The main adventure for 2016 (so far)

For old readers, returning: Welcome back!

For new readers: Welcome to follow my adventures in (mostly) real time. On this website, I have news articles, maps of my travel and, most important, blog posts including pictures of my adventures!

About two-and-a-half months ago I got the idea to go to Senegal by motorcycle. Two days later, I asked for vacation, and started planning everything!

IMG_0080.JPGNow, I’m sitting here after the last day of necessary mechanical service of the motorcycle. It went through the inspection today and is now fine for another two years!

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I have a few modifications left I want to do, but nothing really necessary. The main thing to do is actually to test pack before I leave this time (looking at the bicycle trip here). Other than that, I got more and less important gadgets and clothing to hopefully make my trip easier or nicer.

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The motorcycle is a Honda XL1000 Varadero 2001. It is in pretty good shape, with both crash bars,cruise control, top box and side boxes, and now also a center stand. I have yet to decide how I will pack everything. I have done smaller trips with both on top-packing as seen on the picture (even though I would get something better to pack in for a longer tour) but also packing in the side boxes, which are lockable, but more prone to breaking.

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I’ve also added a real GPS, and a bluetooth headset for my helmet, so that I can hear both music and navigation sounds. I’m still looking at main clothing, but overall I’m feeling pretty ready. I’ll hopefully

I’m preliminary leaving at 5th of april, and you are welcome to follow my travel!

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New touring gear!

I’ve gotten a new jacket and trousers, thanks to Nilssons MC in Helsingborg! It is a Qurizo jacket and Q-pants from Lindstrands, really well made. I took it as a test to an event in Örebro, and it suits perfect. A great step-up in fitting from my old one. The ventilation works well (this is warmer than my old one, so I put on too much clothing). It will be interesting to test it in rain and heat during the trip!

  
I’ve also shopped some new off-bike clothing for the warmer climate, and I think I have almost everything I need now, so a test pack will be done latest Monday. I’m picking up a kit for to be able to pitch the inner tent without the outer when I pass by Malmö, and I will probably pass by Halmstad to get a small device to monitor my battery, so I won’t drain it. My first sleeping place is also booked at Huskvarna, same one as I stayed over at my third day of bicycle trip!

It’s getting close!

First day finished!

I tested the multifuel kitchen for the first time today, and made many fireballs. Think I can handle it now.

The motorcycle and luggage was almost ready on the planned time, I was “late” 20 minutes to my parents place. The weight was too much to the left, which could be bad as the side stand is on the left, and it felt like it could tip over. A quick repack helped it. I actually have some space over!

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I met up with my whole family for late lunch as Tim and Maria returned from their half-year honey”moon”! After meeting a whole hour for the last half year, I said goodbye again as it was my turn to go.

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Mainly little traffic and good roads, leaving with the meter standing at 49400 kilometres and the GPS set at Jönköping. It took a bit more than three hours, and I had some rain for 20 minutes. The clothing held up with no problem, so when I arrived at Eva’s place I was still dry!

A nice vegetarian lasagna, some talking and a quick shower was really nice. I’m prepared for tomorrow! Sleeping in the same room as the last time I was here (beginning of the bicycle trip), and it feels really good!

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I also got a new map up: https://trackmytour.com/GFbk6#1118230
It will be with the other maps on this website!

 

Rainy day, but Små Lätta Moln

For me, 6.30 is early, but counting what I was going to do this day it was a good time to wake up. Breakfast with Eva, and away!

My first stop were Halmstad, where I would meet Mattias for a fika and pick up a battery meter to be able to check up on my battery without hassle. I arrived in fairly good time, around 9.50, and he and his girlfriend treated me pancakes as brunch! Eva, this is probably going to be pancake-themed as my last trip was. 🙂DSC_9760.jpg

On my way to Malmö I stopped by at Nilssons MC to say thank you for the MC-clothes, and then continued to Naturkompaniet. They had sadly not gotten my accessories for my tent, but I bought a dry bag for it, so it wouldn’t look as much as a Hilleberg.

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I filled up my tank and bought a S-mark (as you apparently need that for going international with a vehicle – I had no clue) before going over the bridge. So far, so good, but first thing I meet in Denmark – is 15 minutes of queueing. It really sucked going 5 km/h just watching the minutes pass by.

Suddenly, everything sped up – for about 20 minutes. Another long queue.

After a while, I took a break at a gas station, borrowing their bathroom and eating the pancakes I got as packed lunch! Awesome.

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I continued once again, and met another queue. Great. This time I filtered through, as 10 was better than 2 kilometres per hour… Apparently there had been some sort of accident with a big, 6 axle vehicle, so everyone had to go to the far right of the right lane.

Horsens, Denmark was my goal as I was going to check up on a bash plate for my Varadero. It would be too much of a hassle to put it on, though, as one of the screws to the center stand is a bitch – nothing I want to take loose out here, thinking about how hard it was to get it there. Also saw I lost a nut. Have to replace that one later.

Ole was really nice, though, and if I hadn’t been in a small hurry to get to my place for the night I would have stayed longer. I got a picture of his Varadero, at least – I din’t know there were original side bags! Looked really awesome. Hopefully I’ll meet him on the road one day!DSC_9763.jpg

Back in Malmö, I had gotten an idea when looking at the map. Denmark is really close and I remembered Ling lived close to Haderslev when I was biking by on my way to Morocco. With motorcycle, I could be there for the evening. I asked if she was free for the evening, and the plan were set!

She had moved to Sønderborg, though, but it was still only 140 kilometres from Ole. I went there and met this crazy woman for a second time!

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Parked for the night

She was cooking for me when I was arriving, and it was a delicious sparris, aubergine and stuff-thingy! Omnom.

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She had even prepared the table real nice. And bought me stuff to be able to make pancakes when I woke up!DSC_9769.jpg

 It has been raining and windy all day, and when going over one of the bridges here in Denmark, the side wind were really strong. I had already cut my speed to 85 (the limit were 110), but suddenly I felt how it grew in strenght. I continued dropping speed, and even tilting left, but the motorcycle started to wander to the right. I didn’t want to push it down too fast, as I felt like I would lose grip, and therefore wandered out on the shoulder. When I was down at 60, it felt stable again, and I moved further, keeping trap in my rear if I would have to blink by brake light or anything. Luckily, also the bigger trailers were going pretty slow.

Other than that, the gear has hold up pretty well. My boots are a bit low/the trousers a bit short, because when I sit, riding for hours, I will get a bit of water into my boots. Not so much that i will feel it, but I was wet around my feet when I stopped.

The Givi side bags are holding up fairly well, but let some water though. I will have to monitor that one, so I won’t get any nasty wet surprises.

My tank bag held up really good even without rain cover, though, and even though everything inside were well protected, there were no water at all. Good job, Lidl! Now, I hope there will be more sun!

Troubles, but nice people!

I decided to leave the bed at nine and start making delicious pancakes.

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While eating I also wrote the blog post from yesterday, all while the sun was shining outside. Awesome!

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When I finally left around 1130-isch, the bike was a bit hard to start. It was parked with the front downwards on the street, but after five-ten seconds, it started, no problem. I drove away, and it was already raining a bit. On the highway, it started to rain really hard, like yesterday, but only for a minute or two.

Not too soon after that, Varadero started acting strange. It felt like it just skipped to ignite once every now and then, and suddenly the RPM needle started jumping like crazy, before dying. I stopped at a rest stop, where the whole bike died on me.

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I first thought it was the fuel light, even though I had only 220 kilometres since last stop, and the warning light had not turned on. Now, it was on, though. As nothing happened when trying to start it, even though I heard some petrol in there, I asked around about someone with a reserve canister. No one had one, and I asked some ladies to give me a ride to a petrol station, so I could hitch-hike back afterwards. Instead, they took my petrol bag and went away, filling it, even though I had no cash to pay for it!

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They came back, with both petrol and chocolate, and we filled Varadero up with seven litres. A guy asked if I wanted some starting help, so we hooked up the battery to his car. Elsa and Lisette left, and Varadero started! I started getting all my stuff together to go to a petrol station, and even though the bike died during this time, it started again, like nothing. This was my first 30 kilometres this day.

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As I came to the petrol station, I filled it up. I only got 14 litres in though. 14+7=21, which meant I probably had 4 litres left earlier. This was bad, as something else would be the problem. Varadero didn’t start now either, which meant petrol was not the problem. I also saw the fuel light was still on. I tested around a bit, posting on a few forums, and saw that both the fuel light and the key light were on when I couldn’t start it. When the light went out, it would start. A man walking by, asked if I had problems, and told me he lived 80 metres away, and that I could go there for internet, which was really welcome, as I was aiming at McDonalds just to get to the forums without using expensive roaming data.

After being there for a while, eating bread, drinking coke and calling Magnus at home, I decided to try and drive again, to see if it would be better in a day or two, the drier it would get. Up on the highway, the RPM needle started jumping, and at the same time, it started couching a bit again. Soon, it started couching more and more, and I took the next exit. It died on me down there, and I backed up on a bicycle path. I tried to get it to go for a while and decided to stop a car for starter help again, to be able to drive back to Ling’s place, and plan ahead from there. The fifth-or-so car stopped, and we tried to get it working, but nothing happened. We had a connection between the batteries, but nothing happened.

He told me he knew a BMW/KTM/Triumph-mechanic nearby, and that he could take me there, so they could at least get the bike out of the way. While there, of course they said they couldn’t fix anything, but another random guy told me he had room on his trailer. He had two bikes on the way here, leaving them on service I think, and picked up his BMW 1200 GS, newly served. Christophe, as his name was, had a small vacation house nearby, and this was one of the places he knew that would service both BMW and KTM, which suited him perfect.

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We drove back to my bike, put it on the trailer and drove to a Honda mechanic. They had already closed down, though, so we put the bike outside and started the hunt for a new battery, if that would be the problem. After seven shops we had to give up though, as everything was closing. I’ve seen most of Schleswigs shopping centres, at least! Before dropping me off back at the dealer, we went by Lidl to shop for food.

After setting camp I had a lovely dinner with my Varadero. I hope it will go quick tomorrow, otherwise they have a few Africa Twins in store…

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Still, mostly laughing during the day. It is an adventure after all. Felt a bit down during the first resting stop, but this is part of it! At least I hear everyone say ”Shoes!” and ”Moi!” again, which makes everything so much better!

Not as good as I hoped for

Pretty tired when I woke up, but still felt good! I was at a mechanic and all. I handed over the keys and sat myself down to start eating breakfast (yoghurt, bread and cream cheese or something). The mechanic waved me over after a while. As my battery now was empty, they had put a new one in, and the motorcycle was starting. They had checked the stator and rectifier, but i was still unsure it would be good to go. As it died seconds later, I was right. The HISS light, and fuel warning light, wouldn’t turn off again. They checked a bit more, and the conclusion was, at this point that it was the antenna reading the key code.

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This antenna is so enclosed, they he didn’t think there would be any possibility of water going into there. It is neither a part you repair, but replace. I felt pretty down at this moment as that meant no good possibility for continuing. 1-1.5 weeks delivery time and 160 euro if I wanted to wait. I wouldn’t give up just yet, and asked if the Varadero could stay inside, in case it would actually make a difference.

I wanted to google, but knew my 3G would not be enough. I knew there were a McDonalds nearby and started walking there, but saw another person walking from the shop to their car. I asked for a ride to McDonalds, and that is what I got! I love hitch-hiking.

After posting in some forums I call home to tell my parents what is happening, and also ask Magnus about the problem. I also check with the insurance company so that I have not misunderstood the conditions. Everything turns out OK, and both me and the bike is covered to get home.

One of the things someone tells me about is the cables to the reader antenna. There has been cases before where the cables themselves breaks because of the movement when turning the handle bar. I stay at McDonalds for a while, writing and talking with some friends. It feels like I may have a chance, but  it’s not a big one.

Back at the shop I start fiddling with the cables to see if it may make a difference. I am not sure, but there may be indications. The system itself is harder than of/off (think of a light bulb: it would be pretty easy to see if the cable is damaged when you move it) and that makes me unsure.

I also ask about the possibility of just by-passing the system in any ugly way, but he says it is impossible.

I take a small test drive to see if I can make it die, and start again by fiddling with the cables. it dies for sure, but the cables don’t help. It is still coughing and not really wanting to start, as before. After pushing it back inside I ask them to put the battery on charge, so that I can be ready for tests tomorrow.

Google taught me how to use the ”three hour internet” for all eternity by spoofing you MAC-adress, so I was back at McDonalds again. The idea that someone – maybe not a mechanic, but someone – may have the part at home hits me like a wave of caffeine, ecstasy and sugar, and I start searching and registering on new forums – Danish and German ones! I also mail Ole, from north of Jylland, to see if he could help me. He answers, telling me that he is actually going to Rendsburg tomorrow, 35 kilometres south of me. If he manage to find anything, he will buy it, and bring it. A German from Flensburg calls me, telling me he is going to Hamburg tomorrow, and will also check with the dealers. One guy from Finland gives me a number to a Swedish guy, who checks around a bit, gives me some tips, but also actually offers to come and get me and the bike if I would need it. As the insurance covers that part, I thank him for the kindly offer, but refuses.

It starts to get pretty late, 19.00 now, and I don’t really have any plans. Chatting with some friends I get the idea to check out the nightlife of Schleswig, and there are a few places. The city is approximately 25 000 inhabitants, so not too big, and I don’t have too big expectations. I bought some pasta sauce, cookies and drinks at Rewe before heading back to the tent for dinner.

 

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When checking for nightclubs I actually find one between me and McDonalds, just a kilometre from the tent. By the looks of it, when walking by, it was nothing too big, but I decided to at least go there and check later. It opened at 22.00, and as I didn’t want to be awake all night, I went there by opening time. There were about two people there according to the security guard, so I decided to go home and sleep instead. I hoped there would be a solution for tomorrow, even though I was ready for the risc to quit the trip.

Senegal trip canceled.

Sadly, there will be no Senegal this year.

The morning view were pretty cool. I had at least gotten two tent days during this small trip.

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One tip I hade gotten about three times, were to take a look at the cables from the antenna to the ECU. As they are placed, they are a tad too short, and therefore sometimes gets bent, and starts to loose connection. As I never had loosened those cables before, it took me a good half an hour just to get the antenna loose.

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I got to borrow a soldering iron, cables, tape and everything else needed, and got to work.IMG_0927.JPG

Not the most beautiful solder, but it held together, no problem. I also took a look with the multimeter and all the cables had connection all the way through. I was on my way to test it, when the master mechanic gave me a hint… isolation could be a good idea. 😉

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It worked, but not much better than before. Interesting enough, the RPM needle had started working again. After a small trip, it would die, though, and the only way I could get it back without having to push it for 100 metres was to rev about 5000 RPMs. After this test I knew it was time to go home.

I made all the calls and arrangements and packed my stuff. I left everything but the computer, camera and clothes to wear going home, as I did not have much packing space.

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The bike would be picked up within 10 days, and I would get home in any way possible, which the insurance company would refund later. At this point I was pretty happy I had full insurance. On my way to the nearest bus stop, with no real clue of the stations, I started hitch-hiking a a cabriolet Audi picked me up. He drove me to the city centre bus station, so I only had to take one bus on my way to the train station. On the bus the driver didn’t really understand me but some guys helped me out.

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At the train station, I bought a ticket from Schleswig to Malmö. I think I had to change train a total of four times, but I didn’t have to buy new tickets at least, and the times between the trains were at maximum 20 minutes. With all the stops, and all the googling I made while traveling, the time went by fairly fast. My first plan was to take the night train to Stockholm, but it didn’t depart on Saturdays. I could go to Gothenburg one hour after arriving in Malmö, though, and after that go by night bus to Uppsala and then Västerås (really long traveling time, probably not comfortable) or take a train 07.55 to Västerås. The last part sounded most awesome.

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On my way to Malmö I found out a friend of mine were going to Strasbourg, and would have some hours at the station. We decided to meet up when I arrived at 19.06.DSC_9810.jpg

With all the new check ups I was about 15 minutes late, though, but finally I was in Sweden again. I met a really old friend named Benji from Game Over (11 years ago?) when leaving the last train, and he followed me to the main exit, where I would meet Jesper.

We had the plan to eat pizza, but the closest vegan pizza place were too far away, and ended up eating falafel instead (really cheap, also). Soon I was on my way again, with three hours to Gothenburg.

The plan for Gothenburg was to meet up with some students at a small student map. I met some people I met last weekend in Örebro, some I met ages ago and some new. It was the usual nice student thing, at least.DSC_9812.jpg

After happy parties until 05.30 in the morning I hanged out with a guy at Chalmers before taking the bus to the central station. I slept for half an hour before the station opened, went to the bathroom and re-filled my water bottle and then took the train home.

The plan now is to research as much as possible before the bikes comes home, and also to at least order a new antenna. If I am “lucky” that is the part that is faulty, and I will be riding again in two weeks. If I am unlucky, there was actually water somewhere in the system, or bad ground somewhere, and the problem will have fixed itself until it comes home. The problem with that would be that it could appear again anytime soon while driving in the rain; if that happens, I will have to make an electrical system overhaul. If I go out again I will at minimum bring a multimeter, though.

Peace out.IMG_0935.JPG