And so it begins...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Malindi, May 2, 2012.

  1. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    You're welcome Oldone. I mostly write for a handful of friends and for my dad, who is 82, and through this can keep track of where I am. He's learned to use a browser just for this. Who says an old dog can't be taught new tricks...

    Glad you're enjoying it. There are a TON more pictures too if you go here: http://www.nohorizons.net/2012/slideshows.html

    Cheers
    Kevin
  2. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

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    Kevin,

    Thanks for the additional photos, which I'm going to have a ton of fun looking at. That's really a great story about your Dad. I have a friend who's in his 90's and over the past five years I've helped him learn to use his computer so that he can email with his kids and grand-kids. Now he uses it for lots of things.....

    Thanks again,

    Gary
  3. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    September 2, 2012 - We made our way to Salento from Medellin. The ride from Medellin was amazing. We rode along a ridge for hours, dotted by small villages, strung together by an excellent road.

    In Salento we ended up in a small family run hotel. The entire inside of the place was wood or wood paneled and the house sighed under every move. We stayed for two nights and relaxed as there was little to do but walk around and take pictures of windows and door frames. Every window and door frame in the town had a different pattern.

    I took the opportunity to shoot a whole series for my budding stock photography career and all got accepted. Earlier, I'd had some back and forth with my friend Paul (who is a far better photographer than I am) and he mercilessly trashed every picture I put forward for review. Some navel gazing and experimenting is resulting in much better pictures now.

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    We also ran into a few other overlanders here.

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    The French/Portuguese couple we met bought this camper from another French couple in San Francisco on a whim. They are planning on driving it down to Ushuaia.

    Another character was traveling north from Argentina with plans to cross Canada and then hop over to Europe.

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    A view of downtown Salento.

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    The town is surrounded by beautiful hillsides.

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    Here is another of the many door and window frames that now form part of my collection.

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    From Salento we moved on to Popayan, giving Cali a miss.
  4. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    September 4, 2012 - We arrived in Popayan from Salento and found a "hostal" right next to the church on the main square. Surprisingly, I didn't shoot any real street scenes here at all. It was more of a place to sit and enjoy the people walk back and forth over the main square versus any real sights of note.

    Although an enjoyable place to hang out for an afternoon, it was a one-day town.

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    The museum of modern art was an odd collection of antique city owned artifacts and a few displays by local artists.

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    Our final stop in Colombia is tomorrow. We're going to Ipiales and will visit the Las Lajas church, built over top a river. It's an unlikely sight.
  5. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    September 6, 2012 - Ipiales is an uninspiring border town. It's big and dirty, with outlying suburbs that would give any aspiring urban planner nightmares. We arrived far too late in the day but got lucky and found a decent place with good wifi, a rarity as of late.

    We never turn down an offer to park the bikes in the lobby, which is what happened on this night again. The whole reason for this stop was the church below.

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    The Las Lajas Sanctuary is built over top a river, replacing a few previous structures to remember the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1754. This structure was built in 1949. Quite a remarkable structure and certainly worth the visit. We didn't bump into the Virgin Mary after hanging around for a bit so we left for Ecuador.

    Colombia was an amazing country to visit and ride around in. Cartagena, El Cocuy, El Poblado in Medellin and Barichara, each place has a unique appeal and stands on its own. After the US, this was our favorite country so far.
  6. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    September 7, 2012 - The tenth country on this trip. As hard as it was getting into Colombia, leaving was very simple. Got stamped out, handed over our precious motorcycle permit (we could have ridden off and they'd be none the wiser), and got an entry stamp for Ecuador.

    A few cursory checks of the VIN numbers on the bikes and one piece of paper later we were into Ecuador. The amazing thing is that we paid not a single fee in the entire process, a first for this trip. Our goal for the day was Otavalo, to catch the Saturday market. Although pretty touristy, supply outstripped demand by a factor of twenty or more. There were only a handful of tourists.

    Earlier in the day my bike decided it needed a rest. The gear shifter had broken on two sides and I could only very carefully get into first or second gear. No doubt metal fatigue as the thing is more than twenty five years old. We looked around for a welder and luckily found one quickly. Two dollars and an hour later we were back on the road.

    The market and Otavalo didn't disappoint.

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    We ran into a food market first before we stumbled upon the tourist stuff.

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    The main thing to buy on the tourist market seemed to be Alpaca-spun varieties of clothing. I went on a shooting rampage and experimented with colors and shades a bit more. Alpaca wool throws off the camera focus in bright sunlight I found.

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    Later in the evening we walked around town and took some more pictures.

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    This little one was eyeing my coffee while her mom was engaged in conversation.

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  7. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I have to say- after reading your introduction, and considering the massive sum of cash im going to need for a MC trip to Alaska, I immediately asked myself "Damn how do all these people AFFORD these awesome trips??!".

    Fortunately im single without kids so maybe Ill have time to figure it out :lol3

    Until then, ill live vicariously through your travels..
  8. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    Well, the basics are the following:

    - Make as much money as possible.
    - Spend as little money as possible.
    - Invest conservatively in something that gives you recurring revenue (rental property, dividend income etc)
    - Repeat for 20 years ... :cry
    - Retire and do shit like this .... :clap

    Avoid expensive stuff like wife and kids and you'll be ok. Get either of the latter and kiss plans goodbye. :lol3
  9. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    I wonder how many riders are now looking at their sleeping wives and thinking, "If not for you..."

    Those folks down there sure seem to enjoy saturated primary colors. Hardly a pastel in sight.
  10. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    Yup, Ecuador is a high-contrast color country. Quite nice here. Took a boat load of pics in Quito yesterday and haven't even reviewed them yet.... Off to find a front tire today.
  11. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    What's your total kms ridden this trip as of now? Seems to me you've gone quite a bit in a few months.
  12. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    22248 kms
    $1,557.81 in gas

    Any more questions? :D
  13. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    Not now. Feel free to return to your tire quest.
  14. CourtRand

    CourtRand Been here awhile

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    If you need help finding a tire, let us know. We also have some maps and route suggestions for Ecuador - if you are still in Quito, come in and see us!
  15. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    We're still in Quito. Currently working on the Galapagos trip. Prob going to fly to Puerto Ayjoro(sp?) and find a boat there. I spent some time with Diego Salvador (Race Tech guy here) to fix some bike bits and bobs the other day. Tried to find a tire, but only Pirelli etc. I really want to see if I can find a Shinko front. The rear has 13,242 kilometers on it and it's not half worn. It's amazing.. rough profile, sticks like glue and cost $54 ...

    Looks like you are a few blocks from where we are staying. Might pop in tomorrow to say hi if you are open.

    Cheers,
    Kevin
  16. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    September 30, 2012 - We flew to the Galapagos twice. The first time, we were in sight of the runway basking in sunlight when the plane turned around supposedly for weather related reasons. Later we found out that this was not the case. Most likely, LAN was subject to a tiff over landing rights.

    The net result of all this is that we ended up back in Guayaquil, in a top end hotel, courtesy of LAN. We made it on schedule to the Galapagos the next morning.

    A few hours later we booked a week long cruise starting the following day. It proved to be a very good one on a large boat with lots of space. The sixteen passengers on board were mainly colorful Australians, with an Israeli "white hat" hacker thrown in for good measure. Conversations were lively and quite varied.

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    The wonders of the Galapagos do not start when you set foot on land and see your first blue-footed booby. Mystery starts at night, in the toilet bowl. Bioluminescence lights up the bathroom when you flush as seawater is used.

    Our daily routine was quite rigorous, with a wake up call at 5:30 AM and a beach landing at 6:00 AM. Breakfast around 8:00 AM, snorkeling at 10:00 AM and lunch at noon. More water time at around 2:00 PM and a second landing at around 4:00 PM. No time was lost and during each excursion I shot around three to four hundred pictures. Night times were used for sorting through the chaff. A red-footed booby below.

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    Only three percent of the Galapagos is visited or routinely occupied by humans. The other part is left alone and visited by conversation officials only. The rules as to where each tourist boat can go is prescribed by the government, ensuring equal distribution of the tourist load but also allowing for some favoritism for those with good connections.

    A large number of the species we saw only occur on the Galapagos, and of those, some only on specific islands. The phrase "endemic species" was uttered by our guide a number of times a day.

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    Aside from the variety of wildlife, the other unique feature is the animal's complete lack of fear and in some cases unhealthy curiosity. Snorkeling with sea lions was a blast as they want to interact. If you dive and corkscrew while doing so, they mimic your movement. More than once a sea lion would swim straight at your face, only to miss by a whisker and shoot past the length of your body with no room to spare.

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    Photo courtesy of Lucienne Oud

    Wandering around the islands, always on a path accompanied by a guide, it was hard to sometimes not stumble over sleeping sea lions, or nesting boobies. The one below is a Nasca booby.

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    The surroundings were not too shabby either.

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    The Galapagos are volcanic, with a number of active hotspots.

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    The oddest and most unexpected animals on the the equator are penguins.

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    Of course there are Albatross as well.

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    And of course, blue-footed boobies are everywhere.

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    A young booby in its nest.

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    A picture of the boat we were on.

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    After eight nights at sea, we were happy to get back to land. The whole western side of the Galapagos is part of a different trip schedule, so that will have to wait for a next visit.
  17. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    The top seal pic is a top seal pic.
  18. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    October 17, 2012 - We relaxed for a few more days in Puerto Ayora. Initially, we were afraid we'd get bored but apparently we had successfully adjusted to the island lifestyle, which meant we were happy to do little and lounge around town a bit or walk to the beach to watch lizards. We were somewhat reluctant to leave the Galapagos.

    There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of lizards on the beaches near Puerto Ayora.

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    Walking around in Puerto Ayora, I came upon a strange Friday afternoon ritual.

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    Eventually, our time was up on the Galapagos and we flew back to the mainland. Our bikes were happily stored at the hotel in Quito. The next few weeks were a bit muddled in terms of planning, with Jan needing to catch a flight out of Lima on October 25th. I had debated taking a paragliding course in Iquique, Chile, during the time that he would be gone, but was also considering flying back to Vancouver to swap out camera gear and touch base with friends back home. As it was, the decision to go to Vancouver was sealed with Anna breaking her kneecap in a nasty fall. Being immobilized and with an apartment that was in the middle of a renovation, I decided to leave for Vancouver right away. So a few days after being back in Quito, I left for Vancouver on October 3rd.

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    I had little time to socialize in Vancouver as setting up an apartment for someone who needs to hobble around on crutches takes some imagination. Additional skills acquired include installing "assisted living" equipment in the bathroom and other esoterica.

    All in all, Anna's surgery and first follow-up were successful, but the path to health is measured in months with a second surgery in about six months followed by more physio.

    I'd spent ample time thinking about the camera gear I wanted to have with me for the long run (just the D700 and 24-70 were not enough) and as such decided on the D700, 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200. I also took a 50 mm lens. It's a lot to pack on a motorcycle, but then photography is pushing more to the forefront in what I want to pursue longer term, not that I have any illusions of ever making much money with it.
  19. Malindi

    Malindi Zen Adventurer

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    October 23, 2012 - I landed in Quito with a cold or something, because it took me out for close to a week. When I felt better, I went back to the Guayasamin Museum.

    I was there on a Sunday and the place was deserted. I wandered around for a good hour at the old residence before going back to the museum.

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    I took a few more shots of the old cars with the wide angle lens.

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    The interior of the Model T.

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    The garden view, with the museum roof in the background.

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    My next stop was Baños, a small tourist town nestled in the mountains and surrounded by hot springs, none of which I visited. The half day ride to Baños sapped my remaining energy and I decided to park the bike till I was better.

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    I found Baños slightly depressing. The graffiti in town was not the most joyful either.

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    The mask below looked like an add-on at first, but it is actually painted on.

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    The only place of note in the centre of town is the monastery connected to the church.

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    Everything went well until I decided to visit the museum on the second floor. Aside from the more mundane religious paraphernalia, there were two rooms dedicated to stuffed Ecuadorian fauna, which was a tad disturbing, as some of our feathered friends had been consumed by moths. Snakes in formaldehyde jars were half exposed and stacks of what looked like antique statues were piled together in display cases. The places was a curator's worst nightmare.

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    Since there was absolutely nobody at the museum and the surrounding courtyard, I spent some time playing with shadows and wide angles.

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    Tomorrow I will start the bike again and head south via the eastern route, which takes me closer to the Amazon rainforest.
  20. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    Looks like you entered into Grotesque-ville.