Friday, October 26, 2012


Wednesday, Oct 24th, 2012. Vallentuna, Sweden.

Kind of ironic that after visiting the VASA Museum and 16th century warship, I find myself temporarily grounded in the city that the Vasa went down in.
I mean, I had intended to be up in Nordkapp by now.
There are worse places to run aground I guess, I've made some good friends here who are doing their best to help me get myself and my outfit back on the road. My window to get to Nordkapp has pretty much closed, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. I've come this far, so what the hell. Whats the worst that can happen other than I freeze to death. Painless I hear.
There's a possibility that when I get there I won't be able to make it out to the Nordkapp Obelisk due to snow. As of today, Oct 25th, the forecast for the next few days is for temps in the -4 range and 4 or 5 " of snow. By the time I get there in 8 or 10 days, that'll probably be a couple of feet of snow and temps in the -10 range.

Meanwhile, I've been having my fair share of teething problems with one issue after another with the bike. First the clutch started giving me problems, it seems that the TRW sintered clutch plate that I installed is not mating properly with the stock BMW pressure plate and flywheel surfaces and seems to be causing clutch chatter or shuddering in first gear as I accelerate from a standing stop, and it's real bad when I'm on an incline. Once I'm rolling it's fine through the rest of the gears.

Then the Wilbers rear shock let go..........again. 
This is the 3rd time the Wilbers has leaked and/or the seal has broken since I bought it new last year.
The first time was back in the U.S. when the Wilbers only had somewhere in the region of 5-6k miles on it, less than 6 months old, the second time was when I got the bike to Rotterdam and rode down to LBS.
Fortunately Frank Hoffman at my sponsor Wunderlich Germany has arranged for a replacement shock to be sent to me, this time an Ohlins Shock. He's not a fan of Wilbers. Interestingly, I'm holed up doing the repair to the bike here in Vallentuna Sweden, less than 20km from the Ohlins HQ.

This is a 'Swedish Winter Driveway Special' repair. 

At least someone's smiling.

I couldn't get a garage to get the outfit into, but at least it's not raining. It's cold, but dry. I can work until about 4pm or until the temperature gets to 0°, then I usually quit, it's too cold on my hands.
So tomorrow I'm going to do an oil change as well, it doesn't need it, but the 
20w50 synthetic oil that's in it right now is giving me problems when trying to start the engine in -4, it's sluggish and hard to turn over and that'll drain a battery in no time, so I'm going to replace it with a 5w30 synthetic instead, it should be a lot easier to turn over when the temperatures go to -15° and below.
The clutch, well, that'll have to wait, I have nowhere here in the Stockholm area to do a big repair like that, I can't do that outside in a driveway so I'll just hope for the best that it will hold up until I get at least to Nordkapp and maybe even make it to Russia. Once I get to Yaroslavl the Black Bears will be able to get me into a covered garage ( he says hopefully) and I can take look at the situation there.
If I don't make it to Russia, well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

And then there's the final drive oil leak.

Apparently, Mobec didn't do a complete weld bead around the inside of the housing where the 2WD shaft that goes to the sidecar is welded to, and it appears that the oil in the final drive is leaking through the breaks in the weld, at least that's what I can gather. LBS aren't really much help on it, but then again it's not really their problem, but I have to figure out something until I can get it welded somewhere, which is kind of a big deal as the whole final drive has to come out and apart to weld it. Silicone seems to be looking good at this point. 
I wish Loctite were a sponsor of Wherethehellismurph, I know they'd have something to take care of this pronto. Note to self, drop Loctite an email.

I was really hoping to start out the trip to Nordkapp on a much more positive note than this, at least mechanically anyway. Initially I had planned to already be in Nordkapp by now, but lately it seems like it's just been one thing after another, the hits just keep on coming. And for the icing on the cake I've been sick with the flu for the past 5 weeks, I got sick in Holland when I was leaving to head north, then it subsided in Germany, but when I got to Denmark and Sweden it came on like gangbusters and put me to bed for four days. It felt like it steamrolled right over me.
And for some weird reason, I seem to be ok with all of these "issues" that are going on right now. Maybe it's the calm before the storm. I know I'm not fully prepared for the road up north and over to Russia, but how can you prepare for something you have never done before?. There's only so much you can plan for, you can't plan for something that hasn't happened yet.

Friday, Oct 26th, 2012. Vallentuna, Sweden.

A little chilly at -6° this morning and it snowed a wee bit too, I had to wait until 10am or so for the temperature to warm up a little before I could get going.

Out with the old Wilbers.......

....and in with the new Ohlins.

 Damn nice looking shock I must say, lets hope it performs as good as it looks.
Time will tell.
A very big thank you to Frank Hoffmann and Wunderlich Germany for getting the Ohlins shock to me here in Sweden.

Hopefully this silicone bead will help keep the oil where it's supposed to, inside the final drive housing and not outside in the wheel assembly.
So today I'm going to change the oil and hopefully be ready to leave out for Nordkapp by Monday. Sunday I want to try to get to the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital and see if I can give a sidecar ride with the Ride Away Cancer Sidecar and put a smile on someones face.

The Streets of Stockholm.

I really enjoyed Stockholm in the little amount of time I had there, definitely needs a second visit

Today I'm cooking dinner for a friends Mom who was kind enough to help me, so the least I can do is feed her my signature 'Grilled Salmon' with Celtic Sea Salt dish. And on Sunday I'll be cooking the same dish for Patrik and Carina, my hosts up here in Vallentuna Sweden, who have been so kind and generous to me. Patrik today went out and bought me the oil I need for my oil change.

I am hoping to get my SmugMug account in order in the next week or so in order to make available for purchase any of the prints you see here. Since I am still self funded I'm getting to a point where I'm dangerously low on funds, and this is going to be the only means of support I have. Ride Away Cancer also costs money as the toys I purchase I pay for my self too. 
If you wish to donate to help support this cause you can just hit the DONATE button up on the right hand side of the page. Any amount will help and is greatly appreciated.



Rick K said...

Murph, sorry to hear that the shakedown gremlins continue to plague you, may this be the last of them.
I am curious about a couple of things; As one who enjoys overlanding, I am very interested to know just what you are packing along with you, tools, spares, shelter, utensils, food, etc. Have you posted a list of that kind somewhere? I would love to see it. I am looking forward to hearing about what works for you and what you learn on this leg of your journey.
One last question; what flu lasts 5 weeks?

May good fortune follow you the rest of the trip.

Following you from Seattle


redlegsrides said...

Here's hoping your mechanical issues are resolved soon Murph! Better where you are than say in the middle of nowhere eh? Very nice pictures of the architecture!

Katherine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...


No, I haven't posted a packing list yet, I was thinking of doing one but every time I do weather stops me from unloading and out all my gear.

What flu last 5 weeks?. The one I have which is now 6 weeks long and still dogging me. It subsided a bit in Germany than when I got up here to Stockholm it came back again. My immune system must be low I guess.



Unknown said...

Hey Dom thanks.
It could always be worse right?.


Arline said...

Your photos are wonderful! They are very beside myself with awe! They actually look like painted pictures. lovely

Anonymous said...

I like the life style you have!!!
If you need help with the bike (mechanical) I have a small garage with the needed tools (repair/service forks etc) just 20min ride south of stockholm *legal speed =P*
My best wishes for you two!!

Best regards Conny


Unknown said...

Conny, thanks. I did need you last week but managed to do a temporary repair in a friends driveway. I have a bit of a time issue to try to get to Nordkapp and Russia asap.

I'll be back in Stockholm though, so I'll email you for contact info.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rob, Michael and I were in Amsterdam last w/end and I have been in bed with the worst flu since...... must be something to it!! No fun. But, please dont freeze to death ~ painless or not ~ we're expecting you in Ireland in '13. N

Michelin Motorcycle Tire said...

Your pictures are amazing i have to say.Am sorry about the clutch problem you went through, but it is something that all riders and drivers face day in day out.

Harley Motorcycle Parts said...

The pictures are incredibly good. I totally love the way you live.

Harley Motorcycle Tires said...

Hey Murph,
Sorry about the experience you had. But do i say, it was quite an experience and am sure you will never be caught up in it again because you learnt a number of things.

If you need spare motorcycle tires to keep you rolling even in case of a mess, you can visit our site and have them delivered to you!

Smittybilt Winch said...

Impressive architectural work ! I honestly do hope that your mechanical short comings were sorted.

Touring Motocycle Tires said...

Your blog is well spread out and looks great! Am sorry about your encounters!

Ruggedridge said...

A crazy experience,but at the same time a chance for you learn a few things you might have missed out on.