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Old 01-12-2015, 05:50 AM   #1
AK Smitty OP
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Going Living. Picking up where I left off. South America ride

Picking up where I left off! My last ride finished in Ecuador and that’s where this one will begin. Catching a plane south tonight!!
The analytical dreamer will ride again… welllll if my moto shows up haha. It was originally scheduled for the 13th but has been delayed a week before it even left. Just the nature of how these things work.

My plan: no real plan. I quit my job so I will ride until its not fun anymore or I feel I have given the bank account the appropriate thrashing!

The theory: I hear a lot of people talk about cost limiting their travel. Oh that place is too expensive, flights cost too much etc. I think travel can be done economically and I have always felt time was the biggest factor from a good or great trip to epic. Well time will be much less of a factor. I quit my job and I am not rushing back to anything.

I will be back on my old faithful F800GS with some suspension upgrades and new Mosko moto soft luggage. Here is my wing girl for the next ever how many months.

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Test ride with the new kit Tail of the Dragon



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Old 01-12-2015, 07:10 AM   #2
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In. Nobody seems to ride the coast of Brazil north of Rio to north of Ceara province! Safe journey.
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Old 01-12-2015, 08:27 AM   #3
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Soon you'll be tan, relaxed and in the travel groove like when I last saw you in Nicaragua on the beach getting ready to go surf:



And yes sunburned is an Alaskan tan.

Look forward to your travel stories amigo.

Buena Suerte,
Tio Juan
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:41 PM   #4
AK Smitty OP
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Family Time and off to Ecuador

I had almost 3 weeks with family in TN and VA before heading to Ecuador and it was just what I needed. I was ready for some big changes but I wanted some quality family time before I hit the road.

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Someone near my sister’s house really getting into the Christmas spirit!





During the family time I did a quick run to Miami from TN to get the bike to the shippers. It was brutally cold leaving TN. The reat of the rid was mostly cold and all boring. I took very few pics.

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Getting my kickstand chopped at a random fab shop named Smitty’s, because I lowered the bike and inch. Solid name and they did the work for free on a Saturday because they liked what I was doing.



Once the bike was in Miami and crated I had a lot of lose ends to tie up. Banking a few bike parts etc… The boring parts of a trip like this. It was very strange because resigning from work and leaving AK was all done with total confidence. I had no doubts what so ever! I was actually becoming more and more confident in all my choices as my day to leave Alaska approached. That all changed a day or two before I left for Ecuador. It is not uncommon for me and others I have talked to, to run the range of emotions before these long trips. I didn’t feel it coming this time though. I was confident, not excited just very confident. Then two days before I left the confidence disintegrated and it was all doubt! Why am I doing this? Should I be doing this? Will my moto ever show up (most justifiable doubt)? And the list goes on. What will Guayaquil bring? The hardest part of these rides is leaving!!!!Not the most charming city in the world to start an epic ride; can I find my travel rhythm there…
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:42 PM   #5
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In. Nobody seems to ride the coast of Brazil north of Rio to north of Ceara province! Safe journey.
I have no plan so that is an option!
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:44 PM   #6
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Ironic just did another post before I read your comment. My post was all those doubts that creep in when you start these adventures!!

Thanks for the encouragement. You must have a great filing system to be able to dig about photos like that!! Man I do look relaxed!!! And only moderately sunburned hahaha

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns View Post
Soon you'll be tan, relaxed and in the travel groove like when I last saw you in Nicaragua on the beach getting ready to go surf:



And yes sunburned is an Alaskan tan.

Look forward to your travel stories amigo.

Buena Suerte,
Tio Juan
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Old 01-15-2015, 08:10 PM   #7
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Glad to see you back. I've been waiting for this one!
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:38 AM   #8
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Guayaquil

The last time I saw my bike and some pics the shipper sent to me

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Landed in Guayaquil at 4am and had heard far more negativity than anything. I rode through just under 2 years ago and thought it didn’t seem as bad as everyone said. I met Jon on my flight who is living North of Montanita part time and working on becoming an Ecuador resident. Our conversation started to remind why I wanted to start my trip here.

Got the Casa de Romero near the Malecon and they were nice enough to put me right in a room at 6 am. Crashed most of the morning and then went to check out iguana park and the city.

Cathedral at Iguana Park



Umm Iguanas-I think Ill stop labeling pics that don’t need it. Haha



Different Park




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Old 01-16-2015, 07:43 AM   #9
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Out of Guayaquil for now

Guayaquil does seem to have an edge to it in areas but there is definitely an effort being made to beautify and draw tourista. The malecon is very nice as well as several other parks. There is a free art Museum on the Malecon. Las Penas is a reconstructed older part of the city that looks like the old city has many artist. The strange part is that at the end of Las Lenas there are several high end apartment buildings and a few hotels right on the Malecon. Mostly vacant. Its like they built a high end waterfront neighborhood with no demand to live there.

I was toured around by my friend Melany that I met in Montanita last trip. She is born and raised in Guayaquil and speaks better English than I do Spanish. It is the hottest and most humid time of year in Guayaquil so I greatly appreciate here taking me to do a lot of the tourist things in not so fun heat.

After a couple of days in Guayaquil my friend from AK is arrived on the 15th. Salinas for a couple of day then off to the Galapagos on the 18th. I am so excited to see the Galapagos. Bonehead move of the year…I put my nice camera in the crate with the moto. Ummm just iphone for pics for the Galapagos!!! No way!!! Text my buddy the day he was leaving AK and asked him to go get a camera from a friend that I had arranged with to borrow hers. Very similar to mine so I can use it without much of a learning curve. I was not happy with my lack of forethought. Oh well. There are several other things in that crate that I would like right now but oh well. My original thought process was to put as much stuff in there as possible to not have to carry that. Anyone shipping a moto my want to rethink that a bit!

After 2 days in Guayaquil and with my very limited Spanish returning, my confidence is building. I am not where I was by any means in Jdowns pic but was great to see that. A real eye-opener. Eventhough to look at me I am obviously the same person I can see that I am not. I know I will get there and seeing that confident, secure but aware rider in Nicaurigua moved me forward another significant notch. Maybe there are people out that fall right back into the rhythm, I have no problem saying it takes me time. I think for those fluent or close to in Spanish it may be easier but it is much more that that for me. Also hard to fall into a rhythm on a moto trip with no moto. Haha Its is coming both the confidence and moto. I am in no way stressed about the bike it is out of my hands. I have planned a vacation to start the trip so I wasn’t just sitting Guayaquil getting stressed and anxious. Some advice that I have given others and it is almost always true!! If you ship you bike it WILL be late!!!

Once I have more things to see and take pics of I will talk less. Haha bare with me. As with the ride the blog will start to get a flow as well.



My current office


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Old 01-19-2015, 08:19 AM   #10
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Salinas

1-19-15

My friend from Alaska arrived and we headed out to Salinas. Its nice to have good friend around and just in vacation mode. My friend Richard speaks lees Spanish than I do so I’m really getting some practice. It’s actually been great and I am pulling off stuff that surprises me. And if I’m not sure what is said to me I can just make a translation Richard (aka Ricardo) won’t know haha. We had two days in Salinas and it was nice to be at the beach. The town feels safe and the beach is decent but I didn’t find any real character to it. More expats than I expected and lots of very tall beachfront condos and hotels, mostly empty! Not sure how they just keep building more stuff when the existing stuff has low occupancy. But Im not here to figure out the Economic infrastructure of Salinas, I’m here to get bronzy! Haha I mean red!

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Awesome food and very nice guy! Think he was going to let the gringo cook!



A little more of Guayaquil. Giving Ricardo the 2 hour speed tour.





Melany and here friend met us for dinner a couple of beers. It has been great to know a local and make touring the city easier. Here we all are out for drinks

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Someone is having a very good time! Ricardo Making the most of his vacation. We are both really looking forward to Galapagos!!!



I am also getting into a nice personal comfort zone. My Spanish is enough and I will be taking lessons in Montanita next week. The reality and excitement of what I have ahead of me finally setting in. Up until a day or two ago it all seemed very surreal. Now just real and exciting!! I think going to the Galapagos was the turning point. I am pretty stoked for that. A few Galapogos teaser pics:





Thought this was funny



Locals

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Old 01-19-2015, 10:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK Smitty View Post



My current office

Wish I had known you were in town!

Mike
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:38 PM   #12
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Wish I had known you were a Salinas resident. Was just a last min 2 day deal to be out of Guayaquil before Galapagos.

Seems to be trend with the blog thing. Just missing people because posting is at least a couple of days behind if not a week.

For others in SA that would like to grab a beer click the spot link. Should be back in action tomorrow!!

Wish I had known you were in town!

Mike[/QUOTE]
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Old 01-28-2015, 05:51 PM   #13
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Ricardo and Josue do the Galapagos 1

Where to begin? Im in love!! What an amazing place!! So happy for digital cameras and being able to snap pictures like a lunatic. If it’s on your list go!! Don’t next year it to death make a plan and make it happen.

We had a couple of night in Santa Cruz the hub town for the Galapagos. After checking things out for half a day we decided to book a dive for the next day. The dive ended up getting canceled due to lack of people so kind of just a down day. We chilled by the pool at the way out of my budget place we were at. It was absolutely top notch but I am unemployed now so not an option for me for more than one night. Ricardo and I talked and knew in the future we needed to find some middle ground. He is on vacation so I need to remember that and I am an unemployed moto bum so we in a very different place. After we talked about it we had a good idea of where we both needed to be. Plus soon we were on a boat for 5 days. In the afternoon we headed off to Darwin Station on some very high km rental bikes. Hey 3 bucks an hour so Ill take it.

Right off you start to see wildlife and their lack of fear of humans. The Galapagos is obviously a tourist destination but once out of the towns it is truly amazing. Even around the docks of Santa Cruz I felt it was a very different place. Some pics to get things going! Then I’ll babble more:

Big land turtles at Darwin Station

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Calle de Kiosko – great food and really fun



My new friend Miguel. We had beers and traded hats. I am not a captain in the Ecuador Navy! The hats has given a tone of street cred. Haha Ricardo and I had a lot of fun drinking beer with Miguel and Aninal on this little local spot on the street. Miguel is 72 and is on his 6th wife. Aninal loves to harass him about it. Even with the language barrier we were all crying we were laughing so hard at one time or another.



Really cool guys I think Ricardo has a few more pics.

Just awesome!



Seals enjoying the benches






Land turtles on San Cristobal







Much much more wildlife coming!!!
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:50 PM   #14
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Galapagos 2

After 2 days in Santa Cruz it was time to catch our 5 day cruise on the Treasure of the Galapagos I. Side not: there is no II. The boat, crew and cruise exceeded both our expectations in everyway. It was a great way to get a good overview of the islands. That being I said I wouldn’t do it again. Our boat was 16 people and that is the right size group or smaller. We also had a really great group. I wouldn’t do the cruise again for a variety of reasons. It’s a real tourist thing. Do this at set time with everyone and eat at this time. Very regimented but they did a great job with everything. I would also not do it again because it will never compare the second time. We had a great group and it would be near impossible to beat. The last reason I wouldn’t do it again is because of something that I learned after. The Galapagos residents see none of the money from those all-inclusive cruises. You are not on land long enough or in populated places to spend money and all the employees on our boat (except one) and most other boats do not live in the Galapagos or really contribute to the economy. The fact the cruises are such a negative impact to the economy and viewed poorly by the locals really bothered me. My recommendation is spend more time in the Galapagos than I did and once you are on the ground everything can be booked easy from Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. I know I am contradicting myself because the cruse was really nice but you miss as much as you see and with a little planning and research it can all be done on your own and much less cost. Logistics and a ittle research will get you there. If you are planning a trip PM and I can answer some questions. I am really considering going back once I free my moto. Ok so now you now photo time:

The boat

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The animals have no fear. Matina’s bag

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Sleepy



They are everywhere


Little guy











Stuart from Sweden and Ricardo. Four of us(Ricardo, Josue, Stuart and Martina) would become very good friends on the boat and I hope we all get together again in the no so distant future.



Martina taking it all in.
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Birds



I think worth its going to the smugmug account and checking out more pics.

http://akjts.smugmug.com/South-Ameri...ands/i-mDJ6J4p
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Old 02-01-2015, 01:45 PM   #15
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More Galapagos

Few words many pics!!

In reality this could be 20 posts or more. I am trying to keep it to 5ish. Nothing much to say except more great wildlife pics. Wished I had used the cameras ability more than I did. My photography skills are rusty thought and wasn’t my camera so I wasn’t as proficient with it. Just wanted to be sure I got the shots.

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Hilarious sequence







I think my new friend Nuri missed that shot!!



Yes I am the same color as the sand. Natural camo for protection in he wild.

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DCIM\100IMAGE

I liked how these cam out a lot

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