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
I checked all my luggage and threw away some items:
Nerox water filter. That filter is made in Finland and it makes bacteria-free water. It had served excellently in West Africa, but now its "operating
hours" were full.
30 metres of rope. I had bought it from a marketplace
in Rabat, Morocco for crossing the Sahara desert. That
had been a survival equipment for 'just in case'.
If I needed to get water from deep wells... Never needed.
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
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.
hundred hours in the net... the record of the hostel.
I tried to contact the Nokia recruiters in Dallas, Boston and San Diego.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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
section. Thank you, Jack for borrowing your digital camera for this
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
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
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
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
The excellent and always helpful mechanics: Mike Arnold and
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!
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!
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.
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
Some pictures from Sucre:
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)
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"! :)