Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the move!

I'm rocking out to David Bowie's "Queen Bitch" as I zip up the last zipper and buckle the last buckle. My flight for Florianopolis leaves Raleigh, NC in 4 hours! The day has finally come, and my mind and body are buzzing.

See yall on the flip side!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Plan B?!?

Ive sent some emails inquiring about some US registered bikes in both Brazil and Argentina, as well as the possibility of buying bikes there. With less than two days until I depart, I am anxious to get replies. However, all I can do is wait and see if I have a bike.

And I think that it is important to remember where I am starting my trip and why...
The original plan was to stay with a friend who was building a house on the island, but her contractor broke his foot in a motorcycle accident (ummm...), subsequently delaying the completion of the build.

So the plan is to head to another buddy's place of work. Pura Vida Brasil, where he is a surf instructor. Above is the path leading in from the road, and below are a few pics of the property. I am more than excited to spend my New Years Eve in good company and in a stunning location. NYE in the middle of summer on the beach will be a first of many to come.

And I'm sure that I mentioned before that there are over 40 different surf breaks on the island!

The funny thing, is that both my college roommate living in Mendoza, Argentina and my Brazilian friend living in Los Angeles both said that they think I'll find some amazing place and just stop the ride. Who knows? It could happen. And that is the beauty of this trip. I can do whatever I damn well please!

Cross Your Fingers!

I woke yesterday to some bad news. The owner/rider of the 2008 Suzuki DR650 that I am to pick up in Buenos Aires next month went down. She has no idea what happened or if the bike is ridable. She says she just woke up in the hospital 200km from her destination in Rio Grande, Argentina. So damn close. Please check out her blog/website as her ride has been nothing short of impressive!

She broke two ribs and her collar bone and is in a bit of pain on this Christmas morning. In and out of intensive care, she wont be able to fly for 30 days. I am really bummed for her but wish her the best!
I anxiously await details as to whether I still have a bike to ride. If the bike is in repairable condition it STILL needs to get from Rio Grande to Buenos Aires, about 2000 miles north. And I need to determine whether or not to lug the box of parts with me down there (sprockets, chain, tubes, spark plugs, filters, new springs for front and rear suspension etc.). Time will tell.

But, ladies and gentlemen, this is how these things go. There is always a Plan B.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Heavy Metal

I'm skimming over the service manual for the 2008 Suzuki DR650, which I am planning on picking up in Buenos Aires around the middle of January 2010. Today I ordered parts from my buddy at Carolina Euro for the bike to be taken down instead of paying outrageous prices once there. The bike will need new brake pads, front and rear sprockets, chain, spark plug, oil and filter, new headlight bulb and some other odds and ends. I also ordered a set of new springs for the fork and rear shock as well as intiminators for more sophisticated suspension dampening.

The bikes are tanks. I am not worried about the engine as much as all the other little parts. And at around 30,000 miles it will need some work. However, I am confident that it will be an ideal bike for the trip and I can't wait to start riding.

I am also trying to get my dad and friends Eddie and Jason to meet me in Ushuaia to ride a section of Patagonia around the middle of February. I'll keep yall posted, as it would be an amazing experience to share.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hollywood to Raleighwood via Boulder

We left Los Angeles last Friday at 4pm after loading the Uhaul all day in the rain. After an insane week filled with training my replacement, packing and my own birthday debauchery I was ready to see LA in my rear view mirror. And although trying to exit LA on a rainy Friday afternoon would normally make me want to choke someone out, I couldn't help but laugh knowing that this was my last day of that nonsense. The Tacoma was heavily loaded with my Ducati Hypermotard and Yamaha YZ250F strapped down in the bed in front of a fully packed 6 x 12ft Uhaul as we climbed out of the basin towards sin city. I was reminded how many stars there should be in sight as we entered Arizona. Shortly after passing St. George, Utah the snow started to fall and the road began to disappear preventing us from being heavy footed or allowing the passenger much rest.

My sister's house in Lyons, CO was a welcomed sight after a straight 20 hrs on the road. We quickly made our way across the street to Oskar Blues Brewery for some fresh brewskies. After being awake for 36 hours and a few "Old Chubs" I was ready to slip into a coma.

The next night was spent eating, drinking and being merry with the Boulder crew at Radda Trattoria. My buddy Justin treated us well with the chef's choice family style menu and many a bottles of vino rosso.
...and then the Sundown Saloon.

Monday we tied up loose ends after throwing all my stuff in my sisters garage and packing the necessities for the trip back to NC and then to Brazil. We had great weather, although cold, heading through eastern Colorado, the Sea of Kansas, Misery and Illinois.

Tuesday night was spent in Nashville, with my charming and extremely hospitable college friend Sarah. We dined at her favorite hole in the wall spot downtown, Rotier's. Pork BBQ, hash brown casserole, fried zucchini, corn on the cob and BEER!

From Nashville it was a straight shot east to Raleigh, NC where the trip came to an end. 2900 miles, 11 days and 6 days later we were glad to be home. Now if it would only stop raining so I can terrorize Raleigh with the Hyper...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shit, you're kinda cool.

Its 3:57am and I'd be lying if I said that I was sober, well rested and that this entry was about motorcycles. I'm not and it ain't. Its about people.

How come when you are leaving a town, and the life you've built there, physical walls crumble and emotional boundaries dissolve? No consequences I suppose. Within the last 3 weeks Ive felt a sort of liberation that I should have felt the whole time. I say what I want, and do the same. It's as though we hold back so much in order to preserve a version of ourselves that we want to ideally portray, when we should be interacting without fear of judgement or consequence. And maybe some of you always do. Ive connected with people that I haven't seen in a year, I realized that I never gave certain people a chance and seem to be making "last minute friends". Either way I like it, and I'm thankful for every positive interaction.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best of 2: Summary Dakar 2010

2010 Dakar Race Route

I'm gonna ride part of the Rallye Dakar course in Argentina and Chile!!! Bitchin!

(kinda odd that they still use the Dakar name, and the race is no where near Senegal...)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Storm Trooper Lid

AGV Miglo Modular

I decided to get a white, modular helmet for a few reasons. Firstly, white is much more visible than my sweet flat black Shoei helmet, and some would say cooler in the sun. Also, the modular front feature is much more ideal in warmer climates, social settings where I need to communicate, times when I don't want to set my helmet down or hold it while I need to have my hands free, when I need a sip of a tasty beverage or when I need to stroke my beard to gain some additional insight. Some of the potential problems could include excess noise, potential leaking during heavy rain or general malfunction due to the increased number of moving parts. I'll get back to you after a few thousand miles!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Evolution Part 2: Jungle Fever

Originally, this trip was not intended to be spent entirely in the saddle. I was planning on arriving in Florianopolis looking for work, but with the intent on buying a moto to ride around locally. Then I started to research all the interesting places to visit throughout South America and started thinking about how I had traveled through Nicaragua and Costa Rica 4 years ago, by bus. Taking the bus is cheap, and interesting but doesnt allow you the freedom of your own vehicle.

wo years ago I was making plans with my pal Eddie to ride to Tierra Del Fuego from Cali or Alaska as many people do. I had read the book "Two Wheels Through Terror" written by Glen Heggstad, in which he keeps a journal of his trip through South America, including being kidnapped by Columbia's rebel ELN army. At first, I was mostly interested in the logistical information regarding border crossings, papers, equipment, lodging, road conditions, weather etc., but it turned into a very compelling story. After being released many months later, Glen gathered the strength to continue his journey to the southern most inhabited town in the world, Ushauia (on the island of Tierra Del Fuego). It's a truely massive feat to continue riding all the way to the tip of South America, turn around and ride all the way up the Brazilian coast and back to California, AFTER almost being killed by the ELN army. What a badass!

As I started to explore the idea of getting a bike in Brazil I discovered the overwhelming amount of taxes put on imported motorcycles. I then found a section of Horizons Unlimited where other adventure travelers were selling there bikes after they had finished their trips. Now I am trying to buy a bike that has already traveled from Alaska to Brazil. If all goes to plan I will taking the bike for a second lap of South America, and maybe even back to Alaska next summer (when the old man and I are due for the trip) .

My first plan was to tour through Argentina and back to Floripa before heading up the Brazilian coast.
Part 1

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Part 2

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But then I'd be missing Chile, Bolivia and Peru! So why not connect to two sections? This is where the Amazon comes in. I noticed that there IS a road going straight through the Amazon, but after some research I found that the conditions are crap, and I'll be stretched to find fuel.

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Not to mention, I will most likely be traveling alone and SOL if I have mechanical issues.

Therefore, if I want to connect Peru with northern Brazil I can either ride this route AROUND the Amazon

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take river boats up the actual Amazon!!! So damn cool!

The yellow line in the image below indicates the rivers and route taken to get from Porto Velho, Brazil to Belem, Brazil.
Once I get on a boat in Porto Velho it should take around 10 days to 2 weeks to get to the Carribean coast. I've read that its hot, stinky, uncomfortable and rather boring after a few days. But I cant imagine I will be doing it very often, and I seems like it will be a good rest before riding the 4000 miles back down the Brazilian coast.

Wish me luck!