The previous update of the Tour.

13.3.99 Sat (612) Mexico USA

Klick to hear the national anthem of the United States
General information about United States.

Last evening I had walked to the U.S. border and checked, what documents I would need. They demanded a document of economical status and 6 dollars.

In the morning my parents sent me the needed account document (great!) by fax to a shop in Matamoros and then I was able to go to the border! 10 days and $300 was wasted in Mexico! But tour could continue now!!!

I packed my bike and rode that two kilometres to the border. In the immigration they treated me ok. I had all the needed papers too. Then luggage check. It was as thoroughful as when leaving Colombia. Almost every item was checked.

After one hour I was free to go!!!
Next city was Brownsville.
In USA gasoline was extremely cheap, some 90 cents per gallon (1.45 FIM/l). In Mexico it had been twice that expensive. In Texas, one minute of international telephone call cost $1.00. In Mexico $2.60!

...riding continued towards Houston.

I had some difficulties in finding the main road towards Houston, because in the road signs were marked road number and direction. For example "9611 East". Cities not mentioned.

Telephone calls and gasoline were the only things that were cheaper in USA compared to Latin America. Accommodations cost always $40 and more, but quality was excellent. Also food cost four times more than in Latin America. Night was cold, just 5°C (40F). Still 230 miles to Houston, I decided to stop in a small town Odem.

14.3. Sun (613) Odem Houston

I checked all my luggage and threw away some items:
More space to luggage. Good.

Confirmation call to Houston Youth Hostel. $11.39 per night. Okay. On the road again! 4 - 5 hours later I arrived to Houston. The traffic was very massive, but behind the steering wheel people behaved very differently, than for example in Latin America. In United States the car drivers gave me space and I didn't need to worry about my safety.

It was easy to go: the highway 90 changed to 56, which continued to the center of Houston. center of Houston. It was easy to find the hostel. The youth hostel was in a nice real-estate area.

15. Mon (614) - 29.3. Mon (628) Houston

The hostel had an internet access. $15 for unlimited access... I used that opportunity as much I could: tried to search for a job (hopeless), e-mailed with friends and - developed my web pages. Thanks for my friend Heikki Alkkiomäki for his efforts for the World Tour pages as a webmaster! He still continues helping me by scanning the photos for the tour updates.

In the youth hostel stayed a pianist, who knew JavaScript language well. We built the 'date and tour day counter' to the main page. During the two weeks I had spent totally more than hundred hours in the net... the record of the hostel.

I tried to contact the Nokia recruiters in Dallas, Boston and San Diego. At the Nokia's website I had seen plenty of open jobs... But searching didn't seem promising at all.
Also I didn't want to accept any illegal work - i.e. working without work permit.
I decided to start searching from other companies too!!! I had spent a lot of time and energy (and money too) by trying to contact the Nokia recruiters, especially at the San Diego office, but they had always answering machines on. Once I could reach one recruiter and have a 30 seconds call, but I couldn't get the information, had my résumé arrived or not... And they never answered to e-mails.

Houston towards Florida

My friend Heikki had forwarded me a great message - an invitation - from St. Petersburg, Florida!! Great! Interesting! We kept e-mailing with the couple who had invited me. I decided to visit them in Florida. They were Jack Lambert and his wife Shelly Jensen.

I started the 1,000 mile trip to Florida to see them.

30.3. Tue (629) Houston, TX 1.4. Thu (631) St. Petersburg, FL

1,000 miles riding in three days, on highway 10. The American super-highways were as good as for example in Germany or France. The best in the world. One could ride easily 800-1,000 kms a day, if doing a longer daytrip.

1.4. I arrived to St. Pete and met Jack and Shelly. Shelly, Jack and me.
They offered me a place to stay. Very kind. Jack had lived in Finland 1956-1959, interesting.

3.4. Sat (633) - 12.4. Mon (642) St. Petersburg

Jack helped me in the spare part matters. The steering bearings had been in poor condition in my bike since Yucatan, Mexico for the last 5,000 kms. That had been some kind of a continuous danger to me, because the steering didn't function well...

He ordered the bearings for me, as he was the sales manager in the local motorcycle dealer!!! I visited the Barney's Yamaha dealer.

Pictures with Jack and Shelly.

Jack and Shelly.

Jack and I
Shelly

Pictures of the Barney's Yamaha dealer:
Barney's Yamaha dealer Cool Harley-likes
Enduros Watercrafts

13.4. Tue (643) St. Pete

Jack had arranged an opportunity for me to check my bike at the Barney's Yamaha dealer's maintenance department!! Great!!

I had 80,000 kms in the odometer... From the engine we had discovered some damage in Bolivia at Imcruz, the Suzuki dealer. That was 17,000 kms (11,000 miles) ago!!! This checking and maintenance was a highly needed opportunity!

I started to do the maintenance & repair project... I was also allowed to borrow the mechanics' tools, if I needed! In difficult places they kindly gave me professional guidance and help! :) Great! First I opened the shocks. At least the fork oils had to be changed. After nearly two years, three continents and 80,000 kms the oil was really used.

The next important thing was changing the steering bearings. The lower one was damaged. Then... engine off. Pictures of the repair:
The teeth of the fifth gear sprocket were also very worn-out. As the DR800 is European-only model, ordering that sprocket from Japan would have delayed getting it for two months! But Jack made a couple of telephone calls and the sprocket came from Canada in a few days!!! Great!
The 5th gear's sprocket is the same in 800cc Suzuki Marauder that was imported to USA a few years ago.

Cam shaft and rockers came from Finland by DHL courier service. Thanks to my parents and MC shop in Kouvola, Finland Moto Bike Kouvola Oy and the owner Ari Vierula of taking good care of that matter!

All the pictures of the repair can be found in the About Bike section. Thank you, Jack for borrowing your digital camera for this purpose!

30.4. Fri (660) St. Pete

About maintenance & repair: at 12:25 everything seemed to be ready. With the third button the engine started. Engine run well. I adjusted the clutch, then a short test ride. Everything seemed to be ok!

After the test ride, oil change plus new oil filter. That's because engine had been in parts, test ride was also a cleaning use for the engine.
BUT! After a short ride while I discovered an oil leak :( I had put stupidly a used cylinder block (metallic) gasket... But I didn't have a new one.

2.5. Sun (662) St. Pete

With Jack and Shelly we rode around the Tampa bay. Very nice ride. Sunny day. We rode some smaller roads too.

The oil leak in my bike was too big. The engine had to be opened again :(

3.-5.5. (663-665) St. Pete

I could have a chance to open the engine again. That was more than generous from the Barney's. Opening the engine, cleaning the metal gaskets (of cylinder block) with paint remover and then treating with Yamabond silicone. Then assembling the engine again. It was about three day's work for me. Some practising...

Again, I could get help from the mechanics. Also José "The Guru of all mechanics" :) at Barney's gave me valuable help. Also thanks for the guys at the Bike Salvage department for the help. Thanks for all.

5.5. 6 pm the bike was ready!!!

Very special thanks for Jack Lambert for making all this possible!
The excellent and always helpful mechanics:
Mike Arnold and Woody

With Jack and Shelly I had memorable moments. One very special was when we had Japanese Sushi at a Japanese restaurant.

Another of the memorable things was:
With Jack and his friend Tom we went one day about 100 miles from St. Pete, by truck. We had motocross bikes with. The ride in Floridan tropical forest was my first touch to enduro riding. I had Shelly's 225cc Yamaha. Nice experience.

10.5. Mon (670) St. Pete

I had planned to continue the trip soon. But before continuing, I could get a front tyre including installation, from Barney's Yamaha dealer FOR FREE!!! Thank you very much!

11.5. Tue (671) St. Petersburg West Palm Beach

I said goodbye to Jack and Shelly for now. But we'll meet again.
Leaving towards East Coast...

I rode that 250 miles to West Palm Beach (later I mention WPB). My idea was to go closer to Miami, to wait for my girlfriend Lizbeth to arrive from Bolivia.

As the Eastern side of Florida is very touristic area, in WPB all the hotels were expensive. I had checked three of them and the prices were 54 to 80 dollars. One more... that was Wellesley Inn, accross the street. "I never can't afford this", I thought. But: in the reception worked a man who's name was "Kauko". Finnish name... He gave me a special offer - $15! OK!!!

Hotel was excellent, three stars. On the tour I haven't met many Finns. This was also one of the rare times, when I could speak Finnish. The receptionist was Kauko Oksanen. He had moved to States in 1972.

12.5. Wed (672) - 14.5. (674) WPB

I went 10 - 15 miles South from WPB to town of Lantana to visit a Finn that I had contacted before. He had a truck and a transportation enterprise. I heard that in Lantana there is a Finnish community. There live 15,000 Finns all year round. In the wintertime there live 30,000 Finns!

East Florida 1
East Florida 2
East Florida 3
East Florida 4

15.5. (675) - 15.6. (706) Lantana, FL

During this time - one month - I stayed in that small town in the touristic East Florida. I had rented a flat from a Finnish man. But the East Florida wasn't for me. In East Florida was only hotels, restaurants and bars.

During this time mostly I was trying to fix the biggest problem, work. This time I had contacted a Nokia office in Dallas. After two weeks they told me, that they don't have open jobs. Also Liz didn't get her tourist visa for the United States, so I decided to fly to Bolivia to see her!!!

A return ticket with three months staying time cost $600.

16.6. Wed (707) USA Bolivia


General information about Bolivia.

I could leave my bike to a shop of a Finnish car dealer, Timo Pajamäki. Great! Thanks! Very important to have a safe place for the bike for the following months. Then I had to hurry to Miami, by train. Lloyd Aero Boliviano took me back to South America.

17.6. Thu (708) Bolivia

Flight went via Santa Cruz to Sucre, Bolivia.
Happy to see Liz again!!!!

Note: due to privacy matters, I had left this Bolivian part mostly out of these updates. I didn't even bother to keep the tour diary during the time in Bolivia. Also because the time was normal family life...

11.9. Sat (794) Sucre, Bolivia

This day was the nation-famous fiesta "La Entrada de la Virgen de Guadalupe".

The fiesta started in the morning and lasted till afternoon. On Sunday the dancing continued as well, but the second day they danced without masks.
Some pictures from Sucre:


A street in center of Sucre
Obelisco, a tower
Town hall


Some things:
These last two updates delayed a lot. Last times this site was updated in April 1999 so about 6 months ago (sorry). I wanted to have a break from internet for a while. Construction work in Bolivia was a good contrary for computers :)
I was: a bricklayer, plumber, electrician and a bit 'architect' too! :)

In 16.9. I got the last information from Nokia Mobile Phones office from San Diego. This time I tried to ask friends' help... I didn't get a job from Nokia. That's it. During these months I had been a bit surprised because of those difficulties. I had worked successfully for Nokia for 5 years. In my country, Finland there would be work for me, but still I want to keep on travelling!

If I'll get a job from a computer company in North America, that will be then in some other company. Otherwise, if I'm not lucky, the "El Viaje" Tour will end till the end of the year 1999.

13.10. Wed (826) Sucre, Bolivia 14.10. Thu (827) Miami, USA


So, the trip ended in 23.10.1999... I flew from Miami back to Finland...

Thank you for your interest towards my world tour and joining "El Viaje"! :)


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