The big trip

Where have you been riding? Tell us all about your trip. Prove it with pictures! If ya didn't take pictures, it didn't happen...
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This is the place for you to post reports about your rides. Remember the mantra: "If you don't post pictures, it didn't happen".
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Mr Wazzock
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Re: The big trip

Post by Mr Wazzock » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:30 pm

Yup. :lurker:
Mike H
2016 Ural cT, in glorious terracotta
(aka Oranzhevaya Opasnost, "The Orange Peril")

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:28 pm

We spent four days at the island. It is the southern part of Lake Nicaragua. It has two volcanoes a dormant and an active one it is unique in the world. It was very quiet with very few tourists. You could really get a sense of how the reports of the trouble last year had caused the almost total collapse of the tourist industry. I would guess that it was operating at 20% of its previous rate. The restaurants and other tourist businesses were virtually empty. It was sad to see as I am sure most will not survive. It was the same in Granada a beautiful colonial city at the north end of the lake. It used to be a thriving ex-pat and tourist destination. It is striking to see how many hotels, hostels, restaurants and other tourist businesses were closed. We were there almost a week and the number of tourists we saw daily you could count on two hands. It is the street vendors who suffer most and it is very tough to have to say no to them. I sure they weren’t very high up the economic scale before and it must be even more difficult now. There was one little boy 8 or 9 at the most who we saw a few times vending was his full time job. He was so nice and polite it was a shame to think this was his life. We never met him without making sure he had at least the price of a meal. The contrast between that and “1st.” world kids wanting all the latest things makes you realize what is really important.

We left the island on a different ferry, this time with the ramp up, no wonder they charged more. It was time head to Costa Rica to meet friends. At the border we pulled up behind a BMW GS with sidecar. It was a German couple who were hoping to ride around the world. She was virtually totally paralyzed with only some movement in one arm.

They had given up their jobs and had set off to ride around the world or at least see as far as they could get. If we don’t do it now we will be to old soon was their attitude. It is not often you get a chance to meet extraordinary people like that. Funny because they didn’t see themselves at anything but normal.

We had a very pleasant border crossing with them I was with Heike while Toshi and Yvonne took care of the legalities. It was great to swop stories, discuss the cars and bikes. He had a ‘leaner’ on the ’08 GS. Unfortunately they had clutch problems in US due to the extra weight but they were able to get it sorted in about a week. Then it happened again because somebody forgot to do something so another clutch was needed. So far so good on number 2. All part of the adventure was their attitude even though it was hard on the budget.

Safely through the border we parted company. They had plans to go to a national park about 2 hours south we were stopping in Liberia. Later that night we got a text to say they were downtown at a horse festival in the plaza. They let nothing get in their way, as I said extraordinary people.

Next morning Tamarindo bound to meet Mark and Sheryl. It was a serious culture shock, a total tourist destination. We had not been anywhere like this since I don’t know when. It had a beautiful beach, the house they booked was great and we were really there to see them. We had a great time and being with them we did things we wouldn’t have if we were on our own. So not only did we survive the culture shock it was a great break from the norm. We did a sunset cruise with snorkeling , a wild life tour up a local river complete with croc’s and other animals. Mark even wedged himself into the car and we did a coastal tour. He was quite surprised at all the attention we got even though I told him what to expect. He did a fine job of waving to our public.

After they left we decided to head to San Jose and meet Sven . He is a member of Soviet Steeds a forum for the enlightened members of the public who have Urals. We also needed some parts just routine stuff like tires, filters, etc. which we had ordered at the new CR dealership.

We were 20k outside San Jose in the rain at the bottom of a long grade when the clutch gave up. Urals as you know have nasty ability to strip the inner splines on the friction plate. As the traffic started to move I released the clutch and all I get was a horrible grinding noise. I knew instantly what was wrong. I started to roll to the side and something inspired me to put it in gear and try again. The bit of momentum made all the difference with a lot of grinding Pferdi started to move. Gradually the noise died down and I got into 2nd and up the grade we continued at the stately pace of about 20 kph. Just when we thought we had a chance of making the top the traffic stopped. That was it, game over. We were stalled in the middle of the road on a good grade, in the rain, on a corner about 1.5h before darkness. The icing on the cake was no cell coverage. Not a lot we were able do except put a wedge under the back wheel and wave the cars and trucks through.

A guy on a KLR stopped and promised to call a tow truck when he got to the top. He had just left and a big truck stopped but there wasn’t much he could do. Then a flatbed tow arrived so at least we were going somewhere.

Sven our contact lives in a town north of San Jose which was our first stop. Only 2 problems we didn’t have his address and he wasn’t getting our texts and then phone died as the power cord was knackered. We sorted that out but still no Sven. Plan B was to contact the nannies and see what we could come up with. We got through right away to our first minder but unfortunately he was on vacation in New York. Another of the nannies gave us the name of a hotel in San Jose now all we had to do was get there.

This was the worst traffic we had ever seen 1.5h to do 10k, unbelievable. The hotel had good parking and rooms but the location was not exactly tip top. Don’t go outside was the advice but I think we had that figured out on our own.

Ivan (our nanny) said he would come by and bring us out for piazza and beer. That was music to our ears as it had been a bit stressful so far and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

In the morning Sven showed up and recruited one of his friends to tow the bike to his shop. Getting towed on a short rope through San Jose traffic is an experience I could have gone to my grave and never regretted missing. Obliviously we made it but not without a lot of fear on my part.

It was a royal pain to fix. Luckily I had the use of Sven's machine shop to work down here in Costa Rica. He very generously invited me to use his place and appointed himself chief mechanic. We followed the directions in the repair manual. First remove the car, then the rear wheel and drive shaft. The reason for this is that the rubber ‘universal joint’ aka the doughnut can’t be removed unless you give yourself about 2 inches of space. It connects the gearbox output shaft to the drive shaft. With the doughnut gone there’s enough space to remove the gearbox. Of course the starter, air filter, fuel injectors and a bunch other stuff has to go as well. You know how it is.

Finally we got to the clutch and luckily the allen screws holding the plates came out fairly easily. They are notorious for striping the heads and if that happens the motor has to come out. Maybe it’s because it’s a dry clutch but you would all know that better than me. In went the new plates and we decided to replace the gearbox output shaft with one Sven had as there was some wear on mine. Bad mistake; always leave well enough alone but hindsight is 20/20. The kickstart return spring would not seat right and after screwing around for a day we figured it out. It was slightly kinked and had to go, luckily Sven had one. He had just pulled his own gearbox apart, a quick swop and problem solved. Gearbox sorted.

If I had to do it again I would try to move the motor forwards in the frame. That should give enough room to remove the doughnut and then the gearbox. I hope I never have to try that theory out.

Then it came time to rebuild, what a 3 day battle it had turned out to be. Still it all got done and worked first time out. Big smiles all round. All the while, Yvonne was a Ural Widow, alone for 7 days, over 10 hours a day. Luckily Rick who divides his time between Costa Rican and North Carolina lent us his guesthouse. It was in the grounds of his large garden so she had a nice place to stroll around and commune with nature, which I think is what most people come down here for. Anyway, after all that was done, it was time to do what we’d come to San Jose to do, a fluid change and new tires. Ural tires are a pain to change, much sweat, grunting and some bad words. I wish I had a tire machine, it would reduce it from a royal pain to just a pain.

Sven had seized his bike and as payment I promised to help him. The motor had to come out and then we planned to reduce it to the component parts. It rolls off the tongue so easily. We took the ‘car off then that’s when I thought about moving the motor forward. With a bit of hassle it worked, now to reduce the motor to its individual parts but first a night’s sleep. The clutch screws stripped of course and Sven had to weld nuts to them before they gave up. Then the nut on end of the crank was seriously locked in place and Sven had no 40 mil socket. So instead off came the cylinders lots of scratches and gouges new sleeves and pistons etc. are needed.

Next up was the battle of the crank nut. With socket in hand it was time to remove the nut, not a hint of movement. We applied as much heat as we could and with the help of a 6 foot breaker bar we continued the struggle. Finally with Sven applying his full weight to the end of the bar we heard the magic crack of it breaking free. One of the best sounds we ever heard. The threads turned out to be damaged which explained all the trauma. It had taken 7 long days to get to this point and we had run out of time. Sven had a job in the US and had to leave. The workshop was locked for the last time and it was off for a well-deserved beer and shower.

As Sven headed north we left for Monteverde to see the cloud forest and do a test ride.

It had been a lot of work, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but in the end, a heck of an experience. No pain no gain. What a horrible cliché.

A huge thanks to Sven, Rick and Richard without whom we would have been completely screwed.

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Manscout
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Re: The big trip

Post by Manscout » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:52 pm

It is indeed a pain, but I am very thankful Sven was there to help you. And it saved you some big bucks I am sure; even though you have to do it yourself. By the end of this, you'll be a master mechanic Fran! I enjoy finally hearing what all happened. Say hi to Y for us.
"It goes nowhere fast, and everywhere cool".

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Mr Wazzock
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Re: The big trip

Post by Mr Wazzock » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:02 pm

Truly epic :bow:
Mike H
2016 Ural cT, in glorious terracotta
(aka Oranzhevaya Opasnost, "The Orange Peril")

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Re: The big trip

Post by cateyetech » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:09 pm

Hey Fran

Another great report :thumbsup:
Many thing are easy to say and a little harder to do :lol:
Way to go :boogie: helping Sevn with his rig :bow:
Safe travles :cheers:

:foilhead:
Charlie ╭∩╮(-_-)╭∩╮
2003 Gear-Up Ромашка Мзй
765cc - Mikuni TM33 carburetors - Modified stock airbox with Uni foam filter
2-1 exhaust - Hand worked cylinder heads - Type V ignition system
A Warn XT17 witch that works from any angle - More handmade parts than I can list :foilhead:

The only Ural to post a second gear wheelie :evil:

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Thanks DaveO, I'll try to ride it like you, I'll try :foilhead:

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Sat May 25, 2019 1:44 pm

Within 6 weeks: 5 friends, 5 bikes were gone...4 Urals and Speedy Richard's italian Enduro.
Fran, Russel, Rick and Richard are on their wheels again. My Sophie has to wait until August, but thanks to Fran and Rick, now I feel much more comfortable to get it done myself.
Secret: Do not get upset, if something doesn't want to move, something you do wrong. So analyse again and find out what is missing.

The kickstarter return spring took Fran and me a whole Sunday. To mount the crank without twisting it took Rick and me full Monday work hours with the help of David's plasma torch to build a extractor plate.
All I can say is: Stay calm and create the conditions (tools in this case) to become able to do things the right way.
HURRY WITH PATIENCE.

Best wishes Yvone and Fran.
and remember:
There is no bad that doesn't come for good.
Sven
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

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Lofty
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Re: The big trip

Post by Lofty » Sat May 25, 2019 2:01 pm

Peter Pan wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 1:44 pm
All I can say is:
Stay calm and create the conditions (tools in this case) to become able to do things the right way.
HURRY WITH PATIENCE.
Sven, I really like the spirit of your advice. :thumbsup:
Inventory:
2018 Ural Gear Up
2015 Suzuki DR650
1991 Bianchi Osprey
1952 Columbia RX-5 ('87, NOS)

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Sat May 25, 2019 2:12 pm

Thanks Lofty, for the flowers. Grandma Meta and mother in law Mima deserve them for their wisdom.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Mon May 27, 2019 4:49 pm

Better writing and pictures from "herself indoors" or "the trouble and strife". https://fyoconnor.wixsite.com/nofixedab ... honduras-2 In Panama waiting to catch the boat to Columbia on 6/4. https://www.stahlratte.de/
More news soon.

ruans187
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Re: The big trip

Post by ruans187 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:26 pm

Hi Guys,
I am kind of late to this RR, but has always considered going from FL to Mexico at least with wife and 8 year old boy in my 2015 CT.
I did read about the spline breakdown, were you stranded anywhere else besides this one?
Thanks, and great job!

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Lokiboy
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Re: The big trip

Post by Lokiboy » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:32 pm

Fran, I must have missed it, but how did you ever get up with such a great group of guys along the way?
2011 Gear Up - "Erika"
Yorktown, VA

Mains: 127, Idle: 40, Needle: 1 shim
MKIII air filter
100,000 km and counting

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:54 am

Hotflash I am working on that request. It is so much easier to be a procrastinator in the tropics and just blame the heat. I will try to post in the next few days and if not we will be out of contact from 6/26 until 7/3. It will be the next post.

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Peter Pan
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Re: The big trip

Post by Peter Pan » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:28 pm

to answer Lokibays question:
On one hand there are always guardian angels taking care for each one of us...some people are able to get the guardian angels in deed pretty bussy.
In my case Lee Snow in Death Valley 1988, Sergey Krutko in CR 2007, Mickey Sherfield in Anchorage 2013 and yesterday our friend Zeitlos Claus in Hamburg helped me out of trouble by lending a hand, time and knowledge. The guardian angels will be sent to us, when and in the form we need them. We just need to be able to recognize them.

On the other hand: As you call into the forest that way you get back the echo. Therefor the forum is an excellent place to get contact to the right people in advance. Be nice and comunicative with good manners and always you will find a helping hand in a forum or on the street.
98% of all people are way better then their image, or what you have heard about them.
Albert und Vorurteil.jpg
Political palaver bench in our town:
"It is easier to split an atom nucleus,
then a prejustice."
by Albert Einstein

Jump over fears and prejustices by getting you out off the routine and you will be surprised what comes life will bring. :clap:
Yvonne and Fran are a perfect example to follow in this aspect.
Sven
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Sophie Travelair = Patrol 2013 =>43.388km+nacked :shock: :pot:
8 weeks 12.000km Oregon-Alaska-Oregon
With a DIY foam air filter the rig runs well even in tropical rain = :moto:
Final drives: 1. at 5000km, 2. at 34.000km(+friction plates) 3. at 42.386km
transmission: 1. 40.000km. 2. installed
Engine: 1.43.388km :gahhh: Back home and under construction.

The Avatar are 2 rice grains stating life's essence:
"The most important you cannot see!"
=> Attitude makes the difference!

Fran
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Re: The big trip

Post by Fran » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:51 pm

Hotflash asked me about what mechanical issues we have had. So just from memory here it is.

We bought the bike new in Oct ’16 since then I have done all fluid changes and maintenance per schedule. I made sure to run the bike in slowly and carefully and that has paid off. Cruising speed is 80k and max is 90 when passing. We are now at 43000k’s. When we left in Sept. 17 we had 7000k’s done. The rear brake was not set up right when we bought it and the first set of rear pads lasted 3000k. It is hard to estimate brake wear as the terrain has varied so much but I’m usually pleasantly surprised at how well they last. I use EBC pads only.

The tires 7000 to 8000k’s for the rear is the best I can estimate, 15,000k and 20,000 for front and side car. I hope I don’t hex myself but no punctures so far. I swapped the original tubes for heavy duty after a puncture on the way home from work. I had no idea what a b*tch it was to get the tires off and on. After that I bought a Baja tire tool and can highly recommend it.

We have had no electrical problems so far except we are on our 3rd rear bulb, I have no clue why it likes to blow. I replaced the original battery in April ’18 it got damaged in the sub-zero temps in Louisiana and Texas.

Mechanical issues, in Sept. ’17 I replaced the original compliance tubes and have just replaced those ones last week. We lived near the sea in CA and it dried out the rubber so that accounts for the short life of the first ones.

In Dec. ’17 at approx. 15,000k the sidecar wheel had cracks and was rebuilt and the FD was replaced it was completely dry and had some wear. It was not bad but as we were crossing the border and there are no more dealers until Santiago Chile we changed it. If we had different plans and were not going south I would have smothered it in grease and continued on.

In Nov ’18 the front and sidecar wheels needed replacement again for the same problem.

The clutch was the big one so far and Sven and Rick really made that so much easier. Mechanically I surprised at how simple it was. Our only problems were burrowing our way forward from the back wheel and the usual stuck fasteners etc. So far the only problem with that was I lost the upper mounting bolt for the starting motor. That was my own fault for not checking it properly and locktiteing it. I had to bodge a repair with an ordinary bolt, what a pain to tighten it up. I used a 17 mm socket the bar from the plug spanner as an extension and the vice grips. 3 washers and an oversize nut completed the repair. It held up from Costa Rica to Medellin, when our friends came to visit us in last week they brought the proper allan bolt.

Last week the rear upper u bolt for the sidecar strut broke where the threaded section starts. A member of the Columbia whats app group volunteered to bring us to a shop here in Bogota. I was hoping to have a threaded section welded and temporally fix it that way. They couldn’t do it but referred us to a guy down the street. He made sidecars!!! He routed around in the misc. bits box and found one that fitted, that he had left over from some build. He also welded up all the cracks in the sidecar fender that I had put there hitting things along the way. When I asked the price I knew he didn’t want to charge us but I insisted. It was less than $20 we gave him more as cerveza money. 2 hours work and less than $20 everyone has been so good to us.

Our only road side problems so far have been. A clutch cable almost broke in Friday rush hour traffic in Mazatlan. A very interesting ride with only 2 strands left and a couple of miles to go. I have to admit I might have broken a few rules that time. Is it really illegal to ride a Ural on the sidewalk?

We lost a rocker head gasket near Tehuacan but the upside of that was one of the cops who stopped to sure we were all right was young and very good looking according to herself indoors. For me the bright side was I had a spare gasket. It got replaced in 30 mins. too short a time for herself.

The last roadside problem was the throttle cable got hung up under the gas tank. That was not fun to fix, I had to grease my arm with shampoo to reach in far enough to unsnag it. Luckily we were at the top of a hill near the house in Puriscal and were able to coast home. Good thing too as I don’t normally carry shampoo on short trips.

I think that covers it. In general Pferdi has been very reliable but I treat it as an old bike. It is a 1930’s design after all, low speed and short days 150 to 250k’s a day is normal. That and the slow and gentle running in I like to think has really helped.

Things I would like to change on the bike. Add a second disc up front and a larger brake fluid reservoir. On dirt roads I find the fluid can get frothy and you lose all brake pressure. With all our weight and some of the grades here it is too easy to boil the fluid. A 5th gear with closer ratios would be a huge step forward. The spare wheel is just extra weight IMO. Yvonne wants a better contoured and more supportive seat back. A better headlight with a brighter and a more focused light pattern. This one is a bit Prince of Darkness like.

I hope that answer all the questions for the gear heads.

hotflash44
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Re: The big trip

Post by hotflash44 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:56 pm

thanks boy that's quite a write up, I agree considering all the traveling, your 2016 GU is doing well. any thoughts what you will do with Pferdi when you get home. hope you wont just cast him away, maybe park in the man cave as a conversation piece. anyway thanks for remembering my question safe travels,Hotflash. :bow: :D
2016 gear up asphalt grey, name Seryy Medved ,Air America CIA circa 1967/8 Vung Tau Viet Nam USS Tutuila ARG-4 (AND JUST A TOUCH OF AGENT ORANGE!)

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