Wednesday, November 28, 2007

E-Bay and the Internet - Gotta Love it!

Last night, sitting at my computer in Summerland BC, I was able to buy a windshield in Arkansas and have it shipped to Apache Junction AZ. I can't even imagine how we made out with things like this 20 years ago! Even with SPAM, scams and other issues the Internet certainly makes a lot of things MUCH easier and more convenient.
Soooo........hopefully, through miracle of UPS, the replacement windshield should arrive at my Dad's sometime late next week.
Once there my Dad has graciously volunteered to pull the damaged one and install the replacement.

Dad, if you're able to pull this off you're the newest official associate member of Team Panama 2008! And carol - for allowing all four of us to crash at your condo for the two nights before we leave - and for all your help in picking us up at the Airport etc - you're the second official associate member of Team Panama 2008.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wild Hogs - Not!

“Wild Hogs”
I am going to freaking scream if one more person asks if the trip is going to be like the movie.

Yes I have seen the movie. No we are not like the fictional characters in the movie. No we are not riding Harleys. No we are not wearing black leather. Yes it is a funny movie.

Think of this trip more like “Long Way Round” on a budget. A small budget. We are not riding BMW’s, we are riding 25 year old cheap Honda’s. We do not have a support crew, corporate sponsors or cameramen following our every move. We don’t even really have a budget unless you call our credit card limits a budget. What we do have is four friends heading out on an adventure of a lifetime. Our adventure, our way (cheap), to see part of the world we are really interested in. So if you want to compare us to someone, or something, think “Long Way Round” and not “Road Hogs”. BTW if you have not seen “Long Way Round” rent it. It may change your life as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A couple more pictures

Unloaded and put away in Apache Junction!

We unloaded all the bikes without any problems yesterday morning. It went MUCH more smoothly than the process of loading. No fallen bikes, no broken windshields and no personal injuries!

I then spent an hour in my own personal Nirvana - a local motorcycle clothing/gear store. I was able to find a great deal on rain gear and a nice Firstgear mesh riding jacket. I'll now leave my Firstgear all weather jacket behind. It has some venting for warm weather riding but when we get south of Guatemala we'll be into some fairly hot and humid territory. If it gets cold due to altitude I can always put on a high-tech jacket liner under the mesh jacket and even put on my rain gear as a second layer.

I was thaaaaat close to new boots but I drew the line after new jacket and mesh riding pants.

Here are a couple of final pictures.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Apache Junction

We made it!

1,700 miles, and more than a few truck stop lunches, and we pulled into Apache Junction at 4:00 this afternoon. All in all it was a fairly uneventful trip. It really did open our eyes though, and we're already planning on doing the trip again but at a much more leisurely pace. Some of the scenery through Utah and Arizona was simply incredible.

Can you spell future bike trip anyone??

Anyway - no problems with the bikes. Other than the accident loading them of course. All the tie downs held right up to the end. We checked every morning, every evening, and least once during the day. When we arrived one strap had actually broken but the bike had only shifted a little and it doesn't appear that was any damage at all. I'll know more when I unload in the morning.

Kevan - our used clutch assembly is here in Apache Junction

My warm weather riding gear arrived as well but apparently the sizes down here are small. It must be the foreign manufacturing - it can't possibly be me.

Oh well, I'm off to the MC shop tomorrow to buy what must be a very tight fitting XXL. Damn!

I have to admit though - that pants look very good as is - and who needs to breath anyway?

Anyway - now that I have access to a computer I'll try to add a few pictures.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

750 miles later.........Idaho Falls, Idaho

We hit the road out of Summerland at 5:00 on Friday night, with our first stop an hour later being the US border crossing at Oroville Wash. WooHoo!! We sailed through with out any problems. I had already drafted a permission letter for each of the guys that outlined the dates the bikes will be in the US, all the ins and reg info and a detailed summary of any personal gear. Stapled to each letter was a copy of their license, passport, and the reg for the bike. The border guard was a little overwhelmed but the whole thing was quick, efficient and painless. At the end of the inspection he went so far as to thank me for being so organized. Go figure.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and we eventually arrived in Spokane around 10:00 - tired, but safe and sound.
250 miles down
This morning we got up a little later than planned, had breakfast and were on the road around 8:30. We immediately hit the Interstate and I learned several things:
The US interstate system is FANTASTIC!. Yes it's a little less scenic than a secondary road but wow, are they ever well maintained. It's easy to average 65 - 75 miles per hour.
Which brings me to another thing I learned - a 17" U-Haul uses copious amounts of fuel after 60 miles per hour. So much for the 10 mpg indicated on the website - we're burning though at least half as much again. Oh well, we're making good time.
Finally, again thinking of fuel, I come to my third lesson. Love them hate them, one thing you can't fault the Americans for is their generous hospitality.
I'm having a tough time getting my head wrapped around miles again. I see 45 to the next town and think it's half as far as it is. Add to this a high burn rate with the fuel and you have a recipe for disaster. And when Rosi looks at me and says though clenched teeth.."next time you'll have to pay more attention" it's really "wife talk" for you idiot!
You have to drive though Montana and Idaho to truly appreciate how large and how empty it is. Desolate comes to mind but I'm sure the ranchers that lives in the odd house every 20 miles or so like it. So....I left Spokane with a rough idea of when I'd need gas and knowing that Butte was where I'd turn off to I15. The problem was, the junction turned out to be 8 miles THIS SIDE of Butte. No problem I said, how far can it be to the next little town. Apparently, quite far. This place makes Northern Manitoba look crowded. No problem I said again, just as the low gas light came on - there's a turn off to a town - let's take it. The "town" turned out to be one tavern and the closed remains of the only gas station with in 20 miles. Too far for me to chance it at this point.
And that's where American Hospitality comes into play. Two HUGE pick ups pull in with quads on the back, and out step three very young, very big, local boys all decked out for hunting. They said hi and asked how we were doing (probably thinking WTF are you doing here?) and I told them of our problem. One (Greg?) immediately says he knows a friend that may have gas and he jumps in his truck and off he goes down the road. 5 minutes he's later he's back, with the good news that his friend (John?) is on the way. Sure enough, another guy arrives with another huge truck and the biggest, brightest, most beautiful Jerry can of gas you've ever seen.
Thanks VERY much guys!
After that it was more uneventful miles and miles of miles and miles. Roughly 500 since this morning.
Which brought us to Idaho Falls around 6:30 this evening.
Onward and upward........

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Whoops - here are the pictures

Our first mishap

We had our first mishap this evening.
Memo to self….never, EVER attempt to drive a 500 lb motorcycle up a ramp into the back of a U-Haul truck without LOT’S of people standing by to catch you.
I was thaaaaaaat close to making it. Actually, I was doing great but at the top, just as the front tire crossed the threshold I hesitated. Ooops….now the bike is unsteady I said. Self I said, no problem, I’ll just put my foot down…….DAMN!…. I forgot I’m four feet up on a two-foot wide ramp. And yes, you guessed it. I MISSED! Me and the bike tumbled. Luckily the bikes front wheel hung up on the threshold which stopped it from falling on to me – sprawled face up on the pavement looking up, oh so worried, at the spinning tire of a 500 hundred pound instrument of my impending death!
So…… the good news is a rear tail light and new windshield shouldn't be too hard to replace. Everything else seems fine. Well, as fine as a wrenched neck and swollen elbow can be before a 1,500 mile drive.
Here’s some pictures of how smooth it went AFTER we decided to push them on manually rather than driving them on.

Jim, I promise – I’ll be at work in the morning.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ouch! I feel like a pin cushion

Yesterday we visited the Travel Medicine Clinic in Penticton and had the oh, so unpleasant task of updating our vaccinations for the upcoming trip. Rosi and I have always kept our shots current because we’ve been to Central America twice before, and even in Mexico we get fairly far of the beaten track. Our Hep A and Hep B are up to date and good for life because of this. Likewise, our PDT vaccinations (polio/diphtheria/tetanus) are still good for another few years. What we had to update for this trip was our Typhoid vaccination, Yellow Fever because we’ll be going past the Canal Zone into the Darien and Malaria. For the Malaria we have to visit our Dr and get him to give us prescriptions. Rosi will be able to use the standard Chloroquine, but because I’m going further into the Darien I have to look at two alternates. One is cheap and easy but may have some nasty side effects. The other is more expensive but may be easier on my system. I’ll just have to wait for the Dr.’s advice. The only other thing we’ll need is to get a prescription for Cipro – an antibiotic to take with us just in case we get Travelers Diarrhea and it turns into something worse, like dysentery.
Ah the joys of third world travel!