Places Beyond: California to Argentina on a G650X Challenge

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by advFord, Sep 5, 2013.

?

Should I finish my RR and tell the rest of the story?

Poll closed Mar 3, 2016.
  1. Yes

    93 vote(s)
    93.9%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Sure, but I really just look at the pictures

    5 vote(s)
    5.1%
  4. No offense, but I probably won't read it.

    1 vote(s)
    1.0%
  1. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    A Lesson In Argentinian Cooking

    Less than a week before I departed Argentina which meant I had a week to learn how all of my favorite Argentinian meals were made. Kelli was in San Telmo for a week so together we signed up for a cooking class. Again, just like the tango dinner shows, there are upscale cooking classes and food tours that can cost up to $300 per person. Thanks to a tip from a fellow traveller we scheduled a class with Tierra Negra. It fit our budget and I can't imagine how any other class could top this experience.

    We arrived outside of a home in Palermo Hollywood. I rang the buzzer on the intercom and introduced us. The gate opened and we walked upstairs to the second floor where we were greeted by Verónica. "Are you Porteño?" She asked me. I laughed in amazement. How could she have gotten that impression. "When you rang on the intercom you sounded like a local." My spanish has obviously come a long way from 8 months ago when I crossed the border into Mexico knowing little more than how to say hello. I let Verónica know that I was in fact a yankee from California. After a few minutes of conversation she realized I only sound like a local during introductions. After that there's no mistaking it, Spanish is not my native language.

    When we entered the dinning room Verónica introduced us to Manuel, the chef and her other half, and informed us that the other guests canceled so it would be a private cooking class this evening. After a quick intro on the evening's agenda they opened a bottle of red and the class began. I like the class already.

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    Verónica and Manuel spent years traveling around the world; working in various restaurants along the way to fund their adventures. A few years ago they finally returned home to Argentina and opened up Tierra Negra. Using fresh ingredients they shared the recipes and techniques to make the dough and filling for two kinds of empanadas as well as dulce de leche and flan for dessert. Oh and we'd be pairing a variety of local wines throughout the night.

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    We mixed together all of the ingredients for the fillings and set them aside while we rolled out two dozen circular discs of empanada dough. I made a few ovals and octagons but eventually I got the dough rolled into perfect circles, even if they were never a consistent size. We filled them with the vegetable or meat filling and then came the hard part. I never could have imagined how difficult curling edges of dough could be. Manuel, Verónica, and Kelli were pros and for every one empanada I completed they were on their 4th. Manuel taught me the easier and lazy-mans technique of pressing a fork around the edges. Insider tip: vegetable empanadas are folded on top and meat empanadas are folded on the side.

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    After preparing the empandas we began making dulce de leche and flan. Dulce de leche is a popular sweet that I would say is similar to caramel but creamier. Whatever it is, I like it in icecream, on my bread in the morning, or as filling in cookies and pastries. It's made my slowing heating sweetened milk. Manuel's flan recipe was unlike any I've had before. The creamy dessert was topped with a hard caramel shell.

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    We moved onto the next bottle of wine just as the empanadas were finished baking in the oven. The four of us sat around the dining table and said a toast before enjoying the wonderful meal we prepared.

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    After a second serving of empanadas and more wine, we had dessert. The flan with dulce de leche was amazing. Of course I had a professional chef helping with the process but I'd say Kelli and I made one of the best meals. The night continued as Verónica, Manuel, Kelli and I shared stories and laughed. The food, wine, sweets, and laughs were plentiful at Teirra Negra. Thank you Verónica and Manuel for opening your home and sharing your food, wine, and culture with us.

    If you're ever in Buenos Aires, cooking with Verónica and Manuel at Tierra Negra is another must do. After the class they email you the recipes and instructions for all the dishes.

    [​IMG] Manuel, Kelli, Verónica and myself
    rideslikeafish likes this.
  2. junkyardroad

    junkyardroad Been here awhile

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    Even though I just ate an epic sized tlayuda, I'm ready to hop on my bike and ride there to try that out. Really enjoying this thread.
  3. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    @junkyardroad Where'd you get a tlayuda?! are you in Oaxaca? I love those, the cheese is so good.
  4. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Even before I arrived in Buenos Aires I had high opinions of how welcoming Argentineans were. Everywhere I went I was treated so well. My high opinions only grew after arriving in the final city of my journey. A few weeks earlier I was Couchsurfing at Deni's when she invited me to her friend's birthday dinner. While at her friend's house for the afternoon I met everyone around the table including Marian. Before the end of the party Marian made an offer I couldn't refuse. You see, Marian is a chef by trade and she asked if she could cook an American style dinner for me. She had been working on new recipes for a few American dishes but never has the chance to have an American try them. The words yes spilled out of my mouth before I couldn't even think.

    I think offers like that are very common. "Let's hang out again" "I'd love to have you over". We all hear those sayings but what made this different was Marian meant it. Before the night was over we found a night that could work and it was on the calendar. Marian would cook the meal, Deni and a few other friends would bring the wine, and even though they insisted I didn't have to bring anything, my friend Kelli and I brought some more wine and chocolates. You can never have enough of either.

    Marian's husband, Sergio, greeted us outside and welcomed us into their home. Marian was putting the finishing touches on on the meal and Sergio mixed cocktails to kick the night off.

    [​IMG] Marian y Sergio and his daughter

    [​IMG] Myself and Sergio chatting about motorcycles and whiskey.

    [​IMG] Kelli and Deni

    I was curious what Marian meant by an "American dinner" but I quickly found out. The first course was a plate of nachos covered with beef, cheese, onions and ham. Off to a great start.

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    The room grew louder as more friends arrived and more drinks were poured. For the main course, Marian brought out the dish she's been dying to have an American taste, BBQ ribs and a loaded baked potato. How lucky of me! Marian was not messing around when she said she had been working on Yankee food. These were American sized potatoes and ribs. After the first bite I gave Marian my blessing even though she needed none. Her cooking was incredible.

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    Of course, Marian wasn't finished just yet. She went to the counter and returned with a tray of freshly frosted chocolate cupcakes. As the group reached in to grab one I sat back and took in my peculiar surroundings. Across from me my Porteña Couchsurfing host was chatting with a friend I've known since age 7, and six other strangers were sitting around the table sharing conversation and inquiring about life in California and about my motorcycle adventure. What an incredible feeling to once again be so far from home and feel so comfortable and cared for. A few weeks prior I entered Buenos Aires not knowing a single person and now I've been welcomed into Marian and Sergio's home feeling like I'm at a holiday party with friends and family.

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    After we finished the whiskey and wine the conversation continued until it was time to call it a night. Deni's friends insisted that they give Kelli and I a lift back to San Telmo even though it was out of their way. What an amazing group of people. I'm so fortunate to have met them. Thank you, Deni, Marian, Sergio and everyone else. I'm sorry I've forgotten everyone's names but I have not forgotten your kindness.

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    rideslikeafish likes this.
  5. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Remember a few posts back when I told you about the yellow fever outbreak that plagued San Telmo and drove all its wealthy residents away? Well they moved north and took all their money and sophistication with them to Recoleta. Buenos Aires is often characterized as "European" and there's no place where that is more the case than Recoleta.

    The wealthiest of Buenos Aires neighborhoods, Recoleta is home to all the finer things one would expect. Art museums, fancy restaurants and hotels, clean parks and large luxurious estates. Not typically the kind of place for an unshaven motorcycle traveler like myself but there are few things in Recoleta that drew me (and millions of other travelers) there. If one lives in a luxury estate while alive why would they be buried like a normal person in a small grave? Not wanting to let the world forget their wealth and sophistication, the residents began the tradition of building large and elaborate burial tombs.

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    Cemetario de Recoleta is one of the most famous in the world. Both for it's buildings and size but also for it's dead residents. Argentina's famous woman and political figure, Eva Peron, is buried here. You know, Evita. You can get lost in the small streets leading through the maze of tombs. Some of the structures are in pristine condition and others naturally decaying. It's unlike anything I've seen. There are some New Orleans cemeteries that are similar but the size and scale of the luxury and decay is unparalleled.

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    black top bob likes this.
  6. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Shipping Out

    A few days before I was scheduled to fly out of Buenos Aires I went to Ezeiza International Airport to ship my motorcycle back to California. For those interested in the details I will write a post about the shipping process. This is more the narrative of the event.

    The day had finally arrived. About 3 weeks after arriving in Buenos Aires it was time to take my last ride in South America. While my friend Kelli shopped around San Telmo for tango shoes and dresses, I loaded up my bike and headed to the cargo facility at the airport. The friendly employee at the San Telmo parking garage wished me a safe journey and a few turns later I was on the highway.

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    The ride was less than 45 minutes. Upon arrival the guards at the cargo entrance checked over my paperwork and directed me to a large warehouse. An employee greeted me and showed me inside. In the corner of the warehouse two guys were waiving me in their direction. They had the pallet ready for me and even set up a ramp so I could ride directly onto it.

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    [​IMG] My front Heidenau K60 Scout tire took me from California to Argentina.

    I had mixed emotions about the day's events. For one, I was trying to remember this was the end of my motorcycle journey that began almost 8 months earlier. But I still had a few more days in Buenos Aires and it would be a couple weeks until I was home in California. I was also hoping the shipping process would go smoothly without any complications. I got off the bike and took a picture of the end mileage on the odometer. This adventure was just shy of 20,000 miles.

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    I began taking parts off the motorcycle to make it as small as possible as the shipping cost is determined by volume. Off came the mirrors and windscreen. The crew helped me remove my front wheel which helped lower the height. I stuffed my riding and camping gear around the wheels. I disconnected the battery and left the key in the ignition.

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    Within two hours the process was complete. I stuffed the paperwork and a few personal items in a backpack and walked away.

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    As I sat in a cramped shuttle van riding back to San Telmo I thought about how much that motorcycle has meant to me on this adventure. It's taken me to unforgettable places and led to amazing experiences. And it's also what's sparked many of the relationships created on this journey. People react differently to a guy riding a motorcycle by himself than they do someone traveling the same distance by buses.

    Thinking about the days and weeks ahead I was determined to create unforgettable experiences on my own. Afterall, it all comes down to making the choice. The choice to start, to ask for help, to say hello, to try something totally new, to be ok putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations to achieve a goal, to connect, to love, to laugh, to dream, and to follow those dreams.

    So here's to the next amazing chapter to Places Beyond... without a motorcycle.
  7. joserides

    joserides slow and steady

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    Hey advFord. How'd the plastidip work out? I'm thinking about putting it on my XChallenge.

    Great RR, btw.
  8. August West

    August West Wharf Rat

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    Just found this RR the other day. Thanks for taking us on an amazing trip Dan. Your attitude and openness are most inspiring indeed. Wonderful!
    advFord likes this.
  9. Cactusbeemer

    Cactusbeemer Adventurer

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    Dan,
    I would have to say this has been one of the best and thorough ride reports to date. I am not one to speak out on forums, however! I enjoyed every stop and photos you had produced in this report. Before I read this report I was hesitant about my own travels on motorcycle below the US. I heard so many mixed things about Mexico in particular. You had really harped on how friendly and culturally diverse that country is. I am going to say that your ride report has genuinely broke the straw on the camels back for me to set out on my own through Mexico and back. Thank you for being that guy to set out on your own to allow everyone of us to engage in such an awesome read. Glad you are back safe. Hope to see you on the road some day.
    J-
  10. Arthurwg

    Arthurwg Been here awhile

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    Great ride report and photos! But could you add a bit more about the bike, how it performed, suitability for the trip, reliability etc?
    advFord likes this.
  11. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    The plastidip held up really well for all the abuse I put it through over the 8 months and 20k miles. I still have it on. Where there is alot of contact (under the panniers) it rubbed off. on the side plastics there are small scratches from rocks or wipe outs where the plastidip is chipped or peeling a bit but you can only see that up close.
  12. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Wow that means a lot to read. Thank you for leaving the message. Please let me know when you begin your journey!
  13. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Shipping a Motorcycle from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles

    This is my experience shipping my US registered motorcycle by air from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Los Angeles, California in May 2014.

    After unsuccessfully searching for information on shipping out of Buenos Aires without using the popular middleman, Dakar Motors, I decided their $90 USD fee would be worth it.

    This post describes the process of shipping through Dakar Motors.


    I contacted Sandra a month in advance to inquire about the latest estimates and information I would need. She quickly responded via email with an estimate and informed me that I could just contact her closer to my planned departure. Dakar Motors recommends notifying them 2 weeks in advance. The procedure takes 4 business days (not Saturdays, Sundays or National Holidays) and you must be present in Buenos Aires for.

    • Day 1 meet and arrange paperwork
    • Day 2 packing and customs formalities at the airport
    • Day 3 final payment at downtown shipping office
    • Day 4 just to be safe in case there’s a paperwork or shipping issue


    Day 1
    Dakar Motors is located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires so I suggest going out there late morning to avoid any traffic leaving or returning. It is a 30-40 minute ride from downtown. GPS: S34 32.474 W58 30.998

    At the first meeting they requested I bring:

    • Temporal import (valid): Original and 2 paper copies (please check your personal and bike information to be correct).
    • Passport original and 2 paper copies: Details pages and last Argentinean entry stamp.
    • Bike Registration or Title: Original and 2 paper copies.
    • ARG$ 1000 - for the Booking fee


    Within 1 hour Sandra and Javier had all the paperwork ready to go and I was on my may back to the city. Dakar Motors provided written instructions in English that detailed what I needed to to the next two days.


    Day 2
    At the Ezeiza International Airport Cargo facility south of Buenos Aires I had a 10:30am appointment to pack up my moto. It is about a 40 minute ride on a toll road. I arrived and they directed me to ride into the warehouse where a pallet was waiting for me with a ramp. As instructed I presented the customs documents then began the process of breaking it down as small as possible as the shipping cost is determined by the size of the crate, not weight. The crew there brought a forklift with a strap to easily let me get the front wheel off to lower the overall height. I also disconnected the battery, took off the mirrors and windscreen.

    Dakar Motors said that camping and personal equipment weren't allowed to be stored in the crate but I checked with others on ADVRider and they said it wasn't a problem. I stashed my gear around the bike. I kept a backpack to carry a few personal items I wanted to keep with me. A customs official checked over the documents and the bike before it was wrapped in plastic wrap. The crew at the cargo facility were extremely helpful. The whole process took 3 hours including a shuttle ride back to the city.


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    Day 3 - $$
    Dakar Motors emailed me the previous evening with the total amount I would need to pay at the Navicon shipping office. In May 2014 the cost to ship my G650X Challenge from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles was USD $1,802.20 or 14.507,71 in Argentine Pesos (keep reading) This is where it pays to plan ahead. Before I left Chile I took out enough US currency to cover all my expenses for my final in 5 weeks in Argentina as well as the cost of shipping the bike. Since you can exchange US dollars at the blue dollar exchange rate. I used this exchange office several times and never received fake currency. Located at Corrientes, 676, 14th floor, Apt. A. Thanks for the favorable blue dollar rate of 12 pesos per dollar (instead of the official 8) I paid in Argentine pesos the equivalent of $1,200 USD. I saved $600 by paying in pesos.


    To find out about importing the motorcycle into the US at Los Angeles International Airport read this post.
    Some Additional Information for Shipping out of Buenos Aires
    • Shipping Coordination by Dakar Motors
    • Air Freight Company LAN Airlines S.A.
    • Navicon International Transport Group Lavalle 482, 7 Piso Buenos Aires Argentina Tel: 5279-7701-7702 Email: info@navicon.com.ar


    *I suppose if you're up for the additional work you could try and arrange shipping directly through Navicon and LAN Cargo but you would need to be relatively fluent in Spanish.
  14. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Importing a Motorcycle into Los Angeles

    This is my experience shipping my US registered motorcycle into Los Angeles (LAX). I air freighted my 2007 BMW G650X Challenge from Buenos Aires on LAN Cargo. You can read about that process here.


    My motorcycle arrived three days after I crated it in Buenos Aires. LAN Cargo called to notify me that it would take an additional day to clear customs.


    Step 1: Go to Cargo Office and pay import fee

    Step 2: Take paperwork to US Customs and Border Office

    Step 3: Collect Motorcycle at Cargo Office


    I landed at LAX and because taxis there have a $18 minimum charge I took the free Sheraton Hotel Shuttle to the hotel and then walked 1 block to the LAN Cargo office.


    I had to provide my Airway bill, passport and pay the storage and import fees. They only accept cash. The import fee was $58. They prepared more paperwork and directed me to go to the US Customs and Border Protection office a few miles away. I took a taxi from the Sheraton. At the customs office they asked for the paperwork from the shipping company and my current motorcycle registration. Note: I had my moto registration up to date and paid for. I also had my California insurance policy re-instated to be active for the day I arrived and had a .PDF of the current policy on my phone should anyone require it. The agent stamped my paperwork clearing the motorcycle to be released. I was the only one in line at the office and was out within 15 minutes. Taxis are hard to find on that road so I suggest having your taxi wait unless you want to walk back to Century Blvd to find one.


    I took a taxi back to the LAN Cargo office and gave them the stamped paperwork. They gave me my copies of everything then directed me to the warehouse where a fork lift operator took the paperwork and went to collect my motorcycle. They asked what dock my truck was in. I told them I would be riding my motorcycle from there so they brought it over to a dock that had a vehicle ramp. The motorcycle was already uncrated but still wrapped in the plastic and secured to the pallets. I used my pocket knife to cut away the plastic and the metal straps. I now had to get my moto back together. I reconnected the battery, attached the mirrors, windscreen, and luggage.


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    The next step was the most complicated. At the Buenos Aires LAN Cargo warehouse where I crated the moto, the workers there suggested I take off the front wheel to lower the bike, thus saving money as they charge by volume. They used a forklift and a strap to lift my bike to easily get my front wheel off then lowered the forks to the crate. At LAN Cargo LAX they said they were not able to help lift my motorcycle in anyway due to liability. I even spoke to the main supervisor. They wouldn't help. Fortunately there were two truckers standing there waiting for cargo and they offered to help lift the bike while I put the front wheel on. I think having us do that in their warehouse posed for a safety risk than them using their forklift. One way we had it easier was we rolled the rear wheel off the pallet so it would be easier to get the front high enough. Without the help of those two strangers I would have not been able to leave. If you don't have friends coming with you, I suggest leaving the front wheel attached when shipping. [​IMG]


    A quick check over the bike and I was ready to ride the final 35 miles home, down California's 405 freeway at rush hour. There is a gas station less than a mile from LAN Cargo so I was able to fill up.


    [​IMG]


    Overall the shipping process was incredibly easy and straight forward. I did use the help of Dakar Motors in Buenos Aires, you can read about the process of shipping out of Argentina, here. When shipping to LAX the cargo company will provide you with all the information but here's a summary of the information given to me by LAN Cargo.


    Additional Information


    LAN Cargo LAX Office:


    6040 Avion Drive Los Angeles, California 90045 USA


    Telephone: 310 - 258- 6100 ext 1186


    Email: Constanza Gabella cgabella[at]lancargo.com


    Import fee for my 2007 BMW G650x Challenge: $58


    LAN Cargo gives two days of free storage at their warehouse, which is only 1 mile from LAX. After the 2 free days it was $.07/kilo per day with a minimum of 150 kilos or minimum $40/day fee. The total weight of the crate was 270 kilos. I paid for several additional days of storage which cost $19/day. There is a limit to the number of days you can store it before customs confiscates it and complicates the process.
  15. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    I still have some more stories to share after I shipped my motorcycle out but I'll finish some of the logistics notes here.


    California to Argentina: Breakdowns and Maintenance
    Here’s the rundown of what my 2007 BMW G650X Challenge motorcycle needed over the course of 8 months and 20,000 miles from California to Argentina.


    [​IMG]


    Regular Maintenance
    • 3 Rear Tires (Heidenau K60, TKC-80, Conti-Escape)
    • 1 Front Tire (Heidenau K60 - entire trip)
    • Rear Brake Pads: 1 set
    • Chain: 2 (installed in Ecuador)
    • Front and Rear Sprockets: 1 set
    • Rear Wheel Bearings: 1 set
    • Oil Changes: 5

    Breakdowns/Replacements
    • Flat Tires: 4 (rear) Two in Peru/Two in Argentina.
    • Mirror mounts: 3
    • Rear Rack bolts broken : 2 at 6mm
    • Ignition wire solder
    • Heated handgrip wire solder
    • Exhaust to muffler gasket: 1
    • Front Wheel Bearings: 2 sets
    • Rear Sprocket Carrier Bearings: 1 set
    • Headlight Fuse: 1
    • Tool Tube brackets broke
    • Steering Stabilizer rod
    • Giant Loop pannier strap
    • Chain guard bolt: x3
    • Windscreen bolt: x1
    Cmnthead and sitz like this.
  16. Len

    Len Long timer Supporter

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    Very impressively short list of niggles for such a long trip on rough roads. I have the same bike, is there anything you would do differently to prepare for the road if you were to set off again?
    advFord likes this.
  17. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Hmm good question.
    I would have tapped the rear rack bolts to 8mm from the beginning instead of having the rack bolts sheer off on a trail in Guatemala (but then again I had some fun experiences while getting my bike fixed).

    I would have expanded the aux side tank using the heat technique to get to max fuel capacity.

    If I were to do it again I would have a shop adjust my front suspension. I replaced the springs myself but never really liked how it felt off road.

    Other than that I have no complaints with the bike! It was fantastic for the journey.
    Len likes this.
  18. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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  19. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Tips for Buenos Aires

    Here are a few tips and resources that I think can help you make the most of your time in Buenos Aires.
    There are countless ways to enjoy this city, these are just a few. It ultimately comes down to what you decide you want to do. The thing I'd stress the most is to connect with locals. It's an incredibly welcoming city if you get out there.

    Guides and Local Information
    Gringo in Buenos Aires
    AngloInfo
    Pick Up The Fork (Food Blog)
    BA Expats


    Getting Around
    • Metro - Its limited but if you're staying near the two major lines its great to get to most popular areas. The only downside is it ends early. Last trains are before 11pm.
      Here is a good subway map. This site has a helpful routing tool
    • Bus - called "collectivos" or autobus. The bus network in the city is massive and it runs 24 hours. Google maps can't give you public transport directions but I found this site that is really helpful for giving simple directions. Buses don't accept cash so buy a SUBE card from a bodega and refill. The rates depend on your destination. Tell the driver the barrio or street you're going to.
    • Taxis Most locals and travelers I met find the taxis in Buenos Aires safe and reallyaffordable. They are metered so you don't really have to worry about getting ripped off.
    • Moto I chose not to ride in the city unless I had to. But there are parking garages eveywhere for secure parking.


    Money Exchange
    Best way to experience BsAs is to save 30-40% on everything by exchanging your US Dollars at Blue Market Rates! I went to a place that was recommended from a local. I exchanged cash there twice and never had a problem. Corrientes, 676, 14th floor, apt. A. They are not open on Sat or Sun. Don't use your credit card in Argentina, you'll be throwing money away.


    Where to Stay
    • Kilca Hostel The only hostel I know of that has secure parking for bikes. Its your basic hostel and cheap. 90 pesos for a dorm bed. I didn't stay here but almost every moto traveler I met did.
    • Apartment Rent an apartment through AirBnb. There are plenty of parking garages around the city to park your moto in.
    • Couchsurfing
      Buenos Aires might be the largest and most active CS city. Find a couch to surf or if you're staying somewhere else check out the events page. There are almost nightly CS events or post in the discussion board if you're looking to connect with locals or other travelers.


    What to Do
  20. advFord

    advFord Long timer

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    Tires for the 20,000 Mile Journey

    Front Tire:
    1. Started and ended with a Heidenau KC60 Scout. 20,000+ miles. Worked great from pavement to off-road.

    Rear Tires:
    1. Heidenau K60 Scout - new tire for the trip. replaced after 9,000 miles. 32psi 70/30 pavement/dirt
    2. TKC80 - purchased and installed in Cuenca, Ecuador at Tedasa Tires. replaced after 5,185 miles. 60/40 pavement/dirt
    3. Conti Escape - purchased and installed in Santiago, Chile at Motouring Chile. Finished the journey on this rear, with 6,000 miles on it. Carlos is superhelpful and you can contact him to check stock and prices before arriving.
    keepshoveling likes this.