Bellingham to Brazil, not coming back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PorLaTierra, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    628
    Location:
    Arizona, Alaska, Kalifornia
    I have always maintained:

    "Put everybody in a Gran Prix car for a week to sort out those who shouldn't drive."

    I'll stay home that week !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Don
  2. One Fat Roach

    One Fat Roach honey badger

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,862
    Location:
    bellingham
    BUMP BUMP BUMP

    The Bellingham title definitely caught my eye, i've lived here for the last 13 years. im 26 now. im new to riding, new to these forums, new to learning how to fix my motorcycle and new to motorcycle blogs/ ride reports. this thread gives me goosebumps. the photos are incredible, the people you've came across are interesting and the way you write about your journey does not get boring or dull. this ride report is truly inspirational and very motivating for myself. i've only been riding for 3 years and im spending this summer (2013) in central washington to work, and hoping to gain more on-bike experience, on and off road, so hopefully next summer, i can take my first long distance trip. Ryan, if you ever come back to Bellingham i would love to meet up and and grab a great PNW microbrew and chat it up and learn some things. hope all is well thanks for such a great story
  3. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Cool man! I would love to grab a beer. Its been over a year since ive been in the states but I might get home to visit this summer. Im digging Europe though, not in any hurry to leave, and Spain is blowing my mind for riding.

    Ride safe man, take some trips, Ive only been riding for about 6 or 7 years and I am improving all the time. I was new to RRs when I started this one and its been fun.

    Update, Ive been busy but ive got more rides planned, morocco didnt work out for this spring but things are going well. Thanks for staying tuned guys and I am still dedicated to riding the world so excuse the break and there will be more stuff down the road!
  4. T.Low

    T.Low Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    954
    Location:
    Bellingham, Wa
    I thought I had done a lot of traveling...but now that I have been diagnosed with a terminal disease ( in my late 40's ) of which there is no cure, I realize that I have not.

    Glad to see you are still going. As you have have aleady realized, there is an entire world of people out there waiting to meet you.
  5. Bad Dad

    Bad Dad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    215
    Spent the last two mornings reading about your journey, Excellent! You seem to be living a full life.:thumb
  6. GSABest

    GSABest El Adventurero

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    325
    Location:
    Manzanillo, Mexico
    Have been enjoying your ride report since I first found it months ago... I just caught up on the spanish leg of your journey. I must say I am very much appreciating your photo skills; composition, capitalizing on good light, exposures, etc. Keep it coming!

    Any pending updates? ;)

    Marc
  7. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Actually yes, I just bought a new bike and work ends soon. I'm working on an update right now.
  8. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    I bought a new bike, I'm moving out of my apartment by the sea, and I've getting ready for my summer adventures, thanks for being patient!

    First lets say goodbye to my home for the last 8 months, the coastal region of Murcia.


    Today starts with an early morning in Cartagena. I haven't updated for a while because I have been busy with a bit of work, but more importantly with getting my EU drivers license. The preparation was worth it because I passed all 5 tests (2 car 3 motorcycle) on the first try and became the first one in Autoescuela Campillo, my driving school, to have done so.

    Here's a shot of the little bike I took the tests on.

    [​IMG]

    I also bought a new motorcycle for myself, and sold the other one of course.

    So let the RR begin, I celebrated my victory with a sandwich (2.50€) and a good dark beer at my favorite sandwich shop. Cartagena is a cool city and a bit chaotic for a drive test. But I had been racing around its streets on my own bike for weeks, to get to know it better rather than paying for classes like they want you to. It was a little sketchy ever since my international license expired but I was lucky and it saved me lots of cash. In Spain they give you a headset and a bike, and they follow you in a car, it was an interesting experience.

    To be honest, it was a good exam, you have to know how to ride to pass it and that is a good thing.

    I think I was the only one that drove myself to all the drive tests!

    Ok, so heres the sandwich.
    [​IMG]

    And my shiny new ride:

    [​IMG]

    Leaving the sandwich shop I wanted to take a look at "Algemeca Chica," a small community on the outskirts of Cartagena.

    Down this tree lined highway
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Its a beautiful location and a very chill spot in general but by the looks of things, probably not too comfortable for year round living. Unfortunately for some folks they may not have another choice. Times are tough in Spain.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From there I hopped on the highway and rode for a while until I saw an unmarked building with some folks sipping coffee on the patio. It was on the side of the road near the turn off to Portman so I decided to check it out. It was hot and I was thirsty.

    [​IMG]

    It was a simple place and the scenery reminded me again of the Southwest of the US.

    From there things changed dramatically. I entered in to the mining area.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see the color of the water, similar to the mines near my little apartment but the ones near Portman and La Union are HUGE. Its a never ending mine. The highway twists and turns through the strangely colored landscape.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and the town of Portman, once a mining town, it's now in fast decline.

    [​IMG]

    The "Port" of Portman is the site of one of the worst ecological disasters in the Mediterranean. A company called Peñarroya-España paid off the officials to let them dump thousands of tons of waste and mining bi-products directly into the sea. From up above you can see that what was once a bay, is now filled in with a strange colored sand. They dumped so much waste that it filled in the bay.

    [​IMG]


    Regardless of this saddening sight, this part of Murcia has some great riding. The bizarre colors of the earth, the abandoned mining towns and, if you dont mind a little dirt riding, you can pass through the mining areas and head towards the coast to some great beaches. I continued my ride inland and then noticed an intriguing dirt road heading to what looked like the perfect beach paradise.

    [​IMG]
  9. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Here is what I saw from up above, I just had to find the entrance.



    [​IMG]

    Looks inviting

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was further than I thought by the time I finally found the entrance. It was confusing too because I had to pass literally through the middle of some old mines to get to the road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cool!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  10. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    958
    Location:
    San Diego
    Just sent another few bucks your way Ryan. Keep up the adventures and the great pictures.
  11. Derby City

    Derby City Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    81
    Location:
    Back in Louisville, Kentucky USA
    New bike...valid license...You're looking mighty legit these days. Where's the guy that rode to Panama without even a copy of his bike title? All the proper paperwork makes me think you're staying in Europe awhile. Where next? Do tell....
  12. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,450
    That's a wild ride...a road that goes THROUGH mines and mining buildings. Wow! Looking forward to the next installment to see what that little jewel of a beach looks like up close. Congrats on the new bike and license. Glad to see your ADV spirit is still running strong.
  13. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Looks like Photo Bucket has pulled your pics off. That was a great secret beach ... and nice pics ... they were there yesterday, now gone!

    Try Picassa or Smug Mug. I've never had a Smug Mug pic go away here.
    I quit using Photo Bucket years ago.
  14. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Yup, I'm a girl.

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,120
    Location:
    Visalia CA
    Yeah, PB did this to me once and I had to pay a few bucks for the "extra bandwidth". :deal Looking forward to seeing more of your adventures, as soon as the pics show up again. :thumb
  15. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Sorry guys I guess I need to upgrade the account for now. Then later I will try and switch all my photos to Picassa or Smugmug. Hang in there, I've got the next update all typed up and ready, damn!
  16. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Thanks man! I put it towards the photobucket fee for now, switching sites would require me to update the links. I will find a better photo hosting site soon, but not today.

    Not only was it a cool beach but it appears as though theres a small fishing village as well. Probably mostly houses used on the weekends or in summer. they had water tanks so I guess they are not connected to the grid. Interesting sight and landscape.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And then back through the cool mines to return to the highway.

    [​IMG]

    Approaching Escombreras the scenery got ugly again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To end on a nicer note, heres a small oasis between a refinery and a big city, Cala Cortina, which I passed on my way back home that day. Now I need to pack up and hit the road again, this time with all my stuff. I need to track down some second hand soft bags an mount the top case that came with the bike. I love riding this bike, there is something so entertaining about it.

    A small cc bike has the advantage that its a bit more subtle and of course this particular one is so simple. I love arriving somewhere new and feeling that I blend in a bit, for me that is very important when I travel so that I can experience a place without being immediately labeled as a foreigner. Its sort of like that "fly on the wall" Anthropology, observing without influencing too much how people will act.

    [​IMG]
  17. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Haha yes its true. I decided that a fine for not being legit in the EU is not something I want to deal with. If you live here, you have to register your drivers license with the equivalent of the DMV. Unfortunately there is no longer an agreement between Spain and the US so I was unable to register my US license, meaning that if stopped by the cops, they would ask me why I have residence in Spain but a US, Washington state license. It was unavoidable.

    I am totally amazed by the quality of riding in Spain and I am fascinated by all the rewarding travel opurtunities available to me here. I want to stick around Spain, explore Portugal, Morocco, France, Italy, Corsica and Sardinia...and I realize that now is my chance. I will continue to try and make a life for myself here, and continue riding and photographing what I see. I figure if I keep doing what I like eventually somebody might start paying to do it, in one way or another. I've got some ideas as always...
  18. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to announce a project that my dad has launched back in the beautiful Northwest Washington state.

    http://www.airheadrentals.com/

    It seems my dad just cant help himself. He has decided to work with what he loves: Classic BMWs If you know anyone who wants to ride the Northwest on a classic airhead, in perfect running condition of course, please spread the word on what I think is the only business of its type. He told me he is working on a new business and I said "Why not?"

    As for me I am hoping to get to the US this summer for a quick visit, and of course to ride some bikes with Airheadrentals.com, so if you are planning to go to the BMW rally in Salem this July, its very likely that I will see you there.

    I am looking forward to some incredible riding this summer both in the Northwest, the North Cascades the WA peninsula and rain forest, Eastern WA and of course around the Iberian peninsula.

    What are you doing this summer? Renting a BMW?

    Stay tuned for more, I am considering starting a new thread for my European rides but for the moment this RR stays the same, and continues. If I do start a different one I will post it here. I promise I'm still "on my way" to Brazil, and besides a quick visit to the US, I have no plans to go "back."
  19. DogDivine

    DogDivine n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Lisboa - Portugal
    Picasa is cool. You cant try Flickr too now 1 terabyte for free.

    I realy like your travels you must came to Portugal some day enjoy the routes and the food (and drink) :D

    Cheers
  20. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    Madrid, the coolest city on the planet.
    Update from the road! This stretch of the road has a theme: Don Quixote de la Moto! Read on as I brave triple digit heat through central Spain in the middle of August, its more fun than it sounds!

    but first,
    One last shot of the Mediterranean, and my cool little '99 SR250
    [​IMG]




    I stored the bike for a few months and went to the US, but I am back in Spain now. I took a much needed trip to visit family and friends, remind them that I still exist and of course answer there questions about Spain and what its like. I also spent a lot of time with my dad helping him with his new business, AirheadRentals.com He has a small fleet of beautiful bikes and they needed riding, so I rode them!

    But thats another story, check out his website.

    I love the Northwest for motorcycling but lets get back to Spain for the time being, where the weather is nice, the motorcycles are fast, the roads excellent and curvy, the women excellent and curvy, the pace of life is perfect and the people are so good natured that I just cant help but feel good each and everyday.

    Oh, and they dont hang out in the left lane on the freeway (like in some places) riding a bike here is extremely pleasurable.

    250cc should be used carefully, and not loaded up too much but I bought some used Givi soft bags and just couldnt help myself. I couldnt remember what I had left on the bike so I brought shoes and a backpack and fliplops, a water bottle all crap that I already had on the bike, so I ended up carrying a lot more than I meant to. So here is the bike loaded up, about 20km from the place I called home for a while, but not anymore...
    [​IMG]

    And here is the highway before me, can you count how many times it comes into the frame?
    [​IMG]



    So Im off!

    The road North out of Mazarron small, with a dry yet inviting landscape. The small towns and many castles and towers dotting the countryside are proof that people have been living here for a long time. Murcia is one of these regions where nobody seems to go, and most think of it as a place where there is nothing worthwhile to see. I found it fascinating and feel a little sorry to be leaving it. But I gave it almost a year of my time and discovered many hidden gems. I am faithful that they will stay hidden and that one day I will return to my favorite little pueblos and deserted beaches.

    [​IMG]

    I cant say enough good things about motorcycling in Spain, its a paradise. There are great roads everywhere. I keep my Michelin map handy in bag and consult it often to pick my way across Spain. I hardly ever go wrong, the smaller the highway the better.

    [​IMG]

    Of course if you stick to the slightly more travelled roads you will get around faster, and thats ok too. But, just like Colombia, some of the small roads that are supposed to be paved, are not, at least not entirely. Most likely they are products of construction projects that went over budget or were abandoned temporarily in the summer heat.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Summer is not the ideal time to tour the South of Spain. Its 100 degrees everyday, sometimes more. The little engine heats up quick but as long as I keep moving it never shows any signs of failing or over heating. I check the oil often and pay attention to how it smells, so far so good.


    I stop for a snack in a small town, just another name on the map to me, and am not surprised to find it rich in history.

    [​IMG]

    Whats that!? Oh nothing just another castle.
    [​IMG]

    The contours of the Michelin maps are fantastic, showing a lot of detail and i quickly find my way into the hills.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I cant get enough of these old roads, now paved and fast but just as twisty and crazy and beautiful as they must have been back in the day before the invention of the car. Of course the towns they access often havent changed much.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I loved the shape of this mountain.

    [​IMG]

    I camped near Cazorla, a kilometer or so outside of town.

    [​IMG]

    For dinner I asked the barman for a little plate of jamon and queso, and a few glasses of wine. The first time you try a good jamon, or even a mediocre one, you will probably wonder why the hell you havent had it before. Its delicious and I never tire of it. Hint: if you really want to blow your mind, pay extra for the jamon "iberico" or even better, the "pata negra" which is expensive but not too bad if you just pick some up in a grocery store or a little deli, as opposed to a restaurant.