Lost on the way to the End of the World

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by El Explorador, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    So here it is, the beginning of the my trip to the end of the world.

    First things first, to say goodbye to my city and the people I will miss. You start to take ownership of a city after a while, without realizing it this became "my" city as opposed to the many cities I had simply lived in, transitionally, throughout my childhood (which I like to think isn't _quite_ over just yet).

    Goodbye Ottawa, see you again someday, maybe.
    [​IMG]

    There is going to be a lot of living outside of the comfort zone ahead. For now, I can relax - family en route means an easy start. First to Mackenzie lake by Algonquin park to visit my cousin and her family. A beautiful ride, though I was going a little fast by the end as the sun sank and my handwritten directions became harder to read. Arrived just shy of 300k out of... well, there's no point trying to guess at it, but it's a long road to Ushuaia, even more so in my circumlocuitous fashion.

    Meeting up with family is a great way to ease into life on the road, and not having to start out the journey in the hammock is a good start. Yes, I'm using a hammock instead of a tent. Lets see how that pans out...

    And here, enjoying the view with me is Lost, my beautiful partner in crime. We'll both have new scars by the time this is through and plenty of stories to go with them. It's going to be a wild ride, and while I'm still enjoying the relaxed pace of life in the comfort zone, I know there's all kinds of adventure and adversity ahead.

    I can't wait.

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. greygeezer

    greygeezer Adventurer

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    Aug 25, 2011
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    Vancouver, Canada.
    :lurk
    #2
  3. Redhed

    Redhed Lost on the Island

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    NorthWest Vancouver Island
    Waiting for some road wisdom...:deal

    Subscribed
    #3
  4. rico2072

    rico2072 Been here awhile

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    Tampa Fl
    Subscribed
    #4
  5. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Darnestown, MD
    Awesome start, this sounds like quite an adventure!
    #5
  6. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Dec 24, 2006
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    3,812
    Location:
    Next to Rio Bravo
    Tell us about your bike's set up.
    #6
  7. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    Utah
    Subscribed:freaky
    #7
  8. RandyLove

    RandyLove Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    What's you're timeline into Central America looking like? I'll be in Mazatlan around the end of October, south-bound for Ushuaia.
    #8
  9. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    So the set up is pretty basic, as might be expected on a KLR. I've got some goodies though.

    Right now I'm running a 17 tooth countershaft sprocket I just picked up in Hamilton, what a difference! I don't miss the 15, but I kept it for once I find myself in latin america playing chicken with transport trucks along winding mountain roads.

    The tank is an IMS 6.6 gal, the doo has been done, T-mod is done, and I added barkbuster guards since I'm so tired of snapped levers. I also have a spare clutch cable/lever just in case. I'm running Heidenau k60s and I'll have a Shinko 244 waiting for me at the border for any fun roads I decide to explore in Mexico. Mandatory bash plate, too.

    Luggagewise I'm using the SW motech evo racks and H&B aluminum panniers mounted with HT pucks (the stock H&B mounting points are a joke, snapped off first time I lowsided). I've also got a backpack lashed to the back with the remnants of an old Heidenau inner tube and a Wolfman explorer tank bag.

    Everything else is stock, though I was burning a hell of a lot of oil before getting the 17 tooth sprocket. Might have to do a 688 upgrade before entering the Heart of Darkness, just seeing how this ride through the states goes first... it's not a cheap upgrade, and the sooner I run out of money the sooner I have to figure out how to get home. Or something.
    #9
  10. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    No idea :)

    Keep in touch though, it would be cool to meet other riders on the way. I should be around there around that time. ish. maybe?

    Depends on how much fun I'm having in the States!
    #10
  11. chelo5sur

    chelo5sur Been here awhile

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    Jun 18, 2009
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    199
    Location:
    Chile.
    I m in ,following from Chile.
    #11
  12. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Even Heidenau's heavy duty inner tubes are no match for lazy carpenters and the 3-inch wood screws they leave lying around. You can ride on an empty tire, but bring a spare. Also Metzeler's tubless enduros are a bitch to get off, you definitely want to use the kickstand to break that bead. Rock the bike on your panniers if you don't have a centrestand.

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. Nanuq

    Nanuq Aventurer by Trade

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
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    1,124
    Location:
    Point Hope, Sitka & Biorka Island- all in Alaska
    I'm in....:lurk
    #13
  14. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Hamilton is my last Canadian stop before the real adventure starts.

    <img class="alignleft" title="Lazy Lost" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ck5uH8FCUQo/UCNCAEcXr_I/AAAAAAAAAkY/dT2BioCAiY8/s549/IMG_3552.JPG" alt="" width="299" height="444" />
    I do manage to get in some offroading in on my way out. Not on purpose mind you, I just take a *wrong turn on my way out and by the time I realize that this sandy track littered with loose rocks isn't taking me to the highway I'm having too much fun to turn around.

    Riding a half ton motorcycle like it's a dirt bike is a recipe for a dirt nap, and sure enough on Day 2 I finally have my first spill on a particularly rough hill. Okay so maybe I had my second and third as well. Hey, it's sandy as hell and this is a different machine with a ninety lbs of luggage. It's hot and sweaty work wrestling Lost upright but it feels great.

    Family is waiting for me in Hamilton and seeing everyone reminds me that I need to visit more often. We have some great conversations and catching up, and of course I have to make all kinds of ridiculously insincere promises about being safe and cautious on my journey. It's an adventure, not a pleasure cruise. At least I can promise good stories.

    Speaking of which, I take the opportunity to catch up with some radical people in Canada's other capital, Toronto, and say goodbye to another familiar skyline.

    <img class="alignnone" title="Skywalking" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/7726523824_3940359063_c.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="534" />

    (Photo credit to <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomms/">Mr. Gonzales</a>)

    One last goodbye to a girl I'm certainly linked to by fate. (cliffsnotes: Not actually engaged; Miss Xing was one of a harem of wives I collected in University and the only one I kept in touch with, moreso after running into her coincidentally in a mountain in Laos and the markets of Thailand)
    <img class="alignnone" title="False Promises" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yy1mJWl0nek/UCNBubIBOPI/AAAAAAAAAkM/2QSKIcY1dSA/s549/IMG_3629.jpg" alt="" width="366" height="549" />
    She's lucky that's the case, because with her taste in helmets she'd have a hard time getting a ride otherwise.
    <img class="alignnone" title="False Promises" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-0VPuWlM97Vo/UCNLBFfVNzI/AAAAAAAAAks/AhlXHZk3jQk/s823/IMG_3610.jpg" alt="" width="450" height="305" />

    It's been comfortable, but my feet are getting itchy and Lost didn't get all dolled up for these little jaunts around town. She's got a new 17 tooth countershaft sprocket from DualSportPlus (that means the bike burns less oil, mom), and its a whole new ride as I head off to Detroit.

    To have a really interesting time at the US border crossing, when they ask you how long you're staying for and where you're staying the answer is: "I don't have a date planned to leave the US, and I'm staying with some stranger I met on the internet."
    #14
  15. Domiken

    Domiken Been here awhile

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    Sep 30, 2011
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    688
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    Manhattan
    subscribing! :clap
    #15
  16. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    So the general reaction I get from people when I say I'm going to visit Detroit is as if I had said I was thinking renting a cell in Guantanamo for a holiday. Here's my take on it.

    I’ve never really experienced the states. I’ve been through a few, and even went to Disneyland in Florida... but wouldn’t feel comfortable claiming to <em>know</em> the nation with the temerity to claim an entire continent’s name for itself.
    Hopefully the following weeks will help inform some opinions. Beginning with Detroit, this tour is going to take me on a journey through a country so many of my fellow Canadians have opinions on but so few have actually taken the time to get to know beyond the caricatures and archetypes filtered in through the media.

    This isn’t actually my first time in Detroit, and this visit reinforces impressions formed last time.
    It’s a city of massive contrast. The third of the population that remains rattles hollowly among the art deco grandeur of the city, avoiding those places left fallow after the eventual decline of the roaring 20’s expansion. I see it as an interesting reflection of the failure and fallacy of the American dream. I actually had the bank where the concept of credit was formed pointed out to me. Abandoned, like so much of the city, the place where Ford once extended loans to his employees. Making an unheard of (for the time) five dollars a day, they used their prospective earnings to help build homes and expand the city. So yeah, you can blame him for all this.

    Against all odds there is an positive spirit that manages to resonate through the city’s underfilled streets. Every open space boasts art, graffiti, and official signage all urging people to look to the future of a new Detroit, offering hope and optimism in a city where the sidewalks are pebbled with shattered glass from break ins; where opulent towers too expensive to either sell or maintain crumble in place, still defiantly beautiful despite years of neglect.

    My host Petparazzi and fellow explorer Detroit Liger echo this spirit and pride – both of them wearing Detroit branded *clothes, speaking of their love for the city. And it’s not just in spite of the decay – in many ways this has opened up their city to them, allowing them an intimate perspective and sense of ownership and discovery like no other place in the world would. They can enter places that, had they been maintained, would have been exclusive domains of the elite. The infrastructure and history is laid bare, no sterilized tours or one sided info pamphlets – just the evidence, visceral, right there to be walked among ; sifted through; interpreted.

    Personally, I’m more of a nature person – but I appreciate the parallels between the density and chaos of jungles and cities. Detroit is the perfect compromise – it is a city gone half feral, a concrete jungle in the truest sense. Out of the poverty brought about by the city’s decline a social regression has taken place, the robberies and gun violence contrasted against the vision of hope and regrowth that struggles to take root in the ruins. It’s not a distant, far removed kind of poverty. It’s putting my money on a carousel so the clerk behind bullet-proof glass can spin it around an and replace it with my change and receipt, never leaving an opening for contact. It’s Petparazzi paying more in camera insurance than home or auto. “Every time I go out [exploring abandoned places], I assume I’m going to get robbed,” he tells me. And almost in the same breath he says he would never leave, that he loves his city.

    The Big D demands more respect from people than the average city; it’s the ragged edge of civilization where one can easily regret letting one’s guard down. But I’ve been surprised. I’ll not soon forget the man who rolled out of his newspaper bedding to offer a friendly hello, and whose demeanour and conversation spoke more of a fellow who had simply fallen on hard times than the crackhead one would have expected. The local art scene is thriving on the unique atmosphere, and everywhere abandoned places are being reclaimed by civilization, bit by bit.

    Eventually it seems this city will once again stabilize. Like all wild places, Detroit will eventually be tamed; the metropolis of majestic forgotten spaces will be replaced by a sterilized and family friendly town. It will become a city like any other, and while that may be for the best, I will always be glad to remember the jungle that was Detroit.

    <img class="alignnone" title="Hope" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6HPpzW07PJw/UCq_UhhkXfI/AAAAAAAAAlE/x6NSmcBD-AU/s549/IMG_3886.jpg" alt="" width="366" height="549" />
    #16
  17. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    Can't forget the pics!

    <img alt="" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-MvVW-nQ-oXc/UCq_sj-tq1I/AAAAAAAAAlM/hXspYO07l3I/s694/IMG_3880.jpg" title="Les ouiseaux" class="alignnone" width="325" height="216" />

    Fresh booze... gotta love a city that has it's priorities straight.
    <img alt="" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sD_aO8UZ6y0/UCrASakLmdI/AAAAAAAAAlY/hrkIPA1NeRE/s694/IMG_3865.jpg" title="Not really that good" class="alignnone" width="325" height="216" />

    <img alt="" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dQgOGTL-oYc/UCrAi9jOIOI/AAAAAAAAAlg/sYV-IJkiUW0/s694/IMG_3897.jpg" title="For all your rooftopping needs!" class="alignnone" width="694" height="462" />

    Scrambled over a wall to check out this old jag, there was a roofing nail waiting for me on the jump back down...
    <img alt="" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-h8U08BXsNFE/UCrAz95RbyI/AAAAAAAAAls/zIqNfJczDT4/s694/IMG_3802.jpg" title="look before you leap" class="alignnone" width="694" height="462" />

    <img alt="" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-DRdrDG8uQxI/UCrCGXmmQLI/AAAAAAAAAms/MHWquLBATwI/s694/IMG_3813.jpg" title="African History" class="alignnone" width="694" height="462" />

    <img alt="" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-emTRMMxodQ4/UCrEhnspNcI/AAAAAAAAAnQ/BK3uWtZNMFM/s461/IMG_3889.jpg" title="Easy in " class="alignnone" width="311" height="461" />

    <img alt="" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-s_qpxTT6UDI/UCrFvvhMzmI/AAAAAAAAAno/YQWmWhVxiWI/w427-h268-n-k/IMG_3876.jpg" title="It will be" class="alignnone" width="427" height="268" />

    <img alt="" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-kIZgA8EmdBc/UDHn0aPeUGI/AAAAAAAAAoU/dLdpRhzeUqQ/w461-h307-n-k/IMG_3850.jpg" title="but not for this guy..." class="alignnone" width="461" height="307" />

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    #17
  18. juames

    juames Have Fun, Don't Die!

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
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    2,718
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Nice pics...

    Hope you got a tetanus shot before you left home.



    #18
  19. El Explorador

    El Explorador Radical Explorer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Guatemala City, Guatemala, and going down!
    I did indeed!
    Should probably boost the Hep shots now that I think about it though, thanks for the reminder...
    #19
  20. Scubalong

    Scubalong Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
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    990
    Location:
    So Cal
    Have a safe trip and thanks for sharing your adventure. Great pictures :thumb

    Subscribed :lurk
    #20