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Old 02-13-2011, 02:54 PM   #31
dave6253
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Wow! Wonderful Images! Those are some scary looking water crossings. Keep it coming!

Airborne All the Way!
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:32 PM   #32
Gormley Green
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Awesome read, amazing photos, hairy water crossings! Some of the Death Road pics gave me vertigo. Well done.
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:54 PM   #33
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One of the best reports I have seen here... great photos & story. Looking forward to following a similar route soon myself.
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:05 AM   #34
AirborneAndy OP
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Thanks guys. I appreciate the encouragement.
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The book - Excuse me, which way is the Baja 1000?

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Old 03-02-2011, 08:11 AM   #35
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Salar de Uyuni and beyond

After tracking down Butch and Sundance we went on to checkout the Salar de Uyuni - a salt flats so large you can see the curvature of the earth. And, you can create interesting illusions in photos that defy the senses - Yup, and people come from all over the globe to take part in this childish fun. Then we headed for Chile again. We stopped south of Antofagasta at the "Hand of the Desert" for obligatory photos. After getting out of the mountains and back down to sea level, my bike ran much better. We were told that Bolivia would destroy our vehicles. But, I never paid much attention. Then shortly after leaving the country, we had problems with wheel bearings on both Patrick’s and Brian’s bikes - probably due to all the water and very fine sand in Bolivia. My wheel bearings were showing substantial wear too but they held together - theirs actually disintegrated. I think it may have been the extra weight of their bikes plus the extra baggage weight combined to put much more stress on their rear wheel bearings causing them to deteriorate faster. Anyway, we also started camping when we left Tupiza because there were no places to stay along our route. And, after we crossed the border into Chile it was much more expensive than the countries we had been traveling through so we continued to camp out. We had gone 9 days without showering when we eventually made it to Santiago where we checked in to a hostel - we also needed to fully service the bikes again with some needing more work than others but all needing something.






























































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The book - Excuse me, which way is the Baja 1000?

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:42 AM   #36
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South to the bottom of the world

Ok… we stopped in Santiago Chile for much needed bike repairs. Brian and Damon also had to wait on parts to be shipped before repairs could begin. Since I only needed a tire and wheel bearings, I was ready to move on in just a few days. But, I decided to relax for a bit. I ended up staying in Santiago for a week and didn’t really see any of the city and I didn’t take a single photo. I'm sure there is a lot to see there but it just had that big city feel to me - much like back home in Los Angeles, even though it is in Chile. And I was just feelin lazy. Anyway, I headed south from Santiago - on my own once again.

The ride started with a few hundred miles of pavement - which gave me a chance to quietly think and ponder the journey ahead. I began to think about my preparations and second guess some of my decisions. I had decided wait on replacing the chain and sprockets until I reached the bottom of South America and headed north again to Buenos Aries. But, the area I was heading into was quite remote - so, these parts would not be readily available if needed. And, I had forgotten to get some better rain gear which could be an issue as I get further south and the weather gets colder. I had a poncho but it didn’t really keep me very dry. Oh well… onward!

This part of my journey took me thru the Carretera Austral - a very scenic region of South America that runs along the Chili and Argentina borders. I crossed into Argentina for the first time and spent a very rainy night in the small town of Perito Moreno. The rain continued until about noon the next day. So, I got a late start on the next leg of my journey, down the famous Ruta 40, which was about 50% unpaved and quite remote. Since gasoline was not available many places along the route, I needed to carry additional fuel. Using a map that showed towns with fuel, I calculated that I would need to carry an additional gallon. But, I did not take into account that any of the known fuel stations along the route would not have any fuel - which is exactly what I discovered at my first scheduled fuel stop. But, as luck would have it, there was a motorcycle tour group there taking a break from riding. They were kind enough to fill my tank and in conversation they told me they had just come thru the area I was heading into and it was very muddy. They had taken 9 hours to travel about 40 miles and suggested I wait a couple days for the ground to dry. What was I thinking when I put the street tires on the DR back in Santiago? Oh there wont be any more mud! DOH! So, I spent the night there and took off again in the morning. The road was still very muddy and I fell pretty hard a couple times. It was dry in some places and just looked dry in others. So, I would be thinking... that looks dry and I would hold my speed only to discover... ooops, no it's not! The top most layer of dirt would be dry but under that thin dry layer was water and mud. Anyway I managed to make it thru to El Calafate where I planned to watch some ice melt.

The next morning I headed out to the famous Perito Moreno glacier. It was an interesting experience. You could hear the ice crack - then you would try to visually locate where the sound came from so you could watch the ice fall off into the water below. The glacier is enormous so it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Anyway, from there I headed south again - this time with my eye on the brass ring.

I had been on the road for nearly 4 months and was within a couple days of Ushuaia on the island of Tierra Del Fuego. It’s considered the southern most city in the world. And, it was the target of this adventure from the start - the bottom of South America. But, it would still take 2 days, 2 border crossings, and a ferry ride to get me to my destination, assuming that I encountered no other problems. Border crossings are a real pain - you have to go thru Immigrations and Customs for the country you are exiting and then go thru them both again for the country you are entering. To make things really challenging, the Island of Tierra Del Fuego is split down the middle with half belonging to Chile and the other half to Argentina. And, of course, the road to the famed city at the bottom of the world travels thru both sides of the island. So I would have to fill out forms for Immigrations and Customs offices for these two countries 8 times to visit Ushuaia. Now that’s “Adventure” lol

So, I made it thru the perilous paperwork jungle of red tape required. And, I made it to my last gas stop along the way. Then as I’m looking for the road out of town… my chain breaks. Great! Only 2 hours away from the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! But, being the well prepared seasoned Adventure Rider that I am, I have a spare master link to repair my chain with. However… there is one small problem - it’s doesn’t fit my chain. So much for being well prepared! Then, as I’m looking at the chain, a guy stops to help and ends up driving me all over town to get a master link that fits. But, as luck would have it, none of the shops has one. Although, we did find one that “almost” fit. So, Pablo takes me to his fathers house and modifies my chain to fit the new (almost the right size) master link. And, I’m on my way in about an hour.

The sun went down and it got very cold and windy as I got close to the end of my journey. Then it started raining. And, before long I was freezing - and with the high winds and low visibility, I was forced to slow my pace to a crawl. The final miles seemed to take forever. But I tell myself, in the end, it’s the journey, not the destination - yeah right! Heck with that I was freezing!

Anyway, I rolled into Ushuaia a little late but I made it.… with the help of quite a few new friends along the way.





























The road got really wide here. If you look closely you will see that it doubles as an air strip.



















































I met Kurt from Switzerland at a campground on Ruta 40. He was traveling very heavy. But, he wasn't in a hurry and really enjoyed cooking fine cuisine to go with a carefully chosen wine. He had a Tee-Pee tent that he could stand up and cook in.
































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The book - Excuse me, which way is the Baja 1000?


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Old 03-02-2011, 04:43 PM   #37
donnymoto
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Wow, excellent pics, the trip of a lifetime
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:03 PM   #38
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Congrats! Amazing trip.
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:59 AM   #39
BigDave75
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Wow, that is a trip of a lifetime!
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:03 PM   #40
BDKW1
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So that's where you've been!

Ride on Amigo!
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:29 PM   #41
bend27
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Well done, would love to do this ride sometime.Keep the pictures coming!
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:24 PM   #42
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:49 PM   #43
lagcam
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Wow, all that mud on streety type tires, and NINE days without a shower. Not to mention cliffs that you would starve to death before hitting bottom.
You sir are truly a steely-eyed adventure man. Salute and looking forward to updates.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:20 AM   #44
Skedaddle
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Congrats. Thanks for the RR
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:30 PM   #45
Mr. Huero
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Thumb Congrats Amigo

Happy to see you made your destination. and look forward to more wonderful pics on the way back. /ron
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