Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Observations about the new farkles

Emi, my DR650, sure looks nice with all the new farkles (functional items that sparkle).
The Richochet skid plate hasn't been put to use, but should provide good protection for the engine. Likewise for the Procycle engine armor. The Procycle low and wide footpegs are nice. Having them fixed to the frame without bushings provides a more connected feeling. The lower hight means more leg room for me when seated. Also the lower hight translates to a lower center of gravity and enhanced manuverability when standing.
The Pat Walsh rear rack seems functional, durable and adds little weight. Also, it did not require me to relocate the indicator lights or grab handles. The Tail light kit looks clean. I think that the lower profile will result in a lower probability that it will get damaged.
The Seat Concepts seat is simply awesome. The interior foam appears to be memory foam and is really comfy. I did a test ride of 200 miles and could have riden more. Literally this will save my a**.
The Fly tapered handlebar is wider and higher by about 1 and 1/2 inches translating to better control and greater comfort. The Protaper clamps raise the bars perhaps an additional 1/4 inch. When installing the clamps I had to use the stock bolts because the new bolts would not easily fit into the fork bushings.
The Moose handguards should allow me to keep all of my digits in tack. I think they look clean. The Procycle throttle tube is suppose to improve throttle response, but honestly I cannot tell the difference. The Protaper grips do the job, but are nothing special. The BikeMaster folding bar end mirrors are great. They extend my rear view and are slightly convex which allows me to see a wider angle. I'll fold them away when things get dodgie. The Crampbuster cruise assist should make long distance cruising a liitle bit less fatiguing.

In total it probably took me around 12 hours to install everything.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with all the modifications. What do y'all think?

Saturday Night and the Bar

This past Saturday I decided to give Emi another gift... lets say a little bling! Something nice and shiny that would make her stand out in the crowd.
It was time to mount the new bar setup. The specific items would include a Fly tapered handlebar, Protaper clamps, Moose handguards, Bikemaster folding bar end mirrors, Procycle aluminum quick throttle tube, Protaper hand grips and Crampbuster cruise assist.
For most of the afternoon I worked on removing the stock parts and adding the new parts. It progressed slowly. My friends Dave and Matt dropped by and lended a hand. I had most of it figured out and mocked up by 6pm. But I was getting tired and hungry so I decided to take a break. Well one thing led to another and I decided to leave the rest of the assembly for the next day.

Later that evening, or should I say early the next morning. I stood looking at the unfinished project. It was 1am. Emi just didn't look like her normal self.

So I mustered the energy and restarted the assembly. Things went smoothly but slowly. A little drilling here, a little twisting there, a little wrenching everywhere. It was 3am by the time I finished. But Emi was sparkling. I was feeling good. And it was a good night. Here's a few pics...
Emi with her new bar setup. The bar, clamps, handguards, mirrors, throttle tube, grips and cruise assist.
A close up view.

Friday, August 26, 2011

More Shots

It's been about a month since my first round of immunizations. It was time to go back for more. The first round of shots included hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. The second round was to include the second series of hepatitis A and hepatitis B. For South America the CDC recommends typhoid and yellow fever. I didn't get those two shots the first round because of the out of pocket cost. But now I'm thinking that it will be a small price to pay in the big scheme of things. I had set aside some money in my health spending account. It's use it or loose it money, so it was the right time to used it.

So... off the RediClinic again.

At the clinic I ordered up the second series of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and yellow fever. The nurse told me that in order to get the typhoid and yellow fever shots, they required that I receive a travelers vaccination consultation at a cost of $75. Hmmm... I didn't really think that it was necessary because I had already done the research on the CDC website to determine which vaccines I needed. However, I relinquished because I needed the shots.

So inside the consultation room we went. The PA asked me which countries that I would be visiting. I told her. She gave me that look that I've been getting quite a bit lately. The look with the raised eyebrow mixed with a bit of skepticism, that soon melts away into a smile. I watched as the PA pulled up the CDC website and proceeded to search for the recommened shots for South America. She ended up recommending the shots that I had already researched and requested. Yep, I'll take 'em all. The nurse lined them up then proceeded to poke me one after another. This time I barely noticed the needles sliding into my arm and the vaccine entering. Either the nurse was really good, the needles were thinner or I'm toughening up. Let's hope that it's the last.

During my first visit I thought about getting a rabies shot. I've decided to forgo it all together. As long as I don't come across a rabid dog and get bit I should be good.

So now I'm done with my shots!
Here's the proof... My International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as approved by the World Health Organization.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Test Ride with Emi

After installing some of the new accessories, I took Emi out for a spin.

The first thing that I noticed during the ride was that the Seat Concepts seat was really comfortable. The seat is wider, softer and grippier. Hmmm... is grippier is a word? The seat is narrow at the front, but widens toward the back. The additional width simply adds more surface area on which to sit. This will make traveling over long distances much more comfortable. I believe that the foam used in the interior is similar to the soft memory foam that is used in tempurpedic beds. It seems to conform to my rear end nicely when I'm sitting on it, but then it regains it's shape when I get off. I'll have to see how comfortable it is to sleep on. Also it does seem to reduce quite a bit of the bike's vibration. The material of the outer cover of the seat is made with kevlar sides and a gripper top. I wasn't sure if I'd like the gripper top, but it is nice. It provides a more connected feeling to the bike, and thus the ground.

When I first started riding a bike I would steer with the handlebars. As I accumulated more experience I learned to steer when seated by shifting my body and weight by leaning from side to side. Or when standing, by shifting my weight on my footpegs from side to side. It will be interesting to see if I can now actually steer with my rear end by moving it right and left. It sure feels like it.

The other mods that I've made include the air filter, tail light, tail rack, side armor, skid plate and the low and wide foot pegs. Most of these mods are functional protective measures to reduce possible damage to the frame and engine.

However, the addition of the low and wide foot pegs adds comfort and control. When seated the lower foot pegs will give me about an inch and a half of additonal leg space. When standing it will give me an additional inch and a half of space which will allow me to stand more upright, instead of hunching over the handle bars. The additional width of the foot pegs will provide me a larger platform on which to stand. This translates into a better ability to stear with my footpegs. This is huge!

Some may wonder why I talk about standing up while riding my bike. When riding on the street I generally do not stand. But when riding on dirt, it is often easier and safer to stand. When seated my center of gravity is on my seat. When standing all my weight is on my pegs and my center of gravity actually moves down to my foot pegs. A lower center of gravity usually translates to an increased ability to turn. Also, when standing and riding in dirt the rear end of the bike can slide side to side and bounce up and down a little easier. This allows the brunt of the movement to be absorbed by the suspension instead of my body. Thus, greater comfort and control. Huge!

I still need to add the new handle bars and handguards. I'm hoping that it will improve the overall feel and handling. I think that it will also change the look of the bike a bit.

I think Emi likes her new accessories. I do.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Modifications to the Suzuki DR650...Christmas in Summer

I must have been a good boy this year. It looks like Santa Clause came early and left me some gifts in the middle of summer! The gifts did not have a little red bow on top, but never-the-less I was glad to see the boxes.
I brought the boxes inside and began to unwrap them. Here's what I found inside.
A Seats Concepts dual sport seat...
A Pat Walsh Designs rear cargo rack...
Protaper wide bar mounts, ProCycle bar extenders, Fly Racing tapered bar, Moose Racing quick turn throttle, Suzuki spare brake and clutch levers, BikeMaster bar end mirrors, Moose Racing handguards...
Ricochet skid plate, ProCycle engine armor, Tokai Designs rear light kit...
Motion Pro oil filter magnet, ProCycle fuel filters, TwinAir reusable air filter, BikeMaster magnetic oil drain plug, HiFlo oil filters, NGK spark plugs, Uni Filter crankcase filter...
ProCycle wide and low foot pegs and...
an Arai XD3 dual sport helmet.

I must have been a very good boy this year!

Family Time

Last weekend I took a little trip to California to visit my sister's family. That's when it was confirmed to me that traveling by airplane is just not as much fun as traveling by motorcycle.

Irregardless, I had a great time visiting my sis. We took a little day trip to the Rogue et Noir cheese factory, stocked up on some cheese, then did a little picnic'in. After, we went for a little hike at the Point Reyes National Seashore Park.
To end the day, we went to the Berkeley area and ate at The Ethiopia Restaurant. I had never eaten Ethiopian food before, but it was really good. It was a little like Indian food, but less spicy and more savory. I suppose that if your restaurant's food is really good you can claim that your the restaurant for your home country. It works for me.

The next day my cousin and her kids came to visit. We went for a little day trip to Happy Hollow Park.

Now that is what I call an adventure. Check it out if you're in the San Jose area. We did a little more picnic'in.

Then it was back to Austin. Just a little family time before I leave on my trip.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Traveling by airplane

Traveling by airplane is just not as adventurous...
Nor exciting...
As traveling by motorcycle.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hot Shots

In preparation for my trip I decided to get some immunizations. I found the CDC website useful in determining what immunizations I might need for South America. My friend Dave took a trip to Bolivia earlier in the year and he recommended that I get my shots at a RediClinic.
RediClinic facilities offer a walk-in basis alternative to a doctors office or emergency room visit for patients seeking help with common medical conditions such as colds, throat infections and minor ailments. But they also provide preventive care services such as health screenings, physical exams and immunizations.

So I dropped in and brought with me a long list of immunizations...
Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio, Meningitis, Japanese. B Encephalitis, Diphtheria and Rabies.
After talking with the Physician Assistant I decided to only get Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus and Diphtheria. I wanted to get Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Rabies, but Yellow Fever and Typhoid was going to be an out of pocket expense of $200. And the PA said that Rabies wasn't necessary. Hmmm...I'll have to check with my insurance company to see if they'll pick these up. I also had blood drawn to run some basic test.
The nurse chose her weapons and went to work.
Left arm - Blood drawn
Left Shoulder - Tetanus/Diphtheria

Right Shoulder - HepA and HepB

Just a few pricks here and there. No tears. All in all it was a quick and easy visit. I still want to go back for more... the Yellow Fever and Rabies.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Adventure Begins

Welcome to my website. The Adventure Begins is a website  about my passion for adventure, travel, backpacking, photography, fishing and motorcycling. I plan to post commentaries, articles, photos, audio podcast and videos. I'm a little new to blogging so please be patient with me. Hopefully you'll find something of interest... curious, funny, informative and maybe even insightful. If you like what you see please consider subscribing to the website, my Facebook and my YouTube sites. Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Visit often, it is always more fun traveling with good company.


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