My big ride - A Kiwified Dutchman heading South from LA

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Normlas, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    989
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    From 1st post Sept 9 '17.
    "Welcome to my wee adventure ride report"
    Jeez, I guess NZ wee is a lot different than CDN wee!
    Lucy and you done good, thanks!
    Normlas likes this.
  2. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,488
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
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    This could just as well be Jasper, Alberta in the autumn. Beautiful!
    Normlas likes this.
  3. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Thank you all once again for your kind comments, it is very much appreciated, and yeah - I guess I did get a little carried away from "wee" but when I wrote that I had no idea what was coming or how long I would be riding for, I was thinking maybe 6 or 8 month.......guess I got plain carried away, and yet I still don't really feel like stopping. Riding and travelling just feels like normal life now that it has been so long.

    Back to the story......

    So Vicente comes home on Sunday evening and I have prepared a big steak and mushroom ravioli dinner and we seriously chow down, he's a lovely guy and I am very grateful to be able to stay here.

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    The next morning and I'm up early - going to be a busy Monday for me, here's sunrise over the Andes.

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    It's time to get into the city and get sh1t done! First stop is the Plaza de Armas and in search of a copy centre to make good colour copies of various important documents and to get the power of attorney contract printed, quickly found and successfully completed. Then I find a notary office and get the contract signed and witnessed, also remarkably easy and quickly done and cheap too at only 2000 Chilean pesos or about $3 USD - score!

    Then off to the DHL office to send the ownership document to the States and here is where I get reamed - f$ckers!!!! Charged me 39,000 pesos to send one piece of paper to the states!!! OMG That is around $56 USD !!! But the guy insisted that I use DHL and it is very important that it get there safely so I had little choice - ouch.

    I'm only smiling as they haven't told me the price yet.....

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    Back to the copy centre to get the newly signed contract copied and then to the change office to get the last of my bits and pieces changed, I still had some Bolivianos, some Argentinian pesos and a few USD - all successfully done and it only took me about 2 hours to get everything done ! I was thinking it was going to take me the whole day but I guess I am getting better at this Spanish / travelling / arranging stuff !!

    So I head to the Central Mercado for a wander around and a bit of early lunch before heading back to the Plaza de Armas, I was thinking to hit a museum or two but am feeling really tired as I haven't been sleeping well at all so I decide to head back to the apartment for a wee siesta.

    In the afternoon I slowly start unpacking the bike..... man it feels weird.

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    The ticket I have to go home is a Qantas one but the flight is a Latam air plane. I tried to book a seat via both websites and was unable to - it's important that I get a seat with a bit of extra legroom because my delicate 1.98cm (6'5") frame doesn't really fit into a standard seat..... and it's a 13 hour flight. I head to a Latam office nearby but they are unable to help and tell me that I have to go the airport and see the Qantas people as it's a Qantas booking.....#@%#@%@!!

    So the next day I swing my leg over and head out the airport, find the Qantas office only to be told that it's not their plane and they can't book me a seat %%@#$^@ !! But the lady takes some pity on me seeing my size and hearing my pleading and gets in touch with Latam and they try and book me a fire exit seat, I'll find out whether it worked or not when I get to the airport for my flight next week - fingers crossed!

    I head back to the apartment and very much realise that this is my last ride on the bike :(
    In the afternoon I get the oil, filter and crush washer changed and release the doohickey - which is now a 2 minute job instead of 45 minute - should have drilled that hole a long time ago!!

    And in the evening I offer to cook again, head out for some supplies and cook up one of my all time favourite foods - Thai Green Chicken Curry - yum!!

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    Then today I get the bike washed by the wash guys in the supermarket carpark next door, super nice guys....

    Before:

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    During:

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    And after:

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    The tall apartment building in the background is where I have been staying, on the very top floor.

    Although they were really nice guys and we had a nice chat, they end up doing a decidedly average job but I don't realise until I am out of there, it looks good on the surface but they missed a lot!!

    I spend the rest of the afternoon unpacking the bike and cleaning the gear I am taking home, the NZers are very anal about bringing equipment into the country, especially camping and motorbike gear, and it all needs to be super clean. I also give the chain a clean, tighten and lube, lube all the other bits that need it and take off the top box which I am keeping.

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    Listo !

    That's me for now, more to come soon......
  4. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    So I was going to write a set of handy hints for the new owner and email them over but then I thought that maybe other KLRistas or some of you FF’s on here would find this useful so I will post it here. This is just based on my experience. No doubt others will have other ideas on some of these things but this is just what I have learned, used and recommend. Sorry if it sounds like I am teaching grandma how to suck eggs :)

    Here we go;

    Oil:

    Only use mineral oil (never synthetic or semisynthetic), the weight of the oil doesn’t really seem to matter to her but somewhere around 20-40, 30-50 or even 10-30 is fine. It must be JASO rated for the wet clutch, usually signified as JASO-MA or JASO-MA2, or sometimes just MA or MA2. This type of oil is available at every bike shop and most service stations. Just use the cheapest oil they have that fulfils these two criteria.

    I change the oil, filter and the crush washer on the sump plug every 5000 miles, you will need at least 2 litres of oil for a change, maybe a little more and one entire roll of toilet paper – it’s a stupid design and always makes a mess when you remove the filter. Be careful to notice which way the metal tube inside the oil filter goes back with the new filter!! Do not use Loctite on the oil filter cover bolts. Use an allen key to get the sump plug off, not a socket (won’t fit through the bash plate hole). The sump plug is magnetic, so give it a check for any debris when you do an oil change as a warning sign of something going wrong in the engine, there is usually nothing but a bit of fine metal dust on it.


    Checking the oil level:

    The bike has to be at normal running temperature, not cold. And then be left standing with the engine off for at least 5 minutes before checking the oil level. Get down on the RHS of the bike, give the little window a quick wipe and lift the bike towards you off the side stand and make sure it is perfectly balanced on its centre of gravity. The level should be at, or just above the top line on the sight-glass (it is correct right now). Check this every ride day!! The harder you ride the more oil you will burn, around 60MPH on the speedo you will burn very little, above 70MPH and you will burn a lot. Check it every riding day!!! From the bottom mark on the sight glass to the top mark is about half a litre.


    Petrol:

    Get the cheapest gas they have, the octane doesn’t seem to matter, she will run on anything. You will have between 210 and 220 miles on a full tank at sea level. At altitudes over 3000 m or with the crazy South Argentinian winds, this can drop to around 180 or 190 miles before you have to switch to the reserve, which will give you another 20 or 30 miles. The reserve tap is at the petcock by your left knee, turn it forward to go to reserve (I remember this as – push it forward to go forward). I try to not use the reserve at all because if there is any rubbish in the bottom of your gas tank using the reserve gives you a good chance of sucking this into your carb and leaving you standing on the side of the road. I think I have used the reserve only twice on my entire trip! There is an allen key bolt on the bottom of the carb bowl attached to a little hose, it’s a good idea to loosen this and drain the bowl every now and then, she seems to like this. If you fill the petrol tank too high you will smell some gas for about the first 20 or 30 minutes, it’s normal.

    There is an inline fuel filter just below the petcock, it was fitted in Colombia and has given no problems, the guy told me you can clean this be removing it and using high pressure air to blast it clean (in the reverse direction to the way it flows now of course).

    Chain:

    The correct tension has to be tested with you and your bags on the bike and sitting straight upright! The perfect tension is with full weight and you should be able to push the bottom of the chain up and just touch it against the rubber chain slider where it is attached to the bottom of the swingarm. To set the tension I use a little portable stand (see pic below), loosen the nut on the rear wheel before lifting the bike, put Velcro over the front brake leaver as a hand brake (see pic below) and then set the tension at the back wheel using the adjustment bolts – it’s obvious (loosen the locking bolts first and retighten when you’re done).

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    Make sure you adjust both sides equally and check the markings to make sure it’s all square and straight. Check the tension once more with you on the bike once you’re finished.

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    I’ve left you a can of heavy chain oil spray, you should oil the chain every two tank fills.

    Starting:

    Always use full choke when she’s cold and sometimes even when she is warm if you are at altitude. Then give her a minute to idle and warm up before you take off. The correct idle when she is warm and without choke is between 1100 and 1300 rpm, adjust this with the big thumb screw on the carb (RHS of the bike), you will need to adjust this at altitude and it will help her start and run better.

    Lights:

    Both headlight bulbs are H7 – which is a very standard car headlight bulb available at any parts place. The spots are always on and switched through the ignition via a relay. The heated grips, phone holder USB power and 12V cigarette socket are all switched through the same relay and a separate fuse-box under the windscreen and are only on when the ignition is on. The USB ports on the cigarette lighter socket don’t work, use the one on the phone holder. The indicator lights are a little harder to find as they are orange bulbs behind a clear lens – no idea who thought that was a good idea?

    Doohickey:

    This is now super easy to do with the new hole in the bash plate. There is a rubber plug on the engine block behind the hole, prise it out and get an 8mm socket onto the bolt behind the rubber plug. The bike must be hot when you do this!! Loosen the bolt one entire turn, you might hear a little click as the spring behind that bolt re-tensions the cam chain, but not always. Re-tighten the bolt and replace the rubber plug, done. Do this every time you change the oil, at about 5000 miles.

    Tyre pressures:

    I use 28psi on the front and 35psi on the back, so a little higher than what Kawasaki recommends on the swing arm sticker.

    Air filter:

    You need to clean and re-oil this about every 10,000 miles. Remove the RHS pannier and RHS rear side plastic, then the air filter cover. Wash the filter in petrol a couple of times and then let it air dry, put it in a plastic bag and add about 50ml of engine oil and squeeze it so it gets right through the filter and replace. I last did this at about 48,000 miles.

    Flat tyres:

    Always carry spare heavy duty tubes for both the front and back (I have left you one of each) and if you get a flat just change the tube over and get the leaky one fixed at a tyre place, they use a hot rubber press that is WAY better than you will ever do with glue and a patch.


    Repairs and parts:

    Ecuador uses KLR’s for the police and fire and there are thousands of them, this is a great country to get work done and find all the parts you need. Also, there’s a good guy called Oscar at Viking tech in Medellin, Colombia who is a KLR expert and can get all parts and do any kind of repair you need at a very good price.


    There’s something wrong with my bike!!

    If you suddenly feel a strange vibration, the bike is tracking one way or the other, the power has dropped or she just feels weird, 95% of the time it is the road surface or the wind, don’t panic, the bike is fine. If you have a flat tyre or broken chain you will know for sure.

    If you suddenly hear a weird noise, 95% of the time it’s the bike next to you or from the music you’re listening to, some tracks have weird sounds that can give you a fright, Bob Dylan and U2 are particularly bad for this. A few weeks ago in Bolivia I passed a bike where the entire front brake disk had let go and was just rattling around inside the spokes of the front wheel - the noise was crazy and gave me a hell of a fright.

    At least this is what I have found…….


    This bit is really just for the new owner:

    I have done an oil, filter and crush washer change and reset the doohickey today at about 49,000 miles. I always did it on the 5000 mile mark to make it easy to remember so this change was 1000 miles early. I’ve taken the panniers off so it fits behind Vicente’s car, look at the pictures and see the stickers on the panniers to see which one goes on which side, they are easy to put back on, you’ll figure it out.

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    All the locks have the same key including the heavy locking cable, I’ve given you two. There are also two ignition keys, Vicente has them. Sometimes the steering lock can be hard to engage, if this happens turn the key around and try again, it seems to prefer one side of the key to the other. I drained the carb bowl and tensioned the chain about a 1000 miles ago.

    I have left you a spare chain but use this as a last resort only, it has three master links in it where it has broken twice before so really for emergencies only.

    Put some CRC into all the locks every now and then, especially the ignition and fuel cap locks, to keep the moving nice and freely, I’ve left you a little can of CRC, (I have done this today).

    The brakes were flushed and refilled with DOT 5 brake fluid, I’ve left you the remainder of a bottle, you must use this type of brake fluid, you cannot go back to DOT 4 (apparently), there are no leaks and I have never had to top it up since it was flushed way back in Mexico.

    NOTE: I just oiled the chain today and noticed it was very loose and it shouldn’t have been as I only tightened it about 1000 miles ago so I am not sure I trust this chain! I tightened it today but the adjustment is near the limit so the next time you have to tighten this chain you will have to remove a link or two, I have left you a chain breaker tool in the tool bag. This was a brand new DID chain from Bolivia and so it should not have stretched that much, I recommend you change it out for a new heavy duty DID chain and keep that one as a spare.

    Also note; the cleaning guys accidentally reset the trip-odometer to zero but you do not have a full tank of gas, it's at about 2/3rds !!

    MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL : It is essential that you keep the big "NZ" and "I love NZ" stickers on the bike, she won't run without them!! DO NOT be tempted to add any "Australia" or "I love Australia" stickers to the bike, she will immediately burst into flames and hand-grenade the engine - you have been warned!

    And lastly, ride on man, enjoy and talk nicely to her, give her a little pat if you have given her a hard day – it helps!
  5. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,766
    Location:
    Rotoiti, North Is, New Zealand
    Man, I wish I'd had a set of instructions like that for some of the bikes I've bought :lol3

    Great work on the trip report, have really enjoyed following along:clap

    Your last few riding pics bring back some memories as Santiago - Uspallata via Paso International Los Libertados was our first day's riding when we visited Chile & Argentina a couple of years back. You missed the section of old road over the pass proper which was pretty spectacular - maybe shut for the season by now?

    Cheers
    Clint
    Normlas likes this.
  6. Bacchusman

    Bacchusman n00b

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Whangarei
    I dont know whether this was a pisstake ...but what the hell it was priceless...

    "If you suddenly hear a weird noise, 95% of the time it’s the bike next to you or from the music you’re listening to, some tracks have weird sounds that can give you a fright, Bob Dylan and U2 are particularly bad for this"

    If you ever crest the brenderwyns and youve pushed the reserve forward, sing out. The spare bed is oversize :-)
    sizzlingbadger and Normlas like this.
  7. motu

    motu Loose Pre Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Oddometer:
    6,319
    Location:
    New Zealand
    It's coming to an end ??!!!! I've been following your journey since day one - when you ripped your eyeball out with an out of control bungy....then the cat ran off with it and sicked it up on the lounge carpet.

    That'll get the late starters back to page one. South America has become an in thing on ADV, but I really do like the look of the place, the scenery, the architecture , and looking at it through a Kiwi eye has been the best part. Are you really Dutch ? We seem to have assimilated you rather well, it's been like looking through my own eyes, not filtering it through the eyes of someone who drives on the wrong side of the road, and has no idea of the thrill of seeing a feijoa in the wild. And thanks for the cats...and the cats thank you, no one else there seems to care. I like to get every cat I see to connect with me, it's a challenge, and rewarding when it works.

    Not much chance of me doing such a trip, so it's been fun following your travels....you probably enjoyed it more than me.
    Normlas and HiJincs like this.
  8. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    803
    Great handover notes! Thanks for taking all of us on the pillion, that's probably what's knackered that chain :)
    All good things come to an end but that also means a new adventure is about to start. All the best for whatever that is. Onwards and upwards mate.
    Normlas and HiJincs like this.
  9. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Yes I was aware of that road from Ioverlander but decided to not tempt fate and just get me and bike to Santiago in one piece, which I did....

    Nope - I mean that, especially U2 have some strange instruments and at strange times that have given me a few frights. And Greg and I (the guy who came to Santiago and rode with me and Steve for a few weeks) are already planning an excursion over the Brenderwyns so you might just live to regret that offer :)

    And thank god the cat didn't chew much !! That one bite he took I can still feel every time I blink!!

    :imaposer

    To be fair I've lived in NZ since I was 9 years old, hence the word "kiwified" in my RR title - pretty much there, chur bro! As I am sitting here listening to Dave Dobyn's "Welcome home" - man I love that song, especially the bit "with her hands trembling, haere mai" brings a tear to my eye most times...... cos we know what that sh1t means!

    Thanks oldbeer ! So maybe you guys should all chip in for a new chain for the new owner, he's gunna need one :clap

    I'm trying to convince him to write a blog on here so you never know....
    Bacchusman and ScotsFire like this.
  10. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Another beautiful sunset from the apartment.

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    So the bike is pretty much ready to go, cleaned and serviced and I have a great parking spot for her until the new owner gets here in mid-July.

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    I take the panniers off to shrink here down a little.......

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    And put her in her new home for the next couple of months.

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    Now this is where it gets dangerous, I can't take the ground sheet for my tent home as the NZ'ers are super-anal about stuff that has any chance of having dirt or bits of plant on it being brought into the country. But this makes a perfect cover for the bike so a win-win really.

    Now this is exactly the same type of tarp as the one covering my bike at home, and all I have to secure it onto the bike with is some bungee cords...... those of you who have been with me from the beginning will sense the very real danger here...... The irony was not lost on me and I was EXTREMELY careful, thankfully all ended well.

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    And that's that. The last picture of my trusty steed who has served me so well for so long and for so many miles, my home away from home. The total was just under 40,000 miles, or around 65,000 km. And without any serious issues that were due to the KLR herself, the only realy breakdown I had was the electrical meltdown in Ecuador which was because of a mistake made by whoever fitted the crash bars and wound the regulator wire very tightly around the crash bar support. The clutch cable breaking in Mexico was also because someone had changed the angle of the cable-guide at the gearbox to be out of line and that was exactly where the cable wore and broke.

    The only other issues I had were normal consumables that you expect to need replacing on a trip like this; tyres, inner tubes, chain, sprockets, brake pads, light bulbs etc.

    I still can't get my head around the idea that this is over...... I decide that sitting around and moping is a bad idea so I head into the city and get me some culture!

    First stop is the very famous Museum of Human Rights which was created to highlight the evils of Chile's former military dictator Pinoche and honour the many 100's of 1000's of people that were tortured, imprisoned and killed under his regime which lasted from 1973 right through to 1990. A very memorable and nicely laid out memorial museum.

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    Though not really something to cheer me up to be fair.......

    Science to the rescue at the Natural History Museum of Santiago !! woop woop!

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    And another dose of lovely reality with the Science and Technology Museum.

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    Now I feel a little better :)

    One more stunning sunset from the balcony, say what you like but smog sure does make a pretty sunset !

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    I've been surprisingly busy organising stuff, getting the bike ready and getting my gear ready for the flight home and I'm glad I have the time and place to do it here.

    That's all for now, ciao amigos!
  11. Kiwi Mo

    Kiwi Mo Long timer

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    Aug 11, 2013
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    1,205
    Location:
    Te Ika-a-Māui Aotearoa New Zealand
    Mauruuru mo te tango ia matou, he tino koa au ki nga pou me nga whakaahua. Haere ai te haumaru ki Aotearoa.


    Thanks for taking us along, I really enjoyed the posts and the photos. Safe travels to Aotearoa.
    Normlas and MrKiwi like this.
  12. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    943
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    Damn......really bittersweet to see this end....40,000 miles, that's roughly 75 miles a day, I like that pace!! Been following from the beginning, what a great report!! Best of luck to you!!
    Normlas and MrKiwi like this.
  13. sizzlingbadger

    sizzlingbadger Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Wow, it's finally over, I'm actually a bit sad myself as this been such a great experience even from my armchair. Safe travels home, you have your family and friends to look forward to spending time with. Planning the next trip too of course :lol3
    Normlas likes this.
  14. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    490
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Normals. Just echoing everyone else here. We’re gonna miss your RR, a lot! I have really enjoyed it! Let us know when you get all settled in at home and when you get any other trips planned. Be safe!
    Normlas likes this.
  15. MotoRojo

    MotoRojo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2014
    Oddometer:
    90
    Location:
    North Vancouver BC
    Arjan, its been great following along on your adventure for the past year and a half. As others have stated, it’s too bad the ride has come to an ended. Kinda like a good movie that you hate to see end. But the ending was on a healthy and positive note, which is what really matters.

    Can’t wait for the sequel!! :D
    Normlas likes this.
  16. HiJincs

    HiJincs Dreamer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    655
    Location:
    Cumming, Jawja
    Considering how it started, you deserved this ending. Well played Arjan!! Thanks for taking the time to share this amazing adventure with us. Looking forward to the next one.
    Normlas likes this.
  17. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    New Zealand - JAFA
    Thank you all once again for your kind comments, great to know that people have enjoyed my RR.

    So here I am at the airport!!! OMG, sh1t is getting pretty real now.....

    I thankfully did manage to organise a fire exit seat with a bit of extra legroom although the bastards did make me pay and extra $119 USD for it !!! It's the first exit row seat I have ever had to pay for, but I really had little choice. I love to travel but I HATE to fly, the seats just keep getting smaller and smaller and the service poorer and poorer and my delicate wee frame clearly is not made for modern air planes.....

    I did manage to get my bags checked in and they were pretty well packed if I do say so myself, the allowance was 2 x 23 Kg and my bags were exactly 23.1 Kg each! One is my top box and the other is just one of those cheap Chinese stripey bags that I bought in Bolivia, reinforced with an entire roll of packing tape - looks super classy..... My good suitcases are still in LA and I really didn't want to have to buy one just for this flight.

    Vicente was kind enough to drop me off at the airport and I now have 4 or so hours to kill before I take off, I wanted to get here nice and early to make sure to get that seat, which worked, it was the last fire exit seat on the plane. The flight is about 13hrs and leaves just after midnight, thanks to the very lax pharmacy regulations in Bolivia, I have enough chemistry with me to ensure that I will spend most of that time ranging between semi-comatose and fully unconscious :)

    I had a nice little moment last night when I went out for some Chinese take-out food and asked the restaurant guy if he spoke an English, he said no, just Chinese or Spanish. So we chatted for about 10 minutes in Spanish and just as I was leaving he asks me why I asked to speak in English when my Spanish was so good - made me smile. I guess one and a half years of forced Spanish did do some good after all and I feel pretty comfortable conversing these days.

    Once I get home and settled I'll do a big write up about what gear I had, what worked well and what let me down, for the mean time I've had lots of time to reflect on this epic journey across the Americas.

    Lots of people have asked my what me favourite experience or country was and it's just too hard, there have been so many great experiences and countries, and every country had something great about it. But I'll do a more thorough write up another time.

    I am truly grateful to all the people that I have ridden with and who have enjoyed parts of this journey with me. From Phil way back in Mexico, to the Frenchies Johan and Victor with whom I rode from Honduras to Colombia. Then Steve, with whom I rode for almost 5 months from Colombia to Chile, my kiwi mate Greg for bits of Chile and Argentina and then lastly Mhamed and Abri with whom I enjoyed Argentina. I feel like I had a really nice mix of riding with friends and riding alone, both of which have their own benefits and disadvantages, and both of which I enjoy.

    Any regrets? Yes, probably two that stand out, one which is my fault and the other not so much. The biggest mistake I made is that I started smoking again (sorry Mum), I smoked for about 25 years and gave it up for my back surgery, so I hadn't smoked for about 4 years. Then the Frenchies came along and we did a lot of drinking, really a lot, and Victor is a smoker and one night, deep under the influence, I asked him for one and it was all down hill from there......

    So one of the first obstacles to get through back in NZ is to knock that on the head!! Here is South America a pack of tobacco (I roll my own) is between $2 and $5, in NZ a pack of tobacco is currently around the $70 to $80 USD !!! Just crazy prices, but aside from that it's a nasty habit and bad for me "fumar te mata!!"

    The second regret is probably putting my faith and trust in Ludwig and his Stahlratte boat to cross the Darien Gap. He really let me and the Frenchies down and it was handled in a frighteningly unprofessional way - shame on you Ludwig!! - you know exactly what you did and who caused all the problems in the first place !! Having a firm date when we were crossing so far ahead of time made us customise our whole itinerary and route to make this deadline and all to be let down at the very last moment. We would have all loved to have spent more time in Honduras and Costa Rica especially but had to forgo that to make the doomed boat ride.

    But other than that no real regrets, I managed the entire trip without a single fine or ticket, not even so much as a parking ticket, no bribes were paid anywhere, no serious accidents were had and the bike was just awesome - my hat is off to the mighty KLR!

    The other pleasant surprise is that with all those dodgy cheap hotels and dirty bathrooms I never got any bed bugs, fleas, lice or even athletes foot - nothing ! A couple of bouts of food poisoning and a few head colds but nothing serious thank goodness.

    The eye has also thankfully stayed good and given me no further trouble, although I still can't see straight lines through my right eye, they have a few bumps in them because of the tears in my retina, and I can't read with that eye at all without glasses now, but other than reading it doesn't bother me at all, I was lucky to not lose my eye all together!

    The overall highlight has to be the people I have met and who have been so generous and kind throughout my travels, as the old Maori saying goes, what is the most important thing in the world; "he tangata, he tangata, he tangata" - "it is people, it is people, it is people".

    Thank you also to all the people who have chimed in on my RR with advice, comments and support, I just love getting feedback, it really makes my day and is a reward in a way to all the work that is required to keep one of these RR's going - thank you all !

    And of course, none of this would have possible without the love, support and god-like levels of patience from my better half Lisa - thank you babe, see you soon! xox !!

    I will no doubt have more thoughts to ramble on about soon, right now I'm heading out for a last ciggie in the Americas before boarding.

    Ciao amigos!
  18. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    12,585
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I always have to pay extra for an exit aisle seat. AirNZ have been stinging us on that for a while
    Normlas likes this.
  19. Robthekiwi

    Robthekiwi Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2017
    Oddometer:
    20
    Location:
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Gotta pay for those dodgy safety videos somehow....
    Normlas and MrKiwi like this.
  20. Cafeguzzi

    Cafeguzzi Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    frisco
    man, the RR page will be kind of bland and empty without you! we will miss you a lot. thank you for taking us along on this incredible trip!
    Normlas likes this.