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.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Trust Issues

It is an uncomfortable feeling riding a bike you cannot trust to perform, it all started this morning when I decided to take a ride into Hatta and felt, while turning, that the bike's tires need looking at. Upon inspection I found nothing wrong with the front tire and a nail in the rear which had only 18 psi instead of the 41psi it should have. So I started the tire repair with a mushroom shaped plug and inflated it to the desired pressure it looked solid and we started our trip towards Oman at noon.

We passed through the borders, and headed towards Muscat passing different villages and towns it was a good ride until about tow and a half hours into the ride when I felt that the bike was unbalanced and stopped immediately and found that the Mushroom plug wasn't there and all the air just rushed out of the tire. Well all that I can do is re patch the tire this time with the tire repair kit Aziz had and call a fried in Oman to try to get me a new tire. We continued the ride carefully through traffic and finally reaching the hotel where I felt that the tire was deflated, apparently the second patch was leaking. We check in and I started following up on phone calls and got our prayers answered when my friend informed me that there is a tire available and that he will come by tomorrow morning to pick me up after I remove the wheel to take it to get the tire changed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Great Roads

The day started well with a good breakfast at the hotel, and rooms that overlooked the seascape so the view was great. We decided to leave at 9:00 am since we wanted to arrive at Hatta in the afternoon. Once we started out of the hotel we got a slight drizzle of rain, then it increased so I stopped to put on our rain gear except that Aziz didn't bring his and decided to continue to the border with out it. My wife and I put on our rain gear and then it started to really pour. Once we reached he border we met up with Aziz and his wife who were slightly wet, and continued towards Hatta via Dibba, and Alfujaira visiting Albidyah Mosque which was built around 1446 AD.

After leaving the Mosque the GPS died again so when we stopped for lunch at an Irani resturant I removed the battery and reinstalled it on the motorcycle and it worked!

The fastest way from Alfujaira to Hatta according to the GPS is through Oman, since I didn't want to go through three borders in one day I found a route that didn't go through Oman from Alfujaira to Hatta that turned out to be a great road and passing through two tunnels.

We finally reached Hatta fort Hotel at 3:30 pm while only riding 279 km. Tomorrow we will be leaving for Muscat around 11:00 am.

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.