Oregon to Ushuaia on an XR650L

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

  1. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    I'm going to risk it. I talked with Mike yesterday about it and he said that they were probably trying to get a bribe out of me but because I didn't take the bait and ask them to try and settle it then and there, they just gave me a ticket. He says that it probably won't even get put in the system and if it does it wouldn't be for at least a week.

    I'm not opposed to paying the fine, but I don't have a week to sit around and wait for them to get their act together. Plus, I'm not coming back through Colombia on this trip (shipping home from Buenas Aires or Rio), and If I come back in the future it will be with a different passport number, so.....I'm running for the border tomorrow morning!

    If they bring it up at the aduana, I'll pay it. If not....welll, then I'm not paying.
  2. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    Hey Justin, you still in here? I'm flying home next Sunday and was wondering if you'll be in Portland?
  3. Mossy-Back

    Mossy-Back Brown Falcon

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    Very nice scenery! I love the look of those valleys! Breathtaking!
  4. Ed Zachtamundo

    Ed Zachtamundo Adventurer

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    Yeah, I think I'll be around then. Surgery is early tomorrow morning, so I think I'll be back by then, but I'll keep you posted!
  5. Philroy

    Philroy n00b

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    Ulyses
    I've been enjoying your trip report!
    It dawned on me this morning, if you hadn't spent so many days at the Shamrock, you could be in Lima, Peru enjoying all the partying with the really wild Adventure Riders that will be starting the Dakar race on Saturday!
    If you're not familiar with the Dakar, check out the route they will be taking here;
    http://www.dakar.com/dakar/2013/us/route.html

    Ride safe, and keep the great reports coming:clap
  6. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    You know, I considered jetting down to Lima to see the Dakar, but then I thought better about it. There's so much to see in Colombia and Ecuador, I just don't want to miss it all for the race. I was this close to doing it though. I know a couple of people that are jetting down there right now. I could still make it if I wanted to. I met a couple of Colombians crossing the border with me today that were heading down there.
  7. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 77 (December 31, 2012)
    Pasto, Colombia to Cayambe, Ecuador
    Day's Ride: 182 Miles

    Google Maps hasn't learned how to cross the border from Colombia to Ecuador yet, so you all get two maps today....

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    The Hostel I stayed at last night boasted the best pancakes in town. They weren't joking....

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    As I was rolling out of town, I saw the little effigies that I had been seeing recently everywhere. One guy had a whole row of them that he was selling beside the road.

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    I stopped and talked to a few more people today and got some more details concerning these things. Apparently these little dummies are called "Ano Viejo", or old year. They represent the past year. In the days leading up to New Year's Eve, people make their "Anos Viejos" then prop them up beside the road and stand around collecting money from passing drivers. They use the money to buy gasoline, gunpowder, and fireworks which they then pack into the Ano Viejo. At midnight, they ignite them. Like I said yesterday, this is definitely a charity that I'm willing to donate too.

    Leaving Pasto the morning was cold and I spent all day with my electric vest on. The landscape and the road were both still incredible.

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    And then the weather turned to crap.....

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    After about an hour of riding in rain and mist, I arrived at the border. This was it. I was about to see whether I could make it across the border without getting snatched up for my speeding ticket the other day. I walked over to the Aduana (Custom's Office) and showed them my papers. The official took my papers, looked out the window at my bike, then told me that I was good to go. I was amazed. I asked him if that was all. He told me yes.

    I didn't argue; I was out the door and on my way to Migracion before he had a chance to look at his database and see that I was a wanted felon.

    All told, leaving Colombia took me all of five minutes.

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    And then I was in Ecuador! I pulled up to the Migracion office on the Ecuador side and met this Colombian couple on a little Yamaha 125 who were on their way to Peru to see the Dakar.

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    After chatting for a bit, I stepped into the Ecuadorian Migracion Office. Everything was super tranquilo. In and out in two minutes. Next stop was the Aduana, where I literally read off the information for my bike to the guy behind the computer. He didn't even bother going out to verify the information on my bike. We were done in about 10 minutes.

    I stepped out the door and wondered if I was really done. All told, the whole crossing had taken about 30 minutes. I was astounded. I didn't feel right just waltzing out of there without having to pull some teeth or chase off a few tramitadores. I hope the rest of the South American borders are this easy.

    Just across the border I ran into a series of road blocks set up by people trying to get money for their "Anos Viejos". They had some pretty legit setups with swing arms made of bamboo, guys dressed in drag trying to get coins, and old timers sitting in lawn chairs drinking aguardiente. I stopped to chat with a few of them and this old guy starts pouring me a glass....

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    Unfortunately I had to politely refuse. I'm a little leery of ingesting anything unknown after the Space Gravy incident.

    I love how people can just go build random obstructions in the middle of the road, totally interrupt the flow of traffic, and pester people for money.

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    Some kids had ropes laid across the street that they would yank up into the air as a car approached. A couple of those cheeky bastards almost decapitated me when I came around the corner at 60 MPH and they had their little rope stretched out about neck high across the street, one side tied to a tree, the other held by a few 14 year olds. I slammed on the brakes and skidded sideways, almost high sided the bike, then recovered and ran through their road block, decrying their parentage and giving them angry hand gestures.

    A little ways after the road blocks it started raining again and I stopped to put on rain gear. As I was about to open my panniers, I noticed that the right side of the rack seemed a little loose. I gave it a thorough eye-balling and found (no surprise here) another break in the rack.

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    TCI is about to receive a very angry email from me. This is the third time that this has happened on this trip. I've even reformed my misguided ways, reduced the weight on the bike, switched to Pelican cases, and secured the panniers with ratchet straps to keep them from vibrating. And this is what I get. The unfortunate thing about taking an XR650L on a trip like this is that no one makes a solid luggage rack. TCI's is the best that there is, and we can all see how well it's worked. I'm only carrying about 60-70 pounds total back there now, which is nothing compared to most people that are doing this trip.

    After the first time it broke, back in San Diego, I called TCI and asked them what the weight limit was for their product. They told me that they didn't have one. If they had given me some sort of number, I could just be angry with myself for ignoring their warning. But because there is no warning, I blame them. :D

    If anyone is reading this and is planning on taking an XR650L on a serious overland trip with lots of gear, spend some money and time (I had neither) and go have someone make a custom rack for you. And reinforce your subframe.

    So, with miles left to cover, I pulled a page out of Ewan and Charlie's play book and made a splint with a tire iron and a bunch of zip ties.

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    This is going to have to hold until I can get to Quito and find a solid welder. I'm going to take the whole rack off and weld gussets to every corner and weight bearing point. I may even add some extra struts and build some more connections to reinforce the whole thing.

    After my impromptu bike surgery, I got back on the road. Northern Ecuador is just as pretty as Southern Colombia and has much, much nicer roads.

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    I eventually arrived in Cayambe and hunted down the rally point for the New Year's Eve festivities: Hacienda Guachala. This place has been in operation since 1580 and is really impressive.

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    It's currently been turned into a fancy Ecuadorian Hotel, but was in operation as a Hacienda up until the 1960's. The grounds are beautiful....

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    After dropping my gear and exploring the Hacienda for a bit, I jumped back on the bike and cruised over to the Equator which is only about a quarter of a mile away. I really wanted to ride my bike up to the little sundial monument for a pictures, but they had all of these signs and it all looked so official and touristy; kind of like a place that you shouldn't ride your motorcycle into.....

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    So I gunned it down the path and ignored the two workers yelling at me to stop....I figure you can always just play the dumb gringo, act like you don't understand Spanish, and use that as an excuse to do really awesome stuff....

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    Happy New Year from the Equator!
  8. purpledrake

    purpledrake No Pretensions

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    Very nice--exactly at the Equator. Have a Happy and Safe New Year. We all look forward to further Ride Reports.

    PD
  9. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    Hell Yeah!!!

    Screw the rack this is what you should have got.

    http://www.giantloopmoto.com/collections/giant-loop-gear-collection
  10. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    Rockin dude. I'll be praying for you and maybe even sacrifice a unicorn or two.
  11. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

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    ......And make the baby seal cry
  12. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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  13. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 78 (January 1, 2013)
    Cayambe, Ecuador to Quito, Ecuador
    Day's Ride: 44 Miles

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    Last night we celebrated the new year Ecuador style with a bonfire and an Ano Viejo burning. Advriders present included: Dylan (cleanwatt), Allison (bubbletron), Dwight (kedgi), Frank, Tony, Boris, Alain, and me (ulyses). After being on the road for a while, I've developed a sleeping schedule where I'm usually asleep by 10:00 PM and awake at 6:00 AM, but I forced myself to stay up and enjoy the festivities.

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    The Hotel set up the bonfire and they used eucalyptus wood; it smelled amazing! It was like having a fire where the smoke is all Vick's Vapor Rub.

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    After a while (and a few cervesas) we decided to liven things up and show the natives how to celebrate American style, so we started jumping the fire...

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    After all of the festivities from last night, we decided to sleep in. At around 11:00 AM, Dylan, Dwight, and myself all decided to head to Quito together.

    The roads in Ecuador are pristine; however, they do charge a toll of .20 per biker. I'll gladly keep paying that toll if the roads stay this nice.

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    The road from Cayambe to Quito was a smooth and beautiful 40 mile stretch. We got into Quito and the town was dead. Everything was closed and there was zero traffic. Then we remembered that it was January 1st.

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    Based on a recommendation from Boris, one of the riders that we had spent New Year's Eve with, we checked in at the Casa Bambu Hostel. Private rooms: $15, a bed in the dorm: $7. Plus, a private garage for the bikes. Plus, it's a really quite, low key kind of place without a bunch of wasteoids making a ruckus all night.

    After a brief nap, we went down to old town Quito to check out the sights. As we were riding into town we had seen a huge cathedral from the road; it totally dominated the sky line. Naturally, that's the first place that we went to.

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    Instead of gargoyles and cherubim, the exterior was decorated with native animals like iguanas and jaguars.

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    We later found out that this was the new cathedral and that parts of it were still under construction. We then headed to the old cathedral.

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    This church started off as a small wooden chapel in 1534 and was gradually expanded over the years until it became a cathedral.

    We went inside to see some the paintings and architecture but were soon chased out due to the mass that was about to be performed. We managed to sneak back in but were unable to take any pictures due to the tight security. There were some interesting works inside; one depicted Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus in which everyone was dressed in 16th century Spanish garb, complete with conquistador armor. Another depicted the last super with Christ and the disciples eating roasted guinea pig and corn tamales.

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    And that's all for today. Tomorrow I search for welders.
  14. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    I love how this ride report is written in real time... Though I must say I am quite jealous right about now. The holidays are over, back to the grind tomorrow morning, and there's about 8 inches of snow on the ground. Ugh.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is :fyyff
  15. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    Hey Bryce, just came across your ride thread yesterday from someone mentioning it on the XRL thread (I have one too) and am currently following you through Mexico... Vaya! So cool... but then I noticed your location, Ecuador. Man, you are really covering some ground! While I'll go back and read through the ride, I thought I'd fast-forward since I have family in Ecuador and perhaps you'd like to meet some or perhaps hear about some cool places to check out. PM me anytime!
    For example, if you head back north out toward the way you came into Quito, there is a place called "Mitad del Mundo" which is a monument to where the equator goes through. No biggie but its' like everyone who goes to Ecuador sees it. That road that swings off to the west, goes past an awesome overlook to a crater valley called Pululahua, so worth checking out. It's just off the road to Mindo, and as you almost reach the cutoff to the town of Mindo, there's a wonderful place to visit and stay called Mindo Loma on the left. We know the family. Anyway, that's my shout out, so I'll see if I hear back from you to talk about more (better PM me though since I'm still 'in' Mexico hehe). Que Dios lo acompañe adelante! So fun reading about your adventure. Cuanto cuesta un cuarto? :D
  16. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Thanks man! I'm actually kind of envious of you, I miss the snow. But I don't want to trade places...:1drink
  17. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Awesome! Thanks! PM Sent!
  18. hanksmybuddy

    hanksmybuddy Been here awhile

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    Enjoying your report. Can't believe we didn't meet while you were at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in Cambria. I usually gravitate towards fellow "L" riders and ex Marines as I ride an 07 "L" and spent 22 years in the Corp. I rode my Strom down from Bend Oregon to the meeting. Ride Report Here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=840550
    I didn't end up staying for the full three days but wished I'd of met you. Would have loved to discuss your trip and your set up on the bike as I'm planning on selling my business in a couple of years and doing the same trip. Can't decide if I want to do it on the XR or the Strom. Funny you stayed in a cabin with with Brad and Harold from Giant Loop. I know both of them here in Bend. I live about two miles from Dave Wachs, the guy that originally came up with the Giant Loop design. Not sure the Giant Loop would have been your answer to your rack problem. I like mine but you can't really secure anything. Box cutter and they're in. I take mine on trips all the time but for what you're doing I don't think it would work. Hard sided for security seems the right option. Ever up in Bend stop by and I'll buy a fellow jarhead a cold one. Keep up the post. I'm subscribed and ride safe.

    Semper Fi Mac!
  19. OlafofOregon

    OlafofOregon Been here awhile

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    Happy New Year! Glad your trip is going well - enjoying the pics and report.
  20. axxerd

    axxerd n00b

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    I love living vicariously through the ride reports on this forum...and this one is one that I'm especially enjoying!

    I really wish I didn't live on an island in the north east of North America (Newfoundland). In order to do something like this I'd have to ride thousands of miles just to get to the starting point of most other riders.

    Some day though....some day!