Prairies To Penguins Alberta to Argentina

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DRRambler, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. kalahari-k

    kalahari-k Kalahari-K

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    I'm enjoying the report too, but found this question odd. It happily ignores context. It's so important, when making your way down a very long continent by bike, to hold on to that bike. Putting your bike in a hotel room in Mexico, but not in the US, wouldn't suggest to me a different respect for Mexican and US hotel rooms. It suggests a rational concern by a visitor to a country with a much lower per capita income, and pervasive official corruption, that the bike might be less secure unprotected than in the US. Do we know the chances of a mint DR 650 being stolen in Mexico and the US? We do know the difference in consequences. A friend of mine lost an insured bike in Mexico and took 2 years to collect on his insurance after hours of work and expensive lawyer's fees. Would you be as concerned about collecting your payment in the US? In the US a stolen bike would interrupt a trip. In Mexico it would end it for most people.

    You do what's necessary to keep it together and moving on the road. Most people reading this report inferred that the bike was put in the room clean and carefully, I'd bet ya. I wouldn't mind sleeping there the next night knowing that it gave security and peace of mind to a fellow biker on a long trip passing through Mexico.
    #41
  2. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    She makes a good roomy, no farting.


    sent from tapatalk
    #42
  3. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    In Santa Rosalia. Once again poor internet but at least I can check email and make a text only post. I'm headed to Loreto tomorrow where I'll R&R for two nights. Then to La Paz and Cabo. Day 9, 10, 11 updates will be coming.
    #43
  4. BlindDog

    BlindDog n00b

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    Good to see the first Ushuaia trip of the season. I hope to make that trip someday, and I'm looking forward to following your adventures. Stay safe and have fun.
    #44
  5. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to reading your ride report. 6 months may not be enough to get all the way to the bottom. Good Luck and ride safe.
    #45
  6. RevyRider

    RevyRider Intrepid Traveler

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    Excellent start to your adventure and Ride Report. I will be checking in daily and looking forward to your updates. As others have said, I intend to do this similar ride in the upcoming years.

    Have a safe trip and enjoy. Cheers

    Ron
    #46
  7. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    :thumb
    #47
  8. folknride

    folknride Old Adventurer

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    I'm following here and on twitter Dave. Great job reporting!
    Dripping with envy :clap
    So glad it's going well - ride safe.
    Ron
    #48
  9. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    i'm still in ultra cautious mode as I navigate the strangeness of rural Baja. Day by day its getting easier. Thanks for following along
    #49
  10. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    indeed, I already feel like I'm rushing
    #50
  11. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    Hopeful that my report can be of some help in your planning. Thanks for following.
    #51
  12. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    :clap back at you eakins! I have read many of your posts on many subjects and learned from them. Thank you
    #52
  13. folknride

    folknride Old Adventurer

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    How did the Mitas tires stand up to all that pavement?
    Enquiring minds want to know :ear
    #53
  14. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    Well they are not going to make the 15000km I hoped they would. They might go to 10k.

    wish you were here Ron!

    D
    #54
  15. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    Day 9 San Vincente Baja California to Catavina Baja California 289km 6.0 hours
    The Hotel El Camino at night

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    The day started for me at 8AM getting Skelly out of the hotel room.

    The nice fellow who came over to me this morning delayed my departure by 45 minutes. I certainly had no objection as he was giving me advice about the road. He told me that on weekends I should be wary of drunk drivers. In addition he advised me that trucks often will be in your lane as you round tight corners. Sometimes it’s just bad driving on their part but the roads have no shoulders in places and the trucks have no choice but to cut the corners. Okay, lessons learned and I’m ready to get going in this unusually humid weather.
    I fueled up and hit the road. There are many small towns all the way to El Rosario so the velocity is subdued. The maximum speed limit is 80k/hr with 60k/hr speed zones all along the way and 40k/hr in the towns. About 50% of the traffic obeys the limit while others are just flying. I had to watch my speed carefully as I don’t want a speeding ticket. Interspersed with speeding cars there are quads, dogs, horses, dirt bikes and plenty of big trucks. In the towns one needs to be aware of the “topes” or speed bumps. Most of the time there is warning with a series of smaller bumps that get closer together as you approach the main bump. Some of the bumps were so worn down they basically did no good.

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    My second fuel stop was around San Quinton where I received 54 pesos worth of 87 octane (Magnum) Fuel. As always at the Pemex government owned gasolineria the attendant filled the tank for me. He then proceeded to tell me I needed to give him 3 US dollars. This was after handing him 60 pesos and telling him to keep the change. I asked him why I needed to give him 3 dollars and he replied (I think) so he could spend it in the store. I kept telling him sorry I don’t understand and he eventually gave up.

    Litter along the highway

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    Today I encountered two military check points. The first one just waved me through but the second one was a mandatory stop. It’s a good thing there are warning signs notifying you of the upcoming checkpoint. The fog was so thick at the time I could only see 100 yards in front of me. The armed soldiers asked me where I was going. Eyebrows raised when I told them and they sent me on my way without checking any papers.

    A rare roadside pullout


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    My last fuel stop of the day was in El Rosario. I had read the next stretch was a long fuel run. The attendant verified this so in addition to 32 pesos in the tank, I filled all three extra fuel cans to the tune of an additional 35 pesos. I needed to get 318km before the next stop. There is fuel sold out of barrels at Catavina but it is expensive and of unknown quality.

    Riding the last 120km of the day was beautiful high desert, twisty and straight with multiple elevation changes along ridges and through gullies overflowing with water. It was brutally hot and humid and I had to force myself to stop and eat at a roadside taqueria. After a very difficult ordering process I received 1 burrito containing a meat I know not what it was. It was tasty however and I chased it with a cold 7up. $3.00 including a huge tip.
    I am now in Catavina in a hotel that is highly overpriced but is luxurious by the standard of last night. The meal was pricey too but delicious with a cold Tecate.

    The Hotel Mission Catavina


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    Learning to deal in Pesos is coming (I’m so glad I know my Spanish numbers) but there is still a lot to learn. I haven’t seen all the denominations of coin yet. I can’t read the coin value without my glasses so I have been trusting the change I’m receiving.
    My Spanish is so weak it’s embarrassing but people have been patient with me and I’m catching on to a few things.
    Tomorrow Santa Rosalia
    #55
  16. davey1212

    davey1212 Been here awhile

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    Dave, Spooky !! I was in the same hotel and the pool water was green !!!! Yes it is hot there but be prepared as the border crossings in Central America are just as hot plus VERY humid. Be prepared to lock your jacket etc to the bike so you can keep as cool as possible. I suffered on a couple of occasions and the sweat (nice) was incredible !!

    For the bike import permit, ride all the way south following the coast from La Paz, you will come to the ferry terminal and if you are happy to do so (secured) park it opposite the entrance by the food stalls. Otherwise, enter, turn left through the barrier (small fee), walk towards the buildings and the Banjercito is on the far right. The young lady there spoke excellent English and it did not take long. Try to do this at least a day before you sail. They take a hefty deposit (under $400) and you do get it back when you leave Mexico. read my blog about leaving Mexico as the Banjercito is MILES away from the border.
    Great report and safe riding.

    ps. I AM looking in my mirrors !!!!
    #56
  17. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    Day 10 Catavina to Santa Rosalia 468km 7 hours

    Today was a huge day. Considering the speed limits and narrow roads, 468km in 7 hours is pretty good. The recent cyclone on east coast has made it unusually muggy here and I’m continually drenched in sweat. It’s to the point where I don’t want to stop moving even to take photos. Fortunately there wasn’t much to take photos of. It seems like most of the day I was on really long straight stretches that lasted for many miles.

    Standard Baja highway

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    Storm looming

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    Roadside garbage dump

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    Today I crossed into Baja South and there is a noticeable difference as I make my way. The roads are generally better and there are fewer towns along the highway. I encountered three military checkpoints today and was waved through all of them. So far no hassle from any soldiers.

    A really nice diversion from the desert riding was San Ignacio. Its a little town set around an Oasis that is different from the other communities I have passed through. It was worth turning in and checking it out.

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    I rolled into Santa Rosalia around 3 and circled a bit before settling on the Industrial Motel. 456 pesos for a tiny room but it had air conditioning which is a must right now.

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    My dinner was 2 cans of beer and a bag of chips.
    Tomorrow Loreto
    #57
  18. hwunger

    hwunger Been here awhile

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    alright ! .... a fellow Canadian goes to Baja :clap

    hope to follow in your footsteps next year .... buena suerte :D
    #58
  19. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    Day 11 Santa Rosalia to Loreto 210km 3.0 hours

    Something I failed to mention from the previous post is about a new noise from the bike. As I was riding around town looking for a hotel I detected a slight tapping noise from the engine. It sounded like the valves needing adjustment but I did that 5000km ago so it seemed odd to me. I decided to re-adjust them in the morning after allowing the engine to cool. I rose early and got to work removing the seat and fuel tank. I reached for my 10mm hex to remove the flywheel access cover and it wasn’t there! So I tried turning the engine with the rear wheel but I couldn’t do that and look in the timing hole at the same time. I had no choice but to put it all back together. Upon starting the engine there was no noise at all. I’m thinking it may have been the extreme heat that caused the problem. All day today it was quiet.

    After all that I must admit some thoughts of “what the hell am I doing” came to me. Maybe that is a normal thought process, after all I have never done anything like this before. I was able to dismiss the thinking to get on with things and by 8:30 I was on the road.
    The road was a mix of desert and coastal twisties. Near Mulege on the coast it is beautiful with really nice looking beaches. I didn’t stop due to the heat that was intense even at 10:00 in the morning.

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    A donkey on the road

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    A large number of these memorials along the entire highway

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    One military check point today that was brief and waved through.

    By 11:30 I had reached my destination of Nopolo a few km south of Loreto. I had arranged a stay at a home belonging to my Aunt and Uncle. I found the manager’s office and met Antonio who led me to the house in his golf cart. These homes have no driveways or garages, so there was great debate about what to do with the bike. Security did not want me to bring it to the house but finally agreed to let me take it in only if I left it parked the entire time I was here. Before parking I needed to get some groceries for my stay. Security insisted that I park the bike on the street while I unloaded it, then I went to Loreto for food and upon my return was permitted to park it in the house’s storage area.

    A view out the front room

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    I found a cold beer in the fridge and sat back to relax. Later I found a restaurant called the Agave and had really nice enchiladas and a margarita.
    Tomorrow is relax day
    #59
  20. pne

    pne Long timer

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    very cool, I saw a flyer for your ride at riverside. Best of luck on your trip. I'll be following this and visiting Argentina myself, albeit by plane. :freaky
    #60