Hervey Boucher’s Big Adventure

Note from Randakk:

Randakk customer Hervey Boucher and his companion Martine are currently on a great journey from Quebec to South America on his 1976 Honda GL1000!


He has limited access to email and the Internet, but here are some interesting dispatches.  Pictures at top …narrative at the bottom.

Did I ever mention that GL1000s are rugged!

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Bienvenidos Bolivia!  Sajama National Park, Bolivian border (right)

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Train cemetery-Uyuni, Bolivia (left) Largest salt desert in the world Uyuni, Bolivia (right)

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Around Lake Titicaca, Bolvia …with the sheep! (left) Bolivian shortcut! (right)

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Atacama desert in northern Chile


Atacama desert in northern Chile

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Salt lake in the Salar, Atacama


National Park Torres del Paine, tip of the Cordillera of the Andes in Chile (left)  El Calafate …the famous Perrito Moreno (right)


In the pampas of Patagonia, the wind is violent (100 km / h) and constant! (left)  Church on Chiloe island (right)


 Martine with Penguin (left) Ushuaia, end of the Road! (right)


Patagonia, Argentina (left) Last day of warm weather before the freezing wind on Route 3 (right)


With Mafalda in Buenos Aires (left) Floralis, Buenos Aires (right)


Foz, Brasil – Argentina (left) Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro (right)


Cremated Stator (left) Luciano´s house (right)


La Gran Sabana, Venezuela (left) Market Scene with Hammocks (right)

Hervey Boucher Adventure

Flat tire at Santa Marta, Colombia (left) Amigos group Rueda Libre, Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela (right)

Hervey Boucher

Road between Bogota and Medellin, Colombia (left) First GL that we’ve seen since we left Peninsula Paraguana, Venezuela (right)

Hervey Boucher Journey

Somewhere south of the Border?

Hervey Boucher in the U.S.

Somewhere in Southwest USA?

April 8,  2013
Haut en couleur, haut en hauteur!We left in the morning from the coast of Chile; wanted to sleep near the bolivian border. During the day, we passed from the Pacific Ocean to 4000 meters upper the sea … WOW,  one hill, but what a hill! The last village in Chile, Putre, was a few meters below the road … getting down to climb again … no way … we took pity on the bike! We therefore continue by saying that the next curve up was the last and that we would find a place to sleep! The road was through the Lauca National Park, where the lagoons are in a higher altitude, with flamingos and snowy mountains as a background … beautiful and chilly. No hostel. Finally, late in the afternoon, we hit the border. We stopped at the next village and slept in a Bolivian farner… heavey and icy winds as a lullaby … unforgettable. Wefound a coat of ice on the GL1000 the next morningAfter we went in Oruro, starting point for the colonial cities, Potosi and Sucre. Nothing to tell, except that Sucre is very pretty. Un Must in Bolivia was the Uyuni desert, the most largest salt desert on the planet! dazzling (sunburn guaranteed!) … a 3800 m high, we are really close to the sun! Our second Must was the Royal Cordillera. Amazing … getting closer to La Paz (the highest capital in the world) riding on the Altiplano, already in altitude, and, at one point, we are witnessing the white peaks through the clouds … amazing. Along the Royal Cordillera, we find ourselves on the edge of Lake Titicaca, what more to say!
To cross to Peru, we wanted to avoid the crowdy La Paz. We took a shortcut. Believe it or not, this path is indicated as secondary road around La Paz. It begins with a small gravel road, turns into a farm tractor road and at a point, no road at all! It includes cows, llamas, sheeps. You then have to drive on the grass among the dung, hopping that this is the good road. We had to cross four rivers (without bridge,of course!) At somepoint, we wanted to get back, but after one river, we said that the worst was passed… What a day!
Martine and Hervey
April 7,  2013
Hola,Northern Chile was beautiful! The Atacama desert is just gorgeous. How can we describe it. We spent 4 or 5 days riding in mountains ofpink rocks, sand dunes, dry land with nothing and nobody alive, just few oases here and there. Atacama is austere but inviting at the same time. Pictures will explain better.All is well. It’s been a little over six months that we’re on the road. Knowing that we are on the way back makes us a little nostalgic, butwe still have a lot to do …
The moto is amazing, no problem at all. We are worried sometimes when it drinks a lot of oil, but other times the oil level stay full. I tried  to analyze the phenomen with the heat, the wind, the hills, the mountains … but nothing seems logical.Martine and Hervey
March 18,  2013
From Argentina to Chile, Chile to Argentina, touring through the glaciers, astride the borders (it’s been many etampes in the passport!)We passed by the National Park Torres del Paine, extreme tip of the Cordillera of the Andes in Chile. Then we continued to the NP de los Glaciares in Argentina. First stop, El Calafate to see the famous Perrito Moreno (photo 2). Second stop, El Chalten to see the Fitz Roy.Landscapes and roads are beautiful … In the pampas of Patagonia, the wind is violent (100 km / h) and constant (photo 3).  You need to hold tight the handle bar!
Last picture is in front of the one of the numerous churches in Chiloe island.Martine and Herve
February 22,  2013
We made it!

After Buenos Aires, down to Tierra del Fuego. On Highway 3, it was a fight against the cold and wind … but really the wind! On the road, the cows were swapped for wild ostriches and llamas!

We went to see penguins on an island in the Beagle Channel. We are only 1000 km from Antarctica … amazing … but we can not go on a motorcycle! So we are going to Chile.

Martine et Hervey
February 16,  2013

Back on track! Rio de Janeiro… what a wonderfull city! Getting there was really easy. There is a big highway straight to downtown. No trafic jam, no overheating for the moto. After that, We hit Foz do Igaçu. Una maravillosa natural del mundo! We decided after that to pass directly to Argentina and avoid Uruguay. We only have few days before cold weather in south. But we had to stop in Buenos Aires, of course! For the moto, in Argentina, we lost fire in 2 cylinders. The trouble was coming and going. We stopped in a bike shop… we needed a Pit stop. The Dyna fire plate whas the trouble but… no big deal I had another one. The guy adjust the plate with his ear…only listening the engine… amazing! Old fashion way!  Martine et Hervey

February 7,  2013
Yes yes, we are still alive!
It has been a while since we wrote, you will understand why … but before, we return to Venezuela.
From Ciudad Bolivar we passed through the beautiful region of the Gran Sabana. We then took a trip to see Angel Falls, the highest falls in the world, an adventure, especially the 4 hour boat to get there. The river being too low, Hervey and other tourists have had to get in the river to help a little bit.
We then went to Brazil. At Boa Vista we met members of the motorcycle club Roraima. Cesar welcomed us and kindly given us a tour of the city. The churascaria (BBQ) was waiting us at the end of day in a city park … delicious.
After, we had to continue south. We thought the region of the Amazon would be the hardest part, but the road was the most beautiful since now.
Ah yes, we decided to skip the Guyanas, a little sadly, other tourists told us that the road was difficult, 200 km in 5 hours!  (with proof = photos), therefore we changed idea pretty quickly.
So we headed Manaus in order to take a boat to Belem (Manaus, a small town of 3 million people in the middle of nowhere! … 1500 km separates Belem, accessible only by boat on the Amazon river… you can also look at a map to understand!) The cruise or should I say the galley was memorable! Hundreds of hammocks hanging, villages that border Amazone … wow …. The galley is that the boat was overloaded (holidays) everyone was on the party, there was beer everywhere, overflowing toilets, people pissing everywhere… and the worst for 2 small gringos who recycle, they was throwing cans of beer in the Amazon!! But hey, if we have a lack of aluminum some day, we<ll just have to drag the river!
We spent Christmas in Sao Luis, in front of the sea. Everything was closed, we ate peanuts and coca-cola from the bar of the hotel! New year eve was in Salvador, there were a lot of people. 
On our way to Brasilia, the alternator died. We stopped at Itaberaba to Luciano´s motorcycle pecas, who opened his arms, offered us hospitality while waiting the parts from USA. We took a delivery express international (3 to 5 days) but it stopped 3 weeks at brasilian´s custom.  Four weeks in a small city as Itaberaba, we feld that we were a part of the family… people we didn´t know asked us if the parts have arrived!
Meanwhile, we followed Luciano, he is also a great pineappel farmer. It was beautiful … we ate a lot of fruits that we didn´t even know … drank local moonshine made by apoticaires bar!
Finally, the bike was ready, but 25 km away, a radiator hose blow, we took a shower of oil! .. so we’re back to Itaberaba … with some pleasure, but can we go to Brasilia? We decided to head to Rio de Janeiro.
To be continued

December 4, 2012

“Hola! The last time we wrote, we think we were in Bogota. Between Bogota and Cartagena, the road is amazing. It was through the Andes (not the highest part, but it was in the clouds.) In Cartagena is the return of the heat and the sea. Beautiful colonial town. It reminded us New Orleans. Before crossing in Venezuela, we had our 6th flat… on a bridge this time! Hervey had to ride on the ring. Consequence … the tube self-destructed. It is an old man with his mule and wagon that helped us amicably. Finally, in less than two hours, we had a new tube and were back on the road. People are really very friendly here. We crossed the border of Venezuela on Saturday. On Saturday, custom is closed, no paper to import the bike … no entry to the country! Finally, it is a military guy at the border who called the guy who came to open the custom and do the paperwork necessary! In less than two hours, we were back on the road! Did we said that people are very friendly? The second contact with a Venezuelan was at the gas station. In addition to let us pass in front of the long lign of cars who were waiting, the guy from the station made us free gas! Incredible! Free gas?! We understood the next day when we fill up that gasoline cost almost nothing. Have a seat my friends … 0.09 bolivars per liter of SUPER, which represents less than 1 penny per liter! In short, it cost us less than $ 0.25 to fill our motorcycle. Incredible! The third contact with a Venezuelan is also amazing! In the middle of nowhere, after a hot road under the sun, we were hungry, tired and very dirty. The bike was also tired. We had to make a pit stop, find new tires, change brakes and oil … Above all, we had to find a way to have monney at the black market price (instead of 4 bolivars for $ 1 at the bank, you can have 14 bolivars per $ 1 on the street – What makes the bottle of water costing you $ 1 instead of $ 4) … In short, we were on the edge. We stopped at a bus station to eat and, at this moment, we met Agustin, a tall guy who was looking our bike. As the moto always steals the show, we didn;t pay attention, too preoccuppied by our logistical problems! He came to see us and left us his coordinates saying to call him once we made to Purto La Cruz. We said why not, he is a enthousiast biker! The next day we call him and in less than two hours all our problems were solved! We had monney, contacts for the bike and an hotel. With him and his wife Elba, we met members of his motorcycle group, Rueda Libre (freewheel, which also means being without underwear!), we cruised around the city, we received 2 t-shirts from their motorcycle group (Thanks Pancho!) and before leaving to take the road, Dario made us the brakes we needed! … in short, we were received with open arms! It was amazing! Did we already mentioned that people here were very nice? Now we are heading the Gran Sabana and entering in the Amazon. Hervey” November 8, 2012 “Hi Randall, Here some news from Hervey and Martine, the 2 Quebekers. You asked me to post on your facebook our impression about our trip, but I don’t have facebook. So here are my first comments and may be you can transfer them on facebook. And excuse my French! It all begin with an idea. After being traveling all around Quebec, Canada and the USA on motorcycle it seems that nowhere was far enough and the trips weren’t long enough. So 5 years ago we decided to prepare this trip in South America on a motorcycle. But not any motorcycle… a vintage GL1000. I wanted a moto solid, easy to repair myself anywhere and also to prove that it is possible to do it without a 20 000$ motorcycle. I found the motorcycle in a garage sale. It hasn’t run for 10 years. It is a Gl1000 1976 with 21000 miles on the counter. Everything was in order but you understand that all the gaskets were dry. During 1 year I put it in pieces and rebuilt it myself with advices from Randall;s web site and email (thanks!) The only thing that I didn’t touch is the RPM. We left Montreal, my wife and I, in september 15th to go to San Diego passing by Grand Canyon. Everything was fine except a charging problem, but I found the source of the problem in the key switch. We hit the Baja California (you have to go there, it is easy to go and the roads are amazing… the part in the desert of big cactus is unforgettable). Then we took the ferry to mainland Mexico. We traveled by the coast, crossing small mountains with their curves… beautiful. The only thing is… too much topes! The Gl1000 with my wife and the luggage (even if we travel light) is a little bit heavy and low… so we hit some topes, but I was prepared, I putted a skid plate under. Guatemala was short but remembering with its big holes on the roads. Even the trucks were dancing to evade them. Then El Salvador, one day! Honduras, another day! And Nicaragua. We don;t know why but we loved this country. We stopped for few days (2) in Leon and really, the people, the food, the landscape… everything is great over there. Costa Rica… 2 days. We met a guy at the border from a motorcycle club: The Coyotes. He advised us with the road, very nice guy, thanks! In Panama, the object was to make a pit stop for the motorcycle and to get ready to transfer the moto by boat in Colombia. In Panama city we lost a day in the traffic trying to go to a Honda dealer who finally refuse to work on the bike (surprising!!). They gave us an address where the owner was kind enough to tell us that it is very complicated to have parts in Panama. So we went to Colon to try to find a boat to go to Colombia. We met Javier who helped us with a captain of a boat, but finally it wasn’t possible… the law has been changed. So we went back to Panama City and put the motorcycle on a plane. So 4 flats later (we had a bad rotten tube on the front wheel), here we are in Bogota, Colombia, after a long day of paper work to get our motorcycle. We were very fast crossing Central America, but it is to be sure that we have enough time to across South America. On our way back, if it is possible, we will enjoy softly those countries. Next step… pit stop… there is a quarter here with only shops for motorcycle… I was like a little boy in a candy store! It is a biker town here. More news to come Hervey PS: There are a lot of passionate bikers everywhere. One even took a picture, while he was riding beside us on the road!” October 2, 2012 “Hi Randall, I am in San Diego, last stop before going in Central and South America… and last stop to check if my GL1000 is doing good. I traveled from Montreal and I observed that I lost 1 volt at 3000 rpm, it charges around 12.80, 13 volts. At 600 rpm it charges at 12.03, 12.80… with or without light and fan. It always starts well in the morning and from Grand Canyon to San Diego the fan didn’t stop because of the heat. During 3 days, when I started in the morning, I had 14 volts, and after 10 minutes it was at 13 volts… and now it stays at 13 volts. I changed the rectifier regulator, I tested the stator and diodes, I checked the connection fuses, everything works fine, but i still lost 1 volt. So my questions are: Do you have an idea of what could be the problem? Are 13 volts enough for doing my trip? Thanks, Herve PS: May be the regulator in the false tank is wrong, I don’t have anything to test it. I might need to get a new one!? PS2: Beside this problem, everything works pretty well.” (Note from Randakk: Mike Nixon and I (well …mainly Mike) helped diagnose the charging problem.)

Hervey Boucher's GL1000

Herve’s ’76 GL1000 prepped for the big journey!

(Nice Fuel Tanks!)

May 21, 2012

“Hello, First, I want to thank you for your work. Your website is very generous and your products and advice were very helpful for preparing my bike for a big, big trip. My wife and I are going to across America during a year, from Montréal to Montréal passing by a lot of countries! We decided do to it, as we always do in vacation, by motorcycle. I chose this particular bike, a GL1000, because the mechanics are strong and basic, the center of gravity is low and I also wanted to use a vintage motorcycle to proof that it is possible to do it (without a BMW)! Hi Hi! It has been 32 years that I am driving motorcycles (and I am 43 years old). I began with motocross (Can-Am) and my first road bike was a 750 four (that I still have). After 16 motorcycles, after riding across Canada, coast to coast, after riding the USA, up and down, it seems that next places weren’t far enough. I needed a bigger challenge… why not Americas! Here is the motorcycle:

  • GL 1000 1976
  • 21 000 miles
  • Progressive suspensions H-D front and back
  • 2 side reservoirs gas, 2,5 gallons each
  • Steel wheel, 16 inches on the back
  • Kit Dyna coil + fire
  • Spark plugs NGK iridium
  • Oil radiator Lockhart
  • Stainless oil filter reusable
  • Stainless gas filter reusable (yours)
  • Carburetor kit from Randakk (Who else!)
  • Alternator and regulator from RM Stator (from Montreal, you need to try it)
  • Air filter K + N reusable
  • Metzeler Marathon tires (to start!)
  • Complete Mac Muffler (not a lot of choices)
  • Odessy’s Battery
  • Heated grips

Other parts were from Honda. I tried to keep the vintage look of the motorcycle, you can see on the picture the luggage from Vetter… nothing more. As my wife say, if it is not entering the luggage, we don’t bring it! Thanks again for everything. Hervey Boucher”

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