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Old 01-31-2010, 11:30 AM   #46
Juicy J fan!
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: 5th and Main
Oddometer: 5,803
I was unemployed back in the 90's for 7 months. I took a vacation too. Who knows... you could find a hell of a job in another country! Nothing wrong with that. It sure beats sitting on the couch and going insane.

BTW... How is the supermoto suzuki feel as an adventure bike?
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:34 PM   #47
tiernan OP
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 85
DRZ supermoto as adventure bike

It's not bad. The main flaw is the lack of 6th gear really; I often find myself overworking the engine to get that little extra speed on the highway. Plus the mpg stays under 40 at that rate... We've done some amazing offroading though, and aside from mud I feel very confident with the Distanzias.

The luggage racks from are the perfect size for these bikes, and if I didn't have all this camera gear I imagine the ride would be amazing, considering as it is I'm still getting really low around the turns. When I drop it, I pick it up without help from anyone which is nice...

Dealing with the radials isn't too easy, but with a partner it's do-able.

The seat blows. The sheepskin doesn't help much, and I'd hate to throw down $400 for an aftermarket seat, that's like 8% of the bike's retail.

Overall, I love the supermoto setup for travel. If I was loaded, I'd try to get a slightly larger six speed.

2013 Yamaha R6

tiernan screwed with this post 01-31-2010 at 02:48 PM
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:45 PM   #48
Studly Adventurer
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Yeah, this is a sweet ride report.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:06 AM   #49
tiernan OP
Joined: Jan 2009
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At cruising speed, my bike suddenly made a large POP noise from the motor, then wasn't running. Marcos, a local rider, puts the bike in his pickup and takes me to his city of Londrinas about an hour away. My bike's at Suzuki right now and they tell me it will be ready on Tuesday. We're about to head to a BBQ with our man Julio, who got a phone call from his buddy Louis in Sao Paulo, who tells him two guys he's been following online are stuck in Londrinas, and can he give us a hand.

Pura Vida. The big bummers here are losing time with the Supermoto guys in Sao Paulo, and the added expense of this work on my bike. Apparently somehow when I changed the spark plug in La Paz i did a poor job (even though it ran better afterwards), and that cause a misfire or something which led to my spark plug threads being stripped... I don't really get it, I think something was lost in translation.
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:16 PM   #50
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Joined: Jan 2010
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Good to see you back fellas.. Was wondering where you guys had got to... Most of the way by the looks!!
hmmm spark plug thread because of mis(guided)muscle rather than a misfire i would presume, blame the biceps!!
Still no parts for me in Panama.... grrrr
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:52 PM   #51
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Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Tampa, FL
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Tiernan, I have a '09 DRZ 400 SM also and will be doing some adventure riding soon. The first mod I did was change the rear sprocket to a 38 tooth and took 2 links out of the chain. It feels like a completely different bike, not as buzzy at freeway speeds and longer transition between gears. I'm sure there is some loss is acceleration but I can't feel it and it just seems so much smoother. Maybe someday Suzuki will build this bike the right way with a 6 speed. Great ride report, I wish I could do what you are doing right now. I'll be mounting up some Distanza's also and I have been looking at bags from wolfman luggage for the DRZ..............

I installed a 12V power port today on the bike and I have a Ram mount for the GPS. Ride safe and enjoy the rest of your trip!
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:41 AM   #52
tiernan OP
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 85
Mullets and Wine


From Sud America

Packing the bikes in Panama was interesting. It took much effort to find out how to actually make the shipment happen, and how much it will cost. A final price wasn’t actually negotiated until the bikes were packed and ready to ship. We say goodbye to our couchsurfing host Jeannette, and go to the airport for our flight to Santiago.
From Sud America

Upon arrival, we find out the bikes’ flight is delayed and it might be at least another day until we get them. “Just wait at your hotel and take taxis around Santiago,” the guy says. Erm, no we don’t have it like that. We wait in the company’s office with all of our things to hint that we’d like the bikes ASAP, and it works.
From Sud America

The tires had been deflated for the flight, which was a pain since the bomba at the nearby gasolinera was out of order. We’re on the bikes and headed to the coast by around 3pm. A great example of how we roll is we didn’t know where we’d go, we just knew the coast had a good reputation. When the fork in the road came up, one sign says Valparaiso and the other Vina del Mar, I turn to matt and shrug, he shrugs back, and I make an impulsive right turn, where we spend some time finding internet to find the hostel for the night. The town seems basically like it’s for couples, and we take off for Santiago the next day.
From Sud America

We roll through Valparaiso on the way out of Dodge, then check out some beautiful Vinyards and wine country on the way into Santiago mid day. It’s not getting dark around here until 9pm, so there’s none of this we need to find shelter before dinner business we’d been dealing with in Central America. We drop by a vineyard for a quick wine taste, then keep rolling.
From Sud America

Santiago is a beautiful city. We take a night to drink $2.50 per bottle wine and cook some pasta for ourselves, and hang out with other couchsurfers watching Eurovision classics. The next day we change Matt’s chain and clean my air filter, and decide it’s a little late to head for Argentina, so we find another internet café and new hostel.
From Sud America

We wind up at this awesome part of town called Bellavista, which is our first real encounter with the typical South American setup of sidewalk cafes. I meet some Argentinians and enjoy an evening with them wondering where the hell Matt wound up, since one minute he was drinking at the hostel and the next minute he’s nowhere to be found. Turns out he had a good night. We decide it’s too nice to leave, then have another awesome night after a daytime downhill bike turned off race. We meet this crazy drunk guy who’s cool at first, until we realize he’s not going to leave us alone anytime soon. I tell him very bluntly that we don’t want to stay with him, at which point he turns into a beggar.
From Sud America

Sigh. Two minutes later we’re chillin at a table with four other girls and no beggar. They sneak us onto the bus without paying, and we wind up at a ridiculous 80’s new wave dance club.
From Sud America

Later on we return the bus favor by sneaking them into the hostel. We try to leave the next day, but can’t find the road we’re looking for. I had seen a road on a map of Chile that goes from Santiago to the Argentinian border through the mountains on a cool looking dirt road, but nobody who lived near it had a clue what the number of their roads were. One woman pointed out where we were on Matt’s iPhone, which really stumped us.
From Sud America

We wound up riding the gnarliest road of our lives that day, then headed back to the hostel in shame. After checking the SPOT tracker, it turns out we were at the right road when we stopped to ask the woman, who can’t actually point out where she in fact lives on a map. We get a few miles up the road and find out it’s privately owned by some mining company who have badass four wheel drive trucks and promise to chase us down if we try to run, so we turn around and take the freeway to the Andes.
From Sud America

...more to come...
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:13 PM   #53
tiernan OP
Joined: Jan 2009
Oddometer: 85
Milanesa, Bidets, Calor, Kisses

From Sud America

Andes are great riding, and I get some nice outer tire wear at Chile’s Andean Haight Ashbury. The Argentinian border was great. Chile and Argentina are in cahoots, and there’s only two places you need to go to with no money transactions. The first place is immigration, where there’s one person from each country stamping you in/out. The next is customs, where there’s also one person from each country sitting in the same booth.
From Sud America

We get our first milanesa sandwich and Quilmes right there also! The first three hours into Argentina we’re stopping every five minutes to get incredible footage and photos of the road and landscape. It takes us about two days of riding through farm country which looks like Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma in parts… It’s really hot as well…
From Sud America

We both get tickets for passing on a double yellow...
From Sud America

You can’t flush the TP, but it’s cool because there’s bidets in nearly every bathroom! sup: Eventurally we wind up in Tigre, which is about 30 minutes north of Buenos Aires. The road in was under construction and there’s no signs for a detour, so we at first try to find a parallel road, then settle on riding the bikes through the sidewalks, which are still open.
From Sud America

I’m about 3 seconds away from getting hit by a train, no wonder they’d all stopped walking for a moment. Our couchsurfing host, Tomas, is staying at his parents beautiful house while they’re out of town on vacation, and we each get our own room with air conditioning ☺.
From Sud America

Tomas cooks us up some traditional Argentinian BBQ, and introduces me to my new fav choripan, which is the chorizo and pan you’d find for less than a dollar on the side of the road. He invites a buddy of his over, who is like 25 years old and goes to remote locals around the world to climb mountains then ski down them. This guy is very cool, and brings four nice looking girls with him. I wake up the next day smelling like fernet and wine… We hitch a ride into the city with him when he goes to work, and we get to check out the office of the environmental engineers whom turn waste into fuel. Two twenty something hottie engineers share the office with him…
From Sud America

Another night he takes us out partying in Buenos Aires. Here’s how this works: 11:30pm, go out for dinner at an outdoor café and scope the women while putting back some Quilmes. Around 1am you walk into a bar and do some drinking, we chose a missile which is a large tubular beer container with a frozen metal tube down the center. This is where you meet the girls that go with you to the club around 2 or 3am for some dancing and pairing off. Around 4 or 5am it’s torrential rain, and the club closes the second floor dance floor when the water is filling in. We call it a night and run several blocks through the rain, which soaks us to the core. The smaller camera is with me, and it only works one more time afterwards.
From Sud America

From Sud America

After saying goodbye, we head north and stop in the town of Guayaquil as per Tomas’ recommendation. When we roll in we’re very confused. There’s many shops, but they’re all closed. There’s almost no people around except for people near the entrance of the town holding signs for houses for rent. Then we turn a corner looking for internet and realize the town is much bigger than we initially suspected, yet it’s still deserted. It really felt like Silent Hill. We cruise past the carnival stadium deal, and realize there’s a carnival this night. Apparently people here take their siesta VERY seriously, because a few hours later the outdoor café’s are crackin, the streets are closed to vehicles, and there’s samba bands with shaking butts rolling through the streets. I like. The hostel we found was full, but there’s a nearby hospedaje which is pretty cheap and has a fan in the room. Matt is now addicted to Mate, and has to buy his own mate cup and straw deal. What a great night, rolling into a party town with carnival happening. We met some beautiful girls, worked on our dancing skills, and slept in some.
From Sud America

From Sud America

In route to Iguazu the next day, we encounter more torrential rain, and we’re soaked through to the core in about five minutes of riding. It’s so miserable it’s funny, and we find the first hotel we can and call it a day.
From Sud America

We wake up early to make up for lost time, and follow directions recommended by googlemaps. Big mistake.
From Sud America

When we hit the route 40 we’re unsure since it’s unmarked and unpaved, but a copper tells us we’re on the right track. He looks at us funny when we tell him we’re taking it to Iguazu, but we figure he’s probably just a pussy and we know more than he does. It’s a bit sandy in parts, and Matt is very nervous, but I stay positive and think that it can only get better. An hour or two in it turns into a state park, which is funny since we only passed about three cars the entire way. We see an armadillo, alligator, some large lizards, and many giant guinea pigs. We get to the information office of the park, and the guy tells us the nearest gas station is right about the limit of our tanks! Well, assuming it still gets dark at 9pm, and we can average 40kph, we should make it around nightfall. Okay, literally just on the other side of the office it’s 8 inch deep sand. It doesn’t improve, but our riding does, eventually, after falling several times.
From Sud America

Matt’s legs have scrapes and burns all over, and we’re out of water about a half hour later as it get’s dark by 8. It’s looking really bleak, and there’s a thunderstorm approaching us from three sides. It’s so bad it’s funny for a minute, then sucks again for a few more hours. I can ride fine up to about 4 inches deep, but the 8+ inch business is extremely difficult. I figure out the best way to do it is like surfing the bike, and just going where the sand wants to take you and lean a little into the wave. That works okay until the bike is suddenly 90 degrees different and headed into the marsh which surrounds both sides of the road. My stock headlight blows, and Matt’s HID’s kick ass except every time he falls they break a little more and we’re not sure if they’ll make it to the end.
From Sud America

Finally we see a fork in the road, and we think we know where we are, which is about half way to the gas station. The beach turns into a more shallow, red sandy road, and we can finally hit that 40kph speed we’d been looking for. Finally we wind up in a town with teenagers speeding around on mopeds around midnight. We sleep well that night.
From Sud America

We’d heard of the notoriously corrupt police on the road to Iguazu, and were a little nervous approaching now that we’re taking the main road we’d been trying to avoid earlier. We drive like… nuns or something only better. Finally we think we’re past, and we encounter them about 15 miles outside Puerta Iguazu. They are telling us to pull over the minute we can see them, and we see other motorcyclists pulled over and cars passing through without problem. They tell us we were playing on the road behind, and we aren’t allowed to be “jugando” on the road there. I smile and assure him we were not while Mateo nervously holds our spyglasses, of which the lenses have fallen off, LOL! They check our paperwork, then ask what’s in the bag. “Camera. Estamos haciendo un documentar.” He walks inside to talk to the boss, then comes out and says we can go, but don’t play on the road. I tell him, believe me, I have heard of you from the internet, and I know how easy it is to get ticketed here, I wasn’t playing. Goodbye. He says he doesn’t understand me and get the hell out of here. Finally we get to town and holler at our couchsurfing host, Renatta, who works at a hostel.
From Sud America
We’re still tired from the day before, but she makes us go out for a bit that night. She tells us she’s staying at the hostel, but we can stay at her place with another couchsurfer, who is an Argentinian flute player. The next day we have a ridiculously awesome day at the Iguazu waterfalls park on the Argentine side.
From Sud America

We literally took a boat to the bottom of the falls and got dumped on! We’re really juiced on life, and burn one with the flute player, then go out to celebrate Renatta’s 26th.
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #54
Joined: Sep 2009
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Great reading, sitting here between classes at university bored out of my mind. The road less travelled looks really appealing. Good luck out there, what's your favorite beer so far?
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:31 PM   #55
Off Limits
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:22 PM   #56
aka: ici_moto
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Old 02-12-2010, 04:05 AM   #57
"Monster Truck Bike"
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Location: Northern California
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Nice report.
Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway.
Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. - Old Honda Manual
If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies,
jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -- Glenn Clark
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:25 AM   #58
no cualquier gringo
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Great job guys. Living large gonzo style. I like it.
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:31 PM   #59
tiernan OP
Joined: Jan 2009
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favorite beer...

I just wrote alot, then deleted. it´s pretty simple to me. almost nobody had decent beer except for mexico where you find negra modelo (negro modela?) and indio. otherwise youll find coors light tasting beer all around, which isn´t really that bad in hot weather. Costa Rica had Bavaria Negra which i liked...

in nicaragua we´re only drinking flor de cana, in chile were only drinking wine, in brazil we drink pinga moonshine. the moral is the best beer you´ll find is in america. we have the greatest selection and the lowest price at the store. there´s really no hidden treasures here. our favorite version of coors lite has been borrilitas in mexico.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:42 PM   #60
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Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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Great report! I was wondering when you would check back in. Nice to see you're getting along famously with the local talent...

On the topic of beer:
One of the beers in Brazil (it was either Skol or Brahma) tastes dead-balls-on like Olde English. So if you like tippin back 40's up here, you'll probably like beer in Brazil. Otherwise, stick to the cachaca! I love the beer (since I am an avid 8-ball drinker up here), but I still opt for a caipirinha when I'm down there.

It'll get ya drunk!
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