LoneStar's Adventure to South America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,847
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    I've never heard much bad about Aerostich and most guys love them. They brought a setup to Austin a few years ago and I rode in to see the gear and try some on. It was early summer in Texas and when I saw the build and design, I thought "You boys ain't from around here are ya?" It looked bulletproof and heavy duty but I'd have died of a heat stroke walking out to the bike in it. If I lived further north it would be a consideration, but I'd be dead and buried if I'd worn it in central America. I start to sweat just looking at wearing fishnet in the heat. (OOPS I said too much)

    Yes to a certain degree on the BMW purchase. My common sense side said Japanese, but my visual and emotional side loves the BMW. I'm an artist at heart and I need to love what I ride... but I'm smart enough to know I'd never take a GS to Mongolia. South American BMW dealerships made the decision more palatable for the trip, but I debated a very long time and researched a lot of bikes and talked to a lot of people who'd traveled to South America before picking the Beemer. Again, the choices for rides when you're 6'4 and 260 are limited. As much as I'd like, even an F800 is way too cramped for me. A DR 650 even more so. Average size guys have a lot of choices but there aren't many XXL bikes out there.
  2. Ohio_Danimal

    Ohio_Danimal If I die trying, at least I tried

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,117
    Location:
    Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (The Crooked River)
    Joseph...have seen the news reports of the 7.3 quake in Peru

    Hopefully you're safe and not directly affected

    Stay safe!
  3. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,062
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    Wow, that just happened this morning! First time I've got my news from advrider! It's pretty far south of Lima off the coast, he should be fine. Lord willing.
  4. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,847
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    “Mucho cuidado. Mucho cuidado!” the old man said. He had come up to me to inquire of my route into the town, looking at the filthy bike and shaking his head at the road we’d taken in the night before.

    Arriving in Huaraz after riding Cañon del Pato the day before, we’d headed back to Yungay and took the dirt pass road into a national park. It began raining immediately and the road was muddy and slick. Rains continued as we passed through the park and its stunning sheer mountain walls, waterfalls, and lakes as blue as Lake Louise at about 12,000 feet.

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]


    The road turned to rough rock and mud, the rain continuing as we slid and struggled up to 14,000 feet on the tiny narrow road carved into the mountainside. As we hit 15,000 feet, it began to snow and the temperature had dropped to 33 degrees.


    [​IMG]







    Somewhere along the way up, I kept smelling burning oil and my heart skipped a beat. Having had the rear main seal replaced only three days before, my heart sank at the thought of the disaster returning. Multiple times I stopped and got off the bike, trying to see an oil leak amidst the mud, water and grit covering the rear of the bike. I could see nothing obvious but could not deny the smell and feared complete failure somewhere in the Andes.

    It was a difficult ride, finally entering thick clouds and struggling not only with the heavy bike in the mud and rough rocks, but just to get a breath in the thin air. My head began to pound as it finally topped out at just under 16,000 feet. The sleet and snow was heavy but I pulled out the camera for a single picture to prove the location. The ride up was so demanding I’d not even thought of trying to capture images.

    The down side of the mountain was raining less intensely thankfully. As we descended, the road was rough but smoother than the upward side. The lightening rain brought hope that soon we’d be in civilization. The road continued, heading further into the mountains and never dropping below 12,000 feet said my GPS.

    [​IMG]


    The problem is, we’d only seen random names on our GPS apps and had no idea whether they were towns or what. In fact, we didn’t really know where we were going other than east. Any towns didn’t really show on the GPS, so it was hard to know which to head to. The constant rain made it difficult to stop and read a phone screen anyway.

    I began to notice that my bike was getting harder and harder to turn, feeling sluggish as if having a flat. I stopped multiple times to kick the tires but they were hard and showed no sign of air loss. The bike began to move sideways at the slightest bobble and became a real handful to control. To say I was fearful on the narrow pass roads at 13,000 feet was an understatement. I was working very hard to keep the bike from falling in the mud.

    After a couple of hours we reached a fork in the road, but the gps maps weren’t accurate in the area and we were effectively riding blind. An old man came by and Ward asked him where the nearest large town was. He confidently pointed at the fork heading downhill and we went that way, despite the road looking much less traveled. It was rough and rutted, with large sections of fresh mud from little landslides and the continuing rains. The bike felt as if the rear wheel was loose, however nothing was out of place. As I stood in the rain, I pushed down on the seat and it went down so easily that I realized the rear shock was blown. It explained both the burning oil smell and the bad steering problems. My $2000 rear suspension had failed miserably and early in it’s lifespan. My heart sank as I struggled the bike into the town we’d headed for. It was a shock to realize we’d come to a dead end and the light was fading.

    Ward spoke to a man carrying a bundle of wood on his back, asking the way to a large town. We knew no town names, but he pointed at the road we’d just come down and out. We were going to have to reverse all the way back up to the fork, a good 30 minute ride and one I’d barely made down. We’d been on the bikes without stopping or eating for about 5 hours straight at this point and the fatigue was showing. Ward was having a bit easier time on the 800 and I wished I was on one. Sitting in the village after dark was no option, so we gunned it back towards the mountain. It was a lot of work and curse words, but after about 20 minutes we had made it back to the fork and a new direction. The falling darkness was not comforting. I got my gps to catch the track again and it showed the nearest town to still be 3 hours away at best.

    It was easy to feel nervous, knowing the road ahead was treacherous and we were still 12,000 feet or more in the Andes, with rain and darkness falling. We rode as fast as I could, until spotting a minivan in a group of small homes. Ward asked the driver what was ahead and how long to a large town. His response was three hours to go. It was now 6 pm and the road ahead was difficult. We rode until the light faded completely, crossing mudslides and rock piles, running streams, huge sections of greasy slick mud and deep ruts. I couldn’t help but wonder how the minivan had ever made it up this road!

    Below, a silver ribbon in the dusk indicated a river below and we made as fast as we could to try to get off the precipices before absolute darkness. We arrived at the river just as the skies went black, sitting at a fork in the road next to a bridge. My GPS maps indicated a town to the north and one to the south. Both showed to be still two hours away despite the short distance. South was the choice and we headed into the darkness, headlights on bright and swerving around rocks, mudholes and anything we could make out in the light. Below the sound of a roaring river could be heard in my helmet over the breathing, rumbling engine and road noise. It was disconcerting to imagine what lay just a few feet to my side and a simple rock roll away.



    The fatigue had set in deeply by now, having been riding in cold, rain and difficult roads for over 7 hours straight. The last hour and a half was in somewhat of a stupor. Ahead, twinkles of orange light indicated a town on a distant mountainside, hopefully San Luis but it didn't matter. It seemed forever, broken by dogs running out from the darkness and snarling at the bikes as they passed. As scary and irritating as it was, it indicated people in the vicinity and that brought a lifting of spirits.

    The shambled road eventually brought a small village of mud brick walls and miraculously, a concrete street. At the first turn, I saw a sign for a hostel, and more importantly a gated driveway. That meant security for the bikes and we stopped. Through an iron barred widow, the old man took our money and passed some thin old towels through, along with a padlock and key. Finding my room, he had to help get the door open and showed me how to padlock it.

    The water and mud ran down from my gear onto the stone floor as I stared at the tiny, musty old room and wondered what lay amidst the sheets. It was as if a scene from a movie, the faded painted walls, illuminated by a lone, weak fluorescent bulb. I was tired and just sat on the corner of the bed, my boots touching the wall the room was so tiny. I couldn’t bother trying to get out of my gear for a while. There was no heat, wind coming through an open hole in the wall that used to be a small window. Outside I heard Ward wanting to find food and slowly pulled off my gear, looking for places to put it. There was no choice other than the narrow space between the bed and wall. I stayed in my riding gear, save the rain covers and jacket, going outside to find my fleece and we walked a block down in the darkened town to find a lone restaurant open.

    A cold wind came through the door of the unheated place as we sat, slurping down a bowl of chicken soup and waiting for the next dish to come out. I was having trouble keeping my eyes open by the end, finally walking back to the room and collapsing on the bed, determined not to crawl under the sheets. In a few minutes, the cold drove me under the two heavy wool blankets and sleep came quickly.
    Dillard, Oron, 78er and 23 others like this.
  5. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,062
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    Wow, what a descriptive tale of a harrowing experience. Those words are worth a thousand pictures. Videos are elucidating. Thanks, Joseph, for your refreshing direct honesty. It's as real as it gets. I, for one, look forward to your continuing excellence in describing your trip experiences, warts and all.
    powderzone and LoneStar like this.
  6. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    402
    Location:
    Atlanta OTP - Acworth/Kennesaw
    Hey if you are still in Lima and want a great (but somewhat more expensive) meal, head to Costañera 700 in Miraflores. Best meal I’ve ever had. Get the fish that they bring to your table on fire. Love Lima, travel there for work periodically.
    LoneStar likes this.
  7. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb...

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    576
    Location:
    Satellite of Love
    Think first, THEN hit the 'Post Reply' button....m'kay? :hmmmmmThat's how adults do it!
  8. Jack can

    Jack can Wrecker man

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    Herethereeverywhere
    I'm loving your report Lonestar. I know asshats like this won't ruin your incredible spirit but, it really brings me down. I can't stand when some asshole tries to disrupt something so very near many of our hearts-living vicariously through your wonderful writing & pics.
    I for one would happily accept ban-camp to put this piece of shit straight.

    Get a life you fucking poser. Leave the rest of us to enjoy seeing others living the dream. I'm grateful for free speech just not this fuckers way of going about it.

    Lonestar, your words & pics have inspired me to really ramp up my efforts to get my life of travel going in the right direction. Hopefully with luck & hard work I'll be in Peru this time next year. Keep goin brother. So many of us are with you in spirit.
  9. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,847
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Well I obviously missed something while working on the bike outside. From the little I can see, I guess I pissed someone off who feels they fit the category. I was speaking of the fools who run to Starbucks and pose in their gear and then post how great it is on Advrider when they want to impress everyone rather than really testing it.

    My bike cost a whopping $11,000 and half of that was paid for by the sale of my R1100GS while I saved money and sold possessions to buy it and make the trip happen. I spent 85% of my 8 month North American trip camping, filtering water, eating tuna and staying in Couchsurfing homes. I guess that qualifies as being a rich asshat who knows nothing about the "poor and needy". I rode my 1100 for nearly ten years because I couldn't afford a new bike. Then spent over a year trying to find a 1200 that was a deal.

    Sorry to have hurt someone's feelings but I don't fit the rich category. In fact I have no home or possessions because I had to sell them to be able to live this dream. It's exactly because I've had to pay out the ass for ridiculously expensive crap, that I cannot afford, that doesn't work and isn't what it is supposed to be, that really pisses me off.

    Anyway, back to life on the road

    And thanks for responses from you guys - I missed the party it looks like and I'd hope if you read my report you can tell the type of person I am. Poorly worded or written when tired, but I'm under financial pressure as well as time and just get tired of shit failing when you pay out the ass for it.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Ward was telling me Lima was known for it's great food but haven't experienced it yet. May splurge the last night!
  10. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,664
    Location:
    New Zealand
    @LoneStar - I didn't want to reply to him, I find if a troll is ignored then they go away. For those of us following your threads we know exactly what sacrifices you have made in order to do the trips you are.

    Back to your RR. A question if I may? You chose to install Touratech rear suspension. Why did you choose that over say Ohlins? The two brands cost about the same. I looked at Touratech when outfitting my AT, but I just just couldn't bring myself to take a risk with their product.
    Davidprej, Grynch and Sunday Rider like this.
  11. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    16,062
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    I'd like to expound on that question, and ask further (though it may be obvious to those in the know) - why an aftermarket suspension at all?
  12. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,847
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Hey Kiwi - I was planning on running Ohlins but MotoHank had done some testing for Touratech on their new shocks when they first came out. He was impressed with them and the larger shaft diameter as well. His take on Ohlins, of whom he was/is a dealer and sold plenty of, is that they were initially a road racing suspension and not built with adv style bikes in mind. He felt the TT shocks were superior for adv and says he has to have way more Ohlins rebuilt than TT. It was primarily based on his recommendation as he really knows his stuff. My Ohlins on the 1100 lasted well but just looking at them side by side the TT's beefier in build quality.

    Well, the bike had 30,000 on it when I bought it and was equipped with the Electronic suspension package. When the North American portion with the Iron Butterfly was complete and the bike was at 60K, the rear was done and mushy. I'm very surprised the stock suspension lasted with all the gear and me on it until 60,000 since they're built for an average rider of probably 185 pounds. While in Dilley discussing the suspension, I ran to Mexico with him for about 3 days and in that short time frame the rear just gave it's last hurrah. The bike handled badly in the tight mountain curves and wandered so it was definitely time to swap in new stuff. I ordered the TT's when we got back to Dilley. Just for info, to replace the original ESA with new BMW shocks was around $5000 US iirc - insanity :lol3
    Davidprej, twflybum and ONandOFF like this.
  13. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,664
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Thanks for your insights.

    I have fitted Ohlins to my AT with a heavier spring rate to account for my weight, two up riding and gear. Time will tell how long it last, but I am not doing the mileage you are doing. Let's hope the repaired TT shocks last this time.
    LoneStar and ONandOFF like this.
  14. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,847
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    My size and weight will tax any system and I was happy with the Ohlins on my 1100!
    MrKiwi likes this.
  15. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Love my Tranny

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5,664
    Location:
    New Zealand
    If you get to NZ later in the year, you can tax the Ohlins on my AT. A decent test ride on it awaits you :wink:
    ONandOFF and LoneStar like this.
  16. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,847
    Location:
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    :rayof You may regret it :lol3
    ONandOFF and MrKiwi like this.
  17. battdoc

    battdoc Old Enough

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Stockton CA
    Adventure Trash Bags - You might be on to something.
    ROAD DAMAGE and LoneStar like this.
  18. battdoc

    battdoc Old Enough

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Stockton CA
    I'll vouch for Rev-It - I'm on the 2nd set of Sand Jacket and Pants. It held up well during 10K ride to and back from Alaska in 2016. Inner rain liner will keep you dry for the most part. However all the elastic parts on the jacket did get stretched in Dalton mud and that stuff they put on the roads in AK.
    Parcero and LoneStar like this.
  19. battdoc

    battdoc Old Enough

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    Stockton CA
    Gentlemen our world was changed when Maytag Man commercials stopped. I have been in sales for more than two decades and have seen this shift first hand. Word “Quality” changed from Craftsmanship & Pride to Lowest Standard a customer will accept. On top of that everyone sells a replacement warranty with every piece of crap in the market even Harbor Freight tools.
    Andsetinn, Bgunn, ONandOFF and 2 others like this.
  20. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    4,062
    Location:
    round the world
    Spent a good few hours reading thru your RR after being pointed to it by others, love your shallow depth of field style, great descriptive writing, and solid resolve as it appeared it was all going to shit.

    Glad to see you back at it, the ADV world needs more guys like you.
    Merfman, ShimrMoon, 78er and 20 others like this.