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DL650 and DL650A - 2004 to 2011 DL 650 up to 2011

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  #1  
Old 11-16-2012, 04:09 PM
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After enduring the trials of Job and encountering a series of frustrations (many of which were foreseeable/avoidable, e.g., after driving from Virginia to Mexico I got turned back at the border and had to return to Northern Virginia -- all in 96 hours), I repacked most of my gear, wholesaled my truck, and flew to Guatemala yesterday. Today I started farkelizing the k5 that I bought here in September, mostly using stuff I stripped off my K6 before I sold it this fall in Virginia. I was able to take some stuff with me -- Bestem Topcase, new Givi crash bars, fork brace, tool kit, and riding gear. The rest will arrive later. Going to spend Saturday giving it a super-thorough TCLOCS and, I am hopeful, take a long ride Sunday.

I only put about 150 miles on the bike I picked up down here -- it looks solid, feels OK. No evidence of having been seriously dumped , but I am puzzled by the paint job -- it is a pearl white. I removed some of the plastic and seat and see no signs that it was repainted, but it is obviously not a stock color, so a credit to whoever did it. The question is, why?? The pearl white is not bad, but IMHO not worth the trouble. This is bugging me. I have some suspicions.

At any rate, would appreciate hearing from anyone in the area with tips on parts/service, the riding community, etc. Will be tricking it out and probably a repaint. Will post photos.
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2012, 10:58 AM
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I, for one, would like to hear more about getting turned back at the Mex border. That's a first in my experience, whether crossing by car, truck, RV or motorcycle. For those of us who might be thinking of heading south...what happened?

You got an Aryan Nation tattoo on your neck?
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:26 PM
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I too am interested in the turn away at the border.
I would guess the vehicle paperwork was not in order.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:30 PM
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the short answer is: don't get too cute. I made this same trip in '08 with no trouble because I was a tourist and looked like a tourist. this time my truck had a cap on it, the air shocks were at the max, truck was sagging, and every nook and cranny was stuffed with all manner of crap that I felt I could not leave behind. Mexican customs guys were understanding, but this was too obvious -- much more stuff than a normal 'tourist' would need, so my options were 1) unload, prepare a manifest, and pay 16% on anything over the top, e.g., all the farkles, extra tools, 36" LCD TV, second computer, gifts for friends. (They have a list of what is 'normal' and it is on line). Food and alcohol are verboten. And there were a couple of items which I was not going to let them poke into under any circumstances. Option 2 was to proceed as a 'transmigrante' or in transit, i.e., hire a customs broker (maybe $500 and a day or two to process) and I could take anything I wanted but they would check at the other end to make sure I took out everything I took in. But then I would have to deal with Guatemalan customs who would take note of my status as other-than-tourist adn also focus on the truck. Two complicated and surely invasive alternatives.

I did this to myself. Most civil servants -- with the possible exception of TSA -- are reasonable people. But when you insult their intelligence you should expect to get the 'treatment' they reserve for relieving the stress, boredom, and frustration of their often miserable lives. Probably like fiddling with your taxes -- many people do it and get away with cutting a corner or two. But if you over-reach you send up red flags that can result in an audit that can suddenly take on a life and purpose of its own and lead to places you do not want to revisit.

So, in the span of five minutes both my fiancee and a kindly Mexican customs agent said essentially the same thing: "maybe this is a sign that you were not meant to travel through Mexico today" I had ignored plenty of signs over the previous few weeks of my preparation and as I stood there in front of migracion in Matamoros I decided to heed this one. Did a 180 and 48 hrs later was back in Virginia.

But the day before yesterday, after I had stashed most of my stuff, I flew down to Guatemala without incident. I had a carry-on, a backpack, and two huge boxes which I knew would attract the attention of Guatemalan customs. My story was that I planned some extensive motorcycling (true) and needed my own specialized equipment (also true). The fact that my gear (except for the Givi crashbars still bubble-wrapped at the bottom of the box) was obviously used was enough to sell my tale. A three-minute, cursory inspection and I was gone.

So, I am here, maybe a little wiser (maybe not -- probably more an expensive experience noted than a 'lesson learned'). It is 70 and sunny and in 10 minutes I am going for a little shake down and tomorrow am headed to Antigua with mi novia on the back to kick off this phase of my life.

Regards.

Last edited by shadowman; 11-17-2012 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:07 PM
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"And there were a couple of items which I was not going to let them poke into under any circumstances."

Riding through Baja a couple of years ago I encountered many military checkpoints. Sometimes I was waved through, sometimes they took a look through my stuff.

I once knew a girl in Antigua. She would sent me to a corner store with a list of things to get for dinner. I was seldom successful because I didn't speak Spanish and depending who was behind the counter they sometimes maybe couldn't read. Then she would have to go and would scold me for being useless. It was fun.

Sounds like you are on an adventure.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:08 PM
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Well, at least they let you go. Many years ago in my callow youth I spent a night in jail in Nuevo Laredo on a charge of being a contrabandista for trying to cross OUT of Mexico without the motorcycle I had come in on.

It got straightened out, but could have ended badly.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:41 PM
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Hey Shadowman! I'm flying to Guate in Feb. to build some stove for Mayans living around Lake Atitlan (with Masons on a Mission).....
Anyway, I was fantasizing about doing what you just did. Problem is, I may not hit the weather right to return to the Northeast in mid February. AND, I expect to be buying an '07 Wee Monday. I'd love to though... How did you find your bike? Are they pretty plentiful/did you have a few to choose from? I did a quick google search in Guatemala City and found lots of dealers but they don't seem to list bikes for sale on line.
Hey, have a safe trip and keep the shiny side up. Keep us posted.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:24 PM
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There are some VStroms here, but they are rare, which is why I snapped this one up when I saw it. Probably cost 25% more than it would have in the states, but everything imported tends to run higher. Most of the ones I have seen are used by various security forces, which is what I suspect mine was at some time -- it is painted a pearl white. It had a private title, but I only know its pedigree going back a few years.

There are lots of bikes here -- during the week you see all the 100, 125 and 200cc bikes that so many people rely upon as their principal mode of transport. Roads are very corwded, not in good condition, adn people are not good or particularly respectful in their driving habits. Weekends -- mostly Sunday -- is when the big bikes come out. There are about eight Harleys, BMWs, A Kawa Vulcan, etc., all in my building and they only move on Sundays when traffic lightens up. the rest of the week it isn't so much fun in the city. I have a list of places to go and things to do. I have climbed four of the 23 volcanoes here, so that is part of my list.

Any number of groups ahve come here to help construct stoves of various designs. It really is incredible how much energy is devoted to simply gathering firewood for cooking fuel. LPG/propane are inaccessible and beyond the measn of most indiginous, so more efficient stoves are a good idea. If you could teach your design, even better. As for riding down here, February weather in US is problematic. If I had the time and did not need to travel so heavily, I would have done it in a heartbeat. Just use common sense -- stick to the toll road when possible, never ride at night, and stay alert. Even now, people do it. Security is a problem, but life goes on.

Lago Atitlan is only 3 hrs from here, so I do expect to make that trip soon and post some pointers and fotos.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:41 AM
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This ain't a stove forum, but have you considered solar cookers? I built one several years ago as what I thought was a crazy experiment, and ever since it has been our preferred way of cooking during sunny months. It is absolutely the BEST way to cook any type of meat, since it maintains a medium cooking temp for many hours and the meat just falls off the bone even with the cheapest cut or toughest bird. And nothing will ever burn -- put the food in at mid-morning, forget about it all day, take it out in the PM, and eat. In turd-world countries you could boil water for sterilization, too.

Costs almost nothing to make; requires no fuel; is a foolproof cooking method that requires NO attention; and makes the cheapest cuts fall-apart tender. I can't believe these things aren't in use everywhere.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled V-Strom discussion.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:32 PM
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I would be delighted to continue the 'stove' discussion and related topics in a more appropriate thread if someone wants to transport this. The short answer is that you are 100% correct -- solar would be the way to go and it has been tried but not embraced. We are talking about people who are living much the way they did 500 years ago. Making the transition to a simple, masonry/iron stove which is 2-3 times more efficient than an open fire is a significant step forward in conserving time, energy, and the environment. Little by little.
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