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Old 09-05-2013, 06:53 PM   #1
advFord OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Orange County, CA
Oddometer: 441
Laugh Places Beyond: California to TDF on a G650X Challenge

I've lurked on here for so long and read so many Ride Reports, I can't believe the time has come for me to write my own. No promises of what's to come but I hope to keep you entertained throughout my journey. It's still 30 days away but I wanted to get this started to post some things before I take off. The basic plan is to leave from my home in Southern California on my BMW G650X Challenge and not come back till June. More about myself and what I'll be up to in a future post.

For months I have been staring at Google Maps trying to comprehend the scope of this adventure. I would tell people that I was going to be riding to Argentina and they would say “oh so you’re going to ship your motorcycle there.” Not exactly. I wanted to come up with a unique way to share what this journey would be like so friends (and myself) could see the scope of it. I decided this project was the perfect excuse to take a break from researching on my computer and working on the motorcycle. Using a National Geographic map of the Americas, a pencil, marker, art paper, and a camera, I made this stop-motion video. A few hundred photographs, a 1950s Mexican cowboy song, and a bit of editing work later, here’s the finished piece.


Here's my run down of my bike, mods, and the gear I have with me.

Bike
BMW G650X Challenge 2007

Mods:
Scott's Performance Steering Stabilizer
Schefellrmier Wheel Spacers
HyperPro Progressive Springs
Hyde Racing Skid Plate
Proscreen Windshield
Baja Designs 1.1 Gallon Aux Tank
Rear Luggage Rack
Cheapo Chinese Heated grips
Eastern Beaver 3 Circuit Solution
Powered Cigarette socket and USB port
EarthX Lithium Battery EXT18B
G650X Moto Low Seat
Handguards
Hard parts
Heidenau K60 Scout Tires front and rear
Scott's Performance Stainless Steel Oil Filter


Riding Gear by Icon Motosports
Patrol Jacket
Raiden Patrol Pants
Hooligan Pants
Variant Construct Helmet
Patrol Gloves
Patrol Boots

Storage
Giant Loop Siskiyou Panniers
Giant Loop Fandango Tank Bag
Giant Loop Pronghorn Straps
Giant Loop Tillamook Dry Bag
and a pelican case for my laptop

Security
Motorcycle Cover
Trimax Heavy Duty Cable Lock
Disc Lock with Alarm

Tools/Spares
All the sockets and wrenches needed for the G650x
Spare tubes - front and rear
Tire Irons
Slime mini air compressor (works great for the air shock too)
Chain
Motion Pro Chain Tool
BMW Front Sprocket
Supersprox Rear Sprocket
Misc bolts
Fuses
Lightbulbs
Spark Plugs
Chain Lube
Oil

Clothes
3 pair Icebreaker Merino Wool socks
1 pair Icebreaker merino wool underwear
2 pair Exxofficio GivenGo Underwear
3 Tshirts
1 button down woven shirt
1 pair shorts
1 pair jeans
1 hoodie
1 Krochet Kids Knit hat
Rainbow sandals
Converse sneakers

Electronics
iPhone with Lifeproof Case
GoPro Hero3
Gentech GoPro Cage
Canon EOS - M camera
Canon 50mm 1.4
Canon 18-135mm IS
Mac laptop
WD Passport External Harddrives
Garmin Rino 530
Spot 2 Tracker
mini12v power inverter


Camping
Sierra Designs Flash 2 Tent
Sierra Designs Cal 30 DriDown sleeping bag
sleep pad
First Aid/emergency kit
Lifestraw water filter
Alcohol stove
heet fuel
X mug
Fork/spoon
Mess kit pot/plate
REI headlamp
Towel
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Places Beyond: California to TDF over 8 months Ride Report
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advFord screwed with this post 11-11-2013 at 05:40 PM
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:28 AM   #2
csustewy
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 541
Quote:
Originally Posted by advFord View Post
“oh so you’re going to ship your motorcycle there.”
Get used to that type of comment...some people in each country along the way will assume you've shipped your bike to the closest port and just started your ride, finding it hard to believe that you've covered the distance you will have covered. Until you show and explain the mud, dirt, dents and dings picked up along the way. Have a great time picking up that mud and dirt, those dents and dings!

I will keep my eyes on your ride report. Good luck with the final preparations!
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:37 AM   #3
damasovi
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Ensenada, Baja California
Oddometer: 2,609
good for you!!! I will be waiting on saturday!

Damasovi
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:45 AM   #4
WhicheverAnyWayCan
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Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Seven Springs NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by advFord View Post
For months I have been staring at Google Maps trying to comprehend the scope of this adventure. I would tell people that I was going to be riding to Argentina and they would say “oh so you’re going to ship your motorcycle there.” Not exactly. I wanted to come up with a unique way to share what this journey would be like so friends (and myself) could see the scope of it. I decided this project was the perfect excuse to take a break from researching on my computer and working on the motorcycle. Using a National Geographic map of the Americas, a pencil, marker, art paper, and a camera, I made this stop-motion video. A few hundred photographs, a 1950s Mexican cowboy song, and a bit of editing work later, here’s the finished piece.
OOh! Somebody had so much time on his hand! But impressive work!! A lot harder than it seems!

In the the ride!
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:52 AM   #5
Scubalong
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Joined: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Oddometer: 766
Thumb Bon Voyage

Hey Dan
Wish you the best on your journey Have fun and be safe. I will keep my eyes on your departure and maybe will escort you south of the border.
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Old 10-04-2013, 04:15 PM   #6
poolman
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Location: Darnestown, MD
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AdvFord,

All the best for a safe and unforgettable journey!


Cheers,

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Old 10-12-2013, 08:34 AM   #7
advFord OP
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Location: Orange County, CA
Oddometer: 441
Let's get this started

I'm late to my own party.
I had visions of the wanting to make the best ride report, but then I reached Baja and couldn't upload anything bigger than a sentence. So I'm a few days in now but will start sharing the stories of getting things started and of my adventure south!

Getting Things Started

The week leading up to my scheduled departure date was a bit hectic as I tried to put together all the final preparations for the trip. The days were getting fewer and and while I was crossing things off the checklists and making progress, I was stressed. I decided to postpone by a day or two so that I could have time to see friends before I left and enjoy my last few days home. It was the best decision. It’s nice not to be stuck to a timeline.


The extra three days was just what I needed. Time to hang out with friends and enjoy meals together and time to get the final preparations completed. I went to bed at 3am and woke up at 6 to start getting ready. With all my gear stashed away, I put on my riding gear and was ready to ride. Some friends of mine woke up early to send me off. It’s good to know I have so much support for this trip from my friends and family back home.


Some of my best friends came to send me off.

Some of my best friends came to send me off.


My friends Nate and Amy with their two girls. Thanks for the coffee and donuts!

My friends Nate and Amy with their two girls. Thanks for the coffee and donuts!


My coworkers at Roadtrip Nation sending me off. Love this crew!

My coworkers at Roadtrip Nation sending me off. Love this crew!

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Old 10-12-2013, 08:37 AM   #8
advFord OP
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Location: Orange County, CA
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Day 1 - South to Baja

With a few friends who came to see me off standing in the street and waiving goodbye, I started up the engine and was on my way. The first few miles were a combination of excitement and mentally running through check lists. Did I remember everything? What about this and that? Of course I forgot the papers of Essential Spanish I had printed out! I should have started seriously learning Spanish a year ago. I’ve met people who’ve done similar travel through central and South America and didn’t know any and they survived. I know a few basics. I spent the past few months using the free language app, DuoLingo to help me prepare.


 


Ready to ride my motorcycle

Ready to leave


The start of my trip

Hitting the road as my housemates snap away instagram photos


It was a quick ride down to San Diego and after running a few errands I was ready to cross my first border. It was a simple process to get my tourist visa and 20 minutes later I was traveling through Mexico. I had crossed the Tijuana border many times so I knew my way south. Mexico has their own Highway 1 that runs north to south so I just followed that. I rode to Ensenada where I stopped at a Telcel store to get a SIM card for my phone and get Pesos from the bank.


USA Mexico Border

Crossing the border into Mexico at Tijuana


Baja California's Highway 1 runs along the coast and inland through mountains and deserts

Baja California’s Highway 1 runs along the coast and inland through mountains and deserts


 


Once I passed Ensenada I was in new territory for me. The highway leaves the coast and soon I was riding along twisting mountain passes and then into a valley known for its vineyards. The sun was about to set so I stopped for the night in the very small town of Santo Tomas.


The valley of Santo Tomas


Unless there was a town nearby that I missed, it consisted of a couple houses, a campground, and a hotel. Not many options so I stayed at El Palomar Hotel, a well known spot for dual sport riders. I figured there would be at least one other person staying there but the place was empty. The windows and doors of the hotel (and most every other place in Baja) are covered in stickers from motocross and baja rally teams from decades ago. There’s a large restaurant there with the ceiling covered with hanging beer cans. A woman came from kitchen and brought me the menu and a bowl of tortilla chips that could have fed a family of 8. I had a quiet dinner with myself and a cat that was meowing by the door. The night before I had only slept for 3 hours, so while I planned on writing a blog, I fell asleep after writing one sentence.

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Places Beyond: California to TDF over 8 months Ride Report
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:41 AM   #9
advFord OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Orange County, CA
Oddometer: 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post
OOh! Somebody had so much time on his hand! But impressive work!! A lot harder than it seems!

In the the ride!

6 weeks before I left I thought I had all the time in the world to do stuff like this, I'm glad I did, but wow the days leading up to my departure was serious crunch time!
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:41 AM   #10
Ulyses
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Oregon (the dry side)
Oddometer: 892
Get some!

Dude, I'm so excited for you!!! I hope you have a blast!!! If you're still in Baja, make sure to stop at Muelege (SP?)! And for god's sake, make sure you get your TVIP BEFORE you get to La Paz and try and get on the ferry....otherwise you may have to ride 1,000 miles back up the peninsula to get it. Good luck on the road, I'm excited to see what happens!
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:44 AM   #11
Ulyses
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Location: Oregon (the dry side)
Oddometer: 892
Ohh...and subscribed! Damn, you're a lucky bastard! I wish I was doing this trip again right now!
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:51 AM   #12
advFord OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Orange County, CA
Oddometer: 441
Ha, more on the TVIP in a bit. I still don't have it. ahhh! :-) hahaha it's an adventure right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
Dude, I'm so excited for you!!! I hope you have a blast!!! If you're still in Baja, make sure to stop at Muelege (SP?)! And for god's sake, make sure you get your TVIP BEFORE you get to La Paz and try and get on the ferry....otherwise you may have to ride 1,000 miles back up the peninsula to get it. Good luck on the road, I'm excited to see what happens!
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Those who dare, risk defeat. Those who don't, ensure it.
Places Beyond: California to TDF over 8 months Ride Report
Places Beyond Website
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:27 PM   #13
advFord OP
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Day 2 - Santo Tomas to Bahia de Los Angeles

Santo Tomas to Bahia de Los Angeles


I woke up to realize my back wasn’t as healed as I thought. Glad I brought the meds. I don’t think I told this story. A day before I was going to leave I was moving things and lifted something that really bothered my back. I joked with friends that I must almost be turning 30. Before I left I was feeling fine but now climbing on the bike told me I wasn’t better yet. Once I was on the road and moving I was fine.


The road continued south past farms and more vineyards. They are repaving the road a few miles at a time so twice we had to use off-road detours. My bike was so clean from the fresh paint and new parts but this stretch of off road riding took care of that. Now it looks like it’s on an adventure.


I stopped for lunch in San Quintin, one of the larger towns in the area. I was looking for a taco stand that looked busy and finally found Fish Taco Marshall. I made the right choice. The fish, the salsa, the cream and spices were perfect. And only $1.25 each! There were no open seats but a guy offered to share his table with me. Surprisingly he spoke perfect English and he grew up in Mission Viejo, a town just a few miles from me. He was here to go to university to become a teacher. We chatted for a bit and then I was on my way. Before I left he assured me these were the best tacos around. He risked being late for class to come have them.


Fish Taco Marshall in San Quintin

Fish Taco Marshall in San Quintin



Pescado por tacos

Pescado por tacos


IMG_0046


 



I heard that the town of Bahia de Los Angeles was a great place and so I decided I’d check it out. It was further south so I had to charge to get there before dark. I passed through the town of El Rosario I saw a sign that said “next Gas 318km” I quickly turned around a filled up. With my added aux fuel tank that is plumbed into the main fuel system I can get about 180 miles. The gas stations in Mexico are government run and pretty efficient. Almost all of them are full service so I just pull up and tell the attendant “lleno por favor” (fill’er up please)


 


Typical gas stations in Mexico.

Typical gas stations in Mexico.


Highway 1 heads inland and through the mountainous Parque Naturale de Desierto Central. As I made my way south clouds formed and hid the sun and it quickly got cold. My Icon Patrol jacket and gloves kept me warm as the winds picked up. The cold crosswind off the Pacific was pushing my bike, if only it was a tail wind.


There were almost no other cars on the road. The only thing I would see beside the desert were small homes and tire repair shops. In the small town of Catavina there was a guy selling gasoline from jugs. I didn’t know how much the wind was effecting my fuel efficiency so I got a gallon just in case.


 


Baja Gas Station in Catavina

Baja Gas Station in Catavina


Bahia de Los Angeles is 66km east off of Highway 1. As I was riding on this road I saw two wild horses ahead of me by the roadside. I pulled over to take a photo and they instantly bolted. With the light from the sunset hitting the desert mountains in the background it was a beautiful sight.


Parque Natural del Desierto Central

Parque Natural del Desierto Central


I rode into the town and looked for a hotel. The first was full. I saw a sign for hotel with wifi, hot water, and breakfast so I followed the sign. It led me up a rocky dirt road and then no more signs. I wasn’t looking forward to turning around on a rocky hill. Sure enough as I made the turn my front wheel got stuck and over the bike went. (She was tired from a long day of riding I guess) A guy came out and helped me get the bike up. So thankful he did, I’m afraid of what my back would have done had I tried to lift by myself. I was over Hotel Princess and their crappy driveway. I went back the main road and found a hotel that looked more expensive than I wanted to pay but I was tired and didn’t care. I got my room and unpacked the bike. I went to get dinner but the only place open was a small mercado (market) so dinner was a Coca Cola and a bag of Tostitos nachos. At least the fish tacos at lunch were amazing. The hotel had wifi and I tried to call friends and my mom on the app Viber but the signal was too poor.


The technology we have for trips like these is makes family and friends never seem that far away. With my Spot GPS tracker people can see where I am on a map at any time. When I have wifi I can update instagram, Facebook, and check email in a instant. With the phone apps Viber, Whats App, and Skype I can talk and chat with friends around the world.

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Places Beyond: California to TDF over 8 months Ride Report
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:27 PM   #14
Eddywoodgo
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Location: where ever I put up my Bivie
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Good write up so far. Im subscribed as I will be headed over from Oz to do a similar trip in December. Keep the stories coming!
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Old 10-12-2013, 03:21 PM   #15
Ben Carufel
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: San Diego
Oddometer: 637
Cool writeup, I'm in to follow along!
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