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Old 01-20-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
johnsonal OP
avenger of all evil
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: here today, gone tomorrow
Oddometer: 104
going south, see you in five months

Ok everyone, my name is alex and my good buddy andrew and I are headin to south america. we have a couple of DRZ 400s that we have torn apart and put back together with a ton of crap strapped to them. its day five now so you all have some catching up to do. if you have any questions about the bikes go to or check out andys thread venturing south on drzs.

The weeks leading up to the beginning of the trip:
So I’ve quit my job and packed all of my things into boxes. I have paid my rent for the next six months but am not entirely sure weather I have a house to come home to when I get back. Luckily I have such great friends that if I don’t have a place I know I will at least have a couch to sleep on. I borrowed a friends truck, thanks Ryan, and loaded my bike, along with three boxes of add ons and extras, to take to Andrews shop in Corvallis. We basically blasted through installing all the extra components in about a day and a half and had both bikes ready to go. Andrew had one week left before he would be done with work so I did the rounds visiting friends and family for a few days. On my way up to Portland to a friends house I crossed paths with my roommate in Ashland Kevin and we decided to go out to silver creek falls for a day hike with my little sister. Then on to Portland.

My buddy forest and his girlfriend put me up on their couch for a few days while I was in Portland. It also happened to be his moms, who we used to terrorize as kids, birthday.

Forest and his lovely mother

My other friend Ryan lives just down the way so one afternoon I drove over to meet up and see if he was home. He was on his way to work but Brady was home so we decided to go check out OMSI in Portland. OMSI is a big awesome science museum right on the waterfront. They have an Imax theatre, a bunch of hands on science exibits and an old de-commisioned submarine.

Brady in the captians chair.

After OMSI we went down to visit Ryan at work. Ryan works at an awesome outdoor store in east Portland called Next Adventure so I figured I could probably use to do some shopping for the trip at the same time. This place is pretty awesome. There are three floors of anything an outdoor enthusiast can think of. Ryan hooked me up with his camelback steri-clean water bottle and a bunch of Next Adventure swag. One more night in Portland then I headed back to Albany to meet back up with Andrew. After a short weekend of wrapping up all the loose ends it was off to Ashland with two fully loaded DRZs in the back of a Toyota. After a day of partying in Ashland and saying goodbye to all my friends it was time to meet up with the guys who were giving us a ride to san Francisco.

Day one: 1-16-13
We woke up early to meet these guys in the albertsons parking lot with our bikes. We responded to a craigslist ride share ad of this guys who had an empty 24 foot trailer he was pulling with a brand new diesel excursion. This was a pretty sweet set up he had with sattelite TV and all the luxuries. Except that there were only two tie down points inside the trailor. After some carefull decision making we came up with the best possible way to tie down two bikes, fully loaded, with only the two points. Then we hoped in the truck and off we went. Well appearently the combination of poor securing and poor driving got the best of the motorcycles. Half way to san francisco at a rest stop we opened the trailer to find Andrews motorcycle laying over with mine resting nicely on top. This wouldn’t be a huge issue itself as nothing had broken or bent…. The problem was the gasoline that poured out, filtering through his riding gear like a coffee filter before pooling in his boot. if you would like to see that photo check out andrews page.

After resecuring the motorcycles it was back in the truck and back on the road. Since we were heading to my friend chris’s parents house in walnut creek we asked to be droped off in Fairfield, as it was the closest point on the route. Then a short thirty mile ride and our first official ride of the trip. We got there safe, had some diner, and went to bed early.

Day two: 1-17-13
I had a few errands to run early in the morning and got back to chris’s parents house around 11am to find andrew ready to hit the road. We rode out through San Jose and cut over to the coast. The california coastal highway is an amazing place to ride! The road twists and turns along steep clifs, pounding surf, and breathtaking veiws. After passing a store we decided to pull off for some lunch. Seing as it was a long parking lot and just a little curb was standing in the way we decided we could hop right over the curb to a delisious sandwich. Andy didn’t quite calculate the angle of attack and weight of his gear and slip, out went the bald tire on the slick painted curb.

Our first, and hopefully last, accident at a grand speed of two mph. We laughed that one off on the side of the road and went in for sandwiches. Durring lunch we decided camping around the big sur area sounded good for the day and set out into the twisties. We arrived at our campsite just before dark with enough light to get camp set up and grab some beers from the store down the street.

Andy decided he needed to do something about the gasoline soaked boot that was burning the skin off his feet. Solution?... tie a string to it and throw it into the river for the night.

It didn’t work his boot still smells like gasoline.
While Andrew did his laundry we had a few beers and it was time for diner. The only problem here is that the bottles we had our jetboil gas in didn’t fit with the jetboil. No problems were resourceful.

Our custom venturi stove
A few beers and off to bed

Day three:1-18-13
We woke up bright and early once again and set out south. After a few hours of riding the California coastline we stopped at pismo beach for a quick break. There we met a couple locals who told us about a campsite a little ways south called yalama beach and these world famous yalama burgers. We rode south for another hour or so to find our turn off. The road into yalama beach is 14 miles of 15 MPH turns. Got a little to excited on a few of them and had to realize I had an extra 100 pounds strapped to my bike. So I took it easy and enjoyed the ride through green hills. We got to camp, only 20 bucks, and met our neighbors, another group of local surfers. Apearently there was a big swell coming in so the sites were packed full. Drank a little whiskey got to bed early.

Day four: 1-19-13
It turns out the guys that told us about yalama beach were wind surfers. I have been excomunicated from the tent because of my soft yet manly bear of a snoring problem but the wind kept us both up all damn night.heres a short video of the beach we woke up on:

Our ride today was not as fun as previous days. After a short jaunt to santa monica the scenic roads turned to 100 miles of for lane freeways on our little DRZs fully loaded. We were pushing them pretty hard not to get run over by the LA drivers then suddenly stopped, full gear in 88 degree weather. We were on our way to east LA to meet up with our friend Robert who had a place for us to stay for the evening. We had decided pre trip that we wouldn’t be splitting lanes fully loaded. This went out the window quickly. Sitting in the blistering sun completely dead still we looked at each other, looked between the cars, “you wanna?”…. “yep” and off we went. Not to bad, pleanty of room. Robert went out, bought us a great dinner and BBQ’d it all up for us. Then he took us out to some bars in Fullerton and bought us a bunch of drinks. Thanks for showing us a good time!
More posts to come soon!
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:37 AM   #2
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That's quite the first post, welcome to ADV and good luck on your adventure!
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:58 AM   #3
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I'm in on this one.
Two young guys that like to drink, I see quite an adventure with some good stories coming.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:54 PM   #4
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Ottawa, Gatineau
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Watching yo guys, have fun. -25 here right now. Keep us dreaming!
"What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning." - Charlie Chaplin
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:56 PM   #5
johnsonal OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: here today, gone tomorrow
Oddometer: 104
Day five: 1-20-13
We woke up this morning around seven to Roberts father bringing in fresh hot coffee from a doughnut shop down the street. After collecting ourselves from the previous night out, we went to a local place for breakfast. Then Robert drove us all around east LA to random stores so we could wrap up a few loose ends. We stopped by REI to get a new MSR bottle for our camp stove. Someone told Andrew that the primus bottles would work but after our first attempt at use, it leaked white gas all over the picnic table. (this is why I had to make the beer can venturi stove) And everywhere we have stopped in the last few days were out of the MSR bottles. Then we went to cycle quest for a few other last minute goodies. I bought a new pair of warm weather riding pants, fully armored, that double as jeans. Then we headed back to Roberts house to change our chains and sprockets.

Robert helping us change the sprockets

All of us working on the bikes

This made me very happy because I had been lugging them around for a few hundred miles. Dropped like 20 pounds…sweet. Then I found a bunch of other shit to drop. “Don’t NEED this, Don’t NEED that.” Much better! We then went out for a last late lunch and said our goodbyes to Robert, who once again bought our lunch! We owe Robert BIG! Thanks again buddy. Then back onto the LA freeway. This is where we broke our second rule, no riding after dark. We aren’t doing to good with these rules. We haven’t even left the states and have broken our main two. No going to jail in mexico is the third rule so lets hope right… it was a windy, dark, and nervous ride 80 miles down to San Diego where we are staying at Andrews aunts house. Gotta wake up early tomorrow for that border crossing and our first day in MEXICO!

Day six: 1-21-13
Got on the road today early. Passed the border with no problems… until we got fifty miles down the road and realized that we hadn’t got our passport stamps, no insurance, and no temporary vehicle import permit. By the time we got as far as Ensenada we realized we had fucked up. Somehow we managed to turn down the right road right off to the customs office where they stamped our passports in a few short hours… then off to find insurance. This was not so easy. Everyone in Ensenada knew exactly where to get insurance. “Two blocks this way and down one.” “Three blocks that way and down four.” One lady told me to go to the 7-11 and assured me they had insurance. We finally got a room at a hotel and just manned up and bought it online. Kind of a little blow to our egos but whatever. Now I’m pretty sure the motel we are at doubles as a whore house. They have signs for massages and it seems nobody stays here for more than an hour. So we got a bottle of jack daniels, a couple tacos pescados, and a few beers from a market that was open, but the gates shut…? We figured it would be better if we pulled our bikes into the room when no one was looking.

So a short ride today but off to San Felipe tomorrow and then some good off road desert riding. I promise some good pics and maybe a video or two.

80 cent tacos, some whiskey, and a beer.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:09 AM   #6
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Teeswater Ontario Canada/ Playa Uverito Panama
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I'm in

Phil Thompson

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.. H Thompson
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:45 AM   #7
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haha awesome story. very inspiring to young riders like myself trying to get out with my friends and see the world.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:05 AM   #8
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Currently - Canada
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Sounds like fun. I did it last year. Didn't even come close to S.A though. haha.

I suggest ditching the camp stove and all the crap that comes with that. You won't need it. Pack some granola bars for mornings and nights where food isn't available right away. Otherwise, food is everywhere in Mexico and most countries south.

Good luck! Remember to enjoy it, even when things aren't going well. Beats the hell out of the routine back home...
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge -
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide:
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:11 AM   #9
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Good luck guys. I look forward to your adventures.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:58 AM   #10
johnsonal OP
avenger of all evil
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: here today, gone tomorrow
Oddometer: 104
Another few days in baja

Day seven: 1-22-13
So its been a few days since my last post, sorry, but it is damn hard to find the time to write when you’ve been riding so much. So after Ensenada we headed out toward San Felipe. Typed it into the GPS and off we went… well it turns out there are like nine San Felipes in Baja alone and we were headed the wrong way. So instead of a short ride across to the Sea of Cortez and a nice day of off road we rode half of baja instead. We figured we would just stop somewhere but there is seriously NOTHING between Ensenada and a little town called Guero Negro. Its just desert. No gas, no food, no nothing. And the road cuts inland so no coast which makes it 110 degrees. There are however some twisties in the beginning,

a bunch of cacti and awesome boulder field,
and did I mention, what I believe to have seen, the human skeleton?! Andy still doesn’t believe me about this one but I’m fairly certain that when I passed by this creek bed I looked over and saw the skeletal remains of what I believed to be a human. (This story takes on a little more credibility in a few days.) I really wish I would have stopped and took a picture but at that point I just wanted to get out of dodge. So we rode and road and rhode until our asses hurt and we were damn near asleep. Pulled into Guero Negro at around six thirty, found a hotel, got a beer, and went to bed.

Day eight: 1-23-13
Last night we decided that we were taking a short ride across baja to the sea of cortez and camping. We were sore and sick of riding. Along the way we stopped in an awesome town called San Ignacio and hung out in the plaza for a few.

Then on our way to the other side ran across some other ADV guys who invited us for lunch. They were really nice people that were unfortunately heading the other direction. We shared some stories and they told us about a nice campground on the beach just ten minutes south. So we parted ways and found our camp. Right when we pulled in we saw exactly where to camp. Two DRZs laid out on the back of an RV like a welcome mat. We sidled up to their camper and set up our tents.

It ended up being two of the nicest Canadian guys who were on their way home from a two month camping-surfing-riding trip. They invited us over for beers, shared some stories, and marked out some good off road stuff between La Paz and Cabo. We drank beer, ate some food and told dirty jokes. (Which I won with the dirtiest) Then off to bed.

Day nine: 1-24-13

I woke up to the sunrise over the Bay of Conception.
We had a plan to ride just a little south to Loredo but also had an open invitation to stay with some friends at a fancy resort in San Jose. So we had the option of a quick ride and a full day in Loredo and maybe missing our friends, or a grueling ass killing ride once again through the desert and the other basically half of Baja. We chose the later of course. There were some really good twisties and beautiful coastline for the first hour of our trip, but then it cut into the desert. We had been told by a buddy that the towns of Constitution and Insurgents were not the nicest places and to fill up in Loredo. But we still had to stop there to get gas. We didn’t have and problems. On our way out of town though we saw something a little disturbing. About ten miles outside of Constitution on the side of the main freeway for everyone to see was a man tied up to a fence post with a bag over his head. We both turned on the intercoms; “did you see that?.. Yeah I saw it… What the fuck? … Lets just keep riding.” Now Andy is pretty shaken up about this and I’m trying to rationalize it in my head. Maybe it was some kind of re-enactment ceremony. Maybe the guy did something really fucked up. We kept riding and didn’t stop until Todos Santos. The guys we stayed with the night before had told us about this place to camp for free right on the beach called San Pedrito. It was a little sketchy to get into as you had to ride down sandy roads through farmers fields for a few miles but ended up being pretty nice for a free place. We set up our gear and went to bed.

Day ten: 1-24-13
Today all the days of pounding pavement paid off. Just sixty miles to San Jose and our welcoming friends. I fucking Stink! Just having a shower is all the luxury I need but being able to park the bikes and not worry about them for two days is priceless. These guys are awesome people and great friends. They are just letting us crash their vacation, and had cold beers waiting for us when we arrived. Down to the beach for some relaxation. See you in a few days or next time there is internet.

here is where we are at by the way.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:25 PM   #11
johnsonal OP
avenger of all evil
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: here today, gone tomorrow
Oddometer: 104
Ideas on places to stay?

By the way we are having a hard time finding decent, yet cheap places to stay. We have stayed a few places that were kind of sketchy and don't really enjoy it as much as other places or end up having to spend a bunch of money on a hotel. If anyone has any suggestions of good campsites or hostels along the pacific coast of Mexico or anywhere else between here and Buenos Aires your input would be MUCH appreciated! thanks everyone -Alex
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:16 PM   #12
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traveling frugally

Originally Posted by johnsonal View Post
By the way we are having a hard time finding decent, yet cheap places to stay. We have stayed a few places that were kind of sketchy and don't really enjoy it as much as other places or end up having to spend a bunch of money on a hotel. If anyone has any suggestions of good campsites or hostels along the pacific coast of Mexico or anywhere else between here and Buenos Aires your input would be MUCH appreciated! thanks everyone -Alex
Just read the ride report from JDowns "South America and back on a super sherpa minimalist adventure˝ He describes places and reports how much they cost. Great adventure, will follow it
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Antioquia, tierra de mis amores
Some trail riding stories

trespalacios screwed with this post 01-26-2013 at 04:21 PM
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by trespalacios View Post
Just read the ride report from JDowns "South America and back on a super sherpa minimalist adventure˝ He describes places and reports how much they cost. Great adventure, will follow it
And here it is to avoid the search drama:

Good luck on your trip guys. I will be following.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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This is my favorite type of ride report. Looking forward to following your adventures.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:48 PM   #15
johnsonal OP
avenger of all evil
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: here today, gone tomorrow
Oddometer: 104
Day eleven: 1-26-13
Alright, so I think when I left off We were still in San Jose del Cabo. So day two in San Jose had us pretty much doing our RRs and scouring the internet for some sort of idea on the ferry system, where we were going to stay, and looking ahead a little at where we might be heading. Don’t get me wrong it was all while sitting in the sun and drinking cheap beers. We were still on our relaxing vacation in the luxury resort. We cooked diner for everyone that night as a token of our appreciation and bought a liter of decent tequila for desert. Forest caught an eight-foot marlin a few days before we got there so we made some great fish tacos, got really drunk, and went to bed.
Day twelve: 1-27-13
So we found a dirt road that runs along the beach all the way to La Paz. It was pretty awesome in most spots that we went through.

We decided just to follow it up for a while until we got tired and felt like camping. We went up about 40 miles and ran into a town called Cabo Pulmo, which seemed pretty cool. There was a dive shop right in the middle of town so we went in to inquire about camping. First thing you should know is that you can camp pretty much anywhere on the beach in baja. Seriously just throw up a tent. But its always nice to throw up your tent next to an RV with plates from the states. Not only do you get a little added security, but usually get to share some awesome stories with like-minded people. Anyways, After talking to the nicest lady in the world at the dive shop for a few minutes I think she felt bad for us (because we were covered in dust and smelled like hell) and gave us our own little cabin, 80 steps from the beach, for an irresistible price. So we didn’t get to far but had an awesome day riding and had a hot shower. Then we finially changed Andys tires that he had been lugging around since Oregon.

We went to the bar, grabbed some nachos, and drank on the balcony overlooking the green-blue ocean.

Day thirteen: 1-28-13

After waking up and talking to Maribel, the nice lady and owner of the Cabo Pulmo dive shop, she told us we could stay another night if we wanted at the same irresistible price. We got some advice from the Canadians we were camping next to back in Mulege (moo-la-hay), about a waterfall in Santiago. So we set off, with NO LUGGAGE!, to check out this falls. Santiago was about 20 minutes away and the falls were about fifteen minutes further down a sandy road. Now, I have zero experience riding in the sand and have learned to hate it very much over the last few weeks. It feels like I’m on my snowmobile with absolutely no control of what my front tire is doing or what direction I am going. The only way to correct it is to throttle, but then you’re just going faster with about the same amount of control. Anyways the falls were pretty cool.

I’m a little spoiled being from Oregon but the fact that it was water falling in the middle of the desert was pretty sweet. The little hike in was pretty cool too.

On the way home another dog chased me and almost got the best of me this time. Andy thought it was hilarious of course. I didn’t love dogs much before, but will surely hate them by the end of this trip. Back to the cabin, more beers of course, a cheeseburger for diner believe it or not, then on until tomorrow.
Day fourteen: 1-29-13
Yesterday after we went to the falls we ventured around to this town on the beach about 40 miles north called Los Barilles. We checked out a few campsites and found a pretty awesome one right in the middle of town. So we packed our stuff up, said goodbye and thank you to Maribel, and headed north.

When we got to the campsite I noticed my upper chain slider had completely come apart.

I don’t know what the hell to do about it but we are tossing around the idea of a small skateboard wheel. But that’s tomorows problem! For now I’m sitting in a palampa, next to the ocean, drinking some whiskey, watching the kiteboarders, and typing up my ADV report. Til’ next time!
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