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Lost Rider 01-28-2009 01:03 PM

A Roadie in Motion

Here's my story, I figure this is a good enough time to start... right in the middle.
In the last 3 weeks I've traveled thousands of miles, lost on trail going in and out of Mexico, been busted by the US Border Patrol, handed over the Texas sheriffs, stranded with a flat tire in Arizona, partied so hard I puked in L.A., rode on miles of ice in freezing fog crossing the Cascades in Oregon, and now find myself in a truck with some new friends with ADV stickers that say they can ride, on our way to Death Valley where I'll continue on after a few days.
Please join me on this journey!

I've been on the road since June working in a different city working everyday on tour with a few bands. When the touring ended I needed to RIDE so I had arranged (with a little help from another inmate) for my bike to be where the tour ended, in Austin on January 4th. So I went from tour bus to my 12R , without even thinking I should go home, of course. It a wee bit cold in Chicago...

I wandered my way towards Del Rio after a few days in the foothills doing what you do in Texas, ride, drink and shoot ( not at the same time):wink: then wandered towards Big Bend.

The night I spend camping outside BB I camped next to these 5 German guys who had their Vespa 200's shipped to Miami and were riding to San Fransisco... The cool thing was 3 of them were bike mechanics, and all of the guys had sweet bikes at home, HP2's, GS's, Ducati's etc... They though it would be cool to traverse the US by scooter, and I think they were right. The group was inspiring with the little bikes and tiny amount of gear they has, and was glad to have dinner with them and hang out, listening to their stories.

After riding through BB, I cut down to Santa Elena Canyon. It was chilly at night and mid 50's during the day, perfect IMO cause it kept the masses out - no RV's with empty campgrounds so far. :clap

I rode down hwy 170 then north through Marfa on 67, camping in Fort Davis.

I had been eating very well, picking up local fresh meat along the way.

I just love photo's of my bike so deal with it!

The next day.

Here's where thing got a little more interesting, or when things started to go wrong - depending how you look at it... :evil

This was the turning point, after riding through Hot Springs, I had the genius idea that I could follow the "roads" on the map along the Rio Grande for 100 miles or so and cut over to 90... I had 3/4 of a tank of gas and was over confident I could ride my heavily loaded Roadster where I want... :ear

Here is where the road went through the Rio Grande into Mexico... according to the sign it was 4.5 feet deep, about 2.5 too deep for me to cross... I set the GPS to avoid the river and let it take me on my way. Mistake number 1.

The first of what would be a big problem- locked gates.

This was fucked up... I was too far to turn back now, and when I came to this the road just dropped off to nothing, couldn't see where it went so I stopped to scout ahead.


Hating to turn around, and just being a dumbass I went for it. Scary... I had to turn off the bike to turn off the ABS and it still just slid down the hill with both wheels locked up.
Halfway down with my front wheel against a softball sized rock I stopped to take this photo.

I made it down, not really feeling triumphant, more of a sinking feeling, knowing that now there was NO going back...
More gates.

That would be Mexico

I had now been on my way for hours with a variety of shitty (or great) roads with a few more rough/steep obstacles. Good fun, lots of work on my road bike. It was about 50 but I was hot with my jacket open coxing my heavy bike down the road.

Another locked gate, but this time there was no turning around. on the right side, the I was able to twist off the wire, squeeze through, and put it back on.
I was getting worried about getting out of here.

Later to find out, this tunnel was carved out by hand with hammers by Chinese immigrants in the 1800's for railway that was never built.

After the tunnel I rode for an hour or so when I cam up to a big steel locked gate. It was late and going to be dark soon, as exciting as it was I didn't want to camp on some rancher's land, this close to the Mexican border alone.
I had no choice but to ride about 100 yards down the fence to find a place to cut it. 15 more miles and I'm close to 90 and was feeling bad about cutting the fence, I understand why it's wrong to do that to a ranches property. Cutting a fence or sending out a HELP call on the SPOT I figured I chose the less of 2 evils for my stupidity.
I thought I was in the clear until I saw the US Border Patrol. I was flagged down and stopped. They were polite, but suspicious of how on earth I was riding down the road from that direction. They asked to search my bike... I had things I didn't want to involve so I said sure, and quickly open my top case with DSLR with a big lens with some other camera and camping/cooking stuff. I then quickly opened my right side bag and pulled out some more lenses and clothes.
One guy was convinced of my story of being a adventure magazine journalist/photographer from Chicago who got lost and was just trying to get back to pavement, and was now more interested in my story. They were amazed at the route I had taken after I show them on the atlas, but the one guy kept asking how I got here through the locked gates. Did you cut a fence? he kept asking. I wasn't going to admit to anything. I watch Law and Order enough... :lol3 I also wasn't lieing right to them in a disrespectful way, I just would admit to anything. They knew, I knew they knew, and they knew I knew they knew.
Eventually they let me go.
Wow. I wanted some excitement but jeeze.
I take off and 5 miles down the road I look down in horror to see my ride side pannier OPEN with most of the stuff gone! Tent poles, food, Gerbings jacket, dirty clothes, shoes. You know, the side where everything is loose of course.
In the stressful controlled search I musn't have closed it tight. Shit. What a rooky move. If it wasn't for the tent poles and Gerbings I would have kept going. There was 2 US border trucks, and one had went down the way I came, one was coming towards me. Of course it was the guy who was more pushy.
I turned around and started to collect my stuff as I went, finally stopping to get the poles and jacket from the nice agent. I thanked him in embarrassment and set out. He was now following me, and pulled me over about 8 miles down the road.
The first thing he said when walking up was " you know an border agents able to track anything, and it is admissible in court as hard evidence".
He said the other agent had tracked me going down the fence and found it cut. I still would not admit to anything and he was being cool, he kept saying the other guy was bored he would do the same thing etc. He told me the Sheriff was on his way to deal with it. We had a good twenty minutes that we were really just BS'ing about my ride, or the tours that I do. Right before the Sheriff came he told me to add in that you were out of water ( which I was ) and were scared for your life.
Sheriff came, put me in handcuffs. Went to go to the bike, asked if I had weapons or drugs. No sir. At that time the Agent told him I was searched, and was a legit photographer... no search. :wink:
It had happened in a different county from where we were, so we spent an hour there while the Sheriff was talking to the prosecutor, a judge, and the other counties Sheriff. Finally I was released and giving a citation for criminal trespass and I had to call in to sort it out.
By this time there was 4 Border patrol trucks, and 3 Sheriff's cars. Not much excitement around there they said.
They let me take this shot, making sure no plate was it in.

As we just went through Bakersfield I've been told I will loose cell/data soon, so I'm going to have to take a pause until I get better service. You can track me via SPOT live, the link is on my site.

BTW, about the trailer picture, Dino who driving comfortably says "it's a shitty ride and I got nothin' to prove"



El Solo Lobo 01-28-2009 01:16 PM

Two things
Two things:
(1) No TSO sticker on the sidecase? :D
(2) Dude, haven't you read or seen "No Country For Old Men"???? I thought for sure your tale was headed towards something similar to the beginning of that story. :lol3

Sounds like an interesting ride. Thanks for sharing!

tkfisher 01-28-2009 01:26 PM

What a start!:clap
Looking forward to more

motorradrudi 01-28-2009 01:30 PM

Wonderful pics - looking for more!

Best greatings from Germany

AUS CRUZER 01-28-2009 01:32 PM

Mate your photos rock.:clap Bring it on,just put some knobbies on that thing thou will ya:lol3

spenserj87 01-28-2009 02:40 PM

Joe, nice to see you made it on your way - the bike looks good on the trailer. I look forward to hearing a full operator report in the desert.


GB 01-28-2009 03:01 PM

You certainly don't make it easy on yourself! Great ride, report and pics! Thanks for posting :thumb

GSA Ghost 01-28-2009 03:01 PM


Jamie 01-28-2009 04:24 PM

Keep 'em coming!:lurk

Two Hawks 01-28-2009 04:37 PM

That's a crazy steep ass road for that big bike, you either have balls of steel or adventure overrules sanity. Nice pictures to go with an awesome story. Oh how hard could it be to track a 500 pound plus bike. Spot tracking is nice to have when traveling into the unknown, kudos on "No Country For Old Men".
Keep safe, T..........

Lost Rider 01-29-2009 09:00 PM

We had an amazing day in Death Valley, everything we could want in an ADV ride, a flat tire, a couple crashed bikes, visited Charie Mansons cabin, beautiful weather, and video of this crazy guy Kevin (he's metrosexual) :evil launching his new custom Ducati dirt bike. :clap

What a day!

<object height="300" width="400">

<embed src=" w_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&ful lscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="300" width="400"></object>
Death Valley from ChiTown on Vimeo.

Sorry, I'm out of batteries, and losing the wifi. I will continue my story asap.

OU812 01-30-2009 03:32 AM

Nice report and pics Joe.Thanks!:D
You aint missun nuthin here in Chitown.:cry:lol3

dEAdEyE 01-30-2009 04:17 AM

Great to see these guys on their "dirt bikes"(Duc).Nice shot of the old cowboy.It amazes me to see where you guys take your street bikes.

ka5ysy 01-30-2009 06:03 AM

Joe... you need a small inverter to keep the computer going, or get one of the new Mac Pro 17" computers with the real 8 hour battery !

JayElDee 01-30-2009 06:51 PM


the night shot of the sky. Did you just trial and error that with aperture priority? Did you process it after with Lightroom or aperture or ?

It looks really good. Did you color correct the sky to blue? Time exposure on film shows the sky a very dark green

stay safe


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