The Ultimate Ride - Brother and Sister Motorcycling Duo

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by UltiJayne, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    It rains a lot in Bolivia. The rain started in Copacabana and really didn't ever stop. Also it was cold.



    This weather didn't help improve my impressions of the country. Bolivia is the country I have liked the least in the whole trip. There seems to be a culture of disliking foreigners and until we reached Oruro, I did not meet any Bolivians that I really liked.


    <dl id="attachment_6737" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Cricket and I hanging out at the side of a Bolivian highway during a rare non-rainy moment.</dd></dl>
    This changed when we went for dinner in Oruro. We'd arrived into town pretty soaked, and found a hotel using my Footprints guide, which helpfully lists places which have parking. The Hotel Repostero delivered, and recommended that we go to Najama restaurant. We met up with Mark, another motorcyclist who we had met in Cusco. A firefighter from Idaho also riding a KLR, he decided to join us for dinner.


    When we found the restaurant it looked closed but we went around the corner as the sign on the door suggested, and found that there was a restaurant upstairs that was open. We were warmly welcomed by the owner, Roberto, who spoke English, and was absolutely thrilled to find that we had two Alaskans in the group.

    <dl id="attachment_6736" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Me and Roberto</dd></dl>
    Roberto had spent a few years in Anchorage as head chef of a hotel there, and he regaled us with stories of his time travelling the world. He pulled out newspaper and magazine articles, which featured him in various stages of his career, including when he was cooking for playboy bunnies! We asked him if he ever dated a bunny, and his reply was that not only did he date them, he married one!


    We ate a delicious meal of lamb and accompaniments, one of the best meals (but certainly not the cheapest) I ate in Bolivia. Roberto showed us pictures of his daughter, now a model in the USA, and the guys all drooled over her. Roberto was incredibly friendly, interested in our journey, and insisted on giving us shots of the local liquor and sweet treats at the end of our meal.
    <dl id="attachment_6735" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Roberto cleansing Josh's soul... Or something like that.</dd></dl>
    It was a delight to meet Roberto, who ended up being one of the few genuinely friendly and nice Bolivians I met.


    We'd all heard that the direct route to Uyuni was washboard dirt road, and so after much debate, everyone decided to take the longer paved route via Potosi, which the Lonely Planet claims to be the highest city in the world (Google tells us differently however).


    In Potosi we found the Koala Annex hostel, which allowed us to park our bikes in the main living area. Once again we were soaking wet. One of my boots, previously waterproof, had developed a leak, and so my left foot was swimming in freezing water for most of the ride. Once we'd dried out and bought some beers, we decided that instead of heading out in the rain, we'd order pizza to the hostel.


    <dl id="attachment_6738" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Parked in the hostel</dd></dl>
    The pizzeria said it would be about 20 minutes, which I took to mean at least 45 minutes given the lax attitude Latinos have to time. An hour and 15 minutes later, we were starving, and the pizza still hadn't appeared. We called the pizzeria and they promised it would be there in two minutes. Twenty minutes later we decided to forget about the pizza and go out to find something to eat.


    As we were walking out the door the delivery driver called, saying he was in the plaza and would be there very soon. I told him to forget it, as we had given up and were heading out to find something else.


    After finding the two places we'd looked up were closed, we ended up eating very unhealthy, but delicious, fried meat sandwiches from street stalls and headed to bed.


    I had decided to go and see the local mines the next morning. To my great surprise, none of the guys wanted to come with me, some saying they'd already seen mines, and others expressing a degree of claustrophobia. Therefore it was decided that I would go on the mine tour by myself and they would head off on the three hour ride to Uyuni. I'd catch up in the afternoon when I got back from the tour.


    The tour was very interesting. It was to an operating mine, where they extract silver, iron, zinc and lead using very old fashioned techniques.


    First we were taken to dress in our miner gear.
    <dl id="attachment_6739" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">My small pile of street clothes once I'd changed into my miner outfit</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6756" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The latest in miner fashion</dd></dl>
    Then we stopped at the processing plant, which was not operating at the time because it was just after Christmas.
    <dl id="attachment_6744" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">One of these containers contained cyanide...</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6745" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Our friendly guide explaining the processing plant</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6746" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A view of grey, uninspiring Potosi.</dd></dl>
    Then we stopped at the miner's market, where I bought some dynamite for about $3, because I could, and because our tour guide said he'd help me explode it in the mine.
    <dl id="attachment_6740" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Our guide shows us the lamp that is the Peruvian equivalent of a canary. If the fire goes out, you're in trouble!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6741" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">This is almost pure alcohol, a favourite drink of the miners. I tried it and it almost blew my head off!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6742" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">My new friend Keli, trying the moonshine.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6743" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Also for sale? Dynamite. With fuse, detonator and phosphorous. $3.</dd></dl>

    We then went off to the mine itself. There weren't a lot of miners working because they had all worked very hard before Christmas, and so were still having a bit of a break before returning back to work.
    <dl id="attachment_6747" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A close up of the mine wall. The white is arsenic, the yellow sulfur. Take a deep breath!</dd></dl>
    The walls of the mine were lined with sulphur and arsenic, and I didn't feel that the handkerchief I had wrapped around my face was really good enough to save my lungs from harm. In fact I got quite a bad cold the next day that lasted for weeks. (This all happened on the 3<sup>rd</sup> of January, and it's the end of January as I type this and I still cough at night.)

    <dl id="attachment_6748" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A break for our guide to explain about the mine. A lot of people die down there!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6749" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Just hanging out in the mine.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6750" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">One of the few workers we saw. Working the winch that hauls rocks out of the lower level.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6751" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">After the rock is winched up, it is dumped down a different chute.</dd></dl>

    We met this miner, who was drunk on almost pure alcohol. He'd been in the mine for over 30 hours. Usually his kids come and help him, but this time he'd gone in alone. (Our guide told us that despite it being illegal, children as young as 12 work in the mines. The average lifespan of a miner is 42 years old.)
    <dl id="attachment_6752" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Drunk miner, who's poor family were probably worried that he'd been gone over 30 hours!</dd></dl>
    The grand finale of the tour was getting to set off the dynamite we'd bought.
    <dl id="attachment_6753" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The miners worship these demon gods, to keep them safe. This is where we exploded our dynamite.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6754" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The dynamite, phosphorous and detonator go together in a plastic bag...</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6755" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Then you light it, and take a picture!</dd></dl>

    It was very interesting touring the mine, but involved crawling on my belly through some very narrow passages, and breathing in some pretty dodgy things. I certainly would not ever want to work in there!
    <dl id="attachment_6757" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Pleased to emerge unscathed from the mine.</dd></dl>
    It was raining again as the bus took us back to change out of our mining outfits and back into our own clothes.
    <dl id="attachment_6758" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Washing the miner outfits, wine style!</dd></dl>
    I was less than enthusiastic as I made my way back to the hostel to get my bike and head to Uyuni in the rain. However, as I walked into the hostel, I noticed that one of the guys had forgotten some things in the doorway. As I rounded the corner, I was greeted by the Alaskans, Josh and Jordon, who were in the process of pulling Jordon's bike apart.


    <dl id="attachment_6759" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Working on Frank</dd></dl>
    It turned out that Jordon had ridden his KLR (called Frank) out the door, and as he parked it on the road, it stalled and wouldn't start again. Nothing any of the gang did made it start again. Eventually after it started to rain they pushed it back inside, the others finally left, and that is how I found Josh and Jordon. They had established that it wasn't a problem with fuel or air, and all that left was spark.


    After my problems in Alaska with the CDI, and Phil's problems all the way down to Arizona, I consider myself to know a thing or two about the KLR's electrical system. I pulled out my tools and joined in with the diagnosing.


    Unfortunately it wasn't anything easy. We changed the spark plug, the cap and cable, checked all the connections, and then started swapping parts from Josh's bike to Jordon's. I posted on a few forums to get advice, and emailed Chuck in Flagstaff who had helped finally solve Phil's electrical problems.


    Chuck got back to me right away, and said it was probably the pulse generator or the stator, both of which are located inside the engine case. I was willing to open up the cover, but Jordon rightly pointed out that even if we found the problem, we didn't have replacement parts, and the risks of opening the cover and wrecking the gasket were too high, with no recourse to actually fix the problem.
    <dl id="attachment_6760" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">We did discover that one of the battery cables had worn through, but that wasn't the problem either!</dd></dl>
    We spent the whole afternoon and into the evening, but in the end, it became clear that we weren't going to be able to start Frank. We went out for a nice dinner, and decided that Jordon was going to have to find a truck or a bus to get Frank out of Potosi (which only has one moto mechanic, who is known to be incompetent) and down towards Salta, which was our next main destination.


    In the morning, the lady who ran the hostel had contacted a friend who promised that it was possible to put both Jordon and Frank on a bus to the border that evening. Rather worryingly, Cricket had decided to gush oil out of her left fork, and there was a big puddle on the floor. To this day I have no idea why the oil came out after the bike had been sitting there for two days, but my decision to just change the fork oil and clean the seals rather than replacing them in Lima now seemed foolish.
    <dl id="attachment_6761" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Cricket's fork was crying - hard!</dd></dl>
    I still really wanted to see the salt flats, and so decided to ride to Uyuni, Josh was going to come with me, right up until the last minute, when he decided he just couldn't abandon his riding partner in his time of need. So off I went on my own.
  2. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,901
    Location:
    Villa Maria Sanitarium, Claremont, CA. USA
    great stuff!

    we did some of the same things recently.

    we left our bikes in Ushuaia in a shipping container, if you or anyone you know want to share the container from Ushuaia to Long Beach California this feb/march/april or when it's full...contact us. Container is $4500...we already take two spots...looking to split the cost some more.

    We have a shipping agent in Ushuaia you have to pay $280, he takes the bikes and that's it...your work is done.
  3. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,923
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    very cool update, but you didn't mention what the explosion was like?! where's the video.....? :D
  4. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Ha ha - apologies for the oversight. It was really dark in the mine, not ideal video lighting. The explosion wasn't nearly as loud as I thought it was going to be (no need to cover my ears). Due to the very real danger of the tunnel collapsing near the explosion, we ran around the corner before the fuse reached the detonator. The explosion was more of a deep BOOM than a loud bang. Very cool experience!
  5. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    The ride to Uyuni was fantastic. A newly paved road that winds down through the mountains and it didn't rain for once. (Well it did, but only a little.) It did however start tipping it down as I arrived in Uyuni. I found the rest of the gang in their hotel.


    They were staying in a hotel that was a lot more expensive than I was willing to pay, so I went down the street and found myself a single room in Hotel Avenida for 40BOB a night ($5). The room didn't have any power points, but a girl can't have everything.


    <dl id="attachment_6764" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">When wandering through town I saw this nice Dakar statue carved out of salt</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6765" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Unfortunately it didn't last long!</dd></dl>
    Earlier that day before I arrived, the guys had attempted to ride to the salt flats. They told me that the road was muddy and slippery, and that they had ended up turning around before they got to the salt flats because the road conditions were so bad and the weather was looking ominous.


    I didn't like the sound of that! If those four experienced, much braver riders than I, couldn't make it to the salt flats on their bikes, then I would have no chance.


    They told me that they weren't going to bother going at all. If the weather was good in the morning, Ryan and Mark were going to attempt the dirt road to Chile, and Arun and Alan were heading back to Potosi.


    I was not going to be dissuaded. Everything I had seen and heard about the salt flats was good, and I didn't want to not see the one thing that had convinced me to go through Bolivia in the first place! I decided to take a 4x4 tour in the morning and go see the salt flats come hell or high water.


    It really is a pity that none of the gang other than me ended up seeing either the mines or the salt flats. It's no wonder the Alaskans have nothing at all good to say about Bolivia!


    I ended up on a tour with a group of Bolivians from Santa Cruz, two lifelong friends and their children. These were the only other really nice Bolivians I met in Bolivia.


    <dl id="attachment_6781" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">My tour group. All the girls were called Ana in some form or another.</dd></dl>
    First we went to a train graveyard.
    <dl id="attachment_6766" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The Europeans used to use trains to move crops. Now the trains don't go anywhere.</dd></dl>

    <dl id="attachment_6767" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The Dakar was coming through town very soon - unlike this train!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6768" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Inside the engine of an old train</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6769" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Tracks to nowhere</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6770" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">An abandoned train</dd></dl>
    Then we drove to the Salt Flats themselves. The road really was not nearly as bad as I had been led to believe. Although there were a few sections like this:
    <dl id="attachment_6772" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Very muddy!</dd></dl>

    I think I could have made it on my bike without much trouble, and there were many many times I wished I had Cricket with me for the photos. Given the information I had beforehand, I still think I made the right decision.


    The Salt Flats were magical. You could not tell where the sky ended and the ground began.


    <dl id="attachment_6785" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The little white mountains are piles of salt</dd></dl>

    <dl id="attachment_6773" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Salty sky</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6782" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Another group having lunch in the sky</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6774" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">One of the many 4x4s taking touring the salt flats</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6771" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A house made of salt</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6776" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Our driver preparing lunch</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6775" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Close up of the salt - it was all in patterns like honeycomb!</dd></dl>

    I really missed having Phil and his excellent photography skills. I tried to get my new Bolivian friends to take good, creative, in focus pictures of me, with varying degrees of success. It didn't help that my camera has died, so all pictures are now being taken with my phone.
    <dl id="attachment_6778" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The best of many, many attempts at a jumping picture</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6779" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">There are tiny Bolivians in my hat!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6780" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I found a Canadian flag outside of the "Salt Hotel" (It wasn't really a hotel, just a falling down building)</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6784" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Salt Yoga in the sky</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6783" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Chilling out on a pile of salt</dd></dl>
    After our tour of the Salar, the Bolivians wanted to go see the “real” salt hotel. It's not part of the tour, because the upscale hotel does not want hordes of tourists wandering around their posh premises, but one of the ladies knew the owner and wanted to see it. She convinced our driver to take us, despite him being incredibly reluctant. She negotiated a tour with the manager. I am so pleased she did, because it was really special.


    <dl id="attachment_6792" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">At the entrance to a REAL salt hotel</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6786" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Everything in this fancy hotel is made of salt</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6787" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The walls, the floors, even the art!</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6788" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The two friends who have been friends for many years</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6789" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">New friends, sitting in salt chairs</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6790" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The ceiling in one of the bedrooms</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6791" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">A bed made of salt</dd></dl>
    I was very happy that I had stayed to see the salt flats, and I was also pleased to have decided to stay in Uyuni for another night, because as I stepped into the hostel it started to rain with lightning and thunder, and then it started to hail! I thought it would stop, but for the rest of the day and evening the skies stayed open.



    The people who worked at the hostel were shovelling hail out of the drains so all the water had somewhere to go!


    Any remaining ideas I was flirting with of riding the dirt to Chile were firmly erased by the intense storm, and the next day I headed directly to Argentina by the paved route. I had had enough of rainy, cold Bolivia!
  6. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    I had one of my earliest ever starts the day I left Bolivia. I woke up at 6am and was on the bike and out the door by 7am. A stop for gas and to post some postcards, then I was on my way back towards Potosi.


    I didn't even stop in Potosi, just turned South and sped towards Argentina.
    The boys had put Jordon and Frank on a bus the previous evening.


    <dl id="attachment_6818" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 730px" data-mce-style="width: 730px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jordon and Frank being towed from the hostel to the bus station. Photo: Josh Lester</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6817" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 970px" data-mce-style="width: 970px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jordon tucking Frank in to the bus' luggage compartment. Photo: Josh Lester</dd></dl>

    They were also heading towards Argentina, so I knew I was likely to see the gang at the border. In fact I caught up with them sooner than that. Just after Tupiza I saw Josh, Alan, Arun and a stranger on a BMW pulled up at a gas station. The stranger turned out to be Andre, a Dutch guy that had also been in Cusco.


    Apparently moments earlier 64 year old Alan had lay down in front of the gas pump in protest to them not wanting to sell him gas. Arun had then sweet talked the lady into giving them gas at the local rate! I didn't need to fill up, but not one to pass up a bargain, I took as much as I could after they had all filled their tanks.


    We were soon at the Villazon border crossing into Argentina. We parked behind two familiar BMWs. It was the Dutchbags. They had been there for five hours, and were just finishing the crossing process.


    We took a deep breath, and headed towards the long queues of people.
    First was the window on the left. This is where you need to get your bike stamped out of Bolivia. You need a photocopy of your import document. While I stood in this line with Andre and Arun, the others went across the road to the Bolivian immigration line, where they managed to get all of our passports stamped out of Bolivia without any trouble.


    The longest line was to enter Argentina. Josh and Alan joined this line with our passports while we were still waiting to get our bikes out of Bolivia.



    Once we actually got to the window, the man stamped our papers out very quickly. Josh and Alan hadn't moved much, so after speaking to a few official looking people and figuring out our next step, I went over to the right hand side of the customs building to get everyone numbers. You see one needs a number, to join the queue to get vehicles imported into Argentina. I got five numbers and returned to the Argentinian immigration queue, where it seemed like Josh and Alan hadn't even moved!


    We all took turns standing in that queue, I'm sure in total we were in it for over an hour. When we finally made it to the window, the ladies inside took their sweet time typing all our information into their computers, and were particularly interested in the fact that we were all on motorcycles. As they finished each person's passport, I handed them a number, and told them to head over to the door with the Christmas tree on the other building.


    Unfortunately that wasn't the correct door, that was the place where I had been given the numbers, the correct door was the door to the left in the middle.


    By sending them to the wrong door, somehow Arun managed to get himself stamped OUT of Argentina. This after we had just spent so long in line waiting to get stamped in! As soon as he realised, Arun went back to the guy and got another stamp in.


    I was worried that we had missed our spot in the customs line by being at immigration for so long, but I needn't have worried, we had numbers 50-54 and they were only on number 46 when I got over there.


    Josh headed over to a money changer to get some Argentinian Pesos. The word on the biker circuit was that we needed to bring lots of American Dollars with us to Argentina, because you could get 50% more pesos than the official rate on the black market. This turns out to be absolutely true, and Josh came back with a fist full of Pesos.


    More waiting, and then eventually we each got our turn to have import documents issued for our bikes. We got through the border relatively quickly, because we had people standing in all the queues at once. If you did it on your own, standing in each line in order, it would have taken twice as long.


    Three hours after arriving at the border, we were finally able to leave Bolivia behind, and enter Argentina.


    <dl id="attachment_6795" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Brings into focus just how much further we have to go. The reason this is the only picture of the border is because I got in so much trouble for taking this picture!</dd></dl>
    We found a hotel with a room for the five of us in the border town of La Quiaca. It turned out the Dutchbags had found the same hotel, so there were a lot of bikes in the parking lot!


    We had a very disappointing dinner that evening. Plain chicken with fries, when we thought we were getting something much nicer, so much for delicious Argentinian food!


    The guys found a bakery with nice coffee for breakfast and then we were off, on a mission to get to Salta!
  7. * SHAG *

    * SHAG * Unstable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Oddometer:
    4,679
    Location:
    Bradford, Pa
    Great stuff Jayne :super
  8. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    Island in the Salish Sea
    Don't miss this town about a day south of you. A great wine vibe, great food, packed plaza. Boreal Love you nice. I'm going to stay another day. PM me for a great meal tip.
    S.
  9. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    Island in the Salish Sea
    Don't you just love auto fill? :rofl
  10. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Love you too. :lol3

    The ride report is way behind (although I'm catching up!!) I stopped in Cafayate a couple weeks ago. Cool town. :-)

    Right now I am near Quillon in Chile. Planning to start heading further South on Friday. :-)
  11. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    It was a pretty long, straight road to Salta, but there were some nice views, and lots of llamas.
    <dl id="attachment_6800" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Cricket, glad to be in Argentina.</dd></dl>
    We all rode our own pace, and so I found myself riding alone for long stretches, then would see one of the gang pulled over, we'd have a chat, and then back to riding alone.
    <dl id="attachment_6801" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Andre, Josh and Alan have a roadside chat</dd></dl>
    At one point I saw quite a few bikers on the side of the road ahead. It was Arun, Alan and Andre with three Argentinian bikers. When I asked them about where to get a good exchange rate for dollars, they offered to exchange some right there. This was great for me, as I hadn't exchanged any at the border, and so I cashed up right there on the side of the road.



    They, like everyone else, offered better rates for hundred dollar bills than for twenties and made me wish, not for the last time, that I had exchanged all my twenties for bigger bills.
    <dl id="attachment_6802" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Impromptu roadside money and cultural exchange</dd></dl>

    It turned out that we hadn't left all the rain behind in Bolivia, and it started raining pretty hard. I stopped with Andre for a while in a shelter, but the rain continued on, so we got back on our bikes. We met up with Arun and Alan, and we all decided to stop for gas at the next station, and lunch at the same time. Somehow we lost Arun and Andre, so Alan and I stopped for gas and lunch together.


    Lunch was nice, but incredibly slow. There was a misunderstanding with the waiter, and he brought my food, but none for Alan! He hadn't realised that Alan wanted a coffee and his lunch together. He had brought the coffee, and was waiting for Alan to finish it before he brought him food. Sometimes I think I will never understand these Latinos!


    After spending more than an hour at lunch, we were on the final stretch to Salta. Argentina had a great road in store for us. Ruta 9 is a sweet, narrow hobbit road that winds through the forest on the side of a mountain. It is quite possibly my favourite road of the trip so far.


    It is something like a bike path back home in Canada. Just a bit wider than a car, but it has two way traffic! There wasn't much traffic on it however, as buses and trucks would never make it, and it was really fun riding!


    Unfortunately I was having too much fun to take any pictures of the hobbit road. I'll add one in if any of the rest of the gang has one.


    We finally pulled into the Loki Hacienda hostel late in the afternoon. It's pretty far out of town, but that was okay for those of us with our own wheels. TThe "countryside" location meant there was plenty of room, and even a pool!
    <dl id="attachment_6832" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The Loki Hacienda Pool and Bar</dd></dl>
    Alan and I were the last to arrive, probably because of our long lunch and a side trip Alan took us on to explore a little village off the side of the road at one point.
    <dl id="attachment_6798" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Alan dragged me through a village and up a random gravel road. This is what we found at the end.</dd></dl>

    We were booked to stay in Salta for a few days, the hostel was free because they had had some bad reviews lately and were trying to build up their reputation.
    <dl id="attachment_6799" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The bikes parked outside our cabin/dorm.</dd></dl>
    Jordon and his bike Frank had made it by taking a bus to the border and then hitching a ride with a man with a truck. Jordon paid the man to drive him all the way to Salta, even though that wasn't where the guy lived!


    The sun was shining, we'd all made it to Salta, and the hostel had a bar. All was well with the world.
  12. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Soon after Alan, Arun, Andre, Josh, Jordon and I had arrived in Salta, Ryan and Mark joined us from their jaunt through Chile. That made eight of us (but only seven bikes because Jordon's was at the mechanic). A day later, at 3am or some crazy time like that, my brother Phil, with his arm still in a sling, arrived after taking seven buses over three days to get there from where I'd left him in Cusco.
    <dl id="attachment_6820" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Phil behind the bar at Loki in Salta</dd></dl>
    What had drawn so many motorcycle adventurers together at one time? A little rally they call the Dakar was arriving in town on January 10<sup>th</sup>, 2014.
    <dl id="attachment_6810" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Our bikes at Loki. Perfectly lined up, except for Arun. Always trying to be different.</dd></dl>

    We'd actually arrived before the racers did, and so took advantage of the extra day to get some motorcycle maintenance done. My left fork had been leaking oil at an alarming rate since Potosi, and so I was on a mission to find new fork seals. Jordon took us to the motorcycle parts and repair street where a mechanic was re-winding the coil in Jordon's stator by hand.



    This is something that would simply never happen in Canada (the stator would be replaced), but here in South America it was no problem at all.

    I visited most of the motorcycle parts stores along the road, managing to ask if they had fork seals, without actually knowing the correct term in Spanish. Eventually, after being offered some pretty iffy aftermarket fork seals in the only shop that had anything close, in the last shop along the road (of course), the sweetest old man pulled out a ripped bag from 2003 with two OEM (Original Engine Manufacturer) KLR fork seals, which he sold to me for the equivalent of $9 for the pair. (OEM fork seals usually sell for $15 each).


    He was very interested in my trip, and incredibly proud to be able to help me on my way.


    The other guys were busy having new tires installed, oil changed, and off finding the plaza where Dollars could be exchanged for lots and lots of Pesos. I put those of the gang paying to have their oil changed to shame by changing Cricket's myself on the sidewalk, new filter and all. I would have done the fork seals too, but I don't have a centre stand and the mechanic who was just finishing Jordon's bike said he'd do them both for $15. He took a look at my leaking fork and pointed out some microscopic lines in the shaft of the fork. He suggested that my problem might be worse than just needing new seals.
    <dl id="attachment_6812" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The mechanic with Cricket parked in the back</dd></dl>
    I gave him fresh fork oil to put in and my newly acquired seals, and left Cricket with him, telling him I'd just hope for the best.

    While in Salta, I decided to interview my fellow travellers. In Cusco I'd reluctantly given up travelling with my brother, but ended up with a whole new international family to travel with. I love them all.


    Interviewing them was a really interesting process. I liked hearing the similarities and differences of all these travellers, who were undertaking similar journeys, but each in their own way.


    The biggest similarity? Every single one of them said that their advice to anyone considering making a trip like ours was to “Just DO it!”.


    Without further ado, meet the motorcyclists:


    -------------------------------------------------------------------


    Name: Ryan Leveille
    <dl id="attachment_6826" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ryan with his bike Tina in Salta.</dd></dl>

    The first time I met Ryan was at the Estrellita Hostel in Cusco. Phil and I were chatting with Arun, who we'd met earlier in the chicken restaurant. Ryan had had a few drinks and was feeling a bit merry. He sat down and told us the story of his electrical woes on his 2<sup>nd</sup> generation KLR. It was easy for us to sympathize, giving all the electrical issues we'd had at the beginning of our trip. From that moment on we were good friends. He's a stellar guy, quiet and full of surprises.
    <dl id="attachment_6808" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ryan bonding with one of the hostel strays.</dd></dl>
    My favourite fact about Ryan? He used to build lasers.


    Age: 31
    Hometown: Montgomery, Massechusets
    Bike: 2011 Kawasaki KLR650
    Bike's Name: Tina because Tina is a white trashy name, and he is treating it like shit and going to sell it at the end of the ride.


    Date left: June 9, 2013
    From/To: Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina
    Planning to sell his bike in Paraguay
    Occupation: Unemployed – used to build lasers

    Best day: Coming from Chile to Salta, 120 miles of good dirt in the middle of nowhere, and was spectacular. Turned into fun fast road. Great day.


    Worst day: Breaking down in Peru on top of a mountain, nothing around, revving the bike to keep it going, couldn't slow down. Had to stop at a sign holder for construction. Radiator burst – dropped coolant all over the ground. After that the bike wouldn't start again and he had to push it into the next town.


    Other motorbike travel: This is his first trip


    Advice: Just do it, but make sure you have the right bike. You want to be excited to be on your bike every day. (His bike has grown on him)


    Why: Always wanted to do it.




    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Name: Joshua Lester
    <dl id="attachment_6827" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Josh with his bike Chewy in Salta</dd></dl>

    When I first met the Alaskans, Josh and Jordon, in Cusco, I immediately catagorised them as “loud Americans”. It didn't help that they both have military backgrounds and love guns. (I'm pretty pacifist and don't like war as a general rule.) I also couldn't remember their names, and called them both “Justin” for a long time. However they grew on me, and I ended up spending the most time travelling with this daring duo. They will be my friends forever more and I would do anything for either of them.

    <dl id="attachment_6821" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jordon, Josh and I, under attack by Arun in the background</dd></dl>
    Josh is a helicopter pilot who flies rescue missions in Alaska. He got divorced last year and talks a lot about the perils of marriage. He's got green feet tattooed on his bum because that's what rescuers do when they make their first save. He's sweet and resourceful, but he has a temper and you wouldn't want to be a Bolivian gas station attendant refusing to serve him.

    My favourite item that Josh has with him? His white furry hat that makes Peruvian dogs attack him.
    <dl id="attachment_6698" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Josh in the hat</dd></dl>

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Ancorage, Alaska
    Bike: 1997 Kawasaki KLR650
    Bike's Name: Chewy (Chewbacca from Star Wars) because she's kinda ugly but pretty useful
    Date left: August 24th, 2013
    From/To: Ancorage, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina
    Planning to sell bike in Puento Arenas, Chile

    Occupation: Helicopter Pilot, Alaska Air National Guard (US Air Force)
    Deployed to Quatar 2005 & 2007, Iraq 2009

    Best day: Between Cartagena and Medellin – great road, being back in the mountains after being really hot on the coast. Big mountains, twisty roads.


    Worst day: Los Angeles – had to get to a specific shop for Jordon, rode for 4 hours across LA. The worst city on earth. Really hot, lots of traffic. Bad drivers. Generally worst riding is in cities in traffic.


    Other motorbike trips: 2006 – CBR600 from New Jersey to Key West, Florida then to Anchorage

    Advice: Don't do it on a KLR650 – buy a real motorcycle. Unless you really like riding offroad, then do it on a DR650. Just do it – don't plan much.
    Why he's doing the trip: Because he got divorced




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Name: Mark Oetzmann
    <dl id="attachment_6825" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Mark, freshly shaved</dd></dl>

    If I met Mark in Cusco, it was only in passing. He showed up in Oruro, Bolivia and immediately fit in to the gang, but also I always knew he was going to do his own thing. Very independent, and the most deep conversationalist of the group.

    My favourite moment with Mark was in Salta, after he shaved his head and beard. I didn't recognise him at all. I heard Jordon talking to him about motorcycles and introduced myself and asked if he was also riding a bike. The look of disbelief on his face was priceless. Jordon laughed until he cried (not really, he doesn't cry), and I was pretty embarrassed.
    <dl id="attachment_6872" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 970px" data-mce-style="width: 970px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Would YOU think this is the same guy? (Pic "borrowed" from facebook)</dd></dl>
    Age: 41
    Hometown: New Meadows, Idaho (Originally from Iowa)
    Bike: 2003 Kawasaki KLR650
    Bike's Name: No name


    Date left: November, 2012 to Febraury 2013 to Costa Rica
    November 2013 to now – Costa Rica to Salta, Argentina
    From/To: St George, Utah to Alajuela, Costa Rica to Ushuaia, Argentina
    Planning to sell bike in Puento Arenas


    Occupation: Firefighter – forest fires (wildland firefighter)

    Best day: They're all pretty good. Any time on sweet mountain curvy roads, or when you meet good people.


    Worst day: Being hungover a couple days ago... Not really had any really bad days. Even when rim was broken in the middle of nowhere, you know it will work out. Maybe when you're riding in the rain and cold. You feel over it for a bit.


    Some people don't see the distinction between travelling and a holiday. Travelling is about appreciating the good and the bad, and seeing where bad days lead you. For example there was a day on a previous trip when his tire blew, he crashed, later his clutch cable broke, but some guy made him a new one, and he had a nice time with the guy's family.


    Other motorbike trips: Five years ago rode from the US to Panama City and back. Same bike. With a friend John. Work a lot in the summer so no time for long trips.


    Advice: Just go. Stop thinking about it. Just do it.
    Everyone talks about what the best bike to do it on is, but it has been done on everything from scooters to Harleys. Ride what you've got.


    Why he'd doing this trip: Previous trip to Panama – because they couldn't go to Colombia, made him want to do it. His friend had to work so couldn't go with him so he did it solo.




    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Name: Jordon Matukonis
    <dl id="attachment_6822" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Jordon racking them up</dd></dl>

    The other half of the Alaskan KLR riding duo, Jordon most replaced Phil as my brother. He teased me mercilessly, but I always knew he had my back. I trust him completely.

    I think Jordon will probably end up as a politician one day. He loves talking about serious stuff, and he loves being American. Intelligent and loyal, this man could make himself successful in any situation.
    <dl id="attachment_6875" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Selfie of Jordon I found on my phone</dd></dl>
    My favourite thing to call Jordon? A “Northern Canadian”. He loves it. He even refused to wear a Canadian flag pin, even though everyone else had one.


    Age: 28
    Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
    Bike: 2006 Kawasaki KLR650
    Bike's Name: Frank because Josh named it (Josh tells me it's from Danny Devito's character in “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia”)


    Date left: 24 August 2013
    From/To: Anchorage, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina
    Planning to sell bike in Puento Arenas
    Occupation: Property Investor – previously a US Marine
    Was deployed in 2005 & 2008 to Iraq

    Best day: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Went fishing and caught a mahi mahi – ate raw chunks of fish on the boat.


    Worst day: When crossing the border from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. Felt really ill, dry heaving into helmet, looked down at arm and saw red streaks from his wrist to shoulder. It was a blood infection from a tiny cut on his wrist and he was really sick.


    Also in Potosi, Bolivia when Frank broke and they had to push it a long way and then put it on a bus. There was also the day when he ran over two Peruvian kids (teenagers) on a small bike, who pulled in front of him without looking. (Both “kids” were fine, and actually paid Jordon for the damage to his bike, which is pretty surprising for Peru.)


    Other motorbike trips: San Diego to San Francisco


    Advice: Pack less. The people are really nice in every country that I've been to.


    Why this trip?: Because Josh got divorced. In 2009 talked about it and everything came together. I was bored and Josh got divorced so the time was right.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Name: Alan O'Brien
    <dl id="attachment_6877" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Alan after a long ride</dd></dl>
    My Australian Dad, an adventurer with a heart of gold. Alan is a true blue Aussie man, through and through. He made me laugh every day. He tells some pretty off colour jokes, and has the best stories. I've threatened to move in with him and his good lady Caroline, and I still may actually do that. Only Alan would go out and buy a wig, just so he could sing a Rod Stewart song at Karaoke night in the hostel.

    The only motorcycling 64 year old who I've ever met who can more than hold his own with the 20 year olds.
    <dl id="attachment_6807" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Alan the Karaoke King</dd></dl>

    My favourite story about Alan? He punched an annoying English kid in the face on the bus home from Matchu Picchu.
    <dl id="attachment_6806" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">These three were inseparable!</dd></dl>

    Age: 64
    Hometown: Gold Coast, Australia
    Bike: 2004 Suzuki 650 V-Strom
    Name: Blue (Azul in Spanish) because it's blue!
    Date left: 22 September 2013
    From/To: Roseville, California to somewhere in Southern Argentina (he doesn't fancy the wind and gravel on the way to Ushuaia, so he's not going.)
    Going to sell the bike somewhere before flying home.

    Occupation: Builder

    Best day: Riding through Colombia and Ecuador has been the best riding. The day I got my bike back after it was stolen in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I didn't think it was lost forever, the thief wasn't professional enough. I had contacted newspapers and radio and offered a $500 reward. It was great to get the bike back!


    Worst day: In Peru when I couldn't breath at night. I would wake up gasping for air. It was okay in the day but suffocating at night. I suppose it was altitude sickness.


    Other motorbike trips: Around Australia (25,000km) in early 2000s. To Darwin and Perth.


    Advice: Just do it. Don't hesitate. Make sure you choose the right motorcycle.


    Why this trip?: Because I'm an adventurer. I've always been travelling. When I was 22 I went up through Africa in a beach buggy. Spent four months in an open longtail canoe I built myself going up the Aussie coast. I've also sailed yachts for many years.




    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Name: Arun Nangla
    <dl id="attachment_6824" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Arun in Salta</dd></dl>
    Arun is the reason I met all the rest of the gang. He walked in to the chicken restaurant and invited Phil and I back to the hostel, and the rest is history.

    A world traveller, and the most experienced motorcycle traveller of us all, Arun still captured my heart because he also doesn't like riding offroad. (Although he rode the Death Road and I didn't, so he's braver than I am.) Arun has lived in India, London and Italy (amongst other places I'm sure) and his way of communicating with everyone despite not speaking any Spanish showed me that language simply is not a barrier.

    <dl id="attachment_6669" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Arun playing his cool clarinet</dd></dl>
    My favourite item that Arun travels with? A bamboo clarinet. (He plays it beautifully.)

    Age: 39
    Hometown: Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India
    Bike: 2005 BMW R1150 GS Adventure
    Bike's Name: Nandi – The name of the bull of Lord Shiva
    Date left: 31 August 2013
    From/To: Arctic Circle, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina
    Planning to ship bike to Madrid or Cape Town
    Occupation: Photographer

    Best day: The day I got my tattoo in Cusco. It was my first tattoo and it is related to travel

    Worst day: In Nicaragua when I saw that one of the pages in my passport had been torn almost in two by a border official.

    Other motorbike trips:
    London to Bejing, to Tibet and then India 2007 on a KTM 990
    London to Isreal on a Triumph Tiger in 2011.
    Lahore Pakistan to Tibet on a Royal Enfield 500cc in 2004

    Advice: Just start your trip – you can learn everything on the road. It's not difficult.

    Why this trip?: Wants to be the first Indian to do the trip from Alaska to Patagonia. Indians like making money, not spending it, he's spending it!


    Special note: Arun is filming his trip to make a documentary.
    Website: Facebook.com/topendtodownend


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Name: Andre van Leeuwen
    <dl id="attachment_6823" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Andre swatting flies in Salta</dd></dl>

    I also met Andre in Cusco, but barely even spoke to him there. Our first real conversation was in the rain, in a shelter on the side of the road in Argentina. Andre manages to still be “working” while away, with an amazing mix of paid time off and overtime. I love Andre's Dutch sense of humour, and his practical approach to everything.
    <dl id="attachment_6874" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Andre messing around with the Alaskans</dd></dl>
    My favourite Andre moment? When we were in a shop, and Josh picked up a key that the pretty shop assistant had dropped. Andre chided him, saying “Why'd you do that? I wanted to watch her pick it up!” The girl turned to him and said “I understand you, you know.” in perfect English. Andre didn't miss a beat and said “Even so, I still wanted to watch you pick it up.”

    Age: 45
    Hometown: Maasland, Netherlands
    Bike: 2008 BMW F800GS
    Name: No name
    Date left: 25 August 2013
    From/To: Atigan Pass, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina
    Planning to ship bike back to Netherlands
    Occupation: Software Engineer (Industrial)

    Best day: My birthday in Cusco. Had a big dinner at the hostel with a lot of great people.
    Worst day: Have there been any? In Honduras when I was driving in the clouds and the rain and I couldn't see anything. It was dangerous at least.
    Other motorbike trips: 3 weeks in Vietnam, 4 weeks in Patagonia, 4 Weeks in New Zealand, 4 weeks in Japan
    Advice: Just do it.
    Why this trip?: I've been thinking about it for a long time and it sounded fun.
    Blog: www.panamerica2013.blogspot.nl
    ----------------------------------------------------------------


    There you have it, my temporary family of motorcyclists who I travelled with for a time. You'll never met a nicer group of guys. I feel incredibly privileged to call them all friends and to have spent the time I did with them.


    As I write this (January 27, 2014), I am in Southern Chile, still making my way slowly down to Ushuaia.


    Josh, Jordon and Ryan arrived in Ushuaia yesterday, and Mark is very close if he's not there already. Arun was ahead of the Alaskans and Andre is somewhere between me and Ushuaia. Alan left us in Mendoza and headed for some beach time on the Argentinian coast, with no desire to go all the way South.
  13. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,464
    Nice update! Cool to know more about your traveling companions, including their experiences with their bikes, good and bad. They may never do reports of their own, so your interviews really give us a more "rounded" understanding of your trip. Best to Phil. Hope the bones have begun to knit. I suppose the metal and fasteners are supposed to hold it all together, and I've never had those thanks to smaller breaks, but always found that immobilizing the bone a good idea. Still, he's a man used to a very active life, so I'm sure he wants to get back in the game ASAP. Takes time, though.
  14. treefort13

    treefort13 Rerutnevda ylranG

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,251
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    Fantastic ride report! Looking forward to reading the updates.
  15. B50Paul

    B50Paul Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    204
    Location:
    Salt spring Island the Hawaii of Canada
    Great write up:clap
    Love the fluid community on the road . Keep looking after your little brother . Paul :1drink
  16. UltiJayne

    UltiJayne Sister on a KLR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Thanks! I thought you guys would like to know about other motorcyclists doing this trip - especially as most of those guys are too lazy or drunk, or both, to ever write a ride report of their own.

    No sure I´m doing a great job of looking after Phil. I´m nearly in Patagonia and he´s still in Peru! But he tells me he´ll be back on the road soon. I´m sure we´ll meet up eventually.
  17. OldTriumphRider

    OldTriumphRider Livin the Dream

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Friendsville ,Tn ...Smoky Mts
    most interesting adventure, you do a good job of covering everything that happens on the ride , keep up the good work, you have a large following !:clap
    amazing what you guys are doing , what an experience.
  18. Wump

    Wump aka Mister Wisker

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Back in Canada
    I fell off my bike. We got some owies.


    From getting an xray "just in case" to having surgery 4 hours later. Five days in the hospital. But I have been through this before.
    In 2010 I broke my other collar-bone playing ultimate. That cost me over a year off work. After 7 months, and several misdiagnosis and complications, I had surgery for my right collar-bone. That left me with a plate and 11 screws holding all the pieces together. That plate is still there. The memory of all the frustration remains as well. Sadly, while highly offset by incredible kindness and hospitality of strangers, the frustration would be repeated this break too.


    After an extra couple days in hospital warding off concern of infection, I finally was discharged from the Victor Paredes Clinic. This allowed me out just in time for Jayne and I to accompany Kelly to the airport. After the continued push to get to Macchu Picchu before having to fly home, in the end Kelly didn't even make it. There was an option to take a bus, but with road rash dressings to change, depressive memories of the crash lingering and a generally sombre mood; the mantra of "nuts to Machu Picchu" was repeated often by all of us (something along those lines anyways).
    Not a great ending to a fantastic three months with Kelly as guest star on the Ultimateride. She is heavily missed.


    In Lamay we stayed camping on the porch for 5 days. Each day we would wake to a glorious setting. It's not called the sacred Valley for nothing. During our stay, I was able to tear down Jugs to find out all her problems. We were heartily fed and Sandra, also a nurse, helped pull my stitches and provided me with some bandages for my wounds. This all worked wonders for a man in recovery. The bike in recovery, however, was about to drop a bomb: Jugs had bent her frame.


    The smashed dials I was able to repair with pop bottles, though the tachometer is dead with its chip board shattered. The handlebars were bent, and being aluminum would need replacing. My airbox was smashed by the right pannier, and would need some creative repairs to seal it back up. The pannier boxes and rack would also need some welding love. These things I could do all with just an arm and a half, but the frame...
    <dl id="attachment_6916" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Carbonated sugary beverages are good for more than just diabetes.</dd></dl>

    <dl id="attachment_6896" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Baby got curves in all the wrong places</dd></dl>

    <dl id="attachment_6915" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">dang that ding!</dd></dl>

    The frame needed more skills and strength than I possess. In Canada or the States, the labour costs would likely be prohibitive. But in Peru, and much of Latin america, labour is cheap. They can, and do, fix everything. Still, this bent frame discovery had me a bit bummed.
    <dl id="attachment_6918" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Henry came all the way out to Lamay by bus for a "house call" inspection of Jugs. Fixable for 300 Soles (120$)</dd></dl>
    Henry the mechanic, a friend of a friend, came out the next day to inspect jugs. A solid 2.5 hour round trip unpaid. Not often you get mechanic house calls! Henry said he could fix the frame for around 300 soles, (120$). I just had to get the bike to his shop in Cusco. This proved to be a pain, since Sandy's truck was in use for their NGO. After a frustrating no-show of one truck, and searching town to town in the rain, I found a pickup to take Jugs to Cusco for 70 soles (about 30$).
    <dl id="attachment_6921" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Back to Cusco in the back of yet another truck.</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6925" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Stripped down for de-bending</dd></dl>

    <dl id="attachment_6927" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">I took advantage of the shop space and did a bit of maintenance while Jugs was in the shop.</dd></dl>
    All this time my shoulder has felt remarkably good. I have close to full range of motion, and little pain. If I felt any discomfort while doing anything, I would just stop. I felt confident my shoulder would be ready before Jugs would. The doctor had told me I might be able to ride within two-three weeks of discharge.

    <dl id="attachment_6917" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Sandra kindly picks out my stitches for me.</dd></dl>
    I awaited the bike to be ready settled in at Tania and Philippes. When the day came for a test ride, my bike worked great, but my shoulder... my shoulder hurt. Plain and simple. It had been feeling so good the whole time leading up, but on the two-hour test ride to the valley and back: it hurt. Nuts.
    I went for an xray to see if there was a reason for this new-found discomfort. There was. Not only was my clavicle not healing, the pins had shifted, no longer holding the pieces as closely together.

    <dl id="attachment_6928" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Not better. In fact: getting worse.</dd></dl>
    Incredibly frustrated, I self-imposed my arm in a sling. Something I should have had for a while after the hospital really... And something they charged my insurance for, but never provided me with. Regardless, my healing timeframe was now back at square one.
    <dl id="attachment_6930" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">After a couple of days in a homemade sling made of pants, I traded up thanks to Huadan next door!</dd></dl>
    I discussed with Jayne that she should go on without me. My healing could complicate further, and she could end up waiting a lot of time for nothing. After christmas and meeting all the boys, the time was right and with the right people.
    <dl id="attachment_6933" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Slitting up was hard. The symbolism not lost while cutting these stickers.</dd></dl>

    One of the shifted pins was bothersome. I went in to have the doctor do something about it, and he torqued on it through my skin with his thumb. Hard. This moved the pin a bit, and nearly moved me to the floor from the pain. But in the end it didn't help, and still left me with a skin tent on my shoulder.
    <dl id="attachment_6931" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Pin making an effort to escape</dd></dl>
    <dl id="attachment_6934" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The pin shifted, and eventually jabbed its way out. Months later I still live with a holy shoulder.</dd></dl>
    The pin was destined to come out I would see. The jagged, rough tip had been gouging at my skin from the inside for a month and a half. What kind of surgeon leaves that kind of saw-tip on a pin?!!
    <dl id="attachment_6935" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">This kind of surgeon, apparently.</dd></dl>
    Once Jayne left in late December, I started to work at a hostel to pass the time. I had partied at Loki hostel with Jordan and Josh over christmas, and figured it would be a fun way to pass the time. Working the bar with one arm in a sling, it was a great time indeed.
    <dl id="attachment_6898" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">The bar at Loki. Once you enter, you never leave.</dd></dl>
    I worked at Loki Cusco for about two weeks, then took a trip to Salta for the Dakar. I didn't get to see the race like I wanted to at Dakar, so will have to make another trip another year.


    I stayed in Salta for about two weeks, working in the Loki located there. I wanted a couple of weeks at a lower elevation to get some more oxygen to my bones. The strategy worked, my follow-up x-ray in Salta showing some signs of healing. The doctor also recommended removing the pins. That would require insurance company approval, but for now, after over a month in restraint I could escape from my sling.


    I would have stayed in Salta longer, but I had to return to Peru to deal with my expiring temporary import permit for Jugs. There is a process to have your permit "suspended" (like being put on pause) when you leave the country, to resume on your return, but my attempt at getting that suspension was thwarted by corrupt police. They wanted 90 soles for a document that should cost 7, and I wouldn't pay. Tania's uncle even works at the police station, and even that didn't save me from the pigs. Corruption with public officials in Peru is deep, and no dealings with the police go well here.


    My attempts at getting an extension through customs was fruitless. It turns out there is simply NO way to extend a temporary import permit in Peru. The penalty for overstaying: you lose your bike.
    Mere days out of the sling I was left with no choice, so I rode Jugs to the Bolivian border. An 1100km round trip.


    It was fantastic to ride again. Jugs rode well, and I met up with another rider Ian for the second day of the trip.
    <dl id="attachment_6909" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 810px" data-mce-style="width: 810px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Ian and his KLR. He also crashed, but wrote off his v-strom. His Peruvian KLR would pose some problems as he had to "export" it at the border.</dd></dl>

    On the journey, Jugs hit 100 000km on the odometer.
    <dl id="attachment_6911" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 610px" data-mce-style="width: 610px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt">[​IMG]
    </dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd">Born again KLR: 100000km ticks over to 000000</dd></dl>
    It was pretty special. There was a time I thought I would never get to see that moment. I was back on the road again. Jugs was running. My arm was working. Life was back as it should be.
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WZQEpmkA9a8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


    The border was quick. I bought the aduana agent "lunch" to avoid physically having to leave the country for a day, as the rules state. I don't mind paying bribes when I'm the one breaking the rules.
    Back in Cusco, I again worked at Loki while doing rehab exercises for my shoulder. The hostel work kept me sane as I waited for time to pass, and the discounts and free meals helped to keep my budget afloat too. After a week or so, after my last shift, I lost it one night when a new staff member stole a girls phone. I was intoxicated, and after both Jayne's phone and mine were stolen (along with countless others from guests at the hostel), I have lost all tolerance for thieves. Hitting the guy in the face wasn't my place, and I shouldn't have done it, but he certainly was deserving. My general frustrations with life were coming to a front.
    Things were smoothed over before I left a few days later, but I didn't really leave Cusco on a high note. This whole trip Jayne and I have generally left places when we still want to stay, "leaving while on top". My departure from Cusco was certainly leaving on the bottom.


    I am now in La Paz, Bolivia, and ecstatic to be back on the road again. My frustration has waned. You can't have the sweet without the sour.
    Uploading photos is a constant struggle with slow internet connections and no resizing software. I am computer-less and using internet cafes. I'll post some stories of the past couple months as I am able to. There are some fun ones. For now, I've just received approval from my insurance company to have my bothersome pins removed. So that will be the next step. Where I do that I'm not sure yet, but I need to get moving south.



    Winter is coming.


  19. Wump

    Wump aka Mister Wisker

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Oddometer:
    84
    Location:
    Back in Canada
    Just a quick update before I hit the road south. Had one of my two pins removed today, the one that had been causing me much discomfort. And occasional mild blood loss.

    Here's the video of the removal. So quick I could have done it myself with my leatherman.
    (Note: This might be gross. After years of working as a nurse, I can't tell anymore)


    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Ey6fprEW1A4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  20. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,437
    Location:
    MS. Gulf Coast and Puerto Vallarta, MX
    After years of hanging out in OR's, ER's and such as a pharma. rep, I'd say that pin removal could could have been done in the local bar and would have been more entertaining. I expect you'll be more comfortable now.