Off the grid for a while: 16 Countries-31 States-9 Canadian provinces-30,000 miles +

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rtwpaul, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. BordenBmw

    BordenBmw TheFrenchRider

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    Welcome back, almost a month since your last update, you should have some good stories.
  2. Tall Mike

    Tall Mike TAT Rookie (planning!)

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    +1...Stories..Pictures...:D:clap
  3. jsantos58

    jsantos58 jsantos58

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    Have safe adventure and thanks for taking us along.
    js
  4. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    same day in Ecuador i got caught in a heavy downpour, and the camera was done, squirting water instead of taking photos and then later i dropped my laptop and couldn't get wifi bu everything else worked...just got that fixed so time to do some updates and now my smugmug account is uploadig photos but won't let me see them!!!

    hold tight lots to come...
  5. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    Leaving first thing in the morning, got absolutely drenched and forgot I had my point and shoot camera in a non waterproof jacket pocket…so all I can tell you here is the road north from Azul for around 50 miles was incredible but it is an easy turn off to miss, I got photos from another one of the riders


    I was told not only will I like the roads in Columbia I will be amazed how beautiful the women are…yeah right…well yes is right, but again no camera so no proof you just have to go yourself…roads are phenomenal, but camera is still down!!!! A night in Pasto and then the road to Bogata, it was billed as one of the best rides taking in everything you may see in all the South American countries, long sweeping bends, dogs chasing you down the street, wild animals wandering into the road, landslides, floods, off road, perfect tarmac, street vendors, hookers, crazy truck drivers, bus drivers who cut you off any chance they get, out of control cars, lots of vehicles missing lights and not using turn signals, corrupt cops trying to flag you down so they can scam you…all this in just 80 miles…
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    bikes were shipped from the main cargo terminal in bogata



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  6. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    leaving panama customs was the usual slow day, disorganised, the guy in front of me was from the UK, the agent said they put it as BR for britain, but it should have been GBR, Br made him brazilian and the whole system ground to a halt, so if you do come thru here know the abbriviation for our country or be prepared to wait for hours and listen them argue!!! below is where you get to wait outside for hours in the heat as the agents are inside in AC
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    riding thru panama enjoying the scenery when my riding buddy Phil needs to let of steam and blasts away from me, a few minutes later I come round a bend and there he is on the side of the road with a motorcycle cop. he was been ticketed for speeding, he speaks a little spanish and fluent italian, so has good understanding of the language but in this situation "no fumar espanol" - no smoke spanish!!!!!

    it works...15 minutes of saying eh!!! it went froma $80 ticket to give me $20 and i'll tear it up...no money changed hands, no ticket issued and he was sent on his way by a very confused and corrupt cop

    first thing we needed to do was get gas, the bikes had to be virtually empty to go on the flight...the fist gas station we see we pull in and meet the armed guard, virtually every gas station for the next weeks has the same security, sawn off shot gun and a smiling guard...same thing at every toll crossing too
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  7. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1:place>costa rica</st1:place></st1:country-region> is very nice, friendly people, great roads, beautiful scenery, sadly we were there only one day…then we went into hell, the border at <st1:country-region><st1:place>Nicaragua</st1:place></st1:country-region> can only be described as a complete joke. As you first arrive people literally run towards you to try and be first to scam you out of money, once they are ignored and you go to ask for assistance from one of the people who work there, they aren’t much better. There is so little understanding of how to do things correctly they simply just palm you off to the next person. Coming in we passed a line of truck 5 KMs long ad we wondered why, once into the mayhem we understood. Zero organization, scammers and fixers, money changers, thief’s, beggars and this is in the first half a mile of entering the country.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    First order of business get stamped in to the country, oh yea and pay $12 for the privilege…why who knows, I think its because the country is in the way and they know you have to go thru so give us $12 GRINGO!!!!

    similar scenario thru the rest of central america, we were simply going thru so no time ot enjoy it or get a different opinion, i'm sure it is much better than this and i'm sad i had to see it like this

    this was almost the end of the group thing and i was getting tired of the late arrivlas and minimal time we had in each place and how much we missed, roll on USA and freedom from the group and get to riding by myself

    photo opportunities were minimal at best

    nicaraguan border, torrential rain, the restuarnt owner told us to park inside, he was chinese!!! try that for size speaking spanish, witha chinese accent, very confusing
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    honduran customs building, the way they did things must have been set up in the 1940's and they were still doing it the same slow way
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    a late night arrival at a hote in guatamala
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    customs holding area, good place fo your bike to sit for 6 hours while you swaet your balls off

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    the token disenfectant station, $3 to go thru and then the same guy wanted another $3 to exit the other side!!! just looked like dirty water to me

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  8. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    we headed into mexico, first night was good early arrival and a great meal, after that it went down hill rapidly...

    the next day we headed to a hotel which had not been used before we didn't arrive until 11 pm, not good, the hotel manager refused to give us keys to the rooms unless he was paid in full first, the money was in the chase truck, at this point we had no idea how lucky we had been at this point, the following days turned to hell...

    the following is an except from a thread i placed in ride reports latin america http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=687755


    we were traveling as a group of 21 motorcycles from ushuaia to alaska

    in the first week in argentina and chile we traveled together to assist each other on ruta 3 and ruta 40 as a lot of break downs, punctures etc occured, after that we split into groups of 3-5 riders leaving at different times and arriving at different times

    it is easy to say we stood out, anyone riding an adventure bike stands out, if we were all riding CG 125 we would still stand out we're gringos...its all part of the adventure and we know once we leave our front door there are risks but thats why we do this right? normal life and a job doesn't do it for us....

    i will give you the details as it was told to me by the chase truck driver, this is simply for reference, you are all big enough and old enough to make your own judgement call on this...you just need details and what to look for and where,

    we were heading from acapulco to manzanillo on mexico route 200, daytime riding



    this is in Jims words he was the chase truck driver...a preface to this Jim not only being a great guy, life and soul of the party, he is also a mechanic, truck driver, motorcycle racer and a pilot amongst other things and has the most uncanny sense of direction i have ever known


    it was around 6.30pm heading north on mexico 200 i last saw riders about 1.5 hours ago in cardenas, i was driving along and saw a big billboard with mexicos three most wanted on it, there faces were spray painted out, not surprisingly


    i drove maybe a mile or two more and a lincoln navigator was parked at the side of the road to my left on an outcropping, the first car i had seen in about an hour and first lincoln i had seen in months, it looked very out of place


    i carried on and minutes later that same navigator came in front of me, red light flashing on its roof and red and blue lights in the windshield, two men got out dressed in police uniforms and walked towards me,

    at this point a white dodge 3500 dually pulled along side me blocking my chase truck from moving and another truck behind that (the chase truck was a black right hand drive on UK plates Nissan 4 door pickup, with a 3 rail bike trailer and on the trailer was a red triumph tiger and a KTM smt both had broken down with electical issues)

    in total there were nine men, two dressed as cops, the other seven were wearing bullet proof vest, with six hand grenades on their chests hanging off it, three either side, a machete and a side arm at there waist and holding either a machine gun or a shot gun


    i was pulled from the truck and pushed into the dodge, one guy sitting either side of me and two in the front a gun was put to my head, from one of the guys at the side of me and the passenger in the front put a gun to my stomach...even if i was dumb enough or brave enough and got one of them i would be killed by the other


    we followed the navigator and chase truck for a very short time and then turned on a dirt road and headed in the hills deep in the jungle, around 7kms until there was an opening and i was pulled out of the truck, my pockets emptied and pushed to my knees facing away from the truck and the other men, a gun was pushed in the back of my head and i stayed like this for at least two hours or more


    they argued amongst themselves and on the phone to someone else, there was only one subject whether to kill me or not, the occasional question was asked in perfect english then i heard car doors open and a motor start, it was the dodge, three doors closed and then the pressure of the barrel of the gun was lifted from the back of my head...i waited for the bang and the end of my life but next thing i heard was a forth car door slam and the dodge pull away, i turned and looked around and it was leaving i got up and ran as fast as i could, maybe i covered at least 10kms into the darkness, not caring which direction i was headed just run!!!!


    when i finally got to the point i couldn't move anymore i tried to remember things, i remembered a breeze heading out to sea, and seeing a KM marker 141 but that was it, i could see the moon, so i threw dust in the air and it drifted and i followed it and did the same thing over an over until i could smell the ocean and eventually see it in the distance about a mile away.


    i found a large spool of wire the type they hold phone poles up with it and started dragging that thinking i could string it between two trees and slice the top of a car, it would kill innocent people but maybe i could get out of here...that thought passed and i dropped the cable when i found a tractor trailer, thinking of hot wiring it, batteries were dead

    i got to the road and made a road block, not covering the road completly, making it so cars and suvs could get thru but not semis.

    i had seen a few semis go by with bags of cement and figured if one slowed down or stopped i could jump on theback and get out of there

    one stopped and two men got out, i ran to them and tried to explain my situation, it was a father and son, the son spoke good english an they were willing to help, he got me in the truck and we drove south.

    they told me there were three sons but two had been killed by the cartels and not to trust anyone even the authorities

    i was dropped in a small town and eventually made to the police and full rescue...


    there is obviously a great deal more to his story but i don't want to write it all here, ifyou meet me on the road i will give you the full account, th is all you really need to know to be safe


    what you do need to know here is this nd then make you own judgement call

    according to the police later that day...the "bandits" from whatever group they may be from are mainly looking for things that will be of use to them, in this case a four wheel drive pickup truck in good condition

    it would be used inland moving product and probably not ever see a road again

    also, it was driven by a gringo so a passport, maybe US or UK, in this case UK, it has a street value of around $10,000


    are you at risk? Yes, but not as much as a car or truck driver in a newer vehicle, police said large bikes are rarely stolen as they are little use, but passports are and they may take your bike just to fuck with you

    so yes the road is amazing, views tremendous but be off it at least two hours before sundown and don't stop for anyone even the police, and that came from the police!!!

    that gold/ beige lincoln navigator is a known vehicle to the police, if you see it, get out of there ASAP
  9. zoki1

    zoki1 Been here awhile

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    :cob:cob what a nice ride !!:clap::clap
  10. fastredbike

    fastredbike locked-down tight

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    :eek1:eek2:yikes:lurk
  11. Liberia

    Liberia Fortunate

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    I am thankful that you are safe. This could have happened in the U.S. but certainly is more likely in some of the countries that you travelled through. The respect for law and, primarily, for other human beings seems to be diminishing throughout the world. I hope that your spirit of adventure and desire to find the best in people is not completely shattered by this event. Your ride report has been outstanding.

    Glad you were not physically hurt.
  12. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    Thank you, I appriciate your comment, one thing it did do was make you look at authority with an element of doubt for the remainder of mexico and say what if?????

    Needless to say we were stopped a few more times but no more issues and we made it to the US border and I was welcomed home by US immigration

    Certainly won't slow my adventures down it will just make me do more research about routes like that one...but I will say from a riders perspective the mexico 200 is a great road and one of the best mexico has to offer...just ride it in the middle of the day!!!!!!
  13. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    Just been pointed towards this thread - great read !

    And you sure know how to use a camera as well.

    Ride safe for the rest of the journey :clap:clap
  14. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Shit time for the driver....and I presume the owners of the bikes as guess they werent recovered:eek1
  15. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    Jim the driver is good and safe at home...the KTM was actually fully covered in mexico so a check is on the way already for him...same can't be said for the triumph, but it was the bike that went down the most so it was virtually worthless
  16. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    even though we had a bad time in mexico we also met some friendly people, namely cops, nice boots
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    the better side of mexico route 200, great spot for some lunch
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    this is where we held out in manzanillo while awaiting the the outcome of Jim, great place to bring him back to once we knew he was safe
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    crazy riding in mexico took its toll on the rear tire of the remaining KTM smt, lckily enough there was a shop close b that had a tire that fit only mile up the road...
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  17. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    ..."welcome home" was the first thing the immigration agent said to me at the Naco border, just east of Nogales as we crossed into arizona..."did you have a good time, anything interesting happening down there?"

    i stayed for a while and told him as more agents crowded around to listen, i was the only person at the crossing, even if i wasn't they wanted to know and people would have had to wait.

    it felt strange being happy to get out of mexico after spending so much time there on this ride and with business over the last 20 years.

    it was time to leave the group, and i was happy, riding in a large group is not easy, it became like a job, the organization was not the best, some of the places we stayed would not have been my choice but it was an experience, i covered 13,000 miles with them...but it was all done way to quick, time to slow down

    a quick ride to tombstone for some lunch
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    then it was off down route 66 for vegas and time to say good bye...
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    they were all mostly heading home, i still have at least 20,000 more miles to go,

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    the adventure continues alone... Alaska here i come, see you out there somewhere, oh yeah new tires for all the back roads i have planned
    dave6253 likes this.
  18. BordenBmw

    BordenBmw TheFrenchRider

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    When I said you &#8220;should have some good stories&#8221; you went well above my expectation! Glad you made it OK, but would you do it again and if you did, would you change anything to make it safer? From Bogata up to the Mexico/USA border was too fast to really enjoy it from what I can tell but, it didn&#8217;t looked very safe to be a tourist in those areas. I see that have knobbies for the next stage of you trip, great trip report. :thumb<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
  19. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding... Supporter

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    definetly do it again but maximum four to five riders or less, and at least double the time, next part will be great 'cause i'm in control :rofl
  20. tofire409

    tofire409 Geared up and ready.

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    Do us all a favour and stop at a Yamaha Dealer when ever you can... may be post the time and location here and we can show Yamaha how crazy it was to bring the super Ten and not the 660:huh

    Glad you are able to slow the pace down to your liking, ride safe.

    If you find yourself in Toronto, Canada, there's at least one guy who would like to buy you a beer!