Scala Rider Q2

Today I got the chance to test our duplex communication device.  I got from Amazon.com a Scala Rider Q2 Multiset manufactured by Cardo for $250.  A really fun thing to have and a must for longer trips.  We can now share impressions about scenery, traffic, route and so on.  Plus, it plays music/radio (from a stereo jack input),  it can be used to control a GPS and it can act as a telephone headset.  The Multiset can be used to communicate rider to passenger or between two riders, while the Teamset is a cheaper alternative that permits communication between rider and passenger only.

Whire riding in the mountains,  I was able to hear my companion loud and clear when he was even 500m away from me.  However, if the peer goes out of sight, the sound quality became poor or is interrupted temporarily.  After 1hr charge time we were able to talk almost continuously for 4-5 hours without depletScala Rider Q2 MultisetScala Rider headseting the accumulators.

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Leatherman Wave + tie downs

The toys started coming in.  I got this Leatherman Wave for $65 on Amazon. Does not look as cool as my friends Skeletool, but it has more tools and i think this is more important for us. Also, two pairs of tie downs should be useful in case we need to add unexpected cargo.

Leatherman Wave

Leatherman Wave

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The bike

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BMW F650GS Dakar

The next question was which kind of bike to use.  A guy i know, Marcos, (we used to go off road-ing together in Romania) used his old 1987 Yamaha XT while rallying in Northern Africa.  But he got into trouble several times because of various problems with the bike, so i decided i need something newer. I decided to spend $4k to $5k on the bike itself, plus $1k on extras. Some people i asked suggested Suzuki DR,  Honda Africa Twin, others said Yamaha Super Tenere.  But my friend here in Los Angeles was riding a 2004 BMW F650GS and after test riding that i finally decided that will be my bike. Bullet proof reliability at an accessible price, with a good payload and still not very heavy and with tons of after market accessories readily available, that seems to me like a reasonable choice.  I am also considering the big brother, BMW R1200GS, but at $10k it is a little over my budget. I am right now not sure what might happen to the bike once i get in Mexico, Colombia or other unsafe countries, so i don’t want to invest too much in a motorcycle that might be stolen, wrecked etc. In addition, it seems very difficult to find an insurance company that will insure the motorcycle for such trip. So i have to bear all risks 🙁

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The plan (continued)

The first question was: what are the chances of succeeding? Which might be the risks? One very good source of info was ADVRider. Then we used UNESCO World Heritage Sites List to find out what is worth seeing. In order to get to see as many interesting things as possible, we decided to go southbound on the Pacific Coast, until we reach Tierra del Fuego, and then ascend on the Atlantic Coast.  In order to avoid the risky Darien Gap we will have to take the ferry from Colon, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia. There is only one country in our trip that has visa requirement for Romanian citizen. That is Bolivia, but fortunately they have a consulate in Los Angeles. I will get back later with a more detailed plan, once it will be completed.

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The plan

We could not tell exactly when we first got this idea. Most likely, it happened long time ago, while we were still reading Jules Verne novels.  Two years ago we were still debating whether to do it with a jeep or with something else. Backpacking, motorcycle… anything is OK as long as it guides you to wild natural habitats, remains of ancient civilization or unforeseen challenges. But after learning more about Che during our last winter vacation to Cuba, it became clear that the motorcycle was the best option. [to be continued]

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