Sunday, November 30, 2008

The List Part Three

Well before I start this final list as part of THE LIST series I would like to mention the recent purchase of a brand new R 1200 GS Adventure, yes I did trade-in the 1150 GS, and I sold the Harley. So all I have now is the Goldwing and the GS.

My Final list is for you the traveler, things I believe that one should do before embarking on a long trip.

1-Get into shape; no round is not the shape I was thinking about. Riding for hours on end concentrating on the road takes a lot of effort, and sitting in front of the computer all day at a desk job doesn't increase your stamina. Depending on how often you exercise this may not be an issue, however for most of the riders that I have met this is required. If you really want to enjoy the trip and not feel tired all the time then a healthy exercise plan at least two weeks before the event is required.

2-Get insured; the worst thing to happen on a trip is to get sick and can't afford the medical treatment of another country, or survive an accident and not be able to get your self and the bike home. There are several types of insurance that one must have like health insurance, motorcycle insurance, travel insurance, I have even heard of an insurance to ship you and your bike home if any thing happened.

3-Go to the Dentist; you do not want to spend time getting over a root canal in another country because your tooth cracked due to the fact that your lat dental checkup was two year ago.

4-Learn the language and culture; when traveling to foreign countries I believe it makes things more enjoyable and easier when a few words of the language have been learnt and maybe a custom or two. I am not saying you need to be know every language of every country that you visit , I just mean the normal "Hello", "goodbye", "thank you", " please", and "where is the bathroom" kind of words that show that you are visiting the country for the people as well as the land.

This concludes my list series for traveling long distance, please expand on this as you see fit I am sure I missed some thing here or there, and know that there will come a time when you had wished you had packed that extra tool or part which would have made your trip easier. In fact it is at this time that you should stop and notice that if we wanted to travel with ease we could have stayed home and watched the travel channel.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The List Part Two

Wow it has been a long time since I have written, and the reason is I am planning a new trip which I will write about later. At the moment we are still on the subject how to prepare for a trip. The second list consists of things that need to be done on the bike so that you have the lease amount of trouble traveling. This means getting the bike serviced and while some prefer to do this job them selves which is fine if you have the know how and tools, others get there bikes serviced by a professional shop. Which ever you choose I recommend the following be done:

1-Use Synthetic engine oil for high performance machines (high revs & temps) and Semi-Synthetic oil for the others. This should give you between 7 and 10 thousand miles before you need to change it. Great of you trip is within those limits. It goes without saying that the filter needs to be changed also.

2-If you don't remember when you last replaced you brake fluid, then change it. Depending on how often you use your bike, and the weather conditions it should be replaced once every one or two years.

3-Check the spark plugs and replace if necessary

4-Go through the maintenance schedule part of your motorcycles manual to inspect or replace certain items. This could include other fluids, hoses, belts, & chains. Pay special attention to filters they are your fist line of defense if you think the filter needs changing, then do it, fuel filters and air filters and the most susceptible to dirt.

5-Check the tires for thread, damage, and cracks in side wall due to weathering. Depending on the length of your trip and the condition of the tires you should make a judgment on when to change them if they require changing.

6-Finally go around the bike noting any normal wear that may affect you're riding like a cracked headlight or dissolving handgrip rubber.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The List Part One

I was recently asked what should I pack on a motorcycle when traveling? And the answered is that it depends on where you are going, and how far and long is the trip. The reason is that in some countries all you need is a cell phone and a credit card if you get in trouble all you do is call for help, and it arrives although you will have to pay for it. In others you will need to take many tools and spare parts since there will be no cell phone service or any roadside assist to help you.

I have however compiled three lists one is of things that you need to do before you go on a trip, the other is of things you need to take no matter how long the trip is, and a supplementary list for those really long trips that may end up in remote areas of the globe.

Today I will present the general list of things that you may want to pack of a motorcycle trip, while I present the other lists in other entries in the future.

This is the list of things that you may want pack for a motorcycle trip.

  1. Cloths; I though I should state the obvious just in case.
  2. A pair of comfortable shoes, I take running shoes.
  3. Flip flop slippers for the beach or bathroom.
  4. A water bottle or canteen that allows you to be properly hydrated while riding.
  5. A First Aid kit, and get some training on how to use it.
  6. A tire repair kit and learn how to use it.
  7. A way to fill the tire with air, I suggest a compressor since it gives unlimited amounts and there are several built for motorcyclists.
  8. A good tire pressure gauge, tire maintenance is crucial during travel and you need to check you tires regularly.
  9. Duct tape, electrical tape, and zip ties
  10. Flashlight with batteries that work.
  11. Wiping towels.
  12. Octane booster, depending on the type of bike you are riding since you don't always get the correct octane at the pumps.
  13. Vise grips
  14. Spare headlight bulb, taillight bulb and signal light bulb.
  15. Electrical lead tester.
  16. A multi tool knife.
  17. Assorted spare fuses.
  18. Some kind of pain and anti diarrhea pills like Tylenol & Imodium AD.
  19. Your own medication if you are on any, also stating the obvious just in case.
  20. Sunblock Cream & Eye drops

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cool Gathering

On September the 11th there was a gathering of over 200 motorcycles for "Ghabgh" (Ramadan Dinner). This gathering was sponsored by HOG Kuwait Chapter and participation covered all types of motorcycles from all makes including Harley Davidson, Honda, BMW, Ducati and MV Agusta. The event was also pictured in some publications, you can watch a youtube video at this link .

It was very refreshing to see so many motorcycles coming together and sharing their passion for this sport even though there were many bikers that did not attend. I hope that our next gathering is even bigger.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dream Bobber

Just when I was dreaming of making my own bobber my friend Moubine goes and makes one that is out of this world if you haven't checked out his blog yet you need to go to and see the final images. Keep up the good work Moubine.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hit and Run

That is right boys and girls riding a motorcycle is dangerous , any one riding who thinks otherwise needs to be smacked on the head.

Even though our favorite hobby is what it is we try not to think of that part of the equation since that would defeat the purpose of riding by adding paranoia and fear.

I can't help but wonder however that this summer in particular has had more than it's share of accidents involving bikers that I know. One was hit by a bus (Mostly damage to the bike) , One hit a dog (Bike damage and some injury), One swerved away from a car and fell (damage to the bike and two months so far in the Hospital), and One got hit by a drunk driver (Minor damage to the bike only).

That last one was me last night when this driver sneaked up behind me through my blind spot and nudged me hitting the left side saddle bag . We were riding in a group of 11 bikers at the time and when he was surrounded he pulled over. We discovered he was drunk, took his keys and called the police. He then got in his car ( We thought he was just going to sit ) and then started it up (probably from a spare key) and ran off. I spent three hours at the police station with two good friends, then went home arriving around 3:00 am.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back ot LA

After spending the 4th of July weekend in Arcata we took the highway back to LA going through San Francisco, and Morro Bay. I finally returned the bike to the rental agency and created this video of the trip.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day Four to Arcata

There was still fog when we left Bodega Bay in the morning, and the weather was cold when I pressed the info button on the bike it read 58 Deg. F.

luckily I had the liner in the jacket which kept my upper body worm but my legs were freezing. The road was really twisty and went on for hours.

It got to a point where I got dizzy from about 4hours of twisty roads, finally we met up with the US-101 where we drove through a tree, then headed towards Arcata reaching there about 8 evening.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day Three to Bodega bay

After dragging myself out of bed my wife took pictures of the sea front part of the hotel, and we got ready to go to Bodega Bay north of San Francisco.

We continued on route 1 and then took route 9 to San Jose. It was a great road for bikes and while filling up with fuel we met another biker who was riding a 20th Anniversary GL-1500 named John who is a retired police officer and rides his bike every day and only missed three days this year not riding.

The fuel pumps here have both unleaded fuel as well as diesel on the same pump, so after I paid for the fuel I pressed on the 91 octane button and nothing came out of the nozzle.

Then I realized that I had picked up the diesel nozzle instead of the unleaded nozzle, luckily no diesel went in to the tank and I used the right nozzle avoiding cutting the trip short.

We reached San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House and had lunch then continued to San Francisco and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, then got back on route 1 along the coast for three hours until we reached Bodega Bay.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day Two to Montorey

Due to the recent forest fires that have spread around Big Sur we could not continue on route 1 and were forced to take the US-101 to Monterey.

The fires were started by a lightning storm that passed through the central and northern California with no rain lighting fires along the way. We went back 5 miles and took route 46 to reach US-101.

Instead of continuing on the US-101 we decided to take the Carmel Valley Road from Greenfield. We were told that the road may be closed due to the fires so I decided to go any way if it was closed I would go back.

Luckily for us the road was open and we got to see some of the fires in the area. The road was twisty and slightly bumpy but very scenic and not crowded at all.

We finally reached route 1 and the Motel at Monterey which is on the seafront, we went to Cannery Row, had a meal and visited the Harley Davidson store for T-shirts. Tomorrow will be a long ride since our target is Bodega Bay.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day One to Cambria

OK so we left Monrovia about 9 am and headed down the highways my wife and me on the Goldwing and my mother with the kids in the car. We turned into US-101 where is started to get cold once we got closer to the coast and I had to put on my jacket. There was some coastal fog at first and then dissipated.
We continued past Santa Barbra to San Luis Obispo going through vineyards and waving back to other bikers passing us on the way. We turned into route 1 and enjoyed the great scenery of the sea, mountains, and trees until we reached Cambria at around 3:30 pm which is beautiful town. Our Motel was right in front of the ocean with a very cool breeze and fireplaces in the rooms.
We decided to buy jackets for the kids in town due to the cold breeze and had a great time walking around and viewing the different art galleries in the area.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

California here I come

Well I guess it has been a while since I have blogged this site, there are many excuses but non that would actually prevent me from writing something. There is a new bike in the shed, a 2002 Harley Davidson Fat Boy. Getting a picture in has been difficult due to the sand storms here in Kuwait. I will try to do something once I get back and give the story of how I acquired the bike. Currently I am in California visiting my Mom and she has planned a trip to visit my aunt Carol (GG) up in Arcata taking the scenic coastal routes. My mom has planned where we will stay and the route is laid out on the map.

It will take us four days to get there taking our time and enjoying the scenery. I have just got confirmation for the rental of a Honda Goldwing GL1800 for the whole period and will keep everyone updated to the details.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Back to Sydney

Well I tried to go see the Motorcycle Museum but it wasn't open early enough for me to see it and still make it to Sydney on time however I did manage to get a picture of myself in front of the Golden Guitar.

I managed to get going by 9:00 am on my way towards Sydney and still going through the same country side I was in the day before and saw a new warning sign this time of deer.

The Bugs didn't let up either and this time they got into the wheels.

I finally reached Sydney around 3:00 pm and handed the bike back to the rental company looking forward to resting, and preparing for the flight home.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Twisty Turvy

Before I begin this travel blog I would like to thank you, my friends and relatives for reading this blog and leaving regular comments, I feel that you are all with me when I am going through the deferent countryside.

And to my biker friends, don't disregard Australia; biking here is well accepted and strong and the old tradition of waving to your fellow biker on the other side exists even here reminding each other how lucky we are to enjoy riding freely.

I left the Gold Coast today around 7:30am and headed towards Tamworth as my target for the day. In Australia it rains sporadically even though you can see the sky and the clouds are scattered you get a minute of rain from passing clouds. This happens in Kuwait also but is rare, here it happened almost every day since I arrived and today was no exception.

It is sometimes a blessing to miss a turn that the GPS tells you to, which led me to a nice small country road on the way to my intended destination, after a few hours I started to get hungry so I stopped in a small town called Lismore and had breakfast at Mecca Café.

After that it was strait to Armidale for lunch and onto Tamworth where they have the Gold Guitar and a motorcycle museum. Unfortunately when I arrived at 5:30 pm the museum was closed so I will have to go there tomorrow morning and take pictures.

Well Selena, the lady who rented the bike out to me, was right. The scenery inland was much better that the coastal freeway and the roads twisted more frequently especially on route 44.

So tomorrow I will be headed to Sydney to deliver the bike and get ready for the flight home.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getting Out

Finally after two days of not riding due to the forum I was attending I get to go out and see the area.

So I rode alongside the beach as much as I could until I reach Surfers Paradise out here on the Gold Coast and the beach, shops, and restaurants in that area were great.

Tomorrow morning I will be traveling towards Sydney with no plans where I will stop I think I will keep going as long as it is day time, and I am not tired.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fun Endurance

At 10:20 am I was ready to leave the bike rental shop where I mentioned last that I rented the BMW 1200GS they were also kind enough to let me keep my suitcase there until I returned, I put everything on the bike and headed to the Gold Coast as the destination of the hotel on the GPS guided me through traffic.

It took me about an hour and a half to get out of Sydney and suburbs on to a freeway, and after that it was easy going. It took me 12 hours to cover the 860 km to the hotel mostly due to the fact that the freeway entered many towns where the speed limit, which is strictly enforced, at times was as low as 50 km. This is why Google Maps estimated the trip at 11 hours.

However all this speed limit enforcement and safety signs did make me feel safe on the road, especially one that read "Be Aware of Motorcycles" which leads me to believe that there is a big Motorcycle culture here in Australia especially since I witnessed so many motorcycles traveling along the same freeway.

At the rental shop I was told that the route I intended to take was not as scenic as other alternate routes, I explained that I needed to attend a conference and that I had to make the trip in one day. However when the trip was on its way I found the route to be very scenic and fun, and then realized that they live here and to them this is normal. Compared to where we usually ride, on a strait road with nothing but the desert on both sides, it was paradise with trees all around and roads that twist in all directions but at slow speeds.

It started to get dark at 6:30 pm and that is when I saw my first Kangaroo warning sign and said to myself I couldn't have chosen a worse time to cross this area since it would be difficult to see if a Kangaroo was actually in the middle of the road or not and then all the bugs came out to play with the bike's windshield creating lovely patterns of the windflow.

I arrived finally at the hotel exhausted from the riding and the flight travel the day before and looking forward to a day of resting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Australia Here I come

Yes; I get to add another country to my list of countries I will be riding a motorcycle in AUSTRALIA. How is this you ask? well I will be attending a conference in the Gold Coast and decided to rent a bike and do some touring. Initially I was going to go one way from Gold Coast to Sydney but decided to do the round trip Sydney Gold Coast Sydney riding an estimated 1,840 Km.

I have rented a BMW GS 1200 for this trip since I would be alone, and the GS gives good millage to the tank. I am worried though about riding on the other side of the road, I remember that I did drive once in England but that was year ago.

Also I will be arriving at 6:30 am on the 8th of March from a long flight and picking up the bike at 9:00 am then riding 865 km in one day to the Gold Coast, I have no idea in what shape I will be once I am there? I intend to have the blog updated regularly for all to follow.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bike Damage

Well traveling that day in the sand storm has done a number on the bike, it looks as if some one took a sand blaster to the front end , there is no luster in the paint upfront where the wind hit it, and I didn't realize how bad it was until afterwards when I was cleaning it and cut my finger on some peeled chrome on the front fork brace.

I also noticed that the fog lights has a different color until a closer inspection revealed that the class was totally sand blasted.

Even the chrome on the highway pegs although not peeled were pitted and the luster of the shine of the chrome has gone.

Next time I think I will wait the sand storm out , it is easier on the bike.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sand & Dust

Well what do you expect from the desert but sand and dust , and that is exactly what we got except we didn't expect to get so much of it. It was a cold front that was moving into the area with strong winds, we almost postponed our return back to Kuwait but decided to leave at the last minute around 8 am UAE time which was 7 am Kuwait time. the wind gusts were so strong at times I was wrestling with my bike to keep it strait, and didn't want to stop fearing that the winds would knock me and the bike over if I did.

So we were doing mainly 80 to 90 km/hr in the beginning and picking up speed later on. About two hours into the trip I spotted a pothole in the road , and since I was in front I pointed to it with my leg. It was unfortunate that Aziz didn't see the pothole and headed strain for it. I could see things flying off his motorcycle when he went through the hole, and then realized when I returned to him that his mirrors detached, fell on the ground and broke. So the only thing we could do is depend on my mirrors for the trip back which meant being extra careful when passing trucks and cars.

We finally arrived at 11 pm Kuwait time with sand everywhere we had traveled 1,242 km in a sand and dust storm muscles aching and tired. the next day was nice weather and I was thinking what would have happened had we stayed another day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Excellence and Perseverance

Our journey to Dubai was smooth and enjoyable taking the same road back that we took from Hatta, and then continuing to Dubai. It's funny when you leave the boarders that you pass through a part of Oman without boarders on the way to Dubai.

We left at 8:30 am and arrived at 2:00 riding 464 km, once we got to MiNC apartment hotels at Al-Barsh we were informed that they overbooked and they tried to give us a one bedroom apartment instead of the two bedroom apartment we reserved. Finally they gave us a two bedroom apartment in another building but we waited 45 minutes for it to get cleaned.

When I arrived in Dubai I called the Honda motorcycle service center to see where they were and to get my motorcycle in to get the tire balanced. They told me that they are fully booked and that they will be able to accommodate me in 5 days. I explained that I am traveling in two days which made no difference to them at all. So I made phone calls for a half-hour until I ended up calling Dunlop who referred me to GECKO Motorcycle were I spoke to Sean who managed to get it done in 20 minutes. The professionalism that these guys show is tremendous including tightening the bolts to the specified torque.

I am not sure when I will be able to post this since we are having trouble getting internet at the apartment. We will be resting tomorrow to get ready for the trip to Kuwait on Friday.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Feeling lucky

I must have done something right for me to find a rear tire in Muscat since they don't sell Goldwings here. In fact this tire was ordered by some one who didn't want it any more, I am sure that the dealer who sold it to me was happy to find a buyer.

I am also lucky to have great friends that make these things easier, like Hameed who stuck with us and found the tire, Mr. and Mrs. Aziz who without there support all of this would be harder, and for Mohammed who sent me all the contacts I needed as a backup plan to fixing the tire.

Yes the bike is fixed and I also managed to get the burned light bulb replaced although Honda didn't have one I remembered that the BMW bikes use the same H7 bulb that the Honda does and went to the BMW dealer to get one.

The only issue I have now is that the Honda dealer here didn't have the adapter for the balancing machine to balance the tire after installing it on the rim, which means that I will need to get it balanced in Dubai.

We managed to slip away to Muttrah Market, between running errands for fixing the bike, which is an old style market full of antiques and tourists. We also managed to visit the area where the Sultan used to live and take pictures of old forts.

Welcome to my Journals......

Ever since I have been traveling on two wheels I haven't written any thing down regarding where I went, who I saw, or how I did it.

Most of my travels are with friend who I thank for letting me tag along, learn, and grow.

This journal will have two aspects the first a record of my future travels, and maybe some back dated ones. And the other will be my thoughts about traveling on a motorcycle, what gear I have tried, and what methods I feel are the best for traveling.

Please feel free to drop me a note regarding motorcycle travel, I will be happy to reply.