Follow the published narration and story of two friends traveling South, through 15 countries and two continents. From Ottawa Canada to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Rob and Nik are set to embark on a journey meant to take a year, to be completed in a mere 2 months.

January - March 2011 : A year in the making..

We promise this blog will not only be awesome to read, but PACKED with info on how to plan your own trip........

the RIGHT way.

With only two months to complete the trip, we'll be cramming in tons of VIDEOS, PICS and useful and hopefully funny info.

Stay tuned for the Extended Video Log on my YouTube Channel after the trip; this blog is only the beginning....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Countdown - One Week

You never imagine this day coming at you until reality smacks you with it right in the face. Yeah a bit of the nerves set in, there's a lot of encouragement, but there's also a helluva lot of doubt and disarray from those closest to us. With completely valid reasoning too, there's nothing expect experience that can prove whether or not someone is cut out for this sort of stuff. We'll...we're about to give it a try.

So with just under 7 days left, heres our remaining lists:

Still to get:
Shaving Cream - i actually don't already have this...
Mosquito Net
Keys Copied - not a good idea to get going on one key
warning triangle - they give you hefty fines for not having this useless thing
Mexican insurance - best to get it up front and save some cash

Still to do:
Complete Maps
Complete Master Book - my physical copy of all vital information we may need along the way.
sell bike - on advrider and Buenos Aires forums
where embassies are in each country
make emergency cards
photocopy all documents
email all documents to oneself
call visa - let em know where outta here
Install camera mount

There's also been some positives since Christmas time! I'm fully geared up now and I got my yellow fever shot (omg 165.00 a damn ripoff) and Nik picked up some medicine for us (preventative diaherrea, malaria and he also got Hep A shot), I know my last post was a pathetic excuse but as for MEEEEEEEE (Nik get your shit together....more of that later), I now haveeee

YESSS PANTS AND BOOTS. Thanks to the Fat Man (no I'm not referring to you Dad although I'm sure you gave a helping hand) for listening in on my prayers, with much love and respect, I will ride those AlpineStars hard.

New Alpinestars - Waterproof, stylish and definitely wearable.

Red means it wont catch on fire....
So again, thanks to my parents for this helpful little surprise. You have saved me countless hours of soaked arse + I am a sexy bomb all geared up and ready to blow (gimme a damn break, its the third night in a row i'll be up past 3).

Also, cause it's Christmas and i'm no longer working at the Wine Station after a 4 and a half year haul, I want to shout out to all the guys and their support and how they've become not only my friends but brothers (about 10X as friendly brothers would ever want to be :/ ). But seriously, thank you guys for making work a little more like play.

And on one more note: to all the customers again as well who have shown their support and are following me along:

- Ms. Victoria M. for all that advice and of course these little fellas which is deserving of all the spare wines we have at the Station:
The damned biggest padlock you'd ever did see. Try n' break into this hombres. well...actually please dont try.

I was supposed to flip this picture but it's too late now. But thats a damn fine tool case and rubbers (watch it)

 - Ms. Louise T. for being one of my bestest friends working there, if you ever need another BBQ built, don't you dare hesitate. And once more thank you for the awesome x-mas gift to help me along:
Another thing I forgot, the infinitely helpful multi-tool, and no one steals my money cause YOU CANT FIND IT NOW SUCKERS
- To Tanya W. W. for also being my best friend, gonna miss our chats cause it was the only time I could sneak off during the busy times to help you bottle.

- To Ms. Redekopp: enjoy that Barolo, I'd say my job is on the line if you don't like it but I think I'm safe for now.

- To Dave and Diane Menard, I missed our Friday night chats but we finally got to catch up. I hope your new shingles aren't flying off the roof due to crappy labourers with all this howling winter wind.

- To Mr. Stach for all the Peruvian and GPS advice. Even though I go to Ottawa U, you changed me into a Raven's fan.

And to all those I didn't get a chance to thank because I had left without telling you my blog but one of the guy's did in my place, drop me a comment and I'll keep in touch with ya!

So on that note, Merry Christmas everyone, Happy New Year. And we're almost ready to roll.

........Oh yeah, that reminds me, about the whole.......uhhh.....let me just show you. I don't REALLLLY want to show you, but you're gonna see it sooner or later...we'll I mean everyone's gonna see it...and it ain't pretty, and...Nik, seriously, I haven't complained yet, but this isn't making the trip an easy task by any means. To all you adventure travel fans, get ready to ROFL or LMAO or whatever you feel necessary sitting there:


The homemade pannier...and I won;t say anything else in this caption.

I just saw this a couple days ago when he brought it over. He INSISTS there's no wind interference or wobble or whatnot, well, we'll see about that. Its the same width as mine mind you, but practicality/movability/maneuverability is about a 0.2/10.

It needs a few things before we get going: paint.......structural integrity, an "ICE CREAM TRUCK" sign on the back, and needs to be about a kilometre back from where I'm riding at all times. Well guys, let the real fun begin.

P.S. All these ugly orange pictures will stop soon, the night posts in my room will be replaced with beautiful scenery and the big ugly tin box soon enough.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Final Touches

Because there's ALLLWAYSS something you forget...

I've been MIA for the past month, hard at work figuring out every little detail to tie up loose ends. It's actually been the part of planning that's been the most fun, because with major details out of the way the trip begins to come together. I still haven't gone through a lot of what I've been preparing for and a lot of things have changed in the past month too...gotta break up this post like sooooooo:

Step 1: Equipment

- I've lined the panniers with felt for that soft, fuzzy feeling. I can use it for a snuggly blanket when I finally realize its gonna be colder than I think.

- I'm now bringing two cameras, the SLR for amazing HD video and the point and shoot for quick snaps. I've created a homemade camera mount using PVC for the handlebars to get that personal cinematic POV experience for you all.

- We scrapped the Bully Alarm lock, and went with a more traditional approach: one huge ass armoured cable lock (OnGuard Rottweiler 5025) and an army of padlocks and cables. We figured it would be an easier and cheaper method of keeping the bikes together. Also wanted the Fagghedabout lock from Kryptonite, a real contender rated at the 12th security level (and there are only 12 levels), but it was 12 the hell do you carry 12 pounds of chain.

         <---my new set-up..........^ the ultimate protection, but way  too heavy for us.

 I am also using small cable locks that go through the top handles on the pannier to garner added protection because I've heard Happy Trails panniers can be pried open from the latches. The lock passing through the tops and around the bottom should prevent that. These stupid ideas took the longest to figure out haha.

- The new shock along with all the maintenance is finally done. I now understand a little bit more about bikes now that most of it was taken apart and put back together again. This felt like the biggest accomplishment, but the worry for me now is that I haven't gotten a ride to test out and make sure everything works. I don't want to get 100 miles into the trip and have the rear shock explode into my arse (as much as Joey or Dan would like to see this). It's been snowing EVER since I put the last bolt back in, I'll just have to take a polar ride before I go.
The milk crate is an amateur motorcycle mechanics' BEST friend

Out with the old and in with the new, the rear shock is surprisingly easy to install

The biggest pain in the ass is re-aligning the rear tire. This is what scares me, but its an easy enough fix as long as it doesn't align me with the front of an 18-wheeler first.
Even with this experience, me being me I can never be 100 percent certain of myself unless I'm packing a couple of these along with me in the laptop, just to be sure:
All the KLR installation and repair videos I could find on Youtube
- I direly needed a tank bag because I didn't want to lug around a backpack the whole way, plus I need a way to see my map along the ride. When I do things, I tend to make a big deal about it, or attract attention to myself. I'll be the guy that rides around in a car whose sound system is worth roughly a third to half the price of the car. Case in point: meet the Eiffel tower....

Yeah, its actually that tall...
This is sort of the bag that you would bring to move your house on your motorcycle. Its 3 bags in one, so I can take it apart and not have to worry about cocking my head 90 degrees towards the turn signal. Got everything I need and the reason I bought it, well tank bags are not cheap, but this one was $49.99 and free shipping through the U.S. I got it shipped to my aunt's in New Orleans (our first stopping point). VERY CHEAP. Thanks to Motorcycle Superstore for their ridiculously cheap prices and awesome closeouts. My $200.00 jacket is on sale for 50 bucks.

Step 2: Clothing

- So far the clothing preparation is taking the hit. Both me and Nik have decided to bring what we already have for jackets. My Fieldsheer with two layers will be alright in normal weather, but useless in the prolonged cold or heat. Nik's jacket is not waterproof, but don't worry Nik, its stylish and we know that's what's most important.

- I dunno about Nik for now but I don't have boots unless I find some last minute on closeout. I'll be wearing shoes the whole way, bringing a spare along with me; but my most grateful gratitude goes to Victoria for passing along not only that REALLY heavy duty padlock but the waterproof shoe slips and the tool bag. I would have totally overlooked a waterproof solution to shoes.

- I'm just bringing the one helmet I have, Shark RSF-2 racing helmet; I plan on racing mopeds and scooters in central america to boost both my ego and morale. Besides, who wouldn't want to wear a super-tight and form fitting, low-visibility and hot as hell helmet in hot as hell weather??

- Gloves again, same ones I use here, simple off-road/ casual riding gloves. I plan not to fall a lot, I should be alright with these.

- We also don't have motorcycle approved pants, but we do have waterproof overalls to pack along with us through the rain. Look people, all we're planning for here is what seems to be a casual ride. Haha, we're young and we're poor, there's no need to feel pity or make fun of us as you read this, we'll make it. Hence the next section's importance.

Step 3: Health

- I did of course buy a first aid kit, its not in the pictures but it'll do when I stumble off a curb or something; i'm pretty sure it's not meant to heal any form of high speed motorcycle accidents....

- Health care comes at a pretty decent price here in Canada. I've barely looked but I'm being quoted $219.00 for 60 days of medical travel coverage. Far cry from the $400.00 I though it would be. This is through my CIBC bank institution in case someone was wondering. This doesn't cover Mexico because they require their own motorcycle insurance, quoted at $43.00 or similar for only like 4 or 5 days. This seems nearly invaluable in the need for medivac or if I fail at motorcycling in the States.

- The shots/vaccinations (yes up to now all this was overlooked, well, I'm not as irresponsible as you all might have assumed huh huh) I looked into were very expensive. I think if you were to get all the shots you would be looking at $350-$400 canadian. I'm lucky to still have my Hep B vacc. from my school days. I'm not getting the Hep A shot, it's too late anyway. If you were to get Twinrix it takes a full 6 months to complete the procedure (3 shots at $70 a pop). Its been said that if your safe and responsible, its nearly the same risk of getting the virus as here in don't drink the water. Cholera shots are often recommended, as are Rabies. The only shots we are getting are Yellow Fever shots because I have heard that proof of vaccination receipts are required in certain countries if you travel through hot zones in other countries (panama and a few northern south american countries). That one is $70.00 alone, and can be taken 10 days prior to being in that country.

- Malaria pills are last but not least, but they are another hugely expensive purchase at $150.00 a prescription. I will take my chances until Mexico where I have heard they are infinitely cheaper, as are the shots, but you have to be weary of the fake clinics.

Well, I think that sums up a lot of the planning up to now, the "book" I'm writing is almost finished, and I will post most of it up here. Just basically a compiled list of all dealerships, country info, packing stuff and wisdom for on the road emergencies.

Until next post my friends and followers and especially to all those at the Wine Station, employees and customers alike who are following me along on the adventure. I'll use your support as strength to post and post some more!