Tag Archives: Gear Reviews and Tips

Escalante to Vegas – Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Route 66 and viva Las Vegas

Breathtaking, gorgeous, magnificent, striking, amazing… whatever word you use it will not explain how you feel in these sceneries of the National Parks. Following more or less the Colorado River we visited parts of the Escalante NP, went through the Capitol Reef NP, spent a full day at the Bryce NP, drove through Zion and up to the Kolob Reservoir and finally we explored the north and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We hope we can transfer an idea off all this impressive beauty we saw with the pictures we selected.

On the way to Las Vegas, where we are now, we drove a part of the famous Route 66. The road on its own was pretty boring except the stops where they display all the oddities of the old times; nevertheless a good alternative to the Highway and probably it helped us to escape the thunderstorm. Actually we have been lucky all these days with the weather. Pretty often we could see a black wall, heard the thunder rolling, saw the lightening but except strong winds and a few drops of rain we never were caught by one of these storms. Cross finger it stays like that!

Las Vegas is HOT! And we are lucky that we found a place at Brittany’s and Jacob´s home to stay. Sascha’s AT seems to drink a little bit too much oil and sometimes I can see a dark cloud coming out of the exhaust. As well he has misfires continuously. He just has an eye on it at the garage. For the evening we plan to investigate Las Vegas and its famous Strip. Sascha is keen to gamble a bit – I will think of the budget to release for that ;-)

The Arctic Circle, a SPA-day, Top of the World Highway (TOW) and historical Dawson City

It was time go further north – the most northern part we wanted to visit on this journey is the Arctic Circle. The Dalton Highway was pretty ok and Sascha said it is a trip of about 350km from Healy to the Arctic Circle. After being about 6 hours on the road we reached the point he entered in the GPS but we could not even see a sign. A car came towards us and we asked where the Arctic Circle is and they told us it is another 90 miles (150km) to go and the road will be really muddy and slippery. So what to do – we continued, got coffee and fuel (not really cheap up here) at the Yukon River Roadhouse and finally reached the Arctic Circle. A great place, much warmer than expected and we settled at the free camp site and lightened a fire to fight the monster mosquito’s (the only bad thing at this beautiful place). On the way back we proudly picked our “I crossed the Arctic Circle Certificate” and decided we deserved a SPA-day at the Chena Hot Springs. What a good feeling to bath and hang around in this hot water again and again after all these long riding days. And additional we had time to check the bikes and doing the laundry.
Now it was time to check out the real gold rush area! In Tok we had a nice chat with two gold miners at the liquor shop (where else ;) and settled at “Thompson´s Eagle´s Claw”, a motorcycle camp. A really nice place done by heard. As we are early in the season we stayed alone for that night. The next morning we enjoyed our coffee in the sun and planned to ride the “Top of the world highway” TOW later. But suddenly a thunderstorm with (3 to 4cm) hail appeared and covered everything in white. Unfortunately it continued hail/raining for about 3-4 hours. So we decided to stay one more night. Therefore we enjoyed the great company of 4 other motorcyclists (greetings to Jaakko, Alf, Jep and Philip) this night at the fireplace. They did the TOW that day and did not even see a drop of rain the whole day.
So the next day we went for it. First we had a look at Chicken, an old little gold miming settlement when dark clouds came across the mountains. Kerstin became a little bit nervous as everybody was saying the TOW is awesome but the road will become narrow and winding, with steep dips and can be very slippery when it rains. Nevertheless we went for it. In the end it was a great ride on a well graded wide gravel road. The scenery was nice, the sun was shining and we arrived at the Canadian Border. Just shortly before Dawson we could see the Thunderstorm in the Rocky’s and caught a little rain. We took the ferry over the Yukon and arrived in the famous Dawson City. It is a really nice place with open minded and friendly people and it is a lot of fun to straw around and catching the spirit of this historical gold mining place. We joined the yearly Commissioner´s Tea (who personally welcomed us to Dawson!) at the Commissioner´s Residence and enjoyed speeches, music, tea and homemade dainties. For sure we will have a great evening before we leave tomorrow. See you soon! – Oh wow we just had an earth quake… everything was tumbling but nothing to worry…

The question is: Will it fit?

The D-day is coming closer, day by day… We have to get the crates ready for the transport of the bikes to the USofA. The frames we got nearly for free from a friend working at the BMW dealership here in Hamburg. Now we have to fit the bikes inside the crates and build the walls arround – and hey: IT FITS! HURRAAAAAAAAAY… Manama NA ti ti ti ti    tiiiiiii…… and we care!  ;)

 

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 Helmets – an (pre-)in-depth review ;)

After 6 years of constant usage of our Schuberth C3´s (Kerstin had the Lady’s version) it was time for something new. And we thought to give Touratech a call to see if they like to support us, as they helped us during our journey and beyond this it was an easy conclusion for us. And guess what they said that we can test two of their brand new Aventuro Mod helmets. It was a big surprise for us because actually we are not on a round the world trip at the moment and the plan to continue the journey, we started 4 years ago, is still growing (but for sure is that the next big leg on our trip will be the PanAM). Ok in 30 days we go off for our 2nd Balkan Adventure… but that’s a different story which will come soon…

 

We did more than 100.000km on three continents with the C3´s and did the one or the other drop with them. It was clear that we have to have flip-up helmets again. When you are travelling on a bike the first thing to establish contact is your face, in my VP45-Tankbag there is always the camera in easy reach and with that flip up functionality you do not have to take off the helmet to make a picture. There we are, already at the first big advantage; when the Aventuro Mod was created one idea was exactly to merge this in the design, so the field of view of the helmet was designed a bit wider when you flip it up so it does not interfere with the camera.

We always think about safety and comfort at all your safety gear, and because we have been satisfied with our old Schuberth’s for some years we believed in staying with them. So we looked at their range of helmets and found that something, somewhere was missing to fit our needs 100%. And then suddenly we saw the Aventuro Mod, made by Schuberth in cooperation with Touratech. The improvements they made sounded fantastic, the first big point we saw was that the air flow was increased dramatically and that was one downside of our long-standing C3´s, sometimes in Asia or Australia we thought that our brain is well cooked. Even everything else which was outlined in the description of the helmet sounded absolutely great, it looked like somebody have actually asked us how to build the perfect fitting helmet for us.

Montage

The designers thought this entirely through to make it fit for various settings. Within 10 seconds you can completely remove the Shield (which turned out to be very useful if you have to go for some km´s on the highway), the same goes for the visor, you can take it off and mount off-road goggles if you like. Of course the integrated sun visor, which we already knew from the C3, was built in once again. Another great feature is the build in filter for the front ventilation which protects you from dust and insects. The inner lining is out of COOLMAX® and is completely removable and washable which is very useful especially if you are riding for days and days in a dusty and/or smoggy environment.

Kerstin Sascha

Sometimes we wear our Helmets for about 10 hours a day so we have looked for something which is not only safe but it has to be comfortable as well. And what should we say, we didn´t had the chance to try them before our first (little) trip and just got the sizes we had before with our C3´s, and lucky us, a perfect fit. Of course the old ones have been, after 6 years and more than 100.000km´s, a bit out of shape. Therefore the new Aventuro Mod´s felt a bit tight at first, but after some hours they adapted to our heads. When you look at the details of all the innovations there are a lot of thing you do not realize, such as that the shield flips up together with the chin protector and comes automatically down again to the present position is something you do not realize at first but makes life uncomplicated cause you do not have to take care at all and just can flip it up when ever you like.

If you want all and every of the technical details, you can find it here.

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