There and back again - My solo ride from NC to Ushuaia and back - Currently in Chile

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Windham, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Windham

    Windham Adventurer

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    The whole time I was just waiting to come around a curve to a completely impassible barrier. We made it out by the skin of our teeth. Pity it did so much damage to my bike
    #81
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  2. FasTriumph

    FasTriumph n00b

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    Wow! Your mountain adventure in Peru got my adrenaline going all the way up here in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Conquering those washouts is going to necessitate more power from your motor to haul around your massive balls! Really enjoying your photography; thanks for posting this report. Ride well!
    #82
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  3. Windham

    Windham Adventurer

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    Hahaha thanks man. What a ride! More to come but I've burnt my clutch out so I'm waiting for a replacement to arrive in Lima. Should be here later today and then I'll be back at it. Definitely excited to back on the road. I do not enjoy being stuck without a bike for even a week, and I've been working on it a lot to get it in tip-top shape for the rest of Peru. Will update in a few days after following the Dakar from Lima on Monday!
    #83
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  4. ColeK

    ColeK Adventurer

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    Hiya Windham! I'm Cole K - watching your ride from Dallas - always wanted to do the ride to Ushuaia. Interested in learning what kind of challenges lie between here and there - I'll tell ya one thing I've learned from you already - not to go on that rode by the cliffs! Kudos to you. I do wanna see little towns along the way, but I'm sticking to pavement. Hey quick question about topes (speedbumps). Have u encountered many? My big question is, if you hit those at or below the speed limit, do you fare ok? Or do you hafta slow down for every one of those? Also I haven't chosen my bike yet - so far how do you feel about choosing something more street like a Honda Shadow? HAve you yet discovered whether the roads are possible or impossible with such a very streetish bike? Ok, drive safe, I'll be watching out for ya. I'm ex USAF btw. :bubba

    Edit/Update: OK, so I wrote the first part^^ about at the Oaxaca portion of the story. I've caught up to where you are in Peru and see a Honda Shadow most certainly will not travel on some of the roads you choose. :lol3
    #84
  5. Windham

    Windham Adventurer

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    Hey cole thanks for following along! There are a lot of challenges along the way but I think topes are the least of my concerns. Mexico is filled with them and after that they are still very common but it’s not a problem. I’ve hit hundreds of speed bumps way faster than I should and never dropped the bike yet. As far as the choice of motorcycle I would say its personal preference. I will say if you avoid the dirt roads you will miss the best parts of the trip but, if you’re looking for distance and speed on the highway, a DR650 isn’t the best bike. I would look into a big adventure bike over a Honda shadow. Ktm 990 or gs 800 maybe. The DR will go anywhere but it’s not the most refined bike. I like it because it’s easy to fix and fairly light. Just yesterday I put a new clutch in and it only took 2 hours. My biggest regrets from the trip so far are not bringing enough spare parts. They are very difficult to source here and I would recommend looking online and bringing everything on your bike that is known for breaking or could leave you stranded. Please message me if you have more questions. I also post a lot of pictures on Instagram @windham_t.
    #85
  6. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    epic...pure adventure.

    thanks for doing the riding for us.
    #86
  7. Robco

    Robco Adventurer

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    Watching and reading from Marion, NC. Have a great and safe trip and thanks for the wonderful pictures!
    #87
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  8. Essbee

    Essbee Adventurer

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    STUNNING RR so far, Windham, keep it going! Those Peruvian mountain passes are jaw dropping!
    #88
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  9. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Been here awhile

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    Lovin’ the RR devil dog! Keep livin the dream.
    #89
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  10. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Fantastic!
    #90
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  11. Windham

    Windham Adventurer

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    Thankful to have me such amazing people on my trip so far. Sata, who was coming down for Ecuador, brought me a new a clutch to Lima and we banged it in in about two hours. I didn't even lose a day of trip, as I was already waiting in Lima for the start of the Dakar.


    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    And off the world famous Dakar Rally! This is where it begins in Lima.

    [​IMG]DSC_1540 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Met up with the group of rider from Ecuador and crashed at their Airbnb, pre race day.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Day one of the rally is simply a couple hour ride out of lima and to a bivouac in the desert + an 80 loop of the dunes. This is my first time riding in deep sand and it was definitely not something I was prepared for. The riding style is totally different than any other type of terrain. Instead of riding the clutch a little and trying to navigate a proper route past an obstacle you just slam it into first and keep the back wheel spinning and the RPM's as high as possible. Second gear was a luxury for me over the next few days.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Rider had a short 80km route on day one after leaving Lima.

    [​IMG]DSC_1587 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Met a couple of Aussies and helped them get their rented KLRs out of the sand. More on them later...

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    When someone is walking around selling $1 bottles of ice in the desert heat... You buy it.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Dinner time. I'm pretty sure we vastly over paid for this meal. 20 soles. ($6.50)

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    We picked a spot to camp under a cell phone tower. Mostly because none of us wanted the trucks, which were playing in the dunes all night, to make a surprise visit to our tents.

    [​IMG]DSC_1603-2 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Desert sunset

    [​IMG]DSC_1604 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    My corner

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    The next the guys decided to try an off road route to the viewing area for the Dakar. I said that I had had enough sand for the day and would take the regular road.

    [​IMG]DSC_1609 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Disappearing into endless sand.

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    A nice policeman took this picture of me.

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    All good on day two! I'm sure the exhaustion will kick in soon.

    [​IMG]DSC_1640 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    The trucks are a different beast entirely. They don't look like they could be built for speed but believe me, they cruise through the dunes with ease.

    [​IMG]DSC_1666 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Couldn't resist.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    I didn't realize this before the start, but the racers use the public roads between sections of the rally. This fellow was nice enough to stop by and take a pic with us while were headed to the next camp. And say high to the Aussies again! They stuck around for a few days.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    For some reason the Argentinians dominated the quad section of the Dakar.

    [​IMG]DSC_1679 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Enjoying the varied landscapes that Peru has to offer.

    [​IMG]DSC_1691 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    We didn't make it here until after dark. I really hate looking for a place to camp when it's dark outside but sometimes it can't be helped. Luckily no one bothered us here.

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    Quick stop at a weigh station. My bike and I weigh 330 kilo (707lbs) fully loaded with a fresh tank of gas!

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Having the time of our lives

    [​IMG]DSC_1740 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr


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    A lone rider

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    Anything for a photo!

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    This SxS took the wrong route and nearly dominoed our bikes.

    [​IMG]DSC_1794 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    #44 from Chile

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    I thought Australians were better in the heat.

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    Peru is my favorite country so far, the landscapes are stunning and the terrain is varied. One day you could be crushing the largest sand dunes in the world and the next, riding a 15,000ft mountain pass through the snow!

    [​IMG]DSC_1812 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Skylined

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    Ian and I

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    Not a great pic, this just shows how popular motorcycles are here! I'm pretty sure they think we are racing. Some wanted autographs and at every corner there were spectators waving and asking for photos.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Dakar riders couldn't get a moments peace, even while pumping gas.

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    Endless sand

    [​IMG]DSC_1829 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Viva Peru!

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Unfortunately I didn't get to follow the Dakar past day 5. We had booked a cheap Airbnb in the Arequipa to relax while the riders were on their rest day, and I came down with some food poisoning along with one of the Australians. Ian went on ahead while I took a couple of nights to rest and recover. Still managed to change oil and have the bike cleaned though. After 3 nights in Arequipa I woke up feeling almost as good as new. I pointed the bike towards Cusco and just kept riding! I did about 300 miles or 500k and found a nice campsite right outside of the city.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Ah another delicious breakfast of...Oatmeal with a bit of strawberry jelly.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Keep an eye out for part two. Hopefully tomorrow.

    And to end on different note, my laptop is having serious issues. I had to completely wipe the hard drive to keep it running and I lost all of my gopro footage from the last few months. I was planning on making a video at the end but I'll just have to work with what I have on my phone now. After resetting my laptop, the screen is also starting to fail. I'll keep writing this report as long as possible but I just don't know how much longer this computer is going to last! I should have gotten a better one before I left because its definitely not in the budget now.
    #91
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  12. powderzone

    powderzone Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great pics of the Dakar. Bucket list stuff for sure!
    #92
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  13. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

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    Wow!
    Simply Wow!
    Great photos and great RR.
    #93
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  14. Windham

    Windham Adventurer

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    Cusco! The tourist destination of Peru. I went into a Starbucks to work on my route and every single other person there was speaking English. A little disconcerting but I suppose Machu Picchu is the reason for it. I stayed in a hostel for a few days and finished recovering from food poisoning and then Ian and I met up again.

    We decided to ride to bikes to the base of the mountain park and walk up the train tracks. Through Ioverlander, Ian and I found that you could park near a hydroelectric plant at someone's house

    The final twenty miles were gravel following a river upstream. Great riding and we had a bit of fun, rally style on the way up :D:rofl

    [​IMG]DSC_1957 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Ian's power slide success rate has plummeted to a jaw-dropping zero percent. Sorry I missed the good part.

    [​IMG]DSC_1959 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    One of the 7 wonders of the world: Machu Picchu

    [​IMG]DSC_1973 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    I think this lama was just as tired of the tourists as we were!

    [​IMG]DSC_1973 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Hiked a mile or so above the main city.

    [​IMG]DSC_2004 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Too many people

    [​IMG]DSC_2029 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    The bridge to Machu Picchu was out so we had a fairly deep water crossing to traverse both ways. Thankfully the bottom was relatively smooth as it was flowing quickly and definitely pulling on the bikes. Probably 18 inches at the deepest point.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Check out these Airbnbs we saw from the road! Not sure how you get to them but I wouldn't mind spending a day or two here. The parking probably sucks though. :jack

    [​IMG]DSC_2046 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Overall Machu Picchu doesn't have to be an incredible expensive trip. Here is everything I spent over the two days we took to visit it.

    Half priced ticket with my old student ID: $27
    Private room for two in the small tourist town of Aguas Calientes: $9
    Total food. Dinner the first day and breakfast and lunch the next: $14
    Gas: about $20
    Ice cream: $2 (This is mandatory for Ian and I)


    Total $72

    Go if you get the chance, but be prepared to elbow a half dozen people out of the way to take a decent picture.


    Returning to Cusco we stayed another night with a British fellow named David. David did this trip back in 07 and was happy to talk bikes with us for the evening. That night we out to a local rock club which was a pretty good time. Also celebrated 4 months on the road!

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr


    Next day we headed south to explore what we had heard called "3 rainbow mountains". Its in the same general areas as Rainbow Mountain but was more difficult to reach and much less touristy.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    1.5 hour climb to the highest elevation Ian and I have been yet.

    [​IMG]DSC_2058 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    I call this one...uh... Boy on a Hill.

    [​IMG]DSC_2066 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Reached the top and were met with one of the most unique and beautiful landscapes of the trip

    [​IMG]DSC_2168 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSC_2219-2 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Unfortunately we couldn't drive the last few kilometers. But, were the only people there, so we felt totally safe leaving the bikes alone for a few hours. The views were spectacular and we hiked to 16370 feet or 5000 meters.

    The parking lot

    [​IMG]DSC_2213 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Having a drink from a cold mountain spring

    [​IMG]DSC_2185 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    On top of the world! Thankfully the sun came out after about 30 minutes of snow.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    Dogs heard us opening snack wrappers and came running.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    I was having way to much fun with this Alpaca. They are the coolest animals! A local family was in the parking lot with it and he didn't ask for money but we gave him a few soles to take pictures. He was very friendly and told us all about the area and geology of the mountains. At least I think that's what he was talking about...

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Camp for the night! Not quite out of site of the road but they locals were all smiles and waves so we felt ok here.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Yet another problem with the bike. I thought the DR was supposed to be reliable? Maybe its the way we are riding them... :D I broke the frame in two spots over the rear tire. Didn't notice until I was loading the bike next morning. The next decent sized town was an hour away so I drove gingerly, avoiding pot holes and speed bumps. Made it to town and found a machine shop who was willing to help. They really wanted to fix it their own way and it took a lot of hand gestures and convincing to have it done right. I think its now stronger than the original frame.

    They wanted $50 after completing the work but we settled on $30 after a few minutes.
    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    After leaving rainbow mountain I pushed on towards Bolivia and spent the night in a border town hostel. Nothing fancy, but clean with fast wifi. The next day Ian and I hit the border of Bolivia and were through in about 1.5 hours. It's a pretty remote area and as long as you have all the proper paperwork its fairly straight forward. Did I mention I got a my Bolivian visa in Cusco? Well I did, and as an American citizen its required. $160 US cash and a bunch of paperwork uploaded online and printed out to bring to the consulate in Cusco.

    First view of Bolivia! Lake Titicaca.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    I'll be riding solo from here on out. Ian and I are both very independent people who enjoy the opportunities that traveling alone affords. After riding solo for a few days, I think we both enjoyed it and it was time to part ways. We may end up meeting again farther south and hitting Ushuaia together. Only time will tell. Buen Viaje Ian!


    If you're in La Paz shoot me a message as I'll be here for a few days resting, recuperating, and planning the next section of the adventure. I'll buy the first round!
    #94
  15. FasTriumph

    FasTriumph n00b

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    Really enjoyed the photos and stories from Peru! Thanks for taking the time to post. Have fun in Bolivia!
    #95
  16. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Awesome! Thanks for the great pics and info.
    #96
  17. Windham

    Windham Adventurer

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    Had some significant carburetor problems in La Paz, forcing me to purchase an entire new carburetor. Somehow, my aftermarket mixture needle broke off inside the carburetor, damaging the body and causing the bike to run so rich it would barely idle. I had noticed over the last few days before La Paz that something was off and my gas mileage was extremely poor. When I finally got the carb off and checked the plugs, they were jet black. I had a shop in La Paz try their best to repair the carb body but no matter what, it wouldn't seal properly and still ran rich. It took a couple of days (and some serious networking) in La Paz before I found another carb. Some old timer had one sitting in the back of his shop from another traveler passing though. It was probably the only carb in the city and he definitely knew what he had. $290 out the door. It's an 05 and he told me it has 15,000 miles on it... Not sure if I believe him or not, but I gave it a good clean and put it in. The bike fired right up and idled perfectly so I can't complain so far.

    What the needle should look like, VS what mine looked like.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Old carb, showing the damage and attempted repair.

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    New one ready for installation.

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    Figured it was time for a test ride before leaving La Paz. Decided to ride the 150 mile loop to Death Road and back.

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    The drive from La Paz was stunning.

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    The infamous death road. To be honest, I wasn't impressed. Filled with tourists on bicycles who didn't seem able to follow the rules of "death road". The route itself was nice but there are way more dangerous roads in remote Peru and Ecuador that the locals actually use.

    A rare and completely unedited youtube video.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    While working on my carburetor in the city, I met a man from a motorcycle group in La Paz. He spoke pretty good English and invited me on a group ride the next day and to spend the night with his friends in Oruro about 4 hours away. I said yes and the next day we were off!

    The gang

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    One of the rider bought the table the first round, and this was only for lunch.

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    Kid enjoying my bike. Please don't touch my face shield though :)

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    I suppose its a tradition Bolivia to drink this "orange slime". It tasted like vodka mixed with syrupy orange soda. Terrible, but there was a specific way to drink it with a friend and somehow the cup kept making its way back to me.

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    Arrived in Oruro to find quite a large meetup in progress. We rode through the city, with at least 100 bikes, blocking traffic and ignoring every law in the books. Can't say it wasn't fun. :)

    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

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    We spent the evening grilling steaks over a massive charcoal grill, while passing a bottle of Johnny Walker around, and sharing motorcycle stories. Far to late at night we put up our tents in the garage and got a little sleep. The next morning we went to a natural hot springs pool and about noon I pushed on into the mountains, looking for dirt and seclusion, while the group headed back to their respective cities.

    I filled up my tank and a 10L jerry can with fuel, expecting to be out in the boonies for awhile. I don't have any pictures of my campsite, due to the fog that rolled in overnight and left me packing up a wet tent in the morning, but it was a beautiful spot at about 14,500ft.

    The next day I hit the trails early, only to find my bike barely running. I had purchased the jerry can of gas from a house about 50 miles back and it turned out to be bad/old gas. I managed to keep it running for about 20 miles by draining the carb every mile or so, but the bike was not happy. Thankfully, I came to another village of about 10 houses, and was able to purchase some "fresh" fuel.

    No sign but the locals pointed me in the right direction

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    Draining the old fuel

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    Fastest way to send a crowd running in South America? Pull out a camera. :)

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    Headed deeper into the mountains. Farms keep popping up wherever the soil is decent.

    [​IMG]DSC_2267 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr


    [​IMG]Untitled by Windham Taylor, on Flickr


    Freedom of the road. Notice my missing windshield? Dropped the bike a few miles back on a particularly steep section, breaking it for the third time. Don't worry, I fixed it again!

    [​IMG]DSC_2278 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    [​IMG]DSC_2282 by Windham Taylor, on Flickr

    In Cochabamba for tonight. Tomorrow morning I leave for the salt flats and then my goal is elevation. What the record for the worlds highest DR650? Maybe I can break it. Currently forming a plan. :hmmmmm








    #97
  18. lifetravelled

    lifetravelled Been here awhile

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    Just awesome mate. Well done on the great riding and great photos, following along, keep it up.
    #98
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  19. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    This RR falls into the epic category .. :lurk
    #99
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  20. boristhebold

    boristhebold Been here awhile

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    A great read, looking forward to more.....safe travels.
    Windham likes this.