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Old 01-22-2014, 01:55 PM   #1
wolfandzebra OP
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Cool2 Wolf and Zebra's adventure: San Francisco to Ushuaia

Howzit Inmates!

We are a South African (Zebra) and a Frenchman (Wolf) who met in California and are now going to ride down to the Southern tip of Argentina.

We both share a great passion for travel and motorcycles, and ever since we met at Thunderhill raceway we've been dreaming of traveling the world on two wheels. This February we're starting with South America on a pair of DR650s. We've been planning for months: working on the bikes, packing up the apartment, figuring out the route and now we are *almost* ready to go.

We'll post updates here every so often, but please feel free to follow our blog or like us on social media too!

blog: http://www.wolfandzebra.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wolfandzebra
instagram: http://instagram.com/wolfandzebra
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:12 PM   #2
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signed up!
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:29 PM   #3
salcar
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Location: Nicaragua or Mexico or ?
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Let me know when you are close to Nicaragua. We have a room and food for you at our house where you can relax. Enjoy the ride south
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:48 PM   #4
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Thanks Salcar. We'll definitely be in touch when we get down there.
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:00 PM   #5
wolfandzebra OP
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We are almost down to 2 weeks to departure date!

This week has been the first week where we have both been funemployed and able to focus 100% of our time on trip preparation. This has helped reduce the panicky feeling that we might not get it all done. Some of the key decisions we made this week include:

- The locator beacon we will take: ACR PLB (You can read why we chose this over the delorme or spot here)
- The health insurance I will buy for the next 12-18 months on the road - IMG Long Term Medical plan I researched this topic very thoroughly, and this plan offers coverage in the US as well as abroad, has emergency evacuation coverage and does not exclude motorcycle riders as long as the motorcycle is for transportation and you are not riding in any professional capacity. I read all 25 pages of the plan to verify this information. It ends up being roughly $1100 for 1 year with a $1000 deductible, which is the cheapest option I could find with the coverage I need. There are some specific eligibility requirements depending on your citizenship but I was able to meet them easily (for me it was to be outside of the US for 6 months out of the next year)
- Chosing a second camera to document the adventure: Sony RX-100 It always surprises me how long it takes to research these things, especially if you want to be thorough about it.

We also have the Wolfmobile and the Zebramobile both running after all our work on the wiring harness to hook up all our extras - cigarette chargers, battery meters, heated grips and euroswitches so we can turn off our headlights if we want to. The last orders have been placed at Amazon for all the items we still need. Now we're just going to have to figure out how we fit it all into our luggage! We'll post pics next week when we attempt some trial packs...
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Old 02-06-2014, 08:30 PM   #6
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I'll be watching this one too! I'm right ahead of you guys, probably crossing over to mainland Mexico in a week or two so who knows, maybe we'll cross paths! Good luck!
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:18 PM   #7
Johnnydarock
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This adventure sounds good. Let's get it on the road.
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Old 02-07-2014, 11:09 AM   #8
wolfandzebra OP
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Originally Posted by gaahrdner View Post
I'll be watching this one too! I'm right ahead of you guys, probably crossing over to mainland Mexico in a week or two so who knows, maybe we'll cross paths! Good luck!
Great stuff Phil - We checked out your blog and are already gathering tips from your border crossings. Hope to see you on the road.
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Old 02-07-2014, 12:03 PM   #9
TUCKERS
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We just finished our trip tuckers to tdf. You may find some useful stuff in there

The drs were great

Colleen carried a waterproof snapshot camera around her neck for that all important shoot

Make sure all your stuff is waterproof or watertight

Did you upgrade your suspension
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Old 02-07-2014, 12:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TUCKERS View Post
We just finished our trip tuckers to tdf. You may find some useful stuff in there

The drs were great

Colleen carried a waterproof snapshot camera around her neck for that all important shoot

Make sure all your stuff is waterproof or watertight

Did you upgrade your suspension
Brilliant! Thanks James. We'll go through your thread in detail.
We have made several upgrades to the DRs including the suspension. We are putting together the full list - it's still in progress right now - here.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:48 PM   #11
TUCKERS
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Do you have bar risers?

2" are really good. very comfortable.

Hand guards too.

Head light guard. Couldn't find any so I made them.

Spare pilot jets are good, as are the little carb filters from the intake line.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:07 AM   #12
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On the road at last!

We finally got every last little thing out of the apartment, and all the things coming with us for the next year or so packed on the bikes. The apartment looked very empty, and the bikes looked very loaded up. The Zebra and Wolfmobile have become the Donkey and Mulemobile. After packing, repacking and rearranging, we have convinced ourselves that it's not actually so bad, once you take the tire-pile out of the equation. We'll use up what's left of our stock tires as we pound the California asphalt down to Mexico and once we hit Baja, we'll change tires... and neither of us can wait to lose the extra load.

We spent the first night camping in Big Sur and thanks to the storm that has been following us from San Francisco, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to test the waterproofing of our tent. We have decided that we need to buy a new tent. The wind howled all night long and we did not get much sleep. Determined to salvage the Big Sur leg of the trip, the Wolf convinced me to attempt the dirt road option to get back to highway 1. My limited dirt-riding skills were tested very hard by slippery conditions, and I ran out of talent on a few occasions sending the Zebramobile nose first into the mud. The Wolf would come running to my rescue, but the wind was so strong, it often blew the Wolfmobile over while he was helping me. Fun times!

Our soggy campsite >>


The views on 1 were amazing >>



We eventually made it back to highway 1 after almost 5 hours of mucking about in rain and mud. Coffee and sun revived our spirits in Cayucos (thanks for the recommendation Dana) but they were dashed again by a massive downpour on 101 near Pismo Beach, so we decided to find a hotel and hang everything we own hanging out to dry. Most of the stuff that was wet was from the camping fiasco or had been stored in our non-waterproof backpacks. We were very happy to see our rollbags and saddlebags kept their contents nice and dry. Thanks Michnus and All Terrain Gear

The next two nights were spent visiting friends in SoCal as we approach the border and thankfully the rain has let up and we've even seen some sun here and there. Everywhere we go we have been told how it hasn't rained here for over a year, so I guess we just got lucky . We'll take one more day to plan our Baja route then we'll cross over into Mexico tomorrow

(a few more pics here)
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:25 AM   #13
mopulga
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Hell yeah! I have been looking forward to the start of this one!


I am looking forward!!
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:01 PM   #14
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Cool2 Not quite the Baja 1000...

The days leading to our departure from the US were mostly soggy so we comforted ourselves with some pancakes in Solvang and motorcycle porn at the Solvang motorcycle museum.



Everyone we encountered marvelled at how it was the first rain in those parts in over 18 months – of course. After a fun sunset jaunt on Mulholland Drive, we reached Rancho Santa Margarita where the Heys family brought some much needed warmth and sun to our lives. Ryan serenaded us over lunch after a trip to REI for a critical tent upgrade, while boots and gloves were drying out in the sun. Afterwards we headed to Carlsbad to see our good friends Rowan, Erin and Petunia and I was finally united with my Rev’It riding gear that had been shipped there. It was at this point that we realised our time had been completely monopolised by wrapping up our lives and setting up the bikes, and we’d done very little planning for the days ahead. We imposed ourselves on our hosts for 2 extra days so we could wrestle our GPS software into submission and figure out where to aim once we crossed the border at Tecate.

The border crossing was smooth and easy, but still took a couple of hours, so we found ourselves riding the La Rumorosa mountain pass after dark. Our destination for the night was Cañon Guadalupe and so that meant navigating the dirt road in the dark, which would not have presented any problems it it wasn’t for the sand. The sand that would become the bane of my existence for the next week or so. It was a long few hours, but the night sky was spectacular, and the Wolf was mostly patient, so we eventually found the entrance to the hot springs and picked a spot to test out our fancy new tent for the first time.

The next morning Oscar, who owns the land, set us up with our own private campsite, palapa and hot tub fed by the natural hot spring. Imagine a personal paradise, nestled amongst rocks and palm trees, with a perfectly flat, tent-sized piece of ground right next to a natural rock pool filled with water heated by the heart of the earth. There is nothing like a day of waterfalls followed by an evening of soaking in a hot tub in the moonlight to recover from a long night of riding sand.

After a full recovery, we faced the sand and dirt once again to get to San Felipe.


As we arrived we spotted a herd of dirt bikes at a beachfront restaurant and decided to stop for a beer. It turned out the dirt bikes belonged to a bunch of guys from Reno who were on a weeklong tour of Baja. They showered us with advice, recommendations and even donated a AAA map of Baja to our cause. Special thanks for the juice recommendation guys, Gabriel’s jugos were amazing! Armed with our new-to-us map we boldly aimed at Bahia San Luis Gonzaga were we planned to spend the next night. (We felt the recommendation from The Reno crew to ride all the way from San Felipe to San Ignazio was poquito loco!) Some time after the pavement had ended and turned into dirt, which just happens to be part of the Baja 1000 route, we spotted some sparkles in the distance. To our great surprise the sparkles turned out to be the multitude of cans decorating the surrounds of the renowned Coco’s Corner. We had apparently missed Gonzaga entirely.

Coco is an amazing old character who spends his days manning his little cantina where he sells beer and sodas to passing drivers and riders and regales them with stories. Over the years, he’s lost both his legs, but this has not stopped him from running his operation accessible only by dirt roads. Coco gruffly greeted us, and told us in no uncertain terms that we should not ride any further, but stay in one of his trailers. No charge he assured us, we just needed to buy a couple of beers or cokes and that would be that. He asked us if we’d like meat or potatoes and the next thing we knew the Wolf and I were making tacos in Coco’s kitchen as he barked directions at us. 3 Alaskan guys, immediately dubbed “Chupa Cabras”, “Nalga Seca” and “Espanto Pajaro” by Coco, joined the party and we spent the evening around the fire while the Wolf shared pilot stories with Nalga Seca.

The next day was once again a late start after waiting for Coco to get back with some extra gas for us, since we missed the Pemex in Gonzaga… Doh! I cruised along the road from Coco’s to Chapala and began to feel cocky about my off roading skills. This would not last long. After a quick taco in Bahia de Los Angeles we embarked on what I will now refer to as the death ride to Bahia San Rafael, which is the same road as the Baja 200 race.

It might not have been so bad, but since we had to wait on gas in the morning, we once again found ourselves riding by moonlight. Then the gravel began. And the rock gardens. And, of course, more sand. For many miles, there was a 15cm wide path of packed dirt lined with a foot of gravel on either side threatening to swallow the Zebramobile’s front tire at every opportunity and throw him down to the ground. We battled along for 6 hours to cover the 50 miles. Yup, that is embarrassingly less than 10 miles per hour, and probably some kind of record for that stretch of road. The Wolf could have killed that road in 2 hours flat, but he patiently picked up my bike for me the countless times I crashed and coached me through all the obstacles. We finally arrived and Pancho’s beach and threw up our tent. I was beyond grateful we had bought the tent that was easy to erect.

The next day once again called for a recovery day.

Pancho welcomed us with coffee, and proceeded to tell us he would make us some lunch. In his youth Pancho apparently had a penchant for gambling but when his good fortune ended he found himself cooking on fishing boats for a living. 24 years ago he planted himself down on this small slice of paradise, now known as Pancho’s beach and frequented by about 1000 tourists annually. Lunch preparation turned in to a private cooking lesson on how to make flour tortillas, and the cooking lesson turned into a Spanish lesson. Needless to say, the tortillas were amazing and the fish stew was the best thing we’ve eaten on the trip so far. We capped off the day with a nap in Pancho’s palapa on the beach. It was a good thing the day was so perfectly relaxing, because the road to get to Vizcaíno would once again test my resolve and every ounce of skill I do and do not have. 100 miles of sand, punctuated with treacherous rocky mounting passes and steep cliff drop offs, and 14 hours later, I had only crashed twice (Progress!) but I had cried a few fearful tears, a few despondent tears and a few tears of exhaustion. Morale was very low. On our arrival in Vizcaíno we booked ourselves into a nice hotel, showered, fed ourselves and passed out after agreeing to stick to pavement for a little while. Morale had improved a bit by morning.

We set off for Mulege at around 10am and had a very relaxed ride, albeit on sore backsides; one doesn’t recover from 14 hours in the saddle overnight. A lemonade in San Ignacio and an ice-cream in Santa Rosalia later, we found ourselves in the charming town of Mulege, where we are now finally updating the blog and doing some bike maintenance in the courtyard of Hotel Hacienda, shaded by a giant lemon tree and the most impressive magenta bougainvillaea I have ever seen.



More pictures online here
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:02 PM   #15
AdventurePoser
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Originally Posted by wolfandzebra View Post
Howzit Inmates!

We are a South African (Zebra) and a Frenchman (Wolf) who met in California and are now going to ride down to the Southern tip of Argentina.

We both share a great passion for travel and motorcycles, and ever since we met at Thunderhill raceway we've been dreaming of traveling the world on two wheels. This February we're starting with South America on a pair of DR650s. We've been planning for months: working on the bikes, packing up the apartment, figuring out the route and now we are *almost* ready to go.

We'll post updates here every so often, but please feel free to follow our blog or like us on social media too!

blog: http://www.wolfandzebra.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wolfandzebra
instagram: http://instagram.com/wolfandzebra
IN!
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