The End is Here; AKA The Adventures of "el Churro" Around Latin America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WileyRTW, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    The problem with looking for adventure is sometimes you bite off more than can chew.

    After the 3rd incident I fixed Churro myself, so he is running fine now, but we had to turn back getting home at 1:30.am. oh well, todays another day.

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  2. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Here's my bike after they told me I was all set

  3. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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  4. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    yes every country in the world is listening to some one higher up as they are all making the same stupid rules. Mean while here in Canada the police are pulling tazers on young hockey skaters out in the cold fresh air. https://www.castanet.net/news/Canad...rrested-in-Calgary-for-skating-has-gone-viral

    I wait for more great photos of your journey.
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  5. Mofrid

    Mofrid Been here awhile Supporter

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    "The end is here..."

    That video clip adds to the title. Good Grief!
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  6. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    So I finally left Uruapan cutting through Los Reyes on the way to Mazamitla, a small mountain town which is a popular tourist destination for Mexicans. I thought about finally checking out the falls, but wasn't sure how long the hike in was, plus I had all my gear, so decided to push on. The weather was great and the ride to Mazamitla was uneventful.

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    I arrived in Mazamitla and found Posada La Gloria, which did not have parking so Churro was back on the streets. There are a bunch of hotels in town, and everyone is renting cabins. The price here was about 25USD, which is average for what I found, and I have read the cabins go for 50+USD. The centro is nice, though small, so I grabbed some food and relaxed for a bit before walking all over town. The town fills up on the weekends, so arriving early Friday left the town a bit empty at first, but began filling up in the evening. I had originally planned to stay 1 night, but decided to stay an extra to explore the surrounding area. The next morning Churro and I left the bags behind only bringing the essentials, as there are nice roads all over the place. I had my pants, shoes, and the key tools strapped to the back of churro and we headed off for some more dirt adventures.

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    We were taking the long way to Santa Maria del Oro, a pueblo deep in the mountains, no idea what it was about but the road is supposed to be great. I later saw a map in town and believe it is a paved road to Santa Maria, but Churro and I did not make it that far to find out. After getting lost a few times which didn't matter since the dirt roads were great, I jumped on google maps and corrected the issue. Now knowing where I needed to head, we pulled over to snap a pic.

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    There isn't much traffic back here, but a local goes by in his truck with his family. We exchange a wave and I snap my pic.....and then smell gas, oh man not again. I go to grab my tools, only to realize my bags are nowhere to be found, shit. I push the gas hose back on and jump on Churro to back track for the bags, figuring they are long gone as I could have lost them anywhere. 1 minute later I find the guy in the truck stopped, his kid about to jump out and get the bag with clothes and shoes laying in the road. Now, there is a chance they thought they found some nice things to take back home, but I am going to assume the best and that they stopped to grab the bags and return them to me. Either way I waved them off, ran over grabbing them, and saying thanks. The bag was torn apart, hung up on a piece of metal rebar in the ground, so probably had been bouncing along behind churro and I while I was oblivious due to the earplugs I wear. Unfortunately the toolkit was nowhere to be seen.

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    Relived to at least have my pants and shoes, I notice the guy had stopped up the road a bit further and was waiving to me, so I left Churro and ran up ahead. He had found the tool bag, so I collected what I could find of the tools scattered on the road and returned to Churro. Most tools had been recovered but some were missing, and again this was the "key" tool bag, a small bag containing the essentials. Now that I have my stuff back and reattached to Churro, I return to the site of the tool bag and after 5 minutes or so am able to find just about every small bit I had been missing, which is a relief. With the bags in tatters, Churro and I decide it is time to head back to Mazamitla ditching plan A for Santa Maria del Oro, but go to plan B and enjoy a nice coffee and cake in the square.

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    From Mazamitla we headed to Lago Chapala, an area I have not previously explored since it is full of Americans and Canadians. I figured like Sayulita, covid times would make the towns of Chapala and Ajijic tolerable for me. We backtracked towards Sahuayo in order to drive around a larger portion of the lake, taking us around to Ajijic, since it was a relatively short ride from Mazamitla. Outside Sahuayo I saw a group of 20 or so off the off road buggies that are so popular here in Mexico turning off the main road, most likely headed for adventure. Well, I am sure you know what happened next.

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    On a spur of the moment whim Churro and I jump off the main road and follow them. We go for several miles down a country road which was pleasant enough, already worth the detour. I finally see them all turn off onto a small dirt road. I go to pull up as 2 of them had stopped so I could ask where they were headed, and if I could join, but quickly realize they had stopped to take a leak so continue on giving them some privacy, since I have a helmet cam and two cams on Churro in case we are ever hit. I circle back but they had already moved on, so Churro and I jump on the dirt road to see if we can catch them. Right away it gets pretty rough, and I am loaded up with all of my bags and the guitar which makes the suspension basically worthless, so reluctantly abort the mission. I will certainly head back to this dirt road someday in order to find out where this adventure would have gone, but instead choose to head back to the main road and continue on to Ajijic this time.

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    All I know about the towns of Ajijic and Chapala are that they are overrun with gringo snowbirds, which means the cost of everything is way to much for Mexico. The road around the lake nearing these towns is FULL of traffic, so rather than stop at Ajijic I continue on to check out Chapala so I can then return later if needed. Both towns are nice enough, but the hotels I checked out in Chapala were full being a Saturday, and all started at 50USD+. I didn't want to head back to Ajijic assuming it was the same, so grabbed a 50USD hotel that was inconveniently up the hill away from the action, but at least had vacancy. I am sure there are budget hotels somewhere in town, but most seemed to start at this price and go up, an effect the gringos in the area have had on these towns. It was a nice hotel, and easy enough to drive Churro down to the towns to explore for the evening. After a quick shower, having already driven around the pueblo of Chapala looking for hotels, I decided to go checkout Ajijic. As suspected the town was not over run with gringos since so many are stuck in Canada, but I was still feeling the effects so was craving a delicious gringo burger. This one hit the spot, though left me feeling a bit uneasy later that night, though I did not get sick.

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    The town was pleasant enough, but pretty small, so after checking it out I then headed back to Chapala to park and walk around as there were plenty of people out and about on Sat night. I have mentioned I leave Churro outside at times, I definitely am not as cautious as I should be, though have become quite attached due to naming him. The van never got a name, Pepe was the closest it got but that was only because a cute blonde suggested it, but even then I shot it down immediately. But with Churro I didn't have to try and think of a name, when I decided he needed a name it was instantly Churro, nothing to think about, but now I am a bit protective of him due to this. So after parking by a small restaurant on a side street that was pretty dim and walking towards the malecon, I look back and see a group of 10 or so people checking him out. I immediately turn around and head back, not liking how they had instantly surrounded him when I left. Of course, this was just an instance of not knowing the area, it being night time, and letting my mind play tricks on me. As I got back I jumped on him ready to move to another spot, and realize it is a large family parked right in front of Churro. Yes they were checking him out, but there was no wrong doing of any sort going on. Turned out they were a Mexican family from Northern California down on vacation. We talked about my trip, and wished each other well, but I still moved him to a new spot so it looked like I had been returning to him on purpose rather than having freaked out.

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    Not wanting to spend another 50 bucks on a hotel outside of town I jumped online and found a campground nearby. Wanting an excuse to camp decided I would stay there rather than leave the area, but learned it had closed down when I actually went looking. Due to a late start, and looking for this campground, it was fairly late in the morning by the time we really got out of Chapala. We set off headed North with no real plan as we are slowly headed to meet the friends in the desert previously discussed. Not even 30 minutes from Chapala the clutch cable snapped (Problem #7). Luckily I am a genius, and had preemptively purchased a spare which I routed along the original, so all I had to do was unhook the old one and hook up the new one, easy. During this time a guy stopped by, asking if I needed help as he was a local mechanic. He had seen me on the side of the road working on Churro and told me he had went home to grab his tools. Awesome man, but I am just finishing up here, I am quiet the mechanic myself. I told him I may stop by tomorrow for an oil change, but decided to push on the next day and get the oil later. With the cable fixed I returned to Ajijic, as it was just too late to move on.

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    Thinking Sunday would be easier to find a hotel I stopped at a couple, but even during covid times these hotels don't really seem to want to lower the prices, even though they appear empty. At one hotel a young guy who smelled of alcohol shows me the room, and tells me there is parking for Churro. I decide to just take it as it is one block from the centro, still at 50USD. I remove the bags so Churro is easier to handle, and walk him into the caged area he will be sleeping in. There is no way I can make the turn, so go straight in planning to back him into the space. Suddenly I hear a women say "That god damned large motorcycle blah blah blah", I couldn't hear the rest most likely due to the rage in my head. Bitch, what did you just say about my Churro?? She also tells the guy I cannot stay in the room he showed me and that I need to move as she has other guests coming, which I assume is BS. I am ready to walk him right back out as I haven't paid anything yet, and know I can get a 50USD hotel anywhere in this BS town. The guy tells her to relax, that we already spoke and I am parking it in the corner. I figure she is in charge here, so now take my sweet time, slowly removing all my gear 1st looking for an excuse to leave, but it is hot and late in the day and I would rather go grab some food and hike up the nearby mountain than continue hopping from 1 hotel to the next. I eventually park him nice and neat, and ask "is this ok?" with a thumbs up and big gringo grin, purely sarcastically. She responds with a thumbs up, and then has me follow her into the office to pay, yup she is in charge here. Now things take a complete 180, I don't know if it is dementia or what, but she is my best friend. She asks about the trip, where I am from, tells me she is from Oklahoma if I recall correctly, and chats away like we are old friends. I am still pissed about her lack of respect, this is the legendary el Churro after all, but play nice, pay for the night, and head off for more gringo food.

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    Ajijic is a bit empty Sunday though there are a some people in town, but between covid and the late time of afternoon my food options were a bit limited. I hit up the exact same burger place, ordering the same burger since it had been delicious the night before. Besides, I had to be sure I was blaming the correct food for my uneasiness since I also had multiple servings of ice cream on my walk the previous night as well. Again it left me feeling uneasy a few hours later, so it was definitely the burger. After the burger I headed up the trails, to get an view of the town. During my hike I kept thinking about the woman, and how ridiculous it had been, and decided that she most likely was taking her frustrations with the guy who smelled like alcohol out on Churro, so let it go. I return to town and spend the evening in the centro, and feeling uneasy from the hamburguesa order up a hot dog to see if it would make me feel better. It was delicious, so I ordered up another before heading back to the hotel.

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    The next day the lady has a bowl of cut up fruit, cereal, and coffee waiting for me. She sits down with me during my meal and chats away. I am concerned Churro will get pissed that I am chatting with the enemy, but as suspected it had nothing to do with him, as at one point she mentioning her struggle with the help, and wanting to sell the hotel so she can return to the US and get her freedom back. She tells me she is sad to see me go and wonders why I wont stay longer. As I am the only guest I figure I know why she is saying all this. Of course no one ended up staying in that original room she kicked me out if. Either way, it was time to move on, so Churro and I headed off to Aguascalientes, another city which I had not previously visited.

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  7. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    You just meet the gringa hotel owner who does not want to be there any longer, I have met a few of them, they do not fit in to the local Mexican culture and long for being back in familiar spaces. In Jocotepec there is the Hotel Las Palomas right on the main road as you ride into town it is 500 pesos. Back to Chapala is the Motel del Lago also 500 pesos, it is across from the movie theaters on the highway north to Guadalajara. Both have excellent parking.
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  8. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Bummer, I was going to go over to Jocotepec as I figured it would be better there, will keep it on the list in case I am back in the area.
  9. Aces&8s

    Aces&8s Adventurer

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    Excellent RR. The pictures are amazing. If you're in need of an east coast connection for that carnitas smuggling operation I could be your man.
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  10. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Yes, we will go coast to coast with our operation. I warn you, today I had two carnitas tortas for breakfast in Uruapan, and then on the way to Morelia took a side trip to Quiroga for a carnitas torta for lunch....so this may cost you money in the end.
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  11. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    So, I had 3 bowls of homemade chicken pazole last night.

    Feliz ano nuevo a todos IMG_20201231_200627110.jpg
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  12. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Pozole! Yum, man can you ever eat!
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  13. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Todays Spanish lessons:
    To order up the gringo carnitas torta, you want to ask for a torta "maciza" (Mah-see-zah), which means without fat.

    When you wish your friends "Feliz Ano Nuevo", you are wishing them a happy new anus, the tilda over the n is very important in año.

    Feliz Ano Nuevo amigos.
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  14. Champe

    Champe Long timer

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    Woa. Are you telling me... that I just wished someone a happy new asshole ?

    I think I have now found a good reason to learn to find and use the accent mark and tilde.
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  15. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    With my GPS set to avoid highways and major roads, we took off from Ajijic headed for Aguascalientes. The road followed the lake and turned rough somewhere past Mezcala. It was full of locals walking around, and being a small road I was constantly stuck behind other cars. It was a pretty sweet road, but I eventually turned around after a few more towns with the road getting smaller and smaller, leaving me unsure it would continue around the lake and I wanted to get to Augascalientes that day. Now looking at google maps I am sure I could have continued on, and regret turning back, but the maps.me app has led me down the wrong path before.

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    Churro and I instead headed towards Guadalajara, turning off just after the airport to continue North. Suddenly Churro starts to bog so I go to flip the gas petcock to reserve, which does nothing. Churros engine dies and we come to a halt, bummer I thought my gas problems were over. I stop on the shoulder with no way of getting off the highway due to the ditch on our side. This is not the place to stop, as the shoulder is used by vehicles regularly, but luckily we are on a long straight section so they can see us way ahead of time. Unfortunately I cant get the kickstand down due to the rear shock being bottomed out with my gear, as we are right on the ditch. I am pretty sure there is no way I am going to be able to get off the bike without dropping it here. I had discovered the shock is ok but weak, this problem is simply caused by the weight of the bags, and the large tank.....when full of gas Churro wants to tip over every time, and we had just filled up. I take a look down at the gas hoses without getting off the bike, and see the hose to the petcock had come out, including the elbow (Problem #8). I jam that sucker back in and fire up Churro, and ride off towards Augascalientes....I told you I was an amazing mechanic. This happens 1 more time a few days later, so while amazing, I am a lazy mechanic as well, as I should have secured it with a zip tie. Of course, being a lazy mechanic it still lacks the zip tie, as I jammed it in there the second time a few weeks later and rode off as well.

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    I found a cheap hotel in Augascalientes that had parking and was near the centro, it was nothing special but I have since forgotten the name so you are on your own anyway. The room did come with a sweet view though. Night had just fallen so after a quick shower I went out to check out the city. The centro is beautiful, with the main buildings setup with colored lights which made it look nice. It was only 7 but most places were closed, and while people were out, the number of people was much less than I would have expected in a city this size. I wasn't sure if this was due to covid, or if the city was unsafe as I knew nothing of Augascalientes, though I didn't get the feeling I was in any danger. I couldn't really find food, so before heading back to the hotel I grabbed an enormous donut which had cream inside the ring....inside the ring!

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    The next morning was more of the same.....the city was empty, it felt like only 10% of shops and restaurants were open, and food while available, was difficult to find. I eventually settled on a pre made torta, which wasn't great....I might as well have bought food at a gas station. I walk around the areas I hadn't explored and eventually find a house selling handmade pretzels, so pop in for one of those. The 2 ladies are interested in why I am there being a gringo and all, and eventually I learn the city has been shut down for 2 weeks due to covid, yup that makes sense. Personally I think people should be able to risk getting covid over certain poverty, but here is another country that is forcing it's citizens to close up shop, a blatant abuse of power. They tell me the city will open back up in a few days, but I myself am not convinced, so stuff some more pretzel in my mouth so as not to ruin their day.

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    The plan had been to head up to Zacatecas, a city I had visited back in 2012. Due to Augascalientes being shut down I put a feeler out to some friends and they let me know that Zacatecas was the same, as the whole state had more or less been forced closed. I made the quick decision to try my luck in San Luis Potosi, another city from the 2012 trip, though this one had bored me a bit back then. On my way there I stopped in some random small town for some delicious tacos and a motorcycle guy stopped as I was taking off my gear. After we had talked for a few minutes I asked if I could take a picture of his jacket patch, since he was very proud of his motorcycle club. He was the/an "abuelo" or grandfather of the club...though I don't know if that means he founded it, is in charge, or what. Normally I do not take or share pics of people, but this guy insisted we not only take a selfie but I put it on "face", which is what everyone calls facebook down here. This guy was awesome, we had instantly bonded over the motorcycle connection, and if I were fluent I probably would have tried to talk my way into hanging out with him longer as I bet he has some great stories. But rather than join a Mexican biker gang, I continued on to San Luis Potosi.

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    Well, my apologies to San Luis Potosi, because it was fantastic....but then again anything open would have been great at this point. I admitted I was burnt out from travel my 1st time there, so had only stayed 1 night and moved on, as the city wasn't all the different from others I had been in. It is sad that I need a vacation from my vacations at times, but sometimes you just need a break. I stayed here 2 or 3 nights as I had a little time to kill before heading into the desert, so made sure to get my hands on as much street food and treats as I could handle. Nothing happened here, but it was a great stop over in a pretty city, open and full people!

    Pandemia, Pobreza, Olvido, Y Muerte!!!
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    From there I took the back way out so I could avoid the highway, sticking to a smaller back road which took me through some cool, though pretty empty towns. At one point I stopped for a photo for a cool rock outcropping, when a truck came up and told me an oversized vehicle carrying some machinery was coming, and asked that I get off the road.....an adventure, yes sir your wish is my command! I pulled off on top a nearby "road" which was really only a road for the locals, in reality it was barely a trail. Churro and I decided to have a facebook photoshoot since I love facebook so much, so drove towards the rock. After a few shots we tried getting even closer, but eventually the trail went around the rock and it appeared there was only a walking trail up the rock, and I wasn't in the mood for walking this day.

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    From there we stopped in Pinos for lunch, one of Mexicos Publos Magicos. I was more interested in the back route than the town, but Pinos was ok, great for a lunch stop, would have even been ok for an over-nighter. The problem I have with pueblos magicos is that the ones I have been to generally all seem to have restored buildings 1 or 2 blocks from the centro, and then past that the residents are left with their old crumbling homes....which gives me a feeling as if it is a bit fake. Those not lucky enough to live in the centro, or having jobs which cater to the tourists seem to get left behind. I have spoken with people and I get mixed opinions depending on who I talk to, plus each pueblo is probably setup differently as well, but these are my general observations on them, and match the opinion of some of my Mexican friends.

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    Pinos has an old church, and a bunch of vendors selling stuff, so after checking the church out I found some food and bought myself some Mexican tunes. I then headed up the mountain looking for an aerial view of the city. After a few roads which ended up being dead ends, I found a red cobblestone type road which hit the spot providing a nice aerial view of the city, before continuing on to the desert.

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    This burger was rather disappointing
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    So I then stopped at this place to try their burger, also a bit disappointing, but finally left me full
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  16. pitbull

    pitbull Long timer

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    Fantastic pictures and descriptions of the places you're visiting. I'm really enjoying your RR and look forward to every new entry.
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  17. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Great pictures and mask, thanks!
    wierd open window shot.
    fuel lines all zipped up?
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  18. XDragRacer

    XDragRacer Long timer Supporter

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    No center stand, lowered bike, stock length sidestand (?), heavily-laden bike . . . problem, indeed! The press-fit carburetor fuel line elbow can pop out at the most inconvenient time; good "save!"
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  19. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Location:
    Calgary
    Great update! Nice view from that hotel window, I like SLP
    WileyRTW likes this.
  20. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,516
    I know you bought the bike with that monster tank already on it , but is it really worth while ? A KLR of the same age I know can get 500km- plus range from a full stock tank so what does your tanker deliver ? Maybe you only buy gas once a week :-)or do you top it up daily ?
    I am curious though, how does the gasoline in those far forward and low wings arrive at the gravity fed carb ? Are there pumps in those deep pockets to lift the fuel up to a cup that then gravitates it to the carb ? I can't see any pump outline or tubes that suggest that .
    Great post , but it leans a bit toward CSM , what with 19 pictures featuring churches , a new record :imaposer.
    Hope you may heal quickly , as your taped up finger is featured in your ice cream cone pictures longer than seems healthy . Hope your digit did not get bitten by the KLR sprocket and chain .
    WileyRTW likes this.