American girl Down Under- Exploring Oz on a 250cc Super Sherpa

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Travelbugblues, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. MadChap

    MadChap Been here awhile

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    My guess to poor fuel economy and loss of power would lead me to first suspect a dirty air filter.
  2. Travelbugblues

    Travelbugblues Teacher on the road

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    Your not so educated answers are way more educated than mine! That helps a lot. I've wondered if the fuel here is of shittier quality...

  3. Travelbugblues

    Travelbugblues Teacher on the road

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    Thank you, this is really helpful. My oil wasn't old, but it was definitely dirtier than I had ever seen it. Tom's, too. We're running the bikes hard, and are going to start changing the oil far more often.

    I checked the spark plug about three days ago, and it was practically burned to a crisp. I changed it and immediately had more speed (significantly more). The next day or two it had slowed down again. I'll look at the spark plug again tomorrow morning (crap, I didn't buy a spare today on my hunt for oil...) and see what shape it's in.

    As for the air filter, I haven't checked that, and it's been nagging at me. I swapped it out in Mendoza, which was a couple thousand kms ago. Is it possible it got wet in the river crossings and mucked up?

    Big thanks!

  4. Travelbugblues

    Travelbugblues Teacher on the road

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    Putting it on my morning list! Thank you!

  5. Travelbugblues

    Travelbugblues Teacher on the road

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    Had to share this very funny email my boyfriend wrote to my best friend, who is meeting me in Lima to ride 1,000km to the Ecuadorian coast. She does have some experience, but not a ton. This is great advice for anyone else not that experienced in Latin American riding, gear, and dirt!


    See more of his funny travelogues at: PaperTrailTramp


    Since I'm passing the baton on to you, I thought I should suggest few things I'd like to have had figured out before I started. Sorry if all this is obvious... but took me a while to nut out. I realise you'll only be on the road a week, but you might find some of it useful.

    -gear: I believe El's already sent you a packing list, so I won't go into too much detail on gear. Minimalism! I thought I was packing light and ended up sending a bunch of stuff north. Interrogate every item. Every gram and cubic centimetre counts on these little bikes.

    But you'll need two sets of cool/casual (cotton or thin synthetic) next-to-skin clothes, both of which you should be comfortable wearing with or without your armoured gear. After extensive research and testing, the best routine is to wash one set at the end of each day - if you have access to a shower, just step into the shower with them on and go from there! The earlier you can get them wrung and drying the better. Then step into your second set, wear them through the evening and for the next day of riding. Repeat. You get filthy on the bike in the heat, and always having clean clothes in your pack is a real morale-booster. Duh, right? This was all news to me.

    In addition to the above you'll want warm layers of course, but they should be layers that can be warn together at the same time and under your moto jacket, pants, and helmet (otherwise it's wasted space / weight). Plus a lightweight raincoat for when you'd rather not lug your moto jacket on foot.


    Bring liners for your moto gear, if you have 'em, although unless the cold is extreme it's easier to leave the liners out and just use your regular clothes for insulation (so you don't have to mess around inserting and removing the liners).


    suburn- sunburn points in full moto gear are are neck, nose, cheeks and lips - one fair gringo to another. Make sunscreen / chapstick your morning routine!


    luggage - looks like you'll have this big red 'drybag' (45 L), plus your daypack to strap to the bike. The red bag is sticky with glue from useless duct tape that El tried to patch the holes with (I cut away the dregs of the tape yesterday). I suggest bringing a liner to make it really waterproof - you could use a garbage bag, which will last about 10 minutes, or one of those thin lightweight 'drybags' that feel like raincoat material. I suggest the latter, depending on your budget. One for your backpack too.

    There is a right way and a wrong way to strap the drybag to the bike (I lay awake thinking about these details). The opening should be facing away from the kickstand, on the 'high side', so that if you need to access the bag, your stuff doesn't come tumbling onto the road.

    Anything that can be damaged or crushed by a strap should not go in the red drybag... because it will get damaged or crushed. Use the red bag for camping stuff and your uber-warm gear that you don't ordinarily need. Use your (waterproof - lined) backpack for quick-access valuables, electronics, toiletries, water, headlamp, and your set of clean clothes. That way, if you're not camping, you can just detach your backpack and you have everything you need to stay in a hostel / hotel and you don't have to mess around with the big red bag at all (except maybe moving it for security).

    Always tie up the loose ends of the straps so they can't dangle into your wheel or obscure your brake light.

    As for the bag you're bringing your checked luggage in, bring something disposable or extremely lightweight that you can squash down. I brought a light duffel but it annoyed me so much that I sent it away. I'll be buying some ghetto-duffel to transfer my stuff into when I leave.

    the bike - The Honda Storm is a little hero. I can't believe how it's stood up to the punishment I've put it through. But it is only a 125 street bike, and El seems to think we're on Dakar out here. So you gotta take care of it. Last oil change was today at 8,500km. Chain should ideally be cleaned and lubed every morning, or at least every other day. If you hear a rasping sound when you're moving the bike around with the engine off, it's parched! The chain should also be tightened every few days. The chains down here don't have o-rings, so they stretch like crazy and keep stretching. You'll need to adjust the fuel intake for high altitude and adjust the idle accordingly (the bike should idle at 1,500rpm when warm). Tire pressure it 28 front and 32 rear. Redundant! Last (and only) full service was in Mendoza, forever ago. That's about all I know about bikes. Keep your visor clean!


    traffic - welcome to a whole new world. No rules. Speed, momentum, and mass have right of way. Double lines mean nothing. Drivers will pass you on double lines, on blind corners, on crests, it's madness. Just assume they're all in a coma with their pedal to the metal. The idea of a motorcycle occupying an entire lane is foreign here. They'll cut past you in what you thought was 'your' lane. They'll brush by and honk in a festive spirit while you're suffering a cardiac arrest. Coming in the opposite direction, they'll pass a slower vehicle and hover in your lane far longer than is reasonable, coming dead at you, and occasionally run you off the road completely. What to do? Be as aware of what's behind you as what's in front of you, always leave a margin for error and stupidity, be visible. I bought a fluoro vest that I'll leave with the bike, so you can choose between style and visibility.


    Where possible, avoid riding directly behind Elisa. You can't see potholes or dogs or anything on the road until it's right under your front wheel. On the highway, I like to ride in the left tireline (with Elisa ahead, in the right tireline). That way you can see what's ahead, and drivers behind and in front can see that they're approaching two motorbikes instead of one. It also means that passing drivers are forced to take a wider berth around Elisa (but watch out for yourself, check you side mirror every few seconds and move to the right tireline when you see the passing vehicle begin to go around you).


    dirt roads - the looser and deeper, the more difficult to maintain control. Scan the road surface as far ahead as possible, look for bad patches - a change of colour or texture, and set up for it well in advance (ie slow down, downshift and be ready to accelerate through it, go around it, or stop before it). I had virtually no off-road experience before this trip. My reflex was to hit the brakes when I hit loose gravel or sand, but this is bad, bad, bad! It's incredible I stayed upright during that initial phase (I had many close calls). Here's the golden rule: deceleration has a de-stabilising effect, acceleration has a stabilising effect. Slow down before you hit the loose sand / gravel, and then accelerate through it, keeping your eyes ahead. If you suddenly feel the bike wobbling around on an unanticipated patch of sand, your reaction should be throttle rather than brake. It took me a while to get the hang of this, it's very counter-intuitive to me. But it really works.

    Sand is the worst. If it's too deep or long to safely ride through, don't be ashamed to get into 1st gear and do the flintsones. Otherwise, keep your weight heavy on the footpegs and accelerate decisively.


    Remember that you can steer with your footpegs. Very effective on dirt, when turning your handlebars doesn't always have the desired effect. I had no idea!



    wind - wind is the worst. When it's strong and gusting, it can blow you all over the road, into the other lane, towards a low cliff-edge barrier that might save your bike but will allow you to go sailing over. Lean into the wind, keep the revs up, downshift for power. I find that the faster you go, the less the wind affects you, but of course the consequences are higher. I think the worst of the wind is behind us in Patagonia (we had gusts of 80km/hour). But if it happens, and you're half as scared as I was, pull over. El doesn't notice gale-force winds and will simply press on until she's airborne and spiraling into the clouds. Then she'll ask why you've pulled over.


    fun - believe it or not, navigating the above somehow amounts to abnormal amounts of fun. Be safe and enjoy!



    Okay. Way more than I intended to write.

    [​IMG]
  6. MeinMotorrad

    MeinMotorrad Long timer

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    Lonely Planet gives a concise history here.

    There's absolutely no way any citizen of the Falklands is ever going to agree to be ruled by a country with a history like Argentina's. State sanctioned death, murder, torture, disappearances, and of course the coups. And every now and then a leader with a waning approval rating plays the nationalist card and starts talking about the 'Malvinas' in order to push their failures into the background.
    But that's politicians for you :amazon
  7. ex_MGB

    ex_MGB Been here awhile

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    LOL, loved the link. In the section on Rosas, not a mention of the British and the French.

    Good history of Lonely Planet:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonely_Planet

    Wonder if under BBC ownership they were infiltrated by the Sir Jimmy Savile crowd?
  8. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    Definitely a smart boyfriend you have there. :thumb Have fun and can't wait to see more!!

    My guess would be air filter too, especially since you changed the plug and it's still meh. Your carb may need a decent cleaning too but it's best to rule out the easier items (spark, intake, oil, fuel filter) before disassembling a complicated component. Hopefully fiddling with the mixture of air/gas, cleaning/replacing filters and that new plug will fix the problem!!

    :lurk
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    ADVsobrina,

    I had the pleasure of chatting with a Belgian in Quito who had bought a CGL125 from the same dealer as you in Santiago. He had purchased an adjustable main jet needle and smaller main jets for the higher elevations in Peru. He had found that when at high altitude in the thin air, the bike wasn’t getting enough air and the bike was running rich and fouling the spark plug with excess gas. To compensate he had to change to a smaller main jet in the mountains and then put in the stock main jet when he dropped back down to the coast.

    He didn’t bother with the adjustable needle but would change to a smaller main jet in the mountains. He showed me how easy it was to loosen the carb hoses and rotate the carb slightly to remove the three screws holding the float bowl cover and expose the jets without removing the carb from the bike. The main jet is the tall one in the center.

    It is a mikuni carb and I believe the stock jet is 90 and he dropped down to an 80 in the mountains as I recall.

    A dirty or wet air filter will also restrict air flow and make the bike run rich. The little Honda is a dirt simple design and I think your problem is a simple one. I have found Youtube videos to be helpful for visual help in changing jets and adjusting valves. I can’t seem to link to youtube on this iPad, so you will have to let your fingers do the clicking.

    Kindest regards,
    Tio Juan
  10. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

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    John,ADVsobrina

    From a 90 to an 80 is a giant step on a carb jet. I would expect it would be more like a 88 or 86 for the altitude. The locals should know.

    Don
  11. Turborob

    Turborob Minimalist.

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    I'm another straggler on a cg125 in the Andes.

    I changed the main jet yesterday (std is 95) to a 85 and it still runs crazy rich. We're at 3700m. Nothing works over 4000rpm, which makes me think it isn't related to the main. Heaps of black smoke when trying to rev it under load.

    Anyway, I also have a 65 I'm going to pop in just for diagnostics. Will update if I have any success - 40km/h on the highway is a bit too much scenery.
  12. RoloMoto

    RoloMoto Adventurer

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    Glad you crossed the Abra del Akay :thumb !! Told you about the problems of the main jet and the air filter, you missed that post .

    I think the desert is south from Uyuni, so or either you cross to Chile from Susques through the Jama pass and go to San Pedro de Atacama and then to Iquique or you cross the Salar de Uyuni towards Salinas de Garci Mendoza where there is a route that takes you to Iquique. I don't know the road between Uyuni and Iquique, in Chile, but you can sleep in Garci Mendoza.

    I will draw you a map that is a bit longer so you can go from La Quiaca to Uyuni, passing through a town called San Vicente (its really is a mine town) where its belive Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid are burried. As you came in from the ruta 3 , you missed their cabin that is located in Chubut, near Cholila.



    QUOTE=Travelbugblues;23858528]Ok, I've mapped out the route you gave all the way up to La Quiaca. We'll do most of it, if not all. I've never been so organized in my route planning :) I am a little worried about the CGL at those altitudes, but it'll be a great trial run! Please do send more info for Bolivia if you have the time. I haven't looked into it at all yet, but know I want to see the salt flats, then head for Lima. I won't have much time to spare in Bolivia as I'm meeting friends in Lima on May 10th.

    I was in Machu Picchu a few years ago, so if I don't do that region again, it's no big deal. More importantly, Tom really wants to avoid the crazy Peruvian traffic we've been hearing about! We're considering a coastal route. I haven't seen the Atacama desert, so maybe head through there after Uyuni?

    Post here again if you can, so Tom can hop online and check out the maps. Thanks again! Huge help.[/QUOTE]
  13. RoloMoto

    RoloMoto Adventurer

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    San Vicente, Bolivia

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  14. RoloMoto

    RoloMoto Adventurer

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    Fron La Quiaca head north to Tupiza, its all asphalt, as you can see in the map there is a gravel road, i never did that road, so check it out on google earth as this map was made out of 4x4 expeditions, so perhaps the road is a river.
    So when you reach tupiza, you cross the river on your left and head north, and ask how to go to el sillar that is an amazing view, its like Brice Canon.
    I yhink there must be signs along the road, at this point follow the ones to San Vicente or Atocha or Uyuni

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  15. RoloMoto

    RoloMoto Adventurer

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    In Uyuni you have to visit the train cementery. There are a lot of hotels and hostels in town, but if you want to experience something else, you can sleep in a Salt Hotel, its located in the begining of the salar. The old hotel is no longer working due to enviormental laws (seems the shit was contaminating the salar :eek1). I sleeped ones there and to use the bathroom you had to wear a radiactive suit.
    This road will send you across the salar to la Isla de Pescado, then north to another island, and i think you will find something in Llica to sleep over, and cross to chile. As i didn do this, ask in Uyuni if you can cross through there. The other pass is way to south.
    When you enter the Salar, there is a monolith whith one bolivian name followed by six japanese names and one bolivian name flowed by six israeli names. If you wonder what is this, well that is infinity stupidity. They where two "bolitas" tour guides, each of one in a Land Cruiser, they met in the middle of the salar, one going the other one coming, and played the chicken game or what the hell is called. The result : all dead.

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  16. RoloMoto

    RoloMoto Adventurer

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    LLica to Iquique. I send you to Iquique because its a major city where you will find hotel and everithing you need for your bike. The other towns you see on the map i don't think you can sleep or have gas.

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  17. RoloMoto

    RoloMoto Adventurer

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    From Iquique head towards Arica, where the border is. You can't miss this route as its goes from Arica down to Puerto Mont, its like ruta 3.

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  18. RoloMoto

    RoloMoto Adventurer

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    From ilo, go always with the pacific to your left, and will arribe to some sort of factory, from there to Punta de Bombon it's all gravel.
    I know until La Joya, but from there to Lima its all asphalt and only one route so you must not have any trouble. Remember to stop at Nasca to see the Nasca Lines.
    Hope this helps you and if you want to go north from Uyuni, let me know, you cross the Salar to Garci Mendoza and from there there is a gravel that takes you to Oruro (i keep writing gravel (ripio) but i don't know if its correct), from there to La Paz, go to Copacabana, Puno, Cusco, Nasca, Lima.

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  19. junkyardroad

    junkyardroad Been here awhile

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    This is very good. I can read it all pretty will and laughed hard at this. My Profe was far too formal to delve into these things, but they do bring out some of the character of the language and culture. Funny, I asked in class about Hemingway and his evident inability to conjugate, and some confusing translations were a topic.

    "Me cago en la leche de tu madre"

    LOL, this is indeed pretty wicked, but it's not just Argentinian, Iberian, or other... its common lexicon among boys and men everywhere. A disparaging comment about a mother or sister must be immediately returned with relish.

    I copied some of these down and used them at work, where sometimes we struggle to communicate and understand each other. Before, just greeting the guys in elementary Spanish would get a smile, a few of these brought on an onslaught of retribution far to fast to understand (most of it) but completely communicated if that makes any sense. It seemed to be a well practiced art, and was a funny way to open the door a bit.

    Estar en pedo = to be drunk
    Estar al pedo = to be idle, nothing to do.
    Hablar al pedo = to speak nonsense
    De pedo = by coincidence
    Me importa un pedo = I don’t care
    A los pedos = fast

    This is an example of why I will never be fluent beyond finding the bathroom. Can't they just speak English? :D

    With regard to some countries being more circumspect about the Virgin and God, I think this is correct. Most of the Hispanic/Latino whatever are Mexican and Salvadoran, and never go there. I have no formal relationship in that way so better to not throw out insults without some experience. :wink:

    Argentina is a top-of-the-bucket-list-destination for me, can't wait to ride there!
    Thanks to you and your family, have fun riding with your friend!:1drink
  20. Slice

    Slice words+pix+wood+bikes

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    I just got up to speed on your slow-mo ride in the south. Great writing—and your boy has good command, too. Thanks for keeping us posted, good luck on the air/fuel conundrum, and keep that rubber side pointed down.