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Old 01-28-2013, 04:07 PM   #1396
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
The owner of the guest house here in Turbo was concerned that I might have problems if I didn't properly import the bike so I followed his advice and went to aduana in Turbo this afternoon and imported the bike.

It was a pleasant place with air conditioning and the boys inside got right on filling out the paperwork. They didn't need to see the bike. I was in and out and back to the guest house in an hour. I'm starting to like the easy going South American importing.

Got a ride to the DIAN as it is called here on the back of a motorcycle from the guy across the street. He took me on a tour of the barrios. Pretty ingenious shacks made with found materials. Reminded me of New Dehli. Kind of Caribe slum with a friendly vibe.

Bought some wire and duct tape to hold the front end together so I can wheel it back here whenever it comes in to the harbor.

Went to the cajero automatico and withdrew some Colombian pesos for fixing the bike. I'm going to walk down to the pier and see if my ship has come in.

more later….
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:43 PM   #1397
shadman
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Houston, Tejas
Oddometer: 128
I have done a few fork swaps over the years. I have a XR600 with CR250 forks, and an XR80 with RM80 long travel forks. My cost, in both cases, was around $150 in USD. In Medellin, I'd place fair market value of the work at about $20 USD.

Here is my best recollection...the goal is to use only the Super Sherpa stem, bearings, and seals as they were in place on the Sherpa, and then use the entire donor bike front end with the exception of the stem, bearings, and seals. Mounting things like gauges and headlights will require small brackets and some country rigging.

The goal is to use the Super Sherpa parts:

A. Upper bearing
B. Lower bearing
C. Dust seals
D.**** Steering stem ****

Then you need the donor bike parts:

A. Upper triple clamp
B. Lower triple clamp
C. Forks
D. Wheel / brake / tire / fender combo
E. Master cylinder and brake lever

Step 1: Take apart the Sherpa. Measure the length of the frame tube that the bearings sit in. This is critical. With lower triple / stem removed and in hand, find a donor bike with roughly the same size and length steering stem and tube length. You just have to be in the same range.

Step 2: Take apart donor bike. Remove front wheel, forks, fender, and unbolt master cylinder from the bars. DO THIS ALL AS ONE ASSEMBLY. No need to break it apart, it will fit back on as one piece. Remove the lower triple tree with steering stem from the donor bike. Measure total height of steering stem from the top of the triple tree to the top of the stem as a precaution. Take to machine shop.

Step 3: Have machine shop press the steering stems out of both sets of triples, and press the lower bearing race off the sherpa stem. The goal is to press the Super Sherpa stem into the donor bike's triple tree. At this point, looking at the triple trees side by side on the workbench, now you can see that one of the two must happen:

A. If the sherpa stem is too big for the hole, it needs to be machined down to fit the donor triple clamp. or the triple clamp hole bored out to fit the sherpa stem.

or if the stem is too small for the hole in the donor triple

B. The donor bike triple needs a spacer manufactured to be pressed into the triple, then the Sherpa stem pressed into the spacer.

Do NOT leave this up to a local machine shop to fit it together. They will inevitably put the wrong part on the wrong set of triples, then you are screwed.

REPEAT A and B for the top triple. But remember this is depndent on the size of the threads that hold it together on the sherpa stem.

Once the triple tree is complete, with lower bearing race pressed on too, install:

A. Test fit lower triple with bearings.
B. Mount the top triple. Shave as needed the steering stops with a grinder
C. Slide in entire front foks and wheel as one assembly.
D. Use bars from Sherpa, and master cylinder and lever from donor bike.
E. Bolt it up and head south.

I've got a $50 paypal donation to the machine work if it comes down to this....LOL.

Loving your adventures!!!!!!

Mr. P
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:48 PM   #1398
Voidrider
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Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Between Here and There
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Your ability to cope with what has happened and at least maintain a positive calm online vibe is to me is nothing short of inspiring.

The next time something waylays me, I hope I can remind myself of your example and realize my situation isn't finding nearly as bad as finding oneself in a foreign country with a broken bike!
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:43 PM   #1399
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by beerguy View Post
as a fellow owner of a sherpa (2001), it seems only right to help with cost of repairs. must look out for the preservation of the breed. seems you have recovered from the emotional setback and in full vagabond mode again.
Hola beerguy,

I'm still flying your name on the Sherpa tank. It got kind of faded from the saltwater on the way down here to Colombia, so I'll make sure to go over it with indellible ink again and spiff it up.

Thanks for the donation. I really appreciate it. You're my kind of corporate sponsor!

Saludos,
Juan Turbo
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:47 PM   #1400
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadman View Post
I have done a few fork swaps over the years. I have a XR600 with CR250 forks, and an XR80 with RM80 long travel forks. My cost, in both cases, was around $150 in USD. In Medellin, I'd place fair market value of the work at about $20 USD.
Hola Shadman,

Thanks so much for the detailed run down. I will follow your lead and get this sorted out. Really appreciate the blow by blow account. I'm not too bright, but I can follow instructions.

I'll be taking pics and keep you posted how it all goes. Trespalacios has PMed me a map to a place in Medellin to work on the bike, so it won't be long before I start following your excellent instructions. Should be fun.

Muchas gracias amigo,
Juan Mechanico
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #1401
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salsa View Post
No Problema !

That looks just like a bike I lengthened the forks by cutting the lower at that place and added a piece of tubing to it. Now is your chance.

Get all the oil out and slide the leg into the lower unit and weld the lower. In my case I made the extra piece slightly larger than the lower leg and spaced it by putting a piece of paper in it between the steel tune and the inserted piece. I raced on it for a couple of years.

Don
Hi Don,

The Sherpa hub and axle are fubar, so the lowers aren't much good without those parts. I think I'll try Shadman's idea of grafting another front end and wheel on.

Muchas gracias for the creative ideas though. I really appreciate it!!!

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:02 PM   #1402
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voidrider View Post
Your ability to cope with what has happened and at least maintain a positive calm online vibe is to me is nothing short of inspiring.

The next time something waylays me, I hope I can remind myself of your example and realize my situation isn't finding nearly as bad as finding oneself in a foreign country with a broken bike!
Hi Voidrider,

The older you get, the less these kinds of things bother you. You have perspective. These are character building opportunities. I've been through a lot worse. It makes for great stories around the campfire.

You too will be an old coot one day telling your grandchilden, "Why when I was younger I had to walk up hill ten miles backwards..." You know the rest. Old people can't help themselves.

It happens to the best of us.

Glad to have you following along.

Saludos,
Abuelo Juanito
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:10 PM   #1403
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
Buenas noticias
Hey Trice.

The only malas noticias is that the Mayan mascara zip tied to the number plate that I bought from cara Mariposita in Palenque got smashed on the way over the edge. I think it caught the dock and saved the Sherpa from going in the drink. The bottom corner broke off. I'm leaving it on. Not sure if the Inca gods were displeased with the Mayan incursion in their territory or what.

Other than that everthing is working out.

Look forward to getting my socks back when I pass through San Antonio.

Su hermano de otra Madre,
Juan Brisket
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:15 PM   #1404
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
It's been a few years, but in 2006 I stayed at a hostel in Medellin called Casa Kiwi. It is run by New Zelander by way of Seattle guy who is a rider and is very helpful and knowledgeable. He also has garage space which he let me use to do some maitenance when I was there. It is in a neigborhood with quite a few moto shops as well. www.casakiwi.net I have no doubt you can cobble up a fix in Medellin regardless.
Hola AndyT,

Thanks for the info. Trespalacios has sent me another way, but always good to have a backup plan.

Really enjoyed reading your ride report from back a few years. Aren't you in South America again? Hope to see you down the road.

Muchas gracias amigo,
Juanito
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:21 PM   #1405
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRmonkey View Post
Here's another link, the KLX forks may fit okay and offer for $99.

KLX 250 Front Forks

Hope you get her fixed up okay. You have a great attitude about it, so karma will be kind soon I think.
Hi KLRmonkey,

Thanks for the ideas. It would be nice to transplant Kawasaki parts onto the Sherpa so the patient doesn't reject the graft.

Although Hondasaki has a nice ring to it.

Cheers,
Juan Turbo
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:05 PM   #1406
Adv Grifter
on the road o'dreams
 
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Passing ADV Stalkers in California
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Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
They weighed my bags before getting on the launcha and the saddlebags weigh 10 kilos, the duffel is 8 and the topbox is 6. So 24 kilos of gear. Times 2.2 that is a little over 50 lbs. Just an interesting sidenote.
50 lbs.! Sounds like a nice light load. Are you carrying camping gear? Cooking?

I'm so glad to see you're enjoying the delay and mellowing into life there. You're lucky to have that sense of well being. Paradise really.

The blank pics spaces finally showing up with pics. Hope you can secure more good connections to load up the remaining blanks. Nice work!

Can't believe the stevedores crushed your poor bike. Yikes!
Hang in ... all will come good again.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:11 PM   #1407
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
50 lbs.! Sounds like a nice light load. Are you carrying camping gear? Cooking?

I'm so glad to see you're enjoying the delay and mellowing into life there. You're lucky to have that sense of well being. Paradise really.

The blank pics spaces finally showing up with pics. Hope you can secure more good connections to load up the remaining blanks. Nice work!

Can't believe the stevedores crushed your poor bike. Yikes!
Hang in ... all will come good again.
Hi Adv Grifter,

It's just one of those things that happens when you're flying by the seat of your pants. There are no guarantees in Latin American travel. That's part of what makes it fun. I am just as interested as you are to see how this all works out. So far, this is the best trip I have ever taken by far.

I am uploading more pics as bandwidth allows. This free public wifi in the Turbo town square is still quite slow. I promise to fill in all the blanks as time allows though. I am carrying a tent, sleeping bag and pad but no cooking gear.

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:18 PM   #1408
JDowns OP
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Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
Oddometer: 2,652
The Kuna cargo boat option is not for everyone. It is far from easy. It seems to be a self selected few who take this path. It is by far the cheapest way to get to Colombia from Panama if you don't smash your front forks. Even with repairs it may prove to be cheaper than the other options. So far I have spent $340.00 to get from Panama to Turbo. I was willing to spend 4 times that amount a couple weeks ago to fly the bike to Bogota.

Crossing the Darien in a Kuna cargo boat reminded me of taking a 16 hour ride on a third class bus in Nepal times 5. Or the overnight third class slow trains in India. It is rough and ready travel at it's finest. One of those arduous travel experiences that will make you smile when you think back in future years. These are the kinds of travel experiences that I relish. When the going gets tough and you keep persisting and find a way through it is quite rewarding in a masochistic sort of way.

If you are forward thinking and goal oriented and like to know where you are going each day and when you'll get there, this option is not for you. It is also better suited for people with third world travel bikes with a few battle scars. I would never recommend this route for someone with a big newish farkled bike. It will suffer as the Sherpa has with seawater washing over it, chickens roosting on the handlebars, sailors sitting on the bike and moving it around as they unload cargo and finally with a smashed front end. This was due to the rough January weather though. I don't think this would be a problem in the June to November calmer seas.

Although I benefited greatly from reading other ride reports, once you get down here you enter a nebulous foggy world where no one knows anything and there are no clear answers. Because of tides and weather and the vagaries of this route, even the sailors don't know where the boat is going next or how long it will take to get there. It is like asking directions in Latin America. They will tell you something to please you. But you soon learn to stop asking. We'll be here for a while could mean half an hour or until tomorrow.

Because the meals are included it is quite economical if they don't wreck your bike too badly. I was on the boat for 3 days waiting for the captain and 5 days at sea. So 24 meals plus shipping the bike and myself from Carti to Puerto Obaldia for 200 works out to 25 dollars a day. Plus the few dollars I spent on sodas and crackers when wandering around the Kuna villages while the boat was unloading goods.

Then it was 40.00 to Capurgana and 100 for me and the bike to Turbo.

The sleeping accommodations are extremely limited. The boat was filled with Kuna sailors in hammocks along with cargo and livestock. The boat docks every night at a Kuna village in a protected cove so the gentle rocking motion is conducive to sleeping on the roof. It rained briefly every night around 3AM, Rather than set up a tent on the roof of the wheelhouse in a stiff breeze every night, I eventually found it easier to sleep out near the dock under an eave or unused palapa wherever we docked for the night.

The diet consists mostly of rice combined with various combinations of fried plantains, beans, scrambled eggs and a piece of chicken. fish or meat. The Kuna villages we stopped at had limited food options if you wanted a snack. Mostly crackers, cookies, soda and spam were on offer. And the few comedors could cook up a cheap meal of the same ingredients as are available on the boat. Some Kuna villages had water piped over from the mainland which I drank unfiltered with no ill effect. The boat would fill up 5 gallon jugs of the same water and it was fine for drinking.

Bathing options consist of a five gallon bucket of water and a bar of soap or splashing yourself from a tap. Toilet options consist of peeing off the dock or over the rail of the boat. There is a regular toilet on board as well which is flushed with a bucket of sea water. The Kuna bathrooms consist of a small outhouse on stilts over the ocean accessed by some rickety planks extended out from the island.

The ideal profile of a Kuna boat traveler would be a hobo. Someone used to living day to day in the moment letting tomorrow take care of itself, sleeping rough in their clothes, eating anything on offer, not bathing for days, stubborn and persistent, tightwad, able to amuse themselves for hours or days waiting around idly, and able to communicate with people who don't speak English.

There are quite a few ADVriders I have met who fit this profile. But let's face it. If you have more money than time I would recommend flying your bike to Bogota from Panama City for 900 plus 420 for yourself. And if you want to experience the Kuna Yala and San Blas islands it is far easier to sail on one of the gringo sailboats who take reservations for 950 for you and the bike.

I am just a guinea pig trying to document ways that poor people can travel with limited funds.

Siempre su amigo de aventura,
Juan Hemmingway
El viejo hombre del mar
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:40 PM   #1409
marior97
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Location: San Salvador, El Salvador
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Buena actitud Juan Hemmingway !!!!
Saludos !!!
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:08 PM   #1410
Adv Grifter
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Location: Passing ADV Stalkers in California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
The ideal profile of a Kuna boat traveler would be a hobo. Someone used to living day to day in the moment letting tomorrow take care of itself, sleeping rough in their clothes, eating anything on offer, not bathing for days, stubborn and persistent, tightwad, able to amuse themselves for hours or days waiting around idly, and able to communicate with people who don't speak English.

There are quite a few ADVriders I have met who fit this profile. But let's face it. If you have more money than time I would recommend flying your bike to Bogota from Panama City for 900. And if you want to experience the Kuna Yala and San Blas islands it is far easier to sail on one of the gringo sailboats who take reservations for 950.

I am just a guinea pig trying to document ways that poor people can travel with limited funds.

Siepre su amigo de aventura,
Juan Hemmingway
El viejo hombre del mar
Excellent summation; heart felt and honest.
Hints of Ted Simon and Dan Walsh ...
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