June 01, 2008 GMT
Three Years on the Road

Miss Piggy & Grant

The first of June seems to come around quickly as does Easter, Christmas and Birthdays.

June 1, 2008, marks the end of our third year since leaving Australia, 120,000Kilometres of travel, 2 continents, 26 countries, countless hotels, campgrounds, meals, bottles of wine. And best of all the great company we have been privileged to share.

Grant on the Chobe River

A Note from Grant...

As I sit at our camp site staring at the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean a gentle warm breeze caresses. I realise that though I feel tired it still feels good to travel.

No, I am not jaded though Africa has been more difficult than I imagined and vastly more expensive to travel in than Latin America.

I guess one could say that there is no easy route but it is always easy getting back on the bike especially when there is a dirt road concerned and there is plenty in Africa!

So how does it feel to be on the road for three years? I wouldn't know. It feels like we just started yesterday.

Jules at the Great Zimbabwe ruins

Letter from Jules...

So how am I after three years of living on the back of a motorcycle?

Somedays I feel fat, frumpy, unfit, decidedly non-feminine, weary, unsure, not interested.

These days are far and few between, thank heavens. I am still very much enjoying this long and strange journey we are undertaking.

A re-occuring theme for the last three years has been not what we have seen and done as much as the people we have met along the way.

We have made many new friends and, strangely enough, crossed paths with old friends. We have been truly blessed when it comes to people and hope this continues for the rest of our travel where ever we go.

Whilst sometimes I dream of going home, settling down, having our own place again, when I seriously think about it, I am not ready. There is still so much to see and do, however I do not want our trip to become an endurance test. Once it does then I think it should be over, we shall just take each day as it comes.

A rough calculation of what we have spent daily including bike maintenance, flights/shipping (Australia to Canada, Panama to Bogotá, Buenos Aires to Cape Town), accommodation, food, etc etc etc boils down to approximately AUS$83.00/day. Not bad!

Looking over old blogs has bought back so many seemingly forgotten memories of places, people and events that have made the opportunity to live this way such an amazing and wonderful experience.

The past year has seen us leave south America and cross the ocean to Africa. Where will we be this time next year? When we are there we will let you know.

Grant and Piggy in Zomba, Malawi

About the Bike...

To say that we are happy with the Suzuki DL1000 is some what of an understatement.

With any vehicle there is always a chance of failure, however, so far so good.

The Suzuki has covered 140,000 kilometres, 120,000 on this overland journey. All of those kilometres have been fully loaded, two up, and many have been on difficult terrain which is hard to imagine any of these large dual purpose machines were ever designed to travel on two up with load.

We have met other travelers on large duals, some two up, some solo, and I am very happy that I chose the bike we have. We have had some minor problems, all have been easily remedied and at a low cost.

Here is a list of the maintenance issues for the last year of travel.

* In Brazil the bike would start and run happily enough until with throttle shut off at speed the motor would shut down. Stopping and re-priming the system with the ignition alleviated the problem, however the problem persisted until back in Argentina where Grant completed a modification allowing to by-pass the original high pressure filter with an inline fuel injected car filter. Problem - original high pressure fuel filter stuffed. (SeeThe Last South American Run

* Complete replacement of bearings in the pro-link suspension after 115,000 kilometres, one had collapsed and the others were dry of grease. The system was still working and only with inspection was I made aware of the bearing failure. In future I will regularly inspect, clean and re-pack with grease these bearings, this should alleviate further failures.

* With the bike running roughly a full tune (this is the first at 117,000 kilometres) in Cape Town was in order.

* Replaced the damaged water pump outer case in South Africa. (See Over the Andes by Pig!). The original repair lasted 30,000 kilometres.

* In Mozambique one afternoon the Fuel Injection warning diagonistic appeared on the read out and the bike would not start. After several attempts of turining the ignition on and off the system re-set itself. (See Sun, Sand, Stealing, OH and Pot Holes!)

The next day after purchasing computer connection spray and thoroughly cleaning and inspecting all terminals including the ECM, no problems again and suspect very dirty connectors, which was quite evident, probably from all the sand we had been riding through.

* Poor running occured in Malawi until one morning the engine would not start. Fortunately occuring at Cool Runnings campground. Cleaning primary fuel filter screens and replacing the inline high pressure filter plus emptying the fuel tank and replacing with fresh fuel cleared the problem.

* In Mozambique, after almost 3 years and lots and lots of kilometres, the front wheel rim was damaged (OH we were warned about these alloy rims!!). Fortunately it is still serviceable, although an innertube was installed as the tubeless tyre beads no longer sealed.

Oh how we love that Piggy!

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