It feels like another month has passed and very little progress is apparent, but again stuff has been happening and soon it will all fall in place. Plans have changed again …… myself and Mick are now sending our bikes by air freight not by sea. This has stretched the preparation time out by 2 months, so the pressure has backed off a lot. We were having some difficulty arranging what we considered reliable shipping via container, clearance and onward to Knoxville Tn. With very little difference in cost (220 Euros) James cargo in London will airfreight to Knoxville, clear and deliver with a timescale of 7 days. Assuming they do it was a no brainier to send via Eitlean. The return will be consolidated via sea ex Los Angeles where we can link with the boys from Route 66 and send via full container of bikes. Total cost 2800 GBP, the biggest expense we have. Peace of mind and knowing the bikes will be there is worth a lot and a few extra nights in the tent will see it covered. Simons DRZ is being kitted with a large tank and a wide seat ( Knox Enduro tn) … if you run out of fuel it’s a nuisance , running out of a rear end is much more serious .Been there and you learn to avoid bum rash at all costs .
Mick has decided and ordered his panniers, tusk aluminium so we will have a seat each! He has applied for the bike passport, awaiting the paperwork to be returned. I had considered acquiring a GPS locator / Emergancy beacon either a Spot 2 or an in reach but decided in the US a phone would be ok. Last week I met a friend who went to Africa in early December to travel for 4 weeks…. unfortunately he crashed in Botswana and was hurt quite badly. He and his companions had rented a Spot 2 in the package and said without it they were in real trouble. „Never go without one, no matter where you are going” was their advice. Probably very good advice even for America where satellite coverage is likely to much better than in parts of Africa. I have located an In reach explorer unit.
Within the next week all the pieces for the 404 will be back in the shed …… to add to the bits I have completed….. I have repiped the fuel system and threw away the dual way valve adding taps to each tank instead. Should be simpler and avoid possible air locking to the pump, the only problem I have experienced with this bike. Wheel bearings and cam chain are replaced…. going to leave the pot alone and carry a set of rings and gaskets. At worst it could blow some oil; sometimes better not to disturb. The shock / forks are serviced; tanks being painted just so we look a little smarter. There is a pile of gear to fit on the bike although we will spread the load between us…. Simon will have room and has been allocated a small pile in absentia. I purchased two packets of 10 / 15 l dry bags (30 Euro) and three army surplus bags (www.Armysurplusireland.com) for 20 Euro each … they look perfect for what I need. Giant loop make a very good 60L Grand Canyon bag, perhaps the most popular of all however I want to split into separate bags for each item as against rooting through one big bag. One bag for cooking stuff, one for tools, one for sleeping, one for tent etc. That way I can balance the load and have access to it all easily.
Lighter stuff to the rear. That’s the plan anyway and these bags save a considerable wedge of cash.
. More for the transport fund. When they leak or burst I will take the “I told you so”. They look fine.
Finally located a Cush drive rubber for the rear wheel. The wheel is an exact copy of Peterhansels YZF 990 from 1996 machined from billet. Finding the Cush proved challenging. It is from a 1996 Pegaso discontinued for many years. Not available via Aprilia or Ebay. Eventually tracked one down in Italy … not new but better than my original. There are a few types that look the same but they are not.
Tools and spares are another story for consideration. The most obvious casualty will be tubes so it stands to reason we need the tools to remove the wheels and fit tubes. Hopefully any tools will stay in the bag but we have to allow enough to carry out some repairs. It is not possible to rebuild a motor in a forest so no need to even consider that. Enough tools to replace the tubes repair crash damage and change oil / clutch / head is all that is necessary. Still quite a lot and heaviest items to carry. Adrian Lappin who competed in and finished 16 ISDE events carried only a screwdriver, small vice grip and nothing else. Preparation was always his motto. We won’t be returning to a Parc Ferme at night so my kit has a little more and it all fits neatly into a wash bag. Tool rolls are neat but only add size. Tools can be packed neater and smaller without a roll.
Time is a bit like extending the garage, you simply fill the extra space which you probably did not need in the first place. So with the extra time now available I need to try and keep to the schedule as the temptation will be to ease off and fill the 8 weeks by faffing around and then panic. Most importantly I need to test the fuel system. There are no electronics, only a diaphragm pump and as indicated it did malfunction in Africa. Reasonably sure it is sorted but not knowing the cause is frustration.