I entered New York State on Friday, April 17. Arrived in Toronto the next day. North American route is over. Along with it, some other things also came to an end. I now know that I'm leaving this continent and riding back home is not a plausible option anymore. The luxuries and conveniences of being in this side of the world are going to fade away slowly. One specific characteristic of this journey is that it began from Los Angeles, a city that symbolizes the ultimate edge of western civilization. As I move forward, this system of values and everything that comes with it, will slowly degrade to the point of becoming unrecognizable, meaningless. This is neither something to look forward to, nor to complain about. It's just something to go through and be aware of. Two weeks into the trip and I'm already losing some conveniences that were a part of my life ...Read More

I'm beginning to get mileage anxiety. I will need to be in Toronto in 10 days due to shipping arrangements. The weather is not at its best. Surely, we are not in California anymore... The more we approach the northern inland states, the colder it's getting... I can't imagine what it will be like in Chicago or Toronto. Today, I did some of the best riding I've ever done so far. Wrapped in our warmest layers of clothing, we crossed the indian reservation between Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. There are strong winds all around the place. On a bike, you need to arrange your lean angle correctly. At one point, I found myself trying to read the geography ahead to judge the direction and strength of the wind i was about to face. It felt very 'real'. [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" ids="1266,1265,1264,1263,1262,1261,1260,1259,1258,1257,1256,1255,1254,1253,1252"] Read More

When I arrive at a campspot, I look for a fireplace. Fire is like a piece of old furniture at your home. It's a familiar element that doesn't change, wherever you go. It behaves and looks a certain way. Once you have it going, and the daylight goes away, all you see is the fire and each others faces. Darkness becomes like a wall around it. And you arrive at the same place, same site everywhere, every night. Camping gives me time after a days ride. Time to absorb everything I had seen thru the day, remembering the day, relocating everything I collected on the road. And fire brings that necessary silence. Most of us can't stand silence. It feels wrong. We break it with words and meanings. But fire utters just enough to keep us listening. It eases us to silence. After a night like this, one has very little left ...Read More

In the process of upgrading my front shock springs with progressive ones, I realised that the inner tubes are badly scratched. Under heavy load and bad road surfaces, the tubes may dive deeper and these scratches can damage the oil seals. Once these seals start leaking, it doesn't take much for the oil inside the forks to drain and become unrideable. So I decided to renew the tubes with new ones even though it would cost me $450. But it turns out that the tubes are backordered, meaning that theya re not available anywhere in the US for a long time. My best chance was to sand the surface with a fine wet sandpaper and polish them. You can still see the dents but they don't protrude as much. I'll be fitting an old style fork gaiter to avoid further damage from bits of rocks and gravel. [gallery link="file" ids="172,173"] Read More

I was at Leif's this weekend. He was nice enough to spend his Sunday with me in the shop working on the bike. We installed the new shock and rerouted the electrical cable for the halogen lights. It doesn't sound much when you say it like that but this took almost all day. The Wilbers preload adjuster is not designed to go in the standard location on a V-Strom. Leif took his time to manufacture a steel bracket to host the adjuster on the original place. This is his art, and he does it with pleasure. I like people who give themselves to what they do. You can see it in everything they do. He had spent most of his time last few years on developing a clutch system. Patented and all... I saw the part. It is simply amazing. I can easily say that it is the most precise ...Read More

I had to do some mechanical work today. There were some accessories to install. PIAA halogen lights, a speedometer correction gadget, a skid plate, handles, handguards, and a carrier rack... But most important was a gas leak I duscovered the other day. I lifted the tank to see below, found nothing there, followed the gas feed pipe down to the fuel injection system, removed the air filter to expose the throttle bodies and finally got to the injectors. I didn't like what I saw. Here are some pictures: [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" ids="139,138,137"] It looks like I need to order a new injector. Overall, I spent 12 hours on the bike. When I took everything apart, it looked a bit scary. I wasn't even sure if I could put it back together. But I did. It's a nice feeling to achieve something beyond my abilities. But still, I need an injector so I have to ...Read More

Below is a list I made earlier for a group trip that never happened. I need to update this. Panniers A solid luggage solution is necessary if you want to keep your stuff tidy and protected. Touratech, Zega, Hepco and Becker, Givi and SW Motech are some of the most reliable ones. Lockable and quick-release ones are preferable. Top Case A top case is the best way to expand your storage. It uses the rear rack of your bike and gives extra support for items you may want to tie on the back. Use the top case for most valuable and fragile items. It's less likely to break on a crash and away from water. Tank Bag Tank bags are great for quick-reach items. Some of them have transparent water resistant map pockets. Ease of removal is important when filling the tank and leaving the bike alone. Crash Bars It will probably happen and you will be thankfull. Wind ...Read More