For those of you that dont like long posts, dont bother to read this. Its of not a lot of value.
Ok, so I'm currently in a fairly nice $29 a night hotel that even has a heater which is real luxury at 12,000 feet in the rainy season. I'm not in what you would call a tourist town to say the least so not really feeling like going out. Instead, I'll add a chapter to the book that Mr. Nagengast started (and gave me a good laugh).
This chapter is called Starboard side pannier as a metaphor for how Judds treats his belongings and personal safety. Now I'm not sure if any of you ride motorcycles but if you ride it's not a question of if you crash, but when. It truly is inevitable. In my case, it's unfortunately more frequent than I'd like. Ive had years of shoulder pain from riding and crashing, which luckily is gone, and it was worth every second of agony for the joy i get being on a bike. But riding truly is a passion for me much more so than cars. I enjoy cars, but don't have a burning passion for them like some on this forum. To each his own.
I've owned a lot of bikes and typically keep 2 or three in my stable. I've had the harleys and dirt bikes and everything in between. I really have a lot of miles on the road riding. Aside from commuters, who typically have the most miles, I think I've ride more than anyone I know my age. My point is, I think I know what im doing on a bike and have trained with professionals and continue to train. I'm a decent rider.
A pannier, for those that don't ride, is something you hang on the side of your bike to hold your belongings when you travel. They have soft ones that are like small duffle bags, and hard ones that lock. When I travel in the USA I typically like the soft ones but when I'm in more third world countries I like the hard ones because they lock and are harder for people to steal. What happens relatively frequently in third world countries is a road gets blocked for some reason (crash, landslide, whatever) and sometimes you have to sit there for hours waiting for it to clear. This is when the little punk thieves come out and try to grab what they can from open car windows or use a knife to cut a pannier off. So, I use the hard ones for theft prevention.
My right side pannier on my Tiger 800 xca has seen better days to put it lightly. I mean, looking at that first photo I just took today, I can't even count the number of dents and crashes it's taken. These things are pretty sturdy. Tipping the bike over at 5 mph or 10mph doesn't even leave a mark. All those dents are from probably 15mph and above when the thing hit a rock or curb or something. It won't stay on the brackets anymore without falling off so I used a rope to tie it on. Then I used a piece of a popped tube from one of my tires to tie it on. Then I tied it to the bike again on the top. The darn thing doesn't fall off anymore, but it's not exactly pristine. My favorite dent is the one in the second photo. That on the top of the pannier and I got it when I was going down a very steep dirt road and the dirt turned fine and slipper half way down the decline. I couldn't slow down and hit a rock with the front tire and I flew over the handle bars ans the bike did a somersault. Thank God it didn't land on me, but getting a dent in the top of a pannier is really pretty crazy.
This is literally how I live my life and believe I wint regret a second of it. But I am pretty nervous these days as when I'm riding I see all the burned tires and rocks that were used very recently during protests. I have not hit an active block on this trip and am hoping I don't and route planning around them, but I'll be very happy when I'm out if Peru in a few days time. This country has some issues that I'd rather not be involved in as it's not my fight to fight. I just want to get out.