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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    Sorry for the delay and thank you for following along! :D
  2. Sno Dawg

    Sno Dawg Long timer

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    I love this ride report because it allows me to live vicariously from my big chair in front of my wood stove.

    Keep the stories and pics coming - and updates on how the HP2 is doing. I have an HP2 and a KLR sidecar rig so I partially understand your woes.

    Thank you,
    Jeff - Sno Dawg
    BillyGoat4130 and caliform like this.
  3. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    It seems the HP2 is just absolutely invulnerable -- knock on wood -- whereas the KLR has a bit more... ahem, mechanical temperament. :)

    I did have to do some chopping of the front fender to get my oil temps down on the HP2 but otherwise it's been a dream.
  4. Frank.Wagner

    Frank.Wagner Adventurer

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    thanks to show the trip
  5. E-Bum

    E-Bum Been here awhile

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    Another photographer here curious about that Sony.

    Sounds like you've had some frustrations with the A7RII. Why did you select it for the trip in the first place? Small form factor and high IQ?

    Any comments on its durability? How is it handling the riding? Are any of the issues due to dust getting into the body perhaps? Thinking of using an A7II for mountaineering purposes, but not sold on its ability to withstand shock ad/or the elements. I've heard terrible things about the battery life as well.

    If you could go back and choose to bring a different body, what would you choose in light of how this Sony is performing?

    Thanks for the great photos and report, I'm really enjoying it!
  6. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    The A7R2 feels rushed. In general the A7 bodies are pretty flimsy in build compared to big pro Canon/Nikons or my trusty Leica. We picked it because there's nothing else out there with such a good sensor and the ability to use Leica lenses.

    We also packed an A7S and it is considerably better in terms of build and reliability. They're still both fragile little things with very short battery life. Right now, I'd probably stick with the A7S and perhaps save up for a Leica SL. No other cameras have proper 'ruggedness' yet in the land of the mirrorless :(

    Thanks for following along :)
  7. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

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    What happened to all of the amazing photos in this thread???

    Edit: Nevermind, photos disappeared for a sec...
  8. GSteve

    GSteve Long timer

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    They may have discovered how much work goes into presenting decent photography in a ride report as the trip progresses. As you know riding, keeping up with your equipment maintenance, seeing the sights, eating, etc., doesn't leave much time to get some rest before you do it all over again the next day. Plus, the often encountered slow internet speeds can be really frustrating when dealing with higher quality photos (file size). It doesn't take long and you vow to do it later, sometimes you do, sometimes you don't!
  9. canuckscott

    canuckscott Adventure Awaits!

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    Really enjoying the RR!
  10. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    Indeed, we discovered how much work it is, but also how broke we are -- so bear with us. :) I'm doing a lot of work at the moment and am moving homes and offices, so April proper we'll be updating on a schedule again.
    Dan Diego and canuckscott like this.
  11. TOTim

    TOTim Been here awhile

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    Please keep this RR coming. Amazing once again.
  12. Piston

    Piston Long timer

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    :lurk:lurk:lurk

    I need a new desktop background...ooking forward to more great photos.
  13. pitbull

    pitbull Long timer

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    Unbelievable photos.....can't wait for this RR to star up again.
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Loving these pics!
  15. bgrissom

    bgrissom Adventurer

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    The photos and story are just amazing...keep it coming!!
  16. ishmac

    ishmac Long timer

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    wow.......awesome photography, loving the bike adventures also.....! I've sent youse guys a private message.

    Ride safe, love this thread you've created.

    Best wishes;
    Peter
  17. SpeedySlippers

    SpeedySlippers Adventurer

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    This is making me nostalgic. Loving the pics. Can't wait to hear what fun you guys had in Guate. Hopefully your travels took you to Zephyr lodge ;)
    tzabcan likes this.
  18. mosey.levy

    mosey.levy Long timer

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    Amazing thread. Thank you guys. I'm proud to rock a ride earth sticker on my bike!

    [​IMG]
  19. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    They say altitude sickness resembles flu, or a hangover. What they don’t tell you is the swirling, odd dreams. Under the shadow of Xinantecatl, the Naked Mountain, I slept a restless night with Nahuatl patterns behind my eyes, with smoke in my nose and the sounds of animals and shaking pine needles of the trees around me in my ears.

    Waking up in the shadow of Nevado de Toluca is interesting.

    It’s December 30th, my sister’s birthday. Stuart was comfortably huddled in his sleeping bag. The temperatures were low — literally freezing, actually. Even the stray dogs around our campsite huddled up for warmth together under a small roof.

    We’d spent enough time in Toluca and the area of México City – so once Stuart was up, we decided to set off with a just a little coffee. The road out is a nice, fairly well packed dirt road and is a blast to ride. We saw two other riders on their way in, wheeling heavy 1200GSes over the gravel. We stopped in Toluca for a quick bite of the most Mexican of breakfasts: bread with sugar on it.

    They did have a beautiful painting of Nevado de Toluca, though:

    [​IMG]

    We want to spend New Year’s Eve in a nice city that isn’t México City, and we had a fun idea for a ride: from the volcano campsite, we could pop down by Tehuantepec to visit the Nahuatl mountaintop ruins of Tepoztlan, allowing us a night in a hotel before crossing the Pass of Cortez (Paso de Cortez) between Mexico’s biggest volcanoes: Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. The road down from there is a fun if somewhat technical sand and dirt road that eventually rolls into Cholula (yes, that Cholula, from the hot sauce!) and on into Puebla City, our New Year’s Eve spot of choice.

    Our route today:

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    It was a pretty nice route in, about three hours of riding.

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    I’d found a hotel that wasn’t completely full (most hotels were sold out, likely for festivities?) and this one sounded just fine. We were slightly surprised to find our cheap hotel was… a tube.

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    Not the most secure parking for our bikes but it’ll do.

    The main attraction of Tepoztlan, the small town south of the grandiose basin of México City, is El Tepozteco. The town itself cowers in the view of a near-vertical range of mountain cliffs, which is in turn adorned with a temple at the very top. Dense forest covers the tops of the cliffs like some sort of dense vegetative foam. We were here, we might as well lock up our stuff and start hiking up.

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    Tepoztlan is now mostly surviving on tourism, so as you walk the single pathway to the mountaintop, the town gives way to small shacks for a mile on end selling all manner of products. Indigenous woodworks, beads, jewelry, food… ah, food.

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    We love the cutting of sweet fruits with lime and chili on top. It was hot, absolutely sweltering tropical heat, a strange change from freezing temperatures in the morning. We were melting, and the cool fruit gave a welcome respite despite its spicy kick.

    The trail up wasn’t too hard – perhaps a few miles, and tons of people were hiking up. It made us happy, as a trail like this was unlikely to see this much traffic in the US. A fairly steep climb made it somewhat unfriendly to families, but we saw tons families with kids and teenagers hiking up. Once at the top, a small manned gate demands your dineros before letting you into the site. It allows for a free hike up (a rare thing) and a smart upsell: you came all this way, you might as well go see the temple…

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Even without the temple, the hike is worth it. Not only is the climb up a crazy, jungly affair of long tangled vines and vegetation, the panoramic views atop the mountain are gorgeous.

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    It takes little imagination to see how the sheer jagged cliffs could be the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god.

    The temple itself was once the shrine to Tepoztecatl, an Aztec god of booze. Particularly, pulque, the agave pulp drink you can find in Central México. I’m not a huge pulque fan, but the Aztecs believed it was one of the best things you could imbibe and even had an entire god dedicated to it.

    [​IMG]

    Disheartening and obnoxious to see people systematically ignore signs put up to prevent further wear to the ruins and climb on the 1500 year old carved stones. We could yell them down, but masses more would come up to take selfies. Not the ancient ruins or meticulous carvings or the views: no, their own ratty faces. It’s unfortunate that sacrificing youth isn’t a DIY affair at these places today.

    We spent a few hours up there, as the sun was setting late.

    [​IMG]

    It was the last sunset of the year, and we looked as the mountain ridges all around us shone, glowed, and finally bathed in the blood from the reddened sun that was impaling itself on the ridges. Purple light cast on the face of the pyramid, now quiet from the crowds, and in the jungle around the warm rock life began to stir.

    [​IMG]

    We were the last ones up there when a park worker came to yell at us to leave.

    As we turned down the path to the town, a majestic gradient of peach color cooling into cobalt blue dominated the sky. On the cliff above us, the temple lay there, with the resplendent grace of petrified gods.

    [​IMG]

    When we got down, our warm night was spent walking through town and its old, central market. It contrasts heavily to the tourism-centric main streets, which are thinner in crowds and sees more backpackers and resettled hippies. We sat and chatted with one, which was kind enough to brew us some delicious tea to cap off our night as we talked about paths, travels and living all over the world.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Somewhere, a feathered serpent shrugged.
  20. caliform

    caliform Been here awhile

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    While our ride was on pause for a while, we're setting off again in October. I'll be sailing to Colombia on the Stahlratte with the trusty HP2 in October this year, so I am starting out by finishing our RR. Better late than never? I fully expect to fall behind on writing when I start riding again...
    td63, Max Wedge and Dan Diego like this.