Ride South! ⬇️– In Colombia! San Francisco to Patagonia on an R NineT & HP2 Enduro

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by caliform, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    Maybe we haven't found the right riding boot, but we found none to be too comfy off the bike. Being minimalists, we don't want to pack two sets of boots and love hiking, we opted to just roll with hiking boots.
    #41
  2. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    Thanks for joining us again :D I hope the photography will load for you, it's worth the wait! (I now self-host all images, which while a bit slower, avoids the 'dead image threads' often seen here after a year or two...)
    #42
  3. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    Hahaha, yes, it's a unique one in that regard. I think for Stuart his camera and even his riding gear is now worth more than his bike. Eh, priorities :)
    #43
  4. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    After coffee with Coco, we zipped up our jackets and got on the bikes to ride… the road. The Road We Were Warned About.

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    The road was certainly rough. Parts were sandy and gravely, but by far the greatest annoyance and danger was large rocks and rocky sections that were very bumpy.

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    We made it over fine, and it wasn’t a very easy track, but it certainly wasn’t too hard either. I’d say it’s a stretch to say it was ‘the worst road’ — we’d seen far worse in Alaska in roadworks, and it’s not a jeep trail by any means.

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    Having crossed the ridge of mountains separating the Sea of Cortez from inland Baja, we started encountering more plant life again. Cacti, Boojum trees and shrubs popped up with increasing frequency and before we knew it we were muttering ‘whoa’ into our headsets as a cactus forest revealed itself after a turn.

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    We were in for a long day. We really had to make miles now, to compensate for our playing in the dirt which eats time in exchange for adrenaline and sheer joy. And miles we made: we actually left Baja del Norte, and saw a whole host of landscapes.

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    The road was straight for long stretches but there were some fun turns, too. On top of a particular windy hill we took some awesome shots of the landscape. I was almost blown over by the wind.

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    Hello, Baja California Sur!

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    So many beautiful landscapes, and so many cacti gave way for some sheer vast emptiness for a brief moment.

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    Roosting vultures only accentuated the desolate area.

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    Entering Baja California Sur at Guerrero Negro, the temperature went way up. Finally we got the hot desert we’d been expecting.

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    We also reveled in the many plentiful open and functional Pemex stations everywhere. The Mex-1 is clearly one of the main (if not the main) road through Baja, and it shows.

    Our goal that day was San Ignacio, a historical mountain town but we made it even further, into Santa Rosaliá.

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    We stopped to take photos of the volcano that popped up on the Horizon…

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    And proceeded to find it.

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    The final drive from San Ignacio to Santa Rosaliá is insanely beautiful. It goes by the huge Volans de les Tres Virgenes and subsequent twisty, mountain roads, dipping down to the coast. Much appreciated after the straight roads inland, and gorgeous around the golden hour.

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    We rolled into Santa Rosaliá tired and intensely satisfied after 260+ miles on the odometer for the day, about 20 of which were rocky dirt.

    Fun fact: we’d started the day essentially on the coast of the Sea of Cortez, had ridden all the way to the Pacific Coast, went over 150 miles South and then went all the way back to the coast of the Sea of Cortez. What a day.

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    Great hotel, too!

    A quick lunch and maintenance in the morning. Chain lubing for Stuart, mostly, as the dirt roads get the chain nice and dirty — no such issue on the BMW shaft drive. I practiced my packing, which is getting better (slightly) by the day. Washboarded and rutty dirt roads rocked my fuel cans so loose they were on my seat, so I was now tying them down much more directly.

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    It wasn’t quite as necessary today.

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    The road from Santa Rosaliá to Loreto was an increidble road, easily in my favorite rides of all time. The beautiful coastal road reveals cactus forests, deciduous patches of trees and incredible views of rocky coastlines and beaches with vivid blue waters.

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    Perfect pavement made it highly enjoyable.

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    We stopped a few times to shoot photos.

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    This always tends to add an hour or more to our estimated travel time: stopping to take photos, riding, stopping… more photos, more riding. It’s worth it, though.

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    The road eventually turned inland, snaking through an interesting rough mountain landscape of low, eroded peaks covered in vegetation rising up from an epic prehistoric looking forest. Baja had turned lush.

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    Astonishing.

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    Despite being over 150 miles away, we were in Loreto before we knew it.

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    Loreto is a nice, friendly beach town, but we weren’t sticking around. The first few days of December, the nearby mountain town of San Javier has an immense festival where thousands of local ranchers go to celebrate the local patron saint and dance, sing and get massively drunk.

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    The road to San Javier was only fairly recently paved, but was incredibly beautiful.

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    We stopped just kilometers in for this view.

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    It only got better from there, with beautifully windy roads leading into a dense canyon-like landscape.

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    A small portion of it was still dirt, but this was quickly washed off the bikes in the many slippery water crossings. At many places in Baja we’d seen the sign for dips in the road possibly being waterlogged, but here they actually were. Some were slippery enough to make the bike slide around quite a bit, but we kept them upright and (more or less) dry.

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    Arriving in San Javier, we immediately stood out like a sore thumb. As the only non-Mexicans there, the locals looked at us with a combination of awe, confusion and interest. I immediately built a fan base:

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    These boys (and one cool girl!) were all interested in the bike, us, our clothes, our story… and were incredibly polite and patient through all of it. I only speak a bit of Spanish, but the pack leader (Guillermo, red shirt) was extremely patient with me and broke down his questions in words he knew I understood.

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    After we set up our tent — everybody camps at the town, which is essentially just an old Mission — he offered me a tour around the entire fiesta and I couldn’t turn it down.

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    Fantastic local music, arts, delicious food and lots of good times were had. I learned a lot speaking with the kids (… the mountains were so eroded due to their soft, pumice like volcanic rock!) and talking to the locals, and we got great photos.

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    We turned in somewhat early but the party went deep into the early hours. As I was shivering in my sleeping bag in the cold mountain night at 3 AM the music was still going strong, even after the generator was turned off.

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    It was time to say goodbye in the morning, and I gave the boys some stickers. They promptly surprised me by returning with a silver piece of jewelry their family had made, insisting I have it.

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    Incredible people. Really, it was such an experience to see how these people live. A profound sense of frontier-like mentality and living permeates their culture, and they still proudly live on the land here. Many rode up on their horses, as is tradition.

    On the way out the air was chilly, and I got myself pretty wet in some of the water crossings.

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    Beautiful views of the valley and Loreto ahead on the way out.

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    Quick lunch in Loreto (beef head — Cabezas — tacos). Fantastic food.

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    After Loreto, we rode out through some of the few mountain curves and got on some of the perfectly straight, rather boring roads out to Cuidad Insurgentes and Cuidad Constitucion to the South Cape of Baja Sur, where we’d stop at La Paz to catch a ferry to the mainland of Mexico.

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    And that’s where I’ll leave this report – as I am writing this, the ferry is rocking gently on the waves and we are well on the way to Mazatlan. Baja treated us incredibly well, and we’re sad to leave with so much yet to see. La Paz (and the incredible hotel Yneka) was a great way to say goodbye.

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    I spent an extra day exploring La Paz, and Stuart spent his day riding around the South Cape (famously known for Cabo San Lucas and other well-visited tourist towns). Mexico has far more to show us.

    We’ll update you when we get to Mexico City. For now: Adios!


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    I wrote this a little while ago -- meanwhile, we have gone from Mazatlan, to Durango, to Zacatecas, down to Guadalajara, to Guanajuato, and now we're in Toluca. We'll be going up the volcano tomorrow (dirt! Sweet dirt!) and then we'll write another big update...
    #44
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  5. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    Stunning photos, just what I needed here in my cube. Thanks. Excited for more.
    #45
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  6. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    Thanks Max! We'll be laboring on our next week update over Christmas and then going on to Oaxaca, Chapala and Yucatan next before exiting at Belize. México has been so damn good to us.
    #46
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  7. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    I am so jealous. One day I will go. Your photos make me feel like I am there. Are you doing them HDR, or are you just teleporting my mind to where you are through the pictures? :*sip*:pynd:jkam
    #47
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  8. Wollein

    Wollein Adventurer

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    You two are living my dream. Enjoy every moment of it.
    How is that KLR fairing up against that German engineered machine.

    Best wishes and ride safe.
    #48
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  9. borscht zanetti

    borscht zanetti Pura Vida ! ... eh?

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    Ahh the Yucatan ! Keep your eyes and lenses peeled for Cenote Cristalino ... mostly locals go there and it is a beautiful swim.
    Enjoying your report !!

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    #49
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  10. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    Haha, thanks so much! We are using pretty new cameras with high dynamic range and editing it a bit afterwards, which gives it such a 'look'. We do have a few tripod shots here and there of course.

    Well, ah... we are having a few issues with the KLR at the moment, more of that in our update soon. Spot the problem:


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    And thanks for the tip Borscht! We can't wait to move on. We're taking a little break for Christmas and then moving on South from México City, where we are very generously hosted by Garry.

    Updates on mainland soon.
    #50
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  11. mashrider

    mashrider Been here awhile

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    I'm in like to see how this one ends up
    #51
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  12. Wollein

    Wollein Adventurer

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    That bolt looks a tad out of place. This interests me as I am on the fence about whether to get a bmw or klr. My buddy has the GS and swears by it. Best of luck to you. Hope this gets resolved. Merry Christmas.
    #52
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  13. Backcountryboy

    Backcountryboy Been here awhile

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    Oh oh. Can't wait to see what happens next. Your photos are wonderful and you are showing us a great side of Mexico
    #53
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  14. Tod.

    Tod. Old, but up for it

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    Fantastic photos, and BTW they were Ospreys, not roosting vultures. You must've been a short flight from a stretch of water.
    #54
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  15. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    Look next to it - a spring all (pardon the pun) screwed up in there! We removed it, tensioned the timing chain and rode it to México City and will fix it there. A week of downtime... Eh, at least I can diagnose the HP2 running warm.

    Great to know! Indeed, there we'd just traveled from one coast of Baja to the other. They must've been a short flight away (about 10 minutes, I think).

    Nor can we :D
    #55
  16. Hikertrash

    Hikertrash Wasted Rock Ranger

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    How are the Revit Dominator suits holding up?
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  17. mattscott

    mattscott Been here awhile

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    I would be absolutely terrified to have two Summiluxes on a bike.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #57
  18. bgrissom

    bgrissom Adventurer

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    Great RR and these photos are seriously fantastic! I've been to southern Mexico/Mexico City a few times, but never on a bike. This makes me want to go there...now. Keep posting!
    #58
  19. Rabble

    Rabble mountain boy

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    Love your photos but this RR takes absolutely forever to download. Hope I don't have to un-subscribe.
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  20. vinnard

    vinnard Adventurer

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    So happy I stumbled upon this ride report! I loved your Alaska ride, can't wait for more!
    #60