Oregon to Ushuaia on an XR650L

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

  1. Bad Dad

    Bad Dad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    246
    That was an AWESOME! RR. it helped pass some long midnite shifts at work:D Makes me miss my 98 XR650L I sold last year.
    Between reading your story and telling my wife about it, she's been getting a little nervous that I'll be taking off on a trip like yours! Glad you made it home safe and full of great memories. Thanks for letting us snowbound riders tag along.:clap:freaky:D
  2. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    288
    Location:
    Near Seattle
    Hey - we did the deal today and all went well, we had to pay for 5 bikes! Yikes, quite a wad of cash. Thanks for blazing the way. We met Suma (http://whyweroam.wordpress.com/) at Dakar with the broken hand. She seemed in good spirits.

    Now a few days to hang around BA before our flight home on Sunday. Thanks to your suggestion I was covert about my pictures at the shipping office. The Aduana girl was checking up on us.
    [​IMG]

    Loved you ride report. I saw a familiar face, this woman made my day!

    [​IMG]

    I got an e-mail from our down rider from Portland, seven broken bones in his elbow, OUCH! He's 70 years old, a rock star in my book.

    Two of our group will be presenting at the BMW rally in Redmond this summer. FYI. Let me know if you are in Seattle and in need of a beer.

    Donn
  3. jfink

    jfink Can't get there from here

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    195
    Location:
    Conroe, Texas
    I hear you about the posting.

    We have finally gotten back on the road after taking a two month 'vacation' for personal reasons, back in the States. I think Chuck and I are facing the most difficult part of our trip, trying to make it from Northern Brasil through French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana into Venezuela. We are in Belem, Brasil now waiting for the ferry to cross the Amazon. I have said on my blog that we are like old stable horses returning to the stable at this point.

    But, I find keeping my blog up to date one of the most difficult challenges. Kudos to you for making your blog very interesting and keeping it pretty much real time. Good luck to you in your future endeavors.
  4. alfabc

    alfabc Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    223
    Location:
    Vancouver Washington
    I had the pleasure of meeting Bryce today in Portland OR and having lunch with him. I told him via this site I'd buy him lunch and a beer. Glad I had the chance. What a genuinely great and humble guy! Glad to see him home safe, especially after hearing of the issues with his buddy and the smashed femur and other troubles in country. I had so many questions, that I forgot to ask most of them. Really easy going and a true lover of life.

    I've tried to encourage him to put his photos and memoirs into a presentation to share with as many riders that would listen. Hoping he does and that he takes his show on the road to motorcycle dealers and gatherings around the country or world. We would all be richer for it.

    Best to you Bryce in all you choose to do!

    Cheers,

    Bill
  5. WarLlama

    WarLlama belligerent cameloid

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    22,845
    Location:
    twixt & tween
    Great ride, great report, great pics! :clap

    Thanks for sharing it with us. :thumb

    [​IMG]
  6. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,234
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Wow! Did you guys do the black market deal for the cash?

    Did you buy that Honduras Aduana lady a coke? :lol3
  7. DiggerD

    DiggerD Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,383
    Location:
    Mid Wet Or A Gun
    Hey Man,
    Nice ride report. Still not finished yet but jumped ahead to see if you are out an a bout in my home town..Corvallis. It would be cool if you could ride your bike down town for a locals meet at the down town American Dream on 2nd St. It's a mish mash of uuummmm, want to be bikers of sort. It is what it is, you know how some of these internet sort are:wink::wink: Anywho there are usually 20-40 bike to look at. I did see me mentioned in your report...I was one of the fast guys from the Beanery days, and the unlucky one who found Paul up against a DougFir. Use to scratch our times on a road sign up the Peak, when the road was good. 9.7 miles 9:30min was a respectable time. Wow! 20 years ago. I will be on one of my KTM's at the Down Town Dream. Not many about. Hope you can make it. Beers and Pizza on me. Just yell out pizza for DougFir to find me and I will buy the beer and what ever.
    Cheers man and glad you did what ya did. Now back to page 86:wink::wink:

    DougFir at SuperDuke.net
  8. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,234
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Total Days: 175 (October 16, 2012 - April 10, 2013)
    Grants Pass, Oregon to Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Total Trip Mileage: 20,056

    For starters, I took a couple of days and re-traced my route on Google Earth. I just needed to see on a map what 20,056 miles and 15 countries looked like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My final few hours in BA consisted of getting to the airport and finding my freedom plane back to the USA:

    [​IMG]

    After getting on the plane I was pretty bushed. The fatigue of six months of travel and the emotional come down of having literally nothing to do finally caught me. I didn't mention this at the beginning of my report, but when I was in Mexico, I ended a two year relationship with a girl that I had been dating. Even though I knew it had to end, I was pretty devastated. I spent a lot of days blasting down Mexican highways bawling my eyes out and blowing snot rockets into my helmet visor. One of the main reasons that my reporting was so spotty and infrequent for the first month was this serious depression that I was in. And then, just as things were starting to get better, I got ran over by a boat, accidentally fed a bunch of Marijuana, and watched Justin get hit by a truck.

    The stress of those first few months was so overwhelming for me that I developed a serious pain in the right side of my chest that didn't disappear until Colombia. The pain was so bad that at times I was convinced I was about to have a mild heart attack; I went to a couple of doctors and they told me that I just needed to relax. Sure enough, after spending a week in Medellin just chilling, things went back to normal and started feeling better.

    As I was sitting in my seat contemplating this and thinking about how far I had come, a nice stewardess came up and asked me if I was in the military. I told her that I had just gotten out a few months ago. She thanked me for my service and then told me that beer was on the house for the rest of the trip! She smuggled me three Buds and a bunch of pretzels. I slept for a while and then woke up and looked out the window. Contemplating the last six months at 30,000 feet, I found it incredible that I was covering the entire length of my journey in a few hours.

    [​IMG]

    After about 30 hours of flights and layovers, I finally arrived in Portland, Oregon. I called United Cargo and found that my bike had not come in yet. My awesome younger brother drove up from Corvallis to pick me up and we went back to his place before going to a local brewery and consuming massive amounts of IPA.

    The next week was spent applying for jobs, visiting my family, getting a track on my finances, and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

    My bike finally arrived in Portland, a week late. I had an appointment with a Marine Corps prior service recruiter in Portland and inmate alfabc had told me that he would take me out to lunch, so I figured that I could knock out everything in one shot.

    Alfabc treated me to an awesome lunch at the Side Door Cafe downtown. He's a stand up guy! We talked about motorcycles and bicycles and life and had a good time. Thanks a ton man!

    Afterwards, I went to the joint Navy/Marine/Coast Guard base to see if I could get some temporary work with the Marines for the summer. Things were going smoothly until I started filling out the paperwork and came to a question asking if I had used drugs since I had been out. I knew I could just lie and say no, but I decided that honesty was the best policy in this case; besides, I had already posted the whole incident up on the internet for everyone to see. Realizing that I was probably about to disqualify myself from ever returning to the Marines, I put down my pen and told the recruiter that I had a funny story for him. I related the whole Space Gravy incident to him, explained that it was unintentional, and waited for the verdict. Sure enough, he told me that since I had verbally told him that I had used marijuana (even though it was unintentional), I was now permanently disqualified from returning to the Marines and that an annotation would be placed on my record should I ever attempt to rejoin through another prior service recruiter. He was nice about it and he seemed to to understand the situation; still, rules are rules. I understood; I had to deal with a lot of drug pops for my Marines when I was in. There is a zero tolerance policy on drugs in the Military and sometimes people try and beat a drug charge by claiming that they were given narcotics without their knowledge. Even if it's a legitimate accident, it's hard to prove in a military court and most people that try that route get separated.

    I was pretty discouraged. I didn't need to go back to the Marines, it was just one option among many. Still, I had a heavy heart. Even though it was an accident, I felt like I had let someone down. I left the office depressed and drove to the airport to pick up my bike.

    As I pulled into the shipping office at the airport, I got a call from the Forest Service saying that they had received my application for a fire fighting job and were going to try really hard to hire me, despite being overstaffed. I guess god closes some doors and then opens new ones. That lifted my spirits a bit. The sight of "El Senior" all wrapped up in plastic wrap lifted them even more.

    [​IMG]

    With a little help from the guys at the loading dock, I re-attached the front wheel and loaded the bike up in the back of my truck.

    [​IMG]

    I drove down to Corvallis, dropped off the bike in my brother's garage, then headed for the supermarket to get some dinner and a drink. This being Oregon, they had an entire refrigerator case dedicated to micro-brewed IPA's. God bless the United States!

    [​IMG]

    Staring at all of that hoppy goodness, I remembered something that I had seen on a fake obituary: "I spent the majority of my money on beer, gas, and motorcycle parts; the rest I just wasted!". So true.

    :1drink
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-
    And now for the numbers:

    Money Spent: $20,000
    - Bike Shipping from Buenos Aires to PDX: $1,200
    - Plane Ticket Home (BA to PDX: $1,100
    - Sail Boat from Panama to Colombia: $1,000
    - Other Misc Ferrys and Boats: $350
    - Bribes and Payoffs: $130
    - Oil: $350 approx
    - Tires: $850 approx
    - Chains: $500 approx

    Countries Visited: 15
    - USA
    - Mexico
    - Guatemala
    - Honduras
    - El Salvador
    - Nicaragua
    - Costa Rica
    - Panama
    - Colombia
    - Ecuador
    - Peru
    - Bolivia
    - Chile
    - Argentina
    - Uruguay

    Front Tires: 3
    - Avon Distanzia
    - Pierreli Scorpion
    - Metzler Sahara

    Rear Tires: 5
    - Avon Distanzia
    - Pierrelli Scorpion
    - Chinese made knobby (only used for the Lagunas route in Bolivia)
    - Metzler Sahara
    - Metzler Sahara (purchased used from Dakar Motos in Buenos Aires, used for the final 300 miles in Uruguay)

    Flat Tires: 2
    - 1 Front
    - 1 Rear

    Chains: 5
    - Factory O-ring chain
    - EK Gold non o-ring (ruined by overtightening in Medellin, Colombia, changed out in Lima, Peru)
    - DID x-ring (ruined by incorrect install by mechanics in Lima, Peru, changed out in Rio Gallegos, Argentina)
    - DID non o-ring (ruined by overtightening in Ushuaia, Argentina)
    - Tsubaki o-ring chain

    Oil Changes: 10
    - Oil Filters used: 5

    Chain Sliders: 2.5
    - 2 OEM XR650L Chain Sliders
    - 1 Self-Fabricated out of cutting board type nylon material

    Front Sprockets: 2.5
    - 2 Moose XR650R 15 tooth (the first lasted about 10,000 miles. A friend brought the second one to Arequipa, Peru when he flew in to see his girlfriend.)
    - 1 OEM 14 tooth (used only for the Lagunas route in Bolivia.)

    Rear Sprockets: 1
    - 1 OEM 45 tooth (It's still got some life in it!)

    Luggage Rack Breaks: 6
    - San Diego, CA (probably due to excessive weight of Ammo Can panniers)
    - Guatemala (following a long day of gravel roads)
    - Ecuador
    - Peru (after being hit by a car)
    - Bolivia (second day of hard off road riding on the Lagunas route in Bolivia)
    - Argentina (not a full break, just a crack. Re-welded by Javier at Dakar Motos in Buenos Aires)

    Other Problems:
    - Cracked Lugs on oil cooler (fixed with JB Weld and zip ties in Oaxaca, Mexico. No further problems.)
    - Broken fuel tank mounting tabs on frame (re-welded in Punta Arenas, Chile)

    Accidents, Wrecks, and other Misfortunes: 5
    - Hit by a boat while Kayaking in Guatemala
    - Crashed on slick road in Guatemala
    - Ran into bus in Guatemala
    - Hit by Car in Peru
    - Hit and broke side mirror on car Lima, Peru

    Cops looking for bribes: 4

    Bribes paid: 1

    Thanks to everyone for reading my ramblings. The community on advrider is incredible. From technical advice, to humor, to donations, to emergency help, to free meals, I've received so much support from people on this forum that I can't even begin to thank you all enough. The generosity of total strangers united by a pastime like motorcycling continues to amaze me. And to all of the people that I met on this trip, who shared meals and laughs and adventures with me, con todo mi corazon, muchas gracias!

    Vaya con dios,

    Bryce
  9. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,680
    Location:
    Central Coast, Cal
    De nada.

    Semper Fi and thanks for such a good RR. The best I've read here on ADV. Well done sir! :clap
  10. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,199
    Location:
    Prescott Valley, Arizona
    Great conclusion! Sorry the Marines are a clsoed door for you now man, but think of the ones that are open! I am guessing you will have more than your fair share of adventures in the future, good luck with all of them and in all of your endeavors Bryce. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us, I can't tell you how enjoyable it was to read. Peace...:clap
  11. Tex76

    Tex76 Motersykle Advntyers

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    941
    Location:
    Plano, Texas
    "May the best of your today's be the worst of your tomorrow's". I hope you know how inspiring and enjoyable your RR was to all us degenerates Bryce. Wishing you all the best brother!!
  12. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,931
    Location:
    Idaho
    Bryce,

    Thank you for taking all the time necessary to write such a great, and comprehensive ride report! Yours is the best ride report I have ever read. :nod You are obviously an intelligent, and well educated man. Your writing is superb, and your photographs are even better! :D

    I respect your honesty in dealing with the Marine recruiter. I have no doubts that an intelligent, and honest man such as yourself will have little difficulty finding rewarding employment. I wish you the best of luck in that regard, and I will also add my prayers along with my good wishes. :nod

    Spud :beer
  13. mathews42

    mathews42 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    356
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Glad you made back safe bro. Sucks about the marines recruiting thing though. I know Your honesty and integrity will take you further anyhow.

    Great conclusion to the ride report!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  14. boyfester

    boyfester Urban Explorer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    158
    Location:
    Costa Mesa
    What an amazing read! Thanks so much for sharing your epic tale and great pictures.
  15. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,996
    Location:
    Shippensburg, PA
    Bryce,

    Great job with the recruiter. Never sell your honor for a job.
  16. Mossy-Back

    Mossy-Back Brown Falcon

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,711
    Location:
    Corvallis, OR
    I had a great time grabbing a beer with you and your brother last night Bryce! We'll have to get out for a ride soon when I get a break from school work.

    Welcome home! :freaky
  17. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,603
    Location:
    Not home in Tijuana
    Well done brother. Hope to see you on the road sometime. Thanks for the ride.
  18. farleywilbur

    farleywilbur Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    The Great White North, eh?
    Bryce, I just read this whole report over the past week and thanks for the amazing stories, wonderful photos and great reading! If you ever take a trip to Canada you've got a place to stay and I would offer you a job if you could get a work visa up here.

    Thanks again!
  19. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork I wish I was cool

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3,814
    Location:
    Richland WA
    Thanks! And Semper Fi to you as well!
  20. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,234
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Thanks!