Oregon to Ushuaia on an XR650L

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

  1. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    I understand you, Bryce. I was there once. And I have a son turning 29 in a couple of weeks. I know how confusing and apprehensive these thoughts can be. Please allow me to give back a little for sharing your experiences here. I hope this analogy helps you gather your thoughts over time.
    People think it's formidibly difficult to embark upon and persevere through a journey such as yours herewithin documented. While it certainly has it's challenges, it's still miniscule compared to the rest of your life. Finding that turnoff, the right place to spend the night, and how to get your machine sorted can present quite a task at the moment, but hard to compare to finding a lifelong companion who will correctly mother your children, deciding where you're going to live, and how to support your family. But much like your journey, you plan ahead the best you can, you keep your eyes on where you're going while peeking back occasionally, work your way through through the terrain avoiding the obstacles you see and dealing with those you didn't, perform adequate maintenance, ride the good times with ecstacy and think of more ahead while down for maintenace. We do the best we can, but God has a master plan in which we play a role, so we look to Him for guidance. The road in front of us is all we can see, and our best attempts to navigate it skillfully aren't always as successful as we'd hoped. And while we can see and judge the trail in front of us, and can pick a path through the obstacles in sight, there's no telling what's around that corner or past that rise up ahead. We can only deal with the beyond after approaching with caution. We learn to make no assumptions, and to not take personally what we encounter. We learn from our experiences but harbor no regrets. We strive to always do our best and to say what we mean. Mostly we zip through with glee. However, some hills will be very steep and some water crossings very deep; we get stuck, crash, break things, and get hurt along the way. It's the grace with which we pick ourselves up and move on that shapes our character the most. As for choice of schooling/career, many factors play a role in this decision, some beyond our control, but ideally we look for something we're good at, enjoy doing, and can make an adequate living doing. At 29 or so, we're quite physically able and have some experiences behind us, from which we've learned, the lessons of which can used to orient ourselves in the direction of what we believe will be the happiest for us. So, in much the way you've approached this trip, so may you approach your procreative, livelihood, and recreational journey ahead. You have been bestowed the talents, and you will do just fine by God and be able to look back with no regrets if you stick to what you know is right. May you encounter excitement, happiness, contentment, and inner peace as you travel through life!
  2. Manolito

    Manolito Patagonia guide

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    Laguna de los Tres one of the most beautiful hikes you can do in El Chalten :clap:clap.

    If you are still in El Chalten, you can take 45 minutes and have this view :

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    from up here :D

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  3. junkyardroad

    junkyardroad Been here awhile

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    Happy Birthday! (a bit late) Don't hurry to jump into 'real' life.
  4. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 148 (March 13, 2013)
    El Chalten, Argentina to Gobenador Gregores, Argentina
    Day's Ride: 185 Miles

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    After another frosty night in El Chalten, we packed up our gear, said our goodbyes to our hiking friends, and set off for Gobenador Gregores, a small town in the middle of nowhere off of Ruta 40 where Dylan had been stranded for three days due to a gas shortage during his ride south. We crossed our fingers hoping that they would have gas this time as the next fuel stop was beyond our maximum range.

    Leaving El Chalten, Fitz Roy loomed majestically in the background as a strong tailwind propelled us to the east and the turn off for Ruta 40.

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    After reaching Ruta 40 and the small pueblo of Tres Lagos, we stopped at the last gasolinera to top off our tanks. Immediately outside of the service station, the road devolved back into it's natural primal state: ripio!

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    This section between Tres Lagos and Gobendador Gregores had been rumored to be one of the worst stretches. However, it appeared that a grader had been along recently and we were able to fly! There were also several long stretches that had just been paved or were about to be paved. Dylan commented that the road had improved markedly since he had been here a few weeks ago.

    Below you can see one of the freshly paved sections running parallel to the old road on the right:

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    The XR650L felt like it was back at home in the gravel and the dirt and I found myself flying along faster than I normally would ride on the pavement with Metallica cranked in my headphones. Dylan tooled along at a slightly more sedate pace for the most part; however, on the final stretch into town, he cranked it up and rode alongside of me.

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    Just outside of town, Dylan stopped and emptied his reserve into his tank in the hope that there would be fuel.

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    And then we hauled ass down the remaining stretch of ripio. It was actually pretty nice and Dylan made a little movie with his GoPro:

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/NKjex2W9AWQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    We arrived in town and found a fairly long line for gas at the service station. We pulled in behind another motociclista riding a Harley with Italian plates.

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    I was extremely impressed! When I had first decided on doing this trip, I had thought about doing it on my Harley but had been talked out of it by several people. In retrospect, I'm kind of sad that I didn't. Seeing someone like this guy who has literally ridden his Harley around the world is very inspiring! I didn't catch his name and I'm sorry I didn't. He was on an older Fat Boy with the 80 CI EVO motor. So cool!

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    He's actually put so many miles on this bike that the odometer has rolled over!

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    So impressive! He said he gets a little cold while riding down here and that the ripio is a real bear, but other than that, he was having a good time.

    Since it was my birthday, I convinced Dylan that we should spring for a hotel. After stashing our gear, I headed to a Parrilla and treated myself to some Asado. This was overseas birthday number two for me; last year's was in the Sandbox formerly know as Afghanistan. Argentina is a much better place to spend your birthday. :1drink
  5. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Wow, thanks for the good words ONandOFF!
  6. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Thanks! I'll try not to hurry, but I'm getting a little antsy...
  7. jaredwilson

    jaredwilson n00b

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    Best photos so far, Bryce. Keep em coming!
  8. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 149 (March 14, 2013)
    Gobenador Gregores, Argentina to Chile Chico, Chile
    Day's Ride: 265 Miles

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    Leaving "GG" (aka Gobenador Gregores) at around noon, Dylan and I sped north, hoping to make it to Chile Chico that evening and be poised to begin the Careterra Austral in the following days.

    From what Dylan and others had told me, the remaining majority of Ruta 40 was paved. There were only a few short sections left that were still blessed with loose covering of ripio.

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    In reality, it wasn't long before we found them.

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    Just to give you an idea of what ripio roads can be like, take a look at the size of these rocks:

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    If you can't tell from the picture, a lot of these things are about the size of a baseball. It's really fun to hit a patch of this stuff at 60 MPH and have your front end bouncing around like a pogo stick while you clutch desperately to the handlebars and hope that you don't take a digger. Combine that with some really bad wasboards and gale force cross winds and you have for a really interesting ride. Hearing stories about what it was like a few years ago before they started paving it all makes me wonder just how many times my luggage rack would have broken while trying to ride this road. I'm actually surprised that it hasn't broken again already.

    The road alternated between long stretches of pavement and short stretches of ripio all day.

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    We passed multiple road crews operating graders and tractors and paving equipment. It's kind of sad really. Ruta 40 seems like it has been this iconic right of passage for Trans America trips. With all of it getting paved, where are we going to get stories of people being blown into patches of ripio by the winds and being ripped off their bikes? On second thought, maybe it is a good thing that it's being paved.

    While stopping for lunch we met some Argentinians on Honda 250's that were doing the entire stretch of Ruta 40 from South to North. They called their bikes "pizza bikes" as they were the same model that pizza shops in big cities use to deliver pizza on. They had a good 20 minute lead on us when we left, but we caught them up in no time. I got way out in front of them and pulled over to take a picture; Dylan decided that this would be a good time to thread the needle at 60 MPH and nearly clipped my elbow.

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    Eventually we reached the end of the ripio and cruised into the town of Perrito Moreno. After a brief stop to fill up on cheap Argentinian gas, we crossed the border into Chile Chico and found an awesome campground with wifi for 3,000 Pesos ($6).

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    I love Chile. Everything just seems so much easier here. We made a quick dash up to the nearest mercado and I bought a ton of food and cooked up a big pot of Carbonara. This trip is turning me into a total foodie. I look forward to dinner every day with an undisguised relish. I think Dylan is getting tired of hearing me talk about food.
  9. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Dylan just made a little video from his GoPro footage covering the last little stretch of Ripio into Gobenador Gregores. I just edited it into the post from that day but thought I would post it here as well in case folks wanted to see. Dylan claims we were doing about 70 and I think he's right because my bike wouldn't go much faster :D

    <IFRAME height=315 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/NKjex2W9AWQ" frameBorder=0 width=420 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>
  10. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    Right on. It's great to pick up healthy eating habits and then keep them when getting back home.
  11. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Ohh, there's nothing healthy about it. I just ground up a can of tuna into an entire block of cream cheese. That's lunch for tomorrow! And all of the cheap wine isn't helping either... :1drink
  12. Super Dave Hawaii

    Super Dave Hawaii Ain't Dead Yet!

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    But it sure tastes good going down! Bachelor food!
  13. Clem Kevin

    Clem Kevin Nude With Boots

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    Bro, you need the calories, you're a growing boy and traveling is exhausting.
  14. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Day 150 (March 15, 2013)
    Chile Chico, Chile
    Day's Ride: 0 Miles

    Happy Ides of March to everyone!

    Spent the day chilling in Chile Chico. The climate here is amazing; this is the first day that I've spent in shorts and a t-shirt in a while and it was a welcome change. I've heard that the Carreterra Austral can be a little wet, so it was nice to soak up the sun while I could.

    I took the opportunity today to check my valves, clean my air filter, and give the bike a thorough once over to make sure nothing was breaking. My improvised chain slider seems to be holding up okay. The chain has worn through about 1/3 of the thickness of the nylon, but it seems to be holding steady there.

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    The valve check was going pretty well at first; everything seemed a bit loose, so I started tightening everything up. I finished, then went back to double check all of the adjustments and found that I couldn't get the feeler gage in the right exhaust valve any longer. I loosened it up almost to the limit and still could barely fit the correct gage in! I had a minor heart attack, then realized that I had been wiggling the crankshaft a little after I had finished the initial adjustments. I went back, rotated the crank shaft a few times, put it back at TDC, and was able to adjust the valve properly again. Phew!

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    I do have one question though for all of the XRL riders though: the manual says to tighten the valve until there is "slight drag" on the feeler gage. I've been tightening the valve down all the way until the feeler gage is stuck, then gradually back off until it slides back and forth with a little bit of catch to it. Is that what I should be looking for or do I have it too tight? It seems like it's a hard thing to measure as there is always a "slight drag" on the feeler gage when you insert it unless the valve is extremely loose.

    Spent the rest of the day sending emails, trying to coordinate shipping for my bike, and walking around Chile Chico. Dylan tells me that we are right next to the second largest lake in South America, right behind Lago Titicaca.

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    This evening a stray dog ripped a hole in Dylan's tent and ate some of his food. A few minutes later a few cats jumped up on the picnic table where we've been cooking and knocked over some of our pots and stole some hotdogs. Dylan got pissed and started chasing the cats around trying to stomp them into the ground. I just watched and laughed and wondered why girls always get angry at me for being mean to animals. They should really be angry with Dylan. :D Tomorrow we begin the Carretera Austral. Things are starting to draw to a close for me. I figure I still have a few weeks left but all of this talk about shipping has me feeling like I'm getting ready to head back tomorrow!
  15. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Exactly! I prefer the "eat whatever you want and work out really hard" diet. I just need to start the "work out really hard" part again....:1drink
  16. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    The compression release mechanism engaged - it cracks the valve open during compression so it's easier to turn over.

    You're doing it right. You can feel when it adds the drag of filling the gap by tightening and loosening the screw a tad each way right around the grab point. A little more, and you can feel the additional grab of being on the spring, which you don't want. You just want to fill the gap with the gage.
  17. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    Sounds good on the surface but that consideration alone doesn't ensure proper nutrition, fiber, plant/animal balance, propensity to build up plaque in the arteries, to contract diabetes, cancer, etc., etc. There are a lot of factors worth researching which can aid in future quality of life. One good rule for starters is to get 80% of your caloric requirements from plant sources. That seems to me to be a lot easier in South America than here as they tend to have more healthy food commonly available. I guess since we always ate with people who lived there, we got the native diet, not what we might choose if we were buying our own food at the markets. We brought some of their eating habits back with us.
  18. Yuraco

    Yuraco Ciudadano de Sudamerica

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  19. Yuraco

    Yuraco Ciudadano de Sudamerica

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  20. LUVMYDR

    LUVMYDR Adventurer

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    I couldnt have said it bettter.