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Open waters..

Transport is still an issue. These things take quite a bit more time than anyone (me) could forsee. Good thing is we have a lot of time available.. But idle-hands are up to no good, so we decided to complicate our days here a litte.

I kind of belong in the water, and the subject of scubadiving has come up earlier during the trip. The thought of learning how to dive properly, mastering my fear of being shark-bait, and not drowning where all imensly compelling reasons to forge ahead. Anyways, so we sat by the pool (yes, I know – not easy being me..) and the subject came up again. I imediately grabbed that idea and ran with it like a hungy Labrador making away with the family dinner. The key is to rush on with total abandon! What can possibly go wrong, right? Before Tonje really knew what happened, I had made an apointment for our first PADI Open Water class at the local scuba-center in Benalmádena, Spain.

Two days later we met up at the local dive center. We had a quick-ish briefing and dive-theory session, gathered all the gear, learned how to assemble and do a pre-check, before we packed the van and headed for a confined waters dive.

A confined waters dive is basically a pool-dive. I can understand why PADI chose to label it differently. This confined waters dive, or pool-dive as it where, would take place in a hotel-pool nearby. A hotel-pool full of screeching children, old pink tourists and leathery sun-worshippers. Imagine us two norwegians and the DiveMaster walkin up to the pool, getting into wetsuits and scuba-gear, doing a buddy-check and then waddeling into the shallow end. Trust me, there where a lot of conflicting feelings. Are we as Norwegians such pussies that they need wetsuits in a hotel-pool? Maybe they all think theres something wrong with the pool? Should I present myself as Sweedish if someone ask? It the water really supposed to be so very very cold? Why is the lifeguard playing Bob Marley on the stereo? 

A lot of information where conveyed at the surface. I learned that with the hood of the wetsuit on, you really can’t hear anything. So some of the information was lost. We prepared to decend (at about 1 meter 20 cm depth) I defalted my BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) and decended. Had I heard all the neccesary information, I probably would have replaced my snorkle with my regulator. The regulator is a breathing doo-daah that you shove into your mouth, that lets you breathe and therefore not drown.. If you try to breathe through the snorkle at any deapth that is not surface, you get a lot of water. In the seconds it took me to realize this and grab the regulator, I swallowed a good portion of the pool. Then followed a lot of wheesing and coughing in the regulator and trying to control my initial near panic: Your fine! Wheeeze. Your fine! Cough! Your not drowning.. Breathing under water in very counter-intuitive. It takes a while for your brain to accept the fact that though you are well submerged you can breathe and thus not drown. All the while we did a lot of training drills to prepare us for the open waters. And if I where cold,- Tonje had it worse: she where practically blue after 90 minutes of not drowning.

The next day, we had our first salt-water dives. Tonje where padded with extra layers of insulation. Due to the relatively cold tempratures in the ocean – a brisk 17 degrees C on the surface – Tonjes extra insulation layer had an extra insulation layer. We had to walk to the house-reef all kitted up. It’s about 300 meters to te shoreline where we could wade in. Being mindful of Tonjes back-condition, I carried my own kit on my back, and then hers in front. It’s a lot of weight. And let us not forget the 12 kilos in the weight belt around my hips. Or the fact that a wetsuit is supposed to keep you warm. A black wetsuit in the sun = sky-rocketing temprature inside the suit. The chill of the ocean was a blessing!

Visibility at the housereef was not the best. My logbook says 1 meter. I kept loosing the others all the time. However, the DiveMaster and Tonje managed not to loose anyone but me.. Later Tonje claims that I got lost trying to keep up with this or that little fish-thingy. She claims I acted like a hound with my nose to the ground following a hot trail, ears flapping. We agree to disagree on this. But safe to say, the fear of drowning as a result of breathing under water is gone.. My mask kept leaking and filling with water, prompting me to empty it every 5 minutes. Imagine emptying a mask of the water inside it, under water. It’s a tricky prospect of wich I am now something of an expert..

Third dive-day we got stuffed into the dive-mobile to travel up the coast to Nerja. The plan was to go down to 18 meters. Getting there, we kitted up and headed to the water.

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The Divemobile

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Happy campers on our way to our fourth and fifth dive.

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These boxes in the back of the Divemobile; all that’s needed in order to help six people to not drown while breating 15 meters below the surface…

Liam the driver diver

Liam, our British-Spanish driver-diver. And sort of navigator.

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Dive site

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Divesite close to Nerja, Spain.

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Kitting up. Getting more familiar with it all

The last dive took us down to 15 meters. I wondered about my own reactions to this. Some people feel it’s claustrophobic or get stressed. Or so we where told. I just felt free. Diving may be one of the most liberating experiences I’ve had. Also, communication is clearly a lot more difficult under water,- and so they teach you some hand signals for the most basic needs. Tonje and I expanded that a little, and I am proud and amazed how an alread very good level of communication could expand and get even better. It may sound like a cliché (probably because it is), but we as a team grows stronger every time we challenge ourselfs, together.

When the fifth and last dive was over, I really just wanted to jump right back in. Tonje, with her multitude of layers looked me dead in the eyes and said “We are getting dry-suits!” shivering all the way.. Also, leaving the shoreline after the final dive, Tonje carried her own kit like it was nothing! It made me wonder about the real reason I carried all the gear the 4 previous dives.. 😉

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Post dive. Clearly not drowned. And really eager to get back into it..

Before we could complete our course and take the exam, there where a lot of theory and informational DVDs to go through, Nothing spells excelent study conditions like Vino Tinto..

study time

Last night before the exam. Trying to cram the difference between all the fun acronyms like RDP, RNT, ABT etc..

As of wednesday this week, we are both PADI-certified for open water dives. Wohoo!

Cant wait to do it again..

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!

Practice some more..

A little while ago I strolled down into the garage to practice removing the rear tire on my F800GS, and successfully putting it back on. Just because why not. And of course the tiny fact that I expect we will wear out 6 or 7 sets of tires on the trip. Pluss who knows how many flat tires. So it makes sence to practice.

Anyhoo, this time I tested the theory on how to remove the front tire. Alone. And with only the tiny toolroll that are going with us on the trip.

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Turns out that the only tools really needed for the job was  3/8 inch drive ratchet  with a T45 torx bit, a 17 mm wrench, a E12 wrench (torx 12 mm) a screwdriver with a T30 torx bit. And the sparkplug remover thingofabub…

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I earlier mentioned the instructional DVD made by Helge Pedersen and his Company. Following his lead, I tried out the tricks.

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..like how to balance the bike on the back wheel,  sidestand and one of my paniers. In order to pull it off I needed to tie the right side handlebar to the left side luggagerack. Also. The sidestand is a little short for this balancing-act, but chucking a little piece of wood under the sidestand did the trick.

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…how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood…  Sorry, there was just no way I could pass that up. I mean, chuck wood. Get it?

Anyways, moving along

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Once the ABS censor was removed, the break calipers gently removed on both sides,  and the front axle loosened, I used the sparkplug remover thingofabub to loosen and pull out the front axle. I have no idea why this fits, but it’s a perfect mach!

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Once the axle was removed, tadaa! Bike still standing. Even better now without the weight of the frontwheel.

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All that remained, was putting it all back together, while ignoring my gawking neighbors. It’s like they’ve never seen a 215 kilo motorcycle balancing on it’s own on the rear wheel, while a gorilla in overalls are trying to coax the front wheel back into the fork, and mount the axle and all the other gismos. It’s easy when no one is watching. However when someone IS watching.. Lets just say I think I got a glimps of the hell called “trying to dress a 4 year old child who is throwing a fit and is the only one in the debacle that does not realize that violence is not the answer”. For spectaters there is only one valid solution:  Walk away. Don’t speak. Don’t wave or make eye contact.  Just walk away and be happy it’s not you.

Well,  after making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything, I took my bike for a little testride in the parkinggarage. Zipping in and out from behind colums and parked cars. Testing the ABS breaks on the front and rear  tires (even thoug I didn’t really remove the rear tire..). Just a little testing. Around and around. And around. For almost 15 minutes. It’s a 30-car garage. If that.

Good times 😀

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Practice practice practice…

I am currently enjoying (more or less) some down time due to a knee injury sustained at work as a bouncer.

My doc even sent me to an MR-picture doo-daa. While I await judgement on my knee-on-the-mend my girlfriend-soon-to-be-wife gets to go to work as a bouncer (really, she’s the best). What do I do with my downtime?

I do what any sane man would. Bring my tools down to the garage and practice taking off an putting back on the rear wheel on my BMW F800GS.

During our planned 13 month trip we’ll go through somewhere between 5 and 8 sets of knobbies on each bike. Factoring in a few expected flat tires it makes sence to practice a bit.

Last summer on our test trip we (Tonje and I) visited the Touratech shop in Lidköping. There we picked up a great instructional DVD made by Helge Pedersen at Globe Riders. With this as a guide it’s really a lot easier than it looks!

So, as said, I went down to the garage and tried it all out.

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And look; I even got it back on again..
😀

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Next time I’ll take off the front wheel as well. And take off and on the tires.

It’s good to be me 😉

New Years eve – some garage work

Why should this day be any different?

Keeping it short due to the waiting party.

Today’s work was both fixing a loose sidestand on my bike and fixing Tonjes left panier, who took a beating during the testride we had 2 weeks this summer.

I had to go all Thor on the panier and hammer it back into shape. One of the plastic clamps that connect it to the frame of the bike had do be taken off, then subsiquently glued and screwed back on. As good as new!

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Then I took off the sidestand in order to ajust it. It felt a bit loose,- and there is no time like the present, so off it came..
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And later on again. Quite happy with the result.

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I guess this is a good place to wish all my family, friends and readers a happy new year.

To all those who have supported my, and now our, dream of riding the world for 13 months. THANK YOU!

And to all of you who keep telling me how dangerous and impossible it is; THANK YOU. It motivates me greatly. I mean, if it was easy, any idiot could do it 😉

Long overdue post – Hotstuff got her MC license!

Oh my, this is long over due!

Mid october was a milestone for the world-traveling Project. Hotstuff aka Tonje finally got her motorcycle license! Woho!

Those of you who have followed this blog know that we had a fantastic 14 day motorcycle trip in late august / early september. With no license we drove around with huge L signs stiched to our yellow reflective outer vests, helmet intercoms and each our bike. Yes, Hotstuff did buy hers at the same time I got mine in may 2013. 🙂 5 months later she had license in hand.

The process was a long and drawnout thing, much to be blamed on the fairly inept and uninspired first driving school. And switching Schools mid-season is not very easy due to lack of local qualified teachers. Some time early next year she and I will post a proper blog regarding the school that actually worked, but for now, thank you so much Peder at Skagen Trafikkskole, Stavanger. We are greatly impressed with the level of service, professionalism and standard! Lucky are those that choose, and can find a vacant spot, for their MC licence at this school 🙂

Imagine the happiness of actually stripping the L-sign from our driving gear and then hitting the streets! 😀

Fall has been very busy, almost too much so. But now things are back to normal, and more frequent post will be forthcoming. Some about new mechanical dispositions and a bit trial and error, but also an important update on some major route-changes.

Stay tuned.

Ride what little there is left of the season and be safe.

Time flies – a 6 week recap..

Time passed since my last confession is nigh unforgivable. So much has happened since may 23rd! 

2 day offroad cource – Greatness!
The third weekend of May I took the trip to Säfsen in Sweeden to have a go at Touratech’s OffroadSchool. Their Basic cource was to be a friday-saturday thing. I was planning to go there on my new ride, but bike delivery got delayed. So some quick reorganizing and I flew to Oslo and picked up a Rental there for the 3 hour drive into Sweeden. (On a side noet; the rental company, Europecar, upgraded my chosen GOLF to a brand new BMW 316. VERY good start on what was to be a great weekend)

I concider my self a fairly skilled rider, on tarmac. But this class would focus on gravel and offroad driving. Previous to this class I had the total of 10 meters experiance on gravel. (5 meters going in on a dirt road with a Fazer, then rethinking the stupidity of my mini adventure, and 5 meters out again..). Given my previous experience I was more than a little apprehensive. Adding that I crashed and completely destroyed my trusy Yamaha Fazer FZ6 in november (check out the disaster-post here) I was somewhat less confident than I would prefer.

The basic class was awsome. And also on a Toouratech rented BMW F800GS, som I would get to play with the same bike I was waiting for back home 🙂

The first 100 meters on gravel just as a means of transportation from the Säfsen Resort Hotel and to the training ground was not fun. I felt the bike was splashing all over the place in this very hostile new environment. But we emediately starting training on some very basic driving skills and soon enough I started to enjoy the feel of control and could play around more and more. Each day was ended with everyone taking a drive on the gravel roads in the lokal area guided by one of the instructor from the OffroadSchool. Awsomeness! From freaking out (very discretely in my helmet,- noon needed to know at that point) that same morning at the first sight of gravel, to enjoying a gravel backroads trip riding standing up for about an hour.. And then the next day doing it all over again.

Stuff that was covered was roughly as follows (all based on riding standing up)

  • Basic balance techniques
  • Turning on gravel
  • Various cone-slalom drills
  • Enclosed 180 deg. turn
  • Enclosed 360 deg. turn
  • Enclosed figure 8 turn
  • Breaking with and without ABS
  • Hill ascent (40 deg elevation!)
  • Hill decent (40 deg elevation!)
  • Water crossing
  • Different ways to pick up the bike without breaking bike or rider…

I already look forward to the advanced cource next spring..

Bikes delivered
After I got home the bikes where delivered. Very happy!
Wait! Bikes??!? But you only need one right?
Yes, I do only need one. But my girlfriend got one as well. Same make and model and colour (will upload picktures here, I promise..).
Wait! Girlfriend??!? But you said “bla bla driving all by my lonesome..” You where very spesific…
Yes, girlfriend, yes I know what I said, but sometimes theres just not enough reason to go around, and so life change.. But don’t worry, the grand trip is still happening.

Apartment sold, Appartment bought
Also, during the last year I’ve been planning and dreaming of the grand trip, and a major milestone has been selling my old apartment. very big and very costly, and all my funds where tied up in it.
I have done a fair bit of remodeling, especially the kitchen that got a new everything. And soon after putting the apartment on the market, it was sold for more than asking price! Now, the remodeling, I put hundreds of hours in it. And I had help from family and then friend, later girlfriend (who says that remodeling will break a couple up??) and I was very pleased with the result.
My former neighbor now tells me that the new owner is tearing out everything to do it again her own way… Ironic, perhaps, but I have to look at it in terms of job done and paid for..

Apartment bought?
Well, the afore mentioned girlfriend and I bought a large walk-in-closet about a third of the size of my old apartment. I like it, I love that I don’t have to rent, and it’s very close to everything. In fact it’s so close to work that these days I’m always late..

Still waiting to buy that one piece of furniture that we have room for. Its a draw between a lamp and a chair.

But, the bikes (yes, plural) stay side by side in an in door garage parking space. About half the size of the afore mentioned walk in closet. But not to worry,- the parking area already have a lamp. And considering it is much cheaper, I finally can free up capital ang get proper momentum on the preparations of my project, not only in theory, but real physical momentum. 🙂

Life is good, enjoy it while it’s there 🙂

Off Road Skills – training

WOHO!
This I have to do! Looks like a blast. And most definetly very deucational!

Happily adding it to my list of preparations for the next 15 months. Time will fly!.

Also, check out their page http://www.offroadskills.com/

What´s with all the links..?

You´ve got to understand that this blog serves three purposes at this stage:

1) It´s my diary in this process of planning and preparation

2) It´s my medium for talking on and on and on about the thing I´m really interested in , the big trip!

3) It´s my planning tool. And as a planning tool I use it to store all of the information that I find at least semi-important to the project. So all the links are for me in order to get equipment, documents or training that I need for the trip. They are also for you, if you are planning anything similar.

Go nuts! Klick `em all! They are there for a reason 😉

Christer
Lost Biker

I need a mentor-mechanic

There are a few things that worry me a little about my world-trip. apart from getting arrested, crash, getting killed and/or eaten (!), I worry about the bike breaking down on me in the middle of fuckin nowhere, which is where I will be most of the time. I need to learn how to do anything from changing and fixing tires, fixing spokes, changing the oil and all the filters (oil/fuel/air), finding ad fixing electrical issues, spark plugs and a number of other things that I´m probably not fully aware of yet.

So, I need a mentor-mechanic. anyone know any one that can help out and give me a few crucial pointers? 

Bilde

 

Språkkurs

Så, våkna i morges og innså at jeg må ta noen språkkurs de neste to årene. Tror ca 1/3 av ruta går i russisktalende land, og 1/4 går i spansltalende land. Gjør nok livet mitt litt lettere om jeg i allefall har noen gloser.. 😀

Hadde uansett tenkt å ta med en billed-ordbok, hjelper vel litt.

Shit