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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tsiklonaut, Jun 30, 2009.
Thanks for the detailed write up and photos of your bike preparation
Just a little bit....but now I have a good reference for some of my repairs. Great job and thanks for the lesson!
The gear preparation for a round the world trip is an important part of the experience....spare no detail.
Thanks again for sharing and we look forward to your updates.
Amen! Great photos of the bike prep but I was bummed when you said you were going to skip the gear selection and set-up. I love reading about people's choices for long trips. Please do include it if it's not too much trouble. I promise you that we as readers won't be bored.
And I can't wait to see the ride pics too.
Great start to what looks an epic trip
thats a great bike to be riding on and it looks like you have some mechanical skills, should serve you well on the trip. how are you guys financing a 2.5 year trip if you dont mind me asking? are you camping most of the way? why the odd route into Alaska and then right back south? i really hope that i can do something like this before im 30. your are a lucky man to have a wife willing to "go the distance"
Wow. Amazing those tons of very good working hours on your bike.
You have a lot of spare time to do that
The thread looks very good.
I see you may not be traveling through Colorado. I owe anyone from Estonia/Baltic states a big favor. I did a bike trip in 1991 , 1978 BMW 100RT, thorough the Baltic states to what was then Lenningrad , Russia. The people I met and spent time with were absolutely awesome. So if you are in Colorado , please keep this and PM me or if you need a phone number let me know.
Off in a week ,July 7, 09, to back pack the Mt .Robson park area so hope we do not miss you.
Awesome trip, I am signing on for the trip through your eyes/pics/ stories.
ride safe, gale
really good begining
Can't wait...keep the cards and letters coming.
Subscribed! Wish we'd gotten to speak more at the BBQ, but at least I can keep up with you as your travels carry on.
Definitely do talk to us about picking your gear! That interests me even more than the mechanics.
Woohoo! I found my summer reading! Please bore us with the gear you're taking. If we (non bmw riders) made it through your repairs, we'll be happy to see what you're taking along.
Actually, I'm not a mech myself, I've just found BMW R11xxGSes are soooooooo simple bikes to work on yourself. I reckon one of the easiest bikes to work on yourself (not the new 1200s with their hi-tec electronics tho, although mechanics are still ol' simple style).
Those jobs I did in around 4 evenings with slow methological process (having beer in my other hand ) to make sure no mistakes are made.
All this could be done in 2 evening when you keep focused on the job. Very well though-through bike. I'd spend 2X more time on some Japanese bikes just to remove all that plastic and fancy bodywork, not counting more complex setup and overengineered compact engine setup they have. Dead-simple robust oldschool boxers rule on DIY jobs/maintenance!!!
And note: NO REPAIRS WERE MADE!!!
All what I did was all just-in-case replacements, observations and re-checks on the bike. I'd had been fine going with the bike as it was untouched, but being a bit pervy on perfection myself I insisted on replacing some things just-in-case, as said before.
Let's see if we can pull some time on writing about gear'n stuff. Will keep you updated on that if it progresses or not.
We've sold everything we have to do this When we go back we start from ground zero. Camping as much as possible, especially in expensive countries. We VERY probably have to stop somewhere for a work 1/2-1 year to rise additional funds badly needed when we run out. Not easy!
...on the way to UK.
Just some quickish pics (there's nothing new in Europe anyways), got internet somewhere here in Netherland's hotel (we're mostly wild-camping, it's our first night in hotel!).
2 pairs of our beloved Heidenau K60 tires on the bike (NOT available in South-America still). They work well as crash-bars ->
Bloody cold Europe. Been 10-16C days, Gerbing heated vests are God-sent here
Our loaded moto.
When our paperwork and stuff goes through successfully in London cargo-airfield terminal, then bike and ourselves will be flown to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Can't wait for South-America!
I hear that on working on the GS. I had two myself. My Suzuki Bandit 1250S just took me about 2 hours to change out the air filter, spark plugs , oil and filter. I use to do this, plus checking the valves, in about 45 minutes on the GS taking a coffee break.
I am looking forward to your ride adventures. According to your map, you'll be passing through Houston area. Welcome to stay the night here with us when you come through.
So after many days in Buenos Aires Argentina we've seen most of the highlights. The city has it's charm, but max 4-5 days would have been nicer. The final few days were much better in Dakar Motos where I did some work on the bike and we got a chance to meet other travellers.
Some Buenos Aires point'n'shoot pics (on panoramas click on the picture to enlarge):
A girl and pigeons...
Modern Puerto Madero part of Buenos Aires.
Puente de la Mujer bridge sunset.
At the airport they took away our insurance paper, which we found out later at the hotel. So it was additional 2 days waiting (all stuff closed for the weekend) to get a new insurance on Monday. On Tuesday it started to rain+thunder badly (it is spring here) which resulted in one more day of waiting = 12 days of Buenos Aires.
But it was soooo good to be finally on the bike... Till some 200km from BA a copper stopped us and said we had been speeding, 7km/h over limit = 300US dollars fine please sir . We knew we hadn't speeded, and also the quoted fine was clearly overestimated per local fine standards. So we knew it was a bastid police officer wanting to suck tourists. We used the old recommended method, acting as if we had all day to argue with them (don't try to talk in Spanish, talk in "hazy" English, talk fast, talk a lot...) till they got tired from us (we consumed their precious time to catch other potential payers ), gave back our papers and quickly rode off. jug:
Las Palmas park.
Another palmy road...
We arrived to Puerto Iguazu yesterday to see the falls today and to put our Brazil visa applications in - fingers crossed.
Ssshh, pity you said it now... we're actually currently just made it from West to East-Coast in the US of A through Colorado and we've been on the road over 9 months now, through South- and Central-America, we keep our Estonian blog for more frequent updates. All this English stuff I'm posting now is in retrospect - got to catch up our still-going travels with the translation you know
So don't be surprised when a double post comes in that contains a weeks or months of travelling and hard work and it comes in just few days intervals.
Ride safe, Margus
Now we've done over 9000km of Brazil.
Started off by visiting our friends Fernando and Maraisa in Campinas who we met in Estonia when they traveled around Europe some time back. Spend some fab time there and they helped us to properly adjust with their culture.
A view into the center of Campinas from their window (click to enlarge)
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A sunset and a sunrise from their window...
Visited São Paulo from there 2 times:
Sé cathedral (click to enlarge)
Gold buyer - loads of 'em in the metropols and a can be very annoying persons.
Selection of stuff from São Paulo market (click to enlarge)
Center of the city.
Fuel is relatively poor-quality in Brazil. In and near the bigger metropol cities you can get normal unleaded 95 octane. But mostly it's leaded lower octane stuff, that makes valves sound bad under the load, almost like the engine is about to blow up. But boxer eats everything and goes like a tractor with every crap fuel we've put in it.
Like everywhere we've been so far in South-America, the aged trucks are a traffic hazard - they go 20kph up the mountain and 120kph down the mountain, often with non-existant brakes and careless drivers.
Unfortunately our camera was pickpocketed when we visited Sao Paulo for the second time. From there on we shot mostly video or poor quality pics with video camera.
After Campinas we went to Ilhabela, an island with Atlantic tropical jungle and did a decent 4x4 offroad track there that goes trough the middle of the mountaneous island (video about it later!)
From there to Rio de Janero - wonderous city! Despite it's reputation being very criminal and polarized, we spent fabulous three days there and decided that it was definitely one of the best cities we've ever been.
A short video from there:
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Wild camping in Brazil, some farming ground...
From there we headed up south. Few days later took an offroad shortcut road that our GPS showed (we got a good detailed GPS map of Brazil), it started like smooth gravel, then it went corrugated, then came also potholes, then big rocks and ended up like a trails-track. Add a 2up fully loaded bike and over +30C weather... Some around 100km of it...
...result: blown rear shock!
Our Wilbers is dead.
With shaking (empty absorber) rear end we rode some over 100km to the city of Vitoria da Conquista. Fortunately there was one guy in the city who has experience in rebuilding suspension shocks. But he had to order the parts from another city and it took 3 days of waiting. We probably were the only tourists in this city. Not much to see... So spend rather bizarre 3 days there.
So the guy repairs the shock. We were happy and rode off... Till 20 kilometers away it started to leak again. We turn around and get back to him - he looks confused, but decides to repair it again free of cost - so it was additional day of waiting.
The next day it was repaired we rode off, it still started to slowly leak later, but slow enough we could continue beating our GS on the bad Brazilian roads.
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A video from Brazilian roads, tar and dirt, just the easy parts - with music.
And rode on the way to Salvador... Till our bits of our rear tire started to come off (almost completely worn tyre, heat and bad roads...)
A flat... On the main road filled with TRUCKS, excessive noise and diesel fumes!!!
On the perimeter of the Salvador city, multilane road with trucks passing us half a meter distance sh*ting black diesel fumes on us I tried to find the hole and repair our rear tyre - ended up with my hands bloody. The pressure bottles didn't have any thread on 'em, so I had to force them into the valve with raw force and it ended up damaging my fingers with sharp corners the valve had.
Got it repaired. Plastered up my fingers with blood still on 'em (and thought what type of typhus or cholera I caught now touching the ground and my rear tyre with bloody and wounded hands in tropical dirty conditions)
Pissed off, I rode off.
Some one kilometer later... The bike instantly throws itself almost 45 degrees from the direction at some 70kph speed. By miracle we stood up and didn't crash. The rear tyre came off the wheel!
So with over +30C heat and humidity (close to the ocean), we pushed the bike off the road (try to push over 400kg bike ascending to the hill!). I almost fainted after that.
Rear tyre was unrepairable now.
Thanks to the local biker who came to help in the end. He called to Salvador Suzuki and their truck came to pick us up an hour later. So our GS rode the final bit into Salvador center - on the truck. :blast
Funny... Our video camera also stopped working in Vitoria da Conquista - video is, but no sound, and camera works till it heats up - then it freezes.
Our rear shock blew up. Tyre vanished. My hands wounded. Bike came to a standstill just before the Salvador. Just like the God didn't want us to go to Salvador (city of mostly black people). So maybe the woodoo magic worked against us there...
Thankfully we got our new tyre from Salvador Suzuki dealer - Michelin Anakee, and the guys were amazed to have motorcycle travellers there and they didn't even charge anything for the truck transport and tyre replacement! Looks like our bad luck started to change since then.
A guy we met in Suzuki helped us to find a hotel near Barra beach too - one with a fantastic view to the beach. And what a nice next two days it was to be in Salvador!!!
And from there we rode down to Uruguay in 5 days - loads of rain... And floods. It was a ride not to be remembered...
Still, with our bad luck to sum up our 30 days and over 9000km in Brazil:
If there existed a stunning tropical giant on Earth, it'd be Brazil.
To quote the Insight Guide: "It's a heady mix of all - laid back tropical paradise, economic miracle, home of hedonistic carnival and a perfect place to travel in."
We love Brazil!!!
A video I composed on the road from Salvador and its Barra beach:
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