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The Open Road => Ride Reports => Topic started by: lightcycle on August 01, 2012, 09:02:58 am



Title: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 01, 2012, 09:02:58 am
Hey ST.ners,

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6HxFsJW/0/L/Copy-of-IMG0187-L.jpg)
It all starts with a bike... Actually, this was one of the last things we did to prepare for our trip!

I've been posting our ride reports here for a few years and we've appreciated all your support. Here's our latest journey, going to try to keep this thread synced with our blog, but it's tough to do on the road. Here's the first few blog entries from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw

Neda and I got our motorcycle licenses together in spring of 2004, as  an engagement present  to ourselves. We thought it would be a neat  thing to do.  

We took day trips, hung out at motorcycle meets, rode on group  rides, did track days, took  longer motorcycle trips, rode dirt bikes,  became motorcycle instructors, took even longer  trips, and then dealt  with the aftermath, the ensuing ennui of "real life" - the anchor of a   home, the jobs and the bills; the maintenance of everything we've  accumulated in our  collective seven decades on earth.  

So the solution seemed logical to us: quit the jobs, sell our home and everything in it, and  set out on THE motorcycle journey with no route planned, no end in sight and no return date  in mind.

Here are some pics from our blog: http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w7fV9J9/0/L/DSC0040-L.jpg)
This is what's left of our earthly possessions after a few rounds of Keep, Sell, Throw Away, Give Away. Now to get it all on our bikes...!

The preparations were long and tedious, possibly the content of another blog entry, and we  did manage to finally leave Toronto two days later than we had planned - See! We're already  sticking to our "No Plan" resolution.

Our early Sunday morning ride out of Ontario was a breath of fresh air, after the stifling,  hectic bustle of the previous few weeks. No responsibility but to ride and ride and ride. A  few things still lingered on my mind, one motorcycle, one SUV still left to sell, and the  turnover of keys for the condo when we returned in 2 1/2 weeks. And the weather was  beautiful! So unlike all of our other motorcycle trips.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wChQXdd/0/L/01genesetup-L.jpg)
I've left just enough space for myself between the tank bag and the stuff piled on the rear seat. Hopefully I don't gain any weight on this trip...

'm taking my trusty R1200GS. It does handle like a pig now with all the weight in the back, the front end feels so light and I have to push the bars a lot harder so I don't run wide in turns. Ack!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7qdSVtS/0/O/map-1.jpg)
First day's ride

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d4fQXdn/0/L/03507strawberries1-L.jpg)
Picked up some yummy strawberries at Flynn's Corners before hitting the 507

We rode all our favorite back roads out of Ontario and knocked on the door of our very good  friends in Ottawa, Kevin and Manon, who generously fed us with ice cream in the garage and  let us set up our tent in their back yard. Just in case you are thinking they aren't very  good friends at all, I am deathly allergic to their two cats who glared at me with knowing malintent through the screen door of the back porch.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Tm6rgG6/0/XL/06chainlube-XL.jpg)
Coming off the R1200ST's shaft drive, Neda has to get used to lubing her chain drive every evening now. Haha!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-td4dd7Z/0/L/garage-L.jpg)
Cooling off with a little ice cream in the garage

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9MCBmC6/0/L/IMG0232-L.jpg)
Easing me into camping, backyard-style. Just like a kid.

I'm not a camping-kinda guy. My idea of roughing it means no fluffy white robe hanging on the back of the bathroom door and no mints on the pillow. Neda, on the other hand, is NatureGirl, so she was really looking forward to getting a lot of outdoor-time.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HsgbCKH/0/XL/IMG0233-XL.jpg)
Neda and Manon prepare breakfast, while I watch from the back porch.

Leaving Kevin and Manon's place, I accidentally left my GPS case lying on the top of one of my saddlebags. The rear is so crowded with all the dry bags, extra fuel tank, toolkit and backpack that it's easy to misplace something back there. By the time I had realized it was missing, it had already been sacrificed to the highway gods. :(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fbFB2Bd/0/XL/05kevings-XL.jpg)

Kevin: "The only thing this driveway needs is more GSes...!"


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ST4CKXk/0/L/gses-L.jpg)
GS convention in Kevin and Manon's driveway


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 01, 2012, 09:07:15 am
Repost from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/2.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bQ5DPjQ/0/L/map1-L.jpg)

We rode to Montreal to get a new rear tire fitted on my GS, something I could have done at home, but just didn't have enough time with all the preparations, had a quick grocery store lunch and then off to Quebec City, our first campsite (KOA!)

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Streets were deserted during the morning ride through old Quebec City

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xNGK2L9/0/L/08ridingoldquebec2-L.jpg)
More old city scenes from the back of a motorcycle.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-x5x525x/0/L/09owl-L.jpg)
Owl watches over the Saint Lawrence River at Quebec City

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LBZ42Wx/0/XL/10fiddler-XL.jpg)
This fiddler was very photogenic! Playing old Quebecois tunes.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Kx3LJPJ/0/L/11oldquebec-L.jpg)
Getting busier in the old city.

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These cut-outs were hung above the old city streets.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DhXPgzg/0/L/13genepensive-L.jpg)
Taking a break from walking around.

The Tour de Beauce runs in Quebec City today. We waited about 20 minutes for the bicycles to come running by in the old city. They were preceded by a police escort on motorcycles.

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These guys were dragging their floorboards around the corners!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Bcgh8gv/0/XL/16girltree-XL.jpg)
Waiting for the bicycles to run by

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z8Dwkcb/0/XL/17tourdequebec1-XL.jpg)
There they go! there must have been over 100 bicycles,
this was their first lap so they were bunched up coming up the hill


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-v4R6CgM/0/L/18tourdequebec2-L.jpg)
They would go on to do thirteen laps around the old city

We did a bit of vagabonding today by hiding out in the lobby of a swanky Quebec hotel, stealing their wi-fi, electric outlets and air-conditioning! We had to share it with a bachelorette party though, and at the end, we got to sign the bride's T-shirt. Sorry, no pix! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vF48Cm3/0/L/19nedags-L.jpg)
Posefest in Quebec City


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 01, 2012, 09:08:49 am
Repost from: http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/3.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QqQ45tn/0/L/map2-L.jpg)

We had heard that the south shore of the St Lawrence River was a very picturesque place to ride around. We weren't disappointed!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GgSC4S5/0/L/DSCN9379-L.jpg)
Riding around the Gaspe Peninsula

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z9XWJdz/0/L/DSCN9278-L.jpg)
Souvenir shop on the shores of Gaspe

We stopped in Rimouski to eat our lunch in a parking lot of a grocery store and we saw what looked to be a motorcycle school. We thought it was just a basic licensing course until they started doing stunts!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sGPSBTj/0/L/DSCN9256-L.jpg)
I like their stunting gear...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gT4cqmR/0/L/DSC0015-L.jpg)
Someone painted the rock in the waters outside Saint-Flavie like an Egyptian Pharoah
Aptly named, "Pharoah Rock"


There are a lot of Can-Am Spyders riding around the area. I counted, and every third motorcycle we passed was a Spyder. Maybe Bombardier was having a sale for the locals? It got so ridiculous, that when Neda passed a Spyder, instead of waving, she would do the Incey Wincey Spider motion with her hand. Got some puzzled looks from that one! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XbzbMZJ/0/L/perce-L.jpg)
Big rock at Perce. We would ride around the coast and walk around the strait in about 20 minutes.

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Cormorants dive-bombing the water for fish

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5hNhfRs/0/L/perce3-L.jpg)
It was close to low tide, as the waters were low enough for you to walk to the rock.
If you waited there till high tide, you'd be stranded!


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Walking around Perce

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6V9NpNX/0/L/DSC0110-L.jpg)
Neda and Kim Jong-Il posing in front of the big rock at Perce

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X6VkTxL/0/L/gaspe-L.jpg)
Coastline at the Gaspe peninsula.

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Big stretch break for the GS and Neda

We ended up staying at Forillon National Park, but arrived too late in the evening to do any hiking after fumbling with our tent in the dark. Spectacular scenery off the cliffs of Gaspe, though!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on August 01, 2012, 09:16:13 am
Great photos, keep 'em coming please.  We've ridden around the Gaspe too - very scenic.  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: davenay67 on August 01, 2012, 09:48:19 am
Nice pictures. I assume you have photography as a hobby based on the quality of ocmposure, light and colour in your pics.

Great trip....curious to see where you go next after Canada.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Tyrroneous on August 01, 2012, 11:11:44 am
I have always enjoyed y'all's trip reports.  This one will be epic in scope and outcome.!  

 :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on August 01, 2012, 11:19:29 am

I have always enjoyed y'all's trip reports.  This one will be epic in scope and outcome.!  

 :thumbsup:


I agree 100%! I'm really looking forward to reading the rest!  :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ConPilot1 on August 01, 2012, 11:43:19 am
Wow!

Beautiful photos. Quit/Sell it all and head out for wherever?

That's what I call livin' the dream. Awesome.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rob707 on August 01, 2012, 11:54:52 am
 :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bdhszy1 on August 01, 2012, 12:03:39 pm
You are living my dream, enjoy it!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ScottB on August 01, 2012, 12:04:49 pm
I am viciously, viciously jealous.  If you wind up BC-bound, look us up - we can provide a cheap campground (read: my lawn) and free beer for a night or two!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Skee on August 01, 2012, 09:17:53 pm
 :beerchug: :thumbsup: :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: PatM on August 01, 2012, 09:31:54 pm
 :clap: :beerchug: Wow!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: 1moreroad on August 01, 2012, 10:29:57 pm
Fantastic photos.  Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 01, 2012, 11:25:09 pm
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-n66kMjM/0/L/map3-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-x5wt7Qj/0/L/IMG0247-L.jpg)
Neda's take on a PB&J sandwich in Forrilon National Park, in Gaspe

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DhnhVhW/0/L/stlouis-L.jpg)
Found a great campsite in St-Louis-de-Kent, NB!

These two pictures above typify our experience so far - camping and eating groceries. We're trying to stretch our travel dollar, since technically we're both unemployed and homeless! :)

We dawdled quite a bit on the Gaspe peninsula, so trying to budget time as well, we decided to boot it across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia -  all the while feeling continually rushed to see as much of the Maritimes as possible before we had to make it back to Toronto by the end of the month to close our condo and sell the remaining vehicles before our next leg. Having to shop for groceries everyday and find a campsite before nightfall didn't help matters any!

So.. not a lot of pictures from this segment...

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Our first taste of seafood in the Maritimes!

As we passed Antigonish, NS, we saw a sign for McLobster. It was more like McRobster - didn't taste very good and robbed us of $6.89! We met Sean at the McDonald's, who happened to be the city planner for Antigonish, and he urged us to ride around town, so we did. Nice town, shame about their McDonald's...

We did keep in contact with Sean a few times over e-mail as he had invited us to his cottage in Halifax, but the timing was off and we never did meet up.

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Neda catches up on some light reading while waiting for the ferry

The ferry to Newfoundland departs from North Sydney, which is on the eastern coast of Nova Scotia. We arrived early and took our place in line with a lot of other Newfoundlanders waiting to go home. I had a long discussion with Robert, a francophone from St-Pierre-et-Miqeulon, a little island off the south coast of Newfoundland that is actually a part of France! He had a Goldwing and we were both talking in broken Franglais about motorcycles and riding. How I wished I learned more French in high school, he was a really great guy!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QRdTss4/0/XL/DSCN9432-XL.jpg)
Waiting to board the ferry for Newfoundland

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Our bikes get to travel across the Gulf of St Lawrence in the underbelly of the ferry, comforted by the weight of dozens of 18-wheelers above our heads.


While we were waiting in line, some locals told us that the winds on the coast of Newfoundland got so high, they blew 18-wheelers off the road. We tied our bikes down real good after hearing that, but it was pretty smooth sailing all the way to The Rock.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZLCwmP6/0/L/DSCN9436-L.jpg)
In the hold of the ferry

It's a 6.5 hour overnight trip from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to the west coast of Newfoundland at Port-Aux-Basques. There were a lot of people on the ferry on their way to St John's on the east coast, but because it's so costly to ferry all the way there, most people choose just to drive across the island instead.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zg2pSnG/0/XL/ferryasleep-XL.jpg)
Trying to get comfortable on the ferry

Being unemployed and homeless, we opted for the cheap seats on the ferry instead of a cabin. We weren't allowed to lie down on the floor or across several seats and if the crew found you, they would kick at you until you woke up... :(


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: olderigetfasteriam on August 02, 2012, 12:24:26 am
Subscribed


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: dark_isz on August 02, 2012, 09:26:22 am
This is fantastic. I wish y'all the best of luck!

And thanks for bringing us along.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Virginian on August 02, 2012, 02:15:25 pm
Wow, living the dream! We all look forward to the next update. Your reports are always epic and the narrative and photos are the benchmark for others to follow. Thank you for taking us along with you!

Eric


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on August 02, 2012, 05:49:11 pm
Damn straight! Wish I could do that! I'd be GONE with a capital G.....


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on August 02, 2012, 08:31:04 pm


Being unemployed and homeless, we opted for the cheap seats on the ferry instead of a cabin. We weren't allowed to lie down on the floor or across several seats and if the crew found you, they would kick at you until you woke up... :(



When Rue & I took the ferries to/from Newfoundland last year, we too opted for just seats on the shorter Port aux Basque/Sydney route; thinking they'd be more comfortable than they were.  We wished we'd gotten a cabin instead.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Orson on August 03, 2012, 02:39:17 am
Seems a bit spiteful to force you to sleep in the seats instead of the floor. Almost as if they're saying, "If you're not gonna pay for a cabin, ya ain't gonna sleep." Maybe there's a safety regulation that forbids it.

A trip to the Gaspe Peninsula & the Canadian Maritimes is high on my North American wish list, yet it's merely a warm up tour for your main trip  :eek:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 04, 2012, 04:56:03 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/5.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6srV5bR/0/L/map4-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bNDsx4m/0/L/IMG0254-L.jpg)
Pulling into Port-Aux-Basques

The ferry pulled into Port-Aux-Basques, on the west coast of Newfoundland at 6 in the morning. We stopped into the visitor centre outside of town and waited a little while so we wouldn't have to share road with the hundred other vehicles also exiting the ferry. Also had to change the time on the clocks on the bike. Did you know NL has its own time zone and just to be different, it's a half hour ahead of Atlantic Time! Despite our little stopover and losing 30 minutes, the seaside community was still fast asleep as we left in the rain and fog, to ride north up the main highway.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7gHpC4t/0/L/DSC0144-L.jpg)
Riding the west coast of Newfoundland

They call these the Table Top Mountains, a leveling off of the terrain that gives rise to a natural wind-tunnel effect, the same winds that blow 18-wheelers and trains off their tracks.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pL6q3ZT/0/L/DSCN9443-L.jpg)
Bearded dragon stops to say hi to us in Corner Brook

Corner Brook is the first large town about 2.5 hours north of Port-Aux-Basque, and are they ever friendly! Seems like our stop for lunch brought half the population of the town out. As we hung out in the Timmies parking lot eating our sandwiches, we had a parade of people asking where we were from and giving us advice on where to go on the island and everyone warned us to be careful of the killer moose on the roads - they like to jump out in front of vehicles. Normally our conversations went like this, "How's it going der, eh? Watch out for dem der moose!". Lots of stories of moose strikes on The Rock, especially during the early morning and evening hours.

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Gros Morne Park - wiped from the ferry ride

We got to Gros Morne Park in the early afternoon and set up camp. Because I opted to take pictures on the ferry ride instead of sleep, I passed out immediately while Neda took the opportunity to hike around see the park. Later on, we met up with Ben at the visitor centre, who happened to be a fellow ADV rider on an XT600 from New York who told us that a GS rider had died on the Trans-Labrador trail that he rode on the week before. Sad news.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bW2d8N3/0/L/DSC0164-L.jpg)
Neda's hike through Gros Morne Park

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Gros Morne Park

The next morning, we made a decision to hot-foot it across the island. We're remorseful because we would have liked to spend more time here but we had to meet friends in Halifax in a few days time, and it turns out the ferry from NL's east coast only runs three times a week! Neda really likes it here and it is high on her list of places to move to whenever we decide to settle down again. We both really wanted to ride to St Anthony's to see the icebergs glide down between Labrador and Newfoundland, but Ben assured us that there weren't a lot of them. Next time!

The scenery off the main highway was pretty uniform as it cut its way through the boreal forest of the island. I had the depressing feeling that we were missing so much of Newfoundland and I vowed that after we wrapped things up at home, I mean Toronto... :), we would go about the rest of our journey very differently. After trekking 700 kms eastwards and a whole day later, we pulled into St John's, the capital city of NL.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zGvr8ch/0/L/DSC0195-L.jpg)
Neda hams it up at Cape Speer. Took forever to dry her off...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zGCCP6M/0/L/capespeer2-L.jpg)
Looking pensive at Cape Speer

The fog was pretty thick in the early evening as we rode the steep and windy road out to Cape Speer, the eastern-most point in Canada. It's just outside St John's, and Neda remarks how understated our tourist attractions are compared to the US. No wall-to-wall T-shirt/hot-dog stand/souvenir stalls here, just the beauty of the eastern Newfoundland coast. We stared out at the Atlantic ocean together and wondered what we'd see and where we'd end up next.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xtcJH7G/0/L/capespeer1-L.jpg)
This is where our journey really starts...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wBGZC6n/0/L/capespeer3-L.jpg)
Following the yellow brick road to the lighthouse at Cape Speer

Starving, we rode back down to St John's for dinner. We were parked somewhere in downtown St John's looking for a place to eat, with no success when we walked back to our bikes and there was a guy on a huge red Kawi waiting for us! Roy is a paramedic in St John's, and he was just riding around when he saw two unfamiliar bikes (everyone knows everyone in St John's) and he wanted to give us a tour of his city. So we hopped on and followed him around town as he showed us the sights. He was a great ambassador for the town and we felt like we had the red carpet treatment!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gJ3FPT8/0/L/DSC0260-L.jpg)
Roy, our tour guide around St John's

Our final stop on Roy's tour was the restaurant we were looking for, the Bacalao, billed as "nouveau Newfoundland cuisine". After a long day of touring, the food was excellent: Labrador caribou and traditional salted cod. Amazing food, all washed down by some dark ale from a local brewery called Quidi Vidi.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on August 04, 2012, 05:09:33 pm
 :banana: :banana:

Keep it coming! Enjoy the adventure!

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on August 04, 2012, 11:52:39 pm
:popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sleazy rider on August 05, 2012, 12:02:27 pm
Yeah, buddy.  Pass the salt.   :popcorn:  I can't wait to see where this goes.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: coho on August 05, 2012, 12:09:09 pm
:popcorn: This popcorn is salty. Good thing Skee and PatM brought beer. :beerchug:

Ride the dream. Onward, lightcyclers! :wings:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jeepinbanditrider on August 05, 2012, 06:30:16 pm
I've been to Cape Speer and that lighthouse ya'll were waling up too.  We stopped in St Johns for two nights on the way back from a detachment to Morocco.  Very beautiful place.

Did you get a chance to check out the night life down on George Street  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 06, 2012, 04:54:44 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/6.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d525Sfb/0/L/IMG0260-L.jpg)
Start the day right!

The next morning, we rode around St John's to get some supplies and walked the downtown area. Ended up at Ches's fish and chips, which was a Newfoundland institution, and came highly recommended by Roy the night before. One of our resolutions on this trip is to try everything the locals recommend. I suspect the food tasted extra good because of all the hills we had to walk up and down to get to Ches's. Did I mention the roads in St John's are crazy steep?!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NLrPkWT/0/L/DSC0275-L.jpg)
Lake Quidi Vidi

After lunch, we hopped on our bikes and rode out to a very pretty area just outside St John's, recommended by the waitress at Bacalao last night. It's called Quidi Vidi, and it's where the beer we drank is made. The brewery is housed in an old fish processing plant on the lake, the white houses above are fishing stages.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2NB4phP/0/L/DSC0279-L.jpg)
GS at Lake Quidi Vidi.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fMM48Hh/0/L/DSC0288-L.jpg)
Hanging out at the Quidi Vidi brewery

We took a tour of the brewery and received some beers to take home with us. These are not the beers, we only got one each. Unfortunately, mine leaked in my top case on the way back. It's very hard to wash out the smell of beer. So right now I'm carrying a little bit of Quidi Vidi 1892 dark ale with me everywhere I go.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-chVft3v/0/XL/DSC0296-XL.jpg)
99 bottles of beer on the wall...

The fishery was bought by the brewery after it was shut down when Newfoundlanders faced tough restrictions on fishing in the 90s.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DvXVrVL/0/XL/DSCN9473-XL.jpg)
Signpost at Signal Hill. Foreshadowing, maybe?

Around the same area is Signal Hill, which was the site of the first transatlantic wireless signal by Marconi. Later used by the military as a communications centre, it provided us with great views of St. John's from above as well as the waters of the Atlantic ocean.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dsNTL2V/0/L/DSC0299-L.jpg)
Cabot Tower at the top of Signal Hill

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6BpLcQ3/0/XL/DSC0317-XL.jpg)
Neda gets shot out of a canon at the top of Signal Hill

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Fqvk4Dc/0/L/DSC0319-L.jpg)
The view of St. John's from the top of Signal Hill.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F8Xqv7C/0/L/DSC0336-L.jpg)
Whale-watching from Signal Hill

These tourists must have gotten their money's worth. There were a lot of whales jumping in and out of the waters below Signal Hill, and all you had to do was look for the whale-watching boats as they followed whales swimming in the bay.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-q3FJV3M/0/L/IMG0263-L.jpg)
Colored row houses are a famous sight in St John's

The legend is that the fog was so thick in St John's that when the fisherman came home, they couldn't distinguish which house was theirs, so they painted them all different colours so they wouldn't walk into the wrong home. Dunno if it's true, but it's pretty.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SZ5vKKM/0/L/DSCN9479-L.jpg)
Still empty on George St, the hub of nightlife in St. John's

In the evening, we took a bus into St. John's looking to taste a bit of nightlife. However, we were reminded how old we were when at 10PM on a Saturday night, we were ready for bed and the party hadn't yet started yet...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Gt9BSL3/0/L/screech-L.jpg)
Not "screeched in" officially...

Newfoundland screech is a foul-tasting paint-thinner that the locals used to brew cheaply. There is a whole tradition of being "screeched-in" involving drinking this slop, kissing a cod and reciting a dirty limerick about jibs and penises... The only place that we could get screeched in was Trapper John's, which was dead, so we instead went to a crowded bar and ordered some screech there instead. Turned out we walked into a cougar bar...

Next day was a travel day - ride down to Argentia, at the southern tip of Newfoundland to catch the ferry back to Sydney. We were recommended to ride some of the more interested roads around the coastline instead of taking the main highway straight there. So we did! Scenic routes like the Irish Loop which winds its way around the Avalon peninsula and ends up near the ferry dock. Apparently, the Irish Loop gets its name from the fact that most of the initial settlers of the coastal towns hail directly from Ireland.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CpdDJj6/0/L/DSCN9491-L.jpg)
A wedding and a funeral on the road

The pictures above depict a wedding roadside toll: two women raising money for a stag and doe for a local couple getting married that weekend. Neda donated $5 to pass. :) The bottom picture was actually a funeral procession, which we initially thought was traffic due to construction! We saw cars lined up behind heavy machinery, but then the construction vehicles did a 180 and all the cars followed as well! Turns out everyone in that town, including the construction workers rode in and out of town to pay their respects to the dearly departed. We joined the procession at the end of the line and followed them back into town and passed them as they turned into the cemetery. A wedding and a funeral on the same road within the same hour! Bizarre!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WLpRhp8/0/L/IMG0268-L.jpg)
The ferry ride back to Nova Scotia from Newfoundland

Since we were leaving from the east coast of NL, instead of the west, where we arrived, the ferry ride back was 15-hours long. So, to avoid getting kicked in our sleep by the ferry crew, we dished out a small fortune for a cabin during the overnight ride back to Nova Scotia. This was our first time during this trip that we're sleeping in a bed and the cramped accommodations felt so luxurious!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: dan88z on August 06, 2012, 08:01:29 am
living the dream! great report and I look forward to following your journey.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on August 07, 2012, 10:35:42 pm
 :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: R Doug on August 07, 2012, 10:55:48 pm
 :hail:

I am in on this thread. Wow, I cant wait to read more!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jeepinbanditrider on August 07, 2012, 10:58:57 pm
I've been Screeched in.  I've gotta find that damn photo somewhere  :lol:

Speaking of Cougars and St. Johns I had 4 pretty good lookin older ladies pretty much pay for a whole night of drinking when I was there.  Good times  :bigok:

Edit found it!

I think someone dared me to bite it

(https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/s480x480/422301_4407939482762_180095131_n.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Andrew on August 07, 2012, 11:08:08 pm
 :clap: :clap:

 :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 08, 2012, 12:32:47 am

(https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/s480x480/422301_4407939482762_180095131_n.jpg)


LOL! Awesome!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 08, 2012, 12:44:54 am
Taken from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/7.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wjNchng/0/L/map5-L.jpg)

We rode out from the ferry into early morning rain coming down on Sydney, Nova Scotia. We've had such perfect weather for our ride so far, very un-RideDOT.com-like, so we were due for some precipitation! Not a lot of pictures from our ride, since we had to meet friends in Halifax, about 400 kms away.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pN6pcQV/0/XL/DSC0375-XL.jpg)
Neda tries to make the guard smile at the Citadel. Unsuccessfully...

The weather clears up as we enter Halifax and we ride up Citadel Hill to check out Fort George, the latest and largest of many fortifications built to repel attacks from the Indians first and then the Americans later on during their Civil war and the War of 1812.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xprFGtK/0/XL/DSC0384-XL.jpg)
Tall Ship Silva is a permanent fixture touring around Halifax Harbour, a popular spot for weddings and events

We met our friends Khanh, Ed and Dirk in Halifax harbour, they had just completed a harrowing Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000 from Toronto through torrential rain and pea-soup fog in New Brunswick! It was nice hanging out with folks from home and we took the Alexander Keith brewery tour for some free beers at the end. Oh, and the show was nice as well, if not a bit cheesy...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WrmHPHf/0/L/DSC0394-L.jpg)
Alexander Keith brewery. Our second beer tour this week!

The rest of the Toronto riding gang, Will, Mel and Irene pulled in later and we had a great dinner in the harbour, and then checked into a motel (BEDS! LUXURY!) for the evening. While it's great to be on the road and seeing new places and meeting new people all the time, it's nice to hang out with familiar faces again.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KMdNNPj/0/L/DSC0407-L.jpg)
Fog creeps over the harbour at Peggy's Cove

The next morning, we all rode out to Peggy's Cove, a very picturesque community on the south shore of Nova Scotia, less than an hour outside of Halifax. It was very foggy, which added to the Maritimes atmosphere, but thankfully the thick blanket burned off while we were walking around the lighthouse and granite rocks at Peggy's Cove.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kTVcjwQ/0/XL/DSC0422-XL.jpg)
Arguably the most photographed lighthouse in the world

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pnjc6gn/0/L/DSC0046-L.jpg)
I'm trying to bump up the stats for "Most photographed lighthouse..."

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rZfgSX3/0/L/DSC0452-L.jpg)
Irene and Khanh taking in the atmosphere at Peggy's cove

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fk4zmfz/0/XL/peggywill-XL.jpg)
Hangin' out with the hooligans - Dirk and Ed at Peggy's cove

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6bf2TJp/0/L/willpeggy-L.jpg)
Will looks out into the bay at Peggy's Cove.

We doubled back towards the northern tip of Nova Scotia in the afternoon. This would be our third time doing this route on the trip and co-incidentally we stopped in Antigonish for a third time to gas up. No McLobster this time though. Speaking of, we've been eating a lot of seafood this trip, I'm not normally a big lobster fan, but it tastes so fresh out here!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jhD79f9/0/L/DSC0477-L.jpg)
Sun sets on our bikes at our campsite outside Port Hawkesbury

We rode out to a campsite for the evening just outside Port Hawkesbury, yakking and laughing over dinner, while poking good-natured fun at each other until the sun set on our tents. We're rolling with our own motorcycle gang now!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 09, 2012, 10:00:06 am
Taken from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/8.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RLK33mf/0/L/map6-L.jpg)

The Cabot Trail is the jewel of Atlantic Canada's tourism industry, especially if you're a motorcycle rider. It is considered by many to be a destination highway, like the Tail Of The Dragon in NC, Sea-to-Sky highway in BC, and the Stelvio Pass in Italy. We were camped the night before just outside of Cape Breton island and only had a couple of hundred kms to reach the beginning of the Cabot Trail in St Anns, after circumnavigating the south-east section of the island. The decision was to ride the coastal road of the Trail counter-clockwise so we would experience the scenery of the coast to our right.  

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XbN626t/0/L/DSCN9532-L.jpg)
Back to group riding!

We left most of the planning and ride leading to Khanh, on his custom-painted VFR800, as he led us into the heart of Cape Breton. It was a really big change in rhythm as we rode with 6 other riders and at times we split up into two groups of four to keep things manageable, but the light traffic on the island meant stayed together as a group for the most part. The dynamics of group riding also changed with this many riders, as we had to make changes for different paces, following styles, endurance and also personalities.

Fortunately, we had all ridden with each other before and it was a quick adjustment to find a group order and pace that we were all familiar with. Neda and I met these guys at a group ride last year and we found it very enjoyable and comfortable to hang out and ride with them, and we were really looking forward to spending 10 days in the Maritimes with them. Like dating, finding good riding partners is sometimes hard to do, but over the years we've managed to find some really cool people that we love touring and doing day rides with.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7WXGxb7/0/L/DSCN9542-L.jpg)
Damn you, Toronto riders. Brought the rain with you...

As predicted by the weather apps (who watches the Weather Network on TV anymore?), the rain started coming down in the afternoon after our lobster lunch in (where else?) Lobster Kettle restaurant in Louisbourg. We head directly to the Cabot Trail and it's too rainy and foggy to see any of the promised sights. Annoyingly, the Pinlock insert on the inside of my visor broke it's seal and water slowly filled up between the fog-resistant plastic and the visor like an aquarium. All I needed was a couple of goldfish swimming around in there to complete the effect! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-89wswKN/0/XL/DSC0486-XL.jpg)
Rain falls overnight on the Cabot Trail

We booked into a 4-bedroom cabin that we found in South Harbour, right in the middle of the Cabot Trail. It's nice to share a whole place like with a bunch of people, besides the social aspect, it's cheaper than what we've been paying for campsites the rest of the trip! With wet riding gear and rainsuits strewn all over the place, we waited out the rain for the night and prayed for better weather tomorrow.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WjD2H5R/0/L/DSC0551CROP-L.jpg)
Meat Cove - off the Cabot Trail

Our prayers were answered with a beautiful day on the western leg of the Cabot Trail. We were recommended to take a side-trip up to Meat Cove, with magnificent views off the cliff of the north coast. Meat Cove road is gravel for about the last 10 kms, but our street bike brethren did well!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TpDqd2m/0/L/DSC0562-L.jpg)
View of Meat Cove

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k692wVK/0/L/nedacabot-L.jpg)
It's not a race, Neda...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RrdMWFx/0/L/DSC0573-L.jpg)
Meat Cove

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Q3FvJnv/0/L/DSCN9559-L.jpg)
Posing on the Cabot Trail

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hMnFT6w/0/L/DSCN9562-L.jpg)
Our motorcycle gang!

The twists and turns were a welcome change from the slabbing we had been doing the last few days. And set against the backdrop of the blue waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence and the clear skies above just made the riding day perfect! Scenic pullouts regularly line the Cabot Trail every few kms, offering picture-taking opportunities of the coastline, but we pass those up,  gobbling up the curves with unbroken rhythm!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WJzxZFH/0/XL/DSC0586-XL.jpg)
Irene takes the curves on the Cabot Trail

We ended the day at the Caribou and Munroe's Island Provincial Park, just outside the ferry that would carry us to Prince Edward Island tomorrow morning.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sammyseaman on August 09, 2012, 11:08:37 am
For some reason the pics are showing up on my work computer today  :banana:

Time to close the door to the shop, quit answering the phone and get caught up  :popcorn:  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sammyseaman on August 09, 2012, 11:48:29 am
Okay, just got caught up in record breaking time and I HAVE to say  :hail:
This site has many great ride reports but yours' my friend, maybe the best. Love, love LOVE it!  :inlove:
The brewery stops are making me very, very thirsty.
A couple observations so far.
1. I have a really good friend in Quebec City that I haven't seen in a few years. Unacceptable! I need to plan a trip there. Thanks for reminding me of him.
2. I also need to get over to Newfoundland. Never been but will have to go. I may need to buy a Tiger or Scrambler before I do this though  :D

You also have a few great quotes and here's my favorite 2.... so far.
"While it's great to be on the road and seeing new places and meeting new people all the time, it's nice to hang out with familiar faces again."
"Like dating, finding good riding partners is sometimes hard to do..."

 :popcorn:



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on August 09, 2012, 01:52:50 pm
This is just pure awesomeness.  :hail:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ST1300Rider on August 09, 2012, 02:42:13 pm
The hook is fully set. I'm in for the duration. Awesome report/pics. This definitely resets the bar.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk..... Really!


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Darkbluexplorer on August 09, 2012, 03:19:12 pm
Just want you guys to know that since I have hit some medical problems I am going to be living vicariously through your adventures! Let the good times roll!

From my mobile command unit attached to my hand.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: X1Glider on August 09, 2012, 03:34:28 pm
Much respect to you both for "chucking it all" and going riding.  Takes some serious guts to give up that part of your life. :thumbsup:

As I'll be up that way in a couple or so weeks, I have some really good ideas on route planning and sights.

Keep having fun.


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 09, 2012, 06:08:48 pm
Hey DarkBlue, Neda and I are wishing you a speedy return to health. Hope you get back on two wheels soon, but in the meantime, glad we could carry you along with us!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mortech on August 09, 2012, 08:01:08 pm
Nice report .... leave it to a Connie rider to show you the sights!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: garry on August 09, 2012, 08:57:40 pm
I just did a little back of the napkin math. If I was to live on the road, I'd be spending $25 a day for gas (~250 miles per day), another $15 - $25 for food, and something to camp. Toss in the occasional decent restaurant or motel and that's quite a chunk of money per day. That's at least $50/day per person living on the cheap and it doesn't count burning up a set of tires every month ($400 installed). A year of that is, well, a huge pile of dead presidents.

I don't know how you (or others) that manage to travel the world on extended trips manage to do it, but more power to you! I will have to live vicariously through your awesome ride report. Keep the blog and photos coming! Great stuff...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jeepinbanditrider on August 10, 2012, 03:27:11 pm
You can feed yourself for way less than that.  Dollar menu for the win  :bigok:

Or cheap canned food prepped on a tiny mixfuel stove. :)

But you are right that would still be very expensive.  It's something I'd like to use my military retirement for when I do retire.  Get little side jobs here and there for little extra money for parts and what not but other than that should be doable.


Let us know how long the stator lasts on the F800  :D



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ConPilot1 on August 10, 2012, 03:30:16 pm

You can feed yourself for way less than that.  Dollar menu for the win  :bigok:

Or cheap canned food prepped on a tiny mixfuel stove. :)


Oh hell yes. $15-25 a day for food is way to high of an estimate unless you're the type who needs a sit down meal with pie and ice cream.

$25 bucks will buy food for a week at Aldi's....

Road food for me is the cheapest part of the deal. I don't like to eat heavily when riding anyway. Small frequent munchies.  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Jay S. on August 10, 2012, 06:08:03 pm

Wow!

Beautiful photos. Quit/Sell it all and head out for wherever?

That's what I call livin' the dream. Awesome.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Could not agree more brother. They are truly living a rider's dream.

Lightcycle, thanks for sharing your story with us and for making us all jealous.  

 :beerchug:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on August 12, 2012, 10:57:24 am
Great adventure! Thanks for sharing. The pics were awesome, great eye for shots... I particularly like this one...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GDSrJmp/0/L/stretch-L.jpg)

 :cool:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on August 13, 2012, 06:05:19 pm
I particularly like this one...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GDSrJmp/0/L/stretch-L.jpg)


+ a whole bunch. That's a beautiful shot on a number of levels...

Following along and living vicariously through you guys. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us.  :clap: :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 13, 2012, 06:28:08 pm
Thanks for the encouraging words, guys! We're having a blast out here!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 13, 2012, 06:34:50 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/9.html


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-t278vmd/0/L/map8-L.jpg)

We woke up early to catch the early ferry across the Northumberland Strait from Caribou, NS to Woods Islands, PEI, about 75 minutes from dock to dock. The only thing I knew about PEI was that we grew a lot of potatoes because of the fertile red earth.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WqXgc6R/0/L/DSCN9571-L.jpg)
Early morning ferry trip to PEI

We spent most of the day riding around the coast of PEI. Unfortunately, the "scenic" route was a bit inland from the coast so the scenery consisted mainly of road and tree. We broke a bit from the scenery a bit to visit a lighthouse on the north-east corner of the island and to have a quick lunch.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H3JJRJZ/0/XL/DSC0598-XL.jpg)
East Point Lighthouse, PEI

During a gas stop, an attendant asked us if we were all here for Atlanticade. We had no idea what that was. Apparently this weekend, over ten thousand bikers would flock to PEI to cross the Confederation Bridge to raise money for MADD. The rally centre was Summerside, just a half hour away from our campsite that we were staying that night on the north shore.

Again, our hectic East Coast schedule prevented us from staying the weekend. This pace was not what we wanted for our real trip and Neda and I agreed that we would take every opportunity to dawdle and lag to our heart's content when we wrapped things up in Toronto.



After lunch, we rode down to Basin Head, just outside Souris, PEI where we heard the sands sing when you walked along the beach! And they did! A loud squeaking noise as we shuffled our boots up and down the sandy shore. The sound occurs when the quartz sand is very rounded and spherical. As it rubs against each other, it makes a distinctive squeaking noise like you're rubbing two pieces of wet rubber together.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Lb26JJx/0/L/sanddance-L.jpg)
Irene and Mel singin' in the sand - Photo by Ed C.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pK6Tn4R/0/L/IMG0279-L.jpg)
All this squeaking is making Neda tired

Neda has bad allergies to the mosquito bites at all our campsites, so she's taking Reactin to counter the swelling. Unfortunately, the non-drowsy medication is making her drowsy (happens in a small percentage of people). Not good when you're on a motorcycle!

We set up camp on the north shore just outside Cavendish, as dark rainclouds rolled in. We've never put up our tent in the rain yet, and we were hoping to get the fly up before the waterworks started. As it turned out, we watched the rain fall from the comfort of an all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant, our tents already battened down.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WKMPhgH/0/L/DSCN9572-L.jpg)
The view from our tentsite: morning sun on the north shores of PEI. Glorious!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7Xn3Zkf/0/L/DSCN9583-L.jpg)
On the way out of PEI, I finally see red earth! And mutant giant broccoli on the left! :)

The next morning, we rode out of PEI via Confederation Bridge to New Brunswick. The 13 kms bridge's claim to fame is that it's the longest bridge in the world to cover ice-covered waters, not that there were any on this warm late July day. The Atlanticade motorcycle rally was set to ride this bridge a couple of days from now, and I could just picture 12,000 motorcycles riding back and forth. A lot of tired left arms waving to that many motorcycles!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FXqwGD3/0/L/DSCN9610-L.jpg)
Our motorcycle gang approaches the curve on Confederation Bridge

We're spending a bit more time in New Brunswick on our way back to Ontario. This is truly the only bilingual province in Canada, almost everyone we meet along the way here speaks both languages fluently. Like PEI, I didn't know much about NB before coming out here, but what we really wanted to see were the Hopewell Rocks located in the Bay of Fundy, the inlet of water that's shared by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ND3xMjr/0/L/DSC0622-L.jpg)

The Bay of Fundy is home to a unique phenomenon - the largest tides in the world. Over 100 billion tonnes of water flow in and out of the bay during each tide. And the tides happen twice a day, high and low tides occuring every 6 hours and 13 minutes on average! The tide differential may be anywhere between 10 to 14 meters!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vMgwDqK/0/L/DSC0604-L.jpg)
Flowerpot rocks at Hopewell

These bizarre rock formations called flowerpot rocks, are created by the erosion of the twice-daily tides. The larger heads of the rocks are the parts untouched by the high tide. During low tide, it is possible to walk on the sea-floor and between the flowerpot rocks. When low tide is not low enough to walk the floor, visitors often rent kayaks and canoes and paddle around the rocks. Very beautiful to see!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DVsKpPb/0/L/DSC0630-L.jpg)
A precarious situation at Hopewell Rocks

There are signs posted all over to be back on shore before high tide hits Hopewell. If you find yourself out on the rocks during high tide, the only options are to wait the 6 hours until the tide washes out, or swim back to shore!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-twF5GsR/0/L/DSC0673-L.jpg)
Walking along the sea floor

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kppPpPK/0/XL/DSC0628-XL.jpg)
Posing at Hopewell Rocks


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bubba zanetti on August 13, 2012, 06:43:18 pm
I dream of visiting that coast ... you inspire those dreams just a bit further.   :clap:

Big thanks and going to be a regular follower of your adventures.

Will you go to St. Andrew's by the Sea ...??  I have never been but have images from the stories and former girlfriend used to tell me about the wonderful beaches and swimming there.

Enjoy !


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on August 13, 2012, 08:41:07 pm
Best ride report ever, may be accurate! Hope you guys can ride this report for ever, if just so the rest of us can live thru it with you! Be safe and keep it coming!
 :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 16, 2012, 01:15:28 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/10.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Bc7H2QP/0/L/ontariomap-L.jpg)

The ride back to Ontario from New Brunswick was a quick affair on the highway and was quite eventful, thanks to a broken master link on Khanh's VFR's chain. We put together two CAA calls to tow us from Perth, and then from Trenton back to Toronto, arriving at an ungodly 2AM. Alas, our test trip to the East Coast was over, now to prepare for the real thing!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w4CPZ7n/0/L/r1200gs-L.jpg)
123,456 kms on the old girl. Not a bad way to start a trip...

After a hectic couple of days doing a last minute cleanup of our condo, we handed over the keys to the new owner. This was the last major tie to our old life and it felt like such a burden off of our shoulders, even if it meant we were now technically homeless. Thankfully, my parents put us up at their place while we sorted out the last of our affairs. We moved all our mail, bills, and registered our drivers licenses and insurance to their address. Two decades later, and I was back living in my parents basement! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7xGZVgs/0/L/DSCN9636-L.jpg)
Giant Loonie in Sudbury

We left Toronto on July 15th, 2012 after saying sad goodbyes to our good friends and family, and happily severing our relationship with Rogers, Bell, Toronto Hydro and the Municipal Property Tax Collection Agency. This was it, for real now! As we headed north on the overly familiar Highway 400, it still didn't feel real. Still felt like we were on a day ride...

We stopped in Sudbury to take our obligatory picture in front of the giant Loonie outside of the Science North building. We must have 3 different shots of this from 3 different road trips. It was only once we traveled north of Sudbury that we felt like a dog that's broken it's leash, riding into new territory!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XSbcCnm/0/L/DSC0702-L.jpg)
Neda gazes at a lily pond on 108, just outside of Elliott Lake, north of Hwy 17

Part of our resolution for this trip is to take all the backroads that we never had time to explore because we had to make a destination for the night. We did learn some lessons from our trip out east though, which was that although we had the luxury of time, we traded for that at the expense of budget. So all the grocery shopping, preparing food, washing dishes and cutlery, setting up/tearing down of tents, etc. actually cost us a bit more time than if we had just checked into a motel at the end of the riding day and ordered a pizza or ate at a restaurant.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sFnvkZn/0/XL/DSC0719-XL.jpg)
Giant Muskoka chair outside the Pinecrest campsite in Thessalon. My theory is that little towns have to compensate by putting up oversize roadside attractions...

We stayed at a great campsite along the northern shores of Lake Huron, the beach was a few feet away from our tent and we relaxed on the shores for the evening and fell asleep to the sound of waves gently lapping the sandy beach. This camping thing is pretty new to me and I'm amazed that folks will park a camper for the summer at a campsite and make it their seasonal cottage! Lots of campers with patio stones, lawn gnomes and furniture outside!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-v2TxSPQ/0/L/DSCN9671-L.jpg)
Our campsite at Thessalon

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Vkf3t4P/0/L/DSC0726-L.jpg)
Contemplating the nomadic existence

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LcCrPbK/0/XL/DSC0771-XL.jpg)
I relax, Neda hikes. This is a common theme in our trips together. :)

The next morning, we venture out onto new roads. We're bypassing the very scenic Hwy 17 from Sault-Ste Marie to Wawa, since we've done it already, but I'd recommend it to anyone who's riding in the area - the sweeping turns and numerous elevation changes are made all the more spectacular by the sight of Lake Superior off the west side of the road.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HjMMTfd/0/L/DSCN9679-L.jpg)
Hwy 129 Ontario

Instead, we're now riding Hwy 129 north from Thessalon. It's often called Ontario's Tail of the Dragon, because Tennessee 129 shares the same number. It's nowhere as tight and twisty, but the first 60 kms have amazing fast sweepers, great pavement and lots of 270 degree turns that have you leant over for what feels like an eternity! What a riot! The rest of the road is your normal Northern Ontario scenic route.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FWPZ7Qq/0/L/DSCN9656-L.jpg)
Northern section of Hwy 129

As we reach Wawa in the afternoon, a light drizzle begins and darker clouds are approaching us. This is the first rainfall we've had on this trip. And it looks like we might have to put up a tent in the coming downpour...



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jeepinbanditrider on August 16, 2012, 08:17:17 pm
What kind of helmets are ya'll wearing?  Shoei Multitecs?  

The local Beemer shop is selling Multitecs at 25% off to make room for the new Nanotecs.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 17, 2012, 12:27:01 am

What kind of helmets are ya'll wearing?  Shoei Multitecs?  

The local Beemer shop is selling Multitecs at 25% off to make room for the new Nanotecs.


Neda is wearing a Neotec and she loves it. Lots of nice features above the Multitec.

I've got a Schuberth C3. Great helmet as well, once you get rid of the chin skirt!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jeepinbanditrider on August 17, 2012, 03:10:13 pm
Thanks :)


Sent from my iPhone


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Blunder on August 18, 2012, 05:19:46 pm
I'm so looking forward to further installments of this epic Ride Report. You guys are putting dangerous thoughts into my head, especially at this point in my life.  :D

The narrative is fantastic and the pics even better. This has the potential of equaling and surpassing that ADV Rider British dude who took his post-RAF retirement on a two year journey through North America.

May you be greeted by gorgeous sunsets and rises, may the roads be clean and your personal encounters pure. If you ever run into troubles, post up here and I'm certain help will be quickly found. You guys are travelling for all of us, but don't feel it a burden. We'll live vicariously through your reports and updates and are grateful (and more than a bit jealous) for your efforts.

God bless, Nameste, Mele Kalekimaka, Bon Voyage, Vio Condios, whatever. Ride hard, ride fast, ride well.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 19, 2012, 12:04:47 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/11.html

We reached Wawa just as the worst of the downpour started, and we ducked into the local Subway for a late lunch and to see if the deluge would let up before figuring out what to do for the evening. We really didn't want to be putting up a tent in the rain and the thought was, do we really want to be ducking into motels everytime it rains? That's the quickest way to burn through the travel dollars...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pTHgKCf/0/L/map8-L.jpg)

As we mulled over our predicament, in strode a rainsuit-clad motorcycle warrior. He cased the joint and made a bee-line towards us.

"Who's the ADV Rider?"

Ah, my sticker on the back of my sidecase...

Jamie Z, fellow ADV Rider from Memphis, TN, chatted with us for a while. He was doing a road trip around the Great Lakes, headed to MN to visit some family. We told him of the great camp sites we had visited in the past few weeks and how cheap they were (compared to the hotels we had been staying with on our other trips). Little did I know we were talking to the author of Budget Travel the Jamie Z Way" (http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=315322)! We got a crash course in how to sleep for free, eat on the cheap and different ways to stretch those travel $$$. Jamie told us how he stayed in a luxury cabin the night before and then got a seaplane ride around the lake this morning. ALL FOR FREE! Our meeting could not have come at a better time, at the beginning of this trip.

So, in the spirit of budget travel, and because Jamie seemed like a stand-up guy who wasn't going to make off with our iPhones, GPSs and my favorite pair of Crocs in the middle of the night, we offered to split the cost of a motel with him, seeing as how the rain just wouldn't let up.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FTBx4B3/0/L/DSCN9699-L.jpg)
Big Goose statue in Wawa. Remember my theory about small towns?

As you can tell from this picture taken the morning after, we were still friends (after I confirmed that my crocs were still in my tankbag). We've taken a few pictures of the goose over the years and just recently, rust spots have appeared on the wings and body. The town is trying to raise funds to repair the statue. Poor goose! Jamie rode with us for a little ways and dropped back to do some sightseeing on his own, we would meet up with him again later on in the day.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HJRkNsW/0/L/DSCN9700-L.jpg)
Chain maintenance. For once, it's nice to be shafted!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gFSDVPb/0/L/DSCN9703-L.jpg)
Somewhere along the way we joined a motorcycle gang. And we all rode across bridges together.It was totally badass...

We took our time riding across the top of Lake Superior on Hwy 17, it was a clear, cool day, great for riding and we stopped to camp at a few provincial parks along the way. It was a leisurely way to say goodbye to our home province.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sSmRN6L/0/L/DSCN9707-L.jpg)
At a gas stop, Neda makes a friend

This is Cabo, the Mini Parrot. We met a couple (from Montana I think) traveling across Canada by bike as well, and this was their traveling companion! Cabo just started speaking. His first word was, "Noodle!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HZx6V4V/0/L/DSCN9706-L.jpg)
On the right hand side panel you'll see Cabo's pillion seat, a tiny box where he can chillax.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RwSzjLq/0/L/DSCN9708-L.jpg)
Bikes wait impatiently while we take a nap in Nipigon

At Sleeping Giant provincial park, we played beach volleyball with Savannah and the staff of the park. Savannah and her mother Jill were from Winnipeg, and Jill told us to visit Rushing River Provincial Park. So we did! Did I mention we are doing everything the locals recommend?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g4hrj9v/0/XL/DSC0849-XL.jpg)
Chillin in the waters at Rushing River Provincial Park

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2RtZ8kp/0/L/DSC0840-L.jpg)
Our campsite at Rushing River

We got off the main Hwy 17 and took a scenic bypass called Mom's Highway. Neda has this theory that if you name a road, motorcycle and car enthusiasts will come, ie. Tail of the Dragon, Cabot Trail, Sea-to-Sky Highway, etc. Mom's Highway was okay, bit more scenic than Hwy 17, but I'm sure if they called it Jo Momma's Highway, it would have kicked more ass...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PH97wtC/0/XL/DSC0801-XL.jpg)
Terry Fox Memorial Statue in Thunder Bay overlooking the shores of Lake Superior.

As we approached Thunder Bay, we rode up to the Terry Fox Memorial. One of my first memories of Canada was watching Terry Fox run across the country on TV. I was only 9 years old at the time, and it was only later that I fully understood the magnitude of running a marathon everyday for 143 days straight after losing a leg to cancer. I don't get overly emotional, but my memories of his run, coupled with both of our families history with cancer made this a very special side-trip.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8dD5Lkz/0/L/DSC0818-L.jpg)
Kakabeka Falls just outside of Kenora

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zZFFDJH/0/L/DSC0828-L.jpg)

Kenora is one of the last towns on the TransCanada Highway before we leave Ontario. I have to admit, part of the reason why we visited Kakabeka Falls was because of the name. Our new euphemism on this trip for taking a dump is now "I have to visit Kakabeka Falls". I can tell by the look on Neda's face that she's visited Kakabeka Falls. I mean, it's right there in the background, is how I know...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mVWSQSV/0/L/DSC0836-L.jpg)

You know those stickers with the stick figure family that you see on the back of minivan windows? Neda got a couple of bike stickers for us. It's bad enough the Harley guys don't wave at me, now they openly mock us... :(

I've lived in Ontario for the last 31 years of my life, and it only took 5 days for us to make it out of the province. I'll miss the place, but most of all the family and friends that we're leaving behind.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 19, 2012, 12:06:55 am
May you be greeted by gorgeous sunsets and rises, may the roads be clean and your personal encounters pure. If you ever run into troubles, post up here and I'm certain help will be quickly found. You guys are travelling for all of us, but don't feel it a burden. We'll live vicariously through your reports and updates and are grateful (and more than a bit jealous) for your efforts.


Thanks!

Quote
You guys are putting dangerous thoughts into my head, especially at this point in my life.  :D


Do it! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Cheddarhead on August 19, 2012, 08:07:17 am
It's been said before...

..but I must compliment you both on your writing and especially on your photography.  The images you've chosen to share are well-composed and serve to communicate well the experiences of the moment.  

Savoring this trip report...reading (and re-reading) installments at liesure, allowing myself a few moments escape.

Thanks for taking us along...you are so very fortunate to have found a friend / riding partner who shares your particular strain of wanderlust....


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Blunder on August 19, 2012, 01:30:03 pm
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sSmRN6L/0/L/DSCN9707-L.jpg)

Every picture tells a story, don't it?



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Fast Blue on August 20, 2012, 10:39:45 am
Very nice  I enjoy the ride reports that come from  home




Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ST3Andy on August 20, 2012, 07:53:36 pm



+ a whole bunch. That's a beautiful shot on a number of levels...

Following along and living vicariously through you guys. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us.  :clap: :popcorn:


+1 I look forward  to ride reports daily. Great stuff.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 21, 2012, 03:25:03 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/12.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hTk7m6r/0/L/map9-L.jpg)

Crossing over from Ontario into Manitoba on the TransCanada Highway we experienced a drastic change in geography. Gone were the irregular shorelines of Lake of the Woods, which in itself is quite spectacular when seen from an airplane. You can get a sense of this from the map above: the lake covers over 950,000 acres and has over 14,000 islands with over 30,000 kms of forested shoreline!

When we crossed the provincial border, it was like emerging from a forest into a wide open field. A field about 1,500 kms long... We had wandered out into the Canadian Prairies! We call it The Gap, that space between Ontario and the Rockies.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pGGf5hW/0/XL/DSC0866-XL.jpg)
The Market at the Forks

Just the other day, at the Terry Fox memorial in Thunder Bay, we were talking to a guy from Winnipeg and we asked where to go in the city. He replied, "The Forks". Having no idea what that was, we punched it in the GPS and were pleasantly surprised to find a nice little touristy area located in downtown Winnipeg, at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red River - hence "The Forks".

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vQzNHfJ/0/XL/DSC0941-XL.jpg)
Closeup of one of the structures surrounding Oodena Circle.

At one of the stores in the market, we overheard from the shopkeeper that there was a pow wow happening in the afternoon at the Oodena Celebration Circle, which was an open-air arena just outside the market. It was built by the city to host aboriginal and other cultural celebrations. "Oodena" is Cree for "centre of the city".

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nstkKqN/0/L/DSC0882-L.jpg)
Participants in brightly coloured traditional attire!

We stayed for quite a while at the pow wow listening to the drumming and chanting and watching the many different tribes come together and dance around the circle. It was a feast of colours,  and Neda remarked that we had lived in Canada for so long, but here in Winnipeg was the first time she's seen First Nations people so interwoven into the city and culture.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qrDFbtZ/0/L/DSC0890-L.jpg)

I found out later that we had actually visited The Forks on National Aboriginal Day, which was a pretty big event for Winnipeg. Some other shots of the Pow Wow:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FKvmPR8/0/L/DSC0918-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mcF2GsK/0/XL/DSC0955-XL.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-958vxmm/0/XL/DSC0959-XL.jpg)

The Forks was built on a site that was originally (and still is) a meeting place for the last 6,000 years. It was a popular spot for trading between early aboriginals, European fur traders, Metis buffalo hunters, etc. all the way to current day stores selling curios to nomadic motorcycle riders. :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rtNSRwb/0/XL/DSC0984-XL.jpg)
Human Rights Museum under construction at The Forks

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-D5q7LvX/0/XL/DSC0973-XL.jpg)
Walking the Espalanade Riel, a bridge just outside The Forks named after the city's founder, Louis Riel

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Xb7qsdr/0/XL/DSC0985-XL.jpg)
Thumpin' the doghouse!

I think what I'll miss most while being on the road is playing music. As far as entertainment goes, we don't watch any TV at all, but we did treat ourselves to an IMAX showing of The Dark Knight Rises. It was ok... I was very sad to hear about the tragedy in Colorado at the movie opening. These days, I get most of the news via social media, as I'm updating our pictures and blog online. Although we're seeing the world one small piece at a time, I'll have to be more diligent on keeping up with what's happening on a broader scale.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: spinalator on August 21, 2012, 05:52:16 pm
Great write up, love the pics. I need to get out East sometime!  :inlove:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 23, 2012, 02:22:03 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/13.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RfB27cB/0/L/map10-L.jpg)

Our route through the interior provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We tried to stray off the main TransCanada Highway often, or we would have died of boredom! The fierce headwinds of the prairies really affected our fuel economy. With our large panniers and my huge Aeroflow windshield, our frontal surface area resembled the shape of a brick, and our range plummeted from about 350 kms/tank to 250 kms! Speed limits on the prairies are 110 km/h, which also contributed to our poor fuel mileage... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8964s58/0/L/DSCN9747-L.jpg)
Saskatchewan's license plate reads, "Land of living skies"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mj5hsfk/0/L/DSC1003ld-L.jpg)

We took a break off the boring flatlands of the Prairies and headed south towards the US border to an area called the Big Muddy Badlands. The town of Coronach runs a van tour that hits most of the touristy areas, but since we were mobile, we just visited them on our own. Most of the places on their web site are not that interesting anyway, and we saved ourselves $75!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Qxjsq2z/0/L/DSC1007-L.jpg)
Taking a break on the gravel roads of the Big Muddy Badlands

The Big Muddy Badlands are these outcroppings of rock that look like they belong in a cowboy movie. You know the ones where the outlaw is running away from the US Marshalls, takes refuge in a cave in the hills and is in turn ambushed by Indians, and then all of them are chased by alien bounty hunters that look like Olivia Wilde...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TgSCRfs/0/L/DSC1020-L.jpg)
Castle Butte in the background

We spent most of the afternoon walking around Castle Butte, a large outcropping of sandstone and clay in the Big Muddy Badlands. It's the largest structure in the valley and was used by early settlers as a navigation landmark.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Jnv8qGB/0/XL/DSC1026-XL.jpg)
Bikes in front of Castle Butte

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6MNrwHw/0/XL/DSC1035-XL.jpghttp://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6MNrwHw/0/XL/DSC1035-XL.jpg)
Exploring the spooky caves at Castle Butte. This one reminded me of the movie The Descent. Scary!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PR24dCh/0/L/DSC1044-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sgh5r6T/0/L/DSC1050-L.jpg)

The badlands extend south into Montana, which boasts more desert landscapes, and is more typical of Western movies. Saskatchewan only has a tiny area of badlands north of the Canada/US border.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DVPKX75/0/L/DSC1059-L.jpg)
Neda's butt walking around Castle Butte

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XzMPN6W/0/L/DSC1077-L.jpg)
Neda surveying the view on top of Castle Butte

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vd6tNXs/0/L/DSC0073-L.jpg)
Walking along the spine of Castle Butte

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Tk7J8G9/0/L/DSC1082-L.jpg)
Bikes in the background below

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hVgHR6G/0/L/DSC0079-L.jpg)
GQ, here I come!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JN3dLKV/0/L/DSC1099-L.jpg)
Leaving Castle Butte


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: spd2918 on August 23, 2012, 09:51:41 am
Sweet report!

My wife and love Winnipeg as a weekend getaway.  It has a great international flavor for a city in sticks.



(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-D5q7LvX/0/XL/DSC0973-XL.jpg)
Walking the Espalanade Riel, a bridge just outside The Forks named after the city's founder, Louis Riel


That thing on the right is a Salisbury House Restaurant, part owned by Burton Cummings of The Guess Who.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: vguy on August 23, 2012, 09:45:03 pm
Great report and pix -- thanks.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sammyseaman on August 23, 2012, 10:09:38 pm

Sweet report!

My wife and love Winnipeg as a weekend getaway.  It has a great international flavor for a city in sticks.




That thing on the right is a Salisbury House Restaurant, part owned by Burton Cummings of The Guess Who.




Cool  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on August 24, 2012, 09:22:09 am
Watching your trip.  If you end up in Edmonton and want a place to regroup.   (Shower, Laundry, etc)  (Or the weather is brutal)

We have a guest room and can make garage space.



 BTW,  you're still early enough in the year to make it to Alaska.  Just sayn.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 25, 2012, 03:04:44 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/14.html


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Jct9Jm3/0/L/DSCN9756-L.jpg)
This is how it all starts

In Michael Crichton's book "Airframe", about an airplane crash, he documents that a disaster like that is never dependent on one single cause or event. Rather, a sequence of events have to occur to contribute to a crash. Here's my sequence of events:

Somewhere in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, my air compressor stopped working. It was one of those large 12-volt jobbies with the light, the attachments for volleyballs, air mattresses, inflatable dolls, etc., but the part that screwed into the valve stem started leaking so I junked it. I decided we needed something a bit smaller and less dependent on electricity, in case something went wrong with the electricals. So at a Walmart, $9.99 later, I picked up a foot operated pump.

Which promptly FAILED the first time I stepped on it... So we were now without an air compressor. Event #1.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qxWVSFg/0/L/DSC1104-L.jpg)
Just taking a nap... after having the wind knocked out of me...after a huge speed wobble and lowside in deep gravel

After visiting Castle Butte, we headed out to find the Sand Hill of Saskatchewan. We had been doing fine on street pressures in the lightly graveled road of the Bug Muddy Badlands, so we were feeling over-confident that we didn't have to let out the pressures since we were without our own air compressor and gas stations were few and far between. Event #2.

I check the Google, online maps and my GPS and can't figure out a way to get to the Sand Hills. so I opt for the most direct route and force the GPS through several unpaved roads. Normally this yields good results. Not this time, though. The road turns from unpaved to deeper and deeper gravel. I'm sure the Sand Hills are just a few kms away. We don't turn back. Event #3.

We're traveling at 70km/h, much too fast for the road conditions, and waaay to fast considering we didn't let the air pressure out of our tires since our stupid Walmart foot pump broke. In my rear mirror, I see Neda slow down by a lot, and then the speed wobble hit my bike. The handlebars violently shake left and right, wrenching my arms in both directions. The motorcycle starts to weave left and right, as the front wheel moves side-to-side, each oscillation getting worse in amplitude. Logically, I know what needs to be done: I need to relax my grip on the handlebars, grip the bike with my knees, and roll off the throttle slowly. But my natural instincts kick in and I do none of that. In fact, I do the exact opposite, and that is the final event that led to this:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tV9nbcp/0/XL/IMG0317-XL.jpg)
Aeroflow windscreen is not flowing air too well anymore

The motorcycle slides into the left ditch, resting on it's right side at a 45 degree angle, and I get bucked off into the middle of the road, I put my arms out to brace myself on impact and feel a searing pain in my right shoulder and my left ankle. It takes me a second, but I get up and signal to Neda that I'm relatively ok, I don't want her to worry too much, but she comes on over the intercom, and her voice is shaking with concern and fear anyway.

Although the bike is not laying entirely on it's side, the ditch is about 4 feet lower than the road, so we have to get it upright and ride it back up. That's when I notice I can't raise my right arm more than a few inches. This is not good. Neda struggles with the bike while I can only stand by helpless. Somehow, she manages to get the 600lb bike upright, almost all by herself and I can get on the bike in the ditch. Using my left hand, I grab my right hand and place it on the throttle and start the bike up. It fires up without a problem and I ride it up and out of the ditch. There is considerable pain in my right shoulder but I still am able to handle the controls properly.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9DqZ5vL/0/L/IMG0316-L.jpg)

Maybe I should get engine guards... On a ride, Gadgetboy from ADV once looked at my guardless jugs and asked me, "What are you, some kind of tough guy?". I don't feel like one anymore...

We rest at the side of the road and I lie down, exhausted by the effort and adrenalin is starting to leave my body, leaving me lightheaded. My pain in my ankle is actually a bruise right on a spider bite I got the night before, lot of pain but nothing serious. I still can't raise my right arm though which is worrisome. Neda does a survey of the bike, the Aeroflow windscreen is toast, the handguard's mount is broken, so is the right front turn signal but other than that, the bike is still rideable. A few trucks (carrying fresh gravel!!!) stop to make sure we're okay, and when we tell them where we were headed, they all look at us puzzled, "We've never heard of no Sand Hills around here...", and "We're bringing fresh gravel to the end of this road, it goes nowhere right now...". Crap! All this for nothing...

We let the air of our tires for the ride back, it felt much more stable. As it turns out, the riding position (after I manually put my right hand on the throttle) is the most comfortable one for my shoulder, as we ride away from our aborted mission to find the Sand Hills of Saskatchewan. I know the first thing I want to do right now is buy a large electrical air compressor, you know: one of the 12-volt jobbies with the light, the attachments for volleyballs, air mattresses and inflatable dolls...

I'm guessing I'll need a few days to fix the bike and figure out what's wrong with my shoulder, so we stop at Cypress Hills provincial park for the night. Two extra strength Advil dulls the pain as I feel sorry for myself in the tent for messing up our trip, and right at the beginning as well!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on August 25, 2012, 04:03:04 pm
Sorry to hear of the crash. Maybe a broken collar bone?  Heal up!



Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Darkbluexplorer on August 25, 2012, 06:02:36 pm
Oh no!  Mend up fast!

From my mobile command unit attached to my hand.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on August 26, 2012, 09:30:15 am
Man this RR truly rocks, It's like I'm traveling without moving.

Two thumbs up on living the dream and I wish you all the best on your adventure.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Jay S. on August 26, 2012, 04:18:38 pm
Wow, not sure what to say. Rest up and get well brother.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jeepinbanditrider on August 26, 2012, 05:15:14 pm
Defiantly take some time and get better.  Pushing yourself will only make it worse.  Not sure how the Canadian health care system work exactly.  Can you go get checked out at any health care provider in the country or do you need to be in your home province?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on August 26, 2012, 06:25:28 pm
Sorry to hear about the crash, totally a bummer!!! Hope its not to serious and you guys are able to continue some what soon. None of us like to be sitting on the side lines looking at the bikes when we could be riding them. Get well soon!!

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on August 26, 2012, 11:40:18 pm
Oh Rats :eek: sorry to hear about the misfortune, but very glad to see you' :eek:re somewhat ok. I posted earlier after reading page two. Imangine my surprise when I got all caught up just a few minutes ago.  Hope nothing serious is wrong with the sholder.

Get well soon.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Hell's Bella on August 27, 2012, 09:02:24 am
LOVE this thread, and thanks for taking us all along with you! With that said, sorry to hear about the get-off, and hope you're healing well.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on August 27, 2012, 09:59:04 am
Well, hindsight is 20/20, but I'm wondering why you didn't grab a Slime pump, ten bucks (US$) at WalMart... from what you describe your original one may not have been a Slime because you said it was big and had a light; the Slime is tiny with a light.. and very reliable. Those foot pumps do suck, so do the bicycle pumps.. Get well, gnaw on some Vicodin and have a shot of Crown... lol


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 27, 2012, 06:22:34 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/15.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NXSpPtq/0/L/map11-L.jpg)

We had planned to visit our good friends, Paul and Karen for the weekend in Calgary, but after my unfortunate accident, I called Paul at work and asked if we could come a couple of days early. Did I mentioned they were really good friends? :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZbLXTF7/0/L/DSCN9753-L.jpg)
Saamis teepee in Medicine Hat, AB

The next morning, my shoulder still felt the same. Pain when I moved it, and no mobility save for a few inches to my side. Neda poured me onto the bike and I manually, but gingerly, placed my right hand on the throttle and we were off to Calgary. We passed through Medicine Hat and took a break at the Saamis teepee just off the TransCanada Highway. It's a monument built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Saamis is the Blackfoot word for eagle tail feather headress (or the hat worn by the Medicine Man)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bt8xqFM/0/L/DSC1113-L.jpg)
Close up of Saamis teepee

There are informational plaques all over the teepee, and I read up on the history of the First Nations tribes in Canada. All of their stories and traditions centre strongly around dreams, and I found it interesting how devoid it was of the overt moralism and story-telling structure of the fables and folklore of Western culture. In other words, it made absolutely no sense to me...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DXfBb72/0/L/DSC1133-L.jpg)
Paul and Karen and their boys, Kai and Ewan. Yes, Ewan. And a GS...

We approached Calgary in a thunderstorm. Through the pain of putting on my rainsuit over a bum shoulder, I thought how unfortunate it would be to also get struck by lightning now -- seeing how my 1.5m GS was the tallest thing on the open Prairie highway by about... 1.5m...

Paul and Karen moved to Calgary from Toronto over a year ago and it was good to see them again, even though we just saw them in Toronto a few weeks earlier when they came to visit. That afternoon, we rode my GS into Blackfoot Motorsports to see what they could do for me. 2.5 hours and one used GS windscreen later, I rode out with my bike all patched up! Unfortunately they were out of stock of spare rotator cuffs...

Although I loved my big-ass, ugly old Aeroflow windscreen, it was always doomed to shatter in any tipover or crash because of how far it sticks out at the sides. The stock GS windshield is terrible but at least it's out of the way in any fall unless the bike lands upside-down. *knock on wood*

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-m99xJtT/0/L/DSC1122-L.jpg)
Horse sculptures in the Courthouse Park in downtown Calgary

We spent a lot of time catching up with P&K and playing with their kids. While they were at work during the day, Neda and I rode over to downtown Calgary to walk around the Eau Claire market and do some shopping. We wandered around aimlessly around the Eaton Centre (not sure if it's called that anymore) for a while before we realized that we needed and wanted nothing that the stores had to offer. We weren't interested in any clothing, furniture, household items, or electrical gadgets. They didn't really fit on the motorcycle and besides we didn't have a home to store them in anyhow... We spent more time in the Mountain Equipment Co-Op perusing camping equipment, and even then noticed that we had everything we needed already!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KxFGgn2/0/L/DSC1169-L.jpg)
Hiking in Kananaskis Park

Karen took an afternoon off to take Neda and the kids hiking in Kananaskis Park, just west of the city. I heard the word "hike" and suddenly the pain in my shoulder flared up again and I begged off to stay at home to work on the blog... :) I did end up seeing a walk-in clinic, they confirmed my Googled self-diagnosis, I had severely strained the soft tissue in my rotator cuff and it would take a few weeks to heal.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fVcqvHm/0/L/DSC1157-L.jpg)
Neda is skilled in all manner of two-wheeled vehicles

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z4mgxtx/0/L/DSC0039-L.jpg)
Paul makes sure the car is locked before we head into the rodeo

On the weekend, we all visited a rodeo in nearby Rockyford, about an hour east of Calgary. We had missed Stampede (Calgary's largest rodeo party) by about a couple of weeks, but Rockyford's rodeo billed itself as the "biggest little show in Alberta".

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kxfMvPr/0/XL/DSC1250-XL.jpg)
Buckin' bronco! 8 seconds never seemed longer!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZhptHsG/0/XL/DSC1258-XL.jpg)
Rodeo clown tells bad jokes between events

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QnWCGXr/0/XL/DSC1425-XL.jpg)
Not sure who let these hockey players into the rodeo...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZjQCg9j/0/L/IMG0322-L.jpg)
Calgary Ground Pilots and fellow adventurers, Jill and Curtis

I've visited Calgary a couple of times before on a motorcycle over the years, and I've kept in touch with the local motorcycle scene via CGP forum. Curtis and I have exchanged messages on there a few times and we finally get to meet in person! We had a late dinner at Wurst, and had a great time chatting away about bikes and travel. They are also two adventurous spirits and we hope to see them again on our travels.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VhhST7Q/0/L/IMG0320-L.jpg)
At Wurst, these guys come out to play Happy Birthday to the customers.
Seems there was a birthday party at every single table that evening!


We spent almost a week in Calgary and we have to thank Paul and Karen for having us over, they were such gracious hosts! The shoulder seems to be getting a bit better, but for now Neda is still hiking up my R1200GS onto the center-stand at every gas stop, bless her soul!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on August 27, 2012, 07:04:45 pm
Glad you didn't break anything.  Hope you heal up quickly.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 27, 2012, 07:18:18 pm

Can you go get checked out at any health care provider in the country or do you need to be in your home province?


Hey jeepin', we have provincial coverage, but still have to pay walk-in fees in out-of-province clinics. I bought supplemental travel insurance, but they're dragging their feet getting the claims forms to us. Stupid insurance companies...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DogBoy on August 27, 2012, 07:29:04 pm
Loving the report. Hang in there and heal up quick.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on August 27, 2012, 07:39:07 pm

Neda struggles with the bike while I can only stand by helpless. Somehow, she manages to get the 600lb bike upright, almost all by herself and I can get on the bike in the ditch.


#1 - Heal soon!
#2 - Does Neda have a sister?  :inlove:

You're one lucky dude.  :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: 2wTraveler on August 27, 2012, 09:06:57 pm
I envy you guys. Keep the updates coming!  :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on August 27, 2012, 10:43:49 pm
Glad you are healing up quick! PS this thread is awesome!!

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 30, 2012, 03:10:04 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/16.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xRrF9dH/0/L/map12-L.jpg)

After our much-needed break in Calgary, it was good to be on the road again. We're headed west towards Banff National Park where we'll spend a couple of nights in the National Park to do some sightseeing and ride the amazing roads in the area.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fDLqjgN/0/L/DSCN9784-L.jpg)
Neda spots wildlife again on the Bow Valley Trail

From Calgary, we bypassed the main TransCanada Highway and took the smaller, more scenic Bow Valley Trail, which follows the Bow River all the way to Canmore. We saw tons of motorcyclists, mainly sportbikes, zoom by on the twisty road, taking advantage of the beautiful, sunny Albertan weekend-weather.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qGc5ndk/0/L/DSCN9807-L.jpg)
Rocky Mountains loom ahead on Bow Valley Trail

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SgSCPpB/0/L/DSC1455-L.jpg)
Posing on the main strip, Banff Ave

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qLFxGwP/0/L/DSCN9868-L.jpg)
In Banff, we parked next to two Ontario GSes! One with an RTI sticker (where we used to teach)!

We've visited Banff many times over the years, mainly to go snowboarding in the amazing resorts in the area. It's a classic alpine tourist trap, very pretty, overpriced storefronts selling the latest Arcteryx fashions to Starbucks-sipping vacationers with permanent Oakley tan-lines on their face. We know, because we used to be one of them back when we had jobs. And snowboards. And a home to store all that stuff in... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CQhk6K2/0/XL/DSC1464-XL.jpg)
Posing on the main strip

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6mWWxMc/0/XL/DSCN9831-XL.jpg)
Ride back to our campsite on Bow Valley Parkway

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cHgg9Hk/0/L/DSCN9834-L.jpg)
Once again, Neda's keen eye spots more wildlife

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PB6hJtb/0/L/DSC1496-L.jpg)
Waitin' on a train. Please use your imagination. Or Google Image "Morant's Curve"...

Paul told me that there was a famous spot in Banff National Park called Morant's Curve where people camp out for hours in front of the S-shaped turn waiting for the eastbound Canadian Pacific trains to pass by with the picturesque Bow River and (usually) snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background. Sure enough when we arrived, a dozen photographers had set up tripods to capture the event. So we broke out our groceries and proceeded to make lunch while waiting for the train. The CP rail schedule is about as reliable as a chocolate camshaft, and over the NEXT TWO HOURS, one-by-one the photographers got fed up and left, as new ones arrived to take their place. We couldn't wait any longer - we wanted to ride. So, empty-handed (empty SD-card?), we rode towards Lake Louise.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PBB55vz/0/L/DSC0057-L.jpg)
While I waited for the train, Neda went hiking and took some pictures

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-W4cCp7q/0/XL/DSC1532-XL.jpg)
Rental canoes on Lake Louise

Next stop, Lake Louise, the site of the most photographed lake in the world. We arrived in the pouring rain, so we hid out in the very posh Chateau Lake Louise, waiting for a chance to dash out to hike around the area. Once again, we were inundated by tourists of all nationalities. Tour buses swarm the Banff/Lake Louise area like GS-owners to the latest Touratech catalog. We really needed to "Get to da choppa!" and just ride where other people weren't...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z22HKLx/0/XL/DSC1602-XL.jpg)
Riding through the rocks at Radium, BC

So we did my favorite loop (er triangle?) in the Calgary-area: Banff->Golden->Radium->Banff. Kilometers of twisty roads, most of it with very little traffic south of Golden, and all of it with the majestic Rocky Mountains surrounding us!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XCz3czN/0/XL/DSCN9843-XL.jpg)
Relaxing in the hot springs at Radium

The loop takes us into Eastern BC for a while, and we stopped at the hot springs at Radium to dip into the naturally heated wading pools to relax our riding muscles (posteriors) before the trip back to our campsite in Banff.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ztd2tHs/0/L/DSCN9844-L.jpg)
Kootenay Highway at dusk

The Kootenay Highway runs from Radium, BC through the Kootenay National Park, all the way back into Banff National Park. Although not as famous as Deals Gap, Sea-To-Sky or Cabot Trail, it's a destination highway for many motorists as well, and we hit it at just the right time, as the sun was low in the horizon. The colours took on a beautiful, lazy hue lit by the setting sun and for the first time on this trip, I felt that zen-like feeling, when all the turns in the road come to you telepathically and everything is right in the world. It was such a magical ride on that road that I didn't want it to end. Neda chimed in over the intercom telling me she was feeling exactly the same way and it was wonderful sharing the ride with her that way.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FZRzxTd/0/L/DSCN9853-L.jpg)
Zen.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nmdNxm4/0/XL/DSCN9862-XL.jpg)
Riding into the setting Alberta sun

This was such a great riding day, and I felt I really needed it after the eventful week I've been having.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on August 30, 2012, 05:53:33 am
Bad day dumping a bike with minor injuries is still better than a good day at work! lol


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on August 30, 2012, 07:08:43 am
This is a fantastic thread!
Very sorry to hear of your crash. The same thing happened to me in Peru.
I've ridden the Calgary, Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper route and it's wonderful beyond belief.
I really enjoyed reliving it through you again.
Safe journey the rest of the way - and heal quickly.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on August 30, 2012, 09:17:55 am
If you've never been,  Takakkaw Falls, a short (fun) jaunt north of Field is absolutely worth looking into.   I'd driven by the sign all my life,  as shame it took me so many years to finally take a look.

Also in field is a burger place that's reputed to be magical.  It's in the town itself, off the highway.  Sorry the name escapes me right now.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: eastbowl on August 30, 2012, 10:24:55 pm
Loving it.  Bravo.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 31, 2012, 01:28:00 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/17.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-R4WCFdR/0/L/map13-L.jpg)

Banff to Jasper. With terrain like this, how can a motorcyclist not drool?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HgCHPN7/0/XL/DSC1624-XL.jpg)
Pretty stream in Banff National Park

Neda took advantage of the beautiful hiking weather to snap some pictures of Banff National Park in the morning. I took advantage of the beautiful hiking weather to work on the blog...

The trails in Banff are marked for different-sized groups depending on the bear activity in the area. There are trails suitable for solo hiking, and others that require a group of 3 people or more to hike together. The thinking is that if you hike solo in bear country, you are bear-food for sure. But if you are hiking with at least two other people, you just have to be faster than one of them, so the odds are in your favour.

Good thing Neda bought a bear bell while we were in Calgary. Not sure why all the other hikers laughed at her bear-bell, I'm sure I heard one of them call it a "dinner bell"...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RwQs3bF/0/L/DSC1665-L.jpg)

Neda's bear bell comes with a built-in silencer so you can turn it off and on. Handy, because I'm sure all the movie theaters in Banff require you to silence your cellphones, pagers and bear bells before the movie begins.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2kFR7Ms/0/L/DSC1670-L.jpg)
Ink pots at Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon was just across the way from our campsite, so Neda took a 3.5 hour hike to visit the famous Ink Pots, which are 6 blue-green pools fed by underground springs. The colour is from glacial sediments suspended in the water.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F7GkWhw/0/L/DSC1715-L.jpg)
ATGATT *especially* when hiking in bear country

In the afternoon, we rode the famous Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper to take in the view of the Canadian Rocky Mountains all around us. We pass by a couple of beautiful-looking glaciers along the way.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9TBdJKt/0/L/DSC1731-L.jpg)
Cold! Gerbings to the rescue!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-m7csLQJ/0/L/DSC1735-L.jpg)
R12GS needs some love too

I've noticed Neda's F650GS gets the lions share of attention on this blog. I know it's a newer bike, but now that my 12GS has shed it's ugly Aeroflow windscreen, I think it deserves a bit more screen time as well. I'm proud to say that the only Touratech item I've installed are the handguard spoilers...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sfZM2fH/0/L/DSCN9892-L.jpg)
Checking out the Athabaska Glacier at Columbia Icefields

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Touratech commercial. When do you get the cheque, Neda?

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Skies are roiling on the way to Jasper

As we venture into Jasper National Park, the skies darken, so the first thing we do is immediately set up our tent before the rain begins, which is imminent. The park has provided bear lockers where campers can store their food away from their tents. So we raid the other lockers for some free food before we head out to hike around the area.

Just kidding.

Maybe...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-68dNXCK/0/L/DSC1749-L.jpg)
Shoutout to Neda's old hometown

Jasper Tramways operates a cable car that takes you up to the top of Whistlers Mountain just outside the town of Jasper. At the bottom, is a pinboard atlas where tourists can pinpoint where they came from. Tons of pins around Toronto, so I don't even try, but Neda notices not a lot of folks from the town where she was born.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qMsWC43/0/L/DSC1771-L.jpg)
That triangle down there is the town of Jasper

We continued to climb at the top of the tram to the summit of Whistler's Mountain. The views of Jasper and the surrounding rivers below were amazing, and even the light drizzle didn't dampen my enthusiasm to climb higher.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6kTDnM4/0/XL/DSC1779-XL.jpg)
Some hike all the way up here to contemplate the meaning of life. Others just hog all the good seats...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZMdsrKq/0/XL/DSC1785-XL.jpg)
Up at the top, we find snow!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4S5VHBS/0/L/DSC0071-L.jpg)
Me and my new buddy Inukshuk check out the view together

In the evening, we ride into Jasper to get some Interwebbing and blogging done in a coffee shop. I don't know how these places make money when you can hog a table for hours and only pay a couple of dollars for coffee. We're kicked out at closing into the pouring rain, but when we ride back to the park, we're greeted with a warm and dry tent. Well, a dry tent, at least...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MbPzTLT/0/XL/IMG0329-XL.jpg)
Singin' in the rain - Gene Kelly-stylez in Jasper


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Acadian Rider on September 01, 2012, 08:36:20 am

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PB6hJtb/0/L/DSC1496-L.jpg)
Waitin' on a train. Please use your imagination. Or Google Image "Morant's Curve"...

Paul told me that there was a famous spot in Banff National Park called Morant's Curve where people camp out for hours in front of the S-shaped turn waiting for the eastbound Canadian Pacific trains to pass by with the picturesque Bow River and (usually) snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background. Sure enough when we arrived, a dozen photographers had set up tripods to capture the event. So we broke out our groceries and proceeded to make lunch while waiting for the train. The CP rail schedule is about as reliable as a chocolate camshaft, and over the NEXT TWO HOURS, one-by-one the photographers got fed up and left, as new ones arrived to take their place. We couldn't wait any longer - we wanted to ride. So, empty-handed (empty SD-card?), we rode towards Lake Louise.



I did the "Icefields Parkway" in March of this year in a cage and here's what your summer picture looks like in the winter.  Beautiful spot.  

 


(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h319/Acadian_Rider/STN/IMG_6116.jpg)


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Darkbluexplorer on September 01, 2012, 09:02:23 am
Glad to hear your. Still chugging along out there. Planning on a trip down into the us before you head to Europe?

From my mobile command unit attached to my hand.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on September 01, 2012, 10:16:19 am
 :leghump:

Need MORE give me more

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 02, 2012, 09:59:45 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/18.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6LwVnQf/0/L/map14-L.jpg)

From Jasper, we rode Hwy 5 through Kamloops with a quick detour through 5A, the Princeton-Kamloops Highway, a very scenic twisty ride past a series of pretty lakes in the valley, to end up in Merritt. We met Veronica, another ADVer outside the Starbucks at Merritt. She was covered head to toe in dust, and with her dirtbike gear and astride her Suzuki DR, she looked completely hardcore. We talked for a while and on her map, she showed us some great dual-sport roads in the area. We hope to visit them in the next few days.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-q3WZQxR/0/L/DSCN9969-L.jpg)
Princeton-Kamloops Highway

We had made arrangements to meet Kevin and Manon in Vancouver for the long weekend. Yes, Kevin and Manon from Ottawa (from our very first blog entry (http://"http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/1.html") are now Kevin and Manon from Vancouver! They've moved clear across the country just to provide us with a place to stay for the weekend!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nZqVb4m/0/L/IMG0387-L.jpg)
Beating the heatwave in Vancouver with Kevin and Manon

It was so nice having a real bed to sleep in, and a couch, and a wide-screen TV, and a fridge, etc. We caught up with all the MotoGP races we had missed and ate pizza and drank Cherry Pepsi and it was all so decadent! K&M spoiled us to bits and we let them! Vancouver was having a heatwave, so we spent some time in the park next to their new condo to cool down.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VTn6hwS/0/L/playground-L.jpg)
Thanks Manon for the picture!

We spent an (extra) long weekend with them, parking the bikes for a few days and doing nothing but watching the Olympics on TV, eating and sleeping. It was amazing to spend time relaxing with good friends after being on the road for only just a few weeks.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QqfnnTT/0/XL/DSC1823-XL.jpg)
Sasha Koop from Funhouse Tattoo

So, to commemorate traveling all the way from the east coast to the west coast of Canada, Neda decides to get inked! Actually, she had been planning this for quite some time, having had to change tattoo artists from Toronto because of timing, and arranging an appointment with a Vancouver artist while we were on the road. Sasha Koop from Funhouse Tattoo came highly recommended and we all came to watch the action and provide support.

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A future tattoo artist looks on while Neda gets inked

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Kxcj3sj/0/XL/DSC1849-XL.jpg)
"Take the road less travelled"

Neda explains the meaning behind the tatto:

"The blue heron feathers are a style mash-up. The inside of the feathers is done in Haida First Nations-style, and the outside is a more realistic feather to soften the design. The beads represent Gene and I. Blue is Gene, red is me, and yellow represents my bike and the sun."

Personally, I'm not into tattoos for myself (more a fan of making new holes in my body), but I think the design is cool and the tattoo turned out awesome. Neda was ecstatic!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QJzNvRq/0/L/DSC0605-L.jpg)
Suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon

Because everyone knows how much I *love* hiking (not), Kevin, Manon and Neda drag me out to Lynn Canyon. Since K&M are still new to Vancouver, they had to TripAdvisor where to take us. Right now, they're still "Kevin-and-Manon-*IN*-Vancouver", and they've got a long way to go before they become "Kevin-and-Manon-*FROM*-Vancouver"...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cTJsm8k/0/XL/DSC1851-XL.jpg)
Lynn Canyon

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Hikers in Lynn Canyon

So, seeing how I've probably visited Vancouver more often than K&M, I lead "Kevin-in-Vancouver" to the Gastown district downtown to take some touristy shots of the area.

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A gaggle of GSes stop traffic in Gastown...

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Gastown Steamclock

I was dismayed to find out recently that the Gastown Steamclock does not run entirely on steam! It is actually electrically powered and the only time steam is utilized is every 15 minutes when the clock gives a little show and plays a tune. Felt *so* totally ripped off...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MxmJwTj/0/L/DSC0043-L.jpg)
Walking around Gastown

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And of course, rain in Vancouver


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: CanadianBird on September 02, 2012, 11:41:50 pm
Just a "heads up", BC has draconian speed enforcement plus a 40kph over impound law. If you're in Vancouver it would be a shame not to ride in Washington State, imho. Olympic Pen. or at least Highway 20 through the North Cascades. Check out www.destinationhighways.com for the best m.c maps or the best m.c. roads in BC, Washington and Northern California. I'm enjoying your trip. An interesting local side trip would be Van to Whistler, Pemberton on the Sea to Sky. Up and over the Duffy Lake road to Lilooet. I think they just freshly paved it. Ride over to Cache Creek and down the Fraser Canyon through the Fraser Valley to Harrison Hot Springs and either camp or carry on to Van. Cheers


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 03, 2012, 12:05:16 am
I did the "Icefields Parkway" in March of this year in a cage and here's what your summer picture looks like in the winter.  Beautiful spot.  

(http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h319/Acadian_Rider/STN/IMG_6116.jpg)


Beautiful! Did you wait for a train to come by as well?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 03, 2012, 12:07:27 am

Just a "heads up", BC has draconian speed enforcement plus a 40kph over impound law.


Yep, Ontario passed similar legislation. 50-over and it's automatic impoundment + 7-day license suspension. :(


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Acadian Rider on September 03, 2012, 07:07:25 am



Beautiful! Did you wait for a train to come by as well?


Thanks!  As I had no idea when one would come by I didn't wait.  

BTW, there was nobody else there.  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 06, 2012, 05:15:22 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/19.html (http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/19.html)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8vdLkHK/1/L/map15-L.jpg)

We left Kevin & Manon's place with a bit of reluctance, not just a warm bed and comfy couch and TV and stocked fridge, etc. but the fun and laughter of good friends, and familiar company. We rode to Tsawwassen just south of Vancouver to take a 90 minute ferry to the island.

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Riding around downtown Victoria

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Uh oh, Neda spots a market and immediately, I know where I'm going to be for the next few hours...

We came back from walking around downtown and noticed that we got stupid parking tickets after paying for parking on the street. The cause was parking too close to the parking lines. There were no bloody parking lines! We took pictures of our parking spots, but it's going to cost us time and more parking money just to fight this thing. We feel so ripped off, and it took us a while to get out of this foul mood.

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Seaplanes taking off and landing in Victoria Harbour

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This is the first thing visitors see when they step off the seaplane. How inviting!

Victoria harbour is such a pretty place to spend the evening, you can watch the sun set on the waters and the city has done a really nice job with maintaining all the flowers and gardens in the area. Neda's favorite TV station is The Food Network, and one of the shows she watches is called Eat Street. She saw an episode called "Red Fish, Blue Fish", and she told me, "If we're ever in Victoria, we *HAVE* to go there!". So here we are:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RV9qDBg/0/L/DSCN9999-L.jpg)
Red Fish, Blue Fish, Orange Sunset

Red Fish, Blue Fish is a food truck right on the harbour by the seaplane terminals. We lined up for over an hour (!) and just squeaked in before they closed for the evening. The food was delicious, as promised and we had a spectacular view of the setting sun over the waters of the bay while we noshed away on great seafood.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BF2wDdB/0/L/DSCN0006-L.jpg)
Sleepy yachts in Victoria harbour

Neda found some great riding roads just north of Victoria on the east coast of the island. From Campbell River, we rode west on Hwy 28 as it cuts through Strathcona Provincial Park, staying the evening in Buttle Lake. As we pitched our tent, we heard scores of sportbikes ripping it up on 28, so we knew we had a great day of riding ahead of us. In the late morning, we completed Hwy 28 out to Gold River and then back again, eyes glued to the inside line of all the tight curves, trying to ignore the distracting scenery lest we end up as another roadside attraction on this awesome twisty road!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WhFxnzC/0/L/DSCN9198-L.jpg)
Hwy 28 from Campbell River to Gold River

We headed north through Nanaimo, debated about whether to be cheesy and buy Nanaimo bars for lunch, decided against it, and then took the very scenic and twisty Hwy 4 west through Port Alberni. As most of you know, when the riding is good, the pictures get scarce, so you'll have to trust us when we say, if you're in the area, Vancouver island has amazing riding!

We reached the west coast and stayed in a very expensive and uninspiring camp site in Ucluelet, just south of Tofino. So Neda went off in search of a new campsite while I pretended to blog.

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Hero shot on the way to Mussel Beach

Mussel beach is at the end of an 8km gravel road in the wilderness, nothing but trees and a bear that lives about 1 km in. We know this because we've seen him everytime we go to and from our new campsite on the beach!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QQpB6hr/0/XL/DSCN9219-XL.jpg)
This is shot 5 of a 10-shot sequence... :)

During one of our trips on the bumpy gravel road, Neda's sidecase vibrates off the bike and she has to stop and walk back to pick it up. I guess I could have helped her but I was too busy documenting the event. I had to turn the intercom off because the obscenities were getting too vulgar for my delicate eardrums...

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"Do you mind giving me a hand?"... so I clap... It's a tough job being the staff photographer...

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The rocky beach at our campsite

Mussel beach is one of our favorite campsites so far. The owner has built funky sculptures and treeforts out of the driftwood lying on the shore. The treefort sites are bit too pricey for us, they fit 2 or 3 tents, so we just get a spot by the beach and the scenery is beautiful. The owner, Curtis, is super-friendly as well and we talked bikes with him and our tent-neightbour throughout our 2-night stay. Everyone loves talking motorcycles! They either have one, want one, is curious about ours or knows someone that has one.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-C2kLQ7h/0/L/DSC2121-L.jpg)
Goin' fishing! Not really, I'm not a fan of fishing, but I'll happily eat the end-product...

I helped Luke push Curtis' fishing boat out into the waters. By "help", I mean watched a bit, then pestered him with questions, and then hopped in the boat for a paparazzi shot. He showed me some of his catches on his digital camera, one 50-lb fish half his height!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3NN9nLj/0/L/DSC2169-L.jpg)
We asked a guy in Tofino to take a picture of us, his three-legged dog decided to hop over and pose with us. So cute!

We rode out to Tofino for the day to walk around the town and get some wi-fi. Now BC is a pretty bohemian province, but Tofino is the hippy-central capital with a surfer-twist. This picture is kind of special for us, since we've got a shot of us in Cape Speer out on the east coast of Newfoundland, and now we're in Tofino, out in the west coast of Vancouver Island. We've crossed Canada coast-to-coast and seen a lot of the country along the way, and I feel this was a proper way to say goodbye to the place that we've lived in for so long.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7qgp4JQ/0/XL/DSC2260-XL.jpg)
Waves and wavy lines in Chesterman Beach

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Chesterman Beach

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Sarah from Island BMW put us on their Facebook page! Cool!

We both got new shoes in the back at Island BMW. Taylor, the service advisor recommended Hidenau K76s in the rear for better wear than the Tourances. They seem very noisy, but we'll give them a chance once they break in to see how well they handle and then decide if we want to stick a K76 in the front as well next time or go back to Tourances.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on September 07, 2012, 07:27:13 am
Relatives live in Victoria and have invited us to visit them. After your beautiful pictures, we may have to go!



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Fast Blue on September 07, 2012, 10:52:41 am
Nice,

We where there in July , my daughter lives on Sproat Lake and is the CO  ( Conservation Officer) for Port Albernie  to the east and Tofino, Ucluelet to the west.

If your still in the area look for the signs at Sproat L for a tour of the Mars Water Bomber.

There is also many camp grounds at Sproat L   - great place for a rest and a swim!  Take note  how clear the water is.

have fun - I need to get out there on my bike next year - even though my daughter has a Super moto 450 to ride :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 08, 2012, 07:08:36 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/20.html (http://"http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/20.html")

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2dH6mnM/0/L/map16-L.jpg)

After having spent almost a whole week on Vancouver Island, we took the ferry back to the mainland and decided to ride north into the mountains. Vancouver to Whistler is a route we have driven many, many times on our snowboard trips. We haven't been back since the 2010 Winter Olympics and it was very interesting to see the changes the province made to accommodate such a world-class event.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4JvXWzB/0/L/DSCN9250-L.jpg)
Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler

Highway 99, or at least the part between Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton, is also known as the Sea-To-Sky Highway and is *the* motorcycle destination highway on the Canadian West Coast. Fast sweepers hugging the coastline overlooking Howe Sound used to be a two-lane undivided  highway, and I remember there used to be lots of accidents from motorists either not paying attention or trying to pass on blind corners. We were very surprised when we found that most of the Sea-To-Sky was now a divided four-lane highway! Sweet! Trying to keep up with Neda was a full-time left-lane affair as I watched the bottom of her Touratech panniers scoop lower and lower to the pavement on each turn.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LC9f8dS/0/L/DSC2386-L.jpg)
Olympic rings at Whistler Village

The scenery is astounding in the summertime, it was hard keeping an eye on the turns in the road when just to our left, the sheer drop to the waters below and the mountains on the other side of the sound provided constant distraction. Further up the highway, we started to notice other tiny Olympic changes: all the signs announcing the small towns along the Sea-To-Sky were now on smart, shiny, engraved rocks. Very snazzy! When we arrived at Whistler Village, we noticed a hubbub of activity. Lots of young people milling about, which was strange since it was the off-season. We quickly discovered that we were in the middle of Crankworx 2012, the "Colosseum of freeride mountain biking"". So many events were going on, downhill racing, dirt tracking, trials, etc. But the event that caught the most attention were the tricks and jumps.

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Crankworx 2012

We must have spent half the day watching the mountain bikers launch themselves off a platform 50-feet from the ground, perform physics-defying feats of acrobatics and then land on a huge downhill dirt ramp, all against the backdrop of the magnificent Rocky Mountains. I don't know much about mountain biking, so I'll do my best to provide commentary from my point-of-view:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ztdc7Rf/0/L/DSC2465-L.jpg)
I'm sure this wouldn't be too much harder to pull off on a fully-laden R1200GS...

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25,000 people in attendance for Crankworx 2012

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This was a popular trick. It must be easy or something...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nf7cfd7/0/XL/DSC2535-XL.jpg)
At the bottom of the landing ramp, the large crowd screams their appreciation for each trick

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Most of these athletes were performing while not feeling very well. Many young people commented that they were sick. I felt sorry for them...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-89Rvx6M/0/XL/DSC2458-XL.jpg)
This event was like synchronized swimming, but with bikes. And without the water. And not at all very synchronized...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6pTnJCX/0/L/DSC2493-L.jpg)
I was told this one is called a Superman, not sure why.

Crankworx is a 10-day long event at Whistler mountain, and we stayed to watch the events for two days, commuting back and forth from our campsite less than 30 kms north in Pemberton. Although motorcycle parking was free in Whistler, the food was far from free...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RTQcGdz/0/L/DSC2539-L.jpg)
Sea-to-Sky Highway north of Whistler to Pemberton on the way back to our campsite

On a sad note, the province's Olympic committee must have ran out of funds for the smart, snazzy stones announcing the towns north of Whistler, where tourists rarely ventured. Our arrival in poor ole Pemberton is heralded by the same old metal sign that's been there since before 2010...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: CanadianBird on September 10, 2012, 01:03:52 am
The ride to Pemberton is the best part, just to get away from that over priced yuppy 1/%'s who dominate Whistler. imho. Once you get to Pemberton, have lunch at the Pony Espress or Mile One ride to Mnt Currie and follow #99 up and over the Duffy Lake Road to Lilooet, return. PS don't get caught speeding on the S2S, expecially 40 over or kiss your ride goodby.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 11, 2012, 03:25:44 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/21.html


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FTkzD8P/0/L/map17-L.jpg)

When we met Veronica in Merritt, BC last week, she pointed us to a spot on her map called the Highline Trail and told us that it was a great dual-sport road with amazing views. So we took her advice and rode up there. The Highline Trail starts at a town called D'Arcy, at the end of Portage Road which runs off the Sea-To-Sky at Mount Currie.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X973xzJ/0/L/DSC2551-L.jpg)
Anderson Lake, D'Arcy, BC

While we were adjusting our tire pressures for the gravel road in D'Arcy, a few residents drove up to us in their trucks and ATVs and recommended that we just ride around the corner to the lake and hang out at the docks. We were glad to take their advice because the lake was beautiful, clear and blue and the waters were just as refreshing as they looked. We ended up putting our swimsuits on and stayed for a couple of hours, sunbathing and swimming. If this was one of our normal "Cant Stop! We're on a Schedule!" trips, we would have totally missed out on the lake and a great rest stop.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3WZrzz8/0/L/DSC2596-L.jpg)
Bonsai! (tree?)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tdhQHNq/0/L/DSC2633-L.jpg)
This was the neighbourhood dog, Scout, who trained me very well to play fetch with him

The Highline Trail climbs rapidly from D'Arcy, and you soon can see Anderson Lake from a high vantage point. Open only in the summertime, it is only recommended for 4WD vehicles. Or 1wd...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cDB2fDJ/0/XL/DSC0040-XL.jpg)
Beautiful, but distracting view of Anderson Lake from Highline Trail

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wKjf9Pk/0/L/DSC0047-L.jpg)
Parking in the Lillooet Fire Zone. Wonder if we'll get tickets here as well... :(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XjctnvS/0/L/DSC0053-L.jpg)
If you look closely, you can see Neda riding the trail on the left side of the picture

The trail was a great dual-sport road as promised by Veronica. And the views were amazing! Hard-packed gravel and lots of elevation changes had us moving our body weight back and forth on the bike.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jjfGw8x/0/L/DSC2673-L.jpg)
Rounding the bend on the Highline Trail

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BP87p3f/0/L/DSC0061-L.jpg)
Rounding the bend part II - don't look down, steep drop on the right!

30 kms later, we stopped for a late afternoon lunch at the Highline Pub in Seton. It seemed like the only business in town and we stayed for a couple of hours because they had wi-fi. When I asked the owner what the roads were like back to Lillooet, she replied that it was another 70 kms of the same gravel but worse (worse? cool!), so we decided to head out before the sun robbed us of visibility.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sS2JRSb/0/L/DSCN9315-L.jpg)
Sun is setting on the Highline Trail

The road to Lillooet had steep switchback climbs where had amazing views of the man-made Carpenter Lake. We saw some great wildlife, I should say Neda saw some great wildlife, since she was in the lead. I just got to hear about it on the intercom, "Oh my god, a bear!"... "Where? Where?"... "Oh, it ran off, I scared it away"...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Gk6b4RQ/0/XL/DSCN9314-XL.jpg)
Neda returns to the BatCave after a long day fighting grime.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mktBVS7/0/L/DSCN9322-L.jpg)
The trail follows Bridge River for quite awhile before ending up in Lillooet

We reached Lillooet as the sun disappeared behind the hills and we set up our tent in the dark. What a great day of dual-sport riding!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on September 11, 2012, 03:32:56 pm
Ok. Just wow. That is all.  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on September 12, 2012, 11:37:15 am
Such a great ride report. Safe travels you too..

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 12, 2012, 05:09:18 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/22.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gwB6C7x/0/L/map19-L.jpg)

From Lillooet, we rode to Cache Creek in the searing heat of the BC drylands. Temperatures soared to 37C and we took shelter in any available shade we could find. Although not technically a desert in terms of rainfall, the BC interior is semi-arid with its terrain of sagebrush, grasslands and rolling hills. It reminded me a lot of the climate and terrain of the south-west US.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jV8bRzG/0/L/DSCN9337-L.jpg)
Obligatory riding shot through the BC drylands

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SKZNz6S/0/L/DSC0077-L.jpg)
View of Highway 99 and Fraser River on the way to Cache Creek

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6qMBmMr/0/XL/DSC2698-XL.jpg)
Deserted antique farming equipment arranged as artwork on the plains of drylands

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-v5vsTq3/0/L/DSC0070-L.jpg)
More views of 99 winding its way next to the Fraser

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cbRVTSj/0/L/DSC2701-L.jpg)
Laundry day. Neda forbid me to show any of my underwear on religious grounds. They're a bit holey...

At Cache Creek we camped next to a guy who was coming down from Alaska. His name was Gene too! What a co-incidence! And he provided us with maps and advice on traveling north. This must be a sign that we are headed in the right direction. Prior to coming out west, we had no idea where we were going, Taylor from Island BMW (http://"http://ridedot.com/rtw/19.html") told us there were two ways north, the Cassiar Highway and the Alcan (or Alaska Highway). I was just going to follow the GPS, Highway 37, which was the Cassiar, and Taylor told us it was the more direct, but the more scenic route, despite the pavement being not as smooth, when there was pavement (!)...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8FwZj6S/0/L/DSCN9339-L.jpg)
Who is this handsome chap peering out from the back of the RV in front of me...?

The weather was getting oppressively hot and we stopped at a lake on the way to Prince George to go swimming. We met a few motorcyclists who also had the same idea, many were dipping their T-shirts into the waters to get the evaporative-cooling effect while riding in the heat. At Prince George, we took TransCanada 16 west to try to make it to the beginning of the Cassiar Highway before nightfall.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5rf6GTZ/0/L/DSC0089-L.jpg)
Came across an interesting site on the way to the Cassiar

Some of the Wet'suwet'em First Nations tribe set up a fishery in Moricetown Canyon, just north of Smithers, BC. It's the tail-end (pun intended) of salmon spawning season, and the fish were jumping upstream into the waiting nets of the fisherman to be tagged and then released, presumably to help planning the numbers for the season's crop of fish.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JzgmhhP/0/L/DSC2702-L.jpg)
Waiting for the fish to jump into the nets. If only fishing were this easy...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2pzWgLj/0/L/DSC2707-L.jpg)
HEY! It is *this* easy!

Trying to figure out which fish they tagged and which they just released without tagging, the fish that were the most interesting to them were the ones that jumped straight into the net.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B37wkjN/0/L/DSC0111-L.jpg)
Made it to the bottom of the Cassiar Highway!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J9SKBmL/0/L/DSC2745-L.jpg)
We made a friend at the Cassiar campgrounds

At the campgrounds in Kitwanga, at the beginning of the Cassiar Highway, the owner asked us where we were going and we replied, "North!". He scared us a bit when he said we were heading up kind of late in the season and were going to run into cold weather. Hmmm... Oh well. The next morning, his dog Dahlia greeted us at the tent door. Her cuteness factor was high and she delayed us for over an hour the next morning as she taught me how to play fetch with her cloth frisbee.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xPvkHDk/0/L/dahlia-L.jpg)
I taught Dahlia a few tricks as well...

We're steeling ourselves for colder weather ahead!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DogBoy on September 12, 2012, 05:46:32 pm
This report keeps delivering.



(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J9SKBmL/0/L/DSC2745-L.jpg)




Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on September 12, 2012, 05:50:42 pm
Ah - a long haired Jack Russell terrier. Dahlia - what a sweet name for such a holy terror! She totally trained you and brainwashed you as well!  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Orson on September 12, 2012, 06:21:09 pm


We're steeling ourselves for colder weather ahead!


With a look at the calendar, that's a forbiddingly Shackelton-ian quote  :eek:

I hope the next post doesn't include an 800 mile ocean crossing in an 18 foot open boat  :omgomgomg:

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: CanadianBird on September 12, 2012, 06:31:47 pm
Excellent report. I've ridden to Anderson Lake but no futher. Great swimming as you say. Beautiful photos. From Pemberton to Lillooet the road has been newly paved now from 1/2 way to Lillooet. You've lucked into some very good weather, all be it very hot in the interier. I haven't ridden past Prince George but you should have a great time.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 12, 2012, 07:04:03 pm

Ah - a long haired Jack Russell terrier. Dahlia - what a sweet name for such a holy terror! She totally trained you and brainwashed you as well!  :lol:


Long-haired Jack Russell Terrier... I want one now! Although, she would so totally own me instead of the other way around! :)


With a look at the calendar, that's a forbiddingly Shackelton-ian quote  :eek:


I know! Hopefully our expedition fares a bit better than his...


You've lucked into some very good weather, all be it very hot in the interier.


Luck is definitely the right word. In almost *all* our other trips, it has rained non-stop. We call it the RideDOT.com (http://www.RideDOT.com) curse. I figure we were due for a swing in the other direction.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on September 13, 2012, 07:53:37 am
This is such a great rr and I'm starting to get envious. :) Hope you don't push the weather envelope too far. I have found that it's easy to do. :o


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: 2RR2NV on September 13, 2012, 10:28:27 am
all i can say is.....   NOT FAIR!!!  i wannna gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

awesome RR. beautiful pics.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 14, 2012, 05:01:19 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/23.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6nRvjWv/0/L/map20-L.jpg)

The Stewart Highway (aka Highway 37A) runs east/west off the Cassiar Highway. The scenery along the way is a mix of dense alpine forest and mountainous terrain. It's only a 65 km detour to visit the town of Stewart, BC, at the end of the 37A, and we are rewarded with amazing views of glaciers, terminating just a few hundred meters from the highway.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F8xwxth/0/L/DSC2770-L.jpg)
Bear Glacier, on the way to Stewart, BC

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z6Tkmfg/0/L/DSC2763-L.jpg)
A snow cave on the side of the mountain

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fcr42qR/0/L/DSC2822-L.jpg)
Bridge crossing on Stewart Highway

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8PLVjZH/0/L/DSCN9366-L.jpg)
Gorgeous motorcycle scenery on the way to Stewart

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZKzvdBd/0/L/DSC0125-L.jpg)
Weather is cold and wet, rainsuits on for most of the day

Stewart, BC is a working town, home for plenty of miners and the BC Hydro workers who are working on the nearby dam. The US border is just 2 kms away and when we told the owner of the Cassiar Campsite last night that we were going to visit Hyder, Alaska, just across the border, he questioned our sanity, "Why on earth would you want to do that? It's a dump! Nothing there but a bunch of draft-dodgers!"

Well, he was right. The town was a dump. I don't know why anyone would want to visit Hyder, yet it's one of the most popular motorcycle destinations amongst the Iron Butt Association and long-distance riding clubs. But looking at a map, it's obvious why. Hyder is the southern-most city in Alaska accessible by road. There's way more bragging rights in saying, "I rode all the way to Alaska!" than, "I rode all the way to the middle of British Columbia!"

But now you know: Hyder, Alaska = Fake Alaska...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TsdpXmP/0/XL/DSCN9359-XL.jpg)
What the..? We're in Alaska? When did that happen?!

The town is such a dump that even the US government has forgotten about its existence. Our ride over the "US/Canada border" was heralded by nothing but a sign proclaiming, "Entering Alaska". No passport control, no customs, no immigration. Just a sign. Oh, but there was a Canadian border patrol on the way back to Stewart, BC. No doubt to stop those draft dodgers from sneaking into Canada. We talked to a guy whose sister forgot her Canadian passport when entering Hyder. Canadian customs wouldn't let her back into the country and she had to have her passport couriered to Hyder to get back in!

One of the more prominent buildings in Hyder is the US Postal Office, and there is a large sign on the side of the building, "Apply for your US Passport here". Presumably if the draft dodgers ever wanted to rejoin mainstream America, they could do so with an explanation at the US Postal Office.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J9rP7Hn/0/L/DSC2782-L.jpg)
Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum at the Hyder General Store

We heard a funny anecdote about the stateless nature of Hyder. Supposedly, once a month, a state trooper from Ketchikan, AK flies into Hyder, and during the week that he's there, nobody drives their car - all their licenses and registrations have long since expired! Dodging the draft, dodging the DMV, same thing, I guess!

With nothing much to see in Hyder, we tried to find the bear viewing area at Fish Creek. The Hyder General Store is run by a huge mountain man, 8 feet tall, 360lbs, with a grizzled, grey Alaskan beard straight out of Grizzly Adams. We were scared to ask for directions, for fear that he would pop us in his mouth and swallow us whole, but he turned out to be really nice and pointed us a few miles down the (very gravelly) road.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-C2CrTwF/0/L/DSC2784-L.jpg)
Getting educated on the difference between black bears and grizzly bears. Did you know you're not supposed to run from bears? Given my natural flight-or-flight instinct, I'm really screwed...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WV5V82p/0/XL/DSC2798-XL.jpg)
You can see down the length of Fish Creek from the bear viewing area. Lots of naturists set up telephoto cameras and video equipment at the far end

The US Forestry Service built this special viewing area to keep tourists safe from the bears that wander the shallow stream at feeding time. From this sheltered vantage point, we were supposed to see them swatting at salmon as they swam tiredly upstream to spawn and die. All we saw was a bunch of dead salmon, seagulls picking at their corpses; no bears, though. I think we came too early in the afternoon. We must have stayed for over 3 hours just sitting, staring at dead salmon and gluttonous seagulls.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LbZxxtk/0/L/DSC2788-L.jpg)
Pretty much all we saw the whole day

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gTBpMbJ/0/L/DSC2800-L.jpg)
Of course, the minute Neda leaves to go to the washroom, a baby black bear saunters into the parking lot, sniffs around and leaves!

Not wanting to ride back in the dark, we left for Canada  empty-handed just as the sun was setting, and at our campsite in Stewart, our next-door neighbour who was also at the viewing area told us that a couple of bears came out to dine after sunset. Grrrr!!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7rMHfNd/0/L/DSCN9376-L.jpg)
Log teepees on the Cassiar

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SLhjPTM/0/XL/DSCN9381-XL.jpg)
A warning sign of some sorts...?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QpHJKJw/0/L/DSCN9385-L.jpg)
Gravel section of the Cassiar

You can see in the picture above newer trees growing in the sections where previous forest fires have cleared the area. This is part of the natural cycle for forests, and small signs are erected on the side of the highway displaying the year of the forest fire in that section.

We traveled north on the rest of the Cassiar Highway in cold, foggy and overcast conditions - very different from the desert-like interior of BC that we left just a couple of days ago. Most of the length of the 874 km highway was paved, with the exception of a couple of long stretches of gravel. We shared the road with logging trucks and the odd RV and it really felt like we were riding in the deep forest of the province as the Yukon Territory loomed ahead of us.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 16, 2012, 12:32:34 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/24.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CTDTMZc/0/L/map21-L.jpg)

We're now at the north end of the Cassiar Highway, as it terminates at the Alaska Highway. The full name is the Alaska-Canada highway, or Alcan Highway for short, but most people refer to it as the Alaska Highway. The road was originally built by the US Army to provide a way to get troops and munitions to defend Alaska against the Japanese immediately after Pearl Harbor.

More importantly, we're in the Yukon Territory! I've never been here before, and I had to look up what differentiates a Canadian Territory from a Province. From Wikipedia:

Quote
"The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces are jurisdictions that receive their power and authority directly from the Constitution Act, 1867, whereas territories derive their mandates and powers from the federal government."


Watson Lake is a small town just east of the Cassiar/Alcan intersection and that's where we decided to camp for the evening. Upon entering the town, we saw an unusual sight: thousands of signs on posts erected on the side of the road. Not just a row of posts, but a whole forest full of them! We got off to investigate.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7pKnb3z/0/L/DSC2832new-L.jpg)
Signpost Forest in Watson Lake, YT

At Watson Lake's visitor centre, we found out that this all started with an American GI stationed at the Alaska Highway during WWII who got homesick, so he nailed up a sign from his hometown. Others started doing the same, and now tourists from all over the world bring signs from their home to nail them up at the Signpost Forest. There are over 75,000 signs today. Seems there are more thieves in this forest than Sherwood...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F5sqSnq/0/L/DSC2833-L.jpg)
Saw a few Ontario signs here. Good to know kleptomaniacs from our province are well-represented...

While at the visitor centre, we overheard one of the staff talk to a guest in fluent German! It turns out that Whitehorse, which is the capital of Yukon and only 4 hours drive away from Watson Lake, is quite the hub for trans-continental flights. This is due to a shorter distance for northern hemisphere countries to fly over the Arctic, than it is to fly latitudinally over the fat part of the globe. In fact, there is a direct flight from Frankfurt to Whitehorse. This would explain all the German tourists in rented RVs that we ran into wandering around the Yukon Territory.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RbCsHRs/0/L/DSC2834-L.jpg)
Neda gives up counting the signs at the Signpost Forest

We camped for the evening at Watson Lake, and again, talking to the owner of this RV Park, he told us we were traveling very late in the season and made up some fancy, scary stories about snow and frost if we were to journey northwards. So the next morning, we journeyed northwards. :)

On the way to Whitehorse, we stopped in Teslin, a small town right on the Alcan, for a break. There we met Young, a Californian who rode his Trumph Speed Triple up here. He had just gotten his rear tire replaced, and he was in Teslin trying to find the local who helped him when he was stranded on the side of the road earlier. Young just left us a note on our guestbook! (http://pub29.bravenet.com/guestbook/2472587144) Cool!

From Whitehorse, we rode the Klondike Highway north to Dawson city, the same route that over 100,000 prospectors took to travel to the Yukon after gold was discovered in 1896. The journey for them was long and arduous and they had to carry everything they needed on their backs. For us, the 500km ride was scenic and our trusty motorcycles carried everything for us!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GgJrLHf/0/L/DSC2874-L.jpg)
Pretty sure none of these buildings actually existed at the time of the Gold Rush, they were built for the Tourist Rush.

Dawson City is one wild-looking town straight out of all the Wild West movies. There are still some original buildings from the turn of the century, but most of the stores and businesses are built and decorated to reflect the town's rich history. By the time most of the prospectors arrived in the Yukon, most of the gold claims had already been staked so the majority came all the way for nothing. Still, some worked in the mines for companies and started businesses catering to the continuing influx of new prospectors, and this was where Dawson City was born.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jB7Vdk8/0/L/DSC2840-L.jpg)
But do they sell an oil filter for a 450 EXC? Didn't think so...

We treated ourselves to a couple of nights in a local bed and breakfast, it was pricey, but it was soooo luxurious sleeping in a real bed again! During the day, we strolled the wooden boardwalks around town. It was the end of the tourist season so some of the stores were closing soon and the town was not as busy as it was just a few weeks ago. During its heydey in 1898, Dawson City housed so many prospectors and businesses that it was the largest city in Western North America north of Seattle.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fwHWnxF/0/L/DSC2842-L.jpg)
Row of pretty coloured buildings

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Bh52Xm8/0/L/DSC2843-L.jpg)
These guys look like they just came from Crankworx 2012!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bb2RCz9/0/XL/DSC2878-XL.jpg)
Neda is busy making new friends to replace all the human friends we left behind

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6msQ3F8/0/XL/DSC2884-XL.jpg)
I've been meaning to grow a dodgy-looking 'stache my whole life.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Qk737Qj/0/XL/DSC2887-XL.jpg)
Fiddlin' away the time in Dawson City

After the glitter of the Gold Rush faded and news spread that most of the claims in the Klondike had already been staked, prospectors left Dawson City in droves, some looking for gold in Alaska, others returning home with their pockets empty. Still, the infrastructure for a large city had been built and over time, Dawson City escaped the fate of several Gold Rush ghost towns. Just a couple of decades later, it re-emerged as a new mecca for entertainment, drawing in the wealthy and affluent on large steamships to spend their time and money here.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7vV8tgv/0/XL/DSC2895-XL.jpg)
Original buildings kept untouched as a historical display

The original buildings were built right on the permafrost land during the summer of the gold rush. However, once the winters came, the warmth of the floor melted the waters of the ground underneath and caused the first structures to cave in on themselves. Later buildings were built on raised supports.

The fake front facades that look like they came straight from a Hollywood set were propped up to mask the cheaply-built buildings behind, as they were hastily erected to service the rush of gold prospectors. The facades were ornately painted to give a sense of permanence to prospective customers. All the modern tourist stores are built in the same tradition on raised supports and fake facades, as you can see in the pictures above.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-C62K3kJ/0/O/dawson.jpg)
I can just imagine two gunslingers facing each other at opposite ends of this street at high noon. DRAW!

We learned so much about the Klondike and the history of Dawson in the couple of days that we spent there. I'm really enjoying this meandering by motorcycle, it's a lot more enriching than just spending the entire time on the road and seeing towns from behind a visor, while missing out on all the culture and history.

But tomorrow, we ride!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 18, 2012, 01:41:35 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/25.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tQ9L6nf/0/L/map22-L.jpg)

It's a grey, overcast morning as we leave Dawson City to head west. Just outside of the city, a tiny ferry called the George Black waits to take us over the Yukon River. It only fits about 4 RVs at a time, but it runs quickly - taking just 5 minutes to cross the river. And the price is right - it's free! During the winter, the ferry stops running and residents just drive or snowmobile across the ice to get to the other side.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-27zftjZ/0/L/DSCN9390-L.jpg)
Boarding the ferry from Dawson City to the Top of the World Highway

Across the Yukon River, the patchy pavement quickly turns to gravel and starts to climb up above the timberline. We're on the Top of The World Highway, one of the most northern highways in North America. It probably got its name because most of the road rests on the spine of the mountains that overlooks the Yukon to the north and colourful valleys on both sides of the ridge.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wDSp9M7/0/L/DSC2927-L.jpg)
The view is duplicated on the other side of the road!

It's hard to choose which side of the road to look, all the different coloured trees in the valley look like they've been painted by Seurat. The gravel is fairly hard packed, but is only open in the summer. There is very little traffic on this fine Sunday morning, but half-way through the ride, a red R1200GS Adventure blasts by us like we were standing still. I manage to glance at his plates as he passed us and was surprised to see another Ontarioan! What are the chances?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-38pdcHH/0/L/DSC3020-L.jpg)
Trying to see the pointillism of it all

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X9X86KJ/0/L/DSC2969-L.jpg)
Top o' the World to ya!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kwVz5x7/0/L/DSC2973-L.jpg)
Looking down into wonderfully coloured valleys

About 100 kms in, we reach the Canada/US border where I experienced the absolute most friendliest border crossing! The border guards were all, "Sure take a picture", and "Yeah, you can rest right over there"... It didn't seem like they saw a lot of traffic, but when they did, they told us there were a lot of BMW motorcycles in the mix. As if to prove his point, the red 1200ADV from Ontario was parked right up behind the building. We chatted with Brian, from Huntsville, ON, he was on an 18-day round-trip from Ontario to Alaska and back! Wow, that's a lot of riding!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wmQPPnM/0/L/DSCN9401-L.jpg)
Brian is waiting for his two other riding buddies that he left behind in the gravel dust, he told us to watch out for them

This border crossing is interesting, it's one of the few customs buildings jointly run by both the US and Canadian governments. The RV on the left is coming into the US and the minivan on the right is crossing into Canada.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Fz47H7k/0/L/DSC2977-L.jpg)
More BMW motorcycles at the border

Neda went over to chat with the new GS riders, two 1200s and an older F650GS. Turns out they were from Florida, flew into Anchorage, rented BMW motorcycles and were on their way to Dawson City.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5f5g7QT/0/L/DSC2989-L.jpg)
Neda chatting with the Floridians

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gvdwnRD/0/L/DSCN9404-L.jpg)
It's official! This trip is now INTERNATIONAL!!!

From the US border, or Boundary, Alaska, as it's named, the road turns into the Taylor Highway. Same gravel, same twisty, mountainous cuves, same amazing scenery, and once again, another BMW motorcycle from Ontario blows by us! This time, an R1200RT! Oh, the humiliation! I intercom Neda, "Seriously!?!" :) This was presumably one of Brian's riding buddies, he was a big man and he made the gigantic RT look like a small bicycle underneath him!

50 kms later, we see the sign for Chicken, Alaska. I'm not really sure you could call it a town, just a collection of buildings in a big gravel lot. We pulled in and saw Brian and his riding crew as well as a couple of Harleys. Motorcyclists seem to make up the majority of the tourists at this stop. We had lunch (fish and chips, not chicken) with Brian, Heinz and another 1200ADV rider, all from Huntsville, ON, as well as Baltimore Jim and his partner Phylis from Aspen, CO, who have both put on a gajillion miles on their Harleys. Had a great time exchanging travel stories!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7w9PWXq/0/L/DSC2997-L.jpg)
Heinz pulls out of Chicken on his miniaturized RT

Did you know the residents of Chicken originally wanted to name their town, Ptarmigan, but they didn't know how to spell Ptarmigan! Chicken Ptarmesan?

After another 100 kms, the Taylor Highway reaches the Alaska Highway at Tetlin Junction. We don't get passed by any more BMW motorcycles from Ontario, although at this rate, I fully expected a C1 to come zipping in between us. We keep on riding north until we hit the North Pole. North Pole, Alaska, that is!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BgX3QQD/0/L/DSCN9405-L.jpg)
Not sure why Giganta-Santa is wearing pasties...

North Pole, Alaska is nowhere near the magnetic north pole, but they play up the whole Christmas theme with roads like Kris Kringle Drive, and all the poles that their road signs are mounted on are striped white and red like candy canes. Jeez... We do fall into tourist mode though and stop into the Santa Claus house to see their real-live reindeers and pose with several dozen SoDS (Santas of Differing Sizes).

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JKMzGwC/0/XL/DSC3008-XL.jpg)
And not one of them with a red nose

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QzVDFgn/0/L/DSC3013-L.jpg)
Given how cold it's getting, this seemed entirely normal

As we ride north of the North Pole (is that even geographically possible?), we enter Fairbanks as the gloomy weather has now turned to rain. Wonder where we can go from here...?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bucktownbilly on September 18, 2012, 12:35:53 pm
Awesome :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on September 19, 2012, 01:36:57 pm
Absolutely awesome ride. You both have my respect and admiration. 
Keep your eye on the weather. It's getting late in the season for being up there.
I'm just sayin'.......


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Paintman on September 19, 2012, 06:57:15 pm
Amazing trip and yes the weather can get bad real fast. i lived 4 years in North pole lol my kids loved it 4 miles from the Santa Clause house. Of course one draw back when you tried to order stuff no one would believe you lved in North Pole .


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on September 19, 2012, 11:52:50 pm
Awesome!  :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Davy F. on September 20, 2012, 02:20:36 am
Lovin' it !!  Jealous as a very jealous thing.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 21, 2012, 11:59:15 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/26.html

Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay.

The name is whispered in revered tones as one of the Holy Grails of adventure motorcycling - the most northern point in North America that you can travel by overland vehicle. The treacherous road leading up there has been featured in Ice Road Truckers and World's Most Dangerous Roads.

So, since we were in the neighbourhood, we decided to see what all the fuss was about...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cqDWdwR/0/O/daltonPar83804Image-1-11.gif)

In 1968, North America's largest oil field was discovered in Prudhoe Bay, on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Then the oil crisis hit, so the US Government thought what a great idea it would be to build America's most dangerous road in the northern tundra of Alaska, and then stealth-market it on ADVRider to attract motorcyclists from all over the world to brave 414 miles of dirt, mud, potholes, washboard, gravel and pay over $5 a gallon along the way for the privilege! And the motorcyclists came, and together they all subsidized the construction of the Alaska Pipeline!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3GFzCLg/0/L/DSCN9452-L.jpg)
South section of the Dalton Highway, the Alaska Pipeline a constant fixture

We left Fairbanks the morning after arriving. So many people along the way had warned us of the impending cold weather that we were feeling a little rushed. The rains in the area had not let up for the last couple of days and the forecast didn't leave us with any window for dry weather for another week. So we decided if we were going to do this, it would be now. I think we suffered a bit for our lack of preparation. More on that a bit later...

The Dalton Highway begins about 70 miles north of Fairbanks. Almost immediately we are confronted by construction, and we are told to wait for a pilot vehicle to escort us through a single lane of freshly-laid dirt. The pilot vehicle eventually showed up after 15 minutes, but it led us all the way through while tailing a watering truck! The construction crews water the dirt to keep down the dust, so we were basically riding fresh mud created just a hundred feet ahead of us. Great.

We slowly slipped and slid over the muck, a lineup of impatient truckers behind us shaking their heads at these two bikes from Ontario with street tires barely keeping their rides upright. If we dropped the bikes at this point, they probably would have just run us over to keep their delivery schedules!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4rKWJdh/0/L/DSCN9464-L.jpg)
Our first break at Yukon Crossing

Two muddy construction zones later, we had our first break at Yukon Crossing. We gassed up our tanks for the next leg, ate a brief lunch and then talked to two bikers coming from the north. We were curious about the road ahead and since the weather and construction changes daily, the only fresh information are from travelers that have just come off the road. They told us we had endured the most toughest section and that it was just hard-packed gravel ahead of us. Neda and I breathed a collective sigh of relief until we found out that they had only gone to the Arctic Circle marker and back, not all the way to the end of the Dalton. They had turned back at mile 115 of 414 and had no information on what was ahead further north - what many have said was the most treacherous part of the Dalton Highway. :(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wz8ZfDr/0/L/DSCN9482-L.jpg)
Nice pavement on the Dalton is the exception, not the rule. Beautiful scenery on the Dalton is the rule, not the exception.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-L5zR9Hx/0/L/DSCN9490-L.jpg)
We've officially crossed the Arctic Circle!

Anything north of the Arctic Circle gets to experience the midnight sun in the summertime, but is also plunged into 24 hours of darkness in the winter. Most tourists and motorcycle travelers end their Dalton Highway trek at the Arctic Circle marker, taking a picture of the sign for posterity and then turning back south to Fairbanks, but we're after much larger game!

There are only three towns on the Dalton Highway. No other services exist on the road, no McDonalds, no gas stations, no convenience stores, nothing but cold Alaska wilderness, 18-wheelers and the constant companionship of the Alaska Pipeline running parallel to the highway. I'm told that the Automobile Associations refuse to service the Dalton, not considering it a proper road. Any catastrophic breakdowns/crashes along the way will involve you hiring a private towing company to come out and fetch you at $5/mile back to Fairbanks. My mental calculator was working out how high the financial stakes were the further north we headed.

The "town" of Coldfoot came upon us at mile marker 175. "Town" in quotes because it looked to be a collection of trailers strewn across a muddy, gravelly lot just behind the trees off the highway. This was the last place we could get gas before Deadhorse, and a large sign reminded us, "Last gas for 240 miles". 240 miles was stretching the limits of our tanks, so we both made sure to fill up our 4L jerry cans just in case. I thought how ironic it would be to run out of gas on the Dalton, while not a hundred feet away, the Alaska Pipeline pumped 2.1 million barrels of oil a day past us...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2NF2KTK/0/L/DSCN9513-L.jpg)
Boreal Lodge in Wiseman

The second town is Wiseman, only 14 miles north of Coldfoot. It is an original gold mining community, but now houses historical log cabins and a few lodges and BnBs for travelers on the Dalton. Most of the population of 20 people practice a subsistence lifestyle, only hunting and gathering what they need to survive, nothing more. We stayed at the Boreal Lodge, which was quite a step up from the trailer/hotel in Coldfoot. That night, I pondered over all the travel advisories I'd read about the road to Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay. I felt like I had read just enough to scare me, but not enough to prepare me, given that our route to this point was already difficult and yet, from what I read, the worse was yet to come.

Neda didn't seem to be worried at all. Either we weren't surfing the same websites, or she's got balls of steel.

Well, tomorrow we find out.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: coho on September 22, 2012, 12:17:48 am
Aaaiiigh! :omgomgomg: I hate cliffhangers!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: MungoJerrie on September 22, 2012, 11:00:20 am
I'm so envious of this whole plan...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 22, 2012, 10:09:46 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/27.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8pmZrgR/0/O/dalton2.gif)

Neda's guilty pleasure is a TV program called, "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" (MXC). On the show, contestants are run through a crazy obstacle course where more and more outlandish situations are thrown at them in an effort to knock them off their motorcycles. No wait, that's the Dalton Highway...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KqfmxJJ/0/L/DSCN9526-L.jpg)
"The insides of my shorts are now the same colour as the road but I'm OK!"

When we wake up in Wiseman, we discover it's been raining all night and still coming down in the morning. This means that we'll be facing our first extreme elimination challenge - slippery, greasy mud underneath our smooth, street tires. Like they say in MXC, "DON'T GET ELIMINATED!"...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2LNPrGD/0/L/DSCN9515-L.jpg)
2 wheels vs 18. GAME ON! Sukakpak Mountain in the background

The Dalton Highway was built especially for truckers hauling material all the way up to Prudhoe Bay to build the Alaska Pipeline. It's also called the Haul Road, and today is used to carry supplies to Deadhorse, where all the work is done extracting the crude out of the oil fields. Trucks are the undisputed King of the Road and riding amongst them requires special attention. The biggest danger is getting hit by rocks and stones kicked up by any one of the 18 wheels passing you by at close proximity. The speed limit on the Dalton is 50mph and it is not uuncommon to see rocks hitting your windshield and visor at closing speeds of a plastic-shattering 100mph. The common wisdom is to always pull over when you see a truck approaching, turn your helmet to the side of the road and duck behind your windscreen.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NHNxfN5/0/L/DSCN9529-L.jpg)
Neda wipes her muddy visor after being blinded by a passing truck

We're told that in the dry summer months, you can see a truck approaching for hundreds of metres away due to the dust cloud in the distance. Today, the dust clouds are replaced with a head-to-toe mud bath, sometimes temporarily obscuring your visor if you don't get your head turned away in time. Don't even think about smearing the mud with your already dirty gloves, so you're riding blind until you can get stopped to pull out a clean-ish rag.... "DON'T GET ELIMINATED!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-q2rjpkk/0/L/DSCN9536-L.jpg)
Rain and thick fog still fail to mask the brilliant autumn colours in the flatlands.

The trees become more sparse the further north we travel, as the environment is getting more inhospitable to anything shorter than ground vegetation. Stretches of construction still present challenges to our 2-wheeled vehicles, as they are not laying down asphalt, just more dirt and gravel for the trucks. The Dalton Highway was never intended for non-commercial passenger vehicles, and the condition of the road reflects this. In fact, the US government only opened the road to public access as late as 1994.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8VTXbNm/0/L/DSCN9542-L.jpg)
Whiteout conditions on the Atigun Pass

The Brooks Range covers most of Northern Alaska and the Yukon Territory. Most of the land north of this mountain range is called the North Slope, as the mountains face north and drain precipitation into the Arctic ocean. In fact, the original name of the Dalton Highway was called the North Slope Road. This is where we are introduced to our next Extreme Elimination Challenge: snow and ice on the Atigun Pass.

The Atigun Pass climbs 4739 feet above sea level, and as we make the ascent up the wet, gravelly road, we encounter white-out conditions, the shoulders and mountain-sides slowly accumulating with snow. Our speed drops, not only because of the road conditions, but because we are also busy marveling at the amazing views unfolding before us.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hRDS7pd/0/L/DSCN9554orig-L.jpg)
Riding through the snow-covered mountain ranges, the views are amazing! Too bad the road conditions have us scared sleetless.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vPKdqrq/0/L/DSCN9557-L.jpg)
To me, riding the Atigun Pass in a snowstorm has to be the highlight of our trip so far.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7J4p4nH/0/L/DSCN9560-L.jpg)
Starting our descent down the other side of the Atigun Pass

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MBXWhZN/0/L/DSCN9586-L.jpg)
Atigun Gorge, just north of the pass

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VV9qTcx/0/L/DSC3021-L.jpg)
Made it through the Atigun Pass!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3JJqhbt/0/XL/DSCN9592-XL.jpg)
Taking a break in the Atigun Gorge with our buddy the Alaska Pipeline

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jrnT7Fc/0/L/DSC3058-L.jpg)
Neda is admiring the scenery

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MPBcMnW/0/L/DSC3056-L.jpg)
Off we go again!

Our preparations for the Dalton Highway were non-existent. We just showed up. While most motorcyclists donned knobbies or more aggressive tires, we were using Tourances, half-bald from long riding days on the abrasive pavement of the BC and Yukon highways. All the weight on my bike was piled up on my passenger seat and topcase, making my centre of gravity precipitously high and back. While riding the greasy muddy sections, I felt like a tight-rope walker balancing a bowling ball at the top of a long broomstick!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZzZBgbW/0/L/DSCN9599-L.jpg)
Lunchtime at Galbraith Camp

At Galbraith Lake, we came up with solution to my high centre-of-gravity problem. We took all the food out of my topcase. And ate it. Next Extreme Elimination Challenge - "Postprandial somnolence" - rider drowsiness induced by overeating.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3GwnKNm/0/L/DSC3077-L.jpg)
Galbraith Lake

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XX5pM3H/0/L/DSC3065-L.jpg)
So muddy

We found out that construction crews spray Calcium Chloride on the roads. CaCl2 is a thickening agent which thickens the mud and hardens it in the summertime. However, when it gets wet, it produces a slippery clay that when splashed onto hot pipes and radiators, bakes into a ceramic that is impossible to get rid off without a chisel. We are recommended to immediately wash this crap off our bikes before this happens, since CaCl2 is mildly corrosive as well.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-j8MQCfP/0/L/DSC3079-L.jpg)
Somewhere underneath all that mud is a motorcycle and a rider

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MVKDJSw/0/L/DSCN9612-L.jpg)
We made friends with a lot of flaggers at construction sites

Often there is a 15-30 minute wait at each construction site. Motorcycles are typically waved to the front, so we got to chat with a lot of the flaggers while waiting for the pilot vehicle. We found out from this flag-person that a stretch of the Dalton was closed a couple of days ago due to snow, so it was fortunate we were arriving today. She told us that while her station was closed, she built a snowman to hold the stop sign, and as it melted, all the construction drivers mocked her snow-flagger for falling asleep on the job! LOL!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2RB5zvc/0/L/DSCN9613-L.jpg)
Following a pilot vehicle through a construction site

I leave a healthy distance behind Neda. We've found that our dirt bike skills come in handy on this road, and when the road becomes too gnarly and the bikes go sideways, a little throttle helps to keep everything upright and pointed straight. "When in doubt, throttle it out!". Oh and, "DON'T GET ELIMINATED!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3nwwqFG/0/XL/DSCN9617orig-XL.jpg)
Final stretch (literally and figuratively) before we reach Prudhoe Bay. Next challenge: deep washboard ruts in the background

Happy Valley is at mile marker 334 and the rain starts to let up and we see sun peeking out from the clouds. The mud turns to hard-packed gravel and our speeds pick up a bit. We are sobered up by the sight of a car and a truck overturned in the ditch and we slow down again. Obviously, they too fell victim to complacency on the Haul Road and paid the price. Speaking of which, at a tow-charge of $5/mile, 400 miles north of Fairbanks, I assume it was cheaper leaving the rotting carcasses of their vehicles up here than pay for a tow back to civilization.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CXZK4GT/0/L/DSCN9633-L.jpg)
The obligatory picture at the Deadhorse General Store - one of the only Welcome signs in this oil camp

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Gn9Rj9T/0/L/DSC3086-L.jpg)
We like our sign better! :)

The drilling community of Deadhorse slowly appears on the horizon. It appears slowly because all of the buildings are no more than one-story tall, having been hauled up on the back of an 18-wheeler. Our relief at reaching the end of the treacherous Dalton Highway is tempered by the fact that we are really only half-way through it. We've got to do it all again to get back to Fairbanks!

The weather forecast shows non-stop rain for the next 5 days. Do we wait and risk snow or ride back in even deeper mud?

"DON'T GET ELIMINATED!" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anpAcJ848j8&feature=related)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on September 23, 2012, 06:21:49 am
Words escape me.
You two are amazing  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: st2sam on September 23, 2012, 09:00:06 am
    :clap:AWESOME!!!  



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: kendenton on September 23, 2012, 09:39:58 am
Absolutely fantastic reading!  Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to share this with us.



Having recently read this excellent report - Me, a blonde, 2 Ducati's...3,000 miles (https://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/topic,74181.msg1724202.html#msg1724202) I had to laugh when I saw this picture of your bike:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XX5pM3H/0/L/DSC3065-L.jpg)

I can't imagine how GP1152 would have dealt with that kind of dirt  :)

(https://dl.dropbox.com/u/26921731/bike-wash_2.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on September 23, 2012, 11:53:00 am

Absolutely fantastic reading!  Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to share this with us.







Ditto,

BTW,  how's the injury healing up?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 23, 2012, 01:53:46 pm

I can't imagine how GP1152 would have dealt with that kind of dirt  :)


Wow, that's a clean bike. We rented a Streetfighter in LA a few years ago.

Who says it can't handle dirt? :lol:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/la-ducati/i-5gLLSK9/0/L/streetfighter-L.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 23, 2012, 01:55:19 pm
BTW,  how's the injury healing up?


It took about three weeks to almost completely heal, just tissue damage. Feeling a lot better now, thanks for asking!  :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on September 23, 2012, 04:56:15 pm
 :bigok: Man you two ROOOOOOOCK!!!!!!!!!

DAYUM!!!! this would be the trip of a life time. :inlove:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: kendenton on September 23, 2012, 07:58:41 pm



Wow, that's a clean bike. We rented a Streetfighter in LA a few years ago.




You should read the report - dude is seriously obsessed with keeping it clean  :D (and I'm quite jealous)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 25, 2012, 07:29:13 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/28.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d5KJm3g/0/L/map23-L.jpg)

So cool seeing how far we've traveled on a map of North America! Some interesting statistics:

Toronto to Vancouver = 4206 kms
Vancouver to Deadhorse = 4117 kms

Our cross-country trip to Vancouver is almost exactly half-way to Deadhorse! This really puts the vast distances of Arctic Canada and the US into perspective!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7H9hGsn/0/L/DSCN9620-L.jpg)
Deadhorse gas station - feels like we're filling up directly from the ground!

Our first task was to fill up our empty tanks. After our last gas stop in Coldfoot, we were almost completely dry. However, we were shocked to find out gas is $5.33/gallon in Deadhorse. Almost directly underneath our tires lies the largest oil fields in North America, but due to state taxation issues, there are no refineries in Prudhoe Bay. All the gasoline up here has been shipped up via the 18-wheelers that tried to kill us the day before.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VcpRM76/0/L/DSCN9626-L.jpg)
Downtown Deadhorse.

Almost all the buildings here are single-story trailer units that look as if they are fitted together like Lego. This is less a town than it is a community of oil drilling companies that ship workers here for months at a time, begrudgingly tolerating the harsh and spartan conditions, counting the days and paycheques before they return home to family and civilization. No one is here for leisure except the few adventure motorcyclists and the odd traveler looking to reach the Arctic Ocean.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QKfv49F/0/L/DSCN9630-L.jpg)
Our oasis!

Accommodations here are as exorbitantly expensive as the gas. The cost to ship supplies and materials for the workers up the Haul Road are reflected in the prices that the tourists pay, while everyone who actually works here is completely comped by the companies they work for. Neda did some research and found that the Prudhoe Bay Hotel was the best deal in town - all buffet style meals and a 24-hour kitchen. We booked in for two days and paid a handsome price for the respite from the non-stop rain and mud outside.

The hotel was full-service, so we were welcome to help ourselves to all the supplies they stocked. And for the price we paid, we went ape-sheet on laundry soap, fabric softener, soap, condiments, wet naps, as well as raided the kitchen for a weeks worth of sandwiches, cookies, potato chips. As we watched the rain continue to fall non-stop outside, we were comforted in the knowledge that our bikes would be nice and top-heavy-tipsy for the ride back in the mud that was building up! So not looking forward to that... :(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hcv5JrT/0/L/DSCN9632-L.jpg)
Deadhorse indoor fashion accessories

Every "building" (converted trailer) in Deadhorse has a policy - either take your outdoor footwear off, or put these fetching blue booties on while you walk around. Otherwise the inside of the buildings would be coated in the same mud that our bikes were outside. All the washrooms and dining areas had large signs reminding everyone to wash their hands and to use the hand sanitizers. The temporary population of 3000 workers in Deadhorse are 80% male, and like most guys, health and cleanliness rank low in their list of priorities. As well, Deadhorse is a dry town, as you can imagine the troubles that alcohol would cause in a place composed entirely of testosterone. Neda remarked that everyone was so friendly towards her. I told her she should try visiting a prison sometime too...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-53XXw78/0/L/DSC3092-L.jpg)
Portable drilling equipment, the weight and pressure on those tires are so immense, it can only travel a few mph without them overheating and exploding

The Dalton Highway ends a few miles short of the Arctic Ocean, so to reach it, we had to book a tour from one of the local operators. There was a 24-hour waiting period for them to clear our passports with the US government. Security is a major concern, which is why there is no public access to the water without an identity check and an escort. Luckily my unpaid speeding tickets in two states did not count as a National Security violation, and we hopped in a van the next morning to see Deadhorse and the Arctic Ocean.
 
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QhDcXkN/0/L/DSC3093-L.jpg)
Typical Lego trailer buildings in Deadhorse

We did see some construction of permanent buildings in Deadhorse amongst all the trailer structures. They learned the lessons of Dawson City and were using raised floor construction so as not to overheat the permafrost underneath.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pc9xpHL/0/L/DSC3096-L.jpg)
A little Deadhorse humour - we are north of the timberline so these are the only trees we'll find up here. I like the nod to the gold and the Inukshok as well

The funky goggles that we are sporting are for our protection should a passing 18-wheeler spray us with bullet-shaped rocks. A lot of injuries on the slope are from exactly this and there are strict speed limits on passing other vehicles.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3L99wrK/0/XL/DSC3122-XL.jpg)
Coldfoot, er feet in the Arctic Ocean!

The air temperature was about 4-5C (40F), but the water felt much colder! We're told that some people actually go all the way in and swim in the dead of winter! Crazy!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gQQ6DsT/0/L/DSC3140-L.jpg)
Rusted metal oil barrel on the shores of Deadhorse beach

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vRmjZ5r/0/XL/DSC3147-XL.jpg)
Driftwood on the beach

This driftwood is exactly like us! No, I don't mean that we are drifting around Alaska aimlessly, the wood is from Canada. Since there are no trees up here on the North Slope of the Brooks Range, the Arctic currents carry timber from the Yukon and the Northwest Territories and deposit it on the shores of Prudhoe Bay.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZSsChZt/0/L/DSC3157-L.jpg)
Deadhorse art - This was the site of the original discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay. This statue is supposed to resemble the pilot flame burning on top of oil rigs

Immediately after the tour, we steeled ourselves for the long ride back down the Dalton Highway. It's been raining for the last two days straight without a break and I'm dreading the mud bog that we're going to have to ride through. Neda compounds my fears by reminding me that the road we will be riding will be very different now from the one we came up, so we really have no idea what to expect.

As if to drive the point home, the potholed stretch of road just south of Deadhorse is now besieged by hurricane-like winds. Our bikes are leaned sideways into the cross-winds as we try to find a dry line through the mud and washboard. Almost like it was a sentient (and malevolent) creature, the Dalton keeps throwing things at us, and I sense that it's somehow angry at us.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6CtXmr7/0/L/DSC3161-L.jpg)
Very different scenery on the Atigun Pass

As we reach the Atigun Pass, most of the snow has melted, and the view of the gorge is tinged with low-lying reddish-brown vegetation. It is a much different road as all the pitfalls and dangers have moved on us. Even the construction areas are different, as crews finish one section and move on to another.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k5jxBLm/0/L/DSC3165-L.jpg)
Atigun Gorge-ous

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fnnQZhv/0/L/DSCN9674-L.jpg)
Approaching a deserted construction site

Almost all the construction sites are deserted as we are riding back south on the US Labor Day Monday. Although there are no watering trucks today, the rain has made the roads even slicker than on our run up. So many times I feel the bike sliding out from underneath me and I have to consciously suppress the survival instinct to roll off or brake, and goose the throttle instead. Neda's hand is hurting from the deathgrip on the handlebars. My sphincter has a deathgrip on the motorcycle seat.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WtpJp3L/0/L/DSCN9679-L.jpg)
The only tires worse than these would have been racing slicks

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kNNKCF5/0/L/DSCN9681-L.jpg)
Mud at the Yukon Crossing

During our tour of the Arctic Ocean, our escort told us that August is the rainiest season in Northern Alaska. Something that we should have researched *BEFORE* coming up here!!! We are soooo unprepared. Just like the time we tried to ride up the Indian Himalayan mountains during monsoon season. (http://www.RideDOT.com/india/091510.html) We really don't make things easy on ourselves...

One thing that worked out for us was that we dodged mosquito season by a couple of weeks. During the summer, all the stagnant pools of water in the area provide a perfect breeding ground for billions of mosquitos who go on a rampage, swarming caribou and motorcyclists up and down the Dalton.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VBtpJZZ/0/L/DSCN9682-L.jpg)
Neda likes construction sites because of the readily available port-a-potties...

During our research, we had read about the "700 yards of terror" on the Dalton. This can occur anywhere on the road and will absolutely frighten the shale out of a motorcycle rider. Our "700 yards" happened to lie right at the end. As the GPS counted down a few kms till we would hit the Elliot Highway, the mud on the road quickly multiplied. This was the Dalton's final assualt on us. My speed dropped to a crawl as the motorcycle wobbled in every direction but straight. Traction was non-existant. The high and heavy weight of all the laundry detergent and potato chips from the Prudhoe Bay Hotel threatened to topple my GS at every inch. I have never wanted to stop and give up on a motorcycle road, but those last few kms of thick and greasy, heavy mud on the Dalton had me seriously considering calling a tow-truck to come pick me up.

As we reached the safety of the pavement and broken asphalt, I heard Neda whoop over the intercom. There was much rejoicing as we celebrated having gone up *AND* down the Haul Road and arriving back in one piece!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pmSNg7S/0/L/DSCN9687-L.jpg)
Clean again!!!! Took us forever to power wash the CaCl2 and mud off in Fairbanks


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: james_g on September 25, 2012, 09:28:27 am
Fantastic report!  :bigok:

james


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on September 26, 2012, 09:21:37 am
Still a great report keep it coming! Thats an incredible amount of mud!!!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sammyseaman on September 26, 2012, 09:27:08 pm
Epic....


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ApeDel on September 27, 2012, 06:28:42 am
Great report, great pictures! keep it coming

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk 2


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: CanadianBird on September 27, 2012, 09:25:15 am
Out standing adventure and report.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 29, 2012, 03:00:35 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/29.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kCtNqmc/0/L/map24-L.jpg)

After all the excitement of the last week, we are looking to relax for a little bit and take some time to get some chores done. Ever since we've crossed over into Alaska, I've had Sean Bean's voice from "Game of Thrones" in my head, ominously warning me, "Winter is coming!" We've got to start heading south soon.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tg3gkdz/0/L/nedachat-L.jpg)
Chatting during laundry day. Our riding suits are clean again!!!

A couple of weeks ago, we tried booking our regular service at Trail's End BMW in Fairbanks, but we quickly found out that that was like booking an annual medical check-up at the emergency ward. Trail's End seems to be a triage for the moto-carnage towed back from the Dalton, those bikes too wrecked to run get preferential treatment, so we instead turned to The Motorcycle Shop in Anchorage, about 360 miles south of Fairbanks.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6Dx8qGW/0/L/DSC3283-L.jpg)
Husky sled fog in Denali National Park

Denali National Park is about halfway between Fairbanks and Anchorage, so we decided to stop by on the way south. We encountered high winds on the way there and we were often leaned sideways into the crosswinds. There were a few pucker moments when passing oncoming trucks - suddenly the crosswind would die and the bike would wobble into the lean... :( We were to learn later that this was an early warning of things to come.

While we were at Denali, we attended a Husky sled dog demonstration. These dogs are so energetic, all they wanted to do was run. Definitely not condominium pets! They play an important part in providing clean and silent transportation for people and equipment throughout the national park for researchers and rangers. And they are so beautiful as well!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dFwTmzC/0/L/DSC3299-L.jpg)
Neda is laughing because this husky just wanted his butt scratched and kept angling his body just right

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5F7mZCz/0/L/DSC3311-L.jpg)
I'm totally being used and I don't care.

Maybe it was a hunch, but when we arrived in Anchorage, we made the decision to book a room instead of tenting it. During the night, a storm whipped through the city toppling down trees and power lines. Weather equipment recorded 210 km/h winds before their data feed got cut. At the time, we were just finishing watching a DVD (we miss that talking picture box and how it can magically make time disappear) and I got up to switch the TV off. Just then, I saw a bright flash outside the window and then all the lights went out. The tree right outside was on fire until the rain quickly put it out! I thought it was a lightning strike until this morning, when we walked outside we noticed the falling tree had severed a power line and the arcing had set the leaves on fire briefly.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vDdSM5j/0/L/IMG0481-L.jpg)
Next-door neighbour's house. If his roof hadn't had broken the tree's fall, it would have been tall enough to land on us. See the window on the far right? That's our room...

If we had tented, we would have woken up in a tree somewhere in Oz. Thankfully, Neda's bike was in service at the dealership and the host let me store my bike in the garage.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xSZV8mj/0/L/IMG0484-L.jpg)
The wind was so strong it uprooted this huge tree

Our hosts told us it normally doesn't get this windy this early. A month later, these trees would have shed all its leaves already and have been better able to withstand the high winds. We learned from the news that 25,000-30,000 homes in Anchorage were without power due to downed trees and the local electric companies were working around the clock trying to restore service around the city.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JS2zXNv/0/L/IMG0487-new-L.jpg)
We walked around Anchorage and surveyed all the downed trees in the city

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-b6pTgqt/0/L/IMG0446-L.jpg)
Romantic breakfast. The candle serves as both light and heat!

So our BnB was unable to serve us a hot breakfast because of the power outage. Neda feels they more than compensated by offering us chocolate peanut butter sandwiches with bananas by candlelight... Neda's kryptnonite is Nutella, but now she's found something else that will rob her of her willpower - Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6sxJRZV/0/XL/IMG0460-XL.jpg)
Pet chickens

While our hosts were out trying to find out more about the outage, we played with their pet chickens (I know, right? How awesome is that?) in the backyard. They are soooo cute! They love eating berries:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-x3ZHkNS/0/L/IMG0464-L.jpg)
As soon as Neda starts picking berries, the chickens are on the move!

Our hosts were very gracious and accommodating, moving us to another condo with heat and power but also offering us another nights stay on them. After living in a tent for over two months, we weren't going to turn down a roof over our heads, especially in the cold, wet Alaskan autumn! They also took us out for dinner, asking us where we'd like to go. I made a bit of a faux-pas asking them for typical Anchorage fare - they ended up taking us to a pizza joint - and I suddenly realized that we were in a major US city, not a Native American community - we weren't going to get any Inupiaq dishes here! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8JZtMKn/0/L/IMG0490-L.jpg)
Our wonderful hosts, Stephen and Jana

We really enjoyed our stay with Jana and Stephen, they're a really wonderful couple and they treated us like old friends instead of boarders. We asked them where Anchorageans go for a vacation - secretly hoping they wouldn't say Hawaii... They gave us some great ideas for local destinations to head out to.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sodapop6620 on September 29, 2012, 08:50:31 am
Miss DD, I see some STN calendar pictures in this thread!!!!

And a fantastic ride report.  Hopefully one day I will be able to write a ride report.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on September 29, 2012, 11:34:48 am
Coffee...check
Breakfast...check

Time to catch up on the epic journey of "Nothing to hold me down" oh sorry wrong title...

Time to catch up on "Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding! :inlove:

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on September 29, 2012, 02:01:20 pm

Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/29.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kCtNqmc/0/L/map24-L.jpg)

After all the excitement of the last week, we are looking to relax for a little bit and take some time to get some chores done. Ever since we've crossed over into Alaska, I've had Sean Bean's voice from "Game of Thrones" in my head, ominously warning me, "Winter is coming!" We've got to start heading south soon.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tg3gkdz/0/L/nedachat-L.jpg)
Chatting during laundry day. Our riding suits are clean again!!!



Are those Asus Netbooks? Looks exactly like mine! They're the bomb...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 30, 2012, 10:43:20 am
Yes Asus eeePCs FTW. Nice and light and great for blogging!

Not much else though...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 30, 2012, 06:23:34 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/30.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nnXLvNn/0/L/map25-L.jpg)

The Kenai Peninsula is about a 5 hour ride south of Anchorage, and is a popular weekend destination for the locals. It's a great spot for fishing in the numerous rivers that run through the area, and it's home to a few picturesque towns set against the backdrop of glaciers and mountains. We're going to do like the locals and spend a weekend here.

Seward Highway AKA Highway 1 is a twisty paved road that follows the shoreline of the Turnagain Arm, an inlet on the west-coast of the peninsula. It winds around the mouth, allowing a view across the bay of where you're going to be 45 minutes later. The peaks of Chugarch State Park lie inland and we're treated to our favorite motorcycle scenery - waters on one side, mountains on the other. Stephen told us that the gray silt that stretches for a few hundred meters away from the road during the low-tide were the remains of the mountains, carved away by the receding glaciers.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jVsThG7/0/L/DSCN9723-L.jpg)
Riding down Homer Spit

We reach Homer in the late afternoon and try to find a place to sleep. The majority of campsites are situated along the main attraction in Homer - a 5-mile-long, thin spit of land that thrusts out into Kachemak Bay. As we ride down to the end of the spit, we are treated to a 270-degree panorama of snow-capped mountains that line the shores of the bay. It is truly a wondrous site! Unfortunately most of the places are closing down for the season. With temperatures reaching the freezing mark overnight, it's easy to see why there weren't a lot of campers!

Jana introduced us to an Alaskan term, "Termination Dust". No, it's not a military bio-chemical weapon, it's the first trace of snow that appears on the mountains around southern Alaska, which signals the start of winter. As the last days of autumn start counting down, the termination dust starts creeping lower and lower until it reaches the ground.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-74MFQd4/0/L/IMG0493-L.jpg)
Dan McElrath Quartet playing the Bunnell St Art Centre

We treated ourselves to a nice seafood dinner at the highly-regarded Mermaid Cafe in Homer. The food tasted so delicious, but I think that might have had something to do with us having eaten nothing but sandwiches and soup for the last couple of months! After dinner, we strolled through old historic Homer and heard the sound of live music from around the corner. After standing at the door of the Bunnell St Art Centre for a couple of seconds, the audience beckoned us in and we stayed a while to listen to local Anchorage artist Dan McElrath and his quartet play some cool jazz. The live music was such a nice change to my 3,000 mp3 playlist, which I've already listened to 6 or 7 times over...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LXRBtpL/0/L/DSC3347-L.jpg)
Waves crashing on the beach at sunset on Homer Spit

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-L9s7PTX/0/L/DSC3376-L.jpg)
Beautiful views of the mountains, but jam packed with condos, shops, RV parks, parking lots, docks, etc.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DmrVfK2/0/L/DSC3384-L.jpg)
Waiting for tourists dollars - too late in the season, maybe next year

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QQqXsgG/0/L/DSC3391-L.jpg)
Marina at Homer Spit

There are several marinas that house a few hundred boats docked at Homer Spit. The natural beauty of the area has attracted all sorts of commerce that caters to the seasonal tourist traffic. Not a value judgment, as we're tourists as well.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F5TLPSX/0/XL/DSC3392-XL.jpg)
Marina at Homer Spit

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jmqfZVc/0/L/DSC0168-L.jpg)
Evening colours on the beach on Homer Spit

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2NGR4sN/0/L/DSC0178orig-L.jpg)
We picked a rainy weekend to visit, but it did make for some nice colours when the sky finally cleared

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gDMHJP8/0/XL/IMG0497-XL.jpg)
After sub-zero slumber, we wake up to clear skies and blue waters!

When we woke up, our tents were stiff like plastic from the frozen dew. We're starting to feel very rushed to escape the impending winter. From Homer, it's a short ride to the west side of the peninsula. On our way to Seward, we pass Exit Glacier, only one of the glaciers accessible by road, so we stopped to hike up to the edge and take some pictures.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vSgCXRX/0/L/DSC3399-L.jpg)
Exit Glacier

The Exit Glacier is quickly receding due to the Ice Age cycles. Ever since the last mini Ice Age ended in the early 1800s, the glacier has retreated several thousand feet. All along the path on the hike up to the terminus, there are signposts with the dates marking the position of the edge of the glacier over the last hundred years.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-N6m8c4R/0/L/DSC3416-L.jpg)
hiking around Exit Glacier

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tDpvCjV/0/XL/DSC3431-XL.jpg)
Neda shields her eyes from the glare of the ice

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kTQZJvj/0/L/DSC3434-L.jpg)
Exit Glacier

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-69nZ9fW/0/L/DSC3438-L.jpg)
Close-up of the peak of Exit Glacier

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5pZ98n3/0/L/DSC3485-L.jpg)
The town of Seward has amazing views of the mountains surrounding the Kenai Peninsula

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Qj9Xfmz/0/L/DSCN9745-L.jpg)
Finally some sunshine! Returning from a weekend on the Kenai Peninsula

The cold weather has strengthened our resolve to get out of Alaska as soon as we can. Businesses have closed for the end of the season which should be a sure sign that we shouldn't be riding around on motorcycles up here.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DogBoy on September 30, 2012, 07:07:48 pm
Wow.






(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jVsThG7/0/L/DSCN9723-L.jpg)
Riding down Homer Spit




Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on October 02, 2012, 07:28:29 pm
Come down to Florida, I'll show you some cool places to ride... seriously! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jp on October 02, 2012, 10:16:40 pm
Can't physically be there, but following along via the 'armchair' route... checking in daily for my little bit of adventure, worrying about bad roads, hoping you get good weather...

and of course, rechecking the route!

(http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff227/Design3D/2012/HomerSpit.jpg)

Amazing that Google has just about been everywhere!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 03, 2012, 01:13:18 am
(http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff227/Design3D/2012/HomerSpit.jpg)

Amazing that Google has just about been everywhere!!

Haha! That's cool!

Did you do the 360 degree spin? Pretty neat place, eh?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 03, 2012, 04:47:31 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/31.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZBsK8nc/0/L/map26-L.jpg)

We arrive in Anchorage very late, but fortunately we heard that the local Harley Davidson dealership offers free camping for motorcycle travelers. How nice of them! No one is at the dealership on the Sunday night, but fortunately the MotoQuest rental guys (who share the same parking lot as HD Anchorage) gives us access to the washroom and showers. A hot shower feels so amazing after a cold day of riding! If only we could find some way to heat the tent!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DGjd9wx/0/L/IMG0509-L.jpg)
Lonely tent in the HD Anchorage backyard, our GSes parked upstairs

Another night of sub-zero temperatures. It is friggin' freezing and there are no other campers here. Because they have common sense. HD Anchorage is closed on Mondays, I wish they were open so I could thank them for the free accommodations!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VVCnZZG/0/XL/IMG0513-XL.jpg)
Ice on our tent and the bike covers

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TwfH8gr/0/L/DSC3493-L.jpg)
Slightly east of Anchorage on the AK-1N, we pass several magnificent glaciers in Chugach State Park.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pJCgG99/0/L/DSC3496-L.jpg)
So hard to keep your eyes on the road with this just off the highway

The ride north-east from Anchorage to Tok was a surprise. Nobody told us this road would be so entertaining and scenic. The highway winds through a wide variety of sub-arctic forests, glaciers, streams and mountains. Perhaps its overshadowed by the Dalton Highway, but the road to Tok should be a Must-Do on anyone's list if they are riding Alaska!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZfTGDDv/0/L/DSCN9763-L.jpg)
Along the way we pass Bob from Switzerland on an old Suzuki

At one of our scenic stops, I asked Neda if she noticed the guy from Switzerland on the motorcycle we passed. She said, "Oh, you mean Bob? How do you know he was from Switzerland?" I replied, "There was a huge CH on the back of one of his panniers. How do you know his name was Bob?"... "His panniers also had his name, Bob". Funny, most people advertise their website, others just want everyone to know their name, I guess...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dF6Xmkz/0/L/DSCN9767-L.jpg)
Threatening sky, Wrangell Mountains in the distance

At Wrangell State Park, AK-1 merges with the Richardson Highway (AK-4) and we head north towards Tok. The Wrangell Mountains dominate the scenery for a good hour before we reach the park, and is still visible as we skirt the western edge on our way to the Alaska Highway. The mountains are all volcanic, and make up two of the top three highest volcanoes in the US.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8P3rWqv/0/L/DSCN9783-L.jpg)
Awesome late autumn colours on the way to Tok

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4T5dVTb/0/L/DSC3507-L.jpg)
Fall colours glamour shot

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xWVdJZB/0/L/DSCN9791-L.jpg)
Different view of the Wrangell Mountains

We arrived at Tok in the late afternoon, at the intersection of the Richardson and Alaska Highway. So we settled in at the Tok Visitor Centre for a homemade sandwich. In the parking lot, we see Bob from Switzerland's bike. Except it wasn't Bob from Switzerland. All the panniers were fashioned out of pieces of electoral signs. One read Bob, and another was a fragment reading "CH" on the back! Inside, we met Austen, a 22-year old adventurer from Anchorage on Day 1 of his own Round-The-World motorcycle trip. I remember when we first set out way back in the middle of June, and how we told everyone we were on the Never-Ending-Motorcycle-Trip. Funny, that doesn't seem that long ago at all!

Austen just graduated and was planning on riding down to California, where he would sell the motorcycle and then catch a boat to Vietnam and then buy another motorbike there to ride around. Very cool and gutsy! Hopefully we'll meet up with him again on our travels. Neda and I talked a bit about the timing of our trips, and the pros and cons of doing it before the start of a career, right in the middle, or at retirement. Austen's going to have such a different experience than us old farts! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NWq4hP9/0/L/DSCN9793-L.jpg)
Bob from Switzerland? No, Austen from Anchorage!

Austen left Tok before us, since his pace was a bit slower. We told him we might see him again on the road when we crossed the border. The sun was setting very fast, and since we spent more time in Tok than we wanted to, we arrived at the Alaska/Yukon border in the freezing darkness, all our electrics cranked to the highest setting. Immediately upon crossing the border, the pavement became more broken, and we crossed several gravel patches in the dark at highway speeds, causing some pucker-moments. I guess that's what happens when you ride from one of the richest states in the US to the poorest provinces/territories in Canada.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sjSg4kw/0/L/DSCN9800-L.jpg)
Sun setting on the golden trees on the way back to Canada

The actual Canadian border patrol was about 20 kms past the geographic border. Not too worried about national security up here... The guard at the customs building looked at us with pity and told us there were hot showers at a campsite in Beaver Creek, about 10 kms away. As we arrive at the campsite, a couple of Eastern Europeans hop out of a rental car at the gas station and ask what kind of tires we were running. Strange question. They told us that it was snowing heavily just an hour east at Destruction Bay, and that they were slipping around on their four-wheels, they seemed genuinely concerned about our safety. We assured them we were staying put for the night.

The tent went up slowly, with all our cold-weather gear on, gloves and everything. We knew it was below 0C because there were icy patches everywhere. We could see our breath inside the tent! And it got even colder overnight, as we shivered in our sleeping bag with all our winter clothes on underneath. During the middle of the night, I checked the weather app on my iPhone: -9C (15F).

To whomever is chasing us out of the Arctic: We get the message loud and clear. We're going, we're going! Please let it be warmer tomorrow...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: nevinfs327 on October 03, 2012, 09:34:51 am
Beautiful photos - thanks for sharing your amazing journey.  Someday...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Tyrroneous on October 03, 2012, 01:29:53 pm
Those pictures with the fall colors are just outstanding.  I appreciate y'all suffering the cold temps to get us those amazing shots!  C'mon down south, its still 85 degrees here in Mississippi.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 03, 2012, 02:00:16 pm
Seriously ready for some 90-degree weather... We've been riding around with 6 layers on, feel kinda like the Michelin man!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: vitaminC on October 03, 2012, 03:46:49 pm
Quote
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dF6Xmkz/0/L/DSCN9767-L.jpg)


Really great stuff!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on October 03, 2012, 03:52:38 pm
I probably shouldn't mention that it was 99F (37C) here in Sacramento on Monday.  ;)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on October 03, 2012, 04:00:20 pm
Great pics - makes me wanna do it all over again.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 04, 2012, 02:23:02 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/32.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sGR9cxQ/0/L/map27-L.jpg)

We've just stepped over an imaginary line on a map, so the scenery in the Yukon Territory is pretty much the same as in Alaska, seeing how its basically the same range of mountains. Although the views all around us are fantastic, it's taking us forever to escape the cold weather. The roads are lined with snow from the night before, but thankfully it hasn't stuck to the pavement.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sPRX7rw/0/L/DSCN9809-L.jpg)
Riding in Arctic temperatures? 'snow problem!

Instead of doubling back on the Cassiar Highway south, we've opted to take the Alaska Highway all the way through the Yukon and into British Columbia. It's bit of a longer route, but the pavement is much better and there are more services available than the Cassiar. Or so we thought...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vp5nkwZ/0/L/DSCN9813-L.jpg)
Kluane Lake

We stopped for lunch at Destruction Bay and talked to the locals about the snowfall they received the night before. Everyone remarked how late we were out in the season, and we nodded, pretending it was the first time we've heard that: "Oh really? You don't say!". We're eating out (or inside) a lot in the Arctic because it is just too damn cold to stay outside, and the expenses are mounting because of it. It is not cheap up here, everything is about 1.5 times what it would cost in the south. The motto up here is, "Less for more!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Cdkrsbv/0/L/DSCN9821-L.jpg)
Beautiful mountains in the Kluane National Park

Our destination for the evening is Whitehorse, which takes us past the snow-crusted mountains of the Kluane National Park to our south. I didn't know much about Alaska and the Yukon before coming out here, and the one thing I'm taking back with me is how mountainous the region is.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zhx7P9H/0/L/DSCN9822-L.jpg)
Mountain riding in the Yukon Territory

It was a cold ride to Whitehorse and we set up camp in the outskirts of the city. We're staying here for a couple of days to recharge our batteries. Literally: I mean laptop, camera, iPhone batteries, etc. We spent the whole day in the public library catching up on blog entries and e-mails to friends and family back home.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tvKvWjs/0/XL/IMG0282-XL.jpg)
Kilroy was here

Whitehorse has some of the same touristy Gold-Rush-style buildings as Dawson City and it was nice to get off the bikes and walk around the downtown core. Again, we treated ourselves to a hot meal at the Klondike Rib and Salmon Bake, promising that we'd tighten up our belts when the weather got warmer. In the restaurant, we read an ominous sign: "7 days till the end of the season!". We are pushing it right till the very end of tourist season, after which time most services and facilities geared to travelers would be shutting down for the cold winter ahead.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KCJj2Sn/0/XL/IMG0287-XL.jpg)
The hot food was soooo good. Neda had elk stew with bannock and I had pasta with bison sausages

The next day, we continued along the Alaska Highway, past the familiar junction of the Cassiar Highway and the town of Watson Lake, towards BC. The Alaska Highway was originally built by the US government as a direct response to the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor. They felt the proximity of Alaska to Japan left the undefended north too vulnerable, and two years and 1500 miles later, a road was built to supply troops, equipment and weapons to Fairbanks. Canada agreed to let the highway be built through BC and Yukon provided that the highway be turned over to the Canadian Army and Highway System after the war. What we ended up getting was a rough gravel road in such disrepair that the federal government had to spend millions more over several decades to pave the Alaska "Highway".

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fS9VhSS/0/XL/DSCN9830-XL.jpg)
Jordi is one huge dude. Neda is 5'8", and she's wearing tall boots and her helmet in this shot!

Staying up here so late in the season, one of our worst fears  is realized: running out of gas. Although there are petrol stations situated every 75kms or so, all it takes is one or two of them to be closed to put us in dire straits. We pass two gas stations that were shut down for the season with our tanks well below the empty mark. Thankfully we have spare gas, unused from our trip up the Dalton Highway, so we pulled over to fill our tanks. There we met Jordi, a fellow GS rider who shipped his bike from Spain to ride all across the Americas. He too, was tapping into his spare jerry can, so we chatted for a while.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PfJrh9N/0/L/DSCN9829-L.jpg)
Our Spanish is not so good, and Jordi's English is not much better, but we spoke the international language of Maps

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zfnDKww/0/L/DSCN9831-L.jpg)
Jordi is telling us how he bench-presses R1200GS Adventures in his spare time

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JRQDdFD/0/L/DSCN9833-L.jpg)
Rotopax to the rescue!

I've got 3.78L in my Rotopax, but Neda's Touratech spare gas can only holds a paltry 3L. When you're empty, this doesn't really give you a lot of range, as the gauges on our bikes have barely budged at all after refueling! Then again, GS fuel gauges are notoriously inaccurate. Mine came with a sticker below the gauge reading, "For Entertainment Purposes Only"...

Aside from the freezing weather, now we have to contend with the dwindling services on the road back south.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on October 04, 2012, 09:12:16 pm
 :popcorn: :smoking: :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on October 06, 2012, 08:30:16 am
That northern country looks spectacular! I've looked forward to every episode of your ride and I'm glad you got further south before the big snow, as I'm sure you are. :eek: :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 06, 2012, 10:48:20 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/33.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z3DP7p5/0/L/map33-L.jpg)

We're due for a little break in our northern travels, so we've stopped for a couple of days at the Liard Hot Springs, just south of the Yukon/BC border. The rains briefly stop one evening, as we try to time our escape to the pools. The springs are surrounded by warm water swamps and heavy forests, lending a very remote feel, despite being less than a km away from the Alaska Highway.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xnNxjFM/0/L/DSCN9870-L.jpg)
So relaxing!

The Liard Hot Springs is the second-largest hot springs in Canada. We've already visited the first on this trip, Radium Hot Springs (http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/16.html), also in BC. It's still pretty cold out, about 10C, but the waters are 42C in the "cold" pool, and the 52C in the hot one, the constant steam rising providing an eerie backdrop against the bathers in the springs.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6bZ6TTS/0/XL/DSCN9884-XL.jpg)
Lounging around in the hot pool

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-V4m2ST7/0/L/DSCN9858-L.jpg)
The hot pool is too hot, can't stay in too long

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KWb4t6q/0/L/DSCN9917-L.jpg)
Namaste.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-x7MDHhL/0/XL/DSCN9920-XL.jpg)
Neda's tattoo turned out amazing

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CHz5jBW/0/L/DSCN9925-L.jpg)
The rains start up again, Neda laughingly emulates the sound: *plok* *plok *plok*

The rain continues to hammer on our tent overnight, but in the morning, it is overcast and we're ready to continue our journey southwards. We are warned that a herd of buffalo are on the move along the highway, and it's not 5 kms from Liard that we stumble upon the first group grazing and lazing about.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7sTzrLJ/0/L/DSCN9936-L.jpg)
Where the buffalo roam...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ghqScL3/0/L/DSCN9934-L.jpg)
These guys were huuuge!

There's a lot of wildlife in northern BC, and we have a couple of close calls as we round the bend and encounter animals (and overturned vehicles) on the road!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QFZxgmK/0/L/DSCN9942-L.jpg)
More wildlife on the road

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-m3QtZxx/0/L/DSCN9954-L.jpg)
Different kind of wildlife on the side of the road

The weather is getting warmer as we stop for the night in Fort Saint James. It feels like we are slowly escaping the cold clutches of the north. At least while the sun is up...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 08, 2012, 04:14:28 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/34.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6c9KKNT/0/L/map34-L.jpg)

It's been a long slog down from the cold north. We've pounded out two thousand kms of pavement since crossing the border - the forests of northern BC all blurring into a hypnotic mess of trees and deer, strings of closed gas stations and ceaseless sandwiches by the roadside. As we hit the southern interior of the province, we're welcomed by the warmth of the drylands. At a campsite in Cache Creek, we break out the maps in search of some off-road fun.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-73fBpTp/0/L/DSC3531-L.jpg)
Basking in the heat of the sun, Fraser River in the background

There's a great-looking dual sport road that runs from Ashcroft, on the other side of the Fraser River from the main TransCanada Highway heading south. This is the first day we've ridden without layering up like Michelin Men. The temperature soars to 31C and we're thankfully for our mesh riding gear.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B2b62zj/0/XL/DSCN9956-XL.jpg)
Looking for adventure!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K9S2hCK/0/L/DSC3563-L.jpg)
Headless horseman on the hills of the Fraser

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NHsQCGQ/0/L/DSC3570-L.jpg)
The Fraser Canyon slowly becomes the Fraser Valley around here

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RGVHkHx/0/L/DSCN9987-L.jpg)
Beautiful day, beautiful roads and awesome scenery!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZtMD8f7/0/L/DSC3583-L.jpg)
Bikes and gravel roads reflected off Neda's visor

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QxdRzfX/0/L/DSC3626-L.jpg)
It hasn't rained for days and there's a fairly deep water crossing. Wonder what it looks like after a rainfall?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8j85DBN/0/L/DSC3634-L.jpg)
Curious mountain sheep wondering why we are taking heavy street machinery onto a dirtbike road...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-c9bxmGg/0/L/DSCN0018-L.jpg)
Out of nowhere, an old dilapidated church! How random!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Xxm9vtd/0/XL/DSCN0021-XL.jpg)
Uphill climb through some rubble. I can do it.... I can do it...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WTX4PG8/0/L/DSC3641-L.jpg)
... I can't do it....

I get done in by a conspiracy of really large rocks, ambushing me near the top. Bad line selection and the big GS suddenly becomes sleepy and decides to take a nap right then and there. Neda comes in over the intercom, "What's taking you so long...?", "I'm... uh, just enjoying the scenery..." There was no way I was going to lift this bad boy by myself, so I sheepishly radio her for help.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VFxCpFP/0/L/DSC3660-L.jpg)
Standing up on pegs on the way down - same rocky mess as uphill

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XZP9xFc/0/L/DSC3716-L.jpg)
Across the Fraser we see TransCanada 1 and a colourful CP Rail train underneath it, snaking in and out of tunnels. It looks like a toy!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PpkqTLM/0/L/DSCN0031-L.jpg)
The gravel road hugs the hills as it the Fraser River twists and turns below us

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2WBZmS7/0/L/DSCN0035-L.jpg)
Wake up! It's time to go!

Over the intercom, I hear a series of F-bombs and around the bend, I see Neda standing over her sleeping GS. The road switches back on itself as it steeply ascends one of the mountains and the inside line that Neda's taken is full of sand. Her slumbering motorcycle becomes a cautionary tale and I take the outside line, past the clutches of the Sandman, ride past her up the mountain, park and the walk down to help her right her bike... Still pissed off when I got back... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vrxLfGz/0/L/DSCN0046-L.jpg)
Okay, we're happy again!

Right at the end of the trail, a closed gate stops us from reaching the highway. I spy a padlock on the chain and now it's my turn to be pissed. It was late in the afternoon and there was no way we were going to turn around and do this trail again, cross the Fraser and then ride the TransCanada just to get back to this very spot! I was seriously thinking about how to break the lock, but when I walk up to the gate, I see that the padlock was just holding the loop of the chain around the top of the fencepost. An easy matter to slip the loop off and open the gate. *phew*

Just kidding about smashing the lock.

Maybe...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7gDvn9q/0/O/opengate.gif)
This is the PG-rated version

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6MXtgsr/0/L/DSC3759-L.jpg)
We notice a sign as we are leaving. Um... at least we didn't do any hunting...?

Starving, and a bit tired from all the playing in the dirt, we go in search of food. There's a nice Chinese restaurant just down the road, and we splurge a bit, ordering the chicken chow mein and beef fried rice. Almost as soon as the dishes hit the table, it was all gone, the final victim of a fun-filled day on the Cache Creek back roads.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PtsNxDF/0/L/IMG0308-L.jpg)
Neda's fortune cookie - how true!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Stickman on October 09, 2012, 11:27:09 am
I love this thread; thank you both and keep 'em coming!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: pulsar220 on October 09, 2012, 01:22:47 pm
I just plain envy you guys !! awesome thread.. great photographs !! what cam did you guys use??
i need to work for a long time before i quit to do a roadtrip like this.
Keep sharing. :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ruthness on October 09, 2012, 03:28:26 pm
Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing your journey. I'm sure you've inspired a lot of people to stop waiting and go for the ride of their dreams.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 09, 2012, 04:48:44 pm

what cam did you guys use??


Mostly a Nikon D3000, but we also have a D60 which we sometimes use. The riding shots are taken with Nikon AW100, awesome ruggedized point-and-shoot! And we also use the cameras on our iPhones, surprisingly good quality.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Biking Sailor on October 12, 2012, 07:32:30 am
OK guys!, it's been a few days now and I need another installment, so post up!  You got me so addicted with this great trip report, now I'm checking for a new post everyday.  Gotta have it!!!!   :crazy:

Seriously, thanks for sharing and I am enjoying every post!  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: nevinfs327 on October 12, 2012, 11:18:37 am

OK guys!, it's been a few days now and I need another installment, so post up!  You got me so addicted with this great trip report, now I'm checking for a new post everyday.  Gotta have it!!!!   :crazy:

Seriously, thanks for sharing and I am enjoying every post!  :bigok:


+1 You have an obligation to feed the addiction you've created in us  :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 12, 2012, 01:23:47 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/35.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dPbLgdq/0/O/map35.jpg)

From our Cache Creek ride, we booted to our RideDOT.com (http://www.RideDOT.com) Vancouver HQ, or as our friends Kevin and Manon like to call it, "home". Yes, every 6-7 weeks or so, we scurry back to K&M's couch to catch up on MotoGP, drink lots of Cherry Pepsi and eat cupcakes and sour-cream-and-onions Pringles for breakfast! It was good to park the bikes for a few days and just hang with friends.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dMFjXBg/0/L/IMG0530-L.jpg)
Helga eyes the red garage with suspicion...

We did take the bikes out for a spin in the city to get new shoes. Back to Tourances, since the Heidenau K76s vibrated too much and were too noisy. Riding shots below courtesy of Kevin's GoPro!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F5nnbnG/0/L/vancouver1-L.jpg)
Chatting at a stop sign - Pic by Kevin V.

Kevin sat me down and caught me up with what's been happening in the world while we were trekking in the Arctic. He showed me Gangnam Style on YouTube and told me this was probably the most important thing that's happened in the last couple of months. What... The...?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3VNL3s2/0/L/IMG0335-L.jpg)
Rabbits and Goats at the BMW dealership

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LzJB9MG/0/L/vancouver2-L.jpg)
Crossing one of the many bridges in the Vancouver area - Pic by Kevin V.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fm9s9Jk/0/L/IMG0344-L.jpg)
Manon and I must shop at the same store - matching REV'IT! jackets, Schuberth C3s and Sena coms

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9mwDrd4/0/L/IMG0350-L.jpg)
Judy, our ex-pat friend from Toronto, showed us a good sushi restaurant then we ate decadent donuts at 49th Parallel Cafe!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hsc87Sf/0/L/IMG0339-L.jpg)
Friends!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QzzHd2N/0/L/IMG0320-L.jpg)
The last root beer cupcake!

It was a very relaxing break, great company, lots of decadent foods, warm Vancouver weather, and we could have easily stayed till April, but we've got to get a move on before the cold weather catches up to us!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on October 12, 2012, 06:38:21 pm
Quit your job.  Sold your house. Went riding...Relaxing in Hot Springs. Cool tatoo. One with dog, chicken and Buffalo. Kick @ss scenery. Awesome motorcycle roads.

 :headscratch: Why on earth would you want to quit your job, sale your house, and go for a ride :rolleyes:

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I LOVE THIS THREAD. :inlove:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 14, 2012, 12:52:35 am

 :headscratch: Why on earth would you want to quit your job, sale your house, and go for a ride :rolleyes:


 :lol: it's a tough job but someone's got to do it.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 14, 2012, 12:53:03 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/36.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RjGn63B/0/L/map36-L.jpg)

After spending over a week and Kevin and Manons', we got on our bikes with great reluctance. We're leaving our home country of Canuckistan today, not sure when we'll be back next. Our friends accompany us to White Rock, a coastal town just north of the US border. They treat us to our final breakfast (cupcakes, of course) in Canada, then we hang out at the pier for a little while before waving goodbye!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wSWSQzc/0/L/DSC3766-L.jpg)
The pier at White Rock, BC

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kP4TLvR/0/L/IMG0843-L.jpg)
Frolickin' amongst the flowers - pic by Kevin V

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-snv5Wn9/0/XL/DSC3786-XL.jpg)
Kevin is a BMW Motorrad Apparel model

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DwN4HLx/0/L/DSC3796-L.jpg)
Boats docked at White Rock pier

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MhGxrRq/0/L/IMG0869-L.jpg)
Final group shot!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kCnQGSG/0/L/IMG0876-L.jpg)
And then it's goodbye!

We were a bit worried about the US border patrol, since we were wondering what to say if they asked us, "When are you returning to Canada?" or "What do you do for a living?"... If we told the truth, I was expecting: "So let me get this straight: you don't have a place of residence in Canada, no jobs and you want to come into the United States *and* you can't tell me when you're going to return?!?!"

Surprisingly, those questions never came up! So all our elaborate stories that we agreed on and practiced beforehand went unused! We'll have to save them for the next border crossing!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d5Jvw4H/0/L/DSCN9945-L.jpg)
Neda has a (very) unfounded belief that she is invisible to radar

From the border, we quickly got off the Interstate at Bellingham and rode one of my favorite roads in the area, the scenic and twisty Chucakanut Drive. The heavily forested two-laner winds its way along the Samish Bay coast, all the way to the Anacortes. From there, we took State Road 20 to Fidalgo Island and then to Whidbey Island and stopped at Oak Harbor to pick up a US SIM chip for our iPhone. After some fiddling around, we got our phone interwebs working and we were off to our campsite at Fort Ebey State Park.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mNSzCJ8/0/L/DSC3815-L.jpg)
It's warm again! Hiking around the shores of Fort Ebey State Park

Fort Ebey was built during WWII after the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor. The remains of a bunker look out towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and I poked around the dark and empty deserted underground bunkers while Neda basked in the sunshine outside. We've spent so long in the Arctic that we're really starved for any kind of warm weather.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tj7v2rd/0/XL/DSC3829-XL.jpg)
Descending the deserted bunker

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8ZStnzC/0/L/DSC3833-L.jpg)
Through the artillery view port I spot a Neda

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F7TCKKn/0/L/DSC3838-L.jpg)
Hiking around Fort Ebey State Park

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XPDdBVd/0/L/DSC3862-L.jpg)
Everything's just Dandy!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w7hVSWB/0/L/DSC3891-L.jpg)
Sun setting on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, mountains of Olympic National Park in the distance

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sqTLLTZ/0/L/DSC3929-L.jpg)
Sunset!

Unfortunately, after the sun set, the temperature dropped very quickly. We were back to wearing winter clothing and shivering in our sleeping bags. It's very clear to us we need to head further south!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: HPTuner on October 14, 2012, 09:15:37 pm
Great report! Still tagging along here...  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on October 15, 2012, 09:34:07 am


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w7hVSWB/0/L/DSC3891-L.jpg)
Sun setting on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, mountains of Olympic National Park in the distance

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sqTLLTZ/0/L/DSC3929-L.jpg)
Sunset!


The title of your report, and these two pictures say it all :inlove:

Good night / Good morning to you both.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 16, 2012, 07:01:05 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/37.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SkGfs4f/0/L/map37-L.jpg)

Seattle! Our first major US city in the Lower 48! First things first, we make a beeline to Touratech USA, birthplace of Neda's Touratech F650GS...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wzFgfdW/0/L/IMG0537-L.jpg)
TouratechGirl right at home! I hid the credit card before she walked in the store...

The folks at TT were awesome, there were a couple of issues with some of their parts that we encountered on the road - a windshield spoiler that popped off on the highway and got run over by an 18-wheeler, as well as a locking GPS mount that wouldn't lock. They solved both problems and let us advertise their store for free by giving us these TT Seattle stickers that you can only get by visiting their store!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vRBnSTm/0/L/IMG0539-L.jpg)
More advertising for Touraratech. Seriously, when does that cheque arrive again? I put one on my Givi topcase... heheh

Yaw contacted me on our website (http://"http://www.RideDOT.com") a couple of years ago and we've traded vacation pictures back and forth. Him and his girlfriend, Hélène, are avid sportbike riders and love traveling, so I knew we had a lot in common. Last summer, I told him we were going to hit the west coast on our RTW trip and he offered to show us Seattle and put us up for the night.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wX4WGLj/0/L/DSC3979-L.jpg)
Yaw and Hélène, our hosts in Seattle - Super awesome biking couple!

Yaw and Hélène took us to the Pike Place Market downtown and we had a great time talking bikes and travel over our seafood brunch. They recently got engaged!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-V8mBCTx/0/L/DSCN9985-L.jpg)
Yaw's Monster takes centre stage, Hélène's Ninja is hidden behind our ginormous GSes and Neda is txting all her girlfriends back home...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nXLXbH2/0/L/DSC3947-L.jpg)
They clean all carbs for free? Will they do fuel-injected bikes too?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rRdL92H/0/L/DSC3951-L.jpg)
We heard they throw fish at the Pike Place Market, but it was a slow day - no fish throwing... Here's a picture of us instead...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gwsZMMN/0/L/DSC3957-L.jpg)
Hélène is quite the geek - she pointed out the fractal cauliflower.
I wanted to follow up with a Mandelbrot joke but decided to reveal my inner geekiness a bit later


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7LrP4xT/0/XL/DSC3969-XL.jpg)
Colourful peppers at the Pike Place Market

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6vf3q82/0/XL/DSC3984-XL.jpg)
Local Seattle artist Whitney Monge performing outside the first Starbucks. Killer voice!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KJkQZLh/0/L/DSC3997-L.jpg)
We're rolling with different motorcycle gangs all over the continent! Seattle chapter of the RideDOT.com (http://"http://www.RideDOT.com") Riders

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TFL9jGC/0/L/DSC4041-L.jpg)
Lookout over Seattle from Gas Works Park

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TPscQG5/0/L/DSC4050-L.jpg)
Pretty colours on Lake Union, Space Needle in the distance

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QJBRFrq/0/L/DSC4058-L.jpg)
Hanging out with the remains of the old coal gasification plant in the background. Very Steampunk!

It was a pretty action-packed day, Yaw and Hélène were perfect ambassadors for their city, taking us riding around all of their favorite spots, and we ended up eating dripping Cuban sandwiches from Paseo's on the shores of the Golden Gardens beach, watching the sun set over the waters of Puget Sound. Super awesome!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NfnDGGH/0/L/DSC4059-L.jpg)
Kite fliers on Golden Gardens beach

We thought the day was over, but Y&H invited us to a party they were attending that night. It was packed with really bright UW grad students all working on technologies to make the world a better place. There was a lot of passion and excitement about what they were doing which was very contagious as we talked shop throughout the night. We are experiencing such different slices of life as we travel from place to place, and I can't help feeling so enriched by everyone we've met.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4sDGdSW/0/L/IMG0369-L.jpg)
Seattle triptych from Y&H's apartment

The next morning was spent trading geekisms with Y&H over a comfortable breakfast at home. The chatter was so easy that I felt like we've known them for a long time. There's so much warmth and brilliance in this fun couple, Neda and I are so glad to have them as friends and wish them much joy in their life together! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TgSS4sz/0/L/DSC3978-L.jpg)
"There's absolutely nothing wrong with iOS6 Maps! Sometimes those reddit guys just make me so... argh!"
"I know, Yaw. I know..."



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on October 16, 2012, 08:52:57 pm
 :popcorn: :smoking: :popcorn:


 :angry3: Hey what happened, the Internet TV went out. Oh well, I'm sure the road show will be back on in the morning  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 18, 2012, 04:31:49 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/38.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-s4DCvzD/0/L/map38-L.jpg)

We bid our goodbyes to Yaw and Hélène as they set off on their motorcycles to Whidbey Island for the day - which is where we just came from! We're taking the ferry over to Olympic National Park, at the north-western tip of Washington State. It boasts amazing scenery and riding roads: SOLD!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7PHTVwp/0/L/IMG03701-L.jpg)
Saying goodbye to Seattle from the ferry. The ferris wheel is a mini "London Eye", just opened this summer.

The world-famous Highway 101 starts in Washington and we catch the road at it's most northern point, as it skirts the shores of Olympic National Park. The weather is a bit chilly and the scenery is not as good as advertised, but we see many bikers returning from their weekend rides, so it's still promising. The 101 is set inland a bit so we take Highway 113 (Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway) to the very tip of the peninsula, to a small fishing town called Neah Bay. Now *this* road is entertaining, were it not for the fog and rain haunting the coastline. Great views of the beaches and shores and some very tight turns. Yay!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-696Vz7x/0/L/DSCN0059-L.jpg)
Playing on the 113 to Neah Bay

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XS7sDXf/0/XL/DSC4102-XL.jpg)
Marina at Neah Bay

Neah Bay is set within the Makah Indian reservation, and fishing is the primary industry here - the docks at the marina are the most prominent feature of this community. We don't stay too long because the wet and gloomy weather seems to have taken permanent residence here, with the rest of the Pacific Northwest receiving an uncharacteristic long spell of sunshine.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BkxxvR6/0/L/DSCN0083-L.jpg)
Sunlight streaming through the trees on the 101

Doubling back on Highway 101, we travel southbound on the peninsula, visiting the many picturesque beaches that line the western shoreline.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2GRwRMc/0/L/DSC4116-L.jpg)
Cue the chorus of angels

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TL2nFDc/0/L/DSC4132-L.jpg)
NatureGirl in her element

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Gb6qbS8/0/L/DSC4147-L.jpg)
South Beach at Kalaloch

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4dKCQMn/0/L/DSC4153-L.jpg)
Waves crash on the hazy shoreline

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tngGkZN/0/L/DSC4169-L.jpg)
Looking for interesting shells on the beach. Lots of crab shells!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6sqnjxH/0/L/IMG0408-L.jpg)
Huge waves crashing on the shore, some almost as tall as I am

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6qpPRRn/0/L/IMG0410-L.jpg)
Playing tag with the waves of the Pacific Ocean

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CcR44Jw/0/L/DSC4211-L.jpg)
Fade to white

After spending some time hiking around the forests and beaches of Olympic National Park, we hop on our bikes again and keep riding south. Along the way, we pass through Forks, WA. If this town sounds familiar, it's because:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Dq35pMG/0/L/DSCN0072-L.jpg)
Lip-gloss-wearing vampires live in this town

The "Twilight museum" seems to have made its quick buck while the fad came and went. The place looks like it's been closed for quite some time! We spend the night at a campsite just outside of Forks, and I keep a tent-stake under my sleeping bag in case one of those sun-sparkly vampires mistakes me for a whiny 17-year-old girl named Bella...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Cheddarhead on October 18, 2012, 08:27:39 am
OMG...this RR is like crack cocaine for me....I just can't help but follow along / living all of this vicariously through your eyes.

Words and images together make for a powerful experience...I'm thankful that this isn't a video or I'd never tear myself away...


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6qpPRRn/0/L/IMG0410-L.jpg)
Playing tag with the waves of the Pacific Ocean

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CcR44Jw/0/L/DSC4211-L.jpg)
Fade to white



You display "such" a great eye / so well-composed and captured.  You're playing with light...as my old photography professor would say...


Thanks again for sharing!   :inlove:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on October 18, 2012, 08:06:33 pm
Yeah!! Internet cable is back and luckly I caught the last episode of Quit our job, sold our home, gone riding, basking in the sun yada yada yada.... :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 21, 2012, 07:16:40 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/39.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Ncjn5JT/0/L/map39-L.jpg)

The Pacific Northwest is normally a rainy, gloomy place, especially at this time of year. But much to the chagrin of local farmers, we've lucked out as Washington's Indian Summer has gone over 80 days without rain and the temperatures have been hovering around 20C during the daytime.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CTjJ4C6/0/XL/DSC4313-XL.jpg)
Our campsite at Brooks Memorial State Park

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pSnb728/0/L/DSC4261-L.jpg)
Come on, I promise not to Instagram you...!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4fQNc5p/0/L/IMG0576-L.jpg)
"Which way to Watership Down?"

Unfortunately, this has also caused a lot of forest fires in the area, and one of the dual-sport roads we were looking forward to riding - the Washington Backcountry Discovery Roads - is closed. Despite the long break in Vancouver, we're still suffering a bit of fatigue from our hectic race away from the Arctic winter, so we've really slowed our pace in the last few days, just catching up on our reading and doing a bit of hiking in the area, relishing the warm and dry weather. This is the kind of leisurely pace we were missing on all of our shorter trips - the ability to wander wherever with no set schedule, not knowing where you'll end up for the night or how long you'll stay - and we are loving the freedom!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cc8R4sp/0/XL/IMG0552-XL.jpg)
All Star Wars, All the Time at the Star Wars Store in Aberdeen, WA. With a little bit of "Live Long and Prosper" thrown in...

We follow Highway 101 hugging the western Washington coastline until we hit Aberdeen, then turn inland towards Mount Rainier National Park where we camp out for a couple of days. One evening, before we head for dinner, we run into a trio of riders just outside the park:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qVjDZ87/0/L/advguys-L.jpg)
Ran into Tamas, Dmitri and Rey at Mount Rainier National Park, 3 local riders from ADV as well

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LkfRGJc/0/XL/tamas-XL.jpg)
A few days later Tamas sends us this pic and says hi to us on our thread on ADV!

Mount Rainier is Washington's highest mountain and can be seen from all around the area. Neda found us a great road that cuts further inland, State Road 410 AKA the Chinook Pass, which gives us great views of Rainier in the distance.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vnVqz3P/0/L/DSCN0123-L.jpg)
Riding up the Chinook Pass

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XpnKK5N/0/L/DSC4243-L.jpg)
Doing some hiking just off the Chinook Pass

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QdhMsnR/0/L/DSCN0132-L.jpg)
Views of the valley of the Cascade Mountain Range

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NzbC6bq/0/L/DSC4319-L.jpg)
From Yakima, WA, we turned south on Highway 97 and visited Stonehenge!

Situated just north of the WA/OR border, this Stonehenge is a full-size replica of the one in the UK. It was built in 1918 to commemorate the American soldiers that came from the immediate area who lost their lives in WWI. The surrounding hills are covered in wind turbines, lending a surreal anachronistic quality around it.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QvXzPrc/0/XL/IMG0457mod-XL.jpg)
Tilting at windmills

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3vzMjTh/0/L/IMG0459-L.jpg)
Can't imagine a structure this big built 3000 years ago without the help of aliens!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gzWqZpK/0/L/DSC4325-L.jpg)
"These aren't the druids you're looking for"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7vrbc9p/0/XL/DSC4358-XL.jpg)
Proud to be inside Stonehenge with the bikes

On a side note, it's Canadian Thanksgiving and to commemorate our ex-pat holiday (the Americans have their Thanksgiving over a month later), we eat a turkey sandwich at Stonehenge! We've been keeping in touch with family and friends over the Internet and social media but it's just not the same as being there with them in person, especially during the holidays!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sk6bD4P/0/L/DSCN0165-L.jpg)
Racing down the Columbia River

The Columbia River starts out in BC, but we now follow it as it snakes westwards back towards the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River Gorge acts as a natural border between Washington and Oregon, and it's hard to keep your eyes on the road when you're riding beside something that spectacular!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on October 23, 2012, 06:11:27 am
Hey Gene... I gotta say something about a couple of your captions; Star Wars and Star Trek ("Live Long and Prosper") are kinda different gigs... but it was cute anyway...

Oh, and it's Droids.... Druids are characters from a Mel Brooks film (Space Balls).. but since it's related to the point (a spoof on Star-Wars), I'll give you a pass on that one...  :facepalm:

Beauty, eh? :)

Great pics, great stories as usual. I've never been to that part of the US (probably never will either, unfortunately) so living through you guys by proxy is the closest I'll ever come, I'm sure.

Thanks!



Title: Re: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ApeDel on October 23, 2012, 06:36:45 am
Hey Gene... I gotta say something about a couple of your captions; Star Wars and Star Trek ("Live Long and Prosper") are kinda different gigs... but it was cute anyway...

Oh, and it's Droids.... Druids are characters from a Mel Brooks film (Space Balls).. but since it's related to the point (a spoof on Star-Wars), I'll give you a pass on that one...  :facepalm:

Beauty, eh? :)


I believe he knew what he was saying. I believe the druids built Stonehenge didn't they? Maybe even channeling Ewan McGregor?

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2


Title: Re: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on October 23, 2012, 12:57:34 pm

I believe he knew what he was saying. I believe the druids built Stonehenge didn't they? Maybe even channeling Ewan McGregor?

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2


You're right.. I get it now.. yuck, yuck... "Not the Druids you're looking for... ha ha.. a segway in from the Star Wars setup...

Gene's humor is too sophisticated for me, my Stonehenge history is likewise lacking...  :crazy:

 :cool:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: squeezer on October 23, 2012, 01:01:22 pm
This is awesome.

And right now, yer ridin' in some of my favorite places.   :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on October 23, 2012, 01:10:43 pm
Gene or Neda, what make/model pants do you guys wear? I see they look the same. I'm scratching my head trying to figure out the best all around overpant to purchase, do you wear jeans underneath or just shorts? I plan on doing the latter, want something comfortable and reasonably ballistic. Thanks!

Tom in Florida


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 23, 2012, 11:24:35 pm

Gene or Neda, what make/model pants do you guys wear?


Hey Tom, we're wearing BMW AirFlow pants, great for warm weather with lots of mesh paneling, not so great for cold weather - we layer up over them. The material is very durable and I have personally tested the crash-worthiness and it passes with flying colours, after I'm done flying through the air.  :facepalm:

Quote
trying to figure out the best all around overpant to purchase, do you wear jeans underneath or just shorts? I plan on doing the latter, want something comfortable and reasonably ballistic. Thanks!


We just wear shorts or long underwear underneath, they're not really overpants. We don't own any overpants so I couldn't give you any advice. I do know that wearing jeans underneath anything can get pretty uncomfortable over long distances because of the stitching and the seams. I'd just go with dedicated riding pants, especially on a tour.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on October 24, 2012, 07:20:14 am
Well now that you've visited Stonehenge, as you work your way eastward you need to check out Carhenge and Foamhenge.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on October 26, 2012, 08:55:38 am



Hey Tom, we're wearing BMW AirFlow pants, great for warm weather with lots of mesh paneling, not so great for cold weather - we layer up over them. The material is very durable and I have personally tested the crash-worthiness and it passes with flying colours, after I'm done flying through the air.  :facepalm:



We just wear shorts or long underwear underneath, they're not really overpants. We don't own any overpants so I couldn't give you any advice. I do know that wearing jeans underneath anything can get pretty uncomfortable over long distances because of the stitching and the seams. I'd just go with dedicated riding pants, especially on a tour.


Hi Gene. Thanks, that is great advice and I believe I shall go that route with the trouser option rather than overpants. You're right about the jeans, just last weekend I tried my adventure pants (Shift brand) on my Concours from the West Coast of FL to Daytona Beach and I was much more comfortable in the seat (literally) than with Jeans. In fact, I am thinking that with good riding pants, I may actually be able to tolerate the stock seat rather than drop $450+ on a new seat.

Biggest problem I am having is, we have really no place to in-store shop for riding gear where I live as they closed the Cycle Gear in Sarasota where I got my Shift pants and my armored jacket. And the nearest ones are a bit far to drive for browser shopping -- since I'm not exactly sure what to get yet, I can't call and ask if they have 'em in stock first.

I'll keep looking, thanks.

PS: before I forget, I sent your website info to http://www.sidestandup.com/Pages/default.aspx. This is a podcast/live cast motorcycle show, it's very popular and always features guests. They broadcast every Tuesday night 8 p.m. (Eastern) and you can go online and real-time chat also. With you and Neda's most excellent adventures AND your obvious web savvy, I thought it'd be a perfect venue to talk about your exploits! I hope he (Tom Lowdermilk) contacts you. I'd love to be able to real-time chat with you guys on a broadcast... hope it's ok I did that.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 26, 2012, 12:43:41 pm
I hope he (Tom Lowdermilk) contacts you. I'd love to be able to real-time chat with you guys on a broadcast... hope it's ok I did that.


Cool! Thanks Tom. Not sure how we might do that on the road, but we'll figure it out if it happens! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 26, 2012, 12:44:25 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/40.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8Qf8bgx/0/L/map40-L.jpg)

The Oregon shoreline reminds me a lot of California. It's just as pretty, with large rocks rising out of the coastal waters and miles and miles of sandy dunes tempting us to get off our bikes, which is just what we did:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LvMn6sB/0/L/DSC4380-L.jpg)
Hopping off the bikes for a scenic hike

The coast of Oregon is well-known for its sand dunes, there are tons of dune-buggy rental places as we ride south along the 101. I've always wanted to get paddle tires for our dirt bikes and go blasting up and down the dunes, it looks like a riot! That, and getting/making some studded tires and riding out onto a frozen lake are two motorcycle items on our bucket list.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pGNzD35/0/L/DSC4383-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wFdMWsL/0/L/DSC4421-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VqTL3gG/0/L/DSC4437-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PvzWnGP/0/L/DSC4393-L.jpg)
A dog runs out to greet us

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B6mN3Jd/0/XL/DSC4395-XL.jpg)
And then his owner chats with us for a while

We love dogs, we've met so many on this trip. On the beaches of Port Orford, Bernie introduced us to his owners, Jean and Don, and we spent some time talking about our trip and where they are from. They own a cottage about a mile away from the beach and after finding out that we were just wandering around with no place to stay for the night yet, they insisted that we sleep in a proper bed for the evening!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NK7jpfH/0/L/DSC4397-L.jpg)
Bernie enjoys long walks on the beach during sunset and being scratched under the chin

Even though we've been offered accommodations and meals and plenty more while we're on the road, I always marvel at how generous people are to virtual strangers. We made sure we didn't remains strangers, sharing our travel stories with Jean and Don, and learning a bit about their lives and family. They own an almond (pronounced "Ammin" - like "Jammin'") farm in northern California and they had plenty of stories about their kids riding motorcycles (pronounced Motor-Sickels). Which brought up a good question - why do you pronounce bicycle "bi-sickel" and motorcycle is pronounced differently?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-G55pD9p/0/L/IMG0609-L.jpg)
Mickey Mouse painting dreams over Neda's sleeping bag

Unfortunately, I am allergic to pet dander as it collects on carpeting, furniture or anything indoors - which is ironic because I'm always the first to pet and play with dogs on our travels. This means that I can't sleep inside the cottage, but Jean and Don put us up in the cabins that their grandkids sleep in when they visit.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zg3mGNk/0/L/IMG0614-L.jpg)
In the morning, we had home-made apricots and Ammins, and fresh scones!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Tdh9Wgh/0/L/DSC4439-L.jpg)
Don and Jean and Bernie!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KcC9bq5/0/XL/DSC4440-XL.jpg)
Jean tries out the motor-sickel!

We thanked Jean and Don for their generosity and left Oregon in the late morning, our bellies full of homemade food and our hearts filled with the kindness of two "Ammin" farmers from Northern California!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: R Doug on October 26, 2012, 04:03:23 pm
great commentary, beautiful pictures, the journey keeps getting better and better.

 :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on October 26, 2012, 06:10:55 pm
I've been following you guys for a while now, and I never felt like I was missing out, except this post. I lived in Sonoma and Crescent City when I was younger. Those photos really tugged at my heart.
I'm also very happy you are sharing your adventure. :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on October 27, 2012, 03:34:54 pm
Good morning and I hope you two are doing well.

Well, I've finished catching up on my daily reading and pictures.

Awesome as always.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Breaker19 on October 27, 2012, 05:01:42 pm



Cool! Thanks Tom. Not sure how we might do that on the road, but we'll figure it out if it happens! :)


Easy, Gene... your EeePC netbook should have come with Skype, if not, you can as I am sure you know, DL for free... I know he doesn't use Skype for his broadcast to my knowledge, but I bet he could bring you in on Skype. The built-in mic and speakers on your Eee PC will work fine for this. I have used the Skype phone feature on my Eee PC netbook so I know it works.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Skee on October 28, 2012, 08:24:44 pm
This thread just keeps getting better and better.  :thumbsup:

A truly epic adventure.   :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 29, 2012, 03:46:10 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/41.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-j9SbFWT/0/L/map41-L.jpg)

Hustlers grab your guns,
Your shadow weighs a ton,
Driving down the 101.
California here we come...


While growing up in the East, we've been inundated with TV shows, movies and songs about California, and many a long, cold winter was spent dreaming of escaping to the land of Ponch and Jon, Baywatch and The O.C. One of our earliest motorcycle road trips was an 18-day trek from Toronto to San Francisco and back, and we stayed glued to the seat for the entire duration, stopping only to eat, gas or sleep.

Well, this time around we're taking the scenic route, it's taken us about 4 months to get here! We've discovered that when we're not trying to outrun Old Man Winter or a vacation-deadline, we travel quite slowly.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-N4NsHNp/0/L/DSCN0188-L.jpg)
Avenue of the Giants, CA

Just south of the OR/CA border, the 101 crosses into Redwood National Park, and further south we get off 101 to properly ride through the giant trees on the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile detour that follows old Highway 101. Don told us that before the current 101 was built, the wider trucks would graze the edges of the Redwood trees on the Avenue of the Giants, because the road was built so close to the trees. It was easier to build the road around some of the largest trees than cut them down!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4cFmLZf/0/XL/DSCN0201-XL.jpg)
Riding past some of the world's tallest trees!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kSmLkJZ/0/XL/DSCN0225-XL.jpg)
Neda rides off into the forest

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BZTJ7qT/0/XL/DSC4468-XL.jpg)
So cheesy, but we had to do it. This tree wasn't even standing on its own...

Towards the end of the Avenue of the Giants, we see a sign advertising a drive-thru a living tree! Cool! However, we're not sure it would have survived without all the baling wire to keep it from toppling over. While we were there taking our tourist shots, we notice that another motorcycle couple had the same idea, and they were ADVers as well! Jon and Natalie were on a 2-week whirlwind trip riding their SV650 and Bonneville border-to-border from Vancouver to Tijuana and back, very cool!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xVx2LwN/0/L/DSC4476-L.jpg)
Jon and Natalie from Seattle - she made those panniers herself from ammo cases!

Don recommended that we take Hwy 20 to get inland, as we were heading towards Yosemite Park. What a great scenic, twisty road! However, we hit Sacremento rush hour and we debated whether to take our wide-load motorcycles filtering through stopped traffic. It seemed a bit tight, so we stewed in jam for awhile... At least it was warm! From there, we took I5 to Stockton, and then the 4 to Copperopolis to Angels Camp, however by then, we were driving in pitch dark. It gets dark at 6:30PM! We rode the very twisty Hwy 120 and we knew we were missing out on amazing scenery as the road switched back on itself as we climbed higher and higher in the cool, inky darkness of the late autumn evening. Just outside of Yosemite, we stopped for the night at a neat campsite just outside of Groveland. It still dips below freezing overnight... we just can't escape the cold...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tC2P3dG/0/XL/DSC4477-XL.jpg)
Lots of riders taking a weekend ride through Yosemite

This is our 2nd time through Yosemite, as mentioned earlier, we did our own whirlwind trip through the National Parks of SW US a few years ago. This time, we actually got off our bikes and hiked around a bit. It's interesting reading through our ride report (http://www.RideDOT.com/cali) from the first time around, and contrast that to what interests us now that we have more time on our hands. Can't believe we stayed at such expensive places as well!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rFL7KNw/0/L/DSCN0275-L.jpg)
Riding through the quaint town of Groveland in the morning

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VZcBCz3/0/L/DSCN0276-L.jpg)
In Yosemite, we ride Highway 120 right through the Tioga Pass, the highest mountain pass in California.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cXzDhVW/0/L/DSC4484-L.jpg)
Hiking around Olmstead Point on the Tioga Pass

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RB5jkdx/0/L/DSC4500-L.jpg)
Seeking shade at Olmstead Point - not sure why, it's pretty cold up here!

Olmstead Point is a popular visitor's stop on the Tioga Pass. It offers great views of Tenyana Canyon below as well as Half-Dome, a very famous Yosemite rock formation, in the distance.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zpQF93t/0/XL/DSC4507-XL.jpg)
Tenyana Canyon and Half-Dome

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-scmF5L3/0/L/DSC4537-L.jpg)
Half-Dome

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ccNVb6H/0/L/DSCN0278-L.jpg)
Back on the road!

Everything we've been told about hot and sunny California has turned out to be a lie. It's cold here too. We've got to find someplace warmer!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on October 30, 2012, 06:49:57 am
Quote

Everything we've been told about hot and sunny California has turned out to be a lie. It's cold here too. We've got to find someplace warmer!


3 years ago, I went through Yosemite in the middle of October. It started raining in the valley, so I took the road towards Nevada. Up there, on 120, I think, it was sleeting and cold enough that my heated liner didn't help enough. It was so good to get into the low lands.
San Diego is going to be in the mid 70s all week, with 60s at night.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 30, 2012, 03:35:27 pm

San Diego is going to be in the mid 70s all week, with 60s at night.


Noted!  ;)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on October 30, 2012, 03:35:46 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/42.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Jc7z9qM/0/L/map42-L.jpg)

We're sick of the cold. So we're headed to the hottest place on Earth, which is conveniently located around the corner from where we are.  Our ride to Death Valley ironically passes through a couple of ski resort towns, notably Mammoth. We notice a lot of dirt bikes gathering around the town of Bishop, perhaps there's an enduro happening in the area? I envied all those light bikes with their knobby tires...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FzSzhvp/0/L/DSCN0332-L.jpg )
Endless desert road in Death Valley

As we descend into the valley, the temperature soars to a blistering 38°C! This is *exactly* what we were looking for and we set up camp at Stovepipe Wells for a couple of evenings, basking in the heat like lizards. Overnights only dipped to a sweltering 28°C, and it felt good not to be swaddled in winter gear and wrapped in mummy bags! Just down the road, we hiked around the Mesquite sand dunes, they are marvelous:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rHbD2LW/0/XL/DSC4592-XL.jpg)
Mesquite Sand Dunes

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NXqNL9f/0/XL/DSC4596-XL.jpg)
Popular spot for visitors - had to hike a distance from the road to find untouched sand!

Footprints stay in the sand for quite some time until the next rainfall. I've heard that in some deserts that receive no precipitation, marks in the dunes stay etched in the sand forever. They say that you can still see the treads in the sands of the Sahara desert from when Rommel's Panzers roamed the dunes during WWII.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-L2sD7Gq/0/L/DSC4598-L.jpg)
Lots of sand in Death Valley, but the dunes are areas between the mountains that trap the sand

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mbQgw5b/0/L/DSC0184-L.jpg)
Begrudgingly hiking the dunes - it was worth it!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bpgQTjT/0/L/DSC0215-L.jpg)
Yoga half-moon pose - almost...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CgWVsqC/0/L/DSC4554-L.jpg)
Riding around Death Valley

We rode over to Furnace Creek and spent a couple of days there - about 200 feet below sea level. Death Valley is so hot because of the natural basin created by the high valley walls that trap the heated desert air, allowing no outside circulation. You know it's pretty desolate when they charge you $6 a gallon for gas - that's more expensive than Prudhoe Bay in Alaska!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-m66BnXn/0/L/DSC4642-L.jpg)
Scotty's Castle  - fabulous building in the north end of the park built by a multi-millionaire in the 1930s

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7McwDkd/0/L/DSC4663-L.jpg)
Ubehebe Crater - an inactive volcano


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-m3mrTbH/0/XL/IMG0555-XL.jpg)
Cracked floor deep within the Ubehebe volcano

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pzBkxCc/0/L/DSC4677-L.jpg)
Our neighbours at Furnace Creek campsite - Simon is not a morning person

We met Christina and Simon from Bern, Switzerland at Furnace Creek. Although not on motorcycles, we found them to be kindred traveling spirits, they took a year off, selling all their possessions to travel around the world. Unfortunately for them, their trip is over in November, but we spent a night at the Furnace Creek bar, getting to know them and exchanging travel stories over beer. Awesome couple!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2KwN8hX/0/L/DSCN0363-L.jpg)
Aborted off-road mission, Neda is coming to help pick my bike up in deep gravel. Slightly sprained ankle for me :(

We left Death Valley feeling recharged, we wished we could have stayed longer in the desert, but we had an appointment to keep.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: soonerstan56 on November 01, 2012, 02:48:39 am
Uber WOW! :)

Stan


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on November 01, 2012, 09:46:03 am
Oops, another get off. I guess that shows who is the better rider  :)
Seriously, a wonderful adventure. Thanks for taking us along  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 02, 2012, 04:27:07 pm

Oops, another get off. I guess that shows who is the better rider  :)


Absolutely no argument from me! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 02, 2012, 04:27:33 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/43.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LpsjsXt/0/L/map43-L.jpg)

I really hate schedules.

We're heading to Cambria, CA for the Horizon's Unlimited meeting, a chance to get together with like-minded travelers, exchange stories and tips. However, we've had to cut our desert-time short and head to the coast for the weekend. After 4 months of unscheduled wandering, having to make a date is kind of stressing me out, even if it's for something that we're looking forward to.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GfrWhSj/0/XL/DSC_4702-XL.jpg)
Show and tell at the HU meeting parking lot

The meeting was excellent, we really felt an affinity with so many folks that didn't bat an eye when we told them we quit our jobs, sold our home and just went riding. Back home, a few of our friends and a lot of our family thought we were a bit crazy to do this, but at the HU meeting, we met so many people that had either had done the same, were doing it right now (lots of e-mail addresses exchanged), or were planning on doing it that it felt like we were in a herd of black sheep. Lots of head nodding and Amens!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MMngQ9t/0/L/IMG_0628-L.jpg)
A little cankle-action, courtesy of my Death Valley off. Not as bad as it looks, just a slight limp for a few days

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HG52stL/0/XL/DSC_4698-XL.jpg)
Reunited!

Neda met Carolyn at the Adventures for the Cure dirtbike charity ride in Colorado a few years ago. They've kept in touch over the years and the girls were excited to see each other again!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5PTmcFg/0/XL/IMG_0638-XL.jpg)
The best part of attending the "Cooking on the Road" session

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4XQMxCF/0/L/DSC_4693-L.jpg)
Spent most of the weekend in seminars like this, getting travel tips

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-htFbtjF/0/L/IMG_0641-L.jpg)
Tents galore at the HU meeting

On Sunday night, we had a bit of excitement when a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit King City, just 60 miles away from Cambria. We were in our tent shortly after midnight when the quake hit. We thought it was someone shaking our tent as a practical joke! The funny thing was the animals knew long before it actually happened, all the birds were going crazy about an hour earlier and 10 minutes before, the sea lions on the coast were making a huge racket. So bizarre! I just recently read about the Italian scientists who got sued for not predicting an earthquake. They should have used animals!

The next morning, all the California locals shrugged their shoulders - happens all the time they say. "If it ain't the Big One, nothing to worry about..." Geez!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nnR36hg/0/L/DSC_4792-L.jpg)
Buddies at Big Sur


After the conference, we rode to San Jose with Carolyn, to get some service done to our bikes. Stopped at Big Sur to see the elephant seal colony.

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Elephant Seal colony just south of Big Sur on Hwy 1

At this time of year, most of the seals are pups and teenagers, spending their time on the beach to develop bone mass on shore, before returning back to the weightless environment of the sea to hunt.

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Graceful in the sea, but very awkward-looking once they climb onto land

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Fastest hands in service bay! New chain and sprockets!

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R12GS undergoing major surgery - final drive crown wheel bearing... :(

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Captain America waiting for the bikes in San Jose

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Rolling around San Jose on loaner bikes

Today marks a bit of an anniversary of sorts. One year ago, we officially told my parents that we were quitting our jobs, selling our home and riding around the world. That dinner was kind of an uncomfortable event... But tonight we're celebrating with order-in Chinese food and beer!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rmn7h2q/0/L/IMG_0661-L.jpg)
Treating ourselves in San Jose

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A bit late, but accurate, nonetheless!

After spending a few days in San Jose, we've come to the realization that we're not big city people anymore. It's crowded, expensive and looks the same as any other big city. So we're off again...!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on November 03, 2012, 01:29:43 pm
 :clap:

Be safe and update often!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 05, 2012, 04:11:17 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/44.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vnXwvCD/0/L/map44-L.jpg)

Our trip so far has been interrupted by the Horizons Unlimited meeting and the need for some MotoTLC. So we're resuming our trip where we (almost) left off by heading back to the desert. Hoping there'll be more warm weather there.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vWJBrkP/0/L/DSCN0397-L.jpg)
No warm weather here, but good snow-cones... Donner Pass over the Sierra Nevada.

Since we're no longer Big City People, we decide to head to Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World". We've ridden to Las Vegas before on our previous trip of the SW US, so we're spending an evening walking around the Bright Lights, Little City.

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Drawn like moths to the neon lights of the Biggest Little City...

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Slow night, off-season in Reno

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New tattoo for Neda?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wbvMVFb/0/L/DSC_0231-L.jpg)
Mesmerized

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We stayed at a state campsite just outside Reno instead - freezing overnight!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z4HQNfQ/0/XL/DSC_4810-XL.jpg)
A lot of Vegas casinos also have a branch in Reno

Reno really reminded us of Old Vegas the way it was before the gigantic theme parks sprung up on the new strip. More about the neon and cheap food ($5.99 for a prime rib dinner!) than about the roller-coasters and Celine Dion.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X7vvGkB/0/L/DSC_0272-L.jpg)

From Reno, we headed south to the Highway 50. We're beginning a two-day ride through the desolation of the Nevada desert, trying to discover what led Life Magazine to dub this the "Loneliest Road in America". US 50 follows the Nevada section of the old Pony Express route back when the US Postal Service used to deliver mail via horse, riding day and night from the west coast all the way to Missouri!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rLPRgtK/0/L/DSC_4842-L.jpg)
Might look lonely up the sand dune, but there were dozens of vehicles behind this one and all over the hill

The Loneliest Road became a lot less lonely when we stopped in to visit Sand Mountain, just past Fallon. Tons of RVs were in the parking lot, belching out all kinds of dune buggies, ATVs, three-wheelers and dirtbikes onto the huge sand dunes just off the highway. Dozens of them climbing up and down the dunes like ants.

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Soooo jealous! Paddle tires FTW!

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When we set up our cameras at the base of the sand dunes, *everybody* started wheelying in front of us! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HfMjkLL/0/L/DSC_5020-L.jpg)
Even the little kids were getting into it!

We stopped for the evening at Lahontan State Recreation area right on the Loneliest Road in America, can't wait to soak up more of the desert lifestyle!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on November 06, 2012, 01:54:54 pm
Looks like you had some fun here in Cali. Glad the ankle is doing better. Keep those posts and pics coming.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 07, 2012, 12:27:54 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/45.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WLG9cQx/0/L/map45-L.jpg)

The Pony Express only ran for one year from 1860-1861. But during that time, riders delivered mail from the west coast all the way to Missouri, facing dangers like weather, buffalo stampedes and bandits. The advent of the railroad put an end to the Pony Express and US 50 now follows the rough route that the riders took across Nevada. Today, most of the cross-Nevada traffic takes Interstate 80, rendering US 50 obsolete, much like the Pony Express. Life Magazine called US 50 the Loneliest Road in America in the 80s, stating: "It's totally empty. There are no points of interest. We don't recommend it. We warn all motorists not to drive there unless they're confident of their survival skills."

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZLCNpbX/0/L/DSCN0429-L.jpg)
Nevada desert is anything but flat

The handful of towns on US 50 turned this negative proclamation into a major marketing campaign, boasting ghost towns, mountain passes, motorsports, camping and wildlife watching along this forgotten highway. So we're riding the Loneliest Road in America to see if it's all that it's cracked up to be!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-847TjSC/0/L/DSCN0450-L.jpg)
We stop in the town of Austin for lunch

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Pizza at the International Cafe

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Bar in Austin is closed

I love riding in the desert, especially when there's nobody else around for miles and miles. Just you and your thoughts swirling around in your helmet. We ride like this for over 400 miles across Nevada to the end of US 50, passing by the towns of Fallon, Austin and Eureka, not seeing a lot of ghost towns until we close in on Ely at the end of US 50.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mrv75vk/0/L/DSC_5040-L.jpg)
We stop in at the ghost town of Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek used to be a bustling mining town of 6,000 people before the turn of the last century. Now, only a few people live here amongst the ruins of abandoned buildings that draw tourists looking to see a piece of history. It was very neat to walk around the old buildings. Not as spooky as the name "Ghost Town" seems to imply!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w49764r/0/L/DSC_0308-L.jpg)
The old school building has been turned into a museum detailing life before the town was abandoned

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SCMQ7Dd/0/XL/DSC_5047-XL.jpg)
No tumbleweeds though!

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Ghost towns of Nevada - a photographer's feast!

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The few residents that live here still need to get their mail. Not delivered by Pony, though...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zRmMdVZ/0/L/DSC_0327-L.jpg)
Peering through the boarded-up window of an abandoned house. There was a make-shift tent inside!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4npXKNG/0/L/DSCN0466-L.jpg)
Riding away from Nevada in the light of the setting sun


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 08, 2012, 11:53:06 am
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PRZw9Xx/0/L/map46-L.jpg)

We are moving very slowly, spending at least a couple of days at each stop to recharge. The nomadic task of setting up and tearing down camp is less tedious when we can stay awhile and enjoy a day's rest, especially since we've seemed to stay ahead of the impending North American snowfall. By contrast to our sedate pace, the land speed record set by a vehicle with wheels is 1,228 km/h (faster than the speed of sound). This record was set just around the corner at the Bonneville Salt Flats (how's that for a segue?), just across the Nevada/Utah border.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-p63qfbT/0/L/DSC_5114-L.jpg)
Testing the surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats

As we approached the salt flats, we were amazed at how expansive the surrounding area is, all covered in greyish/white layer, most of it is a thin crust above thick mud. We saw the tracks of off-road vehicles that have done donuts, ripping up the surface and leaving mud trail scars. The actual Bonneville Salt Flats has a much thicker crust of salt and is more suitable for attempting landspeed records.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SXL5mjX/0/L/DSC_5251-L.jpg)
Neda pulls a Charley Boorman on the Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats look like a sheet of ice at certain angles. We tentatively walked out onto the surface before taking the motorcycles out, as there were still some wet patches from a prior rainfall. We were surprised at how much grip there was, the salt wasn't loose at all. The surface of the flats felt like sandpaper.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H2nvnmG/0/L/DSC_5308-L.jpg)
Remarkably good grip on the salt flats

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Long shadows cast on the salts

The Bonneville Salt Flats are a remnant of a huge prehistoric salt lake that dried up 150,000 years ago. It's one of several dried salt lakes in the area, but it's the largest, measuring over 100 square kilometers, giving landspeed racers enough running room to get up to maximum velocity.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PsJ2QBM/0/L/DSC_5316-L.jpg)
Watching the sun set on the Salt Flats

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Posing with the bikes

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Backlit sunset shot

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Midgets in the mirror

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Watching the moon rise over the Salt Flats

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Tooling around on the Salt Flats

Although it would have been fun to visit during a race to see all the exotic vehicles, we did have the Bonneville Salt Flats all to ourselves, and we felt like kids walking and riding around, and taking photos all around the area.

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Relaxing at a fast food restaurant at the end of the day. We brought our own salt for the fries...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bogfro on November 08, 2012, 08:13:46 pm
Just found this thread.  Maybe you've already said this at some point (I don't have a chance right now to read all 11 pages) .......... but the burning question I have is how you can make a trip like this financially possible?  I understand you can live off the money from your sold possessions, but when your trip is over, are you afraid you'll have trouble finding work?  In my industry, you basically can't quit your job for any length of time and expect a job to be waiting for you 6 months or a year later, especially with the economy in the shape it's currently in.  What industry did y'all work in previously, and what are your plans for finding work, money, and retirement savings when you are finished?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: nevinfs327 on November 08, 2012, 08:37:55 pm
Still loving the report and living vicariously.  Thanks for posting here  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 09, 2012, 11:52:53 am
what are your plans for finding work, money, and retirement savings when you are finished?


Plans? What are those?  :headscratch:

Too early in our trip to think about that, I'm sure we'll figure something out! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Spence on November 09, 2012, 07:13:59 pm



Plans? What are those?  :headscratch:

Too early in our trip to think about that, I'm sure we'll figure something out! :)


Like. lol
 
 I guess this isn't facebook. Discovered you guys back on your India trip and have been following your stories ever since.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Guaglio on November 10, 2012, 04:57:58 am
Wow! I'm guessing that a lot of people would love to do what you're doing, and what a great time to do it too. You're both young, no kids to worry about, and basically you can!  You're doing what I would have loved to have done,  after graduating. You get to see a lot of what you want, and you get to enjoy it together, and on a fantastic machine. A lifetime of memories, and a great story.....keep the story going!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 12, 2012, 12:38:53 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/47.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zRrMCkG/0/L/map47-L.jpg)

We have unfinished business in Utah. As mentioned before, one of our earliest motorcycle trips was a whirlwind 18-day from Toronto to San Franciso and back. During that trip, we visiting most of the National Parks in the SW US, but only having a limited amount of time, we spent most of it on the back of the motorcycle, not seeing anything but the park from the side of the road. Arches National Park was a bookmark that we just had to revisit, and this time around, we promised that we wouldn't leave until we'd seen everything.

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Arches National Park, Three Sisters rock formation up ahead

We made good on that promise, lazing around the park for four days, spending the days hiking the trails around the area, and the nights freezing our butts off inside the tent. The landscape is straight out of a Road Runner cartoon! Other-worldly-shaped orange rocks thrust up out of the ground, some of them precariously balancing larger rocks on small skinny stems - the result of erosion eating away at the softer layers of the sand and rock that history has laid down.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zHkVJZZ/0/L/DSC_0373-L.jpg)
Weather was beautiful during the day, freezing at night, but the night sky was so clear!

One of the things that was very important to us was hiking up to the Delicate Arch, as we didn't have the opportunity the last time we were here. It's about an hour uphill hike to a remote spot where the arch can be viewed. There are over 2,000 arches in the park, spanning from a few feet to over a hundred feet in height! The views are breathtaking!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KvPMrpp/0/L/DSC_0389-L.jpg)
Hiking the Delicate Arch Trail

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Window to the Delicate Arch

We arrived in the early afternoon and settled down to wait for the best time to view the Arch - sunset. We were told that that was the magical time that elves and unicorns would emerge from the portal created by the sun's rays hitting the Delicate Arch.

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We take our seats like everyone else and wait for the show to begin

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This guy must have shelled out primo for balcony seats

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Things to do when you're waiting for the elves and unicorns

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This lady brought her Staff of Infinite Mysteries to help open the portal

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Rtx3Rzq/0/XL/DSC_5519-XL.jpg)
"... and then the Earth cooled..."

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VHDhD33/0/L/DSC_0426-L.jpg)
No elves. No unicorns. But pretty, anyway...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7vpPLkC/0/L/DSC_0432-L.jpg)
Neda takes her photography very seriously, risking life and limb for that perfect shot

Ok, enough hiking and picture-taking, time to do some riding!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Stargzrgrl on November 12, 2012, 10:00:20 am
This RR just keeps on delivering the wonderful!  Thank you for sharing and letting us tag along on your adventure!  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bomber on November 12, 2012, 10:08:05 am
Thank you guys for bringing us with!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Tyrroneous on November 12, 2012, 12:28:30 pm
Really enjoyed the salt flat and Arches photos.  Keep rollin' and postin'!   :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 13, 2012, 06:30:57 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/48.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vcHcmWm/0/L/map48-L.jpg)

We descended from Arches National Park and landed in the McDonald's at Moab. We were regular fixtures for a few days there, the TV ceaselessly covering the US election, with us catching up on e-mail, and me stretching that $1 bottomless soda. We saw regulars come and go, and greeted the familiar faces as if we lived there. One morning, after Neda's Skype session with her niece in Italy, we found ourselves chatting with a couple of other Canadians, Jacques from St-Jovite (outside of Montreal) who was in the area on a photo-vacation for a couple of months, and Mark from Winnipeg, who towed his KLR to ride the roads around the area with his dirtbike buddies. This was the perfect company to share a McMorning with, as we got great tips on riding roads *and* photo-spots. We really have no plan whatsoever, so it's chance encounters like these that dictate which way we go and what we do and see!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hRHqmdk/0/L/DSCN0575-L.jpg)
Potash Road is like riding on the surface of Mars!

Both of them suggested we ride the Shafer Trail, which starts out as Potash Road just north of Moab and ends up meeting the famous White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. We were told to be prepared for great roads and amazing scenery!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CjCjfGV/0/L/DSC_5570-L.jpg)
Trail turns gravelly and runs through some great canyons

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ttkpwcD/0/L/DSCN0583-L.jpg)
Stream crossing! Ok, the stream was mostly dry. You could see salt or mineral stains left from the water

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J4Khzpd/0/L/DSCN0597-L.jpg)
Marvelous scenery unfolding before us. Shared with NOBODY!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LV2NsHs/0/L/DSC_0447-L.jpg)
F650GS owners have always been trying to fit a 21" wheel up front. Neda gets a 25" front wheel courtesy of our wide angle lens

The trail is very wide and well maintained. We tried to take a detour off the Shafer Trail towards the Colorado River overlook, but encountered deep sand - our nemesis! So instead of paddling 3 miles through sand with our crappy, gripless Tourances, we decided to turn back to the main trail.

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Bye bye, sand. Back to the gravel. Hello, scenery!

As it turns out, we didn't really have to detour from the main trail for a look at the Colorado River, as the Shafer Trail runs alongside it for quite a while. It's at this very spot that they filmed Thelma and Louise driving their car off the cliff after being chased by cops. Hmmm... I hope I didn't ruin the movie for anyone. They also filmed Star Wars here as well, the part where Darth Vader told Luke Skywalker that he was his father...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Bj8MpBN/0/L/DSC_5606-L.jpg)
This entire trip I'm either on a bike or taking pictures. Sometimes both...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nrsLNxz/0/L/DSC_5614-L.jpg)
Gingerly stepping out onto the edge, trying to get a shot of the Colorado River

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Colorado River

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qxMTwKt/0/L/DSC_0448-L.jpg)
I think this is where Thelma and Louise drove off the cliff

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qwgD24p/0/L/DSC_5630-L.jpg)
Neda was having a great time!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BZNWcZ7/0/L/DSC_0460-L.jpg)
A bit of perspective - Neda is in the top-left hand corner taking a picture with our bikes next to her

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Trying not to look down

I am not scared of heights at all. But whenever I'm looking over a high cliff, or over the top-floor balcony of a high rise, I get this tingling sensation in my toes and I have this small urge to just jump. Not sure why...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BRTVHVb/0/L/DSC_5700-L.jpg)
Getting ready for the leap... only 2,000 feet to the canyon floor

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4cxSF5L/0/L/DSC_0467-L.jpg)
This picture taken by Gary from Colorado. He pulled up on his R1200GS ADV and told us this was his favorite road!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J8P4Jzq/0/L/DSC_5719-L.jpg)
A friend calls this the National Geographic shot

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SRNC362/0/L/DSCN0611-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qDFf6s8/0/L/DSCN0616-L.jpg)
Trail gets quite close to the edge in some sections, giving us some great views. Hard to keep your eyes on the trail!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3xTqx2d/0/L/DSCN0623-L.jpg)
Here you can see the rim of the cliff

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-85qbN7B/0/L/DSC_0471-L.jpg)
From the edge of the rim, you can see a 270 degree bend in the Colorado River, very cool!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hwrt2vp/0/L/DSC_0479-L.jpg)
"Do you need a hand?"
"Naw, I'm Superman, bitch!"


The Shafer Trail is great for big bikes. A little bit of sand in some areas (as above), lots of gravel, some rocky areas, a couple of steep uphill climbs on loose surfaces,and a ton of fun! Neda and I agree this and the Dalton Highway were our top two favorite rides so far on this trip! What cemented this was the 1,000 foot climb up the Shafer Switchbacks on a section of the White Rim Trail:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z4fvLFB/0/L/DSC_0491-L.jpg)
Here's Neda motoring up one of the switchbacks

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-t7jmb49/0/L/DSC_5729-L.jpg)
Half-way up we peer over the lip of the basin. Awesome! Toes tingling again, BTW...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kqRhPCx/0/L/DSC_0495-L.jpg)
Looking back on the way we came

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RWCCvFM/0/L/DSC_0505-L.jpg)
Shafer Basin below us, a spectacular sight!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7w4DMcR/0/L/DSC_0521-L.jpg)
As we reach the top, Neda hugs the cliff wall on the switchback trail. It's Shafer that way...

We've spent over a week in Utah now. Not sure if or when we're ever going to leave this state!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jp on November 13, 2012, 08:03:46 pm
 :eek: :wow: :omgomgomg: :hail:

(speechless)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: HPTuner on November 13, 2012, 10:42:35 pm
WOW! I need to go WEST... Thanks for the awesome photos!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jdgretz on November 13, 2012, 11:35:16 pm
Beautiful photos and an epic ride.  Utah is on my list for spring.  Guess I need to put some different tires on the Norge for this one.

Keep up the wonderful work.

jdg


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on November 14, 2012, 07:23:34 am
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J8P4Jzq/0/L/DSC_5719-L.jpg)

Sheech! I live within a hundred miles of that road and have never ridden it. :bash:
Once again, thanks for this great ride report.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: st2sam on November 14, 2012, 07:37:26 am
Geeze guys, didn't think it was possable for your pics to get any better, boy was I wrong!
Fantastic, keep 'em coming!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Fast Blue on November 14, 2012, 11:07:30 am
This is the first thread I visit every morning - it has so been worth it  :thumbsup:

Happy Trails


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on November 14, 2012, 01:51:58 pm
How do you take pics while ridin, with the dig camera or? Cant wait for the next update!

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: airwalk on November 15, 2012, 10:41:31 am
makes an excellent read/vicarious journey, looking forward to more!! safe travels to ya.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on November 15, 2012, 12:11:31 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=uqU2BsNj_Wc&NR=1

Just came across this and instantly thought of you guys! WAY cool

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 15, 2012, 12:13:19 pm

How do you take pics while ridin, with the dig camera or?


WARNING: Do not try this at home. You might crash into your sofa...  :crazy:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8FwZj6S/0/L/DSCN9339-L.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: phoenix on November 16, 2012, 08:09:56 am
wow is right!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on November 16, 2012, 08:48:47 am



WARNING: Do not try this at home. You might crash into your sofa...  :crazy:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8FwZj6S/0/L/DSCN9339-L.jpg)


Sorry my bad haha


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ZuluHour on November 16, 2012, 11:42:21 am
I can't believe I just went through all 12 pages.  This while sitting in my cube at work, jealous of the freedom.  Epic RR, keep safe and keep up the documentation.  This is a time of your life you'll both always look back on be glad you made the move.  How far east are you guys coming?  Europe in the works maybe?

Subscribed...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 17, 2012, 01:01:15 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/49.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SV3wwTt/0/L/map49-L.jpg)

A few days ago, while talking to our fellow Canadians at the McDonald's in Moab, Jacques mentioned The Wave, a very cool-looking geologic formation, which really intrigued us. However, we found out that to visit it, we needed to obtain a permit. Unfortunately, only 20 permits are given out per day - all chosen by a lottery system. Uh oh. Apparently 10 of the 20 permits are issued 4 months in advance over the Internet, so too late for half the permits. The other 10 are picked via a manual lottery at the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) office, so we decide to take our chances there.

We rode all the way to south Utah, past the phenomenally large and imposing red rock mountain/sculpures of Monument Valley, but didn't stop since we had already visited it on our last trip. Our home base was set up at the town of Kanab, where the BLM office was located and we showed up bright and early the next morning for the lottery. Apparently in the summer, the number of visitors swell to over 200 people, all crammed in the tiny lottery room every morning. The largest number was 260 one day in the summer, all vying for 10 permits! Today, the BLM officer told me we had a record low of applicants - 17! 10 permits. 17 people. Our chances look pretty good! We were assigned a number and one by one, balls were drawn out of an ancient hand-cranked bingo machine, the kind that spins the balls first and spits one out of a small hole in the bottom.

We didn't win. Such good odds and we were so unlucky! :( One of the permit winners, a European couple exclaimed in joy when their number was drawn. Apparently they had come every morning for the last 5 days, and finally today they won a permit! Good for them, I guess we'd come back tomorrow and try again. But we decided if we didn't win tomorrow, we'd move on.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hVsgHjx/0/L/DSC_0633-L.jpg)
Beautifully coloured rocks line the Wire Pass as we hike towards the slot canyon

There were still a lot of other sights to see in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area. Coyote Buttes is home to a bunch of slot canyons - canyons that are far deeper than they are wide. So we rode down a 13 km dirt road to visit some of them.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kRTV5WQ/0/L/DSC_0620-L.jpg)
Slot canyons are formed by rushing water through very soft rock. The walls of this canyon are sandstone

Slot canyons are very dangerous to hike in if there is any precipitation in the forecast, since the walls are 30-50 feet high and some of the longer canyons have very little open space or footholds to climb up to escape flash floods. We are hiking part of Buckskin Gulch, which is 21 kms long. We can't hike the entire distance because previous rainfalls have left pools of water hip deep and it's too cold to wade through them. In warmer weather, hikers bring a tent and break up the Buckskin Gulch hike over a few days, wading through the much smaller pools in the heat of the Utah summer.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4pKHxsd/0/L/DSC_0600-L.jpg)
Sunlight plays against the walls of the slot canyon

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sKH3Dhh/0/XL/DSC_0760-XL.jpg)
Obstacle course

Falling rocks and logs from above sometimes block the slot canyon and it's necessary to climb over or under obstacles. The walls close in very tightly in some places - we had to take our backpacks off and slide sideways to get through. So glad we skipped the cheeseburgers the day before...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pp82fZC/0/L/DSC_0665-L.jpg)
Amazing formations on the slot canyon walls caused by different densities of rock carved away by the water

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qcmqH3j/0/L/DSC_0651-L.jpg)
No hip-waders so end of the line for us

We encounter our first pool of water at Buckskin Gulch. The BLM office warned us there would be much deeper ahead, so we decide to turn back here. In the summer, the reflections of the sun streaming down the top of the canyon and hitting the pools cause amazing reflections against the canyon walls, but this late in the year, the sun barely makes it overhead, leaving the canyon in shadows for most of the day. Would be fun to come back here and wade through some of the pools in July!

The next morning, we show up at the BLM office again but we're disheartened when we see many more lottery hopefuls also attending - 27 in total. Our odds are much slimmer today. Our lottery number is 13. I'm not superstitious, but Neda considers this a lucky sign. When she was born, the hospital gave her a bracelet with a number matching mother to baby - her number was 13.

Sure enough, the first ball that dropped out of the lotto machine - number 13! We felt 25 pairs of envious eyes stinging us from all sides. :) The permits were written up for the next day and we were given instructions on how to get to The Wave as well as what to bring. It's a 10 km round-trip (I HATE HIKING!) to The Wave and there isn't a marked trail, so the BLM handed us a Treasure Island-style map (""50 paces to the Orange Rock, turn left at the Sandy Hill...") and told us to bring lots of water, and a flashlight in case we stayed out past dark. They recommended not to hike in the darkness for fear of falling into a slot canyon. Great. Now I was starting to worry... Would we get lost? Fall into a slot canyon in the dark? I saw 127 Hours and I didn't want to have to cut my arm off with a Swiss Army Knife... :(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DVRfSsq/0/L/DSC_0771-L.jpg)
No trail. We're just wandering around, kinda like our motorcycle trip

Early the next morning, we rode out to Wire Pass again where we hike much further past the slot canyons to get to The Wave. The mornings are getting very cold: -9C (-15F) and we were frozen like popsicles when we arrived. Thankfully, the temperatures would climb to a balmy 16C during the day.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hnxgVGG/0/L/DSC_0781-L.jpg)
Along the way, we met up with a couple of other lottery winners - Sherry and Dugan from Alaksa! They seemed to know where they were going, so we just followed them...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pCmd29w/0/L/IMG_0742-L.jpg)
It took us a couple of hours, and as we got closer to The Wave, the rocks start exhibiting some psychedelic properties

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KBQpzmr/0/L/DSC_0821-L.jpg)
Dugan's a geologist, so this is a bit of professional curiousity

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-r6f4QDq/0/L/DSC_0865-L.jpg)
This is it! The Wave! So surreal, the pictures don't do it justice!

The Wave was formed when 190-million year old sand dunes were packed down with other layers of rock and sandstone over time, then this whole mass was slowly carved away by wind and water, leaving behind one really cool acid-trip of a sculpture! We spent 3 hours walking around the area mesmerized by the undulating layers of red rock that to me, resembled the musculature of an anatomy doll with it's skin peeled back.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WFt4N3t/0/L/DSC_0956-L.jpg)
If Salvador Dali ever made sculptures out of stained wood, it would look like The Wave

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HXbK5Qt/0/L/DSC_5943-L.jpg)
Even with 20 people visiting The Wave, we couldn't help but get in the way of each other's pictures

The Wave does not cover a large area, so I could imagine if the BLM opened it up for public access you would not be able to enjoy the beauty of it without having other people crammed in that small space. The 20 permit holders had to take turns getting shots of The Wave, while we each hid behind the hills or hiked elsewhere. I think there are actually 5 people hidden in the picture above.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hCq4SmH/0/L/DSC_0972-L.jpg)
Hardwood floors at The Wave. Helps to increase the property value...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-59mjpZB/0/L/IMG_0746-L.jpg)
Surfs Up, Dude!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Spf4ptS/0/L/DSC_6108-L.jpg)
We ♥ The Wave!

We've been in Utah for nearly two weeks, there's so much to see and do here, but I fear that if we don't leave soon, we'll have to convert to Mormonism and stay here permanently!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on November 17, 2012, 04:51:51 pm
Now that is whack.  :eek: :clap: :hail:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: kendenton on November 17, 2012, 08:11:46 pm
OK, The Wave is officially on my bucket list.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jp on November 17, 2012, 10:21:06 pm
OK! This took me forEVER to find on Google Earth, but I just HAD to see!

https://ssl.panoramio.com/photo/78005026

Didn't know it was on the other side of the border in Arizona. The hiking just goes on for miles and miles!
I can't imagine what the first people to see this must have thought!!
...and you're right! It IS a long hike in! Temperatures in the spring is 100F with no shade. Pfewww...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sammyseaman on November 17, 2012, 10:48:15 pm
I'm gonna state the obvious (because that's what I do): This is EPIC!!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: soonerstan56 on November 18, 2012, 12:07:03 am

I'm gonna state the obvious (because that's what I do): This is EPIC!!!


Good Job Captain Obvious !!!  I Agree!

Stan


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on November 18, 2012, 05:57:47 am
Epic indeed  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on November 18, 2012, 09:18:03 pm

OK, The Wave is officially on my bucket list.


Ditto!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: 1moreroad on November 19, 2012, 12:25:19 pm
Continue to be WOW at this report. :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 22, 2012, 05:23:09 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/50.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g4Zxq46/0/L/map50-L.jpg)

We've been holed up in Vegas, fugitive-style, for the past few days, peering out at the world through our hotel window. With rooms only a few dollars more than campsites (subsidized by the casinos), we've Pricelined our way through a 4 different places all over the strip and old Vegas, moving each day as if we were evading the law.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Nv5xB5d/0/L/DSC_6183-L.jpg)
Vegas sunrise against the mountains


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rSVPvp4/0/L/DSC_0033-L.jpg)
Before leaving, we did venture out one evening to take in the colourful lights of Sin City.


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tcVHNNL/0/L/DSC_6214-L.jpg)
Neon landscape

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-shLVsXc/0/L/DSC_1002-L.jpg)
Canopy of lights over Fremont Street

We strolled through the 1/2 km stretch of Fremont St while 12 million LEDs flashed hypnotic commercials overhead. The street used to be a popular place for pickpockets targeting tourists distracted by the light show above them, before the city boosted the police presence. Cops on bikes blend in with the street performers and costumed human statues, and we're barraged by a constant cacophony of music from two stages, street musicians and aerial commercials.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZvvT5db/0/L/DSC_6199-L.jpg)
We weren't tempted by the casinos at all, but the Deep-Fried Twinkies caught my attention. Wonder what they'll replace them with now that Hostess is out of business?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-L2vM7f9/0/L/DSC_0025-L.jpg)
Every hour on the hour, the casino and store lights dim. A 10-15 minute video is played overhead, set to music. This is the Fremont St Experience!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NTB8nwv/0/L/DSC_6166-L.jpg)
Watching the lights of the strip from the top of the city


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on November 22, 2012, 05:35:03 pm
Everyone should visit Vegas at least once.  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on November 23, 2012, 08:08:14 am
Kicking back with early morning Turkey and playing catch-up with the epic post. :inlove:



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on November 23, 2012, 12:38:50 pm
Just caught up. The word 'epic' doesn't do it justice.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: FJR-UK on November 24, 2012, 04:32:21 am

Everyone should visit Vegas at least once.  :thumbsup:

I quite agree! It's Disneyland® for adults.

The non-stop assault on the senses can be tiring, though. 3 1/2 days seems to be our threshold.  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 26, 2012, 12:39:59 pm

The non-stop assault on the senses can be tiring, though. 3 1/2 days seems to be our threshold.  :lol:


Yep, we just used Vegas for their cheap hotel rooms. Was nice to sleep in a bed for a change. Some very nice luxurious accommodations for peanuts! In one hotel, the mirrors on the ceiling above the bed and the hot tub were kind of weird though...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 26, 2012, 12:40:22 pm
Hey all, we've been invited to be a part of SideStandUp, an Internet radio talk show!

We're on tomorrow evening (Tuesday Nov 27th), the show starts at 8PM EST, runs about an hour and a half, and we're on towards the end.

The link for SideStandUp is http://www.SideStandUp.com

The direct link to the podcast is http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web...d=64458&cmd=tc

And yes, they spelled Neda's name wrong. :(

There's supposed to be an online chat component to it, so we'll try to be on that as well, but I can't seem to find it on the page. Will update here as soon as I locate it. Look forward to seeing some of you guys online!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on November 26, 2012, 01:03:48 pm
I listen to SSU all the time (and any other moto podcasts I can find) and I'm excited to hear this! :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 26, 2012, 03:42:38 pm

PS: before I forget, I sent your website info to http://www.sidestandup.com/Pages/default.aspx. This is a podcast/live cast motorcycle show, it's very popular and always features guests. They broadcast every Tuesday night 8 p.m. (Eastern) and you can go online and real-time chat also. With you and Neda's most excellent adventures AND your obvious web savvy, I thought it'd be a perfect venue to talk about your exploits! I hope he (Tom Lowdermilk) contacts you. I'd love to be able to real-time chat with you guys on a broadcast... hope it's ok I did that.


Just wanted to thank Breaker19 for sending our blog to Side Stand Up!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Skee on November 26, 2012, 07:50:03 pm
I've never listened to a podcast - seriously no lie - but I plan to catch this one.

Soon as I figure out how to load it on my iPad.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: st2sam on November 26, 2012, 10:54:34 pm

I've never listened to a podcast - seriously no lie - but I plan to catch this one.  


 :o      ^^^   Ditto.
         


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 27, 2012, 11:32:27 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/51.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J3Qxf3W/0/L/map51-L.jpg)

A few weeks ago, Mark from ADV sent us an invite, opening up his guest house to Neda and I. So we spent nearly a week with him and his family, during which time they basically adopted us!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qjMJXtD/0/L/DSC_6230-L.jpg)
Mark and I installing engine bars on my bike

After getting the bikes powerwashed and cleaned, we got to work installing the SW-Motech crash bars that I had ordered and sent to Mark's place. My big GS has eaten more gravel in the last 5 months than in the last 6 years I've owned her. Since we're showing no aversion to dirty, gravelly, sandy roads, I thought I'd quit being such a tough guy and give her a little more protection. Mark told me he builds and fixes airplanes for a living, so I guess he's qualified to help me out.

Actually, not being very mechanically-minded, I was quite nervous having an airplane mechanic look over my shoulder while installing something as simple as crash bars:

"Um Mark, could you hand me one of those thingies with the C-thingie on the end?"
"You mean a wrench, Gene?"
"If that's what you Americans call it...!"


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BNMfGHB/0/L/DSC_6289-L.jpg)
California oranges growing in Mark's back yard

Mark lives in a small community just north of San Diego, and the weather there is perfect! We've spent so long outrunning the freezing cold, riding further and further south, and outside of Death Valley, this is perhaps the first time we've reached such an ideal climate for riding. And we've got a bed and roof to sleep under as well! We spent a lot of time with Mark and his family; they had us over for dinner, we had them over for dinner (in their own guest house) - they are a really close-knit family with a love for travel and motorsports. Exactly our kind of folks!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5ffNwDX/0/L/DSC_6261-L.jpg)
Giving Susie some tips on riding. Here I'm showing her how short fingernails facilitate in the braking process

Susie, Mark's wife, mentioned that she was looking to do more street riding but needed to brush up on her skills. Since Neda and I were motorcycle instructors in our past life, we totally jumped on the opportunity to help her out. We borrowed a TW200 from one of Mark's friends and rode it out to the airport where Mark works for some parking lot practice.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NBHFXK4/0/L/DSC_6281-L.jpg)
After a quick lesson on push-steering, Susie slaloms like a pro!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w5qqgTP/0/L/DSC_0480-L.jpg)
I try out the TW and AHHH!!! No unbalanced panniers, bike turns too quickly!!!

Mark invited us to stay till after Thanksgiving, telling us that the traffic would be too bad to travel over the holidays. This was our first ever American Thanksgiving, in America, with Americans, and it was such a heart (and belly) warming experience. Mark and Susie don't have a lot of family in the area, so every year they have an "Orphans' Thanksgiving", inviting all of their friends who also don't have family nearby to spend the holidays with. We definitely fell into that category!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TDB3LDd/0/XL/IMG_0695-XL.jpg)
Neda helped cook, I just stayed out of the way. But I did put the marshmallows on the yams!

Mark is an excellent cook, timing all the dishes to be ready at the same time with military precision. Neda picked up some great recipes from him, and I was astounded that you could put marshmallows over potatoes and have them turn out so delicious! Copious amounts of brown sugar and pecans also help!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kzX52zx/0/L/DSC_6310-L.jpg)
Thanksgiving with our adopted family. Neda and I had such huge grins over the whole week!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vcJJvX9/0/L/DSC_6312-L.jpg)
Susie made pumpkin pie. Sean, their youngest son in the background

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7g5ctZ3/0/L/DSC_0512-L.jpg)
Mike, their oldest son was celebrating his birthday as well!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tXqckQK/0/L/DSCN0655-L.jpg)
Mark and Mike and a few of their friends took us to some of their favorite twisty roads in the area. We rode Hwy 76 around Escondido and then up the road to the Palomar observatory

After spending a week with Mark and his family, we're leaving in much better shape (round is a shape, right?) physically and mentally for the journey ahead. The time was well spent gathering new maps, new insurance and new currency. We rode away from our temporary sanctuary waving ecstatic goodbyes. I hope we'll see Mark and Susie and their family again soon in our travels!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: dark_isz on November 27, 2012, 01:16:56 pm

This is fantastic. I wish y'all the best of luck!

And thanks for bringing us along.  :bigok:


When I posted this comment almost 4 months ago I had no idea just how epic this journey was going to be.

Thanks again for sharing your adventure with us.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: X1Glider on November 27, 2012, 06:30:20 pm
Surprised you guys bypassed Death Valley.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on November 27, 2012, 07:00:53 pm

Surprised you guys bypassed Death Valley.


No they didn't.  You missed that part. :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on November 27, 2012, 07:11:23 pm
Keep the updates coming and thanks!  :thumbsup:  :hail:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on November 27, 2012, 09:43:09 pm
Sorry your call got dropped on SSU (happens a lot). I did enjoy what I did get to hear. Make sure you come back on, or hit up The Pace or Wheelnerds podcasts!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on November 28, 2012, 01:43:19 pm
Thanks for listening! It was a fun (but slightly stressful) experience. Stupid Skype!

Our call went through, but Skype wasn't sending our keypad tones so we couldn't log in!  :facepalm:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on December 01, 2012, 11:19:27 am
Cold temps and a warm cup of cooffee as I play catch up on one of the "BEST" motorcycle journeys I've read in a long time...And Thanksgiving Dinner......That was truly a Thanksgiving Dinner!!!!

As always, thanks for pulling us along, and I'm so blessed that I have the chance to read it.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 03, 2012, 12:49:09 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/52.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z5RDgDw/0/L/map52-L.jpg)

Mexico beckons us southwards, promising warmth and a change-up in culture that we've been inching towards our entire trip. We've done more preparation in the last week, than we have in the last 5 months on the road, researching border crossings and paperwork. All the reading we've done says to avoid Tijuana, the congestion at the border is horrendous. Do we cross at Tecate? Go as far west as Mexicali and then cut back into the coast?

As usual, we ask the locals. Mark said we shouldn't have any traffic if we just headed directly south since we were crossing over during Thanksgiving weekend. So we threw out all of our plans and crossed at Tijuana anyway.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CFDb7nB/0/L/DSCN0658-L.jpg)
A quick wave of a guard's hand and suddenly we are in Mexico!

As promised, there was very little wait-time at the border, and the passport control to enter the Baja Peninsula was non-existent! We found out that we did need a visitor's permit if we wanted to enter mainland Mexico, but this could be done in many places on the Baja. We got our permits and passport stamped at the Banjercito (bank run by the Mexican Army) in Tijuana anyways, but our Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TVIP) would have to be obtained further south if and when we decided to cross into the mainland.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-35czmTk/0/L/DSCN0664-L.jpg)
Mex-1 hugs the western coastline of the Baja Peninsula south leaving Tijuana

Piercing the veil between San Diego and Tijuana, we were assaulted by the acrid smell of pollution and the haphazard sprawl of shanties lining the hills. My immediately thought was, "It's India all over again!". We weren't frat boys looking for some illicit weekend excitement, so we didn't linger in Tijuana very long. Instead we immediately got on the toll road southbound and I was relieved that the stench of Tijuana evaporated away, replaced by the beauty of the Baja coastline.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qVsn92z/0/XL/DSC_6317-XL.jpg)
Big Mexican flag in Ensenada

Mexicans love huge flags! You can see Tijuana's Mexican flag almost from San Diego, and as we approached Ensenada (about 90 minutes south of TJ), we saw yet another over-sized flag on the beach. We rode past the large cruise ships that dock here and vomit gringo tourists out into the streets of this port town. That should have been our first clue that this really wasn't the Mexico we were looking for. On a side-note, I was trying to figure out if "gringo" was a derogatory term or not. And was I a "gringo"? Or maybe a "chingo"? :) Then I Googled the term "Chingo"... and found out it was a swear word in Spanish! It means "a shitload" (a whole lot of). I've really got to learn some Spanish before I offend any of the locals with my ill-translated gringo puns!

As we were trying to find affordable accommodations, we found out everything is expensive here because all the tourists are willing to pay US prices on their Mexican vacation. Chingo de Gringos! Not good. We paid dearly for a run-down room on the outskirts of the downtown. It was the most we've paid since leaving Canada!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-W8c5HtQ/0/L/DSC_0063-L.jpg)
First Mexican meal in Mexico! Paying gringo prices for not very chingo tacos...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-r32zwNj/0/L/DSC_0066-L.jpg)
Serenaded in Ensenada. Hey where's his Mariachi outfit...?!?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dtnhvKx/0/L/DSC_6325-L.jpg)
Blurry photo because we were ready to bolt from the surly-looking mariachi who obviously didn't want his picture taken...

The next morning after breakfast, we met another rider, Johnny, who I'm guessing owns a Ducati dealership in Chicago. He visits Baja California quite often and he told us that Ensenada was a dump and to get the hell out as soon as we could. We were originally planning to take some Spanish classes here in town, but this conversation convinced us to go elsewhere.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-j5vkqPh/0/L/DSCN0668-L.jpg)
Hitting the road again! Mex-1 southbound out of Ensenada

El Rosario is about a 3.5 hour ride south of Ensenada. Neda read about a great place to stay the night, very cheap and nice, called the Baja Cactus Motel. We scooped up the last room, a luxury suite above the lobby!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k5mjVmj/0/XL/DSC_6332-XL.jpg)
Neda is 3Ging on our balcony

So we got Neda a SIM chip in Ensenada for her iPhone and now she's addicted to the 3G down here. We're very surprised at the telecommunications infrastructure in Baja. Seems like they've got more coverage than some parts of the US! And cheaper as well!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-75PMdCT/0/XL/DSC_6334-XL.jpg)
Framed pictures of all the Baja racers line the walls of Mama Espinosa's, many of them personally signed. And Neda is still 3Ging...

For the next couple of days, we frequented Mama Espinosa's, a well-known seafood restaurant beside the motel. El Rosario is one of the first check-points in the famous Baja 1000, which runs the 1000 off-road miles from Ensenada to La Paz at the southern tip of the peninsula.  While motorcycle racers complete the course in a little over 12 hours in riding time, we're taking a much more sedate, and less sandy route towards La Paz.

We stayed for a couple of nights in El Rosario, taking advantage of the motel's internet to Skype into Sidestand Up (http://"http://www.sidestandup.com"), an Internet radio talk show that we had been invited to participate in. It was a really fun experience! Before our segment we got to hang out in the chat-room and talk to some of the followers of our blog. It got a bit stressful when our Skype session dropped us from the call though, as I frantically tried to get us reconnected and Neda gave a play-by-play in the chat room. :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TdzJ6XH/0/L/DSC_6389-L.jpg)
Posing with the cactus trees

The next morning, we continued our own Baja 1000 southwards. Mex-1 is very nicely maintained, great pavement and the sections that weave through the mountains of the peninsula are very twisty, which gives us a bit of entertainment. Unfortunately, we can't apex properly through the left-handers because the road is so narrow and has no shoulders. This means that on-coming trucks and 18-wheelers consistently run over the yellow line into our lane for fear of running off the narrow road. And the faster they drive, the more they encroach on our side of the road! We run a pretty tight curb line through all the blind curves up and down the mountainside.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zn6TzQ4/0/L/DSC_6379-L.jpg)
Hiking around the crazy cacti

There are tons of cacti here. And all sorts. Tall, skinny ones, short and fat ones. All different shapes and sizes. Thousands of them line the landscape on either side of the road and I imagine they are spectators on race day, watching Neda and I zoom through the curves of our Baja 10000. Speaking of which, we found out that we just missed the real race by a couple of weeks, that would have been amazing to watch!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cbLgvT9/0/L/DSC_6374-L.jpg)
Not sure what would have happened if she actually caught hold of it. 'Cause my topcase is already fulll...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Capirex on December 03, 2012, 10:38:58 am
Quote
The next morning after breakfast, we met another rider, Johnny, who I'm guessing owns a Ducati dealership in Chicago. He visits Baja California quite often and he told us that Ensenada was a dump and to get the hell out as soon as we could. We were originally planning to take some Spanish classes here in town, but this conversation convinced us to go elsewhere.



Oof - I believe you had the misfortune of meeting Johnny Scheff.  :D
He owns Motoworks Chicago, a scooter/Triumph/Ducati/vintage BMW shop.  Must be surf season down there.  Was he on his surfboard toting Vespa?

Love your journey.  Thanks for taking us along!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 07, 2012, 04:59:42 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/53.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BKdRXmV/0/L/map53-L.jpg)

While we were in San Diego Mark put us in touch with his friend in Mexico to help us out while we were traveling in the Baja Peninsula. Dan lives in Bahia de Los Angeles (LA Bay), which is on the east coast of the Baja, and he invited us to crash for the night in his cabin by the beachfront on our way south. We've been e-mailing Dan for the last few days as well, and he told us that the Spanish school in La Paz was pretty good, so we're kind of of glad that we're out of Ensenada.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jWcqkQS/0/O/la_bay_2.jpg)
Dan's place by the beach

We left El Rosario pretty late in the day, so the sun was setting fairly fast as we rode Mex-1 southbound and then took a detour eastwards on Mex-12 towards the Gulf of California. The road winds up and over the Sierra de San Borja mountains, and we're barraged by the high winds that the area is known for. It's pitch dark (and only around 5PM) when we arrive at LA Bay, and Dan's place is nothing but a GPS latitude and longitude co-ordinate outside of the town, down an unmarked sandy road that runs parallel to the beach. We had a rule before entering Mexico that we wouldn't ride in the dark - didn't take long to break that rule. We may have to get up a bit earlier now that the sun sets so soon... :(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-r6J85w6/0/L/DSC_0095-L.jpg)
The full moon is as high and bright over the Sea of Cortez - view from Dan's cabin

Dan and Nancy greeted us with lots of alcohol and fresh fish and we spent the evening getting very lubricated with them. Dan served us some yellowtail sashimi from a catch earlier on in the day, and we were in heaven! We don't eat sushi very much any more these days and it was such a treat. We got a great sense of what brings ex-pats down to LA Bay, living a cost-effective lifestyle and enjoying the simpler things in life - in Dan's case, it's sport fishing and there's no better place in the Baja for it than LA Bay!

Later that night, a well liquored-up Neda passes out in the cabin. Meanwhile, I am enthralled by the view and walk around the area taking lots of pictures. I don't sleep too much as I want to get a picture of the rising sun over the bay.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9PbHV4Q/0/L/DSC_0100-L.jpg)
Pastel colours in paradise

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Tb9THvQ/0/L/DSC_6392-L.jpg)
Dan's cabin, rising sun behind me reflected in the window. And the moon is still visible!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JMdrGxk/0/L/DSC_6393-L.jpg)
Sunrise over the Sea of Cortez

The reason why LA Bay is such a great place for fishing is that it's one of the few safe harbours in the Sea of Cortez that is protected from the high winds and waves by the number of large islands in the bay. Which also makes it a popular place to dock boats in the marina. Dan told us that not all is paradise, as there's a large drug problem in town and a result, rampant property theft from tweakers looking to support their crystal meth habit.

This is something that I've been wary about, as Mexico does have a very bad reputation in the North American media for the drug-related crime and violence. Neda and I have done a lot of research, trying to balance the Canadian and US state-issued travel advisories, the news articles and what other overland travelers have written about their journey through Mexico. We suspect that there's a truth that lies somewhere between sensationalism and Pollyannaism.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Q7xrWWJ/0/L/DSC_6416-L.jpg)
GS slowly warming up

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WdVGF6f/0/L/DSC_0184-L.jpg)
Ex-Pat dreams by the beachside. I've been wandering around taking pictures for over an hour and Neda is still asleep

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Q2Dgt8j/0/L/DSC_6420-L.jpg)
Cacti against the rising sun over the Sea of Cortez

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Qk9Tf6Q/0/L/DSC_6425-L.jpg)
Dan and Nancy hooking us up with restaurants and things to see and do in the Baja Peninsula

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hznmkpg/0/L/DSC_6428-L.jpg)
We got treated to a great Mexican breakfast by Dan and Nancy

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WcBw5wx/0/L/DSC_6430-L.jpg)
Nancy at the restaurant

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fjqnbQh/0/XL/DSC_6431-XL.jpg)
Our very kind and generous host, Dan

We've run into so many awesome people on our trip, and meeting Dan and Nancy really gave us some insight into life as ex-pats in Baja!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on December 07, 2012, 05:40:24 am
Awesome update as usual  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:
Enjoy Mexico but be careful down there.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: ninjadad66 on December 08, 2012, 10:06:02 am
 :popcorn: :clap: :rose:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 10, 2012, 09:37:51 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/54.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PqtcsH6/0/L/map54-L.jpg)

Southwards we go, armed with a list of places and things to see courtesy of Dan and Nancy! Our trip is like a scavenger hunt! Today we've been recommended to try to make it to Santa Rosalita for the night, only 400 kms away, but since we we're leaving LA Bay after a late breakfast (again, courtesy of Dan), we would probably arrive just before the sun sets.

The ride down Mex-1 was more of the same scenery - beautiful blacktop, twists and turns around the mountains and the ever present cacti along the side of the road cheering us on. Our journey was punctuated by the odd military checkpoint. Soldiers with machine guns stop us and ask about our destination. They're courteous to us despite our lack of Espagnol, and they are all so very young, and very curious about our motorcycles and our trip. These stops are meant to catch drug traffickers, and quite interestingly, we have heard that this effort is partly subsidized by the US government!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-thFKRCM/0/L/DSCN0687-L.jpg)
Riding into the port town of Santa Rosalia

Santa Rosalia is just south of the Baja Sur (Baja South) border. We lose an hour because of a peculiar time change because this timezone crossing is latitudinal, not longitudinal, placing Baja Sur into MST. This means the sun is still up at 5PM when we arrive at this port city on the shores of the Gulf of California. The outskirts of town are a mixture of industrial buildings and shacks along the roadside. We are tired and hungry and the sun is setting fast, so we book into the first nice (but relatively pricey) hotel and walk into town to find some food. We really do have to make an effort in finding some cheaper accommodations. Baja is a lot more expensive than I thought Mexico would be...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GhSCND8/0/L/DSC_6436-L.jpg)
Something smells good in Santa Rosalia!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ws6vRnH/0/L/DSC_6442-L.jpg)
Neda y nada de gringos

We bypass a few restaurants because there were too many gringos in there. We're really looking for a "local" experience, and we find one with a Mexican family eating inside. When we're seated, the waiter hands us a gringo menu in English. *sigh* BYW, in the picture above, Neda is sipping on a "Michelada". It's a delicious beer/lime/salt concoction and was recommended to us by Yaw, who was our host in Seattle (http://www.ridedot.com/rtw/37.html) a couple of months ago. Wow, I can't believe we spent two months roaming around the western United States!

The rest of the evening we spent walking around the very small centros area, and we found ourselves hanging out with all the local families and teenagers in the town square watching some people set up a stage presumably for a concert this weekend. Too bad we wouldn't be sticking around, as Neda has just arranged for us to start Spanish classes in La Paz for next Monday morning. The curse of "a schedule" strikes again! Everytime we have to be somewhere at a certain date or time, my chest starts to constrict a little and my heart rate goes up. Or maybe it's just that spicy enchilada we had for dinner...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hs2VtcD/0/L/DSC_6444-L.jpg)
Retail therapy in Mulege

Our next destination on the way to La Paz is Mulege (pronounced Moolah-Hey), also recommended by Dan and Nancy. This is a quaint town full of neat places to window shop for local arts and crafts and boutique-y restaurants and hotels. As we approached Mulege, the desert flora transformed from cacti to lush, tropical palm trees, courtesy of the Rio de Santa Rosalia. The whole town is in the river valley and was subject to bad flooding in recent years due to the hurricanes in the area.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dS5CkTM/0/XL/DSC_6451-XL.jpg)
Flowers in Mulege

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cPspJvR/0/L/DSC_0195-L.jpg)
Lunch in Mulege

We stopped for lunch in a great hotel/restaurant where we met a whole bunch of gringos from Canada! Penticton, BC specifically. One couple was here on a scouting vacation, looking to move to the area. Apparently, there is a lot of ex-pat interest in Baja Sur.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Rn6RZ6b/0/L/DSCN0703-L.jpg)
Ater lunch, we hit the road and ride past some great looking beaches

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2kC8mxs/0/L/DSCN0712-L.jpg)
WTF?!! I wish somebody had told us there was sand in the Baja!!!

Loreto is only 200 kms away from Santa Rosalia, so we arrived early enough to find a great (and by great I mean cheap) motel right near the centre of town.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5MxBpCw/0/XL/DSC_6454-XL.jpg)
These cute dogs live on the roof of our hotel

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wWkNCNf/0/L/DSC_0205-L.jpg)
We walked around Loreto the whole evening, wonderful looking town!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GjHzRMk/0/L/DSC_0216-L.jpg)
Some other gringo bikers parked outside the more expensive hotel in the centre of town

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5ngb9gx/0/L/DSC_0220-L.jpg)
The Mission in Loreto

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z2N2mXm/0/L/DSC_0232-L.jpg)
Mission of Our Lady of Loreto is considered a historical monument

We heard some music coming from inside the Mission, so we sat in on some musicians and singers at the front of the church. We stayed for quite some time, enjoying the sounds of Spanish hymns sung softly in reverence. We are having such a wonderful experience wandering through Baja Sur.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ngdCsX5/0/L/DSC_6480-L.jpg)
Shops at nighttime near the town square

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-r6P9jzS/0/XL/DSC_6489-XL.jpg)
Christmas soon! But first, the Mayan Apocalypse...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zhRmC8c/0/L/DSC_6499-L.jpg)
The town squares are always the centre of activity. Here we watch a dance class underway lit by streetlights

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-TThrips/Canada/i-fQdbbCx/0/L/DSC_0237-L.jpg)
And then off to finish the night with my favorite beer, Negra Modelo!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-S5ZT8v9/0/L/DSC_0243-L.jpg)
Getting ready for bedtime in Loreto

We are all set to push onwards to La Paz in the morning. On our farewell ride through the town square, we notice quite a lot of people gathered in the courtyard. And horses! Just like bikers meeting up at parking lot to go riding, these horse riders were getting together to ride to the next town. They gathered quite some attention!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KZnhw4c/0/XL/DSC_6509-XL.jpg)
One horsepower.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ggTFQZd/0/L/DSC_6536-L.jpg)
In the motorcycle world, this would be called "posing"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vwKHp9S/0/L/DSC_6530-L.jpg)
All little girls want ponies...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-98dtZMs/0/L/DSC_6560-L.jpg)
But glad to be back on her own pony


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on December 12, 2012, 09:17:44 am
Awesome! Wonderful adventure!
Great night shots  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on December 12, 2012, 09:59:46 am
I wanna be riding someplace that's warm and exciting too.   :inlove:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Biking Sailor on December 12, 2012, 03:35:43 pm

I wanna be riding someplace that's warm and exciting too.   :inlove:


+1  My commute to work this morning was in the twenties!   :thumbsdown:  Afternoon in the mid fifties.   :thumbsup:

Living vicariously through Lightcycle.   ;)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on December 12, 2012, 04:00:49 pm

Awesome! Wonderful adventure!
Great night shots  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


 :withstupid:    :clap:

A tour of Baja is on my bucket list.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 12, 2012, 04:05:29 pm
Thanks guys, Baja is amazing! And the south is the best part. Gorgeous scenery, perfect weather and the people here are very warm and friendly. Plus the main road is a biker's dream, just watch out for the oncoming traffic!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bomber on December 12, 2012, 04:13:14 pm
Oh, my , but what a time you guys are having . . . .thanks for taking us along!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: nater on December 13, 2012, 07:00:43 pm
Sounds like a great time!  How long are you going to do this?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 13, 2012, 08:13:21 pm
Honestly, we don't know.

We're probably going to keep going until we can't or don't want to anymore. The no plan, no route, no timeline thing is really working out well for us, so no reason to change it and add any stress to the trip.  :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bubba zanetti on December 13, 2012, 08:16:40 pm
I have delusions of spending winters in Mexico and Baja is on the list to explore. Really enjoying your photos and report. Which town would you say was the most "liveable" so far ??


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 14, 2012, 05:55:53 pm
Hands down, it's La Paz. We were at the real estate office a few days ago checking out the prices...


Title: rides
Post by: sodapop6620 on December 16, 2012, 02:27:35 pm

Honestly, we don't know.

We're probably going to keep going until we can't or don't want to anymore. The no plan, no route, no timeline thing is really working out well for us, so no reason to change it and add any stress to the trip.  :D


Plus it is getting really cold up north :crazy:

This is great, I love the pictures!!!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: 2RR2NV on December 16, 2012, 05:59:45 pm
it is?  oh wait, ...  what's really cold?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 17, 2012, 03:23:30 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/55.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pnk9sCG/0/L/map55-L.jpg)

La Paz is the jewel of Baja California Sur. Located at the mouth of the Gulf of California, it enjoys beautiful weather year-round, a high standard of living and low crime rates. We fell in love with the city almost immediately.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KmWPNbg/0/L/DSC_6683-L.jpg)
The Malecon, a 5km long boardwalk along the La Paz's beachfront, is the city's focal point for tourists and residents alike

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SvdzZF3/0/L/DSC_6688-L.jpg)
Family-time on the Malecon

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NbF8JLs/0/L/DSC_0269-L.jpg)
We grab lunch at La Aura, the 4th story restaurant with a great view of the boardwalk and beach

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZGDQkhK/0/XL/DSC_0276-XL.jpg)
Lots of local catch in that seafood soup!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-34dgqxt/0/L/DSC_6713-L.jpg)
Pelicans are common here, also attracted to the seafood in the waters closeby

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-53kcWJx/0/L/DSC_0282-L.jpg)
Not seafood ice cream

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NSTdvMg/0/L/DSC_6722-L.jpg)
Plenty of places to hang out on the beach, watch the fishing boats go out to sea

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Gn9Fxpt/0/L/DSC_6727-L.jpg)
One of many aquatic themed statues on the Malecon

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-S4QD46h/0/XL/DSC_6741-XL.jpg)
Neda is trying to look for what PaperBoatMan is staring at

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dPjRHjJ/0/L/DSC_6765-L.jpg)
The Malecon is chocked full of restaurants, diners and bars - all pricey!

We're staying in La Paz for the next two weeks, taking Spanish lessons at a language school called, "Se Habla... La Paz". We've also chosen the homestay option, where we live with a local family for the duration of our stay, so Alicia and Vicente are the first ones to welcome us to La Paz and into their home.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JT2FJtZ/0/L/DSC_6576-L.jpg)
The very first night, Vicente pulls out his arsenal of guitars and we both play and sing while everyone dances around us.  Is it going to be like this every day?!? COOL!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-r2thNzK/0/L/DSC_0266-L.jpg)
Alicia is a first-rate cook, serving us local dishes for breakfast and lunch. This is Joe (Jose) from California, he's our homestay housemate also taking Spanish lessons, but he's much more fluent than we are!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jFf4kK5/0/L/DSC_6681-L.jpg)
On the weekends, Vicente opens his backyard studio to the local kids and teaches them how to paint

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-f2B4qmw/0/L/DSC_6675-L.jpg)
Another one of Vicente's proteges

We are astounded at how talented and cultured our homestay family is. Alicia is master of the culinary arts, while Vicente explains all the imagery of the many paintings that decorate his house. All in Spanish, by the way. My 9th grade French education is only of little help but I get the jist. Neda does much better because she speaks Italian and is so much better in learning new languages than I am.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-N6fjmHR/0/L/DSC_6794-L.jpg)
Lalo, Alicia and Vicente's grandson teaches and choreographs a Hip Hop class.

Because I'm so slow with the Espagnol, Lalo gets in trouble often for speaking English to me. I've hung out a lot with this talented young man, jamming on the guitar and sharing mp3s, movies, and YouTube clips. Every once in a while, Alicia yells at him, "EN ESPAGNOL!" :) She takes her job very seriously and I'm very glad that she pretends not to understand English. I can only nod, "Si" and "Gracias" and my goal by the end of two weeks is to actually utter a complete and intelligible sentence for her approval!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2wJwRrF/0/L/DSC_0252-L.jpg)
Mariana, our Spanish teacher gives a presentation on Pinatas.

"Se Habla" is one street away from the Malecon, and every morning we ride our motorcycles down the strip to school, past the salty sea breeze coming off the shores. It's been forever since I've sat in any kind of classroom and I'm a bit cowed by how fast Neda is picking up Spanish. I'm used to learning things very fast, but new languages have always been a weak point for me.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4J7hVDt/0/L/DSC_0265-L.jpg)
Felipe, another one of our instructors waits for me to finish my homework.

"Gene, the point of homework is that you should be doing it at home..."



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on December 17, 2012, 05:12:14 am
It certainly looks wonderful there. How I envy you since it's -5C here today.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on December 17, 2012, 01:02:43 pm
After visits to Cozumel and Ensenada I had sworn off Mexico for good, but I keep hearing so many good things about La Paz, that I might have to give it one more try at some point.  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bubba zanetti on December 17, 2012, 04:00:10 pm

Hands down, it's La Paz. We were at the real estate office a few days ago checking out the prices...


Looks really great. I love the towns that have a Malecon to stroll along, especially in the evenings.

I wonder what a one bedroom simple apartment goes for there?

I hear there is great snorkeling on Espiritu Santo Island just near there.  

Disfrutar aprendiendo español !!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 21, 2012, 05:11:02 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/56.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-b847md4/0/L/map56-L.jpg)

Our first week in La Paz has been very taxing. Every day, we're up early to have breakfast and engage Alicia in some morning Espanol, then off to escuela for cuatro horas of intensive vocubulary enhancement and verb conjugation. When we get back in the early afternoon, we have a little break then another session of homestay language practice over lunch. Our evenings are spent in the room doing a bit of homework and massaging our aching heads, random Spanish words leaking out of our ears.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tcdst86/0/L/DSC_0326-L.jpg)
Practicing "las compras" (shopping) en Espanol in Todos Santos

So when the "fin de semana" (weekend) finally arrives, we feel rested enough to take a day-trip south to Todos Santos, a beach-side town recommended to us by Felipe, our Spanish instructor. It's about an hour's ride away from La Paz, and the road winds up and down the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. Lots of fun!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qsQV4mR/0/XL/DSC_6867-XL.jpg)
Bringing forth the Mayan Apocalypse...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qckHWbK/0/L/DSC_0344-L.jpg)
Misione de Nuestra Senora de Pilar in Todos Santos

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d3WBMDG/0/XL/DSC_6888-XL.jpg)
Musta forgot the rosary beads in the car...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kmvpPMM/0/L/DSC_0345-L.jpg)
Lobby of the Hotel California, Todos Santos

Yes, this is *THE* Hotel California, made famous by The Eagles song. I was a bit disappointed. I think I was expecting a real dive of an establishment, the kind of place a washed up, disillusioned Don Henley would check into and muse poetic about the twisted lives of the hotel's mysterious occupants. We walked through the lobby and halls, but no Mirrors on the Ceiling, no Pink Champagne on Ice. Just a very trendy, expensive hotel that steers visitors to the very large gift shop selling "Hotel California" souvenirs.

We didn't spend too much time there...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mSxNt9N/0/L/DSC_6909-L.jpg)
Getting ready to hit the beach

What we're really here to see are the pretty beaches just outside of town. It's about a 10 minute ride through some gravelly and sandy roads, and I'm glad that we unloaded most of the heavy gear off the bikes. Even so, we wobble our way through heavy sand to reach the beach's parking lot. Stupid, crappy Tourance tires.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-C9cgGFb/0/L/DSC_0376-L.jpg)
How to take pictures of the waves coming ashore

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TN39DvR/0/L/DSC_7055-L.jpg)
Picture of waves coming ashore

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k8ZGpN5/0/L/DSC_6950-L.jpg)
How not to take pictures of the waves coming ashore

Felipe told us that a popular attraction in Todos Santos is the Turtle Release. The beaches here are an important nesting site for sea turtles, especially the endangered Pacific Leatherback. Unfortunately, the beaches have become home to all sorts of human activity - dune buggies and other powersports, and people taking their (hungry) dogs out for a walk. All of which destroy turtle nests buried in the sands.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZTzJ7cZ/0/L/DSC_0363-L.jpg)
Checking out the incubation greenhouse

Between the nesting months of October to April, volunteers comb the beaches at night and relocate the sea turtle eggs to a protected incubation greenhouse, providing a better environment for hatching success. The sites with the round fences around them are nests that are ready to hatch soon. The fence stops the turtles from trying to instinctually head for the waters, and allows the volunteers to gather them up in the late afternoon.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K77JvDQ/0/L/DSC_6939-L.jpg)
This baby is seconds old! It just crawled out of the sand having broken out of its egg!

The project is aimed not only at replenishing the sea turtle population, but also to educate visitors, who are encouraged to "assist" the baby turtles to make it to the waters without being trampled on by dune buggies or joggers, or eaten by dogs or birds.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hXgmZqx/0/L/DSC_7085-L.jpg)
We each "adopted" one baby turtle and walked them to the edge of the shore

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GsX7PFZ/0/L/DSC_7082-L.jpg)
My baby! Feeling a bit paternal here...

Sea turtles live to about 100 years. I got a bit choked up when I realized that we were here on their Day 1, helping them increase their odds to make it to Year 100. The odds are still stacked against them, even when they make it to the waters unmolested, they'll have to face aquatic predators, but at least we're evening the imbalance that we caused in the first place.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pB3xhZ9/0/L/DSC_7128-L.jpg)
Day 1 of 100 years

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rHSwkc6/0/L/DSC_7089-L.jpg)
SO CUTE! These little guys know exactly which way the waters are

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qnC3QZM/0/L/DSC_0382-L.jpg)
And they're off...!

A line was drawn in the sand so that we didn't leave deep footprints on the shore that would impede the baby turtles' progress to the waters. And also to stop us from accidentally trampling on them, as the incoming waves occasionally pushed the turtles back on shore. I wanted to walk my baby turtle all the way into the water, but we are told that it's good for them to struggle on land as it prepares them to swim in the waters.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4BwRpWj/0/L/DSC_7140-L.jpg)
Off into the sunset, goodbye baby turtle!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: MungoJerrie on December 21, 2012, 07:43:05 am
What an amazing experience you two are having!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on December 21, 2012, 11:58:02 am

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4BwRpWj/0/L/DSC_7140-L.jpg)
Off into the sunset, goodbye baby turtle!


Man, there's just something about this pic that does it for me - sort of a metaphor for all of us...tiny and insignificant in the big picture, heading out into the massive ocean of life that awaits us.

Just amazing...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: cjohns on December 21, 2012, 01:58:38 pm
...metaphor for all of us...tiny and insignificant in the big picture, heading out into the massive ocean of life that awaits us.

Just amazing...


Well said.  

Awesome thread!  The gift that keeps on giving week after (miserable wet/cold NW) week!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DkKnight on December 21, 2012, 06:44:08 pm
Such an awesome experience - I truly hope that it never ends for you  !
Thanks for sharing  :thumbsup:

DK


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 22, 2012, 09:04:34 pm
sort of a metaphor for all of us...tiny and insignificant in the big picture, heading out into the massive ocean of life that awaits us.


:bigok: Very cool description!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: RangerG on December 23, 2012, 03:41:16 pm
A merry Christmas to you both!  Only bad thing about your trip is being away from friends and family during the holiday season.  Hope you are able to share the holidays with new friends.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 24, 2012, 10:08:24 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/57.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pnk9sCG/0/L/map55-L.jpg)

Our trip is in danger of ending very soon.

After a week of intensive Spanish and evenings spent digesting all this information, our second week of classes is going much more smoothly and we're venturing out into La Paz often to take in the nightlife. In addition, we're making lots of friends in school and our homestay family has been taking us out often. As a result, our social life in La Paz has blossomed. So much so, that we actually took a look at some of the housing prices at a local real estate agency...

Our wanderlust is still unsatiated though, and we've merely bookmarked this wonderful city as maybe somewhere we'd like to settle down in the future.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DtnL29s/0/L/DSC_0292-L.jpg)
Just off the Malecon, we wander around the market with the locals. No gringos here!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hRPGh8f/0/L/DSC_6826-L.jpg)
Ramping up for a Feliz Navidad

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DbHW4kJ/0/L/DSC_0304-L.jpg)
Outside this hotel, a horse made of dried palm leaves

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rBFdTmS/0/L/DSC_0318-L.jpg)
Back on the Malecon, a concert put together by the Municipal Youth Centre: Who can TISS be?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jLCbs7g/0/L/DSC_6839-L.jpg)
It's HispaniKISS! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dkQgSfZ/0/L/DSC_0442-L.jpg)
Kids breakdancing on the Malecon

We love meeting other travellers while on the road! They're already predisposed to experiencing new cultures and there's always an excitement when sharing these experiences with each other over a beer and whatever the local food is. We met Karay at Spanish school, a super-cool gal from Ohio who is here picking up credits for her Spanish degree back home. We've spent a few evenings with her strolling the Malecon, gabbing over arroz y frijoles, and exploring La Paz. She's also an avid photographer and very interested in motorcycles so we have lots to talk about!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JFd4C9L/0/L/DSC_7243-L.jpg)
We pick up Karay on our way to church


In school, we learned about the Virgen de Guadalupe, an important figure in Mexican religious and cultural folklore. December 12th, marks the anniversary of the appearance of the Virgen de Guadalupe. Millions of people make the pilgrimage to the Basilica in Mexico City on this day for the celebrations. Thankfully, we are far away from Mexico City and don't have to contend with such a large crowd here in La Paz, but we're amazed at how many people gather at the local church in town.


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-N8MBfCK/0/L/DSC_7261-L.jpg)
Religion and commerce meet at the Santuario Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Xh7R2HL/0/L/DSC_7292-L.jpg)
La Paz is Spanish for "Peace"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RkwdPV9/0/L/DSC_0389-L.jpg)
Standing room only at the Santuario Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe - all the way outside!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8nhPXpP/0/XL/DSC_7301-XL.jpg)
Getting a lift to view the service

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gmD2Xg9/0/L/DSC_0412-L.jpg)
Outside, Neda contemplates buying super-yummy churros that this little guy is churning out

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gj9tFPJ/0/L/DSC_7308-L.jpg)
"Un churro mas restante! La quieres La quieres?"
("One more churro left! Do you want it?")


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k9TBQb4/0/L/DSC_0406-L.jpg)
Paintings for sale outside the church

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DznrRJB/0/L/DSC_0420-L.jpg)
A parade of indigenous dancers walk the streets celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe

Our homestay family has taken us out every Friday night to Stella on the Malecon. We (try to) dance to salsa music, drink lots of Negra Modelo and enjoy the company that has temporarily adopted us for our time in La Paz.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5Ds4JKt/0/L/DSC_7343-L.jpg)
Lalo and his girlfriend Shasta go out with us for pizza

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ffS8Dfm/0/L/DSC_7355-L.jpg)
Whirl of Christmas lights and motion

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kkNnq63/0/L/DSC_7380-L.jpg)
Put on your dancing shoes!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-M95Vv7Q/0/L/DSC_7384-L.jpg)
After a night of salsa dancing... and again with the ex-pat daydreams...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 25, 2012, 03:18:25 am

A merry Christmas to you both!  Only bad thing about your trip is being away from friends and family during the holiday season.  Hope you are able to share the holidays with new friends.


Thanks so much, RangerG!

We've got a pretty busy Skype-filled day ahead of us, talking to all our friends and family in shifts. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on December 25, 2012, 11:35:55 am



Thanks so much, RangerG!

We've got a pretty busy Skype-filled day ahead of us, talking to all our friends and family in shifts. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!


I'm pretty sure all of us at STN are wishing you a merry, blessed Christmas.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on December 26, 2012, 12:25:53 pm



I'm pretty sure all of us at STN are wishing you a merry, blessed Christmas.



We sure do  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:
All the blessings in the world to the both of you, and above all, be safe!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 27, 2012, 09:50:44 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/58.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LB8CVX5/0/L/map58-L.jpg)

Seems like every weekend, we're hitting the beach! Cabo Pulmo National Park is at the eastern tip of the Baja Peninsula and is recommended to us by our homestay family for its excellent snorkeling. There are only three coral reefs in North America, and the one located at Cabo Pulmo is the oldest at 20,000 years, and provides shelter to a whole host of marine wildlife.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MDZsmV3/0/L/DSC_7450-L.jpg)
Excellent ride from La Paz to Cabo Pulmo, last 15 kms are down a gravel and sandy road

There are many dive shops in Cabo Pulmo, which really isn't a town more than a few buildings scattered over a wide area. Unfortunately,  the dive shops have suspended tourboat operations for today, because of the very strong winds. They tell us that visibility is not very good at the coral reef because the waters may be murky from the sand kicked up from the sea floor.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Rn2fsCg/0/L/DSC_0447-L.jpg)
Beautiful beaches at Cabo Pulmo

(http:// http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DngF9Kb/0/XL/DSC_7411-XL.jpg)
Definitely off-season, but a few families were here swimming in the waters

We debated on whether to rent some equipment and to head down to the beach ourselves, but I chickened out (It was cold, man!) and stayed on the beach taking pictures. Neda being the braver of the two of us, rented a mask and dove into the waters from the shores.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H6pH77J/0/L/DSC_7421-L.jpg)
Divemaster Neda preparing to go in

Although it's advertised as being totally waterproof, this is the first time we've taken our Nikon AW100 completely underwater. I half-expected it to return ashore as an expensive brick. We were pleasantly surprised:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LcsFF4v/0/L/DSCN0745-L.jpg)
Neda says this school of fish were very curious about her and followed her everywhere

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-75Fg44C/0/L/DSCN0756-L.jpg)
Water was a bit murky, but the pictures turned out surprisingly good

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8GkmNbR/0/L/DSCN0762-L.jpg)
Although it looks small, this fish was almost a foot long!

The Mexican government has done an excellent job preserving the reef against commercial interests that seek to develop condos, marinas and resorts in this very popular tourist area. It's now designated a protected park and the aquatic wildlife has bounced back and flourished from the over-fishing in the 1980s. The park maintains a very wilderness-like feel to it, and the rough road in and out of the park reflects this.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dDpGfwX/0/L/DSC_7440-L.jpg)
Only old people abstain from swimming. So I grabbed my metal detector and walked the beach with this guy

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dRkbNLZ/0/L/DSC_7466-L.jpg)
So long, Cabo Pulmo, and thanks for all the fish!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on December 27, 2012, 11:45:14 pm
So not only have you been venturing on an EPIC TRIP, your down in Mexico where the weather is warm. Grrrr

Safe travels


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 29, 2012, 12:42:21 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/59.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WcSL4Mg/0/L/58-L.jpg)

School's out for... er, Winter!

After two weeks of Spanish classes, we've graduated, and the school has thrown a party for all the students that are leaving this week!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Qcxdf8b/0/L/DSC_7316-L.jpg)
Mariana and Felipe and the rest of the Se Habla teachers look on proudly as we are given our certificates

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wxN9JJ3/0/L/DSC_7327-L.jpg)
Our graduating class. We celebrate with chocolate cake!

We've spent 16 wonderful days in La Paz, making lots of new friends and pulling out the first tendrils of roots that we were starting to put down was difficult. We packed our once-light motorcycles with all of our traveling kit, ready to continue our wanderings. It was a sad goodbye to our homestay family but at the same time, it felt really good to hit the road again. Neda and I both agreed that we are nowhere close to settling down yet!

There is a ferry just outside of La Paz that is able to take us to the mainland. Unfortunately, our laissez-faire attitude to planning bites us in the ass, and the ferry to Mazatlan, which is just across the Gulf of California, is all booked up till January 4th, 2013! Seems a lot of Baja Californians travel to the mainland during Christmastime to see family and reservations are made weeks in advance around this time. Uh oh...

Fortunately, there is another ferry that travels to Topolabampo, about 4 hours north of Mazatlan. After having a good laugh over the funny name, we decide a 4 hour motorcycle ride from Topolabampo to Mazatlan is perferable to waiting another 3 weeks, as nice as La Paz is. Plus the Topolabampo ferry was much cheaper!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X2dSGsj/0/L/DSCN0799-L.jpg)
The ferry departs from Pichilingue, a great windy 10 km ride from La Paz

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sPh7drV/0/L/DSCN0801-L.jpg)
Along the way we pass some really nice beaches

We met some other motorcycle travelers at the ferry terminal - Jayne and Phil are a brother/sister team from Calgary (more Canadians!) - they were getting their vehicle importation papers done early for their trip to the mainland. I think they were staying in La Paz for a couple more weeks, so we suggested the Spanish school to them. We exchanged travel stories and they gave us some good roads to ride in the mainland, can't wait!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MZbdpLN/0/L/DSCN0805-L.jpg)
Into the belly of the California Star, capable of holding 100 cars and 900 passengers!

We were directed to park our bikes in a corner of the ferry's hold, and we searched for vain for tie-down hooks and straps. There weren't any around, so we assumed that the ferry was large and stable enough to keep our bikes upright even in the most violent of storms. We could not have been more wrong.

There was one other motorcyclist on the ferry: Rick was riding from Ensenada back to his home in Mexico City, and this was his very first motorcycle trip after getting his license late last year. Like all those that have been bitten by the touring bug, we would spend much of the 6 hour trip to the mainland talking about motorcycles, with him practicing his excellent English with us, Neda practicing her excellent Spanish with him, and me practicing talking Spanish like a 2-year old.

A couple of hours into the trip, we hear an announcement over the radio. All motorcyclists were being summoned to the cargo hold of the ferry. I looked at Neda and Rick and immediately I said, "I think the bikes have fallen over"...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3mRQSVQ/0/L/IMG_0738-L.jpg)
A flurry of activity getting the bikes secured

Fortunately, the bikes were still upright. The staff had summoned us so that we could move our bikes to a spot where they could tie the motorcycles to the railing. The crash bars I put on at Mark's place in San Diego were to come in handy.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-24MxGfz/0/L/IMG_0739-L.jpg)
Excellent tie-down job by the ferry staff

The winds and waves were picking up very strongly, and I'm glad that our motorcycles were secured properly now. However, the contents of my stomach were less secure, and as the ferry undulated up and down and back and forth, my face got greener and greener until I had to rush to the closest bano. Neda alarmingly yelled after me, "Mujeres!" That mean's "Women's washroom" in Spanish...

Thankfully, even 2-year olds understand that and I stumbled out and then back into the "Bano de los hombres". Just. In. The. Nick. Of Time...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WPSwTbC/0/L/DSC_7496-L.jpg)
Well-rested in the morning in Los Mochis

We arrived in Topolabampo after sunset. Much like Pichilingue, it's not a very big town, just the ferry terminal and some buildings, so we rode with Rick about about 30 minutes away in darkness to Los Mochis. Rick is a biologist and used his corporate rate at a nice hotel in town and we had a really good night's rest on our first night on the mainland.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3WK6m6v/0/XL/DSC_7502-XL.jpg)
Rick is off to service his motorcycle in Los Michos.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on December 29, 2012, 01:04:01 pm
¿Dónde vas ahora?


I cheated.  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 29, 2012, 08:46:03 pm

¿Dónde vas ahora?
I cheated.  :lol:


Nosotros estamos viajando a través de México continental!

I cheat all the time too. We have an app called SpanishDict on our iPhones and we're always tapping away on it when we're speaking to people. :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on December 31, 2012, 06:51:42 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/60.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xsW4df5/0/L/map60-L.jpg)

I've never thought of Mexico as being divided up into states, but like the US and Canada, Mexico has 31 states and 1 federal district. Right now, we've crossed over by ferry into our 3rd state, Sinaloa, after riding through Baja California and Baja California Sur. In Los Mochis, we waited till noon for Rick to finish his motorcycle service and then we all rode together southwards along the coast towards Mazatlan. It's about a 6 hour ride including a break for a late lunch.

Not knowing any better, we were routed to the toll road, which has a great speed limit of 110 km/h, but it was very expensive! We estimate that we paid the same in tolls that we did in gasoline. Note for the future, stay off the Cuota (toll) roads!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RSPMBBM/0/L/DSCN0823-L.jpg)
Cruising the Malecon in Mazatlan

In Mazatlan, Rick showed us to one of his favorite hotels right on the Malecon. It was relatively cheap since it's off-season and it seemed like we were one of the only occupants in the hotel. Rick took off to spend the night at his friends place and we would meet up a couple of times later in the city for a bite to eat.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pSLRh6G/0/L/DSC_7540-L.jpg)
Beach on the Malecon

Mazatlan is very much a beach town, but unlike the more well-known seaside resorts like Cancun, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, there are more local vacationers and less foreign tourists here. We like that a lot. We got to practice our Spanish with everyone. Man, I really need the practice...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hhDwkqm/0/L/DSC_7559-L.jpg)
Normally I'm pretty good at seeing where things are headed, but...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QDZG7w8/0/L/DSC_7569-L.jpg)
ooookey...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NqQMkjn/0/L/DSC_7586-L.jpg)
We stuffed ourselves with shrimp and seafood. I think this is the biggest meal we've had in Mexico!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dT3n4N3/0/XL/DSC_7616-XL.jpg)
After lunch, I felt like this guy...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SmsmhnX/0/L/DSC_7614-L.jpg)
Colourful parasails punctuate the sand, sea and sky

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d8nfqxX/0/L/DSC_7592-L.jpg)
Sea and sky blend together as birds give chase to the sailboats

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4gjpXG4/0/L/DSC_7595-L.jpg)
Pelicans dive-bomb the waves - the waters are filled with fish!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Xqxn8Qf/0/XL/DSC_7584-XL.jpg)
We tried some Cuban food for a change

Here I'm having a dish called Ropa Vieja, literally translated means "Old Clothes". It's a popular dish in Cuba and it's made of shredded steak in a tomato sauce, some plantains and rice. Although the owner spoke fluent English, Neda made me talk to him in Spanish. From the look on his face, I think I may have ordered "moldy laundry"...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k25PqG2/0/L/DSC_0489-L.jpg)
This is the Gringo Tourist section. Everything is done up pretty, but it's way overpriced

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CQKQSJb/0/L/DSC_7722-L.jpg)
This senorita was celebrating her 15th birthday, these are the guys in the party, the rest of the girls were in the nightclub

Plaza Machado is one of the oldest places in Mazatlan, lots of architecture influenced by the French and Spanish. It's recently been restored by local businesses to attract tourist $$$. Very pretty area to stroll through, but it felt a bit sterile, so we didn't stay too long.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CtxzPCT/0/L/DSC_0474-L.jpg)
Walking around old Mazatlan

The steets around old Mazatlan have been closed to traffic, I think this happens every evening on the weekends. There are tons of people walking the street. We felt much more at home in this environment, with street vendors offering everything from tacos to toys, shoes and clothing and stages set up at every intersection playing live music, dancers and DJs. Amazing!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vFcCLzb/0/L/DSC_0456-L.jpg)
The streets are crowded with locals enjoying their weekend!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-x3jWtLT/0/XL/DSC_7681-XL.jpg)
Indoor market where the locals shop

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VC8wMw7/0/XL/DSC_7648-XL.jpg)
Now *THAT'S* what I'm talking about! Keep it coming...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vgK6z3q/0/L/DSC_7777-L.jpg)
Open air concert in the closed off steets outside of old Mazatlan

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cPtrJ6j/0/XL/DSC_7733-XL.jpg)
Dancers strutting their stuff

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DqvCrmX/0/XL/DSC_7707-XL.jpg)
Pre-Christmas nuptials

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pHzhGfx/0/L/IMG_1031-L.jpg)
Christmas-time outside the Catedral de la Immaculada Concepcion. How appropriate!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on January 01, 2013, 05:15:51 am
Simply lovely!! Thanks for the update  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: FJR-UK on January 03, 2013, 07:10:45 pm
174 miles south of Mazatlan is a pueblo called San Blas. I was there when I was 13 years old, so 1960. It was a tropical paradise for me. Huge butterflies. Huge lizards. Pigs rooting in the streets. Parrots running free as household pets in the hotel. I'm sure it's changed out of all recognition, but if I was a close as you are now, I'd have to go have a look.

I got dysentery after eating a snow cone from a market stall.  :crazy:

Wonderful trip you're having. Thanks for the report.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 05, 2013, 03:06:48 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/61.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QNxkjwR/0/L/map61-L.jpg)

The Road of 3000 Curves.

When we met Phil and Jayne at the ferry dock in La Paz a week earlier, they mentioned that they were planning on riding this road when they crossed into the mainland. 3000 curves? How could we pass this up?

Rick had to leave Mazatlan earlier than us, something about getting back to Mexico City and going back to wo... going back to wor... nope, can't say it. Anyway, that left us by ourselves again, heading towards the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental. This meant that we were going to leave our sun-drenched beach haven for colder climates, so we had to mentally prepare ourselves for this. The Alaskan winter had scarred Neda deeply and she curses bitterly anytime she's forced to put on her jacket liner: "I thought I was done with this stupid thing!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wPvmRBD/0/L/DSCN0859-L.jpg)
Stuck behind a couple of trucks, time to snap a picture!

I found out that another thing Neda curses at are the Cuota (toll) roads in Mexico. They are really expensive. Everytime we see a sign saying "Cuota", I hear a string of expletives over the intercom. So we go looking for the sign for the "Libres" roads. In this case, Carretera 40 Libres leaving Mazatlan *is* the Road of 3000 Curves, and the villainous Cuota road threatens to spoil all motorcyclists fun by smoothing the twists and turns by all manner of technology: bridges and holes through mountains.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qZQF5GT/0/XL/DSCN0871-XL.jpg)
Twisty heaven!

The pavement is smooth, but the air gets colder as we slowly ascend the mountains. Every once in a while, the bushes along the side clear and we're treated to a magnificent view of the green valleys below us. Traffic is light in the middle of this weekday, but we still manage to get stuck behind a couple of trucks and have to wait for a straightaway to pass them. I'm amazed at how brazenly these large vehicles cross the median when apexing blind turns. Surprised there aren't more accidents!

There is a sign about 1/2 way through the road reading, "Espinoza Del Diablo": the "Devil's Backbone", a very apt nickname for this piece of asphalt!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZL882xT/0/L/DSCN0838-L.jpg)
A different kind of hazard on the Road of 3000 Curves

Along the way, soldiers and army vehicles have occupied all of the tiny villages. Part of the reason they are building the high-speed Cuota road through the mountains is to make it easier to mobilize troops to combat the drug traffickers who have a stronghold in this region. The soldiers barely take notice of us, and those that do give us a thumbs up on our rides.

We're told it takes between 6-8 hours to make the journey between Mazatlan and Durango. We do it in 5, with an hour break for lunch... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Smwb4WW/0/L/DSCN0882-L.jpg)
Riding through the streets of Durango

The city of Durango is the capital of the state of Durango, and is the most modern city we've visited in Mexico so far. We've opted to stay here for a few days because we don't want to travel during the holidays. Also, we've planned an entire Christmas day of Skype sessions with our family and friends back home, and we take the time to scope out a hotel with fast Internet.

Being on the road for this long is a curious affair. In some ways, we are closer to our family and friends, because we are making more of an effort to keep in touch, without the excuses of work. So far TelCel's mobile Internet infrastructure has been quite extensive and impressive, outclassing any provider in the US and Canada. Not sure what we're going to do once we've travelled past this luxury.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-m56RvTZ/0/L/DSC_0504-L.jpg)
Our favorite place just around the corner from our hotel for cheap eats
Chilaquiles for me and a gordita for Neda


We find a nice hotel right downtown and for the next few days venture out enough into the strip to become very familiar with all the local eateries. On Christmas Day, we treat ourselves to a Chinese buffet, which is I think our first non-Mexican meal in Mexico. The restaurant is staffed by two Chinese women, I think the three of us represented the entire Asian population in the state of Durango! They seemed just as amused as I was to see a brotha! :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fsnxP3d/0/XL/DSC_7804-XL.jpg)
Frolicking in the fountain. During the day, temperatures were beautiful, but dropped quickly in the evenings and early mornings

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QhgnVCK/0/XL/DSC_7809-XL.jpg)
Fountains and churches - two mainstays in Mexico architecture

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FDgZvkC/0/XL/DSC_7822-XL.jpg)
There's always someone carrying around some musical instrument in Mexico!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-D6pz2pc/0/XL/DSC_7848-XL.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sdPtKBF/0/L/DSC_7841-L.jpg)
Neda wrestles the camera away from me...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VxBKJ4j/0/L/DSC_0519-L.jpg)
Catedral Basilica de Durango at night

There is a markedly increased police presence in Durango compared to all other places we've been to thus far. I'm not sure if it's because this is a larger city or because it's the holiday season, but police cars and uniformed officers vigilantly patrol the downtown streets. The plaza at night is continuously lit by the Christmas ornamentation and the flashing blue and red lights of the police car permanently parked in front of the Basilica.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dKJddQv/0/L/DSC_0525-L.jpg)
Feliz Navidad from Durango!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mbishara on January 05, 2013, 07:51:41 am
I book marked this page. You guys are doing great.


http://www.maged-bishara-montreal.ca/


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on January 05, 2013, 11:12:41 am

Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/61.html


We're told it takes between 6-8 hours to make the journey between Mazatlan and Durango. We do it in 5, with an hour break for lunch... :)





Glad to see you're keeping the SPORT in Sport-touring.




(I've got a  "LOVE/HATE thing going on here ..... jealousy is an ugly emotion.)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on January 05, 2013, 12:52:27 pm
All I can say is to repeat myself...fantastic journey  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 06, 2013, 05:47:29 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/62.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-b9XkGGq/0/L/map61-L.jpg)

We took a leisurely two days to travel from Durango to Guadalajara, opting to bypass the Cuota roads to take the non-toll highways instead. The roads are flat and boring, skirting the far eastern side of the mountains and nothing eventful happens, save for my Sena communicator, which stopped transmitting just as we arrived into town. The problem with constantly being on the move is that if we do need parts shipped to us, where do we send them to? And how long will it take? The logistics involved are annoying. So for the time being, I was in listen-only mode, which suited Neda just fine! :)

Guadalajara is Mexico's 2nd largest city. Our bikes are due for regular service (again, so soon?!?!) and we had originally thought to schedule an appointment in Mexico City, but after some research, we found a dealership just less than 10 kms away from our hotel! The only spot they had open was next Friday, so I guess we're here for a while! We took the opportunity to get acquainted with the city!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w7t3kbN/0/L/DSC_8082-L.jpg)
Main streets are really busy, so we took to the side streets

A lot of Mexican life centres around three things: the church, the market and the plaza. Every neighbourhood has a local version of this triumvirate. We rode to the center of town to the Marcado Libertad, which is the largest and most popular market in the city, right beside the Catedral de la Asuncion de Maria Santisima, which also happens to be the largest cathedral in Guadalajara.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cvR4Q8h/0/L/DSC_0547-L.jpg)
Snack-time: Watermelons drenched with lime, seasalt and chilli! *delicious!*

Limes are Mexico's beloved condiment, they use them like Americans use ketchup. You can put them in beer, on tacos, watermelons, etc! We met a local girl the other day who just got married to a Belgian and had moved overseas to be with him. She told us that in Belgium the limes are so small and expensive, and this is one of the things she really misses about Mexico!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Grcp7Bb/0/XL/DSC_7877-XL.jpg)
The moment the camera came out, this guy started doing tricks with his knife, flipping and tossing it up in the air. Very entertaining!

Mercado Libertad is huge; sprawling through indoor buildings and spilling outside into the open-air stalls. The air was alive with the sounds and scents of vendors selling fast food, groceries, toys, clothing. We had a great day snapping pictures and interacting with the locals, with Neda honing her ever-increasing Spanish skills. As for me, I was skilled enough not to need a knife to butcher their language...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sPzr7sC/0/XL/DSC_7884-XL.jpg)
Grabbing some lunch, over-the-counter-style, inside the Mercado

There are so many places to buy food, so we've developed two criteria for deciding where to eat: 1) no gringos! 2) it has to be busy. If there's nobody eating there, there must be a reason! I've fallen in love with the taco asada (shredded beef) and chorizo (sausage), but one item on the menu intrigued me - Brain Tacos! Walking Dead Style? It sounds much more appetizing in Spanish: tacos de sesos. Mmmmm! I've made up my mind to try this the next time.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BDMXXN5/0/L/DSC_0553-L.jpg)
Mercado is alive with bursts of colour everywhere!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qK89Kbg/0/XL/DSC_7895-XL.jpg)
Fruits and vegetables here are so much more juicier and flavourful than back home

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4KfS7Mb/0/L/DSC_7944-L.jpg)
Ice skating? In Mexico?

Outside the Catedral, there was a long lineup and when we investigated, we found that a large outdoor skating rink had been built, complete with skate rentals. Everyone wanted to try ice-skating, which I assume is a novelty in Guadalajara. It's 28C outside! Ice-skating skills must be a rarity here, because this girl target-fixated on my camera and I barely got out of the way as she careened towards me, arms flailing. :)

Also, no zamboni, so the ice got pretty funky after a while...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kxzSMxZ/0/L/DSC_7949-L.jpg)
A different kind of taxi around town

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d2WfhqP/0/L/DSCN0931-L.jpg)
Pedestrian traffic is heavy on this beautiful, sunny weekend. Catedral on Neda's left

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QqRTD8B/0/XL/DSC_7970-XL.jpg)
Inside of the Catedral de la Asuncion de Maria Santisima

The inside the catedral is so beautiful and ornate, however there was a pre-recorded mass playing over the speakers, and the record kept skipping over and over again in the same spot. So we had to leave because it was a little bit annoying and slightly creepy :) A friend of mine told me that this catedral is a popular place to shoot TV shows, a lot of Spanish soap operas are filmed here!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B2MZ9wt/0/XL/DSC_7976-XL.jpg)
A family is surprised by a toy bird flying overhead, set aflight by one of the vendors in the plaza

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-n83LjC2/0/XL/DSC_8005-XL.jpg)
Boys playing by the fountain

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5SqHVBs/0/XL/DSC_8015-XL.jpg)
Pensive? Or slow day for shoe-shining? I love the look on his face, so lost in thought!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RCzcZzd/0/L/DSC_8019-L.jpg)
Church spires compete to reach the sky

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g6McgK8/0/XL/DSC_8032-XL.jpg)
Catedral de la Asuncion de Maria Santisima, the centre of Guadalajara

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GVgmQ54/0/XL/DSC_8050-XL.jpg)
Selling beads and other religious trinkets outside the catedral


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on January 06, 2013, 07:53:41 pm
Such an amazing journey.  I'm eating it up jealously, while it's -15 outside  :crazy:  Seriously, you're doing what so many of us dream of but never do.  Thanks for sharing.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on January 07, 2013, 06:29:46 am
What Scoop said  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 09, 2013, 11:37:02 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/63.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gnhh2QB/0/L/map63-L.jpg)

Tequila is a Magical Village!

I know that sounds like something you drunkenly slur out aloud after 8 or 9 shots, but the town of Tequila, about 60 kms outside of Guadalajara, has been designated a Pueblo Magico by the Tourism Board of Mexico:

Quote
A 'Magical Village' is a place with symbolism, legends, history, important events, day-to-day life - in other words, 'magic' in its social and cultural manifestations, with great opportunities for tourism


The town of Tequila is famous for birthing the liquor of the same name. I had reservations about visiting this Magic Village, because of my bad experiences with the drink. The last shot of Tequila I ever had was in 2005, after a bender of a night in the Dominican Republic with a couple of friends. The morning-after-dry-heaving-head-pounding-walls-moving-around-you-hangover was the worst I've ever had in my life, and I swore off To-Kill-Ya forever.

But no harm in visiting the town, right?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pqcLJ8f/0/L/DSCN0942-L.jpg)
Panhandlers compete for pesos by performing tricks between red lights. Currently this is the bar: Guy with a mohawk, juggling flaming torches, while on a stepladdder, covered head-to-toe in silver paint...

It's a beautiful, sunny day for a day-trip. As we leave Guadalajara, we make sure we plot a route with no Cuota roads. It turns out the free highways have a few entertaining twists and curves as it leaves the city and heads up into the hills. Still need to be careful around the blind corners because of this:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ppRTt47/0/L/DSCN0943-L.jpg)
In the off-season, Alonso drives an 18-wheeler through Mexico

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DVWzppW/0/L/DSCN0956-L.jpg)
Riding through the streets of Tequila, Neda has her eyes set on the prize straight ahead - CuervoLand! Or Mundo Cuervo in Spanish.

The Tourism Board has really pulled out all the stops, and when we arrive into the city centre, we're greeted by music and a troupe of dancers dressed in indigenous costumes performing ritualistic dances.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-n6GrCnt/0/XL/DSC_8084-XL.jpg)
Performer dressed in Aztec costume

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zkGdRz6/0/L/DSC_8086-L.jpg)
Depicting an Aztec ritualistic dance

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5CpL33d/0/XL/DSC_8091-XL.jpg)
The captain of the dance crew calls it: "Una vez mas!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Qt3gBtW/0/XL/DSC_8099-XL.jpg)
Bells and bubbles

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k97sqdZ/0/L/DSC_8191-L.jpg)
Tourism machine is even putting the kids to work

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-C4PFFmw/0/XL/DSC_8133-XL.jpg)
"Squirrel!"

Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which is found here in abundance, because of the fertile red volcanic soil in the region. However, the distilled liquor can only be rightly called "Tequila" if it is brewed only in this town. Throughout the city, there are several pieces of art, paintings and statues dedicated to the process of making Tequila and the farming of the agave plant.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HBt8M3S/0/XL/DSC_8151-XL.jpg)
Hector and Manuel's latest practical joke on Juan may have gone a little too far this time...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-h2dhmP5/0/XL/DSC_8159-XL.jpg)
The Mariachi - an ever-present Mexican tradition

Neda booked us on a tour of the Jose Cuervo factory, which is headquartered in town. This is quite a popular tour, and there is a special train that runs to and from Guadalajara called the "Tequila Express", that is very popular and allows people to get liquored up here without having to drive back drunk. I had no idea that Neda booked us on the Tasting Tour of Mundo Cuervo... UGH!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cVCKD73/0/XL/DSC_8171-XL.jpg)
Disclaimer: These bikes stayed parked until we were 100% sober again

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BbQcwNL/0/L/DSC_8206-L.jpg)
It all starts off with a little shot

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BMCzc8m/0/XL/DSC_8205-XL.jpg)
More performers in Cuervo Land

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jGrJV7F/0/XL/DSC_8208-XL.jpg)
To help fund this trip, I am now shooting magazine ads for Jose Cuervo

Our assigned tour guide describes the process involved in creating Tequila, all the way from harvesting the agave plant, baking it, sticking it in huge steel vats, then into wooden barrels and finally pouring it down people's throats. Neda was only interested in the last step, so we really didn't pay a lot of attention to those in-between steps...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z77JmvJ/0/XL/DSC_8213-XL.jpg)
Agave plants. Cuervo is Spanish for "Crow".

Our tour guide looked exactly like Dani Pedrosa. Except he was normal-sized and knew a heck of a lot about tequila. After the "basic" tour had ended, because Neda had booked us on the extended "Tasting Tour", we were led to the basement of Mundo Cuervo, into the special secret cellar where 250-year old, 30,000 peso bottles of Tequila were being stockpiled for the next Baktun.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vd3KjPb/0/L/DSC_8238-L.jpg)
We were offered a taste of Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia, $150/bottle, only sold in Mexico

By now, we were more than a couple of shots into the tour and I was dreading the impending after-effects. I was assured by our tour guide that the infamous Tequila Hangover is caused by other sugars added to the tequila and that the 100% Agave alcohol with no added sugars shouldn't cause any ill-effects. OhReeeeeaally...?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bCgRSr3/0/L/DSC_0593-L.jpg)
Tequila tasting class? Or Cascade commercial?

After the secret cellar tour, we were taken upstairs to the tasting room where we were given three tequilas, blanco, annilo and geez, I can't remember... the rest is kind of hazy... I think at one point, I put our guide in a headlock and then I gave him a little noogie while screaming, "Who's your daddy, Dani! That's right, Jorge's your daddy!", then we were kicked out of the tasting room...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SgvtQmf/0/L/DSC_0581-L.jpg)
So after the Tasting Room debacle, this was the only tequila offered to us. Here, Neda is a bit more sober than I am...

We spent the rest of the evening sobering up while munching on cheap tacos in an eatery just outside of the main plaza. I was not feeling too good. One of the folks in our tour group recommended that we take the Cuota road back home because there were a lot of drunk people driving on the way back to Guadalajara. So we dished out the pesos begrudgingly, even though it did thankfully get us back to our hotel much quicker.

I crawled into bed with a really bad tequila headache that didn't go away when the sun rose the next day.

Oh god, never again! (damn you dani pedrosa)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on January 09, 2013, 04:49:39 pm
I'll keep saying it....fantastic journey and write-up. :clap: :hail:

Mrs DD could put together the next 10 years of ST.N calendars from just the photos in the this thread.  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on January 10, 2013, 03:13:50 pm
Fantastic! I am really speechless. Really enjoying the "ride". Thank you!

Ron Jeremy?!?!
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jGrJV7F/0/XL/DSC_8208-XL.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on January 10, 2013, 05:29:59 pm


I crawled into bed with a really bad tequila headache that didn't go away when the sun rose the next day.

Oh god, never again! (damn you dani pedrosa)


That's just tequila's way to remind you to avoid drinking tequila.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 10, 2013, 08:03:47 pm
Ron Jeremy?!?!


LOL! Yes! With a stylin stache!  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 10, 2013, 08:04:20 pm
That's just tequila's way to remind you to avoid drinking tequila.


Lesson learned!

Again...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on January 11, 2013, 06:11:55 am
As always, a great update  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mbishara on January 11, 2013, 09:24:52 pm
You guys are going to remember this adventure forever. Good for you to take the plunge that many people envy.


http://www.maged-bishara-montreal.ca/


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 12, 2013, 01:27:35 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/64.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PjLXdtH/0/L/map64-L.jpg)

It rained all through New Year's Eve and into the first few days of 2013.

While I was still recovering from Tequila poisoning, we opted to stay in for the night while the steady rain poured down on all the merry-makers. The sounds of fireworks and music was a testament that you just can't drown out a good party!  We are staying at a fabulous (and cheap) bed and breakfast about a 15-minute walk from the city centre. For the next few days we stayed around the neighbourhood, shopping at the local mercado.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GvBrP7V/0/L/DSC_0607-L.jpg)
Neda cooks up stir-fry vegetables to make up for all the greens that are lacking in the Mexican food

I have been gaining lots of weight on this Mexican diet of fried tortillas, tacos, and huevos. And it's all so cheap! Good thing there was a kitchen we could use in the B&B. Although the local food is high in fat and carbohydrates, obesity has only become a recent problem with Mexicans. Prior to the 1980s, the numbers were negligible, but with the expansion of US fast food chains, the average weight has steadily increased. There is a McDonalds in every city and it seems like Coca-Cola has focused all its advertising dollars in Mexico.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QVpJWvG/0/L/DSC_0615-L.jpg)
Regular service at Germania BMW

Thankfully the weather cleared and we dropped the bikes off for service at the dealership and walked around Zapopan, a larger town in the north-east Greater Metropolitan Guadalajara.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TDXgKG6/0/L/DSC_0617-L.jpg)
Almost every Mexican town or city has a gate

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mtS5rcG/0/XL/DSC_8253-XL.jpg)
Whistling and skipping amongst the orange trees!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-39n4gNZ/0/XL/DSC_8266-XL.jpg)
"Oranges and lemons, say the bells of... um the Virgin of Zapopan"

The Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan is the most famous building in the area, celebrating the likeness of the Virgin Mary. Like all Mexican neighbourhoods, it also has its own market and plaza and we spent most of the day walking around in the hot sun.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VNfGts8/0/XL/DSC_8272-XL.jpg)
Pope John Paul II and a friend

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mFzWtJm/0/XL/DSC_8278-XL.jpg)
Street musician outside the Basilica

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-77qhhDb/0/XL/DSC_8286-XL.jpg)
Babysitting.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fZpnLT4/0/XL/DSC_8296-XL.jpg)
The mercado at Zapopan. More veggies please!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z5tT8mb/0/XL/DSC_8303-XL.jpg)
Restaurants are ready for the lunchtime crowd

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ctmxB2F/0/L/DSC_8299-L.jpg)
While in the Farmacia in Zapopan, these two nuns approached me, and I helped them fix their old transistor radio.
I'm SO totally going to heaven now!


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GfGM3QH/0/L/IMG_0771-L.jpg)
Mural on the wall of a cemetary, now my new desktop wallpaper

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-S5skT2n/0/XL/DSC_8305-XL.jpg)
Cemetary just around the corner from our B&B

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nNMjZns/0/XL/IMG_0770-XL.jpg)
BRAINS! Well, that veggie diet didn't last very long...

The taco place around the corner from our B&B has become our second home. By now, I've tried almost everything on their menu. The report on the tacos de sesos (brains): it tasted exactly like it sounds. When cooked, it's a white meat. Very mushy, but you could still feel the texture of the brain folds. It was definitely an organ meat and not as salty as muscle. It wasn't bad, but not my favorite taco.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wwJbvhj/0/L/DSC_8441-L.jpg)
Guachimontones

During the weekend, we took another day-trip outside of the city to Teuchitlan, about 60 kms away - not too far from Tequila. It's home to a very unique set of structures called Guachimontones. Although not as grand as the Mayan or Aztec pyramids, these have the distinction of being build almost 1,000 years before the rise of the Aztec empire. They are considered "pre-hispanic".

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DjtLsGt/0/L/DSC_8320-L.jpg)
Main Guachimonton, up close and personal. Several smaller ones scattered throughout the area

Another unique feature of the Guachimonton is that they are round in shape and rise up in smaller concentric circles like a cone. All other pyramids are straight-edged. These pyramids were built to honor the God of the Wind, at the very top, it's speculated that a long pole was erected where Velodores (flyers) would jump off the top with ropes tied around their ankles and slowly descend while rotating around the pole. Hearing this story sparked a memory of a TV show I used to watch called, "In Search Of" narrated by Mr. Spock, and in one episode he was describing this exact ceremony. Not sure why this stuck out in my mind so much...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RhsWPcT/0/XL/DSC_8337-XL.jpg)
Tourists from all over the area visit the site

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kqZnQ7k/0/L/DSC_0628-L.jpg)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B5mLjgS/0/L/DSC_8406-L.jpg)
These flat pads used to be the site of large permanent huts, all facing the Guachimonton

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jgQLFBF/0/L/DSC_8312-L.jpg)
The town of Teuchitlan lies in the distance

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dcpJXcS/0/L/DSC_8393-L.jpg)
Relaxing afternoon amongst the remains of an ancient civilization


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on January 12, 2013, 03:35:37 pm
Thank you for the grand photos - well enjoyed!

Enjoy the new way of life!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on January 13, 2013, 05:41:28 am
As always, great stuff  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on January 13, 2013, 01:33:22 pm
From day one thru today this has been great! keep on cycling, warmer climates must be nice!

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mbishara on January 15, 2013, 08:09:18 pm
You guys are in the heart of Mexico. Are you going to keep riding down or coming back up to NA?

That is an awesome trip you're doing. One for a lifetime that's for sure.

It seems that you have a very envious group of people following your posts :).


http://www.maged-bishara-montreal.ca/


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 15, 2013, 10:59:45 pm
I just talked to the boss and she says we're going to keep riding!  :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mbishara on January 16, 2013, 08:28:49 am
Good boss ;).


http://www.maged-bishara-montreal.ca/


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 16, 2013, 02:21:36 pm
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/65.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QBdQM7N/0/L/map65-L.jpg)

After 10 restful days in Guadalajara, we laden our bikes with all our gear once again and set off to explore more of the state of Jalisco. A popular destination for Guadalajarans and others in the region is Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest fresh-water lake. It's only about an hour away and the weather is sunny and beautiful for the afternoon ride.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-M33wNh8/0/L/DSCN0979-L.jpg)
Riding through the cobblestone streets of Ajijic

We're told to explore Ajijic, which is a very pretty town 5 minutes away from the lake. Our internal organs are given a bit of a shuffle as we bounced up and down over the cobblestone streets of the old city. The weather and scenery here is idyllic, however it seems that lot of Americans and Canadians have also caught onto this fact. There are over 20,000 gringos and Cangringos living in Ajijic and you can't turn a corner without that North American twang of English wafting through the air like a bad smell.

To underscore the point, every other building in Ajijic seems to be a real estate agency...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hm8PvBb/0/L/DSC_0661-L.jpg)
Lunch at the funky Nuevo Posada Hotel

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GF5zj5r/0/L/DSC_8612-L.jpg)
Giving our kidneys a break by walking the streets of Ajijic

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2dt3rsS/0/L/DSC_8664-L.jpg)
Pretty side streets in Ajijic

The ex-pat community here is fairly old, made up of American retirees, Canadian snowbirds and families who have brought their elderly parents here for the cheap cost of assisted living. We've noticed that ex-pats greatly change the landscape of the culture wherever they tend to coagulate, raising the prices of real estate and food, and creating a very non-Mexican bubble supported by their influx of foreign dollars.

Ajijic is a beautiful town, but we wouldn't want to live here.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zrM2VXz/0/L/DSC_0667-L.jpg)
San Francisco Church just off the Malecon in Chapala

About 5 minutes away is the town of Chapala, and the main draw here is the Malecon, from where you can watch the prettiest sunsets in Jalisco. We spent the entire afternoon people-watching, while tracking the movement of the sun as it fell from the clouds overhead to a more photogenic position just above the horizon over the waters of Lake Chapala.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-c3sXjdq/0/L/DSC_0677-L.jpg)
Walking the pier on the Malecon in Chapala

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fFDpxSx/0/L/DSC_8535-L.jpg)
Ice cream break! Neda really likes her skirt

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zx2NV3z/0/XL/DSC_8510-XL.jpg)
The native whitefish population of Lake Chapala was decimated when they brought foreign Tilapia into the waters. Huh? What metaphor...?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QxJkpBC/0/L/DSC_8597-L.jpg)
Boats watch the sunset like angels on the beach

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XRbCjnC/0/XL/DSC_8538-XL.jpg)
I see a little silhouette of a man...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dtdcpFL/0/XL/DSC_8605-XL.jpg)
The Sun of King Midas touches the waters, turning them to an iridescent gold

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MnKv4bP/0/XL/DSC_8542-XL.jpg)
Street vendor resting his arms

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wPXcRRn/0/L/DSC_8547-L.jpg)
Walking the Malecon at sunset is a popular activity here

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K5LTZn6/0/L/DSC_8554-L.jpg)
So cute! Stray dogs were running all over the beaches, playfully chasing each other. None of them looked like they wanted for food

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z49n448/0/L/DSC_0672-L.jpg)
We have about 300 more shots like this...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NbhHmtN/0/L/IMG_1136-L.jpg)
299 more.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: st2sam on January 16, 2013, 03:44:53 pm
Awesome.  :thumbsup:

The temps look just about perfect for riding, are they?
Any idea how hot it gets that far south in July & August?
If I was a betting man I'd say you would want to be in Toronto for those couple of months. However, having said that, I couldn't think of a nicer place you could be now!

Thanks again for sharing......


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 16, 2013, 04:02:07 pm

The temps look just about perfect for riding, are they?
Any idea how hot it gets that far south in July & August?
If I was a betting man I'd say you would want to be in Toronto for those couple of months.


There is a reason why Ajijic/Chapala are over-run with ex-pats. The weather here is literally perfect.

From Wiki:

Quote
The Chapala Lake basin has a year round average temperature of about 72 degrees. Due to Ajijic's tropical latitude, the sun is warm year round; due to its relatively high elevation, it is seldom unpleasantly hot or humid. The rainy season begins in June and lasts until October with an average rainfall of approximately 34 inches. Even during the rainy season, precipitation generally occurs during the evening or at night.

December and January are the coolest months and May is the hottest, just before the onset of the rainy season. Overall, there is very little temperature variation year round: daytime highs in January are around 75 degrees; daytime highs in July are around 80 to 90 degrees.


On the other hand, temperatures in Toronto in July and August are well into the 90s, and the humidity is high - the instant you step outside you feel like a giant armpit. The humidity also brings out all the pollution in the city, and there are frequent air quality warnings during that time of year.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: st2sam on January 16, 2013, 04:16:49 pm
 :facepalm: Wrong again.

It's a good thing I'm not a gambling man... :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on January 16, 2013, 04:55:30 pm
Just read the whole blog last night, you guys know how to travel in STYLE!

Thank you so much for smelling the roses for us all.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DogBoy on January 16, 2013, 09:01:36 pm
We occaissonally see ride reports with stunning photos or exotic locations or a compelling and entertaining narrative,but very rarely do we get all three of these delivered so well. Really enjoying every part of this report and thanks so much for going to the extra effort to post here along with your blog and other sites. Makes it more personal.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jamesf0622 on January 20, 2013, 01:19:45 pm
I have been following this since before Thanksgiving. I even have the rideDOT website  saved on my iPhone for quick access. Your journey is one of the most inspiring things I have come across in quite some time.

If you don't mind me asking, what kind of budget are you on? About how much (USD) a month are you guys averaging right now? I'm seriously considering doing something like this when I retire from the military. I'll be in my early 40s at that point. 6 years to go!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 20, 2013, 02:55:59 pm
Thanks for all your posts, guys. The Internet has become our primary link to our family and friends, and we love reading all your responses!

what kind of budget are you on? About how much (USD) a month are you guys averaging right now?


I haven't crunched the numbers to get a total average, I am guessing that a minimum is about $60-$65/day for two riders on large-displacement motorcycles. We have been very lucky in that so many generous offers of accommodation have come in, and we've stayed for extended periods (7-10 days) in other people's homes. We've also camped a lot, sometimes for free, so our accommodation bill is very low. For food, we don't eat out in restaurants very much, preferring to buy groceries and many times just make a sandwich on the side of the road. I think we could get by on $4/meal and we only eat once or twice a day. Our thirsty bikes accounted for most of the expenses.

When we crossed into Mexico, things got a lot cheaper, especially the gas - since we weren't outrunning the cold and travelling the vast distances of Canada/US. Because our travel is so much slower,  we've been staying in some cheaper casas. You could get by for $30/night for a really nice place, but $20 will get you a basic room. Food is really cheap down here as well, and a cooked meal will cost only slightly more than groceries, so we've taken advantage of that down here.

We've been lucky in that we haven't had a lot of mechanical problems, but we've allocated a fund separate for that as well, which includes tires, oil, brake pads, bulbs, chain lube, etc. Unless you're running the same bikes as we are, these numbers will be much different for you.

Hope this helps, and I wish you well on your trip! The world is such a beautiful place to miss out on seeing it!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 20, 2013, 03:01:01 pm
Oh yeah, early on in our trip, we ran into this guy:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=315322

Lots of GREAT tips on how to live on the cheap while on the road. It really made an impact on our budget.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Tyrroneous on January 20, 2013, 03:13:29 pm
My brother moved his family from Utah down to Ajijic for a year, just to give his kids exposure to different cultures.  They really enjoyed their time in the area.  He never posted any pictures as awesome as yours though! :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 20, 2013, 06:50:30 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/66.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xGZC7hP/0/L/map66-L.jpg)

While we were at Germania BMW in Guadalajara last week getting our bikes serviced, the service technicians gave us some great ideas on places to ride around. One of them told us that local bikers ride up a twisty road to Tapalpa for the weekends and hang out there. When we found out that Tapalpa was also a Pueblo Magico, well that sealed the deal!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bw4WMpq/0/L/DSCN1000-L.jpg)
Riding the cobblestone streets of Tapalpa

Tapalpa is about a two-hour ride from Guadalajara. The road winds up the Tapalpa mountain range, and the temperature drops precipitously into single digits (C) as we reach the mountainside town early in the evening. Tapalpa is known for woodworking and a lot of the architecture features nice wood finishes to doorways and arches. We spent some time walking around the town square just outside the San Antonio Parish, the main church in Tapalpa.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-G7KK8M5/0/XL/DSC_9053-XL.jpg)
Disapproving look at my parking job?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hvtMbJ9/0/XL/DSC_9132-XL.jpg)
I thought this nice old lady said she'd watch our bikes while we walked around town. Neda says to me, "Wow, your Spanish really sucks, cause she just threw a bunch of swear words at you...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7T7mxbr/0/L/IMG_1163-L.jpg)
Birds fly (Whisper to a scream)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-R3qPkT5/0/XL/DSC_8693-XL.jpg)
Statue outside the church heralds the sunset

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-c7WLwZ5/0/L/DSC_8696-L.jpg)
We ordered tamale de acerga (swiss chard), typical for this region

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BS8fbXp/0/L/DSC_8707-L.jpg)
Bells and crosses dot the skyline

Shortly after sunset, we watched as a crowd of people started lining the streets outside the church. Then a huge processions of dancers, musicians and paraders made a giant circle around the town square. This lasted a whole hour and I was sorry that I didn't have my camera on-hand to take pictures. The waitress at our restaurant told us not to worry, this would happen every night - it was a 9-day festival honouring the Virgen de Guadalupe, and pilgrims from all over slowly make their way to Tapalpa. This fiesta happens every night for 9 days!

Felipe, our Spanish teacher in La Paz, told us that Mexicans *LOVE* their festivals and parties. There seem to be more national holidays than working days, which affects productivity somewhat...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VSpGgMj/0/XL/DSC_8848-XL.jpg)
There were several marching bands with brass instruments and also these musicians with fiddles

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QQvZTW9/0/L/DSC_8912-L.jpg)
Then the Aztecs came out, managed to get them still for a picture

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-txHWXgx/0/L/DSC_8919-L.jpg)
A flurry of feathers and headdresses as everyone lined up to go into church after the parade

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fGMvZhZ/0/L/IMG_1180-L.jpg)
Fireworks shot up at the end of the parade and kept on going well into the early morning

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZMkGPmR/0/L/DSC_8966-L.jpg)
Walking back from the fiesta

The back streets of Tapalpa are quiet. Most of the residents and pilgirims are still at the plaza outside the church celebrating. Our walk back to our casa is punctuated by the pop of fireworks amidst the distant sounds of a marching band playing well into the night. We love being here in Mexico!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7DcnJJZ/0/L/DSC_8979-L.jpg)
As recommended to me, I had Tacos de Tripita (fried tripe). New favorite taco!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XSvvknH/0/L/DSC_9016-L.jpg)
There is music everywhere in Mexico. One of the things I *LOVE* about this place!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zq46Bq5/0/L/DSC_9029-L.jpg)
And of course, lots of shopping for Neda

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KcH8dq3/0/L/DSC_9149-L.jpg)
Not an original idea. I saw little kids doing this last night. Hmm... maybe I shouldn't have admitted to that...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kqBTgc6/0/L/DSC_0739-L.jpg)
Visitors are not allowed up here, but we sweet-talked our way up the church tower. By sweet-talk, I mean begged. And we also gave a donation to the church as well...

There was an old radio program I used to listen to when I was a kid. It was a late-night program and I wasn't supposed to be up that late, so I would be under the covers in bed with my old transistor radio. I can't recall the name, but it was a Twilight Zone-like show. One of the episodes had the main character climb up a tower, and since he was afraid of enclosed spaces, he counted the steps till he reached the top, to occupy his mind. When he descended, he again counted steps down but to his horror, the number kept on increasing past the number of steps he climbed up!

Every time I climb stairs, I remember that radio program...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g7R6Q8P/0/L/DSC_0760-L.jpg)
I *SO* wanted to ring the bells and yell out to Tapalpa, "DINNERTIME!!!!" Perhaps that's why they don't let people up here...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-v9pZzzS/0/L/DSC_0762-L.jpg)
Inside of San Antonio Parish Church

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CtLNfdk/0/XL/DSC_0767-XL.jpg)
View of the town square from the church tower

We haven't been getting a lot of exercise ever since arriving in Mexico. And on top of that, we've been eating really badly as well. So Neda found a great place to hike around, just outside of Tapalpa. Las Piedrotas are a set of huge boulders sitting in an empty field. Nobody knows how they got there since there doesn't seem to be any mountains immediately in the area, the field is just bounded by forests. It's speculated that aliens moved them. Really hard-working aliens that don't fiesta 200 days out of the year...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zHC9vQL/0/XL/DSC_9082-XL.jpg)
Jumping is exercise, right?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Kf6RLsP/0/XL/DSC_9100-XL.jpg)
Climbing Las Piedrotas

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PhcnHn2/0/L/DSC_0730-L.jpg)
Unrealistic expectations


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on January 21, 2013, 06:51:25 am
As always, awesome  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:
-14C here today. Wish I was there!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 21, 2013, 02:26:48 pm

-14C here today. Wish I was there!


Cripes! And you easterners get that damp, bone-chilling cold as well!

People from around the world just don't understand how brutal Canadian winters are:

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/734499_392815270813384_1520509933_n.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DogBoy on January 21, 2013, 02:29:34 pm
 :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Tyrroneous on January 21, 2013, 10:11:11 pm
 :lol: :lol:

You need to add a photo  for snow in the south.  Just a hint of a chance of freezing precip and schools/businesses close down and everybody raids the grocery stores for bread and milk just in case they will be shut in for days.  No lie.  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 23, 2013, 12:26:20 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/67.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RJcvPjn/0/L/map67-L.jpg)

From Tapalpa, we head eastwards further inland. We've been really blessed with sunny weather on this trip, normally it rains all throughout our previous trips. The ride takes us through a lot of farmer's fields and as we approach Uruapan, the geography changes to a tropical jungle, large leafy trees line the roads. We've crossed into our 7th state - Michoacan - supposed to be one of the most beautiful states in Mexico.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tXzPV3f/0/L/DSCN1068-L.jpg)
From desert cactus back to leafy trees

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-P7tGPnR/0/L/DSC_9209-L.jpg)
Spying lunch at the "food court" in Uruapan

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-98J5K96/0/XL/DSC_9211-XL.jpg)
Beautiful bass walking the streets looking for a gig

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HfzQ6Vk/0/XL/DSC_9225-XL.jpg)
Downtown streets of Uruapan

Neda went hiking through El Parque Nacional de Uruapan, which is right inside the city. It boasts many white water rivers and waterfalls throughout its area, with rainbow trout swimming freely through its waters.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ffjQWTF/0/L/DSC_9254-L.jpg)
These kids would dive if you gave them a few pesos at El Parque Nacional de Uruapan

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-r56qmVW/0/XL/DSC_9263-XL.jpg)
White water rivers in El Parque Nacional de Uruapan

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RpZ4cQf/0/XL/IMG_1296-XL.jpg)
Updating RideDOT.com in our very nice habitacion

We're staying a few days in the city in a great little casita, run by a Spanish couple who know the the area really well. They've given us some amazing recommendations for places to see and things to eat. Uruapan is the avocado capital of the world, and the fields we passed through on the way in were avocado farms!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CVSFppX/0/L/IMG_0820-L.jpg)
Amazing guacamole!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TKRMwh4/0/L/DSC_9690-L.jpg)
Art gallery inside an old converted fabric factory

On Sunday, while we were coming back to our casita, we saw the housekeeper leave and we asked where she was going. She told us she was going to watch "los luchadores" in the town square. We thought "luchadores" had something to do with a lightshow or fireworks? From the Spanish word for light? When we went down to the square to see for ourselves, we found out "Luchadores" means wrestlers!!! OMG SO COOOL!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Xdntsd9/0/L/DSC_9357-L.jpg)
The town square is filled to capacity to watch the luchadores

So apparently, the WWF or WWE or whatever they call it in America, got its inspiration from Lucha Libres, a very popular Mexican sport founded in 1933. The wrestlers wear colourful masks, which would explain the popularity of all the masks being sold in the souvenir stores all over Mexico. Matches mostly consist of Battle Royales, tag teams or trios, such as the one we were watching today.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Q8kSqjM/0/XL/DSC_9333-XL.jpg)
As with any wrestling match, there's a lot of this at the beginning...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5ZdJ2p3/0/XL/DSC_9342-XL.jpg)
...followed by a lot of that

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NvRRDHN/0/XL/DSC_9387-XL.jpg)
This little girl in front of me wasn't very impressed. She was more interested in my camera. SO CUTE!

The crowd was chanting, "Tecnicos! Tecnicos! Tecnicos!", which I guess was one of the teams. So we got into the action, and joined in the chants as well. The locals standing around us thought that was hilarious, as it was obvious we had no clue who or what we were chanting for. Later when we got back to our casita, I looked up "Tecnicos", and it turns out that in any match, there are the good guys, "Tecnicos" and the bad guys, "Rudos". The Tecnicos play by the rules, have the better skills and moves, while the Rudos rely on breaking the rules to win.

While the cheering was strong for the Tecnicos, the crowd went absolutely crazy when the referees got into the action, getting a move put on them by one of the Rudos (or even a Tecnico!). Such a good time! We found out that these wrestling matches happen every other Sunday!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TdJhf2j/0/L/DSC_9346-L.jpg)
Somebody's gonna get hurt reel bad...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3ftNjLH/0/XL/DSC_9375-XL.jpg)
The greatest insult is to be unmasked in public by another wrestler

At this point I realized that we were watching a live action Saturday-morning superhero cartoon. So:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hSsPqFh/0/L/comic-L.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 28, 2013, 06:07:23 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/68.html


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mKWMKfw/0/L/map68-L.jpg)

In 1943, a fissure opened up in a cornfield just outside of Uruapan. The farmer and his wife watched as ash and stones erupted from a small hole in the ground. A week later, that fissure grew up to be a volcano measuring 5 stories high and after a year it was over 1,000 feet tall! During this time, the volcano continued spewing lava and ash, covering the field and burying two neighbouring villages, Paricutin (which the volcano was named after) and San Juan.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WLpjXTQ/0/L/DSCN1118-L.jpg)

We wanted to see this volcano first-hand, so we rode about 15 minutes outside of Uruapan and stopped for lunch in Nuevo San Juan. The inhabitants of old San Juan had plenty of time to evacuate their homes and they relocated their town further away from the volcano and named it Nuevo San Juan. After lunch, we rode further uphill to where the farmer's field used to be. The road crumbled away to a dirt path through a very scenic forest.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hRgfd6L/0/L/DSCN1123-L.jpg)
"Excuse me!" Neda beeps her horn... nothing.
"Con permisso?"... ah, that did the trick - Spanish-speaking cows...


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8qKNdrM/0/L/DSCN1131-L.jpg)
The trail gets smaller and disappears into the forest

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VdDCFqf/0/L/DSCN1136-L.jpg)
Trail becomes a field of fine volcanic ash

The ash is like sand, which is our sworn nemesis! Our big, heavy bikes with smooth, street tires leave deep gouges in the soft surface. As Neda tries to accelerate out of the dark ash, her rear tire leaves a smokey ash-cloud in the air that hangs in the air behind her until my bike cuts through it. Instead of paddling our way through all of this, we decide to park the bikes and hike 30 minutes to the farmer's field.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jbtbT6H/0/L/DSC_9444-L.jpg)
From across the field, the volcano appears in the distance, rising 1,400 feet in the air

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H5dtgBd/0/L/DSC_9534-L.jpg)
Although we are assured by many people that the volcano is dormant, we're a bit taken aback
when hot, smelly gases still rise from the fissures in the ground!


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xSGThxd/0/L/DSC_0798-L.jpg)
For once, I'm not responsible for the smell behind me...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Bqx2Grj/0/XL/DSC_9560-XL.jpg)
Scrabbling up the very steep summit of the volcano, we take different paths
because whoever's ahead leaves a small landslide of babyhead volcanic rocks


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gxdRkW5/0/L/DSC_9595-L.jpg)
We reach the top, and bask in the... uh, sulfuric gases

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vnGNj9q/0/L/DSC_9598-L.jpg)
Looking into the crater of the Paricutin Volcano

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4Zqg6tn/0/L/DSC_9616-L.jpg)
There's an awful lot of heat and activity here for a "dormant" volcano...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BQ9mDNh/0/L/DSC_0820-L.jpg)
Hiking around the rim of the volcano

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BJPpKWH/0/L/DSC_9625-L.jpg)
In the very far distance, my zoom lense captures what remains of old San Juan

Old San Juan lies almost completely covered in lava from the Paricutin Volcano. From the peak, we can see the direction and the shape of the lava flow. The only thing standing in San Juan is the top of the the church. It's too far to hike today, as it's taken us 2 hours to get from the bike to the summit, and the sun is starting to hang low in the sky.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-S7ZnMqp/0/XL/DSC_9636-XL.jpg)
Getting ready to descend

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XCFFkLB/0/L/DSC_9655-L.jpg)
Spectacular views from the top of Paricuctin



We take another way down the volcano, as it seems a bit more direct, although it's much more steeper. From the video above, we slid down as if we were on snowboards down a Double Black Diamond run - smoke still rising all around us! When we reached the bottom, we got a bit lost and spent almost an hour rummaging through thick foliage trying to find the path back to the field we came in from. We had less than an hour of sun left and I was starting to panic a bit, but thankfully Neda has the tracking skills of a woman in a shoe store on Boxing Day and we made it out into the field as the sun was beginning to set.

Just another 30 minutes to get back to the bike and then a ride through the forest in the dark. Not looking forward to that.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B3NrWMj/0/L/IMG_0829-L.jpg)
And then, salvation!

Castullo and his brother were also visiting the volcano, and they managed to drive through the ash and park a lot closer than we did. When they saw us walking though the ash field, they offered us a ride in the back of their pickup truck. We had seen tons of Mexicans riding in the back of pickup trucks in our travels, and now we were doing the exact same thing as the locals! So awesome! We were giggling like kids and taking lots of shakey pictures all the way back on the bumpy ride to the bikes, and the two brothers were shaking their heads and laughing at us from inside the truck. :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-N9Kz9jC/0/L/DSCN1138-L.jpg)
We thanked Castullo for the ride and then negotiated the rest of the ash field

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gnzbNkF/0/L/DSCN1139-L.jpg)
I couldn't put my kickstand down to help, so I had to ride past Neda, park and come back to pick her bike up.
It was getting dark very fast...


We did manage to get back to Uruapan safely, and it was only after a couple of days of rest from our long hike that we felt ready to venture out to the other side of Paricutin to try to find the remnants of the church in the lava.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SLkk2mQ/0/L/DSC_9711-L.jpg)
Had lunch at Angahuan, the closest town to old San Juan

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H8Tf4fw/0/L/DSC_9723-L.jpg)
We were a bit worried about eating here, didn't seem that sanitary... but the food tasted good

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jjkqdVg/0/XL/DSC_9792-XL.jpg)
We rented a couple of horses and descended down the steep path
strewn with volcanic rock


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sSckDfM/0/XL/DSC_9775-XL.jpg)
There it is, the remains of the church in old San Juan

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZwQKnzJ/0/L/DSC_9753-L.jpg)
This was the only building remaining in the entire town

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RRLZMnF/0/XL/DSC_9762-XL.jpg)
There are shanties set up just outside the ruins and it looks like people still worship at the church


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on January 28, 2013, 06:32:55 am
Oh man, those volcano pics are great!! How cool was that  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on January 28, 2013, 09:23:15 pm
Excuse me, but which Mexico are you actually in?  This doesn't seem to be the drug cartel dominated, drive by shooting, tourist danger zone that the Canadian media would have us believe in.  Just wondering if you went to some other Mexico?  Yours looks great!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 28, 2013, 11:23:50 pm
which Mexico are you actually in?  This doesn't seem to be the drug cartel dominated, drive by shooting, tourist danger zone that the Canadian media would have us believe in.  Just wondering if you went to some other Mexico?


LOL! Just awesome!

A few of our friends have decided to vacation in Mexico this winter after seeing how beautiful the place really is, which (not so) secretly really makes me proud that I'm able to spread the word. It's really sad because the tourism industry has really taken a hit down here. The funny thing is that when we talk to a lot of people that we think are "locals", it turns out they are tourists as well - just that they're from somewhere else in Mexico!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on January 29, 2013, 03:36:35 am
Well, you're certainly showing us a Mexico we didn't know existed.  I think we will have to follow in some of your tracks now.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Papa Lazarou on January 29, 2013, 04:07:09 am
your bikes need cleaning. send me a ticket and i'll bring a bucket and a cloth straight over.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on January 30, 2013, 03:02:02 am
Absolutely amazing. Really. I check in every couple of days wondering what new adventures await our dynamic duo.

Thank you.  :bigok:

You guys should be free-lancing for National Geographic with photos like that. Keep it coming!!!

 :clap: :clap: :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on January 30, 2013, 08:59:30 pm
 :banana:

your bikes need cleaning. send me a ticket and i'll bring a bucket and a cloth straight over.


yeah same here

Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on January 31, 2013, 11:32:31 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/69.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JbN4DK9/0/L/map69-L.jpg)

Uruapan was a really nice week-long break, especially since we had only intended to spend a couple of days there! From there, we rode through Morelia on our way to the far east side of Michoacan.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NtjqDB3/0/L/DSC_9810-L.jpg)
Faint moon over the Cathedral of the Divine Savior of Morelia

Morelia is one of the largest cities in Michoacan and the architecture of the downtown core reminded me very much of Durango. Like Durango, many people in other parts of Mexico have warned us not to go, stating lots of crime and violence, but when we got there, it seemed like any large city. Seems that most people are always afraid of their neighbours, even when they're in the same country! Pretty much everyone in Canada says Toronto is a cesspool of pollution, criminals and lowlifes. Which isn't true, that distinction belongs to Oshawa, which is just down the highway... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sXswF3T/0/XL/DSC_9811-XL.jpg)
Music is always in the air in Mexico

We only spent one night in Morelia, as we are just passing through. We got a chance to spend some time in the historical part of the downtown, lots of colonial style buildings, expensive cafes and restaurants, the main cathedral and the plaza just outside.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Kfg8gWW/0/L/DSC_9816-L.jpg)
Jardin de las rosas

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WJcjGLp/0/L/DSC_9812-L.jpg)
Someone has to guard the flowers

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NFCTpCp/0/XL/DSC_9820-XL.jpg)
Birds flee the fountain in the main plaza

The next day, we set out to Angangueo, nestled in the mountains of eastern Michoacan. It's about a couple of hours away and the smooth asphalt twists and turns through the green terrain and we stop a few times to admire the scenery.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kg8knQt/0/L/DSC_0837-L.jpg)
Between Morelia and Angangueo

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RzNv3qz/0/L/DSC_9827-L.jpg)
Bikes resting in Michoacan

We arrived in Angangueo in the early evening and found a place to park our bikes and ourselves. The forecast called for rain so we're holed up for a couple of days to wait out the wet weather. Angangueo is 8400 feet above sea level, so the temperatures have gotten close to freezing overnight! Our hotel didn't have any heating, so we piled on the blankets and shivered all through the night and into the morning! No one told us it gets so cold in Mexico!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-854J8sH/0/L/DSC_9840-L.jpg)
Bikes are under covered and secured parking

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7KMd6h5/0/L/IMG_0856-L.jpg)
Next day, outside our restaurant, we hear bikes! Local riders doing the twisties in the roads around Angangueo!

When the weather finally clears up, we ride up another 30 minutes to El Rosario. The cobblestone road rises up another 3,000 feet above Angangueo, taking us well into the forested mountains.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gD4hZnn/0/L/DSCN1158-L.jpg)
Banditos put up a roadblock in front of us! No, actually a schoolbus trying to make a 3-point turn on the narrow road up to El Rosario

El Rosario is one of several butterfly sanctuaries in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, which covers the area around Angangueo. Every winter, almost a billion Monarch butterflies migrate 4,500 kms from Canada. Kinda like us!!! :) It takes 4 generations every year to make the trip from Mexico to Canada and back.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Ztk7QKP/0/L/DSC_9856-L.jpg)
Parking lot in El Rosario

The entrance fee to the El Rosario butterfly sanctuary also gets us a personal tourguide. In actuality, the guides are more like security guards. They make sure that we don't disturb the butterflies as they wait out the winter. We are cautioned not to make excessive noise and not leave the roped-off path leading to the resting spots. This path is actually an endless staircase, what seems to be another 1,000 feet further into the mountains. It takes us almost an hour because we have to stop to catch our breath and rest a couple of times, meanwhile our guide (who we find out is 70 years old!!!!) is barely breathing hard and tells us this is his second time up today!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8DfjzzS/0/XL/DSC_0073-XL.jpg)
The branches are drooping thick with orange Monarch butterflies

As we approach the area where the Monarchs rest, we notice all the trees seem to have grey and orange leaves. Those aren't leaves, they're butterflies! Millions of them! Our guide says that in El Rosario alone, there are over 250 million butterflies. It's not uncommon for the branches to break off the trees because of the weight of the butterflies! SO COOL!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DwQFD6C/0/L/DSC_9882-L.jpg)
Neda spies some lively butterflies

In the morning and early afternoon, the butterflies are sluggish because of the cold, but when the afternoon sun warms up their wings, most of them take flight and blanket the blue skies with a Monarch cloud.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ww7wtgM/0/L/DSC_9919-L.jpg)
Neda has become quite the Instagram artiste

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MWzct7C/0/L/DSC_9961-L.jpg)
Some loners stray out into the sun

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-p57krsm/0/L/DSC_0020-L.jpg)
This little guy needed some warming up

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MTcMprR/0/L/DSC_0045-L.jpg)
Mid-afternoon sun brings the Monarchs to life!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PGmQ38N/0/XL/DSC_0134-XL.jpg)
When I breathed on the butterfly on my hand, he flew up onto my sweaterand then walked all the way up to my ear! It tickled!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4hgVzVX/0/XL/DSC_0169-XL.jpg)
This guy seemed to like Neda's backpack

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8q5rcMG/0/L/DSC_0844-L.jpg)
We made tons of friends that day. Muy hermosas!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HTdSzZr/0/L/DSCN1192-L.jpg)
Someone told the villagers that Ewan and Charley were in El Rosario.Our ride back down to Angangueo was met with a lot of disappointed faces...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 03, 2013, 10:07:33 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/70.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7mpPbTh/0/L/map70-L.jpg)

We had our doubts about visiting Mexico City. It's the 7th most-populated city in the world at over 20 million residents. We've heard the traffic and the congestion are killer! Not a place you'd want to ride into by motorcycle. So when Garry contacted us over the Internet and invited us into the big city, we naturally jumped at the chance!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DXGBDjh/0/L/DSC_0855-L.jpg)
Garry and I yakking about bikes

Garry, along with his wife Ivonne, run the the Garry Hostel, whose mission it is to "give accommodations to intrepid Motorcycle Travelers brave enough to come and experience the marvels of Mexico City". It's actually their home that they open up to any biker riding through Mexico, as they are also motorcyclists as well. Garry and Ivonne have hosted over 90 sets of motorcycle travellers over the years! They are taking their own big trip in the near future and I'm sure all this good karma they've built up will revisit them in spades!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-54RkHrL/0/L/DSC_0854-L.jpg)
Mexico City subway - normally a zoo during rush hour

Garry had to work during the week, so we took the subway downtown to visit the world-famous National Museum of Anthropology and History. Since our hosts were taking us pyramid-hunting this weekend, Ivonne told us it would be a great way to brush up on Mayan and Aztec culture before the visit.

Truthfully, I'm not really a museum person, I just like taking pictures. I also like taking naps in museums... Neda loves museums and talks about all the things she learns about while I am snapping away. This gives me material for the blog to go along with all the pictures. But because I'm only half-listening while taking pictures, most of these third-hand-half-heard "facts" that I write down are wrong, and then everyone e-mails me to correct me, and then I get to tell Neda how popular we are on the Internet. It's a great system...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BdjPwRD/0/XL/DSC_0199-XL.jpg)
Gene: kikikiki...
Neda: Are you 5?!
Gene: Come on! I'm sure the artist was also like, "kikikiki" when he made this...!


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PP4xDFb/0/XL/DSC_0217-XL.jpg)
Aztec Calendar Stone

Speaking of wrong facts, the very famous Aztec Calendar Stone, which is a Mexican cultural symbol, is now believed to be a basin or altar for human sacrifice. Now that's a lot cooler than some lame calendar!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-P3TMn9W/0/L/DSC_0219-L.jpg)
Aztec head, sacrificial basin in the background

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GLwsdQT/0/XL/DSC_0240-XL.jpg)
Outside the museum, there's a park with lots of vendors selling trinkets

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QKqBbxB/0/XL/DSC_0299-XL.jpg)
Tweety-bird looks on as Neda gets a gold tooth put in, rapper-style

When we were in Guadalajara, we met a couple from Montreal who had come down to Mexico to get dental work done. The prices down here are much cheaper than in Canada, so Neda takes the opportunity to score some novacaine.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K9jw78v/0/L/DSC_0319-L.jpg)
Outta the way! One-Two-Fives in da house!

My battery is not holding a proper charge, so after Garry gets back from work, we go searching for a Yuasa YTX14-BS. Garry's got a couple of smaller 125cc thumpers that are more suited for zipping in and out of Mexico City traffic, so off we go into the city zooming around on these tiny bikes! I got to ride his reverse-shift Honda on the way back, and I was stalling and hopping that rear wheel all the way home! SO MUCH FUN! :)

We didn't end up getting a battery that day, but we did go to the BMW dealership where they tried to charge me a million pesos for a BMW OEM battery. With the currency conversion, it would have been like a couple of thousand Canadian dollars. Whatevs...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6c9XqQF/0/L/DSC_0339-L.jpg)
Break dancers in Coyoacan

Mexico City is not in a state, it's inside a Federal District. One evening, our hosts take us to the historic centre of Coyoacan, one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico. With it's cobble-stone streets lined with restaurants, cafes, bookstores and other cultural attractions, the place is packed with a flurry of people and activities. We also discover another of our favorite foods - churros filled with Nutella! Neda is in heaven!

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Cruiser parked outside one of the many cafes in Coyoacan

On the weekend, Ivonne drove all of us to the pyramids in Teotihuacan about 45-minutes north of Mexico City. Garry made up some stories about how northern Mexico City was the dangerous part of town, 'cause that's where they cut people's arms off. But when Ivonne hit the automatic locks when we were driving through the north, it scared us a little...

All throughout our trip in Mexico, we have been picking up bits and pieces of Spanish, but nobody has ever taken the time to teach us all the swear words. Until now. Ivonne's colourful vocabulary sprang to life as she negotiated the congested streets of Mexico City. "Chingo"!, "Ai Cabron!", "Tonto!"... ok, that last one wasn't that bad, but our SpanishDict apps on our iPhones were working overtime as we were shuffled around in the back seat while darting in and out of traffic!

We'd titter like little kids everytime Ivonne threw another Spanish cuss word at an errant driver that got in her way... :)

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Hat and sunglasses commerce at the pyramids in Teotihuacan - tons of vendors everywhere!

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We must have climbed over a thousand flights of (very steep) stairs going up and down three different pyramids during the day

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gQ5Zpjb/0/L/DSC_0461-L.jpg)
Garry takes everyone of his guests here. He's climbed this pyramid over 90 times in his life!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CSfwsXG/0/L/DSC_0468-L.jpg)
Couple takes a break at the half-way mark

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Ivonne fashionably surveying the land. I wish we had brought hats too...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PHjqGwJ/0/L/DSC_0561-L.jpg)
Pyramid of the Sun is the largest pyramid in MesoAmerica. The people at the top look like tiny hairs!

There are three pyramids in Teotihuacan, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent. I found it interesting that like the Aztec Stone Calendar, the larger Pyramid of the Sun was misnamed. It's actually dedicated to the god of Water. So it should really be called Pyramid of Water, but it's been called the Pyramid of the Sun for so long that they're not going to bother changing it.

Reminds me of the Skydome back in Toronto. When Rogers Communications bought the rights to rename it to the Rogers Centre, everyone still calls it Skydome... Whole lotta money wasted...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ShNQqD4/0/XL/DSC_0550-XL.jpg)
Second pyramid-climb of the day

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-h5mhBFX/0/XL/IMG_1454-XL.jpg)
Pyramid of the Moon

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7GscHKb/0/XL/DSC_0575-XL.jpg)
Ivonne meditating in the shade. She's resting since we all fell asleep in the car as she drove us all back

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Our bikes resting at the Garry (and Ivonne) Hostel


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Darkbluexplorer on February 03, 2013, 11:07:08 pm
Lightcycle you two have inspired me to start traveling.. Got to build back into riding but i am going to really get there. My sickness has passed and your travels have helped me keep hopes I could do the same. So I'm putting the chess pieces in place to do this! Thank you both for keeping the course! :)

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk 2


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 04, 2013, 01:08:06 am
Hey DBE, glad to hear you're feeling better and that you're going to be out on 2 soon!

It's very heartwarming to know that we're able to kindle the same wanderlust that others before have inspired in us! Best of luck to you!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Biking Sailor on February 07, 2013, 04:39:48 pm

You guys should be free-lancing for National Geographic with photos like that. Keep it coming!!!

 :clap: :clap: :clap:


The Mexican Travel Ministry should be paying them!  Mexico couldn't produce this kind of ad without a million dollar budget!

Thanks for sharing.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 08, 2013, 10:58:43 am
Quote
Mexican Travel Ministry should be paying them!


Wouldn't that be nice! We'd never leave!  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 08, 2013, 10:59:06 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/71.html



I love sportbikes. We sold our sportbikes before we left on our trip, but we both miss them dearly. I used to take a lot of weekdays off with a couple of buddies to ride the twisty roads a couple of hours north of Toronto.

When Garry took us for a weekend ride, about 45 minutes south of Mexico City, we were all of a sudden surrounded with supersports! They were ripping up the curves on the way to Cuernavaca and the town in between, Tres Marias, looked like a scene out of Biker Boyz! Hundreds of motorcycles lined both sides of the main road, and tons of bikers are walking around in full leathers, to see and be seen.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fLnQ3PC/0/L/DSCN1209-L.jpg)
Riding the twisties south of Mexico City

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8G5TQpQ/0/L/DSCN1197-L.jpg)
Every weekend, Tres Marias becomes a full-on biker town

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WgdKbGd/0/L/DSC_0829-L.jpg)
On-lookers line the main street watching impromptu stunt shows

Neda asked Garry what happens if the cops show. He replies, "Well, they close down the street to other traffic until the stunt show is over". Now *THAT'S* the way it's done!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fBwZXFZ/0/XL/DSC_0651-XL.jpg)
Endo in the streets

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MK5TF8r/0/L/DSC_0624-L.jpg)
Helmet convention in one of the restaurants

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I decide to give sesos (brains) another chance... this time in Gordita-format... Jury is still out...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pwSVn24/0/L/DSC_0676-L.jpg)
Aprilia Pegaso and Harley V-ROD! Some non-sportbikes!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8Z8txr4/0/L/DSC_0680-L.jpg)
A couple of familiar faces in the crowd...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qk3gtMT/0/XL/DSC_0686-XL.jpg)
Newer R12GS and Ducati Panigale S. Such a sweet-looking sportbike!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Lz5FJfM/0/L/DSC_0692-L.jpg)
R1200S and CBR1000RR Repsol

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Fv9kWwL/0/XL/DSC_0727-XL.jpg)
Matching bike and leathers

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k6cNF6D/0/L/DSC_0741-L.jpg)
Hands up!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bZN77VD/0/L/IMG_1457-L.jpg)
Lots of people were very curious about where we were from and where we were going. This family saw that we were from Canada and wanted to get our picture with them!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LVFSThW/0/XL/DSC_0743-XL.jpg)
Yamaha Tenere. This is a big bike and the guy riding it was even bigger!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jMqGQc7/0/L/DSC_0750-L.jpg)
A couple of RossiHeads

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QdFV5Xb/0/XL/DSC_0792-XL.jpg)
What time is it? 12 o'clock baby!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fqN4q4H/0/XL/DSC_0824-XL.jpg)
This kid needs a new sweatshirt for this season... or he can dust off his old one from 2008...

Mexico City is not what I expected. Sure, there are tons of people and cars on the road, and the hillsides of the sprawling city are slathered with houses and buildings, like a fungus spreading over the land. But life here is pretty much the same as any large city. We went out for pizza and sushi with Garry and Ivonne, and we were treated to "the world's best tacos" just 15 minutes away from the Garry Hostel! :)  

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8WmvTj5/0/L/DSC_0891-L.jpg)
South Side Motorcycle Club listens attentively. Actually, they are trying to figure out what the heck I'm saying...

The night before we left Mexico City, Garry asked me to do a presentation to his local motorcycle club. The only catch was, it had to be En Espanol! This was my first ever presentation in Spanish! In reality, it was only 10% Espanol, 40% Espanglish and 50% Charades... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hDzRtcx/0/L/DSC_0906-L.jpg)
Ivonne bids us farewell

We spent a whole week with Garry and Ivonne and really got to know them well. They are such a generous couple, opening up their home to us and we stayed an extra few days at their urging, "Oh you can't leave on Monday, the traffic will be horrible!", "You can't leave on Tuesday, I told my motorcycle club you are coming in to do a presentation"... :)

I think a lot of motorcyclists are afraid of riding into such a large city, but with Garry and Ivonne's invitation, we we're glad we ventured into Mexico City, they are amazing ambassadors for their home town!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: 1moreroad on February 09, 2013, 09:41:30 am
That was my brief experience in Mexico City, too - nice people and nice places.

Thanks for keeping us up to date.  You take fantastic pictures.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on February 09, 2013, 09:47:46 am


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MTcMprR/0/L/DSC_0045-L.jpg)
Mid-afternoon sun brings the Monarchs to life!




Cool! In the fall of 2011 Susan and I were in Big Bend during their big migration to Mexico.

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f361/pak714/big%20bend%202011/P1010678.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 10, 2013, 10:13:42 am

That was my brief experience in Mexico City, too - nice people and nice places.


There's something very friendly and hospitable ingrained into Mexican culture. It's very similar to small town America/Canada: people say "Buenas Dias" to total strangers passing by, when you leave a restaurant, you say, "Buen Provecho" (Bon Appetit) to others still eating, smiles are always returned, etc. It's very nice.


Cool! In the fall of 2011 Susan and I were in Big Bend during their big migration to Mexico.


Beautiful! My mind can't wrap my head around the sheer number of butterflies that make the migration. A billion of them!


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Darkbluexplorer on February 10, 2013, 10:29:01 am
Got a quick question light! How do you manage with no job?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk 2


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 10, 2013, 10:36:13 am

Got a quick question light! How do you manage with no job?


Save a pile of money and then try to burn through it as slowly as possible!


Title: Re: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Darkbluexplorer on February 10, 2013, 10:59:34 am
That's all I could come up with! Lol good to know the simple things like that are the easiest to understand! Thanks Lightcycle!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Tapatalk 2


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rigger on February 10, 2013, 12:52:14 pm
Incredible sounding journey!!!  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Biking Sailor on February 13, 2013, 01:00:09 pm
Over 42,000 views!  Must be a bunch of us following your journey.  Thanks for sharing a great adventure.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 13, 2013, 06:17:10 pm

Over 42,000 views!  Must be a bunch of us following your journey.


I think 40,000 of those are my mom. She says I don't call her often enough...  :facepalm:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 13, 2013, 06:17:51 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/72.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KGcGfkw/0/L/map72-L.jpg)

Puebla is about an hour and a half away from Mexico City. However, most of that hour and half was spent in thick, grid-locked traffic trying to escape the sprawling, over-populated metropolis. We breathed a sigh of relief as we reached the outskirts of the city, thrust into the open spaces of the central highlands of the Sierra Madre. The city of Puebla is the largest in the state of Puebla, but at *only* 2 million people, it paled in comparison to the human sardine can called Mexico City.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wtS8GCG/0/L/DSC_0920-L.jpg)
Excavation of some of the ruins at the bottom of the pyramid in Cholula

We're really here to see the pyramids in neighbouring Cholula, about 10 minutes away from Puebla. It's the largest archaeological site in the New World, and most of the great pyramid is still buried and looks like a really large hill. It'll probably remain so, because on top lies a large church built by the Spanish in the 16th century.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6dHVfxP/0/XL/DSC_0903-XL.jpg)
There are tunnels inside the pyramid that you can explore!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SMs76S7/0/XL/DSC_0907-XL.jpg)
Almost all of the passages are blocked off so it's a single way in and out,
otherwise you'd get lost inside


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-W4hTmrP/0/L/DSC_0908-L.jpg)
Tunnels are narrow and spooky!

Cholula's site is interesting because at least three different civilizations over the centuries have built on or next to the existing ruins, not including the Spanish church at the top of the buried pyramid!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qpS53GF/0/XL/DSC_0976-XL.jpg)
Velodores!

Outside the pyramid, we saw a group of velodores perform the ancient ceremony of bungie jumping. I can't explain it properly, but this was such a cool sight to see live, ever since being captivated by a TV program I saw of this when I was a little kid. No harnesses or safety wires, just a guy at the top cheering them on by playing a flute as they slowly descended while spinning around the very tall pole.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JWzjwBJ/0/L/DSC_1007-L.jpg)
This was the closest I got to performing dangerous stunts. Unless you count riding around in Mexico City traffic...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X8rfn4V/0/XL/DSC_1012-XL.jpg)
The pyramid is right inside Cholula. Neda surveys the city from the ledge.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cDQksdK/0/XL/DSC_1074-XL.jpg)
At the very top of the buried pyramid, we walk around the Spanish church

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SZ3wVZ5/0/L/DSC_1084-L.jpg)
Chapulines! Tasty!

In the markets around the ruins and in Cholula, we saw baskets of Chapulines for sale, or as the English-speakers call it, Grasshoppers. Feeling a little adventurous, we bought a bag and tried some. They were dry-roasted with garlic and chilli, and they were very delicious, crispy and salty. I didn't really mind cleaning the wings and legs from my teeth, however for the next few hours I was burping up grasshopper, and that didn't taste pleasant. So no more Chapulines for this guy...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-95T9nBQ/0/XL/IMG_1498-XL.jpg)
More traditional fare in the markets in Cholula

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FzmGDMT/0/XL/IMG_1475-XL.jpg)
Festive restaurant decor. We had some of Puebla's famous Mole Poblano, chilli and chocolate sauce!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BZ4hbCN/0/L/DSC_1087-L.jpg)
Cool bike, ma'am!

Neda was excited to see a female police officer on an F650GS! Until she tried to hit us up for a bribe... JUST KIDDING!!!! She was very cool about us taking a picture. There were actually two female biker cops, but the other one was riding a Suzuki, so we didn't really care about her... :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on February 13, 2013, 09:37:48 pm
Sweet ride report. Epic.  :bigok:

Keep it coming Gene, we just got 6" of snow here in Alberta yesterday.  :facepalm:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 13, 2013, 10:59:41 pm

Keep it coming Gene, we just got 6" of snow here in Alberta yesterday.  :facepalm:


Toronto got 15" last week. Worst snow-storm in 5 years. No envy for you guys back home!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Biking Sailor on February 14, 2013, 01:34:11 pm



I think 40,000 of those are my mom. She says I don't call her often enough...  :facepalm:


I think you and Neda have hit Rock Star status with this adventure!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 18, 2013, 12:17:07 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/73.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9bgzW48/0/L/map73-L.jpg)

I think we're crossing into our 10th Mexican state, Oaxaca, today. It's a 3 hour ride on the Cuota roads (yes, we finally succumbed and dished out a small fortune) from Puebla and the weather was sunny and pleasant as we headed south-east. The terrain here is arid, and we've lost a lot of the lush green tropical trees that we saw in Michoacan.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KgDrTdN/0/L/DSCN1216-L.jpg)
Nice winding roads outside of Puebla

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fMxKWKC/0/L/DSCN1222-L.jpg)
(un)Controlled burns seem to be a popular way of clearing grass in Mexico

Because we left Puebla pretty late in the day, we arrived in Oaxaca, the city, as the sun set. Unfortunately, while in Mexico City, the headlight wiring on my bike has broken so I'm forced to blind traffic around me with my high beams. As we head into the city, a fellow local R1200GS rider pulls up beside us and asks if we have a hotel for the night. "Nope". He says he knows a good one, so we follow him into the city, glad that someone that knows what they're doing is leading!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DSqJb94/0/XL/DSC_1099-XL.jpg)
Lots of vendors in the main square in Oaxaca

Carlos the GS rider checks all of us into a very nice hotel, maybe a little bit above our budget, but it's very central and we run into them later on in the town square to have a drink and chat about Mexico and motorcycles. The main plaza is alive with vendors selling brightly coloured trinkets and lots of tourists wandering around. Neda remarks that Oaxaca is the cleanest Mexican city we've been to, so automatically she loves it here! I reserve judgement until I've tried their Brain Tacos...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-63XmKQK/0/L/DSC_1102-L.jpg)
Street performers playing in the main square

We also ran into another Canadian motorcycle couple, Kari and Rose from Thunder Bay! They trailered their Kawasaki Super Sherpas to Texas and rode across the border. Just two weeks into their trip, their 250cc bikes are outpacing us as they race towards the Guatamelan border and parts further south. We've been in Mexico for over two months already! We get a lot of helpful hints on accommodations from them and will probably run into them again if they slow down and wait for us!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nmRcZcR/0/L/neda_gene_oaxaca-L.jpg)
Photo courtesy of Kari and Rose

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bVn5ZPW/0/XL/DSC_1162-XL.jpg)
Serious Scooter-Face in the streets of Oaxaca

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xMfpD6N/0/L/DSC_1167-L.jpg)
VW Bugs used to be made in Mexico and is the country's most popular car

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vv34VBq/0/L/DSC_1180-L.jpg)
Colonial-style buildings in the historic part of Oaxaca

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VtnGm8J/0/L/DSC_1221-L.jpg)
Vibrant nightlife in the city streets

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LpB98hg/0/XL/DSC_1224-XL.jpg)
Striking a bargain in the main plaza

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8pF8rF7/0/L/DSC_1244-L.jpg)
Oaxaca from above, surrounded by mountains

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pRHnkdT/0/L/DSC_1249-L.jpg)
Strolling around the back streets of Oaxaca

Neda found a great swimming hole called Hierve el Agua, Spanish for "The water boils", an unusual set of rock formations about a couple of hours outside of Oaxaca. The dirt road that leads up switches back on itself many times as it rises up into the mountains where the attraction lies.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rdJm7gv/0/L/DSCN1259-L.jpg)
Terrific views of the Oaxacan mountains and the valleys below

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PtHMzXc/0/L/DSC_1277-L.jpg)
Taking a scenic break from the ride

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4hcRF78/0/L/DSC_1343-L.jpg)
Enjoying the ride through the mountains

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9kvJ5NX/0/XL/DSC_1381-XL.jpg)
Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua looks like a waterfall, except it's made up of rock. Rising up almost 100-meters, it was created from mineral-rich water that has bubbled up from the ground. Over 2,500 years, the water has dribbled down the face of a cliff, calcifying into what's known as a "petrified waterfall".

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xx2T88H/0/L/DSC_1410-L.jpg)
Mineral-rich waters create psychedelic pools of water at the top

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-f38sWwn/0/L/DSC_1455-L.jpg)
Although the water bubbling up from the ground looks like it's boiling, it's actually carbonated and quite cold

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g9hLbPK/0/L/DSC_1507-L.jpg)
More natural pools of water at the top and the funky patterns the minerals leave on the ground

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MZwM5hc/0/L/DSC_1473-L.jpg)
Natural infinity pool and a model poses for us

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6x3jfBR/0/XL/DSC_1534-XL.jpg)
Riding back down from Hierve el Agua


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on February 18, 2013, 06:08:38 am
We (Americans, especially) usually only hear of a country's negative aspects. I never considered Mexico as a riding location but your report has been a fantastic portrayal of Mexico, not just the media portrayed Mexico.

Thank you.  :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on February 20, 2013, 07:30:37 pm



I think 40,000 of those are my mom. She says I don't call her often enough...  :facepalm:


Does anyone ever call their mother enough?  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bucktownbilly on February 21, 2013, 10:46:12 am
How far south you going?  South America coming into view on your last map :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: nevinfs327 on February 21, 2013, 11:42:42 am
Thanks for continuing to post about your amazing trip...or maybe  now it is a lifestyle  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 21, 2013, 02:17:44 pm

How far south you going?  South America coming into view on your last map :popcorn:


Yes, hopefully South America, but given how slow we're moving it might take some time to get there. Thankfully, it's all equatorial from here, so the cold weather isn't pushing us anymore. We just have to watch for the rainy season and monsoons.


Thanks for continuing to post about your amazing trip...or maybe  now it is a lifestyle  :lol:


Thanks to you and everyone for giving us support here! Last week was our 8 month anniversary on the road and it  does feel like a lifestyle now! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on February 21, 2013, 05:00:44 pm
8 months........forgot what I was gonna say, started dreaming.

Continue to live the dream for us.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on February 24, 2013, 11:05:39 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/74.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gGgdKgr/0/L/map74-L.jpg)

Leaving Oaxaca, we are heading further east by the southern coast. The road takes us through some fantastic winding mountain roads and we have a lot of fun throwing the bikes around the tight curves, while constantly vigilant for oncoming trucks that stray into our lanes. The temperature climbs past 30C and the humidity soars. We're having a lot of fun!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QfNxC93/0/L/DSCN1326-L.jpg)
Taking in the awesome mountain roads and views

At over 600 kms, this is probably the longest ride we've done in a while, and we arrive in San Cristobal in the dark. Neda has been amazing finding us affordable accommodations, and she zeros in on a hotel not too far from the heart of the historic centre. The town is very pretty, more colonial-style architecture and plenty of cafes and restaurants to while away the day. We've spent quite some time in the Colonial Highlands of Mexico, so we treat San Cristobal as a temporary rest stop as we forge further ahead.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Rrp7vzs/0/L/DSC_1542-L.jpg)
Walking the historic centre of San Cristobal

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vJMgLW2/0/L/DSC_1555-L.jpg)
Colours in Mexico are so vibrant

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7ftcdnX/0/XL/DSC_1550-XL.jpg)
Reminds me of Tibetan prayer flags in the Himalayas

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qjR5ZmL/0/L/DSC_1539-L.jpg)
Dancing in the streets!

Our next stop is in Palenque, a bit further north. Although only a couple hundred kms away, it winds through some fantastic jungle scenery. And it is very hot and humid!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wGp96zM/0/L/DSC_1560-L.jpg)
View from the top of one of the mountain roads

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jJz95vJ/0/L/DSCN1351-L.jpg)
Big leafy trees dominate the tropical scenery

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sRQxNqc/0/XL/DSC_1565-XL.jpg)
Food cart in Palenque

Palenque is not as scenic or touristy as the Colonial Highlands, but the reason we've stopped here for the day is to visit the ruins just outside of town.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tQxLr66/0/L/DSC_1661-L.jpg)
Lots of temples scattered throughout the site

In the time of the Mayas, Palenque was one of the largest cities with 6,000 inhabitants, but they abandoned the site in the 1100s because of overcrowding and depletion of resources in the area. Seems like this is quite a common theme throughout human history.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FwWS8qT/0/L/DSC_1574-L.jpg)
This one is called Temple of the Lost Ark

We liked the Palenque ruins because of the remoteness of the site. Nestled right in the heart of the jungle and surrounded by lush tropical trees, it reminded me of the old Indiana Jones movies. Minus all the vendors selling crafts and trinkets, of course...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vK6QcH5/0/L/DSC_1576-L.jpg)
Thulsa Doom!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wdDNpF4/0/XL/DSC_1577-XL.jpg)
Neda casts an odd shadow

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jVww9Ws/0/L/DSC_1632-L.jpg)
Vendors selling clothing and trinkets

We've visited several ruins now and at every one, there are vendors selling a whistle that when blown, sounds like (or is supposed to sound like) a jaguar. It's a very annoying sound and the vendors use it all the time to catch your attention. I don't know why anyone would want to buy something like this...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kbHVVWK/0/XL/DSC_1599-XL.jpg)
Waiting for a giant ball to come crashing down on us while being shot at by poisonous blow darts

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-npWwZ5S/0/L/DSC_1642-L.jpg)
Mayan Astronaut

The Mayan culture has really sparked a lot of old childhood memories of TV shows I used to watch. One of them was called Ancient Astronauts, and with such phenomenon like the Nazca Lines, proposed extra-terrestrial involvement with these old civilizations. One of the "proof points" was the cover of the tomb of Pacal, right here in Palenque. Inscribed on the tomb was what looked like an astronaut reclined in the launch position inside a space ship, all the complex instrumentation around him. Stars and constellations surround the tomb and plumes of flames underneath to signify propulsion. Neda is holding a reproduction of that inscription above, and I felt such a wave of nostalgia listening to the vendor recount the tale of the Mayan Astronaut.

No, we didn't buy the parchment...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k49b2RF/0/L/DSC_1673-L.jpg)
Temple of Doom

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TC6Gw2v/0/L/DSC_1669-L.jpg)
Temple of the Holy Grail

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PrkhxLN/0/XL/DSC_1619-XL.jpg)
These were Neda's favorite Mayan ruins

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TM6xgdc/0/XL/DSC_1697-XL.jpg)
Sunlight filters through the jungle


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bubba zanetti on February 24, 2013, 11:18:21 am
So loving the photos and narrative. My sunday treat for myself is an espresso and reading your updates!

Looks like you might be headed to Yucatan?  If so, and you fancy a snorkel, head to Akumal ( which means 'place of the turtle' in Mayan) great snorkeling right off the beach. A bit touristy but a great swim and dive shop. Nearby restaurant callled La Buena Vida is a fav.  Enjoy !


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on February 24, 2013, 12:02:02 pm

So loving the photos and narrative. My sunday treat for myself is an espresso and reading your updates!




I've got a love/hate thing going on with this thread.

(Mostly Love)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: RickF on February 28, 2013, 11:25:10 am
It is interesting how the sincere and joyous use of this medium can create a sense of remote kinship.  Like others here, I am vicariously enjoying your journey.  I do admire your spirit.  For those of us who are too timid to seek our dreams, your chronicles are vivid both in spirit and photography.  Your blog is making the annual ritual of our anticipation of spring a bit easier during a long and snowy northern winter.  I hope that I can share an ambitious travelogue with you someday.

I suspect that the good will with which you travel serves you well.  Thank you for sharing your continuing adventure.  
Good luck and good riding.  

Rick F
Minocqua, WI  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 02, 2013, 04:04:24 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/75.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5c7QnXM/0/L/map75-L.jpg)

We're headed to the Yucatan Peninsula, which is one of our must-sees on our travel list, with the promise of lots of Mayan ruins, sunny weather and great food.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZmpKJHp/0/XL/IMG_0896-XL.jpg)
Our bikes resting in Palenque

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-FTSXLWM/0/L/IMG_1599-L.jpg)
As we were getting ready to leave, John from Valladolid chatted with us. He sent us this pic later that day!

We rode up the western part of the peninsula and arrived late in Merida. While looking for a place to stay, we talked to a few of indigenous Mayan people who were admiring our bikes. Their Spanish was very hard to understand, since they spoke it with a different accent. When we told them we were from Canada, it seems that it's a popular place to find work, more so than the US these days.

There are actually dozens of different indigenous tribes living in the Yucatan, all of them have their own distinct culture and language!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DnV42WB/0/L/DSC_2022-L.jpg)
Neda is hoping to see some flamingos

While in Merida, we made a side-trip west to the coast to visit the Flamingo Sanctuary in Celestun. It's a small fishing village with great beaches and excellent seafood, and we rented a boat to take us out to the flamingo colonies.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bZW4QhQ/0/L/DSC_1755-L.jpg)
Ducks hop and skip across the waters

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cKzcmZ4/0/L/DSC_1767-L.jpg)
Flamingos are a deep pink because of the crustaceans they eat off the sea bottom

Neda is quite a bird-enthusiast and one of her wishes was to see a flamingo live. Ever since she saw Miami Vice, actually... :) In the distance, we saw what looked like a line of pink buoys, but as we got closer, they were flamingos all lined up in the water! Neda was ecstatic and going crazy with the camera!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PzcSFhW/0/L/DSC_1844-L.jpg)
Such funny-looking birds

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k2GfDmq/0/L/DSC_1847-L.jpg)
They look like road runners when they land on the water

Neda is a wealth of information, she says that flamingos like to congregate where there is a mixture of salt and fresh water, which creates an ideal habitat for them. When they're born, they are white in colour, but slowly turn pink because of their seafood diet. Which makes me think of my own Mexican diet and then I realize I'm not really tanned, I'm taco-coloured...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SDWMTBs/0/L/DSC_0996-L.jpg)
The boat takes us through a Mangrove forest

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4DM4x72/0/L/DSC_2018-L.jpg)
Reminds us of the Florida Everglades. All we need is an fanboat...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Nkbr4VW/0/L/DSC_1897-L.jpg)
Flamingos aren't the only birds living here, pelicans hang out on the treetops

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Q9WMqNC/0/L/DSC_1899-L.jpg)
The wingspan on these birds are huge!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QFQ7Kz5/0/L/DSC_2005-L.jpg)
Hooligan pelicans hang out in groups of 5 and 6

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WfhxLHJ/0/L/DSC_1969-L.jpg)
I think the term "Flamenco Line" comes from flamingos...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7B7HJRS/0/L/DSC_2056-L.jpg)
Neda goes looking for birds in a fresh-water spring

The boat lets us off at a spot called Ojo de Agua, where an underground spring flows fresh-water into the sea. The water is cool and refreshing and Neda takes the opportunity to do some up-close bird-watching.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3pdcK6F/0/L/DSC_2041-L.jpg)
This Great Egret is not fazed at all, Neda got so close to it!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2RMvfkV/0/XL/DSC_2061-XL.jpg)
Birds are vain too...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nNS6KQw/0/L/DSC_2063-L.jpg)
Our chauffeur taking us back to the mainland

We're staying in Merida for a few days to catch the end of Carnaval, lots of street festivals and parades every day. On the last day of Carnaval, we watched a stage show in the middle of the historic town. The theme of the show was Merida Mistica and featured portrayals of mystical creatures.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mxFpsg7/0/L/DSC_2070-L.jpg)
Plenty of tourist transportation available on the streets of Merida

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-twNzSdG/0/XL/DSC_2212-XL.jpg)
Dancer supposed to represent a unicorn

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nRQjVq9/0/L/DSC_2238-L.jpg)
These dancers are supposed to be dragons

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mG7w4bc/0/XL/DSC_2248-XL.jpg)
More dragon dancers!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 07, 2013, 03:40:59 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/76.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3QWnwqp/0/L/map76-L.jpg)

Neda is not feeling well. She's got a bad case of Montezuma's Revenge and she can't stomach any food. Which is a shame because there is some great Yucatan cuisine in Merida. We end up patronizing a German beerhouse (of all places) across the street from our hotel and I gorge myself on bratwurst and Guiness. There are a lot of foreign tourists wandering around the city and accordingly the prices for food and accommodations have risen. We don't really like that too much.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fQx9bCD/0/XL/IMG_1605-XL.jpg)
Opting for a liquid diet

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xhKgM6j/0/L/DSC_2286-L.jpg)
Merida is a very cultured city, lots of art displayed everywhere

Our next destination is directly east across the Yucatan peninsula. The Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza are one of the most famous in Mexico, and this has been on our to-do list from the start. Chichen Itza is only a couple of hours away so we leave early in the afternoon to try the catch the best light at the ruins. We encountered a very gruesome motorcycle accident on our way, which put me in a very sober mood for the rest of the ride, reflecting on all the things that could happen to us while on two wheels.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-phPGrBh/0/XL/DSC_2325-XL.jpg)
The Castillo Temple at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza was a very big disappointment. Right from the start, we were charged a hefty admission fee, part of a two-tiered system which made it cheaper for locals than foreign tourists. I can understand a tourist surcharge, we encountered the same thing in India, however what we got in return for that large expense was very underwhelming.

The ruins looked like they were entirely reconstructed on a well-manicured golf course. There was none of the stepped-out-of-a-jungle feel that we had in Palenque, and there were far fewer buildings here than on other ruins we had visited. Bus-loads of tourists from Cancun and Merida were unceremoniously dumped on-site and it felt more like a Disney attraction than an archeological site.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GqPDRZZ/0/L/DSC_2345-L.jpg)
This pretty much summed up our Chichen Itza experience

We opted not to hire a tour guide (more $$$), but we were curious when all the guides had their tour groups clap in front of the Castillo Temple. When we eavesdropped on a tour, we found out that due to the construction of the stairs on the face of the temple, the echo of a clap would make a two-toned sound that would mimic the call of a Quetzal. This is a bird that is commonly found in the jungles around the area, and was also worshiped by the Mayans as the God of the Air.


Might have to turn up the volume a bit

Never having heard what a Quetzal sounds like, we thought at the very least the two-toned echo was neat. Later on, I searched online for a Quetzal call - it sounds NOTHING like the echo. So all those dumb tourists (us included) who clapped in front of the temple were probably being laughed at by every single tour guide... :(

I think we're done with visiting ruins.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3Wc5M9n/0/L/DSC_2331-L.jpg)
Tourists walking around the ruins

Valladolid is less than an hour away from Chichen Itza, and we stopped there for the night. It recently gained status as a Pueblo Magico, and the government has invested a lot in cleaning up the city and painting all the buildings in the historic downtown. Very pretty town, but since we arrived late in the evening, we only had time for dinner and a quick stroll through the streets.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-p4pRqPL/0/L/IMG_0918-L.jpg)
Impromptu mass in the middle of the street from the back of a truck!

The next day, we rode from Vallodolid to the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. If it seems like we are speeding our way through the area, it's because we are. The Yucatan is packed with foreign tourists and everything is expensive. We were going to stop in Cancun but after doing a search for accommodations, we decided to head towards Tulum instead. It's a much cheaper town to stay at for a couple of nights.

Tulum is packed with sun-seekers and beach-goers who have come here to seek refuge from the over-priced hotels of Cancun. It's a very young crowd and our hostel was full of university students and recent grads from all over the world on their "Gap Year" trip. Our next-door neighbours were two girls from Australia and they told us about a cenote they visited closeby called Dos Ojos. We thanked them for the tip and headed out the very next day!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KB8MM8b/0/L/DSCN1415-L.jpg)
View from inside one of the "eyes" of Dos Ojos

A cenote is a natural sinkhole or pit that exposes the groundwater underneath. They're found all over the Yucatan Peninsula, and Dos Ojos (Two Eyes) is set a couple of kms into the jungle and boasts one of the longest underwater cave systems in the world. We only rented snorkeling equipment so we stayed on the surface of one of the "eyes", but the light flowing from the mouth of the cave through the crystal clear waters was astoundingly beautiful!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MHhDXD2/0/L/DSCN1401-L.jpg)
Stalactites hang from the ceiling of the cave and dip down into the crystal blue waters

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Rb6wwmD/0/L/DSCN1413-L.jpg)
Stalactites break the surface of the waters and everything is surrounded by an unearthly glow

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MmNt9W5/0/XL/DSCN1425-XL.jpg)
Neda takes in the underwater view

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4mj5LMG/0/L/DSCN1456-L.jpg)
View from above the waters

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4k6g9F2/0/L/DSCN1448-L.jpg)
Same exact view from below the waters

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w5t7rnh/0/L/DSCN1460-L.jpg)
Taking a break from diving

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Cw7kP22/0/L/DSCN1505-L.jpg)
Posing on a rock

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kPtHtFD/0/L/DSCN1471-L.jpg)
More underwater touring

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xw97JJN/0/L/DSCN1473-L.jpg)
Neda dives to get a better view of the floor


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Blunder on March 07, 2013, 06:18:16 am
I refuse to check this thread on my phone. As useful as it is, it can't do these pics justice. Tonight I was able to fire up the big machine and have a peak.

W0W! Just. W0W! The vibrant colors, candid shots of passersby, the food and the scenery. Amazing stuff. From the barren tundra to lush forests and everything in between. Thanks for sharing.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: 1moreroad on March 07, 2013, 03:38:48 pm
(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4mj5LMG/0/L/DSCN1456-L.jpg)

Strange question, but - does Dos Ojos have a couple of monkeys that the owners keep?  Just wondering if it's the same system of cenotes we visited about 15 years ago.

In spite of the tourists, the Mexican government has at least preserved some natural sanctuaries for snorkeling off the coast and the like.  As far as Tulum (we never made it to Chicen Itza), the "trick" was to rent a car and arrive ahead of the tourists.  Very different feel to the place.  Once the tour buses start pulling up, it's time to relax, grab a taco, and then leave.

I continue to enjoy your photos and travelogue.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bubba zanetti on March 07, 2013, 04:33:47 pm

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4mj5LMG/0/L/DSCN1456-L.jpg)

Strange question, but - does Dos Ojos have a couple of monkeys that the owners keep?  Just wondering if it's the same system of cenotes we visited about 15 years ago.



I am fairly sure you are referring to Hidden Worlds Cenote  ....  :headscratch:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 08, 2013, 02:20:17 pm
Wow, you guys know your cenotes.

We've never even heard of one before entering Mexico!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 10, 2013, 12:04:03 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/77.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5CBDk3f/0/L/map77-L.jpg)

After almost three months of wandering around this amazing country, we're getting ready to leave Mexico. There's just this nasty business of recovering from a really bad stomach flu. We've discovered from our earlier travels, Neda is the Distant Early Warning for gastrointestinal problems. She always gets hit first, and then 3-4 days later, I get hit 10X harder. It happened in India and now, just as we are leaving Mexico.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g2Xvkqg/0/XL/IMG_0925-XL.jpg)
Neda goes out for a supples run - bananas, crackers, Gatorade, jello and baby food

We are in Chetumal, a border town about a couple of hours south of Tulum. A day after arriving, I find myself sweating and shivering under the covers, every muscle racked with pain. I also find out why they call this the Aztec Two-Step, as I need to be exactly two steps away from a toilet boil, otherwise tragedy results, more so for the housekeeping staff...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-P26NVGZ/0/L/IMG_1632-L.jpg)
We are holed up in Oxtankah, a nice suburb of Chetumal on the beach

Chetumal is not a very interesting place, which was perfect since I was in bed most of the time. After a slow recovery of clear liquids and soft foods, we took the opportunity while in a larger city to do some maintenance and find out what the process was to leave Mexico: insurance, currency, importation rules, etc.

So in the interests of filling up an entry, here is a little retrospective of our time in Mexico, filled with some pictures and memories of daily life that didn't make the blog the first time around:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tvbdhdJ/0/XL/DSC_6729-XL.jpg)
Spain has the Three Tenors, Mexico brings us the Four Altos

Although we're used to riding in crowded, chaotic conditions, traffic in Mexico threw us some unique obstacles. Literally. Topes, or speed-bumps, totally caught us off-guard when we entered Baja California. Some of them are not very well marked and you have to predict where a tope would logically be - like when a road goes through a small town or entering a city, or just before a curve. We've both caught major air while daydreaming on the bike, and there's a lot of sparring over who will lead the ride, since the leader effectively becomes the canary in the coalmine.

In Canada and the US (and most western countries), it's normal to use your right turn signal if you want to be passed. However in Mexico, they use the *left* indicator to signal vehicles behind you to pass you. This is very confusing to non-Mexicans. The first time I tried to pass a truck, he turned on his left turn signal as I pulled beside him, and I freaked out and slammed on the brakes, thinking he was going to turn left in front of me. It turns out that the left indicator really means, "I've scanned the road in front of me, and it's safe for you to pass me". Confusing. If the vehicle in front wants to turn left, they either use their four-ways, or they will pull over to the right shoulder, wait for all traffic to pass by and then turn left when it's clear. CONFUSING!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-N3WbKTV/0/L/DSC_0537-L.jpg)
We were talking to a young couple outside of our casita in Guadalajara and their little boy was fascinated with our motorcycles.

The Mexican people are so friendly and hospitable. It is normal when walking on the streets to greet total strangers with a "Buenos Dias" (or "Buenos" for short). And as you are leaving restaurants, it is customary to wish other people, "Buen Provecho" (Bon Appetit). I really like how smiles are so easily returned, whereas in the large cities of the US and Canada, a smiling face is viewed with suspicion or annoyance.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GJp9LxP/0/O/sincronizada.jpg)
Sincronizada in Ajijic

Food is very cheap in Mexico, and we both love discovering the cuisine that never migrated north of the border. Neda loves pasole, a white corn-based soup filled with other vegetables and meat while I leaned more towards the fried and starchy foods, chilaquiles and tacos filled with all manner of fried meats, chorizo, tripe, tongue and BRAINS! The grasshoppers were not a favorite...

Much to the Neda's chagrin, for all the vegetables available in the mercados, they were never served in the restaurants. And diet sodas don't seem to be as popular as in Canada and the US.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K2gqfnj/0/L/IMG_1214-L.jpg)
Looking for a rug to cut in the dancing church of San Juan

Churches, markets and plazas dominate almost every town, large and small, in Mexico. We've found out that in different churches across the country, there are different ways to approach the altar. In Guadalajara, most of the attendees get down on both knees and shuffle forwards. In San Juan, just outside of Uruapan, devotees *DANCE* towards the altar! Even though there is no music played inside the church.

There's always a party in Mexico, even in church!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-25WSPv4/0/L/IMG_1054-L.jpg)
This little guy's skateboard was broken, so I got my tools out and got down to do some road-side repairs

Building a family is very important in Mexico. While in Canada and the US, the incidences of child-free couples are increasing, Neda and I are viewed as quite the oddity here for opting not to have kids. Mexico is a festive country, with bright primary colours decorating all the buildings and every other person seems to be either playing or carrying a musical instrument. The presence of lots of children running around the streets just adds to this joyful atmosphere, and you can't help but be infected with the festive spirit.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tzp77SV/0/L/DSC_0840-L.jpg)
Changing out a lightbulb in Angangueo

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X8899L2/0/L/DSC_0887-L.jpg)
Swapping out my battery at Garry and Ivonne's place in Mexico City

Our bikes have been holding up well so far, other than routine maintenance, the only worrying problem is the plug for my primary headlight has broken (melted and disintegrated), so the wires can't contact the base of the bulb. This is a special part that needs to be ordered and it takes a month for the part to be shipped from Germany. Since we don't stay long enough in one place, I'm going to have to figure out where we'll be in advance for a while otherwise I'll be blinding everyone with my high-beams for quite awhile.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pnqLpDL/0/L/DSC_9844-L.jpg)
Waiting out inclement weather in Angangueo

We've been very lucky to be travelling during dry season in Mexico, and the number of rainy days we've encountered in the last three months can be counted on 3 fingers. Mexicans don't check the weather forecasts. Dry season simply means No Rain. Every time we'd tell someone about rain in the forecast, they'd look at us like we were grossly misinformed or just being stupid. Then when it did rain, I can't even describe the look of utter confusion on their faces, as if socks were falling from the sky instead of water.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qhrxNwx/0/L/DSC_1137-L.jpg)
Courtyard parking in Oaxaca.

Despite the friendliness and hospitality in Mexico, there is still a wariness about petty theft everywhere we went. In most of our accommodations, there were always secured spaces for our motorcycles. In Oaxaca, we were only allowed to park in the courtyard during the night since the motorcycles were kept where the restaurant was set up. So every night when the restaurant closed, we moved our bikes off the street into the courtyard and at 7AM the next day, we had to wake up to move the bikes back outside. We missed the alarm one morning and got a very angry knock at the door. Customers were waiting to be seated as we sheepishly pushed our bikes back outside, sleep still in our eyes and BedHead worse than HelmetHair.

We are not morning people...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2NV76g4/0/O/todosantos.jpg)
Beach at Todos Santos

We had no idea what to expect when entering Mexico three months ago. All I knew was what I had seen on TV or read in the news. Mexico is in the unenviable position of being caught in the middle of the largest producer of drugs and the largest consumer of drugs. This drug trade seems to remain underground and we never saw any evidence of it the entire time we were there. It's a shame that the entire country gets painted with such a broad sensationalistic brush that it scares visitors away from such a beautiful place with amazing culture, food and friendly people.

Despite this, we have run across many ex-pats who have ventured here and already know what we have just discovered: golden sandy beaches, lush forests, colonial architecture, remains of ancient civilizations, hidden underwater caves and all sorts of migratory wildlife that have travelled vasts distances to settle here (I'm referring to the ex-pats again)...

Farewell Mexico, hope to see you again soon!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on March 10, 2013, 02:20:28 pm


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tvbdhdJ/0/XL/DSC_6729-XL.jpg)
Spain has the Three Tenors, Mexico brings us the Four Altos




 :snork:

coffee on keyboard



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on March 10, 2013, 02:22:29 pm


Our bikes have been holding up well so far, other than routine maintenance, the only worrying problem is the plug for my primary headlight has broken (melted and disintegrated), so the wires can't contact the base of the bulb. This is a special part that needs to be ordered and it takes a month for the part to be shipped from Germany. Since we don't stay long enough in one place, I'm going to have to figure out where we'll be in advance for a while otherwise I'll be blinding everyone with my high-beams for quite awhile.




Maybe one of us can order the part for you and when it comes in ship it to you. I'd think that would cut the wait time down considerably.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mbishara on March 10, 2013, 10:22:36 pm
How much longer is your tour scheduled for?


http://www.maged-bishara-montreal.ca/


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 11, 2013, 11:32:13 am
Maybe one of us can order the part for you and when it comes in ship it to you. I'd think that would cut the wait time down considerably.


Thanks, that's a very generous offer. I have a contact at San Jose BMW and they can probably get the part quickly, however, I have to figure out a cost-effective way to courier to Central America in a timely fashion as we're crossing borders weekly now. I may just have to bite the bullet and pay $xxx to ship a $0.xx part... :(

How much longer is your tour scheduled for?


No schedule, no route, so no idea?  :cool: And I'm definitely not trying to be nonchalant about it. Our trip so far has proven to us that we suck at estimating schedules. From Vancouver, we thought we'd go to Prudhoe Bay and back in 3 weeks. It took us 6... When we entered Mexico, we thought we'd stay a month before moving on. We ended up staying for 3 months...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on March 11, 2013, 01:24:12 pm
Yeah I don't think this is a 'tour' - more like a lifestyle.  :lol:

So I hope your tummy troubles are on the mend and you both are able to get back to your new life. I have thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful pictures and the adventures you've had. I am always looking forward to the next installment - like others I don't want to read your ride reports on my phone but linger dreamily with a cup of coffee at the beginning of my day or a glass of wine at the end of my day.

As Auntie Mame once said: "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

Carry on. :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 13, 2013, 04:21:33 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/78.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cCwzFfx/0/L/map78-L.jpg)

This is a very exciting day for us! We're leaving Mexico and heading into the 4th country of our trip. And it only took us 8 months! Yes, we are setting quite the blistering pace...

It was a fine day to cross the border: sunny skies, hot weather. The exit procedure from Mexico was pretty straightforward, we just had to do the reverse of what we did when we came in: discharge the vehicle importation permit, then the tourist visa, and then get our passports stamped to exit the country. Then we had to do it all over again to enter Belize!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TGLtwnT/0/L/DSCN1508-L.jpg)
And then we were welcomed into Belize

We didn't really know much about Belize before crossing the border, having done no research at all. It was surprising to us that English is the official language of Belize! Yay! I can communicate like a grown-up again! The other surprise was that although we had officially crossed into Central America, Belize is part of the Caribbean! Its British colonial heritage explains the English language, and it was once called the British Honduras. Also, there was a very breezy feel to all the officials we met; a laid-back attitude coupled with that easy island accent: "Everyting's gonna be alrite, mon!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kC5w52N/0/L/DSCN1509-L.jpg)
A new wrinkle to border crossing: fumigation!

We purchased the mandatory vehicle insurance just past the border and started riding towards the largest marked city on our GPS. Central America is not as well-documented as other regions, and there were two free GPS maps available on the Internet. So, we split the difference, and Neda had one copy on her GPS and I had the other. Right away, we realized we were in trouble when our GPSs pointed to two different directions... It took a bit of zooming out to figure out that there were differences in routing and streets on both maps, so we had to be a bit smart about deciding which direction to take. In the end, I'm glad we are using two different maps, because neither was totally complete and accurate and we were able to deduce which was the "better" route by comparing zoomed-out maps.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hfzd9HP/0/L/DSC_2369-L.jpg)
Stopping for a snack break

Riding through Belize was quite a contrast to Mexico. The roads were not very well-maintained and the signage was not very helpful. Perhaps we were too used to the "Mexican way" and needed to adjust to a new country. The scenery was so lush with tall un-maintained grass surrounding us as we rode through Northern Belize. We passed several small villages and noticed a lot more multi-culturism here than in Mexico: Caribbean, Mayan, Chinese and lots of Mennonites all over the place! What was up with that?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-h7rbJks/0/L/DSC_2462-L.jpg)
A couple of Mennonite kids were a bit shy when they saw us approaching

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Sc7FXJW/0/L/DSC_2460-L.jpg)
But these schoolkids were not shy at all

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-S5FXFJm/0/L/DSC_2463-L.jpg)
Neda handed out pens to all the kids, but she ran out and this little guy got a small toy instead.
He didn't seem too happy. I think he really wanted a pen...


I did some reading up on the Mennonites in Belize. They originated in Prussia, but fled to other parts of the world in the 1870s when mandatory conscription conflicted with their pacifist beliefs. The Prussian Mennonites that settled in Canada moved further south in 1918 after WWI, when we introduced mandatory conscription as well. They ended up in Mexico, and AGAIN had to leave when in the 1950s, the government insisted that they enroll in the social security programs. The Mennonites finally settled in Belize where they've been since 1958. They've invigorated the agriculture industry here, turning huge tracts of tropical jungles into farmland.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KKPNFSm/0/L/DSCN1510-L.jpg)
Belize City was not so nice

Belize City is a port town only a couple of hours ride from the border. The entire country is tiny, with a population of only 300,000 people, and almost a quarter of the population lives in this city. It used to be the capital until a huge hurricane almost decimated it over 50 years ago. The capital was then moved further inland to Belmopan. As we rode around, we found that the city doesn't seem to have a tourist district, just the port area was done up to cater to the cruise ships docking here on their way to the islands. We decided not to spend too much time here, the city was not very nice and personally, I didn't feel too safe there. We booked into a hotel at the outskirts of town and figured out where to go from here.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sJmwWR4/0/L/DSC_2373-L.jpg)
When in Belize, do as the tourists do: leaving the port of Belize City

We've decided to take a mini-vacation! Parking the bikes at our Belize City hotel, we book a trip on a water-taxi that travels a couple of hours out to San Pedro, on the islands just off the coast. All of our reading say that the beaches there are *the* place to hang out while in Belize.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7cmVXL2/0/L/DSC_2394-L.jpg)
Yay! Vacation-time!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sDf83Vp/0/L/IMG_1670-L.jpg)
Beaches be jealous and all!

Belize is expensive. With their currency pegged 2-to-1 to the US dollar, after conversion everything costs exactly the same as the US. And it's even worse on the island, where we pay US tourist prices for food and accommodations. Neda finds the cheapest hotel on the beach, and we still pay a princely sum for a slice of sunny paradise.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TV2z9kk/0/XL/DSC_2409-XL.jpg)
Walking the streets of San Pedro

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8vrQfVD/0/L/DSC_2407-L.jpg)
Lazy tourists!

The entire strip of San Pedro from north to south is maybe a mile long, but there are golf-carts everywhere shuttling lazy tourists from shop to restaurant to souvenir store. SMH... Actually, aren't I the one that hates hiking? I think maybe Neda is finally rubbing off on me. We walked to the very north end of the island to our hotel and the manager there is surprised that we didn't take a golf cart or taxi...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Vtptv7V/0/L/DSC_2432-L.jpg)
This is our hotel! We really loved it here, but didn't stay longer because it was so expensive!

We spent 4 days on San Pedro being typical tourists, wandering up and down the beach, soaking up the sun and drinking beer on the patios. It was a very relaxing break from our motorcycles - after 8 months of travel, we are beginning to feel a bit fatigued from the constant motion. I think we might be due for a month-long break soon. Somewhere less expensive though...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Rqzr49h/0/L/DSC_2439-L.jpg)
Red Stripe! Irie, Mon! I used to drink this when I was younger, brought back memories!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vjdgDv6/0/L/DSC_2426-L.jpg)
White sandy beaches, azure sky and crystal clear waters - a Caribbean Paradise

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VLDSjv7/0/L/DSC_2435-L.jpg)
Swimming out by the docks

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cHx529R/0/L/DSC_2458-L.jpg)
I searched high and low for a Jamaican restaurant and found one at the south end of the island.
There, we were serenaded with gospel music while we ate jerk chicken with rice and peas!


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bF6JvHt/0/L/IMG_0934-L.jpg)
Fry Jacks for breakfast - a Belizean specialty. Fried, golden dough stuffed with whatever you want inside!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tfqfwfT/0/L/IMG_0933-L.jpg)
Relaxing in hammocks at our hotel...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zWMnbJ2/0/L/DSC_2449-L.jpg)
...Spending the day lounging around, watching all sorts of traffic pass by. Heaven!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on March 13, 2013, 05:45:19 am
Still subscribed. Thanks for posting. Stay safe!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on March 13, 2013, 12:30:04 pm
OMG I hate my cube even more. Snow isn't helping either. Thanks for letting me vacation with you in Belize, if only during lunchtime.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on March 14, 2013, 09:52:31 am
As always, simply fantastic  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on March 14, 2013, 10:35:16 am

OMG I hate my cube even more. Snow isn't helping either. Thanks for letting me vacation with you in Belize, if only during lunchtime.  :bigok:


10-15cm here today.   :rolleyes:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Stickman on March 14, 2013, 10:49:31 am
I check this thread every day.  So grateful you are sharing and allowing me to tour vicariously!  My folks owned a small home - more of a hut really - on the lagoon side of Ambergris for several years, but sold it around y2k.  Absolutely loved those trips and hope you get a chance to snorkel or dive that reef.  It is beautiful!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Fast Blue on March 14, 2013, 02:27:32 pm

OMG I hate my cube even more.   :bigok:



LOL   That broke me up  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on March 15, 2013, 04:08:13 am
I should not be reading this thread while doing after-hours network upgrades.....

(sigh)

Keep it coming.   :D :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mammut89 on March 15, 2013, 05:02:41 pm
just read the whole thread. wow , just wow.

keep the updates comming   :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 16, 2013, 10:31:27 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/79.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rRHCLqB/0/L/map79-L.jpg)

The barrier reef just off the coast of the Belize is the main attraction for tourists. It provides a natural habitat for all sorts of coral and marine wildlife. Scuba and snorkeling are very popular, so on one of our vacation days, we rented a boat to take us underwater sightseeing.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WS28Xm5/0/L/DSCN1518-L.jpg)
As our boat anchored near the reef, it was cool watching the waves from the ocean abruptly stop seemingly in the middle of nowhere

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xMTMFFH/0/L/DSCN1769-L.jpg)
Neda looks like a superheroine! AquaGirl!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-t75t6Ph/0/L/DSCN1536-L.jpg)
AquaGirl chases after a Nurse Shark. Um, is that really a good idea?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vQnJdvB/0/L/DSCN1542-L.jpg)
Chasing after a stingray. Is there no animal dangerous enough for AquaGirl not to chase after?!?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sZ7RgCx/0/L/DSCN1611-L.jpg)
Stingrays and a Nurse Shark have a little conference at the bottom of the seafloor regarding the AquaGirl problen...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K25JqkS/0/L/DSCN1699-L.jpg)
Because I lack the superpowers to chase after sharks and stingrays, this is more my speed...

Our three-hour tour took us to three different locations around the reef, our favorite was Shark Ray Alley, where we saw all the sharks, stingrays and turtles. We also visited Hol Chan and the Coral Gardens, spending about an hour at each location. There was supposed to be another couple on our boat, but since they bailed, we had the whole tour to ourselves, so we stayed in the waters until we were (I was) tired.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MChQFTW/0/L/DSCN1748-L.jpg)
Fish hanging out at a coral

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qdHS5jb/0/L/DSCN1741-L.jpg)
Beautiful giant turtle!

Seeing these grand creatures up close made me a bit emotional, because it made me think back to a couple of months ago when we were at Todos Santos releasing newly-born baby turtles into the ocean. I imagined that these were the all-grown-up versions! It brought a tear to my goggles...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8vxpbZc/0/L/DSCN1689-L.jpg)
If it seems crowded down here, it's because...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-W6RCZ5M/0/XL/DSCN1642-XL.jpg)
... of this guy above us

Apparently this boat comes to the same place every morning to gather conches. This guy removes the meat and throws the shells back into the ocean. He has a deal with the snorkeling tours that every once in a while he'll throw some meat overboard and the marine wildlife go into a feeding frenzy for some yummy snail-snacks. They then get trained to come back to the same spot every single morning. This way the snorkel tours can guarantee that you'll see lots of fish, sharks, stingrays, turtles, etc.

I'm not sure I agree with this practice, but as a tourist, we certainly got a lot of great pictures. Oh, and he fed us some fresh conch meat as well - it was delicious! On second-thought, I whole-heartedly agree with this practice!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9CRzRkd/0/L/DSCN1730-L.jpg)
Chasing after my grown-up baby turtle! "Come back, I want a family portrait!"
You can see the floor lined with conch shells from the fishing boat above.


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7HSdszZ/0/L/DSCN1685-L.jpg)
Neda thinks this is some kind of pufferfish. Has a very human-like face!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mdnpsjd/0/L/DSCN1666-L.jpg)
Giant killer turtle spies lunch in the distance

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NcK2sJG/0/L/DSCN1766-L.jpg)
Skimming the sea floor

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-f4twS6k/0/L/DSCN1657-L.jpg)
Giant turtle convention

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H8QvMFG/0/L/DSCN1644-L.jpg)
Suckerfish attached to the turtles belly, feeding off the scraps the turtle leaves behind

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ttc6qdQ/0/L/DSCN1621-L.jpg)
This guy wrote his name on a stingray. I'm not sure that was very nice, but it looked kinda cool...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-R6vjtLT/0/L/DSCN1597-L.jpg)
Diving around the reefs

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7F9NJM4/0/L/DSCN1602-L.jpg)
Neda says this fish reminds her of Dory from Finding Nemo. I'm getting kinda hungry at this point...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bv6tq6X/0/L/DSCN1557-L.jpg)
Diving around the reefs at the Coral Garden

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gCBDvwc/0/L/DSCN1573-L.jpg)
A lot of these fish are not shy at all, swimming everywhere and brushing up against us

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DmMpMGg/0/L/DSCN1586-L.jpg)
Some fish are shy and hide out in the coral. I suspect these are the ones that taste the best...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZDzP5XG/0/L/DSCN1770-L.jpg)
Diving down to see more coral, the water was so clear even at that depth!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2Hx93x9/0/L/DSCN1783-L.jpg)
Hooligans! The lot of them!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on March 16, 2013, 10:42:50 am
You had fish tacos when you got back to shore right?  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: FBRR on March 16, 2013, 12:01:26 pm
Ever hear of Steve Irwin???


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on March 17, 2013, 05:47:15 am
Fantastic underwater pics  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on March 17, 2013, 08:09:48 am

Fantastic underwater pics  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


I completely agree!
I think that, to my liking ,that was your best adventure, of many great ones!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 17, 2013, 01:22:44 pm
Ever hear of Steve Irwin???


LOL! Neda just finished Skyping with her dad and he saw the pictures of her chasing the stingrays. He got really angry and said exactly the same thing! She had to change the subject quickly...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 17, 2013, 01:23:45 pm
You had fish tacos when you got back to shore right?  :thumbsup:


I'm on a diet... :(

So no tacos, but that boat trip definitely worked up a seafood appetite!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: drc32-0 on March 18, 2013, 04:07:51 pm



(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sZ7RgCx/0/L/DSCN1611-L.jpg)
Stingrays and a Nurse Shark have a little conference at the bottom of the seafloor regarding the AquaGirl problen...
 



 :lol: :lol: :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Virginian on March 19, 2013, 08:38:42 pm
Just pure awesome!  :bigok:

Carry on....


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 20, 2013, 01:10:59 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/80.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MMnQtXQ/0/L/map80-L.jpg)

We would love to have stayed longer in San Pedro, but when we initially entered the country, we had only applied for a 1-week visa, thinking it was such a small country, how long would we need? The 4 day stopover in the islands was entirely unplanned and as we sat in our hammocks on the beach, we regretted only applying for 1 week. I think it worked out in the end, because we probably would have drained all our travel funds in this one place.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QBpGVNj/0/L/DSCN1795-L.jpg)
Neda is Belizeing a path through the lush scenery!

After getting off the water taxi back to Belize City, we rode a very short distance to San Ignacio, which is close to the Belize/Guatemala border. We're stopping here for the evening to get all our documents in order for the border crossing. As we walked around the small tourist area (a single street) in San Ignacio, we noticed we were in the company of a lot of foreign tourists. We eavesdropped on a few of them and recognized that subtle Canadian accent that separated them from Americans - also the way Canadians always end their sentences on a higher pitch, as if constantly asking a question.

Belize is very popular with North Americans because the primary language here is English, even though more than half of the population speaks Spanish.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2XRNb8D/0/L/DSC_2467-L.jpg)
Neda makes a new friend while walking around San Ignacio

There's not much to see in the town of San Ignacio. It's more of a hub for the tours that fan out to see the Tikal ruins or cave tubing or other adventure sports in the area. Since we blew our budget in San Pedro, we're going to skip Tikal and head straight for the Guatemala border the next morning. That, and our 7-day Belizean insurance expires on Feb-29-2013. There is no Feb-29th! So because of an insurance slip-up, we're leaving on the 28th, just to "insure" we don't run into any problems!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Xq76mzd/0/L/DSCN1803-L.jpg)
Bye-Bye San Igancio, we're going to Guatemala!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SjMfh3d/0/L/DSC_2488-L.jpg)
Roadside stop to pet a horsie...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3bsXnHb/0/L/DSCN1811-L.jpg)
Aduana (Customs) at the Belize/Guatemala border

The Guatemala customs border was fairly easy, at least according to Neda as she did all the talking, since she was the Spanish-language expert. I noticed that the border official we were dealing with was originally very cool towards us, almost annoyed at us, until Neda started speaking fluent Espanol. Then instantly he warmed up to us. Actually he warmed up to Neda. He was still annoyed at my amateurish attempts to speak Spanish. So I just shut up and tried to stay out of the way as Neda got us out of Belize and into Guatemala in a heartbeat, telling jokes and charming all the border people in Spanish.

I think this is the primary reason why people report so much difficulty crossing Central American borders - not being able to communicate in the official language.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KhdTbpP/0/L/DSCN1812-L.jpg)
Ta-DA! We don't need no steenkin helpers, we have a Neda!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z34NjLF/0/L/DSCN1817-L.jpg)
Amazing roads in Guatemala

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-98FL85v/0/L/DSCN1822-L.jpg)
Passing lots of farmland in the north of Guatemala

We're kind of heading south-west, back towards the Mexican border, trying to get as much distance done today. The roads are in way better shape than Belize, and it surprised us a bit. Quite a lot of twists and turns along the way which made us happy as well. There's a bit of a discrepancy between our two GPS maps. Neda's map routes us quite a distance to the south, while mind shaves off 150kms and seems like it's a more direct route.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Wt6fLTv/0/L/DSCN1830-L.jpg)
This is the reason - ferry crossing at Sayaxche

Turns out Neda's map didn't know there was a ferry to take us across at Sayaxche, while mine did. I'm glad we've got two different maps to consult. The ferry was powered by a small outboard motor off towards the side!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6krB8P7/0/L/DSC_2510-L.jpg)
10 minutes waiting for the ferry to load, 5 minutes to cross

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pCScVZL/0/L/DSCN1837-L.jpg)
Riding through Sayaxche

We were running low on Quetzals, since we didn't buy too many from the money changers running around at the border, fearing that they'd rip us off with exorbitant exchange rates. Unfortunately, my bank card doesn't seem to work in Guatemala, something that Kari (fellow Canuck we met in Oaxaca) had warned me about over e-mail. So Neda is officially our money person for this country.

I am feeling a bit like a useless appendage on this leg of our trip. My wife plans the route, finds the hotels, does all the border crossings and gets all the money. All I do is take pictures...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7S7PnMb/0/XL/DSC_2517-XL.jpg)
Posing in Sayaxche

It was getting pretty late so we decide to stop in Sayaxche for the evening. We found a casita just outside of town to stay for the night. The owner had twin 10-year-old boys who clamoured around the motorcycles and peppered me with a million and one questions in Spanish. Since Neda was already busy talking to someone else, I had to fend for myself.

Guatemalan Spanish sounds a lot different than the Mexican Spanish I had learned in La Paz, so I had no idea what these two boys were asking me, which frustrated both of them! They brought out their English textbooks but because they only studied family members, were only able to ask if I had a grandmother, a sister, a nephew... Finally Neda finished up and was able to translate for them: they wanted a ride around the block on the back of the bike!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NjPS2Gv/0/L/DSC_2522-L.jpg)
Taking one of the twins out for a spin around the block

So I made them a deal: they could each take turns sitting in the back if they guided me into town and then helped me with my Espanol so I could buy groceries for dinner.

To further thank them, I also bought them some chocolate, so I think I've made some friends for life..

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gVPvqGJ/0/L/DSC_2530-L.jpg)
Renaldo and Rivaldo hanging out in our room playing video games on our computers and iPhones.
When their mother called them out to finish their homework, they were very disappointed!


I took each of the twins out separately to the corner store for chocolate. The second twin was very sneaky - while in town, he wanted to extend his ride a bit longer so he made me do 7 left-hand turns in a row... all the while the GPS in front of me was drawing nice overlapping squares all over the map... :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: coho on March 20, 2013, 02:42:51 am
Quote from: lightcycle
I took each of the twins out separately to the corner store for chocolate. The second twin was very sneaky - while in town, he wanted to extend his ride a bit longer so he made me do 7 left-hand turns in a row... all the while the GPS in front of me was drawing nice overlapping squares all over the map... Smile

Cheeky monkey!  :lol:



Keep on living the dream, we're all vicariously riding with you. (http://photos.imageevent.com/motorbiker/smily/ride-bumps.gif)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on March 21, 2013, 11:59:49 am
As coho said, you're living the dream of all of us - and doing it with a beautiful woman  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Biking Sailor on March 21, 2013, 01:23:14 pm
"The second twin was very sneaky - while in town, he wanted to extend his ride a bit longer so he made me do 7 left-hand turns in a row... all the while the GPS in front of me was drawing nice overlapping squares all over the map... "

That's really great!  Of course, as motorcycle enthusiasts, who are we to blame them?   Special that you could make friends and expose them to motorcycle touring.   :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 23, 2013, 11:20:52 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/81.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mm2qHm5/0/L/map81-L.jpg)

We've got a couple of travel days ahead of us, as we are booked for more Spanish school in Quetzeltenango in the south of Guatemala next week. Since we're dropping into the country at the very north end, we've got some mileage to do, so not a lot of pictures off the bike.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JgVgzPF/0/L/DSCN1841-L.jpg)
We ride through many villages, some tiny, others a bit larger

It's a rainy ride through the northern department (states are called departments in Guatemala) of Peten. The first time we've ridden in rain for months. The land here is very flat but the hills start to turn into mountains, as we enter the central highlands of the southern region.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5NfNBrq/0/L/DSC_2532-L.jpg)
Vast tracts of farmland everywhere! Guatemala is so lush!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-29Msx2J/0/L/DSC_2539-L.jpg)
Weather is slightly cooler, so we didn't mind donning our rainsuits

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CdWDc2r/0/L/DSC_2548-L.jpg)
Women carrying bowls of corn on their head. If they were carrying jars, the jars were always painted with stripes

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CJ4nKWZ/0/XL/DSC_2555-XL.jpg)
Hilly terrain in the background

Our stop for the evening is in a town called Coban, in the department of Alta Verapaz. Instead of looking for accommodations right away, we ate a late lunch in a restaurant. When we came out to the bikes, Neda exclaimed, "Oh no! One of my dry bags must have fallen off!" Upon inspection, someone had cut the Rok-Straps holding the bag onto the sidecase and made off with a sleeping bag and pillow. Most of the stuff not in our hardcases are just clothing, sleeping bags and camping equipment. Nothing that we'd thought we'd be too bummed out about if they were stolen.

Until it was stolen... It's still a hassle having to replace it, and the Drybag and the Rok-Straps are not as easy to find around here. So we are kind of bummed. I'm thinking about getting a PacSafe to secure our drybags, but I'm not sure if it's worth the hassle of locking and unlocking every night.

The thief hid between Neda's bike and a parked car next to it while he worked away at cutting the straps holding the drybag down. Since we parked on a quiet side-street, they took advantage of the fact that there was little traffic around the area. We are parking in the middle of crowded streets next time!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8fFBk5t/0/L/DSC_2558-L.jpg)
Some colonial buildings in downtown Coban

After finding a hotel, we walked through the markets in Coban and Neda told me she was half-hoping to find her sleeping bag for sale in one of the stalls!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Hs3Hpjs/0/XL/DSC_2559-XL.jpg)
Walking the wet streets of Coban

Our next riding day to Quetzaltenango was much dryer. Neda's GPS pointed to a 450 km round about way all the way south-east, through Guatemala City and then back west again. My GPS had a much shorter route, although it wasn't on a highway, was only 250 kms! Since we had good luck with my map on the way to Sayaxche, we decided to follow my GPS again.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Gc6gS73/0/XL/DSCN1879-XL.jpg)
Stuck in a religious parade in the streets of one of the villages we rode through

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nG8FtP5/0/L/DSCN1880-L.jpg)
Neda's bike looks unbalanced without the right drybag

Not to spend too much time dwelling on the stolen drybag, since we've basically shrugged it off by now  - there's a saying, "Don't bring anything that you can't afford to lose". However, there were two drybags on Neda's bike, one containing my sleeping bag and an old ratty pillow that Neda's been trying to get me throw out but I love it cause it's so comfortable. The other contains Neda's sleeping bag and a special orthopedic pillow that you can fill with water. This was given to us by a friend before we left. And of course, this was the one that was stolen...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3jNXrcm/0/L/DSCN1884-L.jpg)
The road is getting a bit gravelly... But the scenery rocks! I mean, there are a lot of rocks here...

The northern road through the mountains of the central highlands turns from broken asphalt to hard packed gravel, and then mud and loose stone. We have to make it to Quetzaltenango to meet our host family in the evening, and our estimated time of arrival is not looking very realistic given the terrain.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7tHBvxz/0/L/DSCN1888-L.jpg)
Steep drop on the left as we encounter wide traffic ahead

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GgsVMT3/0/L/DSCN1890-L.jpg)
She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wCFtFx4/0/L/DSCN1892-L.jpg)
Amazing views! We are glad we took this route instead of the highway, but it's taking a lot of time

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PrgLDXp/0/L/DSCN1897-L.jpg)
"'Let's take the shortcut', he says.
'This'll save us some time', he says..."


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dkV9cnG/0/L/DSCN1898-L.jpg)
Oh, and also mud. Next to sand, our favorite terrain...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SVzWgCc/0/L/DSCN1900-L.jpg)
Some really tiny villages

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HzwTQXB/0/L/DSCN1923-L.jpg)
And then a bridge. Is that pavement at the other end?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sPQMN4c/0/L/DSCN1932-L.jpg)
Pavement!

We were going to be a couple of hours late, so at a restaurant in one of the villages we passed through, we borrowed a phone and called the school to let them know. We arrived in Quetzeltenango late in the evening, with the temperatures dropping to single digits. Shivering in the town square, we waited for our host family to arrive and take us to a warm home.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on March 23, 2013, 01:32:01 pm
...We arrived in Quetzeltenango late in the evening, with the temperatures dropping to single digits. Shivering in the town square, we waited for our host family to arrive and take us to a warm home.



Single digits!  :eek:

Oh, that's right. You use that crazy metric system.  :D

What's the price of bananas down there?



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on March 23, 2013, 08:23:31 pm
 :bigok:

Glad you could shrug off the theft. Enjoying every installment while waiting for the snow here to melt!

This is one of the best ride reports I have read.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mammut89 on March 24, 2013, 03:42:48 am
great pics  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on March 24, 2013, 04:35:15 am
wow, that mountain road was awesome! good choice!  :thumbsup:

a wise soul once told me that the only thing you see on the highway is................more highway.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 25, 2013, 02:44:02 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/82.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-t7nKqkJ/0/L/map82-L.jpg)

Quetzeltenango is quite a mouthful, but the town is also known as Xela (Shay-La), its indigenous name. It's the second largest city in Guatemala, and it's where we're going to stay for the next week learning more Spanish. As in most Latin American towns, the main square, called Parque Central is where most of the people congregate, day and night, and after classes we take the opportunity to walk around and people-watch.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NbMgL5X/0/L/DSC_2738-L.jpg)
This church is called Iglesia del Espiritu Santu

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WhgGgLC/0/L/DSC_2746-L.jpg)
Candles vendor outside the church

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wPdw5XV/0/XL/DSC_2725-XL.jpg)
Intense lunch break at Parque Central

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ttwrSgC/0/L/DSC_2701-L.jpg)
More leisurely lunch break, man's best friend in tow

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-85TMrQC/0/L/DSC_2586-L.jpg)
Neda's Spanish teacher, Susanne. Hours of fun dialog everyday!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6xmxJLd/0/XL/DSC_2940-XL.jpg)
Our Spanish school has tables scattered all over the building, with teachers and students paired off one-on-one

Xela is quite a popular place for Spanish classes. Since it's a university town, there's an air of scholarliness everywhere, and it's not uncommon to see coffee shops and diners filled with students deep in study in a textbook. And the tuition fees are a fraction of what we paid in La Paz! We are amazed at the disparity in prices between the two countries. Mexico now seems like a such first-world country compared to Guatemala in terms of the modernity but also how expensive everything was!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xnT4hs2/0/L/DSC_2751-L.jpg)
Shopping in the market after classes, schoolbooks in hand

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dFpLRVL/0/XL/DSC_2765-XL.jpg)
Street vendors having a yak and a laugh

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KzwGSfg/0/XL/DSC_2774-XL.jpg)
Waiting for a bus

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JMkCBxF/0/XL/DSC_2595-XL.jpg)
A couple of fellow students took us to their favorite Mennonite bakery. Yummy pastries here!

Spanish is still coming very slowly for me. The accent is a little different from Mexico (they say Guatemalans speak a purer form of Spanish, closer to Spain), and some words are bit different here. Plus I'm not a very scholarly person to begin with... I barely scraped by in school and had (still have) trouble sitting still for long periods of time and concentrating on a single task. Neda is the complete opposite and if she had her wish, she'd be a student for life.

What I really enjoyed about our Spanish school was that every evening, they had extra-curricular activities planned. One night we took some Salsa lessons, and another day, Mario, my Spanish teacher, took us sightseeing. We hiked to the top of a lava dome called El Baul, overlooking Xela to get a better view of the city.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bVjj7Rr/0/XL/DSC_2662-XL.jpg)
The view was nice, but these slides at the top were way more fun! Neda may be a bright Spanish student, but she's a little slow at slides...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fX5QH4h/0/XL/DSC_2958-XL.jpg)
March beneath our school windows for International Women's Day

Another trivial comparison between Mexico and Guatemala are the size of the food portions. Both our homestay and restaurant meals were very modest-sized and made our Mexican meals seem Texas-Super-Sized. Because I lack self-control when it comes to eating, I'm very glad that the portions here are normal-size and I can feel myself losing the Taco-Gut I gained in Mexico.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2Pzt4vt/0/L/DSC_2573-L.jpg)
Night-time brings out amazing colours in the old city

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-C6j8rB2/0/L/DSC_2947-L.jpg)
We passed by this vendor's stall every day on the way home from school

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Q4Knrsz/0/L/DSC_2968-L.jpg)
Buildings around Parque Central

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SgF6pRb/0/L/DSC_2969-L.jpg)
Our school is located inside a beautiful colonial building called Pasaje Enriquez, right in the Parque Central. On the ground floor are several bars and restaurants

On another evening, our school organized a dinner for all the staff and students, and we spent the evening getting to know each other. This was such an amazing opportunity to hear stories very similar to our own. Travellers to Guatemala seem to share that very rare sense of adventure and we all nodded our heads to the familiar questions from back home: "Why on earth do you want to go to Guatemala/Central America/etc?" It was a question that none of us needed to answer, as we already knew.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-V3fk8RJ/0/L/DSC_2972-L.jpg)
Birds of a feather, flocking together over dinner

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NXvD9PR/0/L/DSC_2973-L.jpg)
After dinner, we went out to enjoy Xela's very vibrant nightlife

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QwDjvH7/0/L/DSC_2976-L.jpg)
Students and teachers mingle in a nightclub

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6xsFSC5/0/XL/DSC_2979-XL.jpg)
Peruvian pan flute provides a soundtrack to our lively evening


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Stickman on March 25, 2013, 10:06:46 am
I am amazed by your trip.  I am hoping you get to Guatemala City via Villa Nueva because my daughter was born there and I have not seen alot of pictures from there.  When she is older I am hoping we can go back and show her around.  Thank you so much for sharing your journey!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 27, 2013, 11:12:58 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/83.html


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DzdNWXp/0/L/map83-L.jpg)

During the middle of the week our Spanish teachers, Susanne and Mario, take us out on a field trip to a local town just outside of Xela called San Andres Xecul to practice our Espanol.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4F5VbHd/0/L/DSC_2782-L.jpg)
Waiting for our "bus" to fill up before heading out

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DsxdbbG/0/L/DSC_2784-L.jpg)
And we're off! Transportation Guatemala-stylez!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-c4gqN4J/0/L/DSC_2863-L.jpg)
View of San Andres Xecul from the top of the hill

San Andres Xecul is a quaint little town set against the mountainside of the Guatemalan highlands. It's famous for its brightly coloured yellow church. After the Spanish invaded Central America, there was much suspicion of the Catholic church, so as a peace offering, this church was painted in indigenous colours to entice them to attend.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kw5cJSG/0/XL/DSC_2812-XL.jpg)
Thursday is market day, so the town square was filled with women either selling or buying stuff. And children supervising the process...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SNs67QG/0/L/DSC_2797-L.jpg)
Candles sold outside the church

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4W3Xccm/0/XL/DSC_2819-XL.jpg)
Spanish hymns were softly sung at the front of the church, the devotion is palpable in the air.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zz3H3kk/0/L/DSC_2935-L.jpg)
Most of the women wore the colourful, traditional clothing of the indigenous Maya

My teacher, Mario, is very knowledgeable about the history of the Maya. He told us that to this day, the indigenous population is largely discriminated against by the rest of Guatemala and treated very poorly. The main differentiator between the Mayans and the rest of the society is their native clothing, and some modern Maya (mainly the men) have given up traditional garb in order escape discrimination and to secure jobs. The women face less pressure as they either work in the markets or look after the children, and are more able to display the clothing of their past with pride.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pMCWC2f/0/L/DSC_2828-L.jpg)
Rearranging the "storefront"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jkzgnXG/0/L/DSC_2832-L.jpg)
Personal grooming is very important in sales

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7Gx3LdL/0/XL/DSC_2853-XL.jpg)
Accompanying mom to the market

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8FmJWpk/0/L/DSC_2837-L.jpg)
Brightly coloured church overlooks all market transactions

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XzdTRqH/0/XL/DSC_2843-XL.jpg)
Trying to get a good deal...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Jv69J2Z/0/XL/DSC_2881-XL.jpg)
So much character in the people and the streets of San Andres Xecul

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dQtpKnc/0/L/DSC_2890-L.jpg)
San Simon - not your average Saint...

Mario took us to a private residence, and we walked through someone's living room, through their backyard into a shed where a shrine was set up to the Mayan god, San Simon. Worshiped by the ancient Mayans as a symbol of male sexual power, today he is depicted as a man dressed in 20th century clothing, smoking a cigarette with bottles of booze around his waist, sometimes carrying a rifle. I am not joking.

San Simon has been denounced by the Catholic church and he has been identified with Judas Iscariot. All this makes the "outlaw saint" even more popular with the indigenous population. Many shrines are set up in private houses hidden away from the authorities, and different coloured candles are sold to visitors so that they can be burned at his feet to bring success, wealth and power.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sq4SQWc/0/L/DSC_2904-L.jpg)
Our teacher Mario looks on, while Neda asks San Simon for his blessings in our travels

Different coloured candles signify different meanings. Blue is supposed to bring good luck for travel, white is for spiritual well-being, yellow is for personal protection and red is for luck in love. There are also black candles, and those are meant to wish ill will or harm to others! San Simon is not really a saint, but an amoral Mayan god that is supposed to grant all wishes, good or bad.

It's easy to see the allure of such a deity amongst the downtrodden indigenous population.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Cq5m3Ds/0/L/DSC_2906-L.jpg)
The "patron saint of drunkards and gamblers" looks on in satisfaction while our candles burn at his feet.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cSS5XFS/0/XL/DSC_2925-XL.jpg)
The ground is covered in melted wax from all the other visitors who have come here with candles in hand and prayers in their hearts.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 27, 2013, 11:14:11 am

I am hoping you get to Guatemala City via Villa Nueva because my daughter was born there and I have not seen alot of pictures from there.


Are you from Guatemala? The country is so beautiful, we've fallen in love with it!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Stickman on March 27, 2013, 12:37:03 pm
No - we adopted our daughter who is from Guatemala the day she was born.  We didn't have an opportunity to travel the countryside when we visited as time was short.  It is such a geographically diverse and beautiful country, though!  Also, the roads appear to be in much better condition than we had assumed.  We plan on extended visits with our daughter when she is a little older.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on March 27, 2013, 04:33:19 pm
(sigh)

This thread has been gradually chipping away at my resolve to stick with the FJR. More and more, I find myself wanting a GS or Super Tenere.

If my bank account takes a hit, I'm holding you both personally responsible.  :bigok:  :beerchug:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on March 27, 2013, 06:30:11 pm

This thread has been gradually chipping away at my resolve to stick with the FJR. More and more, I find myself wanting a GS or Super Tenere.

If my bank account takes a hit, I'm holding you both personally responsible.


Do it! We'll take full responsibility (morally, not financially)...

I've rented a lot of Sport-Tourers, but I never owned one. Loved my sportbikes too much. Neda rode a R1200ST for many years before switching to a dual-sport and she's never looked back.

I think a lot of ST guys are switching to dual-sports because they are a lot more comfortable and give you more flexibility in the terrain you're able to cover. Seems to be one of the fastest growing segments in motorcycle sales. You sacrifice a little bit in terms of aggressive seating position in the twisties and horsepower, but we used to do a lot of track days to exorcise those heavy right hand demons.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on March 27, 2013, 06:48:19 pm
http://www.luckymojo.com/maximon.html


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on March 27, 2013, 09:23:17 pm
Interesting how folklore tales have a lot of similarity....



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: FJR-UK on March 29, 2013, 03:47:25 pm
San Simon and yellow churches. Almost enough to make me religious!  :bigok:

GREAT trip report. Thanks.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Magnarider on April 01, 2013, 11:48:06 am
 :bigok: This report is FANTASTIC!  :bigok: Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you guys, it's been my vice between calls at work for about a week! Looking forward to the next update!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 02, 2013, 06:29:52 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/84.html

(http:// http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3TvnGST/0/L/map84-L.jpg)

We met Craig and Chihiro at our Spanish school in Xela and got along really well. They're also two wandering souls who have travelled much of the world together and by themselves, so we had a great time comparing notes. They were going to visit Las Fuentes Georginas hot springs outside of Xela on the weekend, so they invited us to come along!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B9vwkC7/0/L/DSC_2991-L.jpg)
We boarded a Chicken Bus with a whole bunch of indigenous women!

The primary mode of public transportation in Guatemala is a Chicken Bus. Not Pollo Autobus, they actually call it a Chicken Bus. It's usually a retired American school bus that's failed safety and emissions tests. We play a game of Rate The Chicken Bus as we pass them. We boo and hiss at the ones that still have the yellow paint showing and very little decorations and cheer the buses that are multi-coloured and are blinged out with chrome and additional foglights.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CZn2z2x/0/L/DSC_3011-L.jpg)
This is actually a poor example of a Chicken Bus. Not decorated enough...

We're on our way to the town of Zunil, at the base of the hills where the hot springs are located. Along the way we pass many farms and workers in the field.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zDBBj2H/0/L/DSC_2992-L.jpg)
Patchwork of farmland outside the town of Zunil

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SwMkL4C/0/L/DSC_3000-L.jpg)
Workers harvesting green onions

From Zunil, we negotiated a truck ride up to the hillside spa. It's a narrow, twisty road and we regretted not bringing the bikes, but we wanted to be social and spend the day with Craig and Chihiro. What started out as a simple trip to a hot springs actually turned out to be an agricultural tour.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X8hPWjQ/0/L/DSC_3046-L.jpg)
Thoroughly enjoying riding in the back of a truck!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PLfDDqb/0/L/DSC_3042-L.jpg)
Taken from the back of the moving truck!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fqhJJkM/0/L/DSC_3036-L.jpg)
As we climbed higher, the farmland started to resemble a colourful quilt

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XzgLV46/0/L/DSC_3048-L.jpg)
Surprised to see how far up the tracts of farmland extend up the sides of the hill

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6CkNHbz/0/L/DSC_3063-L.jpg)
Some of the tracts must have been almost vertical!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-msP38bf/0/L/DSC_3065-L.jpg)
We weren't the only ones enjoying the view

I think we got a very skewed view of agriculture in Guatemala, because when I did some research later on, I was surprised to learn that the country cannot grow enough crops to feed their own population, having to import grains and other foods. Although we were travelling through fertile lands, there is a large swath of the country to the north called the Dry Corridor, which receives very little rainfall and is prone to chronic drought.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hgCzKjW/0/XL/DSC_3072-XL.jpg)
Arriving at Las Fuentes Georginas

The air up here is misty as we pay the foreigner prices (double what the locals pay) to enter what looks to be a very exclusive spa. Well-fed locals hang out at the pools that are fed by thermal springs from the Zunil volcano. They're joined by a busload of college kids from the US. Although it's a very picturesque site with relaxing hot waters, it's not probably something regular Guatemalans are able to visit. In Zunil, there are dirty bath houses with small concrete basins that are fed thermal hot water from hoses. These are types of luxuries that that the regular townsfolk treat themselves to.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9WZGh6J/0/L/DSC_3075-L.jpg)
Nice lookouts at the Fuentes Georginas spa

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-W5R35rx/0/XL/DSC_3078-XL.jpg)
The main pool, temperature must be about 40C

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-G87R3F4/0/L/DSCN1936-L.jpg)
Neda confirms it: 40C!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vkRCDvH/0/L/DSCN1939-L.jpg)
After a while you get used to the heat

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RPtSnM2/0/XL/DSCN1946-XL.jpg)
Neda doesn't want to leave

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WfhfvCQ/0/XL/DSCN1951-XL.jpg)
Last look at Las Fuentes Georginas

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Jm2PHqj/0/L/DSC_3100-L.jpg)
Having a good time back in Xela. Having dinner in our new favorite restaurant owned by a Singaporean woman, specializing in all Asian cuisine!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on April 03, 2013, 01:32:22 pm
 :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: eastbowl on April 03, 2013, 08:38:22 pm
Still amazed.....  wow.  Thanks for continuing to share your journey.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: mammut89 on April 06, 2013, 03:53:50 am
that looked refreshing and calming


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 07, 2013, 02:22:40 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/85.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-PKF2q8g/0/L/map85-L.jpg)

After a week of Spanish classes in Xela, we get back on our motorcycles and explore Guatemala a bit more. Pananjachel is about an hour and a half outside of Xela, on a very entertaining twisty road up and through the mountains of the highlands.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MKXDTDJ/0/L/DSCN1959-L.jpg)
Misty mountainside - temperatures got quite cold, dipping to single digits!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-q7Xmjnk/0/L/DSCN1966-L.jpg)
Passing by many fields covering the landscape of the Guatemalan Highlands

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-x9wc8m6/0/L/DSCN1969-L.jpg)
Cheers for the bling on this Chicken Bus!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QZZv2st/0/L/DSCN1974-L.jpg)
Winner, Winner, Chicken (bus) Dinner!

We got a bit lost in Pana, looking for the hostel that the the folks in Xela recommended. It was quite a claustrophic adventure navigating the many tiny alleyways off the main Calle Santander, some of them small enough to only fit a Tuk Tuk or motorcycle - traffic has to wait at either end of the street until one vehicle has made it through!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sLzL29v/0/L/DSCN1975-L.jpg)
Looking for our hostel

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jzTnThw/0/L/DSCN1978-L.jpg)
Uh oh, dead end. Believe or not, my 12GS did a 3-point turn to get out! No, actually, it was a 12-point turn...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5ZMkqvN/0/L/DSCN1979-L.jpg)
Neda gets some helpful directions

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RK9qn6d/0/L/IMG_1810-L.jpg)
So narrow!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-R3PvQD5/0/XL/DSCN1985-XL.jpg)
Finally, we found our hostel and the parking lot is narrower than the streets!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-p24hs9K/0/L/IMG_0951-L.jpg)
The hostel employs a colourful security guard that yells out "Hola!" whenever anyone gets close to our bikes

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JcwjmWk/0/XL/DSC_3118-XL.jpg)
Vendors selling clothing off Calle Santander, Panajachel's main street

Panajachel is mainly known for its street vendors and markets, and is a popular place to launch trips across Lake Atitlan to other locations, like San Pedro. We are only here for four days, so we just hang around town, walking around the stalls and sampling some of the delicious food.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hjPJH2r/0/L/malaysian-L.jpg)
Hanging out with Ling, the owner of Chinitas

While we were in Panajachel, Guatemala, we ate dinner at a fantastic Malaysian restaurant. The owner came out to greet us and was surprised and delighted to find out I was Malaysian as well. Free dessert for the Malaysian Customer of the Day -- cause there are so many that come in every single day... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vmJ7ZjK/0/L/IMG_1831-L.jpg)
Surrounded by volcanoes, Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America

The people walking around here are a curious mix of indigenous Maya vendors, typical gringo tourists and hippie residents that migrated here in the 60s. They left in droves after war broke out, but repopulated again in the mid-90s. In Xela, we talked with our teachers and they remembered the civil war vividly, about how families were torn apart, sons of the villages drafted by the military to kill their own townspeople or be killed themselves. It was such a sad history that is still remembered by anyone over the age of 30.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pkg3Tw6/0/L/DSC_3120-L.jpg)
Tuk Tuks drafting through the streets of Panajachel

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qd6GMVm/0/L/DSC_3123-L.jpg)
Hey, it's the same Chicken Bus we saw on the road to Pana!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k2CTTmJ/0/L/DSC_3125-L.jpg)
Lorenzo's Land

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-92K6WDw/0/XL/DSC_3127-XL.jpg)
Trying to find a nice wrap to go with his shoes

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fbn5vNq/0/L/DSC_3167-L.jpg)
Getting my finger chewed on by a cute puppy

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8LhPkzX/0/L/DSC_3189-L.jpg)
Neda does some chain maintenance with a little help from Ashley Heins---

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RNjwJfp/0/L/IMG_0956-L.jpg)
Our hostel has a kitchen, so Neda whipped us up a great salad and we ate with our bikes


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on April 07, 2013, 02:31:27 pm
wow, those narrow streets are different! and love the parrot.

you should get him to say HOSER or ABOOT before you leave.   :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DogBoy on April 07, 2013, 07:04:34 pm


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-k2CTTmJ/0/L/DSC_3125-L.jpg)
Lorenzo's Land



Love it!

And still loving every word and photo of your report.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 09, 2013, 08:26:35 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/86.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NG2Pqm9/0/L/map86-L.jpg)

We never wanted this trip to be a trek. We didn't want our blog to read "xx miles, xx countries in xx days" because that was like all our other motorcycle trips, rushing through exotic countries and only seeing the 200 feet on either side of the road as we sped towards the end of our allotted vacation days for the year.

Unfortunately, we had made an appointment many months ago, that at the time seemed to give us a lot of leeway to meander on our journey. Lately, the clock has started ticking down and we find ourselves running out of runway, as there are a couple thousand kms and 5 border crossings we have to make in the next 10 days. Impossible, given our current pace.

We've made the decision to come straight back to Central America after our appointment - there is just too much that we're missing. So I've condensed the next week and a half of travels into a single entry because it sucks too much to spend a lot of time on it. And also we didn't really see anything...

Here are some notes on our trip down the PanAmerican Highway:

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7XbjDc6/0/XL/DSCN1988-XL.jpg)
Taking the dog out for a spin

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wfgw3rj/0/L/DSCN1992-L.jpg)
Group ride out of Pana!

We left hastily out of Pana. In the rush, I lost a really good pair of earphones. I know, blah blah, first world problems... We feel like we're being torn away from Guatemala without having seen everything we wanted to see, so this is exactly where we're going to return to, to resume our Central American tour.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fc7ckD5/0/L/DSCN1999-L.jpg)
Accident on the PanAm in Guatemala

The PanAmerican Highway is not really one defined road, but a collection of routes that span from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska all the way to the southern tip of Argentina. Despite many detours along the way, we've basically followed the PanAm on our trip after criss-crossing Canada. Through Central America, it's a fairly well-maintained stretch of pavement with some interesting sections that pass through mountains and volcanoes, but on our return, it would be nice to see what else lies off this well-beaten path.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-F65Znbt/0/L/DSCN2011-L.jpg)
Aduana at the El Salvador border

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-V7bprs9/0/L/IMG_0959-L.jpg)
Aduana is Spanish for "nap"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kqSjHk6/0/L/DSCN2012-L.jpg)
Finally, we're through!

Crossing into El Salvador, we are delayed because the Vehicle Importation Computer is down. We sit for four hours waiting for the system to come back up and by the time we get through the border, the sun is getting lower in the sky. We don't want to travel at night, so in desperation we book into an Auto Hotel just outside of San Salvador.

The infamous Auto Hotel in Central America is also called a Love Hotel, and is usually rented out by the hour, if you get what I mean... Each room has its own private garage with a door that closes. We thought it was for security, but it's really to hide the license plate of the car parked there for a few hours.

All communication with hotel staff is done through a small cupboard at one end of the room with doors inside the room and outside into the office. You never have to see or speak to staff, just deposit your money in the cupboard, close the door, they open it on the other side and deposit towels and soaps (and condoms) for you. Mirrors are strategically placed beside the bed and there is a paper towel dispenser within reach to clean up any messes.

I thought it was hilarious! Neda was kinda grossed out. We slept in the one remaining sleeping bag that wasn't stolen back in Guatemala...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BzVNmD4/0/L/DSCN2022-L.jpg)
Our most memorable crossing, and not for good reasons... Honduras

El Salvador came and went in a day, and I was battling fatigue because I didn't get a good night's sleep in the Love Hotel. I must have also picked up a flu overnight, but we forged ahead to the Honduras. Despite it being very early in the day, I wanted to stop and find a place to sleep before reaching the border to recuperate, but Neda was convinced we could cross two borders in one day and reach Nicaragua for the evening. I wasn't feeling up to it, but since Neda was doing all the work at the immigration and customs offices, my only duty was to stay conscious and keep the bike upright.

As we approached Honduras, we were swarmed by a mob of "helpers" offering to speed us through all the red tape for a fee. Most dropped away when they heard Neda's fluent Spanish, but one hung on despite our polite refusal, following us from office to office peppering us with helpful tips and hints, hoping to guilt us into paying him... Nice try...

Through my feverish haze, I saw Neda run back and forth through 3 or 4 different offices trying to get our bikes stamped into the country. Everytime I asked what she was doing, she replied, "Making photocopies!" Apparently, in this day and age when EVERYTHING is computerized, Central American governments have invested heavily in shares of Xerox and Domtar...

I was in charge of holding the documents as we biked from immigration to customs. When you carry everything you own on a motorcycle, every item has its place. Because we were changing our routine, I was now keeping our documents in my tankbag instead of in one of the lockable cases. Which meant that my motorcycle gloves, which I normally keep in my tankbag, were now in... I still have no idea...

Those were really good gloves, too.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-43j5t3v/0/L/DSCN2031-L.jpg)
Motoring through Honduras - elapsed time in the country: 2.5 hours

We raced through the tiny stretch of the PanAm in Honduras and reached the Nicaraguan border very late in the day and I was a bit upset that we would be riding through the dark to reach the hotel we had reserved. Throughout the last couple of days, we've been bickering at each other, especially at border crossings. It's a stressful time getting yourselves through, much less importing a vehicle into the country as well. I was dealing with a flu and feeling frustrated that I was unable to help because of my inadequate Spanish. Add to it that I'm not coping very well with the heat and humidity and Neda doesn't cope very well when she's hungry...

This is not fun for either of us. It's not even fun writing this down and I just want to end this entry but it's important to have a record of all this "not fun" later. Much later...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dbBQJ97/0/L/DSCN2039-L.jpg)
Aduana at Nicaragua

Some helpers approach us at the Nicaraguan border, but not as many as at the Honduras. It seems that the Honduran border is the most complicated process to negotiate in Central America, and the number of helpers reflect that. El Salvador was easy - no helpers there. So now when we approach a new border crossing, we can gauge how easy it will be by how many helpers swarm us! Useful, practical information!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CPCcrGf/0/L/DSCN2042-L.jpg)
Nicaragua. yay. *yawn*

Having knocked down 3 of 5 border crossings, we bought ourselves a little downtime - especially for me to get over my flu. We stopped for a few nights in Estelie, Nicaragua - actually for a couple of nights longer than we expected we would because I gave Neda my flu. So we were both bedridden at the same time. OMG, so much UnFUN, I can't handle it!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5f5c55n/0/L/DSCN2051-L.jpg)
Motoring through Nicaragua

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vtKqBtr/0/L/DSCN2053-L.jpg)
"Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, Here I am at..."

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-thwVpzf/0/L/DSCN2057-L.jpg)
Perhaps the only picture we took of Granada. Didn't see a thing...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tGfcVjV/0/L/DSCN2065-L.jpg)
Next border, Costa Rica. Didn't see a thing. But it was the most expensive nothing we saw...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zqBSx42/0/L/DSCN2079-L.jpg)
Somwhere along the way, it got cold and foggy on the PanAm

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9nPWZNr/0/XL/DSCN2097-XL.jpg)
By this time, Neda is a pro at border crossings, so this was one of the easier ones

We arrived in Panama licking our wounds. So far over the last week and a half, we've both gotten sick, I've lost a pair of earphones and a pair of motorcycle gloves, left my credit card in a restaurant and had to have it couriered back to us while we were en route, saw nothing but road, took no pictures... All because we're rushing to meet a deadline. This was not why we left our jobs and sold everything! We vowed, no more booking stuff in advance, even if it's months away! Just one day at a time from now on. If that means missing out on some opportunities tomorrow, that's okay as long as we don't have to rush through today. It's just not worth it.

On an upbeat note, all these border-crossing ordeals have been good practice for when we return to see Central America properly! Neda is going to try to make a few bucks on the side being a helper...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-q2NchPC/0/XL/DSC_3287-XL.jpg)
Drummers practicing in Panama City

For the last few months, we've been in constant contact with Kari and Rose, the fellow Canadian bikers who we met in Oaxaca. They were also in Panama City, so we spent a few days comparing notes, exchanging GPS files and sharing a few meals together. It was nice having some familiar faces to hang out with.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JkwsZ7Z/0/L/IMG_0966-L.jpg)
Bikes get their first bath in months

While in Panama City, we took time to get everything sorted out - shopping for supplies and taking care of the motorcycles. We dropped into the local BMW dealership to replace the gloves I lost at the Honduran border. While we were there, we popped into the service centre to see if they had the plug for my headlight. They didn't have the part in stock, but the technician told me to bring the bike in anyway.

Less than an hour later, he had fixed the light, jury-rigging it with a couple of blade connectors! Best part, it was free of charge! So let's end this entry on a happy note! Yay!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on April 09, 2013, 10:18:07 am
sorry to hear its been a bit of a downer, but hey, on the whole, it's been excellent, so average it out!

and I LOL'd at the Camp Granada thingy. now that damn song is stuck in my head. Thanks Gene.  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on April 09, 2013, 07:06:37 pm
Was in Panama last winter.  Not on the bike :(  But, lots of cool things to see.  I was trying to find the exact names, but there's a road that goes up to a small village to the west and north of Panama City.  The village is up in an extinct volcano crater.  Cool road, lots of twisties and well paved.  Interesting little village.  Also, take a canal tour if you get time.
Have fun, you'll have a chance to re-visit what you missed.  It's been so cool to watch this unfold.
Cheers!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on April 09, 2013, 09:57:45 pm
keep focused on the positive!! Enjoy the good times, forget about the bad.....after a while!

Bash :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on April 10, 2013, 06:13:48 am
Fantastic report; wonderful pictures  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 10, 2013, 07:47:44 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/87.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XfLrsRc/0/L/map87-L.jpg)

We're here for our scheduled appointment.

Google Maps tells us that there is no way to get from North America to South America by road. The Darien Forest, or Darien Gap, starts at the southern tip of Panama and runs all the way to Colombia. Apparently, this a real life Forest of Despair, but instead of Rodents of Unusual Sizes, they have Poison Arrow Dart Frogs! And no fireswamp or lightning sand, but plenty of Marxist Guerillas with Gun of Unusual Sizes!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8X8gMW4/0/L/DSCN2107-L.jpg)
We turn off the PanAm Highway, and take a windy road through thick Panamanian rain forests

The PanAmerican Highway stops at the edge of the Darien Forest. Despite several construction attempts, no road connects the two continents because of the ecological damage it would cause to the indigenous tribes and wildlife that live there, and the governments involved do not want to create an easy path for drug smugglers to traffic narcotics from Colombia up to North America.

Interestingly, the Darien Gap has also prevented the spread of diseases from South America into Central and North America, like foot and mouth disease.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pz5hgvX/0/L/IMG_0968-L.jpg)
Everywhere in Central America, our GPSes fascinate the locals

There are only two ways to cross the Darien Gap, by sea or by air. We opt for the water option, so we have to travel a couple of hours from Panama City to a pier at the deserted Carti Airport, on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The road twists through miles of lush, green jungles and of course, because we washed the bikes in Panama City the day before, it rains on us...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bDzCVWm/0/L/DSC_1031-L.jpg)
Parked on the shores of Carti beach, our ride waiting in the distance

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dNK2Npv/0/L/DSC_3313-L.jpg)
Talking with Cornelius, another moto-nomad from Australia

We're travelling with a lot of familiar faces on this leg of our journey. We met Trevor at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in California last October, and saw Cornelius there as well but didn't get a chance to speak to him. I had a feeling we would get to know everyone on board a lot better in the next few days!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vWL3NcR/0/L/DSC_3545-L.jpg)
The Stahlratte, German for "Steel Rat", is a pirate ship, capable of escaping FARC Insurgents and making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs

After a lot of research, we chose the Stahlratte to cross the Darien Gap. This is the appointment we were rushing through Central America to make. It started life 110 years ago as a fishing vessel and has lived many lives since then, from a Rainbow Warrior for Greenpeace till now, a Round-The-World sailboat that has gotten "stuck" in the Caribbean, living the sun-drenched dream and ferrying passengers between Panama, Colombia and the islands in between for the last 8 years to fund its voyage.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-46c2s6c/0/L/DSC_3298-L.jpg)
Dinghies and small boats carry supplies and our luggage from the shore to the Stahlratte

Because we have a small window of time reserved to use the pier to load the motorcycles, we use most of the morning to remove all the luggage off our bikes and transport them onboard, where we're treated to a quick lunch - the first of many famously delicious Stahlratte meals - before going back on shore and prepping the bikes.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B7fpGwb/0/L/DSC_1035-L.jpg)
Carb loading first, then bike loading next!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XdskGTM/0/L/DSC_1040-L.jpg)
Our luggage arrives by dinghy and is brought into the hold of the ship

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g7R8fpH/0/L/DSC_3336-L.jpg)
Back on shore, bikes are lined up on the pier ready to be brought on board

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MFLSsbP/0/L/DSC_1042-L.jpg)
We lined up last. If anything went wrong, it'd be easier to back out that way!

There is no ramp to ride or push the motorcycles on-board. Everything has to be done off a narrow pier. We watched everyone else's motorcycles get winched up by a pulley off the pier and then over the edge of the deck of the ship. The hired hands seemed to be very experienced and capable and I felt a lot better when it came to our turn.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sw39Xjq/0/L/DSC_1060-L.jpg)
Watching the Stahlratte pull into the pier, ready to eat our motorcycles

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RLNr5j5/0/XL/DSC_3393-XL.jpg)
Ludwig, our fearless captain supervises the loading

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J9pJ8HT/0/L/DSC_3415-L.jpg)
My baby is getting closer to the front of the line and she's getting nervous!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Vbrf4fZ/0/L/DSC_0051-L.jpg)
This is how it starts out...

In our haste to get back on shore to help line the bikes up for loading, we didn't notice that the only ones left on the ship were the women. So there were 12 guys on shore rolling the motorcycles on the pier and 4 women on the boat lifting the bikes over the side of the boat onto deck. They were the ones doing all the real work! We (nervously) cheered them on from the pier...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zn4n3g3/0/L/DSC_0012-L.jpg)
Then up goes my bike!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9vCQw75/0/L/DSC_0022-L.jpg)
Had a little problem getting my big pig over the edge of the boat, so down it went and the rope was shortened...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DcmmxW7/0/L/DSC_3468-L.jpg)
All bikes on deck, we're ready to set sail!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-949mW2X/0/L/DSC_3463-L.jpg)
Gene: "Second star to the right, and straight on till morning!?"
Ludwig: "No... we use a GPS on the Stahlratte."


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xVSkKbK/0/L/DSC_3326-L.jpg)
Getting familiar with our home for the next few days

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DgnWzc7/0/L/DSC_3464-L.jpg)
Big sigh of relief. The Master Planner gets a break for a few days!

Neda has been an absolute superstar over the last few months. She has planned pretty much all of our travels through Central America, doing extra duty handling the border crossings with her fluency in Spanish. For the next few days, our schedules are in the hands of the crew of the Stahlratte. Instead of having to plan for routes, search for accommodations and forage for food, we will be told when to eat and where to sleep, and all of a sudden, there is an absolute lack of responsibility for our lives. It's the best we've felt in over two weeks!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LTgtFd2/0/XL/DSC_0083-XL.jpg)
Stay tuned for the next entry on our adventures on the high seas!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on April 10, 2013, 08:07:13 am
How absolutely awesome!  :bigok: :bravo: Thank you for posting.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on April 10, 2013, 09:06:45 am



Google Maps tells us that there is no way to get from North America to South America by road. The Darien Forest, or Darien Gap, starts at the southern tip of Panama and runs all the way to Colombia. Apparently, this a real life Forest of Despair, but instead of Rodents of Unusual Sizes, they have Poison Arrow Dart Frogs! And no fireswamp or lightning sand, but plenty of Marxist Guerillas with Gun of Unusual Sizes!





Inconceivable !!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: esqualey on April 10, 2013, 03:29:54 pm
LOL!!!   :lol:  :lol:

Pauley


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Magnarider on April 10, 2013, 04:51:06 pm

sorry to hear its been a bit of a downer, but hey, on the whole, it's been excellent, so average it out!

...now that damn song is stuck in my head. Thanks Gene.  :lol:


Mine too! At least I'm not the only one apparently!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on April 10, 2013, 06:03:40 pm
:clap: :clap: :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bucktownbilly on April 11, 2013, 09:33:22 am
Can this get any better!?!!?  You guys are awesome.  Thanks so much for sharing.  Makes all my adventures seem like a ride around the block :facepalm:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on April 11, 2013, 09:35:45 am

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DcmmxW7/0/L/DSC_3468-L.jpg)
All bikes on deck, we're ready to set sail!

Just when I think the photos and storys cant get any better, you throw this in there? HOW CRAZY COOL IS THAT!!!!

ARGH
Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on April 11, 2013, 10:39:52 am
I think this was an appointment worth keeping....   :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on April 11, 2013, 10:43:31 am
110 years old?  :crazy: I might be a little concerned about the seaworthiness.  :headscratch:

And the Darien gap? Apparently some crazy mother push pulled and dragged his motorcycle through the gap some years ago. But it was more drag than anything else.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on April 11, 2013, 08:52:00 pm
Freaking amazing.  Both the story and you guys.  Keep enjoying.  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on April 12, 2013, 05:39:36 am
I'm in awe!! What an adventure!! Enjoy your sea voyage.  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Capirex on April 12, 2013, 01:54:10 pm


All bikes on deck, we're ready to set sail!

Just when I think the photos and storys cant get any better, you throw this in there? HOW CRAZY COOL IS THAT!!!!

ARGH
Bash


Of all the great pics in this thread, this is my favorite thus far.  Thanks so much for sharing Gene.   :bigok:  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 15, 2013, 05:24:25 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/88.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kQ3KJqh/0/L/map88-L.jpg)

Quote
Logbuch (German for Logbook - duh!)
30.03.2013 coco bandero GUNA YALA
since yesterday we are ON TOUR again with a total of 25 souls on board plus 10
motorcycles! weather is great and the forecast for tomorrow for the sail over to cartagena
looks pretty good....HASTA LUEGO


"25 souls on board". I don't know why, but this sounds so nautical-speak, I LOVE IT!

So with all the bikes on board, we were off into the Caribbean Sea! First stop, the San Blas islands where we are offloaded to find accommodations for the evening, since we are not officially booked to stay on the ship till the day after.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rLpJKZJ/0/XL/DSC_3492-XL.jpg)
Run off the ship, forced to fend for ourselves

The San Blas islands are populated by the Kuna indians, and we are put up for the night in their huts. Most of the islands are quite tiny, we could walk the length of ours in under a minute! Their primary means of transportation is by dugout canoe, which are works of art created from a single tree trunk.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-p7GMJZT/0/L/DSC_3488-L.jpg)
Most of the Kuna women were wearing colourful dresses and legwear

We were a bit taken aback by all the flags with swastikas adorning the boats on the island and vehicles near the Carti pier the day before. But we found out that this was the flag of the Kuna Yala community that lives along the San Blas islands. It wasn't the first time we've seen non-Nazi swastikas in our travels, as our trip through India revealed their religious significance in that culture.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8zkmfsw/0/XL/DSC_3496-XL.jpg)
Island hopping by beautiful dugout canoe

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jNxPkLR/0/L/DSC_3479-L.jpg)
The colourful material that the dresses are made from are called mola and are popular to tourists as well

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9FvHnLW/0/L/DSC_3504-L.jpg)
Neda taking a stroll around our island. This is her third time around in the last 5 minutes...

We feel a bit abandoned on that tiny island, as we thought we were going to spend a night on the ship. We had to pay for our hut and we weren't able to sleep in the bed provided because Neda was allergic to all the sand fleas, so we opted to sleep in a double-hammock instead.
Not a comfortable sleeping arrangement for the entire night. It was the only mis-step in our entire Stahlratte experience.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-979D3D5/0/XL/DSC_3520-XL.jpg)
Little Kuna girl with her puppy

The next morning, a dinghy picked us up and we sailed off on the Stahlratte in search of a more deserted island to lounge around in the sun and the warm waters of the Caribbean. This truly was a vacation from our regular trip, bikes bundled against the salt water spray for the duration and us frolicking and relaxing on the boat.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-kSRZgB6/0/L/DSC_0084-L.jpg)
Beautiful breakfast spread on the Stahlratte, surrounded by crazy Australian bikers

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-QgW7GC6/0/L/DSC_0090-L.jpg)
Bikes are all wrapped up to protect against the corrosive sea spray - still going to hit a carwash after though!

We're sharing our boat with a mostly German crew, a bunch of wacky Australian bikers, and an assortment of European backpackers and bicyclists. Quite the international bunch! Ludwig was the perfect host, having adopted a very island attitude towards everything in his 8 years in the Caribbean. Everything he said was prefaced with: "No problem", "Don't worry". It was truly a stress-free experience.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-C7rpZ9g/0/L/DSC_0103-L.jpg)
In the afternoon, we find a nice isolated island to anchor next to. BBQ is being prepared for the evening!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nF7JhVw/0/L/DSC_3534-L.jpg)
The deserted islands here could have been templates for all those comic strips

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vWL3NcR/0/L/DSC_3545-L.jpg)
Stahlratte anchored off the shore of our playground island

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J9bhBxT/0/L/DSC_3556-L.jpg)
After a BBQ dinner on the island, a bonfire!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vvbJqCz/0/L/DSC_0117-L.jpg)
Feeling very Castaway at this point. Forgot my Wilson volleyball...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hZfRgMK/0/L/DSC_3567-L.jpg)
Chillin'

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bL9hJjg/0/L/DSCN2152-L.jpg)
The next day, more watersports! Neda goes snorkeling

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XSnGPZ4/0/L/DSCN2163-L.jpg)
Beautiful starfish - the Germans on board called this a SeaStar.

After doing some snorkeling, Neda and I swim over to our own deserted island to explore a bit. It feels so wild, wide and open out here, we thought maybe we'd put up a bungalow on this island, get a dugout canoe to go grocery shopping at the Kuna Yala's next door...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JF7pmsG/0/L/DSCN2176-L.jpg)
Honey Ryder, GS Ryder?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-J3xxKxR/0/L/IMG_1949-L.jpg)
"I think we'll put the swimming pool over here..."

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fgLcqwD/0/XL/DSCN2180-XL.jpg)
Neda's shellphone seems to be getting excellent reception

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7x9Tvbp/0/L/DSCN2187-L.jpg)
Whiling the day away on our private deserted island - so cool!


On the Stahlratte, they don't make you walk the plank. Instead...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cqTDJhC/0/L/2013-03-30-18h22m41-L.jpg)
Climbing 20 metres above the deck to reach the crow's nest - picture by Remo Hug

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XxkvG9p/0/L/DSC_0125-L.jpg)
Social time before our voyage

In the middle of the night, we heard the engines turn on and we prepared ourselves for the 30-hour journey to Cartagena. I was a bit worried about getting seasick, since my last experience on the ferry between La Paz and mainland Mexico ended very badly. So while we were in Panama, we stocked up on 100 Gravol pills and made sure we started our tablet diet before we boarded the ship.

We ended up both feeling ill anyway, this time it was Neda's turn to feed the fishes overboard while I ended up keeping my lunch where it belonged. The crew was very good in predicting what we needed, as the large breakfast we had the day before was replaced with a basket of bread and crackers on the kitchen table.

The rest of the passengers emerged from the hold, faces green and all talk on the deck was kept to a minimum: "Pass the crackers please", "I have to puke again, excuse me, pardon me..."

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nj4zXCg/0/L/DSC_0141-L.jpg)
Beautiful sunsets from the deck of the Stahlratte

I think the point of having a rest day in San Blas was to get to know everyone socially before we all clammed up the next day due to sea-sickness. Ludwig told us that most people take 24-48 hours to get their sea-legs, which didn't help as our journey was only 30 hours long anyway.

Needless to say, not a lot of pictures from our actual voyage! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on April 15, 2013, 07:39:43 pm
Do I really have to go back to my cube tomorrow?  :crazy:

So if you don't mind sharing, how are expenses going? Is it more or less than you expected? Daily cost on average so far?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 16, 2013, 11:41:44 am

So if you don't mind sharing, how are expenses going? Is it more or less than you expected? Daily cost on average so far?


Daily averages are hard to calculate because every country and region is so wildly different.

When we did our research for the entire Americas, we found numbers for two people on two bikes to average just over $60 a day all in: lots of wild camping, couch surfing, grocery shopping, etc. That seems to jibe with our experiences so far.

North America was very hard to stay on this number mainly because of the vast distances involved to travel between places of interest. When we were on the move, a two-fillup-day would push us over $60 in fuel alone, especially with gas prices up in the Arctic. This meant that the bikes ate better than we did.

Mexico was not as cheap as expected, mainly because we didn't feel comfortable camping. But we saved a lot on food and fuel because we didn't travel as far everyday, so we were able to eat a lot better (maybe a bit too well in my case...)  :facepalm:

Belize was expensive because we basically took a vacation for a few days. Also Spanish school in La Paz was 5 times the price of doing it in Guatemala (as a helpful tip).

Most of Central America is very cheap for accommodations, food and fuel, and we lived like royalty while staying well below the "average" number. The only exceptions were Costa Rica and Panama, where everything became expensive again.

For the most part, things are as we expected, so we're happy!  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 18, 2013, 12:59:03 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/89.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-crmJRmj/0/L/map89-L.jpg)

On the second day of travel, most of the passengers emerged from the hold of the ship feeling human again. We were landlubbers no more, and greedily shoveled down the hearty Stahlratte breakfast laid out on the top deck. For some of us, it was the first real meal we ate in over 24 hours!

Our newfound sealegs were not going to be put to use, as the skyline of Cartagena emerged on the horizon in the early afternoon. South America beckoned to us! For most of the passengers it was the first time on this continent. The Stahlratte anchored down a few hundred meters away from the shores of Manga Island, where the Aduana offices were located. Because it was expensive to rent a commercial pier to offload the bikes, we used a small public pier and dinghied the bikes to shore. It was a wild process to get the bikes on land and it's a testament to the crew's experience that we timed the offload to coincide with high tide as you can see in the video below:


Couldn't believe how they got our bikes onto shore!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pbjn48Q/0/L/DSC_0248-L.jpg)
My bike needed a few extra pair of hands to haul up

Since we had just unloaded the bikes illegally onto Colombian shores without customs or insurance, we were quickly hurried to the Aduana building a few short blocks away. Ludwig had arranged everything with a local fixer to get us legal, and within a few hours, all 10 bikes had all the papers required to ride in the country. We have been really impressed with how well-oiled and efficient the Stahlratte experience has been, coupling plenty of Darien crossing experience with German efficiency and Caribbean good-humour.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4V4gQgP/0/L/DSCN2197-L.jpg)
Riding through the old town of Cartagena

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KjcFBjn/0/L/DSCN2208-L.jpg)
Arriving at our neighbourhood for the next few days

We're staying in a part of town called Getsamani, a seedier district of Cartagena that recently has undergone a transformation from a past checkered with drugs and prostitution to a vibrant, hip neighbourhood of cafes, restaurants and nightclubs. We've booked a room with air-conditioning (very important) and we're initially a bit disappointed to learn that there is no hot water in the showers. Until we realize that the average temperature in Cartagena is 31C all year round. No one needs a hot water shower!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9rVrhgZ/0/L/DSC_3689-L.jpg)
Performers at the Convention Centre in Cartagena

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xH8GJ8c/0/L/DSC_3701-L.jpg)
Found out later this is the Caribbean Arts Festival

Mornings and evenings are the best time to be out in the city, and our neighbourhood as well as the nearby historic centre is bustling with activity, both tourist and local. We both loved the colonial architecture, pretty balconies with flowers looking over cobblestone streets, and the ever present churches looming above the narrow alleyways.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-W7ctW9r/0/L/DSC_3718-L.jpg)
Sun setting behind San Pedro Claver Church

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-75jfP8j/0/XL/DSC_3747-XL.jpg)
Balconies everywhere!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-62P62vN/0/L/DSC_3765-L.jpg)
The Cafe Del Mar is the best place in the city to watch a sunset

We hung out mostly with the Stahlratte club, meeting in the evenings for drinks and walking around the city. A friend put us in touch with Nick and Clara, who live in Toronto, but spend their winters in Cartagena. We spent a couple of days with them, and they spoiled us silly, ferrying us from swimming at luxury hotels, drinks overlooking the Cartagena shore and delicious seafood dinners.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ccMnnVh/0/L/carta_pool-L.jpg)
Mojitos by the poolside! Heaven!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pMqcq4C/0/L/DSC_0259-L.jpg)
Nick and Clara live across the Sofitel Hotel in the centro and this is how he spends every afternoon!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KJqHRmb/0/L/DSC_3776-L.jpg)
Follow the nose, it always knows!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Vj9vq8D/0/XL/DSC_3793-XL.jpg)
The hotel was renovated in an old convent, and the bar is built over a crypt. Spooky!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3SQhKZt/0/L/DSC_3797-L.jpg)
The party (and mojitos) continue at Nick and Clara's balcony across the street

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GxrfQn5/0/L/DSC_3812-L.jpg)
Horse-drawn nights in the historic centre

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ndKFDRL/0/L/DSC_3846-L.jpg)
Neda celebrates her first birthday on the road

It's still a novelty celebrating anniversaries on the road, different than a trip or a vacation. First Christmas, first birthday, etc., not being tied to any place, knowing that the next anniversary the next year will be somewhere entirely different. We're loving the nomadic experience, I think mainly because there's so many new things to see and we're going at a pretty slow pace to appreciate everything.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7Zcdhzq/0/L/DSC_3853-L.jpg)
Late night coffee in the plaza

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4zTjQDP/0/XL/IMG_0977-XL.jpg)
Post-hangover lunch in Getsamani

After 3 days of non-stop drinking to celebrate Neda's birthday, we crawled out of our hostel to the heat haze of the Cartegena afternoon. We enjoyed pizza and spaghetti in a great Italian restaurant around the corner called I Balconi, watching the lazy weekend unfold below in the streets of our neighbourhood.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-68nwbK4/0/XL/DSC_3874-XL.jpg)
This outfit looks more Cuban than Colombian

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zjJTxVV/0/L/DSC_3904-L.jpg)
Early morning bicycle ride

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5pLtZWM/0/XL/DSC_3941-XL.jpg)
Cuban women selling fruits on the street

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-g8ttxxC/0/L/DSC_3969-L.jpg)
More balconies!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BhwPkCt/0/L/DSC_4010-L.jpg)
Walkng the streets of Cartagena

After a few days in Cartagena, the Stahlratte Motorcycle Club decided to split ways. One group was heading to the north to the beaches of Santa Marta, while another was headed south to Medellin. We rode with them out of the city, 8 adventure bikes zipping in and out of Colombian traffic, the Caribbean Sea blowing warm air on our already hot and humid group ride.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GTtJm4C/0/L/DSC_0281-L.jpg)
Typical group ride shots - gas stations and food stops

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Bq3STGw/0/L/DSC_3818-L.jpg)
Charter member of the Stahlratte Motorcycle Club

Neda and I had different plans, so we accompanied them as far as Baranquilla, a couple of hours on the shore north of Cartagena. After a final breakfast together, we said goodbye and went our different ways. Apparently, the first item on our plan was to get rained on on the interior roads back to Cartagena. It was so hot that we didn't bother putting any rainsuits on, and our ride was made a bit more bearable as our mesh gear dried and evaporated our wet clothes underneath on the road back to the city.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: MotoSickle on April 18, 2013, 02:40:30 pm
This will be an awesome read..  :inlove:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on April 19, 2013, 06:23:03 am
Awesome read indeed!!!!! What a fantastic adventure!!!!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on April 19, 2013, 08:29:35 pm


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zn4n3g3/0/L/DSC_0012-L.jpg)
Then up goes my bike!








Couldn't believe how they got our bikes onto shore!

 




Y'all are much braver than I.

Tierra del Fuego by winter?



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on April 20, 2013, 10:36:14 am
Y'all are much braver than I.


Not brave enough to go first! :)

Quote
Tierra del Fuego by winter?


No plans yet, we're just going to wander around and if we get close and the timing is good then we'll make the run, but if there's one thing we've learned lately, we're not going to try to make a date anymore. Too much stress!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: birdrunner on April 20, 2013, 10:56:36 am


 Too much stress!



You poor dears.   :rolleyes:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on April 23, 2013, 02:32:37 am
As I sit here, late at night, waiting for the app development team to finish screwing around with their code, I imagine myself tagging along with you guys and I'm carried off to a magical place where the mojitos are cheap and the bikes never break down.

 :hail: :hail: :hail:

Thank you and keep it coming.  :bigok:



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: RangerG on May 01, 2013, 09:44:09 pm
I'm worried about Gene and Neda!  No word for 11 days.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on May 01, 2013, 09:59:50 pm
Gene's last post on ADVRider was 4/20 and he stated they may be without Internet access for a while.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Biking Sailor on May 02, 2013, 12:54:10 pm

Gene's last post on ADVRider was 4/20 and he stated they may be without Internet access for a while.



Hope it's not too much longer, as I am really missing their posts!  Hopefully soon we will get a large installment to make up for the long intermission.   :D

Pushing 60,000 views!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on May 02, 2013, 10:43:10 pm



Hope it's not too much longer, as I am really missing their posts!  Hopefully soon we will get a large installment to make up for the long intermission.   :D

Pushing 60,000 views!


+1! First thing I check when I get to work.  :D Then I stare at my cube walls for an hour or so, and zone out. Then I get coffee.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: OhiODeere on May 06, 2013, 06:31:36 am
If their in Columbia. most phone and internet connections with data are blocked by the USA from there... they'll have to get out of country to get internet.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on May 06, 2013, 01:46:47 pm

If their in Columbia. most phone and internet connections with data are blocked by the USA from there... they'll have to get out of country to get internet.


I would have expected that from Venezuela but not Columbia.  :headscratch:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: drc32-0 on May 06, 2013, 01:56:46 pm

Can this get any better!?!!?  You guys are awesome.  Thanks so much for sharing.  Makes all my adventures seem like a ride around the block :facepalm:


So true!!!

I just got back from a 9300 mile trip from Ohio to California and back. I check in here and see what Neda and Gene are doing and it makes me feel like a wimp!

This is just amazing,100's of beautiful pic's,fun insightful narration....Gene and Neda,you guys are setting the bar awful high for ride reports...and I'm loving every post!Thank you.

I hope everything is going alright and hope to hear from you soon.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on May 07, 2013, 08:11:02 am
I know that in the matter of international affairs things can change overnight, but I don't think internet from Columbia is a problem.
I recently followed the exploits of another adventure rider who made the jump from Panama to Columbia and spent several days there reporting his impressions on the 'net. His main problem was getting gas stations to sell gas to tourists. It seems there is some sort of agreement or policy and they refuse to sell unless you're a local. I don't know what that was all about, but he finally did find gas and moved on to Peru and Chile.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on May 07, 2013, 08:28:40 am
While I dont mind the company, you guys are killing me with false notifcations of a post on here via my email   ;)
I keep thinking....YES A NEW POST, but no...
Bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on May 07, 2013, 07:32:45 pm
Yah, me too!  Whoops, sorry


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: sodapop6620 on May 13, 2013, 03:33:11 pm
Light cycle and Mrs. Light cycle, are you ok?  It has been a couple of weeks since I have seen a post.

Signed,
Don't have the nerve to sell everything and go riding. :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on May 14, 2013, 10:34:15 am
I also am starting to wonder where The Lightcycles have dissappeared to?? Hope all is well, and that they are just off the grid....so to speak

Bash :couch:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on May 14, 2013, 11:39:24 am

Gene posted a short note on ADV on 5/8, saying they're doing well but the internet is sucky and their laptops are crapping out.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on May 14, 2013, 12:30:45 pm
Quick....someone send them a Chromebook and a MiFi...stat!  :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on May 16, 2013, 05:43:38 pm
Bueller? Bueller?

Dang....


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Pshrynk on May 18, 2013, 12:02:04 pm
I miss Neda  :(


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on May 19, 2013, 01:39:56 pm
On 7 May 2013, over on Adventure Rider, Gene and Neda posted that they are fine. It's their internet situation that's keeping them from posting here because both of their laptops are progressively failing.
Until that situation is corrected, we probably won't be hearing from them for a while.
I was as anxious as anyone to know that they're OK.
FYI.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: DogBoy on May 19, 2013, 03:18:24 pm
  :thumbsup: Thanks for the update. I was getting worried.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on May 19, 2013, 10:28:27 pm

I miss Neda  :(

+1. I hope Gene knows what an amazingly lucky guy he is. :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on May 20, 2013, 05:54:54 am

I miss Neda  :(

Not only is she a beautiful woman, she's a skilled and adventerous rider.
That's a fantastic combo. Lucky guy indeed  :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on May 20, 2013, 03:59:19 pm
It's good to know they're OK.  Figured it was connectivity, but it's good to know anyway.  I keep forgetting that there are other posts on STN.  I'm so tuned into this one.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on May 20, 2013, 09:40:23 pm
Thanks for the update. I miss them.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on May 22, 2013, 03:34:01 pm
Updated from: http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/90.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-c49xkC6/0/L/map90-L.jpg)

We didn't stay in South America for very long. After only 9 days in Cartagena, we loaded the bikes back on the Stahlratte and set sail into the heart of the Caribbean sea. First stop: Jamaica, mon!

http://youtu.be/-oT-SRvtkDo
Flabbergasted by the Stahlratte loading technique

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cTWFmMd/0/L/DSC_0420-L.jpg)
We have a new captain on-board.  I asked for a confidence-inspiring look and this was all she could manage...

We're doing this leg of the trip by windpower only, which lends a very different flavour to our journey. Whereas the Panama to Colombia run was a regular commuter run; with the sails up and the engine off, it now felt much more romantic, harkening back to an older method of transportation.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5wmQBVk/0/XL/DSC_0324-XL.jpg)
The human effort in sailing a boat is mainly pulling on a bunch of ropes

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sfSBVdr/0/L/DSC_0385-L.jpg)
This is my contribution to the sailing efforts, Alisa serenades the boat with Spanish songs

Coming out of Cartegna we hit some pretty rough waters and most of the passengers got sea-sick. In the middle of the night, I frantically scrambled over a sleeping Neda and barely made it to the deck of the ship where I donated my rented dinner to the Caribbean marine life.

I spent the early hours of the dark morning with Ludwig on the top deck, trying to focus on any kind of fixed horizon as the boat pitched violently side to side. Salt water spray cleaned the contents of my stomach off my face as huge waves monstered the bow of the Stahlratte, drenching our (thankfully) covered motorcycles. Ludwig seemed entirely at home striking a Captain Morgan pose looking out into the black waters of the moonless night. In contrast, I felt like I had 7 limbs wrapped around various railings and holds, desperate to stop myself from falling off this rollercoaster into a watery bed.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Zcz67Db/0/L/DSC_0436-L.jpg)
The fishing lines behind the boat snag a King Mackerel

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bGRCCnJ/0/XL/DSC_0358-XL.jpg)
Soon to be filets, ceviche and soup!

The second day of our 4-day voyage was a lot calmer, but it was still difficult to do anything but stare out at the horizon. Which meant that all of the hours of TV shows and movies and books that I downloaded went unviewed. Still, we found plenty to pass the time away, playing music, watching dolphins jump playfully in the waters beside us and racing in front of the ship. We caught some fish for dinner and at night, we watched from the balcony as the boat stirred up bio-luminescent plankton in its wake. It all felt very Life-Of-Pi, minus the tiger and the carnivorous island...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vxtcH2H/0/L/DSC_0481-L.jpg)
Sails unfurled and looking ahead to Jamaica

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hFFzchR/0/L/DSC_0490-L.jpg)
The nets at the bow of the ship were a great place to watch dolphins racing in front of us

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fVP4K6T/0/L/DSC_0519-L.jpg)
Like church on Sunday, everyone on the ship congregates on the deck of the ship every evening to watch the sun set.

Four days is a long time to spend cooped up on a ship with 21 other people, especially for a bunch of landlubbers like us. As we arrived into Port Antonio, on the north shore of Jamaica, the passengers were itching to get off the boat, pacing the deck and climbing the ropes to get a better of view of where we'd be after we cleared customs.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hcfMxWh/0/L/DSC_0534-L.jpg)
Samantha climbing the crows nest. 10M above the deck of the boat

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mw95sqp/0/L/DSC_0541-L.jpg)
Crows nest view of the Errol Flynn marina (yes, *THAT* Errol Flynn)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nrX8XjM/0/L/DSC_0554-L.jpg)
This is how we treat immigration officers on the pirate ship Stahlratte...

At the marina, the immigration police came on board and upon seeing us swinging out on the ropes and diving into the harbour, one of them takes off his shoes, gun and cellphone and decides to swing out into the waters himself!

BEST IMMIGRATION EXPERIENCE EVER!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2nF376V/0/L/IMG_0985-L.jpg)
Our favorite beach, Boston Beach

We're spending 6 days in Jamaica, but unfortunately our bikes can't come with us. There is an engine size restriction for importing motorcycles, and besides, Port Antonio isn't equipped to handle vehicle importations. Most of the passengers rent vehicles or take buses to tour the island. I used to work in Jamaica, so I've already seen most of it. Neda and I spend most of our time in Jamaica touring the different beaches on the north shore near Port Antonio.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nvCkHjs/0/L/DSC_4113-L.jpg)
Yes, that sign does read, "Do Not Jump"...

I've never been a tourist in Jamaica, and was very surprised when we were assailed by roaming vendors everywhere offering to sell us trinkets and vices (some legal, some not). So that got a bit tiresome, but the scenery and the food made up for it. Ever since leaving Toronto, I've been craving a few comfort dishes, among them - curried goat, meat patties and jerk pork. So every evening, we would go down to the patty shop or the food stands and gorge on Jamaican food! So good!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jM5xkJ7/0/L/DSC_4139-L.jpg)
The shape of the bay at Boston Beach makes for a great place to surf in the late afternoons

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-BBX9L3S/0/L/DSC_4157-L.jpg)
Swinging out in the sands

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RKKGvWV/0/XL/DSC_4201-XL.jpg)
This little guy knows how to pass the time away

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bwqbTpj/0/XL/DSC_4206-XL.jpg)
Ballerina of Boston Beach

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rdfkm4M/0/XL/DSCN2234-XL.jpg)
Neda goes snorkeling in her hunt to find sea-souvenirs

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Wm3N5XD/0/L/DSC_4240-L.jpg)
This horse was taking a bath in the waters when another guy jumped on for a ride

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pQzVJ2M/0/L/DSC_4269-L.jpg)
Spent some time watching a crab crawl in and out of its home, waiting for us to leave him alone

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9DLrKrc/0/L/DSC_4271-L.jpg)
Sprinting across the shallow waves at sunset

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tMcmFSR/0/L/IMG_0997-L.jpg)
Our Swedish friends Erik and Ebba back on the Stahlratte with us

Jamaica was a great refreshing stop, but after 6 days of lying on the beach, we were ready for the main course of our Carribean cruise. However before getting back on board, we gorged on last minute Internet access, letting all our friends and family know that we would be off the grid for a while, because where we're headed, they've banned the Internet. No connectivity for a month!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: FJR-UK on May 22, 2013, 03:52:40 pm
Nice to see you back!  :)

We had our honeymoon on Jamaica in 1979. Island paradise. Cost of car hire was more than the holiday, but worth it. Stayed away from Kingston, but saw some wonderful sights. And, the highlight of my trip, pepper pot soup.

Where next? Cuba? Seems like you are completing the circle.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: st2sam on May 22, 2013, 04:02:38 pm
"They've banned the internet, no connectivity for a month".   :(    :newcry:

(Cuba maybe?)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on May 22, 2013, 07:42:52 pm
THANK YOU

A fantastic segment - sailing and relaxing beach time.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jamesf0622 on May 22, 2013, 10:12:18 pm
 Glad to see a fresh update. I was starting to get worried!

Next week I will be making a three week trip on my FZ1. You guys have inspired me. I have specific destinations and plans, but it's the first major road trip I will take by motorcycle.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bucktownbilly on May 23, 2013, 09:54:46 am
thank god a post.....I was getting withdrawls :eek:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on May 23, 2013, 01:34:03 pm
Now this is a twist I didn't expect. Y'all have fun. See you in a month (or so).  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on May 23, 2013, 05:03:48 pm
Glad to see that your MIA was having fun, that makes me rethink my life. And people think Canadians aren't subversive.  :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: emerald94 on May 23, 2013, 08:12:19 pm
Yeah!! They're back!
Glad to see you and Neda are still enjoying yourselves.
After the lack of posts, I had visions of you guys sitting in some rotten jail!  :eek:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on May 25, 2013, 03:08:51 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/91.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Grzxb68/0/L/map91-L.jpg)

We booked the Stahlratte for our Darien Gap crossing around Christmas-time last year after hearing how quickly spots get filled up. However at that time, we also found out that the ship continued on after South America to travel around the Caribbean Sea up to Cuba. So we thought "How cool would it be to ride our motorcycles around CastroLand?". The answer, of course, is "VERY COOL!". So here we are back on the Stahlratte, sailing less than a day away from Jamaica, ready to deposit our bikes on the shores of Cuba.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tBFmDwq/0/L/DSC_4295-L.jpg)
One of the first things that greeted us in Cuba

We are headed towards Santiago de Cuba, a port town on the southeast corner of the island. We arrived just after sunrise and Ludwig awakened all the passengers so that we could see land approaching.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cNpCvWz/0/L/DSC_4318-L.jpg)
Cuban cruise ship :) Shanties lining the shore.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zqPpKTS/0/L/DSC_0572-L.jpg)
Bikes are unwrapped and anxiously waiting to be off-loaded

We spent most of the morning waiting for the immigration process to unfold, already a familiar procedure with the Cartagena and Jamaica landings. A couple of new wrinkles - a couple of very cute drug-sniffing dogs were brought on board and they went through the entire ship looking for banned substances: cocaine, marijuana, explosives and the highly illegal GPS receivers! Yes, we were told we had to leave our Garmins on board. I think the reasoning is that because the GPS satellites are a US military tool, it could be used to subvert national security? Oh well, Google Maps already did that...

GPS technology was not the only controlled technology, we were told that access to the Internet was also tightly enforced. I guess the Internet did come out of a US DARPA project.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Dds87Zn/0/L/DSC_0604-L.jpg)
Finally, our bikes get to come out and play

Six motorcycles were let loose onto the pier and we were given instructions on how to make our bikes legal for Cuban roads. First stop: Aduana, to get our import papers sorted out. As we rode from the marina to the city, every single person turned to look at this parade of foreign motorcycles trundling through their town. We felt like celebrities!

We arrived at Aduana late in the afternoon, and although we still had about an hour before the offices closed, we were told to come back in the morning, since they wouldn't have time to process our bikes before closing. Hmrmpf...:(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7p4NFdQ/0/L/DSC_0620-L.jpg)
Everywhere the bikes went, people instantly appeared

While parking our motorcycles in town to look for a currency exchange, our motorcycles gathered quite a crowd. As soon as they discovered that Neda spoke Spanish, they peppered her with questions: "What brand is it?", "Where was it made?", "How many cylinders?", "How fast does it go?", "How much does it cost?".

Little did we know that this would be the script for most of our conversations with Cubans over the next little while. Even I could memorize the answers in Spanish and answer all their questions perfectly. In the next few days, we were told that bikes like ours never make it onto the island and to see one was like seeing a "lion roaming the streets" or seeing a "spacecraft parked in the town square". Wow!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Js7QB6p/0/XL/DSC_4338-XL.jpg)
Streets of Santiago

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZnQ3NXB/0/L/DSC_4348-L.jpg)
Dominoes is the national sport of Cuba and is taken very seriously. Raised voices are often heard at a game, for both participants and audience

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DgT6fd5/0/L/DSC_4349-L.jpg)
Streetside game of chess, which although popular, does not elicit as much shouting though...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CWHVP6s/0/XL/DSC_4356-XL.jpg)
Hanging out in the Tivoli neighbourhood of Santiago

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MzRrQh4/0/XL/DSC_4361-XL.jpg)
Swing Batta Batta Swing! Impromptu game at the Escalinata

The Escalinata (steps) at Calle Padre Pico are a well-known feature in Santiago. The street ends abruptly in a set of stairs and then continues in the same direction at the top.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JBQPnQX/0/XL/DSC_4368-XL.jpg)
Streets of Santiago at night

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cBzts65/0/L/DSC_4380-L.jpg)
A group of bikers come over and check out our rides. One of them asks Neda to rev her engine for them, they are very impressed that she's riding a bike 3 times larger than the usual motorcycle on the island.

We have done a lot of research about Cuba prior to getting here, because 1) limited access to Internet while on the island, so we won't be able to get information on the fly and 2) very little else to do when you're sailing on a boat for 5 days. We learned a lot about the history of the Revolution and the tough economic times Cubans faced because of their isolation from the Western world. Private enterprise was strictly forbidden until very recently when home owners were allowed to rent out their rooms to tourists offering a cheaper alternative to hotels. These are called Casa Particulares, and we made extensive use of them while on the island. You get to see how Cubans live up close, and if you opt for the meal plan, you also get to sample some delicious home-cooked Cuban dishes!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8DL3HL8/0/L/DSC_4387-L.jpg)
The next morning at Aduana again. Crowd gathers around our bikes and Neda, the fluent Spanish-speaker fields the usual questions

I'm so proud of Neda, she's picked up Spanish very quickly, and of all the travelers we've met on the road, she has really benefited the most by being able to interact with the locals to get a good understanding of what life is like in these countries. And as a resource to help with directions, border crossings, etc, she is the MVP in any traveling group.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mpNtqwc/0/L/DSC_4396-L.jpg)
Finally, we clear customs and to prove it, we get a nifty sticker to put on our bikes

It takes most of the morning to get our bikes imported. I'm very surprised at all the manual input, and I think it's kind of cool that all the forms are on very old, brittle paper, stained coffee-coloured by decades of communist decay. The dot-matrix printers have long since run out of cartridges, so carbon paper is used instead of ink ribbons! So interesting!

Our next step: Transito. We need to get our bikes licensed to ride Cuban roads. It's in another part of town, so we all ride over and even though we get there at lunchtime, we are told that there isn't enough time to process all our bikes and to come back the first thing next morning. Seriously? Much later, in another part of the country, we are told that the Oriental Region of Cuba (where Santiago is located) is well-known for their lackadaisical attitude.

Neda remarks that all of this is very reminiscent of the socialist system that she grew up in back in Croatia. Even though this is inconvenient for us, it does give us more time to explore Santiago a bit more, and I still think all of this antiquated bureaucracy is kind of cool!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XZsvRsm/0/L/DSC_4421-L.jpg)
"teehee that tickles" - Washing the salt off from our sail across the Caribbean

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GNCs9BM/0/L/DSC_4427-L.jpg)
Again, a crowd gathers and we field the normal questions.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-hrDgvCF/0/L/DSC_4460-L.jpg)
Viva Fidel! Along with state-sponsored propaganda, there are home-grown efforts as well

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KhC5gdZ/0/XL/DSC_4461-XL.jpg)
There's a lot of hanging out in doorways in the neighbourhoods around Cuba

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9Pkz4XW/0/L/DSC_4468-L.jpg)
They teach the values of socialism at a very early age

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vXkwQqN/0/L/DSC_4482-L.jpg)
I was drawn to this Cuban bookstore and how the propaganda here radiated such a different vibe from its Western counterparts

One thing I was really looking forward to experiencing in Cuba was the state-organized propaganda, from hand-painted signs, hand-painted pictures of Fidel and Che, stickers promoting the upcoming Primero de Mayo (May 1st) celebrations, hand-painted dates of important events in the Revolution. It seemed to me that paint and human labour was a lot cheaper than manufacturing signs...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9pdVnfd/0/L/DSC_4497-L.jpg)
Enjoying a Cuban cigar in the park. Although we don't smoke cigars, we really have to try one to see what all the fuss is about...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xfbQw8H/0/L/DSC_4506-L.jpg)
These were waiting for us at the Transito office the next morning. Neda is ecstatic!

Throughout our trip on the island, many people would ask if the bikes were ours or if they were rented. We later found out that these red license plates mean the vehicle has been imported. All of the newer cars on the road have red license plates, and almost all of them have been imported by rental car companies, which is why everyone thought our bikes were rented. The first letter also denotes where the vehicle was registered, so people knew we started off in Santiago.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CRvpdZK/0/L/DSC_4509-L.jpg)
We met Norje, a really nice guy who worked in the inspections lot at Transito

I wasn't expecting a Cuban license plate, so when we got one, Neda and I were both admiring them with pride. We're officially Cuban vehicles and we're ready to roam around the country!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: drc32-0 on May 25, 2013, 01:27:14 pm
It's very good to see you posting again.

Like some other people here I was getting a little worried about you.You guys have officially made rock star status...you have groupies!

Thanks for all of the beautiful photography..you have a real talent at capturing local culture and everyday life,as well as your own adventures.And now you're taking us to Cuba,it just keeps getting better!Thanks!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on May 25, 2013, 05:05:01 pm
I'm really looking forward to your reports on Cuba. I'm very interested in seeing they maintain a mostly self sufficient society.

BTW, if you ever decide to write a book about y'all's adventures; I'd be one of the first to buy it. Your writing and photography are certainly worthy.  :thumbsup:



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on May 31, 2013, 04:46:58 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/92.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xqhb4FV/0/L/map92-L.jpg)

After a week and a half off the bikes, it was good to taste the open air again! The temperature here is about 31C every single day, with very little variation. We're headed to the north-east section of the island, circumnavigating the shore on the main highway. The roads are in pretty good shape, better than we thought they would be and we pass vast stretches of scenic farmland along the way.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xcfbhPC/0/L/DSC_4520-L.jpg)
Almost no commercial advertising, but tons of state propaganda. This is a memorial to Colonel Garzon who fought in 3 Cuban wars in the late 1800s.

Heads continue to turn as we ride through the smaller towns. When we stop to ask for directions, a small crowd quickly gathers to examine our motorcycles, and when entering one town, a traffic cop stops us, shakes my hand and starts a conversation about our bikes and our trip. Very nice guy. And very curious...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-G7hJ8V4/0/L/DSC_4523-L.jpg)
We found out later that picture-taking is prohibited here... oops...

We don't get very far from Santiago on our first day, we're too busy lollygagging. Over the communicators, we yell at each other, "Cuba baby!" So excited to be riding here. Our first stop is the city of Guantanamo. Yep, right next to Guantanamo Bay and the infamous US Naval Base. Cuba is such a mess of contradictions, this is just the first: a US naval base in the same country that it has no diplomatic relations with (to put it mildly)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dxcFWxP/0/L/DSC_4527-L.jpg)
Walking the tourist core in Guantanamo

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pm6sDVq/0/L/DSC_4547-L.jpg)
Castro has put a huge emphasis on education and today, Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-S8Kq4Lk/0/XL/DSC_4564-XL.jpg)
Packing flour probably from Canada

Although the US has a trade embargo with Cuba, there are lots of other countries that still trade with the island: wheat from Canada, butter from New Zealand, rice from Vietnam, gasoline from Venezuela. However, life was pretty hard in Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s and the loss of 80% of its imports, however the Cuba that we're riding through today is in a state of transformation. Some for the good and some for the bad.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-86f3dVf/0/XL/DSC_4570-XL.jpg)
Selling sunflowers on the street

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-29QqpsG/0/XL/DSC_4568-XL.jpg)
Cuban flag flies across the street from our Casa Particular

Just in the last few years, Castro's brother, Raul, seems to have relaxed the rules regarding business ownership. Tourism is now the largest form of revenue for the island and the government has allowed select citizens to open their private homes and restaurants to tourists. Not everyone owns a casa or restaurant, so to get in on the action, a network of Jineteros (hustlers) now roam the streets looking to lure tourists into the businesses they represent for commission. And the rates are astounding: For a $20 stay in a casa, a Jinetero will get $5 - for every night the tourist stays. For a $10 meal, again a $5 commission gets paid to the hustler. This is big business considering the average wage for a Cuban is $25 a month from the government!

For us the Jineteros have been the most annoying aspect of Cuban society. Most approach us and initiate what looks to be a friendly conversation, "Where are you from?". How can you not turn down a conversation with a local when they appear to be interested? But it quickly turns to, "I know a good restaurant/place to stay, follow me" and all sorts of trickery to get you to the place they represent. Grrrr...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sdkpMFd/0/L/DSC_4573-L.jpg)
Neda and Che hanging out on the road to Baracoa

Guantanamo is not the worst place for Jineteros, and we quite liked the quiet streets as a change from the large city of Santiago. The next day we rode further east towards the town of Baracoa, passing through the beautiful coastline and stopping a few times to admire the beaches and the Atlantic Ocean.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w2hnXWK/0/L/DSC_4596-L.jpg)
We found an old abandoned beach-side resort at Yateritas

Outside of the major towns and tourist centres, things seem to be in a state of disrepair. Some of the hotel chains that were built in the 70s still reflect the Soviet influences, and when the money from USSR ran out, so did the upkeep and maintenance. New investments in tourist properties have been made from countries like Canada, but the government still maintains tight control, allowing foreign development but taking control of the property after the first 5 years of operation.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vXmbp7b/0/L/DSC_4675-L.jpg)
Huge waves splashing against the rocks on the north shore

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rnN8kdn/0/L/DSC_4688-L.jpg)
Scenic break to admire the Atlantic Ocean

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rqcfgkV/0/L/DSC_4695-L.jpg)
Neda stops to ask Fidel and Che for directions

My favorite part of Cuba is seeing all the slogans of La Revolucion and the pictures of Fidel and Che - and everything hand-painted as well! Che seems to be more loved than Fidel, as often the fight for idealism is much more romantic than the actual implementation of it. I didn't know much about Che Guevara besides the fact that he was some big capitalist pig who licensed his image to tons of T-shirt and poster manufacturers...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8S7ZCrp/0/L/DSC_4699-L.jpg)
The road from the coast runs up and down some amazing mountains and we pass lush rainforests on the way to Baracoa

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pG5vQjh/0/L/DSC_0642-L.jpg)
Twisties! We stop for a snack

Along the way, there are lots of roadside vendors selling fruits and my favorite snack in Cuba: Cucurucho. It's a mixture of coconut, honey and a bit of dried tropical fruits all wrapped up in a cone of palm leaves. Our trip in Cuba so far has been positive, but things were not going to stay that way for long.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: st2sam on May 31, 2013, 04:59:55 pm
"Our trip in Cuba so far has been positive, but things were not going to stay that way for long."

 :eek:




 :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on May 31, 2013, 05:40:02 pm


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mw95sqp/0/L/DSC_0541-L.jpg)
Crows nest view of the Errol Flynn marina (yes, *THAT* Errol Flynn)



This shot says it all.... :inlove:

Glad you guys are back!!!!  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: dragonram7 on June 01, 2013, 08:05:56 am
Be safe out there.  You might have to write a book.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Blunder on June 03, 2013, 09:47:17 pm
I finally get a chance to check in properly and find you in Cuba. In trouble, apparently.  :crazy:

Loved the Voyage of the Steel Rat.  :lol:

Do you think Goldfine could use these patterns? The day-glo is so passe....

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-p7GMJZT/0/L/DSC_3488-L.jpg)

Maybe Dainese can tailor something up for Rossi?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on June 03, 2013, 10:42:34 pm
Uh-oh.........   :eek: :thumbsdown: :crazy: :( :headscratch:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Blunder on June 04, 2013, 12:12:29 am
Hopefully they haven't the been conscripted into the Sandalistas.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: RickF on June 04, 2013, 08:11:39 am
Gene and Neda,

Thank you for sharing your thus far marvelous journey.
Expressing concern about your situation…And wishing you well,

Rick
Northwoods of Wisconsin


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on June 05, 2013, 01:29:33 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/93.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Tz7SWLD/0/L/map93-L.jpg)

The Jinetero problem came to a head in Baracoa. We were really looking forward to spending a couple of days in the tropical sea-side town, doing some hiking in the area and walking through the city streets. The casa owner in Santiago called ahead and booked us a room with someone she knew in Baracoa, presumably for a commission, we just had to meet them at the main gas station in town.

However, swarms of Jineteros on bicycles crowded around us when we arrived, and when we asked about the casa and showed them the business card, one of them led us to a house in a neighbourhood near the Malecon. We kept asking if this was the right place, as the address didn't match, and the young hustler reassured us it was. The guilty look on the casa owner's face confirmed that we were misled (literally), but rather than search the town again for the right place, we decided to stay because we were just too tired to argue.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gjmwxBD/0/L/DSC_4716-L.jpg)
Hotel El Castillo is set high atop a hill and offers great views of Baracoa

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JwQtrdz/0/L/DSC_4719-L.jpg)
You can see the casa where we're staying (Casa El Kidnapo) from here. See the orange building in the centre? It's the small white building next to it.

The neighbourhood we're staying in seems quite poor, but the people living there were very friendly and again, very curious about the motorcycles. It was a nice location, one street away from the Malecon, and strolling up and down it offered a nice change from the very touristy centro. Also, very little Jineteros on the boardwalk. We watched as a group of kids played a game of pelota (baseball) with a wooden stick for a bat and a plastic bottle cap for a ball.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dS6fVmQ/0/L/DSC_4764-L.jpg)
Kids hanging out on the Malecon

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-frdVwJn/0/L/DSC_4750-L.jpg)
Watching the waves of the Atlantic Ocean splash on the rocks from the Malecon

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Vg27Pw3/0/L/DSC_4784-L.jpg)
Changui originated a hundred years ago in the sugar cane fields, combining Spanish guitar and African rhythms

In the evenings, Changui music, native to Baracoa could be heard streaming from the bars. Entrance was free, but the mojitos were expensive and every three songs a hat was passed around to collect money for the musicians. The locals, not content to just listen, took to the floor and impressed all the turistos with their complex salsa footwork.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qX4Hk4c/0/L/DSC_4857-L.jpg)
These kids were taking part in an art competition at the local arts centre

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6ST95kx/0/XL/DSC_4863-XL.jpg)
Mohawks are a popular hairstyle for young Cubans

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KsSvqBM/0/L/DSC_4807-L.jpg)
We watched the local Baracoa baseball team practicing

Rumour has it that Fidel was a pretty good baseball player and national sports was encouraged by the government at all levels that Cuba quickly rose to world prominence at each Olympics after La Revolucion. I don't know anything about baseball, but even I've heard of Jose Canseco.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RnrmWNm/0/XL/DSC_4852-XL.jpg)
They let Neda try out for the team. This is her specialty pitch, the CocoNuckleBall

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H5ShrLL/0/XL/DSC_4816-XL.jpg)
Young komrade at the beach

We decided to do some hiking on the hills south of the city, we were told that there were fabulous views of the city and shoreline at the summit. Normally, you would cross a narrow, rickety bridge across the Rio Miel to gain access, but it had been washed out, so we had to be ferried across for $1 each.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4gWmvMQ/0/XL/DSC_0645-XL.jpg)
Our ferryman had the bluest eyes ever! Wish I got a picture of it.

From here, we were starting to get hit with unexpected fees, as we were charged $5 each for entrance to the park. The government official told us that it would grant entry to everything. $10 is a bit steep for a hike (not including the $4 for the round-trip ferry), but since we had already come all this way, we decided to pay. We opted not to hire a guide since the trails were well-marked, but one followed us anyway, hoping to guilt us into paying him at the end of the hike. This was getting very annoying as all we wanted to do was spend some time alone and unmolested.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LR87DHq/0/XL/DSC_4828-XL.jpg)
Hike up the trail to get a better view

Upon reaching the summit, we discovered that the mirador (viewpoint) was on private property and that we were required to dish out an additional $5 each to enter. This was unacceptable, since the official at the entrance told us everything was included. Our little day-hike was going to cost us $24! We refused to pay, and started angrily down the hill. The woman that was on the property chased after us and told us that we didn't have to pay, so we relented. The viewpoint was beautiful,  but I couldn't shrug off the growing feeling that everywhere we went on the island, we were going to be nickeled and dimed, and that most of the locals just viewed us and all the other tourists as walking wallets.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KQvQTDg/0/L/DSC_4833-L.jpg)
View from the mirador, Baracoa in the distance and the broken bridge down below. You can see the boat we took.

As we left, the owner, who we had not met before demanded payment for access to the viewpoint. An argument ensued as we told him that the woman (his wife, we found out) had said that we didn't have to pay. Thankfully, the guide that followed us vouched for that, and we left without further incident. There were other things we wanted to see in the park, a beach and an archeological museum inside some caves, but after questioning the guide, we found out that these cost money as well - $3 each for beach access and $3 each for the museum, for a total cost of $36 for the day.

I understand that there are tourists that come to Cuba that don't think twice about dropping $36 for an unguided hike. It's not a lot of money when you have jobs to go back to for the remaining 11.5 months out of the year when you're not on vacation. This is not the case for us, as we are traveling on a budget and to be misled like we had been, added terrible insult to injury. I understand the huge disparity between how much tourists have and make compared to the locals, but I get a sense that most Cubans don't see any gradations between budget travelers and rich vacationers.

We left the park without seeing anything else, feeling more assailed by everyone who approached us demanding money from us.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3FNSGZL/0/L/DSC_4836-L.jpg)
Close-up of the ferry

This was not the end of it. We had originally been told that the person "guarding" our bikes at our casa wanted $2 per night. When we checked out to leave Baracoa, he demanded an additional $2, because we had left the motorcycles there during the day as well. Another argument ensued over what "$2 a night" meant. To most people, it is assumed that this covers a 24-hour period. But apparently here, you have to draw up a legal document for every transaction stating down to the littlest detail what exactly is covered and what all the hidden costs will be.

For a country that has repressed capitalism and free enterprise for the last 50 years, the rules opening up services to tourists seem to represent a tightly-wound spring finally exploding. Baracoa taught us some frustrating lessons as to how we would be treated in Cuba. It's obvious we have to approach our travels on the island very differently than what we're used to.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WBzskqq/0/L/DSC_4866-L.jpg)
Curious kids in the neighbourhood, everyone wanted in on the picture!

I don't like ending things on a negative note, so I wanted to mention how nicely we were treated as we stayed in the barrio as people got to know us as we strolled through the neighbourhood streets every night. Familiar faces would smile and wave to us and say hi - we would talk about where we came from and about our trip, as well as get to know a little bit about their lives. One evening, we hung out on the neighbour's porch listening to his kid practice the violin. His dad seemed very proud of him and glad that the mini-audience spurred his son to give a concerto-level performance. Our standing ovation led to a shy grin on his face. :)

This feels like the real Cuba, one that we wanted to experience. I think all we have to do is step off the well-trodden tourist path.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Blunder on June 05, 2013, 02:14:42 pm
Cool, you guys are back with us.  :thumbsup:

Yes, Fidel was a baseball player. He was in the Giants farm system as a pitcher but something drew him away.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bucktownbilly on June 05, 2013, 04:37:56 pm
"This was not the end of it. We had originally been told that the person "guarding" our bikes at our casa wanted $2 per night. When we checked out to leave Baracoa, he demanded an additional $2, because we had left the motorcycles there during the day as well. Another argument ensued over what "$2 a night" meant. To most people, it is assumed that this covers a 24-hour period. But apparently here, you have to draw up a legal document for every transaction stating down to the littlest detail what exactly is covered and what all the hidden costs will be.

For a country that has repressed capitalism and free enterprise for the last 50 years, the rules opening up services to tourists seem to represent a tightly-wound spring finally exploding. Baracoa taught us some frustrating lessons as to how we would be treated in Cuba. It's obvious we have to approach our travels on the island very differently than what we're used to."

I think you should charge $2 for having your picture taken with the bikes :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on June 05, 2013, 04:53:37 pm
...and another $2 to get a copy of the photo post snap  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on June 05, 2013, 09:26:47 pm
Phew, sorry to hear about the price-gouging, I had expected that something had gone quite amiss from the tone of your previous signoff. {relief}


Title: Next Stop: Disney World!
Post by: Scratch33 on June 06, 2013, 07:04:48 am

...but I couldn't shrug off the growing feeling that everywhere we went on the island, we were going to be nickeled and dimed, and that most of the locals just viewed us and all the other tourists as walking wallets.


So -- going back to Vegas anytime soon?  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on June 07, 2013, 12:59:59 pm
Hey guys, thanks so much for your comments! We get a real kick out of reading them while on the road.


I'm really looking forward to your reports on Cuba. I'm very interested in seeing they maintain a mostly self sufficient society.


They went through a long period of isolation after the USSR collapsed, but these day's they've struck up many trade relations with other countries (just not the US). They are more integrated into the world economy than 15-20 years ago.


Maybe Dainese can tailor something up for Rossi?


Oh Vale, Vale, Vale. Less time on the flashy helmet designs, more time figuring out how to qualify well under the new rules.


Yes, Fidel was a baseball player. He was in the Giants farm system as a pitcher but something drew him away.


Commie Southpaw. Just like my wife... [ducks]

I think you should charge $2 for having your picture taken with the bikes :)


Brilliant! A friend also recommended charging 5 cents per question. That'll fund those $34 hikes and much more!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on June 07, 2013, 04:55:08 pm

Hey guys, thanks so much for your comments! We get a real kick out of reading them while on the road.

Oh Vale, Vale, Vale. Less time on the flashy helmet designs, more time figuring out how to qualify well under the new rules.

Brilliant! A friend also recommended charging 5 cents per question. That'll fund those $34 hikes and much more!


That is a great comment on Vale. That starting the race towards the end of the prototype group is dangerous business, no matter how fast you might be. :eek:
Are you guys going to get out of Cuba soon, or try to stay away from the tourist areas?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on June 11, 2013, 02:20:50 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/94.html



We left Baracoa feeling a bit disillusioned. Everywhere we went, we felt like we were being hustled. We are also feeling a bit isolated, as Internet access is expensive ($0.10 per minute) and is relegated to a few terminals in special telecom buildings, so no Skype. Add to this, we're suffering from multiple equipment failures: our waterproof point-and-shoot camera turned out to be not so waterproof, and we can't find a suitable replacement on the island, so no riding shots. Also, the keyboards on both of our laptops don't function anymore. No typing, no blogging...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-45PVjXX/0/L/DSC_4873-L.jpg)
Nickel is one of Cuba's most profitable and environmentally damaging exports

Our first half of our route for the day took us through a very rough gravel road towards Moa. Having to focus on the broken road was a nice distraction from everything else happening and we enjoyed the simple pleasure of riding in beautiful sunny weather. As we approached Moa, the soil turned a beautiful shade of red, as if we were traveling along the surface of Mars. Unfortunately, all of this was marred (pun intended) by the sight of nickel factories, belching thick acrid smoke into the air, and the ground water turned oily-coloured from the all the polluted runoff.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fBf4Z5v/0/L/DSC_4874-L.jpg)
What could have been such a beautiful landscape is spoiled by pollution

On our march westwards, we stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant just outside of a tiny village. There seemed to be quite a lot of people there, loud Spanish music playing and we quickly learned that this was a prelude to the Primero de Mayo (International Worker's Day) celebrations that the whole country is ramping up for. Although it seemed to be a private party for the villagers, we were graciously invited in. At first, the crowd viewed us as a bit of an oddity and they kept their distance, eyeing us from afar - I don't think a lot of tourists make it out here. But by the time we polished off a delicious lunch of fried chicken and rice, the folks around us got a bit more comfortable having us around and starting offering us beer and engaging us in conversation.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mq7XJQP/0/L/collage-L.jpg)
Party-time!

This is where we ran into a bit of trouble with the law. I asked permission to take some pictures, and there was something about the  camera that loosened people up almost immediately. Suddenly everybody wanted to be in front of and behind the camera. With every picture taken, the crowd seemed to get louder and rowdier (not dangerous mob rowdy, just party rowdy). One of the two policemen who were there keeping a watch pulled me aside and said something in Spanish, which to my ears sounded like, "You're under arrest".

But that was just me inferring what most policemen say to me, because Neda the Espanolophone told me he said, "You don't have to leave, but we have to ask you to stop taking pictures, the people are getting a bit too excited". It was a bit of a damper, but we got a taste of how disciplined the society is and what the boundaries were to cutting loose in a party - which was not very loose at all.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CG5rLFN/0/L/DSC_4892-L.jpg)
These kids wanted a picture on our bikes, so we obliged. So cute!!!

We actually left the party feeling like we got to know the real Cuba, meeting real people and not hustlers and partying (briefly) with them. They wanted nothing but to talk and be merry with us, and to be in our pictures, it felt pretty good. However, we knew this feeling wouldn't last as we neared our destination - the city of Holguin.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GSh6xQb/0/L/DSC_4898-L.jpg)
A local Holguin brewery that produced Cuba's most popular beer, Cristal, put on a fashion show at the hotel.

We made a decision leaving Baracoa to bypass all the Jineteros and their casas, and stay in a hotel instead. Through our research, we found the Islazul chain of hotels, which were  funded mostly in part by Soviet money in the 70s (and styled that way as well). They were moderately priced accommodations, about $30/night, merely $6 more than a casa+parking and none of the negotiating hassle. It was a no-brainer considering there was a free swimming pool and breakfast was included!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d4JPJVL/0/XL/DSC_4899-XL.jpg)
Definitely not a Chevy big block engine under the hood

We saw plenty of vintage American cars from the 50s rumbling through the streets of Cuba, a remnant of the last time the US had any economic contact with the island. Although their bodies may be well-preserved, their guts have long since rotted and with a dearth of parts from Detroit, most of these cars have had heart transplants instead, running on diesel engines lifted from Eastern Bloc cars like Ladas.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4Z9r6VV/0/L/DSC_5003-L.jpg)
Cuban national colours at dinner

Holguin is known as the city of parks, the fourth-largest city, and not really a stop for most tourists, which is what we liked. We took a stroll through one of the parks with a children's playground and all the mechanical rides, like the merry-go-round and ferris wheel were all non-operational - victim of budget cuts since Soviet funding dried up in the 90s. Kids still clambered along the swings and the slides, and I laughed a bit at the decorations - space ships, rockets and... missiles. Cuban Missiles. Not sure if they were built before or after October 1963...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LQDK3zX/0/L/DSC_4908-L.jpg)
Most of the old American automobiles were earning their expensive keep as taxis for tourists

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-X38HzhW/0/L/DSC_4917-L.jpg)
We heard music coming from an abandoned building, and when we peered inside, we saw these dancers and musicians rehearsing for a show later on in the week. They gave us a personal invitation to their concert!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JWHpdmh/0/L/DSC_4959-L.jpg)
465 steps up La Loma de la Cruz

Just outside the city in the north is a large hill where you can experience a panoramic view of Holguin. There's a road that winds up the La Loma de la Cruz in the back, but they also built a large stairway for pedestrians. The first week of every May, there's a huge religious ceremony which involved devotees climbing up the 465 steps to the top.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-t2HXDJW/0/XL/DSC_4974-XL.jpg)
Neda surveys the city below

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CpJ2Rjh/0/XL/DSC_4977-XL.jpg)
A shrine at the summit of the hill

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xkBDWb7/0/L/DSC_4993-L.jpg)
Back in town, more old autos and sunflowers

The beaches of Guardalavaca, which are about 45 minutes away from Holguin, are where most of the tourists end up going. We made a day-trip out of it, visiting some ancient burial grounds just outside the town (not very interesting) and then heading to the beach for some fun in the sun. Expensive resorts line the shore, and as we parked the bikes, we met a custodian who told us that most of the newer resorts were constructed by Canadian companies. After building a property, a foreign investor had 5 years to turn a profit, after that time the property would be handed over to the Cuban government. Interesting!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-DXQff9z/0/L/DSC_5008-L.jpg)
Family-time at the beach

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-x8kPm9r/0/L/DSC_5035-L.jpg)
This was a big advertisement for parasailing. This guy would do amazing tricks up and down the shore and then park his board near tourists and tell them that he could teach them how to do it if they rented the equipment from him!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-b8XVrzp/0/L/DSC_5048-L.jpg)
On the way back from the beach, Neda picks up some fruits from a road-side vendor

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Fkmk2NZ/0/XL/DSC_5059-XL.jpg)
A demonstration of Santerian relgious ceremony

One evening, we headed to the town square to see the concert that the musicians and dancers had invited us to. They were actually 1 of 3 acts, the first was a demonstration of Santeria, which is a Cuban religion, mixing African, Haitian voodoo, Catholic and Native American influences. Devotees dress all in white, not all swallow fire though... Throughout Cuba, we have seen many people dressed all in white, like the Santerians, but we found out that some do so just for the fashion, not because they are religious.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9R5LqfR/0/L/601918_10152893471705377_1403987554_n-L.jpg)
Our friends from the warehouse, all decked out in their traditional costumes!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dJqZbWP/0/XL/DSC_5080-XL.jpg)
Flamenco dancers, the last act of the night


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on June 11, 2013, 06:07:54 pm
Bravo! Excellent pictures and great descriptions.  :bigok: This is the part of Cuba I wanted to see! Sounds like you picked a great time to be there. Love the old Chevy's, stopped in time. Very interesting, especially for gear heads. I would love to get an up close look at some of those cars. Any old bikes? I have heard about HD clubs there that are the same vintage as the cars.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on June 14, 2013, 09:49:15 pm
We left on June 14th, 2012, so...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XPkn5kW/0/L/DSC_6563-L.jpg)

HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY ON THE ROAD!!!!
 :bigok: :D :eek: :) :D :lol:

Thanks to everyone here on ST.N for sharing in our adventure and for all the encouragement, we really appreciate it!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on June 14, 2013, 09:59:09 pm
Wow, a year.

One word: EPIC!

 :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on June 14, 2013, 10:34:48 pm

We left on June 14th, 2012, so...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XPkn5kW/0/L/DSC_6563-L.jpg)

HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY ON THE ROAD!!!!
 :bigok: :D :eek: :) :D :lol:

Thanks to everyone here on ST.N for sharing in our adventure and for all the encouragement, we really appreciate it!


And here I was thinking you were the overly dramatic one.  :p


Nice t-shirt.  :thumbsup:







Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on June 15, 2013, 12:23:53 am
You two absolutely rock.  :bigok:

Happy one year on the road anniversary!!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Mastros2 on June 15, 2013, 01:23:35 am
I've been following your journey since the beginning and I can't believe it's been one year already. Thanks for sharing it with us!  :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on June 15, 2013, 06:01:05 am

Time flies when you're having fun.  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: FJR-UK on June 15, 2013, 06:56:08 am
I just got my holiday cut short by a total electrical system meltdown after 11 days on the road, and you two have lasted a year!

Amazing...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Skee on June 15, 2013, 08:37:54 am
 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on June 15, 2013, 01:30:56 pm
I can't believe it has been a year already!  :crazy: I  never follow a thread for a year! Thanks for sharing it... :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: dabirk23 on June 15, 2013, 02:00:04 pm
Awesome!!!  :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on June 15, 2013, 03:20:28 pm
Bravo  :beerchug:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: eastbowl on June 15, 2013, 09:06:20 pm
Wow, that is really incredible.  What a ride, both for you two and, vicariously, for the rest of us.  Lovin it.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on June 16, 2013, 06:54:47 am
Congratulations! :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jamesf0622 on June 16, 2013, 09:18:44 am
Incredible! So awesome!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: drc32-0 on June 16, 2013, 11:28:15 am
Congratulations on your one year anniversary on the road!!!

Just reading your posts has been amazing,I can't imagine how amazing it must be to be living it.

Thanks for taking us along.I keep scanning the older posts just to check out your beautiful photography.So many great shots!!!BMW ought to start an ad campaign around your pictures.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Magnarider on June 17, 2013, 12:17:15 pm
This entire thread is full of so much win. Thanks for sharing your adventures with all of us, and inspiring all of us to do more. You two are amazing, keep it up and stay safe out there!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: playinatwork2 on June 18, 2013, 12:43:25 pm
Congrats on the anniversary.  It's been great following along.  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Fast Blue on June 18, 2013, 11:25:54 pm
Well Done-  Happy Trails


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: steve.ski on June 19, 2013, 01:39:21 pm
COngrats! I'm so jealous of your trip....

Like EVERYONE else here!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on June 19, 2013, 05:27:22 pm
Well done!!

 :beerchug: :beerchug: :beerchug: :beerchug:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on June 20, 2013, 03:12:18 am
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/95.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dBqJrqv/0/L/map95-L.jpg)

We spent a few days travelling inland through Central Cuba, thankful that we were shying away from the popular tourist destinations and the hustlers that swim in those waters. We were pretty happy with being anonymous in the fairly priced Islazul hotels, so we ended up searching for them in the interior of the island. Our journey through the interior revealed a lot about the history of La Revolucion, the players and the events that have happened since.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7WPtVWb/0/L/DSC_5191-L.jpg)
More state-sponsored propaganda on the Carretera Centrale (main road)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jhQTjsF/0/L/DSC_5203-L.jpg)
Very cute lizards watch us eat dinner

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qfsXQ3Z/0/L/DSC_5228-L.jpg)
The town of Moron, our stopover for a couple of nights

We chose to stay awhile in the town of Moron, which is not that touristy, but is used as a base for budget travellers who don't want to pay the exorbitant resort rates on the beaches of Cayo Coco, less than an hour to the north. Yep, that sounds like us!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ktjN7Cr/0/L/DSC_5218-L.jpg)
Fidel the freedom fighter, in the jungles of Cuba

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nRpknJb/0/L/DSC_5208-L.jpg)
The Cuban 5

Everywhere in our travels we saw these 5 names, with slogans like "Free the Five!" and "They will return!". It's only later that we found out these five were Cuban spies that were sent to the US. In the 90s, they were discovered and convicted of spying against America, although Cuba maintains that they were only there to spy on anti-Cuban organizations launching terrorists attacks on Cuban soil from their base in Miami. Here they're hailed as heroes who gave up their liberty to defend their country.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZCMdpjZ/0/XL/DSC_5248-XL.jpg)
Seamstresses in Moron

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-G5JmL5S/0/XL/DSC_5251-XL.jpg)
Pastel colours

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7Cmvw3Q/0/L/DSC_5258-L.jpg)
Singing competition. Neda said that these girls were dressed in the same outfits that she wore when she was a kid in Croatia.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-q6dTc4s/0/L/DSC_5268-L.jpg)
These students were all taking part in a music competition

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7KgFxFs/0/L/DSC_5286-L.jpg)
Most of the buildings in Moron had these Roman columns

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qSXCvSg/0/L/DSC_5290-L.jpg)
Local shoe repair guy - open air shop!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9tsJ6rB/0/L/DSC_5309-L.jpg)
"Here we have to throw rocks without looking forward"

In 1983, construction began on a 27km causeway between Cuba to the island of Cayo Coco, opening up land access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. From the mainland, you could not even see the island. Fidel stood on the spot where the causeway was to be constructed and motivated the workers: "Here is where we have to throw stones without looking forward".

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mpzw3Xt/0/L/DSC_5317-L.jpg)
Riding to our beach day in Cayo CoCo

We didn't really do any research as to where to go once we hit Cayo Coco, and when we ran into a couple from France driving the same direction, they told us that they were heading to one of the best beaches on the island: Playa Pilar. That sounded good to us. Little did we know that Playa Pilar was on the western-most tip of Cayo Guillermo, the adjoining island to Cayo Coco and a one-way trip from Moron was 100 kms! We had left on half a tank and there were no gas stations along the way - Thankfully we had our spare tanks...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Lnfnk2g/0/L/DSC_53511-L.jpg)
Playa Pilar: White sand as fine as baking powder, and clear turquoise waters as far as the eye can see

The next day we rode only for a couple of hours westwards to Santa Clara. It's an important city in Cuban history because this is basically where La Revolucion against the Batista dictatorship was won in 1958. Fidel sent his most-trusted Lieutenant, Ernesto "Che" Guevara to capture the city, and after his death a few years later, a mausoleum was built just outside of Santa Clara to house his remains and celebrate his life. This was the main reason we stopped in the city.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-z78jTGq/0/L/DSC_5382-L.jpg)
Taking in some music in Santa Clara

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3Wsm6hp/0/XL/DSC_5395-XL.jpg)
22-foot high bronze Che on top of the mausoleum

I didn't know much about Che Guevara before coming to Cuba, and it was very interesting seeing how the government portrayed this hero of Cuban history. In the museum next to the mausoleum, we learned about the young Argentine doctor, who came from a privileged family, gave up everything and fought in the jungles of Cuba to free the oppressed workers of the country and the corruption of the Batista dictatorship.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jjRcfmZ/0/XL/DSC_5402-XL.jpg)
Neda reads the epitaph and translates for me

It was only later when we were able to read non-Cuban propaganda, that we learned of the war atrocities that Che had committed. The trip to Santa Clara was a fascinating lesson in one-sided history and education. It made me think that although in the western world, we have access to all sorts of viewpoints and editorials on history and world events, we most often accept a singular reporting that the mainstream media feeds us without bothering to dig deeper. Despite Cuba's stance on silencing all opposing viewpoints (they have one of the world's worst records for jailing journalists), there seems to be a hunger for freedom of press. We heard that blogs and ezines on USB sticks are passed around from people to people on buses, in cafes and wherever Cubans mingle.

We take for granted what we have until we do not have it anymore.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cD5hMn4/0/L/DSC_5411-L.jpg)
Comrade patrols the mausoleum

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wz4653S/0/L/DSC_0693-L.jpg)
Leaving Santa Clara: "Where did everyone go?!?"

We kept our bikes overnight in a garage that only stored 2 wheeled vehicles. Since our bikes were as big as cars, we took up the space of 5 or 6 of their motorcycles! The garage was entirely full the evening before, but they were all gone by the time we left in the late morning!

Next stop: Havana! Very excited!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: rauchman on June 20, 2013, 08:31:20 am
A
M
A
Z
I
N
G


My wife and I have been keeping tabs on your epic adventure.  Wow.  Truly inspiring.  Thank you!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: maropa9 on June 22, 2013, 12:59:50 pm
Bravo. Espectacular. Fantástico. :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: RTFZ1 on June 24, 2013, 01:31:10 pm
Congratulations and thanks so much for taking the time to bring us along !


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: jeepinbanditrider on June 24, 2013, 04:11:05 pm
Been following on ya'lls site.  Love checking in and seeing a new update.  One day when I retire I may not travel the world, I've traveled it enough to know that the US and Canada are where it's at but I will sell everything but my bike and take off and not call one place "home" for a year or more while I travel around Canada and the US.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on June 27, 2013, 09:23:47 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/96.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2RZFNzg/0/L/map96-L.jpg)

From Santa Clara, we make amazing time on the only highway in the country. Originally conceived to stretch the entire length of the island, the Autopista is symbolic of the half-realized dream that Cuba has become. After Soviet funding dried up in the 90s, the completed parts of the highway only connect the central part of Cuba to just west of Havana. Traffic is sparse on the road, and we share the ride with a spattering of classic cars, buses and lots of horse-drawn buggies.

Looking at a map, we are just a scant 150 kms away from Key West - our meandering path has taken us to the closest we've been to Toronto in months! Ha!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d998GHQ/0/L/DSC_5513-L.jpg)
Beautifully maintained classic cars harken back to a time when Havana was at the peak of its affluence and influence

Reaching the historic centre of old Havana requires riding through kms of urban sprawl, and we peel through the outer layers of dirty factories and railroad tracks, through to the shambles of the outlying neighbourhoods and finally to a seemingly incongruous opulent capital city. From the 1930s up until the Revolution in 1958, Havana was THE centre of tourism in the Caribbean, with casinos, nightclubs and hotels supporting a nightlife that drew celebrities and socialites to the city, out-rivaling Las Vegas. All the revenue and activity attracted gangsters and government corruption. During La Revolucion, Fidel chased out these elements, nationalizing all the businesses, and made enemies of the United States which had their interests and assets in the country seized. The embargo ensued, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the money stopped coming in.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-c9dDHGd/0/L/DSC_5448-L.jpg)
Stone sculptures line the main tourist walkway in Havana

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LKM7KjR/0/L/DSC_5468-L.jpg)
Restoration work being done on the Capitol Building

As the rest of the country fell into decay, there were only funds enough eft to restore 10% of the city, leaving a stark contrast between the magnificence of the historic centre and the crumbling ruins of the surrounding neighbourhoods. Just a few steps from the main tourist areas revealed the impoverished state of the people and their living conditions.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gHr8rqk/0/XL/DSC_5509-XL.jpg)
Backstreets of the old city

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Th7gpP7/0/L/DSC_5483-L.jpg)
Impromptu game of football in the streets of Havana

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tpk52Jk/0/L/DSC_5444-L.jpg)
There is no shortage of vintage automobiles in the old city

These old American cars are just one of the examples of the contradictions that we saw in Cuban culture. While the imperialist United States has been demonized by the Cuban government, these classic Fords and Chevies have been declared a National Heritage and are a much heralded symbol of the communist island nation. Same goes for the national sport of the country: Baseball. You can't get any more apple pie than that.

The US is not immune to this contradiction as well - ever since the trade and travel embargo, Americans have been trying to sneak onto Cuban beaches and resorts for years now and the Cuban cigar has obtained mythical status in the States.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-STnrS2Z/0/XL/DSC_5579-XL.jpg)
Our casa overlooks the shores of Havana

We had heard that Jinetero problem was the worst in Havana, and we were prepared once again to check into a hotel, but we quickly found the prices way out of our reach. Thankfully we ran into a fellow Canadian on the streets who showed us a nice casa particular that he had stayed at before, right on the very scenic Malecon. His local Cuban friends taught us how to negotiate discounts: if you find a casa or restaurant without the help of a Jinetero, you don't have to pay the $5 commission. Useful information!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4XcWjvW/0/L/DSC_5586-L.jpg)
We get a scenic view of the Malecon from our balcony window

We stayed in Havana for four days, taking plenty of time just to relax and hang out in our casa. Everytime we stepped out to find food or shop for groceries, we mentally put on our armor and steeled ourselves for the onslaught of the hustlers' spiel: "Where are you from?" and "Don't you like Cuban people?!?". I was a bit dismayed to see how adept we were at ignoring people on the street. It went against our nature of being open and friendly with everyone we meet on the road.

Cuba is wearing us thin. I can tell that I've lost my humour and we're spending more time sequestered away in our room than out exploring. I don't think we're normally this sensitive to being hustled, but we've been on the road for almost a year now and travel fatigue is setting in. We really need to hunker down somewhere for a month or two, take a break from the constant motion and regroup.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sG6Jgdz/0/L/DSC_5427-L.jpg)
Tall waves crash over the wall of the Malecon, leaving slick patches of seaweed on the road

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CHs8xd3/0/L/DSC_5577-L.jpg)
Every night, city crews clean the seaweed from the streets

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-HMQH3nN/0/L/DSC_5458-L.jpg)
Skyscrapers of modern Havana lurk in the background of the old city

There's a lot of competition for tourist dollars in Havana, old Cuban ladies sit in the town square with cigars hanging out of their mouths, charging tourists to snap their pictures. They're capitalizing on the now-famous picture of the Cuban lady smoking a stogie that adorns many travel brochures and tourist guides. And these ladies' cigars remain unlit the entire day!

I don't shell out for this staged photo-op.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-GKsVdqL/0/L/DSC_5496-L.jpg)
Beautiful architecture in the old city

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vwSsZZ8/0/XL/DSC_5507-XL.jpg)
Old historical centre

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XSTZCZM/0/L/DSC_5572-L.jpg)
With a shortage of parts from the outside world, Cubans have developed some creative fabrication skills

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WrSmdWS/0/L/DSC_5600-L.jpg)
We take a ride in one of the vintage automobiles through the street (not streets) of Chinatown

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-H9NZ2kj/0/L/DSC_5621-L.jpg)
Chinese food was a welcome change from Latin American fare

Asian tourists are pretty rare in Cuba and like our motorcycles, I was the source of a lot of curiousity about my background. For most Cubans, Asians fall into the category of either Chinese, Japanese or Korean - no other races exist. A typical conversation would go something like this:

Them: Chino?
Me: Soy de Canada.
Them: Chino?
Me: Mi familia es de Malasia.
Them: Chino?
Me: *sigh* Si. Chino.
Them: AH! CHINO!

LOL...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pLF49n5/0/L/DSC_5582-L.jpg)
Sunset on the skyline of Havana


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on June 28, 2013, 07:46:50 am

 we've been on the road for almost a year now and travel fatigue is setting in. We really need to hunker down somewhere for a month or two, take a break from the constant motion and regroup.


Should you two find your way up here to MD for any length of time, our doors are open to you.   :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Nodaclu on June 28, 2013, 01:33:47 pm

Should you two find your way up here to MD for any length of time, our doors are open to you.   :bigok:


Ditto for me here in NorCal.  :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on June 30, 2013, 02:48:47 pm
Thanks so much for the encouragement and for all the invitations! That's really generous of you guys!  :D


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on June 30, 2013, 08:56:08 pm
Same goes for me.  If you're looping through Thunder Bay anytime, there's a bed, laundry and garage at your service.  Probably beer and food too!  
But, here's hoping a long and amazing journey for the both of you that doesn't see you coming back this way for a while :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on July 01, 2013, 07:45:38 pm
Lightcycle said:
Quote
Cuba is wearing us thin. I can tell that I've lost my humour and we're spending more time sequestered away in our room than out exploring. I don't think we're normally this sensitive to being hustled, but we've been on the road for almost a year now and travel fatigue is setting in. We really need to hunker down somewhere for a month or two, take a break from the constant motion and regroup.


You are so close to Mexico, the Florida Keys, and Belize, It would do you good to take a big break. There is probably a spot in any of the 3, where you can live cheap, enjoy life, and recharge. I'm sure I'm not telling you something you haven't been thinking about, but I guess I wish I had your problem. :bigok:
 Actually, I love the Florida Keys, but I haven't been to Belize. :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on July 02, 2013, 02:03:52 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/97.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-SHM95cn/0/L/map97-L.jpg)

Where are there no Jineteros? Let's go there.

Vinales is in small farming community in the eastern province of Pinar Del Rio and we're told that there's very little hustling there. So we jump on our bikes, head to the Autopista and make a beeline to the heart of tobacco country.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-w5qmJbg/0/L/DSC_5629-L.jpg)
Along the way we run into our good buddy, Che

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6vvvNh2/0/L/DSC_5651-L.jpg)
Parking at our casa is a tight fit even with the bags off

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mMDBzg6/0/XL/DSC_5643-XL.jpg)
This wasn't a tight fit - the helmet could have done an exorcist swivel on his head!

Vinales is quite a sleepy community, in contrast to the busy city of Pinar Del Rio to the south. Lots of people hang out on their porches here in the evening, we felt very comfortable in this bucolic setting, taking strolls up and down the main street every night, unmolested by hustlers.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vSHqWWB/0/L/DSC_5668-L.jpg)
Walking around the neighbourhood in Vinales

Whenever we travel, I find myself becoming enamoured with the local vehicles. When we were in Baja California, I dreamed of driving around in an old rust-red VW Beetle w/ a dune-buggy kit: exposed chrome engine in the back, big knobby tires, jacked up suspension and loud fog-lights. In Cuba, I think it would the coolest to drive around in a mean black and chrome '56 Chevy Belair!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jwcxQMD/0/L/DSC_5699-L.jpg)
The triangular-roofed house is a drying shed for tobacco leaves

We booked a tour of one of the tobacco farms one morning and the owner, Juan took us around his fields, showing us how tobacco is farmed and harvested. Due to the soil and the microclimate here, the Vinales Valley is one of the best places to grow tobacco and makes the finest cigars in Cuba. The area is surrounded by limestone mountains which have eroded over time, giving them their steep slopes with flat tops. We've seen much artwork depicting these mountains, which are synonymous with the valley.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B2xm887/0/L/DSC_5807-L.jpg)
Thousands of tobacco leaves hanging in the drying house like bats in a cave

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-q8BS3Fn/0/L/DSC_5713-L.jpg)
Neda learns everything there is to know about tobacco farming from Juan, then translates it (and dumbs it down) for me

Cuba has a low-input agricultural industry, choosing to use manual labour and ox-driven ploughs instead of costlier gasoline-powered farming equipment - necessary because of their isolation from the outside world. We've seen examples of this all over the country, and we've also seen some artwork that is critical of Fidel's policies for energy-efficiency while ignoring more important issues. We saw a painting of a huge pressure-cooker with a small starving child leaning up against it and later found out that in the 90s, Fidel had given every household these energy-efficient appliances to reduce the usage of inefficient stoves. However, the population had no rice to cook with!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JkQPK5P/0/L/DSC_5740-L.jpg)
And then Juan Valdez shows up and asks if we want to try the richest coffee in the world?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-KNfVg8Q/0/L/DSC_5758-L.jpg)
Soil here is a rich red colour and is perfect for growing the finest tobacco for cigars

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jn8PSZg/0/L/DSC_5800-L.jpg)
Tobacco leaves ready to be made into cigars

Juan passed us over to another farmer (his name was Juan as well!) who had a drying house set up with leaves soaked in a rum, lime, honey and mint - the exact same ingredients that you use to make a mojito. This Juan explained to us the process in how to select leaves for the different types of cigars - the darker leaves are more stronger and are used to make the Montecristos, while the lighter leaves are used to make the milder Romeo y Juliet cigars. Also the tobacco is concentrated in the spines of the leaves.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xCXNhTL/0/L/DSC_5845-L.jpg)
Rolling a fresh cigar for us

We watched Juan roll a fresh cigar from different types of leaves, sealed it with some honey and offered it to us. We've never smoked a cigar in our lives, so Juan found it quite funny when I coughed up a lung after deeply inhaling some of the thick cigar smoke. So apparently you have to make like Clinton and not inhale, just puff.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bM3xQxw/0/L/DSC_5916-L.jpg)
Juan is busting a gut laughing at my attempts to puff on a cigar

Neda and just shared one cigar but after a few minutes of trying to perfect my Schwartzenneger Puff, I felt a bit lightheaded and had to take a break. Juan laughed at me a bit more. Meanwhile, Neda was going gangbusters on the rest of the cigar and was already making plans to buy a whole box back in town. Jeez...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5tmnvSD/0/L/DSC_5955-L.jpg)
Neda has mastered the art of the puff


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on July 02, 2013, 02:46:51 pm
Fantastic installment!

Classic cars...

Personal tours...



Which country next? Some small toes-in-the-sand island for a "month off"?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on July 02, 2013, 05:45:13 pm
Cigars. I would turn dark green and hurl. Neat pics and facts, but I can't smoke. No way.

Keep the updates coming though!!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on July 03, 2013, 08:39:20 am
I was jealous of you guys when you were just riding around the world care free. But now you go and smoke a freshly rolled Cuban....I loath you...Great trip, keep enjoying all that the world has to offer. Ill send you my address for a box of cubans....

bash


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Jay S. on July 06, 2013, 07:01:50 pm

Thanks so much for the encouragement and for all the invitations! That's really generous of you guys!  :D


Generous? Nah, any of us would love to have you sit in our living rooms and talk for hours about this amazing trip! You're like touring rockstars in my opinion.

 :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: FJR-UK on July 07, 2013, 06:04:12 am
I smoked my last Trinidad Fundidor in your honor! Great report, not to mention enviable lifestyle...

 :clap:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on July 16, 2013, 02:38:29 pm
 :popcorn:

Hope everything is okay with you guys. Made it out of Cuba yet?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Swagfu on July 16, 2013, 11:13:52 pm
What has taken you a little over a year to accomplish, I just lived it in 3 days of reading this entire thread. Some truly amazing stories and photos. Hope all is well. I am looking forward to more of your adventure. Thank you for sharing.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on July 18, 2013, 08:16:55 pm

 :popcorn:

Hope everything is okay with you guys. Made it out of Cuba yet?


Yes, would love an update if possible please.  Hope all is well.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Farked Up on July 19, 2013, 11:27:45 pm
Sure hope you didn't piss off the commies & get thrown in the pokey. There's a reason that the U.S. government has problems with Cuba. Get outta there, quick. There are better places to go to relax & you know lots of them.

Seriously, I'm back on the forum because of your RR. Get back on the road so you can send us more great photos and share your freedom!!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on July 20, 2013, 05:34:35 pm
If we need to send lawyers, guns or money, just let us know where! Viva la Lightcycle!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on July 20, 2013, 09:04:54 pm
According to a post on ADV Rider, there is a note on Neda's Instagram that suggests they've headed back to Canada for a short vacation from the vacation.  That was posted on July 18th.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on July 21, 2013, 01:55:20 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/98.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5qMGsjQ/0/L/map98-L.jpg)

After almost a month on the island, our time in Cuba was coming to an end. From Vinales, we doubled back on the main Autopista past Havana towards Playa Giron on the south coast. There were some nice beaches that were a lot cheaper than the resorts at Varadero and Cayo Coco, but we were really here to see the Bahia de Cochinos - The Bay of Pigs.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MVSbxmP/0/L/DSC_5976-L.jpg)
Bikes take a break

We rode through the swamplands of Zapata, the largest wetlands in the world and home to crocodiles, lilypads and marshes. There, we found an all-inclusive resort (first one of this trip) right on the beaches of Playa Giron, and immediately gorged ourselves sick on several rounds of complimentary cocktails that were more sugar than alcohol.

The resorts was filled with locals and backpackers, and after we left the bikes parked outside our cabin, we were relatively unmolested and enjoyed sunsets and mojitos at the rustic, 2-star budget resort.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-s5gFHdQ/0/L/IMG_1028-L.jpg)
Poolside at Playa Giron

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JKLCkjQ/0/L/IMG_1027-L.jpg)
The infamous Bay of Pigs, a lot more peaceful than it was in 1961!

Just outside the resort is the Bay of Pigs museum, which housed military vehicles from the period of the invasion as well as a photographic history of the ill-fated attempt of US-backed Cuban exiles to wrest control away from Fidel Castro after La Revolucion.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zknrMdx/0/L/DSC_5980-L.jpg)
Outside the Bay of Pigs museum

The failed Bay of Pigs invasion was important for a number of reasons. Successfully resisting the US-backed attack made Castro a folk hero to communist nations all over the world. It's also rumoured amongst conspiracy theorists that Kennedy's assassination was linked to his wavering support of the military operation, pulling critical air-support at the last minute and dooming the invasion to failure while costing lives on the ground. Fingers point to angry high-level US military officials orchestrating the enigmatic assassination.

It was very interesting walking through the exhibits of the museum and seeing the invasion from Cuba's point of view: the deification of Castro's military expertise and the bumbling incompetence of the "insolent Yankee invaders". To see history retold from two different sides really gave perspective into how our beliefs and attitudes are so easily influenced and shaped by textbooks, museums and propaganda. At the end of the tour, even I wanted to shout out to world, "Viva La Revolucion!"

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JkH8dvm/0/L/DSC_6003-L.jpg)
Musicians practice in Cienfuegos

After a couple of days at Playa Giron, we took a short two hour ride to Cienfuegos, the port town where we would meet up with the Stahlratte again to take us back to the mainland. A month in Cuba was more time than we needed, and the lack of Internet access made us feel very isolated from our friends and family that we normally kept in touch with via Skype and social networking.

Now we were on the opposite side of the dreaded "schedule" - trying to find ways to pass the time and dodging the hustlers at every street corner, while waiting for the ship to take us off this prison island! Honestly, we did feel a bit trapped, not able to leave when we wanted to, and I understood now the plight of many on the island, not having the resources to leave the country. Never did we look so forward to throwing up our lunches overboard!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qL29gWg/0/L/DSC_6021-L.jpg)
"In every neighbourhood: Revolution!"

Over 50 years have passed since La Revolucion, and the politics of the country is still defined by it, using the resistance as both a solidarity cry and a means to control the population.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mTkC6dW/0/L/DSC_6025-L.jpg)
Canadians are the primary visitors to Cuba, and our flag is ceremoniously decorated all over the place

Most of the Canadian tourists are from Quebec, as French and Spanish are close enough to get by. Many of them spend much of their time and social security cheques in Cuba. We saw lots of older Canadian men in the company of young Cuban JineterAs (female hustlers), exchanging their companionship for gifts, meals in tourist restaurants and accommodations in resorts and hotels. In Cuba, Canadians have a bad reputation for being sex predators, targeting child prostitutes. Very sad.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2qNfJqN/0/L/DSC_6103-L.jpg)
"What kind of bikes? How many ccs? How much? How fast?"
Cienfuegos means "100 Questions" en espanol...


The buildings and culture in Cienfuegos are supposed to have a very French flavour to it - residents from Louisiana and Haiti immigrated to this part of the island at the turn of the century to become rich sugar barons. Not knowing anything about French architecture, I just took a few pictures and said, "Oui, oui!" to the French Canadian tourists milling around the area. And tried to keep small children away from them as well...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mdkpgDK/0/L/DSC_6101-L.jpg)
Main plaza in Cienfuegos

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6jvv48R/0/XL/DSC_6068-XL.jpg)
YuTong tour bus bought from fellow comrades in China

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-R79DfBV/0/XL/DSC_6095-XL.jpg)
Who let these dogs out?!?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K5rF2cs/0/XL/DSC_6109-XL.jpg)
Cobblestone streets of Trinidad

We arrived a few days before the Stahlratte was scheduled to leave, so we had some time to explore the area. The main attraction in this region is the town of Trinidad, about an hour away. We rode along the road hugging the south shore, not doing a very good job dodging the tiny crabs that were sunning themselves on the hot asphalt. The air was pungent with smushed crab from all the vehicles going back and forth, which made me a bit hungry.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3HMPXpj/0/L/DSC_6112-L.jpg)
Trindad was just meh. This is my meh face.

Trinidad is a tourist trap. It's supposed to be a well-preserved slice of Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. In reality, it's a bunch of restaurants and souvenir shops with tons of foreign tourists that invade the town in long Chinese luxury tour buses from Cienfuegos. The buildings were nice-looking though...

I dunno. I think we're just getting Cuba'd out at this point.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B4WzbTX/0/L/DSC_6143-L.jpg)
Riding through the cobblestone streets of Trinidad

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-V93ZgVd/0/XL/DSC_6145-XL.jpg)
Neda picks up some fresh fruit on the ride back from Trinidad

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-bFjGXW6/0/L/DSC_6153-L.jpg)
We got our hair cut at the local hairdresser. Our final souvenir of our time in Cuba

In retrospect Cuba was both fascinating and frustrating. It was definitely the most different place, politically, that I've visited, and the whole communist brain-washing, police-state, inform-on-your-neighbour, control-the-news-and-Internet thing was something I loved to see in person. Neda lived through it, so I don't think it was that interesting to her. We learned a lot more about the pivotal role Cuba played in the history of world and its status as a pawn between the superpowers, and got to experience this education from their point of view. We visited Miami years ago, and Cuba gave us new insight into the Cuban-American community there - something we were embarrassingly ignorant of.

Having spent almost a month on the island (more time than we needed), I'm not sure if we'd ever go back again. I don't feel like we travelled through the country as complete outsiders and I do find myself deeply interested in anything Cuban that pops up in the news, now that we can actually read the news again.

Next up: Escape from Cuba!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on July 21, 2013, 03:29:39 pm

In retrospect Cuba was both fascinating and frustrating. It was definitely the most different place, politically, that I've visited, and the whole communist brain-washing, police-state, inform-on-your-neighbour, control-the-news-and-Internet thing was something I loved to see in person. Neda lived through it, so I don't think it was that interesting to her.


"Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy." -- Franz Kafka

Glad to see you back.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on July 21, 2013, 03:38:38 pm
Alright. Glad to hear you did not check into Guantanamo as "guests". haha

Was wondering where you had disappeared to, as the lack of Internet makes it seem like a long time when you're outside looking in.

The 1950's era American cars I find very interesting, especially as how the locals keep them running with anything they have at hand, including swapping the worn out V-8 engines for Russian tractor engines, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yank_tank


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bluepoof on July 21, 2013, 03:58:52 pm
I love your honesty about getting burned out -- sometimes when I'm on a long ride (though much much shorter than yours!) I feel pressure to have every minute be rainbows and unicorn farts.  I think we can all nod and relate to the feeling of being "done" with a place, even a historically/politically interesting and beautiful place.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on July 21, 2013, 04:02:43 pm

I feel pressure to have every minute be rainbows and unicorn farts.



 :lol:

New avatar for you Carolyn.

(http://rlv.zcache.nl/de_magneet_van_farts_van_de_eenhoorn_fotobeeldje-rfecd7e7be96a443fbc6ee8e6e08c0329_x7sai_8byvr_512.jpg)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bluepoof on July 21, 2013, 04:07:26 pm
:lol: That's what every ride of mine is like, right there.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Blunder on July 22, 2013, 08:41:42 am
 :rofl:

And the mane is blue!  :cool:

Glad to see another update guys. If you can't wait for the Stahlratte, well, have you ever seen Papillon?

 :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on July 23, 2013, 11:29:24 am
Thanks for all your concern and well wishes, guys!

We're currently back in Toronto visiting family and friends and stocking up on parts and supplies. Our blog is woefully behind because of the Internet blackout in Cuba, and also both our laptops died had died while we were on the island, but I'm doing my best to catch up on it between social calls.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on July 23, 2013, 01:26:44 pm

Thanks for all your concern and well wishes, guys!

We're currently back in Toronto visiting family and friends and stocking up on parts and supplies. Our blog is woefully behind because of the Internet blackout in Cuba, and also both our laptops died had died while we were on the island, but I'm doing my best to catch up on it between social calls.


Where are the bikes?!  :eek:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on July 25, 2013, 01:00:08 pm



Where are the bikes?!  :eek:


They've probably been turned into Urals by now.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Swagfu on August 03, 2013, 08:58:39 am
Any plans to ride more?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Farked Up on August 04, 2013, 05:29:17 pm
Sick? Burned out? Getting divorced? Giving up on BMW & replacing with more reliable, better looking Suzuki V-Stroms? We're going to keep guessing until we get "the rest of the story".  :p


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on August 04, 2013, 06:09:11 pm
...Giving up on BMW & replacing with more reliable, better looking Suzuki V-Stroms?...




 :rofl:

:lmao:



Yes. Suzuki is the ticket to worldwide travel. Always have been. Right?  :lol:




Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 05, 2013, 12:30:01 pm

Where are the bikes?!  :eek:


I've been procrastinating getting another blog post out. Full story to be told soon!


Any plans to ride more?


YES! We are not done yet!


Sick? Burned out? Getting divorced? Giving up on BMW & replacing with more reliable, better looking Suzuki V-Stroms?


No. Yes. No. No, but a V-Strom does find a way under our bums, but that's a bit later into our story...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scratch33 on August 05, 2013, 02:43:57 pm


 Full story to be told soon!



Now I know how my cats feel ten minutes before dinner.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: rauchman on August 06, 2013, 11:25:48 am
Aside from the amazing story and pics of your epic ride, how are you liking your bikes?  Enjoy your vacation.  I'm sure you need it.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on August 07, 2013, 08:08:13 am



Now I know how my cats feel ten minutes before dinner.




 :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: coho on August 07, 2013, 12:36:44 pm

 Full story to be told soon!


:omgomgomg: Aaaaaaiiiigh! Another cliffhanger!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Burners on August 07, 2013, 01:55:57 pm
On vacation from the vacation. I hate you guys too.  :twofinger:





OK, not really...but still,  :twofinger:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 07, 2013, 08:22:29 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/99.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tQSNzjw/0/L/map99-L.jpg)

We were in such a rush to leave the country that we left our boots in Cuba.

Somewhere in the haste of packing on our last day, we rode to the marina in Cienfuegos (just a short ride from our casa) in our hiking shoes and didn't realize until much later that we had left our riding boots behind. A very aggravating and probably costly oversight!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mQ8Kjx2/0/L/DSC_0718-L.jpg)
Watching the bikes get loaded onto the Stahlratte for the journey back to the mainland

While we've been motoring across Cuba for the last month or so, the Stahlratte has been lazily sailing from the east side of the island to eventually pick us up here. From hereon, it's a 4-day journey with its sails unfurled to Isla Mujeres, a small island just off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. Yes, Mexico! We're headed back to our favorite country on this trip!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MFMjdWM/0/L/DSC_6160-L.jpg)
Before leaving Cuba, Neda makes friends with a drug-sniffing cocker spaniel

The journey by sea is uneventful. If you call being green in the face for the first 48 hours uneventful. Thankfully, I didn't throw up on this leg of the sailing, something Neda can't boast about! HA HA! :) But in the last couple of months, after spending a total of 15 days on the open waters sailing from Panama -> Colombia -> Jamaica -> Cuba -> Mexico, I've decided that being out at sea is a very unnatural act for me. Previously, Neda and I discussed shipping our motorcycles by container across the Atlantic and spending half a month with the crew on the ship. We thought it would be a very romantic way to travel across the ocean. Now, I'm not too sure that would be a very enjoyable option...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ZBcMQC8/0/L/DSC_6208-L.jpg)
Watching dolphins swim alongside the Stahlratte

Despite the seasickness, our time on the Stahlratte is always relaxing and the journey to Mexico was no different. Neda did some reading on the deck, I'd be strumming on a guitar somewhere, we were eating lots of great food and all the passengers on the ship traded stories about their time in Cuba. It always amazes me how different peoples experiences are, despite us all having pretty much the same itinerary. Things that fascinated us, annoyed others and vice versa.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-8Ch383G/0/L/DSC_6323-L.jpg)
Watching storms in the distance. The closeup is of lightning hitting the water. So cool seeing that!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-wqvZn84/0/XL/DSC_6381-XL.jpg)
If I did this, I'd be cleaning upchuck off my Kindle...

Four days later, the skyline of Cancun greeted us with such a change from the decaying buildings of Cuba. It was like returning to civilization again! We spent quite a bit of time scrambling around the ship looking for our boots before realizing we had left them behind. This made us very late for the ferry from Isla Mujeres to Cancun, so there was a last-minute mad dash to make it back to the mainland. Seems like our travels are a series of Hurry-Up-And-Waits (and then Hurry-Up again)...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RXPhkXG/0/L/DSC_0726-L.jpg)
Leaving the dock at Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Sans boots... :(

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-nQkqBWx/0/XL/DSC_6394-XL.jpg)
*phew* made it onto the ferry. Last on the boat!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VpbS3TZ/0/L/IMG_1045-L.jpg)
Pirates?

In a scene straight out of an action movie, a couple of crew members from the Stahlratte (you can see it in the distance) fly towards our ferry in their dinghy. It seems they forgot to give us some travel documents for Mexico and had to do a daring sea-to-sea exchange to get the documents to us. LOL!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-cmVQkLh/0/L/DSCF0007-L.jpg)
Happily tooling around Mexico

Cancun was glorious! Mexico is awesome! We had to spend the first couple of days getting all of our import papers in order, TVIP, etc. All very familiar procedures. Everyone here is friendly and helpful and not after our money. Everything is familiar again, from the OXOs (convenience stores), Chedrauis (grocery stores) to the Pemexs (gas stations). We know how much everything should cost and where to go to get stuff. When we walk into a store, there is so much selection and variety, in stark contrast to the single brands the government of Cuba allows in the stores. Being in Mexico felt like being able to breathe again! Figuratively, of course... since there are no air pollution laws here... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7SgMJfT/0/L/DSCF0012-L.jpg)
One of the things we replaced was our Point-And-Shoot camera. Here it is in action.

We took some time to stock up on supplies and replace a few things that we broke or lost in our time in the Caribbean. I couldn't find the old waterproof Nikon camera that we drowned in Jamaica (waterproof, go figure...), so I bought a Fuji FinePix XP150. Ironically, we didn't take one picture of Cancun, despite being there for 3 days. We visited the local BMW dealership trying to find a replacement for my All-Round Boots, which I loved, but damn my dainty, elven feet, they didn't have my size in stock... :(

I did see the new R1200GS Liquid-Cooled version, and I liked what I saw. It's wonderfully ugly, just like mine! I want one!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-jDPsT25/0/L/DSCF0025-L.jpg)
Riding through Chiapas, Mexico

When we first booked our Cuba detour, the plan was to return to Central America and tour through it again unrushed, seeing how we had to scramble to meet the Stahlratte the first time. Unfortunately, right now there was a bit of a time-table to leave Mexico, as our Central America visa was nearing expiration and if we didn't re-enter Guatemala before the end of the week, the expired 90-day visa meant that we could not re-enter any of the CA4 (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras) countries for another 90 days.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d9Z3Pd7/0/L/DSCF0034-L.jpg)
Just outside of Palenque, Chiapas

It felt good to be in Trek-Mode again. Unfortunately we were riding in our hiking shoes, which made us feel very exposed. We really have to get proper riding boots before we attempt any gnarlier terrain. Our destination is Guatemala, to the very spot where we left off before our mad dash to meet the Stahlratte. Our route took us through the same places we travelled initially, we rode the same roads (shortest route) and stayed in the same places, eating in the same restaurants we had visited the first time through. It's very time-consuming finding restaurants and hotels, and frequenting the same places saved a lot of time and headaches. And stomach-aches as well... :)

Felt redundant taking pictures of the same places we had visited. But I did manage to try out the new camera en route. I'm not that happy with it. I like my old Nikon better.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WN3PfTj/0/L/DSCF0038-L.jpg)
The automatic light sensor on the Fuji is not very intuitive and takes some getting used to to get the best contrast. Most of the riding pictures turned out too dark to use.

While taking a break at a Pemex, I was approached by one of the gasoline tanker drivers who was delivering petrol to the station. He seemed curious about our motorcycles and started asking me questions. I had flashbacks of Cuba and initially viewed him with suspicion. What did he really want? Then he flipped out his cell phone and started thumbing through it, showing me pictures of his own Suzuki sportbike he had at home. We then had a great conversation about sport vs touring bikes and he was curious about how the BMW bikes handled.

But it struck me how scarred I was from our time in Cuba and how it's so difficult relating to others when there's little socio-economic common ground. When I look back at all the places we've bookmarked as potential places to live, like La Paz in the Baja Peninsula, I realize that they're all very middle-class cities where the residents were less concerned about putting food on the table and spent their time pursuing more self-actualized pursuits like music, dance and the arts. And motorcycling for pleasure travel...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vSQRPh9/0/L/IMG_1057-L.jpg)
Waiting for Neda to do her thing at the Mexico/Guatemla border

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9vfn2gn/0/L/DSCF0078-L.jpg)
Dodging chicken buses in the hills of Guatemala

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4pQ32r9/0/L/DSCF0059-L.jpg)
Weaving through the Tuk Tuks on the rainy roads of Guatemala

Our primary adversary on this trip has been the weather. First, outrunning the bitter Arctic winter as it chased us from Alaska all the way to the Mexican border, and now we are riding straight into the infamous rainy season in Central America. We encountered a few washed out roads and landslides. I know how badly our bikes do with all the weight of our luggage up high and running street-tires, and I'm a bit worried about how we'll manage.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-p7t8j3g/0/L/DSCF0082-L.jpg)
Slip, slidin' away


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: bljakkl on August 07, 2013, 09:49:56 pm
I just want to thank you for taking the time to post.  I realize with all the views and all the people following you probably start to feel pressured to update everything.  I think we're all just enjoying living vicariously through you and hope you get over being burned out and back on the road.  Good luck and hope Canada was great.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on August 07, 2013, 11:49:32 pm
Many thanks for the write-up and insightful commentary.

Best wishes finding suitable boots & perhaps camera.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on August 08, 2013, 12:39:53 pm
Well alright! Glad to see you guys are back on the road. Sorry to hear about the boots and camera...bummer.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on August 08, 2013, 12:58:38 pm
Still waiting on the switch from BMW to Suzuki.....  

Thanks again. Loving it!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on August 08, 2013, 01:52:07 pm
Glad to see y'all back on the road. Sorry about the boots though.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on August 08, 2013, 05:47:59 pm
Did you get boots?  Would having someone arrange to ship to you be of help, or do you think you'll find some there?  I'd be happy to arrange to ship something to you if need be.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on August 08, 2013, 07:00:10 pm
Since they are currently in Toronto, and writing the Cuba epilogue in the past tense, I'm sure they can find some boots in the GTA before they depart again.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Scoop on August 09, 2013, 05:22:05 pm

Since they are currently in Toronto, and writing the Cuba epilogue in the past tense, I'm sure they can find some boots in the GTA before they depart again.


Possible  :lol:
I've heard that they have that sort of thing in Eastern ON!  
I missed the part about the report being past tense.  Must have been too excited to see the latest instalment.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Acadian Rider on August 09, 2013, 08:56:27 pm



Possible  :lol:
I've heard that they have that sort of thing in Eastern ON!  
I missed the part about the report being past tense.  Must have been too excited to see the latest instalment.




Click on this link on top of every update and it will tell you the dates for which they are reporting the update.  

http://www.ridedot.com/rtw/99.html

The last update refers to events that happened in May.  


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: RBEmerson on August 09, 2013, 09:02:20 pm
 :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 12, 2013, 04:24:42 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/100.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Pwvd5Bc/0/L/map100-L.jpg)

We re-entered Guatemala through the Mexican state of Chiapas, and followed the Pan American highway to Quetzeltenango (Xela), where we had taken Spanish lessons just three months ago. It had rained off and on ever since crossing the border, but as we rolled into town, the skies opened up and we were forced to navigate the slick narrow cobblestone streets of historic Xela, trying to find suitable shelter for the night. After knocking on a couple of doors, we booked into a hostel that was incredibly cheap and not entirely rundown to wait out the storm till the next morning.

It felt kind of nice being in a familiar town, but we were eager to see something new. After crossing the border, all of our schedules and time-tables fell by the way-side and it felt very good being able to dawdle again. I often look at the route we've taken around the Americas and it looks like the path of a drunken sailor - lots of loops, meanderings and detours... which is exactly what we were intending when we first set out!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-3SKfxZs/0/L/DSC_6643-L.jpg)
Dodging tourists in the historic town of Antigua

As we were now in the central highlands of Guatemala, even summer temperatures can dip into the low teens overnight, and this coupled with the rain made for some cold temperatures. Because we were without our waterproof riding boots, for the next morning's ride I wrapped plastic bags over my socked feet and then wore my hiking shoes over this. And as everybody knows, the more prepared you are for wet weather, the drier the ride it will be. It was only a couple of hours riding eastwards, but I felt very dorkey having those white plastic bag sockies peek over the tops of my shoes...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6vr86gS/0/L/DSCF0127-L.jpg)
Cobblestone streets and painted buildings

Antigua used to be the capital of Guatemala before earthquakes decimated most of the city in late 1700s. It's a beautiful city that's managed to preserve a lot of the Spanish colonial architecture, and there is a high concentration of ex-pats that have made this place their home. We've been feeling burnt out from travel for a couple of months now, and now that we don't have anything scheduled ahead of us, we've decided to settle down in this quaint town for a little bit of time to recharge our batteries, and also to do some exploring.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B6CsWdc/0/L/DSC_6400-L.jpg)
Our first B&B in Antigua was home to cats! Because I was allergic, I had to use my zoom lens for this shot!

We wanted to find an apartment or residence for a few weeks, but didn't want to rush into anything so we booked into a B&B and scoured the city for more permanent accommodations. It only took us a couple of days to find an apartment right in the heart of the city. Short-term rentals are very easy to find in Antigua as there are a lot of tourists that visit and vacation in this scenic town.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-29hWmpW/0/L/DSC_6406-L.jpg)
Arch of Santa Catalina - Antigua's most famous architectural landmark

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fsR7MzP/0/L/DSC_0747-L.jpg)
Antigua is surrounded by three large volcanoes - one of which is currently active!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-5JZZVRV/0/L/DSC_6672-L.jpg)
We found a place! This is our driveway.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9cp5549/0/L/DSC_6678-L.jpg)
Courtyard parking - we shared it with a KTM from California, but never met the rider!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-K7PtstD/0/L/DSC_6428-L.jpg)
Feels so good to have a kitchen and fridge again!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pPJ9DBg/0/L/IMG_2238-L.jpg)
World-famous delicious NedaBurgers!

It is so amazing having a home-base to dump all our stuff in and just relax without having to worry about foraging for food and shelter. Stocking up the fridge means not having to grocery shop everyday, and with a hot stove, spices and cookware, we're able to make meals that were not possible while we were on the road. Being nomadic is a great lifestyle for us, but we still need some kind of sedentary life to balance the intensity of all the new things we're seeing and experiencing.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mS5gdv3/0/L/DSC_6517-L.jpg)
Indigenous women selling their wares are a familiar site

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rqGFPZj/0/L/DSC_6525-L.jpg)
The ruins of the El Carmen church are right across the street from our apartment.
Tourists flock to the little market that springs to life in front of it every weekend


(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mFkb8FP/0/XL/DSC_6530-XL.jpg)
Homemade handbags for sale. I had to pull Neda away...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tcGCRMc/0/L/DSC_6639-L.jpg)
Arch of Santa Catalina at night

My idea of relaxing is to hibernate like a bear, and I stayed inside the apartment for the first week, not even venturing out once. Neda explored the town and showed me pictures she took of what life was like outside the cave. Her idea of relaxation was to book herself for a month of Spanish lessons. I believe at this point she is actually teaching Spanish, not learning it...

After the wi-fi Internet got installed in our apartment, that sealed the deal. I was not leaving this place. Ever.

I gorged myself on downloaded TV shows and motorcycle races, and wondered when they kicked out all the non-Spanish riders out of MotoGP...?

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-TcqNFc8/0/L/IMG_2328-L.jpg)
We relaxed. The bikes relaxed. It was very relaxing for the whole RideDOT.com family...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-G2qhDCd/0/XL/IMG_1130-XL.jpg)
Arch de Santa Catalina after a rainfall

The Central America rainy season is fascinating to experience first-hand. Here in Antigua, it rains every single afternoon like clockwork. Everyone in town wakes up early and gets their errands done and by 2PM, they've scurried themselves indoors somewhere to wait out the afternoon storm. Sometime around 6-7PM, the rains stops and the street life resumes once again until the overnight rains return. I've never seen such regular weather patterns before in my life. Especially coming from Canada where the weather predictions are as unreliable as a KTM motorcycle.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Fm3HFrc/0/L/IMG_1132-L.jpg)
Neda tinkers away on her bike

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dwsNR9D/0/L/IMG_1140-L.jpg)
Felt great to catch up with family and friends after being disconnected for a month in Cuba

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-vq2nnFV/0/L/IMG_2306-L.jpg)
Antigua is full of wonderful architecture and scenic volcanoes everywhere you look!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pL6Ps2K/0/L/IMG_2270-L.jpg)
Volcane de Agua (Water Volcano) just outside our apartment


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on August 12, 2013, 05:02:03 pm
Now that's a place to take time off while you're taking time off!!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on August 12, 2013, 05:52:38 pm
 Quote Lightcycle:
Quote
While taking a break at a Pemex, I was approached by one of the gasoline tanker drivers who was delivering petrol to the station. He seemed curious about our motorcycles and started asking me questions. I had flashbacks of Cuba and initially viewed him with suspicion. What did he really want? Then he flipped out his cell phone and started thumbing through it, showing me pictures of his own Suzuki sportbike he had at home. We then had a great conversation about sport vs touring bikes and he was curious about how the BMW bikes handled.

But it struck me how scarred I was from our time in Cuba and how it's so difficult relating to others when there's little socio-economic common ground. When I look back at all the places we've bookmarked as potential places to live, like La Paz in the Baja Peninsula, I realize that they're all very middle-class cities where the residents were less concerned about putting food on the table and spent their time pursuing more self-actualized pursuits like music, dance and the arts. And motorcycling for pleasure travel...


A very interesting insight. Thanks for this and all the rest. :bigok:

How much does it cost to be in Antigua for a while?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on August 13, 2013, 12:47:02 pm

 Quote Lightcycle:


A very interesting insight. Thanks for this and all the rest. :bigok:

How much does it cost to be in Antigua for a while?


My thoughts and question exactly....+2


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on August 13, 2013, 02:06:09 pm

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9cp5549/0/L/DSC_6678-L.jpg)
Courtyard parking - we shared it with a KTM from California, but never met the rider!


I love this photo.  :clap:  Even without a twisty road in sight, you can tell there's an adventure in progress.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 14, 2013, 07:02:20 pm
How much does it cost to be in Antigua for a while?


Guatemala is generally very cheap, however Antigua, being a popular tourist attraction, can get very expensive if you don't look for a deal.

1-bedroom apartments start around $300/month, but may be lacking location and quality. We fell in love with our two-story apartment right in the centre of town, however it cost $850/month. If we had booked a bit earlier we probably could have found something the same quality and location, but slightly cheaper. Friends of ours stayed at a room in a hostel with a private bathroom and TV and I think they paid around $250, and it included Spanish lessons. The real estate agency tried to sell us some $1500 apartments in a gated community on the outskirts of town, maid service and gardener included.

Groceries are a fraction of the price of North American stores, however most of the restaurants cater to tourists, and you'll be paying almost the same price as eating out in the US. Elsewhere in Guatemala, the restaurants are much cheaper.

We lived like royalty for $40/day all in.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JonS on August 15, 2013, 03:59:25 pm



Guatemala is generally very cheap, however Antigua, being a popular tourist attraction, can get very expensive if you don't look for a deal.

1-bedroom apartments start around $300/month, but may be lacking location and quality. We fell in love with our two-story apartment right in the centre of town, however it cost $850/month. If we had booked a bit earlier we probably could have found something the same quality and location, but slightly cheaper. Friends of ours stayed at a room in a hostel with a private bathroom and TV and I think they paid around $250, and it included Spanish lessons. The real estate agency tried to sell us some $1500 apartments in a gated community on the outskirts of town, maid service and gardener included.

Groceries are a fraction of the price of North American stores, however most of the restaurants cater to tourists, and you'll be paying almost the same price as eating out in the US. Elsewhere in Guatemala, the restaurants are much cheaper.

We lived like royalty for $40/day all in.


Thanks a lot! That is just what I was wondering about. Substantial food for thought. :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 20, 2013, 01:31:30 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/101.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xqFvVVR/0/L/map101-L.jpg)

First things first: We're celebrating ONE YEAR ON THE ROAD!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XPkn5kW/0/L/DSC_6563-L.jpg)
Nothing says Party-Time like coconut cream cake. Mmmm...!

I think the cliched thing to say is that "It's hard to believe we've been traveling for a whole year", but it's not that hard to believe at all. We've seen and experienced so many different things in the last 12 months that it's quite the opposite - it's hard to imagine that it all fit in a year! Especially compared to our lives before, where larger-than-life adventures had to be shoehorned into 2-3 week boxes between the crates of sedentary working existence.

Marking the passage of time while outrunning the changing seasons also contributed to this very concrete feeling of time being a rushing wave that we were constantly trying to ride on top of or ahead of. I imagine if we were just traveling through somewhere tropical, our temporal senses may have been more subdued.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mTP9ZfK/0/L/IMG_1082-L.jpg)
Ride all day, drink all night

Central America is a funnel. While travelers roam across the north or south continents, they may occasionally bump into each other at nexuses like motorcycle meets. But when the land narrows like an hourglass to the thinnest point in Panama, right in the centre, these traveling grains of sand start bumping into each other as they line up single file to hoist their bikes onto sailboats or pack them into cargo containers to fly between one side of the hourglass to the other.

We've been keeping in contact with other travelers online and while we were in Antigua, we met up again with Andi and Ellen, the Two Moto Kiwis (http://"http://www.twomotokiwis.com") from New Zealand. We originally met at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in California last October. We also spent the evening with Phil and Jayne, from The Ultimate Ride (http://"http://ultimateride.ca"), the brother and sister motorcycle duo whose goal is to play Ultimate Frisbee everywhere they travel. We ran into them briefly last December in La Paz, Mexico at the ferry docks crossing to the mainland. Also with us that evening was Julio, AKA GauteRider, an Austrian ex-pat who now lives just outside of Antigua and plays host to pretty much all the motorcycle traveling grains of sand that trickle by his front yard.

Having dinner with Andi, Ellen, Phil and Jayne was a riot of a time, comparing stories of our adventures. We all started about the same time last year, taking very similar treks from north to south and while other riders race towards the Antarctic for December 2013, we joked that our three teams were in a much different competition against each other: To see who could ride the slowest down to South America! Poor Andi and Ellen have been besieged with breakdowns and injuries and Andi was actually laid up in Antigua mending a broken rib. As for Phil and Jayne, they meander and dawdle worse than we do! All of them accused us of cheating because we had actually made it to South America, but then took a detour through the Caribbean to end up back in CA again! I guess you don't technically lead a slow race if you lap someone...!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dS97RR6/0/L/DSC_6472-L.jpg)
Ellen and Andi on the right teaching a local restaurant owner how to make sushi

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-ztR6bNb/0/L/DSC_6432-L.jpg)
Ellen's sushi is famous amongst motorcycle travelers, she makes it everywhere they stop for hosts and friends

While Phil and Jayne didn't stay too long in Antigua, Andi and Ellen are spending a month here so we hung out quite a bit, getting to know them. They are a very friendly and genuine couple, and it was really nice to be able to celebrate and commiserate with folks going through the exact same things we were going through.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JndSbz6/0/XL/DSC_6492-XL.jpg)
Two Moto Canucks!

Other than trying to reach certain destinations, we've been without a true quest our entire trip. But Andi gave one to us. Fetch his motorcycle from Guatemala City, where he left it after his crash last month. He couldn't ride it back himself because of his broken ribs. GC is only 45 minutes away, and we needed to get Neda's bike serviced anyway, so with a little help from Julio, we managed to do all this in a single trip.

Andi and Ellen have got a beautiful KTM 950SE that they've nicknamed Maya. I make fun of KTMs all the time, but I used to have a KTM dirtbike and Neda and I spent many weekends on the trails around Ontario, roosting each other and crashing into trees. Thankfully the road between GC and Guatemala is very twisty and I got a chance to test out the 950SE. It's comparable to the F800GS, similar weight and power but the SE sounds a heck of a lot nicer and felt more flickable than the Beemer. It's very much a hooligan bike, I liked it a lot!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-B9D8pF5/0/L/DSC_6493-L.jpg)
Que es el problema, Maya? No se...

I know from personal experience that KTMs are very finicky and maintenance-intensive. So it wasn't too much of a surprise when riding back from GC, Maya's rear brake seized, forcing us to pull over in heavy traffic. We couldn't pull over safely for quite a distance and when we finally stopped, the rear pads were smoking more than Neda did in Cuba.

I txted Andi to ask him if this was normal. There was a bit of confusion over the phone. Apparently, New Zealand English and Canadian English are not the same, so I pulled out my Google Translate and sent him a Canuck-to-Kiwi translation:

Quote
Croikey dick, the rear brake's done near knackered! I give the old gal a bit of a kick and whadayaknow, Bob's yer uncle and everything's a box of budgies! I'm feeling pretty chuffed and Neda piped up with an ole, "Good on ya, mate!" so hooray to Guatemala City! We spent a few moments dodging lorries on the roadway, had to tella few to "NAFF OFF" but we got to Antigua all home'n hosed and just in time for tea! Phew, I could really go for a vegemite sarnie, right about now!


To my surprise, Andi understood that perfectly!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-9mS23Hj/0/L/DSC_6507-L.jpg)
Wheeling in Maya into Andi and Ellen's hostel

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NfMgtnh/0/L/DSC_6555-L.jpg)
We had Andi, Ellen, Julio and his wife Luisa over for dinner where Neda cooked up some yummy Croatian dishes.

Something happens when you stay a while in one place: you start growing roots. Our social calendar was getting booked up with people that we met, dinner with a Japanese couple, Miwa and Kohei, who opened up a B&B in Antigua, and hanging out with Andi & Ellen and Julio & Luisa, who hosted quite a few get-togethers in their beautiful home just outside of town.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fWCQVQf/0/XL/DSC_6602-XL.jpg)
Julio use to be a chef and cooked up some amazing plantain flambe

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RsTTmd9/0/L/DSC_6587-L.jpg)
Luisa is an amazing hostess and quite the avid gardener

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-c7DWVJG/0/XL/DSC_6576-XL.jpg)
Chilling at Julio & Luisa's


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on August 20, 2013, 02:11:13 pm
this looks like way too much fun.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Farked Up on August 21, 2013, 11:21:43 pm
 If you go "home" for a certain length of time, say a month or more, then start riding again, is it the same ride / ride report?  :p


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BottomFeeder on August 22, 2013, 11:55:46 am

 If you go "home" for a certain length of time, say a month or more, then start riding again, is it the same ride / ride report?  :p


Since they sold their home I think the ride reports ends when they decide to settle in ... Which I hope is down the road a ways.    This story got me thinking I should try a bike trip out of the country ...
Great story so far I am enjoying your travels


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 27, 2013, 06:03:02 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/102.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xqFvVVR/0/L/map101-L.jpg)

Living on the road for an extended period brings up a unique set of issues, mainly around the issue of residency and citizenship. By now we've figured out the monthly duties like paying credit card bills, but annual chores like filing taxes and renewing licenses and passports present new challenges as we've got to figure out how to do all this while being out of Canada.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-fSX5Xs2/0/L/DSC_6486-L.jpg)
Maya and I made a friend outside the Canadian Embassy

Neda's passport was due to expire, so when we picked up Andi's bike In Guatemala City, we also paid a visit to the Canadian Embassy to renew her documents. During our time in Antigua, we would regularly travel back and forth on the scenic and twisty road to the capital city. And all of this before 2PM, as we try to complete all our errands before the daily afternoon tropical rain showers.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-G9pBTGF/0/L/DSCF0110-L.jpg)
Well traveled (and divided) road between Antigua and Guatemala City! W00T!

We've been feeling burnt out from our travels for quite some time now. The month-long Internet-isolation in Cuba exacerbated our weariness and half-way through our stay in Antigua, we decided to take a short vacation from our travels to visit family and friends back in Toronto. Our spur-of-the-moment decision complicates things a bit - Neda's passport is in transit somewhere between Ottawa and Guatemala, so we've got to wait for it to be processed before we can empty our Air Miles piggybank for the flight back.

To add to it, our month-long rental came to a close and we are once again semi-nomadic.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-6s2fb8w/0/L/IMG_1143-L.jpg)
Breakfast at our temporary B&B accommodations

Guatemala belongs to the CA4 (Central America-4) Border Control Agreement, a recent act which allows free travel for visitors between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica on the same Tourist Permit without having to apply or renew at each border. This added a bit of a complication because we wanted to visit Toronto right near the expiry period of our current permit. Which meant we had to renew our CA4 permit *AND* our vehicle permit before we left Guatemala. Otherwise our expired permit prohibited us from entering the CA-4 zone for 90 days.

However Neda's passport still had not arrived from Ottawa... :(

Every step required time - 21 days for the passport, 4 days for the tourist permit renewal, and a separate trip for the vehicle permit. And we had already booked our plane tickets! Uh oh. Because of our lack of planning, if everything went according to the official timeline, we would not get our tourist and vehicle permits renewed until after our flight departure date, which meant delaying our plane ticket ($$$), or we could bypass the the 4-day Tourist Permit processing by riding to the Guatemala/Mexico border, getting a Mexican TVIP again (more $$$), spending a night at the border, canceling the TVIP and then re-entering Guatemala.

My head hurt thinking about the logistics of that one. So in the meantime, we went for a ride with Julio, Luisa and Andi. No passport or tourist permits required for this!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Gnz8bCS/0/L/DSCF0141-L.jpg)
Andi and Maya on the left, Julio and Luisa on the right

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XgmscpS/0/L/DSCF0135-L.jpg)
Group ride through some of the small towns around Antigua

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pwC9hW9/0/L/DSCF0070-L.jpg)
Morning fog hugging the hills, lush scenery all around us

The early morning weather felt a bit cold and iffy, but we decided to chance it and braved the damp roads and ominous clouds overhead. We were still without riding boots, which made me a bit nervous! Julio took us through some very scenic routes through the hills surrounding Antigua, capped off with an brunch with a great view of the volcanoes and rolling hills around the area. We scurried back home to escape the looming afternoon rains.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MgZMqmB/0/L/IMG_1103-L.jpg)
Brunch and a view

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-CVmhXhf/0/L/DSCF0148-L.jpg)
Trying to beat the rain home

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-zRpqfST/0/L/DSCF0155-L.jpg)
Twisty mountain roads on the way back

Things fell into place for us in the end. Ottawa sent Neda's passport back earlier and we had plenty of time to make another trip to GC to extend our tourist visas and vehicle permits. We were allowed in the CA-4 zone till November! Wow! When we asked Julio for some storage facilities in the area, he graciously offered his own garage for the time we were away. We are constantly blown away by the kindness of people we are meeting along the way.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-JTwGfFC/0/L/DSC_6700-L.jpg)
Julio and Luisa took us out for our farewell dinner in Antigua. So nice!

And we're off on summer vacation!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on August 27, 2013, 06:27:27 pm
Great news that timings worked out!

I enjoy seeing your thread's title pop up in my recents list - with your name as the recent poster. I know good pix are a click away!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Max Wedge on August 27, 2013, 06:33:22 pm

Great news that timings worked out!

I enjoy seeing your thread's title pop up in my recents list - with your name as the recent poster. I know good pix are a click away!


There are many who feel this way, myself included.  :inlove:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: veefer800canuck on August 28, 2013, 04:11:20 am
A vacation from your vacation. What a concept.  :lol:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: stew71 on August 28, 2013, 01:41:19 pm

A vacation from your vacation. What a concept.  :lol:


There are many of us here who WISH we could have that problem.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on August 30, 2013, 03:49:54 am
Here's something a bit different.

Neda had taken a whole bunch of videos on her iPhone, and I wanted to learn how to do some video-editing, so here's a trailer for our next couple of blog posts.



Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on August 30, 2013, 08:16:05 am
Can't wait.  :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on August 30, 2013, 10:29:17 am
My kind opinions of the video (if you wish'm - sorry if you don't  :D)

- The duration of the windshield wiper segment was 2x as long as it could be. I'd trim it to the last big splash (that I imagine you want to keep) and one, maybe two, prior to it.

- The motorcycle blurb flashed by too fast for my mind (add a 1/2 second to it?)

- The band needs a tad more singer volume to match / balance with the guitar

Overall, a nice vid. I like the intro/exit pix / titles.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 02, 2013, 01:03:07 am
Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/104.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-VGPLGnK/0/L/map103-L.jpg)

We are thoroughly enjoying summer in Toronto, catching up with family and friends, lots of eating, laughing, eating, being wide-eyed tourists, fighting traffic and eating. Over meals, we recounted our travels to our friends, and by far, the most common question they asked us was, "What has been the best part of your trip?"

Before we answer that, let's start from the beginning.


30-40 foot high geyser of drainage water spews above the Don Valley Parkway

We left rainy Guatemala hoping to catch the sunny season in Toronto. However, not a week after we arrived, we found ourselves stuck in the car on the highway during the worst rainstorm the city has ever seen. We normally get 75mm of rain the entire *MONTH* of July, but during a *TWO-HOUR* period, 123mm of rain fell down around us! Cars were stranded on the highway as water levels rose past their windows, city streets were flooded as people waded out of submerged subways and underwater parking garages. Power went out for hours throughout most of the city and as we watched the news from a safe place uptown, suddenly Guatemala didn't seem that wet and gloomy anymore...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Bzp6g5N/0/L/IMG_2453-L.jpg)
Our ride for the summer in Toronto - picture by Neda's dad, Vjeko

Thankfully the rains only lasted a week and we were able to get some riding done.

We have amazing friends! So many of them have been so generous, offering us motorcycles, cars, accommodations and taking us out for dinners and cooking us meals. We're thankful to my parents who let us crash in their basement for a few days while we looked for a place to stay for the summer. Our friends Dave and Dee basically gave us a V-Strom as well as their car while they were away on vacation. Our other friends Jeff and Ed also lent us their cars for the weekend and I can't count the number of two-wheeled offers we got! If you're reading this, thank you all so much!!!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-pW2N657/0/XL/IMG_2419-XL.jpg)
Big Shitty traffic

So what's it like coming back to Toronto after a year on the road?

It's like we never left. When my parents picked us up from the airport, we hit a traffic jam on the highway and it was such a familiar feeling, like we had just left a week ago. They say when you've been gone for a long time, everything looks and feels different, you even feel different in your old environment. I don't think we were gone long enough, though. We'll have to work on that...

I think the biggest change is how bad traffic has become. Toronto is now the 4th largest city in North America and has the congestion to match. I used to be able to judge exactly how long it would take me to get from any point in the city to another at any time of the day, arriving within 2-3 minutes of my appointment. Now I'm either 15 minutes late, or 30 minutes early - the traffic patterns have changed drastically in the last year.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qKdcZnL/0/L/IMG_2414-L.jpg)
Our condo was so high up, we could see outer space from our window!

While I was looking through the pictures Neda had taken on the contact sheet, this one looked like the earth from outer space. It's actually the sunset over the skyline taken from our condo. The shutter button on iPhone is on the right, but since she's a lefty all her pictures are displayed upside-down! So I warped the edges of the skyline a bit and got this cool spacey-looking shot.

We're on the 48th-floor of a condominium right downtown overlooking the western part of the city. Having never lived in the heart of the city before, it was great walking everywhere and being tourists in our old hometown.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RvBH9kR/0/XL/IMG_1178-XL.jpg)
Neda blames this injury on her being a lefty

We got our first serious casualty since the start of the trip. Neda had a major altercation with a can opener and sliced her finger very deeply. She blames the fact that the can opener was made for righties and not southpaws... uh huh... We had to take her to the hospital where they put 6 stitches in to close the wound. Unfortunately, there is a risk of tendon damage, and since it's her clutch hand, she's off motorcycles for the duration of our time in Toronto.

A friend commented, "You traveled around the world for a whole year on motorcycles and the only time you injure yourself is back home in the kitchen..."

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-NB4Njpm/0/L/IMG_1167-L.jpg)
Neda's Davy Jones impression

OMG, we really miss the food in Toronto! I think this city is the most cosmopolitan place in terms of food. While I enjoyed the Mexican and Central American cuisine, it's all so homogenous! And after months of rice, beans, tortillas and fried meats, we really craved soft-shell crab rolls, lamb vindaloo, curried goat, all washed down with some ice-cold Hobgoblin ale. We really miss all the varieties of food you can sample in Toronto, and I've got the extra 15 lbs around the midsection to prove it!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-2KTxtBG/0/L/DSC_6878-L.jpg)
I competed in a Moto Gymkhana competition

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Rpc2QC5/0/L/DSC_6923-L.jpg)
Gymkhana is an ancient Japanese sport involving motorycles, swords and ninjas. Or in this case they are CBR250s...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7Xw5zjp/0/L/DSC_7051-L.jpg)
I didn't do too well. But because this is Canada, everybody is a winner and gets a medal!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-96BHWg8/0/L/IMG_1193-L.jpg)
The Skydome is Toronto's baseball stadium. A few years ago Roger's Communications paid a lot of money to rename the building to, um... the Skydome...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-j3wDG68/0/XL/DSC_7508-XL.jpg)
Watched some local artists in action

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Z3gPwpm/0/L/DSC_7536-L.jpg)
The intersection of Yonge St and Dundas St is Toronto's mini Times Square

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-4DMTBR9/0/L/DSC_7533-L.jpg)
Cruisin' the streets of Toronto is a popular pastime for urban riders

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-st72Lf2/0/L/DSC_7555-L.jpg)
In Toronto, green means go. In Toronto, red also means go... True story.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-rWcKc83/0/L/DSC_7674-L.jpg)
Fishing in Algonquin Park

Every weekend in the summer, tens of thousands (or at least it seems like) of Torontonians sit for hours in traffic on a Friday afternoon to engage in an activity called Cottaging, which I don't even believe is a real word. Then they'll sit for hours in traffic on Sunday afternoon to get back to the city. Minus the time spent sleeping, these urbanites will spend more time during the weekend Trafficking than Cottaging.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-XRqHrMr/0/L/IMG_2645-L.jpg)
"We made it to Algonquin Park! Time to leave soon..."

So anyway... What *HAS* been the best part of our trip so far?

Reaching the Arctic Ocean in Alaska may have been the most rewarding achievement of our trip. Utah may have been the most scenic place we have visited. Mexico may have had the friendliest people in our travels. Crossing the Darien Gap by sailboat with our motorcycles may have been the most interesting part of our journey. But both Neda and I agree, the best part of our trip has been "Freedom" - the ability to go anywhere we wanted, staying as long or as short as we desired and not having any destination, plan or schedule to map out or stick to. *THAT* has been the most amazing feeling in the last 12 months!


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: JimWilliamson on September 02, 2013, 01:16:53 am
sums it up!!
Quote
I don't think we were gone long enough, though. We'll have to work on that...


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on September 02, 2013, 06:45:30 am
Thanks for taking us along   :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: viffergyrl on September 02, 2013, 11:06:58 am
Wow! That was magnificent! I can't say enough superlatives.....  :lol: But....



.....what's next? :popcorn:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Kneescrubber on September 02, 2013, 01:27:05 pm

Wow! That was magnificent! I can't say enough superlatives.....  :lol: But....



.....what's next? :popcorn:


 :withstupid:


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: BashamR6S on September 02, 2013, 05:09:54 pm
 :couch: :popcorn: :clap:

more please?


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 05, 2013, 12:51:35 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/105.html

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dqmnbNn/0/L/map105-L.jpg)

We're hosting a couple from Belgium who contacted us through our blog! After traveling through Northern Europe by motorcycles, they're now backpacking through North America starting in Toronto. When they originally e-mailed us back in April, we were just getting ready to enter Cuba and had no plans to to be back in Toronto, so it was quite a coincidence that we were here at the same time.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-gngpkGS/0/L/DSC_7070-L.jpg)
The Belgians take a boat ride

We loved hosting Eva and Thomas in Toronto, it gave us the motivation to actually get out and see all the touristy places in Toronto that we wouldn't normally have visited. If it wasn't for them, we probably would have stayed in our apartment the entire summer! The Belgians are vegetarians and nature-lovers - cut from the same cloth as Neda! So I had to hide a packet of beef jerky under my bed for the week... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-Ncfs5pC/0/XL/DSC_7072-XL.jpg)
View of Toronto from Centre Island

It was great seeing Toronto from a tourists' pair of eyes. Eva and Thomas told us that the skyline looked very futuristic. I never thought about it, but I guess coming from the Old Continent, everything must look so shiny and new here. The CN Tower and Skydome do look kinda spacey, even though the tower was built 40 years ago! Nowadays, the view of the skyline from the waterfront is being quickly disfigured by a forest of high-rise condominiums which is a real shame.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LbtTmvF/0/L/DSC_7192-L.jpg)
Toronto's Flatiron building

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qNrKNPx/0/L/DSC_7233-L.jpg)
Fake Canadian Geese hanging inside the Eaton Centre

While taking the Belgians around town, I realized that I really miss being an expert on something. In the entire year that we've been traveling, we were in Input-Only Mode, taking in sights, sounds and information, not having any prior background and not being able to express any opinions with any depth of knowledge. Now we were entirely in our element. Being around friends, we talked with conviction about all things Toronto: our train-wreck of a mayor, the condofication of the city, real-estate bubbles, bubble tea, the proposed casino and island airport expansion, etc.

It felt good to be entrenched in the issues and politics of a place, instead of always merely passing through and scooping up an inch-full of surface knowledge, a snippet of sound-bites.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-tmgfhss/0/XL/DSC_7237-XL.jpg)
Eva sports the latest in Toronto baseball fashion apparel

One thing I am *NOT* knowledgeable about is baseball, so I had to be quick on my feet, both with the pocket Google and the MSUs (Making Shit Up). The Belgians peppered me with questions up in the nose-bleed seats of the Skydome, all the while we watched the Jays gets murdelized by the Oakland A's. When they go back home and explain baseball to other Belgians, I hope my name doesn't come up when they talk about foul-plays and fly-runs...

The Belgians told us that our baseball fans are very tame and well-behaved. They said in European sports, when the home team loses, there is always a chance of a riot! I told them that when our home team(s) loses *ALL THE TIME*, you simply run out of energy...

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-MZm7Nbs/0/XL/DSC_7241-XL.jpg)
Bautista is famous Toronto T-shirt designer

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-LsJNV7b/0/L/DSC_7264-L.jpg)
Sunset against the open Skydome

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-dmpDTML/0/XL/IMG_2540-XL.jpg)
CN Tower looks like the warp trail of a rocket when lit up!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-RsDkKZH/0/L/DSC_7345-L.jpg)
So cliched, but we took the Belgians to Nigara Falls. Maid of the Mist earns its name.

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-d5k6VSk/0/L/DSC_7307-L.jpg)
I forget how fascinating it is for someone who has never seen the Falls

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-7TfXJZ2/0/L/DSC_7288-L.jpg)
The Canadian Horseshoe Falls flows 2.2 million liters of water *PER SECOND*!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-sbNBNNW/0/L/DSC_7314-L.jpg)
Add this picture to our, Take-Our-Tourist-Friends-To-Niagara-Fall collection... :)

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-qZf5DdH/0/L/DSC_7457-L.jpg)
Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-WnTXWp7/0/L/IMG_1209-L.jpg)
A case of mistaken identity for Eva's hairclip

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-mRSVx8K/0/L/photo-L.jpg)
After a long day, Thomas relaxes in our apartment. Great picture taken by Eva!

(http://mym0ry.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Road-Trips/Canada/i-xSwZqWL/0/XL/DSC_7185-XL.jpg)
Toronto's version of Grand Central Station - Union Station

We had such an amazing time with Eva and Thomas! We recognized the same joy of travel in their eyes, and there was always lots to talk about between the four of us. They continued their journey to Western Canada by train and we wished them a fond farewell, and I really believe we will be seeing our new-found friends again soon. You can read all about Eva and Thomas' adventures on their blog, Life is a Journey (http://lifeisajourney.be)!

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Look and Point - Part 1 of 2

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Look and Point - Part 2 of 2

The Canadian National Exhibition is a 3-week long fair held in Toronto and it traditionally marks the end of the summer. It also marks the end of our vacation in the city, and since we lived so close, I met up with some friends to take in the sights.

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At the Ex, you take your life in your own hands with the dodgy rides and dodgier food

Actually, the real reason why I went to the Ex was to try the infamous Cronut: half-croissant, half-donut, with a burger in the middle. There was an incident the week before when the maple-bacon jam topping the Cronut caused over 100 people to contract severe food poisoning. So after hearing that, I *HAD* to try it! But sadly, the Cronut was taken off the menu for good after the incident. :(

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These swings are iconic - they've been in every TV commercial for the Ex for decades!

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"Carnival, the wheels fly and the colours spin through alcohol..."

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Betting on a good time

Our friends have been such a joy to hang out with this summer. They surrounded us like a warm blanket on a cold winter morning, and it was much more difficult leaving them this time around than it was last year. But there's still so much to see out there so we're suiting up for the next exciting season of RideDOT.com!

Stay tuned! :)


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: Rocky on September 06, 2013, 05:54:28 am
Thanks for the tour of Toronto and Niagara Falls.
I enjoyed seeing the touristy sights again from my many visits there.


Title: Re: Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding!
Post by: lightcycle on September 08, 2013, 08:53:37 pm
Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/106.html

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"Are you sure you want to go back?", I asked Neda. "Yes. Are you sure?", she replied. "Yes. Really sure?", I asked again.

The answer was moot because at that moment United Airlines Flight 1502 was readying for a late night landing in Guatemala City. Water streaked past the airplane's window as I looked down at the city lights blinking through the fog and heavy clouds covering the capital city.

During the cab ride to Antigua, I experienced a bit of culture shock. All the Spanish I had very slowly built up over our trip had quickly dissolved in the past two months in Toronto. Neda appeared not to have skipped even a beat, conversing with the cab driver as fluently as if she had never left. I sank lower into my seat and watched more light rain collect on my window.

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Back in Antigua again!

We had arranged a stay with Miwa and Kohei, the Japanese couple we met in Antigua before we left. The first day back, the rain poured and poured and we played e-mail tag with Julio, to arrange to pick up our motorcycles from his place. While he was away in Guatemala City, we decided to break out of our listlessness and book a guided hike up to the Volcan de Pacaya, a very active volcano just outside of town.

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Pacaya behind us. Sometimes there is lava pouring out the side, but today it was just taking a smoke break

From the base of the volcano, it was a strenuous 770m, 2.5 hour uphill hike to the top. Strenuous for me because I was carrying all the excess vacation weight I had gained back in Toronto. Enterprising locals with horses followed the large tour group up the path to the volcano, hoping to sell a ride to the old, weak and tired. From the way they kept eyeing me, I apparently fit all three categories...

In my defense, since we didn't have our hiking gear and shoes yet (they were on the bike), I had to do all this in my jeans and motorcycle boots. Yes, we finally got new motorcycles boots while in Toronto. And Neda got new blisters hiking up in her new boots...

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In the distance, the Fuego volcano near Antigua is having a bit of an eruption

Over the course of the next 2.5