Trails of South America (PtI)... a photo journal

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JediMaster, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Ooooooo....reduced chafing....always a good thing :clap

    I used to wear padded cycling shorts when I was riding enduro but as I can't wash them everyday (and they take ages to dry when you do) whilst traveling I decided they'd get 'nasty' so haven't used them
    I'll have a look at what you're talking about when I get back to the US.

    Always good to hear from you. Hope all is well in sunny CA.
  2. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
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    337
    Location:
    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Day 1

    I didn’t want to get up the following morning and it was 0800 before I managed to drag my sorry, tired arse out of bed and stretched my eyes with a mug of strong coffee. There was no gas in the gas station which meant descending into the valley to queue for gas before returning to town to ask directions to Cochabamba.

    My quest to find the correct road out of town went something like this…
    Me – “Donde esta el camino a Cochabamba?”
    Local – “Cochabamba? Ah…La Paz…”
    Me – “No, no, no. Cochabamba. Directo”.
    Local – (shaking head) “Directo? No, no se!”


    Eventually I asked the way to Chulumani, the first village of any size on my map and was pointed onto the right road. In Chulumani it seemed everyone was riding old Jawa motorcycles from the Czech Republic – cool.
    There was a lot of traffic hence dust and so my camera stayed in its bag for most of the day. Late afternoon I found a bushcamp along the banks of a wide, dry riverbed and pitched camp.

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    Day 2 - As lost as it’s possible to be without actually being lost!

    WTF does that mean I hear you all cry! Well, it means I didn’t know exactly where I was, or how to get where I wanted to go but I had my ‘track’ on the GPS so could always return the way I’d come.

    The morning had started well but after crossing a valley and climbing to the small town of Inquisivi it all went wrong. Realising I was on the wrong road I returned to town and asked directions at the police checkpoint. Now this is where my limited understanding if Spanish can get me into trouble. I understood that a road led from beyond the plaza to Independencia but I failed to understand that there were two plaza’s and that I wanted the road leading from the second. As a result I followed the track away from the first plaza and into the wrong valley. At the first settlement I came upon two guys making mud bricks and again asked directions to Independencia. They pointed to a track leading off the plaza and told me to take the right fork. The right fork led to a gang clearing the road of fallen trees who said it wasn’t the way to Independencia and pointed me in a different direction. That direction led me along a dead end. Great

    Not this way mate!

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    Returning to the hamlet I once again met one of the brick makers who by then changing the oil in his truck. He insisted that he had told me the correct way to Independencia and re-confirmed his directions. I passed the wood cutters for a second time and continued to the pass there the road split. Neither showed signs of sufficient use for either to be the main road to Cochabamba and not for the first time that day I was undecided as to which route to take. I made a brew.

    Just as I was packing up I spotted a local guy walking along a goat track. I chased him down and using his finger he traced a route around the valley that I should take. Despite his confidence I wasn’t convinced. The track had grass growing on it and so whilst perhaps it was possible to get to Independencia, it certainly wasn’t the main route that I had in mind. Slowly I descended towards a wide, stony, glacial river valley with a track bulldozed across it. As I descended so I felt something loose on the back of my bike. I stopped to find the r/h pannier frame had snapped and quickly ‘McGuivered’ it with a tyre lever and zip ties.

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    McGuiver MkI
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    I contemplated pitching camp but needed water before I could do so and so I rode on to the river in the middle of the valley. Just as I was taking some photo’s a truck appeared on the opposite bank and crossed the river towards me. It was the only vehicle I’d seen outside of a town all day and the driver told me that Cavari was only 40 mins up the hill and there I would find the track to Independencia.

    The descent into the valley...

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    The river valley

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    Their mentioning of Cavari allowed me to pinpoint my location on my paper map and finally understand where I was being directed. It became immediately obvious that I was right in my conclusion that it was possible to get to Independencia this way and that the ‘big circular motion’ with the fingeras indicated by the wood cutters had been trying to direct me back to Inquisivi but without actually saying so!
    I emerged out of the valley an into the small hamlet of Cavari at the football pitch (match in progress) and suddenly felt the eyes of all the spectators fall on me as I skirted the pitch. In town there was one small tienda and I asked for a coke… “No hay”. A bottle of water…”No hay”. When I explained that I wanted water for cooking I was led through the shop to a standpipe in the back yard. The shopkeeper turned on the tap but no water flowed. Fortunately the drip bucket beneath the tab was full and I took what I needed from that. I bought a tin of tuna and a packet of biscuits. The rest of the stock was made up of large bottles of pop, crisps and popcorn. No wonder the two toothless Cholita’s sitting on the step outside declined to have their photos taken!


    I re-confirmed my directions and set off. The sun was setting and I knowing I had to re-cross the river valley to my left I pushed on in the hope of finding a campsite along the riverbank. Once again I had that ‘loose luggage’ feeling and stopped to find my ‘McGuiver MkI’ had shifted and that a MkII was required.

    McGuiver MkII
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    There was precious little daylight left as I turned onto the riverbed and rode upstream a little way to where I could pitch camp out of sight of anyone crossing the river. As I cooked dinner whilst drinking tea and listening to Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ on audiobook, I glanced at my gas tank and realized I’d better not get lost en-route to Independencia tomorrow!


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    Day 3


    The following morning I splashed through the river and took the easy if twisting climb up to the ridgeline where I rejoined what was obviously the road I should have been on all along. I soon ran onto reserve and began coasting downhill in a bid to make it to Independencia and a gas station. As I coasted so I spotted the town in the valley below but despite making it into town I wasn’t out of the woods yet. There was no gas station! When I asked in the shop I was buying a drink from where I could buy gas I was asked how much I wanted. By chance I’d stopped at the one shop in town that sold gas from containers but as ‘Evil’ had limited the amount of fuel villagers could buy in containers and therefore transport to remote villages, the price was inflated. The going rate was Bs7/ltr. I checked the map and asked for 15ltrs which should have cost Bs105 but as I produced a Bs100 note the woman started counting change and I realized that she hadn’t given me 15ltrs, only 10. When I enquired as to why I was informed I had to buy in units of 10ltrs. Had I paid with the right money I’d have been pushing Rosie to Cochabamba!


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    It was a good job I did as once again I soon found myself on the wrong road! Soon after leaving town the road turned 180° to the right and as it straightened so a much smaller track spurred off turning 180° left. It was much smaller than the main track and couldn’t possibly be the main track to Cochabamba and so I all but ignored it (mistake!)
    As my track formed on my GPS screen I realized I was heading south and not south east. Atfer checking my paper map I opted to continue on through Kali to Taipacari where I could follow another track east along a valley to meet the main La Paz – Cochabamba road at Parotani.


    Support for Evo...


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    It was bloody windy at 400m above Taipacari but as I descended in search of a windless spot to make lunch so a front wheel puncture decided for me. I rode on a little way until I finally found some respite and removed the front wheel as the water boiled.


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    I had leftover soup from the previous day and fresh bread I’d bought in Independencia so I had a decent lunch. I also had a reasonable place to stop and as I was ‘only’ riding to Cochabamba I was in no hurry.
    Having re-fitted and packed my tools away I checked the tyre before washing my hands only to find it flat again. Aaarrrggghhhh!!!!
    With the help of the adjacent stream I found a series of tiny holes next to the original thorn hole that I’d patched. I tried patching them but to no avail as a second check in the stream revealed yet more holes. I fitted my spare and rode off.


    Not much money in mountain villages...


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    But the countryside is beautiful...


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    At Taipacari the track carried me straight down the centre of a glacial valley, through seemingly endless water crossings until it seemingly just petered out. I asked some guys working in a field but bizarrely none seemed to understand ‘Cochabamba’ (Bolivia’s third largest city) and it wasn’t until I mentioned Parotani (where the track joined the main road to Cochabamba) that I got a positive response. Somewhere amongst the water crossings the track had divided and climbed the bank to a road etched into the valley wall. I never did find the correct way to that road but I got there nevertheless. No sooner had I joined the track than my right foot slipped off the footrest. Or at least I thought it had slipped off. In fact, one of the two mounting bolts had sheared off allowing the footrest to spin round on the second bolt! (More on this in a bit) Eventually I joined the tarmac for my final run into Cochabamba just as a sandstorm whipped up slowing my progress sufficiently for it to be dark by the time I reached the city. I found Hostel Jardin with its ample parking easily enough and was desperate for a hot shower. Shame there wasn’t any water in it!


    Into the valley...


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    KneeDrachen likes this.
  3. mattt

    mattt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
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    10
    :clap:clap:clap THANK YOU for sharing your AWESOME pics!!! Nice travel!!! Have fun and don't forget...we're waiting for the next pics!!!<label for="rb_iconid_26"> [​IMG]</label>
  4. AlpineGuerrilla

    AlpineGuerrilla Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Basel, Switzerland
    Hope all is well, it's been more than a month since the last update. Last activity isn't too far away, so I hope you're busy writing the next installment. :evil
    While you were silent I had some time to read up a few older entries in your blog and it is a fantastic read. Added to the already great pictures here, it gets even better. Good for us armchair riders. Your report somehow triggers the feeling of absolute freedom in me. :clap
  5. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
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    Damn! Where the hell did the last few months go!!!???

    The past few months have been manic...I've got a lot of blog & RR writing to catch up with but for now here's my latest news a few excuses... :D

    I spent a few weeks in Venezuela riding with a lad from Seattle that I'd originally met in a hostel in Peru back in 2009. At the time he was cycling from Ushuaia to Cancun but got the petrol bug after seeing my bike. Over the next 2 years we exchanged lots of emails as he took his m/c test and began his steep learning curve. Eventually he was ready and rode his KLR (he didn't listed to everything I said!) to SA.
    After leaving Cristian I rode back to Colombia and down to Cali where I met up with that crazy man from Oklahoma John Martin (aka Throttlemeister). After a few days of maintenance we went on to spend a week riding together. A week that included one particularly ADV day! It was great to catch up with John again.

    When John and I went our separate ways I met up with English/Welshman Nick Jones (Chapter 24 - aka klous-1). We hadn't see one another since Copper Canyon back in 2010 when we'd become good friends. It was great to catch up with him as well- http://www.talesfromthesaddle.com/

    I flew my bike from Bogota to Miami last month and rode back to my mates place here in Boston, visiting friends along the way. Amongst those were Rick & Joyce at Cogent Dynamics where I had my shock re-built (and drank REAL beer :beer) and Dave & Francine (the Mobius Trip duo) that I'd met in Alaska back in 2010.

    The plan was to ship my bike from here to Germany/Netherlands then ride it home to the UK and import it. However, I've now made shipping plans three times only to have them all fall through for various reasons. The first was once I read about German Customs imposing 30% security bonds on non-EU vehicles entering the country, the second was when I read about a guy paying U$692 to collect his bike in Rotterdam. The third was just 10 days ago when I rode 6hrs to NYC in temperatures just above freezing only to find the warehouse had closed early for the holiday despite me only making the arrangements with/and speaking to the agent the previous day! A BIG thank you to Dave & Francine for putting me up and making me so welcome in NYC - AGAIN!


    Anyway, it made me sit back and take a look at what I was trying to achieve and why. I took a closer look at what it would cost to ship my bike and then import her to the UK (Duty, Sales Tax, DOT 'Non-EU' inspection, Registration fee).


    To cut a long thought process short I've decided to sell Rosie.:huh :cry

    Here's the advert -

    FOR reluctant SALE - DR650 RTW/Adventure prepped

    My journey is far from over. However, I do have a LOT of blog and RR catching up to do before I'm ready to share what's coming next!

    Maybe I'll find a new home for Rosie amongst you guys (and gals!)??? :ricky

    Great to see a few of you reading the blog...:thumb
  6. Manneman

    Manneman Polarbear

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
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    128
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    SCANIA
    Awesome trip, or should I say LIFE!

    How much cash did you start out with in 2006 and how did you find new ways to finance your trip after those cash where gone. What´s athe average spend per day fx?

    Six years is a long time...and a good time!:D
  7. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,686
    Location:
    Currently - Canada
    Good to hear from you again! I was wondering where the updates were! Im excited and hope you continue it till the end.

    Lastly, I'm on needles awaiting to hear what's next.... I have a hard time believing it's over.
  8. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    337
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    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Take a look at posts #68, 83, 84...

    I'm not about to make my finances public but like most others that have been on the road for several years I live almost as cheaply as I can. Its surprising just how cheaply you can live when you have to...

    That means bush camping, cooking for myself, eating at markets etc. When I do stay in hostels/guesthouse's I stay in the cheapest place with secure parking I can find. If I can't find anywhere for a price I want to pay then I leave.
    It means doing all my own bike maintenance, tyre changing etc. It means having A beer a few nights a week some weeks followed by several weeks without (no spending the night in a bar). It means no restaurants, no side trips and certainly not spending money on anything unnecessary like bottled water or souvenirs.

    The only thing I have no control over is the price of gas. Everything else I can influence to a certain degree.

    Its not for everyone but I've come to accept it. Of course a little more money would be nice but not having it hasn't/won't stop me traveling.
  9. badguy

    badguy Susan

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
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    1,694
    Location:
    almost southern MD
    Glad to see you post again, but sorry to hear about the difficulties with Rosie. I hope everything works out for the best!
  10. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,566
    Location:
    Alaska
    Bummer you have to sell Rosie, I feel your pain amigo. I was think about heading to Colombia to hoist a few grogs with you and John, but it never happened. :cry

    I ran into Nick in Guatemala city on my way north. He was in the process of ditching the problematic YBR and got himself a Honda 250 IIRC. Small world eh?

    Hope all is well Adam. The adventure is not over eh? What's the plan when you get back to the UK?

    Cheers, Vin
  11. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    337
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    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Enough of the fluff... lets get back to the RR...

    Continued from #222...

    After Cochabamba and a beer and steak with adv's krazykiwi I hit the tarmac and cruised down to Samaipata to visit Maarten Munnik. I've mentioned him before having originally met and stayed with him when he lived in Thailand ('06 &'07), I also stayed with him in Bolivia in '09. Maarten spent 4 years riding RTW on his Africa Twin and has since started his own tour business Bolivia Motorcycle Adventures.

    Samaipata isn't far from the 'Ruta del Che' that begins with the memorial, museum and the hospital where Che's body was displayed to the public. From Vallegrande a dirt road leads through the mountains to Villa Serano and on to Tarabuco, famous for its Sunday market. Along the way a trail leads down to the tiny hamlet of La Higuera where Che was assassinated.
    I rode the trail back in '09 but whilst I had great weather on the first day (to La Higuera) the second day was wet and cloudy and so I wanted another look. Here it is in pictures...

    After the climb up from Vallegrande a wide, well graded road winds its way along the ridge...

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    Ruta del Che

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    The Che Memorial at La Higuera

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    The best part of the trail is from La Higuera to Villa Serano. This is heading down to the bridge...

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    Different bikes, different weather...I tried to remember the '09 photo when I took the '11 one

    2011...DR650

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    2009...F650

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    Down in the valley...

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    Heading towards Tarabuco...

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  12. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
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    337
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    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Good to hear from you Vinny. Shame you didn't make it down to Colombia for a few cold ones. John and I had a hoot; beers, ribs (fookin' good!) and a proper day of adv riding. It would'vr been nice to see you.

    My best mate has arranged a bit of a 'do' in a pub in my home town. Buffet and a band. :beer:strum

    Saturday 19th May at the Station Hotel on Bridge Street, Andover, Hampshire. I'll be riding in at 1830. Everybody's welcome.

    I'll be sharing my plans here once I've shared them with my friends back home.

    Cheers

    Adam
  13. farrell caesar

    farrell caesar Seezer

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    Trenton Il.
    Many thanks for the RR. My DR has been to Mexico 3X's. Love that flat slide. I may need that big tank. No worries. I'm unworthy.......
  14. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Bloody Hell...where does the time go?

    Its hard (for me) to believe but my 4 weeks in the UK come to an end tomorrow.

    I had hoped to have moved this RR along considerably during my time here but I haven't had time. For those of you who do read stuff outside ADV I have finally updated my blog with Chapter 29 - Welcome to the Jungle. Highlights include the photo below.

    Tomorrow I fly to India to commence my 'summer' job, learning the ropes as a tour guide for these guys - http://www.blazingtrailstours.com/ I met the owners during the first year of my RTW trip back in 2006 and am looking forward to returning to the region and working with them, even if it does mean riding a right foot, 4-speed, upside down gearchange Royal Enfield!

    I'll be back in October to commence preparation for ShortWayRound PtII which will commence April 2013.

    I'll update my blog during the break between the 2nd and 3rd Himalayan tours at the end of next month and again in November when I commence prepping Rosie's replacement (a DRZ400) for SWR Pt II

    I like to think I will get time to finish this RR but realistically its unlikely.

    Thanks to all who have read so far, a big thanks to all who have taken the time to comment and an even bigger thanks to those who have taken the time to read my blog AND comment.

    I'll leave you with a few photos from commencing with the culmination of a very special day in Venezuela...

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    The Transamazonica...

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    The cheapest route from Brazil to French Guiana...

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    The Georgetown - Lethem road, Guyana...

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    Exploring Venezuela's Gran Sabana...

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    Back in the magnificence of the Andes...

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    An ADV day to remember with Throttlemeister...

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    KneeDrachen likes this.
  15. TrophyHunter

    TrophyHunter Long timer Supporter

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    Aug 30, 2009
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    3,654
    Location:
    San Diego
    Adam...best of luck with your new job. I can't imagine anyone more qualified to take a bunch of folks 'round on motorcycles. My son Dave will be returning from a month in Mumbai on Sunday. He worked a lot and just couldn't get over the population density.

    Enjoy the time and I'll look forward to future installments.
  16. NicolasR

    NicolasR Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Medellin, Colombia
    JediMaster,
    With you permission I stole some of your pictures for my pc desktop!!!! Great RR and pictures!!!! too many riders dream!!!

    Nicolas R
  17. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Back in post #234 I mentioned that I was heading to India to spend the summer working as a motorcycle tour guide/outrider for English outfit Blazing Trails Tours who I met in India back in 2006. With four tours down and one to go I thought some of you might like to know how my summer has panned out...


    After 6 years on the road RTW (5 of them solo), traveling in a group has been...different...very different. The urge to ride off the road whenever I spot a good camping spot remains strong! As does the thought of waking up to silence and freshly brewed coffee.
    However, it is great though to be able to give people a taster of what I've experienced during my travels and to see how many first timers go away with a whole new outlook on Life, the Universe and Everything and how returnees go away with those same feelings refreshed.

    Guests come from very diverse backgrounds and for the most part (99%) have been good company. We've had a few in their '30's, a few more in their '40's with the majority in their '50's and a fair few in their '60's. Almost all are highly sociable and as always with those age groups there are always plenty of stories to share and some great banter to be had. Some come alone, some with a mate and some in groups. And no, they're not ALL men! Many are classic bike fans and many return again and again. The record being 11 tours I think :huh:huh:huh

    'Strike a Pose' - Above Leh heading for Khardung La. The Himalaya are magnificent. (Damon I'Anson photo)

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    So what's the top skill required by a tour leader? The ability to talk bollocks about old motorbikes for hours on end of course!

    The classic bike riders have a bit of an advantage over the rest of us as all of BT's bikes are R/H 4-speed, 1-up/3-down gear changes. I have been surprised, no shocked, by the ability of the 500cc Royal Enfields. No they don't get run over 80km/h and no they haven't got much suspension travel but they weigh in at a reasonable 167kg, most of which is very low down and with a rearward bias. That makes them great for ploughing through mud, bulldust, sand, snow and water crossings. They beat in time with India and I look forward to throwing my leg over mine everyday. :ricky

    Most guests have found the tours to be challenging but all have risen to the occasion and had a fabulous experience. Normal parting comments go along the lines of "see you next year/I'll be back as soon as I've saved up again'!

    I've had a great time and loved every minute of it. I'll pick-up with Blazing Trails again in November 2013 but in the meantime I'm looking forward to getting my DRZ ready for next years adventure and returning to pitching my tent where and when I want to! Yeah, yeah...I know... :tough

    Anyway, I thought I'd post a VERY brief review of the first four tours of the year, followed by 'Now & Then' photos from 2012 and 2006 (the first year of my RTW ride).

    Summer summary...

    We had 16 riders on the first tour which soon became nicknamed the 'Pills & Porcelain Tour' as 13 of the 16 were struck down with illness; an unprecedented number. :puke2 Three ended up on drips and several had the shits really bad for 10+ days. On top of that it was a particularly warm spring which accentuated the effects of the altitude and affected everybody. It didn't stop the majority of them 'Getting on the Beer' most nights though - they're a bad lot the British :beer
    Several of the group had arrived early and spent several days in Delhi, tucking into the street food which may have caused the problem.
    We had our first taste of snow when a storm blew in over our second crossing of Khardung La Billed as 'The Worlds Highest Motorable Pass'). It was a cluster f@#* as cars, vans, mini-buses, trucks and an army convoy negotiated the pass. Some trucks had snow chains, others didn't. In the gridlock we managed to squeeze our way through all the traffic and descend into sunshine on the south side. This photo was taken about 300m from the summit on the north side.

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    On the second tour we headed up over a high pass (Wiri La 5305m) which should by then have been cleared of snow. It hadn't quite and it took us 3hrs+ to battle our way through the final 3km of snow, ice, slush and meltwater. Only two of the eight guests were able to ride through it and so it was up to head mechanic Jamal and I to ride the rest of the bikes through. Great fun but hard on the guests especially given the altitude. We were the first people to cross Wiri La this year other than the bulldozer driver. :freaky

    We battled through 3km of this between 5000-5305m to become the first to cross Wiri La this year.


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    Mechanic Ramji gets stuck in an Ice rut on Wiri La

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    Having spent a lot of time in the region back in 2006 and with two tours as the outrider under my belt, I was left to lead the third tour.

    We only had three guests and on the second riding day one of them fell down at 5000m on the backside of Chang and broke his leg in three places, 6hrs from the nearest hospital. :eek1
    Straightening his leg out at the roadside so that we could apply a temporary back-slab plaster and get him loaded into the jeep was an experience I'd rather not repeat! Fortunately we have a doctor/medic on tour with us to treat such emergency's instantly.:deal

    Leh hospital is a friendly, helpful place but being a government establishment is woefully underfunded. We had the customers leg x-rayed and a better plaster cast applied and took him back to the hotel. Whilst all this was going on I dealt with his insurance company and convinced them he needed to go to a 'proper' hospital in Delhi to have his leg operated on.
    36hrs after the accident an air ambulance arrived in Leh and once the patient was on board so the tour continued. I'm pleased to say that the surgeon in Delhi's Artemis Hospital did an excellent job and the unlucky rider is now back at work. :thumb(That's a thump for being fixed...not for being back at work!)
    The final day of the tour saw us return over Rohtang La, the final high pass en-route back to Manali. At 3900m its much lower than the others but being the final mountain range before the great plains of India it gets the worst of the snow and rain and is therefore permanently being rebuilt.
    The north side was blue sky and sunshine but as we crossed the summit so we plunged into the cloud. It had obviously been raining hard for several days and the ground resembled a wet Welsh enduro track with deep, muddy ruts as far as we could see. Amongst the ruts were a few broken down trucks and an army convoy halted by two landslides that we just managed to negotiate on the bikes.
    It was great fun and put huge grins on the faces of our remaining riders.

    Our fourth tour was the Spiti Valley and after weeks of rain day 2 proved particularly challenging. Jalori La was officially closed by a landslide but only after the turn-off to another track that both company owner Damon I'Anson and I knew from competing in the Raid-de-Himalaya event back in 2006. Whilst not passable by bus, motorcycles and 4x4's were ok. After long stretches of mud, ruts and rocks (and of course several inevitable crashes) we arrived at the rear of a queue lined up behind a mudslide.
    At the head of the queue was another tour group made up mostly of Australians but with an Indian tour leader. I have no idea how long they'd been there (or the other vehicle's for that matter) but they seemed content with the local information that "digger coming". Well the slide had happened 3 days previously and so "digger coming" could mean anything.
    Damon, Jamal (head mechanic) and I took one look at the slide and decided that by utilising our water crossing rope we would be able to drag the bikes through the 18" deep mud. Our water crossing rope allows 6 people to pull one bike simultaneously and so if a few people fall over the bike continues to move forward.
    Anyway, after an hour or so we had dragged all 9 bikes through the slide and on down the hill to safe ground where everybody could remount and continue.

    This is BT director Damon I'Anson getting his hands dirty on Jalori La during the Spiti Valley tour. He's standing on the run down to the 'safe area' where we could park the bikes as we dragged them through the mudslide which is just out of sight behind the trees on the left.

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    Great fun and just like the snow on Wiri La and the broken leg on Chang La a great team effort on the part of both staff and customers.

    Having been trounced by the Aussie's in most sporting events over recent years Damon just couldn't resist a quip at the onlooking Aussies "We didn't build the greatest empire the world has ever seen by staring at a bit of mud"! Proper funny it was and all on the back of Britain's best/Australia's worst Olympics.
    Banter between the Aussie's and the Pommie's has all too often fallen in Aussie favour. It was good to let 'em 'av it! :rofl:rofl:rofl

    I have of course picked all the extreme situations we've experienced over the summer. The riding isn't generally that tough but being in the mountains and at the mercy of Mother Nature anything can happen...and often does! :deal

    For the less extreme amongst you, don't be put of riding in the region by what I've posted above. After all, who doesn't want to follow this track into the Zanskar Valley?

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    More photos in my Ladakh & Zanskar 2012 Gallery

    So that's four tours down and one to go for me in 2012 :cry. I'll be returning to the UK immediately after this next tour and hoping to spend the winter earning the cash to pay for and planning next years travels as well as getting my DRZ ready for action (more on that once I'm in the workshop).

    Anyway...when we had to detour over Taglang La I remembered a photo of me on my BMW next to the sign and so took the opportunity for a 'Now & Then'

    2012...

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    2006...


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  18. Tradey

    Tradey RTW Traveller

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    381
    Location:
    Bairnsdale, Vic, Australia
    Well I am glad to see you on that Enfield Adam and probably a damn sight more reliable than a BM-Trouble-U. As for those mud sucking Aussies, they deserved everything they got and well done to the Brits.... finally !
  19. TrophyHunter

    TrophyHunter Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,654
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thx for the update, Adam. Great to know you're spreading your knowledge and whit to the masses. Since they started importing the Royal Enfield to the States again, I've been lusting over one with the Scrambler kit installed. Probably won't happen but maybe for a retirement gift to myself in a few years.

    Glad to see you're healthy and enjoying yourself.

    Enjoy!
  20. JediMaster

    JediMaster Adam Lewis

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    OTR RTW since 2006 (currently in India)
    Blimey.....6 years since my last post! Where the hell did that go! :hmmmmm

    Well....in 2013 I rode my DRZ400 (Daisy) from England to Magadan...and back, arriving home with just enough time to obtain an Indian visa, fly to Delhi and ride to Nepal to take up my position as Operations Manager, Asia for Blazing Trails Tours.

    49 tours later and I'm ready for my next adventure...:clap

    It's time to share all that I've learned since I hit the road (dirt!) in 2006 and so, in 2018, following 4 months and 24,000km's of recce'ing in Morocco I started the company -

    https://www.bigskyriders.com/

    I've opened a Vendor page if anyone would like to see what it's all about -

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/big-...raining-europe-morocco.1363933/#post-36891775


    Here's a taster...


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