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Archive for December, 2009

This Is It!

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This Is It!

Quito, 25-Dec-2009

Merry X-mas!

I am still in Quito but tomorrow I’ll start my trip early morning.  Yeah, this time it’s the “true” one… really ;).

My bike was finally ready on the 23rd, but I already decided to stay here and celebrate X-mass with Alisson, Barry and the family.  And finally Guillo will get his “wish” to sleep next to me, can call it his X-mass present : ).  But man, this kid didn’t stop tumbling and kicking the whole night and then at 6:30 he woke me up to go play with his new toys… actually he told me he’ll let me sleep a little bit before he woke me up.  Ain’t he sweet?  AnywayZ, I was like a Zombie the whole day.

The other reason for me to stay here is Raul, one of my first Ecuadorian ridding buddies, invited me to his wedding.  It’s tomorrow (Sat 26-Dec) in Bahía de Caráquez, a small village on the coast.  It’s a 7 hours or so trip from Quito and I need to be there early afternoon to find a hotel, rent my suit and be ready to party.  Sounds like fun :).

I am packed and ready to jump into this adventure.  My baby too is ready.  Check the pictures below on the work we did on the bike.  Sweet no?  And the crash bars really work: Right when we finished installing everything, the bike fell on its side (uh-hmmm…did I mention I was on it? 😦 ).  Call it a baptism of fire, but hey not a single scratch on my bike :).  As for my journey, the only thing for sure now is my whole trip route has changed and I decided to just go with the flow and figure it out a day at a time.  We’ll see how it works out.

Ride up!


Photo Album

or click on “page 2” below to see the photo album.


Patience Is A Virtue

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Patience Is A Virtue

Quito, 20-Dec-2009

I was told a while back that in this country you need “paciencia, paciencia y mas paciencia”.  Well, I am learning… the hard way 😦

I am still in Quito.  The bike paperwork finally got done on Friday and the bike is almost ready, we are working hard at it.  And finally, after 10 days of frustration and lies from so many vendors, I managed to get the rear tire I wanted (Bridgestone 150x70R17, had to order it from Guayaquil).  For the front, I had to use what’s available, so I staggered with a skinny Pirelli (100x90R19). Ah well…
Fabricating all the extras and protection cage for the bike took more time than expected.  Kinda forgot how engineering work goes ;).   I still have to finish my saddle bags support and a few other small things.  But got to tell you, the results are beautiful.  I’ll send pics later.
AnywayZ, the latest plan is to leave Tuesday.  My whole trip route will now change as I need to be in Mendoza by end of January and with 2 weeks delay, it’s not going to happen.  I’ll have to figure something out on the route, probably skip a few locations and maybe even have to drive my bike back up to Ecuador vs. shipping it back, that way I can do the routes I missed on the way down…. which means I just extended my stay in South America 🙂
In the mean time the party here is in full swing for the holiday festivities.  I also went out a few times on my bike to get the feel of it.  The best was a trip to Ibarra with Diego, Christian and their gang.  It was pretty cool, reminded me of the Pony show in T.O. :).  We also went to Yahuarcocha, the local racing track, for a few spins.  No knee dragging though :(.

Ride up!

Photo Album

or click on “page 2” below to see the photo album.

My New Girlfriend

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My New Girlfriend…

11-Dec- 2009

… and no, I am not cheating. There’s this 300Km rules… 🙂  beside, my baby in Canada is safe and sound, hibernating until I get back… right Miro?  Ok, ok, lame joke (and BTW, I was talking about my 600RR).  But the big news is:


A beautiful 2007 Suzuki V-Strom DL650.  Oye, Tio & Taj, I am joining your Suzuki club 🙂

It’s a dual purpose bike (on/off road), in very good condition, with only 11,000Km.  Expensive (they have 80% tax on imports, so you figure out the math…), but hey, might as well enjoy my trip to the full.  I bought the bike through Mario Gomez’s shop, who was Latin America Motorcycle Champion back in 1986.

You probably know that there’s a sort of a rider’s fraternity and here in Ecuador it’s no exception.  Having been to every single bike shop in Quito for the past 3 weeks, I met so many riders.  Funny, I am known all over as the “viajero”.  They are helping me, from paperwork to tuning up the bike which is great since you really have to be careful with crooks here.

Speaking of which, it’s been 6 days and I still do not have my bike ownership/license paper done!  I have been drowning in paperwork to buy it.  It’s amazing the bureaucracy here: Notary, Lawyer, Police, Ministry of Transportation, Insurance, Plates, Mechanic tests,… and all this must be done manually, go to every agency’s office, which are a free-for-all, “a la Libanaise”, then back to the notary to certify some of the documents,…  I even needed to give my fingerprints when signing!  There’s no way I could manage this bureaucracy alone so I finally did the sensible thing and hired someone to help me (they are called “facilitadores”).  Besides, being a foreigner, they all try to snatch some money out of me (actually, usually a chicken will get you out of police hands, but that’s another story 🙂 )

AnywayZ, while waiting for my paperwork, Diego (probably the best mechanic in Quito) and I are tuning up the bike, replacing everything with new parts:  Tires, brakes, air filter, oil & filter change, suspension oil change, brakes, spark plugs,… as well as a full clean up of the engine’s injection and verifying the hydraulics… bref, a full ABC check, expected to be done by Monday.  I need to leave Quito with everything at 100%.  On this note, all is going pretty well and I was greatly helped by Juanca, Alisson’s co-worker and a good friend, lending me his car for a few days to finalize my stuff.

But that’s not all; I need to protect my bike from the road conditions down here and any eventual crash.  We have a saying back in TO: “There are the riders who have fallen and the one who will fall”.  And I was lucky; Diego and Daniel are pretty handy on this front too.  So I headed to Daniel’s shop where we actually designed from scratch a protection crash cage for the engine and fairing as well as a skid plate to protect the bottom of the bike (engine, oil radiator,…).  Everything will be manufactured, cut/bend/soldered from pieces, even manufacturing new longer screws to replace the original ones. Hopefully everything should be done by Tuesday and I’ll send you pics of the final results next week.

If all goes well I should be leaving Wednesday morning, heading south: few days crossing Ecuador then Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile up to Santiago and crossing to Mendoza in Argentina for a special challenge I want to accomplish (more on that later).  Anyone who’s planning a vacation down here, drop me a line. I really do not have a schedule but somehow we will definitely meet.



Photo album

or click on “page 2” below to see the photo album.

Tough Week

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Tough Week

Quito, 4-Dec-2009

… and a setback 😦

Couple of days before I was ready to climb higher peaks, I got hit with a severe flu, affecting my throat and lungs.  “Yes Mom, no worries, I am OK now”  :).  AnywayZ, I was instructed to rest for 10 days and if I didn’t get better the doctor wanted me to head to tower altitudes.  Really pissed me off, ruined my plans…. Learned my lesson though: better “cover up” at night 😉  AnywayZ, situation could have been worst.  Half of Barry’s family (father, sister, nephew, brother-in-law,….) all got hit with Influenza Type A.  Alisson, Barry and I are OK, we all tested negative, but the others were put in isolation at home.  They got the Tamiflu pill, they are all doing fine and are expected to fully recover by mid-week.

So, my past 2 weeks have been “calm”, I took advantage to visit the city.  “Quitenios” are so warm, wherever you go you end up meeting new people, even been invited to their place for dinner or a drink.

Last week was the Fiesta de Quito’s 400th anniversary (“Que Viva Quito!”) and the atmosphere was just electric.  Party everywhere at every corner, daily parades, live shows day and night, food, dance, drinks, drinks and more drinks…. did I say lots of drinks? 😉

The most famous part of the festivities are the renowned Quito bullfights and we watched one of them a few days ago.  What a spectacle!  Although I wouldn’t want to watch another fight again: it’s really awful to see the bull suffering during the whole “game”.   But I always wanted to see a corida de toro and we got 4/6 very good bullfights, especially from Castella (French) and El-Juli (Spanish) toreadores… OLE !!!  “shou, byinta7 mni7  el espagnolé”  😉

And for the icing on the cake, la “Liga de Quito” is Copa Sudamericana Champion (i.e. South America Football Club Champion)!!!

Yo te dare,
te dare Liga hermosa,
te dare una cosa,
una cosa que empieza con “C”:

The Copa Sudamericana final is a 2 game set, home and away.  We saw the home game live in Quito on 24-Nov.  The stadium was full, the singing loud and the fireworks and flares lit up during the opening ceremony and at every goal.  It was beautiful football with La Liga winning 5-1 (after trailing 0-1 in the first few minutes).  But for the return leg in Brazil, in front of 70,000 opponent fans (they played in the famous Maracanã stadium), Liga played absolutely awful!   And they didn’t make it easy on themselves, after just 18min, they got a Red card.  Luckily, the game ended in-extremis with Liga loosing (only) 0-3, which still meant they are the champion, winning 5-4 on aggregate… and the fiesta exploded in Quito… and still on-going 🙂

This week, I should finalize my search and set my dream vacation in motion.  Yep, it’s only just starting….


Photo Album

or click on “page 2” below to see the photo album.