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Old 08-09-2013, 05:02 AM   #31
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Youth

Why anyone would want less suspension on these roads is beyond me, but here is a friends bike. He´s lowered the suspension and made the headlight even less effective by lowering the headlight in its cowling and changing the angle. I actually like the look.





Turnsignalectomies are common. And not only the kind where they get ripped off in an accident. Brake light lenses come in blue and green and transparent. LED accents all over the bike in various colors make you more attractive to women as you cruise the streets. Apparently. We all know, of course, that the women generally don´t even notice so let´s just admit that we all do it to get noticed by other men.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:31 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Tom48 View Post
This is one of the best reports that I have seen.
Thanks
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:34 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by ruxix50 View Post
We all know, of course, that the women generally don´t even notice so let´s just admit that we all do it to get noticed by other men.
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:38 PM   #34
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Wow, very interesting RR. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:59 AM   #35
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Our First Ride

I tried to convince my wife that I couldn´t take her anywhere on our new motorcycle for at least 6000 km, but she´s smart. That´s one of the reasons I married her. Anyway, during the initial break-in period of 500 km, they recommend that you stay below 60 kph and not carry passengers. Oops. I hope I didn´t break anything. I did stop every half hour or so, varied the engine speed as much as posible, and didn´t go too fast for too long, but this is supposed to be about our first ride together and not my insatiable need for speed.

Our first outing together. It´s just a teeny bit smaller than our Concours and I ended up having to move the trunk back a bit to give my legs more room. I´d prefer not to have the trunk for the sake of my comfort, but the first time I ever took her out on a big bike, I almost rolled her off the back when I hit the gas too hard.





The suspension handled the empedrado (the rock road) without any problem but the speed bumps were painful for her at anything above 15 kph. When I´m solo, I just stand on the pegs and the bike sails over them. I got smacked a few times before I learned to slow down.

The truck in the picture is about the same vintage as many of the small city buses.

Off we went to Villeta. I had scouted the route and knew what I wanted to show her so 30 km through Ñemby and Ypané on Acceso Sur took us the pueblo. They´ve paved all the roads of Villeta recently and the town seems to be doing well. We visited the city square and talked for a while and then hopped on the bike and headed for the beach on the river.





The sign above the bike says ´the water ain´t good for swimmin.´ With her white helmet and the vest everyone thinks she´s a zorra - a female police officer or ´lady fox.´ Definitely a fox but not an officer of the law. Here are some boats. They often paint them in bright colors.





The river´s high.





A bridge over the creek called a ´monkey bridge´ or puente ka´i in a combination of Spanish and Guaraní:





I crossed one of these bridges on the way to Grandma´s house many years ago. The big ones bounce and sway like the buses on the rock roads.

This tree is a cocotero. Its fruit is a tiny coconut that is most commonly used by boys with makeshift slingshots to hunt birds. The yellow flowers will be replaced by the tiny coconuts.





Barges carrying coal or salt are commonly seen on the rivers of Pittsburgh but they aren´t this big. This one is headed for a port a few miles away.





We spent some time enjoying the beautiful sunshine and listening to the strong breeze through the trees and then headed home. It was a great first ride.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:48 AM   #36
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Great story & pics. Have you relocated to Paraguay or are you coming back to the 'Burgh?
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:32 AM   #37
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Escape from Alcatraz

This bike allows me to avoid the daily trauma of the bus. Wife, sister-in-law, wife´s Mom, cousin, and our two children just left for another family reunion on the bus. They walk 300 m, wait for one bus, get off and wait for another long bus ride, then walk 100 m to the house of her Mom´s sister.

I leave 45 minutes later, take the heavy stuff, stop at the store to pick up some food, and arrive at the same time. This happens a lot since her Mom is one of 9 children and her Dad one of 10. Or something like that. It´s tough to keep track of who´s a cousin and who´s and uncle; who´s blood and who married into the family.

Last night a long-time friend and her sister came to visit. They live about a km away, but the buses stop pretty early so they were hesitant to come over until my wife said that I would take them back on the bike. They arrived and stayed ´til 10, playing the guitar and singing for much of the time. I took them back in two trips and it was a great evening with friends and family.

The guitar and harp are national musical instruments and many family members play often.

This is an evening with just the family:





Gotta take a shower and get moving.


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Old 08-10-2013, 07:37 AM   #38
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Our Return

We´ll soon return the our home in Pittsburgh. It´s always exciting and fun to visit the family here, but our home is in Pittsburgh.

I´ll be sad to leave. I´ll probably cry, but don´t tell my wife. I am a man, after all, and real men only shed tears when parting with a long-time two-wheeled companion.
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Old 08-11-2013, 04:06 AM   #39
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Staying Out Late

Here´s the sunset from Tío Santiago and Tía Vicenta´s house yesterday.





We were able to stay out late last night because not everybody can fit in the cars that other families have. The bike takes a couple of people and it works out pretty well.

This is sunrise from a few blocks away from the in-laws´ home this morning. The sky is perfect.


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Old 08-13-2013, 07:44 AM   #40
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Rain and Cold

I had scouted Nueva Italia and ridden a few dirt roads a few days before and I knew that the pavement ended in every direction. Google Maps confirmed my suspicion that the road from Nueva Italia to Carapeguá was unpaved. Here was the plan:





On the way out, I found the real location of Barney and Homer´s Bar. This must be Springfield!





I also happened upon a Mobile hot dog shoppe - Super Pancho Acceso Sur.





I had carefully checked the weather for about one second the night before so when it began to rain after 10 km, I wasn´t too surprised. I have a mostly waterproof jacket and was carrying borrowed rain pants so I stopped on the side of the road to consider the plan as I struggled to slide into XL rainpants that probably should have been XXL.

15 minutes later I was again astride my trusty steed with a new plan. There was no way that I was going to run an unpaved road on this bike in the rain because when it rains, the streets become rivers and the low points are lakes.





Antonio had recommended the road from Paraguarí to Pirebebuy so I decided to take it - it was paved and supposedly scenic. I set off again with the bike fresh from its second required maintenance at 1500 km. They put in a new spark plug and the top speed went from 87 kph to 93 kph (just above 55 mph). I don´t really know if that is because the speedo is unreliable, the plug was dirty, or they start out with a weak plug to keep morons like me from ruining the machine too early.

The cross wind was pretty strong and gusty and I had to lean forward since the front end was pretty squirrelly and I´ve noticed that, especially with my wife aboard, the little thing wants to do micro-wheelies. It´s pretty dangerous at high speeds with the wind against my tall frame on this naked bike putting more weight on the rear and lifting the front.

Arriving at Paraguarí, I stopped at this Frutería





and looked out at the rain.





That´s as bad as it got. It rained off and on all day, but short boots make good wetsuits for your feet and the wind on a naked bike pushes pooled water through the crotch seams of borrowed rain gear. I was already cold so I bought some chicken soup with huge hunks of chicken with bones and skin on, tons of spices, and a variety of vegetables.





No, that wasn´t my plate. I wish. It was really good. Then I had the best café con leche ever.





The coffee was fabuloso. I think they took a flame thrower to the milk foam on top to caramelize the sugar or something - I´ll have to try that.

I stopped at the Palacio de Justicia on the way out and thought of the Super Friends and their Hall of Justice.





Why are there cerros in Paraguay? Those crazy hills that stick out have to have a geological reason. Here it is.








Every time I pulled out the camera, I had to keep the lens dry so everything was a bit awkward, but the road wasn´t a pond and the scenery was beautiful so that kept me warm. Well, not really, but I didn´t have to feel the cold since my mind was otherwise occupied.

The wind was still pretty strong and it wasn´t getting any warmer





so I stopped at the next gas station to request hot water to drink and keep me warm. I drank half a liter of warm water, filled the bottle with almost boiling water, and stuffed it in my jacket to stave off the cold. Then I thought - A Camelbak could be used as a Camelfront with hot water. Hot water to drink and a water bottle to keep you warm.

A chapel to a saint built on a rock:




The gas station temperature was 9 degrees C - 48 F. I couldn´t catch a pic of the whole thing since only half of the LEDs were on at a time and only the camera could catch it - it looked normal to me until I took the pic.





´My iron horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near´
Do you think that guy in Frost´s poem just stopped to watch the woods fill up with snow? Or was it to empty a full bladder in the middle of a long ride home? I wonder.





Then I grabbed a sour orange. I really like them but nobody eats them so they rot.





It was decision time. It was only around 1 pm. I had to be home by 4:30 for a friend´s visit but if I turned left, I´d arrive way too early since it was only 50 km home. I could continue out Route 2 and see how far I could get but I was already trembling a bit from the 50 mph wind on my chest, soaked feet, wet hands, bare neck, and 3/4 helmet with a visor.





Itacurubi it is, then. I don´t have a lot of time left on this visit and I need to see what the highways are like for future reference. I figured 24 km would be plenty, but the ´press on´ mood hit me when I reached Itacurubi. Maybe it was the cold inhibiting the proper functioning of my brain, but I just had to keep going. All the way to San Jose de los Arroyos where Coca Cola and los chanchos welcomed me.





That´s it. That´s as far as I can get today with the cold and the wet and the time constraints. I was trembling a bit and so tense that the base of my neck was starting to hurt. I left good following distances so my cold fingers and feet could react in time and used every opportunity to sit behind slow-moving vehicles and not go so fast.

Then, during moments of inattention, I would find myself passing those slow trucks at top speed and running hard in spite of the cold.

I stopped for some antiques





which would make great yard art and then I had to stop at a chipería for some hot ... cocido negro. I need to bring a thermos. Or maybe actually prepare for my next voyage.





Las chiperas with their little skirts and blanket-wrapped baskets get on the buses and sell chipa and cocido to the travelers. I stopped to get out of the wind and drink something hot.





I waited until I wasn´t really shivering any more and set off a toda bala for home. 30 seconds later, the shivers came back, but whatever. Nice scene.





I stopped to see this recently overturned truck. It didn´t seem serious since a police pickup and an ambulance passed without pause, but this was at the bottom of a hill on a straight road.





I passed through Aregua on the way home since the secondary roads have minimal traffic and my hands and feet were reacting slowly to brake lights and farm animals. This was my route - 250 km in the cold and wet. It was a great day, but I had to take a hot shower and then wrap myself in a blanket for 2 hours to get myself warm again.


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Old 08-13-2013, 07:46 AM   #41
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Fear

I was scared of the rain and the cold until that ride. I´m over it now.
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:01 AM   #42
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Nice post. You're hardcore!
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:35 AM   #43
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Great RR. Funny about the oranges. My grandfather was from Cuba but his parents were from Spain. He used to make Mojo to marinate a Christmas pig. This stuff is traditionally made with sour oranges so he decided to plant a tree in our yard. Every year my dad would grab one of those beautiful oranges and say "it can't be THAT bad". Every year I'd watch his reaction and decide "Nope, not gonna try one this year either".
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:35 PM   #44
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I like that. I didn´t realize that one could be hardcore riding a tinyChinamachine. Cool.

I used to take epic walks here - ´I´m going for a walk´ and I´d show up 5 or 6 hours later. I went awanderin´ with no money and no water and no plan so those sour oranges and sometimes grapefruit were my sustenance. They have served me well.
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:00 PM   #45
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Shopping

I just went to the supermarket to buy everything for a few days for the family. On the bus. It sucked big time. And it took twice as long as on the bike. Never again if I can avoid it.
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