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Old 08-21-2014, 07:01 PM   #1
SpeedySlippers OP
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Wicked LetsGoMoto: two photographers, two GSAs and a shit ton of tacos. LA to South America.



Somewhere around two months ago, the seedling of an idea was hatched.


"What if we just rode there instead?"

"Hahah, yea that would be awesome, but could you actually take that much time off?"

"I mean, probably... why not?"

"Well then... porque no!?"

"Wait, seriously?"

"Yea, lets do it."



Eli & Gus

-

It started just like any other "somewhat ridiculous, probably won't happen but fun to talk about" pipe dream. The kind of thing you talk about over beers with friends until they get tired of it, and with time the obsession fades away. Only for us, time didn't fade anything, and that short dialogue was all it took to cement our plans for the remainder of the year in stone. Two months later, I would be writing this back-dated post under the shade of a palapa somewhere on the coast of the Baja Peninsula.

Despite having grown up in the same small mountain town in Colorado, Gus and I didn't meet until we ended up at the same Art School in Santa Barbara. We had both worked for our local newspaper prior to leaving town - that is to say - when Gus quit, I took his old job, and then without knowing it, applied to the same college. Seven years later, we've somehow managed not to kill each other, and despite living 16 hours apart (LA / PDX) we still seem to find excuses to drink bourbon in excess and plan crazy adventures.


It was a tasting, I swear -Gus

The initial plan was to zig-zag our way through Central America, generally pointed South, until our motorcycles, ideally with both of us in tow, rolled into Panama. We would drink beers and eat tacos, ride sections of the Baja 1000, and work to improve our Spanglish skills. As you might expect though, our plans evolved as our departure approached, and we've now set our sights on the Southern most tip of South America, Patagonia.

We'll be taking the month of August and part of September to make our way to Panama, and then will be taking a brief intermission for some work back in the states. Prime riding season in Patagonia gets going around February, but that is about as close as we'll get to locking down any strict schedule.



Looking forward to bringing ya'll along for the ride.

Eli & Gus
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:29 PM   #2
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:32 PM   #3
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Sounds awesome, all the best for a safe and unforgettable journey!




Cheers,

.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:40 PM   #4
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In! Where in Colorado are you from, btw?
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:34 AM   #5
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In! Where in Colorado are you from, btw?
Hey, Gus Here. We are both from Durango. It's an awesome little mountain town in the southwest corner of the state.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:10 AM   #6
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Wicked The 4K Shakedown

The trip was planned, but with the departure date set, there remained only one problem – I had two months I needed to kill while Gus finished shooting his already booked gigs. I was already in need of a bike shakedown for the trip - the preverbal "get to know your machine" ride, and it just so happened that I was also in need of a mental shakedown.

Knowing that I needed to get to Santa Fe to visit my ninety-five year old grandfather before the trip commenced, I decided I would make my way there over the course of the month by motorcycle. It's a trip I was well familiar with having previously covered similar tracks over a 72 day period sleeping atop "Clifford," a 1972 FJ40 Landcruiser that I restored a while back.


"Clifford"

I spend the majority of the month free camping in BLM land and national parks. It's amazing how quickly you can discover and lock down a system for living outdoors when you're by yourself. Totally free. The only limitation being myself, since in all honesty it will be quite some time before my bike is the limiting factor.

I spent my inaugural night in Eastern Oregon, following a logging road off of the freeway until the fading light encouraged me to find a spot to set up camp for the night. The trees were thick, the grass green, and the air was full of all of the sounds you'd expect from an unadulterated, and unofficial camp site.

With the first night in the bag, I continued onward, crossing through Idaho, with my sights set on Jackson Wyoming. My last brush with Jackson was unfortunately brief, and I was eagerly awaiting some fly fishing and Teton laden camping. I'll let the pictures do the talking, but needless to say, Jackson doesn't suck.


Mmmmm, Chilimac wins every award.

After three days of camping, fishing, and working from my outdoor standing office, I parted ways with Jackson and pointed my bike towards Zion National Park. The the following night, I would be making my own trail, and setting up camp overlooking Zion Valley in what was to be one of the most inspiring camp sites I've ever set. It was one of those nights where you have so many thoughts your pen simply can't keep up. I'll never forget that place.


Dude, your screen is an abomination, clean that shit. -Gus



The next morning I sped my way through Zion, with Durango Colorado, my hometown, as the next waypoint. Two blurry nights later, I left Durango, making my way to Santa Fe for the weekend with my Grandparents. I stayed in Santa Fe over the weekend, listening to stories about my Grandfathers time as Assistant Secretary of Defense, about designing the worlds largest war ship, and hearing his favorite poems by day, and drinking champagne with my Grandmother by night.

After two relaxing days enjoyed with them in Santa Fe, I said my goodbyes and made the long day trek to meet Gus in Los Angeles. From here on out, our bikes would be riding tandem. After a day of rest in LA, we headed north towards Santa Rosa to meet his dad and spend the weekend kayaking the North Fork of the American River. This was also going to be a good opportunity for Gus to log his first dirt tracks on the GS, as we had planned to free camp for the night overlooking Big Sur. Within 12 hours, Gus's ankle would be broken, and we would instead find ourselves in the crowded, noisy, and official Big Sur campgrounds.

The photo and video sum it all up nicely, but needless to say, Gus was in need of some serious R&R if we were to leave for Panama on time.




Holy cankles, Batman! The aftermath of my inaugural off-road experience on this bike. Needless to say, steep switchback roads on street tires is probably not the best way to cut your teeth with a 650lb. motorcycle. -Gus


With a first trip under our belts, we had a better idea of what tweaks needed to be made to our gear and bikes prior to the big trip.

I still had a month to spare upon return to LA, so on the recommendation of a friend, I went to Colombia. After booking a one way ticket to Cartagena, and packing a small day bag, I was off to the airport – bye Gus, see ya in a month!

Cartagena was hot. Really hot. Oh, and it was also, hot. There was never a need to shower there, because you were constantly taking one. Colombia was awesome, but that's another story, so I'll simply sum it up with a few photos, and we'll get on to the real adventure.


View from my temporary office in Medellín.

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Old 08-22-2014, 07:30 AM   #7
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Getting Dressed

No adventure prep would be complete without over analyzing and over spending on getting outfitted. And boy did we check that box. Twice. New tires, metal plating to protect the unprotected under bits, crash guards, tools, emergency satellite beacons.... the list goes on. Needless to say, our hands, and pocketbooks are happy we're finally on the road.






Any studio photographers out there should appreciate this perfectly sized bike jack. -Gus




Our new tires may have won the battle but we won the war.


Mmm, stripes. If you haven't tried them, Mitas E07s are the shiz. -Gus


so knobby


so sexy

The night before our departure was one filled with unexpected last minute "fixes." Not a huge surprise here, but regardless, losing your Drivers License on the 405 freeway the night before an international trip with 16 border crossings certainly warrants some late night (read: traffic-less) flashlight search and rescue from the side of the road. After striking out repeatedly, it was decided that I would get a temporary California license from the DMV since I happened to have my old expired California ID with me as a backup for the Oregon ID. I guess I just became a CA resident again...

Gus spent most of the night trying to get his work computer backed up onto a mobile hard drive so he could work a bit from the road, and I made sure we had enough Spotify playlists set for "Offline Mode" so we wouldn't require data to listen to tunes.

Sometime around 3a, we were ready to leave. Adios Los Angeles, it's been real.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:59 AM   #8
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Vamos A Mexico!

We hit the road around 10:30. San Diego was upon us in a flash, and the US/Mexico border soon thereafter. After a quick and humorous chat with the head Aduana, we paid our visa fees, received our stamps, and fist bumped our way out of there.

I think if either of us were to sit down and brainstorm the most memorable portion of our drive from Tijuana to our camp spot just South of Ensenada, it would be, with little brainstorming required, the medley of smells that we encountered. Seriously though, every few minutes we'd hit an invisible smell barrier, transporting us from the classic "urban trash chic" smell, to the "four days expired fish" smell, and then finally to "pacific ocean with a hint of diesel, thank god we're out of the city" smell.


It's like a whole other country here.

With the Pacific Ocean sprawled out to our right, we made our way to Ensenada. Upon arrival, Gus somehow managed to spot the only Vegan restaurant in all of Mexico (or at least, I hope), and made a strong case for us stopping there, seeing as the rest of our trip was supposed to deliver delicious street food, riddled with marinated meats, and fresh cheeses. We both left full, and hopefully a bit wiser. My juice there was delicious... (you know, find the silver lining in things, right?).

Whatever, you liked it. -Gus

We ended up driving to the town of La Bufadora, a small town punctuating the tip of a peninsula just south of Ensenada.



After roaming around a bit, we found a camp site overlooking the Pacific, and set up shop.


Who needs tent stakes when there is a giant stack of cinder blocks nearby? Thank God, that ground was like rock and the wind was cray.


Fish farms? They looked like something from the X-Files.


The view didn't suck.

Night drew upon us quickly, and before we knew it the stars were out in full force, and the fishing boats below became still aside from the occasional sputter of a diesel engine coming back to life.

We woke up to a cool costal breeze, and the sounds of two ancient fishermen climbing out of their 80's panel van. After a brief exchange, we learned the fishing below was quite good, and the variety of fish, quite diverse. Mmm, where are our fish tacos?

ADV clothesline

After realizing the fish tacos weren't going to materialize if we continued to procrastinate tearing down camp, we got to it and high tailed it into "town." This particular fishing town consisted of a series house-taraunts, where the cooks/owners lived in back, hustling delicious tamales, tacos, y mas out front. We pulled over and found ourselves with some legit breakfast tamales, huevos and salsa.




Our new homie Gael, he owns the place.


Gael is a man of few words. In fact only one- "motos".. Good man.

With our full stomachs, and caffeinated minds we once again pointed our bikes South, and made tracks towards Southern Baja.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:02 AM   #9
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:35 AM   #10
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:20 AM   #11
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Just curious...

where r u guys right now? Couldn't really tell from your RR. Maybe we'll bump in to you on our way South.

Ride safe and enjoy!

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Old 08-23-2014, 08:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by crazycruiser View Post
where r u guys right now? Couldn't really tell from your RR. Maybe we'll bump in to you on our way South.

Ride safe and enjoy!

Crazycruiser
Hey! Yeah, the posts are a few days behind us, we have a spot tracking page on our website though. We are in Guanajuato about to head to San Miguel de Allende for a day or two and then probably 4 or 5 days bouncing around Oaxaca. You?
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by tzabcan View Post
Hey! Yeah, the posts are a few days behind us, we have a spot tracking page on our website though. We are in Guanajuato about to head to San Miguel de Allende for a day or two and then probably 4 or 5 days bouncing around Oaxaca. You?
I was in Guanajuato recently on business, actually the city of Celaya. Spent one day in San Miguel as well. Beautiful place, I would love to get back there for a longer visit.
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:07 AM   #14
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Excerpts from Northern Baja

In Baja, remnants of various Baja 1000 tracks are everywhere.

Dirt "roads" parallel, cross, or otherwise shoot off of the main road in haphazard ways, sprawling out into the desert and quickly disappearing from sight.


It's bikes like this one that tear through the Baja every year in search of Baja 1000 fame.

The first flat tire of our trip was the result of my childish lack of self control, mashed up with the secret desire to someday race the infamous desert track. Somewhere outside of San Quintin I jumped off the main road, sights set on a nice single track line, and leaned into the throttle. The very-much-larger, and very-much-heavier-than-a-dirt bike engine roared to life, and before I knew it, we – the bike and I – were flying over dry-packed mud, rocks, and sand. After a few minutes of play time, I hopped the bike back down to the main road and set my sights on catching up with Gus. My bike, "Juan," wasn't down with that plan. The gauge panel came to life with a fit of color that would have surely sent an epileptic straight into siezure.

Rear PSI: 33
Rear PSI: 24
Rear PSI: 18
Rear PSI: 8





Yay! Our first flat tire! It can only get easier from here.


The very dramatic location of Eli's first flat tire. I wonder if they speak English? -Gus


The night before, we had stayed at a little hotel called "Don Eddies" where we were able to catch a break from the heat, thanks to the breeze from the bay nearby. Either an atomic bomb went off or the weather in Baja es muy loco. The cloud below went crazy later that night with an intense lightning storm inside of itself. Never seen anything like that before.


Boom?

The next morning we met a "local" retiree, Dennis, who talked our ears off every time we ran into him. Upon our departure he gave us a map to his other house near Loreto and the task of contacting his maintenance man who we were supposed to call upon our arrival and inform him that he had recently deposited $1300 into his account and that he should attempt to contact Dennis at Don Eddies. Sorry Dennis, we don't have a phone either. After leaving about an hour later than anticipated on account of Dennis's lengthy but nonetheless humorous stories we hit the road and tried to make up some time.


The further South we got, the prettier the landscapes seemed to get. Thankfully, Gus is able to perfectly capture what we were seeing.

We stopped in for lunch at Mama Espinoza's, a Baja 1000 staple that's been slinging meals to hungry racers since it was named the first official race checkpoint in 1963. Mama Espinoza is 107 years old and opened this place in the the early 30's. Maybe heat and race exhaust are the keys to a long life?




I hope my wedding photos are half as awesome as these. -Gus



Then we hit the road again...


This species of tree can also be found on the road to Mordor. -Gus


The Sea of Cortez, though muggy and blisteringly hot, is insanely beautiful. The fishermen told us it has some of the best fishing in the world. -Gus



The sun dropped behind the hills just as we began to descend into the little seaside town of Bahia de Los Angeles and found a hotel for the night.
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Old 08-23-2014, 01:41 PM   #15
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Great stuff
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