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Old 12-24-2012, 07:59 AM   #1546
Jammin OP
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December 24, 2012


Sunrise over Luangwa River.

I had a beautiful ride heading west from Chipata. I've come to Zambia just as the rainy season is getting started and all the hills are carpeted in lush forests. Those hills provided for some fun riding with lots of twisties and sweepers. I've also happened to time my visit for the annual wild mushroom bloom in the forests. The locals were selling them by the bucketful and don't worry, they weren't poisonous or magic, just super tasty when fried with some garlic

I camped near the Luangwa Bridge and got updated by the couple running the camp on the politics and economics of Zambia in my 21 year absence. The government recently doubled the minimum wage, which is leading to a lot of layoffs and they're introducing a new currency in the new year where they're basically lobbing off 3 zeros from the current notes.

Easy ride into Lusaka and staying with old family friends. I just had lunch of roti with sambar and spinach sabji, soooo good. After the Christmas break, I need to apply for my Namibian visa...


Happy Holidays to all you guys
Thanks for being there and supporting me
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:50 AM   #1547
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@Grifter: thanks, I know you guys are there even if you don't post up

@Crashmaster: hey, vince! yup, still going, the DR is hanging in there. Africa is epic, you gotta ride it soon

@capeklr: thanks for the tip and that means lots of speed or no speed, haha, nothing in between. My recent ride along the Mozambican coast with Rob, a rider from Durban, has given me a lot more confidence in the sand now. Im standing up and plowing thru in 2nd and 3rd gear thru soft sand and just letting the front wheel do its dance. I just needed some hands on coaching
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:21 AM   #1548
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sanDRina's Frame Cracks
December 26, 2012

A frame crack is a pretty serious failure on a motorcycle and poor sanDRina is taking me around the world loaded down with about 150-200 lbs of load. So, please don't think bad of the DR because of my frame cracks and understand that this bike is being stressed way beyond its design limits.

I've had quite a few cracks on the Happy Trails pannier frame, usually after riding lots of washboard with my heavy panniers, but the first crack on the chassis was in Brazil. I had just come out of the jungle and was camping at a petrol station. I was urged to move and park to a safer parking spot and I didn't realize that it was inclined and after putting the side stand down and walking away, sanDRina fell on her right and the force of the left pannier cracked the subframe where the pannier frame joins, near the passenger footpegs. That wasn't a serious crack and wasn't on the main chassis. [Chassis mileage: 43,783 miles| Trip mileage: 17,783 miles]



My first chassis frame crack came after riding the Turkana route in Kenya. I off-loaded my side panniers to overland cars and was riding faster and faster on washboard, especially keeping up with a more experienced rider on a KTM 640. I still had my top box attached and all that riding lead to a crack in the frame near the airbox. This was welded up in Nairobi. [Chassis mileage: 72,560 | Trip mileage: 46,560]



From there, I rode lots of washboard and rocky roads through East Africa and then got on the Mozambican coast. I was riding with Rob on a Honda Africa Twin and both of us were flying on the dirt roads along the coast. There was a water drainage bridge with a steep incline and I was in such a good mood that I didn't even slow down and hit the ramp hard. Rob said he saw the rear wheel get some air and then it slammed down and bounced again. That was a hard impact and I saved it, riding it out and giving Rob a thumbs up Only later that night at our beach camp did I see the damage: A serious crack where the swingarm bolt connects to the frame. It appears that the force of that hard landing went through the shock, the dog bones, the swingarm bolt and cracked this part of the frame. [Chassis mileage: 76,913]



I was in a rural area and there was no welder around, so I decided to continue until the next big city, over a few more hundred kilometers of washboard and bumpy dirt tracks with lots of heavy impacts. Once I got to Beira, a big city on the coast and removed the side covers and tank, I saw the extent of the damage: two more frame cracks on either side of the airbox. I think this was caused by the additional riding over bumpy roads without welding that major crack by the swingarm bolt.



The crack on the right side of the airbox was where my first frame crack (from Turkana) occurred. It was just below the previous weld.



I got those three cracks welded up and headed north for Zambia. I was cruising on tarmac and near Tete, I came around a corner and then onto a concrete bridge with a huge pot hole on the other end. It was about a foot deep and about 6ft across, so no way to avoid it and I went straight in and that was another huge impact. That cracked the frame on the same spot as the swingarm bolt-connect crack and the crack started up the frame and even cracked where the subframe truss joins the frame. Yikes. [Chassis mileage: 77,633]



I got that welded up properly in Tete but now am a bit worried about more impacts to the frame. I think I'll stay on tarmac for the most part from here to South Africa.



So, that's the frame crack story on sanDRina. I hope this doesn't spoil the image of how strong the DR frame is and take into consideration the age of this bike (a 1998 model) and the mileage that its done with my heavy load.


sanDRina on the Mozambican coast.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:23 AM   #1549
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Talking

December 28, 2012

A special day in Zambia. I finally got to meet Abigail, the girl that I've been sponsoring through Children International. It's a charity from the US that lets you sponsor a child in vulnerable communities in the Americas, the Philippines, India and Zambia. I've been sponsoring since 2009 but the first girl's family moved out of the area, so the agency chose Abigail for me in 2010. She's 7 years old now and I'm not sure she understands what's going on but is happy to receive school supplies, medical care and gifts, such as this dress on her birthday. She's joining 1st grade in the new year and looks like a smart and well-behaved child

She came with her mother to meet me and I was moved when I heard her mother refer to her as Abi, as that was my nickname when I was a child and my memories of being called Abi are tied to my childhood in Zambia. And then the coincidences went one step further when her mother explained that they are from the Chipata area and moved to Lusaka for better jobs. Wow, there's some strong connection here. My parents are happy that I'm giving back to Zambia after all the good that being in Chipata had on our lives

If you're interested in sponsoring, check out children.org
They're a highly-rated charity and 83% of my monthly $22 goes directly to Abigail.


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Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:06 PM   #1550
Jammin OP
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December 31, 2012

Happy New Years from Victoria Falls in Zambia! Double rainbow for an awesome 2013

I'm sporting my new Chipolopolo shirt That's the name of Zambia's football team and they recently won the Africa Cup of Nations.

Easy ride from Lusaka to Livingstone and I'm staying with a bunch of American missionaries; one of whom rides a DR650 and invited me to come over. We had homemade cheeseburgers tonight and there's a dessert table of sugary goodness in celebration. Heading out to light some fireworks.

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Old 12-31-2012, 12:18 PM   #1551
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way cool Jay!!!
my wife spent almost a year living in rural Zambia and has talked about the craziness of the big city of Lusaka.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin View Post
December 28, 2012

A special day in Zambia. I finally got to meet Abigail, the girl that I've been sponsoring through Children International. It's a charity from the US that lets you sponsor a child in vulnerable communities in the Americas, the Philippines, India and Zambia. I've been sponsoring since 2009 but the first girl's family moved out of the area, so the agency chose Abigail for me in 2010. She's 7 years old now and I'm not sure she understands what's going on but is happy to receive school supplies, medical care and gifts, such as this dress on her birthday. She's joining 1st grade in the new year and looks like a smart and well-behaved child

She came with her mother to meet me and I was moved when I heard her mother refer to her as Abi, as that was my nickname when I was a child and my memories of being called Abi are tied to my childhood in Zambia. And then the coincidences went one step further when her mother explained that they are from the Chipata area and moved to Lusaka for better jobs. Wow, there's some strong connection here. My parents are happy that I'm giving back to Zambia after all the good that being in Chipata had on our lives

If you're interested in sponsoring, check out children.org
They're a highly-rated charity and 83% of my monthly $22 goes directly to Abigail.


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Old 12-31-2012, 12:22 PM   #1552
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i'd say Suzuki needs to consult with you when they redesign a new DR650 frame
if you find a real good welder, i'd add gussets and extra metal pieces welded on everywhere it's cracking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammin View Post
sanDRina's Frame Cracks
December 26, 2012

A frame crack is a pretty serious failure on a motorcycle and poor sanDRina is taking me around the world loaded down with about 150-200 lbs of load. So, please don't think bad of the DR because of my frame cracks and understand that this bike is being stressed way beyond its design limits.

I've had quite a few cracks on the Happy Trails pannier frame, usually after riding lots of washboard with my heavy panniers, but the first crack on the chassis was in Brazil. I had just come out of the jungle and was camping at a petrol station. I was urged to move and park to a safer parking spot and I didn't realize that it was inclined and after putting the side stand down and walking away, sanDRina fell on her right and the force of the left pannier cracked the subframe where the pannier frame joins, near the passenger footpegs. That wasn't a serious crack and wasn't on the main chassis. [Chassis mileage: 43,783 miles| Trip mileage: 17,783 miles]



My first chassis frame crack came after riding the Turkana route in Kenya. I off-loaded my side panniers to overland cars and was riding faster and faster on washboard, especially keeping up with a more experienced rider on a KTM 640. I still had my top box attached and all that riding lead to a crack in the frame near the airbox. This was welded up in Nairobi. [Chassis mileage: 72,560 | Trip mileage: 46,560]



From there, I rode lots of washboard and rocky roads through East Africa and then got on the Mozambican coast. I was riding with Rob on a Honda Africa Twin and both of us were flying on the dirt roads along the coast. There was a water drainage bridge with a steep incline and I was in such a good mood that I didn't even slow down and hit the ramp hard. Rob said he saw the rear wheel get some air and then it slammed down and bounced again. That was a hard impact and I saved it, riding it out and giving Rob a thumbs up Only later that night at our beach camp did I see the damage: A serious crack where the swingarm bolt connects to the frame. It appears that the force of that hard landing went through the shock, the dog bones, the swingarm bolt and cracked this part of the frame. [Chassis mileage: 76,913]



I was in a rural area and there was no welder around, so I decided to continue until the next big city, over a few more hundred kilometers of washboard and bumpy dirt tracks with lots of heavy impacts. Once I got to Beira, a big city on the coast and removed the side covers and tank, I saw the extent of the damage: two more frame cracks on either side of the airbox. I think this was caused by the additional riding over bumpy roads without welding that major crack by the swingarm bolt.



The crack on the right side of the airbox was where my first frame crack (from Turkana) occurred. It was just below the previous weld.



I got those three cracks welded up and headed north for Zambia. I was cruising on tarmac and near Tete, I came around a corner and then onto a concrete bridge with a huge pot hole on the other end. It was about a foot deep and about 6ft across, so no way to avoid it and I went straight in and that was another huge impact. That cracked the frame on the same spot as the swingarm bolt-connect crack and the crack started up the frame and even cracked where the subframe truss joins the frame. Yikes. [Chassis mileage: 77,633]



I got that welded up properly in Tete but now am a bit worried about more impacts to the frame. I think I'll stay on tarmac for the most part from here to South Africa.



So, that's the frame crack story on sanDRina. I hope this doesn't spoil the image of how strong the DR frame is and take into consideration the age of this bike (a 1998 model) and the mileage that its done with my heavy load.


sanDRina on the Mozambican coast.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:41 PM   #1553
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Happy New Years from South Texas !!!

Thanks for the RR, have been enjoying it for some time now.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:02 AM   #1554
Eagletalon
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I'm gla dot hear you are still on the road. I have been gone away from your RR for quite some time and didn't know that you had run into those bike issues. Glad to hear you decided to continue your journey man!!

Later
John
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:42 AM   #1555
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
i'd say Suzuki needs to consult with you when they redesign a new DR650 frame
if you find a real good welder, i'd add gussets and extra metal pieces welded on everywhere it's cracking.
If anything ... Suzuki will be back slapping the engineering team who built the original frame ... 77,000 miles on a seriously OVER LOADED BIKE?
Nothing short of miraculous I'd say ... and no doubt outperforming their wildest expectations.

Gussets? Yep, good idea if you're doing RTW carrying that sort of load and taking the very tough routes Jay has tackled. Too bad I let go a DR Chassis a month back ... $300 for complete rolling chassis!

I think we need to set up a fund to get Jay a NEW DR650! He's earned it!
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:39 PM   #1556
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
If anything ... Suzuki will be back slapping the engineering team who built the original frame ... 77,000 miles on a seriously OVER LOADED BIKE?
Nothing short of miraculous I'd say ... and no doubt outperforming their wildest expectations.

Gussets? Yep, good idea if you're doing RTW carrying that sort of load and taking the very tough routes Jay has tackled. Too bad I let go a DR Chassis a month back ... $300 for complete rolling chassis!

I think we need to set up a fund to get Jay a NEW DR650! He's earned it!
no doubt the frame has proven to be strong as hell.
i thought Jay has 43K on the bike.

i do wonder if Suzuki will take the new DR (it can't last forever) in the direction of the 660 Tenere with an ever more overbuilt rear subframe, old tech but proven suspension, large tank & wind protection ie a world-wide traveling bike or the TR650 direction?

my guess is those cracks and weld fixes are travel memories for Jay and add to the character of the bike. then again, if the whole frame is completely metal fatigued at this point it's just gonna continually crack apart. seems most all epic RTW travelers have a complete bond with their bikes (this is my house) and keep em for memory sake even if they add another of the same bike to the collection. the rest of us day riders and shorter time-frame tourers can let bikes go easier.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:00 PM   #1557
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Been catching up on your thread for quite some time now. Decided to skip ahead to wish you a happy new year and best wishes for the road ahead. I'll chime in again once I have caught up to you, figuratively of course, I am quite planted in FL for the next couple of years.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:09 PM   #1558
Jammin OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
way cool Jay!!!
my wife spent almost a year living in rural Zambia and has talked about the craziness of the big city of Lusaka.
Yeah, there's almost nothing all around Lusaka, and then it's all concrete and fancy shopping malls now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
i'd say Suzuki needs to consult with you when they redesign a new DR650 frame
if you find a real good welder, i'd add gussets and extra metal pieces welded on everywhere it's cracking.
I'm waiting for that call from Zook. and my fee would just be... lifetime spares for sanDRina!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by WeazyBuddha View Post

Happy New Years from South Texas !!!
Thanks for the RR, have been enjoying it for some time now.
Cheers, bud. I've been with some good-hearted American missionaries this new years and glad I could ring it with them. Fireworks and desserts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagletalon View Post
I'm gla dot hear you are still on the road. I have been gone away from your RR for quite some time and didn't know that you had run into those bike issues. Glad to hear you decided to continue your journey man!!
Later
John
Hey John, yeah, was a tough moment with all those breakdowns coming one after the other, but glad I could find the strength to finally figure it out and woo hoo, been having a blast riding thru Mozambique and now all prepped for Nambia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
If anything ... Suzuki will be back slapping the engineering team who built the original frame ... 77,000 miles on a seriously OVER LOADED BIKE?
Nothing short of miraculous I'd say ... and no doubt outperforming their wildest expectations.
Gussets? Yep, good idea if you're doing RTW carrying that sort of load and taking the very tough routes Jay has tackled. Too bad I let go a DR Chassis a month back ... $300 for complete rolling chassis!
I think we need to set up a fund to get Jay a NEW DR650! He's earned it!
Definitely major thanks to the original chassis engineers I look at other bikes' frames from that era and they look weaker, subframe supports, etc. I knew I was overloading this bike, but she's gotten me this far and only recently after severe impacts is she starting to crack.

Ummm, I'd love a new DR I mean, sanDRina's staying with me forever and I'll keep maintaining her as best as possible but starting over with a fresh bike would be nice

Quote:
Originally Posted by eakins View Post
no doubt the frame has proven to be strong as hell.
i thought Jay has 43K on the bike.

i do wonder if Suzuki will take the new DR (it can't last forever) in the direction of the 660 Tenere with an ever more overbuilt rear subframe, old tech but proven suspension, large tank & wind protection ie a world-wide traveling bike or the TR650 direction?

my guess is those cracks and weld fixes are travel memories for Jay and add to the character of the bike. then again, if the whole frame is completely metal fatigued at this point it's just gonna continually crack apart. seems most all epic RTW travelers have a complete bond with their bikes (this is my house) and keep em for memory sake even if they add another of the same bike to the collection. the rest of us day riders and shorter time-frame tourers can let bikes go easier.
I keep 3 different mileage counters: as of today, my trip mileage since Chicago is 52,600 miles, chassis mileage on this frame is 78,660 and engine mileage is at 59,571.

Yup, I'll never sell sanDRina. Even if she completely dies on me and the engine blows up or whatever, I'm dragging her home and putting her up so that I can admire and tell stories about her But, I would like another bike after this trip is over, maybe a newer DR or something else. I'd still keep sanDRina maintained but dont want to wear her out in India's traffic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reislust View Post
Been catching up on your thread for quite some time now. Decided to skip ahead to wish you a happy new year and best wishes for the road ahead. I'll chime in again once I have caught up to you, figuratively of course, I am quite planted in FL for the next couple of years.
Cheers and Happy New Years. Enjoy the posts and I'm still working on my Tanzania post but riding is taking priority now.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:41 PM   #1559
Jammin OP
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Frame Saga Continued...

In the previous post, I could only weld the outer cracks that were easily reachable but thankfully, I met Pete (thru ADV) and he's from Milwaukee, doing mission work here in southern Zambia. He's incharge of the garage here at their base and he's also got lots of experience as a chassis welder. He started inspecting sanDRina's cracks and saw that they went around the back just as much as they did on the front, so I spent a few hours prepping the bike to get her properly welded. Swingarm and shock removed, electricals cleared away, airbox and carb removed.

Pete did a great job and put an extra plate on the inside of the swingarm-bolt-area cracks. He got all the cracks that he could see and now I'm confident taking sanDRina through northwest Namibia, supposed to be really rough roads and epic riding


View from inside the frame looking to the left, before and after welding.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:13 PM   #1560
chilango13
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Congratulations!

What a great ride. That whole "throwing in the towel" perspective makes me be ready for anything...and the ability to take on any challenge with calmness and confidence knowing that things will work out...
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