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!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I really enjoy this process. Trip planning is consuming, and I am always grateful for having something to look forward to. I use ADVrider for information regarding all aspects of the moto journey, from route descriptions, to safety, to equipment reviews and finding helpful contacts.

As of now, I am coordinating the purchase of a 2008 Suzuki DR650 dual-sport bike that has been ridden to Brazil from Alaska by a very impressive New Zealander/Brit (?). If all goes to plan, I will be meeting her at Iguazu Falls at the beginning of Jan. 2010. I will then ride back to Florianopolis where I will prepare for my departure while surfing, running, swimming, doing yoga, and generally enjoying the island!

Unfortunately, Google maps will not allow me to complete a full route through Uraguay, Bolivia and parts of the Brazilian Amazon due to ferries and river crossings. However, I plan to take the coast down from Floripa to Montevideo, Uraguay, catch a ferry to Buenos Aires where I will spend anywhere from 4 - 7 days. Then I will book it down the eastern coast of AR over the course of one week arriving in Ushuaia by Feb. 15 then back up along Patagonia to Mendoza on Feb 27 then Santiago, Chile March 6, Uyuni, Bolivia (and the salt flats) March 12, Lake Titicaca March 17, Cuzco and Machu Picchu March 19/20, then into the Jungle! This part is a little fuzzy, as I may take a river boat from Porto Velho to Manuas and then to Santarem and on to Belem or I may ride parts of this trip. But I am giving myself 2 weeks from Porto Velho, Brazil to get to Belem, Brazil where I start the uber sexy Brazilian beach tour!

From Belem I will follow the massive Brazilian coast all the way back to Florianopolis over the course of a month arriving around the 5th of May. I will then have 2 weeks to sort out my biz and jump on a plane back to North Carolina to see my lovely little sis graduate from high school!

That is the plan as of now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

South Park bashes Harley riders... And its hilarious.

I have yet to see the entire show, but the fact that they are shit talking Harley Davidson makes me smile. I couldn't agree more with Mr. Cartman.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Travel photos from Nicaragua and Costa Rica 2005

I was looking through some old photos taken while traveling through Costa Rica and Nicaragua for two months at the end of 2005. My buddy, Justin, and I went down there and picked up some surf boards and followed swell to different beaches. I lugged a early 1970's Canon TX and heaps of 35mm film all over, but I got some bitchin' shots. These are just a few that I like. It was the trip of a lifetime, so far...

Monday, November 9, 2009

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200!

The video is a bit cheesy, but informative. The bike looks extremely versatile and I look forward to riding it. Here is a very comprehensive review that just came out today.

Yamaha xt600 Tenere

I made mention of the Yamaha Tenere earlier, as it continues to show up as I research used bikes in Brasil. I'm rather fond of it and it seems like a strong candidate for the trip.

This is from a Bikeexif post:

"In the late 70s, ‘dual sport’ or ‘enduro’ style bikes with long-range fuel tanks were starting to attract attention in Europe. In Japan, Yamaha took notice. In 1981, they started work on a production version of the motorcycles racing in events such as the Paris Dakar. The first Yamaha Ténéré appeared for the 1983 model year, and was promoted as a new kind of all-round touring motorcycle—a machine that was able to tackle any terrain, was simple to maintain, and was sold at an affordable price. Within ten years, 61,000 Ténérés had been sold in Europe, including over 20,000 in France. Yamaha’s excellent Design Café website has the full history of this iconic machine, along with some terrific period photography. The Ténéré shown above is the first model, which retains a certain gawky charm even today, a quarter of a century later. The front disc brake was an innovation for time, along with the long-travel rear swingarm, and the top speed was 160 kph—not bad for a 595 cc bike with only 43 bhp and 30 liters of fuel to lug around. Those yellow fork gaiters still look funky, don’t you think?"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Leaving LALA

I came to LA from Boulder, CO with the intentions of studying product design at ArtCenter design school in Pasadena. After taking classes for 9 months I realized that, although I appreciate product design I was not ready to commit to another 4 years of school and the overwhelming price tag of an ArtCenter education. And even though I knew that I could create and improve many outdoor sports products and gear, it did not provide me enough time to actually recreate as I found myself inside all day like my office dwelling peers.

After dropping out of classes I was offered a management position at the bar/lounge I was currently working. I accepted. For the past 20 months I've learned more about business, relationships, commitment and work ethic than ever before. This responsibility triggered a rapid change in my perspective and attitude towards my own capabilities and potential. I got it together as fast as I could as to not disappoint those who had put their faith in me.

But as the months went by I became restless. If it wasn't for an endlessly optimistic, eager and positively fun girl I would've left much earlier. She showed me a side of the city that I didn't know how to navigate previously. We went to great restaurants, screenings and premiers and I, in turn, took her on my bike to the countryside. It was a great balance. However, we both knew in order to preserve my sanity that I needed to get out sooner than later so decided to start formulating an escape plan. Six months ago it all seemed like a fantasy, but now that my departure is around the corner the realities of leaving are setting in. Quiting my job, giving up my house, selling my stuff and saying goodbye to those that are close is heavier than expected.

I leave this zoo in 42 days. It's bittersweet. I hate this place and I love this place. I've truly grown to appreciate the dense cultural texture of this city. You can do whatever you want and no one gives a shit! I love the group of people that I have come to know here, and appreciate their diverse backgrounds and lifestyles and I will miss you all!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Multimedia message

Pinche libros!

Dakar Motos in BA, Argentina

As of now, I plan to pick up a bike in, or around, Florianopolis, Brazil soon after I arrive at the end of December 2009. Because of the high tariff on imports the ideal bike for the trip may be over budget. I was shocked to see bikes are being sold for more than double their US value. Therefore, I'll most likely be looking at something more like this 1988 Yamaha XT600 Tenere. This is a totally legit dual sport bike that raced in the Paris-Dakar race back in the day, but it will cost me $4600 USD! INSANE!

I found a shop in Buenos Aires called Dakar Motos that specializes in "overland travel" motorcycles. They provide fabrication, service, parts, lodging and many other necessary services for the adventure tourer. It seems that if I can find a good dual sport in Brazil that can get me to BA, then I will hand it over to Dakar Motos to make some important modifications for the trip through Argentina, including suspension work, tool cylinder, wind screen, saddle bag racks and any other maintenance issues that may need to be addressed.

Ortlieb Low Profile Dry Bag Saddlebag (wishlist)

"These rugged, roll-top waterproof saddlebags are perfect for bikes with high-riding exhaust systems. The unique low profile design sits higher than standard saddle bags, yet has 2100 cubic inches of space per side for whatever you need to carry. Made of super strong reinforced PVC. 9"×19.5"×6"." from Aerostich.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Boots!

I've been considering which boots to take down south. I want something extremely versatile. Something light, waterproof, simple, durable, comfortable on and off the bike, breathable, and a sole with traction for mud. My BMW boots make my feet sweat even in moderate weather, probably due to the Gore-Tex lining. And pure motocross boots will be too restrictive with too much plastic. I just ordered these boots from Aerostich and hope that they will be suitable.