Obsessive-Compulsive South American Trip Preparation

Discussion in 'Americas' started by porkandcorn, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

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    Portland, Oregon
    speed devil: no need to be intimidated. i'll be the first to admit that i've spent WAY too much time on this, but i do it because i like to, not because one HAS too. would love to meet up for a beer. subscribe and follow along, and one of us can PM the other closer to january.

    kdowell: thanks for dropping by. you should also check out moto-treks website (starting with this ADV POI page). jeff (moto-treks) did his central and south america trip a couple of years, and as a fellow data geek, he put together a really impressive website that has waypoints, routes and other extremely useful info for south america organized in a full-blown web database. i'm going to be inputting my travel info and waypoints into his system to help him grow it, because it's way more advanced than anything i could conjure up and better than anything i've found yet. he's a GPS guru too, and his website helped me get my head around all that stuff - which can be very overwhelming.

    in particular his GPS Maps of South America page and his links page

    -porkandcorn

    [​IMG]
    moto-treks bar by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #21
  2. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

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    i was lucky that danny walker, a former professional dirt tracker and AMA road racer, brought his motorcycle technique school to vancouver, wa - about a 20 minute drive from my condo in downtown portland. i couldn't refuse the opportunity to sit atop a yamaha tr125 (think "bear on a football") and see how terrible a rider i actually am. so i spent all day this past saturday and sunday learning some really interesting techniques that have made me think a lot about my riding, my experience, and what i would do when put into a less than perfect situation on the road.

    danny's american supercamp is a riding skills and balance improvement course for ALL motorcycle riders using aggressive and innovative riding drills composed by the best riders in motorcycling. everything is done on dirt tracks - or basically, less than optimal traction. the camp is designed to force students to critically think about their actions and the effects on the handling of the motorcycle. the camp focuses on improving your techniques of cornering for safety and speed; improving your abilities going into a corner, getting out of a corner, and if need be, past those in front of you.

    it was a fantastic experience, and if you want to become a safer, more efficient rider, i highly recommend you look into his course - he holds them all over the country. it was a ton of fun too - as i've never really been on a dirt bike slinging around mud and sliding corners. you just show up - they provide all the bikes and riding gear. i'll be back next year, and it will definitely impact how i ride in the future.

    i'm next planning on taking some of the off-road riding courses that are offered by the PSSOR up in neighboring washington state.

    i've been riding since i was very young, but you can never have too much education in an attempt to stay safe or have more fun.

    [​IMG]
    porkandcorn with danny walker by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    a pile of yamaha tr 125s by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    danny walker and the moto-horse by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    and a link of some young kids (very talented) riding the training course).
    #22
  3. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
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    Portland, Oregon
    for those of you who were following my canada ride report, you'll know that i met an italian couple who were riding their bicycles from ushuaia, argentina (end of the world) to fairbanks, alaska (the other end of the world). i put them up in my hostel on a miserable night in prince rupert, bc and we became friends. here's part of an email i got from them last night:

    -----------------
    Hi Fritz! we are in Fairbanks now! we arrived the 13th of september, too early to finish our trip now! But we were lucky because of wheather is getting colder now but we don't want to come back home... During the last days we were froozen but fourtunatly we found always a warm place where we can sleep, also in the tent! We join our sleeping bags to stay warmer. Now we are in home of a friend with a big bed, but we remember with so much pleasure the one you givent us for gift. Fairbanks is a twined town with Fanano,a village near ours. Fairbanks was built by Felix Pedroni, an italian man coming from fanano during the gold rush.

    We have read your beautifull blog and we always follow you and your pictures, that are so nice. Good luck for your next adventure, be safe and ...SUERTE! If you decide to go in Italy please call us we will be honoured to have you in our home. --- Katia & Rafael

    -----------------

    what an incredible accomplishment! and certainly a humbling experience for all of us with engines over our wheels. here are a couple shots they sent showing them at their destination:

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    rafael and katia cold in fairbanks by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    action photo at the end of the BIG trip by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    rafael and katia finish their journey by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #23
  4. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
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    i'm playing hooky from work today, and trying to get some research done and questions answered on bike freighting, insurance, and other fun stuff (not).

    bike freighting:

    i got in touch with steve haratani at schumacher cargo (based out of LAX). i told him i have a triumph tiger 800xc, 600 lbs with bike + luggage, 89" x 35" x 55". i asked him to quote me picking the bike up on a flatbed in portland, shipping it to their warehouse at LAX, and air freighting the bike to BUE airport in buenos aires. steve is a super nice guy, very used to shipping bikes to weird places, and made it all sound very stress-free. here's his quote for my circumstances. i'm going to still shop around a bit, especially with air canada, as i here that can be a good option for people located in the northern US, as you don't have to deal with TSA and the hassle they put motorcycle shippers through.

    2012 Triumph Tiger 800 xc, 600 lbs, 89" x 35" x 55", crated by schumacher at their warehouse:

    A/F $2301.20
    Fuel $581.70
    Sec $83.10
    A/L UN $100.00
    DG Dec $75.00
    Crating $150.00
    Apt $75.00
    PU $425.00 Pu Portland OR – Schumacher warehouse

    Total $3791.00 Door to Airport --- ouch!!! that hurts.

    *Schumacher can also handle the import, customs, and logistics on the way back into the US - you just need to have the foreign freight handlers consign the master air bill over to schumacher.


    SPOT Connect GPS / GEOS search & rescue:

    i have a SPOT connect, which has received mixed reviews online for it's ability to reliably send out messages via your smartphone to a list of pre-entered contacts located in the SPOT device. however, as a stand alone tracking device to allow friends and family to follow your tracks, and having an SOS - Oh Shit! button, it works fine. i purchased the GEOS SAR package through SPOT, which gives you a one-year international SAR membership with GEOS alliance, a global leader in SAR. that $12.95/year membership covers your for up to $100,000 in SAR costs per year ($50,000 per occurrence), whereby when you hit the SOS button on the SPOT (provided you have clear signal, good batteries, etc), they will come scrap you off the road and deliver you to the *nearest local hospital or treatment facility*. that is where their coverage ends. i asked them what their most expensive rescue bill was, and they said it was about $12,000.


    medivac coverage:

    medivac (repatriation) coverage begins where the GEOS coverage ends - at the weird little shack of a hospital in a foreign country, where they use vodka instead of oxycodone. if you want to live it up in a classy, modern hospital, you will need a MEDIVAC agreement or insurance policy. they will, at your request, relocate you from the vodka shack hospital to the oxycodone palace hospital of your choosing back in your home country. (some companies require a local doctor to verify that it's medically necessary to move you to another hospital - check your policy!!). i'm considering 2 options for this policy - GEOS Medivac (through GEOS Alliance), and Medjet Assist. GEOS Medivac seems to be much less expensive, but i'm going to make sure i'm comparing apples to apples -

    GEOS Medivac: international coverage, 365 days - $120.95
    Medjet Assist: international coverage, 0-90 days: $260.00, 91-180 days: $430.00, 181-270 days: $530.00, 271-365 days: $665.00, *can upgrade from one level to the next by paying difference.


    travel medical insurance:

    in addition to the SAR coverage and Medivac coverage listed above, i'm also making sure that my medical insurance covers me out of country. if not, i'll need to buy an additional policy to pay for all the vodka and staple costs that i might incur out of country. and i'm shocked, but my Blue Cross/Blue Shield major medical policy says that i do in fact have worldwide coverage, which includes any foreign medical bills w/ receipts, and any "medically necessary transportation" to a local care facility or required facility... so i may not end up needing a medivac policy or travel medical policy. i asked for all this info in writing, so... more to come. the one question that remains is: would i have to choice to be sent home to a modern hospital, or would my policy force me to stay out of country.


    travel insurance:

    the distinction here is that you can buy insurance that would reimburse any sunk trip costs should something catastrophic occur and i could not finish my trip. it would pay for items that have already been paid for, but have not been used - travel tickets, hotel reservations, cruises, etc.) given that i'll basically be winging this trip from start to finish, i'm not seeing a lot of pre-paid expenses, and therefore, not much of a need for travel insurance.


    motorcycle insurance:

    a quick call to my insurance company verified my assumption that there is no way in hell they are going to insure my triumph out of country. not sure if there is even a company out there that will cover the bike against damage or theft through a variety of south american countries. if anyone knows of one, post it to the ride report.
    #24
  5. erik350

    erik350 adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    argentina
    Hello Ponkandcorn!. I`m From Córdoba, Argentina. I rode from Ushuaia to Bogota 5 times in the last years, so I know pretty well the way, feel free to ask what you need to. You can also stay and overnight at my house. Just a little idea, you could send the bike straight to Ushuaia and start from there. The customs officers are really cool and I know the guys who does all the paper work. good luck wathever you decide to do!!.
    erik
    #25
  6. aviatorbdm

    aviatorbdm Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    108
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    Oregon
    subscribed for a fellow northwest rider... interested in hearing how the Triumph does. After selling my speed triple am now considering one of these or a KTM 990.
    #26
  7. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
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    Portland, Oregon
    erik350: i will PM you to get your contact info. i will definitely have some questions, and i will take you up on the offer to stay at your place. thank you so much!

    aviatorbdm: welcome aboard. i've been looking for an excuse to rave about the Triumph Tiger 800xc! i nearly purchased a used BMW f800gs after test-riding it and the KTM 990 (which are both good bikes), until i test rode the Tiger. it was love at first ride, so don't test one out unless you intend to buy it.

    here are the advantages i see to the Tiger:

    smooth: the street triple engine is rediculously smooth on the road. even pushing 8000rpm passing cars, you barely feel the engine vibration. great for those long, iron-butt sessions. the transmission is also ridiculously smooth - you don't feel it when you shift, no jerkiness. very, very clean.

    powerful: the 800cc engine is very responsive all the way through the power band. on the freeway, you don't even need to drop into 5th to tear around cars. and if you do, it will take all of 1 second to see them in the rear view mirror. anytime you roll the throttle, it produces very big smiles... even loaded up with 125 lbs of adventure gear. caveat: the 1st gear is very tall and can feel a bit 'whimpy', but it is set up that way to produce a good idle speed for off-road work.

    comfortable: the stock seat is actually pretty good, as compared to the f800 and the ktm 990. and the height of the bike is very good. i'm 6' 4", and it fits me great. there is a seat adjustment for shorter riders. i don't know why, but i didn't like the fit of the f800gs. and the ktm 990 was like riding around on a 2x4 with an engine... i know it's very capable off-road, but i would be hesitant to take it on long trips for fear my ass would fall off. i made 2 additional comfort alterations: airhawk R seat pad (amazing for any bike), and ROX 2" pivot risers.

    suspension: the stock suspension out of the box is very, very good. i'm 225 lbs, and it doesn't mind me, nor my 125 lbs of luggage at all. it eats up pot-holes, big bumps, rocks like they are not there. but it's also very firm on tight corners at speed. i honestly don't know how they did it. there is a pre-load adjustment for passengers or heavy luggage, and even a dampener adjustment for the rebound. very well desinged. IMO the f800gs suspension is garbage out of the box and requires replacement. the ktm is probably on par or better than the triumph.

    accessories: i wasn't expecting it after the farkel-fest i went through on my last bike, spending way too much time hunting down the best accessories, but triumph offers a very well-though out package of adventure touring accessories for the tiger 800xc - everything you need, and nothing you don't. part of it could be that the aftermarket companies haven't had time to R&D stuff yet, as the tiger is only 2-3 years out in the market. or it could be that they realized they got beat out by triumph. i ended up with the sump guard, engine protector bars, center stand, radiator guard, fog lights, heated grips, adjustable windshield, and a few other goodies. i'm very happy with all of them, and it saved me a ton of time shopping around for other variations.

    sexy: the tiger 800xc is a good looking bike. it's got a je ne sais quoi advantage over the f800gs, and IMO the ktm is 'fugly'. temper this opinion with the fact that i already own it and am in love with it.
    #27
  8. D.T.

    D.T. Difficult but useful

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Moneyapolis, MN
    Are you sure you did enough research for this trip?? :hmmmmm

    :rofl


    Have fun! If you have time to... :D
    #28
  9. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
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    D.T. - i have to do something to make the days pass, otherwise i will lose what is left of my mind waiting to leave. i'm sure you will forgive me for my obsessive compulsiveness now that you are aware of it's cause.

    can i leave yet?
    #29
  10. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Spokane Washington
    No! You can't leave. You have to stay until your departure date :rofl
    #30
  11. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    so far, the plan has been to fly the bike to buenos aires, so i got the first quote from schumacher cargo to do that. then on another thread i have going at horizon's unlimited, someone suggested valpariso, chile as a port of entry by sea. apparently, the fees and misc. costs in chile are less than in argentina as well. given we are talking a 2500.00 difference between air-freighting to buenos aires and sea-freighting to valpariso, i think i'm going to start my trip in valpariso, head east over to my buenos aires/brazil leg, then down south to ushuaia and back up the west coast to columbia.

    if you are on the west cost, or proximal to LA, the folks at schumacher are great. fast response time to questions, and very to the point. their contact info for air or sea freight are below their quotes. included in the pricing below is the cost to transport the bike from my home in portland to their terminal at LAX.

    92x56x58 / 590 lbs. from Portland, Oregon to Buenos Aires, Argentina:

    A/F $2301.20
    Fuel $581.70
    Sec $83.10
    A/L UN $100.00
    DG Dec $75.00
    Crating $150.00
    Apt $75.00
    PU $425.00 Pu Portland OR – Schumacher warehouse

    Total $3791.00 Door to Airport

    Steve Haratani
    Air Export - VIP Services
    Schumacher Cargo Logistics, Inc. - LOS ANGELES - HOUSTON - MIAMI - SAVANNAH - NEW YORK
    Corporate Address: 550 W 135th St, Gardena, CA 90248 - USA
    Tel: 562 408-6677 - Direct Secure Fax: 562 684 4345
    E-Mail: steveh@sclusa.com Web Site: www.sclusa.com


    -------------------------
    92x56x58 / 590 lbs. from Portland, Oregon to Valpariso, Chile

    Ocean: $599.36
    B/L: $ 7.00
    Bunker: $ 12.11
    Documents: $ 90.00
    Inland: $100.00
    Crating: $150.00
    Inland: $425.00 Pick Up from PDX to our warehouse
    Total: $1383.47 Door to Seaport

    Once the bike sails, it will take approximately 23 days to arrive to the final port. We will need to have the bike at least 2 weeks in advance (crating and customs clearance). Once the bike arrives to the port, it normally takes 48 hours to unload the vessel of containers.

    Rachel L.V. Ulale
    Ocean Export – VIP Services
    Schumacher Cargo Logistics, Inc. - LOS ANGELES - HOUSTON - MIAMI - SAVANNAH - NEW YORK
    Corporate Address: 550 W 135th St, Gardena, CA 90248 - USA
    Tel: 562 408-6677 ext. 250 - Fax: 562-684-4345
    E-Mail: rachel@sclusa.com - Web Site: International Car Shipping | Auto Transport | International Moving
    #31
  12. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

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    Portland, Oregon
    got a really nice PM from a couple here at ADV. they saw my big monster list for my South America trip, and recommended a couple things for me to look at, most of which pertain to water purification. as i'm tragically addicted to researching things on the internet for this trip, i checked out their suggestions. i just order the gortex repair kit that they suggested, as that was something that i had neglected to think about.

    Black Gore-Tex Fabric Repair Kit-Waterproof
    Camelbak All Clear UV Water Purifier Bottle
    Camelbak All Clear Pre-Filter
    Seychelle Water Filtration products
    Steri-Pen

    since i am planning on doing some off-the-beaten-path travel and camping, my plan for water purification was to carry Aquamira chlorine dioxide water treatment drops, which i will use to treat the MSR 3 liter hydromedary bladder that i keep in my tank bag with the tube easy to reach (not on my back which hurts my neck after a while).

    however, after looking at their suggestions above, i purchased a Steri-Pen Freedom, that charges via USB. i keep a 25 oz. water bottle in my duffle for overnight stays, and this would be a lot more practical when the water supply is questionable than mixing in the chlorine dioxide.
    #32
  13. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

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    although i speak relatively fluent portuguese, which is very similar to spanish, i've been studying spanish for the last few months to understand the differences. this past week, i started a more intensive program of spanish with Berlitz Language Center in portland. there are 4 students and one great instructor who is from quito, ecuador, one of the stops on my trip. i'm also now spending more time studying on my own.

    having taught myself portuguese about 10 years ago, i understand the value of knowing how to conjugate verbs into their grammatic tenses. new languages can be pretty intimidating, but if you take some time to understand what verb conjugations are, and how the most common verbs in a language are conjugated, it makes the language less intimidating. (some commonly used verbs: to be, to be able, to see, to speak, to know, to understand, to have, to go, etc...),

    nouns are easy, because it is just memorization, and in a pinch, you can always point at things or draw pictures. but a knowledge of how to conjugate verbs is invaluable.

    for any language, i highly recommend the 501 Verbs Book Series. it's a great reference that you can pick through for the ones that you find most useful.

    also, i found a great spanish verb conjugation app for my iPhone called ConjuVerb. it's allows you to set filters for certain verb tenses, have a flashcard/quizzing function, and is really well designed to have a reference with you anywhere you go. i'm certain that while i'm down in america del sur, i'll be typing verbs in english to have it spit out the spanish equivalent.
    #33
  14. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

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    Are you planning to be riding in remote areas and refilling from streams? I found water to be easy to get at the hotels and hostels. Then again, I can't remember the last time I was sick from drinking water :eek1 In the end, I tossed my camelback and just started laying those water bottles you get from venders on my panniers. They make good gas containers too :D
    #34
  15. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
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    550
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    I could not agree more with porkandcorn about making the effort to really understand the verb conjugations. Everything else really is pure memorization. Vocabulary will come naturally with speaking and reading. I would also recommend WordReference.com, which not only lays the verbs out in a more understandable way than the Barron's books, but has the magic blue column on the left side of screen. This column lists all the verbs conjugated the same way as the verb that you are reviewing, so that you can start learning the patterns. Also, any irregular conjugation of verbs is shown in blue. The point of this is that for many "irregular" verbs, there might me only a handful of irregular conjugations. The site helped me tremendously, and might not work for everyone. I point it out so that others will have another tool in their kit.
    #35
  16. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile

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    Jul 14, 2009
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    Location:
    Quito, Ecuador
    Glad to see you are learning the Ecuadorian Espanish. Siga no mas!
    #36
  17. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    i've joined a cargo group heading to chile in january and we are looking for other people who want to share (and lower) the freight costs from LA, California to Valparaiso, Chile. our planned arrival date in chile is january 06, 2013. the bikes need to arrive in LA for crating in approx. the first week of december.

    currently, there are 4 of us on this shipment. if you are interested in sharing the container with us, PM me, contact Gaston Etchart, or check out my freighting thread over at horizons unlimited. all the costs, details, and logistics are at that thread.

    i've decided to go with gaston's service, because the pricing is comparable to schumacher, but his service is all-inclusive at both ports - he takes care of everything. schumacher didn't provide port clearance services & fees at the destination. pricing for the people currently involved is 1,820.00 USD each, but would go down as more riders join the container.

    Gaston Etchart
    SamericaXplorer
    Miami, Florida. U.S.A.
    305-386-6076
    samericaxplorer@gmail.com
    Export/Import Adventure Logistics
    Motorbikes & Overland Vehicles
    #37
  18. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

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    #38
  19. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

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    yes, that's the group i'm going with. thanks for keeping your eyes open for me!
    #39
  20. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
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    Portland, Oregon
    today was a shop day with my very good friend damon. we tackled a few projects, most notably changing out from the stock Triumph road tires to a more agressive on/off Heidenau K60 Scout front and rear.

    on my canada trip, i ran into tom and randy from arizona on a 2012 tiger explorer and 2011 tiger 800xc, respectively. also there was angus, a scotsman by way of texas, on a 2003 bmw 1150 gs sport. they were all running the k60's on the dempster highway in the yukon and northern territories, and were all very big fans. i'd already been planning on this tire for south america, but their rave reviews sealed the deal.

    tom, randy, and anges said the scouts wear and ride amazingly well on pavement - unlike the Continental TKC 80's, which are undoubtedly a better off-road tire but chew off rubber like there's no tomorrow on the road. but if you air the scouts down to 25 psi or so, the aggressive treading on the side spread out a bit and really grip well off-road. the dempster highway is a serious off-road proving ground.

    the scouts are very stout and there is a LOT of meat on the tread. they are very heavy-duty tires. the sidewalls were pretty challenging to get over the rim, but i did it (with a bunch of bead sllime) and i did it with my field tools. so now i'm ok with nails, thorns, chicken beaks, stale tortilla chips, bullet holes, or whatever else comes my way down south. i know i can change them out on my own.

    this tire change also gave me a chance to test out the TireIron BeadBrakR kit from BestRest Products, LLC. verdict: it's freaking awesome. invaluable tool. works great. packs light. super easy to assemble and use. the 3 included tire irons assemble into the mechanism, and it comes with everything you need to pull and replace a tire and tube. add a patch kit, and a compact pump, and you are set. david at BestRest is great and he's got a bunch of other really brilliant and specialized ADV products.

    a special thanks to my buddy damon for putting the "shop" in "shop day." damon and i met on one of the v-strom forums about a year ago and have since become good friends - even though i become a "limey" and bought a triumph. i lucked out big time, because he's got a full-blown motorcycle dream-shop in his garage. you will never want for a tool in that garage. there's always a pot of bad coffee on, and always beers for the victory dance at the end of the day. damon's been passing along his motorcycle knowledge to me for the last year, and i wouldn't be able to set off into the unknown as confidently as i am without all the invaluable help he's given me since we met. damon - you're good peeps.

    [​IMG]
    the boys and the toys by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    trust me, i can fix it by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    trying out the bead brakR by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    taking a break on top of the rear tire by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    giving it everything i got by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    heidenau scout all balanced up by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    see how easy that was… only took 4 hours by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    the supervisor deserves a refreshing beverage by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #40