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Old 08-10-2014, 01:28 PM   #121
Hunter-Douglas OP
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Location: Truckee-Tahoe Int.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
Hunter, Harry's story definatly would freak me out if I was heading south. Trust your instincts.....if an area/person feels wrong...get out of there!

Glad you're doing well! Thanks for the pics
Thanks! I'll be trusting my instincts like none other, but I'll also be remembering how many people have had a great time and been shown great hospitality. I'll also be hitting rosetta stone hard before I go, so at least I'll have some idea when someone's giving me locals advice of "don't be goin down that road..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtykdx View Post
Yeah, this has me hooked as well. I'm a few years older. Staring 30 in the eye, only a month away. Taking my first trip longer than a few days (17) shortly after. Also on BMW 650 single (in husky trim), wanting to see Alaska. I'm already locked into the career and can't see myself being able to take more than 2 weeks at a time unless I get laid off or change companies. Had I realized this could be done back when I was laid off the first time, at the age of 24, I'd have been right there doing the same thing. I can't tell you how jealous I truly am. Not just the riding, the mountain guiding as well. I wanted to do that since back when I was in scouts, but it never worked out. The stories you gain will bring you smiles for years to come. Can't take those away.

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Hope that trip goes well. You got a great bike for it

I feel like your story and mine are both part of a constant conversation between myself, friends and family. We all have chosen different paths and none of really have a clue who's right, because I don't think anyone really is. I used to think there was a chosen path and the key to happiness and it was just a matter finding it, but now I'm not so sure. I know plenty of people who are seasonal floaters making it work, and plenty of people who are 9-5ing it. My pops is one of them, and for the most part he felt it was the right choice and suited him well enough. I'm just more certain now that it won't be for me. I respect everyone who lives whichever path they choose, because I hope (maybe too optimistically) that we have the ability to pull out make a change if what we're doing is making us completely miserable.

As far as finances, I'm sure hoping 1k a month is doable. If not, store the bike, credit card a flight back and figure out life.
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Old 08-14-2014, 02:35 PM   #122
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Source to Sea

So one morning about a month ago I got woken up and told to pack for a four day raft trip. The guy who was going to run it was an older guide taking some time off from his job at Alaskan Airlines, but instead he ended up coming down with pneumonia and bronchitis. That meant on day four I got another ring saying I was doing the whole trip to Cordova. Fine by me.

It started out well enough flying into a tiny strip on Nizina Lake in a loaded 1949 Beaver through 20mph cross winds and a bumpy landing. I meant to tell the clients on the intercom that the strip was bigger than it looked, but ended up saying the opposite. Whoops.
We got on the water and rowed our way around some icebergs. The lake is full of ones you can raft through before heading to the mouth of the river.




We wound our way for four days through the mile high cliffs again and down the canyons of the Nizina River. The weather was off and on and the bears were out in force. The nice thing about Alaska bears is that (for the most part) they are WILD. At least in this part of the state, most of them don't know humans or recognize our gear as a food source. I try to make clients camp away from the kitchen, while I camp near it to keep an eye on things. One morning I woke up to fresh grizzly tracks splitting the ten foot difference between my tent and our kitchen. All the food had been packed away and locked, but even so the tracks just ran straight through camp without any pause. The berries were in full bloom and he didn't give two shits that we were there or what we were doing.

A foggy night in the canyon.


There was some shallow braids getting into camp. My client Don thought getting stuck was a rad time.


Later on we hit the confluence of the Chitina River where the river flow tripled in volume and the land opened to a miles wide valley. The river was a bit more mellow, but the landscape was excellent. We resupplied water from clear snowmelt creeks before they mixed in with the murk. The rivers aren't a great supply as they move incredible amounts of silt (the Copper River is rumored to be the siltiest in NA).


Alaska...


A few more days and we made it down to the town of Chitina and the confluence of the Copper River. Some additional clients drove in for the last week of the trip and I got to clean myself up under some running water for the first time in about 3 months. Chitina is the end of the paved road before hitting the last 61 miles of dirt to McCarthy and qualifies as an interesting place for sure.

The story of McCarthy and the Copper River Northwest rail line is an interesting one. In an extreme nutshell, some prospectors right around 1900 traded some food to the local natives in Chitina the scoop on some local copper deposits. Rumor had it that there were some untouched beauties 60 miles away in the Kennicott Valley. The prospectors traveled over to take a look, saw green stripes in the mountainside and realized they might have hit the jackpot. A wealthy friend of their's by the name of Steven Burch bought the claim in 1901 and began building infrastructure for the mining town of Kennecott, 4.5 miles up glacier from McCarthy. CRNW, a sister company of Kennecott Mining Co, built the 197 mile railroad from Cordova to Kennecott from 1907-1911 at a cost of $23 mil and eight times the original budget. The railroad follows the Copper River from Cordova to Chitina, and then along the Chitina river to Kennecott on what is now the McCarthy road everyone rides in on. The mine closed in 1938, at which point they had netted $100 million in profit and pulled out 600k tons of copper, a lot that being high grade ore that nobody can seem to find today.

The trip down the Copper River from Chitina winds through the Chugach on a massive volume of water, about 10x the size of the Colorado. It rains more and more as you get closer to the coastline, lending way to vibrant green, jagged mountain sides jutting straight up from the water. I got the whole "Land Before Time" feeling a bunch.


The view from a private little beach I found for my tent.


The Copper River is the only major drainage break through the Chugach Mountains. That means sometimes it gets windy as all shit in there, making the idea of pushing a loaded 16 foot raft downstream a real chore. But it also means you see crazy things like sand dunes and glaciers in the same mile.










Eventually, we came across Abercrombie Rapid and Miles Lake. We managed to see four shy grizzlies and some seals going to work on the salmon fishing. The lake itself is surrounded by Miles Glacier to the East and the Childs Glacier to the West. We camped among some Nevada type red rocks left behind by the receding glacier. Just on the other side of the lake is the Million Dollar Bridge. Originally when the railroad came up the valley, every bridge was constructed from wood and destroyed by the ice breakup and rebuilt every year, but they decided the crossing between the two glaciers was worth making permanent.

Red Rocks








I guided a good chunk of the trip with this guy Scott. Check the beard.


After some rain, thunder and lightning, we made it to Cordova. We stuck around for a day, drank some beers and checked out the fishing boats. A ferry ride across to the water to Valdez and we were heading home.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:25 PM   #123
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Never a dull moment in the town I'm working in...
http://www.adn.com/article/20140824/...owed-lodge-gun
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:10 PM   #124
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It's getting cold, the rivers are dropping and the lights are starting to come out. Last week we ran our first scout trip of the Tana River. Video at the bottom...







TanaTrip from Hunter Petersen on Vimeo.

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Old 08-30-2014, 05:20 AM   #125
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I had to read this thread the moment I spotted the title:
A Fool's Progress.

How could I not when it carried the title of one of my favorite novels by one of my favorite author's, Edward Abbey.

I wonder how many caught that.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:15 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OGOBRacing View Post
I had to read this thread the moment I spotted the title:
A Fool's Progress.

How could I not when it carried the title of one of my favorite novels by one of my favorite author's, Edward Abbey.

I wonder how many caught that.
One of my favorite reads too... probably because the theme of wandering around not sure where you're getting to in life seems relatable?

I also spent a lot of time in Utah and the southwest and was lucky enough to spend some time on the river with who I'm pretty sure is the actual Seldom Seen Smith. Had to find a suitable title somehow
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:34 PM   #127
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On the road again... for a bit at least. Currently in Whitehorse getting rained a nice little bit, looking at another 3-4 days to get down to Seattle. Not really taking the scenic route or my time as it's starting to get a little cold up here. I would have taken the ferry down, but apparently they seem to think bikes take the same space as cars and wanted $820 for the ticket south. Yeah... no. Ride on. Though maybe I should shut the hell up, I passed some more pedalnecks today touring near the AK/YT border. Admirable.

Anyway, some photos from the ride out and the end of the season in McCarthy...

Right at the end of the season I got pretty hooked on this interesting sport called pack rafting. They're kind of like 7lb inflatable kayaks that you can run a good deal of whitewater with but can still roll up in your pack for a long haul. They're pretty popular in AK because the whole place has endless possibilities for awesome rivers that are only accessible by a long, long hike in. I bought a pack raft a few weeks ago in Anchorage and gave it a try on our local McCarthy Creek run with a coworker. To start, you bushwhack up and over Bonanza ridge, about 3k gain, and down a rock glacier on the other side. From there, you put in for a 10 mile run that drops about 1100 feet of class 3/4 creek back to town.

The view back to town heading up the ridge. Kennecott/ McCarthy below, the Chugach range in the distance.


Blueberries for sustenance on the way up


National Creek Pass


Descending the rock glacier on the other side, McCarthy Creek visible in the distance




Camped out for the night. Paddles and a rainfly were a decent shelter.


After blowing up the boats and draining a quick beer for courage, I turned around to see this guy sneaking his away across the creek about 20 yard upstream of us.


Lot's of color along the creek heading down




More color on the way out of town and along McCarthy Road




After cranking up to Tok cutoff and across the border, I found my old campsite from May next to a random lake in the Yukon.

in May...


And now...


Onward. South.
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Old 09-22-2014, 09:24 AM   #128
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Beautiful photos H-D. Safe travels. Looking forward to more updates.

Tahoe
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Old 09-24-2014, 08:01 PM   #129
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Awesome pics, Hunter
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:13 PM   #130
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Hey guys, thanks to all who followed along on this trip. Sorry for not having any updates thrown in here recently. Plan changes and general life diversions have all seemed to run their course recently, but I still have a part of this journey to tell.

A quick recap, I ran into some troubles on my way down from Alaska this past September and ended up blowing a chain in BC (shitty renthal masterlinks ). Luckily, the bike stayed upright with damage only to the swingarm and I was able to limp to Seattle with little difficulty. A retrieval flight for the pickup later and I was ferrying her down to SF in the bed of my truck. After finding a new swingarm from an 03 dakar, the ride was looking like new and I managed a pretty awesome month of riding with some friends through Mexico for the month of November. A writeup is the works, but here's a quick peek:





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Old 04-15-2015, 06:15 PM   #131
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Getting my mexico photos toegther, but in the meantime, this is something I wrote before I left for Mexico after some friends at a wedding asked me about the highs and lows of traveling on the moto.

http://www.hpimages.com/blog/commitmenttoinstability
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:52 AM   #132
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Great to see you are still riding around, and as you know not much of a winter this year here in Truckee...

Mark
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Old 04-16-2015, 10:31 PM   #133
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September, 2014- Alaska to Seattle

After crossing the border into Yukon Territory, I was ready to gun it south as the cold weather was closing in. It rained a bunch the first day from the border all the way to Whitehorse, and I realized how valuable gaiters would be for riding. Unfortunately I had shipped mine back to the states with my other climbing gear and the water was pooling in my boots. I remember silently cursing all the rv'ers in their dry cabins as I motored on. Instead of taking the slow road, I was cruising on through at a good clip to try and get to my friends in Seattle. I wondered whether the ferry would have been worth the $800 price tag, but luckily the skies turned and some fall color shone through on the Cassier.



What was supposed to be my last day in Canada proved itself to be an exciting one. With about 500 miles left, I committed to cranking out the mileage and getting to the border. Days of that distance on the 650 are not fun at all, but it was getting cold and there's something less appealing about retracing your route, especially when it really starts to straighten out. But the day had other plans for me.

I was overtaking a rig just south of Prince George when the bike suddenly redlined and lost all power to the wheel. I hit the brakes, fell back in behind the big wheel and pulled over to the shoulder not knowing what to expect. When I looked down, sure enough my chain was snapped in half at the master link and dragging on the ground. Even in that moment, I knew I had captured some incredible luck. Instead of wrapping itself around the countershaft sprocket or whacking the crank case, the two ends had wrapped themselves up between the rear sprocket and swing arm. Better yet, even though the chain was forced between those two, it let the wheel spin and ground away at the metal on either side as the bike slowed instead of locking everything up. After all the nightmare scenarios I could picture involving a snapped chain at 80mph, this was pretty much the best things could be. The swingarm, chain and sprocket would all need to be replaced but nothing more.

I hid some valuables in the brush and hiked to the other side of the road to hitch a ride back to PG. I soon got picked up by a nice guy who was a moto rider and the owner of a pilot car service. We shared some stories while he drove me the 40 miles back to town and dropped me off at the Yamaha shop. They cut a new chain for me and I walked back out to the highway to try my luck at hitching back to the bike. Apparently, without a broken down moto next to me to explain my 6'4 dirty appearance, I had something like a fat DO NOT GIVE THIS MAN A RIDE sign over my head. 4 hours went by, even with a cardboard sign in hand saying "Broken down motorcycle" in huge letters. Finally, near dusk, one of the gas station attendants across the street took pity and came out to give me a ride. I might have been stuck there overnight if he hadn't, or been hiking for about 12 hours to get back. I pulled out my spare sprocket from my boxes and set to work pounding everything back in. It was tedious at best, as the chain had wedge in front of the axle and pushed out, forcing the swingarm to change shape. It was still the same width at the rear axle, but now wider in front and consequently narrower behind by a chunk of mm's. This meant I was having to pry the swingarm apart to make room for the entire wheel setup to slide into place. I ended up pulling the pads out of the brake to make room for the odd angles I was having to use. Two hours later, after using some makeshift wedges on the back of the swingarm, I just barely managed to get everything back in.

Downtown PG. People were having NONE of it.


The damaged swingarm: notice the bowing in the right side?


Back in business. Hopefully that will be the first and last time I spend 2 hours putting a wheel on


I rode slowly with the new chain and the bike seemed to be doing ok. I managed to cross the border the next night and find my friends. After enjoying the odd feeling of being in a big city after living in a bush town of 50 people all summer, I flew home to grab my Tacoma and come get the bike. I didn't really feel like risking an extra 850 miles on the setup and the truck ferry seemed the way to go. On the way home I found out some friends had been planning a 5 day river trip on the San Juan in Southern Utah, so the bike would have to wait in airport parking a few extra days

If you ever get a chance to get on a river in any part of Utah, DO IT! You will not regret it...








After the drive back from Utah to SF, I said hi real quick to the family again and drove up I5 with the cruise set on my tacoma, pointed it straight north and waited for the space needle to pop up on the horizon. I fished the bike out of the parking garage and made an impromptu loading zone out of a steep grassy knoll and my tailgate. Point truck south- repeat.

I had asked a few dealers to source me the cost of a new swingarm. Every answer I heard was in the range of 1k. There had to be a better way! Luckily the nice guys in the sertao forum here on the site confirmed that the part from the older Dakar's was the same specs. AN ebay search turned up what I needed for less than 200 bucks, and just like I hoped, it bolted right on.

The Black Sheep was alive...


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Old 04-16-2015, 10:33 PM   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moto One View Post
Great to see you are still riding around, and as you know not much of a winter this year here in Truckee...

Mark
Hey Mark, there's gotta be a positive in every negative! Sure seems like the Tahoe riding season was about 11/12 months this past year
Thanks for following.
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Old 04-17-2015, 12:23 AM   #135
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Mexico

This is what everything had been leading up to for me.
Mexico.

To be honest, after returning back from the ride North my foreign countries visited tallied a grand total of 2. They were Canada (just prior) and a quick trip to Australia when I was in my teens. I'd never been outside an English speaking country, and definitely never anywhere outside of the first world. Telling my family I was riding into Mexico caused a fair bit of concern. Reading reports on this site and other people's accounts of their travels south of the border made me feel pretty safe about heading down there, but family will worry and that's only compounded by reading the news stories. Luckily, one of my friends/ coworkers Scott and his girlfriend Ali wanted to do a ride for a month through the country, so I wouldn't have to go alone. They had just picked up a used 1200gs with 100k on the clock out in Iowa. I planned to ride through the southwest and meet up with them at the border crossing in Laredo.

The 8+ year old 1200 my friends would ride:


I bought some new Mifo tires to start the ride off and headed south down I5. I managed to see a few old friends spread out between the Central Valley and Arizona and spent some time in between camping out in the desert. Partway into the Mojave area I felt the rear end of the bike suddenly go wandering. It turned out I had a neat little puncture and set about doing the tube switcharoo. I figured that's what I got for caving into laziness and paying the shop to mount the new treads just before I left :(


There's a lot of space to get off the road out here.


Somewhere in NM on i10 this happened!


A few 500 mile days with the head down to the gas tank later, I met up with Scott and Ali at their campsite in Laredo, TX. We drank some cheap beer and talked about how all our families had warned us that terrible things would happen to us down south. Some of my relatives are retired teachers from LA and have spent a good amount of time dealing with gangs and the culture there. It doesn't help when people FROM Mexico tell them that they wouldn't go back themselves when our families mentioned we were riding motos down there. I fielded a few calls from worried relatives warning me not to go the last few days, and what could I say? Sorry, but we're going anyway and I'm fairly sure we'll be alright and, well hopefully... we'll be safe.

We spent one day in Laredo getting insurance and all our documents in order before retiring to our last night in the states.


The next morning, it was go time. Scott had a bunch of maps loaded on his phone, so he and Ali would ride out front for most of the trip. Initally we tried to cross at the commercial border and got turned around. After finding the right one, we made sure we had all our documents in order to show on entry, ready to have Ali (our translator) explain any suspicious discrepancies in paperwork and got ready for the big experience...
...only to roll through without hitting under 10mph.

I couldn't believe it. We drove on, and just like that everything was different. Cars, houses, colors, people, trash, narrow streets, hidden stop signs. Everyone had warned us to make sure we put some distance between us and the border before stopping, but already it seemed as if we had gotten turned around. After a few phone checks, we managed to find the immigration center nowhere near the border and down some random back roads. We went inside and paid the pretty cheap visa fee and temporary vehicle import. I think I put down about 400 and would get back about 350 upon proof of exit, good for six months.

When we were squared away, we hopped on the road south towards the large city of Monterrey. Our first stop was a pretty well known climbing spot called Portrero Chico, not far outside the city. I stared at the road signs as we went and tried to make sense of them. I had some years of Spanish back in high school, but none of it really seemed to come back to memory. After a bit, our first federali sighting passed us up. A truck with a mounted automatic in the bed flew out of the field next to the highway and gunned it in the opposite direction. We quickly learned, no worries... this is normal.

Standard policia armored setup-


We filled up at one of Mexico's nationalized gas station's (pemEx) and made it to Sabina Hidalgo, the base camp town for the valley of Portrero. The climbing there revolves around a series of beautiful limestone walls, some right about the height of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. The afternoon light was creating some wild effects in the dust drifitng over from Monterrey when we rolled in.


We made it! Celebration for just 40 pesos per 1.2L


We would spend the next week and a half climbing here. Our base camp was a popular climbers campground called La Posada. Pitching a tent was just $5 a night, and they served beer and food, had a functioning kitchen, a pool and a pretty happening atmosphere. People from the US, Alaska, Europe and other parts of South America were all there to climb. After getting some time on the rock there over the next 10 days, I could definitely see why so many people were there.

The climbing actually is on either side of a canyon behind an old, possibly abandoned community pool resort. There's a one lane road leading up at the edge of town into the canyon, barely a half mile from our campsite to the walls. One of the bonuses of climbing in Portrero is Jose's gear shack and margarita stand, parked right at the bottom of cliffs. He whips up a killer drink that'll put you on the ground for 40 pesos, which is pretty awesome seeming how it's a 30 second walk away after you finish your last climb.


La Posada


The road into the canyon


Horses...


Rock climbing is fun when you're choosing lines between vegetation growing straight out of the limestone.


DOGS!




My favorite day there might have been Sunday. I had teamed up with Scott to do a reasonably moderate, 1200' climb called La Estrallita. We got an early start and were a good chunk of the way up the wall when we noticed all the cars rolling into the canyon below. Apparently, it's Sunday Funday in town and all the locals would roll up into the canyon to watch the climbers, drink beer and blast competing mariachi music. It was pretty funny to see from up high, even with having a hard time communicating with Scott over the music and the shouts below. I'm pretty sure there were horses thrown in there too...

Post climb celebration marg with Estralitta wall behind us.


The Sunday local's party


There were about 8 dogs in this van. They belong to Magic Ed, an old American Expat who wrote the climbing guidebook here.


More Mexican wildlife... Stickbug!


Plenty of local strays to keep us occupied while we climbed.




After having such a great week, I was surprised I hadn't seen even more people showing up at La Posada. Busy season was just getting underway and this was a world famous climbing spot. Someone mentioned "the incident" the year before might be keeping people away. I had no idea what they were talking about. It turns out I missed the news where 18 bodies had been dumped in the same canyon 12 months prior after a band playing in town had been kidnapped. After feeling so comfortable and staying in one place, it was a good reminder to get our heads straight before we started the ride through central Mexico to the west coast. We got some good advice from some locals regarding roads choices and sight seeing and packed up.

Our last stop in town before heading West was a cafe in town called El Buho. It's run by a few Americans that are using the profits to build a new schoolhouse right in town. Education is a pretty bleak prospect there, and a lot of kids end up with the cartels as an alternative after 8th grade. Unfortunately, choosing what looks like the more stable option doesn't usually end up well, and a lot of the kids in town are used as temporary drug mules when they're just 14-15 years old. Instead of getting paid afterwards, a lot of the kids are killed or forced into unpaid labor for the cartel. An awesome group of people linked to the cafe have an organization based out of Monterrey that brings kids up into Portrero and teaches them to climb and really get a chance to enjoy the outdoors in a new way, while also running a climbing gym and mentoring center back in the city. You can check out the rad stuff they're doing here: http://escalandofronteras.org/

More coming...

Edit- How could I leave out this gem? The first and last time I'll be piloting three up and in chacos.
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