Places Beyond: California to Argentina on a G650X Challenge

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by advFord, Sep 5, 2013.

?

Should I finish my RR and tell the rest of the story?

Poll closed Mar 3, 2016.
  1. Yes

    93 vote(s)
    93.9%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Sure, but I really just look at the pictures

    5 vote(s)
    5.1%
  4. No offense, but I probably won't read it.

    1 vote(s)
    1.0%
  1. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Stories, photos and tips from my 8 month, 20,000 mile solo trip from California to Argentina on a BMW G650X Challenge. - Dan

    -----
    I've lurked on here for so long and read so many Ride Reports, I can't believe the time has come for me to write my own. No promises of what's to come but I hope to keep you entertained throughout my journey. It's still 30 days away but I wanted to get this started to post some things before I take off.

    The basic plan is to leave from my home in Southern California on my BMW G650X Challenge and not come back till June. More about myself and what I'll be up to in a future post. <br><br>For months I have been staring at Google Maps trying to comprehend the scope of this adventure. I would tell people that I was going to be riding to Argentina and they would say “oh so you’re going to ship your motorcycle there.” Not exactly.

    I wanted to come up with a unique way to share what this journey would be like so friends (and myself) could see the scope of it. I decided this project was the perfect excuse to take a break from researching on my computer and working on the motorcycle. Using a National Geographic map of the Americas, a pencil, marker, art paper, and a camera, I made this stop-motion video. A few hundred photographs, a 1950s Mexican cowboy song, and a bit of editing work later, here’s the finished piece.



    Links to Country Posts
    Links to Logistics Posts

    Here's my run down of my bike, mods, and the gear I have with me.

    Motorcycle
    • BMW G650X Challenge 2007, starting mileage 3,000

    Modifications

    Riding Gear by Icon Motosports

    Storage

    Security
    • Motorcycle Cover
    • Trimax Heavy Duty Cable Lock
    • Disc Lock with Alarm

    Tools/Spares
    • All the sockets and wrenches needed for the G650x
    • Spare tubes - front and rear
    • Tire Irons
    • Slime mini air compressor
    • Chain
    • Motion Pro Chain Tool
    • BMW Front Sprocket
    • Supersprox Rear Sprocket
    • Misc bolts
    • Fuses
    • Lightbulbs
    • Spark Plugs
    • Chain Lube
    • Bearings
    • JB Weld
    • Wire
    • Electrical Tape

    Clothes
    • 3 pair Icebreaker Merino Wool socks
    • 1 pair Icebreaker merino wool underwear
    • 2 pair Exxofficio GivenGo Underwear
    • 3 Tshirts
    • 1 button down woven shirt
    • 1 pair shorts
    • 1 pair jeans
    • 1 hoodie
    • 1 Krochet Kids Knit hat
    • Rainbow sandals
    • Converse sneakers

    Electronics
    • iPhone 4s with Lifeproof Case
    • GoPro Hero3
    • Gentech GoPro Cage
    • Canon EOS - M camera
    • Canon 50mm 1.4
    • Canon 18-135mm IS
    • Mac laptop
    • 1TB WD Passport External Harddrives x2
    • Garmin Rino 530
    • Spot 2 Tracker (with 3 sets of spare aaa batteries)
    • mini12v power inverter [I shipped this back from Colombia. Not needed]

    Camping
    • Sierra Designs Flash 2 Tent
    • Sierra Designs Cal 30 DriDown sleeping bag
    • Big Agnes sleep pad
    • Lifestraw water filter [broke early on. not needed anyway]
    • Alcohol stove
    • heet fuel
    • Sea to Summit X mug
    • Fork/spoon
    • Mess kit pot/plate
    • REI headlamp
    • Towel

    Paperwork/Records
    • Drivers License plus copies
    • AAA International License
    • Vehicle Registration plus copies
    • Fake wallet with old cards
    • Title Copies / Notarized
    • Health Certificate/ Vaccines Record
    • Backup Credit Card
    • Notebook and Pen
    • English to Spanish Pocket Translator
    • Maps (detailed)
    • Passport and Copies

    Medical/Personal
    • Pepper Spray
    • Emergency Lightstick
    • Survival Blanket
    • First Aid Kit
    • Advil Liquigels
    • Benadryl Liquigels
    • Claratin
    • Nasal Decongestant
    • Immodium-AD Chewable
    • Bee Sting/Snake Bite Kit
    • Medical Info Card
    • Dr. Bronners Soap
    • Razor
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Nail clippers
    • Emergency Toilet Paper
    #1
  2. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    554
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Get used to that type of comment...some people in each country along the way will assume you've shipped your bike to the closest port and just started your ride, finding it hard to believe that you've covered the distance you will have covered. Until you show and explain the mud, dirt, dents and dings picked up along the way. Have a great time picking up that mud and dirt, those dents and dings!

    I will keep my eyes on your ride report. Good luck with the final preparations!
    #2
    knight likes this.
  3. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,731
    Location:
    Ensenada, Baja California
    good for you!!! I will be waiting on saturday!

    Damasovi
    #3
  4. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,439
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    OOh! Somebody had so much time on his hand! :D But impressive work!! A lot harder than it seems!

    In the the ride! :lurk
    #4
  5. Scubalong

    Scubalong Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    993
    Location:
    So Cal
    Hey Dan
    Wish you the best on your journey :clap Have fun and be safe. I will keep my eyes on your departure and maybe will escort you south of the border.:evil
    #5
    advFord likes this.
  6. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    807
    Location:
    Darnestown, MD
    AdvFord,

    All the best for a safe and unforgettable journey!


    Cheers,

    .
    #6
    advFord likes this.
  7. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Let's get this started
    I'm late to my own party.
    I had visions of the wanting to make the best ride report, but then I reached Baja and couldn't upload anything bigger than a sentence. So I'm a few days in now but will start sharing the stories of getting things started and of my adventure south!

    Getting Things Started

    The week leading up to my scheduled departure date was a bit hectic as I tried to put together all the final preparations for the trip. The days were getting fewer and and while I was crossing things off the checklists and making progress, I was stressed. I decided to postpone by a day or two so that I could have time to see friends before I left and enjoy my last few days home. It was the best decision. It’s nice not to be stuck to a timeline.


    The extra three days was just what I needed. Time to hang out with friends and enjoy meals together and time to get the final preparations completed. I went to bed at 3am and woke up at 6 to start getting ready. With all my gear stashed away, I put on my riding gear and was ready to ride. Some friends of mine woke up early to send me off. It’s good to know I have so much support for this trip from my friends and family back home.


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    Some of my best friends came to send me off.


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    My friends Nate and Amy with their two girls. Thanks for the coffee and donuts!


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    My coworkers at Roadtrip Nation sending me off. Love this crew!
    #7
  8. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    With a few friends who came to see me off standing in the street and waiving goodbye, I started up the engine and was on my way. The first few miles were a combination of excitement and mentally running through check lists. Did I remember everything? What about this and that? Of course I forgot the papers of Essential Spanish I had printed out! I should have started seriously learning Spanish a year ago. I’ve met people who’ve done similar travel through central and South America and didn’t know any and they survived. I know a few basics. I spent the past few months using the free language app, DuoLingo to help me prepare.


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    Ready to leave

    [​IMG]
    Hitting the road as my housemates snap away instagram photos

    It was a quick ride down to San Diego and after running a few errands I was ready to cross my first border. It was a simple process to get my tourist visa and 20 minutes later I was traveling through Mexico. I had crossed the Tijuana border many times so I knew my way south. Mexico has their own Highway 1 that runs north to south so I just followed that. I rode to Ensenada where I stopped at a Telcel store to get a SIM card for my phone and get Pesos from the bank.

    [​IMG]
    Crossing the border into Mexico at Tijuana

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    Baja California’s Highway 1 runs along the coast and inland through mountains and deserts

    Once I passed Ensenada I was in new territory for me. The highway leaves the coast and soon I was riding along twisting mountain passes and then into a valley known for its vineyards. The sun was about to set so I stopped for the night in the very small town of Santo Tomas.

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    Unless there was a town nearby that I missed, it consisted of a couple houses, a campground, and a hotel. Not many options so I stayed at El Palomar Hotel, a well known spot for dual sport riders. I figured there would be at least one other person staying there but the place was empty. The windows and doors of the hotel (and most every other place in Baja) are covered in stickers from motocross and baja rally teams from decades ago. There’s a large restaurant there with the ceiling covered with hanging beer cans. A woman came from kitchen and brought me the menu and a bowl of tortilla chips that could have fed a family of 8. I had a quiet dinner with myself and a cat that was meowing by the door. The night before I had only slept for 3 hours, so while I planned on writing a blog, I fell asleep after writing one sentence.
    #8
    BrynhldrRider likes this.
  9. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA

    6 weeks before I left I thought I had all the time in the world to do stuff like this, I'm glad I did, but wow the days leading up to my departure was serious crunch time!
    #9
  10. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,238
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Dude, I'm so excited for you!!! I hope you have a blast!!! If you're still in Baja, make sure to stop at Muelege (SP?)! And for god's sake, make sure you get your TVIP BEFORE you get to La Paz and try and get on the ferry....otherwise you may have to ride 1,000 miles back up the peninsula to get it.:lol3 Good luck on the road, I'm excited to see what happens!
    #10
    advFord likes this.
  11. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,238
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Ohh...and subscribed! Damn, you're a lucky bastard! I wish I was doing this trip again right now! :1drink
    #11
    advFord likes this.
  12. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Ha, more on the TVIP in a bit. I still don't have it. ahhh! :-) hahaha it's an adventure right?

    #12
  13. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Day 2 - Santo Tomas to Bahia de Los Angeles
    Santo Tomas to Bahia de Los Angeles

    I woke up to realize my back wasn’t as healed as I thought. Glad I brought the meds. I don’t think I told this story. A day before I was going to leave I was moving things and lifted something that really bothered my back. I joked with friends that I must almost be turning 30. Before I left I was feeling fine but now climbing on the bike told me I wasn’t better yet. Once I was on the road and moving I was fine.


    The road continued south past farms and more vineyards. They are repaving the road a few miles at a time so twice we had to use off-road detours. My bike was so clean from the fresh paint and new parts but this stretch of off road riding took care of that. Now it looks like it’s on an adventure.


    I stopped for lunch in San Quintin, one of the larger towns in the area. I was looking for a taco stand that looked busy and finally found Fish Taco Marshall. I made the right choice. The fish, the salsa, the cream and spices were perfect. And only $1.25 each! There were no open seats but a guy offered to share his table with me. Surprisingly he spoke perfect English and he grew up in Mission Viejo, a town just a few miles from me. He was here to go to university to become a teacher. We chatted for a bit and then I was on my way. Before I left he assured me these were the best tacos around. He risked being late for class to come have them.


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    Fish Taco Marshall in San Quintin


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    Pescado por tacos


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    I heard that the town of Bahia de Los Angeles was a great place and so I decided I’d check it out. It was further south so I had to charge to get there before dark. I passed through the town of El Rosario I saw a sign that said “next Gas 318km” I quickly turned around a filled up. With my added aux fuel tank that is plumbed into the main fuel system I can get about 180 miles. The gas stations in Mexico are government run and pretty efficient. Almost all of them are full service so I just pull up and tell the attendant “lleno por favor” (fill’er up please)





    [​IMG]
    Typical gas stations in Mexico.


    Highway 1 heads inland and through the mountainous Parque Naturale de Desierto Central. As I made my way south clouds formed and hid the sun and it quickly got cold. My Icon Patrol jacket and gloves kept me warm as the winds picked up. The cold crosswind off the Pacific was pushing my bike, if only it was a tail wind.


    There were almost no other cars on the road. The only thing I would see beside the desert were small homes and tire repair shops. In the small town of Catavina there was a guy selling gasoline from jugs. I didn’t know how much the wind was effecting my fuel efficiency so I got a gallon just in case.





    [​IMG]
    Baja Gas Station in Catavina


    Bahia de Los Angeles is 66km east off of Highway 1. As I was riding on this road I saw two wild horses ahead of me by the roadside. I pulled over to take a photo and they instantly bolted. With the light from the sunset hitting the desert mountains in the background it was a beautiful sight.


    [​IMG]
    Parque Natural del Desierto Central


    I rode into the town and looked for a hotel. The first was full. I saw a sign for hotel with wifi, hot water, and breakfast so I followed the sign. It led me up a rocky dirt road and then no more signs. I wasn’t looking forward to turning around on a rocky hill. Sure enough as I made the turn my front wheel got stuck and over the bike went. (She was tired from a long day of riding I guess) A guy came out and helped me get the bike up. So thankful he did, I’m afraid of what my back would have done had I tried to lift by myself. I was over Hotel Princess and their crappy driveway. I went back the main road and found a hotel that looked more expensive than I wanted to pay but I was tired and didn’t care. I got my room and unpacked the bike. I went to get dinner but the only place open was a small mercado (market) so dinner was a Coca Cola and a bag of Tostitos nachos. At least the fish tacos at lunch were amazing. The hotel had wifi and I tried to call friends and my mom on the app Viber but the signal was too poor.


    The technology we have for trips like these is makes family and friends never seem that far away. With my Spot GPS tracker people can see where I am on a map at any time. When I have wifi I can update instagram, Facebook, and check email in a instant. With the phone apps Viber, Whats App, and Skype I can talk and chat with friends around the world.
    #13
  14. Eddywoodgo

    Eddywoodgo two wheeled nomad

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,020
    Location:
    where ever I put up my Bivie
    Good write up so far. Im subscribed as I will be headed over from Oz to do a similar trip in December. Keep the stories coming!
    #14
  15. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    San Diego
    Cool writeup, I'm in to follow along!
    #15
  16. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    259
    Location:
    Korea Town, Los Angeles,
    good luck!
    #16
    advFord likes this.
  17. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Day 3 - Bahia de Los Angeles to Santa Rosalia
    I took my time getting started and spent the morning online checking routes. Everything looked set to take the road south out of Bahia de Los Angeles but when I went to get on the road I couldn’t find it. I asked people where the road to San Pedro was but no one seemed to know. My GPS wasn’t any help either. I ended up following the road I came in on back to Highway 1.
    [​IMG]
    Bayside hotel and parking


    More desert riding today with very few other cars on the road. I rode two hours south to the next major town, Guerrero Negro, for lunch. Yep, mas tacos por favor. I kept lunch quick so I could to get to Santa Rosalia early to avoid searching for a hotel at night again. The highway turns east and the winds let up making it a nice ride. The further east the landscape becomes less desolate desert and more like Arizona, red rocks and cactus. It was a beautiful road with lots of twisting through the mountains. I think about stopping to take more photos but I’m having too much fun riding. The Heidenau tires I have on are great.


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    As I was riding I saw a wild burro grazing a few feet off the road. Since I missed the horses yesterday I stopped to take a photo. The burro started stomping it’s hoof and grunting. I was trying to swap lenses but it wouldn’t line up. I could hear to burro was getting angry. Why won’t the lens click in?! Am I about to be attacked by a wild burro? The news segment flashed in my head. Finally it clicked and I snapped a few photos. I wasn’t happy with what I got but didn’t want to stick around to find out what that burro might do if I interfered with his grazing any longer.


    [​IMG]
    El burro de Baja


    Arriving in Santa Rosalia you pass by all the industrial mining plants and then into the city center. Unlike most other towns in Baja the buildings here are made of wood and is laid out like a city with blocks. Everything is very packed in the small city center. I drove around it 4 times looking for the bank and a hotel that had secure parking. I ended up riding a mile out of town and found a nice spot.


    I came to Santa Rosalia to take a ferry over to mainland Mexico. I knew what time the ferry left but didn’t know for sure if I could get the temporary vehicle import permit I needed here. I went online and found that I could only get it at the borders or in La Paz which is 340miles south of here. Since I want to ride to Copper Canyon that would make me back track hundreds of miles I asked around a few places online and everything says I have to go to La Paz. So tomorrow morning that’s what I’ll have to do.
    #17
  18. advFord

    advFord Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    538
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Day 4 - To La Paz or Guaymas
    I set my alarm early because I had 340 miles ahead of me to ride to La Paz. Before I left I checked my email and saw a message from the person I was going to be Couchsurfing with in Guaymas. She said there was a port of entry over there and I could easily get my Temp Vehicle Import Permit there! So back to my original plan of crossing on the Santa Rosalia ferry.
    I went back to bed cause the ferry didn’t start boarding till 7:30 (or does it?) I packed up my stuff and grabbed a bite to eat at the hotel. The owner came over and said the ferry had not arrived yet and that usually means it’s broken down. I took my time finishing breakfast and rode down to the port.


    I paid for my ferry ticket which I thought was a bit pricey (2,224 pesos for me and my moto) I asked what time the ferry would depart, about 1 hour they said. That was 8am. The ferry arrived around 10am and they began to unload. By noon I was still waiting outside. A group of Mexican marines searched all the vehicles and bags, and the dogs went sniffing for drugs. They check every nook of the vehicles. After 2+ hours of inspections they were ready. The customs official confirmed I can get the TVIP in Guaymas and they let me board.


    [​IMG]
    Tickets to Santa Rosalia


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    The small ferry in port at Santa Rosalia


    I was the fist one on the ferry. They tied it down so it wouldn’t fall over during the crossing. It’s a small ferry compared to others I’ve been on . it can maybe hold 10 cars. There’s 3 areas for passengers to sit. A lower deck with reclining chairs and two TVs playing dubbed movies from Hollywood and Japan. Also on the lower deck is a small snack bar.


    [​IMG]
    Aboard the ferry


    The upper deck has a place for seating or you can stand along the railing. There’s a first class cabin on the main level but the door was closed.


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    The upper deck of the Santa Rosalia Ferry


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    The port and town of Santa Rosalia


    I spent the day writing blog updates. There was no Wifi onboard so I just typed them in notepad. The trip ended up taking just about 9 hours.

    They had military at the port to inspect us once again and after a 30 minute inspection I was off. In Guaymas I’m staying with a Couchsurfer host who is letting me stay at her house on short notice.
    #18
    BrynhldrRider likes this.
  19. meat popsicle

    meat popsicle Ignostic

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    14,356
    Location:
    Circumlocution Office of Little Dorrit
    Good to get the anticlimax out of the way Dan, but still its good to ease into such an adventure.

    Happy Trails amigo!
    #19
  20. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,238
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I'm still waiting to see how this turns out....only because it was such a headache for me....twice! :D
    #20