1. eNewsletter Sign Up

Underboning the World - 2 Symbas, 1 Couple, No Sense

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Underboning, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    Oh, the Symbas will get no rest when we get home, they are the only wheels we have! We sold our other bikes and cars before we left, so SYMs it is for a while. And I'm pretty sure that we'll keep them around forever, even if we get some new wheels. We often tell people that they are going to be our only souvenirs from this trip since we don't really have space to buy anything.
  2. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    It's a well known fact that guys dig chicks who can wrench on a bike! :lol3
  3. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    Thanks for the good wishes, we'll try to keep the trip interesting for as long as it lasts. We are kinda stuck right now trying to arrange shipping. After the explosives in the toner cartridges incident in 2010, it turns out that the US will now not allow "personal effects" to be shipped into the US on passenger planes. It took us a week to finally get this answer, but now we are having to find airlines that either go into Vancouver, Canada, or have a cargo freighter plane into LA. It has been a frustrating week, hopefully it will be resolved soon and we can get back to traveling!

    As for HUBB, it definitely is a great resource for information, but it's not much of a community. I still use it quite a bit and have posted all of our shippings to the database and comment on some threads, I have just stopped posting in the Ride Tales section. The GS/AT/Tenere threads seem to get most of the interest over there. They also don't seem to appreciate much humor over there, either. Such a serious bunch! :lol3
  4. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    I took the MSF course on a TW200 and spent part of the second day on a Serow and I have had a soft spot for those bikes ever since. The XT250 seems like a good update on a well proven design, if I get one it will be a used one for sure.

    As I said in the another post, I still enjoy and use HUBB, it's just not as much fun as ADV. ($1200 worth of luggage?, I think you meant $1991 for luggage! HUBB is sponsored by Touratech, and $1991 is what the Touratech Zega panniers and topcase cost per the Touratech USA website - my Symba cost $1999 :lol3)
  5. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    Yes it is even better with egg, we tried it a few days later with a couple of eggs and that is how we have gotten it since. We've had the Char Koay Kak, but I'd love to find a place for the Radish version, one of our favorite dim sum dishes is the fried radish (or "carrot") cake. If the Char Chai Thou Koay is similar to that, I bet it would be great!
  6. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    I have always said, "I don't care what you ride as long as you ride," so I'm not throwing anyone out with the bathwater! We are happy to talk to anyone, and don't discriminate against anyone. We more find it funny and kinda sad that some people are so wrapped up in the bike and not the ride. It's amazing how many big bike riders we have met on the road who have said that sometimes regret their choice of bikes and if they did it again they would go smaller.

    The one thing I don't like about the current "Adventure Riding" craze is the idea that you have to have 100+ hp and $10,000 worth of accessories to go further than the county line. The image has been well sold by the bike manufacturers and the aftermarket, but it's a lie. We cringe sometimes when we see bikes that already weigh 600 lbs literally covered with every possible accessory. Other than the weight and width and top-heaviness, it also makes you look wealthy. In talking with other riders (particularly in Africa), we were surprised how little trouble we had with border crossings and the police. We heard from several other riders about being hassled for bribes at borders and in police stops - we never had that happen even once. There are advantages to looking poor in poor countries!

    Our other observation has been that the people who are traveling on expensive bikes seem to be having less fun. It seems to be more about the bike and less about the ride. The other riders we have enjoyed the most have all been traveling on cheap bikes, and on tight budgets. That said, we have also had some good times with several people riding "Charlie and Ewan" specials. Hopefully our trip and those of others who have done it simply (Nathanthepostman, Lois Pryce, etc) will show that you can do it with less, and encourage people to plan less, buy less, and just start riding!
  7. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    After breakfast we jumped on the bikes for a combined test drive/temple visit. I was happy to see no drops of oil on the sidewalk beneath my bike when we walked out this morning, I guess the gasket installation was successful. We made our way south and east toward Air Itam, and it was good to be riding again. The ride was mostly urban, with a lot of stop and go traffic. But my clutch seemed to be working great. The only thing of concern is that the exhaust note seems to have changed. It sounds like there might be a slight exhaust leak, so I will need to check the exhaust header nuts.

    We followed the road past Kek Lok Si Temple and up to the dam at Air Itam. The road was steep and twisty, and I figured it would be a good test of the new clutch repair. Some of the grades called for second gear, but no matter how hard I twisted the throttle, the clutch held firm. Great! When we reached the parking lot at the dam, we were greeted by a friendly woman who lives between the temple and the dam. She told us a lot about the area, the temple, and the roads around the lake, and she even made Re a cool, little origami creation out of a 1 ringgit note. At her suggestion, we decided to head back down to the temple to tour it first, followed by a ride around the lake afterward.

    We rode back to the Kek Lok Si Temple and pulled into the upper area.

    [​IMG]

    We parked next to the 120 ft high, bronze statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.

    [​IMG]

    After walking around the upper level, we took the cable car down to the lower level, where we toured Ban Po Thar, the 10,000 Buddhas Pagoda, and the other temples around it.

    [​IMG]

    This is supposed to be the largest Buddhist Temple in Malaysia, and it certainly is big and impressive. However, it is surprisingly commercial, with tremendous amounts of sacred and secular stuff for sale (we had to laugh at the “Anger Birds” flipflops for sale in the gift shop. :lol3 I wonder what the Buddha would have to say about counterfeit merchandise?). We hadn't noticed that the sky had begun to darken to the west until we heard the thunder. Well, crap.

    [​IMG]

    We took the cable car back to the upper level, and after stopping to take our pictures with our Chinese zodiac animals, we hopped on the bikes and headed out. The weather had canceled our plans to ride around the lake, so we instead, rode back into town.

    We had a late lunch of phenomenal roast duck at Jit Seng once again, and then headed back to the room to work on some writing. Later, we returned to Line Clear for a dinner of nasi kandar. This time, we tried the daging, which is chunks of beef cooked in some dark, delicious gravy, and it was excellent as well. We then headed to the mall to watch “The Avengers” again.



    15 miles in about an hour. Bikes are great!
  8. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    After breakfast, we both worked on some writing and reading until lunch. Over a lunch of curry mee,we decided that it's about time to start looking into shipping options to get our bikes back home. A search of HUBB and ADV only turned up one report of shipping by air from Malaysia. It was a recent report on HUBB by a couple who shipped their V-Strom from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam on Malaysia Airlines. They did not use an agent and instead, dealt with MASkargo, Malaysia Airlines cargo division, directly. It was apparently an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure. Instead of disassembling and crating the bikes, they were simply strapped to a pallet and wrapped in plastic. Our research has shown that Malaysia Airlines flies from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles, so it was our hope that we and the bikes could fly together. Re emailed MASkargo with the details of what we wanted to do and soon got an email back, saying that he could not help her and to contact the MASkargo Logistics division instead. We spent the rest of the afternoon researching tomorrow's hike up Penang Hill before heading out to Kapitan for dinner again.
  9. jamesm417

    jamesm417 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    63
    Location:
    Alaska
    In my travels, I have found this time, and time again.
    I have to believe it is out of a desire of the manufacturer to remove as many dollars as possible from your pocket, and not about what you really want, or need.
  10. MrBob

    MrBob In the Pines. Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    20,048
    Location:
    Flowda
    This was my first touring bike and decades later I haven't substantially changed my approach. Even though there are adventure travel posers and overpriced gear, once in a while someone will catch the spirit and learn what this form of travel is really about.
    https://102449.smugmug.com/Other/Motorcycles/IMG/1163083120_JFHnH-M.jpg
  11. Isgro

    Isgro Free ranging...

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I'm saddened that this RR will be ending soon. It's been a genuine pleasure to follow your travels. Best of luck getting the shipping sorted out. I'll be tagging along for the remainder, that's for sure.
  12. LS650

    LS650 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    87
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Funny, your impression is different from mine. Yes, most of the crowd at HUBB are of the "bigger is better" school of thought, but there are very definitely a number of folks in HUBB who praise the benefits of a smaller bike. I've stumbled onto quite a few folks there posting tales of riding through South America or Asia on say a TW200 or a Minsk 125.

    I think one major difference is that folks at HUBB simply put up a link to their web page or blog, rather than posting to a HUBB thread. You don't really see a lot of daily log reports there; rather you simply get one or two posts saying "Here's my blog and you're welcome to come read it".

    Another difference might be that HUBB seems to be slanted more towards folks riding through South America or north Africa. That's not to say there isn't also interest in Asia, but not to the same extent.

    I find here at ADVrider, folks tend to use a thread as if it were a blog. There also tends to be a lot of emphasis on posting photos and descriptions of one's adventures, but not the same level of trip planning or document preparation info. If you want to read about someone else's adventure, ADV is the better place. On the other hand, if you are planning on going touring through South America in October through December, and want to know where is the best place to buy a 250 used or say where to get parts in Peru for your KTM, HUBB is the better site.

    Comparing the two sites is apples versus oranges: the two complement and contrast rather than rival each other.
  13. RecycledRS

    RecycledRS Along for the ride

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,050
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    As your wonderful trip winds down I began to look at new trip reports to replace the enjoyable time I have spent reading yours. While there are many great reports on ADV few can match the style and spirit that your reports do.
    Thanks for letting us ride pillion around the world with you both.
    Bill.
  14. tshelfer

    tshelfer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Arlington, Tx
    $1991 for luggage? Seriously? I paid $10 at Walmart for the blue plastic tarp & a couple of bungee cords, used to carry all the big stuff that won't fit in my saddle bags or top box. And when I get to my destination, a plastic tarp has infinite uses.
  15. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    Great looking set-up!
  16. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    I actually agree with most of your observations. I have remarked in the past that a visit to HUBB is like a visit to the library, while a visit to ADV is like to your local bar/pub! HUBB is the first place I check for up-to-date factual info, it's just not much of a community. It also seems to me that HUBB is more "European" and ADV aint! :lol3 But both are definitely good resources.
  17. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    Our luggage set-up was a little less than that. The rear racks were $115 each, the Pelican cases were $116 each, the Ortlieb duffles were $79 each, and the Pac-Safe bags were $48 each. So for $358 dollars each we got about 80L of lockable, waterproof luggage that is secure, but easily removable and crashes well! We began the trip with three blue tarps, but lost one in southern Thailand - at least we have two left. :lol3
  18. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    +1
  19. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    We decided that today would be the day we would climb Penang Hill, so after some more delicious roti canai for breakfast, we packed a daypack with water, sunscreen, and rain jackets, then walked to the bus station. Penang Hill is located inland and is approximately 2500 ft in elevation at the top. In the past, it was used as a retreat for the wealthy and/or infirm to escape the heat. Back in the day, people either had to walk up or were carried in sedan chairs. Nowadays, there is a funicular railway that makes the trip quick and easy, but much less colonial. At the summit there are gardens, a restaurant and heritage hotel, as well as a colorfully decorated Hindu temple and a mosque.

    Our plan was to take a bus to the Botanical Gardens, walk up Penang Hill, take the funicular back down the hill, and take a different bus back into town. The bus to the Botanical Gardens only runs every 30 minutes, and we had apparently just missed it, since we had to wait for quite a while for the next one. We finally arrived at the Botanical Gardens at about 11:30, where we walked through the Moon Gate and started climbing. The first part of the hike was a steep, jungle track through the woods. Since hiking Penang Hill is a popular local activity, much of this first section was made up of crudely built, concrete steps in the steepest sections. Part way up the first section, we overtook an older, western gentleman, who introduced himself as Herbie. While we were taking a breather, we chatted for a few minutes with Herbie and found out that he and his wife were now living on Penang in the new Straits Quay development. We told Herbie a little about our trip, and it turns out, he's been many of the places we have been, especially Africa. We came to find out that Herbie worked for the World Bank before he retired. We walked with Herbie for a while longer, until we reached “Number 5.” There are rest stops along some of the paths where you can sit, often have tea or water and biscuits and they are simply known by a number. At this stop, we met his wife, Marina and another hiker from Sri Lanka, named Rizli (sp?). We sat and chatted with them for around 45 minutes before continuing on to the next section.

    [​IMG]

    This section was also a jungle track, that was more strenuous than the last. It had no steps, but the path went up and over rocks and along the edges of ravines.

    [​IMG]

    The jungle here was also more dense, and the air was warm, humid, and still. After another 45 minutes of hiking, we made it to “Number 84.” Here, we had a choice of continuing on the jungle track or turning onto the “jeep road.” There is a paved road that goes up Penang Hill, but it is only open to people who either live or work on the Hill. We decided to follow the “jeep road” since the jungle track had gotten fairly muddy. At this point in time, we were halfway up, but still had 1.5 miles to go to reach the summit. After stopping for a drink and a bathroom break, we set off on the pavement.

    The road was amazingly steep and some stretches were marked as having a 30 degree grade. :eek1 Others weren't marked, but they were even steeper. On some stretches, it was hard to keep forward momentum going. We did contemplate turning around and walking back down several times, and at some of our ever more frequent rest stops, we wished for a taxi to appear. By the time we finally saw the top of the hill, we were both at our limit and could hardly control our gasps for air, and our clothes were completely sweat-soaked. We were a little embarrassed when we joined the crowd of weekend holiday makers who had taken the funicular up the hill, and consequently, didn't look or smell like drowned rats.

    Since is was now around 3:00 pm and we hadn't had any lunch, we decided to stop in at one of the food stands and find something to eat. We ordered our food and collapsed on a wooden bench while we waited. Soon, we had our food and felt some better. We were both too tired to walk around at the top, which was too bad, because we both remembered it as a nice place to visit from our last trip. We made our way to the train station, where we got quite a shock. We knew they replaced the old train we rode last time, with a fancy, new Swiss-made one, but what we didn't know, was that with the new funicular train came a fancy, new ticket price. Last time, the one-way ticket was 4 ringgit, but now, it is 17 ringgit (5.66 USD) per person. Too tired to walk back down, we bought our gold-plated tickets and rode back down. At the bottom, we hopped on the bus back into town, stopping for some coffee on the way back to the room. In the room, we stripped out of our still soaked clothes, showered, then collapsed on the bed until dinnertime. We had a late meal of dim sum and ice cream, then returned to the Star Lodge to watch Formula 1 qualifying before heading back out for a cold beer.
  20. Underboning

    Underboning Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    802
    Location:
    Back in PDX again!
    After yesterday's long hike, we felt like taking it easy today, so after breakfast, Re worked on some writing while I did some reading. We had banana leaf at Sri Ananda for lunch, then more writing and reading. On the way to dinner, we did some shopping and then made it back in time to see the Formula 1 race. It was a great race, and the season sure is shaping up to be one for the record books. After the race, I called my mom on Skype to wish her a happy Mother's Day, but unfortunately had a really bad connection, so we didn't get to talk much.