Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Choosing an Adventure Motorcycle… Something To Consider


Reliability is something to consider when choosing an adventure motorcycle for your big trip. It was major factor in why I chose to ride a Suzuki DR650 for my big trip through Latin America. Rather than wrenching, I wanted to spend more time riding, exploring and seeing the sights.

Consumer Reports released their results of the most reliable motorcycles by brand. They surveyed over 11,000 consumers. Here is a summary of their findings.

BrandPercent failed
Yamaha/Star11%
Suzuki12
Honda12
Kawasaki15
Victory17
Harley-Davidson26
Triumph29
Ducati33
BMW40
Can-Am42

For the full story follow the link… Who Makes The Most Reliable Motorcycle?


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New VW California T6 Campervan

The latest version of the iconic campervan has debuted in Europe as the Volkswagen California T6. 
 The campervan has a pop top roof tent. 
New body with rounder edges and more chrome. 
Luxury interior driver cabin, navigation system, driver warning assist system.
Front seats swivel for versatility. 
Rear bench seat and front swivel seats create a nice lounge area.
Kitchen with refrigerator, two burner stove and sink. 
Rear bench seat folds flat to create a bed
Think of the possible adventures.

Unfortunately, at this time it is only available in Europe. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bayamo

From La Demajagua I rode to the town of Manzanillo then caught a bus to Bayamo. 
After checking out a few casas I chose the casa of Ana Marti Vasquez located at Calle Cespedes No. 4. The casa was conveniently located steps from the Cathedral and Plaza Marti.
When I first entered the room I thought that I was entering a honeymoon suite because it was decorated primarily in pink with lots of crystal accents. The owner was so nice that I overlooked my initial impression. 
The bathroom was clean and the shower was perhaps the best that I had experienced in all of Cuba. The shower head was an overhead rain shower head which I love. 
I walked around a bit and found this restaurant about two block away. Restaurante Manegua seemed a bit more formal than most restaurants, but their prices were reasonable and fit within my budget.
I ordered a pork steak filet, rice with beans and a salad.
I tried my first Cuban cerveza called Tinima. After tasting this beer my recommendation would be to stick to drinking rum while in Cuba.
The next morning the assistant of the casa told me that there was place near the main shopping street where one could find a hamburger for 2 pesos (8 cents). I had to check it out. Once I found the cafe I noticed that there was a line outside the door and every table inside was occupied. I thought that the hamburgers must be pretty good. I had to wait about 15 minutes just to get inside. Once inside and seated I waited another 15 minutes to place my order. After perhaps 15 minutes more my hamburger arrived. It was terrible. It was pretty much a meat patty on a piece of bread. The bread was dry. The meat was chewy. Well, at least I know what an 8 cent burger taste like.
I was around the central area. There was a heroic looking statue of Carlos Cespedes at one end of the park. This statue faced the house he used to live in which stood at the opposite end of the park.
Also at the other end of the park there was this statue of Peruchu Figueredo who wrote the national hymn of Cuba.
This is the historic home of Cespedes which is now a museum.
On the inside was some original period furniture which belonged to the family. 
A large kitchen facing an open patio.
A small interior patio. 
The Cuba flag alongside the Cespedes flag. 
A bell from La Demajagua.
A fountain pen and ink well perhaps used to pen his famous manifesto.
At one corner of the park there was a street closed for only foot traffic which contained a number of shops and restaurants.
I spotted this optometry shop. They actually had some pretty current designs of eyewear, but the selection was limited to about ten designs.
A store selling shoes. 
Soap and toothpaste were on display.
As evening approached I tought that the park might come alive because it was a beautiful park and very centrally located. But not many people were actually strolling around the park. I later learned that Bayamo is a pretty laid back town. By 10pm most people are at home and asleep.
I decided to check out the Cine Cespedes (Cinema). There was actually one cinema in front of the central park and another little video cinema a few hundred feet away. I always seem to enjoy towns with cinemas.
I happened to catch the premiere screening of a Cuban film called Valores. No red carpet or movie stars at this premiere, but there was this cool little band that played a few tunes before they screened the film. The film was about the adventures of three hair stylists who venture out on the town in Havana. I enjoyed picking up a few nuances about the cultural life of Habaneras, but I felt that the pace and some of sequences dragged. It was still worth the price of admission of 2 pesos (8 cents).
The next day I ventured out early and tried a croquette for breakfast. It is typically some meat or filling deep friend and served in a bun.
I happened to pass by the bar dedicated to the Beattles.
The attendant let me look inside and mentioned that at night there was a Beattles cover band that would play and also some Karaoke. I smelled a tourist trap so I decided right then that I would not be carooning to "Imagine" later on in the evening.
I stuck my head into to this local art gallery.
In almost every city I visited the was a local art gallery that displayed local artist work. I did not find any of it all that interesting or overly striking. It just seemed like much of the art I saw was thematic and not very original.
Ok, well this end of the outdoor shopping area had some original street art.
I came across this nook where there were a few food venders. The locals seemed to be standing in line for some nice fresh bread.
The tourist were standing in line for some ice cream cones.
I joined the line with the tourist and enjoyed this almond flavored ice cream cone for 2 pesos (8 cents).
There was a somewhat large line standing outside this storefront. I don't like to shop, but I sometimes like to walk through grocery or shopping stores just to see what local people buy.
This store was like a mini department store in that it had many smaller stores inside the one large store. Displayed here was some clothing.
Some bath products.
Some hardware products.
The cathedral was located at one corner of the central plaza. I've noticed that often in Cuba that the cathedrals are not one of the primary features of the central plaza, but are often off in a corner or even on a different street. I found this to be a contrast with many Latin American cities in which the cathedral is front and central on the main plaza. I don't know why.
This particular afternoon it began to rain. An attendent of the park quickly took down the flag. Two little kids stood by and watched in amazement. It was one of those times that I wished that I was carrying my good camera with a zoom lens to capture the moment. The expression on the little boys face was priceless. 
Parked under an awning to protect it from the rain was this awesome handbuilt tricycle. If you looked closely you could see that every part of the tricycle was hand fabricated. I thought that it was awesome.
Since in was pouring rain all afternoon I decided to seek indoor entertainment. I mentioned that there was a normal cinema located off the park. There was also this video cinema near by. I did not fully understand how it worked, but I found out. There was a listing of films and time posted outside the cinema. I paid my 2 pesos for my ticket. I was then shown through a door. Inside there was a small room with maybe 25 seats, a window air conditioner, a tv and DVD player. The film was a US film called John  Wick staring Keanu Reeves. I has not seen the film but I think that it came out perhaps a year ago. So the video cinema basically played DVDs of semi recent releases and foreign films.

The experience was paculuiar because some people showed up late and others left early. I was wondering if all of the patrons, all five of us, were really just trying to find an activity to avoid the rain.