Canada2Argentina - Going outside to play for 6 months!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by marcoue, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Today is the big day. I have announced to my staff and collaborators that I was leaving my job and the company to pursue a dream that has been haunting me for years.

    Objective: Jump on the bike and try to get to Terra Del Fuego in Argentina from Montreal, Canada!

    The start is scheduled in September and even if the preparation is well on it's way, I still have a few weeks to prepare the equipment, but above all, to prepare myself mentally to leave everything behind and get into this crazy adventure.

    I set up a blog (x-plorer.ca) and will write about my journey here because I have benefited enormously from the blogs of other motorcyclists who have made this journey and I wish too, share my trip for the benefit of future of adventure travellers. You'll be able to read my good and bad shots, places not to be missed or others to forget. It is also a way for me to keep track of this unique journey that may be a unique life experience!

    The next posts will describe the motorcycle preparation process, my equipment, my planned route and so on, until D-Day in September (or before?!)

    Important note: My first language is French and so, Please excuse the spelling mistakes and funny expression! I'll do my best to make this as easy as possible to read and add lots of images!

    Feel free to participate by leaving comments. Your suggestions are welcome!

    [​IMG]
    #1
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  2. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Why am I doing this trip?

    When I tell my friends of this project to cross the Americas on my motorcycle, I see all kinds of reactions but they are all similar to this example: "You are leaving for six weeks to Argentina, that's just amazing! ". I gently respond, "No, no, not six weeks, I'm leaving for 6 months from Montreal to Argentina on a motorcycle...". The surprise is alway visible in their eyes and the same question keeps popping up: why?

    Obviously a simple question that I ask myself as well. The answer however, is not so simple.

    I have worked since I turned 18. I had a long career in public services. I have served the citizen, my bosses, the union.

    I retired 3 years ago and I was planning to leave then, but a unique opportunity to work in a software company presented itself and I could not refuse. It was a completely different field from my first career, but one that excited me as much, if not more.

    It proved to be the good choice and an incredible experience. I learned a lot and I thank the young incredible people I worked with for their support and their loyalty. But let's back up a little further back.

    About ten years ago, I drove passed a BMW motorcycle dealer and I made the mistake of dropping in, you know, "just to see"... Right away, I was convinced that the BMW R1200GS was for me, not necessarily for my love of motorcycling. I owned a few bikes in my youth, but the real reason was because it connected with a particularly unyielding passion of mine: Adventure.

    I love to travel.

    I love discovering new places, cultures, people. I like to find myself on a new mountain and hike to the summit, or losing myself walking city and discover its neighborhood, small restaurants and shops.

    Because I started to work at a very early age, this passion has therefore emerged a little late. I first visited Europe, but my travels to South America are the ones that made me discover a very different society that piqued my curiosity. Of all the countries visited, it was Argentina that caught my interest. During a few long stays in Buenos Aires, I learned language and always kept a very close relationship with this country.

    [​IMG]

    The need to travel is part of the explanation that drives me in this adventure.

    I'll be turning 50 in September. I still feel young, but still, 50 years old is 50 years old! There are always reasons to prevent us from living our dreams. This is certainly a motivation not to wait any longer.

    Also, life in a big city like Montreal is incredible.



    The vibe is exciting. My neighborhood is full of life, I have a comfortable house, an incredible girlfriend, amazing friends.

    I have everything anyone could dream of having (well, from my perspective!)

    But yes, there is another side to this story. Here, everything goes very fast. Stress, traffic, noise, obligations. While we are blessed with beautiful large parks and old trees, I live surrounded by concrete, asphalt and brick.

    I miss mother nature (la Pacha Mama as said in Peru!)

    I need to try to reconnect with nature, silence. A improvised night of camping, or even hiking a summit to a mountain I don't know by name. Perhaps, I even need not being comfortable for a few months, to better appreciate what life has to offer me in my hometown.

    This is certainly a big part of the equation.

    The next thing that comes to mind is Winter. Gilles Vigneault, a well-known lyricist in my province of Quebec, aptly describes our region: "My country is not a country, it's winter ...".

    This Quebec reality has made us a people living mostly indoors, especially in winter. When spring arrives, it's mean the end of hibernation and we dare leave the tip of nose outside to see if it will freeze or not. And summer still ends up at some point. Although they are amazing in our nordic country, winters can be tough and personally, even though I love playing hockey and the season changes, I find it (more and more with the years passing) long and difficult.





    This trip will be a quest for was 12 months summer for 2016/2017! A little bit like telling my mom: I'm going outside to play, for 6 months!" without the pain of freezing my toes.

    Finally, the last word that comes to mind is freedom.

    I worked 30 years to please everyone, to help my bosses in their projects, and kept time to live my dreams during the holiday periods, often having to be planned months in advance.

    I now need to stop serving others, and have a project of my own. One that can see me fail without having any impact on my bosses, my clients, my employees. Just me.

    And I need this project not to have to do anything with money or my career.

    I feel like getting up every morning and having only to think of one thing: heading south and discovering all that there is between here and the end of the road in Patagonia.

    This is what pushes me to beat my fears and jump into this adventure.

    Because of course, fears exist!

    [​IMG]

    Will I have mechanical problems, fall, get sick, will I get robed, will I run out of money, will I be cold or hot, get lost, will I miss my girlfriend, my family and my friends? The answer is most probably YES to most of these questions, but it is precisely the challenge to tackle them, one by one, that will make this trip unforgettable, create memories and hopefully, help me to become a better person.

    The next posts will describe how to plan and prepare for decreasing the risks to a maximum!
    #2
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  3. chaos616

    chaos616 Sasquatch

    Joined:
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    Looking forward to it, very exciting time!

    Cheers,
    #3
  4. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Indeed! Thanks!
    #4
  5. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    A great day for me today (another!). I secured my passage between Panama and Colombia on the great Stahlratte sailboat.

    This step formalizes yet a little more my trip. This will also be my only major reservation for the duration of the journey.

    For those who are possibly not aware, these countries are separated by an area called the Darién Gap. This is nothing less than an impassible hole in the Pan American Highway, an area 160 km long, that severely complicates the journey.

    I considered two solutions: to cross by boat or by plane. Let’s keep in mind that I have to get me AND the bike to Columbia! The costs are relatively similar.

    I finally chose the Stahlratte because of the many good reviews, it will be an all new experience and ultimately and finally, the entire process of exporting and importing the bike is done by the crew, which makes things much simpler.

    Ludwig, the captain of the ship, clearly answered all my questions promptly by email and my deposit is paid for the last sail of the season, that will leave port on November 14th .

    So it is official, I will be in Cartagena on the 19th. Now I must convince my girlfriend to join me on a tour of Columbia!

    I plan to leave on September 11th, so it'll give me one month to enjoy Mexico and another for the rest of Central America!
    #5
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  6. knight

    knight Been here awhile

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    "Will I have mechanical problems, fall, get sick, will I get robed, will I run out of money, will I be cold or hot, get lost, will I miss my girlfriend, my family and my friends? The answer is most probably YES to most of these questions, but it is precisely the challenge to tackle them, one by one, that will make this trip unforgettable, create memories and hopefully, help me to become a better person.

    You"ll get the shits too
    Riding to Tierra del fuego was the best thing I ever did

    My BMO and MC cards were useless at ATMs in Honduras
    ATMs can be shut down country wide for as along as 48 hours during elections
    The banks can and will shut off your card ,no matter what agreement you make before hand
    You can call the banks 1 800 numbers using Skype
    Always having a stash of clean and crisp bills in US currency could really come in handy

    Safe Travels
    #6
  7. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Good advice! This is indeed something I was wondering about. You need to find the good balance between having too much cash on you and having enough for the situations you described.

    Any suggestions on where to stash it? :)
    #7
  8. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Salut Marcoue,

    Nous avons fais la route en 2013-14, plein de trucs relativement récents dans mon RR (Southern Episode), pas nécessaire de prendre des pneus avec toi, prend ton temps au Mexique specialement si tu fais les anciennes villes coloniales (Guanajuato, Puebla, Morelia, Zacatecas, etc). Aussi a ne pas manquer une fois au sud la Carretera Austral.

    Si tu utilises un GPS, cherche proyecto mapear et la série *.rut. De loin supérieur a Garmin.

    Feindre de ne parler que Français peut-être très utile...

    Bonne route
    #8
  9. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Intéressant, ces violles sont sur mon itinéraire sans faute!

    Effectivement, je connais les cartes de la série RUT et Proyecto Mapear. Je crois qu'avec les cartes de Google Maps hors ligne, ce sera parfait!

    Pour les pneus, je quitte Montréal avec un pneu arrière usé à 50% et avant neuf. Je vais en trainer un neuf arrière pour un changement en entrant au Mexique, en espérant qu'ils me durent jusqu'à Santiago!

    J'ai lu votre récit il y a quelques années déjà. Passionnant! Merci pour ce partage et inspiration!
    #9
  10. brasscycle

    brasscycle Adventurer

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    good luck
    #10
  11. Stonkers

    Stonkers Adventurer

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    Location:
    Charleston SC
    Prep, prep, prep. Have a fun ride. Lots of photos. Oh, and there's still time to swap my KLR for your GSA. Test run on the Kilmar this summer?? pp
    #11
  12. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
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    Hi Marcoue,

    I am Ken and I am leaving next week traveling from my home in eastern North Carolina up north to Alaska before turning south to Ushuaia so it is possible for our path to cross. America Sign Language is my first language (yes I am deaf so I communicate in sign language) so I can relate to you, but at least you will not have difficult with spanish as french and spanish are almost identical in language structure except for words. Good luck and hope to see you along the way! Ride safe!

    -Ken
    #12
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  13. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Thanks! Luck, courage and time!
    #13
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  14. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Hi Peter! Na... I'll stick with the GSA if you don't mind! Let's try to do the Kilmar and maybe Lily Bay Ste Park in Maine?
    #14
  15. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Let's keep in touch. Do you have a blog or a thread here?

    Lucky enough, I speak Spanish already, well at least enough to get by! I'm afraid I don't have any knowledge of sign language but would be thrilled to learn the basics!

    Regards,
    #15
  16. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Marc,
    I'm trying to decide if I want to do a RR on here.. not much of a writer myself and advrider can be a tough audience :D (I don't mean it in a bad way). I find it easier and more pleasant when I just upload photos and provide short description on my facebook, and got a lot of comments there. I'm still thinking about doing RR/blogs. Probably a photo journal with short narrative on the RR here. I'll get up with you when I decide on something soon. I'm subscribed to your thread so I can PM you later.
    -Ken
    #16
  17. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    I had the same dilemma. First, I'm French Canadien and although we speak english, it's still on a limited basis. Also, just like you, I'm not a very good writer. I decided to write one up because in the end, I want my friends and family to be able to follow my adventure (and other potential riders who will leave at the same time!), and also, it'll keep me busy on those rainy days!

    I always enjoyed programming and didn't get a change to do any the past few years so we'll see how it goes!

    Whatever form of shape you decide to do it, if you do it at all, I'm sure it'll be great!
    #17
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  18. northjack

    northjack n00b

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    have a good trip,i'll read your RR closely.

    Jack (QC ,Estrie)
    #18
  19. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    good luck to you. once you embark on the trip, all your worries will evaporate and wonder yourself why you worried so much.
    keep us posted and show us lots of pictures.
    #19
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  20. marcoue

    marcoue Been here awhile

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    Thanks Jack!
    #20