Cheap Chinese Moto en Paraguay

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LrnFzx, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    How about some mandioca with your hamburguesa completa? Next time we get together, that´ll be the menú. Y vamos a tomar guaraná también, verdad?
    #21
  2. humanbeing

    humanbeing Adventurer

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    19
    1400 +/-100 is the recommended rpm for these "push rod" machine.
    #22
  3. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    The first time I took it for a long highway run it started stalling when I pulled up to stop lights. It was disconcerting to dangerous. I had no idea what was going on so I just held the throttle open a bit until I got home. I pulled off the side covers and inspected the carb since I figured it was a fuel delivery problem.

    There only seemed to be one adjustment screw that was easy to access so I backed it out a quarter turn. The problem got worse so I returned it to its original position and tightened it a quarter turn. Problem solved. It´s one of those screws with a spring around it so the vibration must be backing it out. It´s happened twice since then and I don´t like it to idle so high but below that it´s not stable.

    The bike came with a helmet that fits my wife, a quart of oil for the first (free) scheduled maintenance for warranty, and a hi-vis reflective vest with Kenton written all over it. No owners manual, of course.

    It makes me wonder what else is going to vibrate loose and fall off.
    #23
  4. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    It was about 7 pm when I finished mi hamburguesa completa and headed back to the bike. I put on all my gear and headed back to the highway toward home, thinking that maybe I´d take just one detour on the way back.

    In front of me was a semi whose driver decided to take his truck across the center line and pass some cars. He stayed out there so long that he forced five oncoming cars onto the shoulder. Maybe it´s time to leave the main road for a bit.

    My mother-in-law was born in Atyra and it´s pretty close to Caacupé so why not make a quick run out there, snap a picture, and return? That´s where the ride really took a good turn.

    It´s a nice little town at the end of the paved road that is known for being clean. After 10 km of no lines painted on the road and ´dangerous curve´ signs every three dangerous curves, I arrived.


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    There were very few cars on the way there and I was able to keep my high beam on most of the time and kinda see the road. There was a sign for the town of Altos so I figured I needed to go there too - it´s not too late and nobody really needs me at home - the only problem was that it was one of those rock roads and 10 km on that with this bike was not going to happen. So I drove around Atyra for a bit and returned to Route 2 to continue home.

    There was a burrowing owl in the middle of the road that took off and flew over my right shoulder. Pretty cool.

    I hit the valley of the Lago Ypacarai and I figured I needed to visit San Bernardino since my sister-in-law had recently been there. So I turned off the main road and experienced, once again, the joy of back roads and little traffic in the darkness.

    It was too beautiful and too fun and I just had to keep going. 10 km more to Altos? On a paved road this time? Gotta do it. By the time I got to Loma Grande, I knew it was going to be a really long ride.

    As I continued, there was less traffic, fewer cars, and more stars. I really expected the pavement to end but it never did so I kept going. Every time I found a really dark spot, I stopped the bike, threw myself on the ground, and stared in wonder at the stars and the clearly visible milky way. Different stars, too - can´t see the north star from here.

    When I hit Loma Grande, it was only 22 km to Route 3 and around 25 km back to Route 2. I had some vague idea that I could circle the lake and come back through Luque, but with no GPS and no map, I was guessing a bit.

    Press on. Nueva Colombia. Emboscada and Route 3. A sign for Limpio! Yes! Limpio to Luque to San Lorenzo is a straight shot.


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    The original plan was Caacupé and back. This is how it turned out.


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    Between Routes 2 and 3 was a great ride with no traffic except for the fact that it got pretty cold in some valleys, I was totally unprepared, and there were no stores that were open. The last gas station was in San Bernardino.

    80 km out and back turned into a 180 km lake loop in the darkness. I tell people this story around here and they just sit there in shock. Nobody does stuff like that around here, but it was only a bit over 100 miles.

    Thanks to my wife and her family for taking care of things and kids while I was out unexpectedly until 10 pm.
    #24
  5. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    50 km on Route 1 takes you to Yaguaron and then Paraguarí. I´ve only been out there by bus - it takes a long time and you often don´t get a seat. But the towns are cute and both have hills called ´cerros´ that rise up out of the flat topography that is Paraguay. From Paraguarí:


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    Most of these hills don´t have any kind of ascending road, but I had been up the cerro Yaguaron and there was a path that I figured I might be able to ascend. It started with the common rock road or ´empedrado´ for a few hundred meters, turned into this road that reminded me of the slickrock of Utah,


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    and then became this


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    That´s as far as I got. That little machine just kept on chugging over the rocks on the right and I quit once I realized that there was no way I could get to the top. I was really a bit surprised that I was able to make it that far. This is what stopped me:


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    The huge, curved rear brake lever running below the frame smacked a bunch of rocks on the way down so I could only really use the front brake. The descent wasn´t too bad, but I could definitely use a more off-road capable bike. At the base of a steep walking ascent of the same cerro, a boy of 8 asked me if I was planning to head up the hill. I said that I had tried with the bike, but it didn´t make it. ¨No, you can only get up there walking, but I know the mountain pretty well, so if you want to come back, maybe Sunday, I can show you around.´ A tour guide! There´s always somebody who knows the place pretty well so if you want to explore, just ask around.

    Then I finally captured the sun at the horizon in Paraguarí. I´ll have to take my wife out here. It´s really beautiful.


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    #25
  6. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Until this visit, transportation has always been by bus or bicycle. The buses are slow and they never go exactly where you want them to so a 20 minute drive sometimes turns into 90 minute trip using two bus lines. These bus companies are separate, private enterprises but somehow the bus fare is determined by the government and the salary of the drivers is provided by the government. I don´t really understand how it all works and I always get vague answers when I ask.

    The inauguration of the new president is on August 15 so large numbers of government employees are on forced vacations, new government contracts are not being signed, and the government claims to have no money to pay people. A teacher´s strike over retirement benefits is ending and a couple of days ago there was a transit strike.

    On Tuesday, we had been invited to my wife´s God parents´ home for lunch but with no buses and two children, we weren´t going until they offered to pick us up in their little Toyota Starlet. No room for all of us so my wife and I followed on the bike.

    We never went above 50 kph. That´s 30 mph. We could have followed them pretty easily on our tandem bicycle and even arrived first if we knew the way. The thing is that it´s normal to drive that way around here unless you have plenty of money, insurance, and a car that´s in good condition.

    We had a great time at their house. Good friends, great family, and excellent food. There was even a jakaré on the wall watching over us


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    as we patiently waited for the asadero to finish grilling the beef.


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    It was a one-day strike and we were back to the buses yesterday. I picked up some chicken on the way to Grandma´s house on the bike and the family took two buses. We had a great family time again, but the bus trip back was apparently horrible. Two buses and both were packed so plenty of people were standing. Our little one did not want to sit so he kicked and cried and tried to leap from my wife´s lap. Not fun.

    Liliana is a friend who bought a motorcycle about five years ago. She was really slow and timid at first, but the freedom she has described is exactly why so many people use these cheap Chinese bikes as family transportation.
    #26
  7. whizzerwheel

    whizzerwheel Using Occam's Razor

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    Nice story..
    #27
  8. Tom48

    Tom48 Been here awhile

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    This is one of the best reports that I have seen.
    Thanks
    #28
  9. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    Thanks-

    It has been 24 years since I've seen San Lo or Capiata ...


    Some looks changed, much hasn't
    #29
  10. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Thanks, guys.

    I love this country and her people and I´ve always wanted to tell a story. My friends and students haven´t been here and I can only relay the feel of the place in little snippets. Until now. My continuing love of two wheels has expanded from bicycles to motorcycles and this website is the perfect place to get the story out. Plus, the bike allows me to reach out a lot farther, see a lot more, and share some of that with you.

    My thanks to those of you who manage the site and thanks to those of you who visit.

    Signal - you´ve been here? Cool. Was it a quick visit? On a bike? What did you get to see?
    #30
  11. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Why anyone would want less suspension on these roads is beyond me, but here is a friends bike. He´s lowered the suspension and made the headlight even less effective by lowering the headlight in its cowling and changing the angle. I actually like the look.


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    Turnsignalectomies are common. And not only the kind where they get ripped off in an accident. Brake light lenses come in blue and green and transparent. LED accents all over the bike in various colors make you more attractive to women as you cruise the streets. Apparently. We all know, of course, that the women generally don´t even notice so let´s just admit that we all do it to get noticed by other men. :D
    #31
  12. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    :thumb
    #32
  13. rbsride365

    rbsride365 Hi-Viz

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    :rofl
    #33
  14. Toiretto

    Toiretto Getting into it!

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    Wow, very interesting RR. Thank you for sharing!
    #34
  15. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I tried to convince my wife that I couldn´t take her anywhere on our new motorcycle for at least 6000 km, but she´s smart. That´s one of the reasons I married her. Anyway, during the initial break-in period of 500 km, they recommend that you stay below 60 kph and not carry passengers. Oops. I hope I didn´t break anything. I did stop every half hour or so, varied the engine speed as much as posible, and didn´t go too fast for too long, but this is supposed to be about our first ride together and not my insatiable need for speed.

    Our first outing together. It´s just a teeny bit smaller than our Concours and I ended up having to move the trunk back a bit to give my legs more room. I´d prefer not to have the trunk for the sake of my comfort, but the first time I ever took her out on a big bike, I almost rolled her off the back when I hit the gas too hard.


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    The suspension handled the empedrado (the rock road) without any problem but the speed bumps were painful for her at anything above 15 kph. When I´m solo, I just stand on the pegs and the bike sails over them. I got smacked a few times before I learned to slow down.

    The truck in the picture is about the same vintage as many of the small city buses.

    Off we went to Villeta. I had scouted the route and knew what I wanted to show her so 30 km through Ñemby and Ypané on Acceso Sur took us the pueblo. They´ve paved all the roads of Villeta recently and the town seems to be doing well. We visited the city square and talked for a while and then hopped on the bike and headed for the beach on the river.


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    The sign above the bike says ´the water ain´t good for swimmin.´ With her white helmet and the vest everyone thinks she´s a zorra - a female police officer or ´lady fox.´ Definitely a fox but not an officer of the law. Here are some boats. They often paint them in bright colors.


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    The river´s high.


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    A bridge over the creek called a ´monkey bridge´ or puente ka´i in a combination of Spanish and Guaraní:


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    I crossed one of these bridges on the way to Grandma´s house many years ago. The big ones bounce and sway like the buses on the rock roads.

    This tree is a cocotero. Its fruit is a tiny coconut that is most commonly used by boys with makeshift slingshots to hunt birds. The yellow flowers will be replaced by the tiny coconuts.


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    Barges carrying coal or salt are commonly seen on the rivers of Pittsburgh but they aren´t this big. This one is headed for a port a few miles away.


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    We spent some time enjoying the beautiful sunshine and listening to the strong breeze through the trees and then headed home. It was a great first ride.
    #35
  16. scottro

    scottro Been here awhile

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    Great story & pics. Have you relocated to Paraguay or are you coming back to the 'Burgh?
    #36
  17. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    This bike allows me to avoid the daily trauma of the bus. Wife, sister-in-law, wife´s Mom, cousin, and our two children just left for another family reunion on the bus. They walk 300 m, wait for one bus, get off and wait for another long bus ride, then walk 100 m to the house of her Mom´s sister.

    I leave 45 minutes later, take the heavy stuff, stop at the store to pick up some food, and arrive at the same time. This happens a lot since her Mom is one of 9 children and her Dad one of 10. Or something like that. It´s tough to keep track of who´s a cousin and who´s and uncle; who´s blood and who married into the family.

    Last night a long-time friend and her sister came to visit. They live about a km away, but the buses stop pretty early so they were hesitant to come over until my wife said that I would take them back on the bike. They arrived and stayed ´til 10, playing the guitar and singing for much of the time. I took them back in two trips and it was a great evening with friends and family.

    The guitar and harp are national musical instruments and many family members play often.

    This is an evening with just the family:


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    Gotta take a shower and get moving.


    .
    #37
  18. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    We´ll soon return the our home in Pittsburgh. It´s always exciting and fun to visit the family here, but our home is in Pittsburgh.

    I´ll be sad to leave. I´ll probably cry, but don´t tell my wife. I am a man, after all, and real men only shed tears when parting with a long-time two-wheeled companion.
    #38
  19. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    Here´s the sunset from Tío Santiago and Tía Vicenta´s house yesterday.


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    We were able to stay out late last night because not everybody can fit in the cars that other families have. The bike takes a couple of people and it works out pretty well.

    This is sunrise from a few blocks away from the in-laws´ home this morning. The sky is perfect.


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    #39
  20. LrnFzx

    LrnFzx Been here awhile

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    I had scouted Nueva Italia and ridden a few dirt roads a few days before and I knew that the pavement ended in every direction. Google Maps confirmed my suspicion that the road from Nueva Italia to Carapeguá was unpaved. Here was the plan:


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    On the way out, I found the real location of Barney and Homer´s Bar. This must be Springfield!


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    I also happened upon a Mobile hot dog shoppe - Super Pancho Acceso Sur.


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    I had carefully checked the weather for about one second the night before so when it began to rain after 10 km, I wasn´t too surprised. I have a mostly waterproof jacket and was carrying borrowed rain pants so I stopped on the side of the road to consider the plan as I struggled to slide into XL rainpants that probably should have been XXL.

    15 minutes later I was again astride my trusty steed with a new plan. There was no way that I was going to run an unpaved road on this bike in the rain because when it rains, the streets become rivers and the low points are lakes.


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    Antonio had recommended the road from Paraguarí to Pirebebuy so I decided to take it - it was paved and supposedly scenic. I set off again with the bike fresh from its second required maintenance at 1500 km. They put in a new spark plug and the top speed went from 87 kph to 93 kph (just above 55 mph). I don´t really know if that is because the speedo is unreliable, the plug was dirty, or they start out with a weak plug to keep morons like me from ruining the machine too early.

    The cross wind was pretty strong and gusty and I had to lean forward since the front end was pretty squirrelly and I´ve noticed that, especially with my wife aboard, the little thing wants to do micro-wheelies. It´s pretty dangerous at high speeds with the wind against my tall frame on this naked bike putting more weight on the rear and lifting the front.

    Arriving at Paraguarí, I stopped at this Frutería


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    and looked out at the rain.


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    That´s as bad as it got. It rained off and on all day, but short boots make good wetsuits for your feet and the wind on a naked bike pushes pooled water through the crotch seams of borrowed rain gear. I was already cold so I bought some chicken soup with huge hunks of chicken with bones and skin on, tons of spices, and a variety of vegetables.


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    No, that wasn´t my plate. I wish. It was really good. Then I had the best café con leche ever.


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    The coffee was fabuloso. I think they took a flame thrower to the milk foam on top to caramelize the sugar or something - I´ll have to try that.

    I stopped at the Palacio de Justicia on the way out and thought of the Super Friends and their Hall of Justice.


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    Why are there cerros in Paraguay? Those crazy hills that stick out have to have a geological reason. Here it is.


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    Every time I pulled out the camera, I had to keep the lens dry so everything was a bit awkward, but the road wasn´t a pond and the scenery was beautiful so that kept me warm. Well, not really, but I didn´t have to feel the cold since my mind was otherwise occupied.

    The wind was still pretty strong and it wasn´t getting any warmer


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    so I stopped at the next gas station to request hot water to drink and keep me warm. I drank half a liter of warm water, filled the bottle with almost boiling water, and stuffed it in my jacket to stave off the cold. Then I thought - A Camelbak could be used as a Camelfront with hot water. Hot water to drink and a water bottle to keep you warm.

    A chapel to a saint built on a rock:


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    The gas station temperature was 9 degrees C - 48 F. I couldn´t catch a pic of the whole thing since only half of the LEDs were on at a time and only the camera could catch it - it looked normal to me until I took the pic.


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    ´My iron horse must think it queer to stop without a farmhouse near´
    Do you think that guy in Frost´s poem just stopped to watch the woods fill up with snow? Or was it to empty a full bladder in the middle of a long ride home? I wonder.


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    Then I grabbed a sour orange. I really like them but nobody eats them so they rot.


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    It was decision time. It was only around 1 pm. I had to be home by 4:30 for a friend´s visit but if I turned left, I´d arrive way too early since it was only 50 km home. I could continue out Route 2 and see how far I could get but I was already trembling a bit from the 50 mph wind on my chest, soaked feet, wet hands, bare neck, and 3/4 helmet with a visor.


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    Itacurubi it is, then. I don´t have a lot of time left on this visit and I need to see what the highways are like for future reference. I figured 24 km would be plenty, but the ´press on´ mood hit me when I reached Itacurubi. Maybe it was the cold inhibiting the proper functioning of my brain, but I just had to keep going. All the way to San Jose de los Arroyos where Coca Cola and los chanchos welcomed me.


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    That´s it. That´s as far as I can get today with the cold and the wet and the time constraints. I was trembling a bit and so tense that the base of my neck was starting to hurt. I left good following distances so my cold fingers and feet could react in time and used every opportunity to sit behind slow-moving vehicles and not go so fast.

    Then, during moments of inattention, I would find myself passing those slow trucks at top speed and running hard in spite of the cold.

    I stopped for some antiques


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    which would make great yard art and then I had to stop at a chipería for some hot ... cocido negro. I need to bring a thermos. Or maybe actually prepare for my next voyage.


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    Las chiperas with their little skirts and blanket-wrapped baskets get on the buses and sell chipa and cocido to the travelers. I stopped to get out of the wind and drink something hot.


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    I waited until I wasn´t really shivering any more and set off a toda bala for home. 30 seconds later, the shivers came back, but whatever. Nice scene.


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    I stopped to see this recently overturned truck. It didn´t seem serious since a police pickup and an ambulance passed without pause, but this was at the bottom of a hill on a straight road.


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    I passed through Aregua on the way home since the secondary roads have minimal traffic and my hands and feet were reacting slowly to brake lights and farm animals. This was my route - 250 km in the cold and wet. It was a great day, but I had to take a hot shower and then wrap myself in a blanket for 2 hours to get myself warm again.


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    #40