My big ride - A Kiwified Dutchman heading South from LA

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

  1. HalfTwain

    HalfTwain n00b

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    Way to persevere, sir! This will be quite the adventure, and quite the story, especially given this prologue..! Enjoy!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #21
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  2. Tyrepower

    Tyrepower Been here awhile

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    Rok Straps from now on. No more Okky straps I would suggest.
    #22
  3. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

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    Adventure (guess you could call it that?)---- B4 the Adventure starts------You have the right attitude-----will be following along, Cheers!!
    #23
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  4. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Good to hear you're continuing with the ride. Look me up when you're in LA and we can meet for a beer or two and I can share some info on Mexico and beyond. John
    #24
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  5. motomrider

    motomrider Adventurer

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    You won't be just another couch surfer after this adventure, wouldn't worry about that :D
    Good luck and ride safe!
    #25
  6. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Thanks John, kind of you to offer, once we get a bit settled in LA I'll flick you a PM and we can try and catch up for a cold one.

    BTW - is there a paper map or map book that you might recommend for California and/or Mexico as a backup to the GPS?

    Just back from the Doc's and the dodgy eye is all good to go thank goodness.
    Busy packing and arranging stuff, probably a bad idea but I am actually taking some bungee cords..... just going to be a bit more careful with them, but they are bloody useful.

    My emotions are swinging all the way between "WTF am I doing panic attack" through to "woohoo here we go" every 10 minutes or so - I guess / hope that is normal :)

    Just two more sleeps !!!
    #26
  7. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    Good to hear! Let the wild rumpus commence!

    BTW: I gave up bungees after the 2nd pair of eyeglasses wound up with deep gouges from incidents similar to yours. It finally struck home just what could have happened if I were not wearing them. ROK straps FTW.
    #27
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  8. Tyrepower

    Tyrepower Been here awhile

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    Yes, ROK Straps. Online or at any good adventure bike place. Not that expensive. Cheaper that hospital time in a foreign land........
    #28
  9. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Hey Normlas - The best book/map on Baja is the Baja California Almanac but unfortunately it went out of print a few years ago and used copies are now selling on Amazon for $150+. I was lucky to buy a copy many years ago and you're welcome to photo copy it, however, it's probably too detailed for what you're doing. A good map that you can get at any good book store and a few beers with me and you're good to go. I have been to Mexico countless times including a recent two week ride through the eastern part...and I worked down there way back in the 90's. I recommend you spend a lot of time exploring Mexico as it is one of my favorite countries between here and Tierra del Fuego...and I've been to all of them. Granted it's been a few years and I've heard fabulous things about riding in Columbia now. When I was there last time...there was a war going on. Wouldn't hurt to pick up the Lonely Planet Guide to Central America and the one on South America when you're getting your maps.

    Look forward to seeing you in LA. John
    #29
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  10. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    We have landed in the USA and have received a very warm and lovely welcome. We're staying with family and are being treated VERY well, I have the bike and been ordering a few more farkles for the big trip.

    First off we went for some very large margeritas and nachos down at Newport beach

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    Then our awesome hosts took us into the Californian desert for 3 days of dirtbiking and exploring Ocotillo Wells, it was incredible and like camping in a ditrbike riding arena, with bikes, quads, side by sides, sand rails and pimped out 4WD trucks tearing by at great speed and lit up like Xmas trees at night, bit of a mad max feeling about the place. This was my first ever go at dirtbiking and went pretty well, I was on a CRF450 and we tore up some great tracks. I only went down twice and without damage/harm

    Our camp in the San Felipe wash
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    Lisa's first ever go on a motorbike !

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    And of course - drinks and merriment were had, below is a pic of the "campfire petrol incident of 2017" :) no harm other than the one camp chair that went up in flames .... (seen burning in the background)

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    Night time tearing around the desert

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    Loving the desert but it is HOT, over 30 degrees during the day and dry dry dry.

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    So far so good, and America has been kind to us, the people are nice, weather perfect but things are expensive. Lisa and I are aiming to hire a campervan for a week or so and tour around the region a bit on our own before she heads back to NZ and I head South.

    Had my first ride on the KLR and it's OK but there are a few niggles that will have the be addressed, some more serious than others but I will post about the bike later on.
    #30
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  11. inti

    inti One more day everywhere

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    Hey Normlas I wish you all the best for your journey. Have a great time!

    Gesendet von meinem PLK-L01 mit Tapatalk
    #31
  12. chopperT

    chopperT n00b

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    Well it's about time things started going well for you. Dude, crazy times. It looks like you have landed on your feet there, deserved I think. How's your bike looking? I'm currently doing 750km a week on the Beemer, Crown Range twice a day! My rear tyre only lasted 6 weeks!!!
    #32
  13. fasttortoise

    fasttortoise Been here awhile

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    Just found this thread. Scary stuff! Seems to be a great argument for taking adventures now... we never know what the future holds. Will be following with interest.
    #33
  14. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    Looking forward to reading more about your trip!
    #34
  15. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Hi all,
    sorry for the belated post - we've just been too busy doing stuff and also being out of reception, have had a fantastic time tripping around the South-Western states in a campervan - also have to apologise for the fact that this post will be about a campervan trip and not a bike one, but I promise the next post will be all bike....

    So we started off heading to Vegas, got there late and found a park-up spot in the carpark of Circus Circus Casino - one of the older and dingier Casinos on the strip, it was awesome. Had the feel of old school Vegas with dirty carpets, stained walls and our waitress must have been pushing 70 (in a miniskirt and limping :) ) was a real moment
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    We also got our first citation on the first night - so good to get that out the way, was just from the Casino and the guy that gave it to us apologised and told to please just ignore it, stay the night and not worry, so that was the nicest citation I ever had...

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    Next day we head out towards Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam and on to William on the old Route 66, finding an awesome free parkup in a state forest and having a wee campfire and a knees-up.

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    LOVE a good campfire :)

    Then on to the Grand Canyon - OMG that is a big hole, we were expecting a big hole, but that hole is REALLY REALLY big, damn!

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    And drove on through Navajo land towards Utah and the Zion National park, probably the most beautiful drive of the trip - absolutely stunning. And finished off with another awesome desert park up spot - we were using the app Ioverlander to find these free spots and it worked very well - highly recommend that app and the spots were mostly tent and motorbike travel friendly too - and it works in Mexico so will definitely be using the app there.

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    Next day it was onto the Zion National park in Utah , which was also gorgeous, and saw some wild deer.

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    View from our park up spot just outside Zion, best sunset view yet!

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    Then back towards Arizona/Nevada and a park up in the Mojave National park -

    with fields of Joshua Trees and unendingly beautiful desert - we are just loving the desert! So varied, remote, still and wild (but a bit cold, winter here and night temps were down to single digits).

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    And the last day was driving through Mojave and Joshua Tree national parks heading back to LA for a sunset on Huntington Beach.

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    We did 1500miles, 5 National Parks, 4 States and lost count of the number of state parks, turns out the USA is really big, like way bigger than it looks on a map :)

    We have only just scratched the surface and we are totally impressed, had no issues with the driving on the right and the weird give-way rules they have here and did not get beepeed at once (I hit the horn a few times though, some crazies on the road here like anywhere, and they love undertaking campervans at the last minute....)

    So returning the camper today and Lisa heads home tomorrow, I need a few more days farkling and wrenching the bike before I plan to do a shake down run here in the states for a few days before crossing the border.

    So far all is good and just loving the US.
    #35
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  16. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Awesome dude, glad you finally got her on the road, love that Crown range ride but note sure I would want to do it twice a day - damn!

    BTW - one of the issues with the bike is the tripmeter is not resetting (very annoying) and the only fix I can see online is a total strip down of the console which I am hesitant to do - any quick and dirty fixes you are aware off?
    #36
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  17. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

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    That was one of my wife's favorite sayings after I took her on a trip. "look it's only a couple of inches on the map, how far could it be?".
    Welcome to the states! Hope you have a great time on your ride.
    #37
  18. Beredon

    Beredon n00b

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    Allemachtig Arjan! Je bent weggegaan zonder mij te vragen of ik je koffers wilde dragen! Maar we hopen dat je er van geniet, man! Je hebt het verdiend. Veel plezier en.... Happy biking
    #38
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  19. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Lucy - the KLR - So I have say that I'm a bit disappointed in the condition of the bike, it does have lots of the farkles that I was after but also quite a few problems, most of which we have hopefully sorted out now.

    The fitted farkles it came with include;

    cogent rear shock and progressive springs in the front
    fork brace
    happy trials crash bars, bash plate and pannier racks
    aluminium panniers
    plate steel top box with a small spare fuel tank
    master brake cylinder guard
    corbin seat (lovely!!)
    frame bolt drill through upgrade
    magnetic low profile sump plug
    T-mod

    The farkles we have added in the last few days include;

    2" handle bar risers
    GPS mount (my old trusty Garmin Nuvi)
    phone mount with USB power
    cigg lighter socket and extra USB power socket
    raising links (eagle mike)
    side stand foot extender
    tool tube behind front wheel
    added a clock to the dash
    added a wee fuse box under the windscreen with a relay so it only powers up when the bike is on, like I did to my KLR at home (pic below) and ran fused power cable back to the battery
    opened up air intake

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    fitted heated grips
    oil and filter change
    fitted iridium spark plug

    Unfortunately, we found quite a few problems with the bike, and we did the following;

    Pretty much every fairing / seat / tank / windscreen bolt was either the wrong bolt, had a stripped thread or was cross threaded, all faulty fasteners were re-tapped or drilled out and replaced or fixed properly - some took ages to get right!
    The footpegs were fitted using the wrong bolts and had stripped the thread on the frame (almost crashed standing on the pegs on some rough roads when one gave way) - these were drilled out and helicoiled back to M8, replaced with the correct size and hardened bolts
    The trip-odometer reset didn't work and we found a fix online and got that working.

    The petrol tank was full of cr*p which got sucked into the carb causing a road side breakdown and me pushing the bike 1km home :( - removed and cleaned the gas tank, flushed the system, stripped the carb and cleaned the jets.

    Carb out
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    We also found and fixed a serious fuel leak and a vacuum hose leak.

    So I am a little disappointing at the state of the bike but I guess that is the risk you take buying a bike sight-unseen, all in all these were not huge issues but annoying and time consuming and gave me little faith in the technical ability of the person who did this work - I just hope they didn't do anything serious to the bike that we have not yet found.....

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    Thank goodness Randy was here to help me - he is akin to a motorbike god and had my carb out and in pieces before I could say - are you sure we should be doing that? :) I could never have got this done without him and his workshop ! Problem now being that Randy and Mary and made me so welcome and life so comfortable here that it is hard to leave !

    With everything put back together I went for a couple of rides around LA and she is running well now although not starting great, caught up with John who offered his advice above in my thread and he was great - full of useful tips and super generous with his time - thanks John!!

    Next step is to get my final supplies and do a fully loaded shake down run for a couple of days around here before heading South.
    #39
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  20. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Hey Duco !
    great to have you along for the adventure, but please use English only in here!
    And I had so much stuff with me on the flight that you would have been more than welcome to help me carry them :)

    Big hugs all around,
    A

    BTW - I have a US cell phone number if anyone needs to get a hold of me - unfortunately I can't call or text outside the US (+1- 657-340-0332)

    For some reason cellphone costs are outrageous here ! the Americans are getting reamed by their tell-cos - cost here is about 4 to 10 X what it costs in NZ where the infrastructure costs are much higher - in NZ I pay about $15 USD a month for call/text/data, and here the very cheapest similar plan is over $50 USD, nuts !!

    There's a bunch of stuff that is great here but a few things that they got very wrong (like not having roundabouts, having all their money the same colour and size and using concrete for roads ?). But hey, the weather is good and every third building in LA sells take-out food :)
    #40
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