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Old 02-05-2013, 03:23 PM   #256
RexBuck OP
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Jan 19 Puerto Lopez

We are looking out the window first thing in the morning and thinking this is going to be a long day in this downpour, well at least they have great roads here. Not so fast there Sparky! Rain stopped right away but as soon as we left we were transformed into the back-roads of Central America.

Road started off fine then quickly deteriorated to a potholed mess – about 10% pavement and the rest dirt/potholes. Lasted for at least 70 km – took about 2 hours to cover that. Mrs RB still not feeling great so try to keep the bumps down . . . not a great job of doing that but zig sagging from side to side of the 2 lane road helped to sneak between craters. Had to pick the right spot to pass so you didn’t run into a pothole field just as you complete the pass when there is a bus suddenly bearing down on you.





A comment here about tolls. You may recall how I gushed that Colombia is such a great country because motos go through toll booths for free. As I’ve mentioned, they have their own little lane to just skip right through the toll booth and skip right around those trucks and other slow moving vehicles.

Arriving in Ecuador, motos go through the toll booths paying the princely sum of 20 cents. Not gonna break the bank. It’s a PIA though to give money (any amount) to the toll booth person with one hand that has a glove on it. Sometimes I would just turn off the bike, take a glove off, fish the money out, then put the glove back on and restart. Finally found a little pocket in the back of my tankbag where I could stick some quarters and that worked ok – I’d just drive off before they could give me my receipt and nickel change – what are you going to do with a receipt and a nickel in your hand riding down the road?

With Mrs RB along, I put her in charge of tolls. So, the first tollbooth we arrive at heading out of Quito, she is ready with her quarter and the guy in the booth just waives us around the barrier. Huh? OK, cool.

The next one we arrived at which was a couple of days riding later, Mrs RB ready with her quarter and a cop is standing in one of the lanes frantically waiving at me. OK, you want me in that lane? So, now I’m almost up to the toll booth and he’s still frantically waiving at me and is now yelling. Well, I’m starting to get a little hot myself as I couldn’t hear him and I really just wanted him to get the F out of my way so I could carry on.

Now I see that he is gesturing at a Moto Lane – well, who knew? But I’m almost up to the toll booth and I’m fine with paying my 20 cents. WTF? Now he wants me to turn around, ride back against traffic and go through the moto lane. I’m sure he can hear me now . . . If you don’t want me to pay, GTF out of my way and I’ll go around the barrier which only covers half the lane.

Mr Self Important Cop would have nothing to do with that and stood in my way. So, turn around ride back through a bit of traffic, turn around again and go through the moto lane. Mrs RB was indicating that a universal gesture at this point would not be appropriate . . . she could sense my left hand levitating.

All of the toll booths we came across after that either had a moto lane or they waived us through. So, don’t know if the rules have changed or moto tolls are only applied in certain parts of the country. Ecuador certainly raised itself up a couple of notches on the Moto Toll Scale.

Back to the day. The road finally settled down and we were able to get back to cruising speed. Generally pretty flat – varied from 100 to 400 metres in altitude so, definitely jungle. Lots of bananas, stuff that looked like mangos and orchards I couldn’t identify. Lots of cattle on the poorer quality land.

These small towns got the big dump of rain also and the streets were pretty muddy, but didn't stop the fruit vendors setting up





A little pollo for dinner





This guy pedling his three wheeler cart down the street in this town was neither in a hurry or felt an overwhelming desire to do something original, like GTF outa the way.






Arrived at Puerto Lopez and Hosteria Mandála. Man, are we impressed. RexBuck hits one out of the field again. I think both of us have made up our mind we could stay here for awhile – planning for a week.




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Old 02-05-2013, 03:34 PM   #257
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Arrived at Puerto Lopez and Hosteria Mandála. Man, are we impressed. RexBuck hits one out of the field again. I think both of us have made up our mind we could stay here for awhile – planning for a week.




On man, that place looks nice!
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:00 PM   #258
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On man, that place looks nice!
More pics to come
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #259
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Very nice update. Hope the Mrs. feels better soon. Sure looks like a nice place to recover.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:13 PM   #260
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Jan 19 - 26 Puerto Lopez and Mandála

Sorry to those with slow internet, this is a little picture heavy.

Mandála was designed, built and is owned by an Italian couple Aurilio and Jira. Incredibly creative people and great hosts. Good restaurant, good beach and a great room.

Everytime you turn around you find something new. Everything is made from wood they had milled for their specific requirements. Sometimes you have to look at some woodwork twice before you notice the picture carved in it or some carving of sealife hidden in trees and bushes. They even made the chairs for the restaurant.

Here are a couple of shots in the restaurant. While there are tables and chairs inside, most everybody spends their time in the huge veranda going around three sides of the main building. Oh yah, they have five dogs, each with a hefty chunk of Great Dane in their genes. Great dogs. Pretty imposing though when they think they should investigate something on the beach and all rush out together barking and carrying on.









Upstairs are some sitting areas if you want a bit of privacy or just to relax. A large book exchange along with a musical instrument collection that anyone can borrow at any time. I looked for a kazoo . . .








They also have their own beach with palm trees and little shelters that you can string up hammocks in.





Long wood walkway out to the beach.





At the beginning of the walkway is a gazebo with this compass rose floor






The surf one afternoon





They have a real passion for sealife and whales in particular. This whale skeleton is at the front of their beach. Along the road coming in from the highway and along the road in front of the hosteria are dozens of boards with information about whales in three or four languages.





A dolphin totem on the beach





Our room was cool. Two floors with screened windows in all four walls.









Front door






Which was right next to this tree outside had the nastiest looking thorns I'd ever seen





We had a number of iguanas that hung around. They were hilarious, sometimes sitting in the trees and other times walking across the roof. Every once in awhile a couple of them would get in a fight on the roof. Could hear them scampering around. The looser would either be knocked off or jumped off the top, landing on the ground three floors below. Sounded like someone dropped a 5 pound bag of sugar. Land with a thud. Didn’t seem to bother them as they’d scramble back up a tree.








Walk into town on occasion – about 15 minutes or a $1 - $2 cab ride. Town is mostly dirt streets which suits me fine.

Went to the market a few times and once we went in so I can get this bitchin haircut. Paid $4 then find out locals pay $2.50 . . . but I figured that since he also trimmed the nose and ears, actually used a razor on my neck (haven’t had that since the 70’s) and rubbed smelly stuff on my head - it was worth the extra. The locals still laughed at me.






Public transportation is largely these three wheeled moto-taxis.






Easy to change a tire





Everybody has to have their water hauled in. This was one of a few trucks delivering water. I'm figuring some enterprising guy took one of those squashed culverts, welded some ends on and wallah, a water truck.






Thank goodness Mandála had their own





Little Sunday truck maintenance downtown at the beach. Oil change






Engine job






Beach in town. Those are fishing boats moored out. The town is a fishing village with some small processing and ice plants. Large processor in the next town just around the point to the south.





Fishing boats getting ready to go out





Looking up the beach





Couple of interesting construction techniques. Bamboo shoring for a concrete floor





Man-lift







Took a 40km ride down to Mantanita one day. Nice town. Surf town. Lots of restaraunts. Lots of Gringos. Apparently parties all night. Geezers don’t do that . . . as much . . . any more. Just sayin.




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Old 02-06-2013, 06:35 PM   #261
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You are doing a great job of seeing Ecuador - its even hard to avoid that potholed road from Quevedo to the coast. Great pics - thanks for the great report...
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:37 PM   #262
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Laugh

Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBuck View Post
Sorry to those with slow internet, this is a little picture heavy.

Mandála was designed, built and is owned by an Italian couple Aurilio and Jira. Incredibly creative people and great hosts. Good restaurant, good beach and a great room.

Everytime you turn around you find something new. Everything is made from wood they had milled for their specific requirements. Sometimes you have to look at some woodwork twice before you notice the picture carved in it or some carving of sealife hidden in trees and bushes. They even made the chairs for the restaurant.

Here are a couple of shots in the restaurant. While there are tables and chairs inside, most everybody spends their time in the huge veranda going around three sides of the main building. Oh yah, they have five dogs, each with a hefty chunk of Great Dane in their genes. Great dogs. Pretty imposing though when they think they should investigate something on the beach and all rush out together barking and carrying on.









Upstairs are some sitting areas if you want a bit of privacy or just to relax. A large book exchange along with a musical instrument collection that anyone can borrow at any time. I looked for a kazoo . . .








They also have their own beach with palm trees and little shelters that you can string up hammocks in.





Long wood walkway out to the beach.





At the beginning of the walkway is a gazebo with this compass rose floor






The surf one afternoon





They have a real passion for sealife and whales in particular. This whale skeleton is at the front of their beach. Along the road coming in from the highway and along the road in front of the hosteria are dozens of boards with information about whales in three or four languages.





A dolphin totem on the beach





Our room was cool. Two floors with screened windows in all four walls.









Front door






Which was right next to this tree outside had the nastiest looking thorns I'd ever seen





We had a number of iguanas that hung around. They were hilarious, sometimes sitting in the trees and other times walking across the roof. Every once in awhile a couple of them would get in a fight on the roof. Could hear them scampering around. The looser would either be knocked off or jumped off the top, landing on the ground three floors below. Sounded like someone dropped a 5 pound bag of sugar. Land with a thud. Didn’t seem to bother them as they’d scramble back up a tree.








Walk into town on occasion – about 15 minutes or a $1 - $2 cab ride. Town is mostly dirt streets which suits me fine.

Went to the market a few times and once we went in so I can get this bitchin haircut. Paid $4 then find out locals pay $2.50 . . . but I figured that since he also trimmed the nose and ears, actually used a razor on my neck (haven’t had that since the 70’s) and rubbed smelly stuff on my head - it was worth the extra. The locals still laughed at me.






Public transportation is largely these three wheeled moto-taxis.






Easy to change a tire





Everybody has to have their water hauled in. This was one of a few trucks delivering water. I'm figuring some enterprising guy took one of those squashed culverts, welded some ends on and wallah, a water truck.






Thank goodness Mandála had their own





Little Sunday truck maintenance downtown at the beach. Oil change






Engine job






Beach in town. Those are fishing boats moored out. The town is a fishing village with some small processing and ice plants. Large processor in the next town just around the point to the south.





Fishing boats getting ready to go out





Looking up the beach





Couple of interesting construction techniques. Bamboo shoring for a concrete floor





Man-lift







Took a 40km ride down to Mantanita one day. Nice town. Surf town. Lots of restaraunts. Lots of Gringos. Apparently parties all night. Geezers don’t do that . . . as much . . . any more. Just sayin.




Holy C!$& Steve after that collision with the weed whacked. You look like Jick's twin brother.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:21 AM   #263
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Holy C!$& Steve after that collision with the weed whacked. You look like Jick's twin brother.
Your no Jick Magger....but you know Rexbuck ..."there's nothing like a barber with a good sense of humour"Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:35 AM   #264
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Originally Posted by GSAGiuseppe View Post
Holy C!$& Steve after that collision with the weed whacked. You look like Jick's twin brother.
It's the cheesy smile, right?
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:44 AM   #265
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Your no Jick Magger....but you know Rexbuck ..."there's nothing like a barber with a good sense of humour"
Right you are, there is no other Jick Magger.

I knew I was going to get what I asked for when he gave up on the buzz clippers and just grabbed the regular clippers and started running them up and down my head like he was shearing a sheep. I do like how he did my eyebrows though
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:59 AM   #266
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Jan 26 Up the coast

Left Mandála after a week stay today and heading back towards Quito. Pretty uneventful ride up the coast.


At one point, saw a big sign on the highway saying Detour <<<< and all the traffic seemed to be going that way so, we did too. Turns out this was the road to what looked like a decent sized town. Saw on the GPS where one of the town roads went back to the highway so headed for that figuring that was the return. Typical town road . . . then turns to potholes . . . then potholes morph into little ponds . . . which morph into mud puddles . . . then just mud.



Let Mrs RB off and charge on. Doing quite fine until the mud starts to get real sticky with some pretty hefty ruts . . . do a right hander using the right side bag as a brake. Gitter up again. Head a short ways down, fall into another frickin rut and now do a lefthander, laying sideways using the left hand bag as a brake. Grrr. Some guys stopped to see if they could help but we had it up again, got it straight and just a short distance to the road and I made it this time. Just needed some patience. Sorry, no pics . . . you’ll just have to take my word for it.


Wanted to stay at a place some friends had recommended but it was full.



Arrived in Pedernales – drove around and finally grabbed an ok Hostel – no internet, no HW but secure parking. Oh, and $14 for the 2 of us.






Wandered around – quite the tourist town. Nice beach. I think we were the only non-Ecuadorians in the whole place and it ain’t small.



Watched some teenage girls trying to be cool smoking some cigarettes - probably for the first time. Didn’t have a clue – it was hilarious.. You remember, high school, hold the smoke at the tips of the fingers, flick the ash off about 7 times between every drag, take a big drag so your cheeks are all puffed out, don’t inhale then, suavely blow enough smoke out of your mouth to make the whole building look like it may be burning. Then flick, flick, flick and quickly suck another one.


Note to self, don't walk around this town drunk . . .



Walked uptown then had a great meal of rice and a whole bunch of seafood – was supposed to be for two, could have fed 4 teenage boys with it– very good.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:01 AM   #267
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Jan 27 and 28 Back to Quito

Found out why only $14. The Hostel is about 100’ from the beach. The beach has bars. The bars are open till everyone goes home. The bars play music. The music is played by DJs. The DJs have microphones. The microphones and the music is processed through a sound system suitable for a major rock concert. The DJs like to yell and scream and kay yai all the time. The good news was that the power eventually went out. Peace.

Got outta Dodge first thing in the morning and had a pretty relaxing ride to Mindo. Pretty, lots of farming – bananas, avocados, mangos, rice, onions and a lot of stuff I didn’t regognize. Couple of random shots.









Wasn’t too sure what to expect with Mindo but turned out to be a nice, funky, tourist town. Apparently known for bird and butterfly watching. The view from our hotel over the town





Had a great meal of Churrazco and Mrs RB had a Talapia, a fish served a lot in restaurants.









Left Mindo and had a short ride to the Middle of the Earth, where the Inca’s had determined the Equator was.

They were actually pretty good and were only about 200 yards off of the precise Equator.

We wandered around the big park they have developed around the original Incan mark. A line of busts of famous scientists lead up to the big monument.





They have a couple of museums there. Some big bugs found in South America.




There is a second monument somewhere nearby that is on the real equator. Must have asked six people where the other monument was and they all sent me to the Inca Museum which is supposed to be on the real equator - it probably was but no monument. Asked the guard at the museum where it was and he just gave me a blank look. Never did find it although every other rider through seemed to be able to.

Finally got my GPS and started walking around until I had 00’s – was in the middle of the highway in front of the Inca Museum. We've already been back and forth across the equator a couple of times but here is my official equator picture.




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Old 02-09-2013, 05:57 PM   #268
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Jan 29 to Jan 31 Last time in Quito

Now that we are back at Casa Helbling, decide to take in some final sites of Quito. Grabbed a cab and headed to the TelefériQo, Quito’s gondola up the side of a neighboring volcano.

The TelefériQo takes you up to about 13,000 feet. There is a 4 km trail to the peak adding another 1200 feet or so altitude if you are so inclined. We walked part way but didn’t come prepared for a hike so knocked off at the first km or so. And, it’s 13,000 feet . . . I was a wheezing and a puffin anyhow.

Some views of the city







Towers of the TeleferiQo in the background



The peak you can walk to the top of





Some people choose to ride horses up to the top. Now in this pic, the guy in the yellow shirt is the star. They had passed me and suddenly I realize this guy is no longer sitting on the horse but on his back on the ground with his foot stuck in the stirrup. While I was laughing, rather than stopping to take a picture like I should have, I started running, no walking fast to help him. The girl got there first and by the time I got my camera out she had him unhooked. Probably all that camera equipment around his neck got him lopsided.








Went out to a nice Ecuadoran restaurant for the last meal. Mrs RB had been Jonesin for a Cuy (Kind of a large Guinea Pig) ever since she got down so she had a part of one. She said it tasted like chicken. I had a bite and thought it tasted kinda fishy. Now I've officially had a Cuy and don't have to have a whole one of those rodents at some roadside stand.





I had a much more sensible meat dish which was outstanding. That stuff on the right was a kind of sprouted corn with some crunch stuff mixed in. Good meal.





Got Mrs RB delivered to the airport at some ungodly hour in the middle of the night.


I’ve been having a vibration in the bike that I’ve noticed since Colombia and it has just become worse. Tried a number of different solutions but nothing worked. After corresponding with Woody of Woody’s Wheelworks, the Guru on things round, I got to checking wheels, tires and bearings closely. All ok but I did notice the front seemed to be wearing more on one side of the tire than the other.

On a hunch this could be the culprit, I rushed over to Freedom Bike Rentals and lo and behold they had a TKC80 in the size I needed siting on their floor. They were kind enough to sell it to me. Another big Thank You to Court and his crew at Freedom Bike Rentals.

Mounted the new tire and hope for a smooth ride tomorrow.

Random pics. Casa Helbling - We were three times during the month using them as our home-base while in Ecuador. Claus and his crew are first rate and went out of their way to accommodate us.









Don't let your girlfriend near your helmet in a fight . . .





Buses in Latin America are usually privately owned and have a helper whose job it is to holler at people and try to get them on the bus and to collect fares.




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Old 02-10-2013, 04:52 AM   #269
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Feb 1 The trip resumes

Back travelling solo. Seems quite weird at first, I was a bit out of sorts for the first few hours. In fact, I first started by dropping my fully loaded bike taking it off the center stand. Have no idea what brain fart happened there . . .

Once I got on the highway, I noticed the vibration was gone. Guess that front tire had started to wear uneven for some reason and over time just exacerbated the abnormal wear. I only got about 2/3 of the use I normally get from this tire. I think it’ll turn out to be one of three possible causes:
  • Defective tire;
  • I had Dyna-Beads (used for dynamic wheel balancing) in that tube for quite awhile and they might have clumped from an accumulation of oil in compressed air or glue from the vulcanized patch which will throw the balance off. Even though I had replaced this tube, I suspect the damage would have been done and it got worse;
  • If the vibration comes back again with the new tire then it’s likely something to do with the wheel and I'll have to deal with that later.
As I was heading south of Quito, could see Volcan Coxatapaki – quite pretty. Forgot to put my camera mount on this morning and nowhere to stop for pics. Spectacular –snow covered peak.

Wanted to ride some of the road Mrs RB and I did a couple of weeks ago. It was a glorious day with a lot of sunshine and no rain. Had found a shortcut over to the highway. Had the usual small town problems – “turn right” but one way the other way . . . road closed – find a work around going down dirt and sandy one lane roads with trucks and buses coming the other way using most of the one lane. Finally get on the road I’m supposed to be on.

A few miles later there are roads going in all directions but I can’t find where the road I need carries on. It does somewhere but not where the map says and I can’t find anyone to ask. I unsuccessfully try a number of them and decide to get to the highway at the nearest point. I can see the highway on the GPS so am able to work my way over to a good sized neighboring town on the highway – just keep turning down roads that seem to be taking me in the right direction. Eventually they do. It was pretty country though





Beautiful day with broken clouds. Really enjoyable ride on the new part of this road. A couple of pics from this little jaunt








Cutting the road through the hillside reveals some interesting geological layering. I'm guessing some of that was ocean bottom at one time and to think of the energy required to push this whole thing up to 12 or 13,000 feet is mind boggling.






Got back into Pujili and was looking for some food. Spotted this place with a barbeque going with what looked like some big chunks of meat cooking. Meat . . . mmmmm! Stopped and asked and turns out it was . . . Borrego . . . lamb. And, it was basically the whole animal spread out in one piece on the barbque.






My mouth was watering. Then she points to one of these rotating rotisseries that has some chickens and cuyes going and tells me she has only cuyes.I’m ready to leave and I ask again no Borrego? Yes, you can have Borrego. I think she meant that in the rotisserie only the cuyes were done. So I stayed. Mmm good.








They have a national election coming so you see signs and flags everywhere. I thought it interesting that even some of the candidates in this region sport the hats seen so frequently in the area.





It's tough seeing whole mountains now because there is so much cloud hanging around. This is a neighboring volcano to Tungurahua next to Baños





I really liked Baños and decided to return there for the night. It was only about 30 km out of the way. Stayed at the La Floesta again - great place - $35 for a single including breakfast, secure parking, hot water, good WiFi and couple blocks from the town center.

Took a couple of pics from the walls of the hotel. The first is an aerial photo of Baños and Volcan Tungurahua. It's been impossible seeing the top of the mountain and I find it fascinating that this town is at the very base of this active volcano.






This one is apparently from the government detailing the fines for speeding. Holy cow! 10 km over in town or 15 km over in a curve and can go to jail for 3 days. Yikes! I’m not a fast rider but I have to admit some speed limits are insanely low and it’s damn near impossible to stay close to them unless I was really hung over. I know, I know – these are RPRs . . . Revenue Production Roads. So far, touch wood I’ve only had to deal with one guy (in Panama) looking for an income enhancement program.





Went to a little café next to the town square for dinner. Had a very tasty piece of beef. I have to work on how to ask for my meat cooked. Keep getting it over cooked. Good meal and good Chilean house wine. Ecuadorians don’t seem to be big wine drinkers and in some towns it’s tough finding any wine, even boxed wine. When you do find it though it is usually Chilean or Argentinian which is quite fine.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:39 AM   #270
owlex
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Oddometer: 2
Greetings from So. Ca. I've been following your travels and have a question or two.
What's the average cost per day for a trip like yours, ie: extrapolating for the total costs? I'm a noob to ADV but been riding just locally for many years. I will be retiring next year which will open up the opportunity to do long journies, so starting to figure what's attainable for what I'll have ($) to play with. I'm currently all set up with a newer F800GS having had several other Bmers.... so my equipment is mostly taken care of.
Best regards & safe travels,
-Alex
*Owlex
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