South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Yes, that's true and I am pretty sure he will answer your question as I find him to usually respond to almost every comment as a true gentleman do. :evil
  2. Clem Kevin

    Clem Kevin Nude With Boots

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    Hey Jdawg. Now that you're coming back to the states, I'd love to meet up with you some time and hear your stories. I saw you'll be in Oregon this summer, so will I. If you can remember, you should hit me up when you do, or just head down to California. I owe you a beer and pizza for this ride report.
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi ONandOFF,

    The admins removed the link. I guess people were complaining about the paypal thing and they've had trouble in the past. It's no big deal. I can abide by the rules around here. I can imagine it's a thankless job trying to keep things running smoothly on ADVrider. I appreciate being able to share stories from the road and will continue to do so.

    I have read the ride report rules now and will try to come up with other ideas that are okay. I'll report back anything I find out. I still think crowd sourced funding of riders is a great idea. Support the folks that are sending back pictures and stories. Nothing wrong with that. I'll just have to find other ways, that's all.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  4. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Clem Kevin,

    I'm not a beer man but am always up for pizza. I should be in Oregon the first part of July for a month or so. Hope to see you around if you're in the area.

    Saludos,
    Jperro
  5. Clem Kevin

    Clem Kevin Nude With Boots

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    I'm not a beer man either. I forgot. Root Beer then. Even if I'm not at the time, if you're in Bend I'm sure my brother would hang out with ya
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi bob,

    I'll probably be gone in July. You can camp in my back yard though. Should be a fun trip. I will warn you, it's mighty hot that time of year in the northern plains.

    Have fun!
    Juan Viajero
  7. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF Road, or off?

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    That's cool, John. I admire your character of tenacity and honesty. I'm looking forward to the details of your departure and bike stashing. May your final three weeks in the area continue to be rife with blessings.
  8. bESS

    bESS Been here awhile

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    John:

    I knew you were going to Oregon, just didn't know your timing. Perhaps I could detour down there on my way back to BC in early/mid August. Lots of time to figure it out. See you on the road then . . .

    bob
  9. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Sorry if I missed this ... ?John, are you riding around the USA? Buying another bike? ... or :ear ? If you need help finding a bike let me know. I'm in the SF Bay Area. Lots of good deals come and go here.

    You've expressed great thoughts and inspiration for us all ... and ALL have responded with great ideas on travel, life. :clap:freaky

    I broke away from the Rat Race in my early 20's after dropping out of UCLA Film School. Just wasn't for me ... at that time. Hit the road, mostly off the bike, but sometimes ON the bike. I did pretty much what John is doing now. Work in USA, save money, go travel.

    Started a businesses, volunteered along my 16 country, 7 year run. (1973 to 1979) 2 of those years were spent in the Antarctic. I did a few back a forths, but spent most of those 7 years in Latin America or Antarctica.

    Traveling, I grew bored hanging out at the usual Gringo-tenango party's along the Gringo Trial, so did a few different things to keep up interest.
    In Guatemala, (lived for about 2 years) I sponsored businesses and provided seed money to indigenous kids selling Soda and candy on the street. Also imported tons of arteseneo goods. You have to start somewhere! :D It worked!

    My landlord was a Senator. The Senator was one of only two indigenous people in the Guatemalan Congresso ... in a country that is 85% Indigenous! He was killed during the 80's by para military death squads under Pres. Rios Mont. :cry

    In El Salvador I volunteered teaching English. Local teacher had terrible English pronunciation ... so worked mostly on that. I saw the coming US sponsored war ... but could not say a word. Sure enough, their dirty war started and thousands were murdered ... all with US sponsorship.

    Skipping ahead years, made contacts in Argentina, snagged a job at USARP working in Antarctica. That job led to 3 more back and forth trips to S. America and earning some serious money. (for me) 19 months in Antarctic.

    Keeping busy and having work really helps make travel more rewarding. Riding a bike all day, everyday ... and doing nothing but taking pics ... believe it or not, gets boring.

    John has illustrated "The Way" perfectly ... using his many skills to help out and earn a few bucks along the way. Balancing his time between work and bumming around ... and in doing so, so artfully, has become the very best ambassador in the world for our country. In the case of the USA, ... we really need help in that regard.
  10. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF Road, or off?

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    Seriously. I agree.
    It seems like it would be more interesting being a part of life in the place to which, and around which, traveling - rather than strictly observing. At least it's that way with me. And the best part of enjoying John's time there; he gets involved with people, more than interacting. Almost like with family.
    Sorry your friend got murdered. That is a sad tale.
  11. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    Hi John,

    In my experience, there are not many people that so selflessly have the genuine interest and attention to think and understand others, and express their true thoughts and share life impressions in response, the way you do. And although not being religiously affiliated, thus far from being the most qualified one to recognize it, I believe you have reached what they call nirvana in your life with a balance of work and travel riding. I hope you will have this tranquility forever while preserving the adventurous life style of living on the edge.

    In my own case, I recognize my rides were many times a way to run from facing my own self, for over twelve years now. High speed, long distances were my weapons. Not that I didn't enjoy the travels allot, but I now understand that I cannot outrun my own demons and perhaps my fate, and the sooner I face them, the better. And that taking that first leap out of the driveway onto the long road ahead is much better with peace in one's soul and smelling the flowers along the way. But even if not, I have used it as medicine and it works for me. As you say, returning is a shock, and I have yet to experience and understand how that feels after more than a month but got a taste of it and can only imagine. For a while I was unable to ride unless it was for a day or more, it felt pointless, I already knew all roads and places in that proximity. And riding is my most enjoyable activity. Slowly I started enjoying again short rides, just for the pleasure of riding the bike. I hope you don't have that problem when you return home.

    Best,
    Vic
  12. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Not wanting to start a political debate, but during the months I spent in El Salvador I did hear two very different sides to this story. I dont support either side. Usually there are three sides to every story, one side, the other side, and then the truth.

    Keep on keepin on Juan, great travels amigo, you are a true ambassador.
  13. RidingAgin

    RidingAgin Been here awhile

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    Hi John,
    Thanks for the very fine documentary and tour on you mc ride. Although I was late to find this thread it has Inspired me to tune up my Spanish. I love the phrases for the motorcycle parts and have a notebook of them all.

    Although my bike traves have been limited to the US and Canada so far, my travels have taken me on brief glimpses of the world from China, Hong Kong, England, France, Spain, S.Korea, Israel, and others. Traveling to SA is now on my list.

    I will be in Aruba in a couple of weeks for my annual snorkeling but the coast of Columbia you reported on, is etched in my neuron case now.

    Either by bike, jet or backpacking it, getting out and seeming the world and understanding the underlying goodness of most people on the planet is always rewarding. As it has been mentioned, the first step to an adventure is sometimes hard to do.

    Enjoy the world and it's natural beauty. Safe travels my amigo.

    Den

    I owe you a pizza if we ever meet. :clap
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Den,

    I'm always up for pizza. Glad you are enjoying the ride report. Thankfully, others are contributing interesting posts while I goof off here in Medellin.

    And yes, I think you'd really enjoy the Atlantic northern coast of Colombia. Cartegena, Taganga, Tayrona, Palomino, Cabo de la Vela. Nice places to visit.

    The more Spanish you know, the more fun you'll have interacting with the locals with in-depth conversations.

    Saludos,
    Juanito
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I'm having a blast here in Medellin after five months on the road. As my funds have dwindled, it is a perfect exchange to fix things around the Shamrock here for Al in exchange for a free place to stay. As well as paint his apartment. Had a fun day today figuring out how to hook up a remote security camera system. As well as visiting the local home improvement center with Al and picking up paint and supplies for decorating his new apartment. I can't post photos of people's private homes as that would be tacky. You'll just have to imagine a beautiful minimalist two bedroom apartment on the tenth floor of a high rise in the nice part of Medellin up the hill from here with floor to ceiling glass doors that slide open to a small balcony with a killer view overlooking the city and the mountains off in the distance. Really nice new place he has here. Quiet, well built, nicely appointed. I'm going to make his new apartment look like a million dollars this week.

    It looks like I will be able to park the Sherpa in his garage for six months until I can return next fall. So I have no problem helping him out. This means I can stay here in Medellin for another three weeks and take day rides around the hills. Although I will have to ride solo, since there's no way I could ever keep up with Al on his Super Moto 990:

    [​IMG]

    or his 1974 bitchin' Norton 850 Comando. That 990 motor with the Akropovic exhaust sounds SWEET when he rides up in the mornings. You can hear it a couple blocks away. Since Al was a dispatch rider in his earlier years, I tremble at the thought of trying to keep up with him on the back roads of Colombia. Al is a great guy. I highly recommend visiting his place here in Medellin if you're in the neighborhood. It's like family here.

    I fixed the washing machine today for Blanca the cleaning lady and she loves me now. Finished hanging the dart board and various cool pics in the game room yesterday:

    [​IMG]

    I think I've hammer drilled a couple hundred holes in the masonry walls in the last two days to hang dozens of pics and posters here. It's really fun hanging out here and beautifying the place.

    Saludos,
    Juan Decoradora
  16. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    Hi John,

    If I ever make it to Medellin I'll be sure to stop at Al's place.
    That KTM looks kick ass. I almost bought one instead of my GS 1200. It's for sure a different animal.

    When you have time, look at these ride reports:

    Not dead yet

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=870156

    And

    Coast to Coast (and back?) with an Italian Supermodel

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=808437

    Oisin has his e-books on Amazon, videos on you-tube. Got me spending hours watching all of them already and bought his e-books.
    Antihero has them in his signature as iPad eBook.

    Since they also share freely allot on the ADV web site I believe that's part of what makes their content attractive to most.

    I believe your books, should you decide to write and publish them, would be very rich and insightful with interesting and original content.
    I never tire of reading ride reports, everyone's is different and interesting in it's own.

    Kindest regards,
    Vic
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Vic,

    I checked out Oisin's videos. I hate to say it, but that is the atithesis of my travel style. I have nothing against others with a thick Irish accent that like to travel fast with a big bike loaded to the gills with gear. I used to do it.

    It's just not what works for me now. I look at these overloaded bikes and just shake my head. Sorry. I am a confirmed minimalist. It's a disease I have. There is no cure. I want to encourage young folks that you don't have to have a GS12 loaded with expensive gear. You can take a beater Honda with Craigslist used riding gear and thrift store clothes to South America and spend a fraction of the money and have a ton of fun.

    As far as ebooks, I will look into it, but I would rather publish my stories here on ADVrider for free if possible and go back home to earn money. It's a nice balance. But I promise I will look into the ebook idea and see if it is something that makes sense for others.

    I really don't mind working in the summers and riding in the winter. People have been so kind to me. I don't want to create such a karma deficit that I can't get ahead.

    I have to help others in any way I can with helpful tips and advice.

    I would like to thank Garfey, DrJ9000 and JamesWWright for sponsoring this week's ride report. I don't even know how they figured out how to donate funds to this report. I am indebted to them forever.

    Saludos,
    Juan Viajero
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Adv Grifter,

    I have lots of other bikes. No need to worry. I will be picking up my XR with low mileage when I get to Oregon.

    I am good at buying bikes, but terrible when it comes time to getting rid of them. I have a garage full in Oregon that I really need to find homes for.

    Hopefully, I will have time to get rid of some of my airhead BMWs. Good lord, I have a garage full of airhead parts. It's pathetic. I could probably finance a year in South America with all the stuff I have. I will likely give it away at firesale prices when I get there this summer. Airhead BMWs are an addiction and there is no cure. I have sympathy for my airhead brethren. I have transmissions, motors, frames, titles, parts for G/S 80s, mufflers, side covers, tanks, all the tools for tranmissions, steering head bearing removal, that sort of thing. Plus spare ICUs, Diode boards, wiring harnesses, etc. etc.

    Cheers,
    Airhead John
  19. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    Hi John,

    Funny you should mention it, I started riding in the 80's Romania on a used two stroke 50cc bike that was manufactured locally. Many probably never heard of Mobra :D I used to take it as far as it worked and carried spare piston and rings with me among other things to replace so I could make it back. It broke more often than it worked and I constantly had to carry a full assortment of parts I often used on the side of the road. I mean any trip longer than 40 Km or so. I remember a trip from Bucharest to the Black Sea carrying my girlfriend passenger when my clutch cable broke, I had to stop and fix the cable end using a pair of pliers and piece of barb wire that I stole from a military compound nearby, all the while being careful to not get shot at. On a good day with wind from the back 80 Km/h was a great top speed but not sustainable. When I got to the destination I had to rebuild the piston and rings.
    I later graduated to an East German 1978 MZ 150 I bought from someone who had it in their barn covered with chicken poop, rusting for years. They handed me the electrics and carburetor parts in a paper bag and we towed it home in the trunk of a car. Took me a winter of work to rebuild and becoming friends with a mentally retarded machinist who otherwise was an OK person. There were no parts available anywhere money could buy in those years, so everything had to be copied and made. I was able to reach 120 Km/h with this powerful engine until one day the engine exploded internally.
    The greatest of all bikes I owned there was a Jawa 350 bought in the flea market from am Ukraine guy that could drink anyone under the table. That took me to Budapest and anywhere in between through Transylvania and home. And you know what? Those were happier years.

    You did teach me yet another life lesson by sharing your true opinions and I really appreciate that.

    Best,
    Vic
  20. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Vic,

    I have an affinity for mentally retarded machinists as it turns out. Two up on a 350 Jawa. That's what I'm talkin' about!! Now you're talking my kind of language!!!!

    Minimalist! It's a disease. There's no cure.

    Anyone can ride a GS12, F650, GS800, KLR650, XR650 or DR650 to South America. Nothing wrong with that. But when you get down here, you realize it costs 1500 hundred bucks minimum to get it back home. What's up with that? Plus the bike will be thrashed by the time you pound down Latin America over 1000s of topes and hopefully offroad through mud, construction detours, river crossings. Not to mention getting crushed or dumped in the ocean. By the time you have ridden 20 or 30,000 miles or so your travel bike will have been trashed. Why spend 1000s on a bike and farkles when you can pick up a used Sherpa for 1500. Sure it only goes 65 comfortably. So what? It gets 50% better gas mileage than bigger bikes. That adds up in the countries where gas costs 5 bucks a gallon or more.

    Not that I have anything against bigger bikes. If you have the money and need the throttle, I say go for it. I am just offering up alternatives for folks who are financially challenged like me. If you are traveling solo and don't need a lot of gear, there are alternatives. I am living proof that you can ride to South America for less than you might imagine.

    Saludos,
    Juan Minamilista
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