Two up - Going down +1: South America Bound
Like most of us here at ADV Rider, I have ridden through a fair amount of North America, but I have always wanted to travel far and wide on my motorcycle. It seemed as though I was doomed to ride only as far as my three-week vacations would allow.
When my friend Dan mentioned that he and his brother-in-law were planning a trip to South America, I was envious. Man, I really wanted to go with them.
Dan works at a sawmill, and has saved enough time to take ten consecutive weeks off. Not really enough time for a leisurely one-way ride to Tierra del Fuego, but it is better than nothing.
As it turns out, Dan’s brother-in-law is not able to get the time off. That is the rewards of being in management, I guess. It sucks for sure.
As for me, after 16 years with a natural gas utility company, I was bumped up to 5 weeks holidays per year. I wondered if I would be able to take two sets of holidays back to back, or maybe even get a leave of absence. I figured it couldn’t hurt to submit a formal request and see what the response would be.
A month later, I found out: "Ten weeks of holidays (07-08) have been granted as long as you remain in your current position during that time." No problem!!!
Now the only other real hurdle was my wife. Well, maybe "hurdle" isn’t the right word. Let me say the only other concern was my wife. I knew that Conchita would have no problem letting me go on my own, but I just didn’t think that was a fair thing to do. She loves to travel as much as I do, and the facts that we would be going to Latin countries, her ablility to speak the language, and her growing up in the Caribbean (Curacao) meant that the only choice we had was to do the trip together - two up on a 2006 GS 1200 ADV!!!
Conchita was not as fortunate as I was in the holiday department. She is a teacher and taking the months of October, November and part of December off just did not fall into that schedule. So she did the next best thing - quit!!! She doesn’t seem too upset about it either - imagine that!!!!
C and I get along great, and I think it is fantastic to do a trip like this with my partner. Of course that has brought up some gear, space and weight (the gear-not us, well maybe a little "us") issues, but so far I think we have it figured out. Our 10-day trip to Silverton, Colorado, for a Horizons Unlimited meeting was a good test run. Turns out Conchita’s riding gear was way too hot, and we need to find her some good mesh stuff.
So, the big day is Sept 28th, 07. We will be leaving our place in northern Alberta, and heading down to Waterton/Glacier National Parks. Then we will ride highway 93 south into Las Vegas, where we will be getting a new set of Tourance tires put on the bike (BMW of Las Vegas possibly??). Dan on his KTM 950 will be leaving a few days after us, and we will hook up with him in Tombstone, Arizona, on Oct 5th.
After that, the only plan we have is to hit the Copper Canyon in Mexico, and then head south - hopefully updating our blog and this thread at least once a week. We had hoped to visit "the Striking Viking" on our way through Mazatlan, but it sounds like he may not be around at that time. Too bad, I was looking forward to meeting him. Maybe his schedule will change by then?
I am curious to see how the two bikes compare to each other as far as maintenance, etc. It may be a bit of an unfair comparison, as the GS will be carrying more weight.
As far as planning goes:
We are bringing a spare key antenna (the bolts have already been drilled out for a roadside repair if required), alternator belt, bulbs (headlight, brake light and signal lights), brake pads, and I am seriously considering having a spare ceramic clutch with me as well. I will Not be bringing a final drive (watch that be the thing that craps out on us)!!
Sockets and ratchet drive to remove both front and rear wheels. Torx sockets for all bolts. Tire repair kit with cycle pump and pressure gauge.
Tire irons. Pliers, vice grips, spark plug tool with cap puller. Emergency head repair kit (condom type looking thing). Mechanics wire, duct tape, electrical tape, zip ties and jumper cables, etc.
This Coors Light cooler bag seems to work perfectly as a spare parts and tool kit, not to mention the obvious use. It will fit right into the bottom of the case and has a bit of padding. Might work.
(I cannot figure out how to embed the link in the photo - seems flickr and ADV are not good friends. Believe me, I tried!!).
Tent: el cheapo, a bit iffy in the wind, but we got lots of binder twine!!
sleeping bags, sleeping pads: we decided to take only the down-filled (grey) bags. They are plenty warm and pack fairly small.
towels: super absorbant and almost dry when wrung out. Well, I don't plan on showering too much really anyway.....:huh
Powerlet heated liners
First Aid kit and all sorts of pills.
Yellow Fever (done)
Typhoid Fever (done)
Hepatitis A/B (done)
Rabies (2 out of three so far):
Rabies vaccine was $625 for each of us. Interestingly enough, it is exactly the same shot you would get for free if you happen to be bitten by a dog!! Had I known a little earlier..........??? Hey, there is still time to convince Conchita!!
Malaria pills galore!!
(1/day x2 and 4 weeks after returing home-150 pills. If the Malaria doesn't kill you, the drugs will!!!!)
Pills to prevent altitude sickness.
(La Paz in Bolivia is over 12,000 ft)
Pills to deal with altitude sickness if you do get it.
Pills to stop diarrhea.
Foot powder(stinky feet is bad).
Photocopied drivers licence for the "nice" police people.:wink:
Let's hope it all posts....seems these photos are not grooving the whole process. It worked in the preview finally .....I am crossing my fingers.
Lucky guy to have such a supportive wife, quitting her job to go on this adventure of a lifetime!! :thumb
Best wishes for a great and safe journey.. :pope
If you plan on camping along the way, I wouldn't go with the cheapo tent... get something good...
Keep us posted if you can
Not 100% sure about tenting ALL the way. Many have said that the lack of campsites and the fact that hotels are so cheap (with secure parking) are great reasons NOT to camp. May end up shipping the camping gear home at some point.
On the other hand, 300 bucks for a good tent in the scheme of things isn't THAT much. It would be smaller and lighter too, I suppose.
You might be better off leaving all the camping gear home, and plan to hotel it.. from what I've heard there isn't much in the way of secure camp site and with all your gear on the bike, you want it parked in a secure location, such as what a small hotel could offer. Check out the horizonsunlimited.com site for regional specifics.
I am sure you all know what a GS looks like...if not, here it is!!
Notice I have a new set of Anakees. Well, they aren't new anymore!! I have about 7000km on them, and it looks like the back only has about 3000 more. I am hoping I make it to Vegas with these. I think they are fantastic tires!! Better than the TKC's in all aspects, except all out mud or soft sand. I just need a little more life for this trip.
Installed some Rox Risers. They are great!! Way more comfortable for me. If finding a tank bag that fits was a problem before, now it will be real hard.
Touratech Crash Bar Bags. They help get some of the weight up front.
Standard height Sargent seat: approx. 1 1/2 inch lower than stock and way more comfortable. No complaints about the seat from Conchita. The stock passenger seat would have never cut it.
$150 BMW stick-on backrest. I don't recommend it at all. It's cheeeezy!! Conchita doesn't find it all that bad. It's not like she is putting all her weight on it.
Rad protection and headlight cover.
Garmin Etrex legend. It's nothing fancy, but it sure does the trick!!
My wife - Conchita
I should introduce you guys to my riding partner...
Guys....this is Conchita
Conchita....this is the guys (and girls, I suppose).
Conchita will be the unofficial camera person for the trip. Any bad photos can be blamed on her!!!:lol3
Just arrived in Mazatlan. Local tel: 044 6691587195 Don't leave messages--system is down. email is better: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take Glen up on his generous offer, give him a call, he's the guru of south American travel, and he's been around the world on his bike. Check out his thread Striking Viking Bumming the World on this forum, if you haven't seen it already.
Whatever Glen tells you, accept it as gospel and follow his advice. Read his book too: Two Wheels Through Terror. It has a lot of tips about travel through the areas you're going through.
Also, the title of your thread doesn't really reflect the greatness of this adventure.. if you'd like me to change it to something more eye catching, let me know.
Does your wife speak Spanish? That would come in handy.
Hi Conchita!! You lucky gal!! Take lots of pics!!
Ecuador Colombia Peru
You pm,ed me a while back mate,glad to see you,re getting underway.I,ll be keeping an eye on your thread,so just give me a shout about anything you might need.your friendly local bar owner The Turtles Head:freaky
This is going to be great to follow!
Wish you two a great time!
Im hooked. You too have a safe and memorable journey.
Speaking of Dan, here he is (far left) ....two years ago with Dave, his brother-in-law that unfortunately cannot make this trip. There is Conchita with my old FJR before we got smart and bought the GS.
Conchita is Portuguese, but speaks fluent Spanish. Actually, she is in Portugal right now on the beautiful island of Madeira visiting her parents. She will be reading this thread from there.
Great biking roads in Madeira!!
That's a nice setup you got there.
:lurk looks like I'm in this thread for the long haul!
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