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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AirborneAndy, Oct 9, 2010.
Well done, would love to do this ride sometime.Keep the pictures coming!
Wow, all that mud on streety type tires, and NINE days without a shower. Not to mention cliffs that you would starve to death before hitting bottom.:eek1
You sir are truly a steely-eyed adventure man. Salute and looking forward to updates.
Congrats. Thanks for the RR
Happy to see you made your destination. and look forward to more wonderful pics on the way back. /ron
Ok... I rode back from Tierra de Fuego. It wasn't a conscious decision, it just sorta happened. I had considered shipping my bike back but never got around to it and I gradually just worked my way north. So, I thought I'd just continue this RR to include the trip back.
After careful analysis of my options, being that I was pretty much out of roads to ride going south, I decided to head north with a couple goals in mind - I wanted to see some penguins, and I wanted to go to Buenos Aires
I still needed to replace my chain and sprockets as they were badly worn. So, I stopped in Rio Gallegos and bought the parts I needed but decided to wait on installing them until later as I felt like riding and wanted to get some miles in that day. This proved to be a mistake as I later discovered the Suzuki Dealer had given me the wrong rear sprocket. I was several hundred miles from where I had purchased the parts and had no desire to go back. So, I forged on. But my sprockets were worn to the point that the chain was slipping badly. Riding very slowly, I made it to Bahia Blanca and found a moto shop where they offered to exchange my sprocket for the right one . The owner also offered to take me to a shop where I could install may new parts. The first shop we went to was closing shortly, so he took me to small moto repair shop behind the mechanic’s home. He introduced me and made sure I had everything I needed before he left. The mechanic was really nice guy. He introduced me to his family and his wife and daughter brought me refreshments while his son helped me install my new parts. They also invited me to use their shower and even stay the night - I took them up on the offer to shower but didn’t feel like imposing to the extent of staying the night. But, they made me feel very, very welcome. After installing my new parts and showering, it was getting late. And, I wanted to get out of town and find a nice place to camp for the night. But, I was unsure which way to go and stopped to look at my map. A bicyclist stopped almost immediately to see if he could help. And, he was giving me directions when a moto rider stopped and offered take me there. So, I followed the moto rider for a mile or so and he took me to his house. He started introducing me to his family and asked if I really needed to leave tonight as it was getting dark - he said I was welcome have dinner with them and stay the night. This all seemed quite strange to me as I am from the Los Angeles, California area where this kind of thing just does not happen. :huh I was enjoying their hospitality but couldn’t bring myself to accept their generous offer as I still felt like I would be imposing. So, I bid farewell to another nice family and headed for the edge of town where I stopped to fuel up before heading off into the darkness. Then I started questioning what I was doing. There seemed to be something special going on here in this friendly little town. So, I decided to find a hostel and stay a couple days.
While I was there, I met a couple gals, Linsey and Natalia who were traveling the globe, volunteering on farms. We set out to see a bit of the town. After wandering around for a few hours talking we discovered that none of us had yet experienced the cultural phenomenon known as “Mate”. So, we found a small café and tried to order some. As it turns out, this is more of a ritual that is shared between friends. And, it is not on the menu at any restaurant. However, the café waiter talked to the manager/owner and they offered to let us use one of their personal mate cups to experience this small but significant part of their culture for the first time. And, they acted as if it were a privilege to do so.
Hey esta muy bueno tu reporte !!!!!!!!
Where are you, Andy?
Gracias Emiliano Hey Mark. Im back in the L.A. area for a while. I see you're back home for a bit too. I'll have to come out and see you when I visit my Aunt in Surprise, AZ.
I arrived in Buenos Aires and was ready for a break. Before I knew it Id been there over a month. During that time I met a few new friends and caught up with a few old ones. The guys I had ridden with thru Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, eventually caught up to me here. They stayed for a bit and each moved on. Patrick went back to Santiago Chile. It was the end of the road for Brian and he shipped his bike back to England. Damon shipped his bike to Germany to continue his RTW ride. And me?
I took Tango lessons and did a lot of just plain chillin. I also had some bike issues to work out. One problem with the bike that cropped up on a short trip across the border into Uruguay. The bike stopped charging the battery. And, the bike would stop running when the battery died. This turned out to be a broken wire on the voltage regulator which I was (eventually) able to diagnose and repair myself. Another issue was the starter. It really needed to be rebuilt or replaced. There was an auto shop down the street from my hostel where I had my battery charged several times. The mechanic there said he would rebuild my starter if I removed it from the bike. So, I brought it over and he rebuilt it as I watched. After about 15 minutes he had it back together again and pronounced it "Nuevo" - New. And for his services he refused to take any money. He said I was a guest in his country.
I finally left Buenos Aires, heading north for the world famous Iguazu Falls. On my way I was stopped at a Federal Police checkpoint where they fleeced me for about $150 (US) for driving with my headlight off, during the day! The ticket was supposedly $400 and according to the officer, I could not appear in court to take care of the fine - I had to pay THEM, right THEN and THERE. But they found it in their corrupt little hearts to charge me less than the full amount. Only after threatening to keep my bike until I paid the full amount and me refusing to pay any more than the cash I had at hand - I was just about ready to walk away and let them have the bike. Im still ticked off about the $150 dollars. "A serious infraction" is what he said repeatedly!... A SERIOUS INFRACTION? What's it gonna be when I climb over this desk and tell you what I really think! The next day I was stopped at another checkpoint where they attempted to fleece me again! But, I wasnt playing this time. I was cordial at first and slowly worked my way up to stark raving mad! They walked thru the same steps from the day before: ask for my documents, check my lights. My headlight looked like it wasnt working when looking at it from an angle but it was working and you could see it if you looked strait on. But the officer was not seeing it. About then I started seeing red. Angry colorful language began to flow from my lip. I doubt they understood exactly what I was saying but I am absolutely positive they knew that I was pissed off. By now my documents had been handed off to the head guy, just like the day before. His next move would surely have been to take me to their little office and tell me how much the ticket would be. But, I was done playing! I snatched my documents right out of his hands! GIVE ME THAT!!! I walked over to my bike, put my documents in my pack, and rode away. Bear in mind that there were about 10 Police Officers in the immediate area - they were stopping people left and right. I looked into my mirror as I rode off and no one tried to follow me. Perhaps my actions had taken them by surprise or perhaps they just werent going to bother with me. I dont know! And I dont care! Fortunately, this was the exception in my experiences with police in South America.
Anyway I made it to Puerto Iguazu a day before the start of a big motorcycle rally. So, I saw the falls and stayed a couple more days for the rally.
Queremos mas fotos please !!!!!!!
Mas fotos para usted mi amigo... MAS FOTOS PARA TODOS LOS GUSTO!!!!
Ok… I crossed the border into Brazil and discovered that my ATM card would not work anywhere in the town of Foz Do Iguacu. Waited till Monday morning when the banks were open to get money. Then, I was on my way. But, fuel prices were so high that I decided to skip going to Rio De Janeiro and instead headed for Florianopolis, a small paradise island off the coast of Brazil. Spent just a week there at a really cool hostel “The Tucano House” - really nice folks (a brother and sister) who really enjoy running their hostel. Probably the best hostel I have ever stayed in. They had really great food too. But, Brazil was much more expensive than the Latin American countries I had been visiting. I also spoke no Portuguese. So, after a week I decided to head north into Paraguay. But, a funny thing happened along the way. I pulled into a gas station for fuel and discovered that my front tire was almost flat. So, I aired it up. But, I could hear the air coming out of a gash in the side of my tire. I had lost my tire changing tools in Argentina and been unable to replace them. And, I don’t think they sell tire spoons anywhere in South America. The big moto shops have tire changing machines and the small ones make their own tire spoons out of a hunk of metal. Anyway, it was 240km to the next town. But, I have a rim lock on my front tire since I have used my bike off-road quite extensively. And, I knew that it would keep the tire on the rim. I also knew from riding off-road with a friend from New Zealand (Kiwi Paul) that at over 60mph, centrifugal force will keep a flat front tire inflated. In fact I couldn’t even tell the tire was flat at higher speeds. So, I found myself riding even faster than before getting the flat tire. When I finally did get to a town my tire was completely flat. I rode around town for almost an hour, at low speeds before giving up on finding tire spoons again. I finally just went to an auto tire shop and while trying to explain that I needed to change the tube (No falo Portuguese) they just started pumping air into the tire. OK… Im thinking, they will figure it out any second now. But, WAIT! This apparently wasn’t just any air - It was MAGIC AIR! Two days of riding later (500+ miles)... and it was STILL HOLDING AIR!
Great report and fantastic Pics Andy! Another DR650 conquers the world!
Are you new to motorcycle riding? I'm just curious because I can't believe you never checked your chain and sprockets earlier to know you were WAY past due! You are a brave man! Your rear spockets equals the worst I've seen ... even in the 3rd world! I'd guesstimate your chain and sprocket were 3 to 4K miles past due. Why is it so many Riders do this with their chains? They can't all be clueless former BMW shaft drive riders can they? Take care of your chain and sprockets folks. It's so easy.
So you are in L.A. now? .... hope the DR650 made it back OK! I will wait for your report to find out how things went and to get (hopefully) more details. I'd love to see a few more captions and comments under photos, more info if you've got time/energy for such!
Love your luggage set up. Light is right. Very well done. Those mud sections give me shivers. I suck in mud and have fallen off a lot in it ... and my DR had a light load at the time! Big Kudos man! Your Africa Twin and BMW buddies must have been green with envy in those conditions!
Thanks so much for taking the time and WORK to post your report. We DR riders do appreciate it ... and everyone else too!
!Que le vaya bien!
Thanks Grifter... man I was thinking I coulda got another 20 kilometers outta that sprocket - the chain was "just starting" to jump teeth .
Speaking of a DR650 conquering the world... I met a guy that was just finishing up his RTW ride on a DR650. He started out on a BMW but had too many problems and switched to the DR almost immediately. Gotta luv the dependability of the DR. Mine is still running strong with over 82,000 miles .
Like I said: you are a brave man! I run DID X ring, VM-2 with OEM sprockets. 25K per set ... and even then, my chain and sprockets looked NEW compared to yours!
You met Jedi Master (Adam). His thread is here:
He just sold his DR650 with 75, 000 miles. Looks like you've got him beat!
But he did a fair bit on his F650 BMW before it crapped out. Adam's bike just sold. Not a thing wrong with it.
This gives me hope as my DR is now at 45,000 miles. I'd been wondering if I should buy a new-er DR650 and transfer all my goodies over and go with a "Younger" motor. Mine bike has been perfect; does not use a drop of oil, clutch is strong, tons of power, no wheel bearing problems ... nothing. But the trans is whining a bit in 3rd gear ... so I always wonder. :eek1
You two guys give me reassurance the mighty DR can prevail for the long haul.
You've been so lucky to have such great encounters with locals and being taken in when traveling Solo. You've obviously charmed them. If I could only be half as charming! So many riders in groups never (or rarely) interact with local people along the way. But sounds like your riding partners were very cool guys.
If you were to continue riding, would you choose to go Solo or with a buddy or buddies? I've done both ... and both have their ups and downs.
Que le vaya bien!
No... different guy, this was Shigeru Sato from Japan. Heres a pic of his bike.
Uh... wish I could say the same about mine. I thought about selling it once. Even ran an ad here on ADVrider:
"Slightly used 2002 Suzuki DR650. Only ridden off-road a couple times in Baja, across the U.S. and Bolivia. Only taken on a few road trips from Los Angeles to Maine, Florida, Alaska, and Argentina. Only exposed to salt water on a sailboat trip from Panama to Colombia, and for a short ride across the flooded Salar de Uyuni. Only raced once, in the Baja 1000, and only been down 25, maybe 30 times. New air in tires."
I dont think there is a single surface on my bike that isnt scratched, dented, or visibly worn. One of the guys that I rode with thru much of South America once described it as "thoroughly thrashed." But, I like the description I heard from someone responding to the ad above: "Experienced"
I feel very fortunate to have encountered so many genuinely kind people during this trip. But, I dont think I charmed them.... more like they generously offered help to a traveler in need. I do think people more easily approach a solo traveler than a large group. And they are more likely to offer help when you are traveling alone - in a group you can obviously help each other. There are certainly benefits to traveling in a group but you will spend less time interacting with the locals as a result. My Spanish always suffered when riding with others that were more fluent than I, as I would let them do the talking. It also depends on your personality. Some of the guys I rode with for part of my journey were very outgoing and met many more locals than I did. But, it seemed that whenever I needed help, there was always someone there - it was really quite remarkable.