Station KTM 690 On Your Radio Dial: Rock Steady

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slidefighter, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    thanks lee for posting this awesome rr.

    love to take my bike to spain and the rest of the eu.

    the planning starts here.
  2. TDC_ERock

    TDC_ERock Been here awhile

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    Great report, Lee. I hit a lot of those same places back in 2000 - wish it had been on a moto!
  3. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Thanks for signing in, Tone...I'll see if I can integrate an airborne picture or two in the final chapter of this story. I've got many of the pictures taken by the Spanish riders now, so maybe I can put something together. In the meantime, I've got the overhauled prop back on the the plane, but I'm having to shim the engine mounts to align the engine within the cowling (there is actually more latitude with regard to engine alignment than you might think). The new mounts are a little different from the originals and the spinner/cowling gap is not right yet. It's going to take some re-rigging and maybe some fresh hardware to get the engine finally aligned properly. Somehow, I managed to wreck the original engine mount isolators in only a few hundred hours! Headed out to take a look at it again this morning.

    P.S. I'm looking forward to future rides too! We're in the midst of a heat wave here in South Carolina right now, so my BMW is going to sit quietly in the garage for at least a couple more days!


    Lee...
  4. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    NSFW/TDC: Good to hear from you guys... Spain is a special place, that's for sure. They currently have some national level economic challenges as well as some regional disputes with regard to local autonomy, but none of that will effect anyone planning a visit (or of course, reflecting on a previous visit!). The scenery and vistas there endlessly change as you ride from region to region and often for that matter, change dramatically just coming around a corner. All the cities I stayed in were breezy (at least in May) and green. There are trees and parks everywhere. For the religious, there are countless pilgrimage routes, with each generally associated with events in the life of a particular saint or set of events. For the adventurous, campgrounds and outdoor sports abound, and most important of all of course, for motorcycle riders, Spain is a riding wonderland. As a general rule, the north can be rainy and windy during some periods of the year, but the central and southern parts of the country are sunny and warm for months on end.



    Lee....
  5. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    Lee

    Just stumbled onto this thread, fabulous pictures and sounds like a must do trip.

    That BMW looks like a sweet ride, would love to follow you around on it but don't think I could keep up.
  6. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    I'm pretty sure you'd have no problem keeping up!! You should definitely make the trip one day soon if you can.


    Lee...
  7. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    ECUADOR, 2017:

    Well, here we go again. Off tomorrow for Ecuador for some riding in the Andes with my good friend Dick. Short trip of only two weeks but it should be a lot of fun. Renting bikes: I'm supposed to have a KTM 690 (great!) and Dick is on a Suzuki 650 (he can ride anything!). Savannah to Atlanta to Quito, Ecuador. Two seasons (I'm told): wet and dry. This is supposed to be "dry", but the forecast is for rain into the distant future. This may or may not happen since they apparently pretty much only forecast rain. The fact that it hasn't rained in a month (according to weatherunderground.com) notwithstanding.

    I've had enough shots to change genders and am carrying enough pills to fight diseases that haven't even been classified yet. Excellent chance I won't need any of them. That's the plan, anyway.

    Leave at 2:25 tomorrow (Monday). Not much of a time change since we're traveling essentially due south. You gotta love that! Next trip is June and July for the NW200 in Northern Ireland and the IOM TT. Not sure yet about later in the year but I'm thinking about Crete and Peloponnesian Greece. I was considering Ethiopia but after 25 years of relative peace, it's just gotten a bit ugly there, so... Here's a look at my packing effort (just finished). Helmet bag, parachute bag (main bag), riding day pack, jacket, and a bag of school supplies for the Andean kids.

    [​IMG]

    Happy New Year everyone.


    Lee...
  8. kalonji

    kalonji nihilism or nothing

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    Happy New Year Lee

    Have a safe trip. Tell Dick we said hi.
  9. caycek5

    caycek5 Bionic Man, got Ti

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    Awesome. Looking forward to seeing some great pictures.
  10. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    Have a great time Lee.
  11. FranciscoXJR

    FranciscoXJR Caminante no hay camino...

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    Enjoy your trip. I wish to see your amazing pictures! Great yellow bag, again on route!!
  12. juanjo71

    juanjo71 n00b

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    We'll be waiting for all these pictures you use to make during your trips. And please, take care because I want to share with you the trips we have planned.
    By the way, you are enjoying a wonderful new year!!!!
    Take care and enjoy it.

    Juanjo
  13. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Thanks to all for checking in! Great to hear from you all! From the airport it took an hour to make it into "old town" Quito with its labyrinth of narrow, steep up and down, streets around 1:30 this morning. My cab driver drove around for blocks and couldn't find the address. Google Maps gave out too (in the labyrinth) but the phone itself was still working so I sorted through (and past) the country code for Ecuador with the driver (no English in his case, very little Spanish in mine) to call the hotel. Not a soul on the streets in any direction, up or down hill. Just checked in about 15 minutes ago!

    Francisco! Yes, that old back pack has been a LOT of places over the years. It's my favorite, I guess!

    Juanjo: I have a day off tomorrow so maybe some pictures of the city. Pick the bikes up on the 4th.

    To the Carolina crowd (you know who you are)---why don't you nut cases get together and come along on one of these rides! I come on your rides...it would only be fair...


    Lee...
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  14. kalonji

    kalonji nihilism or nothing

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    I'll need more notice next time if I'm to join :clap
  15. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    Hmmm, an open invitation. Let us know what's in the future ride plans after 2017, I'm vacation planned out for this year and it's only the 3rd of January.
    kalonji likes this.
  16. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Hey, the world is (mostly) wide open! We'll figure something out; plenty of places to go---here in the U.S. also, as a couple of those in the Charleston/Cayce (if I'm remembering that correctly) crowd have already shown!

    Here's a quick view from the veranda of my little hotel in Quito out over some of the old city. Took a taxi to the bike rental shop; some problems with the bikes (their 690 has had all sorts of problems apparently) but we'll get them sorted out. More of a look at that tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    Terrific weather so far, but everyone keeps insisting it can change in the blink of an eye. I'm hoping for very few "blinks"! Last night coming in on Delta, it appeared you could easily see for a hundred miles, the mountain air was so clear. Quito is at 9,500'.


    Lee...
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  17. TDC_ERock

    TDC_ERock Been here awhile

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    I frequently check out the Freedom Bike Rental website. It will happen one of these days.
  18. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    TDC: Out of interest, they told us today that they are moving. They have lost their lease and are having to rent another location. Real estate prices are coming down so much that don't want to buy at the moment. They seem a very solid company and are quite professional. Keep them in mind if your travel plans bring you this way. They have a lot of bikes and can accommodate almost any bike travel plans.

    After checking in with "Freedom", Dick and I took a double decker bus around the city. Tough to take pix from the bus with everyone standing up and a lot of tourists taking movies for gosh sakes. NO WAY they are going to be able to see much of anything in any of them as jouncy and bumpy the streets in Quito are. Interesting city but they just might consider spending a dollar or two on street maintenance. Anyway, here are a few highlights, including a stop a the Basilica and the Panecillo at the southern end of the city.

    There are a lot of houses in this color green. It looks terrific as it brightens up the narrow streets with color and light.

    [​IMG]

    The obligatory shot of a flowering street tree along the way.

    [​IMG]

    The purposely unfinished Basilica in the distance in the heart of the old district. In work for over a hundred years, at some point decades ago it came to be believed that a major cataclysm would occur if it were ever finished. Maybe the two earthquakes in Quito last year were a warning. In any event it is impressive in spite of both its unfinished interior and exterior.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here is the grand monument to the Virgin of Quito on El Panecillo, the nearly 10,000' hill to the south. Constructed of 7,000 separate pieces of aluminum, the sculpture (at the moment) is surrounded by Christmas finery and lights making for quite a sight at night. The views from El Panecillo, so named because if looks like a loaf of bread, are the best in Quito.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The mountains to the northwest tower over the city.

    [​IMG]

    And finally, shed of the regularly falling down and over each other "movie moguls" on the tour bus, we found a cafe we liked just off Plaza Foch. Here's Dick trying to find something on an Ecuadorian menu that doesn't have tomatoes in it!

    Francisco: I got the black and yellow day pack in the picture just for you pal!

    [​IMG]

    We hit the road tomorrow for what they say will be a relatively short day. I kinda hope so, there isn't a lot of oxygen around here!


    Lee...
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  19. jbudd

    jbudd n00b

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    Lee, have a safe trip and take a deep breath when you hit the valleys! I hope you can find some Dr. Pepper diez in Equador. Joe
  20. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Ha! Another country without Dr. Pepper...what's this world coming to?

    Well, sorry for the delay in getting this report going again, but this has been a grueling trip. Not just because of the weather, rugged terrain, and altitude, but also because the combination of that and my age has put me well behind the power curve. We're halfway through today with a rest day in Banos (down at a lowly 5,000'!) and depart tomorrow for a canoe ride down a tributary of the Amazon (with a zip-line ride in between). Our riding group is very well led and well supported and the others in the group are all terrific people. I'm tired! I may have to just toss some pictures in and try to explain them in more detail later. This is some tough riding, believe me!

    The starting line up:

    [​IMG]

    Once out of Quito, things turn wild pretty quickly and as you can see, not everyday is bright and sunny on the Equator:

    [​IMG]

    Typical mountain village, some have paved (sort of) streets but many do not. Generally rough riding to get to the ones we went through:

    [​IMG]

    Lunch stop with the gang. As you can see, continued overcast and rain and everyone is dressed for warmth as well. Interestingly, we never did get up to the snow line (we could see it, but it was higher than we were).

    [​IMG]

    There are some very interesting plants and animals up here. Later we saw literally herds of wild Llama and Vicuna. Llamas are their traditional pack animals and of course they are used for wool as well although fashionistas prefer Vicuna (I'm told). This bushy hedge looks particularly robust and healthy to me:

    [​IMG]

    The rugged inner hillsides of Crater Lake. Ecuador is riddled with volcanoes, many like this one which have collapsed into caldera lakes:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well that's it for now, more to post up but I need another nap!

    Have a great day, everyone!


    Lee...