Portland, OR to Buenos Aires, Argentina Before Christmas-OOPS

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TanukiPDX, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2016
    Oddometer:
    785
    Day 9- San Cristobal to Antigua

    I knew I had a shorter day today, So I went ahead and slept in, 7:30am baby!

    As I was getting my things ready to go, Kyle told me that they had made me breakfast. Seriously, these guys don't know how to stop being nice! It was a savory pork crepe and absolutely amazing! We all said our goodbyes and got a picture of the kids on the bike before parting ways.

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    Kyle gave me some directions and recommended that I stay in Huehuetenango before I got a move on.
    As I headed south east from San Cristobal, everything starting feeling very remote. The roads were getting rough, and there were a number of places where the indigenous had put rocks in the road as their own way of closing the roads. I guess it is common practice for them.

    As the roads got worse and worse, I knew I was nearing the border. Eventually all of the road signs indicated that it was the freeway to the border, and nowhere else.
    As I came to the border I saw that I first had to check out of Mexico before I could check into Guatemala. First I checked myself out in the passport office. They took my card and stamped the passport, then sent me to the other office next door to check the bike out. The bike check out took longer than I expected, but I also didnt have to wait in line, so it was fine. Once it was all done, I got my $400 deposit back, and was off to cross the Guatemalan border.
    The border crossing was pretty anti climatic. I crossed over, before I could continue though, they had to spray my bike down with some kind of chemical to kill pests crossing with me. I then paid 11 quetzal for entry and headed on to get a stamp. After stamped, I had to register the bike the get a trip permit. Registration was 160 Quetzals.
    It took about 2 hours to move through both the Mexican and Guatemalan borders, but I was happy to be done.

    Crossing into Guatemala was probably about what people imagine crossing into mexico is like. It was a market the second I got in, I could only ride around 15mph. I continued through as the streets wound through the mountains. It was very green and the streets were tight. There were so many speed bumps and rough roads. You just cant count on ever having a good road here. The road would be perfect pavement then turn into dirt and gravel. Potholes were big, not worked on, and it literally took me about 6 hours to ride from the border to Antigua.

    I had thought about stopping in Huehue, but it was so early when I got there, that I decided to just keep on going. Something I hadn't counted on though, was that it gets dark in Guatemala much earlier than in Mexico. In mexico I was able to ride until 7 or so, but here, it was dark by 5:30. The problem with that, was that it was raining, and I was an hour and a half from Antigua when it got dark. Because it was not a good stopping point, I cracked the tinted visor so that I could see, dipped behind my windscreen, and pushed forward.

    When I was about 20 miles from antigua, the traffic was completely jammed, so I did as the locals do, and rode the shoulders to get past the traffic.

    Eventually I made it to antigua and found a hostel with a private room just a block from the hostel I had intended at staying at. It is a long story, but tonight I am at Frank and De's hostel, and tomorrow, I will be at the Moto Camp hostel.

    Oh and that brings up another thing, I am taking tomorrow off from riding. I may go find some dirt trails, but more than likely I will enjoy another day in antigua and possible get my front tire looked at. The wheel is really wobbling a lot when i take my hands off the grips. Probably because of all of the rough roads today.

    Ok, goodnight.!

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  2. NitramGlobal

    NitramGlobal His Spanish is picante.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    San Cristobal, Chiapas or Seattle
    Wow man you were hauling! Thanks for stopping by. I love having bikers though. Glad I could be the first one to service your bike and I'm proud to have Nitram on your bike even though I closed my shop and no longer have one. One thing is for sure. You are doing all my art if I open a shop in Seattle.

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    Best of wishes man! Hope you get that front end problem figured out?
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  3. powderzone

    powderzone Been here awhile

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    Apr 19, 2016
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    307
    Location:
    Calgary
    Enjoying following along. Regarding the wobble / vibration, check your steering head. From a standstill, engage the front brake and rock the bike back and forth - you'll be able to feel if there's play in the head set.
    Otherwise if your on the original TKC80 front tire, it's probably cupped by now (same happened to mine) which can cause droning sound and vibrations (not really a wobble). I doubt it's wheel bearings but you never know. Snug up bolts just to be safe.
    Ride on!!!
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  4. Phlyn' Phil

    Phlyn' Phil Been here awhile

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    Scottsbluff, NE
    Antigua is nice, one of the nicest places in CA in my opinion, Enjoy it!!
    Grab a Guinness at Rielly's, prolly wont have another chance for a while...
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  5. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

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    If you are deeply in love with Antigua Guatemala, you may not want to read much more, but if you are curious about it, prepare yourself for my opinion.

    I arrived in Antigua last night, and decided to take a day here today so that I could stay at the Moto Camp Hostel. I have always kind of had this romantic vision of what Antigua would be like, but I think that maybe my biggest let down, was which period of Antigua Guatemala they were referring to. As man of us know, Guatemala is very known for its Mayan culture, ruins, pyramids etc. I don't know why, but for some reason, I had always thought there were pyramids in Antigua Guatemala, but there are none. Antigua Guatemala is actually more like a piece of the 1500's. They have kept the buildings in tact and made a theme of it. Even the Wendy's and Taco Bell look like they were built by colonials. Now I know it is my own fault for never looking into this, but after spending the day in San Cristobal, I didn't see what the fuss of Antigua is about. Is it an amazing place? YES!, But is it so different from cities like San Cristobal that you hear about it from friends and family as well as the media? Maybe not? It is a cool place, but to me, it doesn't seem very far off from many of the other cities that I will cross through along the way. It is also fully of international visitors and feels VERY westernized with the number of chain restaurants available to the people visiting.

    Anyway, the day started out slow. I needed to move all of my things from the hostel I had booked for the night, over to the Moto Camp. I opened the door at the first hostel and found two fresh piles of dog crap. I think hostels are great, but I really don't like when they have a dog that lives at them. They expect you to want it in your room and pooping outside of your door. I got my things together and moved over to Moto Camp, so that I could hurry and get the bike into the shop to have the balance issue addressed on the front wheel.

    Moto Camp recommended that I take the bike the Antigua Motorsport which is just a few blocks away from the city center park. When I arrived, Cesar (an american from new jersey with jokes, that now lives in antigua pursuing his dreams of owning a very cool motorcycle shop), greeted me and got my bike on the lift right away. We were worried about a few possibilities, the wheel could be bent, out of balance, the spokes could be broken or lose, or the worst, would be that the wheel bearing had gone out. We had the mechanic (a very young mechanical genius and motorcycle superstar) take the bike around the the block so that he could get a feel for what I was feeling on the bike. When he got back we started to look at it and decided that the problem was more than likely caused by the tension bolts on the bottoms of the front forks. Kyle and I had added one to the right side, and it was causing the axle to not be balanced. The guys at the shop were able to find the bolts and tighten it all down. It did the trick and the bike was back up and running. As a courtesy they also tightened and lubed the chain, as well as cleaned the bike up for me.

    When I came to pick the bike up, Cesar offered to take me around the block to do a shake down and make sure the bike was good to go. He was on an F800GS and he took me through the traffic and all around the mountain as what he called "A short ride around the block." It was a lot of fun though and I am very grateful that he was there to help out!

    I am very surprised that the wheel was in perfect shape still after all that I had put the bike through yesterday. Bravo KTM, this thing has been amazing so far!

    While I was having the bike worked on, a man entered the bar area of the hostel and stole the owner's cell phone. They reviewed the video surveillance and were able to track the guy down in the city. Everyone that worked in the hostel started scouring the city and they were able to get the guy! I couldnt believe it. It was incredible to see to be honest. I went with them to the park where they had the guy with the police. They confronted the old man and he was arrested!
    After getting the bike all back to normal I headed around town to take some pictures. There were kids playing in the street that wanted to see the bike, so I let them all climb on the bike for photos as well. I was sad to find out that none of them or their parents had email though, so I wont be able to send them the pics!

    Tomorrow I will be off to El Salvador. Thankful for lots of great people here in Guatemala the last couple of days! I will definitely be back to ride more here in the future.

    Nos vemos!


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  6. Golden955

    Golden955 Been here awhile

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    145
    Bunny Ears - Universal,

    that shot with the kids is priceless.
  7. outbacktm

    outbacktm Bullrun Bison

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2013
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    450
    Location:
    Bullrun

    wisdom and humility become you , lean on wisdom, but never lose the passion of adventure
    blessings to you
    Old beyond your years
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  8. NotAllWhoWanderRLost

    NotAllWhoWanderRLost Lost

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
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    619
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    Just caught up on this thread and have enjoyed your travels so far! I'm glad to hear your having a good time on the 1090. I just returned from thirteen days on my 1090 and love it! It's a great machine and I look forward to following your travels South.
    Keep up the reports. :beer
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  9. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

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    I love kids, but dont have any, so I have fun letting them play on the bike. I warned them about the exhaust but it didnt stop them from touching it lol.
  10. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

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    I love that and it is so true. I want nothing more than to be humble myself. Pride is a tricky thing, and I definitely struggle with it.
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  11. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

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    Thank you! I am glad you are on our train south! The 1090 is an amazing bike. Everyday it amazes me more and more. It is a great bike for urban hooning too lol. I find myself in deeper love daily lol.

    Attached Files:

  12. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

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    Day 11- Guatemala City

    Last night didnt go so well. I went to bed a little early, finding that the bed had no sheets, and no pillow, and there was no one there to ask to give them to me. Oh well, I would just sleep in my clothes, no big deal. Everyone else in the hostel decided they wanted to make noise and stay up until 6 am. I have a personal rule of not going on rides without sleep, so even though I had planned to ride to El Salvador today, I decided to just get a hotel in Guatemala City and take a day to sleep.

    Riding into the city is something else. You climb a hill and the clouds kind of part, and you get an amazing view of Guatemala City. The road winds down from the crest and drops you into the city. The there are not really any amazing architectural feats, but the city is certainly large and has a bit of everything.

    I checked into the hotel, unloaded the bike, and then went to the KTM dealer across the street to take a look at their set up and take a few pictures. I even asked if I could put the bike in the service drive for a picture, because they had a decent backdrop. They told me that they couldn't allow it because my bike was not a KTM -_-

    After the very strange experience at the Guatemala KTM Flagship store, I headed back to the hotel for some much needed R & R. I slept basically through the day and then walked to Los Proceres Mall to have some dinner in the food court. It was surprisingly good!

    After dinner, I was off to bed and ready for tomorrow!

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  13. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

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    Day 12- Guatemala City a San Salvador

    Today I needed to get through the border, but other than that, the ride to San Salvador wasnt going to be a long one.

    I left the hotel around 9am and was on the road. Traffic was packed, so I had to maneuver my way through as I worked my way towards the border. I also had about $20 of Quetzals left in my pocket that I needed to spend on the way out, so I was on the hunt for a gas station close to the border.

    The weather was perfect today. The region is just coming out of the rain season, so it is warm, but not too extremely hot. I felt very comfortable, except for the fact that my body is covered in bug bites. It might be mosquitos, but I am thinking it has more to do with the bed I slept in the night before the hotel sadly.

    As I rode on, the roads ran through small towns so you would start to pick up speed and some flow, and then run into speed bumps and traffic jams. It is not like America where the roads flow between towns with exits that allow traffic to continue on. You are forced through each city, and these small towns are all very similar, though slightly better than what you find along the road in Baja Mexico.

    As I neared the border, the money changers started coming out of nowhere. In El Salvador, the National Currency, is the US Dollar. It felt great telling them I am from America, so why would they even ask if I need money from my own country?!

    There were so many people hounding me that the border, I couldn't believe it. This was to leave Guatemala, not even to enter El Salvador. If you are ever crossing these types of borders, just remember that the only people you have to talk to, wear uniforms and have name badges. Everyone else is just like a fly on a pile of dog poop :)

    As I was getting all of my things together, when I realized I was parked behind two of the bikes from the Moto Camp in Antigua. It was the couple riding to Ushuaia from Jalisco Mexico. They had been talking to the local motorcycle club, and the club had organized for them to be escorted by the Guatemala club to the border, and the El Salvador club to take them from the other side to their destination. Because I happened upon them, I got to go with them too lol.

    We got through the Guatemalan side and headed across a really cool bridge that separates the two countries. As we got to the other side, the group was held to the side so that they could process all of our paperwork. We had to have an original and a copy of the following items:

    • Passport
    • Passport Stamp leaving Guatemala
    • Driver License
    • Bike Title
    • Importation documents that were filled out at the border
    • Export docs from Guatemala
    After we submitted everything, it took the border office around an hour to get everything submitted and approved. The total time at the El Salvador entry point was around 2.5 hours. It really felt out of order, and I can't imagine how it would have been to be there with a line of other people waiting for the same thing. Once we were done, members of the Santa Ana MC received us and escorted us into Santa Ana.
    As we rode into El Salvador, I had a flood of emotions. I had served a full time mission for my church here 12 years ago. At that time, I had dreamed of returning on a motorcycle, but it felt more like an outlandish dream than a goal I would ever achieve. As I realized this dream today, I felt very accomplished, and excited. It is very hard to put into words, but it was definitely the highlight of the trip so far for me.

    We rode to Santa Ana where we took photos in front of the cathedral. From there we all said goodbye and I headed off alone towards San Salvador. Traffic was moderate, but I was just taking it all in. The hour ride from Santa Ana flew by, and I was at the Hostal in La Zona Rosa before I knew it.

    I parked the bike and unloaded it so that I could run down to my favorite pupusaria before it was too late. If you do not know what a pupusa is, make sure you look it up. It is basically a very thick tortilla that is stuffed with beans and cheese then fried on a grill. In San Salvador, there is a small secret, they offer a rice version rather than corn meal, and it is 10x better in my opinion. I will probably go there every day until I leave town.

    After dinner I ran home, parked the bike inside it's cage, and got to blogging. Tomorrow I will head to church then out around the country to see some of the places that I used to live.

    Goodnight!



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  14. Motorius

    Motorius Road trippin'

    Joined:
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    2,610
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    Seattle & Phoenix
    Just a note that I believe you DO need a visa for Argentina, and I think it's between $100-120USD. Should be able to buy on entry.

    If Uruguay is not on your list at least take the ferry over to Colonia to see the old fort. There are some nice places in UY but it really does not hold a candle to ARG.

    Be sure to go up the river in ARG (by train) to Tigre,a rather cool market town.

    I've got a good friend in BA who speaks fluent English if you need a hand.

    And I highly suggest you do a walking tour with www.buenostours.com, especially with Alan, a Brit expat who has lived there a long time. You'll learn an immense amount from him about the history of the area.
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  15. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Amazing read so far! Keep it up amigo

    Later
    Jon
  16. Meme

    Meme Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Irving, TX- El Salvador
    That's awesome! Since you are staying in La Zona Rosa you are only a couple of minutes from the KTM dealer in San Salvador.
    Calle y Colonia La Mascota #450
    San Salvador, El Salvador

    Basically, from you hostel going down there is a roundabout , just continue in that boulevard Sergio Viera De Mello (where Denny's is) you will pass a Mc Donald's on your left , then you will get into another roundabout. Take the second exit (is like pretty much going straight) then you will get into a light and that is calle la mascota if you make a left on that street maybe 50m the dealer will be on your right. You can see it from the light. However, it is not allowed to make a left on that street, so watch for cops if you do so lol. It should not take you more than 5min from the hostel. It is closed on Sunday.

    If you have nothing planned, you should go and have a meal at La Pampa in the volcano, or a day trip to El Tunco Beach.

    Sunday traffic should be light, but always be careful. Tomorrow will be a totally different story! HA

    Have fun and feel free to send me a PM if you want more info in El Salvador. I would meet you somewhere, but I am in Texas...
  17. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

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    Sherwood, Oregon
    Just catching up, so glad the adventure continues. The architecture and scenery you've been through is incredible.

    Hope the next leg(s) are great and full of fun :D:D
  18. TanukiPDX

    TanukiPDX Been here awhile

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    Jul 29, 2016
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    785
    Although there are a lot of details that I need to hammer out here in Nicaragua, I have a lot of people reaching out to me curious about my SOS status that pinged last night, so I will go ahead and write up what happened before I get going on the rest of my plans.

    Monday morning I was feeling well rested and ready to leave El Salvador. I would be crossing two borders (Honduras and Nicaragua), so I wanted to get an early start. I headed out seeing the Eastern half of El Salvador. I served a full time mission for my church in the Western half of El Salvador, so seeing the East was a somewhat new and exciting experience for me. I rode through the traffic and eventually made it to the Honduras border. You first cross a station for El Salvador, and once they clear you, you take 3 copies and your original vehicle trip permit with you as you enter Honduras.

    Honduras was horrible. The roads have tens of thousands of potholes and everyone works hard to avoid them. The traffic is unreliable, and you really have to stay alert. It didn't take too long to cross Honduras (3 hours maybe), and then it was onto Nicaragua.

    The Nicaraguan border is not especially difficult to cross, but my gloves were stolen off of the back of my bike (my fault for leaving them there). I had planned on crossing with enough sunlight to make it to Leon. As I started doing my paperwork, the office employees kept sending me in circles, and it turned out that it was all caused by a $2 receipt that someone had forgotten to print out. Because of this, I was now about an hour behind schedule, and the sun was setting. There is NOTHING near the border, so I figured that I would ride until it was about dark, and I would stop and camp.

    As I rode, the sunset was beautiful, but it also made me very very nervous. I knew that it would soon be too dark to set up camp. I rode a little ways further, when it happened, out of nowhere, there was a bicyclist in the middle of the freeway. I was just coming out of a curve, and there he was, dead center, barely moving, and I hit him, HARD.

    We both went flying and it all happened in an instant. My body hit the ground and I felt the asphalt rumbling under my jacket and riding gear. I did not feel any real pain as I came to a stop, except for the burn from the asphalt on my knuckles where my gloves should have been. I didn't even notice the burn though as my first thought was the cyclist. Where was he? Was he dead? I flipped the switch on my Garmin Inreach and jammed on the SOS button while I ran to the side of the road the cyclist had been on. 20 or 30 people were gathered around what I thought was a man dying in a ditch on the side of the road. I ran to him to see his condition. The ruby red laceration on the back of his head was visible from 40 feet away, it looked really bad, but he was conscious and moving. As I got closer, the people around saw that I was the other victim and quickly layed me on the ground. I was in shock, but ok, and wanted to help, but no one would let me near him. I communicated with the Garmin dispatch service and an ambulance was there for the man within about 15 minutes or so (which is incredible response time given the area that we were at). They quickly checked and loaded him, not bracing his neck or strapping him down.

    After the man had left, we waited another 30 minutes or so before the police arrived. It was very dark now and with nothing else I could do, I laid on the side of the road and tried to get my breath. Once I was out of the initial shock, I contacted the US Embassy (via the inreach) as well as a local church leader that is also a mormon, but living here in Nicaragua. The man was a complete stranger to me, but offered to help me find a place to stay for the night once I finished with the police.

    The police loaded the bike in their truck and took me to the station. They told me that I wasnt being arrested, but if the man died, it was mandatory that they arrest me and that I stand trial regardless of who was at fault. They also said that even though I wasnt under arrest, they would hold me until they knew the cyclists condition. Just as they were bringing out an extremely soiled sleeping bad for me to spend the night on, the Stake President (local church leader) appeared at the station door. He was able to convince them to write up a report that night and to let him take me to a hotel using his own name a collateral for me. I was so shaken up and nervous about the accident and the legal system, that this man's timing in saving me from a night in the jail and potentially more, was a true miracle.

    This morning we had to be at the police station at 7am, so the Stake President picked me up after only 3 or 4 hours of sleep to see what the police wanted me to do today. Upon arrival, we found out that they had left to the hospital to see the man, so we ended up waiting around 3 hours until they returned.

    When they got back they said the man had not died, did not have any broken bones, had some stitches, but was in stable condition. They told me it would probably end up going to trial, and that I would more than likely win in the trial, but that if I wanted to avoid all of that, I should just go see the man in the hospital, and offer him a settlement.

    I spoke to him and made sure there were no hard feelings between us. He was well aware that he did not belong in the middle of the freeway on a bicycle at dusk with no reflectors, and I certainly could have been more aware of my surroundings. We decided on a settlement number and had a lawyer put the documents together saying that neither party would pursue damages with the settlement.

    Once I was done with the man at the hospital and saw that aside from the stitches, he really would be ok, I headed back to the police station to turn everything in. They looked through it all then had me meet with the main officer there at the station (sorry I forget his title). The man told me that they werent going to ticket me because in reality it was not my fault, and told me to just be really careful. With that, I was handed the key to my bike along with my passport and other identification.

    The moment my passport was in my hand, I felt like I had truly regained my freedom.

    Now that the bike is down, I am looking for a way to ship it home, and get myself on the quickest flight out of here. I am very disappointed that I wont realized my lifelong dream (yet), but this isn't enough to stop me from hopefully going again in the future. Accidents happen and it was a huge miracle that no one was seriously injured.

    I am grateful to everyone and their support. I am sorry I can't go on, but I will be back!







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  19. HotChilliColdBeer

    HotChilliColdBeer Human Swizzle Stick

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    Fookin A!

    Sad to see it end. Glad you and the cyclist will be okay. Hope you get home safe and that circumstances will one day allow you to finish the ride.




    Charlie
  20. Golden955

    Golden955 Been here awhile

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    Jul 28, 2016
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    145
    Hot chili said it all, anytime you walk away is a good thing. Thanks for story, may you finish it one day.
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