Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Photos Only Today - New Report Coming soon

Photos only today

This what Andi saw when he woke up this morning

The truth is the owl was sitting on a tree...

Then there was salmon in the river...

and more...

back to yesterday, met Neville in Nakusp, photo for Griff

Can't believe meet these guys from Ausi, same bike, almost same set up as us

Walk up to an old mine this afternoon and some more photos...

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Kalispell And The Whining Post

The sole reason to come 150 miles north from Missoula was to get Hobbit and Chiwi sorted out hopefully once and for all, 3rd gear was groaning badly in my bike and had been getting progressively worse from 5000 miles until Lelends took it apart at 11000 miles.

This is an image of a 3 month old DR650 

On pulling down Hobbit they found 3rd to be bad .... blue from excess heat bad with hardening coming off (what a surprise), two set of cases were supposed to have been sent to fix the oversized countershaft seal hole however only one lot turned up with some confusion with Suzuki that Ellens bike had been fixed??? .

New cases with number put back on

3rd gear, turned blue from heat, suspect from the hardening coming off and creating drag.

With 3 months to spend in the USA before our B2 VISA’s expire we have now used 3 weeks of this getting the F%&^$n Suzukis sorted out and we are not there yet, we have a good long time for our trip however our US bought bikes are now stuffing our US based trip, bearing in mind it cost us $3500 NZD with flights, application fees, interviews, time of work etc to get these so essentially it has already cost us over $583.33(approx) a month just to see the place before we had even set foot here.

So this is the whining report of broken bikes and way behind on looking at what we want to look at, we may consider extending our VISA’s providing they don’t royally rip us if we can so we can at least see the US instead of Suzuki dealerships.

Suzuki, you have a known problem, sort it out as you have now cost us a lot of time and money which we are less than impressed with, this will prevent other RTWers doing a Suzuki Shop Tour like we have been forced to do.

Lelands Suzuki, the non whining part, these guys are simply great to deal with and really pulled out the stops for us as best they could with red tape removal and getting stuff sorted but they too are jammed in the middle, these guys are our saving grace.

We can’t complain really as the weather has been fine and we went to Glacier park again (but should have been west and back beyond Yellowstone by now!!!) but we will, sometimes you get a shit build up and now we are at that point where prematures failures are causing us time and monetary issues and being on a budget the last thing we need is unwanted, unneeded, unnecessary failures that beat our budget up as that means something else has to give!!!!!

On brighter note Ellens riding is coming on well, we are as at writing our whinge report in a Walmart Carpark and Ellen is practicing her U turns, stops, starts etc which is cool.

Not long now and we may even be back on the road and be able to put the practice to pleasure.

New Note To Add

Today is Friday the 24th August, Lelands rang and told us that they needed a part that only a New Jersey Dealer had so it won’t be here until Saturday afternoon at best.

They wanted Ellens bike in so they can start that and make some progress, we took it in which left us stranded for wheels so they kindly lent us a DL1000 so we are leaving the country and heading back to Canada for a few days so we don’t waste any more time.

The camping ground that we have been staying at White Birch the owner Larry has been outstanding to say the least, very friendly and accommodating and he is even looking after our gear while we are reduced back to one loner bike, Larry your support in a time where things got tight for us was mint and we really appreciate it.

Bye bye USA hello Canada ...we are BACK!!!!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Missoula To Kalispell

Monday August 13th 2012

Lance takes my bike to work to check the balance of the front wheel, he didn’t even make 100 metres and Hobbit spat the countershaft seal out, same problems as Ellens bike Chiwi.

I had previously written to Suzuki asking if there was a bad batch of cases on the later 11’s and early 12’s but they had not replied.

Both bikes are only 3 months old, my has 11200 miles and Ellens had 8000 miles on it, 99% road use.

All warrantee work is at the dealership and it is on us to get the bike to the dealership despite it being a Suzuki problem, this has cost us dearly now with excessive amounts (10 Litres) of oil be poured through the engines only to have it all spat out on the road.

After a while I have started to not see the funny side of this and I am quietly getting angrier at Suzuki for not owning up earlier, being RTW bikers it adds an extra time, expense and energy just to get the bike to the shop which I don’t believe they appreciate.

We do expect some bits and pieces but come on Suzuki you are fast destroying a reliable reputation here and it is getting to test our patience especially when it hits us in the wallet for new machinery.

Friday 17th at 5.30 pm we left Lances place after getting some positive info from Lelands in Kalispell.

We decide to take the back roads north so headed on out through Plains and Hot Springs, we did make a navigational fopar so carried on through to Elmo where we found the camp ground for the night, tent spaces were full and we were offered a catamaran to sleep in, how cool is that!!!

Now we have accommodation for Two Floaty Kiwis, the sound of the water tapping gently against the hull was very nice, this was a first for us sleeping in a cat so it was coul.

The following morning we were treated to the very generous offer from Les of a hoon on a jet ski and to take Kayaks out as well to enjoy the sunny day, we duly accepted both and had a blast, first Ellen and I went out then I went out for a one up hoon doing hamilton turns etc ........well cool.

We then went out on the kayaks with Les and his sister Crystal, we enjoyed a great chat and paddle around the lake edge while taking in spectacular views of the surroundings.

Eventually we left to head up to Kalispell just prior lunchtime to find out the bike parts fate.

Clocking in to Leland Suzuki in Kalispell on Saturday18th after waiting most of the week in Missoula, Lelands advised that “most” of the parts where available bar a couple of bearings.

So being forever positive and looking to turn baddies to goodies we set too and decided to explore some more around Kalispell and make the most of all the time staying within a stones throw in case either bike let go again .... kinda like diarrhea and not leaving far from the toilet.  

A decision was made to go to Lake Koocanusa via Marian through the Pleasant Valley, this turned out to be quite an adventurous road in itself.

We didn’t make it to the lake as we stopped off at a small river and met some local hooligans who invited us in for a swim and the camping was free so that was mint and fitted our budget perfectly.

If you think this looks like a Chinese Laundromat that is because it is!! 

After setting up camp we piled into the river for a swim and sat in the sun, outstanding!!, on conclusion of the playing we were invited over to join them for home made burgers, I tell ya that had so much more appeal than the rice we were cooking.

A fire was lit, drinks were poured and general shite was talked around the fire until we all went to bed, Shawn who was one of the lads was a bit crook after being attacked in broad daylight by Tequila....he had bottle flu in the morning.

Saying goodbyes after a monster breakfast of leftovers we did a loop of the lake and headed to Libby then over to Bull Lake to make camp for the night, stunning place, warm water so swimming was on the agenda.

Nec morning the large Cedars were calling us to have a look, these monsters were 500 years old and 2 -3 metres girth and beautiful but size does matter fellas, we have trees 2500 years old and 14 metres girth

You can take a million photos in here, beautiful place.

Gettng back to camp we packed up and headed south and back around to Polson to catch up with Maren and Rocky, we ended up staying the night before escaping at 7.30am in the morning to Kalispell to Lelands Honda and Suzuki.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Glacier Park To Polson To Missoula

Leaving Glacier Park the weather continued to be very hot and great training for Central America.

The mission was to find a camp site that was suitable for tenting as everything we had seen was set up for RV’s with tarseal where you wonna put the tent up, everything else was on a hill or angle.

Devils Creek turned out to be the winner, although fairly close to the road we managed to get in behind a bank and trees to knock out the noise. Neat place with a creek so it was time to give the shirts a swim and dry.

During the evening we went to the local bar/cafe/pub and jumped on their Wifi to organise the next round of our trip and to see where we wonna go, with no idea of what was coming up we contacted shezonit from Polson from the ADV tent site thread as she had good offerings with local information.

Next morning we continued our way around the bottom of Glacier park, and started making our way to Polson not knowing if we had a reply or not, on arrival at Polson it was into McDees for a cold coffee and Wifi, shezonit (Maren) replied saying sweet so a quick phone call and we were sorted.

Maren had spare space for us which was cool and given she had been to Mexico a few times had some great information for us, while we were in town getting supplies she called Rocky so he could come over and see our bikes, well the small world thing happened again, just so happened we had bumped into Rocky and his riding buddies in Smithers in Canada, we had lunch in the car park with them.

Needless to say soon as he saw our bike he said I know these guys!!!!

On our return Maren told us that we were meeting someone who we had already met, classic!!!

Pizza from a local restaurant was on for tea along with discussions on travel and places to go. The following day was a local custom car show, there was some really beautifully done cars some with some serious coin poured into them.

48 Cadillac

A custom something

Groovy Rat Rod

Beautiful T Bird

And most importantly the bikes!!!

There are many more images of cars if you want to see them go here

Ellens famous Sushi was made for tea after a big day looking at hot cars, again the map came out and with the ADV infosystem in full flight we drew lines all over our map for places to go, things to see, an indicative idea of where to go after telling them what we were into.

The following morning after a leisurely pack up we rode back up to Bigfork and round Swan lake heading to Missoula.

Lance from ADV lives in Missoula, he was keen to meet us and put us up etc, Lance is a good friend of Geoff & Gus from Australia who are soon to be setting off for South America as well so we will meet them there, looking forward to that as Geoff has been a great source of information and a tech head on IT stuff helping with our web site set up etc.

Upon arriving in Missoula we found our the demolition derby was on ... saweet !!

Sub Trip Within The Trip 

Ellen got lost in Missoula

Left Polson, we headed to Missoula, to meet Geoff’s friend Lance.

If we took road 93 from Polson, there is only about 125k to Missoula. But Rocky said it is very boring. He suggested us to take the road back to Big Fork then going through a forest road, that is much batter.

We took this long way round, only 100k more and happened to see more forest fire again.

It didn’t take too long to find Lance’s flat thanks to GPS for once. He showed us our accommodation - Pink Lady, what a cool van. Lance is flatting with three girls, they are all very welcoming and I felt back to my old university time, flatting is great!

Then Lance asked what we want to do for that evening. Go swimming in the Clark Fork river or a demolition derby event?.

For me, I voted for swimming any time, they boys, of course, going to the car thing. Well, lets just lose each other for a while, do our own things.

Andi asked me if I want to take the GPS or Cell phone, I said no just in case someone steals it. I think I can find home (I call all the places we are staying home now) no problem, just a few blocks away from the river....what can possibly go wrong!!

Lance and Andi dropped me off at the river bank -- it’s in the middle of town, a concert is on for the night in the park which is right beside the river. I went down to the river - there were lots of people floating down stream on their rubber tubes, a natural water fall just under a big bridge which connects North to South.

I jumped into the big river to cool myself down, it has been more then 30 degrees, and the cool water just felt so nice. When I decided I had enough, it was nearly 7pm.

I thought I was walking to the right direction. After 3 set of traffic lights, still can’t find a over bridge which was a landmark I remembered. I walked back to the river, the concert is on and the park is packed. I tried another direction, after 100m, I decided to get back to where I started -- I got totally lost now.

What can I do now? I went back to the park, found a security guard, told him I got lost. He asked me: “Do you remember the street name?”
“Nope, but I know it’s not too far from here.”
“But how can I help you if you can’t tell me where do you want to go?”
“I have a phone number (I hope it’s the right one), if I can borrow your phone to ring my husband.”
“No problem.”
He dialed the number for me, but it’s an answer phone. I left a message - hope it was our phone and said I got lost, if he can come and pick me up on the way back.

It was too uncertain, firstly, I didn’t know it was our phone; second, I didn’t know if Andi took the phone with him; thirdly, if he did come to pick me up, I didn’t know when.

With some quick thinking, I remembered at Lance’s flat, we checked “spot” on our website see if it worked. If I can get on line I can locate Lance’s address, and if I can find a local map, the problem would be solved.

I asked around where can I get a local map, a gas station cross the river might have one. It took me a few minutes to get over there, I got the map. Now I need internet. It was nearly 8pm, Sunday night, all shops were shut. I found a Mexican restaurant, ask the owner if he can help me. He had an iphone, pretty small, however we managed to get the street address. It was on the corner of two street, which was exactly how I remembered. I had my map marked and off I went.

First, I needed to cross the bridge again. I thought it was a bit odd. I was sure we didn’t cross the bridge to get there. Maybe Lance’s took a shortcut. Anyhow, I had to trust the spot. I walked along the street, nothing looked familiar, it might be a different route. I walked and walked and walked, nearly a hour later, finally get to the point which marked on my map. The house is not there! On contrast, it looked like a big park with loud speakers telling people about the race. I was near the park where the car race took place! Andi must have taken the spot with him, and the last location is the car park.

What can I do now? It’s nearly dark, and I hadn’t had any food since Polson. I went into a transport company asked if they have computer for me to check my email. I knew Lance sent us his phone number earlier, at least I can call him. “No” they said, “ Maybe the shop two blocks away has it.” I was a little bit disappointed, but still there was hope.

I started to walk, all of a sudden out the corner of my eye Hobbit and Lance’s KLR sitting in the parking lot right in front of me. They are still here! I wrote a note and put it into Andi’s helmet: “I’m looking for you in the field, don’t leave without ME!”

As I was walking to the park, the event has finished. I saw Lance and Andi were walking towards me. It took Lance a few seconds to recognize me: “How did you find us?” “Thanks for Spot.”

It was such a relief seeing them.

Back To Missoula

My front wheel was feeling slightly out of balance so Lance took my bike to his work to check it, that is when the next level of disappointment started.

Per Ellens bike Hobbit threw his countershaft seal out only 100 metres from Lances house, he did not know until he got to work and he left a Hansel and Gretel oil trail for 2 miles to his work.

More calls to Suzuki and the local shop in Missoula, the local shop in Missoula being very disinterested and pretty unhelpful .... great!!!!

A couple of calls later to Leland Suzuki and these guys were on it and organizing things, I also discussed my 3rd gear which is whining pretty badly and our chain guards that had broken in half.

Not having a great start really for the want of buying a reliable DR!!, please Suzuki give us a sporting chance!!

Lance kindly lent us his workshop to do a temporary seal repair, this involved a large cleanup, clean the seal and surfaces, glue the seal back in and peen the case edges to stop the seal from bailing out again.

On the social side of things it gave us a sporting chance to take in Missoula, we took a trip to Weer Hots Springs which were VERY hot, watched the huge forest fire blazing on the back.

Tubing!!!! ... in truck tubes down the Clark Fork River, great fun and neat views, did get a bit cold at the end as sun fell but no one died so that was ok.

Ever wondered what a rail bridge looks like from underneath while floating past on a borrowed truck tube with a lima a rita in your hand, a wet arse and a train racing overhead... well ... now you do!! 

Our great hosts Lance and Erin

That concluded Missoula and we said our good byes to Lance and Erin, next installment hopefully good news on the bikes.