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Old 09-26-2011, 08:19 PM   #781
Foot dragger
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
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I agree with the thought about maybe theres a shock in Columbia,all those DR650's lined up they must have parts for them. What ever is the quickest is probably best,how ever, the stock shock has little to no rebound damping to start with so is bouncy from the get go, especially with a heavier spring to bounce it harder.
Some one who knows how to rebuild it could try using heavier oil,may work better. Nitrogen is better then air for sure in the shock. Getting a good shock fast freighted from America would be a good thing also.
Some bikes around at times
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:08 PM   #782
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Just wanted to echo everyone elses thoughts about your ride report! Utterly amazing!

As a result of reading this, I am now on my own tiny adventure in North Vietnam aboard a XR250... only 8 days but we have to start somewhere!

Keep up the good work
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:13 PM   #783
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all caught up........ with tom's shock problems you can proceed at a safe and manageable clip to reconnect

I've really enjoyed following along. Our best friends live in Lima and the family is planning to go down there next Cristmas.............Not sure how can I leave a month early on the moto .......... anyway, the post about the winter equinox appearing in the doorway and illuminating the room in Machu. Is that Dec 21??? because what will be about the time we're there and they are very outdoorsy people. travel safe, travel smart, and press onward !!!
Adventure begins when your plan falls apart.
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Old 09-26-2011, 11:18 PM   #784
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Thumb No Better Time then Now

I've enjoyed your adventures so far! Have fun and keep up the good reporting and amazing photos.
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:48 AM   #785
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Back in the saddle again.

slowpoke69: My dad told me the same thing about the two different kinds of riders. He phrased it, "There are those that have crashed, and those that will crash." I plan to not crash any longer. Leg is back to normal now, and has no pain. All it well!

: I'm not sure on the specifics of Tom's shock, but he is currently headed to Lima to sort out his problems. I am now in Colombia, where they Police do ride DR650s (and Dr350's and Dr200s!) but buying a stock shock here is damn expensive due to the 100% import tax on such products. He'll likely buy one that has been offered to him by a member here on ADV, or have it rebuilt professionally in Lima if he can manage.

: Everything is still kicking ass and taking names! Recovery has been made since the accident and a beautiful woman brought into the mix!

L8EZMAMA: Everything is well and in good order. I'm glad you like the photos from M.P.

benihaha : We can find you a suitable guide Padre, no worries! Your triumph was fun to ride

manshoon: I nearly bought the same one, but instead just wear that one when I feel the urge.

estebansos :The Colombian beef has been treating me well here in Bogota. It's been good! I will tell Tom about the recommended shop as he and Charlie are both headed back to Lima. Charlies fork seals are leaking, and Cusco can't help Tom's issue. I hit the road south tomorrow!

oalvarez: Don't worry! I'm back on the bike tomorrow. It's all tuned up and ready to rock and roll! Onward! Nobodies being selfish here. I want to be back on the bike too!

reboundrider: Hiking at the higher altitudes, i.e, day one and half of day two, was a pain in the ass, as you found yourself winded pretty easily. I didn't have much of a problem though as we had spent 4 nights in Cusco above 10k ft. I'm back on the bike tomorrow, and yes, I am excited! I'm sure Tom will be prudent in his riding. He's never been one to go TOO wild.

Foot dragger : There is a shock here in Colombia, but it's not cheap. Tom's got something in mind though, so I figure he'll be ok. Rebuilding it might happen, though he'll likely end up with a new one. We'll have to wait and see!

amg: Thanks for the compliment on the RR. I have fun writing it, so it's no big deal. Man, from what I have heard, renting one of those XR250's in Vietnam is the way to go! You're going to have a great time! Kick ass!

IceCreamSoldier: I figure I've got good luck on my side, as Tom will be going slow, and I'll be able to catch him! Plus as mentioned above, he and Charlie are backtracking to Lima to fix their bike woes. I Think the winter solstice might be the 21/22, you'll have to dig harder than I did to make sure. Making it to Lima in a month would be HAULING ASS. But you should still do it. Pressing onward tomorrow! Thanks for following along.

NotAllWhoWanderRLost : No better time is right! Thanks for keeping up with the RR, and I'll be sure to continue having a great time, writing often, and taking photos!

RR Update in the next few minutes!


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Old 09-27-2011, 11:33 AM   #786
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RR update.

Alright! 7 days ago I left Cusco, and all you have heard about since then was the awesome Trek that Kristi and I made to Machu Picchu. Since then, a lot of not too exciting things have happened, and I made it via 2 buses, 2 flights, and 2 taxis to Bogota, Colombia.

My bike was where I left it, my luggage still in storage, my gear all musty/moldy and stinky, and everything else in basic, normal, working condition. The bike fired up on the first go, easily, after I turned the gas back on, and all is well!

Well, leading up to this point were many mild events, and I’ll start with that, here.

Well, after making it back to Cusco, Andy, Cass, Ty, Jill, Anna, Kristi and I went out for lunch at a place that serves Hamburgers as big as your head. Most of us ordered a kind of Hamburger or Sandwich, and dug in. Kristi didn’t know what to think about it…

So she just gave it a good effort.

Holy shit! (I ate 1/3 of it, it was huge and she couldn’t finish it.)

Well, that was Sunday afternoon. Earlier that day, Rhi (from the trek) and Anna went for a full body massage. 20 soles later ($7.5) and they were in for a 1hr massage.

Well that sounded nice to Kristi, and though I actually had no urge to go for a massage, as that’s not my thing, I went with her. So $15 later we were fully bodied, inca hot stone massaged, and ready for bed. And so we went to bed.

Monday morning. The dreaded Monday morning (Sept 19th) would be the day that Kristi flew home. So, we had stuff to do!

Did anyone else know that the highest bungee jump in South America is 20 minutes outside of Cusco, Peru? Well, we learned about it at the Loki Hostel, and who would believe that Kristi has this activity on her “bucket list”? Well. Here we go! Think she’s nervous/excited?

Well, we arrived in good fashion, to see the bungee jumping cage on its grounded platform, and the support wires towering above it in the sky above.

Well, Kristi was first up. So they started harnessing her up, and strapping her in.

This time I think she’s nervous.

Rope her in boys!

Inside the cage, the jump operator was checking her harness for a third time. All set?

I think so! And lift off!

This is the exercise board/diagram that labeled and listed the exercises that we performed before jumping. Need to be limber!

And then… She was airborne!

And two minutes or so later, she was being lowered to the ground.

Hey! That was fun!

After that, it was my turn. Same basic setup, except the video that Kristi tried to take of my jump failed, and so no visual record exists. Suffice it to say, I jumped off like a pro, and it was awesome.

We paid a bit extra ($8 or something) and they made Kristi a mini dvd of the jump. She has it at home, but for the time being, you can get an idea of the real experience from this guy’s youtube video.

Then, it was back to the market. Cusco is a great place to find cheap things to bring home to your family. They are unique (more or less) to the area, and lots of fun for family and friends. So, we went back to the shops, and bought a few souvenirs for Kristi’s family.

Then, we took a little walk around the plaza. Here you can see part of the Old Cusco buildings, built from stone hundreds of years ago.

Here is Kristi in front of the locally famous 12 sided stone. Count it. Real deal. Stone Mason Mastery.

Well, then, it was time to go back to the hostel, grab everything she had brought with her and the stuff she bought to take home, and hit up a taxi to the airport. She had to go home to go back to school to finish her last year! Damn.

Airport waiting room parting photo.

Awwww. She’s more sad than me! She has to go home and finish school, and I get to keep traveling. Damn. Life is unfair.

Group “sad” photo. I think we actually were sad.

And then she was gone. BUT, She’ll come back in December! Woohoo!

Well. Damn. My first days of Solo travel began then, and have continued since. It’s nearly normal for me anyway, as I don’t mind making decisions, and I already have a plan in mind. So, for me, it was back to Loki Hostel to find a bus/plane to Bogota.

That night, I found tickets to Bogota from Lima for $600. No way was I dropping $600 to get to Bogota via plane. I would bus. Well, the next morning (Tuesday) I saw flights leaving Lima on Thursday for $357. I just needed to be there in time to catch the flight. A bus takes 21 hours, and costs $66. I can make it if I leave now! That sounded much better, as busing it all the way to Bogota was 87 hours of bus riding. 4 days (STRAIGHT) and $280. And flying from Lima was a day and a half and $420.

So I went to the travel/tour agency inside Loki, and booked a bus that was leaving 4 hours later for Lima. Then, I went back to buy my plane ticket, and they were sold out. Everything was sold out. No flights for less than $600. Damn. Well, I already bought the bus ticket, so I was on my way out the door anyway.

From the front of the bus, through the bugs.

Side view. Less buggy.

Well, in a 21 hour bus ride, they serve you food. I eat much more food than is ever served, so I planned ahead. I.e. 3 liters of fluid (2lt water, 1lt Gatorade), 6 packs (4ea) or oreos, and a banana.

The accompanying chicken, rice, and pastry went along nicely.

Well, I before I got on the bus in Cusco, I saw listed on the bus station schedule, plastered massive letters on the wall, that there was a direct bus leaving from Lima to Guayaquil, Ecuador 3hrs 45minutes after I was meant to arrive in Lima. The price for that 30 hours bus ride was the same as the 21 hrs I would be riding from Cusco to Lima, I didn’t have to pay for a nights’ accommodation, and I would arrive in Guayaquil where flights to Bogota are way cheaper. So, I bought that ticket and signed myself up for 55 hours of nearly consecutive bus riding.

On the way I met this Chilean guy who was traveling for a month, headed north to Colombia, looking for a job when he got there. He was a large scale mechanic that worked in the mines in Chile. He’d be looking for similar work in Colombia.

In Lima with nearly 4 hours to spare, he also bought a bus ticket to Guayaquil, and with the next 30 hours of our lives scheduled in the same direction, we got in a taxi with Felix (another guy making the same trip from Cusco, flying from Guayaquil to L.A. to Sydney) and went down to the local Molino Market.

When we arrived, Felix took off to find gifts for his extended family in Australia, and the Chilean and I (can’t remember his name damn it) went in search for food.

We ended up walking a few blocks and I began to realize that I had been there before, when I was in Lima with Kristi. I turned a few corners and we found Pizza Street. A street lined completely with restaurants and bars. Eventually we came to the end, and the only restaurant not trying to ply us with free/discounted drinks just to enter.

We ended up stuffing our faces on a order of grilled meats, French fries, salad and Inka Cola. Meet the Chilean.

Well, shortly after the meal we walked down the street to the grocery store I remember existed there, and bought provisions for the next 30 hours. Bread, 2 apples, an orange, more water and more Gatorade.

Then it was back to the bus, a front row seat on the top level for me with what turned out to be nobody sitting next to me for the entire ride to Ecuador. Awesome.

Along the way we passed a town, dominated by small motorcycle and motorcycle taxis. They were everywhere!

25 hours later, we arrived at the Peruvian Immigracion office, and I was first off the bus. Waiting in line to have your passport stamped can truly suck when there are 50 people in front of you. If you’re the first one, you get to do this while everyone else is standing in line: eat a chocolate ice cream bar with peanuts. Damn, they are so good.

Well, after exiting Peru, entering Ecuador (same first off first back on routine) it was 5 more hours to our destination for the bus ride. 5 hours later we were all shaking hands, (Felix, Chilean and I) and going off on our own way to do what we had planned.

Briefly I considered catching one of the buses that leaves every hour to Quito, 9-10 hours away on the bus. But, after 50 hours of poor sleeping, poor eating, and urge to sleep in a bed, I made my way into the bus terminal (A MASSIVE two level shopping mall of a bus terminal), and found an internet café.

After 2 hours on the internet I had found a hostel nearby, updated my friends and family , and the most important thing to me at that time; found, booked, and paid for a 2 hour flight to Bogota.

20 more minutes later and I was at the Funky Monkey Hostel near a shopping mall, on my laptop. My flight was scheduled for Saturday, and it was only Thursday night. Time to catch up on sleep.

And so I did. And it was Friday morning till night that I spent a considerable amount of time uploading photos, writing captions, and connecting the dots along our trek to Machu Picchu. Relatively up to date by this time, I passed out.

Saturday morning had me packed and ready to go to the airport. Less than 10 minutes later by taxi, I arrived in good order, 1.5 hours before the flight, (I wasn’t risking anything this time), and was checked in for the first of 2 flights that day, to Cali, Colombia.

In Cali, I made a slight error and checked myself into the country of Colombia with the immigration officers there. Instead, I was meant to take a different route and head to the waiting area for my connecting flight to Bogota where, at my final destination I would check myself into the system. So, after erroneously checking it, I had 2.5 hours to wait for my connecting flight. No problem.

The older women here like to dye there graying/white hair into hip and fashionable colors. The choice of these two nice women? Purple!

A normal scene at banks and airport ATM’s are armed guards ready to whoop ass if you try to rob them.

After eating ice cream again, and reintroducing myself to the third currency in 3 days, I was boarding onto the 35 minute flight to Bogota, and ready to rock and roll. I had saved a business card to the Hostel where I left my bike, and after collecting my luggage in Bogota, grabbed one of the authorized taxis, and was checked into the hostel that night. After retrieving all of my luggage from storage, my bed looked like this.

Well, that was Saturday, the 24th, and since then, I have picked up a package at the post office that my dad sent to me, (Sprockets, clutch cable, throttle cable, oil drain plug, carb screws), installed the new sprockets with a new chain that Kristi brought down when she arrived, tuned the carb, checked the tire pressure, loctited every pannier rack bolt, drilled 4 holes in my top case and mounted it, and changed the oil.

That took me a few days as I am hard pressed to be in a hurry. However, TOMORROW, I leave bright and early in the morning.

In the mean time, I have been to the grocery store, bought way too much meat, potatoes, broccoli, green beans, rice, bell peppers, an onion, and cooked the hell out of all of it.

Over the past two days I have eaten a kilo of meat, a kilo of potatoes, 2 peppers, and onion, and some rice. I am fattening myself up before I go back south again where large quantities of beef don’t grow until Argentina.

On top of all of this, Tom and Charlie have decided to backtrack to Lima where a larger level of motorcycle related assistance can be found. Tom’s shock is trashed, and Charlie’s fork seals are leaking. That just means I’ll catch them sooner than originally thought.

I leave tomorrow. Route as halfway considered is as follows:
Wednesday, make it to Cali, Colombia.
Thursday, make it to Ipiales, Colombia.
Friday, make it to Quito, Ecuador.
Saturday, make it to Cuenca, Ecuador.
Sunday, make it to Mancora, Peru.
Monday, half way to Lima.
Tuesday, arrive in Lima.



bigalsmith101 screwed with this post 09-27-2011 at 11:41 AM
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:24 PM   #787
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Location: Currently - Canada
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Awesome update!

Can't imagine being on a bus as long as you have in the past few days, let alone weeks.

I think I'd kiss my dirty motorcycle when I saw it.
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:24 PM   #788
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Kick ass!!

Like I said Kick Ass!!

Be safe
"I dodge the grave most everyday"
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:23 PM   #789
Joined: Aug 2011
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What a great update! With all the pictures and notations, you do that very well. Keep on going, hopefully you can catch up to everyone soon It is a great ride report.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:07 PM   #790
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this is just a great RR! sharing an adv like this is tough to do from the road. I appreciate your time and effort to let us tag along. just adding that many pictures is a task let alone adding the excellent verbage!!!! hats off to ya and have agreat time getting caught up with tom. riding solo can be very relaxing even when you put a lot of miles on in a day. theres just something about not having to think about someone elses needs, just your own thats makes a guy a little more relaxed about the day.

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Old 09-28-2011, 04:35 AM   #791
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Still an awesome RR. didn't come here for a moment now; good to know thats you're still fine
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:28 AM   #792
bigalsmith101 OP
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Location: Lake Stevens, WA
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Hitting the road!

And I am going as far south as Possible.

I woke up a little later than planned, but all is well regardless.

I changed my oil yesterday along with the oil filter, and permanently mounted my top case.

All of my luggage fits INSIDE my boxes with room to spare, and I think I will enjoy the bike even more now then when I left. Heck, it's nearly better than when I left home 6 months ago!


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Old 09-28-2011, 09:59 PM   #793
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
Oddometer: 12,900
And off you go! Must feel great to get back on the bike,have a great ride and watch out for the crazy bus drivers and who ever else! A DR will always get you there,Ive beat on mine for 25000 miles and its unfazed.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:48 PM   #794
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
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Alex, been following your RR from the beginning, finally decided to log on and comment. Great ride and look forward to the rest of your adventure.
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:54 PM   #795
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Sitting Pretty in Quito.

Well damn, the border was a cluster F*$# last night when trying to enter into Ecuador, as the "system" was down. The Migracion officer told me to just go sleep in the city of Tulcan (5 minutes down the road, IN Ecuador) and come back in the morning for the stamps. So, that's exactly what I did.

Well rather than the 6am wake up that I planned, I woke up at 8am and made it to the border by 8:30. I left the border at 12pm after 3.5 hours of hanging around while they manually entered everyone into Ecuador on a temporary 10day permit.

Fine. I only need a few days. I'm hauling ass to Lima, Peru.

Quito was the end of the line for me today, and a good thing too as it just started to Piss down rain as soon as I got to my destination (Vibes Hostel, Quito, Ecuador).

Google maps says that is 24 hours of driving to Lima. Of course that doesn't account for food, fuel, or bathroom stops. Nor for the border, getting lost, or anything like that.

I'm going to see if I can make it to the border tomorrow.

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