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Old 11-27-2011, 08:33 PM   #31
peekay OP
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Hi Ken, good question! I planned about 7-8 months for the trip and am about half-way through in time now. I'd like to ride until February or March, and hopefully reach Argentina & TdF. For personal reasons, I'm making this trip about the journey and not the destination, so I'm ok if I stop before Argentina this time around (and continue on at a later time) -- and I'll expand my reasons for that on a subsequent post. Take care!
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:12 AM   #32
NightShadow
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Great pics so far. Enjoy the rest of your ride.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:58 PM   #33
AdventurePoser
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I am really enjoying the pix. I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether or not I should take a DSLR on my next long expedition into Mexico. It's heavy and to be any good needs to be accessible for quick shots, which means on the body or in the tankbag, which could make the camera very prone to walking away. OTOH, my little Panasonic Lumix takes some great shots!

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have a safe trip and keep the pix coming!

Steve in So Cal
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:47 PM   #34
peekay OP
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I'm probably the wrong person to consult re: to carry a DSLR or not... I have like four cameras with me (+ various audio/video gear) -- easily the majority of my luggage!! The other big proportion is my camping gear. Everything else I have (clothes, toiletries, spares, med kit, etc) can probably fit into one tiny bag.

To be honest, I mostly use my point & shoot (I always have it in my pocket) but I have taken some pictures which wouldn't be as nice (from a technical perspective) without a DSLR.
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Old 11-28-2011, 07:12 PM   #35
squonker
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Awesome - I'm really enjoying this RR! Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:06 PM   #36
peekay OP
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Leaving Las Vegas

Thanks everyone!!!

Expedia listed Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas for $50/night -- about the same as the Motel 6 down the road -- so there I went for two nights. During check-in I was "reminded" about the $18/night mandatory "resort fee". Ouch!! I should have known better!!

I had "plans" to do some stock photography in Vegas, but really didn't feel like it. I just wanted to decompress for a day. It's like a vacation from vacation, which made me feel a little guilty to have such a luxurious problem.

Two nights in Vegas was all I could handle, so onwards to California!!

The plan was to "wake up early", ride through Death Valley, then continue to Bakersfield. Those who have met me are probably in tears laughing right now about me waking up early… (maybe early in China?)



I actually forced myself to take ONE picture of Vegas, as I left town

So anyway, it was already 2pm by the time I left Vegas city limits (predictably) and it was definitely waaay to hot now to ride through Death Valley. Change of plans then, it would be I-15 south-west to Barstow (by the Mojave desert) then CA58 to Bakersfield, passing nearby Edwards AFB.



The ride started out normally enough. I'm on the Interstate highway system on a gorgeous day. It's bright and sunny outside, what possibly could go wrong?? (cue dramatic music)

We're gaining elevation and I'm passing a big semi.

And then WOOOOSSSHHHHHHH!!!

Is it raining?? There's water everywhere!!!

I can't see S#*T!!! WTF???

WOOOOSSSHHHHHHH!!! More rain!! But it's green rain!! Smells really funny too!!

This was all split second… I'm now realizing that HOT COOLANT was SPRAYING from the radiator overflow -- RIGHT TO MY F#K!NG FACESHIELD.

NICE F&CK!g DESIGN BMW!!!!


I can barely see anything, in the middle of I-15, cars & semis now whizzing by me and honking at me like mad, then I can just barely make out a %#&@ big ass box in the middle of my lane ahead (why now??) -- swerved and just missed it, tried to keep calm.


I pulled to the right lane and slowed down, wiping as much coolant as I can from my faceshield. I knew I had to keep moving to keep the engine from overheating. I saw a sign for an off-ramp and took it. There was a gas station there and I coasted to a stop.



In-helmet "view". This was after I already wiped most of the coolant off.



Outside of helmet



Coolant everywhere on the bike

The strangest part here is that throughout this "experience" (to this point in time), the bike was not overheating (according to the temp gauge). The gauge stayed right in the middle of its range as usual.

I let the bike cool off a bit. I checked the overflow bottle and of course there was coolant in there. It also meant that there was no point in filling it up at this time, until the radiator cools more and drains the coolant from the bottle.

So I waited a bit more. Since the bike wasn't overheating, I decided to continue on to Bakersfield while keeping a close eye on the temperature gauge.

Back on the Interstate and the bike ran totally fine. No problems, temp right in the middle of the range. How strange!!!!

That lasted until I had to quickly slow down for the California Agriculture Inspection station. The coolant started to spray out again! Well, this time it was more of a dribble than a spray. Then the bike went into overtemp! No!!

I guess by this time, the radiator had lost so much coolant that it could only control the temperature while the bike was moving. I tried to keep moving as best as I could to keep airflow over the rad. Luckily the cars in front of me got waived through the checkpoint, and so did I.

I eventually coasted to a stop, killed the engine, then immediately switched the ignition on again to keep the fan running. The fan did not run. The overtemp warning was blinking like mad yet the fan was not triggered to come on. Another "questionable" engineering design, BMW!! Luckily within seconds the bike was out of the overtemp range.



Just like that, temp back to normal


I waited by the Inspection Station gates until the bike cooled down. After that I limped her to the Super 8 motel in Bakersfield without any further drama.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:59 PM   #37
peekay OP
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Coolant spraying to your face is a well known F800GS / F650GS issue apparently:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=611531
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:25 PM   #38
BeemerChef
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Great report... curious of your DSLR? Thinking Nikon lens... very sharp. Thanks...

Ara and Spirit
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Old 12-02-2011, 01:10 AM   #39
terpaksangaskus
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Wow, really cool adventure..
someday i think you should come to Indonesia.. the road more "wild" here
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:55 AM   #40
hvilla
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Thanks for sharing, ride safe and keep it coming!!!
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:27 AM   #41
Mara Loochezarny
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Nice! The thought came to me once - to visit these places. Dream)
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:50 PM   #42
peekay OP
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A slight diversion into photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeemerChef View Post
Great report... curious of your DSLR? Thinking Nikon lens... very sharp. Thanks...

Ara and Spirit

Great eye, BeemerChef! I'm using two DSLRs: a Nikon D700 and a D7000. I also have a point & shoot, a Canon S95 that is quite lovely for its size. Lastly I have a helmet cam, a POV.HD (which I haven't used very often).

In the early days of this journey I was overly "ambitious" (read: stupid). Just riding to Argentina wasn't enough -- I had lots of "side projects" I wanted to do along the way. Such as populating my blog with travel photography tips.

I overnighted in Bakersfield after my "coolant" incident. Luckily there was gas station near the Super 8 motel I was staying at: I bought some anti-freeze there and re-filled the radiator. My bike was due for service in a few days and I'll have the radiator issue checked by the shop. Next stop was Silicon Valley.

Oddly enough, just as I checked into my hotel room in Santa Clara, I had one of my "travel photography tip" ideas (thanks for the segue BeemerChef). If you've ever tried to take a nice sunset picture from your hotel room, chances are it might look like this:



Just pointing your camera outside might not work well

What you get is tons of reflections from the room, blown out scenery, etc. The result would be even worse if the flash was used.

There are some "tricks" to remove reflections like using a fancy circular polarizing filter, or try pointing the camera in different angles, etc. But an easy one that's often overlooked is simply to turn off the room lights!

Combined with a longer exposure (best with help from a tripod), you can get decent results.



Set for a longer exposure, just need to turn off room lights

And just like that, you have a sunset picture from right inside your room:



Look Ma! No Reflections!

Admittedly, it wasn't the greatest photograph… I think I gave up on the "photo tips" idea after this one.

The U.S. portion of my trip was closing to an end. In the next few days I planned to visit my Bay Area friends, get my bike serviced, head south to San Diego, then finally cross the southern border into Baja.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:56 PM   #43
BeemerChef
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Thanks!!! I use an S-95 (of course now the S-100 is out!!!... more chrome...) for all my close ups and food photos! That camera amazes me!!!
I have many Friends that use Nikon and as I use Canon "L" lenses (an I have no clue why! just started that way...) I truly feel that Nikon lenses are sharper!!!...
Well, we were there about a month ago... If you are passing by Big Bend (Texas) let us (Spirit & I) know... Plenty of space, 4 fire pits, smoker, solar oven... and some great riding and lately incredible Sunsets. My SPOT can tell you where we are... You can cross near by, safe around here.
Be well... always.
Ara and Spirit
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:19 PM   #44
Pray4Snow
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PK,
Lovin' the RR ... keep 'em coming!
As a relative noob to blogging from the road, I'm curious what sort of setup you're using for writing, compiling, and uploading your updates (software, hardware, etc.).
Cheers,
P4S
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:12 AM   #45
BlackBeast
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Great pics, keep 'em coming. Travel safe.
Daryll
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