Eastern Colorado Plains Ride

Chris Jones (BonezJonez) and I decided to poke around a bit heading East out of Denver. I know there are some awesome places to ride out that way, but neither of us was familiar with the area.

We explored pretty much about 60-80 miles due East of Denver. Photo's courtesy of Chris as I was too lazy to take any...

This general area...

The weather was AWESOME!

We had a bit of everything. Some cool sand washes, a bit of mud, sagebrush...

Locked gates and mud-clogged-so-the-tire-wont-turn fenders are all part of the adventure...

Yup, a good day riding!


Images and thoughts from Patagonia...

The variety of both the scenery and the riding is truly amazing. Each day and ride overloads my senses and leaves me wondering just how can one describe this wonderful place? Over the course of even a shorter few hour ride, you might be carving up wonderful twisties hugging a riverbank on smooth asphalt or throttle steering around endless gravel switchbacks over a pass. There seems to be an endless amount of wonderful riding.

After heading out of Mendoza, we went down to San Rafael and spent a few days on the finca of John and Annette, two travelers who have settled into a small grape, plum and walnut farm. They are proof that adventure is in the spirit, not in the travel. After purchasing a neglected farm, they are planting and pruning and building it back to productivity. What great hosts!

Chris and Erin spent time here (before John and Annette moved down) on their last trip, and left a swatch of friends as they usually do. The local motorbike shops and mechanics all where surprised to see them and decided to throw an 'adada' to celebrate. Consisting huge pieces of meat and entrails on an outdoor grill and cooking to perfection, Miguel, an excellent bike mechanic and asada chef, Edwardo, his shop-mate engine rebuilder machinist (who lathed up a perfect shock preload spacer when the KLR's adjuster busted), Juan Carlos, the honda shop owner all conspired with 20 of their friends, coworkers and relatives to stuff us silly and pour more wine than consumable.

Heading south into Patagonia, we opted for some less-traveled roads through the back country. Amazing scenery was sometimes distracting as the road had more than a few places with extreme washouts, or even an occasional bit where the entire shelf was washed out and a detour up the hillside was the new route.


Santiago to Mendoza

Although Chile and Argentina share many miles of border, the Andes lies between them for much of that border. The main route between the two is an wonderful pass road with the border on the very top.

On the Chilean side, there are dozens of hairpin bends, multiple tunnels and avalanche snow sheds, and of course wonderful vistas. The the Argentinean side is very different but equally beautiful with colorful mountain formations and vistas. It is impossible to capture the beauty of these roads, especially when you are trying to make good time to so we could avoid too much after sundown riding.

Once through the mountains, we weaved between mountains and rivers on the way to Mendoza, Argentina's fourth largest city.

For those who have ridden in the West, it reminded me of some of the nicest bits of road in southwestern Colorado, Moab, and Arizona.

Mendoza is a beautiful city, lots of large parks and outdoor malls similar to Pearl street in Boulder.

Getting my bike across the border and through customs was another story... to be posted! Lets just say it took two tries, a return trip and another night in Santiago, and a treasure hunt for lots of colorful official government stamps to allow Argentina to 'recognize' a Chilean document as 'official'.


Farallones, Chile

Took a morning ride up to Farallones yesterday. It's a ski area about an hour outside of Santiago. The skiing in the Winter is supposed to be excellent. Fun ride with tons of tight switchbacks up a narrow mountain road, fabulous views of the Andes.

It was also a good shakedown ride for the KLR. After arriving, we installed a new chain & sprockets, did an oil change, performed some needed repairs to the Caribou luggage system, and did a general tightening of many other nuts & bolts that KLR's are famous for shaking loose.

I was also testing a video setup on the bike. A small Panasonic SD5 HD video camera, direct to 16GB SDHC video cards. I've put on a couple of RAM mounting points and will try and edit/upload some video segments during the trip. You can see the handlebar mount, along with GPS and SPOT messenger in this photo...

You can also look at the tracks of the ride here:


Santiago x 6

Our original plan was to spend two nights in Santiago, but some delays in bike shipping have it looking like it will be through Sunday night for a total of six, so we are taking in all the sights.

A few images of the central fish market yesterday...


In Country...

We arrived in Santiago yesterday morning. Flight was uneventful and I even managed to get a few hours sleep... We spend a few hours after arriving walking around Santiago. A very modern, clean city.

The big news is that Chris and Erin's bike is delayed. Evidently held up in Chicago and we can't verify that it even left this morning. The earliest the bike will arrive is Saturday at this point, though even that seems unlikely. I'm guessing Monday.

We met and had dinner with Bevan last night, the owner of the KLR 650 I'll be riding. We are going to try and get some repairs done on the bike today, (chain, sprocket, some repairs on the luggage system, etc) and maybe head over to Mercado Central which is supposed to be great.

- Paul.


My Support Team at Home!

Venturing out on trips like this would not be possible without my beautiful wife Barb being behind me 100%. Although motorcycling is not her passion, she did get her mc license and learned how to ride her DRZ400E.

Her true passions lie in the non-motorized variety, running, biking, swimming, Triathlons... Her career as an anesthesiologist... And hanging out with the dogs.


SPOT Messenger...

Technology & Motorcycles...
My two passions.
It's cool when they come together!

I frequently ride alone in the mountains of Colorado, sometimes in remote areas. I've thought about getting an EPIRB (Emergency Personal Rescue Beacon, very similar to what they use on planes to summon help after an emergency landing aka crash) for a number of years, but their $600+ price has always put me off.

Spot Inc. has recently introduced a new device, the SPOT messenger. It uses GPS and Satellite phone technology to determine your location and send an emergency message to local search and rescue teams in your area (pretty much anywhere on the globe) if you press the '911' button. Nicely priced at $150 + service of about $100 a year. I take it everywhere I ride now...

It definitely gives me peace of mind when I'm off someplace isolated and riding alone (note the SPOT mounted on the KTM Super Enduro's handlebars).

In addition to its emergency rescue function, it offers some cool added features. There is an 'OK' button. When pressed, it will send a customized but pre-configured "I'm OK!" message to your list of recipients. It also sends along your GPS coordinates and a link to Google Maps so your friends and family can see where you are. Super easy to use! I plan on setting up a mail list server so anybody who is interested can subscribe and get these messages whenever I push the button, probably once a day.

It also has a TRACK function, where it will create a breadcrumb trail and allow anybody to see where you have traveled in the past seven days (of course the device needs to be on). If you want to take a look, here is my breadcrumb trail:


Ready, Set......

Time to dust off the blog...

Next Monday (11/17/2008) I will be heading down to Santiago Chile for a few weeks of riding with my great friends Chris & Erin Ratay. They are heading down for two months and I'm going to tag along for the first few weeks of the trip.

I've been helping Chris prepare his KTM 950 Adventure for the trip, and it is heading out for its long journey today... you can read all about that on his their blog, AdventureRealtor.

I will be riding a borrowed KLR 650.


Moab - Dirt bike heaven

We usually try and take a trip out to Moab at least once a year. Great riding! A few shots of this years and past trips...


Jumping 950's

We started out on a road ride this past Sunday, and wandered over to a Motocross track/practice area where some friends where riding, just to "watch".

I'm just not that good at watching, so I took off the Gobi bags and the V1 radar detector, and soon I was playing with the 950 on some of the easier MX loops, and practicing on some of the jumps...

I was amazed! Not bad for a 430+ pound dirtbike! Completely stock suspension and tires...


Queenstown and Paradise...

I took a short ride out to Paradise this morning... Who knew, but from Queenstown it's a short hour ride away! I think the ride to "paradise" might have been better than the destination, as is often the case.

Queenstown is a hussle-bussle of tourist activity, but at it's heart it is set in just such an extremely attractive place accepting the throngs of tourists is easy to do. But a short ride down the lake shore away it opens up into beautiful country.

One of the things that continually surprises me about New Zealand is how diverse the geography is in such a relatively short distance.


Photo gallery online...

I've added some more photos to the blog, and you can see the entire collection of photos at:

My Online Album


Heli-Hiking in Franz Joseph Glacier

Way cool! Take a short heli ride up the glacier, with the pilot hot-dogging it in a way that they don't do in Hawaii anymore.

Hiking amoung the crevaces and ice caves was very cool!

Tomorrow, off to Wanaka.


Central West Coast: Pray for rain :-)

When I woke up this morning to more rain, I thought the day might be a write-off. It slowed to a drizzle with heavy overcast, so I loaded up the bike, donned full rain gear and headed south down the coast.

The seas where rough and stormy, adding an extra element to there beauty, but the real secret was the waterfalls... Dozens of them, cascading down from the mountains into the streams and rivers and then into the ocean. Not something you can plan on, but it was a pretty amazing site. Of course there where a few "water crossings" on the main highway as well, some quite deep with flooding, but that just added to the adventure.

Coming into Hoktika, another cool little town, the sun finally came out again and I'm glad I decided to stick it out on the west coast rather than heading inland and over to Christchurch.

Will be staying tonight at the old schoolhouse, another highly rated backpacker!

See ya later...

- Paul.


Farewell spit and Golden Bay

Once you pass the cruchy, hip town of Takaka, you are in the land of
beautiful bays, pristine ocean dunes and one lane bridges. Really
wonderful out here, kind of a cross between Amagansett and the North
Shore of Kauai. And great motorcycling roads! The paved sections are
scenic and twisty, with plenty of dirt roads and paths to explore.

The "backpackers" in this area are fantastic as well. Spent a night at
the Shambala, which is right on the beach and picking your own mussels
for dinner is a s simple as taking a stroll at low tide, and the Inn
Let, a little farther down  the road which had a wonderful private
cottage for little cash.


Abel Tasman National Park

As quickly as they came the rain clouds left. This morning was bright
and sunny, and I thought maybe a day-cruise through the NP might be

Sea Kayakers bob all over the place, and a shoreline "tramp" trail
goes from one end of the park to the other. "Water Taxi's", small
aluminum power boats, run in and out of the coves allowing one-way
hikes and kayak routes, also makes a fun few-hour cruise.

When the swell's hit 2-meters, though, the ride became just a tad less fun...

After return, I essentially rode the same route a little farther
inland through the winding mountain roads. Very nice riding, great
vistas where you can see huge stretches of coastline and bays and

Takaka is the town on the North End. A crunchy little town that is
sort of a cross between Hanalei on the North Shore of Kauai and
Boulder 15 years ago. And of course the ubiquitous Internet cafe...

I'm off to the beach!

Africa Twin

What happens when you ride on an unfamiliar dirt road, with jet lag, too fast, on an unfamiliar bike, with a cold?

Minor body modifications to a very nice Africa Twin.

Sorry mate... will be fixed soon!

Motorcycling in New Zealand!

Four hours behind... plus a day!

Still a little strange that I'm starting my weekend here while you are still stuck in so, like, yesterday.

New Zealand seems like a great vacation spot for us US'ers... Minimal jet-lag if you can manage to get a nights sleep on the plane, they speak the same language, even use dollars! Plus with us pissing off the rest of the world so quickly and profoundly, there are fewer places where it's "o.k." to be from the US. The friendly Kiwi's just make fun of George Bush and invite you over for dinner! Perhaps a little less of a real adventure than traveling someplace where you really have to learn a new culture. Not all is rosey for travelers in kiwiland, though. Kiwi's pay a *lot* for everyday kind of stuff. Even though $1US equals about $1.3NZ, things seem to cost at least twice as much. Cars and motorcycles are really expensive, gas of course is pricey, but the real surprise is the cost of food, and the cost of a B&B if you want to go upscale from the comparatively inexpensive "backpackers" which is roughly equivalent to a hostel. Fortunately backpackers seem to be all over, so if you only want to spend $25NZ a night, and don't mind sharing a room, no problem.

Kiwi's are really friendly, giving people. Come on over, I'll lend you a great motorcycle for a month! Let's go over to my friends place for a great barbecue! How bout I show you all the great places to ride

Lots and lots of coastline and plenty of mountains with minimal development makes for fantastic scenery as well. I've only seen a small part of NZ so far, but plenty of amazing views and vistas.

And did I mention twisty roads? And great dual-sport roads? Plenty. Though be careful of the oncoming traffic, or you will earn a new nickname. The Transalp that Murray has lent me is doing great. At first, it felt a little underpowered and squirrelly int he corners, but I've settled into a rhythm with it and am starting to appreciate it's smoothness as well as my ability to flat-foot it in the dirt. I'm so used to riding a tall bike it's a revelation to actually be able to get both feet on the ground!

But another downside I've been warned about, rain! Poured all afternoon today, so I ducked in doors and started reading my book, and had some down time to write my first blog post!


Next Adventure: New Zealand!

I think I'm going to head to New Zealand for most of February.

I've heard so many fantastic things about this place, and think a month of summer in the middle of our winter would be just the ticket...

Still trying to figuire out the best way to borrow/buy a bike in NZ, as well as where to visit while I'm there!

Thanks to Chris, Erin, and all the AdvRider, HU folks, and other for helping with this trip!

Last Adventure: Copper Canyon Mexico!

In October, I went down with a group of friends to the Copper Canyon area in North-Central Mexico.

Copper Canyon is a canyon network larger and deeper than our own Grand Canyon, with amazing scenic beauty, fantastic twisty paved roads to ride on, countless dirt roads and trails to explore, and extremely an extremely freindly Tarahumari native and mesizto population.

Below are some random pictures from the trip...


Posted by Hello
Posted by Hello
Posted by Hello