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Old 07-19-2014, 07:08 PM   #1
HoboMoto OP
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Braaap to the Gap!! A moto/surf/spear odyssey from San Diego to Panama

Alright, here is the gist of THE BRAAAAP TO THE GAP!!!





Braap: [brp]
Noun
1) The exhaust note of an accelerating motorcycle.
Verb
1) To ride a motorcycle with gusto.


Gap (Darien): [gaep]
Noun
1) A strip of land separating Central and South America made impassable by the dense jungle, mountainous terrain, indigenous tribes, and unsavory characters.


BRAAP to the Gap!! from Dominic Camarda on Vimeo.




What:

A unique motorcycle based overland journey to the sweltering heart of the Americas incorporating surf, survival and adventure.

The trip starts in San Diego and ends in Panama at the end of the road, the nearly impenetrable jungle separating Panama and Columbia, a.k.a. the Darien Gap.



When:

Departure is set for Fall 2014 to avoid the rainy season (hopefully somewhat) yet still tap into the Pacific south swell surf season and catch the beginning of the Caribbean swell season beginning in December.




How:


We will be camping wherever possible on remote Baja beaches, mainland Mexican mountains and Costa Rican rivers. If camping is not an option, or our bodies are too weak and weary, inexpensive hotels, hostels and homestays will allow us a nights rest.

Routes will be planned to incorporate as much dirt and secondary roads as possible thus taking the most challenging yet rewarding, scenic and culturally rich path south while still including our target destinations.

Target destinations include the legendary as well as the secret and off the beaten track surf breaks of Baja California, Mainland Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Between travel to planned surf zones, routes will incorporate incredible natural and cultural destinations with the best adventure motorcycle riding possible: rugged Baja dirt tracks, muddy paths to Mayan ruins, lost roads to Central American craters…

Waves will be surfed using a variety of unorthodox surf craft including self-shaped traditional Hawaiian wooden belly boards, known as paipos, as well as modern lightening-fast inflatable surf mats which are quickly growing in cult status.

These surf vehicles are chosen for their inherent simplicity, durability and packability for moto travel. Along the way we will also surf any standard board we can get our hands on as we meet fellow surfers and travelers willing to swap devices for a wave or two. This method allows us to keep our bikes from becoming cumbersome offroad, yet still be able to tackle any wave and potentially have an endless quiver of surf vehicles through individuals stoked on, and willing to support our mission.

Survival will be sustained by supplementing our camp rations with fresh fish from the Sea of Cortez, Pacific and Caribbean by spearfishing. Simple break-down spears and masks will be packed. The fish rich tropical waters will easily provide protein anytime the ocean is divable. The goal will not be to spear huge trophy fish, but rather the sustainable harvest of a night’s meal as the bikes lack room for a cooler or ice to preserve excess fish. If in the company of locals or other travelers, the take of a larger fish for sharing could ensure us a place to camp, a shower, a beer, a borrowed surfboard but most importantly a new friendship and story.




Who:


Dom:
-Rides the "Blue Burro!" (the blue bike, obviously)
-Trip Visionary and Documentarian.

 -Native San Diegan.
-Recently graduated from San Diego State School of Nursing, May 2014.

-Licensed RN.
-Inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society for Nurses.
-Studied Wilderness Medicine for Healthcare Professionals in preparation for the trip.
-Completed six- month solo surf and motorcycle mission through Indonesia.
-Shaper of wooden surf craft: handplanes and paipos (traditional Hawaiian belly boards).

-Life long surfer/wave rider.
-Spearfisherman for 10 years.

-Ancillary Trip Goals: Latin American immersion to learn conversational Spanish skills to apply to future career as a RN, complete volunteer work in local clinics and hospitals throughout the trip as a means of giving back and further learning.




Tom:
-Rides "Penny!" (The yellow one).

-Trip Public Relations and Philosopher. Voice of Reason.

-Native San Diegan.

-Scientist and member of local San Diego Biotech industry.

-Purified and crystallized protein in Academia and for pharma for the last 10 years.

-Completed 4 month Trans-American van camping mission.
-Exploration of the American southwest on Harley motorcycles
-Surfer and shaper of wooden surf craft.
-Spear fisherman. Caught the massive halibut which fed the tribe for two days on the recent Baja shakedown trip.


-Ancillary Trip Goals: Delve into Latin American culture and hone surfing and motorcycling skills. To fully embrace the Zen and freedom of life on the road and to wheelie up some deserted Central American beach!




Luis:
-Rides "La Aventura" (the black one).

-Latin American Correspondent and Manager of Affairs.
-Native to the San Diego-Tijuana region
- With minimal preparation and guidance (head north), adventured from Tijuana to San Francisco on first motorcycle, a Ninja 250.
-Recently graduated from San Diego State University School of Nursing in December 2013.

-Licensed Registered Nurse.
-Studied Wilderness Medicine for Healthcare Professionals in preparation for the trip.
- Volunteered as a nurse at the Red Cross emergency room in Tijuana, Pediatric Oncology Center(Tijuana), and Emergency Room in Tecate.
-Bilingual blogger for the Spanish speaking market.

-Ancillary Trip Goals: Seek to contribute to the welcoming communities along the way by providing volunteer healthcare services in clinics and hospitals
American by birth, Mexican by ancestry, and native to the San Diego-Tijuana border region, I am eager to experience the true Mexico and its rich culture as we explore south.




Challenges:

Bike mechanics-

The bikes have been extensively modified for adventure. This includes beefier suspension for off-road and the carrying of loads, larger gas tanks for range and exploration, and crash protection to protect bike vitals. The potential for mechanical failure in remote locations always looms. Extensive tool and spare kits will be packed on each bike. Multiple practice trips through Baja and the Southern California deserts and mountains have prepared us for the Braap to the Gap mission. All three of us riding the same bike ensures the interchangeability of spares as well as allowing us to split burden the carrying of "luxury" spare parts. Our bikes, Suzuki DR650s, were chosen for their rugged simplicity and reliability. The last two years have been spent modifying and learning the in's and out's of our mechanical pack mules.

Documentation-
Previous shakedown trips have taught us much about the challenges of documenting while on the road such as battery life, device charging, memory card storage and the complexities and time associated with filming and photographing. Mistakes made in the past will be resolved with added battery packs, usb charging devices and back up hard drives.
 We'll do our best to document our experiences and share them here.

HoboMoto screwed with this post 07-21-2014 at 11:24 PM Reason: Prematurely blew my load… accidently submitted
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Old 07-19-2014, 07:26 PM   #2
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Well, I wasn't really ready to submit the above post but did anyway accidentally…. Whatever, here we go!

Video coming soon.. I'll update the first post as soon as this thing uploads.

HoboMoto screwed with this post 07-21-2014 at 11:24 PM
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:27 PM   #3
mopulga
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Looking forward to this! Yeehaw!!

I will be traveling south myself, but I dont think the timing will match. Starting to travel south in late August from Colombia.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mopulga View Post
Looking forward to this! Yeehaw!!

I will be traveling south myself, but I dont think the timing will match. Starting to travel south in late August from Colombia.
Yeah we would have to travel at light speed to get to you in time! As we know thats not the preferred rate of travel on these two wheeled contraptions. We'll be taking our time for sure.

Wish we were going to cross the Gap, but don't think it's in the cards budget wise. Never know though, right?

HoboMoto screwed with this post 07-21-2014 at 11:25 PM
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:13 PM   #5
garfey
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Great RR intro and excellent teaser vid/meo(s)! Looking forward to the Adventure.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garfey View Post
Great RR intro and excellent teaser vid/meo(s)! Looking forward to the Adventure.
Yeah, really going to try and put something fun together with videos posted along the way. Definitely going to need more batteries. Wasn't able to get the spearfishing footage from the Baja mission due to premature death.

I guess thats what shakedown trips are for, working out the kinks! The main thing is we proved to ourselves that it will definitely be worth the added weight to pack the masks and spears! Nothing better than adding some fresh fish to your otherwise apocolyptic camp rations.

Look for more content soon. Have some more backstory, pics and stuff to get up in addition to the breakdown and vid.

Cheers
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:20 PM   #7
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So I'll go ahead and get a little more background info up here…

I got hooked on moto travel during a 6-month surf trip to Indonesia. On the most popular island of Bali you can rent scooters with surf racks for a couple dollars a day. You may be familiar with Dues Ex Machina and their custom surfboard transport vehicles. They have even done a DR or two. Surf transport by moto really is a way of life over there. Well actually transport of ANYTHING by a motorcycle is a way of life of there… Couldn’t believe what I was seeing at times from 15 ft long bundles of bamboo ready to impale you to families of six squeezed onto one scooter…
Ferries will get your bike from island to island. Places to stay are cheap and the culture is amazing.

Fast foreword to the last month of my trip and I found myself on one of the more remote islands rigging up a locally sourced bike with rope to carry my board. No surf racks here. Hardly any surfers either.

My rig:

Quote:
Amazing how a couple loops of rope can allow you to carry a board… had to hold it out with my knee.The rewards from making the rope trick work:

Quote:
Me surfing as my friend paddles back out.


Quote:
A bigger day. Same spot.

Quote:

So, a little more info up. More to come… still have to go do this thing called "work" for the time being…

A bit more on the website, www.hobo-moto.com, although still a work in progress as well!
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HoboMoto screwed with this post 07-21-2014 at 11:27 PM
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:55 PM   #8
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Got some time on my lunch so I'll post a bit more...

Came back home from Indonesia to finish getting my degree as an RN and seriously missed life on the road. Would fantasize about being back on my scooter, board at my side and just looking foreword to finding out what lied around the next curve. Actually, while I was in Indo I would have nightmares about being back home. In my dreams I would be back home trying to figure out how to make it back to Indonesia...

Started thinking while working on my degree, why not get a bike HERE, start riding it NOW and take off south on another adventure when I graduate?

Enter the Blue Burro. 2007 DR650
Quote:
I wanted a bike capable of going just about anywhere and also one even I could learn to work on. Picked one up in stock form used for fairly cheap and the mods just started happening. I liked this bike when I got it but now I love this thing! Hard to say what the best mods were: FCR pumper carb, Cognent front and rear suspension, 14 tooth front spocket, 5.3 gallon tank... they all just added up to make my bike what it is.

So far me and the Burro have had some damn good adventures to the deserts and mountains near San Diego as well as Baja.

Quote:
Quote:
Lunch is over...back to do this work thing...
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:29 PM   #9
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Finishing last thoughts from the other day...

Not sure anyone really cares about all this background info stuff . To be honest I usually skip past it to get to the good stuff of other people's trip reports... but I guess I'll keep at it juuuust in case someone is interested. Also, it kinda sets the precedent for what our trip will be all about.

So I'll finish where I left off on the topic of "How I got addicted to moto travel":

...So far me and the Burro have had some damn good adventures to the deserts and mountains near San Diego as well as Baja. In the short period of owning this bike I think the thing that I have loved the most is just discovering the places close to home that I never knew existed.

But as much fun as riding trails near home is, the open road calls. The allure of each day bringing you into new and unfamiliar territory, first through dry Baja desert dust then slowly transitioning into thick, humid, tropical climates, over volcanic mountains down to thumping warm-water surf breaks and on to experience idigeonous peoples and pueblos… its too much. We gotta ride it as far as we can
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:08 PM   #10
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Slap on a surf rack?

I am at a serious crossroad in my mind and have been for sometime. I feel there are two ways to go about this trip and incorporating the surf aspect and would like some opinions on the two options :

1. Slap a surf rack on the bike, bring a surfboard a la Garnaro of "Round Africa with a surfboard" fame, and possibly limit the extent of my off pavement excursions for fear of dropping bike on said board.

or…

2. Not bring a board, which is almost blasphemous from a surfer perspective. Travel lighter with our bodysurfing gear and an inflatable surf mat and borrow/rent/find surfboards when spending time in a particular surf zone. (if you have no idea what a surf mat is visit this blog post for a quick run down http://www.hobo-moto.com/what-the-hell-is-a-surf-mat/) and possibly enjoy the exploration and off-roading more with a less cumbersome setup. (currently leaning towards this option).




I posed this question once before on Garnaro's Africa ride report as I was inquiring about how the board rack setup was working. Garnaro, being the legend that he is, gave me some sage advice:

If I remember correctly:
1. Get a steel surf rack if possibility for durability and ease of welding (his rack was aluminum).
2. Carry repair kit for board dings because they will be inevitable.


Decisions, decisions…

Points for option 1:

1. I will have a surfboard no matter what (unless I bust it).
2. I will be heavier and more awkward. Riding may not be as enjoyable.
3. Won't get caught with my pants down when I can't find a board and the waves are pumping.. i.e.. too big for bodysurfing or surf matting.



Points for option 2:

1. Maintain full off road capability, traveling lighter and less awkward. Increased enjoyability of the actual riding.
2. Alternative surf devices are fun in their own right.
3. This is not Africa. There WILL be other surfers, guaranteed. Finding a board might not be so hard.

I may be leaning towards a combo approach: Option 2 for heavy Baja off roading. Option 1 once we reach Mainland Mex- find a board and have a rack welded up for cheap.

Well, departure is Sept. 1st, so still time to figure it out. Problem is every time I think I've decided on option 2 and the increased quality of riding, I open Garnaro's thread and am immediately like "I need a surf rack NOW!" ha
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:20 PM   #11
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Mexican Guidance

I would also like to thank a fellow inmate here for visiting the blog and offering us a place to stay in Alcapulco as well as use of some spearguns for a change instead of our travel spears!

Tim, thanks! We'll be in touch again. It was nice talking to you and getting some advice about mainland Mexico.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:48 PM   #12
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Looks like we are getting some press...

We were surprised to see ourselves featured on AdvPulse the other day. Fun article by those guys that sums up our trip nicely.

http://www.advpulse.com/adv-rides/mo...-two-passions/


I would like to clarify though, that of course you can have an epic trip with a surfboard on your DR650 and explore insane places offroad! Garnaro is living proof and pretty much my hero.

We are just bodysurfing and alternative craft addicts as well as surfers who are torn on what our best approach should be.

Thanks again AdvPulse!
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