My Longest Dance with Salsa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaRider, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. battdoc

    battdoc Old Enough

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    725
    Location:
    Stockton CA
    Having the opportunity to meet and ride with you - I admire your decision. I know it wasn't easy, but having the wisdom to recognize and courage to take that step sums it up for me. Hope to see you again friend. Good luck with new adventures!!
    Cheers!
    SalsaRider likes this.
  2. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Eldorado74,

    Yes, Indeed!!!

    SalsaRider
    Eldorado74,

    Yes, indeed!!!

    SalsaRider
  3. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — REFLECTIONS

    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    March 6, 2019

    My longest dance with Salsa, my R100RT BMW “airhead”, is over. Salsa now has a new home in Argentina, with Mauricio Dutari, and “airhead” enthusiast.

    Our longest dance covered 12,866 miles; took 3 months and 20 days; cost $18K+.

    WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

    South America is incredibly beautiful, and big! Some of the sights I saw:
    • Las Lajas, in Colombia
    • The cemetery in Ecuador, with amazing topiaries
    • Lago Coyhaique, in Ecuador
    • Machu Picchu, in Peru
    • Nasca Lines, in Peru
    • The floating islands on Lake Titicaca, in Peru
    • The Salar de Uyuni, In Bolivia
    • The Pampas, in Argentina
    • The Perito Moreno Glacier, in Argentina
    • Torres del Paine, in Chile
    • The end of the road, in Ushuaia, Argentina
    • The marble formations in Chile
    • And others
    I rode on some famous and infamous roads:
    • The Carretera Austral, in Chile
    • Routa Cuarenta, in Argentina
    I visited several incredible museums, containing modern, historic, and pre-historic art and artifacts.

    I faced mechanical and other motorcycle problems along the way. Salsa was 23 years old when I started on this long ride, and it wasn’t an easy ride to make, at times. Thanks to the MacGyver ingenuity of the mechanics I found, she was fixed enough for me to continue my longest dance to reach Ushuaia, and beyond.
    • The generator failed, but was repaired
    • The speedometer cable broke, but was replaced
    • The rear shock bolt came loose and was los t, but was replaced
    • She caught on fire in Chile, melting all her wires and cables, but they were replaced with other wires and bicycle cables
    • The battery went dead, but was recharged
    • The rear luggage rack broke, but was repaired
    • The muffler broke off, but was repaired
    • A luggage clasp broke off, but was repaired
    • The rear tire wore down, but was replaced
    We took some spills, but all happened at slow speeds or even while stopped:

    Dropped her at a stop sign when she leaned over too far
    • Dropped her in deep sand, following a slow-moving truck, on a detour
    • Dropped her while making a U-turn, when I lost momentum
    Some may think that this longest dance with Salsa was a grand vacation. It was anything but that! Many days I would pause and say to myself, “This isn’t fun! This is work!”

    Every day I had to face long, and sometimes difficult roads to ride. Every day I had to think about where to get gas, find lodging for the night, find a place with WiFi and secure parking for Salsa. Every day I had to think about the basics of food, water, and money. Every day I faced weather — sometimes severe —, animals and potholes and speed bumps and road construction diversions. Nearly a dozen times I faced border crossings, sometimes taking hours.

    And as I said before, many days I would pause and say to myself, “This isn’t fun!”

    I felt exhausted on most days. I lost 15 pounds over the time I was gone. Yet somehow, even at the age of 68, riding for thousands of miles on two wheels, I made it!


    WHAT DID I LEARN?

    I learned that the people of Latin America are kind, generous, caring, inviting, curious, giving, talented, inventive, and just plain wonderful!

    I learned that there truly is a “brotherhood and sisterhood” of riders, from around the world. Loaded down for the long haul as I was? We were instantly “compadres”, friends, and would do anything to assist one another, if needed.

    And I learned something about myself, too!

    Despite the breakdowns, the dangerous roads, the fatigue, the delays, the many challenges . . . somehow I forged on . . . and made it to Ushuaia, and the end of the road. I reached my goal!

    And I would say, too, that any rider who makes such an “epic” ride could make the same claim:

    They have GRIT!

    WOULD I RECOMMEND MAKING SUCH A RIDE TO OTHERS?

    Absolutely!

    Just remember: Pack a lot of GRIT.

    You’ll need it!

    SalsaRider/Monte
    Saso, agplant, Eldorado74 and 4 others like this.
  4. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    576
    Location:
    east tn
    Well ridden and well written, SalsaRider. A sterling example for youngsters; GRIT indeed!
    SalsaRider likes this.
  5. SwampriderEcu

    SwampriderEcu n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Oddometer:
    4
    Location:
    San José, Costa Rica
    I'm glad you made it unscathed!!

    Regards,
    Patrick
    SalsaRider likes this.
  6. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Patrick,

    Me, too!!!

    Monte
  7. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    StaticPort,

    ANY rider, of whatever age, who can ride South America from top to bottom, has GRIT. . . in my opinión!

    It was much more challenging than I had imagined, both mentally and physically.

    I’ve been home for 2 weeks now, and keep wondering: Did I really do it? Did I really ride all the way to Ushusia?

    Seems like a dream!

    SalsaRider/Monte
    staticPort likes this.
  8. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    576
    Location:
    east tn
    Kudos for choosing an old Airhead. I enjoyed an R80RT for many miles, back in the day. For me riding South America remains a dream. Turning 73 next week, and somewhat deficient in grit these days. Spent a couple years in the Peruvian jungle in the early '70's and would love to return. Thinking that a lightweight 250-350cc single, minimal luggage coupled with short days in the saddle might just be possible. After all, Monte made it . . .
    Westbay and SalsaRider like this.
  9. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    staticPort,

    I’m guessing that you were in the Peace Corps? I was, and spent 2 years in the Central African Republic.

    Get that lightweight bike and GO, while you still can!

    And BTW, I’m guessing, too, that you have more GRIT than even you know.

    If I can do it . . .

    Monte
  10. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    576
    Location:
    east tn
    Thanks for the encouragement, Monte. Not the Peace Corps, but another NGO; interesting times for sure. There is so much to learn from other cultures.
    SalsaRider likes this.
  11. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    staticPort,

    Yes, indeed, we have lived through some interesting times (Vietnam draft ring a bell?); and yes indeed, there is much to learn from other cultures!

    You’re just a few years older than me. I’ll turn 69 on May 1st.

    Again: get that smaller bike and GO, while you still can!

    Monte
    staticPort likes this.
  12. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
  13. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    How did I PLAN this ride, from Colorado to Ushuaia?



    SOUTH AMERICA PREPS — FINAL CHECK LIST



    Shipping from Texas to Colombia:


    Get EIN from IRS.gov website: DONE

    Make reservations for RORO with NAVIS Shipping Company

    Paperwork, insurance, instructions, POCs, etc. DONE


    Depart 3 Nov, arrive at Port O’Connor 5 Nov.

    Turn-in SALSA to Galveston port on 6 Nov 2018

    NOTE: Must be clean and without any personal effects; remove license plate; must not have more than 1/4 tank of gas; leave key in ignition or with agent

    Deliver required documents for US Customs to NAVIS Shipping Agent in Houston on 6th.

    Return with Ronald to Port O’Connor huh.

    When docs are ready, make flight arrangements.

    Return to Houston when docs are ready (3 days?) and stay in hotel.

    Fly to Cartagena, Colombia (hopefully) the next day


    Ship schedule: Depart Galveston on 13 Nov; arrive Cartagena on 21 Nov.

    Meet ship upon arrival. NAVIS Shipping Agent POC will be provided for Cartagena


    Below is the TWIC company at the port of Galveston that provides loading services at Pier 10 for the Vallenius Wilhelmsen RORO:


    Ports America

    76-138 37th Street

    Pier 10

    (409) 770-9999


    Mechanical


    New lubrication and filter (where necessary): final drive, transmission, engine — DONE

    Valves adjusted — DONE

    Drive shaft oil

    Carb adjustments (Matt will teach me how)


    List of spares — Separate list

    Front wheel squeak

    Skid plates and shallow oil pan: DONE

    Tires: DONE

    Wheel bearings: DONE

    RPM gage needs to be replaced: UNABLE TO DO SO


    NOTE: Matt Parkhouse will return from Europe mid-Oct, when we’ll go over Salsa in detail



    Medical


    5 months of my daily meds for the trip (Major Bird to provide) — DONE

    Create medical profile on iPhone: DONE

    Hide printed copy in secret place on Salsa: DO IN COLOMBIIA

    Prepare comprehensive 1st aid kit: DONE (except for a few items)

    Meet with Travel Clinic: 28 Sept at 0900 — DONE

    Clinic recommended, and Maj. Bird authorized:

    * Anti-diarrhea pills — DONE

    * Malaria meds — DONE

    * Post malaria meds — DONE

    * Antibiotics — DONE




    Dental:


    Final cleaning, new crowns, and inspection: DONE



    Immunizations needed:


    Typhoid — DONE

    Hep A — DONE

    Hep B — DONE

    Pneumonia —DONE

    Yellow Fever — DONE

    Rabies — DONE

    Flu — DONE

    Insurance:


    USAA vehicle coverage: NO COVERAGE OFFERED ABROAD

    Medical: Allianz — DONE

    Evacuation: Allianz — DONE

    Trip: Allianz — DONE

    Purchase vehicle insurance at borders for each country? YES

    Investigate getting International insurance from one carrier


    Documents needed:


    Passport: DONE

    International drivers license: DONE

    Consider getting one or two more

    Visas, where required: Brazil, in advance; Paraguay and Uruguay, at the borders

    Vehicle registration: DONE

    Vehicle title — DONE

    Insurance documents — USAA, but will need to purchase for each country at borders

    Take photos of all documents on iPhone; share with Bonnie

    Make copies and store in a safe place on Salsa: DO IN COLOMBIA

    Carry extra passport photos

    Shot record — DONE




    Security concerns:


    Locks for bike and luggage: DONE

    Locks for jacket & helmet: DONE

    Hide a credit card & cash on Salsa — WILL DO IN COLOMBIA

    Hide copies of important documents on Salsa — DO ONCE IN COLOMBIA

    Create a false wallet

    Carry extra set(s) of keys: DONE

    Velcro strips in pockets and on wallet, to help prevent pickpockets: DECIDED AGAINST THIS


    State department warnings:


    Check prior to entering each country



    Communication:


    apps for communication: Messages, Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype: DONE

    email: Listed under Tierra del Fuego in phone book — DONE

    Facebook: Tierra del Fuego — DONE

    AT&T Passport Plan: costs $60/month. Start before departure.



    Packing — Electronics:


    Battery charger for HALO: HAVE

    Battery charger for DSLR: HAVE

    Plug adapters: HAVE

    Battery: HALO: HAVE

    Cables: HAVE

    SPOT3 Service: Start upon departure


    Packing — Finances:


    ATM card — DONE (USAA); No need to include travel plans for ATM card usage

    Notify USAA of travel plans: DONE

    Notify AMEX of travel plans: DONE

    Hidden cash — GET ALL IN NEW BILLS ($100 in $1’s) — DONE

    Debit card(s): Get one or two: DONE

    Credit Cards: Get another one or two: DONE


    Packing — Mechanical:


    Spares to carry (See separate list)


    Packing — Personal Effects/Gear:


    See separate list


    Packing — 1st Aid:


    A work-in-Progress


    Packing — Miscellaneous:


    Personal business cards? Will use the existing ones: DONE



    Maps: DONE


    Documenting the ride:


    Journal: ONGOING

    IPhone and iPad notes: Using Pages for notes, ONGOING

    Photos: iPhone, DSLR camera: HAVE

    Facebook Tierra del Fuego group: DONE

    Email Tierra del Fuego group: DONE


    NOTE: Both iPhone and iPad automatically back-up to iCloud


    Learning Spanish: ONGOING



    Useful websites:


    Airbnb.com (a site to find low-cost places to stay)

    Travel.state.com (US State Department website)



    Useful apps:


    HostelBookers: DONE

    iOverlander: maps and directions: DONE

    GPS: location, maps: DONE

    WhatsApp: DONE

    Smart Traveler: DONE

    AIRbnb: DONE



    Points of contact along the way:


    Marcelo Bolini, in Salta, Argentina: Will provide list of friends in South America

    Lucas Pendino, in El Trebol, Argentina

    Roberto Runyard, in Puerto Natales, Chile

    Efrain Ardini, will provide additional POCs before I depart — DONE



    Gifts:


    Consider carrying SAKs, for special people along the way

    Sent from my iPhone
    roadcapDen likes this.
  14. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    What did I carry on the ride from Colorado to Ushuaia?


    SOUTH AMERICA PACKING LIST

    Version 2



    TOILETRIES

    • Bag
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Soap
    • Towel
    • Wipes
    • Razor and blades
    • Nail clippers
    • Picker
    • Tweezers
    • Floss
    • Deodorant
    • Eye shades (for sleeping)
    • Xtra eyeglasses
    • Cream
    • Tissues
    • Laundry soap
    • Back scratcher

    MEDICAL

    • pills (aspirin, jumpy leg, simvastatin, fish oil, eye pills, ______)
    • Hydrocortisone
    • 1st aid kit
    • Sun screen
    • Chapstick
    • Eye drops
    • Mosquito repellant
    • Anti-malarial meds
    • Anti-diarrhea pills
    • Hot/cold patches

    RIDING GEAR

    • helmet
    • Riding boots
    • Riding jacket
    • Riding pants
    • Gloves (light and medium)
    • Electric vest (?)
    • Ear plugs
    • Sunglasses

    CLOTHING

    • 5 pr underpants
    • 5 tee shirts
    • 2 long-sleeved shirts
    • 2 pants
    • Long johns (upper and lower)
    • Down coat
    • Electric vest
    • 5 pr socks (1 pr warm)
    • 1 wool cap
    • 1 ball cap
    • 1 warm shirt
    • Windbreaker
    • Light jacket/fleece
    • Swimsuit
    • Tennis shoes
    • Dirty clothes bag

    DOCUMENTS

    • passport (xtra copies)
    • International driver’s license
    • CO driver’s license
    • Title (xtra copies)
    • Insurance document
    • Registration

    EMERGENCY CAMPING/COOKING

    • Cooking set (stove, pot, propane, s&p, utensils)
    • Food (instant coffee, crackers, cup of noodle soup
    • Mini Water filtration device
    • Water containers
    • water purification tablets
    • Knives (Leatherman and SAK)
    • Mini-tarp
    • Down blanket
    • Cord
    • Flashlights (Shadowhawk, UCO, headlamp)

    MECHANICAL

    • Tool bag
    • Spares (separate list of these; see below)
    • Tire Plugging kit
    • Tire pump
    • Riders Handbook

    ELECTRONIC

    • HALO charger
    • Associated wires
    • Battery charger for camera batteries
    • Xtra batteries (AAA)
    • iLumen8 (for reading maps & small print)

    SECURITY

    • locks for bags
    • Xtra keys
    • Lock for front disc brake
    • Cables to secure gear, with locks
    • Pepper spray
    • SPOT GEN3 device

    DOCUMENTATION

    • journal
    • Pens
    • iPad
    • iPhone
    • Camera (plus tripod) with extra chips

    OTHER

    • Lighters
    • Maps
    • Notebook
    • Pens
    • South America Guidebook


    SPARES (Still working on this))

    • fuses
    • Bulbs
    • Clutch cable
    • Oil filter kit
    • Head gaskets

    Sent from my iPhone
    staticPort likes this.
  15. battdoc

    battdoc Old Enough

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    725
    Location:
    Stockton CA
    Great details Monte.

    Cheers!
    SalsaRider likes this.
  16. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Hola Nirbhai,

    Hard to believe all the details involved in planning such a trip!

    Still looking forward to seeing you again, perhaps here in Colorado Springs?

    My next challenge: the Continental Divide Trail.

    Ride safe,

    Monte