Archive | March 2014

The map quest

Things have been crazy busy with preparations for the wedding the last week, so the preparations for the trip was put on the back burner for a little while.
Now things are finally getting back on track, and yesterday I found and bought all 20 maps we need for the 13 month adventure.

After snooping around on the web and in a couple of travel books etc I kinda landed on two possible suppliers: Borch Maps and International Travel Maps & Books.

And its quite a few maps that where on the list:

  1. Germany
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. Argentina
  5. Chile
  6. Peru
  7. Bolivia
  8. Ecuador
  9. Panama
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Nicaragua
  12. Honduras
  13. El Salvador
  14. Guatemala
  15. Belize
  16. USA (4 maps)
  17. Canada

In addition we’ll be traveling through the following countries. How ever we figure that the bike-mounted GPS will suffice:

  1. Norway (home sweet home)
  2. Sweden
  3. Denmark
  4. Switzerland
  5. Austria
  6. France (the very southern point)

23 countries in 13 months..

Even happier when I found all in Amazon for close to half the price listed at the respective suppliers’ websites. Yay!

The maps are folded, water and muck repellent and range in scale from 1:250 000 and up to 1:2 200 000.  Some city centers will be a bit awkward to navigate with a map on the scale of 1-to-two-point-two-million. We’ll have to rely on the GPS, Tonjes impeccable navigational skills local knowledge and a generous dose of luck.

Who dares wins,- right?     What can possibly go wrong?

Just a little ride

The last few days have been great for riding. Even though I’ve enjoyed riding my F800GS most of this wet windy miserable winter, Tonje has had waay less practice. So now that opportunity called we ponced on it.

Yesterdays ride was Tonjes 2nd ride of 2014.  Concidering that it’s only 146 days till we leave on our adventure, we’ll have to use every chance we get.

Great and fun ride with my girl, even though it was a bit nippy. Clear skies and 5 Celcius (41 Farenheig) is about as cold as I will endure on the bike.

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The “OMG what have I done” job

For a long time I had plans to practice removing and replacing the sparkplugs on my BMW F800GS, in preparation for the big trip (click here for more info on our 13 month trip).

Close to two years ago I helped my good friend to change the oil on his KTM 990. We laughed at the saying that “if you wanna change the oil on a BMW you’ll drink two beers while doing the job, but if you want to change the oil on a KTM you’ll drink a case of beer.. The oil change took half a day on his KTM. Well, I laughed, and Andreas grumbled. Today however I got a bit of karma handed to me..

It turns out that if you want to (or need to) change the sparkplugs on a BMW F800GS you come very close to disasembling the entire bike. After the job is completed I now realize that the great engineers at BMW started the asembly prosess by one guy holding the sparkplugs, and then another asembling the entire bike around them…

So this morning I did the final little pieces of research and then happily skipped down into the garage underneath my building, my home away form home. Just before I left the Apartment, Hotstuff aka Tonje, comented on the oilfilter removal tool that just arrived form Wunderlich. “Ooo what a nice color… what is  it?” Great…

Oooo what a nice color..

Oooo what a nice color..

Anyways, I brought the nice-color-doodaa down to the garage and got started.. Below you can see the bike as it was.. I had just removed the saddle. “Why”, you may ask. “Are the sparkplugs underneath the seat?” Surely no, as will be the case for a great many things I had to take off the bike. Just pealing off the layers like a two-wheeled onion. With a GPS. And spare fuel tanks..

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So I followed the instructions I found on the BMW mechanic handbook. Step 1 ; Remove saddle. Check.  Step 2; Remove the beak.. Really? Remove the beak, waaaaaay in front of everything. In order to remove the sparkplugs, that surely must be in or around the engine somewhere? Now my pride and joy looks just like a retarded seal.

What, take off the beak? To change the spark plugs?

What, take off the beak? To change the spark plugs?

Next step was to take off the fairing on both sides. But noo,- not that simple. Because in order to do that I had to take off the upper crashbars. Have I mentioned that I perviously mounted the extra heavy duty adventure crashbars from Wunderlich? … Grumble..

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Then came battery removal, all kinds of wires and hoses, and the entire air-intake and airfilter housing. Any sparkplugs in there? Nooo sir.

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At this point I really had to take a step back, and said out aloud (yes I do talk to myself in the garage while working on the bikes) “OMG what have I done? How the heck am I gonna get all this back the way it was? Anyone got a AAA-card?” No one answered, but at this point my fiance came into my domain (well, it’s really the garage we shared by about 30 other people..) with coffe and lunch. Life was suddenly much better..

Oooo. Another shining doo-daa with great color

Oooo. Another shining doo-daa with great color

And true to form, she looked around at the disaster area with parts everywhere, spotted the little spark plug tool from Wunderlich. “Ooh there’s another of those great-colored parts.. What is it?”..

Pulling out the HT coil with this little great colored doodaa was a lot easier than expected. Which is about the only thing all day that was easier than expected..

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Fun fact; the pipe that is used in order to actually loosen the spark plugs can also be used to loosen the front axle. I know ’cause I tried. Also, see how long it is? Even after all the stuff I took off this two wheeled onion, I still need a foot-long tool to reach into the belly of the beast in order to get the spark plugs out.

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TADAAA! Spark plug successfully removed. Very happy! An then I remembered that I had to put everything back together again..
Just to complicate matters I decided that this was a good time to mount the reusable airfilters from Touratech. Turned out A-OK. I hope this is a good idea. This way we don’t have to bring extra airfilter for the 4-ish months we’ll be driving through South and Cenral America on our trip..

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One cup of coffe and a lot of bolts and nuts later, the job was complete.

Check out the video below for proof of life! The engine runs perfectly after all I put it through. Very happy now!