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....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Left High and Dry in the Desert - Rob

It seems like longer time periods between posts, but the reality is we're doing so many miles so quickly, there's just so many things going on, its hard to keep up. The longer we're on the road, the more I feel the brainrot. Days meld together and it becomes harder and harder to remember what we've done days past, or where we've been. There's a few unforgettable memories however, which I will keep with me forever, and which might make you laugh a bit.

Starting at the border, if you leave through Huanquillas, don't make the same mistake we did. It's a bit of a weird border town, there's a bridge right in the middle of town thats Zona Libre, free travel back and forth between countries to visit the markets. We avoided this because the Pan-American passes around the town on a double laned highway.

- We first ride looking for gas, sucking the remainder of our reserve tanks because border towns have a problem getting petroleum trucks to deliver daily, 4 kilometres out of town
- Back halfway to take the border exit, ride another 4 km to the border post, and no Ecuador exit?
- Peru turns us back because we didn't exit, the Migracion is actually in the town at a small post on the side of the road, 5km
- Exit, aduana is back near Peru border entrance, 3km
- This one is closed, the other one is 9 kilometres out of town going northbound
- FINALLY BACK TO PERU border, which was a tad long, hot, but easy, we were the only ones there

Enough goofing around, thankfully we were only going 130 km that day to a little awesome town called Mancora.

The unfinished border of Peru, looks like tis been that way for quite some time

The temporary SUNAT office to sign in, where they make YOU do all the work
We drove through the border town of Tumbes, a lot larger than we originally thought, but an enlightenment to the Peru that I've heard about. From all the tales, people have said that Peru is not a great ride. Depends on what you like I suppose. I like to keep the bike in good shape, but flat, straight roads every so often is a welcoming break for my bike. Sure theres a lot of garbage on the roads, but the towns are nice, the people are super friendly, we have not had any rough in's with ANY cops, which are EVERYWHERE, and riding through deserts are something neither me and Nik have done, so it's a real cool treat for us. Plus we like the dead heat.

The humble town of Tumbes, everyone is friendly here / wants a green card :O

Niks impressed with his new stickers, trophy helmet!!

We arrived in Mancora expecting just a little bit, and we were surprised at this amazing little beach town. Its touristy, but filled with locals, so it doesn't have that expensive, cheapy feel that some other places do. There are some nice hotels, some not to nice, we managed to find the Loki Hostel, which is both well known and enoorrrmous compared to most places we stay. It was really cheap, food and drinks and lodging for both days ended up being 60.00 each. And we splurged, eating tuna steaks (two each on the second night) and many many beers. The ocean here at first seemed tame, but soon we found out its the roughest tide we've seen so far. A nice surprise, since it will be the last ocean we'll see on the trip, and we love getting thrashed. The current would pull you out and sideways at a rate faster than the pace of walking, the waves would curl and throw you into the sand headfirst, but if you timed it right, a decent body surf would put you right on top of the wave (usually it puts us in front of it or just under the surface) 200 feet to shore. Brilliant. It was the sunset, the vibe, the music, the waves, that made us instantly decide to stay another day, no question. The hostel was the nicest we've seen so far, everyone's english as that's a nice break on the brain not having to translate everything. We basically chilled the night away playing ping pong, cards, pool, swimming, watching X-games.

The bikes enjoying the view and the ocean breeze

Lonely Nik calling out to the waves, "Doug!! I miss you!!!"

Seeing Peru coastline!!

The hill climbs here are dual sport heaven

Now they're enjoying a better view!

This is my ideal not myself...but our first balcony!!

How can you go wrong for 23 bucks a night

Mancora Loki Hostel

Sunset was almost over the ocean, but the desert aura makes the orange hue unbelieveable

This picture makes the hostel look more like a resort

As does this one...

And finally this one...

The following day would become one of the most momentous days for us; action packed and full of adventure. After a half-assed breakfast we walked around town and around the beach looking for touristy things, fancy places, places to eat and one of the sites of Mancora, the Pilares de la Quebrada Fernandez, three "exotic pools" with cascades. Couldn't find them. So after a crazy moto-taxi ride through the city for a Sole (always take taxis in Peru as the most they have cost us so far is a dollar), we took out the bikes for a spin in the desert. Awesome idea. We found ourselves riding around in a dry riverbed, then 150 metres above the city, then deep into a canyon trail. After riding under the desert sun for a good couple hours, we took it to the beach, took some pics, then went off to find the water pools near the river.Instead we ended up in one of the many many dumps, following the water (we knew now we could not swim here...even though there were people bathing) but the trail here was quite unique. You see, Peru is very fond of meals with chicken. You cannot go past any restaurants without prominently seeing chicken on the menu. Deep into the dump, we stumbled across chicken feathers; feathers that would blanket the ground for as far as you can see. I guess they have to pluck them somewhere. Regardless, it made a soft ride, and fun slides, minding the smell. Sop we finally get to the water pools, and what the hell do we see? Flamingos. This I was not expecting by any means, and it definitely made our day. They are easily scared and a hundred or so quickly took off all at once, so we headed further on the beach. We dangerously rode down through the surf for a kilometer or so (which is extremely hard on motorcycles in white sand...especially when the water comes because the bikes sink QUICKLY), and back to town we went.

The view of the city from the very top

Nik and his ruling dominance over Mancora

Canyon riding at its finest

This is the best of dual sporting....thus far

We had to take another moto-taxi to take a video of it, helmets are most certainly required

In the taxi:

The chicken feathers and the vultures that love to bathe in them

Wild horses could not drag me away....from here

Flamingos!!! Who'd guess!

Deep dune riding is the most difficult ride to be had on a motorcycle

But we enjoyed it completely

This doesn't really show it, but I got stung by some bee taking a video, my whole wrist swelled up and pussed, couldn't figure out what was going on. So itchy now.

Now the fun part.

So after lounging around and beaching it up, we decide to take the bikes back out (big shits on the town drag) looking for a place to eat. After zipping around for a bit, the best bet was the hostel food, where we can't ever go wrong, so we try heading down some back streets that turn into back paths, and its getting dark. We're not afraid of being out in the dark, but now we have a new fear. The fear of the lack of septic and sewer systems. Niks ahead of me, I try crossing this one narrow part of the path, and the next thing I know I topple 4-5 feet into what I thought was a grassy ditch. "Plunk" helmet then started filling with water, I'm almost submerged in what I thought was water, but then the smell hit me. My helmet was not filling up with aqua, rather feces and other awesomeness. As I tried prying the bike off of me and back up the slope, yelling for Nik's help, I look over and in the darkness I see his bike submerged in what looks like solid ground. He runs over, his bike flops over, my bike back up, we run over to get his back up. But its dug deep into....again, what we thought was mud. Not mud....The only way to get it out is for him to stand behind while I give it gas.....heres the result:

And the shirt looks even worse

The shower definitely got its use that night
So....after two good half hour showers, we felt..sort of clean. Thank god the hostel had a hose and we showered off the bikes that night. Adventure-some day. The beers went down smooth that night.

In the morning, we had to get a big day in, to get to Trujillo. Its 600 km, and all desert. For the first part of the ride, beautiful desert mountain vistas. Then it got flat, and REALLY hot. In  Piura, which is a hell town to get lost in, Nik's bike started overheating. We decided since it was awhile since we did an oil change, we would find a gas station and buy some oil. 47.00 U.S. EACH later....we were doing our oil, with some help! We forgot to fill up with gas, and entered the Sechura Desert. About 35 kilometers in and I realized the mistake. Nik finally got rid of his Zebra box, traded it in for a new backpacker bag strapped to the back. This means with the strong desert winds, my bike goes through a lot more mileage with the panniers. I knew I might be in trouble. It was 230 kilometres to the other side, which means I would probably be 40 kilometers short of a tank. Well, besides the awesome riding (we loved it), I was in constantly thinking about how many more kilometres I'd last.

Well I didn't, and thirty kilometres outside of thankfully the closest town I ran out. Damn good thing we carry a gallon extra, because without that, or without the town being there, surely we'd be towing mine. Nik wasn't even on his reserve tank, must be his tires and less resistance.

No cars and perfectly straight roads as far as you can see in both directions, times 20....
Running out of gas:

Our friendly oil changer helpers, helping us take only 10 minutes to do an oil change

Thats a desert....missing the sand dunes but I didn't want to stop more than I had to

Oceans have nice sunsets, but nothing beats a desert one

As the sun set over the desert chain fell off. Usual business, was a tad bit too loose, I just popped it back on and tightened it, and off we went again. Trujillo wasn't far from here, so we gunned it through the dark towards one of the biggest cities in Peru. If there's nothing worse than arriving in a busy city, its arriving at one in the dark. With no direction, we just went to the centre of town, being cut off, cut down and honked at from all angles. Most cities are like this, but for some reason Trujillo seems to take the cake. The drivers make WAY too excessive use of their horns, most of the time for no reason, and the lack of street lights means gogogo, all the time. We quickly stopped at a half decent hotel, 100 soles a night, but has everything we need. Poop washing taken care of, Warner Bros. channel, comfy beds, and the noise of some couple doing their thing out the window. Its alright though, because the minute man does his work speedily.

When we got to town, Nik's bike started heating up again...bad sign. It spewed a bunch of coolant, and we pushed it to our hotel, the Le Mans. Looked at it this morning, ended up being the fuse being disconnected causing the fan not to kick in. Easy fix. When we took it out today, his battery died and he had to jump start it everywhere we went.. strange, another thing to look at tomorrow, shouldn't be a big deal. Every dog has its day I suppose.

Today we went to the Chan Chan ruins, our first ruin site, which kind of tainted the historical aspects of the trip for me. I wasn't expecting Macchu Picchu because after all we are in the desert, but most of the site is replicated or refurbished. Barely anything is original, not cool. The best part of it was the riding afterwards. Since the ocean is close we decided to try to get to it through the trails between the uncovered arch. sites. This was the only dual sport riding so far that beats the canyon riding. Rolling sandy hills, going anywhere you want to go, and pretty fun jumps to be had all over. Ocean on one side, mountains on the other.

The Peruvian desert don't want to get too close to this thing...

Nik's "is this fake" face

Looks impressive, but up close its all plaster :P

Mind you, they did a real good point replicating the ancient ruins.

My "is this fake?" face haha

The lattice-style they constructed their walls from

Or should I say Trujillo's labour workers constructed

Where they got their water supply from

Nik loves showing off his helmet now

The best dual sport riding to date

We did get pulled over by the pollice finally when we got back on the main road. Since Peru is known more for corruption we did not fool around and instantly played the no espagnol card. He seemed to be just cehcking our documents, but we gave him the least we could. I was all good to go, but Nik's insurance card is expired. So after bugging him he decided to shake our hands and let us go.

I terms of news thats about it for this update. We're off super early tomorrow to get to Huaraz and maybe see some glaciers. Time will tell, onwards we ride.

This is just a funny video I want to post of Nik doing something crazy, then me dropping my damn bike trying to get it on film.


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