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Old 01-05-2011, 07:26 AM   #31
Factory Rambler
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Belgium, wrong side of the river
Oddometer: 1,058
Job well done mate, you look like it took your last spark of energy.
Honestly, have you ever heard of somebody looking back on his life thinking: "Oh, I should have travelled less and mowed the lawn more often"? (Pumpy)

want to save on Smugmug? use this code (VoUO8M1ukmnMY)

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Old 01-05-2011, 07:41 AM   #32
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Tampa
Oddometer: 11,251
Awesome journey Can't wait to read all the details.

I lived in Oxford for a few months, wonderful city
'09 Buell XB12XT, TL1000S, H1F, M620, CR250R, KX100, XR650R, Cota 315R

Summer 2009 Ride Report
Summer 2008 RR.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:17 AM   #33
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Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Oxford, UK
Oddometer: 5,226
Originally Posted by Blackbert View Post
Job well done mate, you look like it took your last spark of energy.
It did, spent in excess of 150 hours on the DRZ, making the racks, fuel can and Tooltube mounts etc took 35 hours alone.

I understand we will have the honour () of a visit from a Cloggie in the near future? Good to hear that you're on the mend and able to ride the bike over. Shame you have to return so early, there's a rideout to Salisbury Plain on Sunday 16th.......

Originally Posted by BikePilot View Post
Awesome journey Can't wait to read all the details.

I lived in Oxford for a few months, wonderful city
There are worse places to live....
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:00 PM   #34
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Worcestershire UK
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Great stuff been looking forwards to this report

Welcome back Ela will have to catch up on the trail soon

Great work/report on the bike Steve

Catch you soon

Louis & Nicky
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:44 PM   #35
One Less Harley
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Bowling Green, Ky
Oddometer: 4,816
I saw your link on upgrades to your DRZ elsewhere, great idea on the reinforcing on the side luggage. I used the idea for the wolfman mounts. I'm curious how well yours held up as it looks like the top mounts are rather far out and might be a weak point, due to leverage.

Any problems w/ them.

If anyone is interested Here's my touring upgrades to the DRZ.

2004 BMW R1150RS
1984 BMW R80G/S
(wrenching index)
2003 Suzuki DRZ 400S (TAT Prep)
One More DRZ does the TAT (Ride Report)

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Old 01-05-2011, 08:20 PM   #36
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
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Great Ride Report!
Central and South America (09/07-05/08)!
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:10 AM   #37
Life is beautiful !!!
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Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Naperville,IL
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Stunning !!! You go GIRL !!!
Wherever you go , go with all your heart ... Confucius
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:01 AM   #38
Pumpy OP
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
Oddometer: 1,119
Thank you all for your kind words and the encouraging feedback! Makes all the time and effort worth while.

Originally Posted by One Less Harley View Post
... great idea on the reinforcing on the side luggage... I'm curious how well yours held up as it looks like the top mounts are rather far out and might be a weak point, due to leverage.

Any problems w/ them?
No problems apart from having to straighten the fuel canister holder slightly after an involuntary dismount at speed...

The key is not to overload your panniers.
. - Four months through South America on a DRZ - Ride Report: One day... you have to live your dream
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:08 PM   #39
Sarah Teach
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Wirral
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Sigh.... soooooooo proud of my fearless dirty sister!
Enjoying these instalments very much keep 'em coming!
(Certified) Serow Sister!
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:00 AM   #40
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Oxford, UK
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The journey begins…

The weeks before departure were quite emotional and that’s not only because I was incredibly excited about the journey.

First there was my unfortunate off on ‘Dark Lane’ (how appropriate…) on the May bank holiday. I can still hear Possu suggesting just a few days earlier that I should take it easy in the run-up to August and maybe refrain from trail riding in the meantime. I also remember getting quite puffed-up about this patronising remark and replying that “I won’t put my life on hold just for this trip!” Famous last words…

Three screws had to be inserted into my navicular bone… My sister came over from Germany to provide moral support.

Steve was not particularly happy about this set-back which meant that he had to look after a handicapped person and do the majority of the house work and the bike preparation himself. He had intended to train me as much as possible on maintenance of the bike - but have you ever tried to change tyres with only one available limb?

Still on crutches I went to the Horizons Unlimited Meeting in June. I am still indebted to Dr JM who abstained from a nice bike ride up to Lumb Farm, gave me a lift in her car instead and even pitched my tent for me – thus enabling me to gather the last tips and tricks for solo travel in foreign continents and survival in the wilderness.

In Ripley I also stocked up on equipment and made the final decision who I would entrust with shipping my bike to the other side of the world.

At the end of July the plaster came off and I was officially discharged. I was still hobbling about with a Samson boot – but down to one crutch and doing loads of physio – and could finally focus on the important things in life.

I had a wonderful send-off on 6th August at The Chequers with friends coming from all over the country – from as far as Benson (400 yards - Strobingred) to the Wirral (180 miles - Timpo).

During the remaining ten days before I set off to Buenos Aires, friends and relatives kept calling, sending lovely messages, commenting on my blog and visiting me in Oxford - it was very humbling and I am very lucky to have such wonderful people in my life. They probably all thought they would never see me again…

Bert and his kids drove up all the way from Belgium

Emma came from Herefordshire

... and Forry from (back then) North Wales

One day Chris JK called me and just asked if I had thought about getting a SPOT messenger ( that would let my friends and family know that I was ok and still moving.

Knowing that Tiffany uses such a device for keeping in touch during her travels, I had briefly contemplated the acquisition but then dropped the idea when I saw the price. Well, Chris insisted on giving me one as a present and I, my family and friends will be forever grateful for his generosity – we all could sleep better in the months that followed.

Chris and his wife Mary

On 10th August we delivered the bike to James Cargo to be crated and shipped to Argentina.

Giles and Steve

Raring to take off

Then I spent a few days with Steve's side of the family in Kent for good wishes and big hugs. I promised that I wouldn't be doing anything (too) silly...

The last week was pretty hectic with still a thousand things to do. Dr JM helped me sorting out my medical supplies but didn’t want to be photographed - so it’s just Berin looking nice for the camera here although he didn’t do anything, really…

And then on 17th August I finally followed the DRZ to Buenos Aires!

Sharing the last cake with Possu at Gatwick...

Leaving the British summer behind - ¡hasta luego, Inglaterra!

There was a three-hour stop-over at Madrid where I was lucky enough to snatch the last sandwich before the Bistro closed. The Duty-free shops were open the whole night though – priorities, priorities...

Although I had booked a window-seat four months in advance, they gave me a seat right in the middle at the rear of the aircraft on the day - no Madrid by night, no brightly lit Canary Islands, no Amazonian rainforest nor the Iguazú Falls from the air, boohoo! But, crowded as that flight was, I should probably count myself lucky that they took me to South America at all. A brief glimpse out of the crew compartment showed that I hadn't missed a lot anyway:

South America from the air...

Going south, very, very south

After 13 hours we finally touched ground at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires. The sky looked similar to the English one but it was a lot warmer! Expecting the equivalent of February in the northern hemisphere in Argentina, I was accordingly dressed and too hot already whilst queuing for immigration. However, it didn't cross my mind for a second to complain...

Welcome to Buenos Aires...

The journey with the excellent Manuel Tienda León Shuttle Bus and the subsequent transfer to the hotel (5 Argentinean Pesos extra - less than a pound!), gave me a great introduction to the local traffic conditions - even the cars are "filtering" here and "lane-splitting" means that up to five cars/trucks/buses/motorcycles share three lanes between them. I was already looking forward to joining this chaos on my own bike the next day…

An interesting mixture of architecture can be seen next to the motorway into the city centre.

I could only hope that the slip roads were sign-posted correctly…

Eventually arriving at my hotel in San Telmo, I was looking forward to meeting my friend John “The Bede” Tremayne from the UK who is currently residing in Buenos Aires.

Let the sight-seeing begin...
. - Four months through South America on a DRZ - Ride Report: One day... you have to live your dream
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:49 PM   #41
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: near Munich, Germany
Oddometer: 214
Hi Ela,
wow - fantastic
great ride.

(P.S.: South america is still on my "dream-list")
2006 KTM 950 Adventure S ('05)
1992 Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin - 200 000 km a real good friend
1990 Honda Dominator - gone
1985 Kawa GPX 750 R - gone
1981 Kawa Z 550 - crashed and gone
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:12 AM   #42
Freelance Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2005
Location: England
Oddometer: 244
Pumpy, did you take any bike security (locks etc) with you or did you feel it was too much to add?

...& did you require fuel from the canister at any time? I would've thought the large tank alone would be enough for a road trip.

Keep it coming.
Funkier than James Brown's pants.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:08 AM   #43
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Cologne
Oddometer: 413
Thanks for the great ride-report-pictures and the info about the
technical modifications.

Regards Mike
Me on Facebook.
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Old 01-10-2011, 03:55 PM   #44
Pumpy OP
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Location: Oxford, UK
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The sights and delights of Buenos Aires

For all of you who know John 'The Bede' it won't come as a surprise that he is also a fabulous tour guide who is more than happy to share his wealth of local knowledge.

First we went into the city centre to sort out the insurance for my DRZ. John had recommended ATM (Asociación Mutual para Conductores y Asistencia Total de Motovehiculos – Base Sarmiento 930 2º ”A”, Buenos Aires, Tel/Fax: 0810-3456-286, who provided the legally required third party cover for four months, for all the countries I was going to apart from Peru, all the necessary documentation within 24 hours, a smart little plastic card for my wallet and all that for 200 ARS (Argentina Pesos), roughly £32, which I thought was a great deal, especially as it would be saving me the hassle of organising insurance every time I crossed a border. ATM also offers protection against fire, theft and total loss through accident but that would be more expensive, obviously.

With the “To do” list completed, we went to tick the “Must See” boxes of Buenos Aires.

Plaza de Mayo – the heart of the city

At the eastern end of the square sits La Casa Rosada (The Pink House), the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina and the offices of the president, Cristina Fernandéz de Kirchner.

And here’s John doing his best “Evita” impression in front of the very balcony from which the former First Lady Eva Perón once sang Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest hits – “Don’t laugh at me, Argentina…”

It had nothing to do with John's singing but due to the many protests and demonstrations in the Capital Federal, police and water cannons are a common sight on the Plaza de Mayo.

After a long “stroll” through the inner city John finally showed mercy, gave my still hurting foot a break and also took care of removing the vacuum in my stomach.

Photo courtesy of The Bede, as it was taken with his camera

The rest of the day was spent on the bare necessities – I caught up on desperately needed sleep for a few hours and then met John again to savour the culinary delights of the city.

A traditional Picada Argentina pleases everyone's taste…


The following morning we already met at eight o'clock to free my bike from Customs at the airport. Taking the Subte (Subterráneo – the tube) was an experience in itself: now I have an idea how sardines feel in their can...

The train spit us out at the upper end of the Calle Florida where the sun shines brighter on the rich and beautiful.

At Ezeiza International Airport we had quite a few procedures to follow before I was allowed to see my baby again: Applying for a visitor pass, finding the office of the airline to pay the airway bill, being let into the Customs area, starting the transaction in office 2, paying several fees in office 1, proceeding to office 3, back to office 2, etc, etc. John has actually posted an excellent write-up of the process on which I would highly recommend to read if you ever wanted to ship your bike to South America – it is now updated with the 2010 figures.

The process may sound very tedious but when it transpired that we both could speak Spanish, the officials were instantly warming up, showed an interest in my trip and treated us with great friendliness. It just takes time going through all the steps, especially when there is a lunch break in between.

While waiting outside the cargo area, I tried to send my first SPOT message to the loved ones at home – it didn’t work but you can see that I made the effort...

Photo courtesy of The Bede

Finally we were allowed to enter the sacred customs grounds – it was a bit like Christmas:

Photo courtesy of The Bede

The following pictures are all shamelessly nicked from John, as I was too busy packing and getting the bike ready.

Due to my injury, I hadn’t actually test ridden the bike with all the gear and luggage on. That's why my seating position may seem a bit awkward - which it was, actually…

The last stamp

And then it was off into the chaotic traffic of Buenos Aires – yippee!

I got back to the hotel in one piece but on the way from the airport I had noticed that the bike was leaking fuel; probably down to the new fuel filter we had fitted and which was not quite the right size. So it was already time for the first roadside repair.

Fortunately, Possu had given me some slightly bigger filters at the last minute and a short while later I had fixed the leak - with my bare hands!

Now there is a happy bunny!

That evening John introduced me to two of his best friends who run a pub which was closed by the magistrate back then for some updating and refurbishing. We had a great time at their etablissement but for obvious reasons I can't provide the photographic evidence...

Thank you for all your help, John! Getting everything sorted on my own would have been a lot more complicated. I still owe him a few drinks - but he didn't let me pay...

The next day would take me to Sandra and Javier of Dakar Motos fame. Little did I know that the road to the district of Vicente López was a rather rocky one...

. - Four months through South America on a DRZ - Ride Report: One day... you have to live your dream
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:26 PM   #45
Demons In My Helmet
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Land of Sun, Sand and Thorns
Oddometer: 816
Pumpy, just got sucked into your extraordinary trip - can't wait for more!
- Mark

The road to enlightenment is not paved.

AZ_ADV_RIDER screwed with this post 01-10-2011 at 04:41 PM
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