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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    Day 79 (January 2, 2013)
    Quito, Ecuador
    Day's Ride: 5 Miles

    Today was almost totally consumed with the hunt for a welder/machine shop. I figured I would start at Freedom Bike Rentals, a bike rental company owned by an American and a Frenchman in downtown Quito. Syovain, the french half of the team, was extremely helpful and even brewed us all esspresso shots.

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    The shop he sent me to decided that the job wa too big and complicated; however, they pointed me towards a muffler shop a few blocks down the road.

    As soon as I pulled into the shop, I noticed that they had a mig welder, drill presses, oxy/acetalene torches, bench grinders, pipebenders, steel cutters, and various other actual legitamite tools that are generally lacking in the average Latin American metal shop. Most shops down here consist of some dude with a half broken Lincoln tombstone stick welder and a hacksaw.

    The workers were quite happy to help and by this point I've become quite good at explaining bike problems in Spanish, so explaining what I wanted was actually quite easy.. I suppose that's not a good thing. I busted out my tools and started disassembling the rack.

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    It's funny, but the bike actually looks pretty nice without all of that steel tubing hanging off the side.

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    I then took out my round file (glad I brought that) cleaned up the break.

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    After zapping the break with the mig welder, we got down to business and added about 10 pounds of gussets to the rack. I had to supervise and explain that:

    1) Yes, we should sand off the paint before we start welding
    2) No, 2 small tack welds on each gusset is not enough
    3) Yes, I want you to go back over the holes that you made with the welder and fill them in

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    Despite being the best welders that I've had the pleasure of working with thus far, their work left a lot to be desired. Apparently running a bead around the entire length of each gusset was too much work, and therefore impossible; however, I bagered, cajoled, and pleaded with them enough that we were able to work out a solution. In the end, I think we created a monster. I'll warn you, it doesn't look pretty, but I'm crossing my fingers and praying that it will hold:

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    I had them add a significant amount of gussets on the inside of the rack as well. Highlighted in red are some of the extra bits that we added today...

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    After we finished up the welding, I had them sign my tank and take a picture with me.

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    And then they told me the price: $60. I was shocked. I told them that that was a little bit expensive for the quality that I had recieved. They just shrugged their shoulders and repeated the price. I really should have negotiated that before hand. That was definetly not $60 worth of quality welding. Oh well.

    After paying up, I split down to the hardware store and bought some black spraypaint. Then it was back to the Hostel for a graphiti party on the sidewalk.

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    There are now several black outlines of a TCI outback rack on the sidwalk in front of the hostel.....it's better to ask for forgivness than permission. Actually, I don't think anyone really cares down here.

    Now the paint is drying and I'm going to bed. I'll leave you with a view of the city from the roof of the Hostel:

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  2. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    The dude must not like the mig much:huh It's really neat finding the good shops down in SA where serious craftsmanship is going on. I've seen some amazing machine shops down South.

    Yep $60 was way on the high side, +1 on negotiating the price up front, saves the awkward situations.

    Enjoying the report, was hoping you'd stay in Colombia and become a regular:lol3

    So how do you like Ecuador compared to Colombia:ear You had a nice place for New Years and looked like a wild fun party:freaky
  3. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Errrrr!

    Bend?!? That's awesome! I grew up in Hermiston! What unit were you with? I'll definetly stop by Bend when I get back and take you up on that beer!

    The XRL has been great on this trip (other than the damn luggage rack), but I think the V-Strom would be great too. In fact, they actually manufacture V-Strom's down here (and DR650s) so it would be much easier to get parts and repairs done. A lot of the Cops ride V-Stroms and DR650s.
  4. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Thanks! Newfoundland? You should send a PM to kedgi (real name: Dwight). He's from Newbrunswick and he's doing this trip right now. His ride report is "Lobsters to Llamas". He's actually staying here at the Hostel with me in Quito.
  5. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Thanks!
  6. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    A Frenchman wearing a don't tread on me shirt? I really don't know what to say right now. I want to make a French military joke but the shirt confuses me.

    Yeah it does!

    The dude on the right look like someone pissed in his Cheerios. Was that you?
  7. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Yeah, I got taken. That was way too much money. There were some really good shops in Medellin with real professional machinists and everything; unfortunately, I didn't notice the break until I was in the middle of nowhere ecuador. I'm sure there is probably someone good in Quito, but I was in a bit of a hurry. Oh well.

    I was so tempted to stay in Colombia. Excellent country and amazing people! I had to kick myself in the ass to get back on the road again. I need to start riding south again, or I'm going to run out of money sooner than I want....

    Ecuador has been cool so far, but I have only been here for two days, so I'm looking forward to getting out of Quito into some of the smaller towns and seeing the sights. But so far, Colombia and Mexico have been my favorite countries.
  8. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    No, he just wasn't happy that I kept pointing out his mistakes and telling him to fix them. Maybe that's why he charged me so much. How come you aren't down here to do my welding for me? I did a little bit of MIG today to demonstrate what I wanted; it actually turned out okay.
  9. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    I wish!
  10. purpledrake

    purpledrake No Pretensions

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    Welcome, Axxerd.

    Newfies are some of the most interesting people that I have ever met (especially the girls, exiled to drilling camps in Alberta). The only problem is that I could barely understand them--always had to ask them to open their mouths wider when they spoke!

    You are right; you would have quite the ride just to get to the starting point. :rofl
  11. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Well, take all of that oil field money you made, get your ass down here, and rent a bike! They rent XRL's in Peru.....
  12. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    I'd consider it if I had made more than I have and if they rented XRR s.
  13. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    Going to Medellin soon. Want to come along? Los paisas nacen en cualquier lado...even in OK land
  14. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

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    Nice, another ADV convert. You guys in Medellin really now how to make someone feel welcome! :clap

    While you're riding around down in Ecuador I'm up here in Virginia playing in the snow & ice.
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    Looks like you're having a blast! :clap

    The longer the trip the better! :D
  15. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    glad you found the place, sad i couldn't be there for the party i arranged, sounds like it was all i expected it to be...all the best for the new year heading south
  16. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 80 (January 3, 2013)
    Quito, Ecuador
    Day's Hike: Approx 5 Miles with 1,950 feet of elevation gain.

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    Sometimes you just know you shouldn't do something, but you do it anyways. I believe the saying is "Old enough to know better, young enough not to care". Dylan, one of the riders who's here in Quito with me, recommended that we take the aerial tram out of town and then do a hike/climb up a nearby volcano.

    I love hiking, climbing, camping, skiing, mountaineering, and all things outdoors. However, I figured that this trip would be a little more focused on riding and making miles, so I left most of that gear at home. But when Dylan suggested that we go for a little day hike, I figured why not?

    I didn't have a proper back pack, but the little Honda shoulder bag that the Antioquia XR club had given me in Medellin seemed like it would be enough. I also didn't have any proper hiking pants, shoes, or gloves; however, I figured I could just roll in my running shorts and running shoes and stick my hands in my pockets to keep them warm.

    We got to the tram at around 9 AM and hoped on board.

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    As we were riding up, I figured I should at least research what I was getting myself into. I busted out the Lonely Planet South America guide that I had downloaded on my iPhone and checked it out. Apparently the peak was 15,402 feet tall and required a bit of "scrambling".

    Well, definitelyly wasn't prepared for that. I looked up at the mountains and realized that I couldn't see them because they were socked in by some dark grey, fast moving clouds. I've climbed a few mountains and I've seen some people get pretty jacked up by not bringing the right clothing and not making good choices (i.e. hiking a 15,400 foot tall volcano in a cotton t-shirt and running shoes in bad weather). There was a little voice in the back of my head telling me that this was not a good idea.....

    ....whatever. Lets go bag a Volcano!

    The tram tops out at about 13,448 feet and the views of Quito were incredible.

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    I had forgotten to bring any water or food, but figured that I could buy some at the little shop at the top of the tram. Unfortunately, that shop was closed. Screw it. Let's hike! I was making all sorts of great choices.

    We started off down the path at a good pace. The wind was whipping clouds over the peak and the summit was totally socked in. You can see the base of the peak on the left in the picture below.

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    We soon reached a sign informing us that the trail was 4km one way. Well, now I knew how far we were going...

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    The trail continued along a low grass covered ridge line. It was interesting to be above 14,000 feet and not be in a totally alpine environment.

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    Despite the brisk wind and cool temperatures, I was sweating up a storm in my cotton t-shirt. I put on my shell and kept trucking. Here's a good shot of Dylan coming up the trail:

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    As we were walking, I had noticed a large group of people in front of us. Being an extremely competitive person, I typically take a situation like this as a challenge to my manhood and climbing ability; it was immediatelyedietly clear that I had to pass them. So I picked up the pace.....

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    ....and jogged by them while holding my breath, all in an effort to look hard. I nearly passed out after I got by them and started breathing again, but it was worth it. And then I saw three more people in front of me, and was obligated to do it again.

    As I approached the rocky portion of the climb, the wind picked up even more and the clouds started getting a little more dense. In the picture below, the summit is way behind the promontory of rock.

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    After entering the clouds, the trail terminated in some sandy washes and it became an ankle deep slog straight up the north east face.

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    Eventually the sand gave way to scree and solid rock and it became a little bit of a scramble. The last few hundred feet of vertical turned into a low level class 3 climb. Before we knew it, we topped out on the summit.

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    By this time I was getting really cold. That cotton t-shirt was totally soaked with sweat and I was freezing. I tried to take off my jacket to put on a base layer and realized that my hands and arms were almost totally numb. My dexterity was almost totally gone.

    I fianlly managed to get my jacket off and remove the t-shirt. Fortunately, I had brought a decent base layer, so I slapped that on and then put on my shells and felt a little better. I had Dylan snap the mandatory summit shot for me.

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    And then it was time to get the hell out of there before hypothermia started setting in! We got some strange looks from the people that we had passed earlier as we came bounding down the rocks.

    We eventually reached the sandy washes and commenced with the plunge stepping. Essentially, plunge stepping is kind of like taking huge bounding steps (almost jumps) down hill and letting the sand (or snow, or scree) absorb the impact. It's kind of like a controlled fall. Besides screeing and skiing and glisading, plunge stepping is one of the faster ways to get off a mountain.

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    Eventually we got back to the trail and I started running to try and warm up. I always to try to run portions of the decent if practical, but now it was a necessity.

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    Eventually we came out of the clouds and I started warming up. Quito was stunning down in the valley with the sun and shadows from the clouds clashing together.

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    We made it back to the tram about three hours after we had started. I collapsed into a chair in the lobby and ordered some food while we waited for a ride down; It was time for the recovery drink:

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    On that way out I saw a rather humours sign:

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    That really doesn't inspire confidence in the tram. Sometimes Latin humor is a little off.....

    Spent the rest of the day napping and putting the rack back on the bike. And that's all for today.
  17. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Bissinger way."

    "What's the difference between the wrong way and the Bissinger way?"

    "The Bissinger way is more dangerous and faster."

    Keep the family name strong brother!:clap:freaky:wink::lol3
  18. wbedient

    wbedient MoTard

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    :rofl

    Leave it to an Infantryman to turn a hike into a ruck run. :D
  19. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ┬┐to post or to ride?

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    I am so impressed with your hike, Bryce! It always thrills me to do things to the max as well. I hope next time I go to Ecuador to do a backpacking outing, perhaps in Cajas. Glad to see you made the teleferico- I forgot about the trail at the top. Looks like you could ride your bike along much of that trail... I bet that would be a blast. You keep rocking and I hope you get to see a lot more of Ecuador, the best south america has to offer!

    I'm still with you in Guatemala, how freaky that speedboat encounter and how unfortunate the slippery roads and other maladies, but can't blame it on the political boundaries as it's all in God's providence. You have a lot of blessings, just remember who to thank. Enjoy, but go light on the space gravy! :D
  20. DucHym09

    DucHym09 n00b

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    This has been a great story! My Columbian co-worker here on the rig has enjoyed it as well!!