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Old 08-16-2013, 12:20 AM   #1261
mountaineer
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Gene and Neda, thank you for taking us along your wonderful trip.
Safe travels!
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:40 PM   #1262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdubbin View Post
Gene's new size elven BMW boots are here in Canada.
Ok, now that made me LOL literally!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent T View Post
This far into your journey, how are your bikes holding up?
I know I'm going to jinx ourselves, but the bikes have been doing remarkably well! We are keeping up with our regular maintenance on the road and every dealership we've visited on our travels has been really good to us. Aside from tiny problems, there hasn't been anything that has forced us to stop or delay our riding. Just small stupid stuff:

- I had a bad habit of riding off my center stand at gas stations. With all the weight I was carrying, one of the bolts that held the stand to the bike snapped off in Alaska. I don't ride off the stand anymore.
- The plastic low-beam lightbulb connector on my bike melted. Also, the R12GS eats lightbulbs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I go about 12-15,000 kms each bulb. I've talked to other owners and they have the same problem.
- My gas cap hinge broke, but that's okay because now it's easier to gas up because I can angle the nozzle better. Most R12GS owners mod the gas cap and rotate it 180 degrees so it flips up towards the handlebars, now I don't need to! Just have to be careful not to lose the cap!
- Neda's bike developed a rattle on warm/hot ignition, replaced the cam chain tensioner. Not sure that was the cause though, still happens intermittently and only when the bike is already warm.
- Biggest problem was the final drive crown bearing on my bike, San Jose spotted some lateral movement in the rear wheel, fixed before it became a larger issue

So far we're really, really happy with our choice of bikes. We've been BMW riders for years now, the F650GS is Neda's fourth Beemer.
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:11 PM   #1263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
- Neda's bike developed a rattle on warm/hot ignition, replaced the cam chain tensioner. Not sure that was the cause though, still happens intermittently and only when the bike is already warm.
It's a common "problem" with the F800 (the F650 twin is an 800cc twin same as the F800 and F700 same engine different tuning) series of motor. The way the cam chain tensioner is designed it does not have a ratchet mechanism to maintain tension after engine shutdown..........like most other bikes have.

The spring that is under the tensioner bolt is just there to keep a little tension on the chain after the oil pressure bleeds off and the tensioner plunger collapses again. Then when you crank it back up the tensioner has to pump back up to provide full tension on the chain.

You'd have to put a new cam chain in the bike every 20,000 miles or so to fix this "problem". It's honestly a non-issue and just a noise these Rotax 800s make. My F800ST did it on every start up till the oil pressure picked back up. You should have heard it directly following an oil change. Thought it was going to explode everytime

The "new" helper spring in the parts inventory helps a little. The coils are a little thicker and the spring rate is higher IIRC but Neda's bike should have been new enough to come with this "new" part from the factory.
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:33 PM   #1264
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Have you seen Maximon"or San Simon if not ask a local school kid who he is ! It's a fun story.
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:49 AM   #1265
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Have you seen Maximon"or San Simon if not ask a local school kid who he is ! It's a fun story.
Yes! When we were studying Spanish in Xela a few months ago, we took a field trip to a San Simon shrine. We even burned candles at his feet like the locals did! It was a really fun story and made learning Spanish a bit more enjoyable for me.





More pictures here: http://www.ridedot.com/rtw/83.html
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Old 08-17-2013, 11:33 AM   #1266
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He is my kind of saint a smoking, drunken, womanizer.
Of course I do none of those things.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:03 PM   #1267
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Just looked at your RideDot site for the first time in the year I have been following your travel. Lots more pics. You do an amazing job of documentation and photography.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:27 AM   #1268
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/101.html



First things first: We're celebrating ONE YEAR ON THE ROAD!!!


Nothing says Party-Time like coconut cream cake. Mmmm...!

I think the cliched thing to say is that "It's hard to believe we've been traveling for a whole year", but it's not that hard to believe at all. We've seen and experienced so many different things in the last 12 months that it's quite the opposite - it's hard to imagine that it all fit in a year! Especially compared to our lives before, where larger-than-life adventures had to be shoehorned into 2-3 week boxes between the crates of sedentary working existence.

Marking the passage of time while outrunning the changing seasons also contributed to this very concrete feeling of time being a rushing wave that we were constantly trying to ride on top of or ahead of. I imagine if we were just traveling through somewhere tropical, our temporal senses may have been more subdued.


Ride all day, drink all night

Central America is a funnel. While travelers roam across the north or south continents, they may occasionally bump into each other at nexuses like motorcycle meets. But when the land narrows like an hourglass to the thinnest point in Panama, right in the centre, these traveling grains of sand start bumping into each other as they line up single file to hoist their bikes onto sailboats or pack them into cargo containers to fly between one side of the hourglass to the other.

We've been keeping in contact with other travelers online and while we were in Antigua, we met up again with Andi and Ellen, the Two Moto Kiwis from New Zealand. We originally met at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in California last October. We also spent the evening with Phil and Jayne, from The Ultimate Ride, the brother and sister motorcycle duo whose goal is to play Ultimate Frisbee everywhere they travel. We ran into them briefly last December in La Paz, Mexico at the ferry docks crossing to the mainland. Also with us that evening was Julio, AKA GauteRider, an Austrian ex-pat who now lives just outside of Antigua and plays host to pretty much all the motorcycle traveling grains of sand that trickle by his front yard.

Having dinner with Andi, Ellen, Phil and Jayne was a riot of a time, comparing stories of our adventures. We all started about the same time last year, taking very similar treks from north to south and while other riders race towards the Antarctic for December 2013, we joked that our three teams were in a much different competition against each other: To see who could ride the slowest down to South America! Poor Andi and Ellen have been besieged with breakdowns and injuries and Andi was actually laid up in Antigua mending a broken rib. As for Phil and Jayne, they meander and dawdle worse than we do! All of them accused us of cheating because we had actually made it to South America, but then took a detour through the Caribbean to end up back in CA again! I guess you don't technically lead a slow race if you lap someone...!


Ellen and Andi on the right teaching a local restaurant owner how to make sushi


Ellen's sushi is famous amongst motorcycle travelers, she makes it everywhere they stop for hosts and friends

While Phil and Jayne didn't stay too long in Antigua, Andi and Ellen are spending a month here so we hung out quite a bit, getting to know them. They are a very friendly and genuine couple, and it was really nice to be able to celebrate and commiserate with folks going through the exact same things we were going through.


Two Moto Canucks!

Other than trying to reach certain destinations, we've been without a true quest our entire trip. But Andi gave one to us. Fetch his motorcycle from Guatemala City, where he left it after his crash last month. He couldn't ride it back himself because of his broken ribs. GC is only 45 minutes away, and we needed to get Neda's bike serviced anyway, so with a little help from Julio, we managed to do all this in a single trip.

Andi and Ellen have got a beautiful KTM 950SE that they've nicknamed Maya. I make fun of KTMs all the time, but I used to have a KTM dirtbike and Neda and I spent many weekends on the trails around Ontario, roosting each other and crashing into trees. Thankfully the road between GC and Guatemala is very twisty and I got a chance to test out the 950SE. It's comparable to the F800GS, similar weight and power but the SE sounds a heck of a lot nicer and felt more flickable than the Beemer. It's very much a hooligan bike, I liked it a lot!


Que es el problema, Maya? No se...

I know from personal experience that KTMs are very finicky and maintenance-intensive. So it wasn't too much of a surprise when riding back from GC, Maya's rear brake seized, forcing us to pull over in heavy traffic. We couldn't pull over safely for quite a distance and when we finally stopped, the rear pads were smoking more than Neda did in Cuba.

I txted Andi to ask him if this was normal. There was a bit of confusion over the phone. Apparently, New Zealand English and Canadian English are not the same, so I pulled out my Google Translate and sent him a Canuck-to-Kiwi translation:

Quote:
Croikey dick, the rear brake's done near knackered! I give the old gal a bit of a kick and whadayaknow, Bob's yer uncle and everything's a box of budgies! I'm feeling pretty chuffed and Neda piped up with an ole, "Good on ya, mate!" so hooray to Guatemala City! We spent a few moments dodging lorries on the roadway, had to tella few to "NAFF OFF" but we got to Antigua all home'n hosed and just in time for tea! Phew, I could really go for a vegemite sarnie, right about now!
To my surprise, Andi understood that perfectly!


Wheeling in Maya into Andi and Ellen's hostel


We had Andi, Ellen, Julio and his wife Luisa over for dinner where Neda cooked up some yummy Croatian dishes.

Something happens when you stay a while in one place: you start growing roots. Our social calendar was getting booked up with people that we met, dinner with a Japanese couple, Miwa and Kohei, who opened up a B&B in Antigua, and hanging out with Andi & Ellen and Julio & Luisa, who hosted quite a few get-togethers in their beautiful home just outside of town.


Julio use to be a chef and cooked up some amazing plantain flambe


Luisa is an amazing hostess and quite the avid gardener


Chilling at Julio & Luisa's
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:27 PM   #1269
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Great write-up guys .... and yes Maya did break down (well at least the brembo part did BUT in fairness to brembo was an ill adjustment from the PO being the main issue ... all sorted now)

Still a huge thanks to Gene and Neda for bringing Maya back without hitting any trees and the coordination of leaving bike at dealerships for servicing etc worked well all round

Although sporting broken ribs we made the most of having giggles with everyone which was great and neat fun hanging with you guys.

We have finally made it over to South America and starting our big look around .... we are now concerned we are ahead of Phil & Jane, Gene and Neda so not going too well to winning the slow race now

Have fun guys and catch you down the track here somewhere
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:43 PM   #1270
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Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
Now I don't want to tip the scales here, but seeing it from their eyes you're rolling around on $18-24,000 dollar motorcycles with fancy gear, and luggage. Nothing screams budget even in my eyes!

The only thing separating you from rich vacationers are flowered shirts and fat bellies.

Yes it's unfortunate, but to them, you are a money grab.

Carry on. I'm sure you'll find some gems where the locals are friendly. Getting off the beaten path (if possible in Cuba) is key.
HA !

Ed-Zackery .... shiny GS and you tell them budget ??? .... try rolling in on old beat up KLR's and then, maybe .....
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:39 PM   #1271
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Just caught up. Really great RR, both the pictures and the writing. Makes me jealous that I can't travel right now; you two are definitely doing it right!
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:58 PM   #1272
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HA !

Ed-Zackery .... shiny GS and you tell them budget ??? .... try rolling in on old beat up KLR's and then, maybe .....
Not to dig this up again, but even a KLR is considered a massive luxury. These countries are capacity limited and strict on imports.


Great update! As mentioned earlier, and I know you are no longer there, but I wish I was back in Antigua, or Guat, or Mexico. Hell, anywhere but the rat race here..
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:05 PM   #1273
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Good stuff
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:30 PM   #1274
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Not to dig this up again, but even a KLR is considered a massive luxury. These countries are capacity limited and strict on imports...

yes, I know ..... 125cc Hondas if you're lucky .... Chinese if not

amazing to see them deliver the shrimp / fish/seafood to the restaurant that will serving it up that night .... one guy even had a 150cc (wow) with a cooler ! ... yes an electic cooler to keep fish fresh.

nice story
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:35 PM   #1275
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Hola Gene & Neda

Thanks for the update, it sounds like you are doing all that is required from trans continental motorcycle travelers, namely meeting great people, appreciating the local cultures, and spreading good karma. Hope you are resting up for another crossing of the Darien soon.
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