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Sunday, October 30, 2011


Yesterday on the way to Las Cruces with Jon, we discovered that the left side head gasket had a good size steamy leak. I was on the track of trying to reload windows XP on my nettie and that was a failure so the best thing was the ice cream at Caliche's and learning I needed to fix my moto.

I pretty much go with the idea illustrated when someone says "if I had been five minutes earlier, I would have been in that accident!". I also believe that when I flow with the Tao I am in good hands...way better than mine. So I am thrilled this turned up before the trip and where I have a place and all my tools and any help I need to do the job.

I think part of the problem is that I succumbed to that old bugaboo that says, "buy the cheaper one!" and I used aftermarket head gaskets last time I had the heads off. Big mistake...they have steel covered with a composite graphite covering and Honda's OEM gasket which rarely fail are copper....yep, you guessed it...OEM on order now.  Unfortunately the price I pay for OEM is $46 a piece instead of half that for the knockoffs....

I don't know why I forget this, but when Tim Cahill rode shotgun in a new GMC truck with Garry Sowerby in the late 80s on a road trip to break the Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay time record, the only things that broke were the aftermarket accessories ...the GM parts all held up through a grueling mega trip!

Incidentally they broke the old record of  50 days with their record of 23.5 days! Give that a thought...15,000 miles and maybe 15 borders to cross in 23.5 days!!! That is stunning to me. Not anything that I would ever want to do...I am more interested in doing the slow record, but a real accomplishment to those in the business of record breaking. The book 'Road Fever' by Tim is a bit of a bore so I won't really recommend it but have it in my collection of long distance road trip books..

In the olden days of the 80's the OEM stuff was skookum and Honda was and is one of the best companies in the world for quality. Keep in mind my rig consists of a 1983 high mileage drive train in a 1980 frame with an early 1970's sidecar, so we are talking the "GOOD OLDEN DAYS" of manufacturing. .

I miss that but we'll see how a rig with somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of miles on it and at least half of that with a heavy steel bucket of a sidecar  hanging on the side of it, does.... And I will hope I don't have to hitchhike home with my little doggie buddy to fetch the van and trailer to retrieve  "El Poderoso"  (The powerful one), named in deference to Alberto Granada's Norton 500 that he and Ernesto "Che" Guevara rode around South America in the early 50's.

Here's to repair!
Off to the garage,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is Mexico Safe...?????

I was sent this from another Mexico traveler and semi expat and I shamelessly post it here:

"Show me the statistics. Of the 42,000 people killed in Mexico since Calderon
took office, 98.9% are directly related to drugs. Most of those numbers are
between the cartels. Please direct me to the number of foreigners who have been
kidnapped or murdered. As an rver and an avid boondocker, I can tell you
there is nothing to fear. However, things have changed over the last three
years. We now have to be more careful where and when we travel. Not that there
have been any incidences, but to use common sense. For example, I no longer
drive at night, we no longer boondock on the coast of Tamaulipas like we used
to. These changes are temporary and things look like they are reaching their
peak. I believe that we need to apply more pressure to the U.S. in terms of gun
sales and the U.S. drug consumption.

We just returned from two months in the mountains of
Jalisco. Best trip we have
ever taken. We boondocked in SLP, Jalisco, Coahuila, and Guanajuato. We were
never stopped, harassed, asked to pay a bribe, or sold concert tickets. We
truly went where and when we wanted without any hassle." Anon RVer

Sounds good to me...unless you listen to those who have never been there or who listen to hate radio or "who had an uncle who had a friend who had to fight his way out of Rocky Point with a shotgun!"  No shit...Someone told me this! I nearly choked laughing.

So, Here is to our friends down south and rest easy...they really aren't out to get us, they just want a piece of the enormous drug habit in the US. Stop using drugs, they shrink away. Or if you elect Mr. Perry, we will be at war with our neighbors and all bets are off. That is our habit with any opposition or anyone who has what we want...I hope and pray it doesn't happen with Mexico.

Travel easy,
ManyWheels Brian

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A good start...

Yesterday, my friend Jon and I rode  down to Palomas Mexico to get tourist cards (FMM) and I needed to get the entry permit for my rig. I rode across, Jon walked as he doesn't need vehicle papers for Baja....

What a great time..folks are so interested and welcoming with/about sidecars. I had some laughs with a few Mexican nationals and some fun interactions and got it all felt really, really good to have wheels in Mexico....

That's all, I keep tweaking and tuning and trying to remember what I was going to do when I walked out to the garage....damn, I am not getting this done any too soon....

I don't know of any place in the world where I feel more at home than sitting on my sidecar magic carpet that transports me effortlessly wherever I dream of going....what a gift.

Live well and do good work,

ManyWheels Brian

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just a quick note...

Hi all,
I am currently in Durango at our place here, visiting Kit and getting things a bit more prepared for winter. It is nice to spend more time with Kit than I have in a while and makes me want to be here more now that I have finished the major bike project. Today we are going for a drive around for some more leaf peeping..the colors are just outstanding! I will get some photos today and put a couple up on here.

We have a bumper crop of apples here and I will take some back down to TorC for friends...I made one of our favorites yesterday...we call it Apple Lois after Kit's mom but it is commonly known as Apple Betty. Hard to stop eating it! The fun part is eating the apples, the not-so-fun part is the visitor Kit has when they apples are ripe and the windfalls and bug eaten ones end up in her trash can.

It is an over-friendly black bear that comes in the night and knocks over garbage bins. In this progressive town the idea is that the bears were here first and we need to learn to live with them. A great idea but you really need to look outside first before you go dashing out at night to avoid disturbing Mr.or Mrs. Bear and pissing them off. It reminds us of Alaska and our yard pets of Moose....often a cow and calf and they would lie down near the outhouse in the snow, making our visits out there a bit nervous. They cured us of attaching our then dog Clancy to his wire run outside....the poor guy got run over by a yearling calf right in the yard...he was ok but leery of moose from then on.

Today my friend Jon arrives from Ithaca for his usual winter in TorC and I am looking forward to some of the adventures we do together, everything from discovering great little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants to metal detecting and Indian artifacts hunting and general rooting around in the desert. This winter Jon may decide to ride his Honda Shadow along with me for some of the time in Mexico. Maybe the Baja part. He is an old hand in Latin America having spent some of his teenage years in Uruguay and some other parts of America Sur. I hope he will join me for a while...

That's about it until I return to TorC and take care of three doc appointments and get their OK to head out.

Happy trails,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More on the camping trip....

Due to a comment by my friend John Rogers on my last post I realized I didn't say anything about the experience of my weekend or the people there so here is a followup...

The City of Rocks State Campground  near  Faywood, NM in the lower Mimbres valley gives one the feeling of what camping in Stonehenge might be like. It is a large area of upright rocks  made of volcanic ash welded together and sculpted by wind and sand into fantastic shapes. Here is a link to the website with photos and description of it:

It is one of my favorite spots in New Mexico and I have camped there a number of times.

This was to be a small gathering suggested by a member of an online forum I belong to and it was just that. Three other folks showed up and camped there and we had some nice visits and a very welcome French Dip meal made by one woman in her Class C motorhome. One was from the forum and two were friends of the original idea man.

These were people living a bit differently than the Vandwellers I have gathered with before...they are fulltimers with larger RVs and when the wind was blowing pretty strongly and it was raining a bit, it was super nice to retreat to one of the rigs to chat and stay warm. Not the same as sitting around the fire outside but fun in it's own way....

As may have been noted in my previous post, my interest was less social and more a test of my outfit and gear. As I approach my leave date, I find there is still a lot to do and this trip had a definite role in that.

One thing I enjoyed very much is having several of those moments when I was almost overwhelmed  in realizing the perfection of natural creation. Sometimes I  wonder why I spend so much of my life indoors...separated from the natural elements and the wonders of nature.

Stay well and happy trails and thanks to John!

Monday, October 10, 2011

More prep...

I took a short camping trip on Thursday for a couple nights and tried out my systems...great sleeping a night in my new-to-me Marine goretex bivy sack and Big Agnes Encampment bag with a Thermorest lite pad.  I did find that I can't just use a thin Thermarest any more due to my arms going numb with such a hard bed. I have my eye on a new pad...a Big Agnes air mattress and an insulating pad under that. I think it will work well and I will sleep better and not have to turn from side to side so often.

Friday it threatened rain a bit so I set up my new Eureka Timberline 2  tent...and it was great! This is the same tent as Kit uses for moto trips and she loves it. Perfect for this trip and fits Dina and I with room for some gear. Now I love it too.

I discovered a couple of minor bike problems that needed sorting out and I was able to put together a good list of more to do to get ready..and stuff not to forget to leave home...

I really enjoy this part of the process...the getting is rather like a meditation of sorts and increases the anticipation....kind of like...well...foreplay....trip foreplay...

I will head up to Durango sometime in the next couple of days and spend some time with Kit and enjoy the turning leaves....when I get back to TorC I have a couple of doc visits and then can think more about taking off.

Stay happy

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Moving along...

As I get closer to the Mexico adventure and go through the gear once again to try and eliminate more, I am wishing I had set my doctors appointments earlier...
Very tough to wait!

The tent and footprint arrived and I  checked it is the same tent that Kit has had for years and is maybe the best all around tent we have ever used....

It is a Timberline 2 from Eureka and has been made since 1973. Easy to use, roomy and free-standing it is a tough little fella and used by the Boy Scouts and the Alaska State Forestry wildland firefighters amongst many other folks that give it hard use. You can stagger into camp in the dark, totally beat and still put it up easily.

Next weekend I am attending a 6 day camp-out that a friend from an online vandwelling group has put is in City of Rocks State Park south of Silver City, NM. Just over the hill from me so I will be able to try out my camp and see how it works for the same time meet some people I only know from online. Very much looking forward to it.

There is a possibility of meeting a guy there whom I have known about for several years. He has done a lot of sidecar miles with his dog and I would love to meet him....we have several mutual friends. He is Ara G. and his dog Spirit who keeps a blog  where you can follow him and see his beautiful photography... .

I added the name of Blue Sky Expeditions to my header and that is what I will call my traveling dog and man show. It is a name that goes back to the early 80's when I started my custom jewelry business, "Blue Sky Enterprises". A very close friend made a gorgeous sign for me and I have it hanging over the garage doors at Rancho Cielo Azul....our home base. We now refer to our marriage as Blue Sky Enterprises and now this expedition is Blue Sky me it means something that started as Blue Sky dreaming and becomes a success and earns the name....

My date for leaving for Mexico is November 1 although it may be a couple days either way.

See you on the road,
Brian Manywheels

Baja mellow

Baja Bri

Me and my buddy

Me and my buddy
Bri and "Dina Whitesocks the Dancing Dervish Dog"

B.O.B. and Dina

B.O.B. and Dina


About Me

My photo
well, I am a 70 year old married man with a couple of sons and 4 grand kids and am currently wending my way around the planet in any way that I find interests me. I am a retired mechanic, certified motorcycle nut, ride a sidecar rig and practice living in the moment. I am a 31 year friend of Bill and Bob and have lived a life beyond my wildest dreams.