South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi TM,

    Whatever the Tres Cordilleras are I am liking it. It looks like this continues on over into Venezuela from the map of Colombia I bought downtown in Medellin yesterday. Might have to take a detour over that way.

    Everyone here says it's dangerous as hell, which sounds good to me. I tell them that people in my country think it's dangerous as hell here in their town. So far everyone here is really nice.

    Saludos amigo,
    Juan de Cordillera
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hola GuateRider,

    Glad you are still following along. Nothing can keep the Sherpa down. Smashed front end, torrential downpours killing the ignition. They can fix anything around here.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Bob,

    It just needed drying out. Everything good now.

    Saludos,
    Juan
  4. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

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    I bet you and the Sherpa are as happy as we are to see you on the road again, in Sur America!!<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"> :clap<v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Thanks again for the re-con... It'll be interesante to see if this "wet killing" problem persists. I have the same problem if my bike is parked in the rain; dead, no spark. Leave it sit overnight… next morning, first kick and it fires! Love electrical problems!:confused Mostly the ones which fix themselves.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Enjoy the Colombian baked goods! When on the road here, I have yet to go wrong walking into a bakery with la Bandera Colombiana on the sign or pasted in the window. Delicious! <o:p></o:p>

    Cheers to you again for the fantastico RR en vivo.
  5. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Hey Juan de la lluvia! You probably already know all the tricks for protecting your wiring and carb intake from water, but never hurts to double check since she was all in pieces.

    I like Di-lectric grease on multi connectors plugs. Reduces corrosion, resists water. Keep clean.
    I also like pieces of bicycle inner tube as sort of condoms for vulnerable wiring. Use small zip ties to secure.

    I've heard of bikes dying just from carb vent tubes hanging down in heavy rain. I had that issue crossing deep streams. Re-route vent tubes UP and away from exposure.

    WD40 (I doubt it's available down there) is a great water dispersant .... and hence the moniker : WD. Will not harm anything and chases water out of electrical and electronic parts and connections. Also, check (and dry out) things like KILL switches, safety cut out switches on clutch, side stand. (if not already defeated)

    If parking try to at least cover the ignition switch and bars best you can.
    A $3 Poncho can work OK.
    Hope you get her straightened out John. Have fun, no rush catching up here. We're all here with you, patiently waiting further updates when the time is right. :beer
  6. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan There, that's it

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    Pretty useful stuff right there.
  7. strohmy35

    strohmy35 n00b

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    +++ on the T-mod. I ahd the same problem with my 650 and my buddy had it with his Sherpa. t-mod is easy and fixed it. Happy riding. Dick
  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    My wifi left this morning when Javier the mining engineer took off for work at 5AM. Slept like a baby last night. The owners of the hospedaje here are really nice. Ramon from Spain and his lovely wife Beatrice who is a Colombiana. Ramon had really dramatic Spanish opera on at 5AM. What a hoot. Actually I really like his eclectic taste in music. Bossa nova, Rolling Stones, Salsa Colombiana, followed by Roy Orbison singing my theme song for this morning:

    Anything you want, you got it.
    Anything you need, you got it.
    Anything at all, you got it baby!

    Which turned out to be the case as the morning wore on and Manuel and Michael came by. They came to fix the charging problem on a Yamaha step-through:

    [​IMG]

    They helped me trace down the Sherpa no va problem through trial and error. Drained the carb bowl and drained some gas from the tank to verify that it wasn't water in the gas. Then took out the spark plug and there was moisture in the spark plug cap. The Sherpa plug is buried in a deep trough and the drain hole had clogged allowing water to accumulate and kill the spark.

    Problem solved. Dried it out and VROOOM. Started right up.

    I bought the two M's some coffee and gave them 10000 pesos (6.00) for all their help. Michael had lived in Connecticut for 7 years doing TV repair, but returned to Colombia where his friends and family are. He is a backhoe operator here and Miguel has a dump truck. Miguel thinks he wants to head to the States and find fame and fortune. Michael said the Bronx is more dangerous than anywhere in Colombia and he thought Americans were distant and cold compared to Colombians. I find it amazing that so many people are so interested in moving to the U.S. I'm glad to live in the U.S. during the nice seasons. But hey, Colombia is pretty awesome compared to freezing in Nebraska in the winter.

    Here is Casa Juanito from last night:

    [​IMG]

    I really liked the produce delivery guy's rig. Cruising down the highway selling avocados, plantains and other fruits from his homemade trailer:

    [​IMG]

    It is so nice here I decided to stay another day. The owner is renting me a downstairs unit for 3 bucks. It is newly remodeled and doesn't have furnishings. Perfect for a minimalist. I'll take it!

    So I set up the tent inside and spread out all my wet gear to dry out. When the mining engineer Javier returns this afternoon, I'll upload this. Here is where I'm staying:

    [​IMG]

    GPS waypoint for you following along on Google.earth is:

    N 06º 27.454'
    W 74º 37.737'

    I have been lax in reporting my expenses this month. I totaled last month's expenses while I was idle in the Kuna Yala and it came to around 1000.00 from Dec. 15th to Jan. 15th.

    This month has been all over the charts with 375.00 for fixing the front end on the Sherpa and 340.00 for transport around the Darien in boat charges. Gas is expensive in Colombia at around 5 bucks a gallon for regular and 6 for premium. But the 10 days I've been in Colombia have been about the same as Panama I reckon. Not cheap, but not expensive as a country. Especially out in the sticks. Of course, I owe everything to the Trespalacios family for keeping my lodging expenses to zero in Medellin.

    I will try to be better about reporting expenses now that the bike is running and I'm not running around.

    Not sure where I'm heading from here. I'll check the weather and head someplace sunny. Maybe Venezuela. Maybe the coast for Carnivale in Baranquilla.

    Javier told me I have to check out Guajira out the peninsula in the Carribean near the Venezuelan border so I better head there eventually. For now I'm chilling in the mountains listening to great music, drinking cafe del tiempo and watching the world go by.

    More later&#8230;.
  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Thanks guys for pointing me to the T-mod. The Sherpa could use it. I'll get right on it. I don't think that was the problem yesterday, but it sounds like a no-brainer to do it nonetheless.

    Muchas gracias amigos,
    Juanito
  10. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi AdvGrifter,

    Appreciate all the good advice. I threw my rainfly over the bike while it was raining this afternoon. I would kill for some WD-40 and dielectric grease about now.

    Muchas gracias amigo,
    Juanito
  11. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    Hi John,

    Not sure about Colombia but in certain areas of "The Bronx" we don't usually stop for red lights if it's late at night.
    I worked there for almost one year and felt that one's survival instincts have to be at their best.
    As for living in USA, there still is no better country like it but one has to pay the price. As the say "Everyone expects to find streets paved with gold. Instead what they find is that YOU are the one expected to pave them" :evil

    Best,
    Vic
  12. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Vic,

    So true. Life is what you make of it. Nobody does it for you.

    As far as red lights. Most people obey red lights these days in Latin America. It didn't used to be like that 20 years ago. It was more like a stop sign back then. Look both ways and punch it.

    A lot of people in Latin America see the U.S. as the promised land. Nothing wrong with that. I happen to like calling it home.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I just checked the weather now that I have internet and it looks like northern coastal Colombia and Venezuela is where it's at. So I'll be heading north mañana it looks like. Carnivale in Baranquilla starts in 4 days. I think the weather gods are sending me that way.

    Buenos noches,
    Juan Fiesta
  14. lm248

    lm248 Adventurer

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    ^^^^^^^^^^ I like,,,:clap:clap
    Thanks for the updates,,,,
    Les
  15. Harry94025

    Harry94025 Been here awhile

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    Hi John,

    Also interested in how they welded the caliper bracket on the fork leg. Did he have a TIG welder available?

    Regards,
    Harry
  16. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    Hi John,

    The reason they seek this endeavor is a result of of simplicity, and purity resulted from naivety. Few fortunate ones reach that goal to only realize later it's in fact a moving target and that material things (such as money) are not the ultimate objective to happiness. But it is a hard task for a hungry man to understand the position of one who has all he can eat, and see beyond that.

    I seek the philosophy of understanding life, finding the big "why" and "how" that sets one free to be at peace with it.
    The answers come with age and time to those who are restless in these pursuits. I learned a lot from you through this journey story and really value it. You are a deeply wise man whom many can learn from.


    Best,
    Vic
  17. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Love to hear your opinions on Venezuela. 17 cent per gallon gas ? How bad could it be? :D

    A question to answer at your leisure ....

    A page or two back you mentioned the bike wasn't going down the road straight ??? ... or might have had some suspect handling, woobly wheel or something? (can't recall exactly what you said)

    So how is she riding? Safe? I hope! Does it do corners OK leaned over? I've ridden tweaked bikes (as a kid with NO money) so I'm good at it ... but its not safe to push too hard with an out of line motorcycle.

    Let us know how she feels and what you might do to straighten things up ... if anything. :ear In the meantime stay safe! como siempre ... Que le via bien!
  18. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

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    When you spoke about people saying the next town is dangerous, it reminded me of when I rode around Colombia a few years back. When we got to a town, they would usually say it was safe there, but were surprised that we got out of the last town unscathed and warned us about the next town. When we reached the next town, same story!
    Enjoy!
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Harry,

    Eduardo had machinist friends. They fabbed a bracket that matched the hole pattern of the Sherpa caliper and TIG welded it on the donor lower. Not pretty, but the bike stops fine. Better than no front brake that's for sure. But I'd keep riding with no front brake if that's what it came to.

    Saludos,
    Juan
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi AdvGrifter,

    The front wheel isn't perfectly round so the bike has some hop. It tracks straight and the front forks are a bit stiffer than the original Sherpa since it came from a bigger bore bike.

    The bike rides okay and corners fine. The guy here who helped me get the bike started this morning says there is a guy in Puerto Berrio down the road who can true the front wheel for cheap, so I may see about that since I don't have a spoke wrench.

    It's not unsafe, just slightly annoying around 30 mph on smooth roads. Not noticeable on rough backroads like I'm on right now though since they are full of ripples and rough patches.

    I would rather be riding an imperfect bike than waiting around for perfection.

    Saludos,
    Juan Imperfecto
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