Josh's Adventures

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Roboter, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Roboter

    Roboter Vagabond

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    UPDATE to OLD REPORT STARTS ON PAGE 4

    Here is the start of my ride report. I wanted to wait until I was underway , but I think the planning of the trip is half the battle, so I will post all my preparations and planning on here from now on. Maps, pics, budget will be posted later.

    WILL: Two years ago traveling with nothing more than a small back pack with my KTM DUKE and a lot of will power I rode from Birmingham Alabama to KEY WEST Florida. It was my first tour ever. Landed in Key West late at night not knowing where I was going to sleep, how long I was going to stay, and how I was going to get back. I could do nothing but smile. Right then and there was hooked. My first adventure. In Key West I met a fellow rider on a loaded down 1150GS with Great Britain plates. I have seen GS's in dealerships showrooms, but never in their element. The riders name was Tim Morgan. An artist from London on his trip of a life time. He told me about his journey from Quebec to Buenos Aires. After explaining his route to me I had serious doubt in the trip, but I closely watched his blog during his 5 month trip and he is now back in England safe and sound back in his routine.
    After hanging out in Key West for 6 weeks I returned to Detroit to work and quickly began my planning for my motorcycle trip to the Patagonia.

    I've traveled with every mode of transportation, but seeing the world with a dual-sport motorcycle is by far the best way to see what is really out there. Seeing the country by interstate is ridiculous, but seeing the back roads of the US, Mexico, Central America, Europe, etc is where you really get the experience of the element you're in.
    So after 6 months of hanging over maps, research on the ADVriders.com and other various websites I'm on my way to the end of the Americas.

    ROUTE: First thing I knew I had to do was decide what route I was going to take and what was the terrain I would encounter. I know the elements of North America, but South America seems like another planet. After research I had no idea how vast and complex South America's terrain really is! Jungle, dry salt lakes, dessert, etc. You name they have it. I knew I did not want to take the Pan American HWY and if I did, it would be used as link for other lighter used roads. How I will get back? A big bird. I have the bike sold down there already. I will post a map and route later after I convert it to electronic form.

    BIKE:So what kind of horse do I get? To give you an example of how naive I was 6 months ago... I wanted to take my 2000 Buell X1 lightning. After 8 break downs in 800 miles I nixed that idea quickly! Then I bought a mint Honda VFR with lots of luggage, but limits me to traveling only on perfect road conditions. THEN... I found her. I found my new love. A mint condition 99 KTM Adventure R with all the updates and mods. Her name is Heidi. She is the one I will take. It is by far the best bike for such a trip. Semi-easy to work on (I know the mechanics of the bike like the back of my hand since I have had my older DUKE in 100 pieces at one time) Robust, and it can handle any road condition you throw at it.

    BED: I could stay at 5 star hotels, Motels, Hostels, Camp, or sleep in Alley's. So the range of expenses was vast. I opted for camping/hostels with lots of high tech gear. This will enable a lot more capital to be invested in other things like bike gear/spare parts, activities, and more time on the road.

    BUDGET: This is by far the most complicated task. How much should I allocate for emergencies, break downs, beer, women, housing, food, insurances, border crossing fee's, pay off's to LEO's etc etc. I created a pretty good budget with MS Excel.......... $8,000.00 is the target number. I got it saved.

    TEST RUN: The plan for a test run is camping in the Ozarks of MO. for one week for the shake down ride. I will then decide what to bring, what not to bring, get a routine down with packing and unpacking, etc.

    More later....
    #1
  2. NomadRip

    NomadRip Always a n00b

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    :lurk So jealous!
    #2
  3. señormoto

    señormoto Supermoto Abuser

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    Sounds great. I wish I had the time off to do something like that.
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Good luck to you and best wishes for a safe journey. :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. Roboter

    Roboter Vagabond

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    So I'm in Saint Louis picking up various parts for my bike like New levers, X-ring chain, brake pads, etc.
    When the salesmen asked me what kind of riding will I be doing when searching for a type of brake pad I'll need I mentioned "long long distance. US to Argentina distance" his eyes lit up. He said "No shit! I have been planning the same trip! When do you leave? How will you pass the Gap? etc.". Well or departure dates are a few months apart, but we may very well meet up at a later date. Cool cat and very knowledgeable.
    So on the ride home from the cycle shop I began to wonder what it would be like to ride down with another person. This option has pros and cons.... It would be safer and could potentially be fun, but when riding with another rider on a trip of a lifetime, do you really want to share that? I mean, while riding together you are in your own bubble of communication. I wouldn't be forced to mingle with the local folk, as I have an English speaking person right next to me. Plus the stress and pain of the road can hinder relations with anybody very quick. In a nutshell this ride will be done solo.
    So right now I'm in the process of making the bike as bullet-proof as possible. All new levers, cables, fork seals, wheels, brakes, bearings, etc etc. Most of Heidi's components are still very good, but I will ride this bike non-stop for 8 to 9,000 miles in every terrain imaginable. Reliability is key!
    The project I'm on here at work is a few weeks late, so I got word that we are going to be working 80 to 90 hours per week in the next few weeks. Great... no wonder why I'm fleeing this country in order to hide from work! Heidi and I will do a landscape job on the lawn of the office on my last day! I will have pics of that too! I can picture it now... dirt flying on the sign of the company from my rear tire rooster.

    More later...
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    #6
  7. Roboter

    Roboter Vagabond

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    So through all of my contacts in Argentina and while researching various websites I met a cyber friend from couchsurfing.com who is traveling through South America via a 200cc Honda Enduro. www.anovelpath.com
    She asked if my contact in Cordoba Argentina "Mariana" knew of a place in Cordoba for a girl and her bike. I forwarded her Mariana's email and to my surprise Mariana invited her to stay with her. They had a wonderful time together and partied in Cordoba til 6am. How the people in Argentina can do that baffles me. I mean drinking every weekend til the sun comes up? How do they function on Monday morning at work?
    Anywho, I was impressed this California girl rode a 200cc motorcycle across South America after not having any real long distance motorcycle experience. The climates she mentioned on her website was so difficult it is hard to believe she accomplished it! I told her she is now in the top 5% of the MC world after accomplishing that ride. I thought she should be mentioned to you all.

    My personal ride preperations are getting very difficult. I have all the hardware and funds, but I cant seem to break away from work! What should one do? Should I just say "fuck you I'm out of here"? I cant because I need a job when I return. Although I have been thinking about a career change for years now. Maybe this is a sign?!

    Pics of my bike and gear will be posted soon... just got my digi camera working again.
    #7
  8. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    #8
  9. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    #9
  10. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    I appreciate what you are saying here, but......it follows the logic of people who tell us not to ride at all. We are grown adults and we get to make our own decisions about the risks we take. That being said- yeah, it's dangerous.
    #10
  11. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    Dude, plenty of men and women have done this ride. If you want to read a great account of a woman riding Alaska to Argentina (on a 200 cc bike) get yourself a copy of "Lois On the Loose" great book!

    As for the difficulty of preperations- yeah, it's tough. But my opinion (and experience) is that you don't want to burn any bridges. Let it be harder and more complicated. You will be glad when you come home.
    #11
  12. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    And by the way, if you pass by the San Francisco bay area, let me know. I have a garage, tools and a place to crash.

    One more thing- you should practically be LIVING at www.horizonsunlimited.com
    #12
  13. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

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    I will NEVER tire of adventure planning / travel stories about this kind of trip. Every experience is bound to be very different because conditions change and it's a personal journey.

    I don't have much advice to offer, but I'm hooked. You might want to start with a rough timeline and post your proposed route.
    :lurk :clap
    Cheers, D-Mac
    #13
  14. Roboter

    Roboter Vagabond

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    OK... I came to my senses and postponed my trip with the German Frau til May 08. I am now back on schedule for my departure on December 15th at the US Mex border in Texas. Not 100% sure which border crossing yet... anyone have any suggestions?
    I nixed the idea of hard cases and going with soft luggage. Lots of factors... expensive, hard to repair etc. If I were to get hit or if I hit something like a tree with the cases, then I'm down! No welder in the middle of Mexico or SA when out in rural areas. I'm going to have an aluminum plate over the back for my hiking pack, and dirt bags for my other stuff like camping gear. GPS is still on the list... Got to find a used one...
    Well after much anticipation here she is! Its a cherry 99 adv. I just finished the Ohlins fork upgrade two hours ago. Lots of R&D went into fitting the forks with a GASGAS triple tree, but I got them to fit. I made some precision spacers for the bearings and dirt protection cups to protect the bearings in the frame head. They were made with the Bridgeport at work. It fit like a glove once I got the measurements right! The current brakes I have on there are too small, so I am upgrading to a supermoto kit. Should be here in a few days... will post picks of it when they are on.

    I LOVE THIS bike. It has been my dream bike for adventure riding!!! I have it as mechanically sound as it can get. I aircraft wired every bolt I could find, upgraded nuts and bolts to stainless with blue loctite, and verified all the engine updates.
    All i need now is to fit the luggage, GPS, and a new set of tires.


    HERE SHE IS WITH THE NEW OHLINS ON. STILL NEED TO GET BIGGER BRAKES AND NEW TIRES.

    [​IMG]


    SIDE VIEW
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    THIS BIKE HAS SO MUCH CHARACTER!!!!!!!
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Geodesic

    Geodesic Explorer

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    Already inspiring...

    I'm looking forward to see how your trip works out. I am in sort of a similar situation career-wise and am feeling the need to exit for a trip like you're doing.

    As far as the approach though, I think I have a slightly different perspective. I think I'd want to make a trip like this about the people and sharing the experience. Not saying you should, but you never know, that guy you are skeptical to ride with might turn out to be a great friend and traveler and make the trip better than if you were alone. It's a crap shoot, but i see that as part of it.

    No matter what, I'll be following along. Should be entertaining. Good luck on the journey. :freaky
    #15
  16. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

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    I like your writing style, looking forward to more updates.
    #16
  17. Roboter

    Roboter Vagabond

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    So I buckled and went with Aluminum hard cases. I dropped 800 bucks at REI on camping gear and realized I need a lot of carrying capacity. So I called up Happy Trails and spoke to Ed. I wanted the 11X15X18 Teton cases, but he advised me not to get the 11 inch wide cases, because if I did, that would bring the total width of my bike to 34 inches! I'd need a WIDE LOAD sign for the back of my bike then! So after some convincing I opted for the 7 inch wide cases. He said it was only around a 6 liter difference between the two sizes.
    I found a GPS on craigslist Kansas City for 99 bucks and I will hand the guy exactly 99 bucks. The Internet is an amazing tool! How all you old timer's planned and prepared for rides such as the ride I will make baffles me! The Internet is simply the best tool for research.
    So here in Saint Louis "where I am working temporarily" had unseasonable weather that hit 70 degrees with sun shine. I called up a good friend Elizabeth Clark. The daughter of Dave Clark who is the owner of Dave Clark's Forever Endeavor Cycles here in Saint Louis, MO. <http://www.abcbmw.com/> She has a beautiful BMW R80 that she uses as daily transportation. A girl that wears leather chaps and rides a vintage BMW is a beautiful thing I tell ya. She is a truly an amazing girl and very mature for her age. Anyhow, I told her I need to try out my new forks and a ride in the back country would be perfect to test on in order to make small adjustments. We did about 150 miles and while I was riding 50 mile legs all I could think about was stopping for a Latte. Then it hit me....... It could be days or even weeks in South America without the creature comforts of home like afternoon's at a cafe' with an espresso and my portable Nietzsche, NPR, my German round table meetings, the gym, gas stations at every corner, my cell phone, etc. Those things are all going to go bye bye! I need to mentally prepare for this and get my head out of the clouds. Its not going to be all beach, shorts, senoritas, and Margarita's! Its going to be tough! But........ I wouldn't have it any other way.
    So needless to say, the short ride was very productive and a stress reliever.


    Here we are taking a break.
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :thumb

    :lurk
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  19. iom

    iom Adventurer

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    :clap :ear
    #19
  20. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

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    I was wondering who was talking about me :wink: Thanks JG. Since the bike is worth peanuts in Argentina, I will be returning for a second tour in a few months, storing "Blanquita" at Dakar Motos. If anyone has any questions on travelling in South America, feel free to ask. I will be returning to travel with some random bikers I met along the way. The comraderie is strong in South America; I always get the thumbs up or a wave from other bikers and we really do operate as a family/fraternity. I have met amazing people on this trip (locals, other bikers, moto cops) and have to say that this has been one of the best trips I have taken, motorcycle or not.

    JG, about your cappuchino...Most of Ecuador, Peru, and Chile praise "Nescafe" as a beverage so I will warn you now about what you think you are drinking. Argentineans drink "real" coffee.
    #20