Category Archives: Preparation

PPP – Preparation Period for our Pan-American Trip

Suddenly the time is rushing. In three-month already we have an appointment with some grizzlies and caribou somewhere in Alaska – WOW! A number of our tasks we accomplished, some are ongoing and others are still to do or rather we have to find a solution for.

Last year in October Kerstin did a Spanish course in Alicante and both we are learning vocabularies on a daily base since then. Vaccinations we did not have to do much and meanwhile we have new passports, the international driving licenses and as well motorcycle documentation. Kerstin resigned her job and is counting her last working days. Status of today: 23, wowowowoooo!!! 

The parents of our landlord kindly provided us their garage to store our bikes for the winter months as well to do the required maintenance there. When we started to do so in January we had a moment of shock: one of the spark plugs of Sascha’s AT was broken in the cylinder head and Sascha came home with the message: `My bike is fu..ed!´ Thanks to the help of the great AT community and a mechanic in our neighborhood Sascha was able to fix it. It took a full weekend al lot of sweat and tricky moments, several evenings after work but finally the AT was running again!!! 

Now we could continue the normal maintenance. All this evenings and weekends in the cold garage resulted in a bad cold and later on we both caught a flu virus additional. This compulsory break of 3 weeks was not really what we needed and made us a little nervous. But hey – back on the track! Today Sascha went back to the garage to finalize some electrical issues and Kerstin is sitting at the sewing machine to finish some additional mash-bags for the top of the cases to store wet clothes/sandals, groceries and coffee cups. Also she is sewing some secret-pockets where we can fit some papers.

On Tuesday we have an appointment at the US embassy in Berlin to apply for our 6 month visa – we will go there with the first train in the early morning; cross fingers they will award it to us!

Beside several small things we have to resolve some elementary things: to find a tenant of our flat for this one year period, we need to find somebody who would like to drive our car or sell it and of course we need to arrange the transport of our bikes to Anchorage and build an appropriate box for them. And least but not last we have to book our flights…   

Of course we do spent some time as well about the route – the Pan-American is legend and it is quite a distance to Terra del Fuego. Many options where to stop what to see and where to drive in or not…  Shortly we received a note of some friends we made in New Zealand 2011, Chris an Marty, who are planning to come in June to Vancouver and spend some time cruising. We are really looking forward meeting them and hopefully we can work out a couple of days together. As well we want to visit Junichi, a Japanese guy whom we met 2013 in Tasmania and who owns a vineyard now somewhere close to Portland. And we are excited to all new people we are going to meet along this loooong way J If you have any hints, tips or “must see” please feel free to let us know.


A short update from our preparations for the upcoming tour

Went to the garage (which our landlord made possible for us because he and his wife went to the canaries islands for the winter) and wanted to do the usual maintenance, chain and sprockets, oil, tires, brakes, fluid changes, and spark plugs etc… First the Africa Twin.
Tank off, Spark plug one: done, Spark plug two: Hmmm, doesn´t feel right, hmmmm doesn´t sound right, ARRRRHHHHGGGG I had it in my hand ….. Together with the thread!
OK, don’t panic…

A quick post in the forum ( checking possibilities, none of them is promising, except a complete overhaul…and within 24 hours I got a new cylinder head and various offers to help… What a great forum that is!

Now I have to remove the whole engine, about 1.999 screws, change the cylinder head, put it all back together again. There was another option, a “quick and dirty” one, just use a Helicoil and leave the engine mounted while installing it (this is the dirty part NOT the Helicoil itself, I heard only good things about it!). But then you never know if some of the aluminum went into the cylinder and if so it will burn the whole thing soon or later and if this “later” happens somewhere in the Andes we are screwed. So I will do a complete overhaul of the cylinder… must be around 100-1500 hours of work (Ok others may do it in 24h or so – but I can´t). On the other site I have seen the whole bike then from inside out!  

Never done that before – so wish me luck! And if some motorcycle mechanic is around Hamburg on the weekend and knows about such things pass by, have a beer and let me know how that works!

I will start meanwhile…

Transalp Transformation

So what happens here? We had a normal Transalp with the normal tank, someone we met in the endless Internet had an Africa Twin Tank installed but she didn´t really need it and on top of it her legs have been a bit toooooo long so she touched the tank with her knees, we decided to swop everything… A super Win/Win situation, everybody is happy! Life can be so easy sometimes!


Maintenance on our veranda – shocking noise and a pale looking Sascha

Two weeks ago after work we brought Kerstin’s Honda Transalp on to our veranda to work on our `to do list´: new brake lines, revision of the fork, new horn.

When we finished the fork revision and front break line it was nearly sunset and we decided to continue the next morning before we go for a test ride. The weather forecast was great, finally spring is coming and we were really looking forward to enjoy the most of the weekend driving. When Sascha was tightening the fork bridge there was suddenly this horrible sound: “KRACK!!!” and his face turned immediate pale. The fork bridge was spit in two pieces and the Torque Wrench which Kerstin lent from a colleague was lying unused in the living room… what to say?!? Sascha was telling me: `OK, we won´t get this part ever… from now on you have to sit behind me again´ and he was totally serious (no I was NOT, just totally fu…Up!!!).

Rotational he started to shout and running around like a headless cock. It was UNREAL! Few moments later he was in the internet and placed help calls all over. Thanks to the great community all around we managed to find a used fork bridge on Saturday noon and already Monday it arrived via DHL Express and we were able to fit it (This time Sascha used the Torque Wrench!!!). Hurray! I will not have to be a pillion again, hihi! The time in-between we couldn’t spend driving but we fixed the Steel Flex Break lines and I cleaned the bike in all corners and I got a new great sounding exhaust and a dog fighting horn (110dbz+ ;) – yeah, here I go now!

Two weeks ago we asked our neighbor to use his garage for 3-4 hours. The task list on Sascha’s AT was: fork oil change, Oil change etc… nearly finished he recognized… the steering bearing was totally wracked. Kerstin hopped in the car and picked one up at the nearest dealer – all went well in the end even though it took us 9-10 hours instead of the planned 3h.  puhh

Now we nearly finished most of the main tasks and knock on wood we hopefully not have much more surprises. Last weekend a big tank for Kerstin’s´ Transalp was scheduled – if everything goes well we will just swop it with somebody who wants her bike back to original and both sides will be happy… this appointment was one more reason needed the bike running again quickly. Cross fingers! In the near future we have to have a look at Kerstin´s boxes – the plan is to exchange the plastic Givi against some Aluminum cases… but we will see what we can find.

But this is another story which will follow soon…

New Post “About us…”

The new “About us” page is online
have  a look if you like ;)