She's got this crazy idea- exploring the 3 America's solo, for better or for worse...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hewby, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity

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    Ouch! I pretty much did the same thing in Mongolia when I went wide on a switchback-splattered blood under the visor of my MX helmet. I was able to laugh by the end of the day hahaha.

    Good on ya for keeping on:clap
  2. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the thought Tom and I am taking the admiration as a compliment. But am I right in thinking this comes from your nervousness of the solo trip your are planning to commence. Do it. Solo travel is amazing. The world opens up, and the fear of leaving alone melts away. I remember the first few weeks where I just couldn't leave. 'Tomorrow' was always the word said after it became ' too late (again) to leave today'. Enjoy your planning and the freedom that ensues as you let your heart go, load the bike, point south and turn the throttle!
  3. operaflute

    operaflute Starving Artist

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    Yes.
  4. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

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    And post a ride report here :deal
  5. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Thanks Bob. That bike and I had some adventures. But in the end we got through it all together in one piece.
  6. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Yeah. It's a lot harder to laugh when the blood is still flowing!
  7. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity

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    I hear you there, this was a couple of hours later:lol3
    [​IMG]
  8. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    I have been to the gobi desert with some herders for a bit and through Mongolia but that was before I was into motorbikes. Looks like a right crack to your nose there.
  9. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

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    Sounds like you need to revisit Mongolia, maybe on a motorcycle this time :evil
  10. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Huzar watch what you say. As far as I am aware Mongolia host some of the worst food I have found traveling. Especially in the spring time, and I tried hard to find local delicacies. So if I was heading that way on a bike, my guess is it would be solo ;) Though western Mongolia was a region I never explored and I kept thinking I might go back...
  11. GuateRider

    GuateRider Long timer

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    Before going to Mongolia you guys have a revisit to Guatemala pending :freaky
  12. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    Don't worry Julio. Your on my list ;)
  13. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity

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  14. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    ok, back too it! The land of working and living on mobile internet has taken its toll on my posting, but I promise to finish this sometime soonish!
  15. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    We take the morning to work on our bikes, prodding and poking trying to work out our starter issues- Alison simply finding a screw had worked loose of the battery with the riding over the crazy ruts, and for me, with the help of some of the other bikers at the hostel, we diagnose a dead starter button. With my button pulled apart I can start the bike with a piece of wire, though I decide to take the bike to the local electrics man who replaces the button with one I tape in with Gaffa for $5US. Not a bad job I think, much cheaper than my previous BMW services!

    We go for a proper car wash, and decide to include our mud and salt stained riding gear.
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    After sorting out our bikes, groceries, and internet we decide to have some quick lunch before heading on. Everything seemed to have taken us an age to get through, and still we had not yet filled up with fuel as the three stations we had gone too, either did not have gas to sell, had a queue of cars that went down and around the street, or refused to sell us gas at a reasonable price (or as we tried to bargain that they actually filled out a receipt for us so at least we know our extra 300% was going to the government which we hoped just might put it into the road system, and not simply into the fuel attendants pocket). By this time Alison was starting to get a little hungry and tetchy and she identified that her &#8220;Inner Bolivian&#8221; was starting to show. &#8220;A gift for Pacha Mumma&#8221;, was given to bring luck to our ride as she shared the shells of her lunch with the pavement&#8230;

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    Finally we headed off, with full tanks, but not before stopping at the train graveyard on the way out of town.
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    The weather was looking fine and the baked earth looked amazing.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8498276781/" title="DSC02339 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8521/8498276781_5330358758.jpg" width="500" height="333" alt="DSC02339"></a>

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    my poor riding boots totally salt stained

    Yet as we headed on the rain clouds built up in the distance and the road seemed to go right into the darkness.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8498278281/" title="GOPR4048 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8240/8498278281_34d642525d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR4048"></a>

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    As Alison recounted to me later, the owner of the hotel had commented on our route just before we left that &#8220;the road was good&#8230; if it didn&#8217;t rain!

    We started sliding about as the rain hit. The road turning to slick. The cars, trucks and vans coming at us at speed sliding all over the place, and laying us in swaths of thick brown guck, at times totally blinding me as my visor was covered. I started to get scared. I had little, to no traction. I needed to ride near the middle of the road to keep out of the worst of the slick, but that was also where the oncoming cars were headed. Our bikes were loaded with supplies for our possible 5 day camp into the south west of the country, and we were struggling with our loads.

    As a car would come towards me, I would stop over to my side of the road, to save myself the joys of riding blind, or sliding into them. One particular driver on the other hand, seemed to revel in the fact that I was there (maybe a sitting duck?) and seemingly speed up and flicked out his back wheel as he was passing, his whole van sliding almost sideways into me, drowning me in mud, and missing me by inches. I felt like I was going to end up staying forever in Bolivia in a tiny memorial house on the side of the road, a sad reminder of those no so lucky.

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    One of the multitudes of memorial houses that littered the sides of the road throughout the region

    Persecutory feelings or just plain poor driving skills, started to take their toll on me. It was taking all that I had to keep going in the icy cold rain, and thick mud. Alison was fighting similar battles behind me, but with no mirrors left on my bike I couldn&#8217;t see how she was fairing and it was all I could do to go forward myself.

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    Coming into a town, much short of our intended destination for the day, we felt broken, and bruised. Alison sporting a cracking headache from a spectacular slide in the mud, when a truck forced her into the slick, and a resulting 180 degree slide, and we thought it wise to call it a day.

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    I found the only hotel in the town, and while balking at the price; we needed a warm, safe place to stay for the night.
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    Joyfully the power was out, so they refused to serve us dinner &#8211; after serving everyone else mind you, and they told us to find something in town. When we got back at 9, in the pitch dark, they had locked us out of the hotel, and it took 30 minutes of banging on the door before we convinced someone to open the door for us and let us back in. Thankfully for my sanity, there were two other Bolivian men locked outside too or I would have started to feel very much like the country was insisting I wasn&#8217;t welcome. We went into our bedroom, lit only by the light of our torches and phones, and crawled into bed. Our wet gear muddy gear handing over chairs and door frames like the shells of ourselves that were left.
  16. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    The morning brought more clarity. February the 14th and Valentines day. We were both far from our loved ones, without internet, and we just wanted to get out of Bolivia alive. We felt that we had put ourselves and our bikes through enough, and we decided to keep heading west to the call of Chile, leaving the southern Lagunas route to those with better weather, lighter bikes, and lighter hearts.
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    Thankfully the sun started to shine, and the roads had dried up a little.

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    The corrugations brought further bike troubles, though me still not learning, decided I had a fuel block. I started to stress, and pull the bike apart. But thankfully, a well needed rest for lunch, helped me see the error of my ways, and the loose battery terminal, before I started to try to rectify the phantom fuel blockage!


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    We headed joyfully towards Chile, thankful for the better weather and the subsequently better road conditions. Marveling at the scenery, though we decided to push on for the day and exit the country before something else decided to go wrong.


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    At the border we rejoiced. Our gushing of happiness was loaded on the Chilean bike customs man as he told us proudly, and as a warning, that we could no longer bribe policemen, and to be careful to obey the road laws. We were delighted. I felt like the huge weight of the last month was lifting. We had made it over the border alive, and we would no longer have to struggle to buy gas, deal with corrupt police and systems, and generally feel unwelcome. It may have been over the top, but by this point we were simply exhausted by the effort of it all, and just wanted a little normality.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8912539470/" title="IMG_4212 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8257/8912539470_034bbdc267.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_4212"></a>

    Our bikes broken and dirty make it to the border, this is the last they see of Bolivia

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    Joy

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    My heart responded to this sign strangely as the excitement of finally arriving in Chile started to sink in

    Heading over the rain swept salt fields, exhausted but happy, we found our first free camp in the wild. We put up our tent with joy, and cooked up our meal as the sun set behind the clouds.

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  17. DustyRags

    DustyRags Idiot

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    Oh man, what a ride! :lurk
  18. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity

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    wowza!
  19. Hewby

    Hewby Been here awhile

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    We woke to the mountains revealing their glory
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    packed up our little rocky campsite
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    and we headed on our way.

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    Stopping for some supplies, and some money in a little town, we were astounded by the huge malls. Not yet ready to venture too long in this aspect of the world, we headed back out to the streets, leaving our bikes parked in a strip mall in the city, taking turns to watch the bikes while the other walked off to find supplies.
    It was then that I was struck by an amazing realization. After feeling invisible for almost a month, I sat with the bikes as people came by. They talked to me. The kids asked to sit on my bike. A man walked by, and after a very brief conversation (I was struggling to fully understand the new accent) he directed me to take off a necklace from his neck, which he placed on mine, told me it was a gift from the Atacama desert, wished me luck, kissed me on the cheek and walked off. All while I stood almost gob smacked. There was no sexual overtones. No wanting anything from me. Just pure, genuine kindness. I felt like I had just taken off my invisibility cloak. I was almost in tears. I smiled and said hello to a young man with Down syndrome as he walked passed looking at me. Thirty min later, he surprised me by coming back to hold my hands and kiss my cheek. The cheek kissing was a habit I saw again and again over my time in Chile. It came to be a part of Chilean culture I loved and respected. When one entered or exited a social scene they would kiss each other&#8217;s cheeks. It felt a different vibe than I had experienced in Mexico. I saw teenage boys, come and kiss their fathers as they entered a room. My mouth dropped. How do they make these children? I made a mental note to raise any children I might one day have, for at least some time in Chile.

    Finally we had gathered supplies, and judging the carwash (where we hopped to remove all traces of Bolivia) just too expensive, we headed off through the desert to the coast.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8497085137/" title="GOPR4107 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8392/8497085137_60c2257b6b.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR4107"></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79973473@N06/8497085493/" title="GOPR4108 by hewby2, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8091/8497085493_9b95f99ebd.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="GOPR4108"></a>
  20. DustyRags

    DustyRags Idiot

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,307
    Location:
    The Beast, California
    HEWBY! You're back! :clap