Ok... I rode from Los Angeles California to the southern tip of South America, and back. I started out with a friend from Alberta Canada - Larry is a rancher whom I met when I rode to Alaska a few years earlier and had stayed in touch with. He had recently bought a new bike and wanted to go for a ride. So we set our sights on Tierra Del Fuego. But, he had to turn back in Colombia. Then I rode with Brian from England, Patrick from Ireland, and Damon from New Zealand, from Columbia to Santiago Chile. After that, I was on my own.

This was an exciting trip for a number of reasons. It was over 30,000 miles thru Latin America and the Andes mountains, and I didn't speak much Spanish. There was also the small detail of the Darien Gap. And, then there was "Death Road" in Bolivia - supposedly the most dangerous road in the world.

Anyway, I blogged about the entire journey right here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No more ridin in the dark!

Alrighty then.  Here is an update on our journey so far.  We crossed into Mexico on the 5th and spent 4 hours getting insurance, exchanging currency, and taking care of paperwork for our tourist cards and import permits for the motorcycles.  Then it was off to Hermosillo.  We rode thru 3 checkpoints along the way and late into the night despite warnings against riding after dark … oops.

Here‘s an interesting little story…. I needed a larger front sprocket for my bike to allow it to run at higher speeds for this trip without straining the motor.  I had ordered one from an online store but they sent the wrong one.  I didn’t have time to wait for another to be sent.  And, I was unable to locate the right sprocket at any, of the many, large motorcycle shops near where I live in Southern California.  Out of options, I ordered the sprocket from another online store and had it shipped to the campground where I would meet up with Larry - hoping that it would arrive before we did.  Well, it didn‘t.  So, we waited at the campground for another day but it still had not arrived.  So, I reluctantly departed without the needed sprocket which meant I had to push the motor very hard when riding at highway speeds.  After the first days ride, pushing my bike motor harder than I should, I was desperate to find the larger sprocket.  I reasoned that maybe we could find one at a bike shop in Mexico despite being unable to locate one in California.  Right!  Never the less, I located a Suzuki shop in Hermosillo, Mexico and managed to get directions with my limited Spanish, and my handy dandy electronic Spanish/English dictionary.  When we arrived at the address, we found that the shop had gone out of business.  Still undeterred, actually desperate would be more accurate, I asked at a nearby quad shop.  Right!  Well, they of course didn’t have the part but recommended that I check the Yamaha dealer down the street.  Right!  So, we go there and find that it is primarily a scooter shop.  The owner says he doesn’t think so but if I take the one off the bike, they will try to match it up.  Right!  But, I’m still optimistic… actually, I’m just praying.  The chances that they will have the part that I need are practically zero!  But, what the heck!  So I remove the sprocket from my bike and bring it into the shop.  A girl working at the parts counter brings out 3 sprockets… three sprockets… THREE SPROCKETS!  That is all they have!  What are the odds that one of them will be the part I have been searching for everywhere, over the last week!  But, I look at the 3 sprockets as she holds them up and one looks a lot like it!  I pick it up to take a closer look and what do you know?  It is the EXACT part I needed!  What are the odds of  finding a sprocket for my Suzuki, at a Yamaha shop in Mexico, when I could not find one anywhere near Southern California! Well evidently, the odds are pretty good.

We met some nice folks in Mazatlan when we rode up a hillside to get a better view of the area.  After chatting with them for a bit we asked about what rents were.  And, we found out that there was a furnished place available for rent, with an incredible view of the bay, for $250 a month.  I may be back!

Yesterday we had brunch in Mazatlan, and dinner in Puerto Vallarta - both are major tourist attractions but neither is nearly as interesting as the small town of Melaque where we are staying tonight.  Larry learned of this hidden gem from another Canadian in Puerto Vallarta.  And the ride south from Mazatlan was absolutely amazing - twisty roads and scenic views.

We were having some problems with our riding schedule and seemed to be pushing to cover specific distances each day - always ending up riding after dark.  Well today I think the laid back attitude, that is so prevalent here in Mexico, is chipping away at the mission oriented  mindsets both Larry and I seem to share at the start of the trip.  Today, we only rode about half the distance that we covered on previous days.  And, we quit riding well before dark.

Here are a few pics from the past few days:


  1. Here's hopin that good luck angel stays on your shoulder throughout the entire trip. I can hear Larry chuckling already as he repeats this tale.

    Miles and Cheryl Schenk

  2. Andy your photos are realy good, looking forward to more.

  3. It looks like you guys are driving through postcard country. Barb is coming over for lunch Sunday (Nov 14) and we will print off a couple of detailed maps as her dial up is a little slow. We are following your adventures. Wishing you the best of luck! The Melnyk Family