Adventure Dreams - Riding the Americas

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by squr3l, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    So I've been on the road a bit over 3 weeks and figured it was time to make a ride report. Bear with me as this is a bit tedious to do from an iPhone on the road. I'm taking advantage of the wifi at my friends place in Whistler before I head out shortly...

    So I decided around December that I was going to make this trip happen. I got my bike dialed in and everything at home sorted. Sold my 69 El Camino and 83 R100 and quit my job.

    The plan being to ride from Southern California to Alaska spending about 3 months getting there and back, then continuing down through Central and South America after, spending 7 or more months for that portion.

    Most of my timing is fluid. I'll be at Dust 2 Dawson in a week, and I've reserved my spot on the Stahlratte for their Halloween cruise from Panama to Colombia, but that could change if necessary. I also want to catch up with the Dakar 2018 somewhere along its course in January. Other than that I don't have any time constraints.

    I had initially intended to do the whole trip solo but my buddy Patrick recently found out he could manage 6 or 7 months off to join for Central and South America, which will probably work out a lot better for me anyway. I don't want to get stuck alone somewhere remote with a 500lb fridge of a bike. He's going to pick up an F800GS like mine to simplify tools and parts between us.


    I expect I'm forgetting some valuable info here but I can always fill you in later. I posted a few things on my site already, but I'll transcribe the relevant ones into this thread to keep it easy.

    I also built a location tracking map that shows where I've been. Check that out here:

    And I post more frequently on instagram if anyone is interested:
  2. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    Here's a quick rundown of the adventure gear I've selected for my trip north to Alaska and back.


    This is my main set of riding gear. The jersey will get swapped for a wool base layer when the weather dictates. Here's a breakdown:

    • Scorpion EXO-AT950 modular helmet
    • Sena SMH10 Bluetooth headset intercom
    • Klim Latitude Gore-Tex jacket
    • Klim Latitude Gore-Tex pants
    • Troy Lee Designs Sprint jersey
    • Troy Lee Designs Radius Adventure gloves
    • Sidi Adventure Gore-Tex boots
    • SOKz various motorcycle sock offerings
    • ACR ARTEX ResQLink+ personal locator beacon
    • Camelbak backpack with 100oz water bladder
    I carry the PLB in my jacket, and the following gear in my backpack.

    • Crankbrothers multitool
    • ChapStick
    • matches
    • pocket knife
    • torch lighter
    • tube repair kit
    • bottle opener
    • ear plugs

    I'm using Wolfman Rocky Mountain side bags to carry most of my gear, with a Sedici tank bag for quick access items, and a Pelican 1450 top case to protect the electronics and valuables. Here's the stuff I'm taking on this trip.

    • Spare 21" front inner tube
    • Spare 17" rear inner tube
    • BMW large bike cover
    • ENO Atlas XL hammock straps
    • ENO DoubleNest hammock
    • Cheap camping chair
    • MSR PocketRocket stove
    • LE flashlight
    • Princeton Tec Byte headlamp with spare AAA batteries
    • Magnesium fire starter
    • Lighter
    • Pocket knife
    • Compass
    • TOAKS titanium 450ml mug
    • Espro Travel Press coffee mug
    • GSI Outdoors JavaMill coffee grinder
    • MSR fuel tank
    • Snow Peak cookware set
    • Bamboo cooking utensil
    • Snow Peak titanium spork
    • toilet paper
    • Repel mosquito repellant
    • Modern Times Electric Peak coffee
    • 3 lengths of paracord with Figure 9 carabiners
    • Sawyer MINI water filtration system
    • Frontiersman bear spray
    • Marine air horn
    • Dupont Chain Saver lube
    • Half of my tool kit, including tire pump and tire irons, etc *not pictured
    • Outad 6'x7' tarp
    • sleeping mask (expect 100% daylight hours as you get farther north)
    • Naturehike inflatable pillow
    • Cocoon silk sleeping bag liner
    • Klymit Static V sleeping pad
    • Rovor Buhl sleeping bag (45*F comfort, 14*F extreme rating)
    • Vans sandals
    • Extra pair of gloves
    • Assortment of freeze dried food and ramen until I get closer to bear country (then the food stays totally separate from sleeping gear)
    • 2 MSR 30oz fuel bottles mounted in 2 Wolfman bottle holsters outside the bag
    • Vans comfortable shoes
    • I have some extra room in here still for clothing, food, beer, etc
    • REI first aid kit restocked with extra supplies
    • NewTrent battery backup
    • Anker dual USB wall charger
    • Cables for iPhone, Sena, and GoPro
    • Bose headphones
    • Repair kits for sleeping pad and tent
    • Sunscreen
    • Pen
    • Lighter
    • Papers
    • Matches
    • Spare AAA batteries
    • Carabiners
    • Wet Ones
    • Yoshimura spark arrestor (for Oregon and Washington forests)
    • Desert Fox fuel bladder spout
    • Extra keys
    • Second wallet
    • Microfiber
    • Hat with mosquito net
    • Mini towel
    • Toothbrush
    • Burt's Bees lip balm
    • Nail clippers
    • Toothpaste
    • Eye drops
    • Nasal strips
    • Tissues
    • More Wet Ones
    • Soap
    • Foot spray (to keep my feet less disgusting in waterproof boots all day)
    • Watercolor notebook
    • Watercolor paints and brushes
    • Reading material (Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo)
    • Wrist brace for my left wrist
    • GoPro various adapters and mounts
    • GoPro HERO5 Black
    • The top case locks and secures to the bike with 4 Master locks
    • Waterproof tank bag cover
    • Glove liners
    • Travel lock
    • More eye drops
    • Extra 15A fuses
    • Emergency space blanket
    • More sunscreen
    • Digital tire gauge
    • Pen
    • Belkin iPhone dongle (necessary to charge and listen to headphones simultaneously... thanks Apple)
    • More ear plugs
    • Quaker granola snack I've had sitting around
    The Alps Mountaineering Lynx 2 person tent and MSR Dromedary 4L water bladder get strapped on top of the Pelican case with ROK Straps, and that's all my camping gear. I also have 2 Keeper locking cam straps that I wrap around my soft bags to hopefully prevent any opportunistic thieves. And I'm running 2 Desert Fox 5L fuel bladders that I've rigged up as tank panniers when empty, or mounted on the crash bars when full.

    The majority of my clothing gets packed into my Wolfman yellow dry duffel bag, then strapped on the pillion seat. I meant to shoot a photo layout of that too, but I'm running a bit late with last minute prep for tomorrow departure and it's just some boring clothes... Anyway here's a rough list:

    • SmartWool base layer - top and bottom
    • Carhartt Super Cold thermals - top and bottom
    • 5 pairs of antimicrobial boxers from Carhartt and ExOfficio
    • Assortment of socks from SOKz, SmartWool, and Carhartt that I'm still testing out
    • 2 T shirts
    • 1 pair of shorts
    • 1 pair of jeans
    • 1 pair of swimtrunks
    • Extra thermal tops and bottoms
    • Cloudveil fleece pullover
    • Carhartt beanie
    • Firstgear heated jacket, pants, and gloves with temp controller (thanks Migilito!) *these have been relocated to the right side bag
    I put together a pretty solid tool kit, split in 2 parts. I carry the tire change gear in the left pannier, and the rest of the tools in a Wolfman Rolie small dry bag strapped to the outside of the left pannier. I also meant to snap some photos of this, but underestimated how long it takes to lay everything out in perfectly organized fashion, and didn't look forward to inventorying the whole tool kit contents again. It's lots of Torx bits, wrenches, sockets, ratchets, Knipex pliers, tire irons, zip ties, epoxies, and all the peculiar little pieces you need to work on this fine German machine. You get the idea. I may show some tool highlights on the road if the occasion calls for it.

    I have a feeling some of this is unnecessary weight but I'll figure out what I'm not using the first few weeks and re-evaluate. Adventure awaits!
    RJ44, dml9, Eatmore Mudd and 8 others like this.
  3. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    DAY 1
    I got a late start out of Torrance on Tuesday but was determined to get on the road so I didn't procrastinate another day. After 2 hours I was out by Gorman but still 2+ hours from Carrizo Plains where I wanted to camp. I looked through my maps and found a few spots around the Los Pinos recreation area that seemed like my best bet. I grabbed some dinner from the Mexican spot near Chevron and rode west out of town.

    As I got closer to Mt Pinos a sign for a 4x4 camp caught my attention so I doubled back. I rode a few miles up Tecuya Mountain Rd and found an empty primitive campground.


    Perfect timing to squeeze in a photo of the sunset and set up camp before dark. The first night was cold and windy, and my nervous excitement didn't let me get much sleep.

    DAY 2
    The next morning I got a slow start after enjoying the warm sun on the tent for a bit. I was on the road around noon, and wanted to catch up to my rough schedule through California. Looking at the map I decided to ride up the eastern Sierras. Coming towards Mojave on the 14 I ran into really dangerous winds, the same place I encountered them on the way to Death Valley in March. I was following a pickup with a large camper mounted in the bed, and I was almost certain it was going to blow over considering the suspension was entirely compressed on the right side and fully unweighted on the left. Somehow both the camper and I made it to Mojave. From there the wind mellowed out as I headed a bit east.


    I cruised up the 395 and stopped at the iconic jerky joint for some $12/3oz jerky. The free sample verified it was delicious, but I could only really justify 1 pack to try at that price. Gassed up across the street and got back on the road. I eventually make it to Bishop and hit the BBQ spot across from Schatt's Bakery. I wasn't all that hungry but I wanted to opt for the easy dinner over a space meal at camp. The pulled pork had about a weeks recommended sodium intake, so I ate what I could and rode out towards some hot springs I had distant memories of visiting years ago. I found the Rock Tub site off Whitmore Tubs Rd nearly empty so I set up camp for the night and relaxed in the hot springs.


    I retired to the tent when temperatures dropped, then spent a miserable night freezing in my 45*F comfort sleeping bag. Twice in the night I heard a large group of coyotes howling in the immediate vicinity; it was pretty cool but all I could think of was how reliable that vacuum seal was on my new beef jerky acquisition. After the sun had been up for an hour I found the courage to reach out of my mummy bag and grab my phone. My iPhone didn't want to wake up but after some coercing it told me the temperature was 29*F. Shit! No wonder I'm so cold. I might have been naive in my planning but I didn't expect anything like that this time of year in CA. I looked up average spring and summer temps for the regions I expected to be more frigid, like Canada and Alaska, but didn't think to double check places I've been like California off the 395.

    DAY 3
    I made a few cups of coffee and enjoyed the view since I was awake so early.


    The campground was empty except for an older couple in a camper van. At one point the guy walked over to chat and I told him about my trip. Turns out he is from Patagonia and has been all over Central and South America, what a small world. I keep running into people with valuable advice for my travels.

    Continued in next post...
    Pete S, black 8, ONandOFF and 6 others like this.
  4. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    Soon it was time to continue north. I cut through the corner of Nevada and rode the 88 and 89 to get into South Lake Tahoe.


    I stopped by and visited an old friend, grabbing some lunch and catching up before continuing late in the day in search of a campsite. I figured I had to get as far from Tahoe as possible to get away from the cold. I made it past Truckee then explored a maze of dirt roads around Boca Reservoir before finding a nice spot right at sunset.


    I set up on top of a little ridge overlooking a small meadow and went to bed pretty early since fires were prohibited. That was another freezing night but I wore all 4 of my warm layers in the sleeping bag and was actually quite comfortable. I got up early and found my bike and tent dusted in a layer of frost.


    After packing up I headed north along the 89 and 70 following rivers through Plumas and Lassen National Forests. Unfortunately Lassen National Park was entirely buried in snow except for the visitor center, so I stopped through Old Station to gas up and determine where I wanted to stay that night. While checking the maps a few US Forest Service fire fighters stopped by to ask about my bike and I asked them about camping recommendations. They all agreed Klamath River area was my best bet so I headed west towards the 5 and up past Mount Shasta. I stopped in Yreka to get some dinner and ended up at a Mexican restaurant. While there a guy named Dave asked about my destination and after checking with his wife, he offered me a place to crash for the night. I took him up on his offer and followed him to his ranch near Montague.


    (Sorry it's broken up into so many posts. Can only do 4 images each this way)
  5. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    Dave and Jill were very gracious hosts and welcomed me into their home. We chatted late into the night and the next morning they wished me luck on my way out.


    DAY 4
    I rode a few minutes up the 5 into Oregon and exited onto the Old Highway 99 S to get to Green Springs Highway 66 where my GPS tracks for the Oregon Backcountry Route started. Oregon immediately delivered the goods with awesome twisty pavement and plentiful dirt roads. I quickly got to what would perhaps be the gnarliest part of my OBDR ride, and later realized the rider whose tracks I was following had opted to skip this first section entirely. I got onto a chunky, muddy road riddled with ruts climbing up over the mountain between Camp Latgawa and Lake of the Woods Hwy 140. This was the most technical part I would encounter for the first few days, so it was a fun intro to Oregon.

    Here's a little instagram video edit of the first day in Oregon:

    I continued on riding a variety of fire roads through Butte Falls and over to Prospect for gas.


    By this point I was out of cell range for the foreseeable future. After gassing up I rode over to Union Creek to find some food. My tracks routed me onto a power line road with awesome flow for that section, definitely recommend that part. I was initially headed toward Beckie's Cafe, but pulled in and noticed a chuck wagon BBQ joint and was sold.


    I ate some pulled pork by the creek then continued along the OBDR. I got deeper into the forests off Crater Lake Highway 62 before I started running into some tricky snow. At one point I hopped off to assess the snowpack on the road ahead and nearly stepped right onto a set of bear tracks.


    So I turned around there and headed back towards Castle Creek where I found a great campsite. I hung out there for the night, pretty stoked after a successful day of exploring southern Oregon backcountry.
  6. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    DAY 5
    In the morning I cruised off to Crater Lake which still looks like a winter wonderland.



    I looked at the maps the night before, intending to detour around the snowed out sections of the trail by hitting Crater Lake and continuing north. However, I got into the park and realized I had to return the same way I came since Hwy 62 was the only road open.

    black 8, aleaddict, ONandOFF and 6 others like this.
  7. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    I got back onto West Diamond Lake Highway and rode up to Diamond Lake, skipping trail sections through snow play areas that were still suitable for snowmobiles. A few miles down the Cascade Lakes Highway I ran into hundreds of yards of deep snow and had to detour to Lemolo Lake.


    At this point I realized there wasn't another way around without hours of highway detouring in the wrong direction, and I had a feeling I would continue to encounter snow the whole way along the OBDR. I decided to shoot west toward the coast, but I needed to find a place to camp for the night. I explored a dirt road that went towards Lemolo Falls, but the road quickly turned into a muddy snowy mess. I also stopped by a few resort style campgrounds around the lake but they were all depressing and expensive. I headed out to the 138 and found Clearwater Falls campground which seemed to be free during pre-season, perfect!



    I set up and met some other campers there who were primarily siblings from the Florida and Missouri areas I think they said? It was cool hanging out with some like minded people after all the rough camping I've been doing. They invited me to join in their cast iron skillet chicken and dumplings cooked by the campfire, and I offered to share my freeze dried chicken and dumplings if they wanted to compare. They declined and I opted for the absolutely delicious version Josiah cooked up. Later that night we tried to do some low light slow shutter shots with my new GoPro down by the falls but couldn't quite figure it out.

    DAY 6
    The next morning they convinced me it was worth a dip in the freezing water so I gave it a whirl. I also busted out my Sawyer water filter I've owned for a few years but never used.

  8. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    I filled my Camelbak from the fresh volcanic filtered water, then packed up and rode west down the North Umpqua Highway 138. This was a great twisty road that followed the Umpqua River North Fork with lots of waterfalls and campgrounds to explore along the way. I stopped by the Toketee Falls and checked out this 12 foot diameter wooden water pipe built in 1949. It supplies water to 3 turbine generators, producing electricity for 22,500 homes. Pretty awesome!


    I wish I had gone a bit slower through the Hwy 138 area but I was eager to make it to the coast and the empty road beckoned. I passed through Roseburg and got out to Coons Bay before heading up the sandy Oregon coast, meandering between forests, lakes, and dunes.


    I stopped and looked for cool spots to camp but wasn't impressed with the RV parking lots asking $20+. I'd prefer to be out in nature for free so I have a hard time compromising and paying that much. It was around this point my low beam headlight burned out. I kept on riding up the coast, and stopped by Yachats Brewing based on my friends suggestion.


    I had a little flight and some tasty lamb kofta meatballs. It's hard to eat healthy on the road so you gotta take advantage when you find places like this. At this point I needed to find someplace to set up for the night, so I rode out East Alsea Highway 34 to get away from the cold coast. I checked a few locations by the river but wasn't happy with how wet they were. I rode up into the hills eventually winding up on Cannibal Mountain, and tried to find a spot to no avail. I came across a few damp spots in tall grass that looked like great spots to pick up some ticks, but kept on going.


    I walked down this one thickly covered side track to investigate and got a really creepy vibe when the trail opened up into this overgrown clearing with a single camping chair sitting ominously in the center.
  9. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015

    It might have been paranoia but I hightailed it outa there. I rode up the rest of the mountain and got some beautiful sunset views but didn’t find anywhere I wanted to stay for the night.


    I ended up heading farther east to get up to Corvallis area to stay the night at my friends house. I planned to meet up with my buddy Matt the next day but was happy to crash on a couch instead of trying to camp somewhere dark and wet.

    Here's another instagram edit from riding around Oregon:

    DAY 7
    The next day we went shooting out by Mary’s Peak with a nice variety of firearms, then stopped by Block 15 Brewing for food and refreshments. Along the way I picked up a new headlight bulb.


    DAY 8
    Wednesday we did a 6 or 7 mile hike out at Opal Creek and headed into Portland for some late night grub and local brews.

  10. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

    Nov 6, 2011
    Folks, this is what happens after NOobs Rally attendance....:D
  11. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    Yes! Literally at the Pahrump rally in November this was just a dream ride I wanted to do someday. Then I decided that it would be now or never. And I wrote up a bit about Noobs Rally if anyone is hankering for something to read:
    Mr Head and Migolito like this.
  12. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Feb 20, 2007
    Burbank CA
    so young and adventurous...buck. i'll be following this RR with envy. you did the right thing.

    great job posting up your gear selection in details. many of us here will use them for our planning purpose.

    let us know if you need any kind of support.

    glad to hear the pahrump rally was instrumental in your decision making. i need to attend more rallies to inspire me, and read ride reports every evening.

    i would be interested to follow your routes from canada to alaska. this is something i may be able to pull out in june 2018.
  13. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

    Aug 14, 2012
    Ventura, CA

    Great pics.. Love the track.
    squr3l likes this.
  14. Greedyg76

    Greedyg76 Certified Card Carrying A-hole

    Oct 29, 2013
    Alta Loma, CA
    Buck this is awesome! Glad I got the chance to chat with you about your plans for this trip at n00bs. You're doing it man, you're really doing it. I'll be following from behind my keyboard with envy....
    squr3l likes this.
  15. Mr Head

    Mr Head Adventure Hippie Supporter

    Sep 21, 2003
    San Clemente, CA
    Very cool Buck. Good to see you out there living the dream.
    Very cool indeed.
    Hey, if you want to see bears. cook porknbeans and hotdogs in camp. Works like a charm. :eekers
    Lo Echsar and squr3l like this.
  16. Team Vegas

    Team Vegas ((̲̅ ̲̅(̲̅C̲̅r̲̅a̲̅y̲̅o̲̅l̲̲̅̅a̲̅( ̲̅̅((>---

    Jan 23, 2011
  17. socially stunted

    socially stunted Mind astray

    Aug 11, 2012
    La Verne, CA
  18. Greedyg76

    Greedyg76 Certified Card Carrying A-hole

    Oct 29, 2013
    Alta Loma, CA
    I saw something on IG about a crash and a Fairbanks hospital, anyone know what happened to Buck ? :confused
  19. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Apr 2, 2015
    Thanks for the concern. I'm in the hospital recovering. Not sure how bad things are but I don't remember much and may have a broken arm based on what the nurse has said.
  20. Mr Head

    Mr Head Adventure Hippie Supporter

    Sep 21, 2003
    San Clemente, CA
    Yikes! Let us know if there is anything we can do to help out. Big place with a big heart. :(
    NSFW likes this.