No-Moto-Boundaries-Latin America n' back n' da' TAT, un-planned, un-hinged, and solo

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SeanPNW, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage Supporter

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    Damn fine update Sean! ! Keep it coming! :clap . Still riding the ol' killer?:D
  2. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    My brain is already going. :gerg

    You know it, she's the main mode of transportation. Haven't even washed her. Last time I did was when she had to get dolled up for her flight out of Bogota.

    Running strong.
    :dllama
  3. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    After finishing up my fork job I came back to the house and found these corn bread squares and got a different fork-job going. The result was forking food into my mouth, but the effort was equally relevant.

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    Couple that corn bread with beer and chilli and you have yourself a fine meal.

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    The next morning I received a package with some last minute items I needed before leaving my mom’s place to head back south. One of the items were a new set of gloves. I haven't worn a pair of gloves without holes in them for several months now. I must say it’s a pleasant feeling sliding into a fresh pair of gloves, but no way near as pleasant as sliding into a well worn pair of gloves ;-)

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    I mostly lounged around for the rest of the day, and come dinner-time made some left-over mash-up. Stale bread got turned into croutons, collared greens got sweated up, and left-over pasta got panned seared up with cheese and some old boof-boof (beef). Remember, the sum can be greater than the individual parts.

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    I had decided to roll out of NH tomorrow, so I had a few things I wanted to snag before doing so. One request was another stop by the local pie joint to get one last pie to-go.

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    Just can’t get enough o’ that real lard crust.

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    Most of the items on my checklist were of the food theme. I really enjoy being able to pick up locally sourced god-damn delicious food. Next up was a dairy shop that had items made by a local dairy farm. Soooo rich, and so delicious.

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    After that, a swing by PT Farm’s store to snag some boof-boof and good eats for later.

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    When everything tastes this good, it’s hard to make up your mind.

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    Can’t stand behind them enough. Well done you guys.

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    Last, but not least on my list was swapping out for a fresh knob. Not sure if it’ll get me all the way across the TAT, but it’s time for a fresh one anyways. I always have a knife on me for utility (you may not see the need to carry one, but once you do, you find uses for it in everything - opening packages, tightening screws, cutting sausage, spreading butter, etc). I had lost my two previous knives on moto trips, so my Mom picked me up this one before I left her place. Spyderco is my fav pocket knife company - thanks Mom! I put it to first use opening up my new tire.

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    I had also lost a tire iron on my last spill in Bolivia where I slowely dumped out my entire tool roll across a few kilometers of Bolivian altiplano. I hadn’t realized I was missing it until I went to change my next tire, at the time a screw driver did the trick just fine, but I’m happy to have a new set of irons - thanks aunt Diane!

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    La Matarista always appreciates a fresh shoe.

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    I packed up a slice of the bomb-ass pie for a friend, we’ll see if it survives the next few days though.

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    With the leaves starting to change I feel this primal urge to hit the road. It’s as if my body is recognizing the visual signs nature is giving me, and what she’s saying is “If you’re going to be heading somewhere, you best get to gettn’”.

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    My sister wanted to see how it’ll feel being on the bike loaded up, so we went for a little scoot.

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    That afternoon we came back and I finished packing up my things. I’ve come to really enjoy packing up. Like getting conditioned to it over time, I’ve come to associate packing with hitting the road headed towards some place new, or going towards something unknown. I’ve come to really like this feeling and begin to get gitty even as I start to think about doing so.

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    The next morning my sister and I packed up the last of her stuff and got ready to jump on the road headed towards Rhode Island for a one-night stop-over en route to New York.

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    With my Mom already down there for a family thing, it was just my sister’s dog who we needed to say good-bye to. Todd wasn’t exactly pleased, but I’m sure he understands.

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    In the beginning when I first started this trip, leaving a place always came as a two-fold feeling, one that also had a bit of sadness to it as it usually meant I would be leaving a place I was more than likely currently enjoying. Over time I’ve learned to appreciate where you are at in that very moment to it’s fullest, so that when the time comes, you are also capable of letting go when it’s time leave. Doing so I think has helped me to make the most out of where I’m at and to not have regrets while I’m there, but also helped me be able to let go of a place when it’s time. When you can do these two things, finding enjoyment, rather than sadness in leaving a place, really makes enjoying the unknown and the opportunity that the next adventure may bring come very naturally. As soon as I begin to pack, that shift has already happened and I feel an immediate pressure to leave and hit the road. As soon as I start the bike, and release the clutch to pull away, I am able to release that pressure, and I then feel completely at home again as I slip into that deeply comforting feeling, where I again am at complete ease. Just like putting back on your favorite jacket, or perfectly worn-in shoes - as I pull out onto the open road, everything just feels right again.

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    It’s a brisk and foggy NH morning, a stark difference to the days we’ve been having previously. I feel good to be moving again, especially in a southern direction, as this weather will be only more and more frequent the longer I stay up north.

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    We don’t have far to go, just a couple hours on the laid-back northern highways down to Rhode Island. We want to maximize family time, so we head straight there in a single blast.

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    This is the first time my sister is travelling for any decent distance via bike, I think she likes it.

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    The roads are empty, as they generally seem to be up here and we enjoy them well enough. I just feel really good to be moving again.

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    We make it to Rhode Island and pull back in to my Aunt and Uncle’s place. We shoot the shit, talk for several hours, eat some nice food, then call it an evening. Just riding due South from NH to RI the temperature difference is already apparent, as before I opt to sleep out on the enclosed porch and enjoy the cool night breeze.

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    In the morning we make up some waffles and talk for a couple more hours. I’ve really enjoyed getting to spend some time with my aunt and uncle, and hope to be back again in the future.

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    My sister and I are itching to get to New York, so after lunch we mount up and roll-out. Again, thanks for such a good time, having these last couple weeks to kick back and spend time with family has been great.

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    My sis and I hit the highway and more or less took a direct line from RI to New York. The weather got nicer as we went, and Kris was enjoying herself quite thoroughly.

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    We made it to New York right around sunset.

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    And just in time for some NY traffic.

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    The traffic just afforded us the opportunity to soak it all in though, and we managed to not take any wrong turns leading to costly bridge crossings as I had done the first time coming into NY.

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    We were headed to our ‘cousin’s’ place where my sister would be crashing. If you recall my ‘Uncle’ Don (who is one of my Dad’s best friends whom I visited in northern Florida after flying in from Colombia), this is his daughter Rose, aka our cousin Rose. So her place was our first stop.

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    Rose has been a musician here for a while, and is now switching gears and heading back to school. Say hello, Rose.

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    Rose also knows how to make a drink or two, so we had some of those and shot some dice.

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    The next morning we awoke to a nice sunny NY day.

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    My sister and I had mostly separate plans while in NY, so our visit together parted here. She stayed with Rose, and I left to go meet up with a group of friends who had all flown into NY to kick it with Priyam (my good friend I stayed with on my way North to NH a couple weeks earlier). I really like riding my bike around the various neighborhoods of NY. It’s pretty neat being able to so easily site-see the different cultural styles and personas of the sections. You can literally feel the shift as you go from one neighborhood to the next, this is something that you just can’t get on the subway.

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    I took a turn and next thing I know I’m in a completely different cultural area. Everything aesthetically looks the same, but I can tell this is a very Jewish neighborhood. Love the diversity in this city.

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    Not everyone had gotten in yet, but I made plans to meet-up with those who had for brunch. When I left for this trip over a year ago we had all been living together for a few years and had become a very close-knit group of friends. Since then, some of us have moved here to New York, some back to France, and some down to Portland. But for the next 4 days, we'll all be here, and I’m excited to kick it again.

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  4. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile Supporter

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    As always, love you RR's. You seem like a solid dude.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  5. Grynch

    Grynch Long timer

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    Is the Continental a good tire? TKC 80?
  6. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    Thanks bbanker, sorry they are so slow right now. Working like a madman, but no excuses. Once I start the TAT section I won't be leaving it hanging as much.

    Hey Grynch, this is one of those questions where everyone has there own opinion. I think if you provide enough information as to why you came to that opinion, the receiver can then weigh whether it applies to them, or is just BS :deal

    In my opinion, it's a fantastic tire for all-around touring if you have an priority for offroad capabilities (even if you spend most time on tarmac). You are never going to get as many miles out of it as, say a Heidenau, but it has great wet/dry road traction, is consistent across it's lifespan, durable, can be sourced in most places internationally provided a bit of planning, and performs well loaded up both on street and dirt.

    My main reason why I like it and keep going back, is that even if the majority of your miles are pavement, as long as you keep it nice and stiff (32-34psi in the rear, 28-30 psi in the front) it's going to last pretty damn long, and for sure longer than any other knobby of similar tread pattern/offroadability (Heidenau has a middle-band that runs down the center for their larger bike tire which makes me not completely put it in the same class as the TKC in terms of off-road emphasis). Then when you DO find some dirt, you know you have a tire that's going to perform well there too, just drop a bit of PSI and you can crawl your way through most things (sand, mud, snow, river-bed rocks - you name I've been pleased by it's performance in all)

    In addition to this, I like it more than the Heidenau, because I can change my own tires and repair flats/punctures in the middle of nowhere with just two tiny tire spoons on my own, regardless of my level of exhaustion and weather. By comparison, I implore you to try and pull a heidenau off your rim in 45 degree weather (tires get softer in the heat, firmer in the cold - firmer the tire, the harder it is to spoon on and off a rim) without wanting to murder someone or morph into the Hulk. For me, it's very important to be able to be completely self sufficient, which means that the extra rigidity of the Heidenau, although beneficial for tire longevity and preventing flats, doesn't outweigh the raging shitfest I'll have when I do get a flat and can't change my own tire because it's just too damn stiff, and the weather is just a taaad too cold for the tire to be malleable.

    Now you can take that info and see if it applies to reasons you may like that tire as well.:freaky
  7. Grynch

    Grynch Long timer

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    Do you have any experience with the MT21?
  8. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm Supporter

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    What a journey....
  9. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    Can't wait for the TAT stuff. :clap Thanks for posting it up.

    Good observations on the gear recommendations too. There is something for everyone, but not everyone needs one thing. ...Or something like that.
  10. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    I've used just a single set of MT21s, great offroad tire option for heavier bikes (it's an offroad-esque tire so I assume we are talking the realm of offroadable bikes, so a 'heavier bike' really is just anything that's bigger than a 250, and not a 1200 :lol3), because it's soft, grippy, and has great traction in the loose stuff, while still providing a flattened-off main section for reasonable road-riding considering it's aggressive tread pattern.

    That being said, all of those things are the reason that I don't personally use it. The MT21 is an offroad tire that is streetable, by comparison, the TKC80 is an onroad tire that is offroadable.

    More specifically, the TKC80 is made of a pretty stiff rubber (especially for a tire with a knobby tread pattern), whereas the MT21 is a softer rubber. What makes the TKC80 last and stand up well under heavy load is this stiffer rubber (and the way the steal braiding helps it keep it's shape so it doesn't flex a ton). This means that if you keep it pretty inflated, it's not going to squish and moosh as it rolls down the pavement, this flexing/squishing is what puts a lot of extra where on your tire over long miles when touring. Think about it this way, it's one thing to have a tire roll, it's another thing to have it 'rub' as it rolls. You ever see knobby front tire that has 'cupping' or 'chunking' going on? That's from those two knobs sitting side by side getting pushed flat (flexing) and rubbing on the pavement as the tire rolls because it's under inflated, or the bike is too heavy for that tire to not flex as it rolls. The TKC80 is designed to carry pretty heavy loads, so resists this flexing when inflated much better than other compounds, yet is treaded like an offroad tire so you still get good traction offroad.

    The next question to consider is, "Well if a softer tire has better traction offroad, how much of a disadvantage is the stiff rubber of the TKC80?" I've found that the main thing I need offroad when travelling loaded up is a tire that has a reasonably knobby tread pattern, rather than a tire that is actually soft and grippy. The TKC80 fully inflated on a loaded back is more finicky when cornering on loose stuff as it slides more. But just drop that PSI ever so slightly and it changes the grip and feel drastically. The stiffer rubber doesn't make a big difference to my riding style when touring offroad, and the added perk of having a knobby-esque tire be able to last a really long time and remain durable when loaded up makes it a winner for me. When at slow speeds I find no difference when I'm in loose stuff I'm still able to crawl over whatever I want loaded up. Again, I can always drop the PSI to get greater surface area if the stiffness is problematic while offroad, but taking a tire in the other direction doesn't really work, as it's much harder to make a softer offroad tire stiff.

    If I were to be running around in the dirt 70+% of the time and on an unloaded mid-sized (or smaller) bike, I'd prefer a MT21 or something with a more aggressive tread pattern than the TKC80 and with softer rubber to get that extra grip. Now I say 'smaller' bike for two reasons, a smaller bike will be lighter and thus not where the softer MT21 out as fast, and it's also likely to have less power so you're not going to be blowing through your tire as quickly when you are really getting on the throttle. Put an MT21 on an BMW-HP2 and it'll be bald by the weekend if you're giving it hell. But put an MT21 on a KTM-500xc and you'll get a lot more life out of it, even though the power to weight ratio is probably similar.

    Oh, and lastly, I'm consistently impressed by the TKC80s ability to hold a corner. I feel very confident in the wet OR dry to drop a loaded bike much lower in a corner on pavement (higher up the treadwall) than any other offroadable tire I've ridden on.

    I'm rambling away:bueller

    But it's important to be able to explain why you have a certain opinion, otherwise your opinion isn't really helpful to anyone else, because the other person can't see how you came to that opinion and decide if it applies to them or not. :nod

    Also, I'll debate gear/equipment until the cows come home.....

    +1 - Too often people don't recognize that there is no perfect anything. Everything is designed with a purpose, once you start to remove that thing from it's intended purpose, it will start to show it's faults. The question is whether those faults matter to you for how you intend to use that thing.

    Wet suit = terrible yoga outfit, yoga outfit = terrible wet suit. Both are 'clothes', but neither are really comparable as they both have different intended purposes. This idea applies to the moto world too. This is why I can't involve myself in the never-ending debate of 'best bike', 'best helmet', 'best oil', 'best motor', 'best country', 'best suspension', etc. The context and situations for each have to be pretty narrowly defined to draw any definitive conclusions about 'best'.
  11. Grynch

    Grynch Long timer

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    Thanks for the in depth analyst for adventure tires! TKC 80 it is!
  12. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    No worries, sorry for the keyboard vomit. You'll like the TKC80, and if you don't, you can just try running something different on the next swap :thumb
  13. DyrWolf

    DyrWolf Long timer Supporter

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    That Jewish neighborhood is Boro or Borough park. I spent a few day there a few years ago. They do a lot of community patrolling and although I felt a little uncomfortable at times it was a very safe place to stay. And the food was great.
  14. theofam

    theofam Been here awhile Supporter

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    Sean, Liz and I just spent five days in NYC, so it's fun getting to see your shots. I LOVE that city!

    Man, do I wish I had bought DonnyO's Marantz receiver after seeing Rose's set up! I bet the drinks went down smooth sampling some fine vinyl.

    Working like a madman, huh? I've heard this before. Are you saving every dime in anticipation of the next trip?!

    Sean
  15. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    Oh man I really would have liked to have tried out the food in that neighborhood. Anytime you get a high concentration of any culture in one place you stand the best chance to get quality representations of that cultures cuisine.

    Niiiice, make sure DonnyO doesn't pitch that Marantz at any point. There's something special about putting on a vinyl, sitting back, and listening to an album play itself all the way through. It's just not the same as a CD or even a high quality MP3.

    Yeah man, working a bit like a madman (shouldn't be posting this right now:1drink) but luckily I landed a job I really enjoy that's right up my alley, so work doesn't really feel like work. One of the things I learned on this trip has been how personally important maintaining a good work/life balance is for me, it now sits at the top of my priorities list. This seems to have effected my writing though, as when I'm not working I tend to avoid my laptop at home like the plague, and instead find myself outdoors pretty constantly (riding, climbing, kayaking). Great to be getting outdoors, but I also really enjoy making time to write :nod ...:type. Once I start the TAT section I think I can't leave the story hanging after each post, so I'll be prioritizing writing until it's wrapped up.

    Speaking of, I should try to get another post up before I leave again for the weekend...:cob
  16. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile Supporter

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  17. Molonlabemike

    Molonlabemike Been here awhile

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    About time were getting some updates!
  18. SeanPNW

    SeanPNW Water Bear Supporter

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    This guy stayed home this weekend so I could do just that. Will have the post done & up tomorrow.

    :type
  19. mobie&4c's

    mobie&4c's Adventurer

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    I've been checking daily, and be up early tomorrow checkin!
  20. Molonlabemike

    Molonlabemike Been here awhile

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    Woot!