot of what we've just been through was mixed with some rock and washboarding. A bit difficult. We really only had one completely stuck moment. I had to literally dig us out and it took all our energy to get the bike back onto some thinner sand. Anyway, thanks for the info and you're right, being stuck in the sand in Bolivia was nothing to complain about!

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodly1069 View Post
nice!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animo View Post
Happy birthday!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by RokLobster View Post
Happy Birthday to you both!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer View Post
Herzlische Glueckwunsche an Euerem Geburtstag. Besonders schoen es in Sued Amerika zu feiern.

Cheers...
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Dub View Post
Man, you guys are.......

OLD!



Enjoying it, guys!
Quote:
Originally Posted by prsdrat View Post
Your cumulative ages still aren't close! Good on ya, keep rollin'!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ooweel View Post
HELLmy kids are their age
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horton View Post
My bike is much older than you two


And now, go ahead. . .
Gracias Amigos! 30 is just the next step and I have to admit that I sort of feel like I'm heading into my prime...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horton View Post
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday! . . .

Also to Kristen. You didn't tell it. Did you.

HU, the builder of my hack and many other cross or enduro combinations, told me, that the main problem, is the sidecarwheel. Sooner or later you will start driving circels. Cause the sidecarwheel scoops the sand in his own front.

But I will see your expierence.

Today we order the tickets and fix the transportation for our own Chiletrip.
I think you're right about that sidecar wheel. It was definitely our biggest hindrance. Good luck on getting your own Chile trip together. When will you guys be getting here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer View Post
Lower the sidecar tire pressure a bit...then you will more likely skim over sand just like a snowboard...but keep the speed up!
The sidecar wheel is your best friend and worst enemy in the sand... and speed as well! Thanks for the advice. I think we made it through pretty well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by terryckdbf View Post
Been following the brake issue, good to see you may have it somewhat resolved. Hope the fluid did not mess up the cosmetics. I've been on board from the beginning and I gotta say enjoying it. I have the same year bike without the side car and your issues are not a picture perfect postcard for BMW. The side rig issues I understand, the bike issues are another matter.

Saty safe and enjoy.

Terry
I'm not too surprised about the bike issues. They're pretty minor and the weight of the sidecar combined with the type of riding we're doing is a bit brutal on the whole set up. Plus, I'm getting to learn new stuff - can't complain about that!
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:15 PM   #534
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San Pedro de Atacama to Somewhere in SW Bolivia

Day 83 in South America: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Somewhere in SW Bolivia



The only proper way to introduce our time in Bolivia is with praise for Kristen. I know I may have said this before, but I am quite aware that not just any woman would allow herself to ride in a sidecar through the wilds of South America. With that said, we head to Bolivia.

*

From the moment that we began planning for this trip, Bolivia has been a bit of a mystery. I've read through numerous reports on ADV that have helped tremendously, but having a sidecar presents some different challenges. Not that they can't be overcome - there are many on this site that have proved otherwise.

*

SW Bolivia proved to be a particularly difficult area to research. There is some information floating around but details were a bit vague, to be honest. I'm going to try and do my best to fill in some of the blanks that we found and hopefully this will help others in the future.

*

We headed out of San Pedro de Atacama and checked out of Chile early, wanting to have as much daylight as possible. We made our way towards Argentina's Paso Jama knowing that this would be the last pavement that we would see for quite some time.


*

Licancabur Volcano calmly stood overhead at nearly 20,000 feet.


*

To Bolivia!


*

Adios, Argentina and Chile. It's been real.


*

And just like that, we left the route to Paso Jama and headed North towards Hito Cajon, the pass that would lead us into Bolivia.


*

Five miles down a snowy, firm, dirt path is an "immigration" building, which is really nothing more than a security checkpoint. It's important to stop here but there is no real paperwork done - the actual immigration is done in Uyuni. It was here that I learned an important lesson about Bolivia - I can understand them and they can (sort of) understand me! Both Chileans and Argentinians have a certain way of making Spanish seem intimidating. Bolivians, on the other hand, have a no-nonsense way of speaking that I can appreciate. Our passports were looked over, BigBoi was gawked at by the officers and we headed towards Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve.


*

Another several miles leads to the park entrance where we payed a fee of 300 Bolivianos (about $40 USD) and we were free to explore.

Suddenly, reality set in.

The word “park” is used loosely when compared to those in the Argentina or Chile. We quickly learned that there is no real, defined, main path. There are multiple options, some more travelled than others, and seeing as the map was about as generic as maps get, I was fortunate that Kristen has recently become an expert navigator. It was good to have read CrashMasters' report of the park and to have known that the area is a bit of a free-for-all if you want.

With perhaps a faulty confidence, we headed North.


*

We quickly ran into Laguna Blanca, the first of many mineral-rich lakes that dot the desert landscape.


*

Why yes, that is ice you see on the lake. Winter + 14K feet = cold.


*

It was here, only about 10 miles into Bolivia that BigBoi finally shed his sidecar fender for good. The welding job that we had done in Santiago didn’t hold and seeing as we had hundreds of miles of rough roads ahead of us, we made a decision.


*


Farewell, my friend. Time and time again you attempted to serve us but it just wasn’t meant to be. Enjoy your new life in Bolivia.


*

We pushed onwards.


*



*



A few more bumpy miles down the road we met Laguna Verde. It’s green color comes from extreme levels of lead, sulfur, arsenic and calcium. These high levels allow it to remain liquid even when the temperature drop to as low as -6F. As you may notice, there is ice on the surface. (Foreshadowing?) Coming to the lake also brought on a new realization: the first of many water crossings.


*



*

This meant getting my feet wet to make sure it wasn’t too deep... did I mention that at 14,000 feet in winter, lake water is a bit cold?


*

After literally carrying Kristen across on my back (yes, I'm a gentleman) I had my first water crossing in BigBoi.


*

Not too deep, but big enough rocks on the riverbed to dent the undercarriage.


*

One of the main drawbacks of our sidecar rig is it’s low clearance, partially due to the weight (lots of CliffBars and Peanut Butter). The sway-bar is quite low and the box that holds the battery is also in danger of getting wet and pelted with rocks, sand, etc. I think if I could go back in time, I would have had it designed so that everything sat higher off the ground - something that was more of a true enduro rig. Over the next few days, we put our rig to the test.

*

The next several hours introduced us to a variety of different conditions. Deep gravel which pelted the undercarriage of the sidecar while tossing us about:


*

Sand mixed with sharp rocks that has built up between the tracks which made it pretty difficult to navigate without beating up the rig:


*

...and the treacherous sand/gravel. Having an extra wheel is a bit of a hindrance in these circumstances. The bike’s wheel drives the whole rig, but the sidecar wheel often gets caught up in soft spots tugging BigBoi sharply to the right. I quickly learned how to ride sideways, with varying success:


I personally found the first couple of hours just past the 2 lakes to be very difficult. I had yet to learn that there is a heavier travelled route that frankly sucks to ride on due to the washboarding, but it can help to get around some of the heavier sand on the two track. We spent a lot of time off the beaten path, but sometimes we had to rejoin the main path just due to fatigue and time restraints. I think a good rider with a solo bike could fly through the deep sandy sections...



*



*



*

The remoteness began to take on similar qualities of the Mars-like landscape around the Dempster Highway in Canada.


*



*



*

Many hours and about 40 miles later, we arrived at the Termas de Polques, a natural thermal bath that happens to have a small restaurant and bathroom facilities. Seeing as these were the first buildings we had seen since entering the park and knowing that the next facilities were miles and miles away, the setting sun convinced us that we should try and sleep in the area. We first discussed camping next to the restaurant until we were informed that the temperature easily dropped below zero at night. Enter Julian, a 21-year-old German bicycling through South America. He had been traveling through the area for a couple of days and confirmed the fact that it was really, really cold to camp outside and he was obviously much tougher than the two of us. With his help, we convinced the owner of the restaurant to allow us to sleep on the floor. Victory!

With that settled, we hopped into the thermal baths with a couple of local kids:


*

Our view from the baths:


*

We eventually watched the sun go down over the lake.


*

As soon as the sun went down, the temperature plummeted. We huddled inside the restaurant and were treated to a dinner of llama steak and soup (I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture). We then curled up between the tables in our sleeping bags and blanket that we purchased in San Pedro...


To be continued...


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Old 07-09-2012, 03:50 PM   #535
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Day 84-85 in South America: Somewhere in SW Bolivia to Uyuni

Day 84-85 in South America: Somewhere in SW Bolivia to Uyuni, Bolivia



The next morning was a bit of a rude awakening. Apparently, our gracious hostess served breakfast to many tour guides and their clients starting at around 7:30 AM. So, at about 6:30 AM, we were asked (told) to pack up our things and kindly leave. We walked out to find our bike covered in a thin layer of ice with the thermometer reading 4 degrees. In case you didn’t get that; it was 4 degrees above zero. With nothing else to do but jump on the bike and plug in our heated gear, we slowly convinced the BMW to start and headed North.



*



The main route to Laguna Colorada eventually splits off to the East, but it's important to go past where it separates and head a bit further to Apachete (sp?) and the Aduana (Customs).

We found it, thankfully, and were subsequently held hostage by the extremely friendly Customs agent who had Kristen take his picture in various poses next to the bike for the next 45 minutes. And in case you didn’t notice, that sign says 16,500 ft.


After Customs, we cut back South and met the route to Laguna Colorada. I am fully aware that these roads are frequently changing, but I should say that I think there is a good way and bad way to get to the best views for the lake. The very first path we came to brought us around the West side of the lake and it legitimately sucked. Full of nasty sand/washboarding it must be the main route that all the 4x4s use.


Thankfully, the red waters of Laguna Colorada kept us company for much of the way.


*

The lake is bright red due to the algae and plankton that live in its waters. Perhaps more apparent are the flamingos that breed here in the 80 cm waters that do not freeze unless under extreme conditions.


After wandering for a bit, we realized that we actually wanted to exit the park from the other side of the lake. It's possible to leave from the NW side and past the piedra de arbol, but we had other plans. So we backtracked along the nasty washboard for a bit until we could jump on a smaller 2-track that was super sandy (I admit that I got us really stuck, like it took 25 minutes to dig us out stuck) but it hugged the edge of the lake and revealed a frozen water crossing and some llamas.


*



We exited the park and headed NE towards the town of Villa Mar where we were planning to stay for the evening.


*

After an hour and a half of riding in some long stretches of deep, fine sand I finally got the hang of it - probably because it was very uniform as opposed to filled with rocks, etc. It was a blast, actually. My arms were tired but before I wanted it be over, we came across the Salar de Coipasa (salt flats).


*



*



*



Right around the salt flats, it became pretty technical for me. Some pretty steep grades filled with everything the road could throw our way. Again, for a solo biker it may not be as tough but I was personally working hard.


*



*



As the sun was beginning to head towards the horizon we came across a particularly gnarly looking water crossing. Not deep or wide but full of large, jagged rocks. Just as we were about to brave it, four touring groups came by in 4x4s and cheered us on.

It was here that I absolutely jacked the rear undercarriage of the sidecar body. There is now a nice dent in both the body and the swaybar. It's always the unassuming crossings that hide the nasty secrets.


*

Sharing such narrow roads with buses is a pleasure.


*

Just a dusk we finally hit Villa Mar. The last 10 miles or so were pretty difficult with the mound between the two track so high with rocks that I was either trying to balance awkwardly or drag the undercarriage on the ground. Villa Mar is a tiny little place and we were able to ask some local kids to guide us to a place to stay. A little prison-like, but comfortable enough...


*

We woke the next morning and headed out of town. What we didn't know was that there was only one exit and it required doing a fairly deep river crossing. With a load of locals watching I did my best not to drown the bike.


*

We headed on past more llamas and icy water crossings.


*



*



*



*

It is so important to keep hydrated at this elevation...


*



About a mile away from the more prominent road that would have led us to Uyuni, we came to a river crossing that we honestly could not pass. I would have completely submerged the batter for sure. I walked across it twice finding that it came almost to my waist and then walked around the area for about 20 minutes before help arrived. We hadn't seen many people around but luckily a guy in a truck rolled up behind us. When we told him that we couldn't cross, he suggested that we follow him as he knew a better location.


*

For about 45 minutes, he took us way off the beaten path through villages that looked absolutely Biblical.


*



*

I should have taken pictures, but we finally came to a place in the river that wasn't too bad, had three deep crossings in a row with his guidance and eventually made our way back to the main road to Uyuni.


It was kind of sad to be back on firm, hardpack but the salt flats of Uyuni awaited.

**

***For those that might be traveling to this area, here are some generic notes that might come of use that I jotted down while we went along:***

- around Laguna Verde is full of really jagged, rough rocks right around the shore. ride accordingly.

- the last 7 miles to the Thermals is really nasty. coming off of a steep rise in elevation, the track bogs down and is full of sandy washboarding.

- go past signs to Laguna Colorada for Customs. you'll see signs as you go a bit farther N.

- just before L. Colorada are two routes. the first is the better view of the lake but is gnarly. the second is easier (sand only) but is not as good of a view.

- just past the NW park entrance/exit there is a route that will take you to a good view point of the lake. it is super, super sandy there - we got really stuck there and ended up having to unload the bike to dig us out.

- the road NE to Villa Mar is pretty rough in sections, especially after the salt flats. after Villa Mar is cake.

- i would suggest that unless you either like riding in deep sand or are experienced, i wouldn't ride this route. i know there are many, many really good riders in this community so it's probably not a problem, but unexperienced offroad riders could get themselves into trouble. the learning curve with a sidecar is a bit easier in this stuff, so i could learn as we went. we were there in the middle of winter and it was fricking cold - it's a high elevation. pack accordingly.

I've drawn a little map as well. If you need/want it let me know and I'll email it over.

Next up: the Salar de Uyuni.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:01 PM   #536
Abenteuerfahrer
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Fabulous, I am spell bound.

Aren't you proud of your machine?

How are the Vredestein M/S doing and holding up? Have enough grip going through that stuff you guys went?

Cheers...
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:05 PM   #537
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Quote:
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Fabulous, I am spell bound.

Aren't you proud of your machine?

How are the Vredestein M/S doing and holding up? Have enough grip going through that stuff you guys went?

Cheers...
I owe you big time for turning me onto those tires. The difference they made in the tougher stuff was incredible. I don't know how long they will last on the pavement but they are great so far and I would swear by them at this point.

And yes, I am super proud of this bike and sidecar. It is quite the tool, even for work in which it wasn't specifically designed. I say, well done CSM Motorsports!

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Old 07-09-2012, 07:01 PM   #538
J-Dub
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Please keep it up!

Wonderful story and pictures, guy!
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:29 PM   #539
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Do the roads have numbers?

Love the photos! I have enjoyed watching your tour on the Ural to now this! Do any of the roads have numbers...I do google map your mentioned road locations but could you mark your road less travelled for this arm chair reader! Keep up the great photos
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:33 AM   #540
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Wonderful story and pictures, guy!
Thanks brother!
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