We had a little chat with the guys at BMWBlog.ro and they decided to share our adventure with their readers. View the article here.
While I was shopping for a motorcycle I had in mind the warnings I was receiving from everybody: “you are going to be robbed, kidnapped, assaulted. Your bike will be stolen or at least vandalized!” so I tried to find something expandable yet reliable.
What I got exceeded by far my expectations and demands. At under $3000 spent, Palomina has been able to transport us (around 220kg of payload) without too much trouble over some of the most rough terrain ever imagined: water, mud, sand, salt, rocks, jungle and so on. Except for the radiator fan, nothing ever broke on its own; the things that did have problems were mainly caused by me, due to issues such as improper maintenance, etc. The weak point proved to be the replacement chain I purchased. An endless chain is therefore absolutely required for such adventure. Or even better, a shaft drive! Other than the reliability, I must add off road abilities and on road handling to the qualities list. In addition to this, ABS proved to be a must!
The Pelican topcase is bulletproof!!! But the aluminum panniers are not, so we had to weld them and reinforce with inner steel plates. In addition to this, a regular problem was the breaking of the Happy Trails rack. But again, the fault was mine since I modified and overloaded it. The stock suspension could have been further improved by increasing the height with a Dakar rear shock.
The Tourmaster suits we had were the most that the $170 per item could buy. They were okay at keeping us dry and at a comfortable temperature but not excellent. The camping gear was also good: compact, light and useful. The ThinkPad X40 miraculously survived, making it one of the only two electronic devices accomplishing that, the other one being the Spot GPS Tracker, which was a fun way for friends to keep an eye on us. Unfortunately, our two cameras and the Garmin GPS had a different fate :(. The Scala intercom was also fun and useful, but at some point it went crazy and we had to stop using it. Maybe just some settings, we don’t know yet. The Shoei helmet was, however, a big disappointment: fog, wind, noise…
In addition to the BMW toolkit I had a 1/4″ ratchet with various sockets and bits. The tire tool was useful but very heavy. Unfortunately the tube kit wasn’t as effective as expected. Next time I’ll get a miniature air pump instead. And a multimeter. But the champ is the Leatherman tool, probably the only thing that we used every single day.
Special thanks to each one of you for following us but especially to my father (who worked side by side with me during preparations, day and night) and my friend, Horea (who managed my business while I was away), without who this trip would have been next to impossible.
More than one month passed since the end of the journey. We are now back at our day to day life, while Palomina is resting and recovering.
Since we keep hearing questions like “Which country did you like the most?” or “Where would you like to go again?”, I decided to put the answers here:
1. Bolivia – for the endless adventure and undisturbed nature
2. Colombia – best mountains and mountain roads I ever encountered
3. Brazil – jungle, adventure, food, women 🙂
4. Mexico – colonial cities
5. Argentina – the people!!!
1. Ballestas islands – the closeup view of the sea lions and other species
2. Salar de Uyuni & Laguna colorada in Atacama – the wilderness and beauty
3. Cafe tortoni in Buenos Aires – for the tango show
4. Foz de Iguasu – mighty nature
5. Pan de Azucar – views
She also added a list of the top-most stupid things I did:
1. Suddenly changing course through the corn field
2. While in Argentina, dropping the bike while both of us are on it, after riding only 1 meter and doing nothing to prevent
3. Continuing undisturbed my afternoon nap in Brazil while wild animals were roaring in the nearby jungle
Note that the accident in Mexico is missing from her list. She probably enjoyed it! 🙂