The Beast is Back - KLR650 out of storage

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It was time to retrieve the beast from it's long winter hibernation.
Things always seem to start and finish with luggage on my back and helmet under an arm.
Bus to subway to train to car - Out of the city.

Just like it was six long months ago - big thanks to Elroho for puttin' er up.

Bought it at 9000km just a few years ago.

Spent a damn long time to free a seized choke cable, required a table vice, vice grips and all kind of penetrating oil. I'll replace all the cables with fresh ones, but the temporary fix got me home.
Also due for a new chain and sprockets, oil change and brake flushing. In fact, I should run through the whole list of things on Neduro's Spring Maintenance Guide.

El Salvador battery off the tender, fuel lines hooked up, a few coughs to get the fogging oil out of the cylinder and it started right up. Feels good except for an extra vibration that I noticed at the very end of last season. 

Funny how you get to know a bike like that, it's not something anybody else would notice, but when something's off you can really feel it. Not sure what to do yet, but I'll try another doohicky adjustment and an oil change. It's also possible that the worn-down chain and sprockets are causing the vibration, I'm hoping it's nothing to to with the piston...

Looks like Elroho has been reading my books - good composition here: off center but balanced, and the bike has "somewhere to go" into the left part of the picture.

Then it was an easy ride back into the city at sundown - still looking for sixth gear...

Panasonic TS3/FT3 Waterproof Camera Review

I always recommend overland travellers take a pocket point n' shoot along with their "serious" camera. Both as a backup should something go wrong with the big camera - and also for those quick snapshots of the crazy things you see on the road.

It looks like this TS3 waterproof/rugged camera from Lumix (Panasonic) would be worth taking a closer look at. The waterproof and shockproof advantages will be immediately obvious to motorcycle travelers, and apparently there is a compass/GPS/barometer built in. I don't think this will be replacing your Garmin anytime soon, but the geotagging possibility could be interesting.

Matthew Robertson has reviewed the Panasonic TS3 on his excellent ThewsReviews website. Excellent because of his snappy and brutally honest writing. Unbound by advertising dollars, Matthew can publish gems that you'll never find in photo magazines and the major review websites:

"Compact digital cameras are tough to review and frustrating to shop for. Feature-packed but rarely very good, by the time anyone has enough experience with one to have useful insight the bloody little things are out of date and off of the store shelves. Making matters more complicated, nearly every camera has some significant faults, and they all have something wrong with them. The key is separating the awkward from the abysmal, and then making the best of what each camera can do."

Overland Expo 2011 on

Just dropping a quick note to say check out Ben Slavin's coverage of the 2011 Overland Expo. Some cool stuff there, looks like there were plenty of two and four-wheel traveling legends in attendance! Wish I could have made it!

More photos on the official Overland Expo website too

From Ben:
"The Authors and Filmmakers tent was a fun place to be and I met some of my Adventure Travel heros like Austin Vince, Lois Pryce, Ted Simon, Sterling Noren and Carla King. It was also great to make new friends with Carl Parker, Bill Dwyer (Atlas Rider), Chris Scott and Lorraine Chittock. Here’s the crew posing for a group photo."

Interview with filmmaker Gaurav Jani - Documenting motorcycle adventures in India

India on an Enfield. A dream for many motorcycle travellers. Indian filmmaker Gaurav Jani does it like no other, pushing the 1950's technology far beyond where it was intended to go - recording his own progress on the way. Gaurav travels to such far-flung locations of the Indian Himalayas that even he is viewed as a foreigner. Gaurav's painstaking do-it-yourself style has inspired many, but nobody does it quite like Gaurav. He's really something different!

"While the world media has shifted towards drama, hype, scandal, lifestyle and oomph, we have consciously moved away from the mainstream to the dirt track, churning out films that inspire, motivate, enrich and at the same time mirror life.
Our main focus is to make films and documentaries on remote regions of the World. This gives us a chance not only to explore new subjects but also to explore ourselves by interacting with the people."

Gaurav Jani - Dirt Track Productions

Top o' the world  - Photos copyright Gaurav Jani

Anthony: So Gaurav, where in India are you from? How long have you been riding?

Gaurav: In India, I live in Bombay and have been riding long distance for almost 10 years now.

I see a lot of fantastic motorcycle adventures from India, I've seen great rides from people from Bangalore, Pondicherry, Mumbai, Delhi - Chanderjeet is an ADVrider rockstar. but on the 60kph club website it says:
"Social structure in India doesn't encourage Adventure biking or cross country biking, hence the community was formed where in like minded bikers could interact and get enough encouragement to live life the way they wanted to, on the ROAD."

60kph was formed in 2002, so that quote from the website is quite old and things have changed drastically in India in these nine years. When we started the club, that quote was very relevant - but with the booming economy, better roads and better medical facilities on the highways, a lot of people are now starting to travel on motorcycles.

In India, is it still considered quite rebellious to run off on a motorcycle, leaving your family for weeks at a time?
I remember your friend Nicky had to miss her brothers wedding to join One Crazy Ride, and that's a BIG DEAL, especially in India!

Blue Demon Y Capitan Lecha en El Salvador

This Blue Demon membership card is pretty damn cool. My good friend Mario in El Salvador uploaded this to Flickr the other day. Blue Demon is the LEGEND of Lucha Libre. Mini Mario must have had a hero back in the day!

Otra ves, muchísima gracias for showing me a fantastic time in El Salvador Mario!

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Anthony Vs. the Volcano

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Downtown San Salvador - Yes that's a ScotiaBank

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Motorcycle travel in Panama

I've got an interview coming up in the next several days with Gaurav Jani, intrepid motorcycle filmmaker from India, maker of One Crazy Ride, and Riding Solo to the Top of the World. Really talented guy and he had some great stuff to say about the challenges of documenting his adventures in the remotest ranges of northern India.

After working on the interview, I was flipping through some photos of my own trip. Here are a few memories from Panama. Some on the Panama Canal, some from near Aguadulce and the Azuero Penninsula, and a few from the end-of-the-line in native Kuna territory at Carti. I was down in Panama about this time last year. Read the whole story here!

Always a bit confusing at Central American borders... Can you tell where you are supposed to go?
The border crossing info I got from Drive The Americas kept the cursing and frustration to a minimum.
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One of the most beautiful campsites of the trip. At sundown I ate dinner at a restaurant alongside the highway. The owner graciously offered a place to put up my tent on his gorgeous property along the river.
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Major metro - what a shocking contrast after the rest of Central America. Glad I was off the bike during the union labour strike, SUNTRAC construction workers were tossing bricks off buildings into traffic. Backed the whole city up for hours.
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Watch your toes if you're fishing in the Panama Canal
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City, country, city. Once you're out in the hills the towers are a distant dream.
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The main event - near Aguadulce
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Nate's kid in a sink
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Phenomenal mountain backroads to explore in Panama.
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Coastal Morning on the Azuero Peninsula. Super chill surf spots, very local. No tourists.
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Officially a man-made desert due to over farming in some parts of the Azuero peninsula. Great riding though!
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Palm trees, an airstrip and a Land Cruiser 75 series. Makes you feel like you've really gone somewhere.
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The end of the road in Carti. This is the jumping-off point to find a captain to take you to the nearby San Blas Islands, or to Colombia beyond.
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