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Operation S.A.-14; The deep south, as in TDF

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PDX Alamo, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I just spent the last 4 hours coming up with the name for the ride report instead of something important like practicing Spanish or learning how to fix a carburetor. Which brings up a good point nobody gives a shit about what you didn't do. So without further adieu here it goes.

    I travel a far amount; usually to far and away places and people typically say “Well that’s a trip of a lifetime”. It always irritated me because flying to Turkey or Vietnam is something any yahoo with a credit card can do. You jump on a plane and come back , easy.

    This trip , well I think it gets the trip of a lifetime label. I am certain that I will never be let off work for 4 months ever again and not really sure how I pulled it off this time. Not to mention I will be broke when I get back so theres that. You also never know when you will get some cancer, have a shit back, or just plain get some asshole disease that you never heard of and thats it. The "thing" you always wanted isn't going to happen because you cant physically do it anymore.

    So its on track to start Thanksgiving in Colombia and hopefully land in TDF in about three and half months. I have been thinking about this trip fo the last two years, right around the time I got my first motorcycle and got hooked. The RR Oregon to Ushuaia on a XR650L started me down that path, thanks for that excellent RR (Ride Report) Bryce.

    Over the last few years other amazing journeys fanned the fire and Oct 27th I dropped my bike off at the Port of Tacoma to hopefully land in Cartagena Colombia on Thanksgiving.
    [​IMG]

    It is finally going to happen (if the Moto makes it there). Here are some but not all of the ride reports that pushed me from the thinking to doing stage and I thank all y'all sincerely for taking the time to share these with me and everyone else. There are probably a hundred more that are not listed but this reading list should keep you busy for a while. :eek1

    Places Beyond: California to TDF
    SomedayNeverMaybe Denver >>> S.A.
    VENTURING SOUTH on DRZ's
    PORKANDCORN:A Man & His Duck Explore South America
    No-Moto-Boundaries-Latin America n' back n' da' TAT, un-planned, un-hinged, and solo
    No Jobs, No Responsibilities, No Better Time than Now
    South Dakota to South America

    Now that ya’ll are teary eyed from that intro lets get into it. :cry

    Last year I knocked the other “Big Trip” off the list in Operation AK13 ; 2UP 2 Alaska on a Wee ; which told me that I can live on a bike for a month with no problem so this trip was actually possible. O yea I don't speak Spanish, so I went to Guatemala and lived with a family but as of today most of that Spanish is gone.

    [​IMG]

    I thought about the whole shabang but I’ve been through Central America already and I only have about 3 1/2 months to do this. I talked to several people who have done the journey and every one of them said skip Central America (C.A.) and go spend your time in South America (S.A.).

    Those recommendations still weren't enough to deter me but after factoring in my small window of time and the fact I would have to drop well over a $1,000 to get around the Darien Gap it only made since on my money and time budget so it was settled.

    I looked at several ideas on getting the bike there but flying from Vancouver Canada was $2800!!! Turns out a boat ride was 1/2 of that but still f’in pricey. I used Gaston of S.A. Explorer off of here which made it a breeze once he was involved.

    I had a WR250R already which was my first bike and it took me on 3 BDR’s and had always treated me well. I also have a Super Tenere which is in incredible bike but as much as I love it I just didn't feel it was the right bike for me on this trip rolling solo. After reading too many things telling me the DR650 was the machine ...it was done. I sold the WR in short order and found a tricked out 2009 DR650 on Craig's list a few hours away with 6k miles.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The DR came with everything I needed for the trip already but of course I had to pour some more money into it. Luckily it came with a new RICOR rear shock and some Wolfman racks. I decided a new 6.6 Gallon Acerbis tank was in order and the Sgt Seat that came with it needed a replacement. I had a Mr. Ed’s moto in Aurora Oregon make a custom seat. I had him make one for my Vstrom and that ruined me. Man o man you do not know what you are missing with one of his seats. He is a true craftsman.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had the legend Romonozky from VENTURING SOUTH on DRZ's fame who is a bad ass engineer by trade build me some racks for a Pelican case set. I regret not having him build in mounting brackets into the design as the Happy Trail pucks were not what they were several years ago.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next up was some vaccinations, who has time for yellow fever and typhoid?; ain’t no body got time for that. Insurance doesn't cover it i found out but if you go to S.A. and get it they will treat you for it. I told the lady on the phone I was going to get yellow fever out of spite to cost them a bunch of coin. Walgreens was the cheapest place at $200 for the combo.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So with any luck my DR who I nick named Mono Gris will land in Cartagena and I will really make this happen. Everyone else named their bike so since it’s grey and I like monkeys ... Mono Gris, The grey monkey, thats the best I could do.

    Always wondering on what to bring I keep ordering crap off Amazon thinking the world will collapse if i don't have this gizmo or that one. I managed to get it all in 3 Pelican 1550 cases, lets hope it stays that way. One last thing, lots of thanks to my go to Moto supplier Brian at Atomic Moto who is the most stand up guy in the business and extremely knowledgable. He met me at a bar to let me try on some boots as his store was closed and Bend is 3 hours from my house.

    [​IMG]
    Box 1, right
    A) Ipad and keyboard
    B) Shoes , flip flops, North Face GoreTex trail shoes
    C) Hair cutter with charger (my one luxury item, if i keep my hair short you don't know i am bald:rofl.
    D) North Face hat, REI Hat
    E) Clothes ( Mountain Hardware jeans, North Face Adventure pants, DC Shorts, Ice Breaker Shirt, Nike Shirt, Penguin shirt, 2 pair UA boxers, Ice Breaker Ankle socks, REI Wool socks, riding shirt,)
    F) Marmot rain jacket, Mountain Hardware Down jacket
    E) Long Johns and beanie
    F) Toiletry kit ( Deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap,towel)
    H) Large steel cable

    Box 2, left
    G) GSI cook set ( alcohol stove, spoon,bowl)
    H) Steripen
    J) Bike cover
    K) Bike Disc Lock
    L) Motorcycle gloves ( Goretex, Vented, dirt)
    M) Slim air compressor
    N) Tool kit, ( zip ties,allan wrenches (3,4,5,6), socket driver, MP Socket adapter, vise grips, spanners (8,10,12,13,14), tweezers,tire gauge, crescent wrench, magnet pick up tool, sockets (6,8,10,12,13,14,19),spark plug 5/8 socket, mini fuses, electrical tape,
    O) Rope ( Paracord, rope)
    P) Rox straps x 2
    Q) Green bag ( silicon tape, duct tape, plastiweld, steel stick, nitrile gloves x 3, utility gloves, fuel line
    R) Black bag ( tire patch kit (glue,patches,super glue, blue locktight) , 21"inner tube, enduro stand, bead popper, tire iron 23 wrench, MTB pump, valve stem fishing tool, washers for oil change and o rings, o rings for valve check
    S) Chain lube
    T) Clutch and throttle inner wire repair kit

    Box 3, Top
    T) Sierra Designs Flash 2 tent & poles
    U)Sleeping bag,
    V) Nest Hammock V2) Atlas straps
    X) Pillow,
    Y) emberlite,
    Z) air mattress, knife, 8liter dry bag, oil filter, MSR Dromedary bag

    Riding Gear
    1) Arai XD4 Helmet
    2) Badlands pants
    3) Badlands Jacket
    4) Alpinstars Toucan boots (Awesome)
    5) Smartwool merino socks
    6) Kriega Hydro w/ extra mouthpiece
    7) 5 Liter Kriega bag with medical kit
    8) Sure Headphones
    9) Spot G3 tracker w/ 4 rechargeable AAA batteries
    10) Kyocera Torque ( GPS for the trip)
    11) X-GRIP
    12) Sunglasses ( Oakley and AO)
    13) Magic underwear ( Padded bicycling shorts, awesome)

    Bike packed and ready to go so I loaded it up in my old trusty truck and headed to the Port of Tacoma,

    [​IMG]


    Gaston of S.A. explorer had walked me through the process pretty well so it was straight forward. I was required to have an "escort" to get it into the holding area. At the nominal rate of $50 an hour ( not that kind of escort, but at those prices you would expect it) . So you wait at the gate to the port area and a lady pulls up and says follow me. I follow her into the gate and she sits in her car. She tells me to just unload it and then follow her out.

    This is a giant open parking lot pretty much. In my head I was thinking some one was going to put it on a pallet and wrap it in plastic or something. Nope leave the key in it and they pushed it over by a dump truck. I asked the longshoreman not to do any wheelies, I guess they drive it on the boat later and that was it. The lady asked if i had anything in those boxes and I said “yea”. OH NO she says, you should never leave anything on the bike, but wait the Longshoreman just went to lunch so you cant get it out. If you want to pay me we I can wait until they are done with lunch, it might be another 1.5 hours. Hummm was this a scare tactic to make $$$ or was she for real. I have planned this trip for 3 f'in years and I just left the sole purpose of the trip in a parking lot with the keys and a lady leaves me with the impression its going to be looted. Nervous , you bet. This was the last time I saw her, see ya soon Mono Gris, I hope you don't get looted or f’ed up.

    [​IMG]


    Off to Customs and the guy there looks like he is about to retire and cant figure anything out that i am handing him. I don't think he has ever done this before, hows that its not your first day. I have to call Gaston who assures me i have all the right stuff and he helps me walk customs dude through his job. Ok that is it, time to head home and stress out for the next month wondering if my bike will make it. I bother Gaston a few more times and he assures me all is right in the world but he understands my angst.

    As of now it sits on a dock in Panama waiting to be trans shipped to Colombia. So Monday I land in Cartagena and should have the bike by next Thursday so stay tuned. Lets hope on Thanksgiving me and Mono Gris will be giving thanks together in Cartagena.
    #1
  2. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

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    Wow dude! I'll be following this after reading your AK13 r/r. What a cool trip you have in store! The misses didn't want to go on this one with you?!?
    #2
  3. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    She wanted to go but not enough vacation and no room on the DR, she'll make a guest appearance in Ecuador though.
    #3
  4. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

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    Excellent! I'll be watching this thread and wishing you safe travels. Sounds like the adventure already started when dropping the bike off.:huh

    Btw, some funny stuff on the Duffleblog site! I'll have to peruse it later.
    #4
  5. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can Supporter

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
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    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio and Surprise,Arizona
    Are you riding round trip, or shipping the bike back from TDF or Dakar Moto in Buenos Aires?

    You haven't mentioned any places you plan to see while travelling. After a post of your plans, others might suggest places you haven't considered.... Machu Pichu, Salar de Uyuni, Yungas Road, Perrito Moreno, The Hand in Antofagasta.
    #5
  6. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

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    789
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    Portland, OR
    All those are on the list along with Torres del pain and yes I plan on shipping back from Dakar but I'll see where I end up I guess.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #6
  7. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    4,550
    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    You might check it out to save a few bucks:freaky but I think it used to be last Sunday of the month is free entrance to El Castillo aka the big fort in Cartagena, well worth a look and one of the most famous forts in all South America.

    Best way to get the most riding in South America, start in Colombia:clap:clap:clap Colombia is moto heaven on Earth and the women on too bad either:wink:

    Edit: too bad I just saw you ETA past the last Sunday of the month.
    :lurk
    #7
  8. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
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    :eek2 Well if you don't want any surprises take a Carnival Cruise Ship I guess. The ship that was supposed to deliver my bike from Panama to Cartagena was rerouted and the new delivery date was scheduled for December 18th.




    Hard to do a motorcycle trip with out a motorcycle.

    As I mentioned earlier I used Gaston of S.A. Explorer as my shipping broker and he was on it quick. He contacted the shipping company immediately telling them to fix this now not next week as I was flying in Monday. He assured me that they would find a solution because they have to. I was sweating bullets for the next two days and Gaston told me to say a prayer or light some candles and told me that he even had his BBQ going to get as many flames as possible. :pope

    I started researching the ferry from Panama in case it didn't get resolved but luckily I got a call from Gaston two days later and it was all back on track and the bike would be delivered as promised on the 27th. Thank god for professionals , Gaston saved the day. I will be happy when I am on Mono Gris , it starts, and I am in Colombia driving down those fantastic roads.
    #8
  9. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

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    May 18, 2012
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    789
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    Portland, OR
    The legend himself, glad to have you along for the ride. Thanks for the tip:ear
    #9
  10. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    Denver, CO
    Hope you still have all your stuff! There are legendary tales of everything getting looted out of cars when they're in transport like that...
    #10
  11. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

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    Well that fills me with confidence :(


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    #11
  12. StuckinPark

    StuckinPark Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
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    Location:
    White Sulphur Springs, God's Country
    Mega jealous!
    #12
  13. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper Supporter

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    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Have fun, take lots of pics!
    #13
  14. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    All your boxes are locked tho, right? It's the low lying fruit that gets ripped off...
    #14
  15. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    [​IMG]

    I have nothing really to say but testing out the taptalk photo hosting for on the go shots.

    Thought y'all would enjoy my highlight of the day. Went to my cheap ass hotel pool near the airport and found a dead opossum on the bottom. Silly possum doesn't known he is supposed to wait 20 minutes after eating before swimming.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #15
  16. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    [​IMG]

    Bike gets here Friday , guess I'll have a few of these while I wait


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    #16
    TreasureState likes this.
  17. Baroquenride

    Baroquenride Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.

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    Opossum = eeeewwwwww!
    #17
  18. Ulyses

    Ulyses Long timer

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    Subscribed.

    and

    Hot damn! :clap I'm jealous as sh*t right now. It's dark, raining, and miserable back here in Portland. I'm happy for you man, you are going to have a blast! Can't wait to see what adventures you have! Love the bike name by the way. Mono Gris. Awesome. Ride safe. And best of luck with the Colombian aduana (customs).
    #18
  19. Trip Hammer

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

    Joined:
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    1,255
    Location:
    Seattle
    Subscribed!!!! As a fellow PNW'er, I'm a big fan of the RR's from Romanousky and Ulysses as well, so yours is definitely getting first looks when I come into work each day!! Congrats on living the dream PDXAlamo!!:clap:clap Great start, and safe travels!!:clap
    #19
  20. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
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    789
    Location:
    Portland, OR

    Well I am not as learned as those two so don't expect any quality writing or dynamite. :)
    #20