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Old 10-09-2010, 02:33 PM   #1
AirborneAndy OP
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South for a while… maybe longer

Got a call from a friend that I met, and rode with, during a trip to Alaska a few years back.

“Hey Andy, are you still thinking about riding to South America? I just bought a new bike…”

Since I recently dropped out of the working world I have been wandering around the country (U.S.) for the last 3 months . And, now I’m back where I started . So, a new direction seems like a good idea to me.

Larry is from Alberta Canada and I’m in Southern California - he’ll be riding a GS1200 and I’ll be on a DR650. The ride will not start for a few weeks but the preparations have begun….
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Old 10-09-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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Vaccinations?

Larry gave me the rundown on the vaccinations that are required and/or recommended for the trip. Vaccinations? Wow, I hadn’t thought about that. Turns out that leaving home can be a scary thing. So, I got my first round of shots (Hep A and B, and Yellow fever) and an oral vaccine for Typhoid fever. And, I got a prescription for Malaria medication which I will have to take practically the whole time I’m in South America. Hmmm…. What do the folks that live in these countries do? Perhaps I should have posted this question in the regional forums… earlier!
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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Still alive, just farther south.

Ok... I haven't updated this thread since I started my journey south. But, I have been blogging on Blogspot. So, here is what has happened so far.


No more ridin in the dark - Mexico

Another installment from adventure boys - Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica

Panama - Costa Rica to Panama

Around the Darien Gap by sailboat - Panama to Colombia

The team splits up
- Colombia

Rock Stars to Smelly Bikers - Colombia

What a day! - Colombia


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Old 12-20-2010, 05:22 PM   #4
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Good luck, bad luck, who knows?

I remember how lucky I felt to find the front sprocket I needed in Mexico when I couldn’t find it anywhere else. Well… turns out that maybe I wasn’t quite as lucky as I thought. The Yamaha sprocket I found, that seemed to fit my bike perfectly, was actually thinner than the Suzuki sprocket for my bike. And, it sorta ruined the countershaft . So… I’m now holed up in Quito Ecuador, hoping to find the new countershaft without having to order it - which will take 3 weeks. And, replacing it requires the engine to be removed from the bike and completely disassembled! Yup!

Luckily Surely I jest!... in Ecuador the U.S. dollar is very strong. In fact they don’t have their own currency. They have been using the U.S. dollar since the 90’s. So, the labor to do the work will be very cheap. And anything that is made here is very inexpensive compared to the U.S. Gas is $2 a gallon and I just had a complete dinner for $1. If I gotta be stuck somewhere for a while this is a pretty good spot to be stuck.

Anyway, on my way here I spent a couple days in Otavalo Ecuador at a really nice hostel (Rose Cottage) up on a hillside with a really incredible view and a very serene atmosphere which helped me forget about my bike problems for a while. Anyway, here are some pics I took over the past few days.











































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AirborneAndy screwed with this post 12-20-2010 at 05:44 PM Reason: add pics
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:41 PM   #5
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South for a while......maybe longer

Beautiful pictures, thanks for posting them up. I had no idea Ecuador operated off the US dollar....what a bargain for paradise.

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Old 12-21-2010, 11:22 AM   #6
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Awesome

I think you are a little off course there, 299x

Great report Andy. Careful down there, brother.
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buell78753 View Post
Beautiful pictures, thanks for posting them up. I had no idea Ecuador operated off the US dollar....what a bargain for paradise.

Thanks Buell. Yeah, its kinda funny that they use dollars because they were careless and printed too much of there own currency.
...like the U.S. would never do that!



Quote:
Originally Posted by M.A.G. View Post
I think you are a little off course there, 299x

Great report Andy. Careful down there, brother.
Hey John. Yeah I may have gone a little too far
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:35 PM   #8
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Merry Christmas from the center of the earth

I get the feeling that the Suzuki dealer took advantage of my situation and the fact that I don’t speak Spanish very well. They replaced the part that I needed along with a few that I didn’t need without my permission or consent. But to be fair, I needed the bike done quickly
and they had no way of contacting me to get my approval for the replacement of the additional parts. And, even with the extra charges the repair costs were low considering the work that was done. However, the motor seems a bit noisier than it was before the repairs were done which has me a bit worried. At any rate, I’m back on the road for now.

I left Quito heading north instead of south because I had completely missed the equator when I rode thru the first time. So, I went back up to get the obligatory pictures of me and my bike at the center of the earth. Then I turned around and headed south again. I ended up riding later than I intended as it rains almost every afternoon. And, today was no exception. So, I got soaked, once again. And at one point I was on a dirt road that had small rivers running back and forth across it. After my experience getting stuck and spending the night in a banana field in Columbia, I was a bit concerned. But, I made it thru alright this time.

And now I’m spending Christmas in the small adventure-tourist town of Banos Ecuador just relaxing and taking in some of the sights. They have a plethora of exciting things to do here like: jungle tours, volcano tours, mountain biking, hiking, ATV and motorcycle rentals, bungee jumping, mountain climbing, zip lines, white water rafting, and who know what else. But, "I" came here to relax

Merry Christmas everyone.








































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Old 12-25-2010, 08:06 PM   #9
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Wow Andy, you're already in Banos?

Are you crossing into Peru from the southeast/La Balsa crossing?

You're going to love it if you do. Make sure you stop in Vilcabamba before you cross though.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:57 PM   #10
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Merry Christmas

Merry Xmas Andy. Looks like a great trip. Keep posting those photos. They're great.
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Old 01-14-2011, 12:15 PM   #11
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Great adventure Andy Keep safe!
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:13 PM   #12
AirborneAndy OP
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Thanks Bend27...

Hey Jonz... a belated Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you too. Did you go to Baja this year?

Ok... I've procrastinated on updating this thread for too long. So, here we go.
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:27 PM   #13
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The Andes

I had been riding in the Andes mountains pretty much since I arrived in South America. They are the longest mountain range on the planet. The scenery and riding was great. But, I was getting a little tired of the daily afternoon rains and wasn’t making much progress on my journey south. So, I decided to head for the coast where the weather was dryer and the roads were straighter.

I plotted a course for the coast using my trusty GPS and off I went - dreaming of sunny days and flat strait roads. Twenty minutes later I found myself on a muddy mountain road, in some very dense fog, as I worked my way across the Andes one more time. I rode late into a cold, wet night before finally stopping at a hotel in tiny town in the mountains. The next morning I thought the worst was thru but found myself still riding in fog as I went thru a construction zone. Suddenly the road was gone, replaced by many large dirt mounds. As I looked around, I saw a small motorbike disappear into the fog, as he went around a large mound of dirt and down a narrow trail. Hmmm… what to do? Of course, I went down the rabbit hole…

Fortunately, the trail was heavily used despite its initially diminutive size. However, it was mostly used by foot traffic. But, after several questionable moments I made my way down the mountain side to the pavement below. Then, it was on to Peru.

My first impressions of Peru - beautiful beaches, vast deserts, tropical farmlands, and the land of the mototaxi. These are small motorized utility tricycles used for a variety of purposes but mainly as taxi’s.
Anyway, I made my way to Lima, the capital of Peru, and discovered one of the harshest environments for motorcycling. Generally speaking, drivers in Peru are horrendous! They are inconsiderate, aggressive, foolish, arrogant and dangerous. And, the elite of this noxious bunch can be found in Lima. Now that doesn’t mean they aren’t nice people - they’re great people. But something happens to them when they get into a vehicle. So, I stayed just long enough to use an ATM. Then it was off the Cuzco (a historic city in the mountains) and Machu Picchu (the famous ruins of an Inca city high in the mountains.) Yup… back to the mountains!

I ran into Brian, Patrick and Damon again… this time on the street in Cuzco. Hey… you look familiar! So, I ended up going with them on a 3-day excursion to Machu Picchu that included a full days ride with a substantial amount of dirt, a 1 hour taxi ride, a 3 hour hike, and a 30 minute bus ride…. each way! Was it worth the trouble? Yes. It was amazing!
































































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Old 01-15-2011, 06:47 PM   #14
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The Dakar

Ok… the Dakar started and ended in Buenos Aires. But, it ran up to the northern tip of Chile where we planned to catch a glimpse of the race. This was also the halfway point and the racers got a 1 day rest in the Chilean town of Arica. They race for a specific distance each day and setup a bivouac site each night where the racers eat, sleep, and get their vehicles serviced. So, we rode into Arica Chile and found the bivouac site a day before the racers arrived. And, we pitched our tents just down the road from the racer’s bivouac area next to where a KTM riders club had setup camp.

Catching a glimpse of the actual racing is more work than one might think. In this case we had to ride around 200 kilometers into the desert to see the end of the “Special” - the actual racing section. And, there were no gas stations along the route so getting back became a problem as my bike’s range is around 350 kilometers and the round trip was 400.

So, first we had to find someone who knew where the Special section ended that day - no small task since the course details are kept secret. But, we asked around and found a group of BMW riders that knew the scoop and followed them.

The trip thru town was unreal! Spectators on every corner cheering. We pulled in to a gas station to fuel up and were mobbed by folks wanting to take pictures with us and get our autographs. Quite a spectacle! But, it was all good fun and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. I didnt get any pics of this mass mania but I did get a few of folks that wandered over to our campsite to get photos.

Anyway, We followed the BMW riders for around 150 kilometers before they decided to stop as they were concerned about having enough fuel for the return trip. But, being the bull headed adventure riders we are, we forged on passed the point of no return. And, after stopping several times to reassess our decision to push on... and to agree to push on,again! (just to the crest of the next hill), we finally arrived at the Special section where we could view some actual racing.

We watched the racers come thru for several hours. Then we decided to start our journey back early as we would have to use every gas saving technique we knew to make it back to town, including riding much slower than normal and coasting down hills with the motor off. But, before leaving the racing area, I managed to get 2 liters of gas from a fuel truck that was there for the racers. Then, we rode about 70 kilometers and stopped at a small town to have a snack. While we were there many racers came thru on their way to the bivouac site. One rider (Jose from Spain - #158 BTW, he has a thread here in the racing forum) pulled over near us and got off his bike to adjust his gear and warm up before riding the rest of the way to the bivouac site. He asked if we wanted to join him for a cup of coffee and of course we accepted. We chatted with him for nearly a half hour - he was not concerned about making it back as he was a veteran at the Dakar and he knew he had 5 hours to make it to the bivouac site - plus, the next day was the mid-race, rest day.

Jose had crashed earlier in the day and showed us pictures he had taken immediately afterward - yep, he had a camera! He was as much a spectator as he was a racer! For us, having coffee and chatting with on of the racers, right after he completed the day's stage, was as good as it gets! Jose is a really nice guy too. He answered our questions about the race and even invited us to ride along with him back to town as he had a full tank of gas that he would be happy to share with us if needed. Crazy stuff... the guy in the race offers to help the Spectators in need?

There were so many riders there as spectators from all over the world. I met a Japanese rider, Shigeru Sato, who was near the end of a round-the-world trip, on a bike just like mine. Then, there’s a Russian, Vadim and his friend, who we keep crossing paths with on our journey south. And the 2 French guys we met on the way back from the Special (also riding bikes just like mine) that somehow managed to get inside the racers bivouac compound - an area secured by local police and military personnel. They must know somebody : )

Anyway, we camped out during the rest-day and had our photo’s taken many times with and by the curious residence from the town of Arica. This strange race had come to their small town making it the center of international attention, for a moment in time. It was really quite an experience for everyone.


































































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Old 01-15-2011, 07:10 PM   #15
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Wow! You've packed a lot into one page!
Some killer stuff there, love the mountain scenery and the Dakar pics of course
Checking out the blog links now...
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