Tag Archives: Rocinante

Day 324 – Hometown

First thing you see in the morning

First thing you see in the morning

Our stay in Sommerach was lovely and filled with great food. Breakfast with fresh buns and good coffee gave us an excuse to hang around, spending some more time with family.

At noon, we had to go though…another 180km to Frankfurt. Just a short ride but an important one. Finishing the trip. Throughout most of the ride, our mood was pretty triumphant. Close to Frankfurt, we decided to take a detour so that we’ll come in on the A5 which would give us a view of the skyline. Shortly before we could actually see it, the mood turned sombre. We started to realize that these are the last kilometers of our trip. We had actually done it. We were still sitting on the same bike which had left Clifton Terrace in Wellington all those months ago.

Frankfurt, eh?

Frankfurt, eh?

When Frankfurt came into view, I started crying. The mix of emotions was just too much: Happy that we had made it, sad that it was over, proud to have made it, happy to be home, missing Wellington like crazy. Just too freaking much. Also, this way I ended the journey the same way as it began: in tears. I’ve come full circle, haven’t I?

Arriving in the suburb of Okriftel where we would stay with more family, we went on a last little detour to the place where we had bought Rocinante. Unfortunately, no one who has anything to do with bikes was around. So we left again for the last couple of meters to our temporary home.

Arrived at Flo's family's place. Frankfurt needs to be added immediately

Arrived at Flo’s family’s place. Frankfurt needs to be added immediately

Just to be stopped again when we turned into the road where Flo’s family lives. An unconscious figure lay on the footpath next to a bicycle. A man and a woman were standing at the accident site, too, but it must have happened only moments before. Flo stopped and while the woman told us that she already called the ambulance, we could still offer our first aid kit as no one else seemed to have one. There was a lot of blood from a wound on her head. One of the helpers had just started cleaning the wounds and her face when she regained conscience and the ambulance arrived. Having witnessed nothing and being already the third persons to help, we cleared the road and left to finally arrive at our destination just down the road.

We’re home now. In one of our homes.

Complete trip with important city dates

Complete trip with important city dates

 

Day 157 – Cool head(s)

Back on Lombok we got a tip from Oliver about a particular bike shop in Kuala Lumpur that was supposed to be extremely friendly to overlanders. Since it has been more than 8000 km since Rocinante’s last service in Darwin, I was intend to find out for myself. I have not been disappointed!

bless you, you are amazing!

bless you, you are amazing!

I showed up and hesitantly asked if I could work on my bike in their workshop and maybe have some help with the more difficult bits later on. Within 15 minutes, I got a work space cleared for me by lead mechanic Jing Sheng and his two fellows. Everyone was extremely helpful and I got started at stripping down Rocinante according to the manual on my phone.

The entire shop is just amazing. They have all the cool imported parts that an adventure rider could ever want and the workshop is just something else. All day, riders were coming and going. Some to get their bike worked on, some just for a chat. People are allowed in the workshop and you constantly meet interesting people. The shop was filled to equal parts with adventure bikes (mostly shiny 1200GSs) and performance bikes. Plus, everyone really knows what they are talking about.

My mission for the day was to prepare the bike to get the clearance of the valves checked and, if need be, adjusted. Last time I payed 400 € for the procedure, so I was determined to do as much as possible myself this time around. The issue here for my bike is not the actual procedure, that is really straight forward, but getting to the things in the first place. To reach the eight valves to check, the cylinder head cover needs to come off. Which, for my bike means digging through 4 1/2 layers of stuff. That is what I paid for last time, but it is also relatively easy to do, just laborious. It is also a good opportunity to check all the parts removed for wear or damage.

Almost there ... faring, tank, air box and throttle body are off ...

Almost there … faring, tank, air box and throttle body are off …

It took me 5 hours to get to the point where the cylinder head covers were ready to come off and another hour of cussing, wiggling and loosening extra parts to get this done. It may be because the collective consensus was not to follow the workshop manual and take the whole exhaust off as well to get a heat shield out of the way (not before I broke one of the rusted exhaust shells, though). Still the rear cylinder head cover was so tightly wedged in under the frame that we had to rotate the crank manually half way through to get the rocker arms out of the way. Jing Sheng told me that it was worse on the older V-twins and you had to tilt the entire engine slightly for a routine maintenance job.

There they are. They were only off by .025 mm, and only the intake valves.

There they are. They were only off by .025 mm, and only the intake valves.

In the end I even got to do the adjustment myself, with confidence inducing guidance from Jing Sheng. The guys are just amazing. I learned more about my bike in one day than ever before in Germany.

Even though it was late and I should come home for dinner, I got encouraged to re-assemble and test the same night. I did manage to put enough of it back together to get Rocinante started smoothly and get back to Mont Kiara before everyone everyone else had to starve. I even got a quick shower to get most of the grease off me 🙂 In the mean time, Nina gave me an update on her progress regarding our list, which included finally getting her boots to a cobbler for re-soling.

That night we went to a wonderful northern Indian restaurant. I must say, the food is one thing for sure I am looking forward to going to India.

Day 30 – FREEDOM for Rocinante!

At least, nothing has moved. Now, out of this!

At least, nothing has moved. Now, out of this!

After one last deflected try from the freight people to extract some more money out of me, I got the confirmation around 10 am this morning, the bike is ready to be picked up! Finally. Even though we are staying another night, just having her back makes all the difference for me, mentally.

Thus started a frantic afternoon of activity: First, a taxi ride down to the docks. I had to bring the two new panniers to be sure to be able to bring everything back. So there I was, tiny me with my two boxes in hand at the gate of ACFS port logistic. Left and right the massive lorries and their road hardened drivers. Quite out of place.

I had to be escorted to the bike, since normally only lorries and maybe the odd courier come on premise. All properly equipped with my loaned high-vis vest of course.

Waiting for my escort across the yard. Safety first, people!

Waiting for my escort across the yard. Safety first, people!

The guys there were actually pretty all right to me. They helped with taking apart the crate and then the foreman hung around  the entire time while the civilian that is me was busy:

  1. Unloading the bike.
  2. Installing the mounting clips for the new Zega Pro2 cases.
  3. Hurting myself using the wrong tool (thanks Touratech, who on earth uses torx? Probably BMW …).
  4. Empty the 5l jerry can into the tank.
  5. Packing everything back onto the bike.

    Clearly a bit out of place.

    Clearly a bit out of place.

  6. Tying down the big bag on the back.
  7. Notice that I forgot to hook the battery up again.
  8. Unload the bike again to get to the tool and battery.
  9. Reload the bike.
  10. Drive off the lot!

Disposal for the $600 crate was luckily only $35. I have heard horror stories from other travelers where the warehouse guys asked for 100’s of dollars for the privilege.

Mandatory minor injury for me working on the bike.

Mandatory minor injury for me working on the bike.

After I have properly refueled and dropped all gear off at our base, it was time to finally sort out the rear tire. The Shinko was getting quite balled – or in other words, I have made the 80/20 tire into a racing slick …

Unfortunately, there is no combination of shop that sells the tire and shop that will touch my Transalp to install it. So I ended up riding 35km out of town to pick up the tire and then back into town to drop the bike with the workshop that will fit it for me. Yes, I could do it myself, but I rather prefer to save the sweat and pain for when I really need it and have the wheel properly  balanced at the same time.

So, tram ride home and packing … time to get on the road again!

The bike is "home", finally.

The bike is “home”, finally.

Update: GPX for the South Island

Hey … we are not dead yet. I have finally added the GPX file for our south island trip. Maybe, we will even get around to post some photos :). I am very determined to re-animate the blog in the next weeks, so stay tuned.

Sorry for the gaps in the map, I had to draw parts of the tracks by hand because the onboard power socked broke on the first day, hence no GPS data 🙁

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Crating the bike, Part 1: Planning

Intime Logo

Intime Logo

As promised, there will be a couple of dedicated post on Rocinante and how to ship her and all our gear to Wellington. The first step was to figure out how to ship the bike and find a forwarding agent.

A couple of Internet searches and inquiries later, one company stood out: InTime Motorradtransporte Hamburg. Behind this impressive name  Continue reading

Falling in love …

Red rocks walk 1

The red rocks walk

… with the land and especially with the  roads! Sooooo marvelous, and it was just the two very short ride outs you can do in 2 hours starting in downtown Wellington.

Nina and I went for two ride outs this week. The first one was on her birthday. Although we missed the sun by maybe 2 hours, it was still gorgeous. I am fairly certain, that this is going to be my new “Hausstrecke”. Continue reading