LoneStar's Adventure to South America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. C5dad

    C5dad Man on the Run!

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    Arizona, fer now
    Lone star

    I do appreciate an honest review of gear as it's working for you on the trip.

    It's sad that TT's stuff didn't hold up for the exorbitant price. Go figure they wouldn't provide warranty service since they are coming out of bankruptcy. Yeah, us adventurers with deep pockets...

    Hope things start getting better so you are in the road more and in the shops less!
  2. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Joined:
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    Thanks for all the thoughtful responses and I wish I had time to respond to each of you.

    I think the amount of money I've spent over the last few years has been outrageous compared to the quality and service I've received for the outlay. I find more and more that reputation isn't worth shit anymore because so many product makers produce substandard products sheerly for fast profit and spend their money on branding and advertising their "reputation".

    I'll stop naming names, but I bought a highly reputable tank bag a few years ago and paid through the nose for it based on all the drooling "experts" on Advrider. The damn thing was no more than a slouching black bag that couldn't keep its shape, and the map pocket was such a weird size that you could tell it's designer never even tried to stick a map in it. That's the kind of crap I'm talking about. Problem is that here on advrider, there are so many minions of idiocy who have to have the latest rage to make themselves look the part of Mr. Adventureman. They foster continuing stupidity by glorifying whatever the latest product is more for the image of being current and badass than really using it and critiquing the product. I've always tried to find the soft middle where a decent product at a decent price is found and there have been a few gems in the mix. I can't say I've had the same percentage of luck with high priced items and thus my rant... Even though the throbbing vein on my forehead is purple and the size of a thumb, it feels good to vent :lol3


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    And now, after all that verbal spewage, I got the bike from TT and they did a great job on the rear shock. Ivan set it up properly and it felt like a hard tail Harley without the luggage. In addition they tweaked the front as much as possible to stiffen it. He said the front spring seemed a bit soft but he had no stiffer ones in stock so he couldn't replace it. Best of all, he said TT USA and Germany had discussed it and decided to cover it under warranty. I suspect a call was made, but I'm appreciative. As mentioned, TT Peru is really a top notch place and it shows in the store and shop.

    I've grown increasingly wary of the growing splits in the rear Motoz tire, and it was one of the first things Ivan pointed out when he saw the bike. He said every Motoz Tractionator or Tractionator GPS they'd seen had splits and they'd replaced them for a lot of travelers. Mine was bought new in Panama City but had developed splits before I was out of Colombia - I simply can't recommend them. I'd planned to take the rear all the way to Santiago before shoeing up with Heidenaus again, but there's no way the rear would have made it.

    Guys, I can't wait to get back to traveling and shooting so I'll try to minimize my bitching and hopefully get rolling in good favor from above again!
    Cloud-9, GAS GUY, mbanzi and 17 others like this.
  3. OtterChaos

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

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    Love the stories of real happenings on the road including the thoughts on gear and equipment. You have the right to bitch about things that don't work as advertised and I know I have a few items in my possession from the "saw it in ADVrider and bought it" collection that didn't work so well for me. Keep it up!
    hardroadking and LoneStar like this.
  4. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Besides Touratech Peru, I found a great gear shop called "Motorrad Style and Tours". It's apparently owned by a German guy and is located in a shopping mall. It's top notch and features Held jackets and gear, Wunderlich accessories, Hepco Becker cases, Schuberth helmets and parts, and a lot more. He has the best stock of Schuberth stuff I've ever seen, aside from helmets there is a huge selection of shields in all colors, etc. R1200GS airfilters, Heidenau tires and much more. http://motorradtoursperu.com/

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    There is also a serious DJI drone store in the same shopping center called All 4 Race that has lots of DJI parts, drones batteries etc.
  5. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Coolness! :thumb

    It's encouraging to see that someone else has noticed. Yet you do realize it's sacrilege to call it out though. One aspect is that after spending big bucks on some silly farkle or modification, they'll swear up and down how wonderful and what an amazing night-and-day difference it made. Some of us recognize the hyperbole, but try calling them out on it! (not) It's rare and refreshing to hear someone honestly admit their money was wasted, and for others to watch out (rather than the normal misery-loves-company "if you don't recognize how great it is to jump on this bandwagon then you're just dumb" approach). So, thanks!
    Salsa and hardroadking like this.
  6. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Heresy and I may be shunned! Or worse, receive an old fashioned "bearding".
    shuswap1, Parcero and ONandOFF like this.
  7. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    :oscar
    LoneStar likes this.
  8. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    Motorrad Tours Perú looks like good moto shops used to look in the U.S.A. before the internet and online shopping made carrying a big in-store inventory a bad idea.
    battdoc and LoneStar like this.
  9. CharlestonADV

    CharlestonADV I do my own stunts!

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    Oddly, Aerostich seems to be ignored in preference to Klim, etc. FWIW, with proper care, my Aerostich stuff works...for years.
  10. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    vancouver bc
    Aerostich is my go-to brand. i have as well received brilliant customer service from them, far beyond the call of duty, imho.
  11. elron

    elron Still Standing

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    Proper washing and treatment of "waterproof" jackets is imperative to maintaining. I too have heard of failed Rev-its and Klims and IMO doubt they were properly maintained. My Badlands, from the 2nd year they came out, has worked w/o fail thru many a storm, including hard driving rains on the interslabs. That being said, I never go w/o a back-up rain jacket. Also when on the road long term, the ability to properly wash can be limited. I'd rather leave dirty until Nixwax or whatever you use is available, if. All opinions are anecdotal for the most part, mine included. You are having, reporting and photographing a great ride, Lonestar...Thanks.
    LoneStar and CharlestonADV like this.
  12. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    A friend of mine made the Aerostich catalog in his six year old many thousand mile sun faded roadcrafter.

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  13. CharlestonADV

    CharlestonADV I do my own stunts!

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    Suit did not leak!
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    ShimrMoon, LoneStar and ONandOFF like this.
  14. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej

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    Lafayette, LA
    I for one really like the honest feedback and don't look at it as bitching, moaning or anything like that. It's valuable feedback from someone who's been there, done that.

    Regarding the above quote, is your choice of bike maybe an instance where you succumbed to what you describe. I've only been riding for 5 years, so I'm new to this whole world, but even you said you chose your BMW for the smile factor, implying not the practicality factor.

    Not trying to criticize in any way. Just dialoguing on the topic and trying to learn from others who are more experienced than me.

    Really enjoying the ride report. I'm only following 3 or 4 RR, but I hope you guys realize how much guys like me (chained to a desk with no hope for more than 3 weeks vacation per year for years to come) enjoy and look forward to living vicariously through your RR's.
  15. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    I've never heard much bad about Aerostich and most guys love them. They brought a setup to Austin a few years ago and I rode in to see the gear and try some on. It was early summer in Texas and when I saw the build and design, I thought "You boys ain't from around here are ya?" It looked bulletproof and heavy duty but I'd have died of a heat stroke walking out to the bike in it. If I lived further north it would be a consideration, but I'd be dead and buried if I'd worn it in central America. I start to sweat just looking at wearing fishnet in the heat. (OOPS I said too much)

    Yes to a certain degree on the BMW purchase. My common sense side said Japanese, but my visual and emotional side loves the BMW. I'm an artist at heart and I need to love what I ride... but I'm smart enough to know I'd never take a GS to Mongolia. South American BMW dealerships made the decision more palatable for the trip, but I debated a very long time and researched a lot of bikes and talked to a lot of people who'd traveled to South America before picking the Beemer. Again, the choices for rides when you're 6'4 and 260 are limited. As much as I'd like, even an F800 is way too cramped for me. A DR 650 even more so. Average size guys have a lot of choices but there aren't many XXL bikes out there.
  16. Ohio_Danimal

    Ohio_Danimal If I die trying, at least I tried

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    Joseph...have seen the news reports of the 7.3 quake in Peru

    Hopefully you're safe and not directly affected

    Stay safe!
  17. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Wow, that just happened this morning! First time I've got my news from advrider! It's pretty far south of Lima off the coast, he should be fine. Lord willing.
  18. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    “Mucho cuidado. Mucho cuidado!” the old man said. He had come up to me to inquire of my route into the town, looking at the filthy bike and shaking his head at the road we’d taken in the night before.

    Arriving in Huaraz after riding Cañon del Pato the day before, we’d headed back to Yungay and took the dirt pass road into a national park. It began raining immediately and the road was muddy and slick. Rains continued as we passed through the park and its stunning sheer mountain walls, waterfalls, and lakes as blue as Lake Louise at about 12,000 feet.

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    The road turned to rough rock and mud, the rain continuing as we slid and struggled up to 14,000 feet on the tiny narrow road carved into the mountainside. As we hit 15,000 feet, it began to snow and the temperature had dropped to 33 degrees.


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    Somewhere along the way up, I kept smelling burning oil and my heart skipped a beat. Having had the rear main seal replaced only three days before, my heart sank at the thought of the disaster returning. Multiple times I stopped and got off the bike, trying to see an oil leak amidst the mud, water and grit covering the rear of the bike. I could see nothing obvious but could not deny the smell and feared complete failure somewhere in the Andes.

    It was a difficult ride, finally entering thick clouds and struggling not only with the heavy bike in the mud and rough rocks, but just to get a breath in the thin air. My head began to pound as it finally topped out at just under 16,000 feet. The sleet and snow was heavy but I pulled out the camera for a single picture to prove the location. The ride up was so demanding I’d not even thought of trying to capture images.

    The down side of the mountain was raining less intensely thankfully. As we descended, the road was rough but smoother than the upward side. The lightening rain brought hope that soon we’d be in civilization. The road continued, heading further into the mountains and never dropping below 12,000 feet said my GPS.

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    The problem is, we’d only seen random names on our GPS apps and had no idea whether they were towns or what. In fact, we didn’t really know where we were going other than east. Any towns didn’t really show on the GPS, so it was hard to know which to head to. The constant rain made it difficult to stop and read a phone screen anyway.

    I began to notice that my bike was getting harder and harder to turn, feeling sluggish as if having a flat. I stopped multiple times to kick the tires but they were hard and showed no sign of air loss. The bike began to move sideways at the slightest bobble and became a real handful to control. To say I was fearful on the narrow pass roads at 13,000 feet was an understatement. I was working very hard to keep the bike from falling in the mud.

    After a couple of hours we reached a fork in the road, but the gps maps weren’t accurate in the area and we were effectively riding blind. An old man came by and Ward asked him where the nearest large town was. He confidently pointed at the fork heading downhill and we went that way, despite the road looking much less traveled. It was rough and rutted, with large sections of fresh mud from little landslides and the continuing rains. The bike felt as if the rear wheel was loose, however nothing was out of place. As I stood in the rain, I pushed down on the seat and it went down so easily that I realized the rear shock was blown. It explained both the burning oil smell and the bad steering problems. My $2000 rear suspension had failed miserably and early in it’s lifespan. My heart sank as I struggled the bike into the town we’d headed for. It was a shock to realize we’d come to a dead end and the light was fading.

    Ward spoke to a man carrying a bundle of wood on his back, asking the way to a large town. We knew no town names, but he pointed at the road we’d just come down and out. We were going to have to reverse all the way back up to the fork, a good 30 minute ride and one I’d barely made down. We’d been on the bikes without stopping or eating for about 5 hours straight at this point and the fatigue was showing. Ward was having a bit easier time on the 800 and I wished I was on one. Sitting in the village after dark was no option, so we gunned it back towards the mountain. It was a lot of work and curse words, but after about 20 minutes we had made it back to the fork and a new direction. The falling darkness was not comforting. I got my gps to catch the track again and it showed the nearest town to still be 3 hours away at best.

    It was easy to feel nervous, knowing the road ahead was treacherous and we were still 12,000 feet or more in the Andes, with rain and darkness falling. We rode as fast as I could, until spotting a minivan in a group of small homes. Ward asked the driver what was ahead and how long to a large town. His response was three hours to go. It was now 6 pm and the road ahead was difficult. We rode until the light faded completely, crossing mudslides and rock piles, running streams, huge sections of greasy slick mud and deep ruts. I couldn’t help but wonder how the minivan had ever made it up this road!

    Below, a silver ribbon in the dusk indicated a river below and we made as fast as we could to try to get off the precipices before absolute darkness. We arrived at the river just as the skies went black, sitting at a fork in the road next to a bridge. My GPS maps indicated a town to the north and one to the south. Both showed to be still two hours away despite the short distance. South was the choice and we headed into the darkness, headlights on bright and swerving around rocks, mudholes and anything we could make out in the light. Below the sound of a roaring river could be heard in my helmet over the breathing, rumbling engine and road noise. It was disconcerting to imagine what lay just a few feet to my side and a simple rock roll away.



    The fatigue had set in deeply by now, having been riding in cold, rain and difficult roads for over 7 hours straight. The last hour and a half was in somewhat of a stupor. Ahead, twinkles of orange light indicated a town on a distant mountainside, hopefully San Luis but it didn't matter. It seemed forever, broken by dogs running out from the darkness and snarling at the bikes as they passed. As scary and irritating as it was, it indicated people in the vicinity and that brought a lifting of spirits.

    The shambled road eventually brought a small village of mud brick walls and miraculously, a concrete street. At the first turn, I saw a sign for a hostel, and more importantly a gated driveway. That meant security for the bikes and we stopped. Through an iron barred widow, the old man took our money and passed some thin old towels through, along with a padlock and key. Finding my room, he had to help get the door open and showed me how to padlock it.

    The water and mud ran down from my gear onto the stone floor as I stared at the tiny, musty old room and wondered what lay amidst the sheets. It was as if a scene from a movie, the faded painted walls, illuminated by a lone, weak fluorescent bulb. I was tired and just sat on the corner of the bed, my boots touching the wall the room was so tiny. I couldn’t bother trying to get out of my gear for a while. There was no heat, wind coming through an open hole in the wall that used to be a small window. Outside I heard Ward wanting to find food and slowly pulled off my gear, looking for places to put it. There was no choice other than the narrow space between the bed and wall. I stayed in my riding gear, save the rain covers and jacket, going outside to find my fleece and we walked a block down in the darkened town to find a lone restaurant open.

    A cold wind came through the door of the unheated place as we sat, slurping down a bowl of chicken soup and waiting for the next dish to come out. I was having trouble keeping my eyes open by the end, finally walking back to the room and collapsing on the bed, determined not to crawl under the sheets. In a few minutes, the cold drove me under the two heavy wool blankets and sleep came quickly.
  19. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
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    17,843
    Location:
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    Wow, what a descriptive tale of a harrowing experience. Those words are worth a thousand pictures. Videos are elucidating. Thanks, Joseph, for your refreshing direct honesty. It's as real as it gets. I, for one, look forward to your continuing excellence in describing your trip experiences, warts and all.
    powderzone and LoneStar like this.
  20. BSUCardinalfan

    BSUCardinalfan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
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    Atlanta OTP - Acworth/Kennesaw
    Hey if you are still in Lima and want a great (but somewhat more expensive) meal, head to Costañera 700 in Miraflores. Best meal I’ve ever had. Get the fish that they bring to your table on fire. Love Lima, travel there for work periodically.
    LoneStar likes this.