All The Way West - RTW on a DRZ 400

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by daveg, May 17, 2010.

  1. GLantern

    GLantern A Nut Behind The Bars

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    I have always wanted to visit Singapore, judging from your thoughts on it it is totally worth the visit!
  2. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    As part of my travels, I see many odd and interesting signs. Singapore is the king of the obvious and strange when it comes to signs.
    <dl id="attachment_506" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Don't shoplift!! Sersiously!!! I'm Pointing at you!!!!!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_516" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ahhhh!!!!! Barrier of D E A T H!!!!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_508" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I'd love to see these signs in the US</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_507" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Restricted areas are very serious here. They'll point at you and you have to put your arms up.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_520" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Danger in 4 languages</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_519" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Just a normal bus. If you couldn't tell, buses are long</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_518" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Forceful with CAPS but cute with cartoon</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_517" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">From inside of a bus. The steps wouldn't have enough room to stand and read the sign at the same time</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_515" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 460px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Keep it clean!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_514" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Carefully read the rules for the Taxi. They're pretty good</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_513" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Not a warning sign, but I still like it.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_512" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Durians and flamable gases.... Very similiar</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_511" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Very respectful and safe - Work in progress</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_510" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">No Feeding!!!!!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_509" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Don't spend too much time reading signs either or you'll get plowed over by the escalator</dd></dl>
  3. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Any of ya'll out there actually use twitter? I'm considering doing mini-but-very-current updates on twitter at a more regular basis than on ADV or my blog.

    I'm http://twitter.com/davegsomething
  4. dentedvw

    dentedvw Where did I put that

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    I don't, but I might watch yours. Seeing someone riding RTW on a bike much like mine is inspiring. I have a renewed interest in my DRZ since seeing you embark.
  5. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    I got up to 147 km/h (91 mph) on the DRZ today on the Autobahn leaving Germany for Luxembourg. Woooooo :eek1:eek1:eek1:eek1

    I was fully tucked and didn't even hit the rev limiter, but she was humming along.
  6. Sandino

    Sandino Been here awhile

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    Very nice report!!, thanks for sharing. How come you did not visit Paraguay and Brasil in your visit in South America?, if you ever come back, let me know!
  7. k14

    k14 Adventurer

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    Alexandra, NZ
    Great report and reading. I've just bought a DRZ400 to prep for a Siberian assault next year. Good to see yours is treating you right.
  8. Utah Bones

    Utah Bones Gas X ready!

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    Great stuff!:lurk
  9. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    It is the perfect bike for it. If you have any questions, just ask away.
  10. lukeman

    lukeman Cool Hand

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    Downhill with the wind at your back? Haha I'm surprised that little engine can get you moving that fast! Getting more interested in the 400 for my rtw...
  11. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

    Joined:
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    Ha ha... indeed. My stock DRZ-S with 16-tooth front sprocket, unlaiden with too much luggage or fuel can hurl my skinny-ass down the highway at over 100 mph indicated. :evil

    Now whether anyone who values his life wants to do that on a 300 lbs dual-sport with springy suspension is another story... :eek1
  12. ADVJake

    ADVJake ***** dweller

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    how is the comfort? i'd like to convert a DRZ into a tourer but im afraid i might be wasting my time and better off on a DR650
  13. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    The comfort is great once I changed the handlebars and seat. Otherwise it is a torture device after about 30 minutes. Because of the sitting position and how long the legs can be extended, it is one of the most comfortable bikes I've been on, MUCH more comfortable than my F650 GS.

    Re: Range .. it depends.. it REALLLY depends on speed and wind. Worst case my 28 liter tank will get me about 250-300 km if I'm traveling at 120km/h and into a head wind. Otherwise in normal conditions (80-100km/h and normal wind) I get around 500-600km.

    dg in Switzerland!
  14. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Gotta question or two for you, how often do you change the oil and there is a lot of talk on TT, that DRZ'z are really hard on oil? Specs mention 3,000 miles, but off road riders go about 500 and use ester based oil.


    Did you do the lock tight on the counter shaft sprocket???

    How far have you traveled so far and any breakdowns??


    THANKS!!!
  15. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Denmark
    Sorry for hijacking your thread Dave.... I hope you are well... where are you..?? Italy???


    A little on oil. I have 40.000 km on my DRZ know on the original piston. mostly travel with luggage.
    I have changed oil somewhere between every 2000-4000 miles.
    I just use whatever oil I can get. sometimes expensive motorcycle oil, but more often just the cheapest I can find. Often that is the Rotella heavy duty oil.
    But I will have to change piston before the next long trip. The bike is starting to use some oil now.

    also I have done the locktide fix and I had to change the brushing at the sme time.

    Only major brakedown I have had is a burned out voltage regulator and that resulted in a burned stator too....


  16. max.headroom

    max.headroom That "Retro" Digital, Ummmm ..... Dude.

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    Great RR - I just stumbled on it and read it through till the end. Keep the rubber side down, keep having a great time, and keep posting.

    BTW - Stefan and Jayne are good friends of mine ..... :nod

    Ride on, and ride safe .... :beer

    G.
  17. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    Moose: It isn't hijacking.. just more info :) I appreciate it and am glad to hear your experiences also. I'm about to do your mod for my chain oiler after I finish this message. I've been procrastinating doing work as I have a great place to stay in Switzerland.

    When do ya'll return from the USA?

    G-Funk:
    Cool! Say howdy to Jayne and Stefan for me next time ya see them. They're great ppl.
  18. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
    502
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    Denmark
    I just got a ticket to San Francisco on May 23th. So its really soon. Then I have some time to rebuild the engines (piston,clutch,valves) on our two DRZ's before Mini will join me around July 1th.
    Then we have about 6-7 week together to travel before she has to go home.
    I can stay a little longer and will maybe try and ride down to mexico to test my spanish.... ("Dos Cerveza Por Favor!")

    Procrastinating....mmmmh I just learned a new word today.. In danish we have a saying to explain that..: Gør ikke i dag, hvad du kan udsætte til i morgen.

    Did you ever got around to do the Kickstart mod for your bike? Im thinking about doing it on our bikes, now that I have the engine apart anyways.

    Also how is you rack for the panniers holding?? Mine is falling apart and has been welded in several places.

    Switzerland is cool. The place looks likes something from a movie.
    If you are in to cheese you could visit a "Schaukäserei" where you can see how they make their huge "Emmentaler" cheese.
    There should be a few places around to do that.


  19. JRMosley

    JRMosley Been here awhile

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    Washington State
    Just found your ride report and got all caught up, excellent trip! :freakyPlease keep updating to ADV!
  20. daveg

    daveg no longer homeless

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    I'm going to try to get caught up with some old blog posts. I'm really just going to show some pictures and share some of the reflections I have now.. Unfortunately a blog is much better if done real time.. but I was too busy to update as I was riding too much. Usually I take notes about each day, so I'm using those notes to reconstruct events as they may have happened.
    Laos!!!!

    After spending so much time in Thailand, I am quite nervous to check out a new country. Though it is more of an excited nervousness than a scared nervousness. After all, this is South East Asia... and everything is relaxed here.

    I'm riding with John and Kelly (John from UK, Kelly from Australia). They're on a mammoth GS with a reinforced frame. The bike is nice and shiney new, even though it is a 1150. We arrive at the border during lunch time and the station is abandoned. We take the opportunity to go and get lunch ourselves and have a final spicy dish from Thailand.

    The officials arrive at the border and everything goes smoothly. They check out my temporary import permit and stamp my passport without causing any problems or charging any fees. We lined up for the ferry and paid 200 baht ($6.6 USD) for the crossing.

    This is my first overland border crossing in South East Asia and things are looking very different. There was no chaos.. no one trying to exchange money or offer hotel "tips"... no helpers. If the rest of the trip is going to be like this, I am in for a treat.
    <dl id="attachment_536" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">All smiles at the Thai Border with Laos</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_534" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Loaded fuel trucks load the ferry to cross the Mekong</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_533" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I'm loaded up and ready to cross Mekong</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_532" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">First glimps of the Lao People's Democratic Republic</dd></dl>
    The Laos side of the border crossing wasn't as friendly. There was no unofficial chaos like in Latin America, but I got a wiff of some official corruption as the fees were higher here than at other borders that John and Kelly crossed into Laos.

    We had to pay 40,000 Laos Kip ($5) for bike paperwork, 20,000 kip($2.50) for bike "entry", and 5000($0.62) kip to get our passport stamped. The only fee that John had seen before was 20,000 Laos Kip for paperwork for the bike. I also had to purchase insurance for the bike to legally drive in Laos.

    I'll let the photo captions take over....
    <dl id="attachment_530" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">HOT HOT HOT. This dish was almost too spicy for me. It is Larb. Check out the wikipedia page for more info about Laos Cuisine</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_529" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Tractor full of brooms. Life is very different here in Laos.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_528" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Laos "communism" at its best.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_527" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Lots of contradictive scenes, just on the opposite side of the Thai border.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_526" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Tractor Cruisers</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_525" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">One of the few nice roads outside of the main highway 13.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_524" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I met Katrin at the cave. Her and her brother let me join their boat to explore a very long cave. She's here in SE Asia doing bomb disposal for the Swiss military. I tried hard not to make any comments about The Hurt Locker or knives. It was a fun AM!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_523" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">One of Katrin's photos.</dd></dl>
    [​IMG]

    The amazing invisible line that creates borders never ceases to amaze me. Well, in this case, there is a river, the Mekong. As soon as you cross the border, you know that you are in a different country. Laos is a communist country by label, but I didn't really expect much of a difference. The red flag sporting the hammer and sikle is everywhere usually accompanying the Laos Flag. I haven't seen any recognizable national chains, but I haven't been to any big cities yet. So far in my few days of driving around, it seems like there aren't any.

    There are villages after villages. Cows are grazing on the side of the road next to the kids who are playing in the street. I really have to watch my speed to make sure that I can always come to a complete stop because there always seems to be something or someone in the way. Scooters outnumber 4 wheeled vehicles probably 30 to 1. Surprisingly, most of the vehicles I have seen are newish Toyota pickup trucks.

    The people here are easily as friendly and curious as the Thai. The language spoken here is Laos but it is similar enough to Thai that I just speak DaveThai at them and they seem to know what I mean after about the same number of attempts as it takes back in Thailand. I understand that Loas is an older and more orignal form of Thai.

    For the first couple of days, I was in Central Loas. Here there are mountains that seem to spring out of nowhere. They go straight up into the sky to a point. Laos is amazing. I'm pretty sure I could spend a lifetime exploring this country.

    Also, make sure you check out John & Kelly's thread here on ADV:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=648873