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Old 07-08-2009, 12:33 PM   #46
Preacher
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Thank you for taking us all with you on this adventure...its GREAT seeing the pictures and video...almost like being there. Be safe, and have a fantastic journey.

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Old 07-08-2009, 05:46 PM   #47
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Absolutely fantastic Margus and Kariina, what an adventure!





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Old 07-08-2009, 06:33 PM   #48
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Great reading and nice pics, going to follow this!
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:19 PM   #49
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Leaving from Brazil we caught up with floods, it rained so heavily that people were dying in Santa Catarina state. In some places it was impossible to see 20 meters away - the rainfall and the fog were very thick, and in addition, local cars use no lights (making passing ultra-hard while you can't see anything behind turbulent slow trucks throwing even more pissing rain on you). Killer potholes had started to form into tarmac due to heavy rains. Add to that a thick layer of water on the road that affects the maneuverability of the bike. Even with our fully waterproof gear (goretex inside, special raincoat outside, goretexed boots) we were COMPLETELY wet after 2-3 hours riding in those conditions - the water came in from the neck area and soaked everything, and the rain lasted for days - nothing dried in those conditions - our skin looked like on some aquatic animal.

...and we rode over 1000km in those conditions to get to Uruguaian border. You can't tell how happy we were to have the first ray of sun coming out of the clouds!

...a joy
...fantastic!
...A bliss!

With our stuff and ourselves finally drying, for our eyes, even the big capivara families looked happy aside the road (although honestly I think they don't give a toss about rain and floods - they're water animals afterall):


With the Wilbers shock again leaking, we made it smoothly through Uruguay. Our digital camera stolen, we took some pics with our (faulty) video camera.

The place we stayed was Punta del Diablo, which is super nice under-developed (that's what gives it that special atmosphere anyways) surfer's village:


Rented some nice hut there to cool off a bit with all those problems we had:


And enjoyed the view (click to enlarge the panorama, and click again to see it full size - just scroll the picture from bottom as you're there and turning your own head to see around):



Sunset in Punta del Diablo:





From there back to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to our previous "base camp" Dakar Motos.

You can see from the pics who we met there. Got some good info from other travellers:





Meanwhile had to helicoil one of the rocker cover bolts:


One day, the Dakar Motos' deep fridge exploded, while I was standing aside it, kicking the door open (a big bottle of lemonade was put there and forgotten, till the gas condensated into purity and plastic cracked). The "explosion" was so big that it kicked open the door and bits off the freezer itself. Thankfully I didn't open it - I'd be blind right now with all those plastic bits hiting into my face:



Christmas came along. Kariina made some pollo (spelled as "poijo", meaning chicken in English) using local tools from the garage:



And the tree needed to be decorated with 32 degrees Celsius heat outside:



And the local cat wanted its part too:



But, meanwhile, Wilbers crap needed to be repaired and a new photocamera to be found in Buenos Aires.

We got the a s/h camera from Buenos Aires (everything new is just too expensive there - 100% tax to everything that is imported) but the the shock repair was delayed and delayed and delayed...

Horizons Unlimited meet was about to come in Viedma and we didn't have a bike to go there. Luckily one of our german friends was going there with his Land Rover and had some space for us in the 4x4 cager. Some pics from Viedma:

Through pampa:






Started driving in the 3PM, arrived to HU meet in Viedma 3AM, some over 900km away from Buenos Aires (the next day):







Beach panorama (click to enlarge):




Loads of wind-sufers were there because of an international wind-surfing competition:



Panoramas:






And biker-travellers from the Viedma meeting:








El Condor is a decent place to play with a proper (not the new shiny-fancy ones) Land Rover. In the dunes:






Dunes' panorama:




There were loads of Burrow parrots in El Condor, in fact it turned out to be one of the biggest parrot colonies on Earth:






Also loads of seals and sealions:




The whole coast filled with 'em:



Then back to Buenos Aires - whola, our shock repaired.

...off to the Andes we are!

...noupe

...our laptop screen was dead. After just staying 3 days still on the table and one morning we open it and no picture.

Not enough unluck yet? No, we needed more unluck with our laptop!!!

So we went to Buenos Aires Apple dealer, they checked it and diagnosed that the video-card is dead, meaning the whole motherboard replacement is necessary, meaning:

..."US 1000$ please sir"
..."eh?"

We were frustruated. The computer's warranty had just elapsed, so that was it. Thankfully I contacted estonian Apple I used to work for and they gave me information that this video card blow should be relatively common on my model of MacBook Pro, so that NVidia (the videocard maker) offers 2-year warranty for it instead of 1-year, basically covering the motherboard costs themselves.

So I went back with this info, with specific Apple links, and gave it to them. 2 days later we picked up fully repaired computer and nothing charged, not even for the diagnostics. Way to go Apple dealer in Estonia!

Sooo, yeeehaaa ...to Andes mountains, with the bike!!!

Through boring Argentinian pampa some 700km away...

Looooooovvvvvveerrrrllyyyy!



Just the kind of roads we love to ride, reminded us of our much missed home Estonia:




Camped, had a decent beer, a pool:



Everything seemed fine until the day after when I decided to check the condition of our Wilbers shock:


No way...
... it's leaking, AGAIN!

Followed with loud F***, Di****, As**, Sc*m, ***ecker, ****, ****er, **ck, Bi**h'in fox...

We made a 180 degrees turn, and with constant 80-100mph speed (with a leaking shock), rode back to Buenos Aires in one shot, almost 1000km (600miles) in thick traffic. Used every available pony my boxer could create. I was that pissed off.

Threw the shock back to the repairer to be repaired AGAIN and contacted Estonain Öhlins dealer for a deal on a new decent Öhlins (not some Wilbershit) shock. The price was very reasonable and we got a chance to bring it to Uruguay with our friend's parents who came to travel there.

Meanwhile waiting for the shock to be repaired again and new shock to arrive from Estonia we spent Christmas and the new year's eve in Buenos Aires.

And so the new year came...

Had a decent meal with local travellers (1 French (THE cook!), 3 Canadians, 1 Englishman and 2 Estonians):


The Wilbers was repaired, and we could ride to Uruguay to pick our new Öhlins up. We did some 250miles of smooth tarmac to there, got our brand new Öhlins and shortly after that I checked our Wilbers - guess what? It leaked...

Back to Buenos Aires. Shock back to the repair guy (thankfully he has a warranty 6 months for his seals) and the new Öhlins shock on. Got the Wilbers repaired and kept it as a spare in our pannier (with that amount of unluck with rear suspension, we'd rather have 2 of them).



Went to see the preparationsfor the Dakar race in Buenos Aires:


Bikes no.1, 2 & 3


Grabbed an autogram from Stephan Peterhansel, the most winning Dakar racer ever:


And followed the Dakar for the next two days.

From one of the privateers we got a picture where he had relaxed his butt on a long tar-section journey. Note: the speed was over 80kph while we did that.


Wild-camped aside the special stage, check the depth of the sand:


The next day Dakar leader (now a winner!) Marc Coma giving us a wave:


Must add that Argentinian Dakar was sooo overcrowded with (uneducated in terms of rallye) public and that the distances those racer guys had to ride on the tarmac (=harder to follow them) are just enormous (i.e. 600km on the second day - just silly!), so that after 2 days of following we decided it's better to see it from the TV.

We were off in our own direction again.

Meanwhile our bike had a birthday:


No problems at all with the bike except the cuntin' Wilbers aftermarket shock that repeatedly had those show-stopper problems. Should have kept the OEM BMW (Showa on mine) shock. But at least we have an Öhlins now, which is a big step forward IMO.
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:44 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Preacher
its GREAT seeing the pictures and video...almost like being there.
Yep, this is what we love about videos!
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:58 AM   #51
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Argentinan and Chilean Patagonia in South-America






After the Dakar headed to Argentinian patagonia.



Visited Peninsula Valdes, with decent sand/rocky/dirt roads and scenery. Amost no traffic at all. Just the way we like it.










Wild-camped in the beautiful Punta Norte ("Northern Point" in translation). Click to enlarge:





Just down the beach there were loads of sealions and seals.


And they had mating season.



Some 60 miles away on dirt roads there was a penguin colony:




And you could see loads of rheas on the roads:




Rhea camouflage.


From Valdes off to Argentinian patagonia, took a decent 150mile long trail road through it to see its real beauty.

Road conditions varied much.

From rocky corrugated road...


...to sand





But the nature was stunning in deeper Patagonia.

Some panoramas (click to enlarge, and click again in new window to see in full size - then scrholl with horizontal scroller):






This is where we wild-camped, in a place with a million-dollar view. Note that the winds are awfully huge in Patagonia: you first of all must have a very wind-stable tent and pitching it up w/o tent flying off into horizons is another chapter of pure art.

Road conditions were quite hard, but we're used to it since around a half of the roads in Estonia are like this, but combined with astonishing side-winds that was something new for us, so we obviously had many falls and crashes. Couple of examples:




This was around 40-50mph off.

Vern alu-panniers and the bike proved to be bomb proof.

Seen the real patagonia we headed back to the boring tar Ruta 3 that had another secion of huge winds, but on tar it's no problem, boxer cylinders cut the wind for you.



And some 1500 miles later we're on Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the World. Click to enlarge the panoramas:









More panoramas:










And the classic - a picture from the end of the World (as we know it):

We took a 5 minute break there to think: could we reach Alaska this evening?

The answer was: no

But we headed North none the less. Off the Tierra del Fuego we saw some abandoned estancia:






Coupled with abandoned ships on the shore:


Everything was left as it was, nothing stolen. Amazing was to see the inside of them.


Wild-camped just couple of miles away from there and had stunning light-play in the Magellan strait (click to enlarge):


And then there was more of Chile.





Namely Torres del Paine national park.

Roads there are ment for shaft drives, especially after the rain:



But the scenery is worth it - it's stunning between the mountains (click to enlarge):





Yes, the colours were like this with your own eyes!!!




Torres view from farther away.



Next stop: Perito Moreno glacier back in Argentina. Moreno glacier is just astonishing, you can't even imagine it's (awe-) size from the picture. Only if some bits of ice cracks loose and you see the waves it creates dropping into the water till the sound reaches you later while you're there gives you the imagination of the scales involved.

Panorama from Perito Moreno glacier (click to enlarge and click again to see in full size, then horizontally scroll):



Once back in Argentina it was the classic Ruta 40 dirt road up to north. We did a detour to Monte Fitz Roy, but the weather was awful, the biggest storm we ever had followed us there. Our bike was almost 45 degrees on the road to keep it straight in the rain aind wind - we took the first [expensive] hotel available and even there the floor was flooded with loud whining wind noise outside. They said it's the first time they're having a storm like this - and we had to ride in this kind weather), the next day it got much better, but clouds still covered the peaks of Fitz Roy. We only got a glimpse from the bottom end (click to enlarge):


And back to Ruta 40 that was awful there, and hundreds-hundreds miles like this. It felt as if the bike was about to be fall into 2 pieces riding Ruta 40 on those parts, but the views were great none the less:













And of course, loads of guanacos running around on the roads:






...oops, final drive seal is slowly leaking.

I'd be fine on continuing thousands of miles just toping it up with new oil, but instead I opted for seal replacement ASAP.






Till we successfully made it to Perito Moreno (not the glacier, it's the name of a village far away from the same-name glacier). There Raul hosted us, he's one of the most friendly people we've ever met:


With the help from him (good people know good people) I got a chance to use a private garage in Perito Moreno, that had probably the best tools in the village, better than the most commercial car-truck workshops. So I decided to replace the final drive bearing also, since the bike was over 100 000km already and more beating to come.

It really wasn't neccessary to replace the FD bearing, but since I had only once seal set I did it. Another motivation was to do it just to learn it - first time I did it and what's better than doing in the the "third-world's bush" to prove the idiots wrong who think when your FD bearing goes you're on the road.

So... I tested the bollocks BMW-haters have said about FD repair in the "bush".

I did everything myself and used creative methods since I still missed a lot of tools.


Heated up the bevel box with our camping cooker.



Got it open.



Crown-wheel looked nice.

Pastrana (the owner of the garage) had a bearing puller (the only one in the village!!!). I had to modify it to get a "bite" beneath the old bearing:





Centrally supported it with a big key:


But it didn't work - it was too small and fragile. I went to a local welder and let the old bearing be heated up to extremes and with raw force I could get it finally out - easy!!!


New bearing (I carried it with me) went into the Raul's oven:



Crownwheel into deep freeze and whollah, the new bearing is on without any force:



Then mounted it together w/o shims to start preload measuring procedure:






I made a support frame for micrometer myself from random materials I could find, but it seemed to work:





Measured the correct preload (not really needed if your old bearing worked over 100 000km tho!), took it apart again and re-shimmed my bevel box, put it back together.




Done!


A happy ending pic with Pastrana & family.


And after 6 days in Perito Moreno we finally said goodbye to Raul and headed back to Chile, the Carretera Austral was waiting.


Still in Argentina, you can see loads of shrines dedicated to Difunta Correa:
































Till Carretera Austral was finally reached:



Stunning sceneries! On some spots you could not believe the colour the water had. On some spots it looked like a lemonade, on others something way different, and it's pure nature - just amazing. (click to enlarge the panoramas)









The road:









River delta:



...Contrasts!

Till it got into mountaneous jungle:













Some of the peaks in Carretera Austral:




















Panorama (click to enlarge):






The road ended in Chaiten, that was devastated by volcano that still goes:



All the area is basically extinct. The city is covered with ash, empty houses, cars abandoned aside the roads.

The city under ash and the devilish creator of the scene behind:



Ash even inside the cars:



Chaiten:




Volcano panorama (click to enlarge):



From Chaiten ferry took us to Puerto Montt. Couple of hundred miles away it wasn't that horrifying to be anymore so we could chill out under the southern sky with barbeque and beer aside the lake:
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:32 AM   #52
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:43 PM   #53
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:24 PM   #54
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It's like a zig-zag here between Chile and Argetina if you want to see something.

After Carretera Austral in Chile we again crossed into Argentina to see San Carlos de Bariloche - which was just soooo boring and overfilled with tourists. Tried out the local chocolate which it's famous for, and while it was good it still wasn't worth to stay more than 2 days.

Thus the Argentinian Ruta 40 continued to kill our bike:






Some spots of Ruta 40 were nice tho:




Spotted this while we ate our lunch aside the road:

Our lunch wasn't that tasty anymore.



When we arrived to Valle Encantado ("bewitched valley" in translation), where some magical scenery had been formed due to volcanic activity. Click to enlarge the panoramas (and in a new window click again to see in full size, then scroll horizontally):






And panoramic views from Ruta 40:

















Some cacti:








Till the Ruta 40 took us to Mendoza, the Argentinian wine capital. And for very obvious reasons, we had to try the local flavour:




Of course combined with BBQ. (PS: in fact this meat was ruined because 15 minutes later awful rain started leaving us with half-raw meat and smoking coal. Damn. :( )


Bought us our first souvenir - a gourd for mate in Souther-American style.

Seller was a nice bloke and a motorcyclist too - rides an Enfield:




Some 200 meters away was the Mendoza's central park, Plaza Independencia, burning in +32C heat. I picked up an ambience recording from there, along with deep-beats by some local junglists (click to enlarge the park panorama):


And exacly in the same spot, it sounded like this:
27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" width="260" height="75" align="middle">


(PS: those who're interested in our audios: I'd recommend they'd be listened with closed-type big (semi-or full pro-) headphones - close your eyes and you're basically there yourself. The stereo panorama is tuned exacly as human ears.)



Birds in the park.


By education, as a physisist-astronomer myself I wanted to visit the Argentinian main observatory near there, but only to be dissapointed because the beautiful mountaneous road leading there was closed just before the place.

Got some panoramas from the area which was nice:







And back to Chile again. Our Öhlins suspension needed a service and we hope to repair the video camera in Santiago, capital of Chile. (PS: we waited almost 60 days for the camera to be repaired in official Canon workshop, but the bits never arrived and our patience ran out after 2 months of waiting - so we're still video-less in our YouTube channel :( )



Road to Santiago was superb:



Just stunning colours - volcanic activity has formed and painted the mountain-ranges there, see the pics for yourself:






Yes, the colours were like this! (click to enlarge)




Aconcagua shining - the highest peak in Americas - 6962 meters!


And panoramas from the area (click to enlarge, and click again to see in full size):


















And some strange railroad that was (intentionally?) fully covered, but the cover was badly damaged in some spots:








And then, through another hot +30C day haze - Santiago greeted us. A busy 6 million capital:








The moment I'm writing this we're currently in Bellavista area in Santiago, which is a very atmospheric place. Let me give you an example about couple of hundred meters to each side from the place we are staying:
















































































(check the window reflection to come back into reality)





And mosaiques on the streets:








We went up for the hills to grab some of panoramas from Santiago (click to enlarge):













On the hill, there was also this Virgin Mary:






And decent palmy parks (click to enlarge the panoramas):








Catedral Metropolitana (click to enlarge panorama).




Some pictures from the market:


(click to enlarge)







That's it. It's all updated till the very moment we're writing this.

Next stop is Valparaiso in Chile till we get a stronger spring version for our Öhlins shock that the dealer recommends us, so we'll return to Santiago soon.

Good night, Margus & Kariina
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:06 AM   #55
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Thanks for taking us along, its good stuff ;)
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:49 AM   #56
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Thanks for taking us along, its good stuff ;)
+1

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Old 07-12-2009, 10:18 AM   #57
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Chile - Atacama desert'n stuff



Meanwhile, when our Öhlins shock was waiting for a new stronger spring we went to Valparaiso. It was a decent place to chill out for a few days:







Aside the Pacific ocean.



Where people chilled.






The city itself lays on hills aside the ocean, with steep streets, but decent port-city atmoshere:




















Valparaíso streets' panorama (click to enlarge):



And some arty paiting on the streets:









(click to enlarge)



And the poorer parts of Valparaíso have even more atmospheric streets:












Some South-American weird style cemetery, they bury people in those small box-places inside the wall (click to enlarge):




And some views to the city:





Military equipment at the dock:











Panoramas (click to enlarge each one):









That big cemetery.

















Valpa during the sunset.










On the way back to Santiago we met Hank, who's R1100GS has ridden over 440 000 miles (engine all stock - rings, pistons, bores etc. 4th FD bearing, 1 set of gearbox bearings replaced from bigger jobbies). He's a decent guy and we spent a good time in Santiago together.










As a physicist-astronomer backgrounded person myself of course we had to visit one of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) sites. We got a chance to visit La Silla:










It resided high in the mountains, the driest place on Earth - Atacama desert:




With some decent equipment for discovering the Universe around us:











Big mounting system, some over 40 tons to move and they demostrated the movement for us:








The New Technology Telescope (NTT).


And they had one very photogenic radio telescope on the site too:









With awesome reflective spaces, giving the sci-fi feeling when looked against the sky...











Everyday astronomers view (normally they work at night tho):



From there the only way to go was deeper into the Atacama desert... We zig-zagged between the Pacific coast (that had some vegetation) to the deeper continental side of the desert (completely dead nature) that gave some huge contrasts and emotions.

Some panoramas (click to enlarge each one to see in full size):





(one of our wild camping places aside the Pacific ocean)




(another one)




(rocky nature aside the Pacific)


The only place it had life was on the Pacific side, where you see civilization and people working:



But in the inland, there were only mines, and just small remote villages to support the mines. And lorries (click to enlarge):




The famous Atacama desert's hand in the middle of the desert:



Panorama from the same spot (click to enlarge):




One evening we decided to try to climb onto one of mountains in the desert for camping, yes - with bike and onto this mountain (click to enlarge):



It was soo steep, Kariina had to walk (otherwise the bike would flip over), and up there was too much wind for a camping, the only way was to come down again:




Roads in Atacama desert:





Atacama sunset.




We camped on that flat spot, night sky was just amazing there!




New day we had to move on...



The new destination was the biggest open copper mine in the World - the Chuquicamata mine. Measuring over 3 miles long, 2 miles wide, almost a mile deep open mine, hole that that they have dig over 100 years now - simply an unbelievable site!






(click to enlarge the panorama of the mine)




(Old and new) ways down to the mine... Things change over 100 years.




The biggest trucks in the World - the 600 ton trucks down in the mine doing their work. You can't even imagine the sheer scale of those trucks. Wheel diametre alone is 2-3 heights of me for example. And one tire costs 30 000US$, lasts less than a year.


From the mine we went to the fabulous Valle de la Luna (the Moon Valley), that resembles the landscape of the Moon. Minus the clouds it was:

















And some panoramas from Valle de la Luna (click to enlarge each one):















That's it for Chile. Next stop: Bolivian empire.

Margus
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:59 AM   #58
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Our everyday life as budget-oriented overland travellers

A video from our everyday life on the road, mostly wild camping away from civilization:

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Old 07-12-2009, 11:56 AM   #59
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i notice your route through the US. having traveled all over the country on a bike i would suggest spend your time in the western mountains (colorado, n.w. wyoming) & the west coastal roads (big sur, lost coast/usal road/sinkyone/matole campground). the camping at sinkyone wildnerness state park (california) is other worldly. imagine 2000ft mountains crashing into the ocean. you've been through some beautiful terrain and the roads & terrain east of the rocky mountains will be flat, boring and straight. i assume you trip to florida is to see key west. florida is long straight & boring and you'll spend days of that getting there. free camping can easily be had in the national forests of the western mountains. once you go east you will not find that as most all land is private. in the US people are not so generous about letting other people use there land. the west coast has better beaches.
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:25 PM   #60
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i notice your route through the US. having traveled all over the country on a bike i would suggest spend your time in the western mountains (colorado, n.w. wyoming) & the west coastal roads (big sur, lost coast/usal road/sinkyone/matole campground). the camping at sinkyone wildnerness state park (california) is other worldly. imagine 2000ft mountains crashing into the ocean. you've been through some beautiful terrain and the roads & terrain east of the rocky mountains will be flat, boring and straight. i assume you trip to florida is to see key west. florida is long straight & boring and you'll spend days of that getting there. free camping can easily be had in the national forests of the western mountains. once you go east you will not find that as most all land is private. in the US people are not so generous about letting other people use there land. the west coast has better beaches.
Hi Bill,

Having just been through the US we have to agree. We did changed our trajectory when we came to US, we skipped Florida and did some other modifications.


Rockies around beautiful Silverton were bloody cold tho!

But West-Southern US is nice indeed - loved it:





Will write more about US section of our expedition when we get there! (with the writing, that's far behind from the riding )

Ride safe, Margus

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