Lone Ridin' 15 Countries: California to Argentina

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cycleTown650, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    I love how this random adventure came to me out of no where. My whole trip was filled with these random adventures with kind and generous people who would invite me into their home and offer me a glimpse into their lives. Having an open mind set and the willingness to engage with locals made my experience in Latin America so much better and there is no other way that I wish I would have done it.

    The day to pack and ship off my bike came and I went off to the airport with all my stuff. Dakarmotos said that they can only ship the motorcycle and all the motorcycle related gear with it. I had no intentions of dragging all my other gear around the airport so I left it all on the bike and just left a few personal effects in my sport bag. Getting to the airport was easy and I was pointed to where I needed to go in the warehouse to pack up the bike. When I rolled in, another biker from England was packing up his new Africa Twin and Javier and Sandra were there too.

    I had to remove the mirrors and windshield and disconnect the battery which was all done fairly quickly. The floor guy then strapped my bike down and I zip tied all my loose stuff to the bike.

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    The officials there were new according to Javier and they were not allowing bike with more than one liter of fuel on the plane. Every bike there was getting drained of fuel but mine.

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    The whole process was simple and well polished so there was nothing for me to worry about once the bike got crated. I left the cargo warehouse and caught the cheap shuttle back into the city where I had one week left before I flew back to California. It ended up raining for a whole week so I ended up staying in at the hostel and hanging out with the guys that ran the hostel. On my last night at the hostel, the guys threw me a farewell party.

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    It was an epic way to spend my last night, sipping fernet on the roof top with guys from Peru, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina.

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    After flying into LAX, I headed for the United cargo office where I picked up some paperwork and headed for the Customs office to get my stamp. From the customs office I caught a ride from a kind gentleman who was at the customs office as well back to United cargo office. They processed my paper and then I had to wait some time for the forklift guy to bring my bike. United charged me $50 bucks for a terminal fee and nothing for 3 nights of storage. Total shipping cost, $1,950 USD. If you are looking for a detailed write up on shipping and importing your bike to California, Dan Ford who is on this forum, has an excellent write up on it.
    scudo, martn130289 and lubelhu like this.
  2. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    Costs, reflections, and gear review.

    Costs

    A lot of people have been asking since I have left San Diego what a trip like this would cost. At that time I had no idea as cost can vary from month to month. My budget was $30 dollars and I found it very manageable in Central America as most places were inexpensive compared to California except Costa Rica which was more expensive than US in my opinion. When I arrived in Ecuador, prices were similar to the US since the whole country is on the dollar currency. Chile and Argentina were the most expensive with Argentina taking the cake due to their recent high inflation were prices for anything other than housing being similar or higher than California. The total trip cost for 8 months and 20,000 miles came out to be around $13,000 dollars. This includes, in no specific order:

    • Bike parts, maintenance, and fuel
    • Travel insurance and mandatory local insurance depending on country
    • Border crossing visa and fees
    • Food and housing
    • Park entrance fees and tours
    • Ferry from Baja California to mainland Mexico - $120 USD
    • Sailing with the bike from Panama to Colombia - $1,250 USD
    • Shipping bike from BA to LAX - $1,950 USD
    • Flying from BA to LAX $720 USD
    The major ticket items above that I listed out with the dollar amount came out to be $4,040 dollars less $13,000 which brings me to about $9,000 dollars for everyday living for ~8 months, $1,125 dollars a month or ~$37.50 dollars per day. This means that I was over budget by $1,800 dollars over the 8 month period which was not too bad as I did not keep an exact ledger of my daily spending and just winged it. I think it also helped me that I did not have any drinking habits to keep to my shoe string budget on track.

    Regarding bike cost, I believe it's irrelevant as the whole adventure can be done on any two wheels and enough determination.

    Reflections

    Now being back in San Diego and writing this in the comfort of my home feels somewhat unreal to me. It was as yesterday that I quit my boring and uninspiring corporate job to go discover all that Latin America had to offer on my totaled Kawasaki KLR. The time went by so quickly as it always does when you are having one hell of an adventure. It was over 5 years of dreaming, patiently waiting, and preparing until I could venture out on my bike for 8 months of complete freedom. The freedom meant I was my own boss for the duration of my whole journey and every decision I made altered my journey ever so slightly. Everyday I got on that KLR, I chose my destination, I commanded my motorcycle, and I covered every kind of terrain imaginable.The motorcycle empowered me, challenged me, and made me question many of my prior held beliefs. With days of up to 13 hours on a motorcycle, I had a lot of time to think about everything that's life. For a young guy like myself, these past 8 months were some of the most freeing and inspiring 8 months I have lived. I would definitely recommend this journey to my fellow riders.

    One thing to consider before undertaking such journey is to know whether you like to travel because riding a bike and travelling are two different things and this 8 month journey brought riding and travelling together. I undertook this trip as I love to do both and knew it would be challenging as each one has it's own up's and down's. I did meet a group of guys who were just riding from Canada to Ecuador all in 3 months. What a waste of energy and taking on unnecessary risk were they could have had just as great of a time riding on the safe roads all around the US and not have to deal with the crazy borders in Central America. If they thought they would do lots off-roading or camping in Central America, I'm sure they quickly realized that all the safe roads are paved out. So, if you just want to ride your bike on or off road and don't care for international travel, this long multi-border adventure may not be for you. Many countries I've been in offer great riding areas so one does not have to travel far from their home to have an epic time on their bike.

    Gear review

    I liked all my Dainese riding gear that I brought and was glad I left my dual sport helmet at home. I know I would have looked a lot cooler in all my pics with it but I have found them uncomfortable at highway speeds due to their shape. The boots worked well but I feel like their lost their water proof abilities over time but I could have water coming in from my pants as they were only water resistant.

    The soft panniers worked great on my bike and were a lot better than my aluminum Happy Trail Teton panniers which were useless due to their small size but I also hated how they would drag so much air at highway speeds making the bike feel less planted. The pannier really shined in the super windy Patagonia allowing me to easily pass other riders and cars. I had no issue with water ingress, except one pocket, as Giant loop provided these giant yellow dry bags that slipped right into the panniers. One side pocket looked like it was a dry pocket but GL later advised me that it wasn't. The best part was that the panniers was expandable up to 90 liters and mounted on my existing Happy Trails rack system.

    All the protection I had protecting levers, engine, and side fairing worked perfectly and saved my bike multiple times from complete destruction.

    The RAM mount for my iphone was one of my favorite farkles and was actually a necessity as my phone was my GPS and infotainment center. The RAM mount for the Delorme was useless and a waste of space on my handlebars.

    My biggest advise on gear for long term adventures is, never ever go cheap on it.

    I know I didn't cover everything on here but feel free to ask, worst case scenario is I ignore your question.
    lubelhu, #1Fan, scudo and 6 others like this.
  3. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    Curious about your "RAM mount for the Delorme was useless" comment. What was useless--did the mount not work, or was the Delorme Inreach itself not useful?
  4. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    damn....$37.50 a day.....i will never come back to CA for that reason.

    you guys, i mean including dan made a lot of friends. it probably contributed to the economics of the trip.

    one plan is take my 2002 ktm 640 which is not worth a lot here in the states. after the trip, i could just dispose it locally wherever it ends or the bike dies rather than spend $1950 for shipping it back, or maybe leave it there if legally allowed for the next adventurer or when i go back.

    very happy for you at your young age able to accomplish what most of us just could dream of and of course; you were lucky having a boring job made it easy to embark on this trip....:lol3

    thanks for the report, a lot of valuable info in it.
  5. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    The mount would not charge the Delorme when in it's cradle and I solely bought it for that.
  6. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    Having made many friends down south did help with economics of the trip.

    I heard guys were able to sell their bikes in Punta Arenas fairly easily due to local law and a KTM would run at a good premium down there.

    Glad you found the RR valuable.
    advFord likes this.
  7. Rixrider

    Rixrider Adventurer

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    Montana USA
    Fantastic RR!
    I just read it from cover to cover on this cold and snowy afternoon......Thanks for all the details as well.
    cycleTown650 likes this.
  8. Alejandra La Alemana

    Alejandra La Alemana n00b

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    Hola Ilya, que bueno leer todo tu viaje, excelente, largar todo y cumplir sueños es lo mejor que uno puede hacer !! Admirable.
    Vuelvo a agradecerte de corazón tu ayuda en la ruta, anécdota en cada asado infaltable de como apareció un Angel en mi camino, pude seguir gracias a VOS mi viaje y llegar a destino. Ahí pongo una foto de cuando partías después del arreglo a mi moto.
    Te mando un abrazo y enorme Que Siempre tengas BUENAS RUTA! BUENOS VIENTOS ! BUENA VIDA !
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    Attached Files:

    NSFW, kilocharlie and MFGamesta like this.
  9. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    Ale, me alegra haber podido ayudarte y que has podido terminar tu aventura. Perseguir mis sueños ha sido una de las mejores decisiones de mi vida y espero que seas capaz de hacer lo mismo. Gracias por las fotos y bienvenidos al foro.
  10. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    A big thank you to Freddie Gonzalez of Mexico for offering to put this video together that gives a quick photo preview of this ride report. I randomly met Freddie when I stopped to take my last landscape photo of Mexico before crossing the border into Guatemala. Now that I'm back in California, this video sure does make me miss Latin America and all the epic adventures it offered.



    Me and Freddie.

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  11. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    It seems like my journey never ended after I returned home to San Diego after travelling 8 month through Latin America. Since my journey never really ended, I started a new project called KELIAS during my travels, which in Lithuanian means "journey."

    During my 8 month Latin American journey, I built and tested a prototype to address what I saw as a big inconvenience and safety issue, a dirty and scratched visor. The issue was that while riding, the visor would get caked up with bugs and grime, reducing my visibility and distracting my vision until I smeared it with my glove or stopped at the gas station to clean the visor with whatever was available. What I needed was to be able to conveniently clean my visor when necessary without having to wait until the next gas station to remove all the bugs and grime from it. The solution that I discovered was simple, yet effective, which I call Kelias Visor Clear. Essentially, it is an all-in-one 2 ounce spray bottle with an anti-scratch micro fiber cloth disc. The Visor Clear magnetically attaches to your handle bars, can be kept in your tank bag or jacket, and allows you to clean your visor without removing your helmet. The special micro-fiber cloth was designed to trap bugs and dirt and can be washed and replaced. A small drop of soap mixed with water will work well to clean your visor, or you can use any non-ammonia cleaning solution of your choice. The video below shows how it works:



    The new patent pending Kelias Visor Clear is in the manufacturing stage and I have already started to receive requests for a Visor Clear from fellow riders. Since I will only have 200 units available on the first production run, I thought I would create an email list for first come first serve for anyone who would like to be the first to buy this product. Once you sign up on the email list below, I will email you when the product is ready for pre-order. The goal is to have every order shipped out before Christmas. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

    Click here to subscribe to email list

    Kelias Facebook Page

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    When the idea for Visor Clear hit me in Argentina, I couldn't shake it off and had to build it. When I arrived in Santiago, Chile, I went on a mad hunt to find materials for my first prototype. I spent all day walking around the big city and visited every arts and craft store. I was not having any luck with the first 10 stores and was getting tired after searching for six hours. I was not going to give up that easily and decided to try one last store, which someone said was the biggest and if they don't have what I need, no one will. Lucky for me, they had what I needed except the powerful magnets which would be the key feature and benefit of my visor cleaner, easy to grab and use. I decided to buy what looked like big magnetic decorative buttons which I suspected had some sort of neodymium magnet. Boy was I right.

    Fist prototype made of clay, spray bottle and microfiber cloth donated by couchsurfer, and neodymium magnets I scoured. Tested it through Patagonia and worked brilliantly!

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  12. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

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    Cool idea!
    cycleTown650 likes this.
  13. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    Like this...but did I miss the price?
  14. cycleTown650

    cycleTown650 Been here awhile

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    Thank you! You did not, I am still negotiating with the manufacturer so I can't say, the goal is to keep it high quality at a reasonable price as I want everyone in our community to have one. With that said, you will see the price once the pre-orders are ready to be placed and can make your decision then. Go ahead and add your name to the email list since there is no obligation to buy once pre-orders are ready.
    SUBSCRIBE EMAIL LIST
    HardWorkingDog likes this.