Oregon to Ushuaia on an XR650L

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Ulyses, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Phhew....makes me glad I'm not flying. I've had my fill of borders. I'm hoping they start improving soon.

    How much did it cost to fly your bike?
  2. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Bro! Good to see you on here!

    Go easy on that protein powder....you might start having a lot of really bad gas.

    What are your plans? Are you going home next week?
  3. Ed Zachtamundo

    Ed Zachtamundo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Mom got here today- all is well. Looks like we're all coming back on the 21st. Let me know when you want to cash in that wookie life-debt I owe you, man!
  4. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I decided to sleep in today and take it easy as I was expecting good roads (thanks for the heads up Jdowns) and no border crossings. I took my time getting ready and spent some time hanging out with Ed Zachtamundo's friend, Orley, the pet monkey:

    [​IMG]

    I think my friend Jeff (Mathews) was right, this little devil was a trained thief! Look at him trying to get my sick Suunto watch! Actually, he was trying to eat it and he kept biting it. I started to get worried that he might miss and bite me and give me the outbreak virus (which would probably happen with my luck), so we parted ways.

    I got back on the road and was soon on a four lane divided highway. The riding was fast, uneventful, and actually quite boring. After spending the last few months fighting for my life everyday on the road, getting on something that was very similar to an American Freeway is almost kind of a let down.

    [​IMG]

    Still, it's kind of nice not having to worry about coming round a corner and crashing into a herd of cows (possible in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua), or running over an open man hole cover (happened in Mexico, barely avoided in Nicaragua), or finding that an entire lane of the road has collapsed and is only marked out by painted white rocks (Honduras). This pic from Honduras pretty much sums it up:

    [​IMG]

    I stopped after about 60 miles and found that my oil was a quite low, almost halfway down the dipstick. Riding hard on the old XRL really takes it's toll with oil consumption. I just changed it a few days ago, but I've also covered 1,122 miles during that time, which means that my bike has been slowly re-hydrating itself on my expensive synthetic Motul 10W-40.

    [​IMG]

    I added about 200ml. When I did the oil change at Mario's I measured the oil that came out of the bike against what I had put in when I changed it last. I then added the amount of oil that I had put in while riding and came up with 700ml. So, during an 1,800 mile stretch of pretty hard riding, I managed to lose 700 ml of oil. I'm wondering what I'm going to lose this time around. I guess that's why I carry a quart and a half extra.

    Still, a lot of my oil freak outs could be due to improper oil checks. I swear, there's a significant amount of voodoo magic that goes into checking the oil level on this bike. If you haven't sacrificed a few small animals to the oil gods during your day's ride, you're liable to get two drastically different oil readings only a few minutes apart.

    As I was riding along, I came up on this truck with a few kids and what I assumed was their mother. One of the kids started making faces at me and another put on a mask as soon as he saw me so I tried to take his picture.

    [​IMG]

    You can definitley see the mask, but the kid making faces (far left) is a little harder to see. I also saw this tricked out rig:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm assuming they are on a round the world trip. It's looked like a heavily modified F-350. I wish I could have got some better pictures, but my camera was dying.

    I saw three adventure riders (two BMW's and one KLR) today as well, all heading in the opposite direction. I didn't stop to try and catch them, but I'm kind of wishing I did.

    About 2 PM I crossed the Panama Canal into Panama city. I managed to snap one horrible picture before my camera died:

    [​IMG]

    And a few minutes later I was at Mamallena's Hostel. $13 for a bunk in the dorm, $30 for a private room. I went for the dorm to save money.

    I have mixed feelings about Hostels. The plus side is that they are generally really cheap, have good wifi, and good advice from english speakers. Unfortunately, the backpacker mentality and the adventurer rider mentality don't always mix that well. I talked about this in depth with all of the other ADV riders at San Pedro and they all agreed. It's not that the backpackers are bad people or really weird (though some of them are), they're just have a different mindset most of the time. Of course, the real downside is that you encounter a lot of Panchos, Spacers, and Wasteoids.

    Panchos are people who walk around wearing those mexican hoodies that are made from the same material as a drug rug. They think they are really curturally savy and cool and hip and what not, but are generally just a Spacer or a Wasteoid, or both. (Chris, if you are reading this, we don't put you in this catagory).

    A Spacer is kind of like a pseudo hippie. I met a bus full of Spacers at a McDonalds in Coban, Guatemala. They told me that they had just spent a week in the jungle at "Rainbow Fest". I asked them what "Rainbow Fest" was and they said that they had just sat around in the jungle and smoked a bunch of weed, done lots of meditating, made animal noises (i'm not joking, they actually said this), and did a bunch of other things that involved good vibes, positive thinking, feelings, etc, etc, etc, My brain just kind of shut down when they started talking and I started getting glassy eyed and going into cave man mode. I suddenly felt the urge to kill a small woodland creature and cook it on a fire right in front of them, or maybe just eat it raw. I had to force myself to snap out of it and be polite.

    A Wasteoid is someone who has no purpose other than to get totally wasted as frequently as possible. They may look like a hippie, or a hipster, or a college kid, or whatever, but really they are just in Central America to drink as much booze and do as many drugs as they can on the cheap. They may try and pass themselves off as a hippie, but hippies actually have a purpose (or they used too at least). Wasteoids have no purpose. They just exist to spend their parents money on getting hammered 24/7, all while trying to look like they are simple, poor backpackers.

    Kurt and Corey, the two Canadians, identified Panchos and Spacers for us. Since then, I've been noticing how much you run into those kinds of people down here. It's eerie and a little frusterating too. I'm going to have to get Corey to write something about Panchos and Wasteoids, I don't think my definition does it justice.

    In any event, I'll get off my rant now. The Hostel seems nice and Panama City looks very modern. Here's some hastily snapped pictures. The patio:

    [​IMG]

    One of the dorm rooms:

    [​IMG]

    The back yard where they let me park the bike:

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to go explore a little tomorrow and I'll post some more pics up then. I've been frying my ass off in my riding gear over the past few days; I may try and find a motorcycle shop tomorrow and buy some armor that I can wear instead of my jacket. Does anyone that's reading this know of any good shops in Panama City?
  5. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Good! Has Zac made it down yet? Thanks man, but don't worry about it, I know you would have done the same for me.
  6. wbedient

    wbedient MoTard

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,315
    Location:
    North Central Washington
    If my DR wouldn't drink oil and had a cush drive I'd be much happier with its pavement pounding abilities.



    Still looks like a pretty capable ADV steed! Have fun and ride safe out there.
  7. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Thanks! What drinks more oil? Your XRL or your DR?
  8. wbedient

    wbedient MoTard

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,315
    Location:
    North Central Washington
    I don't know. :eek1

    The DR rarely gets on pavement over 50 mph and the XR doesn't use any oil unless you go highway speeds. So I can't really compare them.

    I had a ULYSSES that sipped a little oil every 3000 miles or so, but nothing worth fretting over.
  9. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,260
    Location:
    Cartersville GA

    I hope you heal up soon. Being out of the game sucks.
  10. Ganjora

    Ganjora class A bollockser

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    146
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    thoroughly enjoying your RR.
    thanks.
  11. aviatorbdm

    aviatorbdm Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    108
    Location:
    Oregon
    lol... enjoyed the spacer, wasteoid, and pancho piece. So true... I can relate. Having graduated from the University of Oregon and spent time in central america, I have been around all three of those types. A heavy dose at the UofO, certainly at times felt like going caveman on them.
  12. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Thanks! What do you ride in South Africa?
  13. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Ohhh no! A quacker backer?! Don't tell my brother, he goes to Oregon State! Hahaha!

    Where are you at now?
  14. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    And what, pray tell, is a ULYSSES?
  15. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Last I heard they were installing fork seals and pneumatic shocks in his leg. As I was walking out the door, the doctor was saying something like: "....we have the technology, we can build him better." or something like that....
  16. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    It's a Buell, you knucklehead.

    Why does it not surprise me you have a brother with Beaver Fever?

    I played flag football against Mike Riley in grade school when I was growing up in Corvallis. He had a hell of an arm even then.

    Saludos,
    Tio Juanito
  17. Ganjora

    Ganjora class A bollockser

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    146
    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    hi Ulyses
    when i'm alone and doing rough stuff, a heavily modded Suzuki DR650
    when with the wife, a KTM950 Adv
  18. wbedient

    wbedient MoTard

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,315
    Location:
    North Central Washington
    An excellent motorcycle... both ahead of its time and behind the times (2 valve 45* v-twin with push rods)

    [​IMG]

    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Tl314l8pchQ?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  19. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,173
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I took the opportunity to sleep in this morning....which means I was up at 7AM doing my best to be loud and obnoxious and wake up all of the hungover Wasteoids who woke me up last night at 2AM. Sometimes Hostels can be a real pain in the ass....

    First order of the day was a little exercise and a shower. I was out running without a shirt on (it's so damn hot down here) and a cop stopped me and told me to put my shirt back on before he gave me a fine. Apparently it's illegal to exercise without a shirt. Go figure.

    Mamallena's Hostel has free pancakes for breakfast, so after cleaning up, I gorged myself on hotcakes, did some laundry, and read a book. A bit later, Stan, the older scottish gentlemen that I had rode with for a few days, showed up unexpectedly at the Hostel with Mike, one of the other bikers who is taking the boat with me.

    Around luchtime I left and ran some errands around town. Picked up some lithium batteries and WD-40, you know, the usual. As I was walking around, I ran into that big RTW rig I had seen yesterday coming in on the freeway.

    [​IMG]

    It's an F-550! I lurked in the shadows nearby until I spotted a likely looking gringo couple. After accosting them, I found that they were the owners. Apparently they are retired and had this vehicle custom made for them. They've been on the road for over two years now!

    [​IMG]

    They are about to cross the Darien as well.....to the tune of $5,000! Apparently they use RORO (roll on, roll off) on a big cargo ship. They said it cost less to ship their vehicle from Germany to the United States than it does to cross the Darien.

    After talking with the dutch for a while, I had a hankering for some Hamburguesas:

    [​IMG]

    I've come to really enjoy McDonalds down here for some reason. I would never touch the stuff at home, but down here it's like a little slice of America. I also found some Cuba Libre in a can:

    [​IMG]

    After wasting the morning doing nothing important, I decided to get off my ass and do some touristy stuff. I hired a Taxi and went to the Mirraflores Locks on the Panama Canal.

    The canal was a lot smaller than I imagined it. Still, it was quite impressive. It's hard to imagine that the canal is almost 100 years old and remains virtually unchanged! I can't imagine what it must have to took to dig this thing out back at the turn of the century. It's an impressive feat!

    There is a large museum and grandstands at the locks. You can sit on the balcony and watch ships transit the locks and listen to a commentator explain the process in English and Spanish.

    [​IMG]

    The average container ship that goes through the canal pays around $100,000 to transit, which is apparently cheaper than going around Cape Horn.

    [​IMG]

    It was facinating to see these huge container ships pass through with only 24 inches of clearance on either side! And it only takes 8-10 minutes for one of these things to pass through the locks. Most ships take about 8-10 hours to transit the entire canal.

    In 2007 they began to build some even bigger locks behind the existing ones. The new locks will be able to accomodate even bigger vessels. They are supposed to be finished by 2014 which will be the 100th anniversary of the completion of the canal.

    [​IMG]

    After finishing up at the canal, I was looking for a Taxi when I spotted Stan and Mike. We all caught a ride together and went to Casco Antigua, a historic section of Panama City. Casco Antigua was founded after Henry Morgan, the famous pirate, sacked the old city. The city fathers decided that Casco Antigua was a significantly more defensible position.

    Most of the district looked like it was in a state of disrepair, but workers were going crazy restoring buildings and fixing streets. There was also a little promintory with a great view of the city:

    [​IMG]

    And an amazing Panama Hat shop.....

    [​IMG]

    As we were walking around, we noticed a ton of cops. These guys where having a little formation:

    [​IMG]

    I also found this sick DR650 police bike:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunatley, they wouldn't let me sit on it. As we were leaving in the taxi, I took a picture of this cop:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately. he saw the flash go off and came over to the cab in a rage, demanding me to give him my camera. I used a little slight-of-hand to remove the memory card before I got out of the car in case he decided to keep it. He launched off on some big speech about how we weren't allowed to take pictures of the police, and how we was part of the special presidential detail, etc, etc, etc,. I played dumb and told him that I didn't speak spanish. He then tried some English on me but it was obvious he didn't habla. I turned the camera on and scrolled through the pictures on the internal memory to convince him that I hadn't taken his picture (I really had, it was just on the memory card in my pocket) and eventually he came down enough from his power trip that we were able to leave.

    As we were driving away, asked the cabby why the cop was being such a bendejo. Apparently, if I understood the cabby correctly, the President of Panama lives in Casco Antigua and his house was only 100 yards from where I had taken the picture of the cop. Ahhhhh....now it make sense.

    We headed for downtown:

    [​IMG]

    The amount and size of the skyscrapers down here is incredible. Eventually, Stan, Mike and I decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe for some good old fashioned American food.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see by my shirt, it's hot as balls down here. Tomorrow we leave for the boat.
  20. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,260
    Location:
    Cartersville GA
    I thought about leaving rude and nasty remarks but decided to be civil:D

    I actually had a very similar incident yesterday not quite as dramatic though. I was taking pictures of a guy unloading a huge tank off the back of his truck in a very interesting/sketchy way. I think he didn't want to end up on youtube crushing a couple grand of equipment and told me to go away in a fairly unpleasant way.

    Somebody in Oregon has to get a real degree. :evil