Another way up...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by flyde, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    Argentina to Alaska.. Doing it differently...


    To summarise quickly, I started in Santiago in Chile in February of 2009. Accompanied by two other riders from New Zealand we set out to the end of the planet, Ushuaia in Tierra de Fuego. Achieving this months later because of the inevitable incidents you can expect being new to the saddle and learning in the loose stuff.
    Then we turned north and rode fast, away from the cold, Buenos Aires, Argentina then to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. It was here we turned towards the setting sun and rode westwards across the continent through Bolivia to Peru. With the bikes and our bums now battle scared we steered north again, eventually reaching Colombia where my companions sold their bikes and in my face was the famous Darien Gap. Much of this early venture we recorded and announced on the web site, Bridging Gaps.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    It was here that things took a drastic turn and the concept of crossing the Darien by motorcycle power became the new focus of attention. Joined by one of the new owners of my previous comrade&#8217;s bike, my girlfriend from Bolivia and fourth partner in crime, we commenced work on a KLR powered boat :rofl. Two months in the scrap yard, combining pieces from cars, rail road, washing machines and fans we eventually converted a 1964 orange life raft into a vessel that ticked along at 6 miles an hour at 3000rpm in fourth gear. Ecstatic and exited we lifted anchor in Turbo Colombia with our course set to Panama where the road was to begin again.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We optimistically saw this possible to achieve in five days. One month later we were towed into the destination wharf by a sailor´s dingy. What we weren't expecting was to search for a welder amongst grass huts, being detained by authorities and trapped in by the weather. Attempting to record it on film we hope to make something of it. We made a full engineering report we posted at this site: Four Strokes of Luck.


    <object width="425" height="344">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kp9f7rG4n6A&hl=en_GB&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></object>

    Thinking the turmoil had come to an end, we were wrong, my KLR then wouldn&#8217;t start and we lost the ever so important spacers from our axle bolts. The only option left was a pick up truck to take us and what resembled motorcycles to Panama City. This achieved we made it at 10pm two days before Christmas. Happy to be alive and a large meal or two later I find myself in Boquete (Panama), painting the Mamallena Hostel to pass the time while my parts slowly make their way in the post. Its been three months since I&#8217;ve had my bike on its rubbers, the anticipation for her return is beyond my explanation.
    The plan from here is to ride up through Central America and Mexico and for the first time ever, cross the border to the USA. The ultimate goal is Alaska and the funds are fearsomely low, camping and rice will be the crux of my existence but i will find those adventure riding moments when you grin so much your helmet tilts backwards.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. ski.dive

    ski.dive Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    210
    Location:
    hutchinson island,fl. / mt.snow,vt. / costa rica
    awsome!!!!:freaky :clap
    #2
  3. Cap'n Crunch

    Cap'n Crunch Smelly Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    241
    Location:
    Iowa, Paleozoic Plateau
    The KLR seems to be the Swiss Army knife of motorcycles. Kawasaki should have included a trailer hitch and a PTO output shaft as standard equipment.

    Good luck with the rest of your journey!
    #3
  4. BigFatHead

    BigFatHead Outerspace Hillbilly

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10
    :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup
    #4
  5. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,246
    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    I saw something about this on the HUBB and forwarded it to a few guys just the other day, I'm glad your posting it up here. Looks like one hell of a time:clap
    #5
  6. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    Thanks for the support, I pray my parts will be here this week!!

    New sprockets and chains, hand grips, spacers for the axle bolts, damper and a stator and ignition coil. mmmmm. After the black paint job I've done on the frame, cleaned every component with a wire brush and installed a bigger and better radiator from a 2008 model. Its going to be like riding a loving girlfriend who has been working out and sun baking while on holidays!

    Its been good to see Benny and Charles from A few more miles and Tiernan and Matt form Ride Report also running a thread here. If anyone in on their way, please let me know. I need a break from the painting and of cause a beer with a heads-up on the road ahead is always welcome. :freaky
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    64,535
    Awesome :thumb

    :lurk
    #7
  8. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    414
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    This looks like fun ahead still .... a lot of fun. When is the DVD coming out for all of us stuck in the quicksand!!!
    #8
  9. Barra1967cuda

    Barra1967cuda Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    USA ,New York State - PA border HW 81
    Awsome adventure ! KLR powered boat very cool to see that done .Will definaly be checking this RR now and then.
    If you haven't all ready check this site out alot of KLR people over there alot of them are on this site too .

    http://www.klr650.net/forums/
    #9
  10. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,206
    Location:
    Lone Pine, ON, Canada
    Wicked stuff...................
    #10
  11. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    Production begins when the footage reaches Australia in two weeks. I'll make sure I keep up to speed with its progress, its quite exciting, I cant wait for mum to see it!:rogue
    #11
  12. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,950
    Location:
    Fort Whine Indiana
    What a brilliant, yet appearingly simple solution to a problem faced by generations of travellers.

    IN for the DVD
    #12
  13. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    Sorry No PICS here, Ride report begins Pg 2

    After being out of contact with a friend for a while he set me the task of telling him of the:

    TOP 3......SCARIEST
    TOP 3......MOST BEAUTIFUL
    TOP 3......FUNNIEST

    things that have happened on my recent venture. It took me a while so I attached a copy of my response below.

    "I think i will begin with the most beautiful things, a beautiful beginning makes sense.

    I feel somewhat obliged and proud to mention my beloved Bolivian girlfriend, Claudia, as number one on the beautiful list. Now those formalities are out of the way I can move on to the other beautiful things in my life. Of which there have been many. During the last 25000 km on the bike I have discovered what this adventure riding is all about. It took a while but I think I have it sussed, and will apply this theory to the planned route for the next half of the globe. It&#8217;s the times you find yourself leaning right then left then right again in a smooth motion, eyes focused on the inside of the corner and the bike just doing the work. This when added to either a wind along the side of an open body of water or crossing a mountain range that you think you have successfully crossed three times before another ridge presents itself. This is my current recipe for beauty, while I&#8217;m sure sunsets on coconut covered islands and even humans have displayed equally as beautiful delights ill leave it at that for now.<o:p></o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>
    As for the funniest...<o:p></o:p>
    Claudia reminds me of my spear fishing experiences. Firstly on the Colombian coast off Taganga, I spent a good hour in the shallows taking shot after shot at the abundance of colourful fish swimming beneath me, blue yellow, green and grey. Again and again I reel the spear in with nothing attached, I was ready to give up but then my human brain began to analyse. I decided to paddle up the side of a rock cliff, rounding a corner, I see the first orange fish id seen in my not so extensive diving career. It swam quickly into a craves in the rocks and with that, my instinctive hunting skills kicked in. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I sat, perched at the entrance, spear gun pointed at the only foreseeable escape route for this rare and beautiful specimen. As expected it emerged, naive to what was waiting, there was the familiar shink! The spear was released... I got the little ganger in the gills!! <o:p></o:p>
    I decided then to bask in my manliness and present my catch to the other mere mortals in the vicinity, only to be shut down and criticised for shooting Nemo. Ooh shit.. Don&#8217;t tell little Poly I shot Nemo while he was on holiday in Colombia, I fear a toddler uprise.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    My spear fishing abilities haven&#8217;t progressed, I was diving with some natives of the Panamanian coast in the San Blass. I was using an actual spear propelled by rubber you wrap over your hand. Another unsuccessful hour in the water, one of the local boys, I thought, was feeling sorry for me so he guided me down to an underwater overhanging, well beneath my normal dive limit. Struggling, as the fresh air became sparse in my lungs he points out a big fish with the demeanour of a clown hiding in the cave. Without a thought I send the spear hurtling into it. The reaction was far from what I expected, instantaneously I had a spiky balloon the size of a beach ball on the end of the spear. As I struggled back to the surface I had to swim past two of the native lads in a fit of bubbles, finding it hilarious at the expense of my pride, the puffer fish and the task I had ahead of getting the bloody thing off the spear.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Outside of the water it&#8217;s the little things, medium sized pig scampering across a busy road oblivious to the chaos it causing, birds pooing on unsuspecting victims asleep in a hammock or a tourists interpretation of what lies within the soup.. Priceless!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Oh yea... the three most scariest...<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    It&#8217;s difficult to explain the three most scariest, not because I&#8217;m super tough and scared of nothing! but it&#8217;s those frightfully frequent moments when you pop out from around a corner and &#8220;Senior Perucho&#8221;, driving his shit heap of a bus has never quite grasped the concept of his side of the road. Those moments are intense and riddled with fear. Its only through the mystical powers of luck that I can write to you today and remember the time the three of us took on the infamous &#8220;Death Road&#8221; in Bolivia. We were presented with a landslide that had fallen over the road earlier that day. What was left was a one foot gap between the rubble and a cliff edge that broke away to a valley, 1000 meters deep, containing the remnants of previously failed passing&#8217;s. Needless to say we balanced through the gap, pushing the memories of our previous falls to the back of the mind before throttling away to the road ahead.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Another more recent event was in the motorcycle powered boat, three weeks at sea and the machine was not as oiled as it used to be. We decided an hour from sunset to head out of the protected waters between a five meter gap between two reefs into the swell and towards an island on the horizon. When the first waves hit us it was fun, even exciting as we powered in our homemade vessel over the rolling hills. We got out past swimming distance before the chain sprung off, throwing anchor, it only just caught the bottom. My comrade Rolly fixed the chain, and now knowing the depth, I untied the anchor with the intention to attach another rope to add to its 50m length. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Back in gear we cruised along to the ringing sound of a very near motorbike, I battled at the helm to keep the boat straight. Each wave twisted the vessel (more akin to a bathtub) 90º from the target as it pivoted on the top of the wave. The intended island would only briefly be visible before it disappear as we plunged off the back of the wave before creating a wall of water as the nose of the boat hit the next water mountain to manoeuvre over.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Right on cue, another chain went, 2/3rds of the way to our destination and sanctuary from the seas. Like clockwork I threw the anchor overboard. As the rope whistled away I wondered if it was tied on but after seeing the new extension tied securely, I presumed I had completed this job earlier. How wrong I was, the tail of the rope slipped away, not offering a second to react. Announcing the loss of the anchor to the others was the hard bit, with no method to tie up, it was a game of chance. The unanswered MAYDAY radio call didn&#8217;t seem to calm the tension.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    To Rolys credit, he got us going again and half an hour after the sun had disappeared, Claudia was huddled under a plastic sheet nursing the pet kitten and Roly was using his hands and a piece of metal to tension two of the chains at the back. I steered Audacia, (the boat) straight onto the nearest reef, risking a hole in the side and damaging the coral (sorry coral). Temporarily safe, we were then within wading distance to the palm tree covered island and our place of rest for that night. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    There is only one thing that tops all of this, the scariest of scariest, continuing to haunt me as I progress on my destiny. Many travellers have shared in this fear before me, and many will fear this in the journeys to come. Two words, Bank Balance, I quiver as I write it.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>"<o:p></o:p>

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    #13
  14. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    414
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Good to hear you are alive and well -and nearly on the move again. Still having adventures on two wheels! Hope the DVD is progressing?
    #14
  15. tiernan

    tiernan Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    85
    What's up Adam, I was just checking your interview the other day. Good stuff, you'll probably even be in the trailer!
    I look forward to following your progress here, and hope you can stop in Vegas for a little while with Matt and I.
    Have fun at the Central American borders!
    #15
  16. SauS TaR-TaR

    SauS TaR-TaR Go BaBy Go...

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    469
    Location:
    Bikini Bottom
    :1drink
    #16
  17. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    Hi, time to reintroduce... Im Adam aka flyde which is a portmanteau (i had to look it up) for Ride and Fly that came to me when watching this inspirational video by motoXplorers (other inmates) during preparations for this trip.

    The hidden but beautiful specimen beside me is Claudia, she is Bolivian. We met in Bolivia and she has joined me from Colombia and will ride pillion to Mexico on the Quest to Alaska.... :arch

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    We have been working at the Mammalena Hostel in Panama City, living in the store room, fixing my bike and waiting for Alaska to begin to warm...

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    Sometimes we had visitors...

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    Despite my suspension issue continuing to plague us, we decided to leave regardless and address the situation in San Jose, Costa Rica.. So we bounced our way to the border :smile6 ... Good bye Panama... Home for over 120 days!!!!

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    #17
  18. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    Roly our comrade is doing the hard-yards for the right editors. Lots of support but its a hope to have it this year. :deal
    #18
  19. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    It was not the first time we crossed to Costa Rica. Panama only allows 90 days on the tourist visa so to allow us to stay longer we did the infamous "Visa run", bouncing our way there and back with the compulsory three day stay/camp before renewal. We arrived in the late afternoon and turned directly to the mountains (towards Agua Buena) in an attempt to escape the heat and humidity. Just before dark we found a half completed house... the perfect spot to pitch a tent with the rain closing in.

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    This was an example of my not lost primitive intelligence... Its a banana leaf that catches the rain water off the roof and funnels it through a hole to fill our food bowels which intern are used to fill the bottles and bathe!!!

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    The following day (well hydrated) we rode to San Vito. I stopped in the middle of town and assumed a regular position slouched against the adjacent shop wall from my bike. Claudia ducked inside to grab some supplies. As i watched the street, Bobby, an ex-pat Canadian appeared and within an instant, the common bond of the love for two wheels was formed. Soon i knew exactly where to get another key cut for my KLR, then after sharing a few more details he kindly offered to take us back to his place where he said we could camp anywhere we thought comfortable. An offer way to good to refuse and we were back on his hill top property, after an inside recommendation, the tent was pitched outside his bar!!

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    The two nights with Bobby and Maria his wife were great, visiting the local mechanic for more shock advice and relaxing in a well needed break from the city. Goodbyes were then had and a promise to post his bike up on Craigslist in an attempt to sell it. Then we were off for our new passes to Panama.
    Pm if interested... i have his number somewhere $6000 Agua Buena

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    #19
  20. flyde

    flyde Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    123
    It was approaching dark after checking out of Panama (for the 2nd time) and moved through to Costa Rica but we had the benefit of experience this time round. One thing i had learnt from last time is obviously where to cue and not to pay $1 for an official looking guy to put a sticker in your passport, unless you like the sticker.

    More importantly, i had successfully visited Costa Rica without ever checking by bike in!! I had paid my couple of dollars for the wash of the bike on entrance but borked at the insurance counter for the $18 it was going to cost for the next three days and instead I decided to take the risk.... successfully!

    What could be different this time?? Its getting dark, the procedure isn't quick and $18 goes a long way when camping. I know some people would call this idiocy, but personally i like the challenge. Im crossing the country illegally if you like it or not....

    15km over the border there was an orchard to the left, in torchlight we set up the tent. After a night of rain we woke to a new day and a new country... a beautiful one to say the least.

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    The morning produced a good ride, winding along a river before the climb.

    Target Spotted..
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    Then.... POP!
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    3000m plus by mid morning as I flashed back to Peru and Bolivia as the carb gasped at the surrounding freshness.

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    After stopping for the view, Claudia was a little slow to dismount and i rolled backwards causing her to flop ever so elegantly on her arse. Naturally she blames the driver!

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    The thing about being on an illegal bike is the anxiety that rises when the law plays its regular role in a day on the road. A big chief traffic cop sat down beside us for lunch, naturally we asked him to take this picture.

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    An hour later a police checkpoint waves us in, again i nearly swallow my tong. I played my usual trick of pretending not to see them by looking elsewhere, braking late and missing the stop point before checking the mirrors for a reaction. On this occasion, like many others, rather than walk the extra distance, i can see that he finds it easier to just wave us on... Big deep breaths as i work my way up through the gears.

    San Jose was a pleasant climatic change which made taking in a few sights on the Sunday a good outing but the priority for us both was to get the rear shock rebuilt ASAP Monday morning!!

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    Monday we were up and at a rental place in the Colon district who apparently had once rented KLR´s. Following the advice of the German lads we spoke to their mechanic and eventually found ourselves chasing the sniff of new suspension 45min out of town to another backyard mechanic. The type that have been my mentors throughout this trip and of which im very comfortable in the surrounds of...

    [​IMG]

    Almost a day latter fiddling and floating around the shop, the outsourced shock reappears, looking like new!!

    Then the rains hit, so its cake and soda with the mechanic gang until it eases for the ride home. Tomorrow on the way out to Nicaragua we mast pass again to pay him ($120) and pick up my much loved tools.
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    #20