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Old 01-21-2014, 02:48 PM   #166
Motoriley
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Hey buddy I guess you won't be joining us at the Montreal moto show next month?
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:51 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Motoriley View Post
Hey buddy I guess you won't be joining us at the Montreal moto show next month?
shit! Had not thought of that! Guess i'm gonna have to cut my trip short!!

actually, o might be coming back in june, for a year then jump of again. Was wondering if the Dacar race is this summer and if our fellow cranial amputee Chris is still thinking of doing it? I just might be stupid enought to enter Big O in it...
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:53 PM   #168
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He might. I think registration is already starting. Send me a PM with the email address you are using these days.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:37 AM   #169
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Good report! Interesting style and your fake "meeting up with the Cartel" in Mexico was classic.

That episode was so exciting to read that I hope it happens to you again (with the same results of course).
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Merlin III screwed with this post 02-05-2014 at 11:58 AM
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:45 PM   #170
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Hello...??

Ok, you must be having too much fun.

Where is our update?

Just kidding. I hope all is well.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:53 PM   #171
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In! Late, but looking forward to more posts...
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:06 AM   #172
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Me too! I hope he hasn't "burned out" on us. Three of the RRs I am reading seem to have stalled or maybe even died in mid-route.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:57 AM   #173
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Like a kid waiting for x-mas

When: dec 17th - jan 5th



From Peru, we had two options: head into Bolivia and then Chile or hit Chile directly. Our preferred option was Bolivia obviously, with it's famous salt flats, but two things where getting in the way: (1) looking up Bolivia, on the web, highlighted the potential problem of getting gas for foreigners and could be a role the dice kind of thing and (2) my replacement rear shock from Montreal would be getting into Santiago on the 19th and I was being told that I had to be there to receive it. The gas problem in Bolivia could very quickly throw off our schedule to get to Santiago on time. So we reluctantly decided to skip Bolivia and head down in almost a straight line, to Santiago.

Turns out, both those 'issues' where non-issues! In the following weeks, we spoke with people who had just done Bolivia and had had no real trouble getting gas, other than the occasional haggling over price. As for the shock, it arrive on time in Santiago but took 10 days to clear customs!

So then: Chile! Onward! The country is basically split into two parts: North vs South.

The north is where all the current wealth comes from: the Atacama desert mines. All 2000km of it. Home of the driest place on earth, with no recorded precipitations in the last... ever! Well, at least since they started keeping records of such things. It's the countries bread and butter due to the minerals that can be found here. A local described it as it be akin to having the periodic table right there on the ground. You need something? We got it! Hence all the mining that goes on in this desert. And most of what's extracted is for exportation, generating a huge influx of foreign money. Which is great for Chileans but shit for my traveling budget: life is just as expensive here as back home...

For you history fanatics. A good chunk of the north of Chile use to be owned by Peru and Bolivia. A century or so back, Chile noticed that there was money in the ground there (in the form of nitrates and borax) and the wanted it something fierce. So they stole it. I mean, they found/manufactured an excuse to go to war and won. The first mining was for borax. When you go down the Trans American highway you see plenty of the mining facilities ruins dotting the landscape.




Our first stop after clearing customs was... Nothing less than a McDonald's! We where both craving something familiar that was NOT chicken and badly cooked fries (Peru needs to diversify it's dinner table!!). Total cost of our indulgence: 24$!! 4 big macs, 2 fries and 2 cokes, thank you very much! And you know what? They tasted just as disgusting as back home and we where quite at peace with that. To add to the glamour of the meal, we ate next to our bikes to keep an eye on our stuff. The only parking we found was a side street which the local drunks seemed to use as a latrine. Nice!

Our second stop was more in line with the trip: San Pedro de Atacama. Its only reason for existence is tourism and boy do the tourists flock to it. It's located near the Bolivian border and the Alti Plateau region, has some very nice landscape that you can explore by horse or quad, a flamingo reserve and the 'Valle de la Luna' where NASA tested one of it's space vehicles some time back. When we got there, first thing was to hunt down lodging as usual. But this was Chile AND a tourist trap! We scoured the street a bit, stopping at just about ever hosteria and hospedaje was saw but the prices where beyond us. At one of the places we stopped, they told Bruno that they where full but had an other hotel with a room available. The girl showed Bruno where it was on a map managing to indicated two different locations for where we where and two more different location for where the hotel was. Bruno, who's professional life is spent making maps, was quite unimpressed to say the least! After more blabla in bad Spanish and bad English, one of the employees go on his bicycle and signaled us to follow. We get to the destination, it's quite nice but surprise surprise: way to expensive. I turn to the dude and tell him. He's so pissed, he walks over to Bruno who was reading the pamphlet with the map girl had given him, grabs it and storms off on his bicycle! I almost pissed my pants laughing at the sheer pettiness of what I'd just witnessed! Those things are free for fuck sake, printed out by the bureau of tourism! In any case, we finally manage to locate one that was reasonably priced and called it a night.

The next day, we started by going Flamingo hunting. For, as Peru had thought us: we both just can't get enough of birds! Calice Méo, mon Pitt!! "Fuck les pitt, on aime pas ca les pitt, on en veux pas des pitt, sauf si c'est pour les manger..."



After the birds, we moseyed on down to the "Valle de la Luna". Nice place, great geological formations, but... Took a bit of figuring to understand why we where both so monumentally underwhelmed by the experience, but we managed to put a finger on the sore spot: we don't like to be held by the hand, being told where to put our feet, where to look, what not to do, etc etc. It had the feeling of being in a museum, just with no walls. This is nature people! Its alive and to fully appreciate it, you need to interact with it, not just take pictures from afar! Peru was fantastic in that regard. Still, did manage to squeeze off a few nice snap shots...







The next day, we hauled are gringo ass's down to Santiago. Took a few days to get there and very little occurred. Did pass by some random road side art.



We arrived in Santiago on time but, unfortunately, the shock had yet to be cleared by customs! Get this: finding a used shock to get rebuilt and having it shipped from British Columbia to Montreal some 4000km away took 3 days. In Montreal, the shock was rebuild the next day it arrived, then took a few days to figure out who/how and where to ship into Chile and 3 days to go from Montreal to Santiago (at a cost of +400$). For a grand total of about 9 days. And then customs got there grubby hands on it and it just sat on a shelf for 10 mf days!

As we needed to drop by Valparaiso: Bruno would be shipping his bike back from here at the end of the trip and he wanted to finalise the details with the people who would be helping him out with the paperwork and crating the bike. We took the opportunity while customs figured out a way to get their thumbs out of there asses.

Here we have Bruno happy as a pig in mud, chatting away with some red head chick from back home. Its also gives a good idea of just our room is when our luggage explode at the end of a day of riding.



I also took to opportunity to perform the 40,000km maintenance/open heart surgery on Big O and replaced the cam-follower bearings and rebuilt the water pump. Good thing too, one of the rocker bearings was shot. Let it dry for two days and then started Big O up to make sure all was good: shit! The engine was making a loud clacking noise at all RPMs! Turns out I'd put the shims for the rocker arm in reverse and it was causing it to hit the auto decompessor on the cam shaft! And we where leaving for Santiago the next morning! Opened up the engine again, saw what was wrong, thank god, and buttoned it back up. Clocked it at 3hrs! I'm getting to know this bike quite well don't you think? :P Could only test it the next morning as the liquid gasket needs time to cure. Ideally, it's 72 hours but I didn't have that luxury. You can imagine the sense of relief when Big O started right up and was purring again!

Back to Santiago and, hopefully, get the shock from customs. Boy I am naïve sometimes!! Called TNT (the shipping company) for an update: nop, it's still in customs and blablabla...

It was time to make a decision. Bruno was on a very tight schedule as, unlike me, he didn't quit his job to go on this trip and he was expected back home in 30 days. 30 days to see Patagonia and then drive all the way back to Valparaiso was not much. And now this stupid delay with customs that god only knew how long it would really end up taking. So we decided that Bruno would head off alone and hopefully I'd manage to catch up later.

That's how I ended up spending new year's eve alone in Santiago watching Farscape! I know I know: life can be cruel sometimes! The next day, january 1st, proved to be a surreal experience! I went out into the city to forage for food. I was right smack down town of a huge city, normally bursting with people and all kinds of sounds, not to mention the traffic noise and pollution. But today, it was deserted and absolutely silent! The only sound was the wind. Walking down the deserted streets felt like being the last survivor in a apocalypse or zombie movie!

I figured that it would be a good idea to launch the new year with a sign that things could only get better from here. And did I ever! Bourbon!!!



The next day, after what seemed like a thousand calls to various departments at TNT I was finally told that I could come and pick up the shock at the airport. Hurrah!!! I have to say that as shitty a the TNT experience had been in getting/extracting information from then, the attention I received at the airport was stellar! I was greeted by a charming young women who walked me through all the steps, forms and miscellaneous voodoo incantations and even waited patiently with me for quite a bit as customs where negotiating with a Great Old One for the release of my shock.

Now that I have a new shock, let's see if I can catch up with Bruno 'Tie-wrapp pas vite' Avard...

Big O's take on the days events

Finally!!! My rear end no longer thinks it's a pogo-stick!!!

Seeing how Dummy failed to properly give credit to where credit is due, I'll take the opportunity to underline just how incredible the people back home, involved in getting the shock to us, have been! Beginning with David (aka Gunnerbuck) who sold me his spare shock and shipped it to Montréal the very next day, to KTM who where willing to rebuild one for free and ship it over (but didn't go that route due to potential custom issues), to Duroy KTM who left no rock unturned to get me a shock, to Stadium Suspension who not only prioritized the job but gave me a huge discount (to encourage idiot like me who do trips like these), to Sophie aka 'Ti-cul-zen' for figuring out how to physically get the shock to Chile and being a general pest in getting TNT to have customs release the package! To all of you: One hell of a big thank you!!!! You wont be forgotten when we get back home... ;)

And that's the story of how I, Big O, ended up with my first two publicity stickers:

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Old 02-19-2014, 10:59 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by NKOrange View Post
Ok, you must be having too much fun.

Where is our update?

Just kidding. I hope all is well.
Hahaha, been getting a lot of msgs like that one from back home. People are starting to think I' dead in a ditch somewhere! :p
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:02 AM   #175
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Me too! I hope he hasn't "burned out" on us. Three of the RRs I am reading seem to have stalled or maybe even died in mid-route.
No worries mate! Just when in Patagonia, there is SOOOO much better to do than sitting in front computer reminiscing on days past! :p

I'll try to do Patagonia faster!
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:08 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by Merlin III View Post
Good report! Interesting style and your fake "meeting up with the Cartel" in Mexico was classic.

That episode was so exciting to read that I hope it happens to you again (with the same results of course).
I'll admit that the copper canyon one was the one i had the most fun writing up. But don't think I'll try hat trick again as I already have an angry mob back home who r waiting my return for a good old fashion tar-and-feathering for scaring silly.


Some people have no sense of humour...
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:18 AM   #177
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I Love your RR!
I rushed it in just one evening

If your planing to ship to europe, give me a msg for bed and stuff.

Cheer Luz

ps: You totaly got me with that story in Mexico
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:15 PM   #178
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Finally, fabled land of Patagonia!



Days: 211


Big O being once again trail worthy, I entered into a mad rush to catch-up with Bruno. Being aware of this, he slowed down a bit (yes, I was also skeptical that such a thing was possible). We would try to meet up in Coihaique.

First step was to get to Puerto Mont. Small town that's at the northern end of the chilian Patagonia and also the starting point of the caratera austral. For you ignoramuses out there, from wikipedia:

"The Carretera Austral (CH-7), formerly known as Carretera General Augusto Pinochet,[1][2] is the name given to Chile's Route 7. The highway runs about 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) from Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins through rural Patagonia."

As I was saying, first, needed to get to Puerto Montt. Rather boring 1000km of straight ass highway, but true to it's nature, the Andes did provide some scenic relief...



Once in Puerto Montt, I decided to address the leaking rocket cover of Big O. It starting leaking oil after over heating in the tunnel that goes through a good part of Santiago's downtown. This was going to be a recurring activity... Also took the opportunity to change the rear tire and boy was I happy to be rid of the one I'd been carrying the last few days. Can't phantom how people can carry those things for thousands of miles. One dude on the Stalrathe carried one all the way from Texas to Chile. what the fuck!! There are not diamonds! You can scrounge some up just about anywhere. Also needed to have the suspension linkage greased and stock up on engine oil. As this was the last major town for the foreseeable future, it was now or never. And I was in luck as Puerto Montt has a KTM approved shop. Took about 20min to get the bike greased but must have spent 2hrs talking with the manager. Really cool dude! Even gave me his personal email in case I needed anything while in Patagonia.

Having taken care of Big O's needs, we headed off and hit the road heading south. Turned out to be both a small and big day. We had three ferries to catch. The first one, about 50km out of Puerto Montt, we missed by 1 minute. About an hour later we got on the next one. Short 20min boat ride. Then about 90km of gravel to get to the next boat. Only the damn road was under construction and was full of road blocks that made us wait for ever. End result? We missed the second ferry by 5minutes! Mother fucker!!! Waited a while then took the next one. This time, when the gate fell, Big O and I stormed out like a bat out of hell: no way we where missing the third mofo. Quite surprised I survived that ride. We where going stupid fast, overtaking cars and trucks in loose gravel curves barely wide enough for the trucks! But hell that was exhilarating! And no, we did not miss the last tub. Got there quite a bit in advance actually. Took this while waiting for the boat that would officially land my feet in Patagonia.

The gates to the Chilean Patagonia



On one of the water crossings, we passed a salmon farm. This part of Chile is full of these. To the point where the pollution generated by the industry is destroying the aquatic ecosystem. Ah! Humans and our insatiable appetites...



The first night in Patagonia was in the tiny little town of Chalten that was destroyed a few years back when one of the local volcanoes threw a tantrum. It generated a huge mud slide and the town was right in the path of the thing. The town has been rebuild but you can see still where the mud slide passed as they rebuilt on each side of the river of mud, but on it.

I was famished when I got there so I quickly secured a place for the night and went out looking for food and this it what I found: almost pound and a half of delicious salmon and, miracle of miracle, properly cooked!!! Plus the price was three times nothing. Me was a happy camper.



After that, we where officially on the Caraterra Austral!



This leg of the Caraterra Autral wasn't all that great as the road is fenced in by dense forest on both sides which block your view. The only view being the road itself. Again, I was going way to fast for my continued health yet nothing happened. A think that my skill level, for driving in loose gravel, went up a notch that day.

Still, on the way to Coihaique there where some nice teasers as to what was in store for us. For example, this next picture: the color is authentic, it's emerald green!



Dumb and Dummer reunited as planned in Coihaique and the following day we continued our journey south. And boy was it cold! In one of the high passes it even snowed. Trees relented and let us See Patagonia and what a treat it was for the eyes!





A few hours after leaving Coihaique we where getting hungry and pretty cold. Luck was on our side: heated road side restaurant!



Our goal for our first day was a tiny settlement just off Lago General Carera. Which is without a doubt the most amazing lake I've ever seen! The water's color is surreal!





Here's a shot of the river that feeds the lake.



From there we turned east for Argentina. Would be the first of several crossings from Argentina and Chile and vice versa.



From Chile Chico, the border town, we would hit the famous highway Routa 40 that spans Argentina from North to South. One of it's claim to fame is the ludicrous winds that scourer the region. Added difficulty is that some sections, for now anyway, unpaved. That can keep things interesting at times: when your going down a gravel road with 90kph side winds! Bruno almost bough it at one point. I was behind him and saw him get pushed form one side of the road to the other and came within a hair of fish tailing out of control when he hit a mound of loose gravel.

Just out of Chile, on our way to the Argentinian border, we saw the USS enterprise!



Our first day in Argentina saw us camping in the back of a restaurant/hotel. The words thief and extortion come to mind when ever I think about the place. The place is called Bajo Carracoles. But the view was quite nice, one must admit.



Next stop would be the tourist town of El Chalten. It's reason to exist is it's nearness to Mont Fitzroy. Getting there also had some very pretty vistas.



It's also here that we got our first glimps of really odd clouds that Patagonia relishes in sculpting.



You can see mount Fitzroy on the right in the next picture.



From El Chalten, we left the bikes on their own for a day and stretched our legs with a trek to mount Fitzroy. Really fun hike with stunning scenery.







The trail ends at the foot of Mount Fitzroy where to glacier lakes awaits you.



We where also met by rain and some rather chilly winds. Good thing I came prepared!



On our way back, we saw Dr. Who's telephone cabin but the Dr. Was nowhere to be see. Hope the Daleks weren't stewing trouble again...



Our plan was to leave the next day but the only gas station in range was out of electricity. Having nothing better to do, I changed Big O's chain. And remind me to never do that again is strong winds with sand every where! Putting the master link on and preventing the sand from coating it was a real exercise in patience to say the least...

The station eventually got going again. By the way, this is the norm at gas stations in Argentina. And at ATM's for some incomprehensible reason...



Big O's take on the days events

The campsite that we where in was right next to the river that runs by the town. The campground was quite nice but had one little issue: the wind was insane! And the only spots left where spots that where exposed to the wind.

Bruno figured that he could block off some of the wind be parking his bike between his tent and the wind. That didn't turn out so good for him!

Somewhere around 3am, the wind was blowing so strongly that my moron owner figured he should turn off my fuel in case I was blown over and thus prevent my gas tank from emptying itself.

As he was doing just that, he heard a 'thump' sound just behind him. What he saw was Bruno's bike on it's side. Laughing he went over to Bruno's tent and not hearing him move or anything, informed Bruno that his bike had been blown over. To which Bruno replied somewhat miffed: "I know! It fell on my face!" The mirror had clipped him! Priceless!
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:32 AM   #179
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Awesome update!!!

You pictures are absolutely beautiful. I have a good buddy in Tahoe who climbed the Fitzroy a few years back. He also had some great photos and stories to tell. Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,

JG
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:00 PM   #180
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What an adventure, keep it coming. I found this report this morning and have been working through it all day. Excellent pics and prose. I have appreciated every minute of it.
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