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Old 12-20-2014, 02:39 PM   #1
00-SEB-00 OP
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Ridin' the Americas Retro-Style!

After the big trip of last year from Europe to Mongolia and Central Asia, offroad on two Suzuki DRZ400's we decided to leave again for a couple of months...

The previous RR about the EU to Central Asia trip you can find HERE.

Some short videos:

RUSSIA:



KAZAKHSTAN:



MONGOLIA:



But then this time would be completely different!
We decided to leave the small and lightweight bikes for what they are this time and go on what one would classify as a streetbike! So we decided to go RETRO-STYLE; and the two Honda CB1100EX were ordered and delivered. This bike is a remake of the old CB's but with a 1100cc engine, aircooled, fancy old twin suspension at the rear and it just looks absolutely great!
Not your regular "adventure bike" ...
So what's the plan? Well, going from Belgium to the UK, fly ourselves and the bikes over from London to Los Angeles, spend Christmas in the USA and then start heading south, all the way to Argentina.

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I decided to start having fun with LEGO while on this trip so you'll have to use your imagination from time to time...

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We have managed to pack everything on the bikes and we found out that we even had some room left this time. Some people say that they don’t like the look of our Xplorer side cases from Hepco & Becker because they look too bulky on the bikes, but I have to disagree. For me the combination of these side cases and the retro motorcycle scream ‘adventure back in time’ and at least they are spacious enough to fit all our gear!

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On the 4th of December we are going towards London where we and the bikes will fly to Los Angeles to start the next chapter in our adventure book...

Last drinks before going!

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Old 12-20-2014, 03:27 PM   #2
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I'm in!!!!

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Old 12-20-2014, 03:44 PM   #3
Cal
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Honda and Klim should pay you for those photos as advertising....that is the nicest set of CB 1100 photos I have seen!! You 2 have covered a lot of ground since I saw you at the UK Hubb meeting
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Old 12-20-2014, 04:18 PM   #4
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Subscribed.

Great pictures of the bikes!
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Old 12-20-2014, 05:12 PM   #5
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We're in!
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:14 PM   #6
Roland44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal View Post
Honda and Klim should pay you for those photos as advertising....that is the nicest set of CB 1100 photos I have seen!! You 2 have covered a lot of ground since I saw you at the UK Hubb meeting
Second that, and I'm not even kidding. You should send an email to Honda with a link to this thread and see what comes. Subscribed!
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Old 12-21-2014, 12:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Honda and Klim should pay you for those photos as advertising....that is the nicest set of CB 1100 photos I have seen!! You 2 have covered a lot of ground since I saw you at the UK Hubb meeting
Quote:
Second that, and I'm not even kidding. You should send an email to Honda with a link to this thread and see what comes. Subscribed!
Thanks for the comments, we aim to please...
Actually, we have partnered up with Klím, so unfortunately no money but we got the gear, and we'll be honest about it also when we write a review about it in a couple of months. But then I think most of you already know is great stuff anyway!
About Honda,we didn't contact them at the moment, but we might in the future, who knows? I will also elaborate about our choice of those bikes in the next update!

@ Dick; I love your signature... If people start quoting me in their signature, I might start to believe that I said something intelligent... or funny! hahaha!
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Old 12-22-2014, 07:38 AM   #8
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Great Seb!
I followed your rr from Central Asia and now I will follow this one!
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cristiano View Post
Great Seb!
I followed your rr from Central Asia and now I will follow this one!
Thanks, I hope you'll enjoy it!
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Old 12-22-2014, 05:28 PM   #10
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A little bit more background about us and our our choice of doing such a trip on a "classic" bike such as the CB1100EX:

After the last big trip (Europe to Mongolia) we both fell we couldn't cope anymore with "normal" life back in Belgium. Going to work everyday doing a job we didn't really like anymore and complaining about anything and nothing including the weather all the time. After two months back on the job, we needed a break as we just couldn't do it anymore and left for a month to the Canary Islands. During that month, we talked and talked and talked and decided to do this:

- Sell/get rid of everything we have
- Quit our jobs
- Go again on a multiple months trip
- Settle down on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands) after the trip
- Do a job we like, no matter the actual pay
- BE HAPPY!

We did the first part, which is (in retrospective) actually easier than one might think. It's hard in the beginning but once you only decide to keep stuff that has an actual personal value and get rid of everything else (you can buy 'it' anywhere) you kind of feel liberated.

For the second part, we could take unpaid leave instead of quitting our jobs, so that was great. We have time untill July and then it's a big ? what we'll do then. (not going back that's for sure...)

Then the biggest challenge, go back on a multiple months trip. Where to go? We wanted to go again east (for us) towards Asia as we both want to see Iran. But then with ISIS at the moment raging all over Syria and Iraq, it's probably not the best time to go there at the moment. So we bought a Mercedes Benz Sprinter converted to RV and shipped it to Halifax Canada and started on our journey that would take us all the way south to Argentina... but after a while we were bored in the van and all the time "complaining" that we should do this on our bikes instead of the van. So after 4 months we decided to ship the van back to Europe and fly to Belgium, buy two bikes and come back to continue the trip. Which we did.

But what bike to take? What are we going to do this time? Offroad? Normal roads? As every good husband should do, I asked my wife what she wanted and after some discussion it was "a normal bike where I can put both feet on the ground and not have to follow you off road all the time". Fair enough...
So either I ignore her and that will go bad sooner or later or I listen to her and we stay happily married. Or something like that. Anyway, I started looking at what bike I wanted when we would settle down on the Canary Islands and came up with the brand new Honda CB1100EX that just looks "perfect" for me, a brand new retro bike.

So we decided to buy the bikes we wanted to have later on and just go with them on the trip, knowing that it wouldn't be the same as the previous trips with the DRZ's, but we don't care. This trip is about meeting people, having small adventures and enjoying new cultures. And you can do that with ANY bike. But I won't start the whole discussion about what bike to take, this has been done so many times that it just gets boring. Then we needed some luggage system and lucky for us Hepco & Becker makes them! So we were all set. Almost.

My wife Kim posing again before departure:

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Old 12-23-2014, 03:15 AM   #11
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What was your source for the small flag stickers?

I've only found larger ones, and can only visit one more country before I run out of room.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:04 AM   #12
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I Just stumbled on to this ride report. Headed out at the moment. But very excited to read this one.

I have been traveling by motorcycle since 1978 when I got my first road bike. In 1981, I picked up a Yamaha Seca 750.

I have always said that was the most fun I ever had on a motorcycle. I have often thought that if I could have a bike like the Seca with hard saddle bags and all the modern convienences. I would pounce on it. I have been eyeing the CB 1100 since the planning stages. Reminds me very much of the Seca.

Seeing it with the three hard bags is like a blast from tje past for me. Thank you for that. Man this has my head spinning. I hope to follow you from this point on and catch up as soon as possible. Hopefully there will be some feedback about the bikes and how they handled the trip. That old Seca went places it never should have gone. Many loaded with gear and a girl on the back.

I am very excited to see how you two do with these bikes on your trip. This is what motorcycling is all about.


Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us!



Edit;
In my excitement, I typed the line above in green. What I meant to say was. At this point in my life, this is what motorcycling is about to me. I fully grasp that everyone has ideas about what motorcycling should be and many are probably better than my ideas.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJ View Post
What was your source for the small flag stickers?

I've only found larger ones, and can only visit one more country before I run out of room.
Hey Michael,

I designed them myself and then went to a printing company and they printed it out for me.
The first trips I bought stickers locally but when you change bikes way too often, making them yourself makes more sense... ;-) Although we haven't been to all these countries with the CB of course, but they reflect all the countries each of us has been to and obviously a great conversation starter...
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:48 AM   #14
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Hi
Quote:
Lostviking
You can count on us to be 100% honest about everything we'll write about.

As for the panniers, there are more 'elegant' options but I wanted to have the aluminium ones as they open from the top and not the side.
Hepco & Becker makes some nice panniers and racks for the CB1100.
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:55 AM   #15
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The day had finally come to leave the cold and dreary Belgium behind, hop on the bikes and ride to the even colder London… *When in London, you have to see the highlights before you leave, so we took the bikes around for a while and visited Big Ben and the Tower Bridge amongst other things. We stayed with Martin and Ginette in Twickenham and they showed us a cool place to walk along the Thames river.

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We had to have our picture takes next to 'the symbols' of London, the red phone booth and the double decker bus.

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To get our bikes shipped from London to Los Angeles we opted to work together with James Cargo Services. We just had to ride up to their offices around Heathrow and drop off the bikes and they did the rest. We got the VIP treatment because there was a guy waiting for us to do the necessary check up on the bikes and to crate them.

After dropping off the bikes, we had to rely on the public transportation around London so we had to figure out the map of the London Underground.

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London at night:

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We took public transportation to Gatwick airport and when we arrived the first thing the lady at the check in counter said to us was: "I can't check you in, you have to go to the immigrations officer!" Seb just looked at her, pulled up his eyebrow and asked why? She said that it wasn't legal that our bikes were on one flight, we were on the other and we didn't have a return flight back to London. Since we are Europeans and we didn't want to travel with a Visa because it is expensive and we were only staying for a few weeks in the United States, we took an ESTA that allows you to travel for a short period of time in the United States without having to get a Visa. The lady at the check in told us that since we had an ESTA, we had to have a return flight or otherwise she could not check us in. By that time steam was coming out of Seb's ears, but he managed to stay polite and off we went to the immigrations officer.

After talking with the kind officer, mister Kim (I kid you not!), we found out that we missed the fine print about the ESTA that said that you had to have a return flight in order to travel with an ESTA to the United States. He asked us a lot of questions and he had to figure out if we were planning on staying in the United States to look for work or to live there. The officer was kind enough to see that we were not going to stay in the United States and were actually planning to travel south, so he approved our ESTA and we could go back to the check in to catch our flight to Los Angeles.

We saw the confusion on the face of the check in lady when she saw us at the gate to board the plane and she actually asked us how we got through…

The flight itself, which lasted 11 hours, went by faster than I ever could have imagined and Seb found some time to take a picture of the snowed in Rocky mountains when we were flying over them.

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Once in Los Angeles, we were picked up by a very kind local guy, Richard, who took us to his home in Yorba Linda, Orange county, California, where we could stay and relax for a few days and meet his wife Lois and their two daughters Karen and Sarah. The family was super friendly and nice and we had our own bedroom. The next day, they even let us borrow their car so we could go and relax at the beach, can you imagine giving your car key to someone you only know for 12 hours...

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James Cargo was really fast when they shipped over the bikes, because the bikes landed the day after we did with the cargo plane and we could go and collect them a day later. The paperwork was all very straightforward and all the people were very helpful and friendly when we had to un-crate the bikes. Sorry for the bad quality pictures, a phone is unfortunately not a descent camera... ;-)

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Richard and Lois made sure that we could put both bikes in their enormous garage so that they would be safe at night and so we could leave all our stuff on.

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We stayed for a few more days at Richard and Lois' place and we had a fabulous time. They even let us enjoy their hot tub one night and it was awesome! This is the best way to start on our next adventure!

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