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Don't think twice it's alright. Vancouver-Argentina on a CX500

44211 Views 404 Replies 50 Participants Last post by  purplecx500
I've started this new thread since the other one was getting confused with tons of posts going on for ages before I left.

You can see that at Running Away

My dad called and told me not to ride at night to visit them. Spray paint can in hand, I was just about finished painting the racks, so I was really just about ready to go. Didn't want to hang around past the day I'd said I'd go yet again.

I rode out and was the only bike on the 9pm Ferry from Vancouver to the town I grew up in Victoria, BC. The ferry takes 90 minutes so I pulled in around 10:30 at night. After a series of mix ups and dead cell phones I sat at a gas station in Victoria with no friend's place to crash at. I decided to camp since I'll be doing that for months to come it should be good practice to start in a place I know.

As it turned out the place I thought I knew well had changed a fair bit, all the parks and beaches had new gates, and have signs advertising all the fines and penalties for daring to exist there between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

I tried several beaches, and two local hills, Mt Doug and Mt Tolmie. Victoria is a no fun place now, I remember driving around all of those places watching stars, now it's a fine for stopping there. I wonder what the high school kids will do now, sit and make out in cars at the walmart parking lot?

Finally risked sleeping up on Mt Doug, rode my capable offroad machine up the foot path and back onto the road past the gates, then rolled out a sleeping bag after a nice long ride up. beautiful but cold night so I wasn't sleeping much. I relocated to the lee of a nice warm stone wall to sleep, just as I drifted off, I heard a radio acknowledgment and somebody with a light having a good look around. High tailed it out of there, I didn't know I could pack so fast. By this point it was 3am, I was tired, frustrated and getting sloppy. I rode back out the Pat bay highway to try out a trick I read on ADVrider about sleeping up beside the exits/overpasses since that no one ever looks.

I took the first one that looked good, ignoring the foot high wet grass's effect on the traction of my old Spitfire street tires. Found a perfect bowl to sleep in, so I rode down into it, intending to park the bike on the far side and sleep there. For some reason I still can't figure out I stopped sideways on the slope and turned the bike off, dropping my damn keys in the process. Reaching around uphill for them, I started to slip, and leaned out to keep the bike upright, forgetting the downhill side wasn't going to have any footing. We fell over into the bush. No amount of cursing and heaving would convince Aurora to budge, I couldn't get traction for my feet on the wet grass, and the bush was preventing the bike from getting clear even if I could have lifted her more than a few inches. I realized later she'd dug in so well that the kick stand, mirror, and left cylinder were all pretty well stuck, and the tires were right up in the air.

After a few failed attempts to drag the back end around so I would at least be lifting from one side, rather than trying to lift uphill I was about ready to throw in the towel call my parents and get a car jack to push the bike up. I pulled off all the bags, unbolted the gas tank and seat, and just dug in and lifted, dropped her on the uphill side, bolted back on the gas tank, reattached all my bags and only dropped her once more getting out. Took about three hours, I was so tired I just parked on the top of the hill and went to sleep as the sun came up.

Lost almost all my gas before I took the tank off, and burned blue from all the oil in the cylinders later that morning.

looking down the hill, gas tank already off.

Finally over lying on the uphill side so I can clean off the dirt and load my bags again.

It was about a half an hour before I got Aurora to budge that I realized that this trip is where I belong. I wasn't miserable, I was frustrated with myself, but I found that same peace kneeling in the mud in that bush trying to move a bike that got me hooked in the first place while riding an out of oil GS400 with a slipping clutch from SK to BC. I would rather be here than living in quiet desperation in my comfortable suite at home.
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1:27 in San Fran and 4:49 your in Tucson? I gotta get my carbs sent to Larry, your bike is now a Rocket.
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I think that's the point where his story is and not where he is.

Looks to be 266 miles from where he was yesterday.,4.537354&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=8
This is exactly why I was avoiding doing this type of update, it really confuses readers, rather than keeping it going at the pace of the story. If I go back and edit the post later to the next step in the story, it doesn't show as a new post and people miss it.
The next day I was sad to leave, the hostel felt like a home rather than a business.

It seems I forgot some pictures in my last post, so here they are now:

People from the hostel, and enjoying a great meal before we went out, really a great communal place, the great food didn't hurt either.

I think someone else might have snapped this picture, but I'm not 100% on that. I liked it enough that I'm including it anyways.

While packing up to leave I recreated my look minus the insulated suit, now imagine me like this wearing a full insulated waterproof suit underneath my coat wandering downtown sweating and cursing. No wonder I got strange looks. The waterproof suit was fantastic at keeping water and sweat in, I think that it might have just been made inside out by mistake.

Couple other travelers and Aurora all packed up

I made an obligatory stop at Triple Aught Design(, makers of the finest outdoor gear I've used, I lived in one of their stealth hoodies for a couple years, waterproof comfortable and durable, sold it to a friend, no idea what happened to it now. Much of their gear is made in the USA, and always the highest quality materials and design. Used by people who rely on their equipment for their livelihood, from biologists to military. Patrick Ma, the owner and designer came out to talk, he was still at work late on a Sunday afternoon. He's the real deal, a designer and entrepreneur who rides, and explores the world with the gear he designs, we talked about routes through South America, and his time in Patagonia and Chile working with biologists and exploring the wilds.

He hooked me up with the right gear, one of their hard shell raincoats to ride in, and I bought one of their ranger hoodies originally I had thought merino wool offered many advantages over fleece, but I followed the excellent advice about durability and temperature range from him, the fleece is windproof, warmer and much more durable. Despite the thinness of both, they are vastly superior to my bulky insulating layers and zip in goretex liner, in durability and functionality. The hoods are a little tricky to manage with the armors collar but fantastic off the bike. My previous equipment has always soaked through or left me cold within a couple hours of riding. My rain-suit dyed me and my clothing bright blue when it leaked, and left me marinading in a large puddle of water within 20 minutes of starting out from Sacramento. So far the ranger hoodie and raincoat has kept my core warm riding all the way down to freezing, and I basically only take the hoodie off to change, I wear it all day and sleep in it too, as the the weather has been so cold.

Patrick and the newest member of the Tadgear team

Patrick, Aurora and I

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I made it back on the road south about four o'clock well fed and rested, after a lot of route discussion with Dave and a cage driver about the best routes, I settled on Hwy 1 and rolled out.

Took a couple pictures of buildings on the way

Riding up towards twin peaks

I rode up over twin peaks I think it's called before leaving, got an amazing sunset out of it, the first picture is straight from the camera, no real post processing. The others I played with the colours a bit since I didn't capture it quite right again.

Heading down the other side towards the highway

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I was making light of the post times, and realize this is not an up to date log of Jeremys current location.

I just noticed the "compass" on your front fender, and your new model designation on the side cover, very cool.

Keep up the entertaining posts and stay "dry" and safe.

Good luck.
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Day 6 pt 2

Rolling down HWY 1 in the dark was fascinating, another fun road, and the first test of my new fuel system. I got over two hundred kilometres from my main tank, and one hundred and ninety from my rear tank, with a generous reserve left in both. Much less stress than watching the odometer roll up to 100 and knowing I'd be stopped in the next few minutes.

I'm starting to discover themes in my travels. So far every trip, and every leg of this trip I've taken on a bike I've left late, in the rain, and generally ridden late or through the night. First riding from Saskatchewan in a thunderstorm that chased me all the way across Alberta to British Columbia. Now each leg of the current trip. It suits our riding style, Aurora and I both like meandering along well below the speed-limit singing and exploring, without any cages in sight to disrupt us. This theme will come to an end when I cross the border, as much as I enjoy it, it would cross the line from calculated risk to reckless behaviour where there are chronic problems with drunk cagers, wandering animals and unknown road conditions. I had installed heated grips in Sacramento, using a set of heating elements, some epoxy and 8$ rubber grips, a real luxury and blessing for 35$ at least when they deigned to work. A continual series of increasingly bizarre rituals trying to determine why they would work great after the bike sat at a gas station for a while, then die out as soon as I was up to speed, then refuse to work again despite trying every combination of switches. They worked for almost an hour when I ran on low beam only, then cut out as suddenly as before, never to work again with that trick. At first I thought the wind might be sucking the heat away since they were directly fixed to the metal bars, but without turning the bike off, I could idle indefinitely without ever getting more out of them, nothing makes a rider grumpier than snatching away a nice luxury that instantly becomes a necessity after enjoying the ability to move fingers without minutes of warming up and pain. I stopped in Big Sur to test my stove out and make some tea, we had a nice break, with a few weird looks from locals seeing me cooking outside a closed store.

With a hot water bottle stuffed in the crotch of my rain suit I enjoyed a nice warm ride for a while. I was hoping to camp on the beach along the way, but with true consideration for travellers, someone had avoided putting up fences or rails where it was possible to try diving off a cliff, and fenced the hundreds of miles where you might be able to stop and sleep without a large drop and a cold death with nice barbed wire. The one beach I found that looked nice even allowed off road vehicles, unless you dared to arrive outside of sunset when you couldn't pay your 10$ entry fee, with a 300$ bail set if you ignored the rules.

About three in the morning my highway ran out with a road closed sign and construction vehicles parked along the road.

We parked behind the signs, and slept until the sun came up, Aurora in the lee of a sign and me rolled up in my tarp.

I was greeted with a sunrise, and finally saw the golden hills of California. I will always regret missing some of those pictures with a flock of white birds above the glowing hills.

Riding on I stopped in Bueliton to balance my load, warm up and refill my water. Following the instructions of a local resident, I ended up the wrong highway but didn't know it,I passed through Lompoc, looked then using the sun got myself to the coast, ending up at Lompoc/Surf Amtrak station, beautiful ride and an amazing view. Following the sun and the ocean I would have been just fine if the Air Force hadn't dropped a gate and some dire warning signs in the middle of that road. Thankfully I read the sign about the illegality of photographing the sign and fence before I took a picture to show where I had stopped. Right next to the fence was the empty train station, I stopped there to wait and ask someone where I was going.

The first man who stopped turned out to have lived there his whole life, riding horses and bikes all through the hills. Turning 87 next year and having just lost his wife, he still had a strong handshake and a clear eye.

He told stories of the area before the air-force took over, from the town that was there, a train crash where we stood to stories of the days of pearl harbour and some destroyers foundering on the point. He was born just behind that point, on land the air-force now owns.

Out of range for a picture from the road, he finished by telling a lady who pulled in some more history.

He really enjoyed seeing my bike, as it turns out the point he was born near was called Honda point. Chance meetings like this have made me glad I'm travelling by glimpses of maps, the position of the sun and sea, with a GPS I would always be organized, following a small triangle and encased in a cage I wouldn't even see, a wireless prison keeping me on track, as part of the machine instead of free.

Back on the road down the coast, slowly seeing ever more signs of civilization, I stopped for dinner at a restaurant recommended by a traveller in SF. The prices much have changed since he was there so I just took a rest and tried an appetizer, which was enough of a meal for me. The nicest thing I've eaten on this trip by far, absolutely incredible view too.

Arriving in LA I almost made it to the right hostel, but ended up staying just a block away, at another hostel and met interesting people, including a guy who's written a screenplay, and is trying to get it produced now, and make his own life. I'm in awe of anyone with that kind of dedication. We swapped music and hung out late into the evening exploring on foot, or just hanging out. I caught up on homework and this report and met some more riders heading south near Santa Monica Boulevard, one on a KLR, the other on a BMW Dakar, They're taking the west coast route, hope they make it safely. In my defence, both hostels look identical to the picture on the brochure, and they're both on the same street, turned out to be a good place to stay.
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I was making light of the post times, and realize this is not an up to date log of Jeremys current location.

I just noticed the "compass" on your front fender, and your new model designation on the side cover, very cool.

Keep up the entertaining posts and stay "dry" and safe.

Good luck.

Ok, my apologizes to both you and Blindstitch, I'm sorry for jumping the gun, Probably not such an issue here, it's just it does worry me quite a bit, I've seen some very long travel threads decay into chaos because of small updates conflicting with larger posts, that anyone coming in new just gets totally confused, I've been the confused person coming in and found it very frustrating when I could tell there would be a good story, if I could only figure out how to read it.
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If it were me and I didn't think I could keep things straight I would probably post where I am and if I added to the story like you are I would put a note in the post that said you added to the story on the first page.
If it were me and I didn't think I could keep things straight I would probably post where I am and if I added to the story like you are I would put a note in the post that said you added to the story on the first page.

I would love to do it that way, I did try it, but it's a limitation imposed by the forum. It actually takes me ages to post on here as I have to find just the right number of image links it will allow before refusing to let my post go through, that's why some days are broken up into pieces.

I'm almost caught up, and after this the posts will be close enough to real-time to hopefully make no difference. I'm not sleeping until I'm caught up, no matter how many packs of smokes and new cuss words to direct at the computer it takes.
Damn thing wiped about 3k words out yesterday, crashed and corrupted the saved file.

I don't have a problem keeping things straight, and anyone who's been reading all along likely wouldn't, but for someone wandering into a long thread it can get very confusing otherwise.

I have a new idea though, how about I continually update the first post with my location, and keep the story running here normally, would that make it easier? Then anyone who's interested can see my location.

If the spot people ever get back to me, their website isn't allowing me to activate my tracker, this will all be moot, as you will be able to track my location down to a couple meters all the time.

EDIT: Just saw I missed this

Maybe it's just me but doesn't it seem like this could be a cold ass time to be traveling?

So where is the point of entry into the place where all the home depot workers come from?

Yep it's bloody cold, below freezing frequently, but it was time to go when it was time to go, so I'll deal with it.

South from Austin, Tx to Monterrey to cross, seems to be a crossing with little drama.
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Los Angeles

Here are some pictures from my hostel stay, I missed including them in the last post

The night shots were all done with an old 50mm f1.7 lens I got for 5$ Some pictures of Venice beach, and the screenwriter Jarred having too much fun in my boots. He did a fantastic dance to Rocking around the Christmas tree in them, but wouldn't let me take video of it.

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I was planning to head out of town fairly soon, but one of the two riders I met at Horizons Unlimited West who suggested this trip to me was in town with his family, they have sold off their stuff, rented out their house and flown in from New Zealand. They flew into Peru the day I left, and are going to buy a van or bus, and explore South America indefinitely.

Walk on the first evening

The Carnegies are: Dave, Corinne playing the adults, Laura, Sean and Braiden playing the kids. I don't know if I spelled them all right, I guess I'll find out soon enough when I talk to them. We stayed in a 2 bed hotel room, a bit cramped with 3 adults and 3 kids but we made it! They are quite a bunch of characters, never a dull moment with them around, by the end of it I think we were all wishing we had the energy the kids did, I'd be able to ride twice as far every day. I've decided from here on they are the Carnegie Carnival, some pretty amazing acting skills, and artistic talents among the kids. We had a blast buying some sugar canes which I chopped up and we ate, I hope I find more soon, I really like them better as the big stick instead of small pre-cut sections. I hope to meet up with them again in South America.

Banished for some peace and quiet!

Breakfast at Wendy's

Photography is serious business

All the ladies love a sharp dressed man

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They talked me into going to Universal Studios, not something I'd normally do, I'm much more inclined to explore on foot somewhere. My family actually went to Disneyworld for 4 days when I was younger, and I took the Amtrak into town every day to explore in LA, even though we stayed right across the road, which my parents patiently put up with, looking back I'm sure it must have been frustrating. Travelling is time for new experiences, and this was, so I went.

To get there you must Tap TAP to TAP target, similarly to how you click your heels three times to get home.

Even at Universal studio's the answer is blowing in the wind.

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Certainly is a commercial enterprise, they'll get you any way they can for money after the ticket price.

Looking cool while waiting to get squirted by mechanical dinosaurs is also serious business

Once they squirt on your face it's all fun though

We smuggled in smoked salmon, pitas, fruit, Swiss cheese, halva, and had a much better lunch. Got busted for the two big bags of chips, but everything else made it in. We went on several rides, a bit different from riding a bike, still fun though.

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On the bus ride home we met another traveller, she asked Dave what we were eating and wanted to try some, we were eating more of the pistachio halva I'd bought.

That meeting turned into a bit of an adventure. Ava was a Korean student, travelling in the states for a little while, after staying in Tennessee to work on her English, which was better than my Korean but still quite limited, a scary situation when travelling I'd imagine. We were heading back quite late, and I couldn't figure out why someone travelling alone like that would head back into LA so late, she intended to get off at Union station and walk to a friends place. I wouldn't leave my sister to do that alone after dark like that, so I was a bit worried. I decided to tag along for the walk, as it was only one extra stop, especially since she wasn't too sure about the route. After transferring trains which seemed odd to get to Union station, something I asked about, we ended up going all the way to North Hollywood without ever seeing the station she wanted, turned out to be the wrong train, should have got on the other side of the platform, heading back using the process of elimination, we made it to Union station, there wasn't any other train we hadn't taken on that route yet. There we discovered a new problem, she didn't belong at Union station either!

All the the Subway routes have their end destination posted up on the signs as well, so her station was just on the line somewhere. We tried every payphone in Union station without finding one that worked. I talked to several people but no one knew where we were trying to go. Finally I asked a security guard about phones, and she lent Ava all her friend, turned out to be the opposite end of another line. We made it there in the end and walked to where she lived, the bars on all the windows, heavy metal doors and the two police helicopters overhead nearby suggested I'd made the right choice. Shook hands and off I went again, retraced my way back to the Carnegies, to sleep and ride out the next day.

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Also what about the image size, I bumped it up 200px so people can see the images bigger on large monitors if they like, I'm undecided on it still
Nice pictures Jeremy. So many that it makes it hard figure out which one to use as my wallpaper.

Here I thought you were out there traveling alone all this time. It's good to see you got to hook up with your friends. I know you thought you were going to miss them until you got to SA. Keep up the good work on the story and pictures. I can tell it's going to be fun to follow along.

Ride safe.
I rode out of LA around 11am, on I-10 after picking up some more Halva, olives and Nom bread. I have no idea what Nom bread is actually called, but that's what I call it in my head. It comes in an enormous sheet in a plastic bag, the taste reminds me a bit of Naam bread, and I can Nom on it all day.

I rode fast the rest of the day, having some serious issues about 75mph, bike wants to go into a tank slapper, this is where the handlebars go back and forth more violently until they are hitting the stops, the only way I've found to keep up to speed and avoid it is to use my body like a sail, and lean back, this mimics the action of a steering damper, instead of trying to counteract it and make it worse. Doesn't happen much with a full tank, but when I'm getting close to empty it's a bit dicey. Beautiful country, just looks marvellous, and I could ride across it to the base of the mountains to camp in peace and pretend I was riding with the Sundance Kid.

but as I found on the PCH anywhere I could pull of to camp or explore up to the base of some beautiful mountains it's all blocked by barbed wire fences. They've Fenced the world in. Beautiful looking mountains to camp at the base of. Too bad everything down to the goddamn overpasses around here is fenced off. I have yet to see even the tiniest sliver of land beside the interstate that I wasn't cut off from with barbed wire. Who fences off an overpass anyways?

Maybe it's wire that's the problem, wire keep me out of where I want to be, wire carries problems from back home I can do little about, wire brings bad news from all around the world to my fingertips if I want it.

I stopped to shoot the above pictures of the mountains I wanted to ride to, after about 5 minutes a highway patrol car pulled up, I expected to get an earful for pulling off and stopping, but got a pleasant surprise. The officer was just stopping to make sure I was OK, asking about traffic conditions on the bike, and how the ride was going, with advice about navigating the trucks. Talk about a nice thing to do, it really made my day.

I found an Oregon License plate, and strapped it to my bike, I wasn't sure why at the time, later it made perfect sense, as I was making camp later on in the evening it hit me, it was the perfect material for a windscreen for my stove, I curved it as best I could trying to emulate Larry's smooth techniques, not as pretty as he'd make, but serviceable nonetheless.

Riding up off the road, and as I later found out through a ditch I barely felt when I was getting ready to camp was a bit surreal with a circus song playing in my headphones "River Deep" by Devil makes three. I ended up setting up on a high bank above the interstate, hidden by some shrubs, with a lone cactus. Not an idea site, but much better than being down low, no way I want Aurora to end up like Alex Supertramp's car.

A long cold night, I was in bed by about 6pm, didn't get to sleep till about 3am, slept till the sun came up and rode on. I was over the day 3 hump of sleeping on the ground, at which point your body stops complaining all night and decides the ground is actually comfortable.

Took a few night pictures experimenting with my tripod,

View from my camp.

The day before I tried taking videos from the bike, riding out some canyon roads outside of LA to get to someone's house to buy some batteries for my Miox pen. I ended up at the Rock cafe by accident but a couple riders on fast bikes offered to lead me back to the highway, watching their lines in the corners taught me a fair bit. Tons of police cars all along the canyon roads. The batteries are about 8$ each at the drug store, or 15$ for 12 high end cells with better capacity and reliability bought in bulk.

The tripod is so flimsy it shakes in any wind. only a couple of the night shots turned out, and the videos hurt to look at! The capture rate isn't fast enough and it shakes so much that there are weird distortions that run down the screen. The funniest part though is that without a camera everyone waves to me. When it's mounted up, I mounted it from the left crash bar and strapped the tripod in at the tank bag height as well, nobody will wave at all! Everyone is busy looking cool for the camera or doesn't want to be caught waving to a Honda I guess.

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