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If you scroll back on this thread to DirtPig's post on May 6th you'll read about our trip to Panama. Without question the absolute worst thing that can happen has to relate to health and safety.
But....what he didn't say in his post is how hard he worked the day before and how it probably effected him afterward. Four of us all headed to the Panama Canal in January with only my friend Kevan having any remote idea of the hardships we might face. I'm pasting a piece out of my blog from back in February that's funny now but at the time was a real pain in the ass. And if it wasn't for my good friend, we'd still be stuck on the side of the road.
Memo to self - next time learn a few maintenance skills rather than depending on someone else.
Originally posted Jan 24th 08 on dboisclair.blogspot.com
Greetings from hot, sunny and oh so humid, Puerto Escondido Mexico!
To describe the last two days as gruelling would be a vast understatement. They were two of the longest, hottest days I´ve ever experienced. Nerves were frayed, patience was tested and our stamina was really put to the test.
Day 10 started on a sour note because we originally planned on a very early start to beat the heat. Instead, we had a slight setback. Nothing serious in the big scheme of things but maybe a sign of what was to come. We dropped off our laundry at a local lavanderia and they promised us it would be ready to be picked up by 9:00. They lied. They didn't even open the next day. By the morning we wanted to leave we were VERY worried. There was no phone number on the door or on the receipt, and we were starting to think of contingencies IE a major shopping trip to Walmart. Luckily though, we picked up everything at 9:00 and were on our way out of Acapulco by 9:30. Just in time for rush hour and the start of the heat. It´s been around 33 with a Humidex of 42!
Anyway, we were finally on our way. It started out great. More sweeping vistas of the Pacific and some great riding. But.....as the day wore on it became hotter and hotter. Then we had our first "issue".
Now you have to understand, I´m a fairly novice rider. I haven´t experienced a lot of things. Like say, A FLAT TIRE AT 110KPH!! I had no idea what was happening other than my bike started to do the funky chicken and I was going WAY too fast for my liking. We were able to limp along to a spot where we could all pull off and then the fun began. And here I have to give a VERY big KUDOS to Kevan. If not for him, Brad, Steve and I would still be back on the side of the road looking at the tire and thinking WTF? Anyway, it turns out that I picked up a 4 inch screw that managed to work it's way right through the side wall. We had to pull the tire, remove it from the rim, install a tube as an emergency fix and re-install the wheel, all in 35 degree heat without a lick of shade. It took a full two hours and by the time we were back on the road the damage was done. I´m sure we all had varying degrees of heat stroke and dehydration and it was borderline dangerous. Later that same day we were all litterally exhausted. At one point I dumped my bike when we pulled over for a break. It was a stupid mistake and only because I was too tired to see it coming.
One final bit on the tire change. It´s quite an endeavour! After the wheel is removed you have to break the ¨bead´ in order to remove the tire from the rim. (I didn`t know what it meant either)
Now, to do this takes a lot of pressure. The easiest way is to place the wheel on its side on the ground and jump on the sidewall of the tire. Soooooo.......three of us held hands and stood in a circle and jumped up and down on the tire! Our own little Circle of Friends. But- did I mention how hot it was? And that we wear black riding pants? Riding pants that we eventually took off to stave of heat stroke. So, know you have three grown men, all in their underwear but wearing black motorcycle boots, holding hands and jumping up and down in a circle. We´re lucky we didn´t get arrested!
We eventually made it to the middle of nowhere, dusty, dirty and VERY Mexican small town of Pinotea Nacional. We pulled in to town at 4:30 - a 7 hour trip that was supposed to have taken 4 hours.
Hilights of the day. A heard of goats on the raod, wayward pigs and burro´s and Steve VERY nearly being clobered by a falling tree by some Mexican road workers that had a major chuckle while trying to kill their first Gringo on a Motorcycle.
Mileage- 269 klm
One day I rode 300 miles into the Argentinian pampas on my own.
After riding 8 hours of the infamous "Ruta 40", I arrived at the only petrol station for another 300 miles with only fumes left in my carbs.
"No hay gasolina" says the attendant (no gas)...
If that wasnt bad enough, I reach down for my bum bag and map and AHHHHH.. Its gone !
I had lost my bum bag with my wallet, passports, maps, all bike papers and cash etc..
Imagine the feeling being stuck in the middle of nowhere with an empty gas tank, no cash and no papers.. Naked is not the word and I nearly cried a little
I thought I was absolutely F**KED until I remembered that a had 100 pesos stashed in my pocket.
I managed to get the guy to sell me his last squirt of fuel out of the ground so I could turn around and ride the gruelling road once more to find my lost bag.
Alas, I couldn't find my bag and ended up crashing in the gravel ripping off my pannier instead. Only the pumas could here my screams of frustration and anger...
As the sun went down I spent the night shivering under a bush in the desolate scrub lands wondering how the hell I was going to battle the awful roads to get back to the nearest town when I barely enough fuel and cash to get to the next petrol station..
Alas, I made it to an ATM (stashed a credit card on the bike) and had to ride 7000 miles back to Buenos Aires to get new papers trying to dodge checkpoints and police.
I thought that was my bad luck over with until I was electrocuted and almost drowned in a Brazilian swimming pool when a 240v street lamp fell in on top me
Whilst in Brazil, I managed to get myself electricuted in swimming pool.
It had been a hard long day and I was having trouble with my bike. It kept cutting out and stalling like it was being starved of fuel. I stripped the carb at the side of the road and still couldnt find the problem. Its really difficult working on a bike in tropical heat with a limited tool kit in a petrol station, belive me. The bike still wouldnt run so we made a decision to hobble back to the nearest town.
So after a few hours of messing about in the heat, we hit the road and 4 hours later and in the dark we roll into Vitoria and find ourselves a pricey hotel.
I was really tired and pissed off after a bad day so went down to the pool with my travel buddy.
I walked over to the pool and leant on a big brass street lamp thing next to the pool. 2 seconds later, i was in the pool with this metal 240v light on top of me being electricuted and unable to move underwater for about 10 seconds…
I thought this was it, the end of Ted…And what a way to go !!!!
Thankfully the light shorted out and I dragged myself out of the pool bleeding badly from deep electric shock lacerations on my foot. Sean and a local guy bandaged me up as the hotel staff giggled like it was an everyday event !!
If this happened in the Westen world, id be a millionaire with the compensation. Here, I was lucky not to get billed for a new lamp ! Thats just life on the road in South America though and im still keeping the reaper on his toes for now
Location: Bury, Quebec, Center of the middle of nowhere in Canada
Originally Posted by Tenere Tom
I'll try again!!!
There must be someone with a funny story out there???
Funny story?...you want a funny story...hell I'll give you a funny story!!!
It's funny 'cause it didn't happen to me, but I was there though. Here goes.
The names are witheld to protect the innocents who were involved...
Once upon a time...in another life I was guiding some tourists(French) on a backcountry ski trip with my friend (another guide). Oh by the way it's not a bike story but it's a trip/travel one.
So we're guiding them on a not too rugged trip, skiing and sleeping in prospector tents and carrying our stuff in backpacks. When my friend who happens to get up at night to take a leak and relieve his prostate (he's over 60); so he get's up and half asleep walks in the middle of the night it's -30 celcius to find a tree stump (why is it that we have to find a stump to pee??) anyway he does find a suitable one and starts to relieve himself.
WHEN SUDDENLY...the stump starts to move... he fumbles with his... trying to get it back in his pants and not get urine all over himself, when he hears the stump talking...
the next morning over breakfast we hear one of our female skier talk to her friend. she mentioned that last night she was peeing when all of a sudden she gotten herself all wet ...she hurried back into the tent thinking that she wasbeeing peed on by a bear marking his territory...
Man I tell you I couldn't eat breakfast 'cause my friend had just told me his side of the story.
Moral to the story, kick the stump before you start your thing!!!
Location: Aussie expat in Switzerland half way RTW
Worst thing that happened to us was that we finished our trip back in 2009 and went back to work!
On a more serious (read pertinent) point, nothing really bad happened, we were careless a few times, got ripped off several times, and had our bike vandalised in Switzerland. Bloody bastard put over 15 holes in our seats with a key or screw-driver. That was the most disappointing thing really, it's just like having you heart torn out when you first see the vandalisation. Can't imagine what it would be like to have your bike stolen!
Easy, some nonce from the local council estate stealing my DR650 after I'd just ridden it 30,000km from Australia to UK and spent lots of time/money getting it UK registered. That and the cops never finding it.
I met a girl on the internet, as you do, and decided to drive to Kazan to meet her.
I got back off exercise with the army and set off (rather naughtilly as the army doesn't like that sort of thing) for Kazan in my trusty Landcruiser. what I forgot was that on my way to go on exercise I had a puncture, and I forgot to recheck the wheelnuts. result was just outside hanover doing 70mph on the autobahn my wheel fell off. me and my truck survived the resultant crash (and being hit by a split rim doing a fair speed down the autobahn behind me!) but spent 3 days in a Germany Toyota dealer waiting for a new brake drum. with only 2 weeks leave I hit the road again. I finally made it to Kazan and met the girlie. nice girl, had a great time but was only able to stay 4 days before having to head home again. I set out the day my visa was due to expire.
It was a classic right hand drive accident whilst waiting to turn left across a junction. because I was too far over to get a view I was hit by a car coming the other way (lada versus landcruiser, no contest!) because I was over the centre line I was held to be at fault, even though I wasn't moving.
For speed I tried to pay the guy off but he wanted more money than I would give him for his car so we did it on the insurance a guy turned up who I thought was a police accident investigator but was in civvies, turned out he wasn't, I think he might have been an insurance guy. He gave me a statement to sign which I didn't understand and wasn't filled in. He received a reply understandable in any language, sign nothing if you don't understand it and cetainly sign no blank forms!
The police turned up and did their stuff. The main man was proper scary, scars all over his face, tattoos on his hands and a brisk and efficient demenour. They wouldn't let me leave Kazan until the process was complete (about 24hours) but as my visa was due to run out we went to the cop shop instead, I followed them there, giving the guy who had hit me a lift. In the cop shop they took their statements, and tried to get me to sign some papers in russian, so I refused. No one spoke english, one of the coppers spoke a little french, as I do, unfortunately not the same bits so we were stuck. They sorted out an interpreter but she spoke no english either! At this point I got them to phone said girls friend I had met who is married to an American.
The conversation in the cop shop was light hearted and we were managing to have a good laugh but it was turning to talk of corruption and how much people in England earn, which is a line of discussion I did not wish to pursue. When the girl turned up she phoned a friend and got them to speak to the coppers, turns out this friend was the local chief of police. she's a paediatrician and had treated his children a few weeks previously! Ever seen a policeman stand to atention on the telephone!! When they finshed speaking on the phone, she turned to me and said 'sign anything they give you, it will be fine'. the only payment needed was 200 rubbles which is paid to another office to stop it being pocketed. The guy who had hit me kindly took this to the office for us so I could sort my visa out (another story all together)and refused to take 50 rubbles for his trouble.
I escaped with all my finger nails intact!
I didn't meet the girl again but contimued with the internet dating thing. about 1 year later I met my now wife and we had our first baby 6 months ago
Did not happen to me but here is the worst thing that happened to a work mate.
He was Harley rider you know the loud pipes save lives sort. All the time every year most work brakes planning the "big Sturgis ride". For you that do not know Sturgis is a cowboy town save for a week or two when people that like Harley Davidson ride to this little town and trash the place. (ok some trailer there bike) Fore me it looks like new kinda hell too many drunk people that are looking to be tuff and cool and like no one else so long as just like every one else there.
Well with all the planning he never went it was going to next year then the next then the next for 10 years or so. He had all the stuff every stop was planed the roads there picked out even the gas stops.
Well not long ago he died.
Massive heart attack, dropped dead getting ready for work. He never made a ride to Sturgis and never will. Bit of a downer.
It has been a while but here´s another embarassing story...
While living in Perth (West Australia) for a year some of my housemates invited me to a party in a fancy suburb (Nedlands?!) As I was just in from Amsterdam I didn´t know anybody else at the party. My housemates were crammed up in an old Holden and I followed on a borrowed motorbike (Light Yamaha) to this particular house. It was huge with all the luxuries and a great pool in the garden. It was very posh and lots of people inside and out, all smartly dressed. As I started to mingle a bit shyly I noticed a somewhat bittersweet smell everywhere I went but I didn´t take too much notice. As I got into conversation with some people close to the opened patio doors we looked back inside the house to see what the distubance was all about. Some women were rubbing the thick creamwhite carpet and pulling disgusted faces. Someone had left a trail of dogshit footsteps around the house and when I looked down my heart skipped a beat. There were big chunks of shit piling from either side of my left foot, my mind worked overtime and it appeared that I wasn´t discovered just yet. Sneakily I went into the garden and wiped off as much as I could on the bushes and grass without attracting too much attention. My head was as red as a trafficlight but I got away with it....I left that party quite early and was sooo relieved when I was finally on the bike again!
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