Sunday, 27 March 2011

it's slowly coming together

While the bikes we have chosen for this adventure are more than capable of handling the dirt, mud and mountains, the standard tyres they come with are not. Something had to be done about if we ever want to get off the pavement, and we do...

After some good advice from fellow adventure riders and the folks at 5 Star Yamaha (cheers Tony), I've finally settled on Mitas e07 Dual Sport tyres. It looks like they've had some great reviews and trusted sources tell me that I should get about 12000km out of them.

I booked the bike in today for it's final service before it gets loaded on the ship. I hope to get those fancy new shoes and a few other bits and pieces put on at the same time.

slowly but surely it's all coming together...

My Spot device rocked up too, it's that little orange thing i the photo below. A great little invention that lets my freinds and family to track my progress on Google Maps but it also has a panic button that sends in the cavalry if I ever find myself in a spot of bother. Does it work? No idea but it should at least keep the mother happy.

the spot device

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

did you say Mexico?

I discover today that it may take up to 65 days to get my bike shipped from Fremantle in Western Australia to South America. To make my June arrival date, that means my bike may have to leave in as soon as 2 weeks. F*$K!

If I'm to meet up with my mate Charlie, he needs to give me a destination to send this Tenere ASAP! Problem is that he's pretty happy to just carry on his trip pretty footloose and fancy free. I understand that too, the guy wants to live a life for a year without having somewhere to be. Good on him...

I forward him the freight quote with 3 destinations and 3 lead times to plead my case. Phone call...BINGO!

After a good catch up, it sounds like his bike will back on the road this week after a small ($5000) bingle. He decides he should be just about done with Mexico by the time I get over there in June. He says "find a port on the pacific side of South Mexico, I'll meet you there". I just love the way that sounds. This is an ADVENTURE man!

So that's it I think, Mexico it is. Just waiting on the new freight quote and shipping tiime estimate to lock this thing in!

Monday, 21 March 2011

The Gear

Ok so I've probably spent a heap and cash on a heap of crap I'll never need or use. Preparing for a 4 month trip through countries where you don't know what to expect, what you can buy and what you'll be doing can create a long and questionable shopping list.

There was one thing I decided I would never compromise on and that's my safety. I got myself a decent helmet by Icon, a great multi-purpose armored jacket by Dri-Rider, all weather gloves, leather boots and some kevlar jeans. If all that fails, I'm hoping my comprehensive travel insurance lives up to the flashy brochure.

So here's what's coming along for the ride:
  • Baby Taylor Travel Guitar (never travel without it)
  • First Aid Kit including Sharps (BYO needles!!)
  • Tyre Pump and Puncture Repair Kit
  • Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool
  • Maglite Torch
  • Deet Insect Repellant
  • iPad
  • Sony Cybershot Digital Camera
  • Thermals
  • Spare Oil Filter, Air Filter & Cables
  • Rope
  • Lots of Spare Straps!
  • Spot Device
  • Zippo
  • Boiling Tin/Pan 
  • Tool Kit
  • Clothes
  • Tent
  • Mattress
  • Mosquito Net
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Hip Flask!
  • Pepper Spray
  • Zip Ties
  • Batteries
  • Walter Filter

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Rider - Andy

Well that's it, I'm packing my bags, shipping the bike and told the boss he might not see me for 4 months this year. What else does a 32 year old bloke do when he's had enough of the corportate world and the Australian Government was silly enough to approve his motorbike license? G'day I'm Andy and I'm riding a motorbike through the Americas man!!

Wish I could say I've been riding since I was a little kid on the family farm. The truth is I learned to ride a bike about a year ago and there was no farm, just a wonderful but ordinary house in the outer hills surrounding Perth Western Australia. The real truth is I'm actually a pretty average rider and I'm interested to see how that's going to work out for me on the other side of the world and road shortly.

Wish I could say this trip was my idea too, it's not. My best mate Charlie has been working on this for years, but after hearing him plan every mad detail, there was no way he was going to have all the fun so I finally gave in to temptation and threw my hat in the ring. Charlie's description of loading his bike on an old steel boat and sailing the carribean from Panama to Columbia  was that exact  "I'm in" moment I believe.

Life is otherwise pretty normal for me at home. I work in the online marketing industry and live in a lovely simple home near Fremantle in Perth with my gorgeous girlfriend Cass and bouncy American Staffie Xavier.

Weekends at home are all about diving for Crayfish, barbeques with my mates and relaxing in the backyard with a cold beer and a guitar.

Well that's more than enough about me I think, I hope you can come along for ride if only by this blog.


Me and Cass

Xavier Dog

leaving it to the professionals in Vietnam

heading over for some diving on Rottnest Island

when in Vietnam, shoot an AK!

me and the lovely Cassandra 

The Camera - Sony Cybershot HX9V

The Sony DSC-HX9 includes loads of advanced features such as 3D Still Image mode for taking 3D images, Dual Rec (record) technology for taking still photos during video capture, Intelligent Sweep Panorama, 10fps, and more. The Sony DSC-HX9V features a dedicated still image button and a dedicated movie capture button to make it easy to use.

The Sony DSC-HX9V is packed full of useful and intuitive exposure options, such as Intelligent Sweep Panorama HR (High Resolution), which can capture up to a 42-megapixel panoramic image with a simple press of the shutter release and sweeping the camera. On top of this, the HX9V boasts 3D Sweep Panorama for creating stunning 3D scenes that can be viewed later on your 3D HDTV or photo frame. Another worthy option to note is the camera's built in GPS and Compass functions, which allow you to capture your location and shooting direction to be viewed later on your PC.

Key Features

- 16.2-megapixel "Exmor R" CMOS sensor
- Sony G 16x optical zoom lens covers 24-384mm equivalent range
- Optical SteadyShot
- 3.0-inch LCD screen with TruBlack technology
- Full HD 1080@60p AVCHD video recording
- Superior Auto mode w/HDR
- 3D Still Image and 3D Sweep Panorama modes change the way you view your world
- GPS and Compass record shot location and direction
- Li-ion battery pack
- HDMI output

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Bike - Yamaha Tenere XT660Z

Yamaha Tenere XT660Z

The Yamaha Tenere is a 660cc single cylinder fuel injected warrier of a bike. It's 23lt fuel tank gives us up to 500km range and it's low compression engine means it can swallow that dirty fuel from the barrel we expect to buy on the side of the road. Only needing a service every 10,000km, this thumper isn't too precious.

This wasn't going to be a quick trip to the shops. We needed bikes that would give us the best blend of comfort, reliability, endurance and both on road and off road capabilities. As adventurous as even the paved roads can be  at times, we really wanted a bike that would give us the choice to avoid them when ever we chose to.

It is a big bastard though weighing in at 220kg wet and without gear. I'm 6.2, 100kg myself and it's can still a handful for me when I over balance. At 5.10, poor old Charlie is at full stretch riding this bike. "They" tell me that it's not an adventure bike if you can't pick it up so I was glad when it passed that test too.

It's a beautiful and natural bike to ride and one I hope is perfect for all the curve balls this adventure might throw at it.