SF to Panama... eventually

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by stickfigure, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
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    Thanks guys... I have a few more posts left to finish up the trip and I want to post reviews of my various bits of kit. Real Soon Now! Really!

    Quick update:

    I flew back to San Antonio and picked up my bike in San Antonio last Tuesday and spent the week getting it back to the Bay Area. It runs like a champ again. However, I'm fixing it up to sell because...

    ...a month ago I bought a 2007 990 Adv! I got a deal on Scuderia's demo model. Loving loving loving it so far. I'm currently sitting in a big pile of motorcycle parts (HID kit, Neduro rally tank, autocom bits, powerlets, etc) which are going on the bike this week.

    Guille and I are still good friends and chat periodically online. The relationship was a great (if tempestuous) experience for both of us but we eventually concluded that it wasn't going to work out even if we lived in the same city. However, Gavin and Sonia are still together! He even got an apartment in Guanajuato where he spends a big chunk of the year. His Multistrada is still sitting at the shop in Guate, though :twitch

    Speaking of girls, it's a good thing I now have a bike with pillion capacity because I met (actually re-met) a girl here in SF a couple weeks after I got back and now I'm in the midst of a torrid romance that is already generating nefarious long-term plans. She's a rider (though currently bikeless) and we've been tearing up the California coast with the 990A on weekends. She'll be joining me for the return leg of my summer solstice Alaska trip this year, so expect plenty of pictures in that ride report. Funny thing: Her family is originally from Guanajuato. Have I developed a type? :evil
  2. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
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    why this is not a surprise ? :D
    and why do I believe yours is orange...... :wink:
    :lol3
    oh no !

    yes :D

    LR.
    Stands for Love Report. :wink:

    dont get me wrong, I like it. make me smile. even laugh as right now.
    Love is the best thing.... after bikes ;)

    Carpe Diem, hombre.
    /thierry
  3. JackL

    JackL T plus 16 months

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    435
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    Colorado
    I love that shirt. Definitely need it or:
    [​IMG]
    Also good but maybe too subtle for many:
    [​IMG]
  4. z@ch

    z@ch Turn it up to eleven

    Joined:
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    Wow. Truly epic adventure.

    Is this the rum that you were looking for?

    [​IMG]
  5. Dilligaf0220

    Dilligaf0220 Miserablist

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    Can you just post your Happy Trails review, wallow in some more KTM pr0n and post up a few more Mexican babes and get this RR over & done with.........








    Oh yeah.........yes I am envious.
  6. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Ok ok ok! This week more posts.

    Hot damn! I'm going shopping!

    Jeff
  7. SurfAwave69

    SurfAwave69 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    San Francisco, California
    Nice write-up...love the pictures.

    It's good to see a fellow San Franciscan enjoying a great adventure!

    :lurk
  8. onip

    onip Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Granby, Qu├ębec, Canada
    I'm plannig a trip from Quebec to Argentina. Can you tell wich road are frequented by Highwaymen?

    By the way... I'm completly hook on your story...
  9. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    On the eve of embarking on another trip, I remember that I haven't quite finished the last report yet. Let's see if I can whiz through it.

    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=xilitla,+mexico&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=28.058077,64.511719&ie=UTF8&ll=21.391705,-99.316406&spn=8.218516,16.12793&z=6"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3656/3405302217_7e936380f8.jpg"/></a>

    From Mexico City I went northeast to Xilitla. I had heard stories and seen pictures of the surrealist gardens of Edward James, but they don't quite prepare you for the scale of it. Edward James was a rich patron of surrealist artists who decided to grow orchids in the jungles of Mexico. The story, as told to me, is that one year a frost killed his orchids, so he decided to make them out of concrete.

    The result can only be described as Escheresque.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117430826/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3290/3117430826_202865ae17.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116653999/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3047/3116653999_efa52dc806.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116596409/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3008/3116596409_21766abd0f.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117428252/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3133/3117428252_086314404b.jpg"/></a>

    If I ever become a crazy, eccentric millionaire (as opposed to merely a crazy eccentric), *this* is the sort of madness that I would aspire to.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116607477/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3046/3116607477_1ee0ae4192.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116610821/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3270/3116610821_a5cedced86.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117436418/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3226/3117436418_7e4e83cc97.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117440262/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3176/3117440262_cf01b74a4b.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117443500/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3253/3117443500_4988a3b04c.jpg"/></a>

    It was raining on and off, making the beautiful deathtrap even more treacherous. I climbed all over everything anyways, savoring the fleeting feeling of a free society without lawyers, guardrails, or the faintest sense of personal mortality.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117441856/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3112/3117441856_e36fdfc571.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117461958/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3010/3117461958_6d385572a7.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117463246/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3295/3117463246_d4cabbb772.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117473946/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3270/3117473946_464c7426e6.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116657153/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3109/3116657153_587204ed8f.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117496976/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3078/3117496976_7610136581.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116675127/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3101/3116675127_f9fa26191d.jpg"/></a>

    I stayed in town. There was some sort of folk dancing festival going on:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116591707/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3218/3116591707_fc1816fa6b.jpg"/></a>
  10. hetman

    hetman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
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    Nice.. what's the new trip?

    We still need to meet up in SF sometime, although I'm heading to Argentina tomorrow (flying) for a few weeks and sounds like you're starting your trip soon anyway.
  11. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    Awesome, PM me when you're back... maybe it's time for another advrider gathering at Zeitgeist.

    Friday I'm taking the 990A to Baja for two weeks of exploring backroads with a couple friends. I was a little disappointed that I rushed through Baja on the CA trip, so this should make up for it!
  12. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    At this point I started making quick time north. My plan was to be home by turkey-day. I didn't make it.

    The road north was long and mostly eventless. This bridge crossing was fun:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116682357/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3293/3116682357_6a0d653232.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117508152/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3257/3117508152_f96dfc33a4.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116680103/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3258/3116680103_ff52c69207.jpg"/></a>

    Random breakfast:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117504700/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3211/3117504700_caa4a2bb5e.jpg"/></a>

    The best thing about that breakfast was this bowl of fresh chili peppers. I'd not yet seen this particular type of pepper in my travels, but suddenly there were people lined up along the highway selling bags of them. They were hot, crunchy, and delicious! Recommended dosage: 1 pepper per bite of food.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3117505684/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3278/3117505684_4c020da3a3.jpg"/></a>

    I rode with a large pack of bikes for about 20 minutes. They were from Monterrey, heading for Real de Catorce for the weekend.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3116685481/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3284/3116685481_e57de85ea1.jpg"/></a>

    Saltillo is a desert city in the state of Coahuila, about 30 miles west of Monterrey.

    <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=saltillo,+mexico&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=28.058077,64.511719&ie=UTF8&ll=24.166802,-102.084961&spn=8.053558,16.12793&z=6"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3573/3405877461_a3197cf0a3.jpg"/></a>

    I saw Rosalba and her new boyfriend, a dentist and former professional baseball player (!):

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406150004/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3466/3406150004_ba1f6bde36.jpg"/></a>

    There is a huge desert museum in Saltillo:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406156486/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3451/3406156486_b39764abbb.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405349007/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3549/3405349007_22e5c95863.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406197990/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3450/3406197990_07a610b9bd.jpg"/></a>

    ...and some, uh, "interactive" exhibits:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405394459/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3425/3405394459_a82623b8c1.jpg"/></a>

    Freshly hatched desert tortoises are cute:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405398071/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3429/3405398071_ce1ef03457.jpg"/></a>

    Unfortunately, this is where my motorcycle trip ended. About 15 minutes after leaving Saltillo, I felt a sudden loss of power. I pulled in the clutch and the engine stalled. On the side of the road, a large amount of friction and clanking prevented the engine from turning over with either the electric or kick-starter. CRAP.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3054985396/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3014/3054985396_494280e51d.jpg"/></a>

    I didn't know it at the time, but it appears that Motoaltavista didn't fill the bike properly when they changed the oil. Services on the KTM LC4 are tricky; if you don't prime it correctly, you will get full oil pan and an empty frame - about half normal capacity. I'd been running the engine hard on a single quart of oil, and the big end bearing finally gave up. But all I knew at this point was that I was fucked :cry
  13. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    This part of the trip, I'm sorry to say, sucked.

    The first task was getting the bike to the KTM dealer in Monterrey for a preliminary diagnosis. I managed to arrange for a truck.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406567138/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3605/3406567138_49002f3e9a.jpg"/></a>

    By the next morning the KTM shop had news for me: It's serious.

    This meant Plan B. I have an extended service contract on the bike, but it's only good at an authorized KTM dealer in the US. I had to get the bike to San Antonio, Texas.

    The KTM shop was wonderful to me - they loaded my bike on a truck and took it across the border for only the (surprisingly substantial in the north) cost of gas and cuota tolls. I expected the border crossing to be complicated, but we were through in 5 minutes with no inspection. It was shocking compared to the multi-hour ordeals I was accustomed to.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405761445/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3433/3405761445_6744bd4c89.jpg"/></a>

    Laredo, Texas was a rather drab place to spend Thanksgiving. This was the *only* open restaurant in town:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405836055/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3544/3405836055_1920a55701.jpg"/></a>

    If I was less emotionally exhausted I would have walked across the border; I'm pretty sure you can count on Mexico to provide amazing food any day of the year except Xmas. Instead I called up a few friends (reveling in my new, no-longer-roaming cellphone status) and then crawled into bed with a book and a six-pack of crappy beer - the next day was going to be very, very long.

    My day, 28th of November, 2008:

    * Woke up at dawn, cabbed to U-Haul in Laredo, rented cargo truck.

    * Drove back to hotel, loaded bike in truck.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405837887/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3541/3405837887_08fbdc0f97.jpg"/></a>

    * Drove truck two hours to Kent Powersports in San Antonio and unloaded bike for diagnosis and repair.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405839877/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3639/3405839877_f28959e52b.jpg"/></a>

    * Dropped off truck at U-Haul center in San Antonio.

    * Took a bus to a nearby Starbucks for internet access, checked schedules and bought a plane ticket.

    * Cabbed to airport, got on a plane.

    * Flew back to SF, got a ride home from a friend.

    * Crawled into my own barely-recognizable bed sometime after midnight... two time zones earlier.

    The funny thing is how easy it was to do all that. The rule for Mexico is you can accomplish one important thing per day, no more. There is no way I could pull off this complicated sequence south of the border. It's not just availability of the internet, cellphones, and my native tongue. This was a rather harsh way to re-enter civilization, but for once I was glad for the "Get It Done Now, In A Hurry" attitude in the US.
  14. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
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    And u bought the 990 what... 3 days after ? :D
    As every bikers, you cry about your lost for 5mins and went directly to the dealer to buy another one.
    :D
    I know... I do the same.:lol3

    For the Baja trip, take a lot of picts ! We're waiting for your next wonders.
    And thank you very much for having share this great trip of yours.
    /thierry
  15. quicktoys2

    quicktoys2 ADVrider junkie :)

    Joined:
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    Patras, Greece
    What now ....... when will the adventure continue??

    Soto
  16. Holaday

    Holaday Man of Leisure

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
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    633
    Location:
    Vancouver's North Shore, B.C.
    Lets see your 990 pic here




    [​IMG]
  17. tetsuo69

    tetsuo69 Freakin' Amazing

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
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    17
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    San Jose
    Informative report, cheers. Pictures are worth a thousand words.
    I'm just some random internet dude and only have what you've written to understand the situation, but for what its worth, I think you missed the boat on this one, big time. I think you need to apply your great attitude to motorcycling to women as well: Things happen because you make them happen and they don't hae to be perfect to be awesome. Life starts where plans stop, go get her! :D
  18. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    You're going to cry when you see it:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3464777826/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3649/3464777826_e5841b7212.jpg"/></a>

    They're in the process of paving that section RIGHT NOW :cry
  19. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

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    The new girlfriend would never approve :nono

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3613/3468121382_e75437e8fa.jpg"/>
  20. stickfigure

    stickfigure Fiendish Fluoridator

    Joined:
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    This is the final (and much belated) entry of my adventure in Central America.

    After several months of waiting for parts to be shipped in from Austria, the shop in San Antonio had my bike repaired. I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to this part; my new 990A at home had spoiled me and made me wonder why on earth I took a single on this trip in the first place. The weather across the southwest looked cold and the New Girlfriend was waiting at home in a nice warm bed. But like this story, dammit, I had to finish it.

    I picked a week, flew out, and was finally reunited with my bike. I owe big thanks to advrider's Tricepilot for giving me crash space and taking me to the Best BBQ In Texas. It really was. I failed to take pictures of it.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406725714/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3544/3406725714_c76d316649.jpg"/></a>

    Despite being a lifelong California snob, I really like Texas. Unfortunately what I don't like about Texas is driving across it. BORING! I've never seen so many long, straight, flat roads in my life. I only took one picture. I only needed to take one picture. It went on like this FOREVER:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406732804/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3606/3406732804_608c2085bc.jpg"/></a>

    ...and this was one of the small minor highways!

    If it weren't for audiobooks I would have dropped into a coma long before the New Mexico border. I'm particularly thankful to Max Brooks for <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_Z"><i>World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War</i></a>.

    Food in Texas is like food everywhere else, except all the restaurants are BBQ. I ate my fill. For the rest of the year!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406730980/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3542/3406730980_864a35aca4.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405915847/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3548/3405915847_ffab79068b.jpg"/></a>

    Having just broken in a new engine, I stopped in Santa Fe for a 600-mile service and to see an old friend from high school that I hadn't seen in fifteen years. We ate more BBQ.

    Unfortunately the rush schedule kept me on the boring main highways. I didn't really have the option of taking extra days; a major snowstorm was scheduled to hit central Arizona the day after I zipped through it. I was already wearing every piece of thermal insulation I had just to keep feeling in my toes.

    Just for kicks I rode though Amboy again. This time the gas station and store were actually open!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3405926299/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3546/3405926299_a642f84a21.jpg"/></a>

    For the final stretch home I did some exploring, and discovered my new favorite way to get from SoCal to NorCal: Highways 33, 198, and 25!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhoriman/3406743292/"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3598/3406743292_522a807501.jpg"/></a>

    That's pretty much it. Now I need to move on to stories of the next adventure!

    THE END.

    (for now)