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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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  #31  
Old 16 Sep 2012
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Stronger than Vinegar, Peru II....part 3 of 3

Continued from Part 2 of 3 above!

When I reach the village of Chinchero, near Cusco, I'm dismayed to find that to even look around the non-Inca village, I must buy a tourist ticket. This is also expensive but does at least includes numerous sites and museums. Even so, my first reaction is to turn around and I start walking to the bike, but once I reach it I also reach the conclusion that if I don't buy a ticket, I won't be seeing anything. I know it's not really my thing, but I might kick myself if I don't see anything, but it's a lot of money. I sit on a bench to think about it long and hard.

Inside Chinchero is the village church, though this is Colonial Spanish from the early 1600s. Inside the church it is beautifully decorated, painted from bottom to top with green and reds and faces, and as well a hodgepodge of frescoes and mini-altars and the main altar filling the end with garish fake gold. As no photos are allowed inside I stare at the walls with concentration willing my brain to remember....but it's fairly useless.





This is taken from http://www.marklauri.com

I also meet Sonya, a weaver finishing off a two month project, a table piece that she might sell for $300, though she says an exporter comes around the village collecting pieces every Sunday and so she'll sell this one to them. Sonya was a lovely woman, despite the heavy flow of tourists and my explaining I couldn't buy anything. I watch her as we chat, threading the needle through threads fixed for tension to a metal gate, twisting a piece of wood, sliding a collar of wool and twisting the threads to finish off the border, an intricate coloured eye of eight or so threads, itself taking two days.





Sonya's hands at work.






Inca stonework at Saksaywaman

Soon though, too soon, I am bored of Inca, bored of rocks and regretting buying the ticket a little, especially as my visa for Peru is running out. I visit many other sites included on the ticket, going through the motions because I've paid, and then the museums in Cusco which are poor as well, with more Spanish Catholic art than Inca artefacts. Still, the return to Cusco gives me a chance to go to the customs office in the hope of extending my vehicle permit, confirming only what I already know.

“So I have to leave the country?”
“Yes. It is the only way.”
"How long do I have to stay outside the country?"
"Ah. The law does not say this."
"And you can't just give me a new paper here? Because I can get a new visa for another 90 days here in Cusco."
"No, this is not possible. The law says that vehicle permits cannot be extended."
“Okay, but I don't have to have an extension, is it possible to have a new one?” though it seems my Spanish is a bit poor here, and to clarify I say, “and throw this one in the bin?”
“No, you must go to the border. The nearest point is.....”

Miles away. But at the very least, commendable behaviour of the official. So I camped overlooking Cusco, watching the planes come in and go out, and then set off towards Puno, Laguna Titicaca and the border.





Camp over Cusco


I feel sick. I actually feel a bit like an accidental arsonist might feel after burning down his best friend's house...with his kids in it, post hence, a man with a secret. A post coital rapist with a conscience, bit strong I know, but it's bad. Things are bad. "Rapist" is a word on my mind. Rules, too. I'm thinking about breaking rules. My rules. The horror! The horror! It's not that bad. But the stumps of teeth, the finger nails like a corpse's black and yellow and ridged and long, the rheumy eyes, the desperation. I can't possibly break the rule, I can't hand out money. No. Absolutely not. That would be bad, very bad, terrible, you know that! But she was poor. No, she was beyond poor...where are the charities now...? No, where are the neighbours! We don't need charities. But....I have fruit, I can give her that at least. But it's nothing, it won't help....But better than nothing....I make a u-turn and race back. Is she eating grass? I hand over the fruits I have and she cradles them lovingly in her arms. She speaks, I wonder what she is saying? I only stopped to take a photo of the house but then I saw her. Charities.





The lady...all because of a picture


I ride on and for the rest of the day wonder if I'm wrong and I should give money to the people I meet. I'm always telling people they should help their neighbours, their communities, rather than work with charities. Are my neighbours therefore, the people I meet? But I also know that there are reasons why people are poor. And much of the time I don't really understand these problems, or the people they involve. I've gained the idea that charities are, generally speaking, not very good (apologies to my friend Tali and many people besides) and I spend all day wondering if my opinion is merely conjecture. Or, if perhaps with my knowledge, if there actually is any, I could actually help the charities to really help the people. But I probably can't. It's a big job. It's a tough job. What a job! And actually, I usually always decide that it is quite simply a case of overpopulation.

Then, at lunch I meet people living in the exact same environment, in clean clothes, riding motorcycles purchased with money from crops and cattle, happy people, off to a wedding, lovely shining happy people. I was invited to the wedding and was just on my way when another gent arrives and tells me that “Oh, no. That's a waste of a time, it's not until tonight.” So that I could hardly follow him, as essetially he'd just univited me.




So I pushed on towards Cusco, stopping in Lampa a lovely little village of red mud and large Gothic church that wreaked of pee. Then to lake Titicaca, a popular tourist spot for it's big (8372km2), high (3812m) and pretty deep (281m) making it one of the highest lakes in the world that you can float a big boat on. I saw no big boats, but I saw an awful lot of beautifully deep blue water, and as well on the Capachica Peninsula, the lovely hats of the Lachon peoples, hats that look like drying and curling up old pizzas with giant coloured baubles. The people wearing them though were equally unsavoury and unvaried in their response to me, laughing and mocking all the while, hysterically in my face. This treatment has actually been common outside the cities in Peru and, whilst I try and give them the benefit of the doubt, that they are not really being spiteful, but I just get annoyed, my doubts were small, tiny and shrinking all the while. Because of the recent treatment in Peru, I'd cut my hair, laundered, trimmed the beard and polished my boots – often the subject of mirth – but, to no effect. I often find that this treatment will vary from one village to the next, only several kilometres, so I always try to forget the past, and enter a new place with an open mind. But here it was incorrigible and that night my diary was deeply etched with scrawlings in block capitals, referring to the STUPID EFFING MONKEY LIKE GRINS and laughs that drove me to astonishing and a shaming amounts of anger.




I've been asking people why this is, including the monkeys, but they only laugh all the more. From others it seems simply that I'm white in place where there are perhaps no white people. I've been travelling quite a long while now but have never quite experienced this amount of ridicule, even in places deep in Africa where it was obvious that I was the first white person in at least a while to pass through, or one of very few to visit there. Here in Titicaca though, surely no excuses as it's a tourist hotspot.








My mood presented itself ahead by way of a thin hanging funeral veil of rain falling from a murderous black sky. These veils, a strange phenomenon, a little like slicing the taught underbelly of some huge grey beast that bleeds ink, sinking into the atmosphere as if in water, and yet never quite reaching the ground, diluted. The thin veil ahead appears razor-thin so that I'll pass straight through within seconds, and be safely into the sun clearly visible beyond. But, as the rain starts to hit this isn't the case, seconds turn to minutes, though I try desperately to keep going, to push through, I saw the sun, I know it's there, just keep going! The smell of grass comes bursting out then, the sweetest most lovely smell, and then onions so powerful. But then nothing. Nothing but wet. Wet and cold. I realise that the blue sky I had glimpsed earlier has long gone and when finally I turn around it isn't one small curtain but a huge draping sheet that wraps me in its cold damp. Soaked through I search desperately for a camp spot, on and on I go trying every half-chance I see until eventually I find an old mine where I can tuck away, just out of sight. I race to get the tent up in an effort to keep it dry. Futile. May as well have put the tea on. Then, in the rain, take off all my clothes which I pile up into a sodden heap inside the porch and get in the tent. I'm shivering badly and rush to put on what dry clothes I have to get ready for a cold and thunderous night. As the hot tea boils, I pray that the morning will be sunny so that I can dry my riding gear, otherwise riding away at over 4000m is going to be frankly horrid.

And frankly horrid it is. Well, actually, when I wake, not too bad, cloudy and grey in preparation. I decide to get away early before there's any chance of the more common, afternoon rain.





Getting ready for another drubbing


Over the border in Bolivia the officials are friendly, but tell me that I have to spend a minimum of 24hrs in Bolivia. I don't really want to do this as that also means I have to import my bike, change money and sit and camp over the border. The stamps hover over the passport for an excruciating time though eventually they do give me the two seals I need, "as friends.” he says, adding “But, if you're not back here in one month, I'm coming to Peru to get you!" I wondered if their procrastinating was in an attempt to get me to pay a bribe, but as well I think that genuinely they just want me to visit their country. Back at the bike and the Bolivian customs official beckons me into his office. People who say "you can't judge a book..." well, you can for when I get inside the office and see the man, I know I'm in trouble. I wonder what my face says about me? His face tells me he is a bad person.

"Vehicle Papers."
"Oh no...I'm going to Peru."
"OK, Temporary [Bolivian] paper."
"No, I mean, I came from Peru, I just needed the passport stamp....now I'm going back."
"But your motorcycle is on Bolivian soil."

Ah. Fiddle sticks indeed. I go to the window to look where my bike is, I know where it is, it's just there, it's in Bolivia, I know it, I rode it there, and wonder why I'm performing these theatrics, but at least it gives me time to think without looking at the bad face and to come up with a strategy.

"Umm...sorry." (nice strategy).
"Peruvian temporary vehicle permit."
"Well...I don't have it! I just gave it back, I've left the country after all."
"Then you have a problem. (yeah, it's you!) You should have left the bike in Peru and walked over."
"Wait, give me a second. I might have a receipt." When I go to the bike I find I do, by some fortitude have the old paper, but I'm still certain he is about to diddle me so when I go back into the office, I do so with renewed avowal.

"Sorry," I say, "I really didn't think it was a problem. I just, well I just rode without thinking. I didn't know. I wasn't thinking. Here." I hand him the paper, which he scans over before asking,
"How much did you pay?" He is of course referring to bribing the immigration officers. His voice is different now though, more human, his face too, and I realise I'm free.
"Nothing!" I say, snatching the paper from across the desk and with a wry smile add "that would be corruption!"

(For those interested, in hindsight, it would be wiser to get your visa extended at the immigration offices all around Peru and only exit the bike at the border, thus negating any need to visit the Bolivian (or other) outpost. The bike can be renewed indefinitely, but Brits at least have only 183 days per year allowance in Peru.)


Less than two minutes at the Peruvian border and I'm away, now with a slight weight off my mind with regards time limits, though one weight added by way of the customs official, I fear he'll give me trouble when I return to enter Bolivia. But that thought soon vanishes along with the grey cloud, a new curtain raising, and I too, up and away from Titicaca lake towards Moquegua. Instantly my mood is quite different from that at the lake, a beautiful trail and few people to spoil it, like getting away from a really bad party full of people you don't like. Passing through fields of tall wind-cut rock fingers towering over the small thatch homes on my way to the fabulous salty lake, Loriscota. A brilliant trail, and a beautiful high lake is Loriscota, surrounded by distant volcanoes and inhabited by a multitude of bird-life, the big beaked flamingos a really special highlight.




Flamingoes at Laguna Loriscota

The great route continued from Moquegua. Dropping again in altitude through fantastic desert canyons, with little traffic and easy camping having only yapping foxes
for companions. This led to the colonial city of Arequipa, which has
its splendid backdrop of volcanoes Misti and Chachani. A nice but busy
– as always – city.




The road to Arequipa







Santa Marta church in Arequipa, Volcan Misti in the background



After the recent rains I'd experienced in Titicaca I was fearful of the arriving rainy season, especially with all of Bolivia yet to see at much the same latitudes as Peru. With this in mind I decide I must be quick on the final trails in Peru, only a one loop left now; but one that looks formidable on the map, taking me to Colca Canyon, Cotahuasi Canyon and the Valley of Volcanoes.

But things start badly when I reach Lluta. I shouldn't have reached Lluta. But I have and must consider the fact that in taking the wrong trail to Colca Canyon, I've just lost another day . It's a long way to return, too long, but anyway the trail is stunningly stark and wild, the few people friendly, asking me to “take a photito!” and too, I can still reach Colca from the end of this trail.

I spend a lot of the ride trying to read the landscape in accordance with the map, trying to ascertain if the tall mountain that is to my right is the one that should be on my left. If it is, then I am on the right trail and the map is wrong! The rest of the time I spend looking at large birds of prey, proud grey eagles and then up above, a condor. I see the condor swoop down and land to nestle in a hollow of grass. I get off the bike and go skulking over, camera fixed and ready. When I get to the lip, within 5-10m, the condor takes flight and with it my motor-functions. I stand there agape as it KAW KAW KAW KAW!s loudly away, spreading it's huge wings and dropping off into the valley. No photos then....but 'ere's an eagle who came screaming torpedo like past my tent one morning having spotted a tasty mouse 3000m below in the canyon....perhaps.





Heeerre, mousy, mousy, mousy....


I stop for fuel in Chivay, a small town nestled at the head of Colca Canyon from where I hope to back-track essentially, but on the correct trail, over Colca Canyon.

“It's that way.” says the pump attendant.

His face and pouting mouth seem to be pointing awfully close to where I've just come from....
"What....that one just there?"
"Si."
"That one I just came from?"
"Uhh, si."
"That goes to Lluta?"
"Si."
"And Pedregal?"
"Si."

And so I come to realise that I have just passed the second deepest canyon in the whole wide world and hardly noticed....oops. Still the trail was no hardship and the condor was good and I have Cotahuasi to come, which is the deepest canyon in the whole wide world! It's taken much longer than expected to arrive, and I'm still worried about time, especially having seemingly wasted a large portion of it in some invisible canyon. But, in the morning I decide that “I'll go, but must go really quick...no reading!”

Fool.

Time limits are the travellers curse...ask Mr.Magregor.

So I raced off, if one can call it that, for the trail is steep and Rodney is running very poorly, worse even than normal. Any sort of uphill gradient means 1st gear and flat roads are 2nd or, if I can get a little bit of a downhill spurt, 3rd. Tedious. I never remember feeling this frustrated on Rudolf.

As is common in Peru, almost any dirt trail is breathtaking and here it is the wide-open spaces amongst the mountains that amaze, riding along arrow-straight roads through the wide-open plains where graze wild horses and fluffy plump lamas.





Sppppaaaaaaaaaaaacccccccccccceeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


These wide-open spaces give the impression that the very end of a cloud is attainable, like a rainbow whose end you can see in a similar open space. And these grey clouds are regrouping, building, moving in and tightening their grip. A tiny archway sits on the horizon, not a rainbow, but a doorway leading clearly out from under and beyond this brewing storm, to heaven, to sunshine. I push Rodney as hard as I can, downhill now, transfixed on this archway and praying that the trail will lead me there, and not steer me off towards the misery. The road turns one way....but then, thank God veers back again...then another...but gratefully again returning me to put the arch within sight once more! But then, the horror! the horror! as the road turns ninety-degrees, pointing me straight towards the misery. I've tried my best to ignore it and now, staring it in the face, it looks seven shades darker, a horrid face, ugly, worse than any pizza-hat wearers, worse than the grinning monkeys, worse than the customs official...oh but I'd pay a bribe now! I know what's to come, the sky so black now, so black, blacker than a black man's big black bumhole and I fear, I fear. I fear the bumhole.

Almost crying now, but then, then, a blurry vision, a mirage? I see something, and then I hit it, a deep swinging berm that flicks me fast around and away...back towards the arch! And now, look! Look! I can see the whole trail ahead, running straight and true, all the way up to the horizon and through my gateway...a bit of Frank Sinatra seems appropriate and I sing, "Heaven,
I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak!"





Archway to Heaven, though seen from the good end.


From the pleasant village of Andagua, the road drops down and down, into the black, black hell of the Valley of the Volcanoes. Surrounded both high and low by volcanoes, winding and twisting down and down, between and amongst towering piles and ridges of cool black and rusty brown lava. Vast, vast quantities in a vast expanse and, popping up amongst the detritus, some of the eighty tall cones of dead volcanoes.





Valley of the Volcanoes


But then time was pressing, and it presses now too as I sit at the computer! For this blog is epic in proportions....and I hope in trials, trails and tribulations....ride on, write on, ride on! And I'm running out of energy, my mind is a dull block, no words, no poetry there, need fuel, some of those biscuits perhaps....but then, not now, not here, but there, in the valley, with the volcanoes, I needed petrol....the tank was again dry, and only 305km (60mpg!). Luckily the dirty dregs in the stove's fuel-bottle are just enough to get me back to Andagua, where I buy two gallons from the village shop for $16.00, and not the small kind.





The steep pass that leads rising away from Andagua





Rodney JUST made it....and what a view.



"What you know it?" I ask.
"Yes, of course! The Queen, the pound, Manchester, London, the wars with France."
"No with Germany."

"Don't you know history?"
"Yeah, well, some of it...France were our friends!"
"NO! Come on! Nelson...?"
"Ohhh yeah, him. Who was the other fellow?"
"When the Spanish came, you English were here too."
"Really?"
"Pirates! You bought the Pound with you too, very strong! A very strong country!"
"I'm related to Blackbeard you know."
"Then Germans and the Russians!"
"What, pirates?!"
"NOOOO! In the World War."
"Ohhh, I'm following...."
"Hitler! Terrible! He wanted to take over the world."
"Almost managed to as well...you could argue he was brilliant."
"Oh no, terrible man, killing the Jews...."

At this point the old man goes off into a little bit of a monologue that I struggle to follow. He spoke loudly and with much animation, so that passers by appeared to think that I was Hitler getting a good telling off for my rather hideous behaviour!

"So, how long to Cotahuasi?" I ask, when eventually the opportunity presents itself.
"Oooh, about seven hours."
"Plus a bit more for the canyon I think."
"Hour an a half to...(a town I didn't recognise)"
"Okay, great, thanks! Too far I think, I'm bit worried about the rain."
"Oh, it won't rain today."
"Well, I assume it never rains here."
"Gets a bit windy sometimes."
"Anyway, I must go! Long way to go! Nice talking with you."
"You won't forget me, will you?"
"Doubt it, hard to find anyone with something to say. Until later."
"Hope it goes well!"

And so I turned back to Arequipa, leaving Cotahuasi Canyon for another day, another trip, another lifetime.





Riding the bulldust back to Arequipa


Who knows what came before? Or what will come later? Here and then gone. Though never really there at all. Time is unkind. This way. Or that way. Unkind is time. Those grains of wisdom slipping down, through the narrow space, until the last grain drops...but where are they? Even the hour glass lies. Bottomless. The black hole of our time. Leaving nothing behind.

I'd like to leave something behind, I think to myself as I sit looking at these rocks, maybe just a grain or two. I wonder who sat here before me, in this scorched field of boulders? I try to picture them, three of them, children with chocolate skin and eyes like black-holes. They wear woven loin clothes decorated colourfully with the same animals that they are carving into the rock, these rocks, condors, eagles, fish, pumas, camels and snakes....people too; shepherds and hunters and sad crying dancers, the moon and the sun.

The sun is pure searing heat, penetrating all corners, leaving no shade and no plants either, cream and white hot rock. I hop from rock to rock, hundreds of them, thousands maybe, brushing away sand to reveal more petroglyphs, what a place! Down below, the river runs on and on, next to a road that is not mine.

I wonder what I will leave.





The very brilliant Toro Muerto
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  #32  
Old 16 Sep 2012
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Those eagle eyed will notice that there is a big jump in proceedings from Guatemala to Peru....

This is because I'm always having problems with the formatting on horizons' hubb, so I tend to stick it on ADV, almost as bad, and more preferably of course my website.

This last install from Peru seems to look reasonable....as you will notice it is very long!

If you do enjoy this, I recommend you go to the webpage www.talesfromthesaddle.com or www.facebook.com/talesfromthesaddle

There are many, many photos on both of these pages as well as the missing articles in the blog...though if you have missed them, then you've got some catching up to do!

Enjoy....any questions, comments, please let me know!
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  #33  
Old 17 Sep 2012
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I hadn't seen this RR yet (been on the HUBB for a couple of months)...

Um. Wow.

That is all.

Ride safe Nick and if you're still out in 2014 I'll see you out there.
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  #34  
Old 17 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicola_a View Post
I hadn't seen this RR yet (been on the HUBB for a couple of months)...

Um. Wow.

That is all.

Ride safe Nick and if you're still out in 2014 I'll see you out there.

Well, it's been a while since I posted on here! Glad you like it...unless you mean "Wow...this blog is the worst thing ever"...hope not!!

Now you need to catch up on teh rest....I'd defiantely recommend at least reading Ecuador and Colombia, and maybe Darien too! If you want me to post them here, I can do that too!
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  #35  
Old 28 Sep 2012
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Have some pics, just entered Bolivia....



Had to ride the famous "Road of Death"!




And a trip to a quiet beach on Laguna Titicaca.
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  #36  
Old 28 Sep 2012
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Good stuff!!,thanks!!

Good to see a 125cc.
I had to put a different air filter on my xr125l to drive high altitude,
and change the front sprocket from 17 to 15 to be able to ride mountens.
Did you change anything on the bike?


Saludos and good luck!
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  #37  
Old 29 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anaconda moto View Post
Good stuff!!,thanks!!

Good to see a 125cc.
I had to put a different air filter on my xr125l to drive high altitude,
and change the front sprocket from 17 to 15 to be able to ride mountens.
Did you change anything on the bike?


Saludos and good luck!
I met my first traveller who was also on a 125 just a few days ago, a CG125. Good to see indeed! And there are many peopel on them too I think?

I've been looking for a smaller front sprocket but haven't had any luck finding one. Someone did offer me a smaller rear sproket! Your comment does remind me though, and there is a store just here, I'll go and ask! (But when I ent just now for some other things he said "sorry, most peopel ride the 250 here!" Doh...

I wondered actually about an air filter mod, as the standard one seems to be on it's limit and needs to be really clean to function ok, and I'm cleaning it all the time.

Do you have any details on this filter mod? Where did you find it?

I always ask in the stores, the latest answer was "just take the filter out" which I said seemed a bit stupid if it was getting dirty so regularly....! Oh well.

Usually I can just make it, if only slowly! The highest pass in S.Am is in Bolivia according to my map, just over 4900m I think it was....let's see how that goes! (Actually I just checked, my map is telling lies!)
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  #38  
Old 30 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klous-1 View Post
Have some pics, just entered Bolivia....



Had to ride the famous "Road of Death"!
Is this road closed to trucks and cars now???
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  #39  
Old 30 Sep 2012
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Hola ,thanks for your respond klous

i had go back to the bike shop 3 times before they finally had the sprocket that fitted the xr125.
It really makes the bike perfect.
Before i had to peddle along with my feet going up a steep goat trail.....
A lot more power, 10 a 15 kmph slower i think.
Its the same sprocket as the honda bross 125.

The air filter that i put on is a universal one.
Name:  airfilter.jpg
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Never had problems with dust, they sell them in a lot of those
little bike shops in almost all cities for 10 to 20 $.
This made a real difference in all situations high and low altitudes.
The engine feels happier, give it a try!
The original air-box is just chocked ,very chocked.
It will always be a 125 but this makes it a bit more fun!

I have been following your adventure also on ADVrider, and
wish you a great trip an will be following you posts

Are you still happy with the choice of bike you made?

Saludos Amigo
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Old 1 Oct 2012
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Originally Posted by nicola_a View Post
Is this road closed to trucks and cars now???
I don't think so, Nicola. I camped along it and had one truck and a handful of taxis pass by through the night/morning. As there is a new route that is all paved though no-one uses it now really except tourists and the few people who live along it.

So, it is certainly no longer the deadliest road! Just need to watch out for tourists on mtbs bouncing from rock to rock and silly sods on motorbikes! )...it is actually just a really nice route regardless of it's deadly fame!
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  #41  
Old 1 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anaconda moto View Post
Hola ,thanks for your respond klous

i had go back to the bike shop 3 times before they finally had the sprocket that fitted the xr125.
It really makes the bike perfect.
Before i had to peddle along with my feet going up a steep goat trail.....
A lot more power, 10 a 15 kmph slower i think.
Its the same sprocket as the honda bross 125.

The air filter that i put on is a universal one.
Attachment 7943
Never had problems with dust, they sell them in a lot of those
little bike shops in almost all cities for 10 to 20 $.
This made a real difference in all situations high and low altitudes.
The engine feels happier, give it a try!
The original air-box is just chocked ,very chocked.
It will always be a 125 but this makes it a bit more fun!

I have been following your adventure also on ADVrider, and
wish you a great trip an will be following you posts

Are you still happy with the choice of bike you made?

Saludos Amigo
Nice one matey! Good info!

I'll have a look for the filter whilst I'm in La Paz! Thanks! That said, I just changed the wheel bearings, chainset and front and rear brake pads so I'm kind of fed up with maintenance...! I notice my head bearings are gone (again) and the fork seals (again)!

I managed to pick up a 16 tooth sprocket....alas only one tooth smaller, but it will help....a little! as far as I know the Bros and the XR are the same....I'll check the rear sprockets when I see one in the street to see if it collaborates. I say this as when I go for parts I always say "bros" rather than eh-kuh-say-aire as it's a bit easier for my mouth in Spanish! The sprocket I have now is taken from the Honda NXR150.....which is perhaps the bike to have!

So, to answer your question about if I like the bike, I'm afraid no I'm not really happy with it. That said, I think I expect a lot more of it than I did my Yamaha...however....

The old Yamaha, which was fuel injected was a monster! I could take that thing anywhere. I could write a lot about this but to keep it simple, essentially,

-I can't take the Honda anywhere, if I think of some of the roads I did on the Yamaha and I think "There is no way the Honda would have made it up."

-Fuel economy is upto 50% worse, meaning a multitude of woes! one being fuel tank range is a dismal 350km (the Yammy was upto 650km!), I might as well have a big bike. Just think how far I could go with the Yammy with a 5litre jerry can as well!

-things seem to wear out very quickly on the Honda (though I understadn it's hard to be fair in comparing this) bearings and chains, brake pads, fork seals, (but maybe it's the road and weather conditions being harsher here than Africa....though I don't think so.). Luckily the engine seems okay, one very small oil leak only. Lots of rain early on with the Honda and I put it down to that, but good weather since makes me debate things.

-With the Yamaha I never had to think "Umm, shit I might not be able to make it back up here..." i.e. if the road became impassable ahead, or if looking for a camp-spot down a steep side-trail. In fact I had TOTAL confidence in the Yamaha (until it broke!) and I don't in the Honda.

-Working on the Yamaha engine was just a bit easier, two caps to gain access to the engine valves, side cover for the air filter. Honda means removing all my bags, and the saddle (not horrific, but still...) and the valves mean removing the tank, the engine cover and exhaust gas return pipe. To adjust the carb I have to remove it (but this is only pilot screw and so essentially unnecessary).

-No adjustment on the rear shock, and when it breaks it's expensive, the Yammys two shock actually worked pretty good for quite a long time, far from great of course, but at least they had pre-load adjustment and cheap to replace. That said, I think the Honda ride is better as it has a little more travel, but without any rear adjustment the bike has way too much sag, but this is expected of course, even on big bikes I think without shock modification.)

-tires, Honda has 19 and 17" tires which are a bit awkward to find good replacements, especially the 19" front (lots of street tires or OEM copies which are not upto much). (A Yamaha XT125 for example uses the more normal 18 and 21"....my mistake as much as anything.)

-Anything slightly uphill, from a standign start with the Honda, especially when cold, is a struggle! Add to that rough, steep and at altitude and essentially you have one really annoyed klous! Pullign away at traffic lights even in La Paz for instance! I have to be doing 20kmh before the engien realyl starts to kick in, 35kmh (in 1st!) up steep rough stuff, but even then.....it diiiiiiieeeeeessssss!

STILL....without having the yamaha side-by-side it's hard to really fair...

So, the NXR150 I mentioned, is the same chassis but with the benefit of 25cc more and most importantly it is fuel injected! I very nearly bought one of these but some dickhead told me not to buy it! I regret this decision immensely. I think that despite the other niggles this might be a good buy (so long as the fuel injection doesn't break, and that is rare). It is quite a bit more money than the regular XR mind you. It also means you have a fuel gauge rather than a reserve that gives you 8km as I have mentioned above I think in my blog.

Having said this, I met a chap on a Honda CGL125 (Brazilian), and this was even worse than mine. (Through gearing I assume).

So concludes my monologue!
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  #42  
Old 1 Oct 2012
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In case anyone is not aware, there is the,

The website

Facebook Fanpage

and, sorry Grant....
ADV Thread

On the webpage there are a glut of photos, stories, maps, FAQs and all that shenanigans.
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  #43  
Old 2 Oct 2012
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Hola Klaus,
i appreciate the time you took to answer my question!
Even if i answer wasn't the answer i wanted........(poor honda)
But i know what you meen, my wife has a suzuki gn125
and that thing goes everywhere you want( a lot) more pulling power
than the honda xr125.
But that has changed with the chance of the sprocket and air-filter.
Fuel consumption 34km per liter.
Hopefully i have more luck with the maintenance part than you had.
I know two xr125l's that have high mileage without trouble.
1 has about 100.000km and the other has about 135.000km .....(that's really a lot, not?) so there is hope!

You got really good writing skill Klous ....i keep enjoying!

Saludos
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Old 2 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anaconda moto View Post
Hola Klaus,
i appreciate the time you took to answer my question!
Even if i answer wasn't the answer i wanted........(poor honda)
But i know what you meen, my wife has a suzuki gn125
and that thing goes everywhere you want( a lot) more pulling power
than the honda xr125.
But that has changed with the chance of the sprocket and air-filter.
Fuel consumption 34km per liter.
Hopefully i have more luck with the maintenance part than you had.
I know two xr125l's that have high mileage without trouble.
1 has about 100.000km and the other has about 135.000km .....(that's really a lot, not?) so there is hope!

You got really good writing skill Klous ....i keep enjoying!

Saludos
No worries!

And thanks likewise!

Yep, that's good mileage from the XRs, hopefully mine will continue to function okay!

I did find one air filter, it was very small. I'll take another look, but I've been sick again these last days so walking to the shops is a big struggle!

Glad you like reading, any ideas or pointers, please let me know!

Thanks again!
Nick
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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Posts: 448
I think you need to buy a nice Suzuki GN125. Although mine is a little slower than your old Yamaha it should go faster than your Honda. If you ride it then you will have a considerable weight advantage over me riding and it'll go even faster. It will probably be up for sale at the end of 2013 but you would need to come to Mexico to pick it up. This means you could spend Xmas with us and make us some Yorkshire Pudding. The bike is in near new condition and is regularly washed and polished.
Good to see you are still on the dirt roads south.

Garry
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