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Old 03-13-2012, 03:40 PM   #181
KungPaoDog
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Mike- I browse Advrider almost daily and I can't believe I just now stumbled on your ride report. I'm glad to see that you are living such a great adventure with Jill. Keep up the posts, it just makes me want to leave the corporate life behind all that much more. Best wishes.

-Jake with the beard from Complete & Total Disarray
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:33 PM   #182
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Nice to see the update. I should be along in a few months I suspect and I will be sure and try to look you two up.

John back in Venezuela / Colombia areas by Friday morning.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:31 AM   #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KungPaoDog View Post
Mike- I browse Advrider almost daily and I can't believe I just now stumbled on your ride report. I'm glad to see that you are living such a great adventure with Jill. Keep up the posts, it just makes me want to leave the corporate life behind all that much more. Best wishes.

-Jake with the beard from Complete & Total Disarray
JAKE! It's good to hear from you, my friend! I have a feeling "Complete & Total Disarray" may explain what your weekday routine looks like, but I hope that you are having more fun outside of that. (And honestly hope that you are having some fun while there, too - after all, that's a pretty good group of people.)

It looks like you are still riding that flying brick. Has the weather in CO been cooperating for you to get out and ride lately?

Jill and I will be back stateside eventually. Hope to catch up with you over a beer then. Until then, I'm glad I know how to reach you again.

All my best,
Mike
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:33 AM   #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throttlemeister View Post
Nice to see the update. I should be along in a few months I suspect and I will be sure and try to look you two up.

John back in Venezuela / Colombia areas by Friday morning.
Hey John - glad you are making it back to this continent! We have a hammock with your name on it in Nieuw Aurora, if you are interested in checking out village life in Saramacca. PM on its way with more details...
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:28 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by csustewy View Post
JAKE! It's good to hear from you, my friend! I have a feeling "Complete & Total Disarray" may explain what your weekday routine looks like, but I hope that you are having more fun outside of that. (And honestly hope that you are having some fun while there, too - after all, that's a pretty good group of people.)

It looks like you are still riding that flying brick. Has the weather in CO been cooperating for you to get out and ride lately?

Jill and I will be back stateside eventually. Hope to catch up with you over a beer then. Until then, I'm glad I know how to reach you again.

All my best,
Mike
The Brick is good except for needing clutch work

Work is good, too. Good people, good place, the usual work BS that's easy to ignore in an otherwise cool place.

If you guys do ever come back the first round is one me!
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:57 AM   #186
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Another Suriname Update

It's time for us to take another break from our blog updates, and get back to our Tutu routine. In the meantime, Jill will be keeping the kids in line:



We are excited that a good friend of ours is coming to visit in April, and we are starting to think about our route south in June. I know it's still a few months out, but we do have a whole continent to consider...
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Old 05-31-2012, 04:48 AM   #187
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Tools and Spares list + Equipment review

I never really got around to finalizing the list of what tools and spares we are carrying, so here's the most recent version FWIW:



Tools


Honda XL600V standard toolkit
  • 17 and 24 mm closed wrenches with extension
  • 14/17 and 10/12 open crescents
  • #2, #3 (phillips), and 1/4" screwdrivers with T-handle
  • spark plug socket (necessary for this engine)
  • flat nose pliers
  • zip ties (not standard issue, but almost)
Right ABS tube:
  • Open crescents: 13/15, 12/14, 10/11, 7/9, 6/8
  • 3/8" drive flex handle
    • 12, 14 mm sockets (12 pt)
    • 17, 19, 22 mm sockets (6 pt)
    • 3/8" to 1/4" adaptor
  • 1/4" mini ratchet
    • 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 mm sockets (6 pt)
    • #2 phillips
    • 4, 5, 6 mm hex bits
    • 2" extension
Left ABS tube:
  • 8.5", 11" tire irons
  • 16" compound curved iron
  • mini (5") channel locks
Engine Guard bags:
  • multimeter
  • 12V test light
  • jumper wire
  • Blackburn mammoth 2-stage bike pump (~300 strokes to air up front, thankfully haven't had to air up rear yet...)
  • valve core remover
  • tire patch kit
  • panty hose (not what you're thinking. These are for a pre-filter. I swear.)
  • chain breaker and chain press
  • a few assorted small metric fasteners
  • metal tie straps
  • JB weld
  • 20' section of 3/16" rope
  • 2 - 12 ft cam straps
  • 3 - 1-2' sections of double sided velcro tape
  • Gorilla tape
Spares

  • 2 CDI modules
  • clutch cable and lever
  • clip-style 525 chain master link
  • front tube (and sometimes rear tube)
  • 2 - 30 amp relays (after Venezuela experience...)
  • headlight and taillight bulbs
  • fuses
  • wheel bearings
  • fork oil/dust seals
  • internal fuel filter and petcock rebuild kit
  • 1 L engine oil (used to lube chain also)

While we're at it, following are some brief comments and thoughts about how our riding gear and luggage selection has been treating us:



Luggage

GIVI trunk
Fantastic. Tougher than I thought (it's bounced off some rocks while attached to the bike...). Fits a ton. Lockable.


Nelson Rigg saddle bags CL-850
35 Liters per side. Big enough to hold a small backpack of clothes, couple books, and shoes.


Pros: easily fixable, can be tied on.
Cons: NOT good in rain. The raincovers collect puddles in the bottoms that soak into the bags and drench the contents. Sideloading feature is not fun to access when on the bike. Only lock is a zipper luggage lock (which is enough of a deterrent in most cases).


Wolfman expandable tankbag
Sweet. Huge. Almost too big, but without the detachable side pockets I don't honk or run the starter nearly as often during slow maneuvers.


ABS tool tubes
Fit a roll of wrenches on one side, tire irons on the other. Good spot for the weight, and nice to not have to pack/unpack tools to access anything else. The lids are not watertight when sealed by hand without sealant or Teflon tape. Not a big deal, just have to air them out after big rains.


El cheapo engine guard bags (see below)
Wal-Mart purchased ATV tank bags. You get what you pay for. The velcro attachment points pulled out on first fall. But maybe any bag would´ve done that...


Moose Racing ATV engine guard bags
These are the new replacements for "el cheapos". Still a good deal, and seem a bit better constructed. Time will tell...


Riding Gear


MIKE:


Olympia Bushmaster mesh jacket
Good blend of protection, padding, and breathability. Better for cool climates because of heavy mesh and the insulated waterproof liner. Glad that it's not black. Like the longer length. Still not convinced about the weird safari belt, but it adds pocket space.


Next time would stay with a similar, non-black mesh jacket. I would look for separate liners though - one for warmth, one waterproof. Nah, scratch that. After another big rain storm today, I would look for nice lightweight mesh riding gear and make sure to have enough space for a rainsuit (which is admittedly tough 2-up with camping gear, but there´s a way, I´m sure). Having everything in your pockets completely soak through everytime it rains is just downright silly.


Olympia Airglide II mesh pants
Cut well for taller, skinnier types. Sturdy pants. Waterproof liner works pretty well, but leaks a bit on the side zips, especially in tropical downpours. I would buy these again.


TCX Infinity boots
Awesome. Waterproof but somehow not too hot. Worst part is if not wearing pant liner, and puddles splash into the tops of boots, then the boot stay wet for days. Comfortable for riding and walking. Holding up well.


JILL:


First Gear Kiliminjaro jacket
Fantastic jacket for cool weather riding. Good protection, an excess of pockets, and a really nice softshell liner that actually looks nice around town.


Joe Rocket Honda Racing mesh jacket
This jacket replaced the Kili once we hit the desert heat in Arizona. Super lightweight mesh, still has decent armor (not in the back), and doesn't have a nice liner. Although the liner is waterproof, so the jacket works well in rain. Overall not the same quality as the Kiliminjaro, but the fact that it breaths so well makes all the difference.


Olympia Airglide II mesh pants
Same as Mike.

Gaerne Women's Black Rose boots
Waterproof and comfortable. Jill's happy.

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Old 05-31-2012, 05:38 AM   #188
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Sranang

Man, do I love Suriname and my second home town Paramaribo!!!

Great pics, tnx. Brings back memories.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:20 AM   #189
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noplacelikehome - glad you enjoyed seeing some of those photos. Throttlemeister will be traveling through soon, too, so be sure to catch his RR.

-Mike
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:21 AM   #190
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What lives in YOUR bathroom?

Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably not as cool or as cuddly as sloths. That’s right, sloths. A friend of ours is working for a small NGO here in Paramaribo that rescues exotic animals, particularly sloths and anteaters. Apparently many people get sloths for pets, then realize they don’t want them anymore (I think this is a usual trend for exotic animals as pets), so this NGO helps take care of the sloths and find them new homes. But for now, these guys spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Even while the employees are in the bathroom too. I guess it’s a good timer – if you haven’t finished up by the time the sloth gets to you, it’s time to wrap things up.


(3 toed sloth hanging out in the bathroom. These little guys have clamp-like grips. Once they get a hold of you or anything else, it can take a couple of people to get them to release.)


(Mike and friends)


(sloth crawling at you...slowly. There was 1 female and 3 males locked up together. The female was the first to escape when the bathroom door was open, and tried her best to stay away from those other guys. Poor girl.)


(sloths will apparently even hang off of each other)

The anteaters were also really cool to see. But they live in separate cages and may not appreciate it if you use the bathroom in there.


(a medium sized anteater)


(feeding time)


(splayed anteater


(that tongue is good for anteatin'!)

And despite what you may think, the anteaters were not fed a massive cup feel of ants at each meal. Instead, they get a vegetarian grog that they seem to enjoy all the same.


(get it!)
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:22 AM   #191
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International moto maintenance

Mike took advantage of a trip back to the states (Feb/Mar 2012) to grab a few maintenance items and spares for the TA. Routine maintenance was due, but it was also a perfect time to try to straighten out the front end again (thanks to that mutt in Guatemala and low side in Venezuela). I couldn’t easily track down used bars in good shape, so I sprung for some Renthal aluminum bars to replace the badly bent originals.

Pulling the entire front end apart and reassembling still left a bit of a twist to the handlebars, probably less than 1/4 - 1/2" difference in height of the grips. It seems like the top triple clamp is somehow twisted, but only affecting the right handlebar clamp – I can easily lift off/slide on the top triple clamp with both forks in place. That suggests that the forks, bottom clamp and steering stem are all in good alignment. So I bridged the rubber mounts on the handlebar clamps with big ol' metric washers, and shimmed the right side handlebar clamp a touch to bring the bars into alignment. It feels right on the road, and seems a helluva lot easier than trying to flex that top clamp straight. More to follow if the situation changes…

New steering head bearings were installed!!! This was much needed. The old races were badly worn and had a bad dent just off center line. Ahhhh, steering is sooo smooth now!


(And a quick poll: how many of you have used a machete while changing out steering head bearings? In this case, making a drift out of a screwdriver.)


(cheap tool - all thread and washers - to push the outer races into place)

It was already time for a new air filter, this one was installed with a sexy new feature: pantyhose. Some friends of ours, Daan and Mirjam, told us about their successful use of the pantyhose prefilter on their Africa Twins which they are riding around the world. If it’s good enough for the AT, why not for the TA? And by simply replacing the pantyhose prefilter regularly, the air filter life should be extended substantially.

The forks got fresh fluid. I brought back new oil/dust seals, but the old ones aren’t seeping, so the new ones will be spares until needed. New wheel bearings. And some other wiring updates (manual radiator fan switch installed) and inspections.


After a 30km test ride, the TA is up and ready to roll! Now we just have some gear to sort through… After a 6 month hiatus, it's almost like we're starting all over again. Almost.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:40 AM   #192
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Nice to see some good repairs going on, I hear there's an Englishman also in town (Paramaribo0 on a BMW xchallenge with radiator fan trouble and I'll be damned if I didn't run into a little radiator trouble of my own due to a faulty thermostat best I can tell.

I'm still in the process of getting that direction and should be crossing into Guyana in the next couple of weeks. I still would like to hike Roraima but don't yet know if that will happen yet. Angel Falls was amazing!


Hope our paths cross somewhere along the way

John in Cuidad Bolivar, Venezuela broke down for the moment myself but in a nice spot so it's not so bad
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:32 AM   #193
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[QUOTE=Throttlemeister;18807519

Hope our paths cross somewhere along the way

[/QUOTE]

Likewise! We may have a chance in Manaus coming up soon...

Hope you get back on the road again soon!
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Old 06-17-2012, 09:35 AM   #194
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Finally rolling again!

We have made it from Paramaribo across to Belém, Brazil. The ride was great - we lucked out that the road was not muddy from Oiapoque across to Macapá. Tomorrow morning towards Manaus. We´ll see what shape those roads are in....
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:45 PM   #195
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Leaving Suriname

It was exhilarating to get back on the bike in Paramaribo! Leaving that city felt almost the same as leaving Denver over a year ago, especially after the hiatus. Traveling towards places unkown was a sensation that we had become accustomed to during our previous months on the road - making headway becomes a bit of a daily routine (...on some levels, thankfully we're not talking about too much monotony here...). But starting to roll again brought back some of that tingling anticipation of not knowing what we'll run across next. That sensation is why we´re all here.

Before leaving Suriname, we took one short trip back to Drepada, the site where Jill spent her original 2 years of Peace Corps service. It was a good chance to say goodbye to a couple of her friends from there, and to join some of them for a few too many Parbos in Brokopondo. It was quite the send off.


(that way to Brokopondo)

The following morning we went to Albina to handle the customs forms for export of the motorcycle. Even though just 5 years ago the road used to be a reasonable stretch of pavement, somehow "working on" the road has caused morse code-like segments of paved sections followed by rough dirt sections (short-short-long-short-short-long-short-long) with not much warning at the transitions. Ahhh, right back into South American riding!


(on the way to Albina)

Mike was a little bit worried about the customs paperwork for the motorcycle, as we have a hefty deposit (US$800) that we need to get back. Staying in Suriname for 6 months complicated the motorcycle import, requiring us to fill out more official import documents than the usual 30-day stamp at the border. It also required us to put that deposit down. And it also gave Mike the chance to run around Paramaribo for days on end to sort it all out - which was fine, at least it gave him something to do. Another errand that took a few days to figure out was getting permission to drive from the National Police. (For those who may pass through Suriname, don´t worry about that, I think it's only required if you stay in country for more than 14 days or something like that.)

But once we got to Albina, we found the ferry dock right away and were able to get all of our forms stamped, signed, and processed in just a few minutes. It was the fastest border crossing yet, aside from the 2 hour wait for the ferry. While it seemed like the officer knew exactly what he was doing, the true test will be whether our deposit is released in the next couple of weeks. Fingers are crossed...


(customs in Albina, Suriname)
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