Doing Good Around the World - I - from Vancouver to Patagonia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by peergum, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    DSCF0225.jpg
    So D-Day is pretty close. Departure is roughly scheduled for the 24th - unless last minute issues - leaving Vancouver and riding to South America 2-up with no timeline in head. This is finally the trip we've dreamt of for so many years, the adventure of a lifetime, and possibly an adventure for the rest of our lives.

    Accompanying me in that trip, my girlfriend, Sapna, with whom I share a common purpose in life: bring goodwill, skills and experience to people around the world who may need it to improve their lives. No arrogance or strong egos there: we don't plan to shove everything we know down the throats of people who have probably bazillions of more important things to do and think about; we just want to discover and understand people's cultures, and possibly help them whenever and however we can, based on what we know, from education, knowledge or experience.
    We plan to take our time, stop at places, talk to and stay with people whenever possible, learn, discover, bring joy and get some too, all within the limits of legal and temporary immigration, obviously.

    We plan to blog about our trip, encounters, new friends for life made on the way, and we already have a blog set up at r-atw.com. Since I know many adventure Riders here have an aversion to blogs (you can always subscribe by email and read offline), we'll also try to post here, both pictures and texts. My own experience riding throughout the USA at the end of last year proved me that blogging every single day doesn't work, so we'll post at the most twice a week and we'll keep it highly photographic and not too chatty. As a side note, if anybody knows of a plugin for Wordpress that would allow to repost here, I'm interested! (I'd still follow the thread and answer comments of course!). The blog also reposts to a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/peergumratw), but FB is quite spammy, so following us there you may end missing posts...
    As I said, we're looking to meet people, rather than stay on our own, so anybody on our path (or not too far) is welcome to suggest us a stop. Our itinerary will start with several of the west states, but we also plan for a "quick" jump to New Orleans since this is a place Sapna really would want to see before we head south to Mexico. As I said, we're not in a rush, and we would also like to avoid big cities, whenever possible, so there's no timeline in our agenda, mostly places and points of interest we'd like to visit / traverse. Here's a link to a map of the places we plan to see, and the itinerary: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Tm4VFMwgBuxjVDlHoqK86YhJpgw&usp=sharing. For now, here's the list of possible stops in the States:

    - Grand Canyon (South and North rims)
    - Lake Tahoe
    - Death Valley
    - Yosemite/El Capitan
    - Monument Valley
    - Glen Canyon
    - Canyonlands
    - Albuquerque
    - Roswell
    - New Orleans

    We plan to enter Mexico at Laredo port of entry, and we're not yet sure if it will make sense to go all way north and then down on Baja California, then cross back on the ferry and continue south from there, or just go west and south from the entry: 3 months in Mexico is probably a short time to see a lot of places, all the more if we stop for one or two weeks at places, so we may have to skip the top part... Nothing decided yet.

    Btw, bike's an Africa Twin.

    Talk to you soon.
    Phil
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  2. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Finally got the bike back from servicing yesterday, ready for the trip with all the gear installed, inclusive the new K60 tires. I wish the rider was as prepared as the bike :) Also made a contact with Jimmy Lewis to get some advice and a basic training at his motorcycle school for 2-up off-roading.

    I'll add a picture of both of us with the bike later today or tomorrow.

    We also have a light paint job in the plans for the cases, to do ourselves... Then try to finish some administrative procedures and paperworks before we take off.

    I updated the travel plans map on google, and separated the USA part from the Mexico/Central one. I might even make a separate map/point of interest list for each country we'll traverse...
    USA: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1tnQl77J88xemT33c9pOSsFG8JxU&usp=sharing
    Mexico+Central America: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Tm4VFMwgBuxjVDlHoqK86YhJpgw&usp=sharing

    Based on risks and warnings from the US government travel site, and since we'll come to Mexico from the east, we may opt to skip the northern part of Mexico, unfortunately...
    #2
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  3. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Last day before departure on Monday. Packing makes us take hard decisions on what to take or not to.
    I had a day of training off-road last Tuesday, which brought me a bit of confidence - or at least some knowledge of what to expect. Obviously that doesn't mean it will be easy...
    We'll take the direction of Seattle on Monday, with a probable stop at Touratech since I'd like some risers for my handlebar and Sapna may need a lighter jacket too...
    Anyways. We're almost there...
    2017_0721_17304100.jpg
    #3
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  4. chaos616

    chaos616 Sasquatch

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    Sounds like a fun plan as you go trip, were doing the same thing, we actually started earlier, but long story short had to take a short intermission, well be starting up again with the travelers meeting in Mariposa California Sept 21-24, we head south through Baja from there. We also plan to take much time and stop to help on projects along the way. I really hope we see you guys sometime on the road in the near future, depending on timelines, i'm sure we will!

    Cheers,
    #4
  5. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Hi @chaos616,

    We're revisiting our initial idea to push up to New Orleans and back, because of the motel costs in the States at this time (pretty much double what I paid in October/November last year), so we may head down to Mexico (North) right after crossing Albuquerque, probably to Banamichi, Sonora for a start.

    Would be nice if we met at some point, so feel free to contact us (phil@peergum.com) if/when you get closer (you can locate us at r-atw.com/spot).

    Cheers
    Phil.
    #5
  6. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Monday, July 25th, 2017. (blog post: https://wp.me/p7VTK7-jw)

    Today is the day that we packed our lives onto the bike and set out to begin on our long-anticipated adventure. The initial round of loading things on the bike didn't work out so well because as soon as we started riding, Phil felt that the bike was too heavy with everything we loaded so we had to go back, unpack, re-pack (albeit more strategically), and had a successful re-attempt as a result.

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    Wait time at the border was longer than expected (who goes to the border on a Monday afternoon?!); however, getting through was a breeze as the officer we encountered was probably one of the friendliest we have come across.

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    After a coffee break at Starbucks (surprise!), we headed into Seattle to pay a quick visit to Touratech to get handlebar risers for the bike.

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    The rest of the afternoon and evening was uneventful as we got caught in rush hour traffic and spent an exhausting amount of time under the sun before making it to our motel. Dinner was fancy with burgers and fries at Burger King before we called it a night.
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  7. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Tuesday, July 26th, 2017 (blog post: https://wp.me/p7VTK7-jG)

    Today started efficiently and relatively early as we were on the road at around 9:30am. After a late breakfast at Starbucks an hour later, we were back on the road and headed towards Oregon. We took the coastal route that took us through Astoria and was the more scenic option.

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    We stopped at the mini mart for a late lunch of taco salads and chatted with Patrick, a friendly local, who recommended taking highway 101 and making a stop in Cannon Beach.

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    We took the highway and made the stop, and were far from disappointed. Cannon Beach is a picturesque little beach town with lots of grey wooden houses and perfectly manicured gardens with an abundance of flowers. However, much like Ted Bundy, this beautiful town has a dark side in that it is a Tsunami hazard zone :|

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    We had a minor mishap today when we stopped at a viewpoint in Bay City for a picture. The ground was uneven and Phil parked the bike with the kickstand facing the side where the road inclined upwards. Neither one of us realized that the heavier side case with all the tools was on the other side so as he was preparing to get off, the bike started leaning the other way. By the time I ran to the other side, the bike was too far down for me to prevent it from falling. Luckily, there was another biker there who came to our aid. The three of us were able to lift the bike and then Phil parked it correctly.

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    We got the picture we stopped for, no one was injured, and damage on the bike was limited to a few minor scratches on the corner of the side case so all is good.

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    We ended the night with some grub and beer at a local diner. I think we'll sleep like drunk babies tonight.
    #7
  8. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Adventurer

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    Excellent start! Nice pics (larger size files would be nicer)
    Ride safe!
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  9. Romero

    Romero Been here awhile

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    Look me up when you get to New Mexico stop by Santa Fe.....or further if you get to Morelia!! Safe travels
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  10. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Looks like a good start to an epic ride. I know you're two up...but you're bringing way too much stuff. You'll figure out what you really need about a month into it. Let me know if you're coming to Loa Angeles and you got a place to stay while I try to talk you into going down Baja. Ride safe.
    #10
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  11. Romero

    Romero Been here awhile

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    #11
  12. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Hey Joe,

    I think it's just a technical glitch when I pasted from the blog to here... I'll try to get better pics net time. Thanks for the feedback!
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  13. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Romero!

    We'll try to add Santa Fe to the roadmap :) We're quite cutting into the initial plans due to the high cost+low availability of "cheap" motels in the States at this time of the year... We may want to head south as fast as possible...
    #13
  14. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Hey Johnny,

    I know we're pretty loaded, despite having discarded taking the camping gear. This said, we are not just going to South America, we'll be SLOWLY moving to there, working remotely at times, and staying at places to help locals. Think of it as a temporary move with no final destination ;) But I agree we'll probably discard/give/consume stuff on the way that we won't renew.

    This said, the Africa Twin is a good bike and still makes it a manageable load. Even while lanefiltering in California in traffic jams ;)

    As far as Baja is concerned, I don't think we'll go there. We'll rather go in a "straight line" to Mexico City then up to Yucatan and then down to Belize...
    #14
  15. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    So we've reached San Francisco (Fremont) yesterday evening and gave the city a quick visit today. Tomorrow we'll be heading toward Yosemite Park and then Death Valley, then Grand Canyon. We'll summarize this with a few picture tomorrow probably. For the note, the Golden Gate was in the mist today and the temperatures were around 70F (21C). A bit too cool for me, but Sapna enjoyed it more than the 105F (41C) of yesterday... :)
    #15
  16. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    I'm in Phil.
    Lot of rain in Northern Mexico. Be watching for rockfalls and small slides through the road cuts. And flowing water.
    #16
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  17. Saralou

    Saralou Worldwide Rider

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  18. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Tom!

    Well, it's like everyone tries to keep us from doing this trip, LOL. Posted on HUBB and everyone was like, "wrong time", "impossible temperatures", "rain season in Mexico"... I honestly don't know what really awaits us, but it's like waiting/postponing is not an option. Sapna quit her job in July, and I quit mine last year in October and been trying to freelance in the meantime to avoid getting back into another one... So, we HAVE to keep going. Too bad if we suffer...

    We're cutting a bit in the plans though, since Sapna is having a hard time with the temperatures here (we're in Primm, NV tonight), so no Death Valley (and training with Jimmy Lewis) as initially planned, we're heading to Grand Canyon for now, then ABQ (via Monument Valley or not, will depend on heat levels...)
    #18
  19. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Sara.

    We'll definitely contact them - if we remember, that is :)
    Not sure if we'll go up to Zion, but I have a US national parks pass valid until october, so everything is possible ;)

    Should I get the Mexico insurance beforehand, or do anything at the border?

    Cheers
    Phil
    #19
  20. peergum

    peergum Been here awhile

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    And for the progress post, from our blog:

    ***​

    (Days 3-4)

    We were on the road at 9:30am on Wednesday, once again, and had a very long day of traveling. We had a big American breakfast at a diner in the middle of nowhere and then it was 7.5 hours of riding from Arcata to Lincoln City. Adding in all the breaks we took meant we arrived at our destination after sunset. We did continue on the scenic route so a few picture stops were made along the way.

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    We went past the Oregon dunes, which were far more impressive in person than any pictures we have ever seen. We didn’t get a chance to get a good picture because most of the areas around were sandy – not good for loaded bikes like ours.

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    We stopped for lunch in downtown Bandon and managed to see Henry the Fish. Incredible artistry, but alarming to see just how much we pollute the oceans.

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    We got one last shot of the ocean before the air got cold and a thick mist covered everything worth seeing. Our ride into California was unexpectedly cold.

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    The next day, we started at the same time and stopped at Starbucks for breakfast. Today was 5.5 hours of riding from Lincoln City to Fremont, but it felt more exhausting because the initial cold and misty entry into California quickly dissipated and slapped us in the face with a burning hot 38 °C day. To add fuel to the fire, there were endless amounts of roadworks along the way so just in case riding with hot air blowing in our faces wasn’t enough, we had to wait about 20 minutes just to pass.

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    Our favourite biker was in good spirits throughout and we made it to Fremont while it was still light outside, so it was a good day in the end
    #20