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Old 07-16-2012, 12:02 AM   #556
MoreCheese
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AceRph View Post
Wow. Great post!
+1

Thanks to your post on The Salar de Uyuni I have to put the salt flats on my list of places I would love to see someday.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:07 AM   #557
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Originally Posted by mightymatt43 View Post
Table of Contents:

2008 - Texas to the Arctic Circle by Ural
2011 - East Coast of the USA
2012 - Chile and Argentina



About 6 months ago, my wife's brother passed away. He was 31 and her best friend. In an instant, our world in Texas shattered around us.

One her favorite pictures of the two of them:

Move forward to 5 months ago, with the wounds of his death still fresh, my wife (Kristen) came to me with a few life changing words. "It's time for us to go", she said. We talked at length about our future for the next couple of days and both realized that her brother's death had immediately taught us that we were meant to EXPERIENCE life, not just watch it pass by. More importantly to Kristen, she now felt as if she needed to live for her and her brother. And so it was decided. A change was imminent.

*

We are not completely new to motorcycle travel. In 2008 we made our way up the Dempster Highway in Canada to the Arctic Circle and the end of the road in Inuvik by Ural and sidecar. We spent 2 months on the road and realized that for us, it was the best way to travel and one of the best memories we have as a married couple.


So when it came time for us to really decide what we wanted to do, traveling by motorcycle kept coming to the forefront of the conversation. And suddenly, before I even really knew what I was doing, I was writing a check for a 2011 BMW GS1200 Adventure.


Shortly after that, I began talking with Claude Stanley from CStanley Motorsports about having him build us a custom sidecar. It turns out that he was the perfect guy for what we needed and before long, Claude and his team were building an outfit that was designed to fit our particular needs.

*

At the end of July, Kristen and I rode our new bike up to Claude in Pennsylvania. It was a blast (even though the heat was seriously oppressive) and I have to admit that I was a little sad when we finally dropped the bike off at his shop to have the real work begin.



Kristen was happy because she was tired of seeing the back of my head and when I'm honest with myself, I really am like a grapefruit on a toothpick. A sidecar is much better suited for photography...


*

We then headed back home to San Antonio, TX and moved forward with what we had talked about 2 months earlier. We were going to sell it all. The house. The cars. Everything that had held us down in the past was going to go. The process was painful and long, but we eventually had a massive estate sale, moved the rest into storage and put our house on the market. We had worked extremely hard in the past couple of years and had saved enough, but with the sale of our belongings, we realized that world travel was actually possible.


We had to say goodbye to our dog, Bacon, who is staying with Kristen's parents while we're away. I had no idea how hard it would be to leave him but he's happy at my inlaws...

...he has his buddy Bella to hang out with.


Eventually, we had to say goodbye to our parents, my sisters and our nephew and niece, who desperately wanted to come with us:


On October 3, 2011 we left San Antonio for an indefinite period of time to retrieve our sidecar rig from Claude and then move as please about the world. We have several plans written in stone but for the most part, we'll be traveling free while always having the option of staying in a location that we stumble upon for an extended period of time or heading back to Texas if we feel like it.

*

To give you a taste for what we have in mind, before we left we knew we wanted to see the NorthEast in time for the fall foliage seeing as I had never been to that area of the country and we had the opportunity to do some photography work on the side. We also knew that we wanted to make our way the Florida Keys and possibly the Bahamas to do some more photography work (underwater). We also knew that we really wanted to travel in South America and at some point, we needed to get to the island of Tonga in an attempt to swim with and photograph humpback whales. Yes, I realize that sounds random but for what we're doing, planning on the go is perfect.

*

We're already a month into our trip, so we'll have to play a little catch up:

Our trip to Claude's shop was a success in that our new sidecar rig is unbelievably perfect for what we wanted. The quality is fantastic, the attention to detail is uncanny and it is functioning really well.

*

Drum roll:


*



*




*




*

Back at the shop, I helped (watched) Claude and his team do some last minute wiring and fabricating.



*




*

And after taking up several days of Claude's time, we were off in our new rig! Thank you CSM - you guys were great and extremely hospitable.

...more to come.
YOUR PICTURES ARE SOOOO AWESOME!
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:53 AM   #558
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Just found your TR, fantastic! As many have already said, great photos and narrative. Best of luck, subscribed

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Old 07-17-2012, 08:34 AM   #559
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AceRph View Post
Wow. Great post!
Quote:
Originally Posted by RokLobster View Post
You guys are both inspirational and extraordinary people and, not to mention, not bad photographers. What incredible shots!!

Thank you for taking us along.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Random View Post
Just stumbled across your RR. Wow! In!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daytonacharlie View Post
Just found your TR, fantastic! As many have already said, great photos and narrative. Best of luck, subscribed

dc
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClifNotes View Post
YOUR PICTURES ARE SOOOO AWESOME!
Thanks guys! It really makes taking the time to put together the report a lot more fun with all the encouragement. Seriously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horton View Post
Jep! Famous. . .

And, Yes, I expected warm wether. In the most of europe it is wet. Really wet. . .

I take one extra tyres (without the wheel) for front and sidecar. And the CarCrossTyre is mounted on a wheel. And fixed to the trunk. . .
I love the look of that rig, man! I showed Kristen and we were laughing about how much attention you're going to attract down here. The sidecar alone is something - but with that paint scheme, you're going to be famous!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BjoernTheH View Post
got stuck on that RR and read it through to cach up with you - Amazing Trip so far - love it!!
I came to Chile to learn Spanish and now I am living here since 11 years - love riding here, although in the last 14 month I had two bad accidents with streetdogs - that made me look for sidecar rigs on ADV and that's how I found you.
Cheers from Southern Chile
B.
I can see how the dogs could cause accidents. Nearly every day we have at least one act as if it's going to jump in the sidecar with Kristen. She's going to get a walking stick or something to protect herself as it seems to have been getting worse now that we're in Peru. Hopefully you made it through the accidents okay... sidecar-ing is quite a bit different than 2 wheels but we love it, obviously. If you ever have any questions about it, feel free to PM me and I'd love to help you if I can. Good to hear from you!
...oh, and Chile is amazing, by the way. I'm jealous...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadracer_Al View Post
Don't forget to wash the bike thoroughly with lots and lots of fresh water -- get every bit of salt off it. It can cause a whole bunch of headaches later -- many of them electrical. Salt & copper don't play nice.

What a spectacular place, and lovely images.

Big thumbs up to Kristen for taking the initiative to ride. I can't imagine a safer place to practice!
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsgnu View Post
1++++ on washing the salt off. As someone who lives in New England where they salt the roads every winter to melt the ice and snow, wash it all off before corrosion turns your bike in to a pile of rust ! The pictures are fantastic of the salt flats and it looks like such a cool place to ride but,,,, I cringe to think of all that salt on the bike !

Be safe and ride on !!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horton View Post
As a german, the goverment loves the salt in winter!, I have to say the guys are right with the salt. Salt and water is the worst!

If possible, clean it first only with air. And then clean it properly. Thanks god, you lose the sidcarwheelfender So no problem to reach the hidden area there. . .

Yeah, really. Take a close look to the complete combination. That'smwhat I have to do every year after the winterseason!

But, your photos. . . Absolut great!
Yeah, that stuff is really corrosive. I could tell just over night. We wiped it down after but I probably still need to wash a bit more off with a hose or something. Thanks for the advice. I don't know if Kristen is hooked, but she definitely had fun. I think she's a bit spoiled by her first real ride being on the salt flats, though...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frey Bentos View Post
Those last few pictures were even better than usual. Looks to be a fantastic place. I don't think though that no matter how cold it was, I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to have a bit of a run about in the nip, as it were....
All I can say is this: Shrinkage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSF1200S View Post
Well, after lurking for a while, reading this entire ride report has prompted me to join the forums. I have enjoyed it immensely and am now trying to decide whether I should do Alaska or South America next year (I was formerly set on Alaska).

Not only have I enjoyed your manner of explaining the things you experience in your trip, but as a photographer myself (amateur), I have greatly enjoyed looking at the different approaches to composition, etc . Which brings me to a few questions:

1) What focal lengths do you find most useful for travel? I know everyone is different here, and I know it varies depending on what youre shooting for (wide angle to create depth and bring the foreground out, etc). I ask because my area is densely covered with trees and as such I typically need shorter focal lengths to HAVE a picture. You have been to both Alaska and to South America, so perhaps you might fill me in as to your preference. Many of the shots you have taken seem to be similar to mine in terms of framing, so similar focal lengths might be useful.

2) What filters have proved most useful? I have noticed a change in sky coloration from top to bottom in a few pics, which leads me to think you use GND's every so often, or it could be a wide angle with a polarizer (as most polarizers cant cover the whole shot in wide angle without a massive slide on filter rig). I could also be wrong entirely

3) Other than simply getting out there, what might you suggest in terms of honing composition? I already utilize the rule of thirds and try to have lines enter on a corner, etc, but perhaps you know of some good ideas to hone this skill before my big trip?

Im on the Nikon side of the war, so dont hate

Again, I have really enjoyed the report you have put together- it ranks up there with my favorites on this site. You both seem to be good people having a great time, and I think thats part of why you have had such luck meeting so many good people; typically, the good people gravitate to areas which have people who are good. Look forward to reading more :)
Thank you, thank you. I'm honored that you came out of lurker-land!

1. We have used a variety, but we eventually came upon our bread and butter and have stuck with that for awhile. We're currently using a 16mm-35mm 2.8 (nice to have the ability to shoot uber-wide), a 85mm 1.2 (this is the magic lens, not versatile but when it works, it is spectacular), and a 70mm-200mm 2.8 (don't use it often, but it's nice to have). We used to carry a 24-70 which is a great utility lens.

2. Yeah, we do have a polarizing filter and that's why there is some variation in sky color sometimes. We just got one for this leg of the trip. To be honest, we're still trying to figure the frickin thing out. It's kind of frustrating to be honest, I'm not sure that I'm a fan so far. I think used correctly it's great, but for now it's kind of a hindrance. We do use some blank filters for protection on all our lenses - super important considering the amount of dust, sand and dirt...

3. The rule of thirds is great, Kristen is a major stickler on making sure landscape lines are perfectly horizontal, but other than that, just play around! You'll find what works for you just by shooting and shooting and shooting some more. The best thing you can do is become familiar with your lens arsenal before you get to that opportunity for an amazing shot. Nothing worse than missing something spectacular because you're fiddling with your camera (trust me, I know from experience).

Thanks so much for the encouragement! Can't wait to hear about your own trip...

...oh, and I can't hate on Nikon. Great brand. But... they don't have anything to rival my 85mm 1.2, which I think is the best piece of glass I've ever touched. Just sayin .


Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Dub View Post
Whoa, not to thread jack, but Horton, where have you got a link about your rig?? That thing is cool!
Amazing, right??


Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreCheese View Post
+1

Thanks to your post on The Salar de Uyuni I have to put the salt flats on my list of places I would love to see someday.
It is definitely a must see. Riding across it will stay with me for a lifetime...
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:52 AM   #560
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Bolivia Video

South American 2012 - Bolivia from Matthew Minor on Vimeo.

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Old 07-17-2012, 08:59 AM   #561
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Salty Subject

Matt I see many are adding their Salty Advice so I thought I would chime in.

I live in Calif. but believe it or not, we have SALT! Between AceRph and I, we are allowed to play in the ocean and on the sand with an assortment of vehicles. The place is called Pismo Beach. Famous for clams and soup. We can go and play by riding into the waters edge and thru the salty dunes, trashing and having "UBER FUN" with our toys. But at the end of every trip we give the bikes a serious hosing and then would spray the crap outta them with WD-40. My experience was so good I kept gallons of the stuff on hand for clean ups. The stuff disperses the water and works fantastic coating the parts. Everyone has there own approach to salt issues, just thought I would share mine.

ooweel

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Old 07-17-2012, 03:54 PM   #562
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Finally caught back up again! The photos are first rate and the trip is inspiring. What a gift you two are giving yourselves. Safe travels!
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:01 PM   #563
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Great video guys. The ride report isn't so bad either....

Safe travels to you both. We just got back from a month on the road and watching this makes me want to load up again and head out.

Be well,

-Terry, Sandy, & Jack




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Old 07-17-2012, 08:29 PM   #564
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Matt and Kristen,
My wife and I sat and watched your video, we were just mesmerized by it. The salt flats are incredible. I doubt we will ever make it to those salt flats. Bit we can enjoy them through you two. We leave on our own little adventure in 20 days. We can't wait to make the first mile. Olivia will be out with me for 10 days up to Seatlle, and then the rest solo for me. First big bike trip for us as a couple. Keep sending those pictures and videos, we love them.
Jack and Olivia
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:30 PM   #565
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymatt43 View Post
2. Yeah, we do have a polarizing filter and that's why there is some variation in sky color sometimes. We just got one for this leg of the trip. To be honest, we're still trying to figure the frickin thing out. It's kind of frustrating to be honest, I'm not sure that I'm a fan so far. I think used correctly it's great, but for now it's kind of a hindrance. We do use some blank filters for protection on all our lenses - super important considering the amount of dust, sand and dirt...
Use it to increase contrast or reduce reflections. To do that, you have to look at the thing you're trying to fix, i.e. look at the color of the sky, or look at the water/window/mirror that you're trying to eliminate unwanted reflections from. Then turn the polarizing filter until you get the results you want. The effect can be subtle, especially on reflections.

Whenever you turn the camera for a vertical shot, remember to grip the polarizer ring. Hold it stationary when you turn the camera, or the polarizing effect goes away. Don't inadvertently unscrew the polarizer from the lens and drop it... don't ask how I know that.

Also, they consume between about half stop of light - the are mildly useful as a neutral density filters. What brand did you get?

I use the heck out of my 24-70! Nice glass.

Sweet video, too. Nice to have voices to hear in my head when I read your words.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:55 PM   #566
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i said this before - but ur phtoos are so, so cool.

after this is over, will you make a book? i would buy it. ur photos are so cool. i don't know how you have time to take such great photos and ride at the same time!
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #567
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Sweet vid! Who is the band/music?
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:35 PM   #568
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Lovely video. Makes going to work on a rainy wednesday morning that little bit harder...
As for shrinkage, well when you start out with nothing and end up with nothing, what have you lost? Nothing.
:-)
Keep safe.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:46 AM   #569
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Exceptional images of the Salar. Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:16 AM   #570
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Amazing vid, great report. You guys are clearly having the time of your lives and it makes it a total hoot to read.

We have got to get you on the show some time.
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