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Old 09-12-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
Water Bear
SeanPNW's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
Oddometer: 493
No-Moto-Boundaries-Latin America n' back n' da' TAT, un-planned, un-hinged, and solo

***I have a previous ride report called Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip which details the prep work, background story, and building of my bike. That report also tells the story of my first motorcycle trip at the age of 23 - a 1 month ride through BC, the Yukon, and Alaska. Something changed for me during that trip, and because of it, this new journey really required its own thread. If you are interested in the prologue to the current adventure, jump on over and check it out. Now, lets begin.***


On paper, this ride report is about one guys un-planned, un-structured, and un-hinged solo 55,000+ mile ride through Latin America and back. In a far more ambiguous, yet far more accurate statement though, this report is a story of one guys search for the unsearchable. It's a journey about broadening horizons, connecting with the unknown, finding comfort in the uncomfortable, and freeing yourself to pursue that which you are passionate about in life. It's a story that continues to unfold.


On my very first motorcycle trip at the age of 23, I met a wise man who told me something that would set a large and important ball into motion. I didn't at that point fully understand the ways in which our conversation would shape my future, but I could tell something in my mentality had shifted, and it was never going to return to it's previous state. The momentum from that shift would go on to alter my entire outlook on life, and later go on to change it forever:

”There is no point in spending your life doing things you don’t want to do, and that don’t give you joy. You can make all the money in the world, but you need to learn how to have fun. You MUST learn how to play. Since I was diagnosed with cancer 2-years ago I haven’t had a single bad day. I simply don’t have time for bad days, so I make every day a good day. Life is short, and if you can get started with that mentality young, you’ll do just fine."
- Gene

We really never know how much time we have here on this crazy planet, and what we choose to make of that time, really is what we make of our lives. I have always been driven to travel and inspired by those with the freedom and ability to do so. I’ve resigned from my work in Seattle, WA and have re-prioritized my life to make extended travel a reality. It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up. I’ve consolidated everything I own into 4 boxes and sold off all of my worldly possessions to afford it. I’ve purposefully gotten rid of everything that would help me call a place home - every town, every country, every place is now equal. I have No Moto Boundaries.

I would say more about my plans, but besides hopping on and hunting for adventure, I honestly have no idea where I'm going, or for how long I'll be doing it. I've rid my mind of expectations, and am heading out. I'm 25, on a limited budget, and I have no doubt that things will go wrong, plans will change, and shit may get challenging. I like difficult though, and challenges are the spice of life.

Fear of the unknown can be one of the greatest fears of all, but there are times in life when you need to value adventure above comfort and security.


If you aren't on ADVrider and want to get ahold of me, shoot me an email:
If I'm MIA for a while, you can track me down via my SPOT:

Ride Report Posts

Seattle 9.1.13 --> ? (Currently in: New York, New York, USA, September 2014)

1.Rolling - (USA)
2.Slapping Rock, Getting Hot - (USA)
3.To The Shire - (USA)
4.Grounded - (USA)
5.Fix-It, Ride-It, Break-It, Repeat - (USA)
6.Ensa-”todas” - (Mexico)
7.Finding Cortez - (Mexico)
8.Kicking It With Coco - (Mexico)
9.Mulege - (Mexico)
10.Coyote Livin’ - (Mexico)
11.Where Are All The PEZ? - (Mexico)
12.El Pescadero - West Coast’n - (Mexico)
13.Huffing Dirt - (Mexico)
14.Cabo Wabo - (Mexico)
15.Voy A Mazatlan - (Mexico)
16.Guadalajara - Getting Business Done - (Mexico)
17.Guanajuato - You Cheeky, Beautiful Place - (Mexico)
18.Riding Guanajuato - (Mexico)
19.Queretaro - (Mexico)
20.Mexico, The City - (Mexico)
21.Getting Dirty In Hidalgo (Part 1) - (Mexico)
22.Getting Dirty In Hidalgo (Part 2) - (Mexico)
23.DualSport In Mexico - (Mexico)- Video
24.Chilling In Tlalpan, DF - (Mexico)
25.Slapping Rock In DF - (Mexico)- Video
26.Exploring Toluca - Video - (Mexico)- Video
27.Loco Pozas De Edward James, Xilitla - (Mexico)- Video
28.A Run Through The Ringer, Valle De Bravo - Video - (Mexico)- Video
29.On The Road Again, Oaxaca - (Mexico)
30.Back To The Blue Stuff, Puerto Escondido - (Mexico)
31.Salina Cruz and The Bikers’ M.C. - (Mexico)
32.San Cristobal de las Casas - (Mexico)
33.Tonina Ruins, A Childhood Dream Realized - (Mexico)
34.Kicking It In Bacalar - (Mexico)
35.Time To Get Out Of Dodge - (Mexico)
36.Belize? Was That You? Oh, hey there Guatemala! - (Belize & Guatemala)
37.Yaxha Ruins - (Guatemala)
38.Semuc Fuckn’ Champey - (Guatemala)
39.Enchanted Antigua - (Guatemala)
40.Sad Ending To A Great Day - (Guatemala)
41.Recoup For The Holidays - (Guatemala)
42.San Pedro, Watchu Got? - (Guatemala)
43.Hunting History Around Lake Atitlan - (Guatemala)
44.Boredom, Inspiring Activity Since The Dawn Of Time - (Guatemala)
45.Back To Antigua - Video - (Guatemala)
46.Work, That’s Still A Thing Right? - (Guatemala)
47.Working With O.X.’s - (Guatemala)
48.Get Up, Get Out - Riding Antigua - (Guatemala)- Video
49.Rolling soon, and maybe with a ‘Reboot’ - (Guatemala)
50.A Package From North Of The Wall, Green-Light Go - (Guatemala)
51.Volcan Acatenango - (Guatemala)- Video
52.Wrapping Up Guatemala, Volcan Acatenango - (Guatemala)
53.Hey El Salvador...I Think I Like You - (Guatemala & El Salvador)- Video
54.Learning To Chillax From The Pros - (El Salvador)- Video
55.Summa’ Time In Santa Tecla - (El Salvador)- Video
56.Back To Our Roots - Video - (El Salvador)- Video
57.Break-Ups and Re-Bounds - (El Salvador & Honduras)
58.Pool Sides and Low-Sides - (Nicaragua)
59.Sainting Rosa and Mounting Verde - (Costa Rica)- Video
60.Highlands Of Chirique and Carnivalling Chitre - (Panama)
61.Sniffing For Leads, Hunting For Passage To Colombia (Part 1) - (Panama)
62.Sniffing For Leads, Hunting For Passage To Colombia (Part 2) - (Panama)
63.Passage Found, Vamos A Colombia - (Panama)
64.Sailing The Darien (Part 1) - (Panama)
65.Sailing The Darien (Part 2) - (Panama)
66.Cartagena - (Colombia)
67.Finding Medellin - (Colombia)
68.Dodging Sirens and Chilling In Pereira - (Colombia)
69.Day Tripn’ A Solento and Decision Making - (Colombia)
70.Sometimes It’s The People That Make A Place Special, Finding Family in Cali - (Part 1) - (Colombia)
71.Sometimes It’s The People That Make A Place Special, Finding Family in Cali - (Part 2) - (Colombia)
72.Sometimes It’s The People That Make A Place Special, Finding Family in Cali - (Part 3) - (Colombia)
73.Today We Are 6, Thunderbadger Group Ride To Pasto - (Colombia)
74.Pesto Pasto (Part 1) - (Colombia)
75.Pesto Pasto (Part 1) - (Colombia)
76.Finding More Than Expected In Ibarra - (Colombia & Ecuador)
77.Quito and Tena Birthdays - (Ecuador)
**Thoughts and Quick Summary Of Countries Thus Far **
78.R&R In The Hills - (Ecuador)
79.Cuenca and Little Russia - (Ecuador)
80.Dirting To Peru - (Ecuador & Peru)
81.Finding Your Blood & Making Homies In Moyobamba (Part 1) - (Peru)
82.Finding Your Blood & Making Homies In Moyobamba (Part 2) - (Peru)
83.Bumming The Amazonas - (Peru)
84.Slowing Down In Huanuco - (Peru)
85.Bumming The Peruvian Highlands - (Peru)
86.Carretera Numero Uno - (Peru)
87.Hey Atacama, you’re fucking dry - (Peru)
88. Welp, lota road, rock, n sand… - (Peru)

89. Desert, Desert, Desert, Chile!, Desert - (Peru & Chile)
90. What is this, where am I? Antofagasta - (Chile)
91. Finding Cold In The Desert - (Chile)
92. La Serena, Finding Vicuna - (Chile)
93. The Paradise Valley, Valparaiso - (Chile)
94. Por La Mes, Valpo - (Chile)
95. Valpo - wine, art, food, music, football, beer, repeat - (Chile)
96. A Trip Down Memory Lane, and A Rad Day With An Old Man - (Chile)
97. See you later Chile, Until next time... - (Chile)
98. Helloooo Argentina! - (Argentina)
99. Ditching The City for The Bush - (Argentina)
100. Mina Clavero - (Argentina)
101. Trotting about in Mina Clavero - (Argentina)
102. Adults In The Sandbox - (Argentina)
103. Learning Asado and Dragging My Heals - (Argentina)
104. Welcome To Club Sampacho - (Argentina)
105. Quick Stop-in At Mina Clavero - (Argentina)
106. On The Dusty Road Again - (Argentina) - Video
107. Fractals, Everything Is Fractals - (Argentina)
108. Cata-What? Catamarca - (Argentina)
109. Saying Goodbye To Argentina - (Argentina)
110. Typa, typa,, click.....typa, typa. - (Argentina)
111. Welkom In Bolivia. - (Bolivia)
112. Bolivia - You Dirt-Y, Wonderful Country - (Bolivia) - Video
113. Salty Days O' Birth - (Bolivia) - Video
114. Sticking w/ Dirt and Finding La Paz - (Bolivia)
115. La-Pazzing La Paz - (Bolivia)
116. Avoiding puns at Lake Titicaca - (Bolivia)
117. Hunting da Picch' - (Peru)
118. Trying to find a balance on Da Picch' - (Peru)
119. Lining Up For Nazca Again - (Peru)
120. Rolling da Coast (Part 1) - (Peru)
121. Rolling da Coast (Part 2) - (Peru)
122. Hey Ecuador, Bye Ecuador - (Ecuador)
123. Going going, Back back, to Cali cali - (Colombia)
124. Home in Cali - (Colombia)
125. Farming La Cumbre - (Colombia)
**Update: Where I'm at, and new posts coming
126. Saying Bye To Family - (Colombia)
127. Wrapping Up in Bogota - (Colombia)
128. Photo Intro - North American Leg
129. Catch you later Colombia, Helloooooo USA - Florida
130. Kicking it with Eickey and catching up with The Don - Florida
131. Learning how to grub southern style, with head chef Dolomoto - Georgia
132. Casa Kenny & PJ, and a smooth refirb at Cogent Dynamics - North Carolina
133. Riding Blue Ridges and Rolling Through Apalachia - North Carolina & Virginia - Video
134. East of Greenwich and Hamping the Shire - Rhode Island and New Hampshire
135. Food, some lobster, more food, a bit of maintenance, and more food - New Hampshire & Main - USA
136. Men in skirts throwing large things & children - New Hampshire & Vermont - USA
137. Back on the road, and back to New York - New York, New York - USA
138. Is this the newest York? Yorkin' it with the ladies - New York, New York - USA

Intro Pics

SeanPNW screwed with this post Yesterday at 12:03 AM
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Old 09-12-2013, 08:59 PM   #2
Water Bear
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Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
Oddometer: 493
1. Rolling

I’m really interested in heading South and seeing Latin America, so my bike is pointed in that direction now. My only restriction is my wallet which will eventually run dry. Other than that I’m in no rush and have not made nor excluded any future plans. I’m just going day by day and playing everything by ear. In my previous ride report (Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip) I spent a lot of effort planning schedules and working out logistics. I learned that for me this level of planning saps the fun right out of it and now I am just going to roll with it. In essence, everything is an option. Lets get started.

I had my last day of work on Friday September 30th, got dubiously inebriated Friday night with friends at our place to celebrate, recovered on Saturday, and then loaded up the bike and headed out on Sunday for the west coast of Washington. It was labor day weekend so a couple friends came along to camp out on the coast Sunday night and continue the festivities.

We got the coast in good time and spent the afternoon lounging on the beach, getting bashed around swimming out in the ocean, and kicking back some cold ones as the sun set. The night carried on and we had a good time. Glad you guys could come kick it, couldn’t have had a better send-off without you.

I even got to ride on the beach which is always a favorite for me.

The next morning my friends headed back to Seattle and I headed south down the coast, destination Newport. If you followed my previous ride report (Tannin A Ginger Tip-to-Tip) you’ll remember Sophie. She was now living in more habitable climates doing her graduate work in Newport OR.

En route at a stoplight a big orange truck pulled up, Scraper Joe was his name. “Ay you goin down all the way tuh Tillamook?”. “Fallah me, you’ll love it on a bike”. I followed him to a couple off track roads before he pulled over, gave me the lead and said “get goin!”. Sure enough, it was a great road for a bike. So good I took no pictures, too busy riding. Here’s the route on the GPS though.

Thanks Scraper Joe.

Got to Sophies in the afternoon.

I had developed a rattle that I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. While riding I had earplugs in and couldn’t locate the sound. Found it though, spark arrestor had rattled loose. I’ll give it a fix tomorrow with new bolts and some loctite.

Soph showed me around her new digs, I’ve gone through Newport before but always just blowing by. As with most places, if you go slow enough there’s always more to see.

Scoped out the beach.

Further down the beach the wind had swept the sand into some planetary hill patterns. Running around I felt like I was a martian chasing the mars rover.

The next day we went for a hike. We found this stone lookout at the top.
(I lie, we drove straight to the top. Ain't nobody got time for that).

I tried to teach Soph how to ‘dougie’.

Soph thought I looked dumb and pushed me off the edge.

Was a pretty swell look-out though. The crew that built it did so in the middle of the winter?! For those that don’t know, this is summertime here on the Oregon coast. Come winter, this place would not be a pleasant location to be building on.

We looked around some more and then headed into town for some grub.

“Oh haaay”

Diver was trying to escape being dinner.

There was a haul-out for juvenile male sea lions here too. These are the guys that can’t get any action yet. Probably because they stink pretty bad. They couldn’t have cared less though, this guy was ballin.

The next day it was time to head out, I’m sure I’ll be running into Soph again though, she always seems to move to cool places so we’ll see where she ends up next.

A few months ago I rode my bike down the coast in the winter time to get to some sun in Cali. I don’t like to go the same way twice so I was keen to head towards eastern Cali instead this time. Maybe hit up Yosemite and do some climbing on the way.

I ran into Doug (?) navigating his V-Ship Enterprise. He had a plethora of gadgets all mounted neatly up like a fighter pilot cockpit. Sweet rig Doug.

After Doug left I spoke to the guy at the gas station about places to sleep the night while incognito. I’m trying to stealth camp as much as possible. It physically hurts my brain to hand over $20 for a tent space that offers me nothing more than what any roadside pullout does. I prefer a rural dirt road to sleep near or an empty pasture any day to a KOA or other pay campsite. The guy at the gas station told me about a nice free camp space just a bit down the road so I headed there.

Crossed a set of tracks just in time for a good shot as a train came blowing by. There wasn’t any gate here, I think the conductor got worried as I hurriedly stopped the bike right as I crossed the tracks and jumped off the bike. He blasting his horn quite a bit.

Campsite acquired.

This shit was $3.29 for 2 at the gas station. ‘Merica!

A good book, early campsite find, and a leisure beer. Nice evening.

The next day I packed up and got back on the road headed towards Yosemite, I wasn’t quite in California yet though so I probably had another days ride until I would get there. The weather was getting hotter though, and the landscape was showing the temps effects.

By the end of the day I made it into California and just near the tip of Lake Tahoe. I came in via the Mountain Rose hwy which winds up the pass just NE of Lake Tahoe coming from the Nevada side. It’s a nice little highway but the sun was setting so I pulled off near the summit where it would be nice and cool. Cooked some dinner on the camp stove and then called it a night.

Now that I’m in Cali, Yosemite should be obtainable for tomorrow. I could see a fair amount of what appeared to be smog in the air though. This made everything look foggy and I couldn’t figure out why. I totally forgot about the big fire that has been raging in the Yosemite valley. I remember from the news before I left that it was pretty bad, something like the worst fire in 10 years?? Hopefully the areas are still open… No interwebs though so we’ll just have to wait and see.

SeanPNW screwed with this post 09-17-2013 at 06:00 AM
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:21 PM   #3
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Now serving just Snohomish County
Oddometer: 1,644
Nice! I prefer the less structured adventure. No schedule means no missed appointments or commitments to stress over. Enjoy yourself!
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:38 PM   #4
Wonna Be ADVrider
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Sandia Mountains New Mexico
Oddometer: 3,995

Oh yea, totally subscribed till the end.

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Old 09-13-2013, 06:56 AM   #5
Long Trail
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: North East US 802
Oddometer: 54
Sweet, this should be a fun adventure to follow.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:10 AM   #6
Water Bear
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Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
Oddometer: 493
2. Slapping Rock, Getting Hot

I headed out onto the road again in the AM. No rushing here though, I don’t know what time it is. I guess it doesn’t matter, I have no place to be. Time of day is something that doesn’t really matter anymore. When the sun comes through my tent I wake up. When I start to feel hungry, I look for food. When I’m tired, I sleep. What day is it now? Sunday, yes it’s Sunday. No, no it can’t be... it’s definitely Wednesday. I like this. Make a right turn here, head South towards Lake Tahoe.

My stomach started asking for a heavy serving of porridge. I’m simple when it comes to breakfasts on the road. Oatmeal mixed with some dried fruit. Preferably several large helpings. A glooping gut-bomb of fuel. Add brown sugar if available. I like to cook it on the back of my bike. Scenic view optional but preferred. Lake Tahoe will do this morning.

Here she is.

I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe but I can see why it’s a destination. At a stop light I pulled up to a guy on a f650 gs. We both commented on how shitty of a place this is to ride. Really too bad we were out on bikes right now. He was a local firefighter. Said the firehouse was out of bananas, they bent his arm to ride around the lake to go get some more. Rough life.

I rode around the West (california) side of the lake and exited out south at the bottom. Continuing on 88/89 South. GPS says this place is called “Hell Hole”??

Looks pretty good to me. Maybe they are trying to deter people, keep the place a secret.

89 south then turns into a canyon heading east where it’ll bump into 395 south. This road. Is fantastic. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but picture 3rd and 4th gear sweeping turns. Long smooth lines, canyon carving. Climbing in elevation, working the motor well. the wrist generating motor noises crescendoing off the walls of the canyon. 30 minutes of sweetness.

If you are in the Lake Tahoe area heading south find it. You’ll dig it.

Bumping into 395 I’m now heading south. In a couple hours I should hit 120 west to take me into Yosemite. I've been seeing a fair amount of smoke the last couple days. A haze blanketing the region and blurring the views in the distance. As I get closer to the 120 I see big signs saying 120 west to Yosemite is closed due to the fires. Balls. Well I know there are other great spots further down the way…..mmmmm….Bishop, CA! Yep, Bishop it is. Plug it into the GPS, calculate route. Great, I’ll be there by the afternoon.

Most climbers know how to dirtbag it. It is a given that anywhere there is serious climbing, there will be climbers living in a free squatter camp of sorts off near the routes. I'm traveling on the cheap so this is what I’m looking for. I notice ambient temperature is heating up as I burn further down 395 towards Bishop. When I arrive it’s sweltering. The bike’s running temp is a full 20 degrees hotter than usual. Still within a normal range though. I pull into a coffee shop, “you guys got wifi?”, cool. 5 minutes later I have pegged two locations where there are likely to be climbers hanging out for free off near the climbing areas. Bonus, they are down dirt roads. Mmmmm I like the dirt.

Still looking...

Pretty area. Getting closer….

Shit, went too far. Are those hoof prints in the dirt?? Damnit, definitely been following cattle tracks for a while now...

Turned back and found it. That’s more like it.

I found the this beacon of 'free living' and decided to set up shop next to it.

I met another climber burrowed away in the back of his van sleeping off the afternoon heat. Meet Beatty.

Beatty’s from New York. He’s been traveling across the country climbing and visiting friends for the last 5 weeks. This place was empty during the day. He said it’s way too hot to climb with the sun up. Instead people climb in the early morning or in the evening after the sun goes down. As a ginger I am not built for the sun, waiting to hit the rock with better temps was fine with me. I’ll rearrange some of my kit on my bike that I wanted to move in the meantime. As you all may know though, one little job turns into another, and another, and another.

Next thing I know I’ve got my bike stripped and am cutting out the top of my airbox to reroute a carb breather tube (like a snorkel for high water crossings) and assessing a leaky fork seal. Leaky fork seal will have to wait though for a full replacement later.

As the sun went down behind the ridgeline to the West the temperature began to drop. Other climbers started showing up and things got into full swing. The rock radiated heat well after sunset like a warm furnace. Temperatures were perfect.The routes and rock in this area, called The Buttermilks, are great.

The next couple days were spent riding and climbing. I recommend this area to anyone that wants to do some great off roading. The lines are smooth, fast, and flowy. Plenty of berms and great views. Think 2nd, 3rd, 4th wide open. It may look dusty, but that is all fairly large granules of granite slough, so you get to fun & feel of cutting the back end loose without all the dust that you usually get with the really loose stuff. Fucking great.

During the heat of the day Beatty and I got out of the sun in the shade of some of the big trees.

Beatty used to be a tree climber for work at one point. A very old and large tree was begging to be climbed. Beatty said it was probably ~2k years old. I’ll be lucky if I experience 100 years of life on this earth (hopefully most of those healthy). This tree had seen many people and cultures come and go from this barren desert valley. People have come, places have changed, but the tree remains, ever vigilant.

Just touching this tree was an experience (2k years!) let alone being up in the top of it. Don’t worry, no trees were harmed.

Once at the top, we had a great view of the valley and surrounding area.

After a couple days Beatty recommended I go hit up Joshua Tree National Park on my way south. This sounded like a good idea to me. Hidden Valley Campground is my next destination.

Before heading out I took the liberty to clean myself and the few clothes that I have. There's something so satisfying about riding into the desert valley and walking around buck naked in a creek with nobody around, clothes left drying in the midday sun on the bank. Scrubbing away days of grime and dirt with cool glacial water. Sitting in the stream, listening to the water and wind rustle through the desert valley. I don’t know why I enjoy living like this as much as I do. But I do.

This little guy hung out for a bit too.

The next day it was time to hit the road. Bike pointed South towards Joshua Tree.

I made it into the park just as the sun was setting. The ‘trees’ in Joshua Tree are actually not trees at all, but a type of shrub that grows rather tall and slender, like a tree.

The landscape here is immense. Both in expanse as well as the prowess of it’s infinite rock formations. Big boulders full of ledges and outcroppings stretched throughout the valley in large crumbled masses. Worn away into odd shapes and flowing forms. Like giant sugar cubes worn away by water over the years. All I could think of was the lion king. Shit was pretty epic.

After the sun went down I set up my mobile home and went wandering with my headlamp around camp. I like to get to the highest point of wherever I am to get a feel for the area. I found the base of the highest rock face I could find but wasn’t sure if I could climb to the top. I put my climbing shoes on as my headlamp began to flash low-battery. The climb looked doable solo but without a light, that would be pretty stupid. The next morning I climbed to the top and got to see the view.

Not very good at self timers…

The view was way better during the day.

I enjoy free-solo things on occasion (climbing without ropes) as long as the route is well within my ability. I just have my shoes and chalk bag with me and can’t pack a bunch of gear on my bike since I don’t want to take up a ton of space.

Found some chains on the way down so it’s definitely got routes going up it.

I spent the next couple days hanging out with people that had come into town for “Bhakti Fest”. Supposedly it’s a huge yoga festival? I don’t really partake in the yogas but apparently there were thousands of people all doing yoga together in a mass undulating chanting group. Murray, a friend I met in camp said the ratio of females to males was 10/1. Yoga anyone?

Murray and I went tromping around in the desert exploring. Pretty wild place. Here’s a coyote.

I told the mother-unit that I would come see her before I die in mexico next week so I’m flying out of San Diego to the east coast to see her for a few days. My flight is in 2 days so the next stop is another ADVriders couch in San Diego where I will also store my bike for 7 days. After that, pointed towards Baja. The land of dirt and beaches.

Catch you in a couple.

"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688

SeanPNW screwed with this post 09-17-2013 at 07:56 AM
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Old 09-16-2013, 10:42 AM   #7
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 445
It's great to see you've tied up everything in Washington and are on your way south. Nice start to the RR. Can't wait to see/read more!
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:07 AM   #8
Water Bear
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Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
Oddometer: 493
24. Chilling In Tlalpan, DF

Back in the endless city of DF, Jose has been kind enough to put me in touch with one of his friends, Dante. Dante just so happens to have a spare room in his apartment and said I could flip him a few bucks and crash as long as I want. This would be cheaper than a hostel and I would get my own room? Deal. Dante lives in an area of DF called Tlalpan.

The apartment complex that he lives in is in all senses of the word, massive. There are 32 separate towers, each tower has two main columns of apartments. As you enter and progress through the area there are two separate security checkpoints and countless foot security patrolling the area, clicking in and out on their walkie-talkies. There are a lot of students and working class families that live in the towers. The place seems like a nicer place for people to live. Although it may be a little bougie for my tastes personally, the location is good, and I don’t have to worry about my bike being out on the streets at night, getting caught up in peoples tomfoolery. As a bonus, Dante is also a climber, and being in Tlalpan we are situated just about 20 minutes from some pretty damn good outdoor climbing. More on that later though.

Here’s the joint.

Insurgentes is one of the main streets that splits DF in two, from the north to the south. Tlalpan is located south of the centro area and is nestled right in at the southern tail of Insurgentes. It’s a relaxed area with a lived in feel to it. Sort of like the burbs, but with a bit more laid back cool and less highbrow. The area is a place for people to live that don’t want the mayhem and hecticness of the center of DF. It’s a place that university students and working class families live in and commute elsewhere for school and work. This demographic leads to a lot of people fluxing in and out throughout the day, and a busy bus system.

Here is the tail end of the vehicular river that is Insurgentes. Jump on this and soon it becomes several lanes wide in both directions and in 20 minutes you can be in the center of DF. IF you are on a motorcycle of course. Try to commute it in a car expecting 20 minutes and you’re gonna have a bad time. With so many people in DF there is alllllways traffic, having a bike allows you to split lanes, maneuver around the plethora of smog belching buses, and ride the occasional sidewalk to get through it all. Although I don’t do anything the locals aren’t doing, having a big bike and a foreign license plate is similar to painting a bullseye on your back in terms of police attention. A couple hundred pesos slipped into the passport usually gets you out of any infraction. Nobody wants to do paperwork, and everyone gets to get on with their day.

The community of Tlalpan revolves around the “Centro Historico” area. This is the perk of living here, as it’s laid back and full of cafe’s, small restaurants, and little bars.

In the center of the neighborhood, as with many places in Mexico, there is a main square and usually some sort of garden.

No town hall is complete without some entrenched protesters either.

There’s some cool street art to be found if you take the time to look.

This time of year (end of Oct. early Nov.) is important in Mexico because of Dia De Muertos (Day Of The Dead). It’s similar to Halloween but it’s history is rooted in indigenous culture and Aztec festivals. It does encapsulate Halloween though and is typically celebrated from Oct. 31 - Nov. 2nd. Explosions from fireworks lit from rooftops and sidewalks can be heard starting in the early morning and trickle on throughout the three days.

I’m not sure how much I’ve mentioned this, but I like to eat. In fact, I like to eat quite a bit. I would maybe even go so far as to say that I pick places to travel to partly based on the food that is available. Luckily, good food is easy to come by in Mexico. For example, my homeboy Ruben here slangs tacos at this stand all day long. 5 tacos of any kind for 25 pesos (less than $2) is the deal. Sometimes I come twice a day for snacks.

There’s also a nice sized indoor market if you are wanting a bit more variety. Pretty much anything can be found in these central food-hubs, every now and then mangos that are the size of your face.

On a good day I can identify 10% of the stuff sold, I’ll give most anything a try once though.

Sometimes I do want something more familiar. Something a little closer to home. I’m a fan of fruits, luckily baking with apples is a culturally universal thing in the Americas. Familiar treats such as this can be found at certain locations (~$1.50).

Eventually I do get bored though and blast into Mexico City centro to shoot the shit with Jose and Dano. Here we can go out and grab a bite somewhere else, for example maybe some rotten fruit that’s repurposed and baked into a delicious dessert.

This little morsel with sugar?/milk?/cream? drizzled on it, is similar to your grandmas baked bananas. Yes it looks worse than g-ma’s, but I believe it tastes even better.

After all the mud in Hidalgo, we needed to get the bikes cleaned and give mother earth her dirt back.

After cleaning the bikes, Jose showed me a neighborhood spot for some authentic Yucatan cuisine. It’s a good sign when you see lots of people outside patiently waiting to fill their face with whatever happens to be on the menu.

For us the menu included beer with a bunch of salt, spices, and salsa. Feeling hung over? Drink this and then go run a marathon.

We had some sort of sandwiches as well. This one had octopus in it I believe.

I sampled a number of things here to try and get a variety of flaves. Now let’s be clear. I have never had Yucatan cuisine, and this place is on the fancier end of the continuum and thus possibly not completely indicative of what people eat on the regular. But lean a bit closer and let me tell you something. IT’S FUCKING DELICIOUS. Whatever they have going on over in that peninsula, I want more of it. If this is an indication of the food I’m going to find when I head that way, ohhhh buddy help me now. If my belly wasn’t so full after eating this, I would have jumped on the bike right then and blasted out to the Yucatan, smothering my body in all of the food I could find along the way.

Soon enough though, soon enough. Right now, it’s time to work off all that grub and get out to do some climbing.

"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688

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Old 11-20-2013, 01:01 PM   #9
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27. Loco Pozas de Edward James, Xilitla

Several people have told me about a place called Xilitla and how there is an amazing garden that exists there. Xilitla is about 6 hours north of DF in the state of San Luis Potosi. It’s rural up there and largely comprised of small farm communities, this means good roads, unmolested scenery and culture. I set out early in the morning to beat the commuter traffic that floods into the city every morning. There is an immense gravitational pull that Mexico city emits towards its surrounding areas. As if it were a black hole, everyone and everything is sucked into its center as I fight my way out. Once I get free of its grasp it began to rain, and from this moment until the moment that I arrived in Xilitla, 10hrs later, it pissed rain continuously.

About 1/3 of the way to Xilitla I came through a small pueblo called Atotonilco. Here I stopped for some food and to take a minute to try and warm up to a decent temperature to safely operate a motorcycle at.

The food was bomb. Maize tortillas pumped out right in front of me with some freshly done up, well…. some sort of roasted cow. They called it something different though and people seemed to be all worked up about them having it today.

This little pup was having an extra tough day due to the rain so I chucked him some cow.

He seemed to like it and sat very attentively next to me for the rest of the meal. Gave him a hefty helping at the end for his patience.

It was raining so much that I didn’t take very many photos, and the ones that I did take my camera was so wet from being in my tank bag that everything came out foggy. Along the way I took a shortcut through a curvier and more interesting road. There were some sticks across the turn for the shortcut. This is the standard latin american placarding for “don’t come this way”, but this signage doesn’t always apply to offroad oriented motorcycles though. This time they did apply, and so I waited for the dozers to clear the rock slide.

I took no more photos until I arrived in Xilitla as I was simply too wet and too cold to care to do so. It rained so much that I managed to suck water into my carb somehow, not sure where, maybe the air filter…but a quick drain of float bowl and she started right up. Nice having a simple machine to work on. It took longer to get my hands warm enough to be able to access my tools than it did to solve the issue. Other than this I had no troubles, and by dinnertime I rolled into where I was going to spend the night for a couple days in Xilitla. When I arrived I shakingly introduced myself to the other guests and chatted for a bit, then explained that I would be MIA until the morning, and rid myself of everything wet to retreat into my sleeping bag to warm up until the sun rose.

In the morning I awoke feeling fresh as rain…”rain”…well that’s weird, but yes I awoke feeling like a champion. With the sun out and clear I got a good look at the place. It’s called Casa Caracol. Rudolpho and his wife run it and its super laid back. With a fun design and cool places to hang out in, it’s easy to kick back and relax here.

There are private bungalows available but most people stay in the tipis which fit 4-5 people.

The grounds are full of fun sculptures and places to hang out.

I was sharing a tipi with two guys from Australia and we set out to find a cave that we were told had a pretty spectacular entrance.

They were correct, it was spectacular.

The opening of the cave is the main attraction in and of itself, but we hiked down into the bottom where there was a smaller mini-cave. The depth of view is hard to gauge here but if you look down and to the right you’ll see a large australian for scale.

Inside the cave there wasn’t a ton going on besides a fair amount of bird shit and a bit of graffiti. A long exposure though lights it up enough to see what’s up.

Looking up and out of the smaller cave.

We left and found some oranges.

Assessed their level of deliciousness.

And packed a few for later.

Back at Casa Caracol I met up with Fey, a girl from Queretaro Mexico who was visiting her sister here in Xilitla for the weekend. We set out to explore what for me was the main reason for coming to Xilitla, Las Pozas de Edward James.

Edward James was an Englishman born in 1907 into a fair bit of money. He was a lot of things (poet, artist, etc) but he is most prominently known for his early support of the Surrealist movement in the arts. For example, sponsoring Salvador Dali in his early years so he could continue to paint and also supporting him through the collection of his art. Eventually, Edward James would be known for having the finest private collection of surrealist works of any collector. The time would come though when he grew tired of simply collecting and supporting, and he wanted to create a masterpiece of his own. He set out to find the perfect location to blend the beauty of the natural world with his taste and flare for surrealism, and he set out to do it on a grand scale. He considered places all over the world, but when scouting for a location in Mexico he was blown away by the natural beauty of the high mountain subtropical forest just outside of Xilitla. He chose this location in 1945 and began construction of his personal sculpture “garden of eden) in 1949. He named the garden Las Pozas, “The pools”. Although he was a wealthy man, the project was on such a grand scale and required such expertise and craftsmanship that he had to sell the majority of his private art collection to afford the construction. The wood molds used to form the concrete structures as scene as works of art all by themselves. Here, high in the mountains, he took 80 acres of natural rain forest, waterfalls, and rivers, and built enormous concrete surrealist structures amongst them. He also brought in many exotic plants (at one point the grounds boasted 29,000 orchids) as well as exotic birds and animals. It took decades to build and although many structures are left unfinished (or have been lost within the jungle), even now, after his passing and the properties opening to the public, it doesn’t fail to fascinate and intrigue those that venture into its landscape.

As you wander through, it’s eerie to think that this was not created for the public, nor was it made to be inhabited or lived in. None of the structures were built with any functional intention other than as an enormous surrealist work of art for Edward James’ and his private guests to be amazed by. It is a real life work of art that you can physically walk through and explore, and at less than $5 to get in, it is a pretty cheap trip to an entirely different world.

Many structures have stairways that lead to nowhere. Edward James named this place “The House on Three Floors Which Will in Fact Have Five or Four or Six”. (Fey is near the center several stories down for scale)

And bridges that simply end before they’ve reached their destination.

Other times there will be stairs that appear out of nowhere that lead to an amazing structure, yet they are found on the other side of a small river with no walkway.

There are no signs that tell you where to go, and everything is dense jungle so you never know what’s around the corner until you walk into it.

You simply have to wander, explore, and keep your eyes out for clues to venture further into an area. If you are willing to explore though, and get a little wet, you can stumble upon to some pretty amazing locations hidden within the gardens 80 acres.

By the end of the day Fey and I had been walking for 5 hours or so and the night was taking over the garden. With no guardrails or ropes keeping you from exploring, high structures with no logical architecture, and the entire place being a dizzying maze of pathways and hidden trails Las Pozas is not a place you want to be lost in at night without a light. We found a trail out just as the last bit of light was dipping over the mountains. That night we stayed up late hanging out with Fey’s sister Eunice, and Eunice’s boyfriend Sobo. Great people to hang out with and I’m glad I got the chance to meet them. Shit, is my Spanish getting somewhat conversational?!

Here’s a video from the trip. Mr. Edward James, you were one ‘pinche loco’ mother fucker, but I sure had a blast exploring your fascinating mind today.

"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:16 PM   #10
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Damn I love that place, crazy stuff in the jungle. Pretty darn impressive cave, too bad I missed it but at least I have good reason to return

Nice report
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #11
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Wow, THAT is VERY Cool! So much to discover, well done. Any more pics from that place? How much of the park do you think you covered?
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Shooby View Post
Wow, THAT is VERY Cool! So much to discover, well done. Any more pics from that place? How much of the park do you think you covered?
Pretty surreal right (yep, shitty play on words). There's a few more pics here that I didn't put in the post but my camera battery died so I didn't get a ton of photos. It's a popular place for people to snap shots though so check out a google search and you'll find some way better photos. We saw quite a bit of the stuff but my camera battery died so didn't get pictures of everything. There's a section that's completely off limits to the public, but not sure why and we couldn't find a way in, but you could look in from a higher vantage and see some sweet stuff.

There were quite a number of trails though that we didn't explore either, one that Fey said she went 2 hours up the other day and never made it to the end, and another that we started on but was just too dangerous to continue down (cliff thing, wet, lack of sobriety, etc), so there's definitely more to see there...
"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:55 PM   #13
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Thanks SeanPNW,
I'll be researching that from the confines of my office (er , PC at home , off hours, of course) while waiting for your next report. Keep bringing it young sir, your doing it right.
As a former PNW'r (Astoria) I imagine you're appreciating the weather right now regardless off an occasional daylong "pissing rain" event.
Wride on !
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:19 PM   #14
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Good to see you having so much fun!

You travel well, carry on!
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:27 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Adios Pantalones View Post
Good to see you having so much fun!

You travel well, carry on!
Thanks for helping me get started right, more coming today.
"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
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