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. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi 1leglance,

    Wow! That is great news. Your name goes on the Sherpa gas tank.

    I was just talking to a Canadian couple at dinner last night about what a great education travel can be for young people, and what a shame so much mis-information is reported in the media at home that creates fear and doubt about traveling the world. It is one of the best ways for young people to learn about different cultures and broaden their perspectives.

    Your son is very lucky to have a Dad like you. Back when I rode Hondas in the 70’s in California I bought a CB450 off Cycletrader in West L.A. What a great bike. Used it as a commuter bike. That was back when a 450 was considered a big bike.

    Inspiring people to travel the world and explore foreign lands is my new goal in life. I will continue reporting back what I find and hopefully provide useful information you can use in your future travels.

    Your ADV pal,
    Juan Viajero
  2. trespalacios

    trespalacios Oh libertad

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    Single moms need support :D
  3. riverman

    riverman Life is great !

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    "Inspiring people to travel the world and explore foreign lands is my new goal in life. I will continue reporting back what I find and hopefully provide useful information you can use in your future travels.

    Your ADV pal,
    Juan Viajero "


    This is what I find so inspiring about these ADV reports. Gene and Neda, Kedgi, John, and many others give us a totally different perspective and knowledge about travels in these lands that is based on first hand, up front and personal experience - not what they have concluded after reading media and word of mouth anecdotes.<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
  4. George 99

    George 99 Been here awhile

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    Many, many young folks do travel the world, just not many from the US of A. Met these few in Thailand nearly a year ago, this clique is mostly French and Italian, lots more tho from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, etc, etc.
    [​IMG]
  5. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    Now thats some good stuff. I can barely walk today after or ride yesterday but I can look at this all day long. :eek1
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Thanks George99,

    This ride report could use more pics like that.

    Saludos,
    Tio Juan
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Traveling south from Colombia to Ecuador I have noticed a few subtle and not so subtle differences. The first thing you notice when you cross the border is how much better the major paved roads are. Hardly any potholes. Wider with shoulders which allows traffic on the A roads to move along much more quickly. Ecuadoreans on these roads drive quite a bit faster as a result. It is also very common for oncoming traffic to pass trucks and buses swinging into your lane forcing you over onto the shoulder. Almost like Guatemala. This is only on the major roads. It happens so often that you are well served to favor the right side of the road along with the local moto traffic. Out on the secondary roads there are more potholes and missing pavement, but I couldn’t believe how much road construction is going on. The main thing to watch for on minor roads with little traffic are the wide swinging buses and trucks coming around blind corners. Once again it is wise to favor the right side of these sparsely traveled roads in the hairpins.

    The Ecuadoreans themselves are much more Guatemalan/ indigenous looking. The women are shorter and chubbier. Just an observation. You can ride through a village and not see one thin woman walking down the way. Must be diet I suppose.

    Gas prices are a third what they were in Colombia. They seem to be set by the government since every single gas station I have filled up at has regular pegged at $1.48/gallon. Premium fluctuates between $2.00-2.10/gallon. You can ride all day for under 5 bucks on a little bike.

    Accomadation prices are about the same in Ecuador as they were in Colombia. Hostal bed is 6-10 dollars. You can generally find a rural basic slightly funky private room with secure parking in the 10.00 range out in the sticks. More in the touristy cities. There are plenty of places to camp if you look, but with the rain in the mountains I have yet to camp in Ecuador.

    Food prices are cheaper in Ecuador with a plato tipico for breakfast or lunch running $2.00-2.50 in the rural areas and $4.00-5.00 in the tourist spots.

    The internet is sketchy here so I better post this while it’s up. I have been reading up on Ecuadorean history from the lending library here at the hostel. Currently reading “The Mapmakers Wife” by Robert Whitaker which recounts a French cartography expedition to Ecuador in 1735. Quite interesting to see the difference in riding across the country on a dirt bike compared to slashing through the jungles with a mule train to get to Quito 300 years ago.

    Let’s just say it took them a lot longer than a day. And the high suspension bridges across canyons and rivers back then were made of vines and handmade rope netting fastened to branches of trees on opposite banks. They covered the fishnet woven floor of the bridges with branches, bark and wood. The explorers had to carry their gear across these sagging high bridges that would bow down with the weight while their porters would swim their mules across the rivers below and meet them on the other side.

    Now that’s some ADVmuleriding.

    Gotta get back to my book. Today I am taking a page from my new buddies lifestyle. Here he is, Amarillo the ADVcat:

    [​IMG]

    He’s the most mellow cat I have met since North Tulsa Oklahoma. He’s teaching me not to take life too seriously.

    more later…..
  8. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF Road, or off?

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    I sure was blessed to be in Guayaquil for the burning of the año viejo this year. Jaunted up El Cajas to Cuenca for a day trip, and got sunburned at Playas (Villamil). Hooray! The bike at the finca was dead, but I got to ride one of the guardian's around a neighborhood. Some kind of Suzuki - with all gears press down to go up, I can't get used to that. Not one Pilsener this time, though... it was Brahma and Negro Modelo if you can believe it. Times are changing there, and not everything is for the better. Cost of living is way up. At least gas isn't... yet. $1.48/gal for "super" or "ecopais". Peace, and safe travels!
  9. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF Road, or off?

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    Oh hey, that's because you're in the Sierra. It's different on the coast. And in the major cities up there. You'll see...

    Although I must say I've seen a notable increase in the portliness of the citizenry there over the last several years. The first time I went, I marveled at how difficult is seemed to encounter obese people. No such difficulty earlier this month, though. Enjoy your adventures, whatever they may bring!
  10. UncleR

    UncleR KLiX are for kids

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    John,
    I just currently got caught up on your report after a several month hiatus. I thoroughly enjoy your outlook and experiences. I mentioned duolingo to my wife who is a language teacher and she is now offering her students extra credit for spending time on the site. Perhaps that will make her job a bit easier. Happy wife=happy life so thank you.

    Also wanted to say I was at an adv gathering this past weekend in Virginia, and your name came up a few times in passing as a source of inspiration. While normally not polite to talk about someone when they aren't around, I promise you it was all good and filled with envy. You are very well known in the adv community and I felt privileged to be well versed in your travels and philosophy. Thanks for continuing to share with us. Carry on!
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi UncleR,

    You boys can talk about me behind my back all you want. Lord knows everybody in the podunk town I live in does. Plenty of people back home think I'm nuts. Not that I care. ADVriders and world travellers are about the only people who get what I'm about. Money comes and goes, but seeing the world float by from the seat of a motorcycle stays with you forever.

    Glad that duolingo is of use to the wife. It's been a helpful program for me. Nice to have you along for the ride amigo.

    Saludos,
    Juan Aventurero Poco Loco
  12. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    John,

    Still enjoying your fantastic journey! I had the opportunity to meet the same cat in June:
    [​IMG]

    If you are headed to Quito, I highly recommend the Eco Route; those who say it is not possible underestimate the abilities of the Sherpa.

    All the Best,

    .
  13. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Hopefully I'm not interfering with your RR, but you may want to enquire if Malaria is a concern at this time of year. It was when I visited in June, and we were advised to fog the room and sleep under the netting. We did this to be prudent, but after walking 1/2 mile up the beach at 1:00 AM from the Tiki Shak.

    [​IMG]
  14. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Poolman,

    Giving helpful advice and posting pictures of cool cats and beautiful women in bikinis is always encouraged on this ride report.

    Good to have you along amigo.

    Saludos,
    Juan Gato Amarillo
  15. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    Lovin your life John, keep up the good work. :clap
  16. exmagnarider

    exmagnarider Adventurer

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    Hi John -

    Just wanted to say thanks so much for this thread. I found it a few weeks ago and it's been my entertainment at work in the downtime. I'm still way behind, back when you were just getting back home from the first leg of the journey but I'm loving every minute of it. Back in high school I had a DRZ400S and you're really making me miss it! We didn't have a lot of trails and things nearby and offroad riding at the time wasn't as aluring to me as street but I'm slowly realizing my folly there. That and I think I need to decrease the amount of crap I bring on trips seeing what you can pull off as a minimalist. Keep up the riding, loving every minute of it from snow-covered Minnesota!
  17. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi exmagnarider,

    Glad to be of service. It's my job to keep you entertained for the next few months until I run out of money. My relatives on one side homesteaded in Minnesota before moving to the Dakotas. It takes a special type of person to handle northern winters if you know what I mean.

    It helps to be tough, stubborn and a tad delusional I reckon. I benefited from their genes.

    Saludos,
    Juan Delirante
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    There’s only so much body surfing and beach bumming I can do before I start feeling like a Robinson Crusoe hobo. While it’s nice to catch some waves:

    [​IMG]

    and read up on Ecuadorean history in a hammock, I think it’s high time I hit the road. I can’t remember how long I’ve been here, but Hektoglider PM’d me and said I should go down the coast and check out Montañita surf camp down the way. So I guess tomorrow it is time to saddle up and head south.

    It’s been raining in the mountains all week according to wunderground.com so I’ve been kinda hanging out on the beach before heading back up into the Andes.

    I was thinking of heading up to Quilatoa, Baños and Cuenca on backroads. But if the weather is crap up there, I may just head to Patagonia and swing back up here when the living is easy and the skies are blue.

    The boys next door have been rocking their gas powered cement mixer since early this morning. They are mixing up cement and bucketing it up to the third floor with 5 gallon buckets and a pulley:

    [​IMG]

    They are mixing and pouring the third floor slab all by hand. A five man crew has been at it for the last 10 hours. No boom trucks, concrete pumps and paddle trowels in this neck of the woods. It’s all done by hand. With power equipment they would have been done 8 hours ago. None of that fancy stuff down here though.

    This Chilean family is traveling to Venezuela to visit relatives in their diesel Chevy camper:

    [​IMG]

    They camped at the beach across the street last night. Really nice folks. But I mean, Mom, Dad, three screaming young kids and the brother-in-law. Sounds like the trip from hell to me. Just shoot me.

    Not that I have anything against kids. I enjoy other people’s kids and pets. Just never felt compelled to have any of my own.

    more later….
  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I’m reading about these French explorers from 1735 that hacked their way through Ecuador 300 years ago. Discovered quinine from the Ecuadorean Cinchona tree bark that cured King Charles II from malaria, latex rubber in Ecuador that was used as waterproofing (well okay, and later condoms), platimum, mapped Ecuador. These guys were studs.

    Never heard of them before reading the book “The Mapmakers Wife.”

    It gives perspective to read about the hardships they endured back in the day. And here I am in the hammock thinking I need to go down the way and order some rice and chicken from the roadside stall. Compared to them my ADVriding is weaksauce.

    On some canyon crossings they only had a woven leather cable 150 feet above a roaring river that they strapped a rope around, tied it to their waist and pulled themselves across the abyss hand over hand while dangling over the raging river. Sounds like fun to me.

    more later…..
  20. Sleddog

    Sleddog Ridin, again:)

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    Reading between the lines Juanito:evil
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