Oregon to Ushuaia on an XR650L

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

  1. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Something like that.....I saw a sign down here that was advertising "Moviembre" instead of "Noviembre". Although, mustache in Spanish is "bigotes"....who knows?


    Thanks!
  2. mathews42

    mathews42 Been here awhile

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    Happy thanksgiving brother. How about a report or something....


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  3. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Man, don't get all angry about it! Haha! I've got about three reports typed up, but I'm wating on the pictures to load. Internet's a little slow right now due to the monsoon that just rolled in.
  4. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    One of the things that I had meant to do before I left the states was weld a larger base plate onto the bottom of my kickstand. We’ve all been there: put the kickstand down, hop off the bike, and watch it fall over as the kickstand sinks into the mud.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Every day that I go to Spanish class, I pass a little shop where the men inside are welding and building stuff out of metal, so today I decided to see if they would sell me a little piece of scrap and use their shop. It took me a while to explain to them what I wanted to do. It took even longer for me to explain that I wanted to do it myself.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>

    After a bit of broken Spanish and some vague hand gestures, we were good to go! I hunted through their scrap pile until I found a likely piece of steel, then used their angle grinder with a cutoff wheel to get the general shape. I asked if they had a cutting torch to cut out the pattern….no dice. So I used a cutting press to trim it to size and the angle grinder to smooth it out.
    <o:p></o:p>
    The steel was a little thin so I figured I could fold the edges up a little bit to add some strength. They didn’t have an anvil, so I grabbed a broken ball peen hammer, held the plate against the vise with a pair of pliers, and started whacking away.
    <o:p></o:p>
    By this time my expanded base plate was looking a little ghetto, but I decided that half the fun was making it myself, even if it looked like crap.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>

    After a good deal of pounding, it was time to weld. Now, I haven’t used an Arc Welder in about ten years, so I was going to just let the owner do it. But then I said to myself, man, you should just do this yourself.

    [​IMG]

    And the results were about what you would expect. I told the owner of the shop, Waltzo, that it was looking “un poco horrible”. He laughed, and agreed with me, then offered to fix it.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>

    I should mention that the Arc Welder was missing one of the insulators on the head and it shocked the crap out of me a couple of times. But that’s no excuse for my inabilities as a welder. I really needed my brother alvincullumyork to fix and fabricate for me.
    <o:p></o:p>
    Waltzo finsished up the welding, pounded off the slag with a spare piece of angle iron, cleaned it up a little with the grinder then splashed a little black paint on it. Good as new! I offered to pay, but he said it was gratis. I finally managed to make him take 20 quetzal.

    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>

    I went back to the hotel, reinstalled the kickstand, and brought it back to the shop so I could show Waltzo. One of the other guys that I had ridden with for a while had had his friends sign his gas tank. So I started having people that I met along the way sign my tank. The only criteria for a signature was that they had to be a memorable person or help me out in some way. So I had Waltzo sign my gas tank.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>

    Yes, the weld looks like crap. But hey, it works. Form follows function or something, right? All in all, it’s shaping up to be a memorable thanksgiving.<o:p></o:p>
  5. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    Stop it right now. Angry eyes!!!!! :rofl:huh:clap:freaky:wink::lol3:eek1:deal:evil

    If you put like thiry more coats of paint on it well be twice as strong and half as ugly.

    I went up to the cabin with dad today and donated about thirty of your 223 rounds to the scaring the crap out of but doing no real damage to the coyote fund. We'll call it even, ammo for bad welds.

    I also road your Harley around Hermiston a little bit but not much. I might change fuilds tomorrow with Steve across the street.
  6. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Hahaha! You know you love it! It will be easy to take off; you can weld all sorts of stuff to it later.

    And that is totally not a fair trade. How did you find out where my zombie appocalypse ammo is?! That's my private reserve for stopping the legions of the undead!

    Doing a fluid change with steve would be a really, really good idea. Remember, there are three different drain plugs: engine, primary, and trany. Approx 3 quarts of engine oil for the engine, and a quart of gear oil apiece for the primary and tranny. The drain plug on the primary might be a little stripped. You might have to go get a new one from the harley shop in tri-cities. Make SURE you use a good, solid JASO rated synthetic oil for the engine. You can get some good stuff at autozone that is speciffically built for Harley's and is less expensive than the Harley Synth-3 stuff that you buy at the Harley Shops. For the primary and transmission, I usually use the Harley gear oil. But steve might know something better.
  7. jfink

    jfink Can't get there from here

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    So, we are in Santiago Chile right now having shipped our bikes to Colombia and traveled from there. Here are a few things we have learned that may help as you pass through South America.

    1) Insurance: in Colombia you will need SOAT (liability insurance). BUT, ask for and buy the international insurance if you can, not just the one for Colombia. You will need the insurance at least in Argentina, Brazil and we found in Peru (because we were stopped twice and were asked for it). In Peru we were stopped in Juliaca (I think that is spanish for cluster fuck) and Puno. If you act like you can't speak spanish (no act for us) and emphasize that the SOAT you bought in Colombia WAS international they may let you go without having to pay a bribe. One fellow we met from Germany who spoke spanish well, warned us about Puno and had to pay a $110 US bribe, for not having SOAT.

    Argentina requires SOAT insurance. We tried to buy International Insurance at all the normal places in Santiago, (Fabella's, etc) but turns out they REQUIRE a RUT. Not sure what RUT means but what it is, is a national Chilean ID that everyone is given when they are born. These folks will not sell you insurance unless you have one. However; we purchased tickets for a ferry in Chile and they required a RUT and simply used our passport number. Hmmmm ... like I said, buy it in Colombia if you can.

    2) Speed limits: In Ecuador they have just begun strict enforcement of the traffic laws. Over 15kmh and they impound your bike and take you to jail for three days. Be warned!!! After speeding by the policia at over 30kmh above the speed limit in Colombia, we were fortunate not to have been stopped before we found out about this. So far, about the only other place where speeding and following the law was important was Chile. Don't try to bribe an officer in Chile, it is the same as here in the states, you may go to jail.

    3) Hotels: in South America add a couple things to your shopping list when looking for hotels. In additional to safe parking and wifi (which is NEVER wifi) add toilet lids and hot water. Nothing worse than sitting on porcelain and then having a cold shower.

    4) Gasoline is really only a problem in Bolivia. Bolivia is a beautiful Country but the estacion de gasolina have been given the right by the government to fuck the tourist. For the nationals the gas is subsidized and they pay around $2/gal. But you will pay around $7/gallon for gas, poor quality gas (84 octane) if you are lucky enough to get gas. They don't have to sell us gas, and I think they don't like doing the necessary paperwork for tourists to buy gas. But, if you just stay, are persistent, act like you won't leave, eventually they will give in. Pull up, open your tank and don't take no for an answer (that is hard for us Americans to do, I know). And there are usually gas lines, but in most SA countries you can go around the autos in line to the "moto" gas line. There is no gas in Bolivia within 100 kilometers of the border, to reduce the potential of black market trade (Bolivians buying cheap and selling higher).

    Many towns in Bolivia have "families" who sell gasoline from barrels. If there isn't a gas station or there isn't gas at the station, and you are running low, be persistent and ask for gasoline. Eventually they will send you to someone in town who sells black market gas. But, it won't be cheap. We paid over $12/gallon for gas in a border town with Chile. You should have no problem with quality, but the KTM ... eh?

    5) Roads: Toll roads in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia are moto ride free. There are little lanes on the right side of the toll booth that allow you to go around. Some are pretty narrow and off camber so watch your cases. In Chile, there are tolls for motos.

    Beware the "oh, this road is good!" advice you get. Wash board roads are a given. Riding 200 kilometers on roads that shake the fillings from your teeth is normal. Deep sand, mud when it rains, road construction, big rocks, trucks and buses ... did I say road construction? Best advice I can give is 'drive like a local'.

    Great ride report!!! We will be in Ushuaia the 20th through 23rd of December.
  8. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Wow!! Thanks for the write up man! That's a lot of good gouge! How did you get around the darien? Boat, plane, sailboat?

    Ed Zachtamundo and I got a slot on the sailboat "Independence", but that doesn't leave Panama until the 13th of December.
  9. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>I like this place. Despite the really annoying Americans/euros/touristas that are all over, San Pedro is a cool little town. There’s a little section of the town that caters to the foreigners; it has a bunch of bars/restaurants and hotels/hostels run by expats. We’ve started to refer to it as Gringoville. This nice thing about Gringoville is that after a month of nothing but Tacos and weak Mexican Beer, I can finally get a decent Hamburger and an IPA with 7% ABV. Not that I dislike tacos, but it’s nice to have a change once in a while.
    <o:p></o:p>

    The streets are of various sizes, the pavement is all cobblestones and blocks. The entire town is like a giant maze. After being here for almost a week, I still don’t know my way around very well.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]



    Not to long ago, the only way to get to San Pedro was by boat. There are tons of "Launchas" (small motor boats) criss crossing the lake between all of the towns. The docks are downtown and a Launcha ride is fairly cheap.

    [​IMG]


    The lake is an everpresent backdrop to all of the vistas; it’s beautiful! Here is the view from my Hotel balcony:<o:p></o:p>


    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>

    The majority of the older men and all of the women wear semi traditional dress. Some of the younger men and boys wear American style clothing. It’s kind of odd to walk down the street and see a bunch of women in long floral print dresses and loose blouses carrying baskets on their heads along narrow, winding cobblestone streets. It’s a bit like stepping back in time.

    <o:p></o:p>
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    I’ve attended two Spanish Schools here. The one that I’m currently enrolled in is called San Pedro Spanish School. It’s one of the largest Spanish schools in town (there’s actually a ton of Spanish Schools here) and seemed to have the best staff, grounds, and prices.

    &#65279;<TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center">[​IMG]
    </TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>My Spanish teacher Julio and I.
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>&#65279;
    &#65279;<TABLE style="TEXT-ALIGN: center; MARGIN-LEFT: auto; MARGIN-RIGHT: auto" class=tr-caption-container cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center">[​IMG]
    </TD></TR><TR><TD style="TEXT-ALIGN: center" class=tr-caption>My Spanish School.
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>&#65279;My teacher doesn’t speak very good English; however, I speak enough Spanish that I understand 99% of what he says. The school costs about $100 a week. It’s worth it. I wish I could stay here longer and work on my Spanish until I was fluent. Unfortunately, the road calls and I’ll probably be leaving tomorrow.


    </o:p>
  10. jfink

    jfink Can't get there from here

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    No prob! We shipped our bikes from Houston to Cartagena, then flew down to meet them. We plan to cross the Darien going back, somehow and ride back up through Central America. By our calculations it was just as cheap (in fact cheaper) to ship and travel only once through Central America as it was to travel twice. YMMV

    Since you will probably going into Cartagena here are the coordinates (GPS N10" 25.248' W75" 32.232') for the Insurance Company (Suras) I would recommend. There you can buy in three months increments. Most other places will only sell one year minimum.

    Have the spanish classes been worth it? I wanted to do the Spanish classes too, but my riding buddy didn't think it was worthwhile. I wish I had not listened to him.
  11. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Thanks again! We'll have to head over there as soon as we off load.

    It is supposed to be much cheaper when travelling from Colombia to Panama. The boat we are taking to Categena charges about 60% less for the return trip. Check out the Stahlratte and the Independence. They are two of the more well known boats.

    I think the Spanish class helped, even for just one week. I already knew enough Spanish to get around just fine, but doing the class helped me remember how to talk past/future/subjuctive tenses and clean up my language a little. Ed Zachtamundo, who's riding with me, says that he only knew about seven words total before we got here and now he's doing great!
  12. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

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    Well maybe if you laid off the space gravy you could figure it out.:D
  13. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Oh, now that's pretty damn funny!
  14. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    I figure that you can do anything you want in Guatemala, as long as you have a little money. <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /><O:p></O:p>

    After about the third day in San Pedro, I had the bright idea of trying to convince a Tuk-Tuk driver to let me drive his Tuk-Tuk. For those of you who haven’t been to South East Asia or Central America, a Tuk-Tuk is a miniature three wheeled taxi that is usually powered by a two stroke 250cc motorcycle engine. Sometimes they even have 400cc versions!

    <O:p></O:p>
    [​IMG]

    My idea got put on hold after my little run-in with El Pescador; however, a few days ago, I decided to give it a go. Just to ensure my success, I took my helmet, riding gloves, and go-pro as well as rehearsing, in Spanish, a fictitious story about being a professional driver from the states who was filming a documentary on motorcycling in Central American and wanted to include a portion on Tuk-Tuks. Justin came along to be my passenger/camera man.
    <O:p></O:p>
    [​IMG]

    I literally needed none of these things. As soon as I walked up to a group of seven Tuk-Tuk drivers and told them what I wanted, they were all fighting to get me in their vehicles. Finally, I settled on one young hombre who agreed to let me pilot his erstwhile steed for the lowly sum of 75 quetzales, which was probably an exorbitant sum, but oh well.
    <O:p></O:p>
    [​IMG]

    Tuk-Tuks have similar controls as a motorcycle: handlebars, twist throttle on the right, clutch lever on the left. However, instead of a hand brake they have a foot brake and the shifter is actually in the handlebars on the same side as the clutch. Shifting is accomplished by pulling in the clutch and then twisting the clutch hand grip up or down to shift in much the same manner that you twist the throttle up and down to control your speed. The gear pattern is actually opposite of a moto: from neutral, 1<SUP>st</SUP> gear is up, 2<SUP>nd</SUP>, 3<SUP>rd</SUP>, and 4<SUP>th</SUP> are all down. They also have reverse and a parking brake.<O:p></O:p>

    [​IMG]

    Justin and I jumped in the Tuk-Tuk with the owner and sped off up the hill. Actually, I sped off up the hill for about 10 feet before I stalled it, much to my derision, as all of the Guatemalan cabbys were now laughing at me. The Tuk-Tuk that we had contracted was actually a piece of crap and could barely make it up the hill after I had managed to get the shifting and clutch usage down.

    [​IMG]

    Regardless, we had a good time barreling around town seeing the astonished looks on other Tuk-Tuk driver’s faces when they realized that the rampaging three wheeler that had just overtook them was being piloted by a large Gringo in a motorcycle helmet.<O:p></O:p>

    After finishing our little rally, we were walking back to the Hotel when I stumbled across a tienda that was selling fireworks!

    [​IMG]

    Being a red-blooded American male with a penchant for all things explosive (I once blew up my friend’s computer printer with a block of C-4, true story), I immediately bought the largest looking bomb they were selling: Mortero No. 7, Bin Laden!

    [​IMG]
    <O:p></O:p>

    That wily terrorist leader was still alive and kicking apparently, and had launched his own brand of Guatemalan made mid-grade explosives. I obtained some fruit and an empty water bottle from a friend (what good is an explosive if you aren’t destroying something with it?) and began looking for a likely place to detonate it. After searching fruitlessly for a good location, I finally flagged down a Tuk-Tuk and had him take me outside of town.<O:p></O:p>

    The driver was about 16 and apparently appreciated blowing things up as much as I did. We found a low stone wall near the road and planted Bin Laden on top. I lit the fuse then dove behind the tuk-tuk and watched the show. BOOM! I swear the video I took didn’t do it justice; that thing was powerful! At least a quarter stick of dynamite.
    <O:p></O:p>
    [​IMG]


    After we finished laughing and cleaning the strawberry pulp off of our faces, I asked my new friend if I could drive his Tuk-Tuk. He didn’t even hesistate to say yes! His machine was in much better condition than my previous Tuk-Tuk. After a few minutes, my driver, who was now sitting in the back seat, suggested that I drive outside of town up into the hills. Why not? <O:p></O:p>

    Before long we were tearing ass up a winding road into the mountains. Actually, we were going kind of slow….these things aren’t that powerful. Regardless, I managed to overtake a few other Tuk-Tuks and was rewarded again by the incredulous expressions on their driver’s faces as we passed. We got to the top of the hill where we found the town trash pile. Apparently they just burn all of their trash here. As soon as we approached I started having Afghanistan flashbacks; the smell of burning trash is permanently etched into my brain. It’s kind of hard to forget after you spend about 14 months waking up to the smell of burning plastic and fecal matter.<O:p></O:p>

    [​IMG]
    <O:p></O:p>

    Just after the dump we turned around and began the decent. I was laughing and joking with the kid; he was starting to get a little white in the face after he realized that I was planning on taking corners at 50 kph and maintaining stability by leaning my body outside of the vehicle. You can’t counter steer in a three wheeler, but you can definitely counter balance! I wish the kid had been a little more daring; he could have stood on the running boards and leaned way out in the turns. It felt like the old Moto GP Sidecar races. There’s a reason they outlawed three wheelers in the states….
    <O:p></O:p>
    [​IMG]

    Eventually, the kid started panicking and talking about how his “patron” was going to be angry with him, so I relented and let him drive me back to the hotel. He was a cool kid though, and when we arrived back at the hotel, I took him down and had him sign the gas tank on my bike.
    <O:p></O:p>
    [​IMG]

    Afterwards I thanked him profusely and gave him some cash. He only wanted 30 quetzals; I gave him a 100 quetzals and told him to go have a good time.

    [​IMG]
    <O:p></O:p>

    I’ve got a bunch of video footage from all of this mayhem. Unfortunately, my computer is too slow to edit it. As soon as I can find a decent machine, I’ll post it up!<O:p></O:p>
  15. 96ssportsp

    96ssportsp Adventurer

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    Sounds like you are having fun and being relatively safe...:smile6....now more about this space gravy story, I only got part of it second hand.

    Ride safe, Scott.
  16. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    haha! That space gravy kicked my ass! I'll write up the story tonight.

    In other news, one of the guys I was riding with just met up with another guy from the states on a Multistrada.....you should come on down!
  17. robincx

    robincx Wherever u go, there u r

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    Awesome report, so hooked. You're certainly harvesting some future memories. Cheers and good luck!
  18. NotAllWhoWanderRLost

    NotAllWhoWanderRLost Lost

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    :lurk

    Sounds like fun! Thanks for taking the time to share your adventures, I'm enjoying the RR. :beer
  19. Mossy-Back

    Mossy-Back Brown Falcon

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    Still keeping me entertained!
  20. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Thanks!