Saturday, July 16, 2011

Two Weeks And Counting...

We have been invited to BBQ with some of our friends in John Day, Oregon so our start date has moved up.  July 30 is now the day we start turning wheels, and I do believe we really are ready to go.  This past week, we finally sorted the last three big items on our many and various "To Do" lists.

Just remove the front seat and you can fit a full-sized sofa!
First, we sold our last car.  Our beloved Scion xB now has a new owner (thanks, once again, to Craigslist) and we have more trip money.  We bought the xB in 2005, and it has been a trusty accomplice in many of our other stupid adventures.  She's made two cross-country trips, camped in Yellowstone and Moab, swallowed a full-sized sofa from Ikea, and through it all, "Foxy" provided 118K miles of dependable service.  This is the first time in more than 25 years that neither Re nor I have owned some sort of four-wheeled vehicle.  I'm glad that we have our Symbas and live in a city with excellent public transportation, but not having a car does limit our mobility.  It's kind of an odd feeling but also a little freeing, I think it will give us a better understanding of how most of the developing world lives.

Second, we finally completed all of the steps necessary to get our Carnet de Passage issued.  I wrote about Carnet a few posts ago, and overall, it has been an easy process.  The only real difficulty has been the transfer of funds from our credit union to the bank used by the Carnet issuer.  Between vacations, holidays, a strike by the Canadian postal service, and having to do an international wire transfer by mail and fax, it has been a more time consuming process than I expected.  But it's all done, and we shall have our Carnet documents in our grubby little paws on Thursday the 21st.  Yay!

The elusive Symba cush drive damper
Third, we finally have spare parts for the Symbas on the way.  Getting parts has been a bit of an issue since there is a new SYM importer as of earlier this year.  Alliance Powersports (they keep promising that their website will be online soon) took over for the previous importer after they had one too many suspicious warehouse fires.  Because the Carter Brothers warehouse was a total loss, Alliance did not receive any parts from them when they took over the distributorship.  Parts and bikes have now started trickling into the US, but the parts I want to carry for spares aren't necessarily the common replacement ones.  I am concerned about the wear that our trip will place on items like bearings and cush drive dampers and so want to carry at least one spare of each.  I figure that if we have a failure of any of these high wear parts, we will have a replacement with us and can try to source another locally.  (One advantage to the Symbas is that there is a SYM importer on every continent we will be visiting, another is that many of the running parts are interchangeable with the those from Honda Cubs)  I contacted Alliance a couple of weeks ago to order the parts that I need, and they unfortunately did not have many of them in stock.  Michael (in the parts department) checked into ordering them from Taiwan by airfreight but realized that they would not arrive in time to get them to us before we hit the road.  Boo!  Because of this, Michael got permission to remove the parts that we need from the last new Symba that they had in stock.  Yay!!  They are on the UPS truck and will be here on Tuesday.  Thanks to Michael, Mike and Gene at Alliance Powersports.

We are jealous of the bamboo setup!
This week we also did a final trial packing of all our gear in the topcases and duffels.  As I feared, it weighs more than our target of 50 pounds each.  Re will be carrying the heavier gear (as she is much lighter than I am) in an attempt to balance out the total weight each bike will be carrying.  Re's load totals 62 pounds and mine totals 47 pounds, not including our 5L of water and 1.25 gallon gas can each.  Ugh. (Now you see why I want extra wheel bearings and cush drive dampers)  But we know that these little bikes can carry huge loads.  On our last trip through SE Asia we saw them carrying all kinds of farm animals, huge loads of bottled beer and water, families of five, and even giant flat screen TVs!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is coming up fast.

    I wanted to tell you that I mentioned you and your trip to my service tech/head dude at Maplewood Scooter Company. This is where I bought my Symba and he wanted me to tell you that they would be happy to support you when you pass through. They are good people.

    We are all waiting to see how the new distributor works out. We're told that the Symba is one of the bikes Lance is emphasizing having parts for--that and the Fiddle 125 & HD200. Ah, but we've heard many things in the past. It is difficult to be overly optimistic. Oh well.

    I did want you to know about Mike's offer.