damed

This is just above the Mexican/Guatemalan border and the closest gas station of any kind is 50 miles away. Having the right tools/spares/know-how to make repairs on the road is mission-critical. A seemingly innocuous spare — straps — allowed us to repair the right pannier that was fatally damaged when it fell off while riding. We’ve had three panniers fall off during our trips.  Yet, all the spares, tools, and equipment put a lot of weight on NV.   Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

 

I expect most of you will skip this post and I don’t blame you.  The nuts and bolts of how two people travel by motorcycle for extended periods is pretty dry stuff.  Those of you who do it, or will do it, or want to do it will find this fascinating reading, of course.  This is for you!

How we organize our stuff and where we put it

As faithful readers know, one of KR’s objectives is to makes sure we have everything we might “need”, or at least have the space to buy it on the road:)  We have 13 storage areas on Now Voyager moving from front to rear:

  • Two front soft panniers over NV’s gas tank:   Rain gear, bike cover, and first aid kit.
  • FW’s tank bag:  camera stuff, most often used tools, on-the-road charging stuff, GPS and phones.
  • Two rear hard panniers:  Left side contains all the spares and some tools, right side is the electronics and administration side
  • Two soft rear wet bags on top of panniers: left side is KR clothes, right side in FW clothes. All clothes are put in numerous soft containers which makes it easy to find, take out, and put back
  •  Three moto tubes under the hard panniers carry most of the tools and some of the spares
  • Two gallon gas cans hold one gallon extra gas each
  • Rear upper hard case serves as KR’s junk drawer

Of course, we can strap more stuff on top of this, which we have on this trip.  Here’s a more detailed description of some of this stuff.

Motorcycle Clothing

  • We each have a m/c riding suit, which we wear every day on the bike.  It’s heavy, rugged and most importantly — has armor that provides some protection of the elbows, knees, and shoulders
  • We each wear a back support best that provides armor protection of our backs
  • They make under with butt padding that we wear as well, for obvious reasons
  • M/c  boots and gloves (two pairs each).
  • M/c  helmets with intercom
  • Scarf to keep warm or dry
  • Rain suit
  • M/c goggles that have my prescription built  in and are reading glasses for KR

You can imagine getting dressed or undresses isn’t a five minute project:)  Here’s what I’d change/add:

  • New m/c suits.  Mine got fried on the muffler, KR’s isn’t comfortable
  • New rain suit for KR

Street Clothing

  • Flip flops for walking and use in showers
  • Walk around shoes
  • Socks, underwear, etc.
  • One pair of shorts and swimming suit
  • Long-sleeve and short-sleeve m/c riding shirts which can be washed easiy
  • Short and long sleeve shirt
  • Jeans
  • Packable jacket
  • Folding parka for rainy weather

What I’m going to change/add:

Electronics

  • Two computers, both the same kind for KR and me
  • Three phones:  my Blackberry, KR’s U.S. Cell phone, and KR’s Mexican cell phone
  • Headphone for Skype calls
  • Three cameras (not including phone cams):  Two small Canon and one G12 Canon.  ALL the same brand with the same software
  • Chargers for everything!  Multiple chargers allow simultaneous charging.
  • Adapters for every kind of socket
  • Flash drives
  • Charging device that connects to m/c and charges Blackberry when we’re riding
  • Several types of reading lights
  • Spares for important cables
  • GPS with maps

What I’m going to add/change

  • Video camera
  • Make all cameras water proof
  • Get KR a smart phone
  • Maybe a small iPad for travel planning on the road that KR could put in the junk drawer

Software (on both computers)

  • The basic stuff
  • The basic Internet stuff
  • Google Earth and Google Maps
  • Skype
  • All kinds of photo stuff
  • WordPress admin
  • AirBnB admin
  • Online banking and bill pay
  • Six email accounts: )
  • Dropbox

Spare parts and stuff

This is obviously m/c specific and related to your past experience with the bike:

  • Spare intercom parts and connectors
  • Fuel pump and fuel pump sensor controller (both have been lifesavers)
  • Two thermostats
  • Electronic key ring (I’m not describing it right, but it controls if the key works)
  • Spare keys for everything
  • Hose and rubber/steal cement
  • Clips of all kinds
  • Straps, two types of bungee cords and spare buckles
  • Temporary flat tire leak repair (cannister)
  • Pressured air to re-inflate the tire on the bead
  • Electronic air pump that works off the battery
  • Duct and electric tape
  • Plastic fasteners
  • Rags and surgeon gloves:)
  • I carried a spare chain for our South American trip
  • Subscription to an online BMW repair manual
  • Oil filters
  • Small rubber tubes that can serve as gaskets

Tools

I carry most of the regular type of stuff.  Here’s some of the not standard stuff

  • Flashlights
  • Full allen wrench and the weird-ass BMW wrench set
  • Tire irons and anything related to changing/fixing a flat
  • Special BMW oil filter removal tool
  • Swiss army knife with corkscrew:)

Administration/Planning/Medical

This is for a relatively short trip like the present one.  There’s a whole ‘nother layer of admin stuff for longer trips that require shipping, etc.

  • Passports (kept separately from everything else)
  • Drivers licence and credit cards (kept separately)
  • Fake drivers license, out of date credit cards and $20 bill in case we’re robbed.  This is kept in the most accessible pocket
  • Int’l drivers license for grins
  • 10x copies of:  title, registration, passports, drivers license
  • Fake “original” title and registration.  This worked excellently in South America, not so good in Central America.
  • I would now bring original title as well, but I would hide them and never bring them out unless absolutely necessary
  • Medical info
  • M/c insurance info for all relevant countries
  • Telephone numbers that you’ll need when your computer/phones get soaked
  • Business cards and brochures for Corona Adobe
  • A full set of Garmin maps (absolutely!)
  • A full set of paper maps (absolutely!)
  • Paper guide books that can be read where there is no Internet
  • All-you-can-eat data international plan from AT&T.  Watch these charges closely
  • Copies of numbers/contacts for all credit card stuff
  • A full supply of whatever meds you need
  • Medivac emergency rescue insurance

It’s Been Hard on the Equipment this Trip…

This is what we’ve run through so far:

  • Complete clutch assembly
  • Fuel pump sensor
  • Front wheel
  • FW’s m/c jacket
  • KR’s m/c jacket
  • Four maps of Mexico
  • Two Canon cameras
  • Right pannier
  • Lots of clothes

 Living Two Up on a Bike for an Extended Period

Three words come to mind when thinking about how we handle riding the bike for extended periods: comfort, communications, and entertainment.  Comfort is fairly obvious when it comes to clothing, etc.   Seating position is a little more nuanced.  For KR, we’ve constructed a Barko Lounger affect with back and arm rests made of soft luggage.  I’ve modified the seat several times and she’s pretty happy.  I’ve modified my seating position so that I “fit” on the bike.  Communications is the key to enjoying traveling two-up on a m/c.   There’s nothing more important than a clear, powerful intercom as KR and I are constantly chatting about all sorts of things, commenting on the scenery, occasionally singing, and problem-solving in real time (like navigation).  Sharing what’s going on before us, around us an under us is the primary reason we go two-up.  Entertainment is individual of course.  KR reads books, magazines and the like while riding on the back.  I can feel the book cover on my back.   She wants an iPad so she can look up hotels while we’re moving.  Sound right to me.  For me, entertainment is all about gadgets:  navigation, m/c dashboard, etc.  The more the better!  We have not taken full advantage of entertainment options, especially in the music department.  We will hook up the ipod/iphone for our next trip.

Navigating

Don’t laugh, but our biggest upgrade on this trip versus the South American trip is that I got good maps for the Garmin GPS for every country we entered.  It made a world of difference.  In fact, I don’t know how we survived in SA with only guide book maps:)  Still, we got lost in almost every city we entered as its difficult to match the Garmin real-time instructions with the real world flying by.  Good paper maps are critical as well since they give a larger view and can be cross-checked with the Garmin Instructions.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Sam Hershfield was our Guiding Travel Navigator in the Sky (GTNS) and he has a powerful knowledge of how to use Google Earth and Google Maps for everything from route planning, to seeing what hotels are in a city, to checking out the weather, elevation and most other things one would be interested.  Sam has been giving me on-the-job training on these apps and I’m making progress:)

“Team” Responsibilities

Over the years, KR and my responsibilities have become pretty clear.  FW drives, navigates via GPS, makes mechanical repairs (OK, tries), packs and unpacks the bike, and keeps all electronics organized and running.  KR is in charge of all trip planning, selects the hotel and/or wanders the city streets looking for one, registers, keeps all the money, pays all the tolls, and navigates via the map.  I get her coffee in the morning and she gets me a drink at night.  Simpatico:)

 

 

then

Packed up and ready to go. NV stands ready to deliver… KR’s purchases.  This is a little store in a tiny village outside Oaxaca.

12 replies
  1. Raphael says:

    I have to agree with the previous post!!!
    And who gets on first??? No way for KR to see the scenery or bail out. ;^)
    This gives a whole new meaning to top heavy!
    Still, kudos to you guys for your adventure spirit and living life.

  2. FHW says:

    Yes, we saw one at the Horizons Unlimited Rally that had a hardtop and room for the dogs. Once I get past the ability to ride 2 wheels, I think 3 will be next.

  3. FHW says:

    I get on first, then KR. We reverse the order when getting off. It just takes practice:) KR tells me she has an excellent view either left or right, not straight ahead. We ran into another couple riding their BMW to Honduras today. The guy stopped his bike and almost ran over to NV, exclaiming with disbelief to his wife, “I’ve never seen a bike with so much stuff on it!” Well, welcome to my world.

  4. FHW says:

    With effort, that’s for sure. On the last stop, we added four pieces of driftwood that KR picked up on the beach. Driftwood I guess is tough to find around the 30 miles of beachs at PV: )

  5. Peter H.Hershfield says:

    Like one of my sister say… “No Es Facil, No ES Facil” I will wait tomorrow when Peter wake up to see all of these together.
    Continue enjoying, GBY. Love
    Aneth

  6. Sindhu & Greg says:

    This packing reminds me of Cambodia where a family of five plus their shopping we all on the bike. Wish you better luck than what the Khmers had!

  7. Jim de Boisblanc says:

    Bravo to you both. Are you keeping track of the wines and drinks as you go. Any thing especially cool? Where are the chickens? Any required attention to behinds. A bike mate of mine says try Vicks. Miss you guys,
    .Love Jim

  8. Chuck Brown says:

    I really have to say your bike is a wonder. Good lists. Don’t see the “moto tubes” Also, how about the three thermos’ on the right side?

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