Latin America!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bananaman, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I've run marathons. I've done multi-day back-country wilderness travel. I have never been more exhausted. The mud won this one. I'm sitting at TC's shop in Panama while my new TKC's are being mounted. Knobbies... I can not wait.

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    #81
  2. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    So the bike got to sleep in the jungle and the rest of us went home to Panama City to re-group, rest, get a truck big enough and strong enough to carry the bike out.I comandeered a toyota hi-lux with a flatbed, and got two guys to come along. Carlos Enriques is the chief mechanic for one of the biggest construction companies in Panama. His company is building part of this road. He knows the area and he knows the risks. He brought about a hundred pounds of tools- not for my bike, but for the truck, for any contingency. He also brought a come-along and 100ft of cable. Not for the bike, but for the truck. He has gone off-the-road before.

    When we turned into the jungle at Cuango we started to see locals on horseback. More on these kids later...

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    It's kind of far from Cuango to the Culebra River, and even farther to the farm where we started picking up people.

    Carlos Enriques, once he realized that he was going to Cuango- the guy is a total humanitarian. He made a call to the last store on the road and told them that he was going up- would anyone need a ride? Did anyone need any supplies taken anywhere? Word traveled (as quickly as word can travel by pony express). When we got to Cuango a farmer was waiting (with his horse). He had a big garbage bag full of stuff for us to take (he would ride his horse). He also told us that some people would like a ride out. We would have to travel another half-an-hour to fortyfive minutes from where the bike was. We got to the bike around 4, had it loaded by 5. We got to the last farmstead just before dark. First we picked up three people... but they weren't three, they were four. One was a baby. By this time Carlos Enriques was done driving (tired!) so I was the pilot. Carlos Enriques goes, ''I'll ride in the back. The mother and baby should ride in front.'' A little while later, we picked up a few more people. Then a few more, including another mother and baby. I was driving along with two moms-and-babies in the front, Carlos Enriques was in the back with about a dozen others. Everyone got out at Cuango. We drove home- tired, falling asleep. We re-tied the bike in Puerto Bello, got back to Panama late, elevenish? Exhausted.
    #82
  3. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    unloading the bike, Panama-style.[​IMG]

    The TKC's are on, and I'm off. Wish me luck- Barb too. We're off to Yavisa!
    #83
  4. Charles Seguin

    Charles Seguin Noob4Life

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    :clap It's about time. Good pics. Looks like you had a horrific time on that road.
    #84
  5. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    Good luck. This is great reading:thumb
    #85
  6. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

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    Good luck, my experience with TKC's is that they don't do so well in the mud because they don't clean them selves and they just pack up with mud.

    Great pictures and story, I would love to see a picture with that truck loaded with people.

    Enjoy your adventure.
    #86
  7. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    #87
  8. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    We made it to Yavisa, then back to Panama. Barb's bike ran fine. Mine... still sick from the Culebra River. On the way there, a sputter... but kind-of OK. On the way back it kept quitting. Ugh. And I dropped it HARD after stopping to try to fix it. Barb had already turned onto the Pan-American Highway and even with her i-pod on LOUD she heard my bike fall down. I can not write here what I said next. My left leg is a little sore but worse than that... my ego.

    But hey- YAVISA!!! The end of the Pan American Highway. Then we swam in the Yavisa river (with the Cuna and Embarra), had some lunch, and rode home (190 miles each way but miles don't count for anything. The road is bad.)

    Photos and explanation when I can get to them.
    #88
  9. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I posted this over in Gspot, and I need to figure out what's wrong with the bike. Any ideas?

    #89
  10. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Hola!

    First of all, I don't know anything specific to the GS, but internal combustion engines are all pretty much alike.

    The two key bits of information are that 1) the bike dies suddenly, as if killed rather than running rough and 2) the bike starts up after a period of time.

    This is almost certainly something electrical and unlikely to be related to spark plugs, fuel delivery, or air delivery. Anything like that would likely result in rough running before it quits, especially with two cylinders.

    Does the GS have circuit breakers rather than fuses? It sounds like a breaker related to the ignition is popping, then after it cools down it resets itself. It's right on the edge; the hotter temperature outside makes it pop more often, cooler temperatures it can run a while.

    The ABS will be on a different circuit from the ignition. Maybe all the dropping resulted in a pinch or enough abrasion in the wiring harness to cause a short. The ABS circuit could be continually popping its breaker but the ignition circuit may have an intermittent or high-resistance short. Or the breakers themselves may be horked, but that seems unlikely.

    It's time to get out a wiring diagram and a multimeter. Hopefully someone with more specific knowledge of the bike can give you better starting points.

    Of course there are other possibilities; a short in the sidestand kill switch is a potential culprit. The fact that things start back up could be related to you putting the sidestand down and back up, moving the short around. However, a breaker popping sounds much more likely given the apparent relation to temperature.

    I'm in Mexico right now <a href="http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305107">headed eventually for Panama</a>, but I will be a couple more months in Mexico first. You'll probably be headed north while I'm headed south - if our paths cross, I'd love to meet up for a beer and pick your brain about the route!

    Jeff
    #90
  11. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Route ideas? Follow CA1 or CA2 until you come to a tiny town. There will be a Chinese grocery store on your left. You can get a plate of rice and chicken, and some ojaldas, from the shack on the right. The road will end just before the neighborhood with all the Cuna. The Embarra will be on your left. If you swim, don't drink the water- it's also the local toilet. It will probably be hot out, so you'll want to swim anyway. If it's raining, stop before you get to the red mud. If you don't stop before, you'll stop in it. If you stop in it, you might never get back out. I recomend Metzler Tourance's until you get to the mud. From there on I can not recomend anything. If it's dry when you get to the red, TKC's work great.
    #91
  12. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    #92
  13. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    I'm interested in seeing a couple pictures from the road to Yavisa and Yavisa itself when you get chance. :thumb
    #93
  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    The road to Yavisa looks exactly like the road from Tocumen to Bayano- it's two-laned, lined with fields grazed by cows, fenced with the posts that grow into trees. Some bananas and papaya but almost always cows. Except for a few miles of forest (I wouldn't call it jungle) it's always cows. Except for the cows being the tan kind, and not holsteins or angus's, it might as well be Wisconsin. All the way to Yavisa.

    Sometimes the road is paved. It doesn't usually last more than a few miles.

    Sometimes the road is full of potholes. Cars and trucks zig-zag like crazy. Make sure to lay on the horn and make positive contact before trying to pass. Passing is easy because they have to go slow. you can ride the ridges between the holes. Ride them standing up. I suggest the wide footpegs. I have stock pegs and my feet get real tired.

    Sometimes the road just melts away off the side. Watch out for this. It's usually marked with tall grass.

    Sometimes they pour oil over the gravel. I think this is how they "pave." No wonder there are so many potholes.

    There are a few areas of construction. Usually the gravel is ok. Sometimes it's dry clay. It's very, very dusty. We usually rode about 400m apart. We'd take turns leading every 15 minutes. Otherwise you choke on the dust.

    The last twenty miles to Yavisa is un-improved, narrow, windy, dirt/sand/gravel. Ride standing.

    When you get to Yavisa, you'll be like, Huh. It's not unlike the feeling of getting to Coldfoot or Yukon River. You get there, and there isn't much there. A few people. A few houses. A couple of small grocery stores.

    It's not hard. There are military checkpoints staffed by Panamanian commandos (US trained, experienced in Colombian tactics) with AK47s. They're usually very nice. Seriously nice. They love my dad (he likes to drive to Meteti to visit his buddy Father Kasubuski) so they all knew me before I got there. They knew all about me- even how old my daughters are. I hope my dad told them and they're not actually connected to some super-secret CIA-wanker data base.

    It's not hard. We got back to Panama City and Barb kept saying, "It wasn't that hard." "Sure, for us," I said. "No, seriously," I said. It's not that hard. It's far, but not technical.

    I'll try to get some photos up in the next couple of days. My bike is broken until at least Thursday, but we might take the Landrover to San Blas tomorow. We heard a rumor of a road...
    #94
  15. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

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    :lurk
    #95
  16. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    Thats honestly what I was thinking. I plan to ride to Yavisa... to basically say I've gone as far as I can... turn around and go home to the US...

    :lurk
    #96
  17. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Hi Bananaman!

    Great TR! I think my KLR would have had a tough time getting up that hill with knobbies! The more speed you carry at the bottom of the hill the further you get up, but the worse it hurts when you fall!

    Have you got you bike fixed yet? A while back my 1800 Goldwing quit running a few times in the manner you are describing within a 10 mile section. After toggling the kill switch several times it has never done it again! Plus, I sprayed it with some WD40 when I got home, which was about a 1,000 miles later. Good Luck!
    #97
  18. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Back from San Blas. Took a Land Rover Defender. No way was I going to even try to take the 1100GS. Anyone who could ride the road from El Llano to Carti- if anyone does it on a big bike, I'd like to see pictures!
    #98
  19. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Good stuff. :thumb
    #99
  20. G.Gordon

    G.Gordon Nation of Frustration

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    Man o' man!!! Thanks for the entertainment.:tb