(updated 5/26/07 - stay tuned! things may change every day!)
06 Oldrice CAT
2006 Central American Tour
The Adventure Began Nov 24 2006
The Adventure of a Lifetime!
Oldrice CA Tour 06 - Two amigos, on new tricked out (by Oldrice) KLR650's to the Southern Tip of Panama - and back - from Detroit, MI!
Now THIS would be good TV!
Rider #1 - Gerard Belli - Saint Clair Shores, Michigan.
Gerard is a distinguished climber, caver, motorcyclist, and all around survivalist. Gerard has been all over the world jumping into some of earths largest holes and tightest, deepest caves without coming up for sometimes weeks at a time. He thrives on climbing up frozen waterfalls of solid ice. His adventures have led him to be stunt man/double in movies such as The Postman with Kevin Costner and on the cover of various outdoor adventure magazines. It was late 2003 when Gerard first got into motorcycling. He knew he wanted an adventure bike and he knew what he wanted to do with it. Gerard promptly set his sights on the southernmost tip of Baja, Mexico from Detroit, Mi. He rode all over Baja and if that wasn't enough, he came back riding double from La Paz Baja, to Detroit on the KLR650. Since then he's covered countless countries in South America doing research for Oldrice.com and The Adventure of a Lifetime and logged over 20,000 motorcycle miles (mostly off-road) of South America on the KLR650. Recently Gerard visited Peru and fine tuned his language skills for several months while living with a Peruvian family as one of them. One of Gerard's greatest attributes is his ability to put into words exactly what he's thinking. While the G-man is in South America he'll be documenting his daily adventures and emailing them to me when he can. Gerard's own expressive points of view on various topics you and I probably wouldn't think of will keep readers starving for more from beginning to end. Be sure to stay tuned as we chronicle the adventures of G-man, The Slasher and Smokedog while they traverse the unknown in South America!
Rider #2 - Jeff "Slasher" Dieterle - Chesterfield, Michigan
Jeff is an outdoor/traveling enthusiast
in search of adventure and challenges. He's a good old Kentucky boy that grew up
in Michigan. His accomplishments include: All-American Gymnast in 1993, climbed
Devil's Tower in 1999, graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2000,
completed a Wilderness First Responder course in 2000, hiked across Isle Royale
after college, worked for a computer hardware/software company, climbed 200 foot
Canadian ice formations in 2003 with Gerard, joined Gerard on his Baja
motorcycle adventure in 2004, climbed Castleton Tower in 2004, completed the
Ellisons through-trip with a group of cavers in 2004 (one of the deepest cave
systems in the U.S.), and traveled across the U.S. on a solo motorcycle trip in
2006 (9000 miles).
Gerard and Jeff met while attending
Northern Michigan University. They shared a common interest in rock and ice
climbing. Ever since, both of them have traveled to many adventurous places --
climbing in Arizona, Canada, Kentucky, Mexico, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee -
caving in Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia - motorcycling in Baja
Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee. Jeff has also traveled to: Canada, Germany,
Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico and Switzerland. Jeff has also traveled
extensively in the U.S. putting more than 9000 miles on his 05 KLR here alone.
As for the Slasher nickname, a girl named Lea called him this in Mexico. Jeff
thought some local banditos were slashing a tent and destroying a campsite in La
Paz. Jeff was wrong and the group of people were just setting up their tent.
Too much tequila!
Jeff in Denton Texas - one of the happiest guys I've ever met in my life.
Photo by Randy Honeycutt
UPDATE 1- Monday - Nov 20th - Good News/Bad News. Thanksgiving is already upon us, we're four days late, and our Mother has put her foot firmly down. No riding until after dinner Thursday. The good news is that this will give us a few extra days to recuperate from a recent bad turn of events. Gerard's truck was broken into night before last and the thieves made off with just about all Gerard's camping gear. Expensive sleeping bags, stoves, coolers, tools - much needed new Motion Pro motorcycle tools no less, expensive riding jackets and a bunch of other valuables. Can things get any worse? Very recently Gerard chopped his foot practically off with a hatchet while chopping wood in a small camp up in the high Sierras of North Eastern California. Solo camping with no electronics and no ride back into town, Gerard walked the long miles into town to finally reach a hospital at 3:00am almost seven hours after the incident. He isn't even limping now. Cool. I guess. It isn't my foot. Mine would be in a friggin cast but Gerard felt it necessary to shift while riding. Go figure.
Then there was the bikes chain, then the Maier Hand guards onto MSR ATV High bars, then the Happy Trails PD Nerf bars which won't allows right turns. Funny, you'd think they would have thought about something like that. Called Happy Trails - no luck. Typical customer service bullshit. Sponsor issues. Continental is lacking in support as well as communications. Maps - do you know how much Maps of South America cost? DAY-HEM! And I thought a $4,000 NavTeq GPS system was expensive! Good thing we stocked up on these stainless steel oil filters. (?!?) Let's not even go into logistics.
Now it's hurry up and wait mode. The tension is kinda high. All the Hondas are out back and the Kawasakis rule the roost now with piles of gear, bags of this and boxes of that strewn around like some military barracks with names on everything and the clock ticking. Gerard's leg is shaking nervously while watching the latest weather reports studying air currents and precipitation measurements and trends. Mexico recently had a nasty couple of floods and storms and with political unrest just south of Panama the constant reminders of good beer and tacos rise to the top of conversation changing the mood safely back again. It's hurry up and wait mode. I need more coffee.
More in a bit...
UPDATE 2- Thursday - Nov 23rd - Well, last night we had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat. Lots of friends, family and FOOD! Oh the food though...man that is good. It's my favorite day of the year and I even get to eat all my favorite foods. Good stuff. Anyway, Gerard and Jeff and I met up this morning at Gerard's place - wait, lemme backup a bit here. First of all, remember the bit about Gerard's truck being broken into? Well, we had to visit a few of our local REI and Moose Paws stores to get back what we had lost. Another bunch of cash out the window. Fortunately, we were able to recuperate a bunch of what was stolen and let the packing begin. Thank GOD I'm not paying for any of this! WOW! Unfortunately, Gerard had to pay for all of it.
Once the goods were purchased, we set out to pack the packs, collect the tools, gather the camping stuff, DHO! BOTH bikes tags are about to expire! Off to Secretary of State to get new tags. Then shots. Lots of shots. Paperwork all laminated, duplicated and punctuated, stashed and loaded it's time to go. Hindsight is 20/20 they say and we DID know about these things ahead of time but the project manager lost the lists so much of what was supposed to be completed was either late or we'll just wing it. I think we got everything. We'll see. Probably somewhere out in the middle of nowhere they'll discover they brought enough for two years but forgot underwear or something like that. Lessons learned. It's an adventure right?
This mornings activities consisted of loading the bikes, and leaving. Easy enough you say? Heh, if only. Discovering lost items NOW is not what we wanted. So if you see two late model KLRs with Oldrice.com stickers and loaded up to the gills with ...stuff...wave. They'll appreciate it. Next stop is Lexington Kentucky for some much needed rest, Ramen noodles and more gas. Then on to Baton Rouge and to pick up Ramen noodles, a couple throttle cables, a 10mm wrench which got up and ran away during the night, unload some unnecessary gear (it was *really* cold here when they left), deliver a few things to friends and supporters and then off to Jamaica Beach Texas on Wednesday and then in Tucson Thursday where they'll get new tires and more ramen noodles. I'm supposed to be getting a call from them sometime in the next couple hours but if I know them, they'll say fuggetaboutit and just hit the sack.
These were taken this morning. Click on the pics for bigger views....
It's early in the morning and my wife and daughter have already pissed off Gerard by stepping into the loading matrix. Panic ensues as Gerard wants their steps retraced in case evidence exhibits that anything he owns was viewed much less touched by another human.
A little while later a small gathering of friends and supporters show up. Coffee, donuts, bagels and things slow down a bit. The mood is high. It's foggy out and local traffic reports two main freeway closures due to accidents. Must focus. Coffee is good and personally, I'm still full from last nights fantastic dinner! Denise can sure cook! ...back to the trip. "All most there...stay on target!....all most there...." Star Wars plays in my head as we try to socialize, work, drink coffee, stay focused and socialize some more. All in all its a good time. What else have I forgotten? I'm wondering about every nut and bolt on the bikes. What could be improved? What else? Have I forgotten anything? Where's my coffee again?
Jeff shows up.
Here, Jeff is explaining to Vince and Vince's Dad the characteristics and properties of the stock balancer adjuster and the benefits and craftsmanship of a real Doohickey.
Jeff's bike all loaded up for the trip.
Gerard's bike all loaded up for the trip.
Just enough time for a group photo of friends and supporters. I'd try to name them all but honestly, I only know about half of them. Damn CRS. That's me in the red hat. I should cut down on the caffeine.
"Gerard, are you sure you know where we're going?"
Got enough stupid pics yet Geoff?
And here's Gerard and Jeff on their way out. One last wave as they sneak out through the neighborhood.
So, they're off and riding. I'll post more pics and news as soon as I hear form them. If you want to send me pics or want the large originals just email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
11-24-06 Down the road...
UPDATE 3- Monday - Nov 27th - The boys are in Baton Rouge! After leaving Kentucky, Jeff had an issue with his chain, but luckily they fixed it. Apparently it was too loose and fortunately, Jeff was able to tighten it again. I was informed again just before the camp spot in Tuscaloosa Alabama that everything was going well. They're fine. The bikes are fine. Everything's just fine. From Baton Rouge they'll be heading to Jamaica Beach Texas, should be there Wednesday and then on to Tucson, Az. sometime Thursday. From there it's Mexico baby! Gerard said he has some pics to send us - as soon as they find a spot to "hook up" they'll send em. I know libraries have computers and there's a few internet cafes in the area so it shouldn't be too hard. As soon as I get em, I'll post em.
To email either of them, click these buttons - or
UPDATE 4- Wednesday, November 29th - Well, I have to go. I'll be back online as soon as I can but at the worst, I'll be back sometime Sunday. My son is graduating Boot Camp in Great Lakes, Ill and I'm going to see him graduate and watch the ceremonies. So, you probably won't get any updates from me until then. I haven't heard anything from the guys but I assume they'll be leaving Baton Rouge today and on their way to Jamaica Beach, Texas. If any of you hear from them between now and Sunday, let me know and I'll update the site again.
UPDATE 5- Sunday, December 3rd - I'm back. What a trip! Small adventure of our own. Road trip with five of us in a Buick Rendezvous with full luggage (enough for a couple weeks of course) from Detroit to Great lakes Il (about an hour north of Chicago) to see my son graduate Boot Camp. It was an emotional time for me as I was also able to visit with my little brother Greg too whom I don't see very often. A good time was had by all and well, now we're back home.
I noticed that the Guestbook on this site is acting funny so I'm in discussions with the hosting company to resolve the issue. I assure you it will be fixed soon enough. I heard from Gerard via cell phone late Thursday and everything is ok with them. The guys were in Arizona then and were gearing up with the local bike dealer (I wish I knew who they were!) to ready the bikes for the trip down into Mexico. Spirits were high and the bikes were doing well. They said to say hi to everyone and will check in again soon. I'll let you know more as soon as I hear from them.
UPDATE 6- Monday morning, December 4th - Gerard's words..."yo yo, Headed out of Mi. and everything went great. We had some awesome adventures getting to Tucson including snow (in Texas!) and 40 mph winds! so much fun! We're leaving for Copper Canyon, Mexico tomorrow morning. Pictures and stories to come. Motohard"
The guys are still in Tucson - on their way to the motorcycle dealership to get their new, more aggressive Metzeler tires and a few minor "things" on Gerard's bike repaired. Apparently the lower aluminum Moose Bash Plate developed a two inch crack or gash when Gerard tried to jump up a curb. No biggie. It'll be a good place for water and mud to drain. Also the Paris Dakar Nerf Bars on BOTH bikes have cracked at the lower welds probably due to vibration fatigue. They still should not have cracked. And true to form, the KLR650s have been known to vibrate off anything not welded to the bike, Gerard's left control switch (turn signals, horn and headlight switch assembly) vibrated apart somewhere on the road to Tucson, so the dealer will have to fix that. A little more loctite on that will prevent it from happening again. Jeff and Gerard said to say hello to everyone and that they're having a blast. I'll hear from them again tonight and probably post more afterwards. Gerard and Jeff will be uploading all their info so far. Pictures, their journal entries and whatever else they can scramble together. So, the adventure continues.
UPDATE 7 - Monday, December 11th - I haven't heard from the guys since last Monday. Gerard called me from the hotel lobby on Monday morning and said there wasn't an available USB port on the computer and that he would go to a Kinko's or something and transfer all the pics and data to a CD and mail it to me or email it to me. But I never heard from G again. We discussed the condition of the bikes last Monday and Gerard said they were getting the bikes fitted with their new Metzeler tires and all the lose stuff tightened up. KLRs vibrate nuts lose very easily therefore Loctite is our friend. There's a secret page on this site that Gerard and Jeff have access to where they can type in anything if they cannot email. They've been using it everywhere they go because apparently these computers they are using (at internet cafes and hotel lobbies) don't have email capabilities. So, they left on Tuesday and have arrived in Creel Mexico safely. This was goal number 1 for us as it crosses a border and other small state borders are in between. Getting here means they have all the necessary paperwork in order and everything's fine for the rest of the journey.
The guys left some messages on the 9th for you. Here they are; Gerard's words..."Yo what up? So far everything is going great. The first night we spent 30 miles south of the border, the second day was awesome, we rode 75 miles of tech off road. The KLR was sweet. We stayed in Ures the 2nd night and drank tekilya. The 3rd day we rode more dirt, got lost, and almost wiped out in the sand. Rode into the night on crazy windy no guardrail roads in the rain and sleet at 7000 ft. Crashed out in a logging camp hotel. The fourth day was the best, more off road and into the snow."
And Jeff wrote; "Hello Geoff! We are currently in Creel, Mexico. We are about to enter Copper Canyon tomorrow. We are having a great time riding our bikes through the technical dirt roads and the curving mountain roads. Mexico is very beautiful. WISH YOU WERE WITH US! So far, we have not experienced any problems with the bikes except loose bolts. Everything is going well. We will keep trying to reach you by email. We have not found many internet cafes and the one that we did find was having problems. Bye."
Here's a link to where they are now; http://www.coppercanyon.com
What we refer to as "Copper Canyon" is really a series of canyons which drain the western side of the Sierra Tarahumara. The entire Copper Canyon region comprises almost a third of the state of Chihuahua, which is Mexico's largest state. The principal canyon is Urique Canyon, which is the one which is traversed by the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad. Eventually, all of the rivers which formed the Copper Canyons merge into the Rio Fuerte which continues across the adjacent state of Sinaloa, emerging near the City of Los Mochis on the Sea of Cortez. This area is very beautiful and the people are wonderful. Chihuahua is known throughout not only the local area but most of Central America for it's beef and cheese. Mostly cattle and dairy farms although in the central part of the city of Chihuahua there is a lot of US automotive suppliers and manufacturers. Not that they'll be in Chihuahua or anything. Check out the web for more on Copper Canyon - do a google!
So much is happening around here it's hard to keep up with it all. I've been getting LOTS of emails from interested fans with lots of questions that I promise I'll answer when I have more time. Please keep them coming!
UPDATE 8 - Saturday, December 16th Well, the adventure has taken some serious twists and we've received notice from Escape magazine that the magazine has folded and will be absorbed by Motorcyclist Magazine in seasonal publications incorporated into Motorcyclist. We don't know where this will be going now but discussions are continuing. Gerard and Jeff have reported in and have LOTS to tell and show. Pictures are forthcoming but some of their story is here....
Yo Geoff what's up! We are in San Blas, Mexico. Since I sent you an email last we have had quite an adventure. After Creel we rode into the Copper Canyon. It was 45 miles of dirt road. I wiped out big time and broke my highway peg on one side and tore my Wolfman tank bag and my Ortlieb saddle bag. Oh well. At least I did not get hit by the big truck that's around every corner in our lane! We got into Botopilas and hung out for the night at a $%&$/$/&)(&%ing guest house. Apparently they were all booked up(?) The wonderful owner spoke some English and his name was Carlos. Jeff and I left in the morning and Gordon stayed behind. We went thru 100 miles of 4x4 road in the middle of nowhere. We came across a river crossing that I walked across up to my knees and talked to some locals that did not speak Spanish or English. But we figured we could not cross here because it was so high and fast. We continued on and ended up at another river crossing. This was also way too high. We saw many trucks try it and we even got in the water with locals and pushed flooded trucks across the river. We hung out there all day helping and watched the crazy circus. There was a truck there from the night before and it was totally flooded up to the top of the hood. Afterwards everybody left and they said we were crazy for sleeping out there. We slept with one eye open because we were worried about the locals robbing us. One truck was parked there overnight and it was our job to watch it. He came back at 1:00a in the morning to fix and get his truck. Kind of startled us actually. In the morning after not sleeping all night, building a campfire and breakfast we were figuring what to do when two locals came up and told us there was a 4x4 coming to drive us and our bikes across the river ...and that we had to leave now ...with no choice. After they loaded up our bikes and gear we were told we had to pay $150 plus a Patagonia fleece, a watch, a flashlight and some other shit. Then they told us to leave this very second or there would be problems. We took off fast like some crazy gringos! And we still had two days of dirt road ahead of us. Later that day we ran into a nice German couple traveling by truck and we decided to camp out with them on another river. No problems that night. In the morning we took off for La Choix where we drank beer on the street with this cool old timer and his two workers. He was opening beer bottles with his last two remaining front teeth. Neat trick. We made it to La Fuerte that night and had a wonderful dinner, shower and a great nights sleep. The next day we did 350 miles and made it to Mazatlan by dusk. We walked around looking at all the people and seeing the wonderful sights, dinner, another shower, (we're getting spoiled now) and another good nights sleep. In the morning we rode out to San Blas and we saw a roll over truck accident. The roads down here are *$%^ing crazy or should I say the drivers are *$%^ing stupid. Life is really cheap down here. We're watching a beautiful sunset with a Pacifico cerveza while I write this email. Wish you were here bro. Tell everyone we said hello! Until next time, Later Gerard & Jeff.
Dec 18th - "Hello Everyone! All is well in Mexico right now. G-rod and I are in San Blas on the beach. Sorry, it took a while to get another email to you. We had quite the experience in Copper Canyon and the surrounding area. A major river stopped us recently. The river was as high as our waist. Some things occurred and we were kind of forced to cross the river for an expensive toll. Besides this strange incident, the trip has been going well. We are pushing south to Acapulco and we are planning on visiting my cousin Lindsay in Mexico City. As for the bikes, I broke one of my mirrors during a fall. It was not even the side I fell on. (Cheap plastic) Both Gerard and I have been experiencing some engine pauses which might be the result of low octane gas. We thought we should ask you since we do not know the exact reason. Besides a few dings and scratches the bikes are running well. We will try to contact you when we get to Acapulco. Take care! Jeff-
Dec 19th - Thanks for the advice on the motorcycle hesitation. We will check the air filter. We spent the night in the town of Tequila. What a fun place to party on the weekend. There is so much Tequila here that it is unbelievable. The surrounding area is full of beautiful blue agave fields. More later, Jeff-
Dec 20th - Hello Friends, Yesterday, Gerard and I found a way to store our motorcycles at a hotel in Morelia. The hotel owners named Fernando and Daniel (Mr. V) were very helpful with this process. They gave us a cover garage so we could lock our bikes in a safe spot and they allowed us to put our luggage behind the front desk. Daniel got us taxi to the bus terminal and we began our journey to Mexico City. The bus was very comfortable and the trip took about six hours. Gerard and I were glad that we did not have to drive through the complex city. After the bus ride, it was very easy to take the Metro subway towards my cousin Lindsay's apartment. Lindsay also tracked us down, picked us up and lead us to her place. What an easy method! No frustration at all. Gerard, Lindsay and I had a good time hanging out last night. We walked around town for beers and food. Lindsay cooked us some salmon and we prepared a wonderful salad. The meal was very good and we told funny stories throughout the fest. A wonderful evening hanging out with my cousin. Lindsay has a beautiful apartment in a nice part of town. She has large windows in the front room and an awesome balcony. Gerard and I hung out there watching the local drivers blow through the red lights. Some people are crazy drivers down here.
Dec 21st - Today, Gerard and I went shopping for new clothes. We eventually found a large marketplace with small walkways with many merchants. Gerard found a new t-shirt and we checked out the rest of the market. We saw some unique things! Afterwards, we got a great breakfast from a restaurant that Lindsay suggested. It was amazing how much food we got for a such cheap price. Lindsay is just about to return from teaching and we are planning on going to the Zocolo (Town square) this afternoon. She told us that some of the buildings there are sinking because the town was built on a lake. This should be interesting to see. So far, we are having a good time in Mexico City. It is a very busy town with so much to do. Something is happening at all hours of the day and night. I hope all my friends and family are doing well. Talk to all of you soon.
UPDATE 9 - Saturday, December 23rd - I have good news - I *just* got a nice little CD full of pics from Lovely Lindsay! Lindsay is Jeff's cousin who's a school teacher in Mexico City. The guys met Lindsay about a week or so ago and she helped them a lot. Thank You Lindsay! ! ! OK - I'm going to add a couple pics and then cut-n-paste a few snippets from the guys....
Could this be?!
UPDATE 10 - Monday, January 8th -It's been a while since I've heard from the guys. I understand that internet cafe's and access to phones aren't aren't exactly around every bend so communications are getting less frequent the deeper into the jungles these guys go. But I did receive an email from the guys the other day and this is what Gerard had to say; " The bikes are doing great. Jeffs bike has been suffering from a dead battery recently and we're looking for a replacement at local dealerships in the area. Until we get this fixed we're forced to jump start his bike from mine with makeshift jumper cables which is becoming a major pain in the ass. Other than that, the bikes are holding up very well. We did clean the air filters though and we got Jeffs shifter welded up and it's doing great so far. This guy we met at the local moto shop was getting his brand new Chinese bike looked at so when he started walking away I offered him a ride home. We cruised more than 10 miles at night on the crazy Belizean roads to his house/tire shop where he proceeded to bust out his tools, remove the shifter, bend it into shape and then welded it perfectly back together and put it back on Jeffs bike. His name is Alfonzo and his wife's name is Nona and they were such a blessing! They live on the main road going west out of Belmopan, the capital of Belize. No sweat about the corners of the light guard Geoff, that bike cover was a frustrating piece of shit and it needed to die mercilessly. The new one I bought in Texas is doing really well besides it being a bit to big. Today I noticed the taped seams were coming apart and the windshield cloth on the inside of the cover was full of mold. Another junk piece of gear we have had to put up with. We thought of making a bad-ass cover/tent/bivy sack too. It would be the baddest adventure moto cover ever! I also love our new magazine MotoTravel and I love the cover shots! Sweet! We'll make that happen! I know we can do it! That would be totally freakin' sweet dude!
We haven't changed tires yet since Arizona and the Pirelli Scorpions look like they are still new with 4,000 miles on them. They handle well in the dirt and rocks and even a little sand didn't seem to bother them too much. We definitely saw a weakness of not having a dirt tire today though. Mud and slippery pavement is not their forte.
Today we woke up at 6:00a, cooked delicious local noodles with Marie Sharps hot sauce and Mexican bullion for a stylish yet nutritious breakfast, packed up all our cave gear, and rode off into the the creepy fog covered hills deep into the Belizean jungle. We were off to meet this guy we met the day before who brought us thru this awesome cave called Crystal Cave where we saw all kinds of ancient Mayan pottery and human bones! Including a human skull and various obsidian cutting blades used for bloody human sacrifices to the Mayan Gods of the under world hundreds or thousands of years ago. What a journey! I mean, here we were, hangin' out with the Mayan ghosts surrounded by millions of beautiful sparkling crystals! It was totally awesome! Anyway, we were cruising down thru the creepy fog deep into the lush jungle to go meet Jose and picked up him, his gear, and four blown up truck tire inner tubes. Yes, I stacked up four huge inner tubes for floating thru a river cave on the back of the KLR!. We stacked them up one on top of the other with a couple bungee nets. Those bungee nets rule! I use them for everything! Then Jose jumped on the back of Jeffs bike and we were off and riding! Down the road thru about ten miles of foggy creepy dense jungle with the stacked bungeed inner tubes holding bomber. We turned on to a nasty dirt road busted left into a trail between these massively huge boulders and down muddy greasy grassy ruts slipping and sliding this way and that until Jeff got on the throttle a little too much and went flying side ways and then the other way all the while Jose holding on for dear life. After the initial adrenaline rush of being in dirt and rocks and mud again we slowed down a bit and rode for miles thru trails and orange orchard roads which were muddy greasy tractor ruts covered in slippery wet grass. We did ok, but we sure could have used some good knobby tires. The trails we were on paralleled a quiet slow moving river. On the other side of the river were huge beautiful limestone walls covered in the vibrant jungle vegetation. We arrived at the river and Jose just looked at us like 'why are you guys stopping?' Oh no. Another freaking river crossing. No problem though the water was just below my waist. So we decided to push them across because of the huge river rocks and the wobbly tubes and Jose the passenger and all. No problem. We finally get to where we are going to park and Jose starts to make a hiding place in the jungle so we could camouflage our bikes. We laid them on their side in the jungle growth and then covered them up with leaves, branches and limbs. It was crazy! Jose said the orange farmers might mess with the the bikes because we were trespassing and we couldn't let the tour company see us because we weren't allowed in the cave without a guide service. So we said sweet! This shit's right up our ally! We cruise thru the dark jungle on foot and jump head first into some creepy dark green piranha infested river with the snakes and ghosts and paddle up river against the current up to the mouth of the cave. It was really breathtaking. The vines and beautiful birds and ferns and limestone cave formations seemed to be all dripping water. On the ride out we splashed right thru and rode thru the river. It was so awesome! Uh oh, we're getting kicked out now so I will finish the story another time. I love everyone! peace- Gerard"
I spoke to Gerard on the phone Saturday morning and he said they were on their way out of Belize and into Guatemala that day and would touch base with us again as soon as they could. Until next time! Enjoy the journey - it's life!
UPDATE 11 - Tuesday, January 9th -Hello from the island of Flores in Guatemala. Gerard and I have spent three days here having fun. We have taken a boat ride, gone to the week long carnival, and meeting people from all around. We meet a Swiss gentleman named Michael. He has been riding his BMW GS from Canada and he is going to do the South American adventure. He has been staying at our hostel so we having been talking and checking each others gear. Gerard and I knew we would meet up with another rider some day. I put in a new battery today since my original was dead this morning. I was glad that it was so easy to get it in Belmopan, Belize. The gear shifter is working and looking good. Gerard through out his rain cover today. He also punctured his front tire on a gate. The tire has not gone flat but we will have to check it out. It was a fairly deep gash, but Gerard was riding on it afterwards. We will have to see what happens. We will keep you informed. G is also suffering from a stomach ache today. He got a nice hotel room and has been resting for awhile. Take care, Jeff-
UPDATE 12 - Wednesday, January 10th - We are still in Flores right now. Gerard is not feeling well yet. He took some tea and couple of things so to help the problem - hopefully he will feel better after another night of rest. We should of got some pictures with Michael (The Swiss BMW rider) but we left our hostel for a better hotel. Our hostel was so loud! Buses came to pick people up for a tour of Tikal at 3am, 5am, 7 am and 9am. Those travelers were not too considerate of the others sleeping. To make things worse, someone has a grudge against the hostel. Someone lights off fireworks by the hostel and a car alarm instantly goes on. This goes on late in the night to wake everyone up. Every night this occurs.
Gerard's front tire has not gone flat yet. We have ridden about 6500+ miles so far. My gear is working out good. I had to change locations of crushable and breakable things in my panniers. Every time I wiped out, things got crushed in the soft panniers. My cooking pots are wasted but my handguards are doing well. The tool pouch on the front fender is still there. We should probably clean our air filters again.
Last night was quite interesting for me. Gerard was resting so I decided to go to the local carnival by myself. When I got there, a mechanical bull was the big highlight. About 300 people were surrounding the bull ring. What a fun time watching people attempt this. It was totally free for anyone willing to try. I wanted to so bad but I was concerned that I would hurt my wrist and family jewels riding the bull. I have experienced this before and I just did not want those injuries. While I was watching, I spoke with a gentleman named Jose and his worker. We eventually got a couple of beers and hung out for a long time. It was a great time for me to practice my Spanish. I got to meet a few more of Josť's workers and a couple of buddies. One of them offered me his keys to his Yamaha 125 (I am not sure which model it was). I instantly said yes. So I hopped on the bike without a helmet and cruised right through the carnival and into the night. I was avoiding walkers, the military police and vehicles. Once I got to the road, I went really fast. I was hooting and yelling with excitement because the ride was so sweet. I was having a good old time! I fell in love with the maneuverability of this smaller bike. So I did a big loop at very high speeds. I then returned to the beer tent with a big smile. What a fun ride! Those guys could tell that I was having a great time. We eventually closed down the carnival and I said my goodbyes to the guys. I walked across the bridge to the island and hit a convenience store. It most have been really late by now - 2am? 3am? 4am? When I finally got to my hotel I noticed the front doors were locked and nobody was at the front desk. So my plan was to climb up and into the hotel. I walked around to the back and scoped out my route. I climbed a fence and a wall to get access to a balcony. I traversed the balcony by walking on the railing and holding onto the pillars for support. The balcony ended so I had to step over to a small ledge to grab for a higher balcony three of four feet away. It wasn't to bad - actually quite easy for a climber. Once I made it to this balcony, I was okay because I was on my floor. Seconds later, a hotel security guard walked by with a shotgun in hand. I wondered if he heard me. Had I known this, I definitely would not have climbed up and into the hotel. I am lucky that I was not looking down the barrel of his gun. He would of thought I was an intruder - boy did I get lucky with the timing and my entry selection. Anyways, it was another crazy night for me. Gerard was glad to see that I returned since he was concerned about how long I was gone. Jeff-
Gerard's Parents are on vacation in Cancun, Mexico and are going to meet up with the guys. Jeff may be able to pass on another CD with pictures again so if this happens, I'll be getting the CD pics sometime next week and post them up here. Geoff-
The Parents were not able to meet up with Gerard and Jeff. 8^(
UPDATE 13 - Monday, January 22nd - I got an email again from Da Guys, this one is from Gerard and then Jeffs follows; So we are cruising Costa Rica! and havin' a blast! Today we woke up at our ski lodge in the high up in the mountains of Costa Rica. That's right! a whole freaking ski lodge style cabin for 20 dollars a night! Balconies, sliding doors, kitchen, fireplace, and open ceilings. The works. The view could not be beat. We got up early and left at 8am to ride right into the deep dense fog. Our face shields were covered inside and out with precipitation. We rode out .5 click up the mountain on a one lane wide mountain road. Dodging crazy dogs, dodges and blown out shoulders all par for the course. Then we turned in the keys to the gentleman at the road side restaurant bar, gave our farewells and rode off into the cold dampness. Within minutes we could not see a thing. We both have little squeegee wipers on our gloves and they came in very handy. Swerving cars passing over the double lines around curves, unmarked construction and numerous other animal and pedestrian concerns all thru the white wet blindness. We slept at 1500 meters and our two passes were at 3100 and 3400 meters respectively. Rode in the mist and rain thru the mountains for at least 3 hours when it broke out into beautiful rolling flats with the sun shining down and warming our gills. We rode thru deep dark Costa Rican jungle dripping and steaming with the chemical reaction of plants, rain and sun. It was absolutely wonderful. Curving roads, mountain views and huge rivers over which you ride and wish to go riding thru. We stopped numerous times to talk with folks, buy water, drink beer and eat. We met these great friendly folks underneath a bus stop awning. They were on their bikes and were waiting out the rain when we saw them. I decided to pull over and join them since we could not see anyway because it started raining again like it has never rained before. At least that day. This was all happening on the side of an abandoned rainy road under a bus bench awning way out in the middle of Costa Rica. We rode into Ciudad Neily around 4:30 pm and it was still raining cats and dogs. We just looked at each other and began laughing so hard. I guess the days ride was over. I sure am glad it goes on and the sun will shine on that road tomorrow. And Jeff and I will be there, riding, on that road.
We were at the Honduras Nicaraguan border yesterday and we had quite a shock. The nice side is poor poor poor. Every kid asking for money, every man trying to sell something and bumming smokes. We hired this little kid to watch our bikes and then hired another kid to bring us thru the whole exit/entry process. It was not that hard but well worth the two dollars we paid the little kid. We were there for about an hour or so. Nobody was friendly except who we paid, but no one was really mean either. We were on our way to the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti being the first. The riding was sweet right from the get go. Mountains, canyons, rivers, fields and so far the best roads yet. The roads had lined shoulders and center lines and pavement that rivals the states. Way better than the Michigan roads! So we were hauling ass the whole day hitting a hundred sometimes. Blowin thru this beautiful mysterious poor country like it was there for our viewing pleasure. It's a weird feeling traveling thru these countries as a stranger. With all this riding gear on these advanced alien machines we are the space invaders on a hostile planet only there to take in what we want and leave the rest as is. Well the ass hauling came to an abrupt friggin halt as we were getting radared by The Man and told to pull off the road. Shortly afterwards we were being told that we broke the law and would have to take this ticket and go to the capital and pay a bank 75 us dollars each for speeding. His radar gun was obviously broke because it said we were doing 87 clicks but we were actually only doing 20 clicks. Saved by faulty equipment but we almost ran into his ass. So we decided to go the bribe route and save money and time and figured it was the neighborly thing to do since he probably had 7 kids and no money. The gov obviously is not doing anything good with the money so we all agreed on $30 each and we were on our way. Less would have been better but he was calling the shots. Then 20 minutes down the road we got stopped again! I thought it was a routine police inspection you know check papers and stuff. Well I guess I didn't pull off the road fast enough because he blew his whistle and started yelling at me. Well that cost us ANOTHER $30 each. Poor thieving sons of bitches! We were going all the way to Costa Rica that day but it was too late so here we are in lovely Granada. A town started by Spanish in 1524. All these years and it is now only a tourist stop. dirty and smelly and full of beggars and thieves. Gerard
Hey Geoff, Sorry its been awhile. We have been raging through Honduras, Nicaragua, and now Costa Rica. We had quite a crazy time in Nicaragua. Speeding tickets, bogus driving infractions, and weird moments in Nicaragua. Costa Rica has been very welcoming so far. We had two good days watching the sunset and a special day at the beach. Riding new friends to the beach was a highlight. We rode through San Jose yesterday and spent the night at a sweet private house! It was a lodge with a beautiful windows, multiple balconies and a nice fireplace. We got up early this morning and decided to ride in the rainy mountain terrain. We could hardy see at times. The rain and foggy atmosphere was challenging but we climbed those mountains and rode strong. We made it into the lower lands and just fried in the heat. It was so hot after the mountains. Anyway, the weather just got better. What a fun ride- a huge river, multiple waterfalls and breathtaking views. The day was going well and then the rain came. It poured hard on us, but we were loving it. We have wanted a challenging day. Tomorrow, we are going to enter Panama. We are determined to go into the Darien Jungle. We are going to drop off things at a safe location and head into the Darien Jungle with light gear. Gear Review- The Wolfman gear, the Aerostitch jacket, and everything else got slightly wet during the ride today. It rained hard but I knew this would happen. Anyways, we had a good time riding in the rain. However, there needs to be better water gear out there. Better rain gear with multiple plastic pockets. There needs to be a good product to safely secure passports and other important documents in a small easy to get into system too. Take Care, Jeff
I hope to get pics of Gerard and some of them riding the bikes too. Man, I sure wish I was with them. Geoff-
UPDATE 14 - Sunday, March 11th - I haven't heard much from the guys due to lack of internet and phone access. I'll tell you what I know so far. There was a wedding down in Costa Rica that the guys were in. Part of the reason this trip was shortened from going all the way to Ushuaia, Argentina was because of this wedding. They didn't have time to get all the way down there and back up to Costa Rica in time for the wedding. Anyway, the guys rode down to Costa Rica and cased the place out. Then they rode down to the Panama Canal and Panama City and back to Costa Rica again in time for the wedding. How they got from Costa Rica to Panama and back again is a serious adventure in itself. Gerard told me he has it all on paper and on his MP3 players until he can write in to me via internet. Everything from police "activity", literally flying, adventure treks into deep caves deep in the jungle, potholes large enough to swallow cars hole swallowed Gerards bike, crashes, repairs, bugs, animals, and making a lot of friends along the way. Since there was no way for the guys to download pics to email me (Gerards camera highsided) they consolidated all the pics between them into Gerards camera and gave it to Jason who hand delivered it to me on his way back from the wedding in Costa Rica. I just received the camera (which is certainly toast by the way) and had to get a special card reader to retrieve some of the pics which are posted below. There are so many pics, I haven't the time tonight to get them all. More as soon as I can. Enjoy!
I can't tell if this is breakfast lunch or dinner.
Jeff says "You want me to get in that?"
Below the Flyin High Boys are jungles and caves. Deep, dark, damp, old caves. These caves were used by the Mayans thousands of years ago.
And the Mayans had rules then too. Don't break the rules. Rule #1: nothing leaves the caves. And according to the signs, those that enter illegally may also stay in the caves.
Below; Yes, that's a huge Machete. Yes, that man has a scary look on his face. Why is Jeff smiling?
Because Machete man is wearing a Motorcycle shirt! Whew!
The guide looks on as the boys enter the Temple Of Doom...no, really it's Crystal Cave.
Real Mayan pottery left behind long ago. It stays here.
This is a skull. Must have broke a rule.
Smilie in the cave.
There's more. More bikes, roads, pics and adventure.
"The boys are back in town!"
UPDATE 15 - Saturday, May 5th - "The boys are back in town" now. I remember driving down I696 one morning on the way to work in a slight drizzle. It was about 45 degrees outside and we had just endured another freezing week of Michigan's finest winter. I'm doing about 50 miles an hour in the fast lane hading west bound coming up over the I75 freeway when I spot a bike about a mile away coming towards me in the fast lane on the other side of the freeway. White helmet and dark yellow jacket. I could see the headlight but I couldn't make it all out until it was right in front of me. It was Gerard on the last leg of his journey! I couldn't believe it. I hadn't heard from him in a while but I knew he was back in The States. I had no idea he was up this far already. What are the odds? I still couldn't believe it was him. But it was. It was unmistakably him alright. I saw him. I half waved by the time he was passing me but I knew it was a futile attempt to get his attention anyway. It was him! I immediately dialed his cell phone and left him a message. A little while later he called me back - IT WAS HIM! We were delighted to finally talk and talk and talk. I was delighted he was finally home in one piece. He stopped by a day later and I treated him to lunch - worlds biggest taco seemed appropriate so we dined at the local Mexican restaurant "Tamale Heaven" or something like that on Plymouth Blvd just west of the 96 freeway. Oddly enough, this was a good choice as hamburger is hard to get in Central America. And these are really big tacos.
Gerard's bike endured the trip with minor difficulties. The cruise control (universal type - over engineered for this sort of a trip really) completely disintegrated somewhere just over the border on their way down. The Meier handguards paid for themselves many times over, but then again Gerard's bike tends to get horizontal on a regular basis so it's a good thing he had them. I highly recommend them too btw. Not that hard to install really either. Just patience.
Two days after Gerard arrived, his bike gently gave up the drive chain doing about 80 on I94 rendering him powerless in the fast lane and slowing quickly. Brakes he had, but no power at all as both sprockets were now naked. I had noticed the day before that his rear sprocket seemed unusually worn considering he just recently (ok, about eight thousand miles ago) replaced them. I mentioned that he needed to stop by the house and I'd align his rear wheel and check it out. He never listens to me. But he made it off the freeway safely and to a local bike shop where they replaced the brake pads, chain and both sprockets. He's back on the road again now too so I'd venture to say he's itchin to ride outta here again soon. Wave if you see him!
one of my favorite pics
click on the pics
More pics to follow........
Plans are in the works now forAlaska!
Stay Tuned for more from these guys!
Gerard and Jeff somewhere in Baja 04
More Pics coming...
The Adventure began Nov 24 2006
Oldrice.com Stickers are here!
Only $1.50 - including shipping!
Proceed to the Paypal carts below (Paypal secured site payment process!)
InteleFone - it's VoIP and you get the best deal right here!
Click here for more details !
AND get the Free Phone !
Mandatory fine print - please read.
If you have any ideas, comments, suggestions, or money to give me please by all means, send me an email.
Thank you for visiting!
Copyright © 1999 - 2006 GMBA Inc.
All Items Copyright © 1999 - 2006 by their Respective Authors. All Rights Reserved.
Contents shipped by weight not by volume. Some settling may have occurred during shipping and handling. Batteries not included.
If you would like to copy any of this information PLEASE ask permission.