Corporate Runaways - Boston to Ushuaia on 2 BMW F650GSs

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Dachary, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. Dachary

    Dachary Been here awhile

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    May 21, 2010
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    313
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    Who doesn't get tired of the corporate grind? We've decided to run away from our corporate jobs and take our bikes from our home in Boston down to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego - the End of the World. We'll be riding roughly 20,000 miles through 14 countries and we're giving ourselves 4 months to do it. The plan is to avoid civilization whenever possible, camp constantly, enjoy beautiful scenery and hopefully find just enough adventure along the way.

    These are our bikes:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/corporaterunaways/5089630015/" title="Bikes sitting after a long drink. by CorporateRunaways, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4085/5089630015_2a65120ecb.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Bikes sitting after a long drink." /></a>

    This is Kay:

    <img src="http://www.corporaterunaways.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/kay-300x225.jpg" />

    And me, Dachary:

    <img src="http://www.corporaterunaways.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/dachary_cropped-300x227.jpg" />

    And this is our proposed route:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/corporaterunaways/5240317932/" title="americas_map_proposed_route by CorporateRunaways, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5250/5240317932_4b3fddcbd5.jpg" width="329" height="500" alt="americas_map_proposed_route" /></a>

    We've listed all the mods we've made to each bike on our web site, as well as more information about us, at <a href="http://www.CorporateRunaways.com">http://www.CorporateRunaways.com</a>

    We wanted to document the journey from the beginning, so I wanted to post today - because we're leaving tomorrow! We'll hopefully get out of Boston bright and early, although we typically fail at getting on the road early. I'm also a little worried about snow as the forecast looks more and more ominous.

    Will our dauntless heroes make it out before the snow strikes? Will the motorcycles be so overloaded that the frames break before they even leave the U.S.? Will hypothermia claim the brave riders and end the trip before it's truly begun?

    Stay tuned and enjoy the ride with us!
    #1
  2. donnymoto

    donnymoto Long timer

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    Wow, I'm sure you'll find your adventure, good luck!
    #2
  3. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

    Joined:
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    Rockford Wa
    The F650GS is a solid bike. With corporate grind in the rear view mirror and adventure on the horizon. This ride report has been "added to cart".


    <NOBR>Feliz viaje :freaky</NOBR><NOBR>
    <CITE></CITE></NOBR>


    <CITE></CITE>
    #3
  4. Boston

    Boston Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
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    Beantown, USA
    Safe riding! I'm in! :lurk
    #4
  5. warp9man

    warp9man Gravel in my Travel

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
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    Farmington Utah
    good luck and safe travels.
    #5
  6. Dachary

    Dachary Been here awhile

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    Motorcycle trips always seem to take longer than you expect to prep, and a 4-month trip over 20,000 miles warrants the extra time. We’d done as much as possible to get ready to go before the big day came, but there was still a lot we had to do the morning of to get the house and dogs ready for the house/dog-sitter, and get us ready for the road. We had some last-minute packing to do, and a few last-minute scares of things we thought we’d forgotten and had to unpack and then re-pack to check. Long story short, we didn’t get on the road until after 11AM, and didn’t hit the interstate (where we’ll be spending much of our time in the U.S.) until close to noon.

    [​IMG]
    Dachary's bike packed to go.

    [​IMG]
    Kay's bike packed to go.



    We quickly discovered that Kay’s bike needed some adjustment. The bike was initially having speed wobbles at 65mph. We’d put new chains on the bikes, and added a dry sack duffle to the back of Kay’s bike, but otherwise hadn’t changed the configuration so the wobbles were a mystery. We only got about 15 or 20 miles from Boston before we had to pull off at a service area to check out the bike.

    A quick Web search later and we adjusted the pre-load on the front suspension, checked the alignment, checked tire pressures and decided to hit the road again. Cranking up the pre-load helped immensely, but the bike was still wobbling a bit around 70mph and it was decided to stop again before we hit I-84 into Connecticut. We hit another service area just a few miles before the exit, and cranked up the pre-load and added a bit of air to the tires. Of course, the bike was on a slant and when Kay stepped off of it it fell right over. Checking underneath before lifting it revealed that no, the kick-stand hadn't done anything wrong. The bike had simply pivoted on it when it went over. When we got back to the interstate, the bike was riding well. Pre-load and air had done the trick.

    By this point it was past lunch time, and we’d been riding in the cold, so we planned to stop at Traveler’s Books and Food in Connecticut. We didn’t realize how close it was to the Massachusetts border and reached it far sooner than expected. Had a tasty lunch, and I got the most amazing grilled cheese and tomato soup combo I’ve had in my life. Seriously. Truly heavenly. If you’re in the area, stop there and eat.

    [​IMG]
    The Perfect Soup and Sandwitch

    We managed to get about an hour and a half down the road before we had to stop again. It was time to gas up, and we were getting close to New York City during rush hour, so I decided I’d like a bathroom before we tried to tackle any of NYC’s notoriously traffic-y bridges. The first gas station we hit was a dud, so we rode on until we found a Stop N’ Shop gas station. One of Kay’s ears was hurting so he took the helmet off to adjust and give it a breather, and took glasses off to take the helmet off. And, leaning forwards to set down the helmet, crushed underfoot the glasses which had fallen to the ground in a way that looked impossible to repair.

    At this point, it was around 4:30PM and already getting dark. The temperature was around 35 degrees and Kay effectively had no glasses (and needs them to drive). Back-up glasses, you say? Kay doesn’t have any - the plan is to grab some when we hit a border town in Mexico. We were mulling over our options when a guy at the next pump in the gas station heard us talking about the divey looking hotel we’d passed and recommended one just down the road. He said it was cheap but clean, and that’s how we ended up at Shoreline Motel in Milford, CT with the sun setting at 4:30 on a Tuesday.

    We only made it 160 miles from home on our first day, but between getting out late, diagnosing bike troubles and broken glasses, there’s not much we could do about it. We prefer not to ride at night anytime, and with the cold it’s really quite dangerous to ride at night, even with our heated gear. We immediately exploded our gear all over the (cheap) hotel room and pulled out the JB Plastic Weld that I remembered we’d brought. Kay went to work fixing glasses while I called around on my never-ending quest to find some Michelin Anakee 2 tires for my bike. A few hours and some Domino’s delivery later, we’re fed and warm, have fixed the glasses, have located some tires for me in Louisiana, and I actually managed to get some work done, too. With one black rim and one white JB Weld rim the glasses look like a reject project from some 1980’s video though.

    [​IMG]
    Kay's JB Welded glasses

    Not how I’d have planned our first day, but not horrible. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we’ll try to hit the road earlier (and find some wi-fi so I can send my work off to a client and post stuff to the site for the ride report) and cover some miles. The immediate goal is to put the Great Cold North behind us - the sooner, the better!
    #6
  7. Boston

    Boston Adventurer

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    Beantown, USA
    Love the JB Weld on the glasses - GOOD STUFF!!! :clap
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    That's quite the ride you have planned! Best wishes for a safe journey :thumb
    #8
  9. lukeman

    lukeman Cool Hand

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    Nov 22, 2008
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    457
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    Washington DC
    This should be a good one. Hardcore riding right now in the northeast, its fucking cold! Get south quickly! :D
    #9
  10. Hotmamaandme

    Hotmamaandme Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Enjoy the ride of a life time:clap
    #10
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    You sure picked some cold weather to start off in. What made you pick this time of year?

    Good luck on your ride. I'll be following along.:lurk
    #11
  12. Bgunn

    Bgunn Mucha distancia

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    Apr 7, 2004
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    Rockford Wa


    The only trouble I had with my F650 was with steering head bearings. Preload on the bearings are important. Looks like you have it sorted out.

    Bet your looking forward to the warmer weather that awaits you in the south.

    JB weld can be some amazing stuff...:lol3
    #12
  13. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Awesome stuff :clap

    If you end up in the DC area on the way give me a ring and I'll meet you for a bite to eat if you want (I'm from this area, but just returned after a 3-yr stint in Cambridge MA). I'd offer a place to stay but I'm sleeping on a couch myself right now so can't - you'll wanna make it further south than this anyway I think:deal
    #13
  14. Animo

    Animo Beastly n00b

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    Playa del Carmen
    Have a great & safe ride!!!!

    :lurk
    #14
  15. *Gravy*

    *Gravy* Jedi Loser

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    Location:
    MN
    :thumb
    #15
  16. Dachary

    Dachary Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
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    313
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    Boston
    Day 1’s casualty was Kay’s glasses. Day 2’s casualty was my boots. I’d gotten the Rev’It Rival H20 boots just a couple of months ago from RevZilla. I called up Neil at RevZilla who spent nearly 40 minutes on the phone with me measuring the calf-size of boots and we decided the Rev’It boots would be my best bet. We didn’t know it until today but it turns out women’s calf muscles extend lower than mens, which makes them wider at the top of boots, and explains why it’s so hard to find an adventure boot that fits a woman well. Anyway, they were great - up until a few weeks ago.

    In prep for the trip, we’ve been doing a lot of mini-trips around the area. A few weeks ago we rode down to Rhode Island and rode around with some ADVRider folks in Arcadia and Pachaug. I’ve only been riding for about 7 months, and my inexperience combined with the stock Trailwing (Deathwing) tires on my bike = me falling in the mud a lot (and cracking two ribs). The boots stayed waterproof on this, their initial foray into wetness, and I didn’t think twice.

    Fast forward to a week or two later when I tried to don my boots to ride the bike to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t get the left boot to zip up properly. I fussed with it for a few minutes and then handed it to Kay, who was able to work the zipper up and down a bit past the problem spot. It seemed like the zipper was working in so I put it on and rode out. Zipper was even harder to zip on the way home, but I just figured there was some dirt in the zipper from its immersion in mud and thought it would work its way out.

    When I put on the boots yesterday, I realized there was a spot where the zipper wasn’t zipping properly. Today, I unzipped the boot completely and tried re-zipping it to get the teeth re-aligned. It wouldn’t go. An even larger portion of the zipper was borked. We manhandled it past the trouble spot and through the hard part just above that and decided to give RevZilla a call and see if they could help us, since we didn’t have time to wait around for a warranty repair. More importantly, we didn’t want to get stuck south of the border with boots that wouldn’t stay closed properly (or at all).

    [​IMG]
    The Zipper of Doom

    See those tiny zipper teeth? Ridiculous idea on something that’s going to be down near the dirt. We’re both 100% against the idea of getting motorcycle boots with zippers now - particularly zippers with fine teeth.

    I spoke with Chris at RevZilla, who gave me the contact info for Rev’It and offered to help expedite the repair. Unfortunately, even an expedited repair would mean I wouldn’t have riding boots for several days, and we didn’t want to wait around in the cold cold north, in costly motels. We didn’t want to spend the cash, but I made a decision to go to RevZilla since Philly was on our route and see if they could find me another pair of boots. Of course all of this calling around took time and it ended up being after 10:00AM (when Rev’It’s offices opened) before we finally hit the road.

    Got to Philly at around 1:45 and the staff at RevZilla were just as awesome in person as they have been on the phone and on ADVRider. There we met Chris who had helped me on the phone, Patrick who helped me try on pretty much every boot they had in my size, and Anthony who does the video/is an owner (the owner?) at RevZilla. Patrick’s family owns property in Costa Rica and he’s ridden as far as Panama and into the Darien Gap on an F650 (he’s hardcore!) and was able to offer us lots of helpful advice.

    First though, we had to get the boot off. At some point between putting them on and riding to Revzilla the zipper had come open all the way from the bottom. It took Kay pulling with a Leatherman to get it to move, and then the zipper pull came completely off.

    In the end, the pair of boots that fit me best (i.e. fit over my calves, but also fit really well) was the Dainese Visoke D-WP Boots. Sad for me, they were expensive and I hadn’t planned to buy new boots - but they fit so well. Actually, they were the only ones that fit properly at all. And they’re so comfortable. And they kept me nice and warm even in the low 30s we were riding through for much of the day. Of course, we totally forgot to take a picture of me surrounded by opened boot boxes.

    Stood around and chatted with the guys at RevZilla for a while and I still can’t say enough good things about these guys. They’re real riders who actually care about their customers and I can’t recommend them highly enough. They’re taking care of the warranty exchange for me on the Rev’It Rival H20 boots (which I’m gonna turn around and sell when I get home - anyone need a pair of boots?) The guys came out to check out the bikes and Anthony took a couple of pictures with us - all three of them were really cool.

    [​IMG][/url]
    Us at RevZilla

    Hadn’t had lunch yet and by the time we left RevZilla it was 3pm. Anthony had recommended a Pork Shack around the corner for lunch but they closed at 3 so we had to make due with the IHOP across the street. Not the most exciting cuisine, but warm food relatively cheap. By the time we got back on the road it was close to 4PM. We rode until around 5:30 to get to the Days Inn hotel we had chosen for the night (because it had WiFi and wasn’t exorbitantly priced) in Aberdeen, Maryland.

    Day 2 tally: 242 miles. Milford, CT to Aberdeen, MD. Again, a short day, but we spent a while at RevZilla (and getting off the interstate in Philly) and hit the road late because of all of the calling around. If the attrition continues at this rate, we’ll be broke sometime in Mexico - gotta stop having these expensive malfunctions! But it was lucky we were near RevZilla and they were open. I am loving the new boots and hopefully the unexpected expense doesn’t set us back too far in the long run.

    Goal for tomorrow: break 300 miles! (We’ve done around 400 comfortably before, but the cold, the wind, the fact that the sun sets around 4:30pm and all of the delays have been costing us mileage. We want to get south where it’s warmer, damnit!

    Side note #1: Revzilla’s toilet revs.

    Side note #2: Today’s unsung hero was the 5-function digital meter we got from Aerostich. It includes a battery voltage meter, which we were able to watch while riding and determine when our heated gear was drawing too much power. In stop-and-go traffic, there’s less available voltage and having the heated gear cranked could prevent the battery from charging properly. With the meter in place, we could keep an eye on our voltage and turn down the grips/jacket as needed to keep our batteries happy.

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. leftystrat62

    leftystrat62 Adventurer

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    1,000
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    Little Rhody
    Hey Dachary & Kay,good to see you've started your trip. You guys are going to have the trip of a life time-ride safe and keep the shinny side up. Hope to see you guys again for a ride when you get back and to hear all about your trip.I'll be subscribed to this one. Cheers
    #17
  18. Dachary

    Dachary Been here awhile

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    May 21, 2010
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    313
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    Boston
    We were trying to find the time where we'd avoid the rainy season in most of Central and South America. By leaving in December, we'll hit the dry season through most of the entire trip, except in the Bolivian lowlands. A few days of discomfort riding in the cold is totally worth avoiding all of the mud/impassible roads in the rainy seasons in more tropical regions, IMO.

    And for all the folks who have commented on the cold - it is. Friggin cold. Yesterday temps ranged from low 30s to low 40s - today it was high 20s when we hit the road, and got up to 42 at one point before getting down to 32 again when we stopped for the night. Definitely looking forward to getting south to the warmer weather! We absolutely would not be able to do this part without heated gear - high 20s on the interstate is amazingly cold.
    #18
  19. Dachary

    Dachary Been here awhile

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    May 21, 2010
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    Boston
    Thanks for the offer, BikePilot - unfortunately we're staying relatively close to D.C. tonight (in Aberdeen, MD) and wanna be well past D.C. before lunch time, if we can get on the road at a reasonable time. But if you get back to Cambridge any time after we get back, we'd be happy to meet up and grab a bite!
    #19
  20. Dachary

    Dachary Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    313
    Location:
    Boston
    Glad you found the ride report! Try to stay warm this winter and we'd love to ride again when we get back!

    Everyone - this is one of the awesome ADVRider guys we rode with a few weeks ago who kept helping me pick my bike up when I kept dropping it in the mud :wink:

    (And FYI, I'm totally planning on getting new tires before I do any more dirt - picking up some Michelin Anakee 2 tires in Baton Rouge when we pass through there. These Trailwings suck! Or maybe it was rider error... but I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed that better tires will help. :wink: )
    #20