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Chicago to Ushuaia; South America Here I Come!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tshusband, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Tshusband

    Tshusband Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    Aurora, Illinois
    Over the past year I have garnered an immense amount of knowledge on this site from South American ride reports. Without all the time & trouble the previous riders have taken to post their reports while traveling, I don't think this trip would be possible for me. So I wish to start out by saying a big thank you to all the guys (and gals) who have passed on so much information and amusement through all your awesome ride reports. Thanks!

    I have no idea how my attempt at ride reports are going to sound to anyone but myself. I, like most, have never done this before (post ride reports) and I am certainly not a writer! As boring as it might sound, my reports might end up being full of facts & current info on my route etc. We'll see. All I know, is that all year long as I have been reading RR's, I have craved real information to help me plan my run to TDF. Maybe what I write can help next years crop of riders.

    My ride is an '07 KLR with 8,000 miles on the clock. Fairly well farkled only to make the ride more rideable and durable. Nothing fancy except the Zumo. Which by the way, HUGE THANKS to Moto-Treks for all his major league help with the SA GPS maps. Oh yeah, I can't forget, I'm riding with the stock seat. Glutton for punishment? Perhaps.

    My goal is to reach Ushuaia and get back up to Buenos Airies in time to fly home for Christmas with my wife and 2 children. That is not negotiable. It is set in stone, house rules. My 14 year old daughter is scheduled to fly into Lima on 10-22 to spend 15 days on the back of my bike. We'll take the back door into Machu Pichu, She'll fly home out of LaPaz, Bolivia. That will most certainly be the highlight of my trip, along with reaching Ushuaia.

    I left home in Batavia, Illinois on 9-15 and am now in Naranjo, Mexico.

    I had forgotten how life is here. Just a day and a half into Mexico and I have already seen dead dogs and a dead horse lying right next to the road. I also came upon a flipped upside down car with a dead PERSON in it out in the middle of nowhere. It had happened the night before but nobody had seen the car because it was down in a ravine. 25 miles down the road I finally saw emergency vehicles on the way. There was no cell coverage at the scene. It was horrible. Drivers seem to throw caution to the wind. Beware, what you have grown accustomed to thinking is your lane space, is not your lane space here in Mexico.

    Here is my SPOT tracking link to see where I am:

    http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0oHYJPhtsKeKkKOjFMOX6MdOWatcLGbpV



    I'm rambling. I hope a few of you enjoy following my dream ride.
    Comments and questions are always welcome. I'll give it my best shot.

    PS. I can not figure how to get my pics from smugmug into this report.
    Anyone help me out please? Thanks.






    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,860
    #2
  3. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,771
    Location:
    Puerto Rico, U.S.A.
    Hey...This is going to be fun..Have a safe ride.

    I'll be watching this thread. Como está tu español?

    :clap
    #3
  4. Tshusband

    Tshusband Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    Aurora, Illinois
    No es muy bueno. Enough to get by, but I can tell already I am missing alot of fun communicating with the locals when I stop.
    #4
  5. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,632
    Location:
    northern Arkansas
    I'm in, looks like you're off to quite a start.
    Jim
    #5
  6. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,771
    Location:
    Puerto Rico, U.S.A.
    If you need help with the language, drop me a note.

    Buen viaje y estaré pendiente por si necesitas ayuda. If you find a bilingual person, dont be afraid to ask. Even if not, most are willing to help!

    #6
  7. strawbobrob

    strawbobrob n00bian

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    64
    Please make all the mistakes you possibly can so we know what to expect.:lol3
    #7
  8. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,387
    Location:
    Tampa, Flatistan
    I'm in for this one.... Ride safe amigo....
    #8
  9. Tshusband

    Tshusband Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    Aurora, Illinois
    I think I can safely say that my first mistake was not keeping up the Loretta Stone Spanish program that my wife so graciously gave me last Chrismas for this trip.

    My second mistake was not sticking to the Loretta Stone Spanish program.

    Yep, so was the third.

    Everything else seems to be going well. Rain three times a day. THREE BULLS IN THE ROAD AROUND A BLIND 45MPH TURN. Staring me in the face. I downshifted to 1st and gradually approached as they checked me out. They let me go by as if they couldn´t care less. What the hell would I have done if one of them wanted to play chicken with me? I mean, they were IN the road. And these roads have no shoulders, with tall brush growing right up to the road edge, which gives you nowhere to go.

    It cost me $10 to fill the KLR tank, hotels are running from $9 to $25. The toll roads are a joke for the most part. And yes, they do add up, but it´s really nothing in the grand scheme of things.

    Actually saw road signs for Cancun today. That was cool. WOW, last time I saw Cancun I was on my honeymoon 15 years ago.

    It is really beautifull here. The problem is that you have to watch the road every second for potholes, animals, poorly marked roadsigns, and fast cars so you can barely look at the scenery. If only there were shoulders to pull off on to take more pics. I just haven´t had time to work out the photo download yet. Please be patient, they will come!

    Thanks for the encouragement from you guys. Time to go find some food if anything is still open.
    #9
  10. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,856
    Location:
    Spokane Washington
    Hi Crawford,

    Wow, you have made some distance since we talked on the phone. Hope the GPS is helping and in time, the maps for South America.

    Ride safe :D

    -Jeff
    #10
  11. drivenbydiscovery

    drivenbydiscovery ´¯`•...¸>`•.¸¸.•

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    New Hope, PA
    just wait till Honduras ... :eek1

    but nevermind about that. enjoy the ride ... i'm looking forward to your updates and pics! :D
    #11
  12. turbotiger

    turbotiger What's my credit limit?

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    NE Nevada
    Good luck from St. Charles, IL!

    Buy ya a drink when you get back!

    Lance
    #12
  13. lochridge

    lochridge Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    here
    i am in on this one.
    batavia, you say? i'm a local too.
    #13
  14. Tshusband

    Tshusband Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    Aurora, Illinois
    Wow, it's great that a couple locals have seen this thread. I hope I don't dissapoint. I can tell you this, I'm not in Kane County anymore Toto.
    Today is my day of rest at a swank air conditioned hotel in Villahermosa. By hook or by crook I hope to get pics up & running here.

    It was a real culture shock coming into this hotel after riding through some extremely rural country where people live on the beach in very minimal housing. I have probably seen more of Mexico in one day than most of these people might ever see. That's quite a concept.

    Hey Moto-Treks, the Smelly Bob world map is pretty much at a loss if you get off the main road. Even if you are on the main road it is confused. I'm hoping the SA maps you provided me with are better. But the compass on the GPS saved my ride yesterday. Without it, I would have been just guessing at which tiny dirt road to turn on. Sun up at noon makes for difficult navigation! :eek1
    #14
  15. Tshusband

    Tshusband Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    Aurora, Illinois
    Ok, now you get to see my sorry mug.

    [​IMG]
    Maps? I don't need no stinking maps!
    [​IMG]


    Five new tires for the trip:
    [​IMG]

    Roadside action, you see lots of this:
    [​IMG]
    This nice lady was kind enough to sell me some freshly squeezed pinapple juice.
    [​IMG]

    What do expect for $9.00 a night?
    [​IMG]
    Free in room self service laundry at no additional charge
    [​IMG]
    My first hotel lobby: Check the plate, I turn 54 in on Oct 1, on to TDF. Yeah, I'm bad.
    [​IMG]

    My tool tube was acting as a water collecting device. Not any longer:
    [​IMG]

    Life's a beach, then you gotta live there:
    [​IMG]

    In case on of you KLR riders are curious, I had my footpegs lowered about 1-3/4" and was able to keep the aftermarket centerstand. I am 6 foot, and this was a great help to me.
    [​IMG]

    Well, there was a road here.....
    [​IMG]
    Reminds me of my motocross days:
    [​IMG]

    There are millions of these shops lining the roads. Mind you, they work out in the sun in 95 degree temps!
    [​IMG]

    Collapsed road go around, semi's were going through here:
    [​IMG]

    Much of this:[​IMG]

    Only the compass on the GPS got me out of here. I also have a manual compass should the GPS go bad:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Miles & miles of this:
    [​IMG]

    Mr. Ed, I presume?:
    [​IMG]

    Coconut on the road waiting to be picked up and taken to market:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now it's official:

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Hank

    Hank Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Oddometer:
    148
    Location:
    South Texas
    Hola Tshusband, Congratulations on the start of a great adventure! I'll be looking forward to your posts! Good luck

    Hank

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  17. dlh62c

    dlh62c Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,603
    #17
  18. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,771
    Location:
    Puerto Rico, U.S.A.
    Hola Tshusband!

    Bueno saber de ti. Buenas fotos!!! Espero sigas bien y que disfrutes la aventura de tus 54! Yo cumplo 50 el próximo año y mi aventura será AK, si Dios permite!

    Good to hear from you. Those are great pics! Hope you continue ok and that you enjoy your 54th birthday adventure. I'll be 50 next year and my adventure will be AK!

    Remember us latin american like to think in a random way, multiple things at the same time, as opposed to anglos, which tend to think on a more linear way...that's why we are a little crazy while driving!!!! :lol3 I guess that you already figured that out !

    Take care and ride safe...btw, keep those rubbers on the down side, ok?
    #18
  19. dog'meat

    dog'meat Presidient

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    Cromagna
    Lane Space...? you mean that situation you experience when most cagers tend to 'own' a lane space and stick at the leftmost lane with their cruising system nailed at 55 mph ignoring the rest of their surrounding world...? :huh

    Of course there's all kind of people, but in general in SA you will see that caution is tailored through common sense and experience rather than just empiric 'rules'... you will experience a lot more awareness of your existance as a rider -and as a human being- in SA in general... Even truckers will pull - often extremely- to their right to let you overtake them more easily and will blink their left turn signal to let you know road is clear...

    Driving in SA is a dynamic experience, different from the 'sistematic' driving of the US. There are basic rules, nevertheless, those rules have an "organic" component and have to be contextualized as you go to judge if they apply or not for the situation being... Most of the time they apply, but suddenly they don't... and you will learn to recognize those cases...

    In all SA motorcycles are supposed to share lanes with cars if necessary... but keep in mind that most cagers are somewhat 'slow' thinkers...(that's internationally) and you need to let them know -clearly- that you're coming... just wire in a loud horn and anticipate your moves in traffic with a touch of it when necessary... beware of moms and wannabes systematically talking by cellphone while driving.

    If you make it to Patagonia... I know your idea of "horrible' will make a substancial shift after this trip...

    Chime in if you are in trouble or need something while in Mexico City.
    #19
  20. 71tr

    71tr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    571
    Location:
    Chicago
    Tshusband,
    You're one year ahead of me, got this trip in the works for 2010. Very eager to follow your journey and learn from your experience. Particularly interested in how the side cases perform, tire choices and especially navigation (paper vs gps). Keep the posts and photos coming and enjoy the hell out of your journey.

    ps. is your planned route available online or are you riding a flexible path?
    #20